Introducing my Fantastic Mr Fox…

Huge thank you for your comments on the last post, they were very helpful and I’d rather lost my perspective, as sometimes happens when you’ve been looking at the same design for a while.  The general opinion was to stick with the original eye (Jenny, you are right in that the smaller eye does stand out more in ‘real life’) but maybe a little larger so that’s what I’ve gone with.  Also, thanks to everyone who has dropped by the Folksy interview, I was really pleased to read such encouraging comments, made me smile.

And so, on with the post.

As with everything I make, there always seems a need/excuse for more supplies; in the case of the foxes it was buttons.

You’d think I have enough by now as my shelf is lined with glass jars filled with beads, buttons and bits and pieces but I wanted them to be ‘just right’, the details are very important to me.

In the end I actually went with a smaller, more simple button, as you do (but the new ones are perfect for the Linen Cats so will get used) and here is the finished Mr Fox, with his clothing.

His pants took quite a while to cut, not necessarily the pattern, but the construction process.  I am a bit finicky about raw seams and even with my trusty overlocker, prefer them to be hidden but I’m happy with the results, the side button fastens over the tail and they are constructed of 2 layers of linen with all the seams hidden.

I am rather in love with the Liberty Lawn cravat, and his little waistcoat is lined with red herringbone brushed cotton to match.

Details, details, details…..I think I might need help!

The boys were amazing yesterday afternoon, allowing me to sew; sadly they were a little less patient this morning whilst I tried to photograph Mr Fox so these images are rather rushed, but I’m aware blogging time will be limited for the next few weeks and wanted to get this post written before the first Fox goes off in the post (I wasn’t kidding when I said I have pre-orders).

Hope you like him 🙂

New Faces…

Day 1 in the Foster household. 8am. Mummy is in the kitchen; F is already bored and pestering her senseless about the possible ‘adventures’ they could go on today.

I’m sure I am not the only person who has started the Summer holidays in this fashion, I did consider locking myself in the toilet simply so I could have my coffee in peace but instead I allowed cbeebies to nanny the boys and sneaked off to the studio to have my coffee in silence, accompanied by the rather delicious new children’s ‘Fat Rascal’ as delivered by me sister from a recent Bettys visit (it is smaller and has chocolate drops in it, yum!).  I then took the boys to our local soft play in return for being allowed to sew this afternoon.

So, I couldn’t help but notice a number of the comments on the recent ‘Little Foxes‘ post asked about the new tweed foxes face and this has highlighted a ‘problem’.  You see, he does already have a face (and please, don’t feel bad if you didn’t spot it, it was very easy to miss) but it is in my usual very minimal style and looks like this

As you can see, it’s really just a simple eye (there is one on the other side as well) and a nose and I can understand how it was so easily overlooked.  Which has had me thinking about other possible solutions, such as

the last is simply a larger embroidered eye.  I am still undecided but need to make a decision as I already have a couple of pre-orders for Foxes that I would like to get out early this week.  The photo of my other creations is to give an idea of my usual style, I want to be sure to keep the new addition within the same feel, I don’t want it to end up too ‘twee’, I prefer a more simple look.  It’s also worth remembering the clothing is pretty fancy, so I think will work best with a more simple body/face.

All comments most welcome.

Right, best go take the boys outside for a play, they will be getting square eyes at this rate!

Teachers Gifts…

Where did the time go?  I can’t believe F has completed his first year of school, it only seems yesterday that he first put his uniform on for the first time and trotted off to class.

Still, it calls for teachers gifts and luckily we only needed to make three (and that’s including pre-school).  So first up I made lavender birds for F’s teachers.  He chose the fabric (oh, you have no idea how long that took) and the ribbons and I think did quite well, although I nearly wept whilst cutting into my new Tana Lawn, considering the price.

I also made jam with help from the boys.  I took photos and had planned a concertina style card similar to Father’s Day but the light was very bad and the kitchen a bit of a tip.  I’d planned to make nice stitched tops for the jars too, but ran out of time; besides, what more would their teachers want than to spend breakfast looking at my adorable two 😉

The boys each had a £5 budget to spend and chose these fabulous notebooks from Sarah Waterhouse , I will admit to giving them a limited choice here, otherwise they would have both picked Ben 10 figures.

Everything was packaged in the usual Linen Cat style using supplies I already have and each of the boys made a card, with a little help from me (not photographed as it all got a bit last-minute).

So, as of the weekend, the boys will be around for a whopping six weeks.  C has allowed me to sew all morning (I’m ironing little linen waistcoats to within an inch of their lives right now) and is happily playing with his toys next to me, it will be very different with F around as well but we’ll manage.

Apologies, as I haven’t replied to any comments left on the last post yet, it’s quite busy here with all the ‘last week’ activities but I’m hoping for a little blog catch-up time over the weekend.

Lastly, the lovely folk at Folksy have just blogged an interview I did for their Shop Talk series, it came out on a pretty stressful day and really cheered me up, there are some great Sellers interviewed so far and I’m very pleased to be one of them so do check them all out.

Little Foxes…

I have been planning many of my Winter products for some time now, in fact a few since last Autumn when I realised I wouldn’t get everything done that season and these ideas are always buzzing around the back of my mind.

For those who have been reading my blog for a while, you may remember the Foxy Twins(as above) which I made last November for the Folksy Upcycle Competition, it was a given that I would make them for the shop this year so I’ve been on the look out for the perfect tweed.

I found these two a while back on ebay and bought a few meters of each.  I would have preferred something ‘softer’ ideally, such as the cashmere wool that I make the Bears from but price is also a factor and I really did want a wool tweed base for the bodies.

