Bright Silk Christmas Mice

Quite some time ago, I made little mice for Christmas, based on a vintage pattern that I had made when I was a kid.DSC_0139They were very typical of my taste at the time and of how my Christmas tree looked.DSC_0172But as happens, my taste has changed slightly and we’ve gone a bit more gaudy these days with ‘trash tree’ and it’s odd assortment of broken plastic deer, santas and 1980’s foil decorations.IMG_20181202_170900It seemed like a great opportunity to make new mice, something I’d always planned to do, but more fitting to our ‘new’ (to us!) decorations (well I say that, quite a few came from a trash bag Mum once started in the attic and I rescued them, like the sad little hoarder I am 🙂 ).

I had an image in my mind of white linen mice (the original ones were tweed) in bright silk skirts, no boys this time and I was quite fixed on blue and orange colours with something else for the third (hot pink?), channeling a tin of Quality Street for colour inspiration or maybe my newer love, Lindt truffles.DSC_0103Then I remembered my promise not to buy new fabric when I have plenty to use up. Boring. Oh well, orange and purple is not so bad and still fitted the brief. The  orange silk is lush, it  has a gold and hot pink crossweave, I will be very sad when it is all used as you can no longer buy it.

The first two girls were looking good, I was very pleased. I swapped out the bright white linen (as it looked wrong) for some oatmeal linen and added gold ric-rac for extra bling.

Screenshot 2019-11-12 at 10.13.29

Then I realised what the little mice really reminded me off – Cinderella mice!DSC_0106And I decided a little boy was needed after all, leading to a total inability to chose what colour he would be which went on for some days (as I carried on stitching the girls).IMG_20191122_145353Until I had a little girl mouse army going on.DSC_0107Then I bit the bullet and went for pink for the boys (I tried green and blue but that didn’t look right).IMG_20191129_121756After which followed more looooonnnng days of hand sewing. These mice take a really, really long time to make. Much longer than it appears.IMG_20191129_122027But I managed to binge watch all of Stranger Things (or re-watch, actually, as I’ve seen it all once) ready for a fantastic day out at Secret Cinema whilst drinking lots of peppermint tea from my new festive mug. Wild days. I know how to live.IMG_20191129_141710The final little touches!DSC_0140 2And a day of trying to photograph, edit and list them and they are finally done – hurrah!LindtMiceBoyI bought a box of Quality Street especially for photographing them with but they looked better with Lindt  chocolates…I think it’s the round shape, it  just seemed to work better…I may have eaten a few.LindtMice6 3You can find them here.IMG_20191204_132025For packaging the mice I had bought some cupcake boxes about 5 years ago (when I made the first batch of these!) and I decided to go ahead and use them, depsite the plastic I would never buy these days. I feel terribly guilty, the same way I do when using bags for flower brooches or sending things in jiffy packaging, but these things were bought in bulk in the early days of The Linen Cat (I have been selling and making since 2009 now) and I will use up the plastic I already have but won’t buy more. The alternative is to throw it away and that seems more wasteful.IMG_20191204_133913

Right, back to sewing something less jolly, probably back to the black spider purses as I’d like to get them finished too 🙂 I’m on a roll – ha ha!

Random thing  but my laptop is stuck on often doing two spaces….I think I might have got some food crumbs under the keyboard, that’ll teach me to show more respect. It’s driving me nuts, though!

Vampire Purses (again!)

This will be the third outing for the Vampire Purses and they have evolved a bit.DSC_0093The originals were made as a big Halloween themed bunch of designs back in 2014 (see here for the post about them – wow, even I can’t believe that was back in 2014!).DSC_0062The applique pieces came already beaded and were  slightly 3D in style; the whole purse was based on Victorian mourning dress, specifically inspired by an antique dress I own.DSC_0170By the time I made the second batch in 2015 I couldn’t get the same applique, so I bought a new design and beaded them myself (this made sense as I had to double stitch the beading on all of the first ones anyway, I was paranoid they might come off otherwise).DSC_0175I was always a bit sad that they had an orange red lining as in my mind they needed blood red, hence the ‘Vampire’ purse name, but I had quite a bit of the silk to use up. I still love them though and I kept one for myself, it is by far the most used item from the shop.IMG_20191015_132514This time, I got to indulge in my need for that blood red lining.IMG_20191016_142943Yum. I love it!…..I may need to keep another for myself.IMG_20191026_132848Gluing in the frames nearly killed me – I’d forgotten how much I hate that job.DSC_0072But they are done and are listed here.DSC_0091Gosh, they went quickly! Some have already sold as I was writing this post.IMG_20191008_113812Another re-make but one that’s always popular are the red rose brooches,IMG_20191008_125102they are back too.DSC_0204The witch mice from the original Halloween makes never sold well 😦 and the last couple have gone into the sale section. Makes me a bit sad as so much work went into them but I also understand why they missed the mark. I love them, but then I have slightly quirky taste.DSC_0231There’s a single vampire boy left too.IMG_20191027_111722Whilst I’m in the mood, I’ve started on new spider purses for next year. I’m just re-drafting the pattern and annoyingly I will need to polish up the acrylic bodies of the spiders as they’ve turned up a bit scratched, which just won’t do.

