July 24, 2015

Picking and packing projects to take on holiday

I love sewing.

It has enriched my life is so many ways – not only through the act itself but the way it has opened me up to meet new people, it has totally awoken my creative side and has given me so much more than I could have ever imagined.

I have been thinking a lot about that lately, why I do it, what I get from it. As we head into the school holidays I know that sewing time will be much more limited, not much time will be spent at the studio over the next six weeks (none at all in the next three). That in itself poses a bit of a problem for me – I know that it is a vital part of my ‘looking after myself’ mentality. Just like being outdoors as much as I can, taking the time to sew and create is something that is really important to me.

Recently I have come across a few posts that really resonated with me and I wanted to share them with you. The first was one called Building Momentum – written by Mary Huey – a guest post for ‘On the Windy Side’ as part of the Finish Along 2015 series. Some things I cannot do, like leaving my projects out so they are easy to pick up (although that is what the studio is perfect for) but I love the idea of just doing 15-20 minutes of something every day – progress can be made quite quickly when you just do a little each time. The post is really about getting the momentum to finish those works in progress but my favourite thing I took away from it was the idea of a sewing journal. And so I have started recording everything I do and everything I have been working on before I got to sleep each night. I just know I will love to look back at it in the future.

However, this idea of focusing on getting projects finished is something that actually I am coming round to the idea that perhaps it is necessaritly the most important thing. Yes it is nice to make something for someone and for them to like it, but at times it is the actual process that is the important part. I sew because I love it, I am good at it, but most of all when I am sewing the whole world falls away and I am focused and completely in control. In a life where I find that lacking most of the time you can see why this is so important to me. And as Mollie says in this post – Making is the point of Making – process not product.

In that post she references a post by Diane Gilleland: A Patchwork Map (side note: NEED her book, All Points Patchwork) which is the post that I loved the most. I urge you to read the whole post but in it she says:

I always have at least one project going that will take me months or years to finish — to me, projects like these are an important form of self-care. When life moves like a whirlwind, it becomes a real blessing to have this slow-moving creation-in-progress to return to at day’s end. Even if ten minutes is all I can spare, that ten minutes has a deeply calming effect.

I always have a ‘hand’ project on the go – at the moment it is my Spring Stitching Club quilt, and I have started crocheting flowers for Flowers for Memories at Yarndale this year. These are the projects that I pick up at the end of the day and spend a little time on while I watch TV, or take with me when I go to Brighton Sewing Bee, or round to friends. I no longer feel weird pulling a project out of my bag and making a little progress on it as I chat to friends or enjoy a cuppa in a cafe.

And so, over the summer when proper alone sewing time is rare I am going to spend my time on slow stitching. Embroidery, English Paper Piecing, Crochet. The things that keep my hands busy and my mind clear. And I am going to share my progress – maybe here, most likely on Instagram with my hashtag #slowstitchingsummer.


Here and Now

July 24, 2015

I was doing really well at blogging, and then the summer began and as usual everything just slides. I find it frustrating because I want to be present here, writing and recording everything that I am doing, everything that is happening. It helps me and I need it but if I cannot find the time it just becomes another thing that I feel disappointed about not managing.

Today is day 3 of 43 of the school holidays and I know from experience that I rarely get chance to blog in the break from school and routine. So I am hoping to write a couple of posts and then I will mostly be away for the next 40 days!


A week ago I had a very bad morning at the end of a very bad week and I completely lost it. I ranted and raved, screamed and shouted, threw things, cried and tried to run away. Some part of my brain steered me to the back garden not out the front door (I like to think that I would have stopped being the only adult here, but at that moment I cannot be sure). My heart was pounding, the adrenaline was racing through me and I just wanted to run and run and run. Instead I sat and cried and cried and then took the kids to school and myself to the doctor and have started taking antidepressants again. The sad truth is that I am really struggling to manage my temper when I am around other people and so I need a little help.

