Sewing bags.

I can’t remember what turned me on to the idea of sewing my own bags, I think it was possibly just reading other people’s blogs on sewing and seeing what they had made.

I made my first ever bag as a Christmas present two years ago. I deconstructed one of my Dad’s old suit jackets and after some footering about I ended up with this.


My beautiful bag featuring all the original pockets


Floral lining with flush pocket for a phone or similar

I absolutely loved this bag. I actually nearly cried when I had to give it away. I still have some of the material left to make a purse or something similar for myself but it just won’t be the same as my first ever bag!

Coincidentally that same Christmas somebody bought me the amazing Lisa Lam’s book The Bag Making Bible. Her blog is still a source of major inspiration to me. I can’t stress how much easy to follow information this book has on bag making, any and all novice bag makers should buy it!  I love all of Lisa’s patterns and the next bag I managed to make wasn’t out of the book it was her Cavernous Carpet Bag. I had so much fun making it and seeing how the amazingly clever pattern came together. I would love an army of these bags in different patterns & sizes!




I admit I have a major love of bags so fit me there is nothing as satisfying as actually making my own bag. Knowing how they come together and being able to customise what size and how many pockets to have is so much more fun for me than sewing my own clothes!

My favourite make so far though is the changing bag I made for when I had my daughter. I found the most amazing superhero fabric and adapted one of the patterns from The Bag Making Bible. It’s a big messenger type bag. The strap is made from an old belt I found in a second hand shop. There are external, elasticated pockets for keeping drinks, toys or other things I need to be handy. Inside I have added loops for hanging my keys and dummies or little toys to make them easy to find. I’ve added specific pockets for my kindle and phone plus a section at the back for my changing mat, nappies & wipes. It’s also massive enough to fit everything I might ever need. I think I’ll keep this bag forever!



Now my daughter is nearly a year and a half old I’m thinking that I really need to start sewing more! Thankfully my friend Laura needed a hand to make a secret Santa present and I was able to help her cobble together a lovely pouch for keeping cosmetics, stationery or whatever else the recipient wants!



It has helped renew my love of bag making and hopefully in the new year I’ll get back to sewing and I’ll get back to coming up with and making things I love! Keep your eyes peeled for a tutorial for the lovely wee pouch we made.

What do you love making? Any other bag addicts out there? Drop me a line; I would love to hear from all you other crafty people out there!

The Christmas Tag

I got tagged in this a good while ago now by the lovely Laura over at Day Dreaming Foodie. I totally meant to do it before now, but ye know, life! Also it’s now close enough to Christmas for this to be relevant even though I’ve been getting very excited about this years festivities for months!

1. What is your favourite Christmas movie?
Hmmm… This is a hard one! My favourite films to watch at Christmas aren’t technically Christmas films. When I was little I used to scour the Radio Times to find out when The Princess Bride was going to be on. It is one of my very favourite films at any time if year but it makes me feel very Christmassy! In the same vein I have to watch Love Actually, Die Hard and Home Alone at Christmas! For an actual Christmas themed film I recently discovered Arthur Christmas which is bloomin’ brilliant and may well make it into the new list of Christmas favourites.

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Once upon a time I was a bit religious and presents were all opened with my family on Christmas Eve, or really very early on Christmas morning after we had come home from midnight mass. As we all fell out of the habit of attending mass we kept the after midnight tradition of opening presents but that was before kids happened! Now presents are strictly for Christmas Day, although me & the big beardy one maybe sneak a wee one in before we head to bed on Christmas Eve!

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
Probably the last Christmas I believed that the fat man brought me presents its one of my abiding Christmas memories. My mum & dad went all out and created a treasure hunt for me and at the end of it I found a bike in the roof space of our house. It was so brilliant it convinced me that Santa existed for a good while longer as there was no way I actually believed that they could have pulled it off (sorry Mum & Dad!). I loved that bike! I loved getting to go to midnight Mass too. Back then it really was at midnight and one year as we drove home it started to snow. It was totally magical! There’s something about snow on Christmas day that makes it feel really special!


Who doesn't love snow?!

4. Favourite festive food?
I love ALL the food, it’s flippin hard to choose just one thing! Christmas is all about the food and the celebrating for me so it’s hard to choose because it’s all intertwined. On Christmas day for starters my mum always used to serve wheaten bread with home made mayo and smoked salmon. To me that is as Christmassy as turkey, ham and all the trimmings and I love it!

5. Favourite Christmas gift?
Other than the bike from Santa I think my favourite present is my engagement ring! We had actually decided to get married a long time before Christmas but we had kept it a secret and we only broke the news to our families and friends on Christmas Eve. There was no point in getting a ring before then as I wouldn’t have been able to wear it so we went out and chose it together. I still love it, although it’s not a traditional engagement ring, I think it suits me a lot better!

6. Favourite Christmas scent?
Mmmm… It’s definitely the smell of pine trees, mulled wine and cooking food! Cakes, puddings, sausage rolls made from turkey stuffing, roasting turkey. I can’t choose just one smell because they are all Christmas!

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
On Christmas Eve I always used to meet up with my friends from school for our yearly catch up then there was always a family gathering at my parents house. There would be food, drink and we would open pressies after midnight and continue celebrating long into the night. As parents of young kids we can’t really do the late night thing any more so Christmas Eve is now spent mooching about, tidying cooking and taking it easy if we get five minutes to ourselves!

