New wool bunnies…

One of the earliest designs for The Linen Cat was a wool bunny in a Liberty print dress; there were two girl colour versions plus boys wearing denim shorts with ric-rac and shirts, and although I loved them dearly (especially the shirring and the crochet flowers on the girls) I felt, last year, that it was time for a re-design. I often debate moving into more of a 3D design with my softies but it’s not how I had originally imagined them, I have always tried to keep to simple shapes and an almost flat childlike profile so I don’t want to move too far away from this, instead I have given the new bunnies ears similar to the rabbit egg cosy and generally moved the body design to one similar to the linen mice (which ironically started out as the same pattern as the original wool bunny but thinned and tweaked – are you still with me?!).  As a result the new bunny has thinner arms and legs which are ‘jointed’ and a more triangular-shaped head. Next I tried making a bunny in the cream cashmere & wool mix that I normally save for the cashmere bears.  I have a very limited amount of this fabric left but it’s so unbelievably soft that I couldn’t resist.  I would say now that I prefer the more pure white colour of the original wool flannel but it has a much firmer feel and is an entirely different texture, not quite as huggable as the cashmere. I then splashed out on some good old Liberty Tana Lawn in Betsy, but in a new colour way for me, turquoise.  I have always loved and used the pink but the turquoise version has such a retro feel and it looks so good with the cream wool. All this happened almost a year ago, the sharper amongst you will already know that I listed a boy bunny to this new pattern wearing a jolly red waistcoat last year, but the girls have been sitting in a box patiently waiting for their turn.  I had even made a final sample of the dress so it was really only a question of pulling my finger out and getting the actual ones made-up.

And so last week, as I found myself jumping from project to project (I can’t seem to settle on one thing at the moment) the pile of bunnies called to me and begged to be finished in time for Easter.  One of the points of stalling was my desire to have a larger number to list, I generally prefer to have a small pile before adding something new to the shop and I’d planned to make more of the cream bodies, having used half of the original for the boys; but I figured we could be here in a year’s time and they might still be waiting, so I got on with it.

They have cute dresses with an attached white underskirt and broderie anglaise trim and as always everything is in natural fabrics except for the safety stuffing.  I had a bit of a nightmare trying to buy 100% cotton broderie anglaise and now have a stash of polyester mix to find a use for, it’s not that I refuse to use anything other than natural fibers, it’s just the polyester mix doesn’t feel right and I do generally prefer cotton.

I might be a little bit in love with the turquoise version, it reminds me of toys from my childhood.

They have sweet bobble tails

and are listed in the shop.  I plan to put a couple of the pink on Folksy given time, but I’d like to re-photograph them first, when the light is better, it was a bit too dingy today.

I am attempting to have a general clear out and re-create a sale section for the shop.  I did my tax return in good time this year and it gave me an opportunity to look back on both 2010-11 and on 2011-12 (so far) and see exactly what has sold and what hasn’t, I need to use my storage space better as Linen Cat stock is taking over the house so it’s time some things went.  Probably one for another post all to itself, I need to go now and but my little monsters darlings to bed before they dive me crazy 😉

Giveaway: Rabbit Egg Cosy…

Oh joy, in print and in one of my favourite magazines, oh comely.  I’ve been a subscriber since they ran a competition with Folksy back in September 2010 (one of the winners being the wonderfully talented Kirsty of Sixty One A), so I was thrilled to be asked if they could use my Rabbit Egg Cosies in their March edition.  Now, if you haven’t heard of oh comely, Monica over at Quilt While You’re Ahead said ‘It’s like a really cool blog, but in print format’ which I think is spot on, even my uber cool Berliner husband, who noticed it laying around, commented on it so high praise indeed.  They say of themselves:

‘oh comely is a magazine about people and their quirks and their creativity, rather than money and what it can buy.’

‘It’s a magazine that inspires people to be creative, talk to their neighbours and explore new things, rather than buy stuff or lose weight. Imagine sitting down with a cup of tea and a creative friend to hear all the strange things she says, all the curious stuff she does, and about the things she loves.’

You can buy a copy in WHSmith or subscribe here for £18 per year.

It did prompt a quick Rabbit Egg Cosy replenish as stock was very low.  I’d forgotten how tricky they are to make, getting the ears to match is a nightmare as they sit on a curve and tend to spring out at jaunty opposing angles, however much I baste them.

