Getting things done…

It’s hot. I’m tired. The news this week has been depressing and horrific. DSC_0007I find it quite difficult to get motivated at these times, I tend to flit from one job to another and the less I get done the more frustrated and demotivated I get and I simply don’t have time for that, basically. So, the fan has been brought out of the shed (it was 29 degrees in the studio, this morning, when I opened the door!), I have a jug of iced cucumber and mint water on the go (or I forget to drink and get quickly dehydrated), music is playing and I’m making a point of working through project boxes that have been on the go for months.DSC_0008Open projects are kept in stacked Ikea boxes and I’d like to see the pile reduced. I’m also making a point of developing designs that use up all the supplies I already have, instead of buying anything new (tweed pencil cases are on the agenda and possibly peg bags).DSC_0005Today, badgers are finally getting their noses and I’ll be getting familiar with the buttonhole maker on my new(er) Bernina later. I hate doing button holes. I must remember to never design anything that can be ruined by the button hole at the final stage, as that’s just depressing.DSC_0006Brooch backs will be next, then a big photographing session and lots of new product listings.Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 10.28.53I’ve been re-designing the website for months, so that’s my evenings sorted. I started this process so long ago and it’s far from complete but felt I just had to go with what I have so far and I’ll keep tweaking it live. I need to decide on a banner/logo/text but I’m happy with the direction it’s going in.

That’s all. Regular short posts are the way I’m heading as, like my project boxes, the possible posts just stack up and never get finished!

Linen Mice Specials: The Red Shoes

First, thanks lovely ladies, who were kind enough to comment on my last post (you know who you are!), it’s really nice of you to still be reading, let alone commenting after my serious blog neglect and I really do appreciate it.

OK…where to start. The title says it all really, I guess.3965748679_4e68ed8727

Every year I find myself saying I’ll never make linen mice specials again. They are time-consuming and expensive to make, verses the price I feel I can sell them for; but then, every year, I get an idea into my head (I already have one for next year!) and I really struggle to let it go.1200

Like many little girls, I went through a phase of wanting to be a ballet dancer (somewhere between wanting to be a fairy and a nurse, probably) and I did dance for quite a few years as a child, before getting bored in secondary school and giving it up, something I later regretted. That and my penchant for watching old movies, again something I’ve done since I was a kid (we didn’t have many channels, you know, and only very limited kids TV….and we walked to school barefoot and were lucky to get jam on our bread, ha ha) meant I got obsessed with the idea of ‘The Red Shoes’ mice. I wont bang on about the movie, only say it’s fabulous and a classic and if you haven’t ever seen it, it’s definitely worth watching.

(On a side note, I just LOVE the colour of Moira Shearer’s hair….I’ve just comeback from the hairdressers and have gone my usual, similar, bright, fake red…wish I had her figure too!)dsc_0139I started them back in January, which is often the case for winter specials. I do quite a bit of designing and planning for the next festive season, just after one has passed; I think I just want to commit to some of the new ideas I’ve had that I don’t find time to make with all the craziness that happens in the run up to Christmas . dsc_0143There were mistakes, as always, with the odd swear word used, dsc_0140but I’ve managed to refine the making technique of mice to avoid the past pain of turning the whole thing out, skirts and all, through a teeny, tiny gap in the side. Bonus.img_20160415_135723On another side note, one Secret Cinema event I’d have loved to have attended, was ‘The Red Shoes’. A blogger at the time (no longer blogging, sadly) had a stall there and it was one of my first introductions to how Secret Cinema works. Oh, just looked and they have a very short movie/link to the experience if you want to get a feeling for how it works.dsc_0013I worked on them over the summer, Instagrammed them (and subsequently sold a few before I got to blog and list them, sorry);resshoesmouseeditedbut the last few have just gone live in the shop.dsc_0004dsc_0024I really am supposed to be winding down the things that don’t make a great profit, but at the same time, I really enjoy making them and they are always fun to photograph, usually because of the skirts and shoes…..we’ll see, maybe there will be more next year  after all 🙂

Mothers Day and Flower Brooches

It appears I had forgotten about Mothers Day.  To be honest, in the past I’d have been lucky to get a lie in, let alone a present (I took to buying my own, in the end!) and as my lovely Mum is no longer here, it tends to just get forgotten about.  To give the boys credit, they have realised as it must have been mentioned at school and they are planning a day of Star Wars stuff !!!!??? (I think that means us all running around the house like loons playing with lightsabers….I was thinking more training them to be able to make nice coffee and a lie-in, but I don’t have to heart to tell them that).

