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 🙂

The Owls Are Back…!

It’s been a while since I made a batch of owl lavender bags (2011 was the last time, I believe), they were one of my first designs and I got a bit bored with making them, to be honest.

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But as tends to happen, I suddenly missed them so though I’d make some more.

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I’d planned to take lots of making photos, but they were mostly stitched in the recent damp period, otherwise known as Rainageddon and dark skies make for crappy photos.  Also, I’ve had a couple of totally blatant copying issues recently, thankfully easily sorted but still upsetting and it makes me feel nervous of how much I want to reveal about my making process here on the blog.  I’d feel sad not to show the usual photos, but I can’t help but notice people often pin them on their ‘going to make for the next craft fair’ boards and I’m not talking about the pretty final product shots, I am talking about the images of inside out rabbits etc, so they are clearly being pinned to help work out how to best copy my work and it makes me think that maybe I shouldn’t reveal so much here, as often the construction is half the battle of working out a design.  I’m getting paranoid in my old age (not that it would take that much effort to work out how to copy this owl and I’m talking about other designers openly claiming an exact copy of my work as their own on promotional sites, not people just making a version for themselves).

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Ah the stack photo, as always it makes me very happy 🙂

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I’ve started to take new photos of all my current stock, especially as Create have finally changed to high res images THANK GOD!! I tell you, my main gripe with their otherwise excellent web hosting service was the awful compressed image quality, for an ‘art’ based seller of any kind it’s a deal beaker really.

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You can find them here.

Apple Lavender Bags…

I’ve been planning these for a very, very long time.  The final design is blatantly inspired by all those fabulous apple fabrics that are out there, but the initial idea came from a very different project, one which I will reveal once I get it worked out and ready for the shop.  I honestly hadn’t thought about teachers gifts until they were nearly finished, but they work well for this so I though I had better stop doodling different versions (which, as I’ve already said, I’ve been doing for well over a year now in my notebook!) and get them made.

I had fun working out all the details…

and I especially like the little glass faceted ‘pips’.

I (stupidly) always wanted to make them in linen, hand dyed to match all my other products where I also use dyed linen.  I forgot that linen is a bug*er to iron and that the endless creases would really annoy me.  Also, I ruined one lavender bag by over water spraying it before ironing and it led to some of the red leaching into the bright white linen on the front and leaving pink stains.  Lesson learnt there and the downside of hand dying, no matter how much I rinse the fabric, some colour will always run a little if washed too hot.

I thought the red one would be my favourite but then I made the green and there is something about the topaz pips and fresh apple green colour that I like just a little bit more.

I had planned to hand stitch my tape labels on the back, they just didn’t work placed in the side seam, where I would normally put them, but the linen just creased and I struggled to make it tidy so I abandoned that idea and have added swing tags fastened to the front with some lovely black bulb pins I bought forever ago from Merchant and Mills.  I imagine these to look really nice hanging on a kitchen cupboard door, in fact that’s exactly where one will be going in our house.  I am also giving them as teachers gifts this year, I plan to get the boys to write a message on the back that I will machine embroider.  Job done 🙂

You can find them here.

It’s all Yellow…

I have spent the day so far cleaning, not as in the last post nice spring cleaning but necessary monotonous cleaning.  It’s dull and I’m bored of it now so I’ve sneaked back into the studio to do a quick post of some new goodies in the shop.

I mentioned in the last post that I had other plans for the new yellow floral fabric and one of those was a small batch of linen mice, I generally need to re-stock these and I plan to mostly stick with the original dots for the girls but I couldn’t resist a few in yellow for spring.

I also made some new Little Birds using the above as a lead for the colours

all pinks, yellows and some purple.

They have been mounted on their cards,

photographed (badly, very dodgy tones there, one to re-photograph on a brighter day) and listed in the shop.  I have also listed them on Folksy and was pleased to find some orders waiting for me this morning, it’s always nice when new things sell, means I’ve got them right.

OK, back to the cleaning and then school run, where does the time go?  I think this week si going to fly by 🙂

This and that…

I’m gradually getting through my Christmas list, both in shop products and presents and I don’t feel nearly as stressed as I did last year.  I have also been ‘home alone’ for a while as M has been working in the US, the bonus is I get some new (cheaper) fabric (good old Etsy), the down is I usually get very tired with the sleepless nights due to our boys not being the best at actually sleeping.

It’s been OK though, C likes to keep me company when I’m sewing and spends many happy hours building various creations from whatever box he has dragged out of the playroom.

