Half Term Holidays…

I’m not quite sure what I was thinking but I kind of forgot about the half term holidays.  I knew they were coming but I think I might just have been in denile…maybe.  It’s not gone too badly, the boys were in need of a break and in all honesty are playing really well together, some of the time 😉  So far the boys have:


Made Pumpkin lanterns and gingerbread vampires, ghosts, cats and some sheep (the last completely unrelated to Halloween but I really wanted to try out my sheep cutter from Hus & Hem, I’ve just bought the Elk set for Christmas).  These are C’s he doesn’t do scary so he just made normal gingerbread men.

Removed all the bedding, blankets, pillows etc off the boys beds and made cinemas/caves/boats anything that involves lounging in a pile of nice clean bedding on the floor.  On which note, we vamped up the boys room last week with an Ikea trip.  They chose a rug, a light and a clock so F can see what time it is when he wakes at some ridiculous hour and thinks he should get up (bloomin’ 4am this morning and with C in our bed from 2am I wasn’t a happy bunny).

I bought blankets for the boys beds, you can get the same from Hus & Hem (I really love this shop, can you tell?), they were out of stock when I ordered mine but I see they are back in at the time of writing this.

and I made cushion covers for the boys from their old cashmere/cotton baby blankets to try and stop them taking the ones off the sofa for den building.

We have also watched far too much TV and Apple movies.  I know, I’m a bad Mother but it has allowed me to have a moment’s peace and make a start on some new little birds.

I also dyed my hair yesterday, it was supposed to be a mid to dark red brown.  It’s more like purple black, I have a wedding to attend soon so there will be a lot of hair washing in coming days (it’s a semi-permanent but I fear may be more permanent than semi!).

On a final note, thanks for such a positive response to the Foxes, I wasn’t sure how well these would go this year, as I know most of you lovely bloggy peeps who wanted one bought them last time around, but I’m very happy to see them flying out of the shop.  Always a huge compliment to have things so well received 🙂

Have a spooky Halloween!

Foxes 2011…

I am having a deja vu as my desk is cluttered with fox bodies and linen clothing and I have spent the last couple of day stitching noses.

I tried hard to get ahead on these and have been making the clothing for many months, a bit at a time.  I do really enjoy seeing everything piled up together ready to go, it gives me a great sense of achievement.

I have only made a few of each colour, although I enjoy making the clothing, I find making the bodies quite hard; sewing large amounts of tweed fills my workspace with fluff and there are quite a lot of repetitive processes with a few grrr moments.  Sewing the noses was very satisfying though as it always seems to make each Fox come alive and have it’s own personality (I know they are only softies, don’t worry I don’t talk to them or anything….I save that for the cat 😉 )

I have added a new Mr Fox, in a lovely green linen (hand dyed as always) with cravats in Liberty ‘Poppy & Daisy’ tana lawn.  I really like this combination, I can’t help but notice that the green/purple/pink combination is popping up a lot in my work, I hope to add some girls at some point but to be honest I need a Fox break for a few weeks and feel it’s time I moved onto other projects, also all late and urgent feeling.

I really enjoy the finished Foxes, they are just right some how, they mix my love of vintage, tweed, and a simple design style perfectly and I feel that they really sum up what I am trying to create at The Linen Cat.  I also really like that they are seasonal, they do feel like an Autumn/Winter product and it’s nice to have some variation in the shop content throughout the year.

Blimey some of you are quick off the mark, I’ve already had two emails about orders as I’m writing this post and I only listed them last night!  Right, they can be found in the Winter Specials section and an extra Mrs on Folksy.

I’m taking the day off sewing to design new labels and then clean.  I know, it’s a miracle 😉

Badgers next.

Boy Bunnies and Squirrels…

The eagle eyed amongst you spotted some new additions to my animal softies when you were looking at the updated Folksy store and I feel like a post on them has been long overdue.

Earlier this year…a lot earlier, this one has taken me a while…I decided to re-design my Wool Bunnies, although I love them I think they might be a bit too ‘odd’ looking for some customers and I decided going forward to only make girl versions as people tend to buy linen mice as gifts for boys and not the bunnies.  I had a couple of the original pattern bodies cut but not sewn up so I used them as a startling point to re-design the head, it’s simply the original but with ears added on separately, in this case using the legs as ears (I know, poor bunny I did feel bad cutting it up).  I then ‘jointed’ the arms and legs, this adds a lot of time and fabric onto the making of each one but I’ve decided in this case it’s worth it.

At the same time I started working on a squirrel in tweed, using the same base pattern, above is my first sample and a doh! moment to show that I often make mistakes, I did laugh a lot when I realised what I’d done.  I’ve been planning squirrels since last year, just one of many animals in my head trying to get out.

I then made some waistcoats for the new squirrels, this is again back in the summer holidays, I had envisioned red but the bright green worked better with the tweed fabric, so I made some of both with the plan to make up some plain twill squirrels as well as the tweed version at a later date.

In the end the bunny bodies were made out of the same cashmere wool mix that I use for my bears, I have limited amounts but the texture is so unbelievably soft that I couldn’t resist and I’ve decided to save all the remaining cream for these wool bunnies and worry about what to use when it runs out some other time. I then found myself with lots of flat bodies and finished clothing but not necessarily ones that match.  The same story runs pretty much across the board, I also have loads of fox bodies with no clothing and clothing with no matching body.

