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I can’t believe how quickly this year is disappearing and that it is almost Christmas! I am so behind with everything this year. Normally I have done most of my present shopping by now. This year I haven’t even started! With 4 grandchildren to buy for, not to mention anyone else, I really need to get my act together and get spending. The problem with living in this beautiful rural seaside area is we are a long way ( an hour’s drive) from any decent shopping centres, and I do not like buying everything online. So I think this week I need to take myself off in the car for a day. Being a crafter I am of course making some presents. I inherited a knitting machine this month to add to my growing collection of sewing machines! So some christmas jumpers will definitely be appearing. Yes my sewing machine collection has grown, adding an immaculate and pretty hand crank New Home machine that I ‘rescued’ from a local second hand shop. It is a solid metal beast and will sew through anything! It also has a lovely floral scrolled faceplate.New Home 131

I will be sewing some gifts too of course.

The Embroidery Crazy website has been updated with some new designs this month, and the usual two free downloads. I was pleased with this pretty lace butterfly I have added. LaceButterfly2

There are also some musical note designs and this cute children’s reindeer design.

CuteReindeerToday I have sixteen small Christmas cakes, that I am going to hopefully sell, to ice and decorate so I had better get busy!

 

 

 

 

 

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Okay so I have been really, really bad and not updated my blog for months. Life and family circumstances have got in the way some of the time.

I was quite shocked when I realised quite how long it had been since I last posted so here I am full of good intentions for 2014.

The Embroidery Crazy machine embroidery designs website has continued to be updated and we added a large collection of dance silhouettes, such as this ballerina, at the end of last year. Ballerina1

This month we have our usual 2 free downloadable designs – a cute hibernating bear SnoozingTimeand for music lovers a nice little guitar. Five more new designs have been added, including this very cute penguin in the snow.

JustChillingHe will look great on children’s clothing. I would even put him on my own t-shirt he’s so cute! We have also added a great set of ‘Family Rules’ to machine embroider and frame. I gave one of these to my daughter for a Christmas present as she has three young children to keep in order and regularly a fourth when her partner’s daughter is there too. It has a good mixture of behaviour reminders for a positive, loving family life. As an ex teacher I know anything visual is very helpful with young children. Here it is.

OurFamilyRulesI do hope everyone reading this has a happy and successful 2014. Our family have a summer wedding to look forward to when our eldest daughter remarries her lovely partner in August. I’m really looking forward to it, they have chosen a really beautiful location by Lake Windermere for their wedding venue and my sister-in-law is coming all the way from New Zealand in August so will be there too. My daughter wants a ‘handmade’ wedding so lots of sewing involved!

I can’t believe it is April already. It is still so cold in the UK that it seems like summer will never arrive. Here we are a week in to April and we are still going out wrapped in scarves, hats and gloves. Last weekend we went on an Easter egg hunt with the grandchildren in the gardens of  beautiful  Chippenham Park, near Newmarket. It was dry but really cold. The grounds of this stately home are lovely and it was great fun trying to find hidden wooden rabbits, which are then swopped for a  chocolate egg. I even managed to find a golden rabbit, which gave my granddaughter a star prize of a large Lindt Golden Bunny. She was thrilled. Chippenham Park  I love these bronze boxing hare sculptures by the side of the lake.

Boxing hare sculptures

The Embroidery Crazy website has been updated with new machine embroidery designs for April and the  downloadable free designs for April are available. There is this spring flower trug design, perfect for home decor items. FlowerTrug

There is a new butterfly design which would look pretty on both clothing and home makes.

BlueLilacButterfly

There is also a castle in the fantasy section and some fish. The free designs are this pretty campanula flower design.

CampanulaFlowers

I love the blue bell shaped flowers. There is also a cute little duckling.

As it is still so cold of course I was busy sewing yesterday. I made this backpack for my pirate loving grandson, who will be four on Friday.

Jo's backpackAlthough I make lots of bags, it was quite challenging as I have never sewn piping round a bag before and I also had to make the piping first. I am quite pleased with the end result though, as I like the red against the blue of the pirate fabric.

At least while it is freezing outside I have lots of time to sew!!

This will be a very busy few weeks as our first large craft fair is being held in 3 weeks time! There seems so much to do still. It is a 2 day fair so we need to have plenty to sell, just in case! My poor embroidery machine has been busy every day and I feel like I work in a sewing workshop. I’ve made lots of these little Christmas stockings which will hang on a tree.

Meanwhile I haven’t much time to spend blogging or creating new designs for my website. I have updated the website for November though and there are 5 new designs. I like this peace dove, it would make a lovely card.This  Chrysanthemum design is a pretty autumnal flower, which would look good on clothing.

This Christmas candle is pretty with the flame stitched in metallic gold.

Our free machine embroidery downloads are a robin and a purple snowflake.