DSC_0001It’s something I need to be better at, in the future (with the exception of Valentines Day, which I have always hated, if I’m honest), recognising special days and holidays and promoting my work accordingly.  I do make a lot of things aimed toward Christmas but the rest of the year tends to be forgotten about.DSC_0005I’m sewing in the kitchen today, party because I’m attending to a sick hen (Audrey) who’s hanging out on the kitchen table in a guinea pig house (she’s actually no longer sick, but needs one more day of antibiotics before I put her back with the others) so it’s all about hand sewing, which as usual means Flower Brooches, which really would have been a good thing to shout about with Mums in mind.DSC_0050The very first one of these was made for my own Mother, way back when (I just tried to find the post to link it, but I have no idea what year it was).  I’d totally forgotten that the original brooches were mounted on cards, I really liked the idea of giving a card that also has a gift on it….no-one else was that bothered though and most people opted to buy the brooches on their own.DSC_0028The first one was a nice pretty pink, as above, shortly followed by the buttercup (which I should make more of as I haven’t done them for a while!!).DSC_0051There have been many versions over the years,DSC_0001and they featured (as they still do) on my tweed bags (above the original ones with zips).DSC_0016They’ve also made it into quite a few magazines, including Country Living, which was a bit of a highlight!DSC_0031DSC_0039Flower Brooch Auricula Green in HandFlower Brooch Auricula Green BackDSC_0059DSC_0166DSC_0192

DSC_0008They are one of my designs that I’m most proud of as there are so many variations that can be worked using the same base and they are quite fun to make, although there is a lot of work involved for the final selling price.DSC_0007Well, for all those who are celebrating this weekend, I hope you have a really lovely time with your loved ones…..I’ll be donning my Princess Leia outfit and hanging out with small boys, who could wish for more 🙂

PS, I know most people write Mother’s Day, but I always think of it as being Mothers, plural.  Perhaps that’s just me…and then I guess it should be Mothers’ Day….maybe?  I never was any good at grammar.

PPS I don’t need an answer to my terrible grammar, anyone reading my blog knows it’s not my forte

Vintage Summer Deer Apron

Following on from the success of the Winter Deer Apron I made *ahem* in 2013 (which you can read all about here),

DSC_0031it was obvious to me to have a go at a summer version, ideally in pretty pink and again using a vintage style deer in the applique.  For those who have been reading my blog for some time, you’ll know the apron itself is an original 1958 pattern that I rather fell in love with (again, more info on the original post) but I adorned it with a deer and trees in my winter version, instead of the cowboy Santa.c76e98340f57083f6f36067cf55f03d3I don’t think I’ve ever showed the deer I used for the apron (I showed some Decal deers which were the front runners at the time).  It’s a plastic vintage one, it comes up for sale all the time in Etsy and such, I’m assuming it’s from the 1950’s and this one even has it’s bell intact!  So cute, it always makes me think of Babycham.DSC_0076For the new apron, the deer got a new stance, I was aiming for Bambi style bottom in the air, sniffing a butterfly style.

DSC_0140Looking back at the photos, I kind of wish I’d gone with the grass and fauna of the top sketch, as my final fawn does look a bit like he’s floating in the air….never mind.

DSC_0059Lots of cutting and snipping and ironing.DSC_0139And stitching..DSC_0155And endless hours and hours of sewing on bias binding!!

DSC_0015But finally, a nice little stack of aprons, all ready for Mothers Day.  Or not.  But they would make a lovely Mothers Day gift, I think.  I’m keeping one for myself, anyway.

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I’ve really struggled to take photos today, the sun was blasting down which is a bonus for everything except taking decent shadowless photos and typically, it’s now gone behind a nice hazy cloud, now that I’ve given up and stuck with my rather grey images.

ApronDeerPinkEditedIt’s definitely the down side of always making new things in small batches, each time I have to photograph, edit and list them; but then I’d be bored if I only made a few things over, day after day.

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They are listed here and hopefully (soon) on Folksy.

Right, back to the grind, too much to do and too little time, and my first day with the boys back at school is flying by far too quickly.

 

Auricula Tweed Purses

I’m sewing, sewing, sewing at the moment and then in the evenings I’m trying to plan a new website, but it’s taking FOREVER.  I’d love to down tools and just focus on the re-design, but that’s not very practical.