The linen is also very difficult to iron, even with a damp cloth and lots of steam.

Then again,  I am a bit of a perfectionist.

They are available to buy on my (fancy new! – more about that later) site or on Folksy.

I have 2 egg cosies for giveaway, cute though they are these ones have wayward ears and I’d feel bad selling them.  Just leave a comment, nothing more and I’ll pick two names out of the hat on Sunday 20th March, as always I’m happy to post Worldwide so this is open to everyone.  Nice and simple 🙂

Flying Bunnies….

I feel a bit guilty writing this post as essentially I’m writing to say that the Tweed Bunnies are finally listed in The Shop….only most have sold 😦 Sorry.  I listed them the other night and planned to follow up with an immediate post, but the photos aren’t great and I was hoping for better light today to get some new snaps and then show you the new additions but as it’s tipping it down right now, that’s not going to happen.

And so, here we have the new green purse, after an age searching the internet for decently priced feathers (as used in my own version) I had to abandon that idea and opt for a gold and bead collar similar to the brown purses.  Although these have sold out on my site, as this time of writing there are still 3 available on Folksy.  I have enough fabric to make a couple more, but these have already been promised to Family.

The turquoise and pink version (shocking photos, sorry) are also listed on my shop.  Again, this is the last of them as I only had limited amounts of tweed in these colours.

Right now, the brown tweed version has sold out but I will (hopefully) be making more.  To be honest, I need to concentrate on Linen Mice this week, but as a general rule the Bunny Purses are here to stay and will pop up every now and again in new seasonal colours, it just might not be for a while.  At least that’s that plan 🙂

Right, back to work, orders to pack and little boys to pick up.

Work in Progress: Tweed Bunny Purses…

After a brief rest whilst my poor old Bernina had a service, I’ve been frantically sewing every moment I can, partly to try and catch up on Christmas products (they should have all been listed early October) and also because the half term holidays are nearly here and I want to make sure I’m free to make the most of having the boys home and not trying to ‘keep them quiet’ whilst I sew.

And so, I’ve been working on tweed bunny purses in the hope that finally, over half-term, I can update my shop with new Winter products.  At least that’s the plan.

I had a nice twitter debate about which trim to use on the purses using the original tweed.  In the end I went with my favourite, the dark, almost chocolate red.  It’s quite grown up and my lovely tweet friends had differing opinions (thanks everyone who tweeted back, I do value your opinions) but I had similar thoughts about the purple version of the Foxes, that it might be too dark a colour for my usual customers and yet the Mr Fox in dandy purple flew so quickly they were gone in a week (thanks ladies who bought Foxes, so pleased to see them go off to their new homes).

I’ve also tweaked the pattern slightly to make sure the purse (or should it be bag?) can hold an iPhone, it’s only fractionally bigger but I think makes more sense.

I have many pending blog posts, including a couple of giveaway wins (lucky me :)) and some new buys, but for now I need to get back to the sewing, photographing, listing and cleaning, school runs, gardening and………… 🙂

 

Something for me…

I have lots of good intentions about things to make for the house and for myself, but realistically very little time to actually make them; I did however sit down last week and sew something just for me.

I’ve had this project in my head since our Yorkshire holiday, when I picked up quite a few pheasant feathers with the boys, I wanted to use them along with some tweed to make my own Bunny Purse.

Sadly, we didn’t collect enough and they have ended up with our other ‘found’ objects, sitting on the window sill.  Instead I raided my Millinery trimmings stash (you have NO idea how much this feather fringe costs, I used to buy it by the cm it’s that expensive) and came up with

I’d planned to use a brown tweed, one with quite a lot of texture but I fell so in love with the green bought recently from Fents that I changed my mind.

Oddly, as I took the tweed out to work with, the weight and texture felt very familiar, turns out it is the same one used as the recent Fox bodies, only in a green colour way (I mentioned in a recent post that the eBay supplier I buy from must source his fabrics from the same Mills as Fents as quite a few were familiar).

I didn’t want to crush the feathers, so my new purse travelled on the outside of my weekend bag to Yorkshire, where I was going to a surprise party for my sister’s 40th.  The party has been six months in the planning (by her boyfriend) and was a huge event, with a marquee at the Family farm, a number of bands (including a Take That tribute band), great food and of course great company.  I danced and danced, and quite frankly my legs still ache from a night in these heels strutting my stuff on the dance floor.  Incidentally, along with two of my cousins we were the last people standing and only retired at 3am, needless to say we all have young children and were a little over excited to be child free for the evening.