So I was now beginning to panic slightly at the sheer amount of work needed to get done, and with the life getting in the way I had to cut back the list, the result?  Wool Bunny boys wearing red waistcoats (you know, the squirrel ones, are you still with me?).  I’m so glad I found this solution as they are so amazingly cute and it works really well, the jackets are  a little big (I made the squirrel body slightly wider so I could fit the tail in when turning them through) but it’s not a problem I think it just adds to appeal.

I only have 5 and it’s unlikely I will make more, I do plan to add a girl version in coming weeks but I probably wont make any more boys.  You can find them here and a couple on Folksy.

Mr Squirrel has also been listed, again this is likely to be a winter only product, I have only made a few.

The waistcoats are lined with Liberty Tana Lawn in Mirabelle print and have real leather buttons, again, these come at a price but I so badly wanted leather and as a finishing touch each has a hand-woven flower.

Job done.

Foxes and badgers coming next 🙂

 

New Rose Brooches…

I feel like I am permanently sewing at the moment.  Unlike many hard working makers out there, who I know work in the evenings, especially those with other day jobs;  I tend to stop around the boys bedtime and spend the rest of the evening attached to my laptop instead of a sewing machine.  In the last few weeks though, I have been trying to get on top of all the hand sewing projects, there have been lots of flowers to weave on the Hana-Ami Loom and many others to make from felt and beads so little pots appear around the house that can easily be picked up and put down.

Mostly I have mostly been working in replenishing flower brooch stock and adding a red version of the rose brooch for Winter.  I had always planned to do this but there is such a lot of work in each one that it’s taken me a while, I must admit that I do rather like the backs, it’s just one of those bits I feel I’ve ‘got right’ if that makes sense.  Does anyone read Mr Men to their kids?  I always have ‘Tidy and neat, neat and tidy’ going through my head when I finish a brooch back (from Mr Messy).

Because I was a good girl and made enough to replenish my own shop, AND list on Folksy, AND send some to Armagh (see last post) I had intended to take a shot of them all together, a mass of flower brooches simply so I could feel chuffed with myself for all the hard work, because it was hard work in a nice kind of way.  But I forgot.  Doh.

Instead I got packaging happy putting them onto their little cards and sealing them up so they stay dust and lint free, then stacking them in neat rows in boxes.  I fear when I read this back to myself I will sound a bit obsessed and obsessive, I am neither the mess of my house proves this.  Ok, I am just a little bit but only with things I really enjoy and that doesn’t stretch to housework.

Once the red roses were completed, I couldn’t resist making a few versions in mixed pinks, using the burgundy and dusty pink colours that I made for my new shop banner and cards, I only made 5 and have kept one for myself as these are my kind of colours.

As a little treat I bought myself a wooden tray to work on when I am hand sewing so I can sit with it on my knee whilst I’m watching the telly, I’ll spend less time hunting for needles down the side of the sofa that way!

The brooches can be found in my shop (they now have their own section) along with replenishments of the buttercup version and pink roses and some are also listed on Folksy.  Next I will be starting a mini acorn making factory on my wooden tray which I think I am really going to enjoy 🙂

Pop open the champagne…

Seriously, there may be the popping sound of a very small bottle of pink fizz opening tonight (well, some sparkling Aussie stuff anyway, as I am the only drinker in the house I have no excuse to open actual champagne) as I have finally updated my Folksy shop.

Long time coming but there have been so many distractions and today is the first in ages that I have felt in control of things and slightly relaxed.

I spent this afternoon stuffing lavender bags and getting this lot ready to send off to Armagh (another order from the lovely folk at the St Patrick’s Trian Visitor Complex), I had to make up new monster purses and extra brooches as I didn’t have any spare, in fact I still don’t have new monster purses for my store, they are on my ‘need to make last month’ list along with new lavender owls.  I will get there eventually, I’m sure.

For now I am concentrating on new items and I have finally managed to photograph and list the new Autumn lavender birds.  I started these a very, very long time ago, they were one of my sewing projects I took on our holidays to Yorkshire this Summer (stitching the eyes on that is)

and the tails of the green birds were used for the ‘grass’ in my ‘Gone Fishing’ photo as they were sitting on my desk at the time waiting to be stitched up.

I do like the new birds, they have a perfect Autumn colour palette in my mind; a nice mix of greens, golds and reds

I’m sure many of your will recognise the fabric as ‘Cloud 9 – Leaves’, I have it in a few colour ways and jumped on the red as soon as it appeared on-line some time ago, stashing it away for this time of year.

I have also made and listed (go me!) some new ‘Folk’ lavender birds, these were made to match another project which I may be some time in completing so I thought I’d get the birds into the shop now.

I loved the slightly miss match colour of the folk fabric so much it prompted me to also make a matching version of ‘little birds‘.  Now, if there is a prize for the worst photo in this post this last on wins, I do struggle to get the burgundy felt that I love and use so much correctly captured and I will need to re-take this one with a longer exposure, but at least they are listed and I can relax tonight knowing that my poor Folksy shop isn’t shamefully bare.

I have many other things also completed and ready so be prepared for some coherent posts complete with nice matching photos, now that would be nice wouldn’t it? 😉