Christmas Mice…

This is the last of the new festive designs, but it was the first on my list when I decided on the stunning, cunning plan to ‘get-ahead’ and sew only for winter this year.

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As you know, I am a hoarder and I especially struggle to throw things away that have sentimental meaning, I blame both my Gran and Mum for this trait (despite their not being blood related, my Gran having being Mum’s MIL)……yep it’s all their fault!  As part of my collection of ‘things’ I have a little mouse that I made for Gran when I was a kid; after she died it made its way back to me (she’d kept it for years – see, inherited hoarding tendencies ;)).  The pattern, I remember, came from a magazine article that was to sew an entire mouse family living in a fabric log that zipped apart, for years I also kept the pattern but alas, no more, that did actually make it into a bin at some point.

On one of my Etsy trawls, I came across a shop selling old craft book pages and one listing was for the same mouse and log set!  I got all excited and bought the pattern (I assume the magazine article I had originally used was to promote the book), I noticed there were loads of other things in the same shop that I recognised, including many pages from a sewing book that I had once owned and which contained a second mouse I’d often made so that hopped into my basket too.  Etsy is a wonderful thing.

(Part of my writing this post so late is that I was trying to find both the vintage mouse patterns to photograph, but alas I’ve ‘stored’ them away somewhere safely, so safely I don’t know where, exactly).

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I’ve really enjoyed making things with a vintage twist recently, such as the Christmas Fairies and last year’s Winter Deer Aprons (the last of which is listed in the shop).  I think they sit well with my original work and I enjoy the challenge of altering them slightly to make them my own.DSC_0130With this in mind, I immediately saw the vintage mice as a perfect starting point for some little Christmas hanging decorations and being super keen, I got straight down to working out a pattern.  I didn’t alter things too much, although I did completely change the scale and construction method.

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As you can see, I was working on the fabric choice whilst I still had my lovely vintage tree up in the studio……can’t wait to put that up again this year.
DSC_0134This is one of those critters where a production assembly line process really pays off, plus I get a kick out of the neat little piles, just waiting to be stitched up.

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I had lots of fun picking out the fabrics colours and details.
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And by the end of last December they were done!DSC_0148

I say done, but actually they were missing whiskers until quite recently.  
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I spent a long time obsessing about the packaging.  These mice are well over the maximum 2.5cm depth for a ‘large letter’ so they have to be sold in sets of three to warrant the heftier ‘small parcel’ postage price.
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Ideally, I would have liked them to be packed in pretty boxes with clear lids, neatly tied with a  nice festive ribbon, or even entirely clear boxes would have done.  I spent an age trawling for something suitable on the internet, but everything was either the wrong size or insanely expensive, so alas, they will be left separate and simply packaged together for posting out.DSC_0200I’m really pleased with them, they were fun to make, I had plans for further development of the idea but I’ve run out of time this year.  I am less pleased with the photos, it’s so hard to get good images when red is involved, especially in the current light, so I’m reluctantly using the images I have.  That maroon felt used for the boy’s jacket is my very favourite but it’s a total arse to capture!

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Look, they are kissing…do you think they are in love?  Is ‘berry’ girl mouse left out and jealous?!

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The obligatory hand shot, to show the scale.

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They come to life once their whiskers are added.  I did consider further details, like a little top hat for the boy (which is part of the original pattern), but I’ve learnt that sometimes it’s good to just stop,
DSC_0150so they are as they are, finished and ready to go to new homes and hang on trees/cupboard doors/be tied to gifts, whatever you fancy.  You can find them here.

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I’ve kept a set back for our tree as they go really well with the ‘Little Birds’ that I always use.  I imagine that one day, I might have a tree entirely covered in Linen Cat ornaments.

Thanks for all the lovely comments on the last post, especially from anyone who hopped over from the interview at Bugs and Fishes or who is new to the blog, I forgot to mention that I tend not to reply to give away post comments as it messes up the numbers for the good old random number generator, so please don’t think I’m being rude.  There’s still a week to leave a comment if you fancy a couple of birds with wonky tails 🙂

Thank You and a Give Away…

Well, winter’s here then, I know, as I’m currently wearing thick wool tights that are wrinkled fetchingly at the knee and ankle, in the style of Nora Batty, and it must be cold if I’ve broken out my winter staple wardrobe of wool tights.  It’s also pissing it down and so dark that it appears like it might be the middle of the night, which makes me want to snuggle up in a corner and read all day, shame I have loads of work to do.

I’ve been meaning to do a quick give away for ages and say an overdue thanks or two.

