Bright Little Waistcoats…

I have lots of open projects at the moment and despite my attempts to finish one before starting on another it’s not really working out that way.  There are lots of piles of little clothes without bodies and many naked woodland animals needing clothing.  I was also given a stark reminder of what’s to come when we had a few days of rain last week (hurrah!) and it became so dark I struggled to see what I was sewing, even with all the studio lights on so it really is important that I get all my shop photographs taken in the next few weeks.

My mission, then, is to finish and photograph at least one full sample of each planned item and better still, complete all my early Autumn work ready for listing in September.

I started with some jolly coloured waistcoats.  I am definitely moving into stronger colours with plums and deep reds as I eagerly await colder weather, but I couldn’t resist a last splash of late summer brightness, especially after making a recent waistcoat for the ‘Gone Fishing‘ squirrel (yes, he is a squirrel and not a fox although he does look very fox-like, especially with the original pointy ears in the sample version, which I have changed for the final design in an attempt to make him more squirrel-like).

Each waistcoat is stitched from 7 pieces and each seam is stitched twice and overlocked, it really is important to me that anything I made lasts, especially if there’s a chance it’s going to be played with by little hands and so this is a standard for the softies I make and their clothing.

I raided my hand dyed linen stash for the outsides and already knew I wanted to use some Liberty Tana Lawn in Mirabelle for the lining, it’s a bit light weight for lining, especially paired with the linen so I backed it with some Vilene Supersoft iron-on interfacing, which I buy in bulk as I use it often.  Oh I love this print, which is why it pops up so often in my work, it’s the perfect mix of retro, nature and block colours which works well with my designs.

I splashed out on real leather buttons as I’ve been desperate to use them for a while.  I have quite a few vintage ones but I’ve stopped using these generally, especially from my Gran’s glass jar as I’d rather save them for personal projects and special items, or even just keep them so I can tip them out to admire.

Finally, the jolly little jackets required a little something else so out came my Hana Flower Loom.  I’d forgotten how much I enjoy weaving these, it’s quite therapeutic just sitting working on them.  I had quite a few ‘I’m very tired, please stop now boys’ moments over the last week and so forced the boys to watch Narnia movies giving me an excuse to just sit on the sofa weaving.  It was fun snuggling up together and having a calm moment (my boys, like most boys are mostly in loud crash bang mode) whilst it rained outside.

Now all I have to do is make all the little bodies to go with the clothing!

Sleep, lovely sleep…

What a difference a decent night’s sleep makes.  I was like a bear with a sore head over the past couple of days, little boys who wander around at night, have nightmares and get up at the crack of dawn plus being ‘home alone’ again as M is away with work has taken it’s toll.  Today is a different story, I had a semi decent nights sleep and I’m full of energy and enthusiasm to get things done.

Making the most (hey, it might not last!) I finished up some Cashmere Bears and listed them.  Very productive.  Sadly, it’s not a very big batch and I will need to make some more of the woodland print ones as they are quite popular but for now I have added a new cream version.

I would have prefered a more mustard yellow for the belly stitching but this was the only Tre Cerchi yellow I have (I always use Coats Tre Cerchi for this tight zig-zag when possible as it gives much better cover being a thicker thread).  Still I like him a lot, he has a kind of polar bear look.

Listed here and one day soon, when I get my act together there will be some added to my Folksy store as well  🙂

My beloved…(Yorkshire that is, although M counts as well!)

We have just returned from our Yorkshire holiday at my sister’s cottage in the Dales.  It was lovely, wet but still lovely.  I managed quite a bit of sewing (there are lots of new things to complete and list but I will wait until September, when the boys are back at school and I can feel a little more organised).  I also spent time playing in Photoshop to come up with some new banners and tags.

I was quite happy with the above, until I loaded up the Folksy version and it just doesn’t match my shop and despite this being intended as a winter header the whole red and green thing (should they really never be seen?) isn’t working for me right now.  So after a walk on the moors, during which I took this photo (on my iPhone in quite heavy rain hence the quality)

I decided to swap for my favourite Dales combination of greens and pinks

I’m still not sure but I will build a front page around it and then see how I feel.

