Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Look Who's Featured in the January Issue of Company Magazine

photo stolen from my daughter's blog!

I was really chuffed to see myself (and my daughter, of course) featured in a mainstream magazine! I can now class myself as a published photographer, ha ha! x Company magazine wanted to do a feature on bloggers and the person who takes their photographs, she was one of the chosen few. I do not class myself as a photographer, I know how to hold a camera and press the button....What's funny is that I used her camera when taking pictures for her blog, but used my camera phone for mine. That's all changing now...Today she received her Christmas present from me and her daddy...a swanky new camera, Canon 550d...so I now own her Panasonic. Hopefully this means that my photography skills will improve even more. I'm really proud of everything she has achieved through her blog and all the wonderful opportunities she has had. 

She had also been chosen to take part in a photo shoot for  Tabio's 2011 Blogger Campaign (a Japanese sock and hosiery specialist) and her legs where also featured in the Harrods Magazine.
Not long to go for the Big Day! I'm very excited about the holidays. This year I'll be sharing Christmas with my mum, daughter, brother, sister-in-law and two gorgeous nephews. Five days of food, fun and festivities!     Christmas Day is going to be awesome!!!
 Hope you have a fantastic Christmas!    See you in 2012
 Barrina xx

Sunday, 4 December 2011

My First Christmas Fair Stall

My first sale went really well at my school's Christmas Fair. My daughter was there to sell her wares too and man the table for the first hour, whilst I worked. It was a lovely atmosphere and quite a busy two and a half hours. 
I was quite nervous about pricing and whether anyone would actually buy my makes.
I needn't have worried because there was lots of interest and lots of lovely compliments. I also made a decent amount of cash, which will be going towards Christmas. I am a very happy bunny!

 On top of that, I am thrilled that a few friends have placed orders for a selection of custom made Christmas decorations and lavender hearts. I will show these in later posts as well as gifts I've made for friends and family.
I made this lavender bag for one of my older male cousins. He was quite impressed with my work and finger's crossed I might be able to sell my makes at Portobello market next year. This is quite exciting for me and has really boosted my confidence in my sewing skills. So in the meantime I'd better get myself off down to the fabric market and get sewing. But, first I must get on with completing my Christmas orders...

Have a fab week!

Barrina xx

Monday, 21 November 2011

Christmas Tree Decorations

I've been quite busy making Christmas tree decorations to sell at my school's Christmas fair. This will be the first time that I will be selling my makes. One of the difficult thing is how to price them. Obviously I don't want to sell myself too cheap, but I don't want them to seem too over priced. I'm sure I'll work it out...

The trees are approx 5ins long and the parcels are approx 2in. All are two toned red and green, using felt and stuffed with bean bag filling.

I've also been busy making lavender hearts, lots and lots. I'll show the others in a later posts. 
It's amazing how much you can do when you put your mind to it.
I have two weeks left to sew my socks off...

Have a great week!

Barrina xx

Monday, 31 October 2011

Delicious Homemade Soups

Tomato Soup
It's that time of year, again, when soups, stews and roast dinners are top of the menu in my house.
I love making soup, especially when I can use ingredients straight from the garden. I got these tomatoes, including the dodgy looking alien thing, from my sister's garden and made my first ever tomato soup, which was blooming delicious! I found the recipe here and will definitely make it again. I didn't have the double cream so just swirled a little single cream on top instead. Delicious!!!
Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup
The great thing about soups is that you can use whatever you happen to have. I love making vegetable soup, it's so easy! Just chuck everything into a large pot, add enough water to cover, a stock cube, teaspoon of mixed herbs and simmer away for about 45 minutes, knowing you're not losing out on any of the nutrients. 
I made this soup using pumpkin, onion and sweet potato, from my mum's allotment, and yam.
The pumpkins from my mum's allotment are always sweet and full of flavour.
Usually I mash, rather than blend, the vegetables but decided to leave it with chunky bits. Sometimes I like to add a small handful of gluten free pasta or rice noodles for the final ten minutes.

What's your top winter food?

Barrina xx

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Layered Lavender Cushions

The first October weekend was a scorcher and it was lovely spending time away from home. After work on the Friday I jumped on a train to Milton Keynes to see my sister and her family. We went straight out to the Harvester, to celebrate my niece's birthday, and I must've eating a weeks worth of food in one sitting. 
The rest of the weekend was spent chillaxing in the garden, stuffing my face with lots of good homemade food, including a tasty fish bbq and a massive roast, reading and making a few more lavender cushions. 
I made the green and purple cushion for my lovely niece. 

