Pay it Forward

sue chef

sue chef

Pay it Forward is a lovely but random act if quite unexpected kindness.

I love the idea of  random acts of kindness, it is a faith restorer and although the recipient benefits, there is a huge to the giver by the simple act of giving.

the finished apron

the finished apron

It can be an anonymous act – something like paying for a coffee for the next customer.

It can be a truly kind act – such as giving a homeless person a scarf when it is freezing cold and their need is greater than yours.

It can be a thoughtful act that will just make someone’s day that bit easier – like putting more money in their parking meter so they don’t get a ticket.

It can be an unexpected gift – of something someone you love needs or desires.

tool loops

tool loops

The truth is that it can be anything you want it to be

None of them is a costly act and will leave you feeling good knowing someone else feels better today.

Who knows it might just make enough of a difference to change someone’s life.

tool loops

tool loops

There is a small ‘pay it forward’ movement on Facebook where you make your statement about wanting to do something nice and offer a surprise act of kindness to the first 5 who say they are in.

The deal, of course, is that they do the same with 5 people who respond to their offer and so on.

The last of my five arrived in New Zealand recently.

'To Kill a Mockingbird"

‘To Kill a Mockingbird”

Sue has been showing off some of her culinary skills on FB recently so  an apron seemed a good idea.

The ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ I sent her was my copy from school but much more random than the apron although I know that she hasn’t read it.


my making corner

my making corner

I have been slowly but surely adding bits to my workroom (and to my piles of lovely fabrics too but I’m keeping quiet about that for now!!).

My husband would call it cluttering……

pin board and shelves

pin board and shelves

They have to be neat (ish!!) though, I can’t work in chaos. That in itself is a huge challenge in a limited space and I still have to do a fair amount of tidying up after my makes to avoid small messy piles accumulating in a small space.

paint brushes, needles, buttons, lace bobbins.....

paint brushes, needles, buttons, lace bobbins…..

I’m very short on storage space but I seem to have found a home for nearly everything.  If I can get some of my makes finished and get onto the new ones I want to try out (like making some new clothes for myself!!!), the fabric stash will slowly reduce and the piles of applique scraps will start to diminish.

my vintage needle cases and thimbles

my vintage needle cases and thimbles

I’ve made some bunting for my room too as it seems only right to have some myself.  I have put some of my favourite or most recently acquired books out and my Bonne Maman jam jars are ready and waiting for me to find the time to fill them with a load of buttons I bought at a thrift shop recently.

burger bear is lurking in there

burger bear is lurking in there

I have no doubt it will change around again if I find certain things are not quite where I need or want them but just now, it works pretty well for me and I am constantly grateful to finally have this.

tidy and ready for some making

tidy and ready for some making

It is a real space of escape for me at weekends when all the evidence of normal work has gone.


It is peaceful and quiet and I can lose myself in what I love doing. It is a few rare moments when the stresses of my normal working day can’t creep in because my head is full of lovely making thoughts.

burger bear guarding my fabric pile that will become little pinafores

burger bear guarding my fabric pile that will become little pinafores

A real sanctuary for which I am enormously grateful and I can’t believe it took me so long to get!!

We still haven’t worked out how to get over losing our spare bedroom but I’m sure if anyone wants to come and stay badly enough, they’ll put up with a mattress on the floor!

farbrics ready, scissors ready...

farbrics ready, scissors ready…

at last………..

lots of lovely threads

lots of lovely threads

I am sitting typing this post in my new workroom and I am sooooooo excited about it.

It is the perfect easter present to myself and tinyinc.

organised and accessible

organised and accessible

I have ALWAYS had to set up my sewing on the dining table but now I finally have a dedicated space that doesn’t need tidying away of moving around and I am absolutely over the moon with it.

The dining table is now free and our living areas are living areas again.

Our spare bedroom, however, is now set up for me to sew and work in AND JC has a space to work in too that is all his own, opposite mine and all thanks to his DIY efforts this easter weekend.

gheko sand pin cushion

long lost gheko pin cushion filled with sand for sharpening pins

It is a tranquil little room with a lovely silence and peace about it. The patio doors are south facing so it is flooded with sunlight when the weather is right and it also gives you access out into our garden.

I can’t wait for the first time I can work in here with the doors thrown open listening to the sound of birdsong.

We have achieved the best of both worlds with the changes to this room: we have a dedicated workroom space that keeps our flat clear of the mess of laptops and sewing but we have the facility to wheel in the sofa bed and turn it back into a bedroom when necessary.

my sewing desk

my sewing space

We did it on quite a tight a budget although we have overspent slightly (thank goodness for the nightmare that is Ikea, however and £60 desks!!).  That said, the results are perfect for us and I am ecstatic. Wish we’d had the funds to do it a long, long time ago!!!

I now have all my sewing and making ‘things’ in one place. No more trailing from one end of the flat to the other for a piece of fabric or a certain colour of thread.  Everything has a place and everything is in it’s place.

