#300pencilcasesforafrica , we did it!!!!!!

Hey you beautiful ones,

I have finally found the time to sit and write/type a summary of the beautiful pencil cases which made their way to the beautiful children in beautiful Kenya (overuse of word ‘beautiful’ noted).

This is going to be full of pictures and hopefully if I manage it, a video at the end.

Pastors Surekha and Chrishani and their two children took over our little treasures, made with love, to the kids and they had an amazing time doing it!

Here is the the little lady who was the first to receive a pencil case with a ruler, rubber, sharpener and pencil inside. Hmm, which pencil case do we think will be the most popular with the girls? Could it be the sparkly silver space age ones?


Right, enough said let’s let the pictures and video’s do the talking……

300pencilcasesforafrica       300pencilcasesforafrica


300pencilcasesforafrica  300pencilcasesforafrica


Okay people, so here’s the thing, altogether we had 323 pencil cases, blowing our supposed needs out of the water. When the Pastors arrived they thought they were giving the cases to one school. The Pastor in Kenya said that he needed 50 for an orphanage, okay, no problem, off go the lovely ones made by Cathy & Imilda + a few extra (we don’t have pictures of the kids getting these ones, sorry guys!!). Then we have the Fountain School which had 215 kids. THEN the Pastor says oh, and I have started another school of 75 so we need for them as well. FREAK OUT!!  Now I am no mathematical genius but I do know that 50 + 215 + 75 does not make 323! ………..How sad is this! I just had to use a calculator to make sure that was saying was true. Ha ha as I said, no mathematical genius.

They decided they would go classroom by classroom so no one would be feel left out. They gave out the final one to the final child! Simply amazing! What a miracle!! It’s like feeding the 5000 but on a smaller scale and with pencil cases phnar phnar.

Speaking of feeding the 5000, we were also able to raise £400 to buy a meal of chicken for the kids and teachers which apparently is the biggest treat ever! here are a couple of pics of the meal being enjoyed.


And here’s just a few extra cute ones that I love!

300pencilcasesforafrica   300pencilcasesforafrica



And what about this little dude!! cheeky or what!!

This really has been an amazing blessing, not only to the kids but to the pastors, the teachers of the schools and to all of us who were able to contribute.

I would personally like to thank Cathy, Amber, Sandesh, Ann (best mother in law in the world), Fran,  Paul at Fabrics Galore Dawn, Katy, Becca, Sandryne, Delana, Deardra, Lisa, Imilda from Simply Fabrics Brixton, Jo (the sparkly ones were a hit) without whom it never would have happened and all you lot who were sending lovely messages of encouragement throughout the process.

Here’s a little video that a clever guy called Shan (son of our pastor) made. There’s a message from the head of the school, thank you message and this video sums it all up really.

God bless you guys! We did it!!!!


For all the mama’s + papa’s, you rule!

Today I was at school dropping off my youngest when I saw a lady crying because she had forgotten to bring something for her child to take on a trip. There were other girlies comforting her. So of course I was eavesdropping, because I can’t help myself, and went up to her to say ‘don’t worry about it, I forget everything!! I even dropped off my kids to school the day before they were meant to start…… twice!!!’ (true story).

It made me think about how hard us parents are on ourselves. The number of times I have rung up my mother in law in tears about what a bad parent I was and how I would be solely responsible for ruining their lives is countless. She in her infinite wisdom always tells me ‘Honey you are doing fine’.  Aah how comforting those words are. One time I called her up crying and she said ‘honey, drag them up, we all did’ That has been the best ever advice given to human. I thought well if she and others of her kind have ‘dragged’ up their kids then I was doing just fine after all.

I was reading a wonderful post by the excellent Girl like the sea on Instagram talking about how she felt like her day was an ‘epic fail’ Firstly the girl deserves a medal! She homes schools three kids, one being a toddler and still finds the time to make the most divine bits and pieces. I love reading her posts, she is so honest. She was waxing lyrical about the chaos that she see’s as her life. Also another new sewing mate, the stitcher and gatherer who has 5, count em 5!!!! kiddlings and is also wonderfully honest about her struggles on instagram. If only we could all be a bit more honest about how we are feeling then we wouldn’t feel like such failures. We might not get as stressed about the house being untidy, or the kids not having a bath for a night, or the fact that we screamed at them again and I must be the worst mother on the planet because no one else does that!

I thought this would be a good time to list a couple of my EPIC parenting fails just to make you all feel a bit better. I am happy to take one for the team.

1. Went into mother in laws house with eldest two and new born. I was flustered and exhausted. Nobody mentioned how crazy three would be! New born was sleeping so put him in the spare bedroom and continued into the lounge room. When we were finished I left and put the keys through the mail box. Oh dear! I had failed to collect said newborn from the spare room. I actually burst out laughing, thinking far out! This is like Home Alone for babies!! What do I do? Do I call the Fire Brigade? Do I smash the door down? Common sense prevailed and I called my mother in law who was around the corner. Thankfully youngest slept through the whole thing.