I can’t post without adding some photos so here are a few recent ones I’ve taken. On a recent walk into town this couple of seagulls on the sea wall were brave enough to let me take this photo.

Our winter visitors, the little Turnstones are much in evidence around the beaches and on the sea walls as we walk. I snapped these ones walking to the pier to go bowling.

As the weather worsens the boats on the Backwaters are disappearing. But I did use the zoom on my new camera to spot this little pirate ship out of my bedroom window!

I wouldn’t have seen the Jolly Roger without a zoom lens. As you can see we get lots of little yachts too on the Walton Backwaters on sunny weekends. I hope they made it safely past the Pirates!

I am now extremely busy getting ready for our big two day craft fair at the end of November. So many things I still want to make and the time seems to be running away with me! Okay I’ve still got 6 weeks, but it will fly past. My lovely other half, Alec at Photo Crazy, is also doing the fair so he is creating wonderful photo art to sell. I have spent a week making I-pad and Kindle covers so next week I am back to making more embroidered bags as they take the longest time.

I have also updated the website for October, with some new designs and new free downloads. We have a bat and a pumpkin free for Halloween projects. There is this cute skiing snowman. As crafters are already making Christmas things I have also added a Santa Elf.

Santa Elf

I have of course been using my new camera with the super zoom a lot in the past few weeks. I had to laugh when I looked out my kitchen window and saw this photo opportunity though!

My cat and ‘dinner’.

Our cat Cyrus must have thought it was his birthday when he spotted an enormous pheasant planning to land in the garden.

The pheasant on our back gate.

He was quite a beautiful bird, as you can see from this closer photo of him on our back gate.

Mentioning birds, I took this photo of a young seagull sitting on the sea wall this week. I love the markings on it. It seems a shame they disappear later.

Young seagull

I always love the view from our bedroom, we are so lucky to see sights like this orange sunset.

Sunset on Walton-On-The-Naze backwaters.

I can zoom in on the boats in the Marina with my new camera too.

Marina boats.

But my favourite photo taken this week was the other morning when I was up at sunrise and looked out my kitchen window. There are some tall trees nearby and sitting in one  silhouetted was this fully grown heron! I grabbed my camera quickly and managed to get some shots of it.

Resting heron at sunrise.

It was quite far away so I wouldn’t have got it without the decent zoom lens.

I didn’t realise how much I had missed my embroidery machine until I got it back. Now it is working as I want it to once again I have been busy stitching out the designs I had digitised, and planning new ones. The website is now updated with the latest new designs I have test stitched. I really like this Indian culture inspired Mehndi hand design.
The Little Garden design is very pretty and would look lovely on any home items or even stitched onto clothing.

This new home design would make a really nice present for a wedding if it was framed, or it would also make lovely cushion covers. There is also a flying goose design and one with a butterfly and moths. The new free machine embroidery downloads on the website for August are a dolphin and a pink rose.

Now August is sorted I need to start thinking about Autumn and even Christmas designs! I think I need more hours in my day.

Our great British summer continues to be grey and wet. We’ve just had the wettest June ever in the UK! Living at the seaside as we do it’s a bit depressing, to say the least. However in true British tradition we soldier on regardless.

Last week we took ourselves off to Colchester Zoo for a much needed day out. The weather forecast had said it wouldn’t rain in our area. They lied! I was in the queue to hand feed the elephants when the heavens opened!! It didn’t just rain a bit, it was torrential. As I did not want to miss my turn feeding the elephant I stayed put. That was not a wise decision. I was wearing a very light and non waterproof jacket and got soaked right through. I was so wet rivers were running down my arms. As soon as I’d had my turn I ran for the nearest indoor enclosure. I then had to try to dry off using tissues. Hmmm, luckily it was  a heated area so I did eventually start to dry off a bit.

Anyway  Colchester Zoo was really good and I managed to get some decent photographs. Here are a few of my favourites. First of all I love the red Pandas. I think they are beautiful and have sweet faces. Any kind of cats are another huge favourite. We got very close to a tiger, who was lying inches away on the other side of a glass screen. He was magnificent! Then they have cheetahs too. I can’t remember the name of this bird but I liked his interesting face. He had enormous wings when he opened them out as well. Finally I love lizards so here is one of my lizard shots. They are so prehistoric, I think they are great. Apart from getting very wet we had a lovely day as the rain didn’t last long and I would recommend Colchester Zoo to anyone.

As well as having a day out I have updated the website for July. Our free machine embroidery designs are an optimistic smiley sun and the hippo from our animal alphabet. There are 6 new designs on the site. They are a robin, a colourful little yacht, skittles, this Beetle car design for automobile fans,a classic ladybird to add to our insect section and finally this design which reminded me of playing with toy kaleidoscopes when I was a child. I was fascinated by them!

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