Right, off to cook Sunday lunch, happy weekend everyone!

House Renovation: The Bedroom – part 2

There is another alcove in my bedroom that I didn’t show in the last post, it’s quite a difficult space as it doesn’t get a lot of natural light and it’s an awkward shape due to it being where the chimney breast runs up the house. dsc_0098_1502728683After a lot of thought, I fell in love with the idea of a glass display cabinet, ideally full of rows of my shoes. Yes, shoes again. I have a lot of them. To be fair I’ve been collecting them for years and years it’s very rare these days that I spend any money on myself, but the joy of my liking retro style heals is they never go out of fashion (as they are rarely in fashion!).dsc_0096_1502728672-1I spent a lot of time hunting on eBay for the perfect piece at the right price. The big problem is obviously no-one is willing to deliver glass so I got very excited when I found a cabinet on a charity auction site with postage costs and at a very reasonable price. It was in a bit of a state so was going to be a gamble, but the low price meant it wouldn’t be disastrous if it didn’t work out.s-l1600 copyIt was delivered by Parcelforce (I’m not kidding!) wrapped in a lot of bubble wrap and cardboard but survived intact. The wrapping was genius, if I remember correctly.

DSC_0172The first job was to try and revive the very scratched woodwork. For this, I went old school, and rubbed it down with an oil and vinegar mix and wow! DSC_0031What a difference it made. It was an almost miraculous recovery. It was so long ago that I’m not fully sure, but I think I then gave it two coats of Danish Oil before hunting down some old lock escutcheons on eBay. They were very cheap and once they arrived, I  liked the bakelite one best.DSC_0033As the door stayed shut nicely, I  just added a modern brass rabbit knob instead of trying to find a replacement key for the lock….just look at how pretty the wood looks in comparison to the top eBay sale photos.DSC_0042There is a matching rabbit used as a knob on the eaves cover just to the left. I used up all my leftover brass furniture handles and knobs on the eaves doors, so it’s quite nice as they are mostly mismatched, which I like; it was coincidence these two ended up near each other.DSC_0025I love this piece of furniture. It cost very little and works really well to fill the dark space as it allows light to pass through, is quite shallow in depth and, most importantly, I get to put pretty things on display!DSC_0038DSC_0032The light on top came from Graham and Green and the gorgeous candle which smells amazing as well as being beautiful was a Christmas present (it’s by Fornasetti).IMG_20190222_111532These were the original pictures in the space, but I’d promised myself that one treat when the room was complete would be buying new images as pay off for all the hard work (these ones have gone somewhere else – the wedding photo was my 18th birthday gift from my Mum, she found it in an antique shop and knew I’d like it, the tapestry was stitched by my Gran and used to be in my bedroom when I was a kid).DSC_0036 2The two framed photos are from King and McGaw and I absolutely LOVE them. They are both vintage Vogue photos.Screenshot 2019-06-28 at 14.06.40Vogue Early September 1960 by Don HoneymanScreenshot 2019-06-28 at 14.05.04and Felt and velvet mandarin hat by John French. They would really be nicer as larger images but I had to stay smaller to fit in the space.DSC_0056The final thing to go on the wall is a little frame with some of my vintage brooches on.DSC_0065It’s just a cheap photo frame from Sainsbury’s taken apart and a chunk of cork board covered with white linen put back in where the glass should be. It allows me to display my brooches but also take them down easily to wear and the sparkle from the stones is really nice in the darkened corner.

House Renovations: The Bedroom part 1

This is going to be a very photo heavy post and slightly for my own records really, so, sorry.