8. What tops your tree?

At the minute I have an awesome Father Christmas figure that my mate left with me before she moved away to America so he’s a bit special. As kids we always had an angel at the top of our tree.

9. As a kid what was the gift you always wanted but never received?
At the risk of sounding asinine and probably like I’m making it up I always wanted a pony! Of course I never got one. Riding lessons were a bit out of reach so the idea that I would actually get a horse was a bit ridiculous! Prude than that I always wanted a Girls World Styling Head, to be honest I’d still quite like one of those!

10. What is the best part of Christmas for you?
It’s definitely getting to spend quality time with my family and friends. I still live in the town I grew up in so a lot of my old friends come home for Christmas to spend the season with their families. It’s lovely getting to see everyone! Now I love the build up to it with the kids, I love hearing carols and watching movies. The excitement of having a bit if time purely for us is just great. Now The Boy has had his playgroup Christmas concert in definitely feeling more Christmassy. Nothing like a group of kiddies singing Christmas songs to warm the heart 🙂


Never mind having the wee concert, all that reminiscing had made me feel super Christmassy! The boy and the big beardy one are off for a fortnight so lots of family stuff to do and lots of friends to catch up with! I tag Maeve from W[r]ite Noise to have a think about Christmas and write her own post if she has the time!

Christmas Cookies!

Today I picked up a very excited small boy from playgroup. He was cradling a package wrapped in green tissue paper like it was the most precious thing on earth and told me very seriously that he had made a cookie. He was so proud of himself and I couldn’t wait to get him home to see his masterpiece!

Unfortunately disaster struck and when we arrived home his cookie had broken. Now I know it was going to taste the same but there was no convincing him of this fact and faced with a teary three year old I knew I had to act fast! The only thing that could possibly make things alright again was getting to make another cookie so it looked like an afternoon baking was on the cards.

The thought of finding a recipe, checking what ingredients I had and what I needed, starting into weighing and measuring… Bah humbug! Thankfully I had a brainwave and remembered that my local bakery, The Cookie Jar, had started selling cookie dough for us lazy folk to make their own Christmas treats. I’m not sure I’ve ever been as happy as I was at that moment. I reckoned £1.49 for a pound of dough was very flippin reasonable so a very quick car journey later and we had our package of delectable cookie dough. Once armed with the cookie dough, a rolling pin and some cookie cutters I now had a very happy boy!

Thank goodness James from the Cookie Jar has put together a very easy instructional video for using the dough. I’m not a bad baker but it’s definitely better to get a wee helping hand from the pros! Unfortunately even after I watched it I still managed to burn the first batch of cookies. Admittedly I do use a dreadfully unreliable table top oven so there’s always a bit of trial and error involved!


The second lot turned out a lot better than goodness, although they are a lot tinier! The boy found some of his play dough cutters and decided they were much more fun to make cookies with so we did. Tiny cookies are definitely a better size for tiny (and some not so tiny) people to eat! Some yellow icing and sugar sprinkles later and we ended up with a little plate full of treats and we still have half the dough left!


I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that we have to make more cookies tomorrow so I think I’ll be back for more cookie dough. Although I think that unless I want to end up with a figure like Santa we’ll definitely be giving them out as Christmas pressies. They are definitely tasty enough to do us proud!

I Can’t Succumb to Sickness! (aka Ginger & Lemon tea)

Both my kids have had a terrible run of ill health since The Boy started playgroup in September. We’ve had cold after cold, chickenpox and now The Babby has ear infections in both sides. I’m convinced they are linked to teething since her brother had the same thing every time new teeth appeared and she has two definite new teeth since this latest bout of sickness started.

In the mean time I have not been sleeping while I care for my poorly baby (she’s fifteen months old now, I should really stop calling her the babby…) and have still been running around doing all the usual things. It has finally started to catch up with me and last night in bed I could feel myself coming down with something. My throat was sore and one ear was aching. Thankfully I had only one night waking to deal with so some sleep helped but the big guns were called for this morning.

I have a secret weapon in the fight to keep the germs at bay, since hot whiskeys aren’t really appropriate, proper ginger tea with lemon & honey is a winner. Here’s how I do it…


My cure for the common cold!

A lump of ginger
A lemon
Cloves (optional)


Coarsely gate an inch or so of the ginger into a pot or a jug and pour a mug of boiling water over it.  Leave to steep for five or ten minutes (or longer if you want it really spicy). Add the cloves here if wanted. You could also simmer it over a very low heat to keep your drink nice & hot. I tend to put mine in a little bean pot and I put it in my range to keep warm.


While the tea is infusing chop the lemon in half and squeeze it into a mug and add a good spoonful of honey.

Strain the ginger tea into the mug with the lemon and honey and enjoy!


I take this tea really strong and I can feel it clearing me out as I drink it but you could make it weaker if you prefer. The ginger can be reused to make more tea but it obviously won’t be as potent as the first use.

I’m convinced that drinking a few of these mugs of tea throughout the day helps chase away any nasties trying to infect me. It’s maybe not a cure but it’s a definite help for me and a total bonus that I love the taste!