2. Same kid aged 1  1/2. Left him with my mate Sandesh so I could drop the other two into the bottom playground at their classes. Then I went to get in my car and as I was sitting there I thought to myself, wow, this is great without all of the kids. Sandesh called me just as I was about to take off and said ‘umm are you coming to get youngest?’ EPIC FAIL!! I had totally forgot and was about to drive off! Again youngest was totally oblivious.

3. I have dropped off my kids a day early to school after holidays and this figure would have been higher had I not had very brilliant friends reminding me.

Okay these are just a very small selection, there are loads more but you get the picture. Thankfully they are now 14, 12 and 9. They are healthy, hilarious excellent human beings and although I fail daily I thank God that there are more wins. Oh, and they are alive so on some days that will just have to do.

This parenting lark is really, really hard. Beautiful, wonderful, life changing and I wouldn’t give it up for anything ever but it is really hard. So my point is people that we have to give ourselves a break, we have to remind ourselves that we are doing the very best we can at this moment in time and even if thats a bit crap it’s still the best crap we can manage and thats okay. You know what we do give them, love! And even we  are at our worst they still know that they are loved and thats the best gift you can ever give them.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you mothers and fathers  who care about how you are doing with your little humans you are doing an amazing job whichever way you are doing it.

Love this quote, it say’s it all.

‘All the world is a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed’ By Sean O’Cassey


#300pencilcasesforAfrica update

Hello All,

It snowed, yay!!! well maybe a centimetre or two but thats good enough for me, still counts!

Just thought I’d give you an update on how we are doing with the #300pencilcasesforafrica 

I put out a call for any sewers to help me out on my quest to give the kiddlings in Kenya a real treat.

I was so touched by the response. I had the wonderful soisewedthis regram and constantly plug the efforts. As a result the lovely Cathy made 10 of the most beautiful pencil cases along with her daughter.


The very same soisewedthis made a whopping 25 cases that are winging their way to me as I type. They are so gorgeous with fun linings.

300pencilcasesforafrica Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 08.30.46

I have also had a lady that I know knock up 20 in a day!! Can’t wait to see those! And another from my children’s school making another 20! And not forgetting two of my lovely friends Dawn and Katy coming over to help me bash out as many as we can on Thursday.

Here are my humble offerings although I am still sewing like a maniac to get another 100+ finished by this Saturday.

300pencilcasesforafrica Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 08.33.46

So people, the running total is an amazing 159!!!! So we are well on the way to achieving the 300 needed.

God bless you people for the lovely comments, the help, the prayers or just for looking. Have a great day!

Life. Don’t stress!

I have spent the entire day lying on the sofa feeling a little burnt out and not particularly well after a crazy couple of weeks. This has then led me to feel guilty about all the things I have yet to do but can’t quite muster the energy to start. I have also had a realisation that point 2 of my new years resolution has been totally blown out of the water!!

There are the company accounts, the little Oliver & S dress that I have yet to finish (it’s only been 2 years!!) It keeps looking at me with it’s scrummy yellow and grey cotton eyes, saying, finish me, finish me!

Oliver & S

The last roman blind for a client, cleaning the front room after birthday sleepover for son number 1 (which also took 5 months to come around, don’t ask.).

Front Room

The pencil cases for Africa (actually have a few people helping me out on this one, update post to follow),

Pencil cases

Knitted top for headmistresses new baby (thankfully not due until July),

Erica Knight-Ribbon-tied wool vest

Scarf I promised to knit my daughter to go with the beanie, cute though huh!


Putting stuff to sell on Ebay, sort out my house, etc, etc

But if all of this stuff doesn’t get done today, or tomorrow for that matter, no one is going to die. This is my favourite saying from my lovely husband. When I am stressing about my usual overload he says ‘is anyone going to die if it does’t get done?’ to which I reply ‘well,no’ and then with his Yoda of London wisdom he says ‘then stop stressing’ And he is so right!

In 2009 I went on a missions trip to Rwanda. I was instantly struck by how content the people were. They had, by our standards, nothing. No fancy clothes, no iPads, no iPhones, no toys, no tv, just each other. They had to walk for 4 miles daily to get to school, most times with an empty stomach and they arrived with smiles and laughter just like the happiest of our kids. It made me feel slightly ridiculous for filling my life with unnecessary stress and determined to chill out and spend all of the time, which I would then clearly have on my hands, to spend with loved ones. A fail of epic proportions then ensued but I kept it up for a couple of weeks. It made me realise that we shouldn’t let life steal our time.

