Sunday, 28 February 2010

NEW for JULY !!! Craft Market

Welcome to the Craft Market!!!

Beautiful items made by real bloggers....

This page (and the market) are, like a real market, a work in progress: stalls will be added, change or leave.  For the background to the craft market, click on the craft market tab in my blog homepage, or to see the wares for sale, read on...

Nicky is new on BMB but is clearly very busy with her stunning handmade paper products which she sells under the name of Gooseberry Moon

Rebecca McLuckie is a fellow twin mum who also makes stunning jewellery which she sells at her own website, (with its very own blog!) Burnished Designs.

Even better, she runs a monthly giveaway! I'm in!

Melisa Moody is originally a textile designer but now makes delicious looking jewellery and accessories.

Helen runs  producing all sorts of beautiful hand made things for babies, boys and girls, their mummies and daddies...

Fiona makes stunning personalised children's artworks:

 Helen Rawlinson  has two shops.  One on Etsy, selling beautiful fabrics:

 as well as her own website of lighting and textile design

Zoe Grant also has two shops (this time on Folksy): Buttons and Bows, selling beautiful ribbons, buttons and sequins

and Zoe and Drew, which has stylish accessories for you and your home:

Claire Mackaness also has a shop on Folksy, in her case selling vintage inspired gifts:

She also makes beautiful cards and occasionally runs classes in Brentwood, so pop by her website for more information.

Helen McIntyre also makes hand-made gifts for beautiful girls of all ages

Hilary Pullen makes little purses and beadkits for children
 Harriet McAlonan makes bespoke children's jewellery for boys and girls  Click the link for lovely pictures

Monica Strydom sells Accessories, Apparel & Gifts for yummy mummies & rockin' cool kids.  She also has 10% off if you quote BMB10 at the checkout!

Grit doesn't sell her playbags, she gives them away to local toy libraries.  What a star.  The playbag blog is here.

Louise Horler makes funky bibs, tooth fairy cushions, baking bags, activity bags, buggy blankets, aprons and more!



Aingeal at Mum's Survival Guide creates unique one of a kind pieces of jewellery

as well as adorable sock pets

 Tola Popoola makes personalised chocolate bars

Paola Thomas has her own craft market here


Amy Lane makes and and decorates cakes and cupcakes for all occasions

Maggy Woodley paints pop art and greetings cards 

Kim at Four Teens and a Teabag makes beautiful bespoke bunting

Sarah Stone makes  fleece hats, scarves, mittens, jackets, jumpers, hoodies, trousers, all in one pyjamas (even in grown up sizes!), baby sleeping bags, blankets, thermals, pillow cases and more...

Fanciful Alice currently has knitted goods (neckwarmers, scarves, ear warmers/hairbands for ladies and girls) but will also, come the Summer,  be making some handbags and felt brooches

 Petra Hoschtitsky (and a friend) make jewellery, knit, sew, embroider, crochet and work with many different materials (textiles often recycled/upcycled). They also organise jewellery making parties for children and adults, arts & crafts and sewing parties in the Manchester/Cheshire area

Sew Mental Mama makes children's clothes

 Anna Allen makes beautiful gift tags and other papery stuff
Steffi loves to knit, make cards and has recently explored felting

Jude specialises in creating personalised nursery art (including canvases and framed, boxed Christening prints)

she also turns your children's artwork into masterpieces for your wall ....

and (if that wasn't enough) she's got 10% off on some items for fans of her facebook page...

Suzanne Harulow is a freelance textile artist.  She makes bespoke wall hangings and lots of other stuff

 Mummy Mad at the Madhouse makes all sorts of wonderful crafty things with (and without) her children.  She's also got a new folksy shop. Take a look!

And then there's me.  I make personalised children's stuff.  T-shirts, towels, bedclothes. Anything you like really... 

And I'm also a trained milliner.  So if you need something special for a wedding, Ascot or just running round the park, let me know:

More to come as and when. Thank you for visiting.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

A delightedandflattered of awards

I've been very flattered recently to have been awarded not one, but three, awards!  Go me!  I've been sitting on a couple of them for a while, so sorry, but anyway:

RebaMc and Young Mummy awarded me the Sunshine award.  Here it is:

I'm supposed to forward it on to twelve people, but I'm so late in doing this one I think pretty much everyone has had it.  And if you haven't, consider it yours.... In recognition of the fact that yes, for the last ten minutes, the sun has actually been shining!