When we moved here the house was pretty much an empty shell, one of the bigger jobs was to convert the loft space and create a master bedroom, with en-suite bathroom.DSC_0285_2It was very exciting at the time (nearly 14  years ago, I guess).DSC_0223.JPGAll the plaster in the house was sprayed white at the very beginning and that’s pretty much where it ended in the bedroom. Even the blind was one I’d removed from the old house and adjusted to fit. The room didn’t even get skirting boards.DSC_0023Come 4 years ago and it was very much on my hit list to be done. I’ve become quite handy with basic woodwork so I put on all the skirting, sanded and oiled the remaining flooring (most had been done but there were a few patches still to do) and then moved onto the painting.DSC_0027One of the joys of being single is I get to do whatever I like to the house. I love that. After 10 years of all white, I was getting a bit bored and was in the mood for some colour. I took a lead from this fabulous vintage barkcloth fabric which I had in my stash (and hoped to use for the blind) and a notion that I really wanted to introduce some green to the room.DSC_0025 2After lots of tester tins, I went with Farrow & Ball Green Blue. It was only ever for the end wall and the alcoves, the other walls I intended to keep neutral.IMG_20170226_085538(1)The floating bookshelves are Umbra Concealed Floating Bookshelves (you can buy them on Amazon) and the watercolour is a vintage one by Yorkshire artist Angus Rands. I liked the colours in the painting (it’s one I inherited from Mum) and it’s propped there so I can use the colours as inspiration. I often do that, base a rooms colours on some fabric, or a painting.il_570xN.1084519279_sj9cThe problem was, I  struggled with the new paint colour. It felt slightly cold (this was back in March 2017, I think, – oh yes, that’s how long it can take me to finish and blog a project!) and when I’d been searching for fabric for blinds, I’d fallen in love with this amazing original barkcloth on Etsy. It nearly killed me to buy a second tin of paint and re-paint the wall, partly due to the cost of Farrow & Ball paint, but I  changed it to Breakfast Room Green and ordered the new fabric and then took that as my colour lead for the rest of the room. I am dying to use Arsenic somewhere in the house, but it didn’t go with the new fabric, sadly.DSC_0029The other walls were painted in Slipper Satin, which I love and use a lot.DSC_0007I had the added complication of needing to make a blind for the internal window that overlooks the studio (this was me creating the paper pattern). There wasn’t enough of the lovely floral fabric to use it on its ownDSC_0010so I paired it with some dark green linen and some amazing  Robert Kaufman Essex Yarn dyed linen/cotton which has a gold metallic thread running through it in Dusty Rose.DSC_0022The blind is attached with gold hoops stitched on with gold thread and hooked over gold capped mirror screws. It’s hard to explain but it folds back on itself and then gets hooked up onto the wall to ‘open’ the blind. If I’m honest, I rarely open it as the room gets quite good light from the windows and velux and I’m too lazy, even though it only takes a moment.DSC_0017The gold thread in the top pink fabric makes it hard to photograph as it reflects the camera flash and yes, that is some of my extensive Chie Mihara shoe collection. I refer to it as my ‘shoe shop’ corner, complete with a seat ready for trying on – ha ha.DSC_0045I’ve owned the chest of drawers for years – it’s from Habitat, as is the light.DSC_0052The dressing table is also quite old now and originally came from Made (along with the stool). The silk bedspread is one of my favourite things and was bought for a fantastic clearance price from Soak and Sleep.DSC_0061The little vintage vanity case is another of my favourite things and I keep my makeup in it as well as the ‘B’ case which came from Anthropologie.DSC_0059I especially like having some sentimental pieces around and this one was Mum’s – she gave it to me when I was a teenager and I’ve had it ever since, I believe it’s from the 1960s.

You can’t see it (as I forgot to photograph it!) but there are a number of hatches in this room allowing access to the small eaves spaces. I took all the fussy architraving off these and painted them in Elephant’s Breath (also by F&B) which is a kind of pink/grey colour. I just wanted the room to have clean lines and blocks of colour and I think it works really well, I’m very happy with it.

