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As you may know, I have decided to put my sewing work on a more official, business footing. As part of that transition, I have decided to separate my family and general home-related posts from my work-related posts. I will soon be moving all of the latter to the Pip ‘n’ Milly Creations website (www.pipnmilly.com) and the former will shift to http://thewinkingfrog.wordpress.com (family/home stuff).

The new Winking Frog blog is active now and that is where all new crafty, domestic, family, scenery, cookery posts will be. I might even do a giveaway in a few days…..

We are working on the move now and hope to have it all completed very soon. Please feel free to visit either or both. I would be grateful if you could leave a comment so I know you have found me!

Don’t forget to change your bookmarks and links!

Heart-shaped rocks, to be precise. It started on a walk on Brighton beach (well, Hove, actually) with my fiance in 2001. This is what I have so far:

I collect rocks

I collect rocks

A favourite little boy turns 3 tomorrow, so I had the perfect excuse to make a deluxe grab ‘n’ go placemat!

Birthday gift for Quinn

Birthday gift for Quinn

Grab 'n' Go placemat for Quinn

Grab 'n' Go placemat for Quinn

Sorry for the long gap between posts. It has been a whirlwind of activity around here, between settling in to a new routine with the start of kindergarten, playschool, business, job-hunting (DH), puppy-sitting, enjoying the last warm days of summer, playdates, sewing and general home life! We have been getting the house and garden sorted out, ready for the winter months ahead. It tends to rain a lot here, so we don’t spend a lot of time in the garden over the winter, so we needed to create some new storage for the playthings. DH has been occupied with replacing the rotten steps leading to the garden (side effect of building with wood in a rain forest climate!), staining the fence, to protect it from the afore-mentioned moisture, making a gate for the archway he built earlier in the year (in order to keep the pesky deer out of our veggie patch and flower beds), picking up soil for a new flower bed, planting a hedge and generally tackling my “any chance you could do …. list”. He is a superstar.

It has been a very exciting time for my little business, too. The new placemat is a great little product and I am so happy that other people like it too. I am working on a number of new handbags, but I am keeping those under wraps until later in the month. I have an amazing retail opportunity coming up. I will definitely tell you more when it is all confirmed.

Halloween is fast approaching, so when I need a breather between sewing for others, I will be working on costumes for the girls. They have decided to be a witch and a cat this year, teaming up to go as a pair! Last year they were a super hero (OOAK, of course) and a one-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eater (remember the song?). I will, of course, be posting pics of the little cuties when the costumes are done. They both seem to have quite specific ideas of what they want, so I hope I can satisfy them!

I am always thinking of things to make, as you know. I lean towards items which are practical, functional and fun to sew. If they appeal to other people, so much the better, as selling things means I can fund my fabric habit! With Philippa starting school this week, I have been contemplating items which would be useful for her and, once the art smock was complete, I moved on to lunch time. She has plenty of bags and a perfectly good lunch bag which she used for preschool and does not want to part with. She has always taken a napkin to preschool with her to put her food on, so I decided to upgrade. I have been working on a grab and go placemat that will be useful for school and also for eating out, picnics and the like. I think I have cracked it and I am really pleased with the outcome.

Grab and go placemats

Grab and go placemats

The ultimate placemat

The ultimate placemat

The ultimate placemat

The ultimate placemat

These mats are made with 3-4 coordinating cotton prints and the main body is interlined with fleece.  The pocket section is interfaced and holds stainless steel, dishwasher safe cutlery and has a flap to keep it all secure. There is also a pocket behind the cutlery pocket for a napkin – how clever is that! (The napkin can be used to wrap the dirty cutlery in – thanks for that idea, Tracy!) The ties are sturdy and made with one of the fabrics used in the mat, which rolls up neatly for popping into a lunch bag or handbag on the way out. The mats are machine washable and all fabrics have been prewashed and dried to prevent further shrinkage.

Something that will appeal to lots of parents is that this might stop kids putting their food on surfaces which may or may not be clean! We expect children to pick up bugs when they go back to school, but the current concern about the H1N1 virus makes this even more of an issue.

I would love to hear what you think!

Today was Philippa’s first day at kindergarten. As many of you will know, this is a huge milestone for all of us. How can the past 5 years have gone by so fast? How can that fragile little baby be going to school already? I am so proud of my bright, independent girl. She isn’t a bit worried about being apart from me, much to my chagrin, I must admit! I would be nice if she were going to miss me just a little! But no, she says that when we go tomorrow, which is another short session, I can stay to meet some of the other mums, then I have to go!

Getting ready for kindergarten

Getting ready for kindergarten

She has a new pair of wellies for walking to school in the rain – that is likely to happen a lot here! Inside shoes, lunch bag with custom made grab and go placemat (more on that later), backpack (customized), art smock and a change of clothes. Doesn’t look like she’ll need a hanky to dry the tears!

Pip and Milly

Pip and Milly

Me and my girls

Me and my girls

Ready for school

Ready for school

I have heaps of projects tumbling around in my head and I intend to get to them all, in time, but every so often an idea strikes and I have to work on it right away. Last night and this morning I was working on an art smock with sleeves and I was going to continue with that, until it crossed my mind that I needed a travelling sewing case. I very occasionally go to the sewing shop for a machine lesson or I need to do repairs or alterations for my mum or clients. I normally use an old cosmetics case, which works very well when I need to take my machine along. To cut a long story short, I came up with this:

Grab and go sewing kit

Grab and go sewing kit

Grab and go sewing kit

Grab and go sewing kit

Contents of grab and go sewing kit

Contents of grab and go sewing kit

The kit is designed to hold my order/receipt book, a pair of scissors, seam ripper, Fabric marking pencil, tweezers, tape measure, thread, needles and pins.

After pondering a zippered pouch with a vinyl front, I decided to modify my crayon roll design, by sewing pockets for the bits I wanted to include and adding an area for pins and needles. I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I think I will put business cards in there, too. Now back to that art smock….