And then yesterday (or possibly the day before that, I've slightly lost track this week), Chic Mama awarded me the Kreativ Blogger award


This one I haven't seen before, and so I'm going to do what I'm supposed to, which is:
  1. Copy the award to my blog
  2. Insert a link to the person who nominated me
  3. Tell you seven things about myself that I haven't told you before
  4. Nominate seven other bloggers for the award
  5. Link to their blogs
  6. Tell the nominees about their award

So:  Seven things you don't know about me - with a creative theme:

1. I might have stopped selling the t-shirts through the shop (note to self, must change the bit on my blog about that) but I'm still up for orders if anyone wants one.
2. I've added another string to my bow: baby towels.  Here's the one I made for my lovely friend E's beautiful new daughter (no prizes for guessing her name)

3. I've signed up for Millinery 2! (Very excited about that)
4. The first thing I ever made was a skirt in blue Liberty fabric in sewing at school. It was horrid.
5. My favourite thing I've ever made is a cheongsam for me out of fabric that my brother bought back for me from China.  I'm too fat for it these days, but here's a (not very good, sorry) close up of the fabric. 

Isn't it gorgeous?  It's lined in cream too, so when I walk you get a flash of cream silk lining. 
6.  Not creative - but no-one apart from me and B knows that I once wore it with no knickers on...
7.  I've got a pile of mending sitting in my sewing box I just can't be arsed to get round to...

And here are some crafty bloggers to whom I pass on this award:. 

Mummy Mad at the MadHouse
and last but not least, Fanciful Alice
They're all members of the British Mummy Bloggers Craft Market.  About which I will be blogging again soon...

Monday, 22 February 2010

Millinery - week 6

Less good week this week so no picture of my felt hat... I decided to make the crown a bit deeper and then managed to sew it on to the brim back to front. Doh! So it's irritatingly back in two pieces.

In good news though, I've started my straw. So here's a lovely picture of that instead:

- Posted using BlogPress from the bus (again). Which means I can't reply properly now to all the lovely and supportive comments on my resignation letter. But I will. Thank you all so much.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

A letter of resignation

My Darlings L, A and S,

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, your mummy had a Proper Job.

And this week, I've finally made the decision to give it up.  Instead, I'm going to look after you, to be your Mummy, and not to make you share me with colleagues, clients and employers.

Your Granny and Grandpa don't really understand this decision.  They see the 18 years of education: the GCSE's, the A-levels, the degree, the post-graduate qualifications, the post-qualification training; they see the cachet of being highly respected in a respected profession; the glowing prospects of a stellar career; the generous salary; the intellectual challenges; the social interraction... and they think I'm throwing something away.  That what I'm giving up can't be matched by what I will have.

I suspect that they're not alone.  That over the next few years we will meet many people who will wonder why I am no longer doing my Proper Job, or, perhaps worse, who won't wonder, because they will write me off as "just a full-time mum", without either realising how hard full-time mums work, or pausing to question who I am, a person in my own right.

And I have this fear that one day you will think like that. That you will think less of your mummy because she is "just" your mummy, and that you will wonder why I "gave up" my Proper Job.

So I am writing to you.  

To tell you that on Thursday, when I went into work to tell them that I was leaving, my secretary asked me what I was going to do if I didn't have a job, and I said "I'm going to look after my babies".  And saying it then, and writing it down now, makes me happy beyond words.  I can feel my heart physically lifting in my chest with the joy of it, my lungs expanding as my body relaxes with the certainty that now, for the moment, this is what I want to do.

To tell you that I am trying no longer to need a title, a profession, a role, to validate who I am.  That I am proud of being your mother, and I am proud of being me, and that that is enough.

To tell you that the last six months have been so hard.  Trying to be the best mother I can for you, while trying to be the best employee I can; to live up to the standards that I and others have set for me, and feeling constantly that I am compromising, and that in compromising I am failing.  And that I have decided that if I can only do one job to the best of my abilities, I know which job it is I have to do.

To tell you that no decision is irrevocable.  That for now, this is the decision we have made, and I am happy with it.  But that if I, and Daddy, and you, decide in the future that I should go back to paid employment, I can.  It might not be the same job, it might not even be, in the eyes of the world, as "good" a job. But it will be what is right for us.