I am learning slowly (very,very slowly) but surely how to take less on and how to be more relaxed and today was a good reminder of that.

I would like to leave you with my favourite quote;

Everything will be alright in the end, if it’s not alright, it’s not the end………Anonymous

SOS!!! 300 Pencil Cases needed ASAP for Africa

Hi you lot,

Here is another plea and it’s quite an ask!

My little church sponsors a school in Kenya. It’s called the fountain school and has over 300 kids that visit every day. Some of these kids get their one and only meal of the day at this school. We were so excited to be able to raise funds to buy a cow and also to replace their sub standard kitchen. Here’s the old Kitchen and the cow.

Fountain SchoolFountain School

They could only feed a restricted amount of kiddlings with the kitchen above but can now feed every child that is at school, woohoo!!!!

Every time our Pastor goes over (every year) he and his family take over as many supplies as they can fit into their suitcases. Here they are with some much loved chocolate they got last year.

Fountain School

This year we are supplying the school with stationery and pencil cases. We are a tiny church and can’t really afford 300 pencil cases etc. So I am asking for all you that sew to help me out! I am trying to sew as many pencil cases as I can and I was hoping some of you clever people out there could sew some as well. Then we can get them all together and send them off with our Pastors in February. That’s right guys, we only have about 2 1/2 weeks to pull this off! 300 pencil cases in just over 3 weeks!!!!

After you have made what you can, I am happy to pick up anywhere in London. Simply email me at ladysewful@gmail.com and let me know where to pick up. Or if you are sending from anywhere else email me and I will give you my address.

I have included a tutorial for my super easy zipped pencil case. Its not lined and does not have to be perfect, just functional.

Cut two pieces of oil cloth or sturdy fabric such as denim 23cm across x 13cm length. You can use a zip 25cm or more.

Zipped Pencil Case

Put your zipper foot on. If you don’t know what that is her’s a picture of mine for my Brother machine. Yours may be different according to your machine.


Place one side of the zip face down at the very edge of the fabric length wise.


Sew along the edge. I like to use colourful zips so I try to show as much of the zip as possible. To do this I sew quite far away from the zipper teeth. Note how the zip is facing down. You also want the zip pull to be facing the right side of the fabric.

You now want to sew the other side of the zip onto the right side of the second piece. Place the zip and sew in the same way.

Zipped Pencil Case

I  like to top stitch both sides now just because I like it, but if you have sewn far away enough from the zip then it shouldn’t be necessary.

Then put right sides together making sure that the zip is open all the way to the middle of both. Now sew from the zip at the top right hand side of the pencil case and sew all the way around and over the zip on the other side. When you reach the corners, stop maybe half a centimetre away from the end, put your needle down into the fabric and then turn and start on the other side (love that little tip).

Zipped Pencil Case

Then you just turn it the right way round and voila! You have made one little munchkin very happy!

Zipped Pencil Case

So come on guys! Lets do this! And then we can sit back and enjoy some more smiles like this….

Fountain School

Adelaide Fires. Sew for the Koala’s!

Hey All, I was born and brought up in Adelaide, South Australia and am no stranger to crazy bush fires. I remember Ash Wednesday like it was yesterday. In Adelaide you can see the hills from the beach with the city being situated in the middle. It really is a very beautiful place. I remember so clearly seeing the Ash Wednesday smoke from the hills in 1983. I stood outside of my house and just watched. I can’t imagine how frightening it must be for all the people concerned  and how sad it is to lose so much. Here is your chance to do something great to help with these latest fires if you are in Oz, or even if you aren’t. If you fancy you can sew some little mittens for the Koala’s who have burnt paws. They are really easy and quick and gives one a feeling of having helped in some way. Here is the article which was sent to me by an old friend in Oz called David (cheers mate). It is for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. The pattern to sew and the address to send your mittens to is at the bottom of the article. Many thanks to IFAW for the use of their photo. Sew for the Koalas!!!!! Please send me any pictures of mittens you make. I would love to see them!

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Pom pom perfection, part 3.

Good evening All!

Hope you had a glorious day?

Okay, so here is the third and final instalment of my pom pom tutorials.

This way of making these little bundles of joy is really easy and one of my favourites (before I tried the fork way of course). I remember when I first tried it I thought, far out, this is so quick!!

Let’s jump straight in!

For this tutorial (bah ha ha like I’ve done loads of other ones) I used the Clover large size contraption. For all of you in the UK you can find one here.


Looks complicated I know and when I received it I nearly cried, well, I put on a worried face. But hopefully we can demystify this little wonder.

Let’s start off by opening it, taking a look and getting ready to pom pom ourselves into a frenzy……… aaaaaaand breath.


There are two bits on each side so four altogether.

