Beautiful Charts….or ‘This may take over from my Chie Mihara buying obsession’

I’m giving this little shopping event a post of it’s own, because I’m so in love and now have a hankering for everything from this Etsy shop.  I blame Flora, she blogged some amazing Jung Koch Quentell educational charts with squid images that are more than fabulous and I couldn’t resist following the link to the Etsy shop Bonnie and Bell.  Sadly, I already know that this isn’t quite M’s taste, we differ quite a bit in some areas, I often wonder what ‘my’ house would look like, should I not have to compromise.  I should state here, very certainly, that M’s house would also look very different, I tend towards  a more arty kind of organised ‘clutter’, he to a tidier, more minimal feel.  So really, me, a hoarder, him a thrower away… must be a nightmare living with me 😉

Anyway, I treated myself (ie my own money so I don’t need permission) to this lovely Autumn scene.  I couldn’t resist, and although I am hankering madly after some of the Jung Koch Quentell floral charts (especially the primrose and hazelnut ones) I have an exact spot in my studio for this and Autumn being my favourite time of the year, I just had to buy it.

I’m letting the images (all belonging to Linda of Bonnie & Belle, who kindly said I could use them) speak for themselves.

The pheasant flying away reminds me of the Royal Doulton ‘The Coppice’ vintage crockery that I’ve been collecting for some years now.

It’s farmers market in our local village today, and in keeping with the feel of this post, I’m going to drag the boys up there, via the local wood so we can enjoy what’s left of the beautiful tree colour, then I’ve promised pumpkin carving this afternoon, so I’d best flex my fingers ready for the pain involved in removing the insides ready for the boys to create the faces (they aren’t very good at scooping them out).  On an aside note, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, but do any of you Northern readers remember using turnips (which are actually swedes, but we always called them turnips) for Halloween lanterns?  And is this just a Northern thing?  Not fun trying to hollow them out, it was a kind of yearly ritual to attempt it without making your fingers bleed too much….we’re hard us Northerners 😉

A bit of this…

Well, there’s no doubt that Winter is on it’s way today.  As with most of the UK, we have woken to dark, wet, cold weather, not quite as cold as I’d expected after seeing all the weather forecasts, but enough to remind me that gloves and scarves will soon be needed.  I’m still enjoying the Autumn colours.  I’m a bit cross with myself for my lack of walking, I feel like the majority of my view of Autumn is from the window in the studio and on school run.  The boys are on half term next week and I’m really hoping to get them out and about for some wood walks, regardless of the weather.

This post is a bit of this and a bit of that.  First a little round-up of a few ‘new’ shop things.  I’d hoped to do a clever photo mosaic but ran out of energy to work out the best way to achieve this, so I’ve resorted to just uploading small images.  I have no idea if this has worked, so apologies if it all looks a bit messy on your screen.

I like how the early designs look together, I’m pleased with the continuity of design and colour, I’m really getting into this ‘seasonal collections’ thing.

A while back I tried to take a photo, using some of the new pieces.  As with last time, it was a case of grabbing things that were laying around my work space, can you spot the tweed bag handles?

I struggled with the light.  I do own one decent ‘studio’ lamp (which is clipped to the shelf above my desk, with a daylight bulb so I can see what I’m doing on dull days like today), but I would love to invest in some more, so I could take wonderful photos with minimal shadow… wouldn’t that be nice!

Another thing I wanted to share are the new packaging labels I worked on some weeks back.  I haven’t actually finished them, I’d planned to add some shades of green or ‘texture’ but I so wanted to start using them when I was sending out acorn brooches, I impatiently printed some off and I fear now, I’m unlikely to work on them any more.  They do need to be mostly white, so as to not use up too much printer ink.

I’ve been sending out quite a few orders, including lots of cats and bunnies.  I’m both sad and happy to see them go, I don’t intend to make more, but when I see them laid out I remember how much I like them,  it’s the right thing to move onto new designs though.

I’m now shifting onto a new colour palette for my work, lots of reds, blacks, creams and golds.  These feel a lot more wintery, I know we’re only just starting the season, but I’m still trying to stay a few steps ahead.  On which note, I ought to get on.  I’m a bit behind in replying to comments – sorry! – oh and I wondered, as I’m on wordpress, when I reply to a comment from all you lovely ‘blogger’ readers, do you get an email saying I’ve replied or do you have to log back into the post to see my comments?  I just wondered, as I’m not sure how it works.  Thanks 🙂


Tweed Flower Purses: Part 2 (Acorns!)…

I spent yesterday cleaning and feel so much better because of it.  This is the kind of house where piles of things appear all over the place and build until they look ready to topple over.  I tend to be too busy to do anything about it for a while, then it starts to get to me and I spend a couple of days putting everything away and clearing all surfaces.  I am trying to train the boys to tidy their own things, they are learning but the reality is it’s always going to be me that has to do the majority, so I may as well just get on with it.  I instantly feel less stressed when the house is tidy (or tidier, it’s never going to be properly tidy!), especially when the hallways are clear….I’m pretty sure there’s some Feng Shui thing about clean hallways?!

