Shiny, pretty things…

I have a number of addictions and top of the list would be internet shopping as I get to combine the love of my laptop (yes, I do love my laptop which I know is a bit sad but I have to admit it) and shopping, two of my favourite things.  Since PayPal came along it is a little too easy to just press a button and a few days later lovely things arrive in the post.  The same can be said of ebay…we have bought some wonderful items over the years but I have learnt not to shop late at night after a couple of glasses of wine!

Another addiction is checking the post.  Even if I am not expecting anything I have a little flutter of excitement when the red van pulls into our lane.  I like to savour opening a parcel to the point where I leave it on the side for a while and maybe finish my jobs or make myself a coffee so I can really enjoy the experience.

I don’t get out much!!

Well, this week was a little over the top with deliveries and below is the weeks haul.  I would like to take this opportunity to say that a number of the items below are presents for other people and it is not the norm to spend so much money in one week.

Saltwater clothingSnowflake earringsMoomin MugFabric RehabFabric ClosetCloudberry Living

From the top we have:

Saltwater clothing – I am very, very pleased that you can now buy saltwater clothing online.  These were in the sale, I love a bargain.

Snowflake earrings by Yoola – Found this fabulous store on Etsy and enjoyed reading the blog advice on stretching your boundries re sales.

Moomin Mug – A replacement mug for my son as the original was broken.  Bought from Cloudberry Living, one of my favourite sites for Scandinavian goods.

Fabric Rehab – Russian Doll And Toadstools Fabric from the best UK shop for cool fabrics.

Fabric Closet – Yet more fabric, in this case from Fabric Closet on Etsy.

ISAK Landsby Bread Board and Ittala Alto dish – Again from Cloudberry Living.  I love the new ISAK range and each item comes in it’s own bag as an added bonus.

Tweet, tweet…

I have spent this week making Easter/Spring products, as always I am a bit behind and should have been making these over winter.  Never mind.

Some of the new products are little spring birds based on robin decorations that I made last Christmas (except they had feather tails and knot leather legs – I will be adding them to the Christmas section this year) and I can’t decide whether they should be lavender bags or just decorations?  I have made the first few as lavender bags but the rest are waiting to be stuffed.  I worry that people think that as lavender bags they are something that should be thrown away as the lavender fades.  I stuff all my lavender bags with 3 very heaped dessert spoons of lavender and in some cases polyester stuffing where a bit of extra shape is needed so they are pretty potent but the reality is the smell will fade in time.

What do you think?  Your opinions will be welcome as I really can’t decide on this one.

Please excuse the dark photo but it’s a dreary morning so far.

Tweet, tweet bird in orange

Beautiful fabric…at a price.

OK, yes, I am sorry, another little moan.  I am writing this post as it might be of use to someone else (and save them a bit of money).

I have been thinking about ordering fabric from the US (through etsy) for a while as it’s so much cheaper, even with postage costs.  I found some nice sale fabric at a site recommended by a number of blogs and sat back to wait for delivery feeling pleased with my saving.

I have just been to our local post depot to claim my parcel and have been charged £10.83, yes £10.83!!!! Now as the fabric was $26.00 (without postage) it fell over the dreaded £18 that customs allow for imported goods (I just did an online exchange and it came to £18.09 so a measly nine pence over) so I got a £2.83 customs vat charge – fair enough, but then Royal Blooming Mail charge £8 for allowing me to come over to their depot and pay them to give me my package.  Apparently (I asked the customs man as there wasn’t a hope of RM answering their phone) and he said this is standard and if my vat had been £100 I would still be charged £8 by RM who say they are acting as my agent, hence the charge.

Just to make is slightly more annoying I drove all the way over there (into industrial no-mans land) and they can’t process a card payment so I had to drive around to find a cash machine.  Wasn’t the poor girl on duty’s fault so I stayed nice and polite but I thought I would wrote a post for anyone else importing from the US.

Nice fabric though…

Royal Blooming Mail

Nora rocks!

I have been very excited about writing this post.  After creating the new baby bunny dresses I had thought about making some felt flowers to add that finishing touch (it’s all in the detail!).  I really need the whole bunny and dress to be washable so I had a better idea to use cotton crochet flowers instead.  As I can neither knit nor crochet I had a little hunt on the internet and found the lovely Nora .  I emailed her about commissioning some work and was very, very impressed by her quick response and friendliness.  