I made the red and purple cushion for my sister. It was made in a bit of a rush and I wasn't completely happy with it, so I've promised to make a bigger better one as a Christmas gift for her.

I wanted to make one for my sister's partner, so he didn't feel left out, but didn't want it to look too girly.
I decided on cutting out the shape of his initial, hoping it will look more masculine, and thankfully he liked it.

I'd made this one a few weeks earlier, as a thank you gift to a friend, .
I think I'm becoming addicted to layering and I'll definitely be making more letter shaped cushions in the future.!

Barrina xx

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Handmade Lavender Hearts and Pin Cushion

Over the past few weeks I've enjoyed making little lavender heart cushions. I love working with felt, it's so versatile and easy to use, and I'm really loving the bright, bold colours. I really need to get more felt in my life!

The green and yellow cushion was a wedding gift to a friend. 
This was created by joining two cushions together. 'Two hearts become one!'
The floral fabric and gold threads, which I received in my Autumn Swap, adds an extra touch.
I really enjoyed making this cushion.

Shocking Pink Heart with Flower for a lovely friend 
who had given me a bouquet of lavender from her garden!

                                            Sparkly Beaded Spirals with lush velvet underneath!
This was given away as part of the 'Autumn Swap'

Bright Pink Heart with Initial for another lovely friend

Orange Spiral Pin Cushion.
Also given away as part of the swap.

Shopping list: 
Lots of Colourful Felt
Sparkly Embroidery Thread
Beaded Dressmaking Pins

          ♥                    ♥

My daughter, Jazmine, has made the shortlist for the cosmopolitan blog awards 2011
"A charity shop girl who likes the occasional Starbucks
and adores wandering around the Victoria and Albert Museum."
I am so proud of everything Jazmine has achieved!

I've watched her blog and confidence grow over the past eighteen months,  

from the shy girl taking outfit shots in her bedroom 

into the confident, beautiful young lady she has become posing for Vogue Italia.
If you would like to vote for Jazzabelle's Diary!  She can be found under 'Established Fashion blog'. 
Thanks loads xx
Hope you all have a fabulous week!

Barrina xx

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Autumn Swap

I took part in the Autumn swap which was arranged by blueberry-heart and was partnered with Sandie.
It was lovely getting to know Sandie through lots of emails. My parcel arrived on Friday, but as I wasn't at home I had to wait until Saturday to collect it from the post office. It really was worth the wait!     
                 Lots of little packages to open...                     
 Pretty handmade heart made from little buttons...
                                                    and a beautiful handmade necklace...
                                                       Lots of pretty buttons and beads...
                      Gorgeous Ribbons and Lace and Embroidery thread in the most amazing colours....
   The colours of the cotton threads are more gorgeous in real life and the peach embroidery thread is tutti frutti scented, there is also a chocolate scented one too.
I couldn't get a decent full shot of this fabric but it is an Amazing piece!!!
I was also sent lots of gorgeous fabric which will be put to good use. I never knew what a 'Fat quarter' was, so I've also learnt something new. I have been completely spoilt!!!

You may have noticed that all my gifts are placed on a lace cloth. In fact it is a beautiful lace tablecloth which Sandie also sent to me after noticing that I was on the lookout for one. Thank you so much!!!

 Have a fabulous week!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Pretty Little Drawstring Bag

I'd bought this top from my local charity shop for 50p, but unfortunately it was a touch too tight for me. My daughter had suggested making a cushion cover with it, but none of our cushions were small enough.

I decided to turn it into a drawstring bag (10 x 14ins) after successfully making a really cute smaller one (4 x 4in). The joys of having a working sewing machine. Well, when I say 'working', what I really mean is that as long as you don't sew too fast the thread won't break.

I still need to fiddle around with it a little more and hopefully I can get it completely sorted. As much as I love to sew by hand having a 'semi' working sewing machine has made a huge difference and allows me to be a little more creative.

I'm very pleased with my little bag and looking forward to making loads more. Perfect little gift! 

I've had a fantastic six week break from work and now I must switch my brain back into work mode. 
It's going to be hard having to crawl out of my lovely bed really early, but it has to be done.
Have a fabulous September

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Revamped Pin Boards

I've finally got around to revamping my pinboards after my daughter picked up a roll of vinyl wallpaper, for fifty pence, at our local charity shop. It didn't take long to do and I think they look rather pretty.

My nephew, from Milton Keynes, came to stay for the weekend, which was very enjoyable. He's almost a month older than my daughter, and it's lovely to see that they get on so well together. Our evenings were spend playing wii party games and having a right laugh trying to hit the correct notes on Singstar.