To tell you that I have a brain, and that actually, at the moment, the best use I can put that brain to is teaching you.  Teaching you to walk, to talk, to read, to throw, to catch, to skip, to do your maths homework.  Whatever it is that you are learning, at any minute of any day, I want to be there watching you learn, and being privileged to help you.  And when, in due course, someone else takes over that role, I want to be supporting them and you in it.

To tell you that there is a practical reason for this change.  And that is that we are moving to Scotland, and I can't do my job in Scotland.  And I know that, and I welcome it, because, if I am honest, I'm not sure that I would be brave enough to admit that this is what I wanted if I couldn't justify it in that way.  So I am, perhaps, telling you that sometimes I am scared.  That I am scared of what people think of me, and that they will judge me, and that they will think less of me.  But that I hope that, despite all that, this move will be worth it. That you will have space to grow and run, and to put down roots.

And to tell myself something.  That this is my decision.  That although I have made it for you, I have also made it for me.  That I was bored at work before I had L.  And that I am still bored at work.  And that although I am frightened of change, I know I need a change, and that I think this is the right change to make. And I must remember this.  So that on those days when we are all horrid to each other, when we all shout and wail and make each other cry and I think "why did I do this?", I will remember that I did it because I wanted to.

With all my love,

Mummy x

This is not how I broke it to my boss that I'm leaving.  But maybe it should have been.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

A brush with (not very) big business (and an auction for Haiti)

A sad story of the demise of my t-shirt empire...

I have, for a while, been personalising children's t-shirts.  A bit before Christmas I was delighted and astonished to discover that the owners of a posh baby shop not very far from me wanted to stock and sell them.  Wow!!!  This has gone astonishingly well (in a very small scale) and in the last five or so weeks I've sold three t-shirts.

I'm delighted with this, but also utterly exhausted by it. It doesn't sound like much, but what with work, and house-moving and oh, yes, three small children, I found my heart sinking each time they called with a new order.  This didn't seem right somehow and so I rang them up the other day and told them that I wouldn't be doing it any more.

They were flatteringly disappointed, but nice with it, and said they'd send me a cheque as well as the t-shirts that I made for them to display.

Which was when I realised.  First rule of business?  Negotiate your terms.  What had I failed to do?  Erm, well, discuss them..... There'd been all this chat about how much they were going to sell them for (an utterly astonishing (and in the view of some - myself sometimes included - astronomical) £25.99 each.  Sounds (is) expensive, but also given the time each one takes me, and the cost of materials, actually not (if at all) profitable...  And that assumes I get the whole £25.99.  Which, I, rather late in the day, suddenly realised I wouldn't.  And I hadn't ever discussed how much I would get.  oops.

So.  Answers on a postcard.  How much did I get?  Three t-shirts.  Retail price £77.97. 

To you, Mrs Plan B.  £37.50.


And that, my friends, is why they make money.  And I don't. 

But it is a story that ends happily.  We were in Edinburgh airport on Sunday evening when I spied these....

Price? £37.50.  It's fate.  And I am the girl with the tartan shoes...with the flowery linings...

And the even better news.  I therefore now have three "display" t-shirts going spare.  An Evie (12 - 18 months), a Jack (also 12 - 18 months), and a Mia (3-6 months)...

And I'm putting them up for auction in aid of the Bloggers for Haiti appeal....  Please put your bids in as a comment here by Sunday evening and I'll put them in the post on Monday.  Please do pass this on as it would be lovely to raise a bit more money to add to the fabulous £4,000 already raised.

Oh, and consider this my apology to the blogging community for being so rubbish about commenting on all the fantastic stuff I've read recently.  Blame whoever didn't put 25 hours in the day...

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Secret Post Club - February

I got my parcel!!!!

It's a fantastic book called Blogging for Bliss with all sorts of inspiring (and just a little intimidating!) things other people have done to make their crafty blogs look wonderful.  I'm going to read it all, take it to heart, and maybe, if I'm feeling brave enough, make some changes.  Watch this space!