The purse was quite popular and it raised a few questions.  I made the lined cavity most of the body and head (in my first batch, only the body part is an actual purse) so I could fit my iPhone in; but along with an eye liner, some money and a lip balm, it was full.  Is this big enough?  I kind of feel if it gets any larger it might lose something.  Secondly, there was quite a lot of discussion about price so I was wondering how much you would feel comfortable paying for one?  Please don’t be shy to say, any thoughts are most welcome.

Right, back to the grind, I am getting all the Winter duvets onto the beds today and allowing my poor legs to recover by generally taking it easy 🙂

Not waving…

It’s all suddenly got a bit hectic around here.  Some of you lovely readers pre-ordered Mr Foxes, so I’ve finished and packed a couple more of those up (more on that later) and yesterday I sent this package on it’s way

to the Saint Patrick’s Trian Visitor Complex in Armagh.  As most of you know, I keep dodging the wholesale question, mainly because there is not enough profit for me to sell at wholesale prices with my current designs and fabrics.  It’s high on my list to correct, however Joy kindly offered me a deal that works within my budget and earlier this year I sent off some Linen Cats and Lavender Bags; the above is a re-order, which I am thrilled about.

The garden is taking up a lot of time as I try to keep up with the produce.  Above are sloes (they ripen very early down here) destined for sloe gin to keep our supplies up

and the cutting patch is also in full flow.  Today, I have been picking flowers for the house for a garden party tomorrow (M’s B-Day) and I’ve spent a huge amount of this week cleaning and tidying in preparation.  I should take photos as the house hasn’t looked so clean.

Quite a few people have asked and about the Foxes and the Tweed Bunny purses.  Yes, there will be Tweed Bunny purses in the shop, I haven’t made them yet but they are likely to be available as a general shop update in mid/late September (and will be about £14 + P&P).  Also, the Foxes will eventually go into the shop and there will be a Mrs version.  I am currently selling them at £30 plus P&P (which works out at about £3 as they need to be posted boxed) and I will be making the next batch early September at which time I will blog about them again, right now I have sold my first mini batch.  If you would like to reserve one, please let me know.  Oh and they are 38 cm high, just so you get an idea of size.

Finally, all my shops are now closed until the end of August as we are off on our summer jollies to ‘sunny’ Yorkshire.  I have packed up a single box with hand sewing but will mostly be out and about.  Best remember to pack the rain gear 😉

Sorry for a very disjointed post by I really am loosing the plot a little today.  Here’s hoping for a slightly relaxing holiday, at least I’ll come back to a tidy house!

All Smiles…

The holidays are still going well.  I am genuinely surprised how much sewing I’m managing and in such a way that I don’t feel guilty about ‘abandoning’ the boys either. One large factor is that they are playing quite a lot together, this has never really happened before but they appear to have hit an age that works for them both to be interested in the same games and it’s something I am very grateful for.  We are also still enjoying our daily walk which is a huge bonus and bodes well for our up-coming holiday in the Dales, but more on all that another time.

I was absolutely thrilled to get an unexpected package this morning from the lovely and very talented Mia (who makes the most beautiful felted and knitted bags and pouches, so worth checking out).  It’s a ‘thank you’ gift with card, for some recent orders Mia had placed with me (she was one of the people who pre-ordered a Mr Fox and wrote a blushingly nice post about him here).  How great is that?  You find people who like your work enough to buy some (and who return for more, always a good sign) and then they send you a gift as a thanks!! I could get very used to this 😉

Note the tweed, the felted bird, the colours (all so ‘me’) and the perfect touch of handmade notecard.  I was very smiley this morning.  Thank you Mia.

I also packed up an order for a Wool Bunny (in a Betsy Dress) for a friend who I sadly don’t get to see often enough.  I decided to pop an extra cape in with the package as I’ve been making them for the new Foxes, I’m pleased with how well they also fit the Wool Bunnies.

I always find the Bunnies quite difficult to pack; they go in a padded envelope, but really need an bit of extra protection

for the moment I use brown paper for a bit of added support but it’s one of those nagging packaging issues that bothers me.  Once I have planned all my new Winter products I’ll take some time to look at possible new solutions.

