Sunday, 23 December 2012


I am currently trying to get over the first really bad tantrum of Christmas 2012.
The children looked on aghast.
I thought "Yeah you have no idea how to really do it"
and then thought "Oh bugger they do now"
The tray of burnt biscuits went in the bin.
Mixing bowls were slammed in to sinks and wooden spoons thrown across the room.
I only ever attempt to make biscuits about once every 3 years.
It always ends this way.
I never learn.

So to cheer my self up I am watching Bad Santa on the T.V and browsing through my photos.
I hope these ones set the festive mood more than my little story does.
Happy times to you all.

I find it amazing that any one out there actually wants to read the waffle I produce let alone like it so much they want to comment on it.
You are all brilliant and I love you all!
See I feel better already!
Nora xxxxx

Monday, 17 December 2012


So I promised that if you tuned in over the weekend I would have a spiffy little tutorial for you on making haberdashery based tree baubles.
There was an ill feted short lived, probably to be repeated before the weeks end, fling between me and the contents of a bottle of cava.
Well, I think the problems really started when I began mixing my drinks.
The cava ran out so we switched to a handy bottle of prossecco that someone had foolishly left laying about.
Any road up, all this silly behaviour lead to Sunday being a very unproductive day.
But tonight is a new night I have been out to a carol singing practice, I have had a large and warming plum brandy, all is well and good in the world.
And so here it is.

Take one lovely old wooden cotton reel.
If you aren't lucky enough to have one to hand you can buy new wooden ones here.
I unwound the thread still on the reel and used it for the decorative stitching.

Take a strip of suitably festive fabric 1/2" wider than your reel. Press under 1/4" either side.
Decorate with stitches and beads.

I then used my most favourite crafting quick fix.
In true Blue Peter style 
Double sided sticky tape.
I do sometimes wonder if there is anything in life it won't fix.
I am yet to be proven wrong.
Though I hadn't started this train of though when I broke my ankle a few years ago.

And voila!
A fabby festive covered cotton reel.

I then made some dingily dangly tassels to hang from it.
I started with one bead and did a back stitch through it.

Thread on further beads and then stitch back through the string of beads missing the first one.
Knot the ends of the thread with the threads left at the beginning to create a little extra length to the tassel.

I made 3 tassels, then stitched them all together at the top.

Then threaded a larger bead on to the top of the tassels.

Thread some twine or a ribbon back through the centre of the reel.
I used a bit of red and white butcher's twine, just because it reminds me so much of Christmas.
When we were kids Mum had a load of it that we carefully unwound every year and hung our Christmas cards on it.
Then after Christmas we would carefully wind it back up and pack it away for use the following year.

I then stitched the tassel on to the bottom loop of the twine, tied it in a knot at the top.
Hang it on the tree, stand back and enjoy.
I planned to make more of these and in fact have, but not before the light had failed and the late afternoon gloom set in.
But keep an eye on Facebook as I'm sure I will put the pictures of the finished articles there.
Happy Christmas kids.
Love Nora xxxx

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Hi lovely people just a reminder that your last chance to buy a splendid sewing kit in a bag before Christmas is fast approaching.
I will be shutting up shop on Tuesday of next week and reopening after the new year.

There are still some Finagle the Fox kits 

Ping Pong the Panda kits

and Make a Mo kits
left looking for a new home. 
Love Nora xxx


On Tuesday evening with the temperatures plummeting I had to venture out.
I was making a very special delivery.
But it was nothing to do with Christmas.

I spent a pleasant hour on Bermondsey St, dropping off stock to Bermondsey Fayre, chatting and catching up, wandering about looking at shop displays and musing on presents I could buy if only I were richer and drooling over the displays of books in Woolfston and Tay.
Then at 6.15 I headed off in to the dark recesses of Bermondsey, not an area I know that well but despite forgetting to bring my A-Z I found my way.
You see I was delivering a wedding dress.
She is a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend or something like that.
Usually I hate wedding dresses and avoid them like the plague, but somehow this one got under my skin and stuck there.
It wasn't a total new make, more a revamp of an old evening dress of her mother's and a new lace jacket.

Its been fun, but I'm glad its delivered now. Having a wedding dress around makes me nervous.
I am a clumsy thing and I worry I'll knock a full glass of orange juice with extra added juicy bits all down the front of it so it gets stuck in the braid and will never come out.
Trust me its happened before, though thankfully somehow that one didn't show in the final edit.
I left this lovely girl 20 minutes later standing bare foot in her dress in the middle of her living room smiling  from ear to ear.
As I strode off in to the night, Jack Frost dancing a merry dance before me transforming London in to a sparkling wonderland, it felt good.
I had the image of the bride texting photos of herself to her mother and dreaming of a time not so far in to the future when winter will be over and spring beginning and a whole new adventure will be unfolding.
It felt a little magical, especially when after I get home a thick fog descended  making every where muffled and quiet.
The next morning we could see what had really been going on under the cover of the fog.

And it has to be said it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Love Nora xxxx

Friday, 14 December 2012


I thought as a Christmas present from me to you I would write a tutorial on how to make a simple festive wreath to adorn your door and welcome the good times in to your home.
The best bit is you can make it all from scraps that have been left over from other projects.
So without much further ado, lets roll up our sleeves and get on with it.