Depression takes many forms and usually for me it is feeling useless and inert. So this is very different this is a lot of pent up feelings and a temper that goes from 1-10 in seconds. I need to be calmer. I was worrying about the fact I seem to be unable to be a parent without medication on Instagram and some lovely people gave me a proper talking to and they are right – if I had anything else wrong with me I would take medication to make my life manageable. This is an illness, a chemical imbalance and that is all. It needs to be managed like everything else. And so right now I am just hanging on in there until the tablets start to have an effect. Thankfully today is Mr C’s last day of work for 2 weeks and that will help a lot.

There are things I can do that will help – walking, not taking on too much, not being afraid to rearrange plans if I am not feeling right, asking for help. Some are easier in the holidays than others. I will just do my best to look after myself and take one day at a time.

I feel that the first step to making it through this summer is to be completely honest about how I am feeling and what life is actually like. I don’t have time to blog, (or the ability when we are on holiday) but I couldn’t live without Instagram. I am so looking forward to recording our summer, but I want it to be a complete record, and so for the last two days I have been adding a ‘keeping it real’ section to my captions. My pictures have been happy kids playing in water and cuddling baby chicks but I want to remember the behind the scenes too. If you don’t follow me on Instagram I am Kellyfairy – I would love to see you over there.


Tissue Holder Sew Along

July 20, 2015

Tissue Holder Sew Along

Last week I had great fun doing a tissue holder sew along on Instagram. It was great fun, I will definitely do some more. Here are all the steps and instructions (hover your mouse over the pictures to see the text). I have been making these as gifts for a while and they are great. They also use small pieces of fabric so they are great for scraps and bits left over from other projects.

I thought that this would be great for all hayfever sufferers so I thought it would be great for #theeverydayspruce with Heather at Growing Spaces and Sarah-Lou at Lapinblu and their theme of ‘Get ready for Summer’.


Finish Along 2015 – Quarter 3

July 10, 2015

This year is flying by. I have been sewing as much as I can but also working and being a mum which unsurprisingly takes up a lot of my time!

In Quarter 2 I managed to finish four of my seven projects. I am quite good at taking pictures of works in progress but I always seem to forget to take pictures of the finished items. I am really going to try to be better at that because it is nice to have a record.


Alison Glass Mini Quilt :: Needlebook Swap :: Cotton and Steel Mini Quilt

I did a lot of selfish sewing last quarter but none of that was on my original list.

Rolling over:

1. Christmas Quilt – I unpicked a table runner that I made this year because I decided it really should  be a quilt. I expect this will roll over into other quarters though.

2. Oakshott Quilt – I have had fun making and playing with some blocks using a fat eights bundle that I have had for the past 18months. This is a #sewmystash project. I like where it is going but it is an odd size at the moment so need to work out what to do next.

3. Spring Stitching Club lap quilt. I am making this for me. It is so sweet and it is using up all my scrappy hexies which I love. And it has embroidery on it too. As it will be summer at the end of this quarter I really hope I have finished this (see picture above).


4. Double wedding ring table runner – this is a present for some friends that got married yesterday. I really want this one finished this week if possible.

wedding rings

Work in progress. The colours in this photo are off, though it gives you the general idea.

5. PE Bag for Kate – in time for starting school in September.

6. #homesweethomeminiquiltswap – I know some of my partner’s likes but I need to get this planned out so I can work on it over the summer.

7. Hexie mini quilt – I am going to finish this and then give it away to someone on IG when I reach 1000 followers. Hopefully that will be in the next three months!

I am keeping it small and achievable this quarter because half of it is school holidays and that means very little sewing time. I am hoping that I will get quite a bit done on my Spring lap quilt because it is hand sewing and tying so I can do that at home.

I am linking up with Adrianne from On the Windy Side.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side



From the studio { June }

July 8, 2015

studio view june

Only four visits to the studio in June. I have been doing some sewing at home though, but it really isn’t enough. With our holiday and then the end of the summer term at school there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I know that it will be like this all summer, so I am going to try and schedule some evening visits through the summer holidays if I can.

Last month was selfish sewing, this month was getting on with Bee Blocks and Swaps.

June Makes

Inside the studio: (Top row) A double sided needlebook for #IGneedlebookswap, EPP on holiday, adding mini bunting to my business cards for Blogtacular.