Anyway, I’m back in the sewing room today and thought I’d better get this promised post written.

So, the big difference with this purse (the acorn one, as the title suggests) is that I was starting with the brooch and making a purse to match.

Shortly after finalising the purse pattern, I pretty much ‘saw’ in my head a two-tone version to go with the acorns.  An all tweed one wouldn’t work, as the acorn would get lost in the tweed pattern so it was clear that it needed to have a plain top part and then a nice tweedy bottom.  Please excuse my crude sketches, they were more scribbles I made one day but I stuck them in my book so I could remember the thought process.

I bought quite a few tweeds in an attempt to get the right combination, but settled on a cream cashmere wool that I already had in and some new herringbone, that has lovely flecks of red and yellow running through it.  This photo gives you some idea of how much fabric is involved, the pleats take up quite a bit, in both length and width.

For the lining I couldn’t resist using some beautiful Heather Ross ‘Snow White’ fabric from her Far Far Away 3 collection.  I have become a FFA addict, but more in that another time.  It was a bit of a challenge to try to get an interesting bit of the print into each purse lining but I do love this fabric and like how bright but golden the yellow is.  I really like golden and mustard yellows but HATE lemon and acid yellow….no idea why.

Something I wanted to try changing was the shape of the purse.  In my head (and my scribble sketch) I had imagined the purses to have more of a slant to the sides, I’d tried to achieve this with the first two batches, but the slant wasn’t exaggerated enough, so I made the purses wider at the bottom and a little lower in height.

A thought generally with the purses is that you could change the brooches over, this colour combination works just as nicely with the buttercup brooch as it does with the acorns.

The cream wool fabric is very thick so these were even more of a challenge to sew, but worth it, I think.

When I showed one to my sister she said, “oh lovely….is it a pencil case?”.  !!!!!!!!!!

and I appear to have got  a bit mixed up when sewing and have produced a ‘left handed’ purse…in that, I mean that the zip is set to pull from the right to left (something determined by the placing of the inside pocket).  What a muppet.  Still, if you’re buying and want it ‘left handed’ do let me know and I’ll send you the one below.

They are listed here.

Guess what my husband said when I showed them to him……”is it a pencil case” – ha ha ha!!

I’ve bought some purse frames to have a play with, I hope to try to keep the two tone tweed idea, as I like this but not sure the pleats will stay.  These are intended for myself and gifts for friends, but I’ll show them when finished.

Thanks for such a great response to the tweed purses in general, I have packed quite a few up and they’ve gone off to their new homes, I was so pleased to get such a positive reaction and especially happy that the price didn’t put anyone off.  Also, this is the last of the shop posts for a while, I know my blog has been a bit product heavy but it’s just that time of year and it’s mostly what I’ve been sewing.

Right, back to cleaning, now I’ve started I might as well move onto the playroom…..If you don’t hear back from me, send in a search party 😉




So when did these first appear?  Back in September 2011 I blogged them for the first time and even then, I’d been working on/thinking about them for a year.

They then appeared again twice more, used as decorations on wrap gifts and lots of you lovely folk asked me when they would be arriving in the shop…..I optimistically said that winter.  Sadly it didn’t happen as I just got snowed under with lots of other projects and the acorns proved to take a lot longer to make than I had anticipated.  I had to spread out felting the balls (for the acorn body) as the whole soap hot water/cold water thing makes my hands itch like crazy, and sewing the cups was a nice little bit of therapeutic hand sewing, but it did take a while for each acorn so I decided to spread it out over the spring and summer months.

Also, I figured that brooches might be a better thing than hanging decorations and this is where I’ve dragged a bit on listing them.  I did manage to make up quite a few brooches, but the hanging ones I made were snaffled up by family and friends before they were even mounted on cards.  I’d hoped to make more but I’m being realistic about time so figured I’d just get what I have put into the shop and if I do get more hanging ones done – bonus.

Ah those group shots do make me happy.

This gives and idea of the size.  You know, the acorns kind of make me giggle as they remind me of comedy ‘boobs’ in a Beryl Cook kind of way.  Perhaps that’s just my mind and not something I should share, but there you go.

So they are now, finally, listed.  Sorry it took so long and if you’re in the market for a new tweed purse you might want to hang on a bit as I have some coming with an acorn brooches attached, I just need to take the photos (although they will retail at about £30, maybe a bit more when I price them out).