Fabric. You don't need masses a max of 1/2 m of each colour. I chose fabrics that were shot or two tone, meaning they have colour different threads going across the fabric than they do going up and down. This is because when you are fraying the edges later it gives a lovely effect. It doesn't matter what shape your fabric has been previously cut in to, or that it is in several pieces. 
Wadding. Cut in to strips about 2 1/2" wide. You will need a couple of metres of this.
Ribbons and baubles for decorating.
Pins, needle, scissors, sewing machine (optional, all this can be sewn by hand).
Wreath base. Mine is an 8" wire one, but you can get them in a variety of sizes. I bought it from a floristry supply shop. You could just as easily buy a shaped polystyrene one in which case miss out the wadding stage. Or even fashion your own one from an old wire coat hanger.

2. Wind the wadding round the base of your wreath until it is looking nice and plump.

3. When all of the base is covered secure the wadding in place with a stitch.

4. Cut strips of fabric on the cross or bias. Which means cutting diagonally across the grain or threads of the fabric. You will need about 4 1/2 m of each colour. The first colour should be cut 1" wide and the second 1 1/2 " wide. 
The reason I cut the strips on the cross is that when you fray the edges you will see both colours of the weave showing in a really nice way, you also get a fantastic lettuce leaf crinkly effect. The other reason is that when the fabric is cut this way it is more flexible  and easier to mould round the curves of the ring. 
Don't panic if your fabric scraps aren't huge you can get a surprising amount of strips from a small piece of fabric. 

5. Join your strips of fabric so you have two long ribbons.
Make sure your ends are cut with the grain of the threads, position them together like this.

6. Then lay one on top of the other and pin.

7. Stitch together, with a back stitch at either end to prevent unravelling and trim away the corners.

8. Run the blunt edge of your scissors along one edge of both the ribbons to give the frilly frayed edge.

9. Lay the two ribbons one on top of the other, unfrilled edges together and stitch.

10. You should now have a very pleasing pile of fluffy ribbon.

11. Wrap the ribbon round your base, to accommodate the curve you will need to overlap it a little more on the inside curve than you do on the outside one.

12. Keep wrapping until all of the base is covered.

13. Tuck the end back under the ribbon at the point where you first started.

14. Stitch the end in place to stop it from unravelling.

15. Stitch a ribbon loop on to the back to hang it by, then create some lovely big crunchy bows in a complimentary colours and stitch on.
Then go wild with the baubles to add a little pazzaz and glitter.
Hang on your door, put the mulled wine on the stove top, heat up the mince pies, sit back and wait for the good times to come rolling in!
Happy Christmas to you all.
If you like this tutorial do let me know, I would love to see any that you create.
Come back over the weekend for another tutorial on how to make haberdashery based decorations.
Much love and seasonal good cheer.
Nora xxxx

Monday, 10 December 2012

It is a sad fact that the area of sunny South London 
where old Nora resides has become a divided community.

Net work rail have had to close the local railway bridge while they 
lengthen the platforms at the station.
Unfortunately this bridge carries one of the main arteries of road traffic in to and out of our area.
Even more unfortunately Lambeth council have decided to close one half of this main road to all traffic including the bus routes.

This has left our local parade of shops, which includes the post office, florists, beauty salon, deli, estate agents and the venue for my workshops for crafty boys and girls, The Railway pub cut off from all passing trade with many people who used to get the bus to our station diverted to the next one down the  line and those who used the thoroughfare to get from a to b now on lengthy diversions to other parts of the area.
There had to be a way to get the locals back to their old habits of using their shops.
Much head scratching was done along with a fair bit of chewing of the ends of our pencils.
Eventually over a few drinks in a convivial location a plan was hatched.
The Ninja's would come out from their winter hibernation for one 
last flourish before the end of the year.
A date was set to coincide with the farmers market and craft fair being held outside the Railway Pub. Saturday 8th December
Much unpicking and restitching of old projects ensued. 
There was just no time to make anything anew.
The call went out here, there and every where.
People picked it up.
They reposted, they re tweeted.
And on Saturday morning at 11 o'clock they started to turn up and turn up and turn up.

Some came to join in, some came to chat, some came to point and stare.
But all left with a smile on their faces.
This isn't the kind of yarn bomb we do these days.

But then these weren't your usual Ninjas.

They were volunteer temporary Ninjas.

Ninjas with a mission.
To knit the community back together.
And complete it they did.
For all day on Saturday people were out in the winter sun, chatting to strangers, making friends, buying Christmas trees, buying presents, ordering their turkeys and geese ready for the big day and possibly most importantly of all the junior Ninjas visiting Father Christmas.

Well done Ninjas.

Pats on the backs all round.
Hurrah for community action.
Love Nora xxx
PS By way of a little Christmas present from me to you I am planning a couple of Christmas tutorials later this week, so tune back in and join in the fun.

Friday, 7 December 2012

I have reel been busy making some little thank you's for some people.

Some lovely people have been very lovely recently.
Being very generous with time, advice, and ideas.
So I cracked open the wooden cotton reel box and my creative Christmas Elf hat on.

A bit of reel love was called for.
Let the good times roll out people its Christmas.
Love Nora xxx