Just get your wool (I used Rowan big wool which is perfect for this project and makes it even quicker, yay!!) and start winding. Make sure you hold the two prongs together when you first start winding otherwise it can be a bit wonky to begin with.


Keep going back and forth until you have a nice fat bundle of wool.


Make sure you end up at the end where it folds into the middle so that you can pull the wool through and start winding in exactly the same way on the other two bits. The side you have just finished should fit snugly back into the middle. Sometimes because I wind so much on I have to shove it in a bit. You can see by the picture that you are passing the wool through and starting at the hinge end on the other side of the pom pom maker.


Once you have finished and closed both sides you should have a lovely looking thing like the one below. I am so easily pleased!! I really do see this as a thing of beauty.


Now the exciting part! Get your trusty shears out and follow the grooves on the side and start cutting.


The best thing about this wool is that when it’s cut it looks like sea anemones……


Cute huh!

After you have finished all the cutting this is what you are left with:


Almost there. Take a long piece of wool and starting at the bottom tie it around the pom pom through the middle grooves thusly…..


Tie about three very tight knots, not sure why just makes me feel like it’s more secure. Then we open the blue bits like so,


And then the middle bits easily come apart revealing the loveliest ball of yum ever!


Isn’t that pretty! And how easy was that.

So there you have it. Pom pom tutorials done!! I can now cross that one off the list.

Hope you enjoyed this and if you have any other ways of making these things then let me know!

Big love from me and the pom pom’s


Pom pom perfection. Part 2

Hi All, Hope you all enjoyed the best Sunday? Not sure if I’m quite ready to get back to the normal term time routine of, get up, get kids ready, school run etc . It’s just been too lovely being tucked away in our little cave. Oh well I guess I will just start counting down to the February half term holiday.

As promised here is my little tutorial on the Fork pom pom. I was thinking it would be a bit naff but actually it turned out pretty well. So here goes………..

First make sure you have some wool and a fork, dah!


Then start winding around the prongs like so:


I think it is good to keep winding until you have quite a fat amount of wool, can you even say that? A ‘fat amount of wool’? Oh well, you’ll know what I mean when you see the pic below:


Cut the wool and then cut a long piece which is used to tie around the middle. You thread the fabric through the middle space of the prongs and then wind it up and over the top of the fork also through the middle space.


I tied a loose knot around the middle and then slipped the whole lot off the fork. Then I tied it super tight around the middle with a triple knot. Please excuse the fuzzy photo here but I still want you to see.


Now cut all of the loops like you would do with any pom pom.


Et voila! An almost perfect pom pom.


Now all you need to do is trim it down a bit to make it less oval in shape and roll it between your palms again to make it lovely and spherical (love that word!)

Here is the finished product:


Hmm maybe it still needs a bit more of a trim?

This is definitely very easy and lovely and quick if you want to make pom pom’s with minimum time and energy.

Tomorrow I will show a really cool pom pom machine which is also pretty fast.

Now go forth and create my pretties, mwah ha ha ha.

Pom pom perfection. Part 1.

Hello lovely ones,

Hope you are all enjoying your New Years break? I’m loving having this time with family it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I’ve had a lot of people say that they never knew how to make pom pom’s. Apparently the last tutorial helped so I thought I would do a small series on different ways to make pom pom’s.

I made one the night before last for a baby’s hat so lets start with that one.

I like to use the little plastic discs that are specifically for making pom pom’s, find the link here. They make three different sizes so pretty good for a lot of different projects. This is the mid sized one.


You can always make your own out of cardboard. You just cut two discs in the size required and then cut a hole in the middle. As I am the queen of cutting corners the plastic ones are perfect for me.

You then put the discs together like so:


Then we start the absolute mammoth task of winding on the wool. This tiny little pompom got me through 2 1/2 episodes of Homeland!!

Start by pulling your wool through the centre keeping the discs together. You have to keep pulling the wool through until you have covered the entire disc as below. Wind each bit next to the last in one direction making sure not to leave any gaps. If you only want a quick pom pom thats not very full then you could probably stop once you have reached the beginning.


I love my pom pom’s to be as full as they can be so I go around and around until the hole in the middle is non existent. I use a yarn needle to push through the centre when it gets really small. When you are finished it should like this:


Once you’re done we then start cutting around the outside. Turn the disc on to its side and slide your scissors into the gap and start cutting. Ooh how exciting!


Once you have cut all the way around you take a long piece of wool and tie it around the middle in between those grooves in the plastic. Tie it super tight so the bits don’t come undone. You then slide the disc off each side to reveal your fabulous pom pom.


I find rolling it between my palms helps the shape and sometimes I will cut little bits off to perfect it.

Voila! perfect pom pom for the perfect little hat.


I will put up another blog in the next few days about 2 other ways to make lovely pom pom’s. You are all totally capable at making theseHave a wonderful day people’s. Big Love!