Oh and there are 2 hanging ones left, here.

Blackcurrant Birds…

My oldest came home from school today very excited about a ‘special treat’ he had for me.  He decided we would turn the bunk beds into a cinema (this involves putting blankets over the sides, fairy lights up and hanging the in-car DVD player from the wall), and I would be given a holiday from working and sewing and could squeeze in and eat my tea in there with the boys and watch a movie.  As a result (and my inability to upset him by explaining I’d much rather sew and in fact have lots of household jobs to do) I am now squeezed into the lower bunk, with my laptop watching ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’.  I can think of worse things to be doing, it’s a bit cramped and smells of little boys feet but hey-ho, I’ve made the little monsters happy so that’s worth it.

Anyhow, as I’m sat here and can’t really do anything I thought I’d list some new Little Birds I finished last week.

I made the above ages ago as gifts for the boys teachers (see here) and decided then that I’d like to make a batch for the Autumn/Winter shop.

I love blackcurrants and I especially love jam and cassis made from the ones we grow in our garden.  I also love the dark purple colour, if you asked me what my favourite colour was I would never say purple but deep berry purples and wine reds are most definitely high on my list, in fact my favourite tights at the moment are some lovely merino wool wine coloured ones.  Just and extra little fact for you there, bet you really wanted to know that.

Here they are all lined up…

and mounted up on cards ready to be popped into cello bags.
Annoyingly difficult to photograph and get the colours even nearly correct, especially in the gloom of the weather at the moment but there you go.  Listed in the shop here and probably on Folksy soon….depending on how the next couple of hours go and if I am allowed to leave my ‘special holiday’.
Ok, off to cuddle little boys and swoon over Mrs Foxes yellow painting smock (I am so going to make myself one of those!) 🙂


Red and Gold and a bit of Green…

My desk today is covered in half finished projects I’m trying to complete.

I feel the need to tidy things up and get organised and this means trying to reduce the mass of plastic boxes stacked around my studio, waiting for attention.  Some have been here for many weeks, in a few cases months.

It’s all very gold and red (normally it’s green and purple and pink on my table) and I’m enjoying the new colours.  I noticed when we returned after the short holiday that the leaves had all changed on our school run, and in what seems like only a few days those beautiful coloured leaves have dropped leaving bare branches.  Shame, I do like autumn colours and feel a little like we missed it this year, perhaps there is still time for a park or country house visit this weekend to take in the remaining show.

I made another acorn and leaves up for wrapping a present last weekend for a friend.  I am half-way through a batch for the shop but it’s taking a long time to chain stitch the acorn cups and I have to spread out felting the acorns as it makes my hands very dry using all that soap and hot water.  It’s fun though and I’ve promised the boys we can do some felt making this Christmas, maybe some decorations or cards for teachers?

That’s it today, short post and sorry, I’m behind in replying to comments but it feels quite hectic here even though the boys are back in school.  Time to dig though draws and find all the winter woollens, my favourite time of year 🙂

Lovely Linen and Large Holes…

The last week has been a bit hard work, the builders ‘knocked through’ on Tuesday and I wasn’t quite ready, we had talked about this being on the cards for Wednesday so nothing had been packed up, I had to do as hasty grab through the studio to collect work and then prepare for living on just the kitchen/living room for a few days.  To give you some idea of the hole they created here it is


this photo is taken whilst crouching down in our old extension (minus the flat roof it did have which made it look like a public toilet block from the 70’s), the 9ft high hole is direct into our open plan living space/kitchen and hallway upstairs so it’s been 2 floors of dust to hoover and mop, hoover and mop again, oh and again – you get the picture?  We had 2 nights of slightly spooky tarpaulin only covering the opening which rather freaked the kids out and I has to sit in the hallway waiting for them to go to sleep but as you can see, it has been boarded over and yesterday I got my house back, for a while anyhow.  What a happy bunny I am.


Despite it’s restrictions, being stuck in the kitchen has meant I managed to get a bit of work done.  I started a search for new linen a while back and have found a great medium weight oatmeal linen at one of my favourite online stores Ada and Ina Linen Fabrics, which is good as I made some bad choices recently and now have about 8 meters of unsuitable linen, it will get used eventually but I am cross at myself for buying badly.  The new oatmeal colour works really well for the cats/bunnies as it’s paleness sets of the bright fabrics I like to use for the dresses.