I have just finished reading Fallen by Lauren Kate, which I'd already read about a year ago, but it was such a brilliant read that I couldn't resist reading it again. I need to get the next book in the series.
The story begins when Luce, the main character, arrives at a new school under mysterious circumstances and meets a boy who she is drawn to and who she is sure she has met before. Although this book is aimed at the teenage girl who's into dark romance, I'm in my 40's and still thoroughly enjoyed it.

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Thursday, 11 August 2011


Words cannot fully express how I feel about these riots. It has sickened me to see the news of innocent people attacked, stripped of the clothes on their back, robbed when already down and losing everything they have worked hard for.

I live five minutes walk from Clapham Junction and it is heartbreaking to see all the damage that has been done by mindless idiots. It was bad enough that they looted and wreaked businesses, but to set fire to them with no regards to the many families who live above or next door to theses businesses!!?? Why? So many families have now lost their homes and livelihood.  

From my window I watched groups of teenage girls laden down with handbags and clothes laughing away, and boys/young men carrying huge sacks of loot. I watched one male boasting on his phone to his friend about the shop he had just robbed only to be mugged by three men dressed as ninjas. Seriously, head to toe in black tight fitted clothes.

My daughter couldn't get home after work on Monday night, which was a very scary experience for me, thankfully her uncle lives near her work, so she had somewhere to stay for the night. Thank you to my wonderful neighbour who had offered to help get her home that night.

I live in a one bedroom flat on a council estate with my teenage daughter. Yes, we get angry about our living situation but we would never dream of looting or damaging people's business/property. Nor do we go around whinging about how hard our life is. We have had to learn to make do with what we have and be grateful.

I don't want to get into any political arguments. Both the Government and parents have to accept some responsibility. Children and adults, both young and old, need to learn manners, self respect and self discipline. There are many topics/issues which need serious addressing and great changes need to be made, but sadly they are not going to happen over night.

My heart goes out to all the innocent people who have been affected one way or another by the riots and hope for peace in our communities. I applaud all the good people, both young and old, who helped to clean up the mess which those idiots left behind. I didn't want to write this post to begin with, but it has been churning in my head for days alongside a migraine. I haven't said all I wanted to say, putting my thoughts into words is not a strong point of mine. But, I do feel a little less weighed down by the stress of it all.

Keep safe!!! xx

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Busy Start To My Summer Holiday

There's me thinking that now I'm on summer holiday I'd have more time to blog. Yeah right! My ten year old nephew came to stay for nine days. My daughter had travelled down to Bournemouth to pick him up and bring him up to London. I'd forgotten how busy a ten year old could be, so the first week of my holiday was spent getting up early, planning meals for regular times and entertaining. It was lovely to have him stay over and I totally enjoyed his company. Hopefully he had an amazing time and would like to come back and stay again.

My daughter was totally in charge of his daily activities and had planned lots of exciting things for him to do, including the Natural History Museum, Southbank and her favourite place, the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as pancakes at My Old Dutch, where apparently they do the best pancakes ever!!! Sadly, because I'm gluten intolerant I couldn't vouch for that, but they do look ridiculously delicious. Oh how I miss pancakes.

After running back and forth to the launderettes over the past few months I have finally got myself a new washing machine and believe it or not, I actually unplumbed the old and plumbed in the new all by my little self. Aren't I the clever bunny! My neighbour had shown me how to do it ten years ago, that's how long I've had my old one, so it did do me well. It was heavy work pushing the washing machine into it's space with only millimeters to spare. And no floods.

I bought this dining table in a charity shop for twelve pounds, so no more eating off laps. It even has fold down sides which is perfect for my limited space. I'm now on the look out for a lace table cloth or old lace curtains. The chair came as a pair for ten pounds and are very sturdy and comfy.

The Giant Begonia has grown quite a bit since May, but it still won't flower.
The smaller begonia, which was given to me by a friend, keeps producing the most amazing flowers.
If you look carefully you will see a little round green thing. It's a tomato! I'm a little disappointed this year.
The plant shot up to over six feet, gave loads of flowers but no tomatoes. I've found two, so fingers crossed there'll be more. I have a new cactus plant which was quite tricky to repot, those needles are blooming lethal. The chillies, below, are looking promising so hopefully I'll have better luck than the tomatoes.

My daughter has been featured in the September issue of the online Asos Magazine.
Mummy is ever so proud! And, I can now say that I'm a published photographer, as I take the majority of her photos. If you haven't seen her blog yet, do go and have a peek, you might be inspired.
Enjoy the rest of your week and have a fab weekend. Hopefully we'll get a few more summery days.