DSC_0198To get right to it, ages ago I blogged about Royal Doulton Fable Tableware (I just noticed the hilarious typo in the title of the post, how is it I don’t see my mistakes whilst I’m writing, yet they are so obvious later?  I know you all forgive me, it’s clear to anyone who reads my blog that I wont be winning any prizes for my grammar and spelling) and shortly afterwards I received a package in the post containing a gift of one of the mugs and a lovely letter from the Royal Doulton team.  Made my day, which at the time was all a bit pants, I may even have cried a bit (yep, it was the kind of day when the John Lewis Christmas ad makes you weep).

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The mug is lovely quality and as my current china is old and getting quite stained I figured I’d buy more as a replacement.  Weirdly, after my little moan in the post about not being allowed such colourful crockery, I ended up with a box set in the plain white version, the only pattern pieces I chose being some ‘Mixed Accents Mugs by Charlene Mullen.DSC_0142Basically, I need my everyday china to sit well with my vintage pieces, so white is the sensible option, but the lure of the little animals hiding inside the mugs was too much so they also jumped into my basket.

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I will be sticking with Fable in the white (which you can buy via Ocado as well – bonus!….oh and there is 1/3 off at the moment – double bonus!!) but I can see the lure of Charlene Mullen’s ‘London Calling’ range, which is also rather lovely.

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Now to the give away.  I haven’t done one in ages, which is a bit crap of me, so I have two little birds that need new homes, they have wonky ribbons in their tails but otherwise are in good order so I’ll send them both to one name picked out of the hat in two weeks time (Friday 28th November).  I’m happy to post anywhere in the world, just leave a comment on this post and please make sure it’s linked to an email address.  That’s all, nothing fancy, just a ‘hi’ will do.

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Lastly, but by no means least, I was lucky to be asked to take part in Laura’s (of Bugs and Fishes) ‘Crafty Ladies’ series.  I’m amongst great company, so was thrilled Laura contacted me, you can read all the interviews, including mine, here.  For those who don’t know Laura’s work, she writes a wonderful blog and creates beautiful pieces in felt, so it’s well worth a visit to her shop.  She’s also a craft writer and I see has a couple of books out that are ‘starred’ nicely on Amazon.  Jealous, me? Noooooo.

It’s stopped raining so there are no excuses not to get to work, which is a shame as I was quite close to giving myself a rare day off to just read.  Ho-hum, well at least it’s Friday 🙂

Crochet Birds…

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A long, long time ago, I was asked if I would provide a bird for a charity event (you can see the details here), the size needed was very specific and I didn’t want to send along one of my regular birds so I got creative with some linen and a large crochet snowflake I had hanging around.  I’ve always liked the result and earlier this year decided to attempt to make something similar for the shop.
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Part of the delay was in simply finding some crochet snowflakes that scaled with the price of selling the finished bird (BTW, there is a GREAT Folksy piece here about how your customer sets the price for your work and not a calculation of materials and time, it’s absolutely spot on, although I also think you do need to track your time, but only in terms of if what you are making will ever be profitable to sell, I also hand clapped at the bit that talks about the reality of selling wholesale, well worth a read), I think I thought I would learnt to crochet myself, clearly that is not going to happen, but luckily after the festive season last year, I managed to pick up some lovely bits of crochet on Etsy at very reasonable prices.DSC_0154This photo was taken last February (hence the crappy light, sorry!), I remember loving all the colours on my desk together.  The mug was Mum’s, bought for her by my SIL who kindly let me have it when we cleared through the house (thanks A) I really like using it, in a good way.  The hat is a vintage one that’s covered in pheasant feathers that I was trying to stretch out, something I still haven’t finished doing.DSC_0161I was really keen to get at least a bunch of samples made so I could get good photographs of them over summer (big fail on this, as you’ll see later). DSC_0048Size wise, they are in-between the little birds and the lavender ones, I did consider putting lavender in them but then I’d have so stuff them to order (as I do with anything containing lavender) which is very time consuming plus I consider them more of a decorative thing than a ‘lavender bag’.
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They each have a tag attached with a ribbon, as I think it presents them nicely.DSC_0159And now for why I haven’t listed them sooner, as I’d planned to get them in the shop in early autumn as part of the whole pink phase, it’s simply that I’m not entirely ecstatic with the photo, I somehow forgot to actually get pictures of them over summer and now the days are not getting any lighter so I’m not sure I can do any better until I get a chance to set up all the lights in the studio.  I never like using photos I’m not happy with, but I also don’t want things sitting in a box and missing their ‘slot’ so for now, with not the very best image, here they are 🙂