Right, I have plenty to do this afternoon, including making new Betsy dresses as I’m down to my last one, quick coffee and play with the boys then back to it!

Easter Bunnies…

I mentioned a while ago about buying some tweed that arrived smelling rather musty, it was no use for the intended project  but I knew straight away I would like to use it for making tweed bunny purses

All the tweed has been washed, which has slightly thickened it (a bonus in this case) and I’ve made up a batch of four to see how they go in the shop (not yet listed but due on Folksy soon) and maybe I’ll tweak the design a little.  I haven’t made a purse before but I have made bags so have a pretty good idea of interlinings etc and it was great fun trying out the different processes.

I made a little extra work for myself by using concealed zips but I think they look really nice and tidy

and I lined up the fabric on either side which looks pretty neat

the insides are lined in ‘Snow Flower’ fabric by Westminster which I was saving for next Christmas but it was so perfect for the job.  What do you mean, they look a lot like a certain golden wrapped confectionary available in every store at this time of year?  I have no idea what you’re talking about.  Oh, OK, it’s not mere chance, I was eating a mini one when the tweed arrived and I thought, “now there’s an idea for Easter”, which no doubt you will have noticed I am too late for, serves me right for taking so long to put a thought into action.  Still, next year I can pretty much guarantee a golden linen or tweed version complete with bell.

I wasn’t sure about the face and how much to do so opted for some understated whiskers and bead eyes, I always notice that the glass bead eyes make the Bright Birds come ‘alive’ so I figured it might work here.  I also added a detachable wrist strap, this was in the plan from the beginning, either in case bought for children (less lightly to lose) or if used by a grown up for, say, a Wedding as I hate trying to hold a purse and glass of champagne at the same time 😉  I write this because I am desperately waiting for someone to have an Autumn or Winter Wedding so I can wear either of these,

both of which I made on Millinery courses at the London College of Fashion, many years ago when I wanted to brush up and improve on skills learnt on my Degree, I rather liked the idea of setting myself up as a Milliner, something I might still do down the line.

Right, enough, time to go and look after the boys and think about their tea.  Was that Spring by the way?  has it been and gone and we are now in Autumn?  Oh, so British, always moaning about the weather!

Bunny Egg Cosy…

Last night I finished the first batch of Bunny Egg Cosies so I’ve just taken a quick photo for the blog.  A real photo session will be needed but I’ll wait until I’ve made up some other new designs and the light is better.

It is pretty much as doodled last year in my sketch book (optimistically entitled ‘Easter’ I noted…I only made a fraction of the designs up as I ran out of time).

They have cute red herringbone brushed cotton linings to keep the eggs cosy and I even used my new scary maroon labels.

The labels have been inserted into the lining side seam, on the original Egg Cosies I stitched them flat into the back but it’s quite time consuming to do it neatly and get them straight.

They are a bit ‘Winter’ looking and not very ‘Spring’ like if you know what I mean.  I am torn between a kind of  fairytale-woodland-creature-deep-red and a more modern pale-linen-against-bright-cotton design style at the moment.  It could be the snow that’s throwing me back into Winter colours (or the fact that it is, after all, Winter!) but I like to try and keep a ‘collection’ feel about my designs so need to get into a colour palette and stick to it.  I am also running out of the beloved Lecien ‘My Folklore’ fabric used above for the ears, which I also use on the Cashmere Bears so need to go easy on that.

In the meantime I am waiting for M to return from the US (Hurrah!  Thai take away, wine and a huge backlog of TV to watch tonight, Lost, House, Heros, Wallander…have I ever mentioned my addiction to US TV shows?  Don’t think less of me ;)), he is also bringing back some fabric I ordered on Etsy which I am most excited about.

I am in the process of dying linen for the new mice in the machine.  I used to love dying fabric when I was designing and making costumes, I could spend many a happy hour mixing colours but it’s not the same doing it in your own washing machine.  The last lot I did was a dark navy and I swear, no matter how many cleaning washes I did the dye was there for weeks, seeping into my whites.  I said then I wouldn’t do it again but I made a mistake buy a while ago of a large amount of natural Linen, I then made it  worse by over washing it causing pilling.  I’m hoping a dye session followed by some good ironing will make is useable, we’ll see I guess.

Right, best get the house into order before M gets home.