(Bottom Row) Beanbags (we made 70!) to raise money for Piran’s school.

June Makes 1

Inside the studio: (Top row) My first ever flying geese, a finished bee block, my finished mini for the #cottonandsteelminiquiltswap

(Bottom Row) Fabric pull for June’s bee block, cut pieces laid out for sewing (this one hurts my brain with all the pieces).

I took a snap of the studio when I went in last week, this is just part of it but I wanted to record it here. There is a chance that the area it is in will be redeveloped soon and if that is the case I might be looking for somewhere else to go. For now I just need to make the most of it.

Studio June

What have you been working on recently?


#1day12pics { July }

July 5, 2015

A perfect day for this month’s #1day12pics challenge – our first ever camping trip with just us as a family. We had a really wonderful weekend.

Morning :: Campsite Chic :: Breakfast :: Day Trip :: Salt Water :: Envy

Morning :: Campsite Chic :: Breakfast :: Day Trip :: Salt Water :: Envy

1day12pics July2

Crashed :: Refreshment :: Cricket :: Sew :: Shhhh :: Proud

Write, Yours Truly

Blogging 10 years.

July 1, 2015

10 years ago I was sat in a small office in Lewes. I can picture myself there, I remember where my desk was, what my day was like, who I sat next to. Periods of being busy would be followed by sitting and waiting for the phone to ring. The internet was there to be surfed and one day after catching up on a friend’s adventures in Australia and pressing the ‘next blog’ button again and again I hit the ‘Create your own’ button. And in that moment I became a blogger.

10 years black


I love marking the passing of time. My head works that way. It helps with situations I am worried about too. If there is something I am worried about I always try and use time to put it into perspective ‘in just half a day I will be home again from the dentist’ or ‘in less than one hour this will all be over for another whole six months’. Ten years is such a long time. Blogging is such a part of my life now that it seems strange to think of the beginning.

I want to celebrate this moment properly but right now my head isn’t in the right place. I wanted to try and have a giveaway, make something for a reader, share some old posts. Perhaps write the ten things the ten years of blogging has taught me. I might take a leaf from a wonderful friend and make my birthday celebrations last a month or two. Why rush?


Guest #10 Kat

June 28, 2015

My blog wouldn’t be the blog it is today without Kat. From being there for support when I went self hosted a few years ago, tinkering with my blog to make it look how I imagined in my head, and then keeping me sane when I started doing it all myself, and occasionally almost break it. She has given me a place in her home to sew, and more importantly to rest and recover when parenting just gets too much for me. Her house is welcoming, her family wonderful and I feel very lucky to have her as a friend. Kat has a blog, Housewife Confidential, but can mostly be found on Twitter – she is also one of the founders of Blogtacular – the best blogging conference ever.

Kat Molesworth Blogtacular

Kat in action at Blogtacular. Photo credit : Piers MacDonald – Thanks to Mollie Makes.

Dear Kelly,

Happy anniversary and let me begin by saying that I am glad that you are one of the women in my children’s lives.

Like all children mine are sponges for the stories fed to them of our human history. Ask Monty about the fire of London and he’ll share everything he has learned with glee. But with their education being tilted heavily towards the white men in our history I want add the stories of the women who make up our past.

On a recent trip to the National Portrait Gallery my youngest, Betsy, asked me to read all of the details for every woman in the rooms we explored. Reading about women who did great things regardless of what was stacked against them is incredibly inspiring.

When I was asked to write about one of my heroes as a school child I couldn’t think of a single person I admired. Today, I’ve struggled to whittle my list down to just ten of the women whose work inspires me in my life. This is a list of ten women I want my children to know, (in no particular order).

Shami Chakrabarti

Shami Chakrabarti’s work as a human rights advocate has her in the public eye regularly.  Despite personal slurs from those in power she remains on track and brings about change. I am interested to see what role she takes in the changes to the Human Rights Act over the next few years.