There is a part  2 to this post but I’ll keep it separate as it also contains a lot of photos 🙂

House of Foxy…

DSC_0377I have certain things that I always intend to make (but never get around to) and for years I hunted for a pattern for vintage  ‘gym’ style shorts until I found the one above. The size is actually a little big (I usually buy a pattern vintage 18, which is around a modern 14 but with a smaller waist) but I was willing to adapt it, I just couldn’t decide on the fabric.thirties_shorts2And then – hurrah! – I didn’t have to because House of Foxy introduced almost the exact replica shorts based on the pattern above.DSC_0004

(sorry, bad photo alert here – H of F watermark and  copywrite all of their images so I couldn’t just post their shorts photo and I was too lazy to take my stand apart to put the shorts on properly!).

I  bought them a couple of years ago in navy and beige, along with the green tie-neck shirt and I LOVE them. They are quite solid but with enough stretch to be comfortable and (importantly for me) they fit on the rise, which is good, as I have a very long body measurement and often trousers etc can be uncomfortable. I’m not normally a fan of man-made fabrics but in this instance, it absolutely wins, they wash well and the pleat creases stay in. The shirt blouse fabric I like a lot less, I find it feels a bit scratchy, sadly.IMG_20180924_125953They aren’t cheap but personally, I spend very little money on clothes and the ones I do buy last me for many years. I prefer quality over quantity. I wanted to mention this as they have just re-stocked and introduced some new colours and I bought a new pair in red with some Birthday I was given.

The above 40’s zip jacket is my other bit of House of Foxy clothing, again something I’ve owned for a while but that I really value and I know I’ll have for many years.

Elastic Rocks!

DSC_0151I own this skirt that I have had for years and years and years. Anyone who has seen me on my daily school runs will know that I wear it so often it’s almost like a uniform. It came from Cath Kidston. I don’t really buy her things often as they can be a little bit too floral for me (in a Cath Kidston kind of way) but I loved this barkcloth fabric so much that I bought the skirt in beige, black and a dress version too! IMG_20180913_133331Something I originally hated about it was the elasticated waist, which then turned out to be the thing that I love! As long as I wear it with fitted t-shirts and little 50’s style cropped cardigans (which I own a  lot of) you can’t see the elastic but gosh, is it comfy.IMG_20180913_133258So when my poor skirts began to fade and die, I thought the answer was to make some of my own (as CK don’t make them anymore).DSC_0150The fabric is all Outback Wife by Elaine Gold, which I first saw on Jane’s Blog. Gosh, all of that collection is amazing and now, sadly almost all gone. I think I hunted down the last bits here in the UK.DSC_0161I added some rather jazzy gold elastic and pockets (which the original skirt also has).DSC_0146Mistakes? Yes. I put more fabric in than the original and that was a mistake, it’s almost a bit too full and hints at 5-year-old going to a kids party when I wear it but then I’ve never cared much about how I appear so I wear it anyway. Also, with so much fabric it bulks up a bit too much on the elastic waist and so the elastic is a bit stretched and might need to be re-done in the long run.

I’ve still got the other skirts to make so I’ll learn from these mistakes and it was nice to sew something for myself, for a change, a very rare thing these days.

Catch-up

Just had a mild panic there…thought I’d lost access to my own blog due to inactivity but was being a mumpty and using the wrong ID, phew!

It’s been an age, I know and I am also aware I start every blog post with this comment, I really am struggling to balance everything at the moment, but enough of my excuses, we’ll just crack on!

I found some random photos in my Library from past months…

DSC_0375

I’ve been tidying through the house (in between sewing, looking after the boys and re-decorating – our home is getting past it’s best and looking very shabby in places and I can’t afford for anyone else to do the work so I’m becoming a whizz with power tools!). The boys, being autistic, don’t like change and it can be very difficult to get them to throw anything out but I’ve persuaded them both to clear through their things as long as I then agree to store them and these little mice turned up. I’d forgotten I’d made a bat mouse (or ‘Supermice’) for them all those years ago….three will be a green Supermouse and a vampire mouse somewhere too. Cute.IMG_20180909_152233New buckles for a beloved coat my Sister gave me – how lucky to find EXACTLY the same ones on the internet! What did we do before online shopping?IMG_20180913_150645IMG_20180913_154312IMG_20180924_124902And another great internet find, imperial size cover buttons so I could repair my vintage jacket (it’s only been in the repair pile for about 4 years or so now!).Pretzels

Last, a little pretzel message for me from my youngest – mad my day 🙂

Lots more posts to come as I’m quite ill with a stinking cold so I’m taking the day off sewing or painting or packing up lego to catch up with blogging….I’m at the repeat hacking cough stage…glad I do my Kegels!