So here are the first run at the new Foxes, they are made using the original pattern, with a little tweaking, which in turn was based on the Wool Bunnies.

I still have to draft a pattern for the dresses and choose the final fabric, although it will come from my stash of Tana Lawn, which for now I have narrowed down to the final few as above.

I spent some time this afternoon drafting the cape pattern and working up a sample.  It has a curved bottom, unlike the original and a lining from the sweetest red herringbone brushed cotton (again, something I bought in bulk from ebay).  It’s missing it’s ribbon ties at the moment as I didn’t have anything suitable, but you get the idea…

and it’s still quite snug (as planned) but I wanted to make a ‘one pattern’ cape that will also fit the Wool Bunnies and can maybe be sold as an extra.

OK, apparently the boys have fallen asleep in record time (less than 15 mins) which is cause for celebration so I’m off to pour a glass of wine.  I will be making teachers gifts this weekend so I’ll write a little about those once done, have a great weekend 🙂

This is what I’ve been up to…

I had the best day out in London, many thanks for all your best wishes.  I was really very reserved with my shopping, only a couple of meters of Tana Lawn from Liberty’s in my joint favourite pattern, ‘Wiltshire’ (my other is ‘Mirabelle’, if you’re interested).

The BBC recording was a Kander and Ebb special for Friday Night is Music Night, so it was mostly classics from Chicago and Cabaret, hosted by Joel Gray (from the original film and musical) and with none other than Tony Hadley as one of the singers.  I kept expecting him to burst into singing ‘Gold!’, although I’m not sure the other audience members knew who he was, we were the only people there with our own teeth.  Still a good day all round and I thoroughly enjoyed myself (thanks sis!).

Back to business, I began sewing a new dress from some of my lovely Voiles, but to be blunt with you it all started to go wrong and having taken so long to get my sewing mojo back, I abandoned it for something with a more immediate ‘hit’.

I recently saw this post over at the purl bee and rushed off to buy myself a Hana Ami Flower Loom.

It’s exactly the kind of thing I would have been given as a child and I enjoyed my first couple of attempts at weaving flowers.

I really like the idea of finely woven ones but I’m undecided on the results, I need to play a little more; still, it’s the perfect quick pick up put down project that fills the little gaps of time and has an immediate result, I’ll be needing some of those over the summer holidays :/ I can’t tell a lie, I am a little worried about six weeks of full time children, but I’m keeping optimistic and have lots of little projects lined up, both for them and for me.  In fact, if you hang around I have a second post to directly follow this, where I have finally started on some new products – hurrah!

The kindness of bloggers…

I’d lost my mojo recently, the hay fever, or more importantly the tablets I was taking for it, were making me very drowsy, to the point where I was struggling for even an ounce of energy.  Well, I abandoned them earlier this week and as a result am feeling back to my normal self, with tired itchy eyes but I’ll take that any day over lethargic and useless.

So, whilst grumping about the house, imagine how excited I was to find the postman delivering a box for me, one I hadn’t ordered.  I knew from the label it was from the lovely Anne of Andamento and on opening I found this wonderful gift

one of Anne’s beautiful Candle holders (you can see more of her work here) as a return gift for some bird decorations I had sent.  It really cheered me up when I needed it – thank you Anne!

I’ve also been doing my usual Sale shopping.  I don’t buy many clothes, I haven’t really been ‘clothes shopping’ since the boys were born as it’s way too hard work, so I relay heavily on online shopping and the fact that I knowing what I like.

I’m an big Orla Kiely fan so I was rather pleased to see her new Olive and Orange range hit the shops a while back, it’s quite simply half the price of her home brand and more readily available.  I noticed that John Lewis had quite a few pieces half price in their Sale so I bought this dress in cotton, it’s very me and I’m very pleased with it.

Then, just to tempt me, my dream OK dress, the one I’d been lusting after since the Summer collection arrived went half price on the Orla Kiely Website.  Now, the truth is even at half price it was still well beyond my reach, especially as I’d already spend my allocated Sale money as above, but after some faffing around and tweeting I used my Birthday money (which I have been hoarding since March) and went for it.

It’s really interesting to see the difference between the two labels, obviously the bottom dress is silk and there is a lot more work involved but I would struggle to justify buying it if it had been full price, saying that I do have quite a large collection of her clothing, but mostly bought for me as presents (M used to work round the corner from her shop) or in the Sale and amassed over the last 7 years.

I will be wearing one of my new frocks to London on Monday, I’m off for afternoon tea at Harvey Nick’s (they serve it with champagne, hummmm) before going to a recording of Friday Night is Music Night, I haven’t had a day on London minus kids for, well, years actually so I’m really looking forward to it.  Oh, last confession, I also bought this cardigan, now the credit cards are firmly locked away until the Winter Sales 🙂

Superhero thanks…!

It’s about time I wrote F’s thank you cards for his Birthday presents, I haven’t had much time but I sat down this morning and they didn’t take long.

One of F’s presents was this totally amazing costume made by the very talented Tamsin of iwishiwas… , F had seen the outfit on my laptop and had fallen in love, so when my sister asked what he would like for his Birthday, this was top of his list.  Tamsin was great as he was quite specific about the colours and she kindly made sure he got exactly what he wished for.  As you can see he took the posing very seriously!

With some added stickers and my trusty corner cutter I have his cards ready to write.  I did try to photoshop the speech bubble but lost my will to live after about half an hour and opted for simply printing them into my usual label stickers and cutting them out.  Hey, it works.  All I have to do now it try to get F to sign them :/