I have unearthed some things that I forgot I had because I’ve never had the chance to use them so it was a bit like an easter egg hunt opening the boxes and organising where everything went.

my work space

my work space

My threads are all in the top drawer of the desk now and laid out so they are easy to see instead of being in a handful of different boxes, my fabrics are all neatly stashed in one cup’d (except for a few storage boxes under my desk that I need to sort through!) and I have shelves on which to display my little collection of vintage sewing stuff.

There are still a few finishing touches to make but I couldn’t be happier.

my wonderful work room

my wonderful work room

winter fair

stall at the winter fayre

I did two markets this weekend and I’m home now and starting to feel the tiredness creeping in but they have been fun, especially today.

robin & rose candles

Yesterday I had a stall at the north london rudolph steiner school’s winter fayre in Hornsey. The school hall was decorated with garlands and wreaths and Christmas candles which made it look very festive. I sat working at my stall while the mum’s, dad’s and school kids had their lunches, listened to singing, a violin piece, the raffle results and story telling.

tiny 4-ply granny squares on the life saving hottie

It was very busy considering just how incredibly grim and wet the weather was outside. It was absolutely freezing in the hall and were it not for my wonderful friend V coming to my rescue with a hot water bottle full of lovely hot water and wrapped in one of my very own Hot Water Bottle Covers that she owns, I would have suffered.  It really saved the day and meant that my fingers could move again and I was able to get on with a bit of crochetting while I was watching the performances.

I did get the chance to buy a present from Joanna who was doing pottery and came across Maggie of  Robin & Rose who sell the most delicious candles

aya's bunting gift

I had been commissioned to make some bunting for a lady that came to the Harringay Market on the 11th November and so was able to hand it over at the winter fayre and she was very happy with it, I’m pleased to say.

Today, I was back at the Harringay Market in the sunshine and wind (we did have to chase a few things across the playground!!).  A lovely day of catching up with V between chats to customers and other stall holders.

gazebo at Harringay Market

V brought her knitting project and I even got a bit more crocheting done for the tiny granny squares but not much. Today was a busy and social day and great fun because of it.

a blustery view of our stall today

We really enjoyed ourselves today and although there were less visitors to the market today than a few weeks ago, the atmosphere was lovely.

mini granny squares

V mentioned that there is a real sense of community at the market and it is so true.  If you take the time to get chatting to the other stall holders, they are, without exception, lovely and there are some fascinating characters with great back stories.

the cheese stall. yum

My aim is not only to sell all my makes here but to also eat from every single supplier at the market; be it a sandwich, a cake or a coffee and I’ve made a pretty heartfelt attempt at it so far.

I’ve enjoyed Burger Bear’s juicy burgers

the very lovely Silvia and Ritchie

Silmar’s Taste’s incredible Natas

the bell and brisket – salt beef on a rye bagel.. Wow

the bell and brisket‘s amazing salt beef sandwich on a rye bagel

bread etcetera

Batch Bakery‘s Salt Caramel Chocolate Brownie, Marsh Produce‘s chicken and leek pie, or Il Baretto Coffee House’s creamy latte. It’s a big job and it can’t be done in one visit (I hasten to add that this list was consumed over a number of visits and take away!!!) so I will clearly have to keep going back with my stall.

cookie decorating

moroccan crafts

life and cacao – I will be enjoying their 70% with orange when I have my next coffee

storybook pictures

So my next batch of lovely eating will be the 9th December.  Come and see for yourself but please stop by tinyinc’s stall and say hello!

harringay market

a tinyinc teacosy

Myself and V (by appointment) took the plunge and had a stall at Harringay Market on Falkland’s Road this weekend.

I have just returned from it and what a lovely day it has been.

all set up and ready for action

The weather was in our favour and our pitch at the market was bathed in lovely autumn sunshine for much of the afternoon.

bunting galore

There was a healthy mix of sales, commission and lots of interest in all of our things.

heart cushion and snuggle blanket

Some customers are coming back to us in 2 weeks when we do it again in the lead up to Christmas, others are going to be in touch and some need me to make a few more things in readiness for our next pitch.

cable cushions and aprons

The atmosphere was lovely and relaxed, there was lots of chatting and a real sense of community as you discover that lots of the visitors really do only live around the corner.

hot water bottle covers

Jessica, who is the inspired organiser of the market is ever present and clearly loves what she does.  Her husband and 16 year old JRT are regular features and the JRT, Joris, keeps everyone in order!

baby bunting

It was cold and I am now quite worn out and happy to be in the warm but it has been great fun and I’m already looking forward to next time!

applique cushions

Come along on the 25th November 2012, it’s a lovely way to spend an hour on a Sunday afternoon; you can get some christmas shopping done, have your lunch and get your groceries for the coming week!  All in one spot!

a gorgeous piece from by appointment

try ‘the lord rupert’ on rye!! DEE licious!!

super salami, my husband’s absolute favourite

the nicest natas

a new cousin in canada

steph and sweet alessia

I have family in Canada.