But.... I don't know who it's from!  So whoever you are, my secret bloggy friend, thank you so much.  I'm delighted with it and will be sharing hints and tips in the posts to come.

ps Heather - if you're reading this, I'm not sure where I link this post to on your blog.  Sorry. Let me know and I'll sort it out.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Moving house - aged 33 1/4

It's really happening.  We have accepted an offer. And had one accepted.   Scotland here we come.

Am both excited and scared.  And can't quite believe it. Wish us luck.

Picture from  Thank you.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Millinery - week 5

Nearly there!

Trim not sewn on yet so might be more randomly scattered daisies, or something completely different.

Comments welcome!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone (and the bus (again). Let's see if it works this time...)

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Moving house - aged 2 3/4

Apropos of nothing, while on the loo (her, not me), about ten  minutes ago (after bedtime, procrastinating):

L:  Mummy, in my new house there will be a bed for Molly.

(Note: Statement of fact, not a question. Molly is 4 1/2 and role model, best friend, potty training inspiration and god in L's eyes.  Quite how Molly sees L is less clear).

L:  And Ellie can sleep in the tent.

(Ellie is Molly's younger sister.  Actually closer in age to L than Molly is, but clearly a lower class of being.  The tent, for the avoidance of doubt, is actually a travel cot.  Even L isn't planning on putting Ellie in the garden).

Me: Yes lovely girl. Of course there'll be a bed for Molly and Ellie at our new house.

L:  Mummy, are we going in the car to our new house?

(Note: New house as yet to be found, much less bought.  Logistics of moving not something that has yet crossed my mind).

Me:  Well, we might go in the car, but we might go on a plane.

(New house in Scotland, so that's not as ridiculous as it sounds, at least for moving children, if not stuff)

L:  Yes! A plane! And I'm going to take my plane, and Mummy Sheep and Dingle Sheep and Other One Sheep (yes, that really is his name) and Chick.  Because they're my favourites.  And my white blanket.

Me:  Ok. You can take all of them.

L:  And somebody nice is going to live in this house.

Me: I hope so.

L: And Daddy is going to stay here.

Me:  Well, actually I think Daddy's going to come with us.  Is that ok?  Do you think Daddy should stay here or come with us and live in the new house?

L: (Thinks).  He can come with us, ok, Mummy?


Aside from the comedy potential of leaving B here for purchasers to discover when they move in, and I think her logic was that it would be nice for them to have him rather than that she didn't want him, I'm not entirely sure why I felt the need to post this conversation.

But I did. And I think it's because somehow it made me feel sad.  Sad that we're leaving this house (eventually) and sad that she sort of understands, but doesn't, that everything's going to change...And how do you explain that to a 2 3/4-year-old, when this is all she's ever known?


Monday, 8 February 2010

Millinery - week 4

It's a hat! It's not sewn together yet, mind, but it's definitely a hat.

And it now has a wired brim and a lovely (half-finished) petersham edge.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone (and the bus - quite excited by that but not sure it will work... Here's hoping)

And in fact it didn't - it "posted but not published" and I'm now publishing from home.  Can anyone more technologically savvy than me tell me how to publish from the bus....?

Sunday, 7 February 2010

£hildcare - the numbers game.

I've been thinking (again) about working and not-working and being a full-time mum and being a part-time employee and all that sort of stuff.

But two things in particular have made me put fingers to keyboard this time.  First is Muddling along Mummy's post here - she's wondering why, still, in 2010, the majority of childcare is still done by mothers.

And the other is an article in today's Observer (which weirdly doesn't seem to feature in their online edition) about the costs of childcare.  Apparently more than half of all children's centres are making a financial loss*; 58% of parents have suffered from a lack of childcare in the past 12 months, and local authorities' own assessments of available childcare show a shortage.  They interview a woman who gave up work because after childcare she was earning £20 a week...

How does this happen when we're being told that every effort is being made to encourage parents back into work? (Let's ignore the childcare voucher issue for a moment shall we?  And the fact that there is no state childcare for children under 3 anyway). It is surely a simple calculation. If the government wants women to return to work, it has to make it possible, both practically and financially.

For us it's a financial and not a practical question. There are plenty of (private) nurseries around us.  But here's the maths:

I am in a well-paid industry and am relatively senior.  By national terms, I am extremely well paid, although not stratospherically.  Given that I am now only working two days a week, it's helpful to think in daily amounts.

After tax and National Insurance, I earn almost exactly £180 a day.