We have had been chatting via email and I have discovered that Nora is a pensioner living in the Borders who has been doing crochet for 52 years, she loves what she does and takes a lot of pride in her work.  I found Nora via an old chat room forum and ebay where Nora has been selling her lovely flowers for next to nothing.  As she is a pensioner every penny counts so she would much prefer to take on commissions and is open to any ideas to help her sell her work for a fair price. Nora is contactable via Folksy (CROCHET WITH LOVE 4 YOU) through her profile or I am happy to pass details along to her if you leave a comment.  She has also just started a website at Crochet and Beyond.

Well the flowers arrived this lunchtime and I am so pleased with them.  As you can see they are the perfect finish for the bunny dresses.  As always my head is now buzzing with new ideas involving crochet flowers… 

 

Nora's crochet flowers

Nora's crochet flowers

 

 

Baby bunny with flowers

Baby bunny with flowers

A girl can NEVER have too many bags…

In the spirit of learning new skills I decided to make the Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag.

I bought the pattern and materials from u-handbag.com a fantastic site with an equally fantastic blog by Lisa Lam (very inspiring with lots of great tutorials).  I had some sale Ian Mankin Linen stashed away and I bought some Amy Butler fabric for the lining.  It has taken me about two days to make with a pretty large gap between whilst I hunted everywhere for a closed 30 inch zip (heavy weight).  In the end I gave up and had to buy and open-ended one but it has still worked. 

It was fun but putting the lining in was a bit of a pain so I am going to reward myself with a coffee and cake – yum!

As I write this F is watching The Goodies ‘Kung Fu Kapers’ where Bill Oddie reveals he is a master of the ancient Lancashire martial art of Ecky-Thump.  I am going to have to try and sneak this away.  It is his favourite and he was a very good boy all morning so I said he could watch it but as he has jumping around the living room wielding an invisible black pudding whilst doing kung-fu moves.  It really isn’t a good viewing choice for a small boy, but goodness it’s funny!

Amy Butler Weekender Bag

I love, love, love Marimekko…

OK, I know in my first blog I complained about not liking decorating and making Roman Blinds, I thought I would put this into context.  

I am on my third house renovation and over the years priorities have changed. Although I do love to change a space into something new and exciting I find now that I have two small children decorating is quite difficult to do. It doesn’t help that our current home was/is a pretty extensive renovation.  Think ‘Grand Designs’ on a slightly smaller scale with that lovely moment when the clients stand in the empty shell of their house with only the outside walls intact – that was us after every internal wall and joist was removed (also think going over budget, falling out with the builders, having a baby in the middle of the build etc, etc).  Having said that I am used to living with dust and builders and I love a finished room, I love the details that bring everything together.  

Over the years M and I have found a style that suits us both.  It always includes wooden floors, light walls and a mixture of old and new furniture (probably a little more old than M would like as I have some large pieces made by my family that I refuse to part with).  We have quite a lot of Scandinavian design in our house (mostly Arne Jacobson) and this extends to the blinds, all of which are in Marimekko fabrics.  I love Marimekko.  I love bright colours and patterns next to pale greys and green-white walls.  I am currently making blinds for my sister in one of my favorite designs, Lumimarja by Erja Hirvi.

I think this is why I love making the linen cats so much, pale linen next to bright cotton prints…hummmm…lovely. 

dsc_0307dsc_0312dsc_0324dsc_0316

It’s a grey day…

OK, so I have to have a little moan.  I had a new delivery of Linen for my cats/bunnies which I buy from Tinsmith and it’s not cheap but it has a lovely quality that I can’t find anywhere else.  It’s a fine handwoven linen that has a slight texture and variation in colour. I have thought of buying in raw linen and dyeing it myself but the linen from Tinsmith is woven with two colours, white on the warp and then green on the weft which works well.  Anyhow, I rushed it into the wash (the linen is washable as is the polyester filling so that the toys can be put in the washing machine but I like to pre-wash it first).  

Yesterday, as I was marking out patterns I noticed that the colour was a bit off, in fact a lot off, it had a dirty look and on closer inspection the warp thread was grey instead of white.  I called Tinsmith who said, yes they know and have asked their supplier to make sure the next batch is back the original sample.  They did offer to swap the fabric but as I had already washed it, it was too late.

Having said that, now that I have made up a couple of new cats, it’s not too bad and I do like to have a variation in the colours of the bodies…I just would have preferred to be told that the colour was not correct before the order was sent out.  

All I have to do now is choose a dress.

 

Grey Cats

Grey Cats