Loosing my head…

It would appear my sister does read my blog (see last post), or she did for the very first time the other day and so now knows her Christmas present…..Doh!  Also, as I started on the School run (I have to do this everyday for how many years? how depressing) I passed a line of 10 electricity vans parked along our road complete with men in florescent jackets standing about having a natter.  Had they just done this to annoy me, having to try and negotiate my way past them in our narrow road? or…oh wait…now I remember, the letter we received a while back warning us about a half day power cut whilst essential work is carried out,  the one Charlie used to scribble on and I thought, “must remember to pick that up and attach it to the fridge so I don’t forget about it”,  that would be today then.  Double Doh!  I frantically tried to phone ‘husband’ to ask him to put the kettle on before he left the house for work and to plug my laptop in (C is sick and I may need DVD emergency back-up entertainment) but to no avail.  It was not a good start to the day and after a night awake wondering how a small child can snore sooooo loudly.

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It got better.  The builders had a generator so I did get a morning coffee and I resigned myself to spending the majority of the day sewing the bead hanging threads on this lot

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by 2.30 the electricity was back on and after School run again (really, every day for how many years?) I zoomed them into:

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well, not all at once, it takes me a few days to actually post any blog entry I write so I spent this morning sewing before the photo.  Sorry about the bad light but I needed to clear the kitchen table for lunch.

The Christmas Bird decorations are to be sold in sets of 3, the Robins and the Golden/Purple set.  They still need eyes which were to be seed beads but I may swap to metallic fabric paint dots, after which I will get the final photographs taken.  I started them forever ago and have been taking my time but I’m glad to see they are nearly done, it lightens the load of my mild panic about Christmas stock.

I feel my blog has been mostly Shop and not enough of other people’s nice things recently, sorry about that, I do have a number of half written posts and promise to get the relevant photos taken and the posts published soon.

Getting there, slowly…

I am getting a bit frustrated by the state of the house and my motivation, generally, is rather low so I decided to focus this week on finishing sewing projects.  I made my first Amy Butler Weekender Bag last February (see this post for all the details) and both my Mother and Sister (who never read my blog so I am safe to write about this) keep asking if they can have one.  I thought they would make great Christmas presents, they are not cheap to make and if I am honest I find elements rather frustrating, such as sewing in the lining and watching my poor machine huff and puff trying to stitch through all the layers, but I think it’s worth it.  They take about 2 days each, whilst also on Mummy duty but I spread these two over a longer period so as to not get frustrated and make silly mistakes.

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I used the first bag I made so much I fancied a tweed version so the green bag at the back is another for me, the blue is for my sister.  When my machine has recovered from these two, I have another to make for my Mother, but there is plenty of time so I am taking a bag break.

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The linings are in Amy Butler’s ‘Lotus Morning Glory’ in slate and mustard, both fabrics were bought from Saints and Pinners and work really well with the colours in the tweed (bought on ebay).  The lining is supposed to be in a heavier weight fabric but the tweed, especially the blue is super thick so I used dress weight lining to give my machine a chance.  It’s times like these when I long for a nice industrial machine.  I also tweak the pattern and making instructions to suit, the cord piping is supposed to be in the lining fabric as a contrast but I prefer it also in the tweed.

My reward for finally getting the lining stitched in was to make a tweed bird to use in the wrapping of my sister’s bag.  I have a love of brown paper with pretty ribbon and ‘things’ attached.

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I am rather miffed that the bird works better in these colours than the new batches I made for the shop! Oh well.

Time to go and fetch F from school, best be off.

Lovely Linen and Large Holes…

The last week has been a bit hard work, the builders ‘knocked through’ on Tuesday and I wasn’t quite ready, we had talked about this being on the cards for Wednesday so nothing had been packed up, I had to do as hasty grab through the studio to collect work and then prepare for living on just the kitchen/living room for a few days.  To give you some idea of the hole they created here it is

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this photo is taken whilst crouching down in our old extension (minus the flat roof it did have which made it look like a public toilet block from the 70’s), the 9ft high hole is direct into our open plan living space/kitchen and hallway upstairs so it’s been 2 floors of dust to hoover and mop, hoover and mop again, oh and again – you get the picture?  We had 2 nights of slightly spooky tarpaulin only covering the opening which rather freaked the kids out and I has to sit in the hallway waiting for them to go to sleep but as you can see, it has been boarded over and yesterday I got my house back, for a while anyhow.  What a happy bunny I am.

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Despite it’s restrictions, being stuck in the kitchen has meant I managed to get a bit of work done.  I started a search for new linen a while back and have found a great medium weight oatmeal linen at one of my favourite online stores Ada and Ina Linen Fabrics, which is good as I made some bad choices recently and now have about 8 meters of unsuitable linen, it will get used eventually but I am cross at myself for buying badly.  The new oatmeal colour works really well for the cats/bunnies as it’s paleness sets of the bright fabrics I like to use for the dresses.

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This along with a couple of cats/bunnies in the old linen has allowed me to use some of the new dresses recently made

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I didn’t list the dress fabrics last time so from the top we have:

  • Alexander Henry – Apples and Pears, Brown – The Eternal Maker
  • Kokka – Little Red Riding Hood in blue – Fabric Rehab
  • Kokka – Russian Dolls Pink – I am guessing FR again.
  • Michael Miller (Patty Young) – Andalucia 60’s Sunflower, Pink – Fabric Rehab
  • Kokka – Scandi Dala Horse, Green – Fabric Rehab

If I had to pick a favourite I would say I am rather in love with the Alexander Henry, Apples and Pears, I have only ever seen the brown at The Eternal Maker and that was by accident where it was the very reasonable price of £10/meter (so many fabrics now are over £10) it certainly suits the time of year.  Can’t help but notice that Kokka features a lot in my list, I may have to buy the Dala Horse fabric in red the flower basket part of this print is fabulous, I liked the Little Red Riding Hood so much I also bought it in orange and pink.  It makes me feel better that they are Japanese and so cheaper here than the US, which can’t be said for most of the other fabrics!