One thing I love about being ‘home’ are the colours of the landscape and all the wild flowers.  Even on a dreary day (and we did have quite a few of those) I find it inspiring.  I managed to pick up this cotton lawn on a Fents shopping trip (there wasn’t a lot else this time, no lovely tweeds) and it’s colours really did make me think of the Dales.  I’m planning a shirt for myself, when I find time to cut a pattern and loose the 5 lbs I managed to put on whilst on holiday 😉

We made ourselves at home at the cottage, I brought along some Postcarden matchbox cress sets for the boys to grow and we maxed out on the Red Lion’s takeaway pizza at weekends (remember that 5 lbs?!).  Bettys also played it’s part in my weight gain, the odd fat rascal was devoured along with some of my favourite Florentines.  In fact food in general is quite important to me, I like the memories involved in certain foods and I love eating nice food and especially in good company.  M is quite different, although he enjoys good meals, he can also happily just eat for fuel, which I never could.  A great example of this is on my ‘big walk’ day.  I am the only one in our household up for very long walks, the boys are simply not ready yet and M would rather go out on his bike so as always on one day I planned a 15 mile hike up the hills on my own (in the rain I might add).  I didn’t take a rucksack with us and so had to pack my lunch in the camera bag which has limited space.  M suggested some of his protein bars and energy drinks but no, I wanted a sandwich, crisps, chocolate, water and

a compact biscuit and cheese selection complete with chutney, a knife and a wet wipe.  I kid you not, I might have looked a bit of a prat whilst perched on a bench in the wind and rain by Grimworth reservoir delicately eating my cheese and biscuits but it did make me very, very happy half way through quite a sodden walk.

Despite the rain, it was great, I even took extra time to detour by Trollers Gill, not something I’d actually recommend in the rain when you are on your own as you have to clamber over the rocks of the old river bed.

This is the photo I took with my iPhone, whilst hurrying through attempting to keep my ankles unbroken and thoughts of American Werewolf in London out of my head.  Not a great image but you get the idea of the scrambling involved.

We had some great family days out.  Catching minnows at Ghaistrills near Grassington, picnicing with friends at Brimham Rocks, following the nature trail at Kilnsey Trout Farm plus Fountains Abbey and Mother Shipton’s Cave to name a few.  We visited Family (lots) and even got to spend most of one day in Airedale hospital after M came of his bike quite badly and tried to headbutt a car (he’s fine but was very, very lucky).  What I didn’t achieve was meeting up with any of my lovely twitter and blog world friends, there just wasn’t time and I should have organised it in advance.  Next time it’s a must.

Finally, M turned 40 whilst we were away, the boys insisted on making him breakfast in bed (I knew he was planning a bike ride so couldn’t eat much, I persuaded them eggs would be good).  They helped to cook it and decorate the tray in the way that little boys do.  Bless.

I am behind in replying to comments at the moment, apologies, I’ve sort of lost my blogging mojo at the moment but today I feel like I’m returning to normal and no doubt once the boys are back at school things will shift back into place.  I have lots to show so there is plenty to talk about as I start to change over onto my Autumn/Winter stock; I am quite excited, it is after all my favourite time of the year 🙂

Grumpy…

Oh yes, to say I’ve been a bit grumpy today would probably be an understatement; I am cheering considerably as I write this entry (which I will finish tomorrow, due to the need for photos), drinking wine and watching an old Dr Who episode but today, for some reason, has been a challenge.  Still, I have finished some blinds for my sister, which are partly to blame for the grump as I really don’t enjoy what I think of as ‘straight line sewing’.  It’s party why I don’t sew many clothes for myself and also why I didn’t slip into making wedding dresses or ball gowns after my degree, which would be an obvious and sensible way to take the costume design when not actually designing and making costumes.  Don’t get me wrong, I love designing and making period work and have a bit of a thing about early 20th century dress designs (hence a LOT of time spent browsing this site after recently watching Atonement and becoming slightly obsessed by the green dress) but I always see the faults in things I make for myself and prefer smaller more detailed work for my daily fix.

I digress. On the cheery side, I am in Molly Makes this month – hurrah! – I did know, they had asked for some photos but it was still a thrill to see it there in print, little old me.  Lovely.

I haven’t actually had a proper chance to read the new MM but from speed reads in-between blind making and catering for the every whim of my boys (one of whom is sick. He actually said to me today, “Mummy, I wish I had a bell so I could ring it when I need something, like they do on TV.” !!!!???) it promises to be just as wonderful as all the issues so far, most definitely a magazine to be proud to be in.

I have made a little ‘Gone Fishing’ sign for the shop front during my holidays. Not great timing considering the MM mention but I’m looking forward to two weeks in my beloved Yorkshire, breathing in the Northern air (which is most definitely different ;)) and hopefully not eating too many Bettys yummies.

Not bad for a 5 mins grab at things hanging around the studio, need to learn more about my camera though, a bit of variation in exposure wouldn’t go amiss.

And if that’s not enough to get a person out of a grumpy mood how about this beauty made from a tutorial found on Heather Bailey’s blog.

It’s a super cute wrist needle pincushion.  I’m not really one for too cute things but this I fell in love with, I really wanted to make it in the purple colour way from her original pincushion version but this was the perfect time to use up all this scraps of felt I insist in keeping (hence the top photo).

So, the shop will be closing this week and I’ve already shut down Folksy.  I need to do some drastic re-stocking and I’ve quite a nice stash of new things to photograph when I get back, ready for the Autumn change over but for now, I intend to enjoy our Summer 🙂