They are cousins, whether that is 2nd, 3rd or 4th,  25 times removed or not, I’m entirely unsure.

steph and pat

I do know, however, that I like them all enormously and don’t mind what distance the actual relationship is. What is a real shame though is that the real geographic distance they are away from us means we see little of them. I miss them!


Thanks to the delights of email and particularly Facebook, though we are able to keep in touch.


I’d go so far as to say that I know far more about what they are doing in life than I might if they lived round the corner  I love face book for bringing old, new and distant friends and family into my living room and onto my phone. I actually know more about some friends now that they have emigrated or live in the sticks now because of FB than when they DID live round the corner.  Nuts isn’t it?

the ciccone family

Anyway, FB is not the reason for the blog entry although FB is the reason I knew immediately that my lovely cousin Steph had a little girl in mid October. Steph and Pat got married about 2 years ago and are now 3 thanks to a very sweet looking little lady called Alessia who has joined them to make up their little family in Toronto.

Steph told us about the baby when she and Pat got the great news and I have been making odd bits with the possibility of this baby arriving as a girl (and because I seem to have a lot of pink fabrics) very much in mind.  I was lucky!!

sweet little alessia

So, I have made Alessia some bunting for her nursery and the snuggle/cot blanket I made in August goes with it perfectly. Both are now on their way to canada!! Alessia may need the blanket as the weather closes in and Canada gets some fearsome winters.

lovely shot

I have raided some of Steph’s fabulous photos from FB and I hope she doesn’t mind the entry.  Flicking through them has made me quite emotional, I don’t mind admitting!!

alessia bunting

Congratulations Steph and Pat, she is a little cutie and you both look so happy. I couldn’t be happier on your behalf.

tinyinc on the internet

tinyinc logo by Capriccio Design

I am finding that ‘maintaining’ tinyinc is as time consuming as ‘making’ for tinyinc.  Obviously the making is a joy. The maintaining in interesting but very challenging.

My sister is a freelance web site and graphic designer and runs  Capriccio Design and she designed a logo and business cards for me some time ago and even though the basics have remained unchanged it has come a long way from the original brand ideas.

tinyinc applique aprons

The design is now on my business cards, it is the gravatar on all my profiles and has even translated into the aprons that I wear at fairs etc.

I have loved this little logo and I adore the 100% handmade part. I have gone off it and I have even toyed with other designs that I have tried out in their very basic form on packaging and Liz has been exploring other logos for me but I do like the freshness of this logo.

I considered launching my own web site based shop rather than through selling sites and Liz has looked into all of this for me but it hasn’t progressed very far so I finally decided to forget all that the web site page simply needed to be updated.  Once I had decided that I was going to continue to use the original Capriccio logo,  it just needed to be on the web site.

It is now up there on my web page which appears first in any searches for ‘tinyinc’. I’m delighted with how the original logo has translated beautifully onto a web page. It is clean and crisp and Liz has brought it right up to date whilst managing to keep it simple, uncomplicated and straight forward to use. You can read a little about tinyinc on there and you can navigate to my blog, shops, contact details social media or pages.

I figure that the more places you can be seen and contacted from, the more likely people are to become aware of you.

With that sole purpose in mind, and in addition to my lovely new web site, I have:-

tinyinc on flickr

tinyinc group on facebook

tinyinc has a profile on facebook

tinyinc tweets

tinyinc is on the gallery

tinyinc has a studio on burda

tinyinc joined ukhandmade

It’s endless and some of the other pages that I have as a member or so are blank to date.  No time to fill them in!!!! I’m sure there are ways of rationalising which ones you promote but as a part time blogger and part time internet seller, it’s hard to get it right………

an autumn baby

My nephew Gareth and his girlfriend Natalie have just had a little girl.  She is called Ella and was weighed in at alb 15oz yesterday at 5.45pm

Since they found out the baby was to be a girl from the 20 week scan, I’ve been busy buying bits and bobs to help them out but also thinking of what I should make.

They had already chosen her name so it was easy to start with some bunting that spelled Ella for her nursery.

She isn’t the first Great, Great Grandchild to be named after my gran who was an Ella. My cousin’s son also has  a little girl called Ella.

Gareth was very close to both my gran and my grandad, Taffy and has recently started to show an interest in the family tree research I did some years ago. I’m sure it has something to do with becoming a dad.

I’m very excited for them and can’t wait to meet the little treasure.

tinyinc’s handmade jungle blanket

I have been quietly working away at finishing a blanket I started for bertie but since the decorations in bertie’s room are now different, the jungle theme just won’t work.  As a theme, however, I can’t think of anything more cute than monkeys getting up to mischief, elephants having a shower or hippos wallowing so I have persevered and will get it finished eventually. Continue reading