Ada Lovelace

In the 1800s there weren’t many people working on computer programmes. Ada on the other hand was pursuing her interest in maths supported by her mother (her father being Lord Byron who left, never to return after she was born). Not only this but she wrote the first computer algorithm for Babbage’s Analytical Engine. She has come to represent women in STEM and is commemorated each year on Ada Lovelace Day.

Laura Bates

Have you ever been told that sexism simply doesn’t exist any longer? That your experience must have been an exception and really not the norm? Yeah, haven’t we all. Laura started The Everyday Sexism Project to record those insidious sexist experiences that every woman and girl experiences like a dripping tap. Not only does it lift the lid on our experiences but it also provides a platform to address issues such as Project Guardian which, in conjunction with British Transport Police, highlights and fights sexual assault on transport.

Dian Fossey

Dian’s work as a primate researcher led her to study groups of gorillas in the Rwandan mountains. Her studies over the course of 18 years not only gave us huge amounts of knowledge about gorillas but also conservation. She campaigned against wildlife tourism as the risk of cross species infection is a huge risk to gorilla populations. Dian was faced with poachers who would kill whole family groups in their attempts to capture infant gorillas for zoos or to sell their heads and hands as souvenirs. She established the Digit Fund (now Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International) to create anti-poaching patrols. Ultimately she was murdered in her mountain research cabin.

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell

The discovery of pulsars as a student shot Jocelyn Bell Burnell to fame (and infamy when the Nobel Prize for the discovery was awarded to her thesis supervisor). Her career in Physics has spanned decades and she has contributed much to our understanding of the universe. I heard Dame Bell Burnell speak at a science festival last year and her accounts of how she was treated as a female student in University was very matter of fact but you can see how easily many women were driven out of their field.

Dame Kelly Holmes

Kelly Holmes was the first Briton ever to win double gold at an Olympics. That on its own is kick ass enough for me. And yet, what Kelly has done with her position is what really inspires me. She founded the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust which supports athletes transitioning out of sport and uses their skills in a mentoring programme for disadvantaged children. And that’s double kick ass.

Francesca Martinez

Francesca is a comedian who challenges the concept of normal. As well as being hilarious she is a campaigner and has been particularly vocal in these recent years of government austerity. There are so many ways to change the world and I admire Francesca Martinez for using both comedy and campaigning to challenge our perceptions about ability.

Marie Curie

Marie Curie was a scientist and her discoveries of radium and polonium were ground breaking. Her Nobel record is impressive: she was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person to win two Nobel Prizes and remains the only person to have won two Nobel Prizes in separate sciences (physics & chemistry).

Amelia Earhart

Amelia’s name has become synonymous with aviation and adventure. She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic and disappeared during an attempted circumnavigation of the globe in 1937. Not only did Amelia go after her passions with gusto but she founded the Ninety-Nines to support and advance women in aviation. It is something to be a trail blazer but lifting other people with you is something to really be proud of.

Camila Batmanghelidjh

I firmly believe that the work of Kids Company is some of the most important work being done with children in Britain today. Camila’s work, campaigning and love are beacons in a time when there are increasing numbers of children living in poverty. I want my children to know that you can be a disruptive force in a world filled with status quo.

Those are just ten of the women I want my children to know. Who would be on your list?

I have asked ten bloggers to guest post for me in the run up to my 10 year anniversary at the start of July. I really hope that you enjoy these posts, and visit their blogs to say hello, or wave on Twitter. Each one of them has been a special part of my blogging life and I am so honoured to call them my friends.


Guest #9 – Jen

June 25, 2015

It always seems to me that in blogging circles everyone knows Jen and Jen knows everyone. She blogs at Mum In The Madhouse. I think I have known Jen as long as I have had Piran although I couldn’t tell you when we met! She is always online with a friendly word and a real mix of family centered posts – including cooking, crafting, activities and plenty of ideas to keep the whole family busy. I hope you like her top 10 songs and the reasons behind them.


When Kelly asked me to do a list of ten things, I racked my brain. Should I try and be witty, should I look for amazing quotes that have touched me and will touch you? Should I be my creative self and look for great tutorials or should I do something else? Well unfortunately people who know me will agree I am neither witty nor wise, so here are my top ten songs. Before my kids were born I was really into Music. In fact way back I used to do a Tracks of my years linky on my blog!

Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town – Kenny Rogers
My early years was filled with wonderful music, my Dad was an Elvis fan and both my parents loved Country Music. I was also in a marching band and we played this song and I still love it to this day. It reminds me of frilly knickers, short dresses and happy, happy times. It is a sad song, but I dare you to listen without clicking your fingers or tapping your foot to the beat.

Hot Love Now! – The Wonderstuff
March 1994, the month me and the husbeast made it official that we were a couple. I remember watching their last concert on 15 July 1994 at the Phoenix Festival with him and knowing this was the man I wanted to spend my life with and 21 years later I still feel that way! My brother had an idiot under construction t-shirt. We didn’t have an our song at our wedding a year later, but this always makes me think of my fella!

Last Stop: This Town – Eels
1998 and Videos were big in music land and this one and the upbeat song really sung to me. I totally loved the Eels’ previous songs and this was a standout for me on the Electroshock Blues album. It kind of felt like it was looking in to my brain at this stage of my life, all mixed up, but happy!

Street Spirit – Radiohead
This will be the song that is played at my funeral. Morbid? Maybe, but it has touched me since I first heard it all those years ago. From the excellent album The Bends. This is MY song.

Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley

Oh a song that give me Goosebumps whenever I hear it. It makes me think of my husband as he introduced me to this song way before it appeared in Shrek! Mini’s class sang it last year at their school proms and it was amazing.

Wires – Athlete

This was on the Athlete album Tourist that we bought in January 2005 when I was pregnant with Maxi. It never really had any major meaning until Maxi was hospitalised at five months old and nearly died. As we drove him to the hospital in the car this was playing. This will forever be his song.

Muscle Museum – Muse

Song’s often hold meaning for me as they remind me of times in my life. This is no exception. This was on Muses first Album Showbiz which was release in November 1999. The same month as my Dad died after an industrial accident the month previously. In January 2000 we went on a break to The Canary Islands and I remember laying by the pool with this playing on my Rio mp3 player when the sun shone and I knew that everything would be OK. It was also my phone ring tone for years….

Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
As Maxi has a song, so has Mini. Chasing Cars is from the fantastic Eyes Open Album and released on June 6 2006 and Mini was born on the 24th June 2006 and this was what was playing in the car as I pulled in to the hospital. I wanted Mini to lie with me and just forget the world.

Counting stars – One Republic

Not my usual style, but when we went to Orlando in 2013 with my brother and his family this was on the radio all the time and the three kids in the back of the car singing it at the top of their voice every time it came on. It makes me think of an amazing family holiday and great times.

Happy – Pharrell Williams
Minions, clapping, smiling and laughing. Happy makes me, well happy. There is just something infectious about this song and I love that we all sing along as a family. Cheesy? Maybe, but I am old enough not to care!

Once I started this it was really hard to stop. I love so many artists that I couldn’t fit in Beck, Placebo, Turin Breaks, The Icicle Works, The Beautiful South, Kasabian , The Fratellis, Killers, Suede, The Inspiral Carpets, Stone Roses, The Manic Street Preachers, Pulp, Blur, Mansun, The Foo Fighters oh and so many more.

What is your favourite song?

I have asked ten bloggers to guest post for me in the run up to my 10 year anniversary at the start of July. I really hope that you enjoy these posts, and visit their blogs to say hello, or wave on Twitter. Each one of them has been a special part of my blogging life and I am so honoured to call them my friends.


Family Portrait 2015

June 22, 2015

Every Father’s Day we take a photo of all four of us together. This is both something I love and dread in equal measures! I usually only get a few takes before someone wanders off or just flat out refuses to be in the picture. Yesterday the sun kept going behind a cloud and then back out again which made it even harder but we got there in the end. I gave up trying to get Piran to be a little more ‘normal’ and just settle for him being in the picture. It is a true representation of us at this time, crazy kids and all.

Cheesley Family Portrait 2015

This year I cannot resist adding the other pictures we have taken – I love seeing how everyone changes, and it really brings it back to me how grown up our small people are looking.