Blackbird singing…

First, I have to share this little gem.  Among the ‘Top Searches’ on my dashboard that bring people to this blog are ‘I will walk 500 miles cbbc space pirates’ which I guess brings them to my post The boys are back in town... where I talk about The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (they soooo rock!) and also ‘rubber knickers’!!!?!!,  sorry for the over use of punctuation but I have no idea where I have ever mentioned knickers in post, let alone rubber ones.  Bet they were a bit disappointed to find themselves at a crafty blog.

Thank you for all your kind words with regards to F starting school and messages wishing me luck with the builders.  We are getting into the swing of the new school run (half days for now, increasing to full days soon) and there is the lovely sound of constant drilling as the builders remove the old ragstone to make way for a new door but I like them, we chose well.  As a result sewing has been very slow and it has taken longer than anticipated to get the new birds finished but at last they are done (please excuse the dodgy photos but the light hasn’t been great recently).

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I already know the Backbirds will be hard to sell.  A few years ago Habitat themed their Christmas with a cross between Hanzel and Gretel meets Russian Folk, I was in heaven, it was right up my street and some of my favourite decorations are from that year.  The Blackbird has a similar tone with it’s My Folklore in black by Lecien body (which I bought from Fabric Rehab), although I am not sure it will be for everyone.  I searched quite hard for heather purple and dark green print fabrics for the new birds, but couldn’t find anything right so feel a little that I ‘settled’ for the colours used although I am very happy with the new ribbon tails (the Spring Birds had felt and ric-rac).

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I have to now hope for good light over the next few days so as to photo of all of the new stock and update the shop which is well over due, fingers crossed!

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Phew, stress over…

Well, the first day of school went well.  I was, as I wrote in my last post, a bit anxious, mainly about the routine and commitment (no deciding on a whim to go off for the day) but after dropping F off I came back to the house and felt very calm and stress free.  OK, so Mr C was still demanding attention but it was quite blissful only having once child to look after and it has dawned on me how much work I will be able to get done, who knows, I may even clean the house!  I should point out that F had a nice day, he was pretty indifferent to be honest, I fear once he realises he has to go every day he wont be a happy bunny but time will tell.

The builders are cracking on, they have demolished the back of the house and are busy building it back up, we have new windows already and I am very impressed with their progress.  It’s almost nice that the living room is chaos as I just have to accept that’s how it is going to be for a few weeks and not get stressed about cleaning.  This allows me to sew guilt free and I have finally made a start on the new colour hanging birds/lavender bags,

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which in turn has allowed me to go on a bit of a ribbon buying spree.  I ordered quite a bit from Ribbon Oasis, they have a good selection at a fair price.  I love shopping online as I can be quite firm about not over ordering, I have a tendency in a good haberdashery store to buy lots of things I don’t need but fall in love with.

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I still need brown ribbon then a big photo session is in order of the new Autumn/Winter stock so I can update the shop and Folksy.

Whether the weather…

It can’t make it’s mind up today, we keep getting downpours and then moments of sun.  I admit to loving the rain, the garden is parched as unlike everyone else we haven’t had much rain at all recently plus it puts me into work mode.  I have been struggling with this over the past week, I feel anxious and I’m not sure why, I think it’s that F starts Primary School on Monday and although this in itself doesn’t stress me I know there will be lots of tears once he realises he has to go every day.  It’s dawning on me that this has been his last summer of freedom, after Monday he will spend the next few years in the education system, until he leaves home (I’m booting them out at 18 – ha!) and I am kind of sad about that.  The up side is Mr C starts pre-school in January I will have my first regular time off in over 4 years, I am quite excited, I have secret ideas of sleeping and reading a lot but I know I wont be able to do this, there is always too much to do.

Another possible cause of the feeling of anxiety is that the builders start tomorrow, I am both excited and stressed about this.  I have been rushing to do all the laundry as access to the washing machine will involve walking out of the house to the ‘building site’ that is our old extension, we are blocking off the door to cut down on dust and keep the kids safe.  We have emptied everything out and the house it rather full, boxes stacked everywhere and a little too much furniture in all the rooms but it will be soooo worth it.  There will be a large hole in the house shortly so I’m glad we are getting it done before the weather turns too cold and who knows, we may even get the underfloor heating and new wooden floors down in our living room in time for Winter!

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Right, bit too much chatter and not enough photos so here is my work bench earlier this morning.  I should be sewing another roman blind for my sister, but I couldn’t face it and so decided to treat myself to starting some new dresses for Linen Cats/Bunnies.  These are in more Autumn colours, I have been collecting the fabric for a while with this in mind, I only buy small amounts to keep the styles limited as it makes it more fun (I always did like dressing up my dolls as a child and used to hand sew dresses for Cindy), it also keeps in line with each Linen Cat/Bunny being individual.

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They take a lot of work, each is fully lined in white cotton and there are no raw seams visible but they are one of may favourite things to make, I love choosing the buttons and beads.  I’m waiting on some linen samples for the bodies, the old linen I use is beautiful but has now reached £19.45 per meter without postage, which is far too expensive.  Once done and with some new colour Tweed Owls and Hanging Birds I can change the Shop stock over to a more Autumn feel.

Might have to root out the knitted socks soon!