This along with a couple of cats/bunnies in the old linen has allowed me to use some of the new dresses recently made



I didn’t list the dress fabrics last time so from the top we have:

  • Alexander Henry – Apples and Pears, Brown – The Eternal Maker
  • Kokka – Little Red Riding Hood in blue – Fabric Rehab
  • Kokka – Russian Dolls Pink – I am guessing FR again.
  • Michael Miller (Patty Young) – Andalucia 60’s Sunflower, Pink – Fabric Rehab
  • Kokka – Scandi Dala Horse, Green – Fabric Rehab

If I had to pick a favourite I would say I am rather in love with the Alexander Henry, Apples and Pears, I have only ever seen the brown at The Eternal Maker and that was by accident where it was the very reasonable price of £10/meter (so many fabrics now are over £10) it certainly suits the time of year.  Can’t help but notice that Kokka features a lot in my list, I may have to buy the Dala Horse fabric in red the flower basket part of this print is fabulous, I liked the Little Red Riding Hood so much I also bought it in orange and pink.  It makes me feel better that they are Japanese and so cheaper here than the US, which can’t be said for most of the other fabrics!

Blackbird singing…

First, I have to share this little gem.  Among the ‘Top Searches’ on my dashboard that bring people to this blog are ‘I will walk 500 miles cbbc space pirates’ which I guess brings them to my post The boys are back in town... where I talk about The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (they soooo rock!) and also ‘rubber knickers’!!!?!!,  sorry for the over use of punctuation but I have no idea where I have ever mentioned knickers in post, let alone rubber ones.  Bet they were a bit disappointed to find themselves at a crafty blog.

Thank you for all your kind words with regards to F starting school and messages wishing me luck with the builders.  We are getting into the swing of the new school run (half days for now, increasing to full days soon) and there is the lovely sound of constant drilling as the builders remove the old ragstone to make way for a new door but I like them, we chose well.  As a result sewing has been very slow and it has taken longer than anticipated to get the new birds finished but at last they are done (please excuse the dodgy photos but the light hasn’t been great recently).


I already know the Backbirds will be hard to sell.  A few years ago Habitat themed their Christmas with a cross between Hanzel and Gretel meets Russian Folk, I was in heaven, it was right up my street and some of my favourite decorations are from that year.  The Blackbird has a similar tone with it’s My Folklore in black by Lecien body (which I bought from Fabric Rehab), although I am not sure it will be for everyone.  I searched quite hard for heather purple and dark green print fabrics for the new birds, but couldn’t find anything right so feel a little that I ‘settled’ for the colours used although I am very happy with the new ribbon tails (the Spring Birds had felt and ric-rac).


I have to now hope for good light over the next few days so as to photo of all of the new stock and update the shop which is well over due, fingers crossed!


Whether the weather…

It can’t make it’s mind up today, we keep getting downpours and then moments of sun.  I admit to loving the rain, the garden is parched as unlike everyone else we haven’t had much rain at all recently plus it puts me into work mode.  I have been struggling with this over the past week, I feel anxious and I’m not sure why, I think it’s that F starts Primary School on Monday and although this in itself doesn’t stress me I know there will be lots of tears once he realises he has to go every day.  It’s dawning on me that this has been his last summer of freedom, after Monday he will spend the next few years in the education system, until he leaves home (I’m booting them out at 18 – ha!) and I am kind of sad about that.  The up side is Mr C starts pre-school in January I will have my first regular time off in over 4 years, I am quite excited, I have secret ideas of sleeping and reading a lot but I know I wont be able to do this, there is always too much to do.

Another possible cause of the feeling of anxiety is that the builders start tomorrow, I am both excited and stressed about this.  I have been rushing to do all the laundry as access to the washing machine will involve walking out of the house to the ‘building site’ that is our old extension, we are blocking off the door to cut down on dust and keep the kids safe.  We have emptied everything out and the house it rather full, boxes stacked everywhere and a little too much furniture in all the rooms but it will be soooo worth it.  There will be a large hole in the house shortly so I’m glad we are getting it done before the weather turns too cold and who knows, we may even get the underfloor heating and new wooden floors down in our living room in time for Winter!


Right, bit too much chatter and not enough photos so here is my work bench earlier this morning.  I should be sewing another roman blind for my sister, but I couldn’t face it and so decided to treat myself to starting some new dresses for Linen Cats/Bunnies.  These are in more Autumn colours, I have been collecting the fabric for a while with this in mind, I only buy small amounts to keep the styles limited as it makes it more fun (I always did like dressing up my dolls as a child and used to hand sew dresses for Cindy), it also keeps in line with each Linen Cat/Bunny being individual.


They take a lot of work, each is fully lined in white cotton and there are no raw seams visible but they are one of may favourite things to make, I love choosing the buttons and beads.  I’m waiting on some linen samples for the bodies, the old linen I use is beautiful but has now reached £19.45 per meter without postage, which is far too expensive.  Once done and with some new colour Tweed Owls and Hanging Birds I can change the Shop stock over to a more Autumn feel.

Might have to root out the knitted socks soon!