That's quite a lot right?

Nope.  I pay just over £160 a day in childcare.

If I work eight hours a day (which I don't, I work more than that). I'm earning £2.50 an hour.  That's right.  If I go to Pret for lunch and buy a sandwich and a drink, that's two hours wages.  If I ladder my tights and go and buy a new pair, that's an hour. If I have to top up my Oyster card, that's a week's worth...

And the thing is, that for where we live (Central-ish London) our nursery fees are pretty average.  Admittedly we're unusual in that we have three children under school age, but then we're also better paid than many. What if I were a nurse? Or a teacher?  Bear in mind that the nursery discount our fees - we should be paying over £200 a day.  And a nanny wouldn't be any cheaper.  When I interviewed nannies, they all wanted over £10 an hour plus tax and national insurance. That works out at £140 a day, to which you have to add heat, light, food and activities.  They could easily add up to more than £20 a day, so you're back to square one. Indeed, that's one of the reasons we went for the nursery - we could be certain of costs.  Plus the nursery takes the (soon to be late-lamented) childcare vouchers. Nannies can, but the sort who do tend to be the more expensive....

I spoke to a lovely colleague of mine about this, and her solution?  Don't do the maths.  And in many ways she was right.  Because this is so demoralising.  If I have a bad day at work, or a difficult call with a client, or get caught up in some political shenanigans, I realise that I don't care.  Where once I would have made an effort, got involved, tried to solve things, now I don't.  It's very hard to care about a job, no matter how much you love it or how long you have trained for it, if you are effectively not being paid for the work you do.

Maybe I am wrong to be so hung up on the money, but that is how our employers have taught us how to value ourselves: you're good at your job, you get paid more.  So what does that make me?

For the moment though I'm sticking with it.  The promise of freelance work, to keep  my brain ticking over and my professional qualifications up-to-date when we move, is too good to turn down.  But it doesn't stop me being angry.  I know there's no easy solution to this one, but I just wish I could be convinced that someone was actually thinking about it, for all they all talk a good talk...

*We experienced this ourselves. The nursery L went to when I first went back to work after having her went bust (fortunately just as I went on maternity leave to have A&S so we were ok).  They owed us £800 which I have now been told we won't get back.  The total debts were, rumour has it, in excess of £7 million.  Even the liquidator isn't going to get paid...

How on earth does that happen?

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Lots of loose ends (featuring the Book at Blogtime)

There are all sorts of things I've been meaning to blog about recently but somehow time/children/sleep/having a million people looking round our house because the people who were supposed to be buying it can't sell their flat and so we've had to put it back on the market have got in the way.  So here goes...


L's new favourite song?

There once was a deadly duckling.


I finished reading Grow up Cupid by June Oldham. (Sadly no image available, even on June Oldham's own website) I'd like to say it  made me laugh out loud, but that would be a lie.  In fact it made me snort unattractively.  Lots.  I picked it up because I was told it was an antidote to the Twilight series, and it certainly lived up to its billing.  Mog is cynical, witty and doesn't believe in men.  Very not Bella Swan, and highly amusing.  Although of course it all comes right in the end.  Mog is, among other things (studying for her A-levels, setting up a creche at her college, carrying on a vendetta against her former headmaster), writing a Mills and Boon style novel, and her thoughts are interspersed with her own commentary written in that inimitable style.  As someone who read A LOT of Mills and Boon while incarcerated at boarding school (no creche there.  No headmaster either), I loved this.   In fact I'm feeling rather inspired.  Watch this space for a post in the style of Mills and Boon...

Now on to Conspirators by Michael Andre Bernstein. Finding it quite hard going so far...


Further update on the ongoing "another baby" question:

I met a woman in the supermarket today whose sister had three children and went for a fourth.  And got triplets.

I'm not telling B.


Ages ago the lovely Muddy no Sugar tagged me for a meme (read her interview with her daughters if you want a fantastic laugh too). I've been rubbish about doing it, but here it is, ten things that make me happy:

  1. My girls giggling at each other.  It's happening more and more these days and it's just magic.
  2. Being alone in my house with nothing to do, a good book and a box of chocolates (doesn't happen often)
  3. Falling asleep every night while being cuddled (in a totally non-too-much-information sort of way) by B
  4. My millinery course.
  5. Losing those extra pounds.  I'm working on this one!
  6. Coming home after a day at work and finding that B has tidied up/washed up/done the ironing/put a load of laundry on.
  7. Sunshine.  Wasn't it a beautiful day today?  Didn't it just lift your soul?
  8. New shoes.
  9. Georgette Heyer.
  10. Watching A & S, naked, crawling to the bath.  Makes me smile just thinking about those bottoms.