DSC_0147The logo part is a real struggle, as I keep changing my mind.  I was all sold on committing myself to using a cat in there (I often wish I’d chosen a different shop name, but as I’m known under this one now, it’d be quite difficult to change it, plus I own the web domain etc etc).  Ho-hum, I’ll get there in the end.

DSC_0007I’m still mostly sewing blinds and then Christmas things for the shop (as this is always where I make most profit).  Last year was a bit of a disaster, work wise, what with becoming a single Mum and all.  I did put the hours in, but I didn’t promote my work or get things photographed and listed when I should have.  I think I’m in a good routine now of shop sewing, blind sewing and taking care of the boys.  Time is still very stretched, but it’s a huge benefit working from home, I did look at trying to work part time elsewhere, but the reality of who would look after the boys in school holidays and outside of school hours put a stop to those plans, for now anyway (it’ll be easier once they are both settled into secondary school…only a few more years to go!), plus my boys are quite ‘quirky’ and certainly F needs his time out at home once he’s finished school, he’d find after school club etc quite difficult.DSC_0045.jpgRight now, my focus is on getting the shop updated with all the stock that’s sitting around in boxes so I’m starting with some Auricula Tweed Purses.

DSC_0051.jpgI made the first of these years (I think!) ago for my Sister as a present.  Her’s has a jazzy lining made out of snippets of left over curtain fabric.

ariculapurse2.jpgThese new ones have silk orange linings, which I think give a nice ‘pop’ to them.  I love how the silk contrasts with the tweed and felt.

tweedpurseariculaburgundy.jpgThe only other difference is that the Auricula Brooches are the second generation ones, that have two yellow centre colours.DSC_0180.jpgYou can find them here, hanging out with Gold Bunnies….because you know what time of year is coming up next 😉

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Vampire Purses, Take Two

One of the most popular things I made last year, were the Spider and Victorian Mourning Purses (click on the links to read all about them!).  DSC_0202

I knew I wanted to make more this year but I really struggled to source some of the materials.  I just cannot find more of the appliqued spiders I originally used (there are other options, which I intend to look into next year) and the heavy silk I used for the Victorian purses has been nearly impossible to find.  DSC_0192

In the end, I bought some heavy twill silk from Beckfords and hand dyed it.  The silk was eye-wateringly expensive, but then I do only need a small amount for each purse.  I did, however, totally avoid dyeing it until the last possible moment.  I initially hand dyed it using Dylon black, but it came out with a very blue tinge, not at all as I’d hoped, so I dyed it again to get a better tone, same dye only in the washing machine.  It worked and it’s almost identical to the silk that I originally used, which incidentally was given to me by a lady running a period millinery course I did years ago at the London College of Fashion.

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I couldn’t find the same beaded applique panels either, so these have changed.  I bought plain ones then beaded them myself, which I prefer as I had to re-stitch on all the originals anyway as I was so paranoid they would fall off.

DSC_0170I really LOVE making these purses, they pretty much sum up my work and my taste.  I love the beading, the old feel and what’s not to like about silk and velvet.  Velvet is really rocking my boat at the moment.

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I don’t love glueing on the frames, I tend to put that off as well, but I’ve become a pro, I’m like the ninja purse frame gluing champion and hardly any acetone was needed in the making of these purses, which is good as I was already quite giddy on the smell of fabric glue.

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I’ve changed the name to ‘Vampire’ purses this year, simply as it is what I’ve always called them when I’m talking to myself.  It’s those red linings against the black.

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I’ve already promised some of them to friends, but the remainder are here in the shop.

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My shop generally needs updating.  I started a re-brand a while ago, but the craziness that is finding the right secondary school for F, blind making and trying to get the house decorated is taking its toll, there just isn’t time to do everything, so for now I’ve opted for a quick change of the front page and trying to get my stock levels back up.

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For Christmas, I’d like a time machine please 🙂

Pretty Pink Lavender Birds…

This is going to have to be a quick post as I’m due on school run soon.

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I have new lavender birds.  They are pretty.   They are pink.

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They are still not photographed as well as they should be (curse you iPhoto for changing your editing tools grrrrr, why yes, I am a bad workman and will happily blame my tools in this case and not my shoddy camera skills), but they are listed here.

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Incidentally, I have just reduced my SALE section by another 10%, partly because I need to make room for new stock.  It will break my heart slightly to see so much hard work go for such a low price, but that’s the way of the world and I’d rather they go off to new homes than sit in a box unloved.  I need to update all the photos and see what else I have to add, but for now it’s mainly linen cats and bunnies, with the odd squirrel.

That’s it, short and sweet as I need to dash 🙂