I need to tag some people, but I'm so behind the times on this one that I imagine everyone's already done it. If you haven't, and want to be tagged, let me know!

And the really lovely thing about this meme? It made me realise that there are so much more than ten things that make me happy.  I'm so lucky, I really am.


And finally.

I had my first, well, I'm so new to this one that I don't know what the proper name for it is... but anyway, for the first time someone got in touch and asked me if I wanted to review some stuff for my blog.

And I'm not sure how I feel about this.  Clearly free moisturiser would be nice, if not essential, but I'm really not sure I want to go down the reviewing products route.  Lots of the blogs I love do it, and lots of those I love don't.  I can't presume that those who don't aren't offered the products, so I must assume that they choose not to take up the offers.  If that's right, I'm wondering why not.

So what do we think? Is there an etiquette on this sort of thing?  Should I do it? Would you think more or less of me if I did/didn't?  Do let me know. I'm genuinely interested.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Think pink (blue too?)

I've posted a couple of times recently about wanting another baby.  There are all sorts of reasons I want another baby, but the eagle-eyed reader will have spotted that none of them is because I want one of those exotic, foreign creatures.... a boy.

And that's because I don't.  I mean it's not as though I'd mind a boy, I've got three girls after all and a change is as good as a rest (apparently, at the moment I can't think of much that'd be as good as a rest, but that may be one for another day), but I'm not craving a boy.  The possibility that this hypothetical child might be a boy has absolutely nothing to do with why I want it.  In fact, if I'm honest, I'd sort of rather another girl. I know girls. I've got piles of pink baby clothes.  And can you imagine being the younger brother of three girls?  It's hardly fair to do that to a child is it?!

I've never really cared about the gender of any of my children.  We didn't know what L was, and I sort of thought she was a boy, but when she arrived she was L, and I loved her.  And we knew what A&S were from very early on (we had about a million scans) so I never really thought of them as anything other than girls, and that was good news because apparently identical boys are harder work (not in the teenage years, but we'll cross that bridge in due course).

But apparently there are women who don't feel like that: there is an article in today's Times (it's a work day, I get to read the paper at lunchtime!), and a programme on Channel 4 tonight, about women who want a girl - and apparently it's more often a girl - so badly that they have a psychological condition: gender disappointment. 

And this got me thinking (and not just about the propensity of the modern medical profession to put a label on everything).  Why girls?  Why don't people (apparently) crave boys?  It can't, surely, be because they think girls are all about the pink and the dressing up, can it? What then happens if they get a tomboy?  And really, if you think like that, surely you shouldn't have a baby, you should have a doll.   And isn't it interesting, in a world in which there are countries in which "a girl baby isn't a child" that in this country that may be changing, and girls are becoming the more "desirable" sex?

And I also wondered if maybe more people do care about the gender of their child than actually let on.  I certainly felt while pregnant that it was important not to express a preference:  possibly because I didn't have one, and possibly because I didn't want to be disappointed if I didn't get what I wanted.  I certainly did feel an (entirely self-imposed) pressure to produce a grandson for my mother-in-law (now grandmother to six girls).  Yet I knew she didn't care. So why did I feel I it mattered?

And I wonder.  Should we care? Did (do) you care? And does it really matter anyway?  Aren't they all just their own people, and don't we love them for that?

Picture courtesy of Thank you

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Millinery - week 3

The brim!

And the crown too, clearly, just because I needed somewhere to put it.  The deliberate mistake, for those of you of a millinery-bent, is that the pins in the bottom of the brim should be round the bottom of the block, not half way up, but it doesn't matter because the brim's actually going to be much narrower than where I've put the pins anyway.   And I'll know for next time.

It was much harder work this week though - have mashed my fingers with the pins - but apparently real milliners don't use hammers.  So now you know.

And the tricky bit to come: have to use my imagination and decide what I want to trim it with. Answers on a postcard.