Felix is happy making picnics to eat in the ‘cinema’, the above made me laugh a lot, I usually have a firm say in what makes it to the picnic tray but he sneaked downstairs at the weekend and collected some things ‘all by myself Mummy,’ ah yes, that would be why there is a mountain of chocolate and a single carrot….with butter on it….hummm.

I have managed to finish some new lavender birds based on last year’s design so now ‘Snow Blossom‘ and ‘Gold‘ lavender birds are listed over at The Linen Cat.

As I am being very random in this post I feel the need to show you some new goodies that I photographed but have never blogged about.  Above it a fantastic plate by JIMBOBART which I bought ages ago for M’s 40th as a gift from the boys; we made a nice cake to serve on it.  I had fully intended to include this when I was blogging my Mr Badgers but forgot, I would buy everything in this shop and was lucky to receive a free print due to a (very slight and well communicated) delay in the order.

Bonus.

I am also getting ahead on buying some lovely Christmas gifts from other folk in the handmade community.  These are for the boys who both love having secret notebooks to scribble, draw and stick things in.  They are by the fabulously talented Fiona T who I have bought from before and who very generously made me the ninja notebook as a special request.  I am so in love with her zombies and ninjas but there are some lovely things for girls and grownups as well so do pop over and check the shop out.

Finally I’d like to say a HUGE thanks for the lovely comments on the last Mr Badger post, I am way behind with my replies, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I was so pleased they received such a positive response and quite sad to see them go, even though that’s a good thing.  I have also found some great new blogs recently from people leaving comments and have enjoyed some lovely email conversations with online ‘friends’, it reminds me just how great this whole internet malarkey is.

Right, I am surrounded by linen mice limbs, tweed purses and acorns so I’ll crack on 🙂

It’s raining, it’s pouring (again)…

Everything is sopping wet.  To be honest I don’t mind, the dirt on the roads and pavements after the snow was really quite depressing and I’m happy it’s all getting washed away, plus it means I can hole up in the house, sewing and baking and pretending I can’t see all the mess and dust that I should be dealing with (I so need a cleaner).

I have lists both on paper and in my head of things I’d like to make, new products, things that never made it into the shop last year and new colour ways of firm favourites.  I go to sleep each night with this list running through my head then I suddenly think of another thing to add, it never stops really, my head is very busy.

The big difference is I am under no pressure (other than my own) to do anything, I can make as much or as little as I like and I do prefer to work this way, especially after the madness of the end of last year.

For this reason I have a number of projects on the go, but most of the week I’ve been batching up new Lavender Owls.  I ran out last Autumn but after rustling some up for the Saint Patrick’s Trian Visitor Complex I remembered how nice they are and how cheerful the colours and I felt in the mood for bright stripes, so here they are

listed on Folksy

but for now, not on my Linen Cat site as I’m busy creating a new one with a different hosting company which I hope to make live soon.  Or not.  It all depends on what I decide to do off the list next 🙂

Busy, busy, busy…

It’s still all very hectic around here but I am starting to feel like I’m getting there.  Thanks for all your great comments on the Ballerina and Fairy Mice, they’ve rather flown and many to people who read this blog, which is always a pleasure.

There’s one Ballerina left here and three Fairies spread between my site and Folksy.  My sister has put an order in for any that don’t sell soon (she is one of my best customers and has lots of friends with young children, sometimes I have to hide things from her or she tries to buy them before I can list them.  I know, I’m very lucky) so I’m happy knowing they will all go to good homes.

I also found a few more Lavender Birds that have been added to the SALE section and whilst I was stuffing those (I always stuff all my lavender bags to order so that they go out ‘fresh’) I filled a few more blackbirds as they seem to be selling quite well (also in the SALE).

Today I managed to take extra photographs of the new Lavender Birds,

I know many of you were kind enough to tell me there was nothing wrong with the original images but the ‘blue’ tone on the white background was really annoying me so I’ve taken them backed on a slightly off-white paper, it feels a little softer.

So, my plan is to crack on next week and in an ideal world finish all my commissions and also the Superhero Mice (which I know some of you are waiting for) then, quite frankly, take a sewing break.  I’m desperate to give the house a good clean and the garden is in need of a tidy plus I’ve promised the boys we’ll get our tree.  I’d like to approach Christmas at a calmer pace (I still have many…oh, OK, most of my presents to buy although I do have some goodies to show you in my next post) and part of that involves admitting defeat in that any further plans I had for Christmas shop products need to get shelved until next year and I feel OK with that, I managed quite a lot in rather a short time so I’m happy 🙂

The Early Bird…or in this case Owl…

I am home alone (again) and the boys were up early today – 4.55 am!  I know in my heart anytime after 5am it’s best to get up and get on but today I tried to go back to sleep.  I had to bring Mr C upstairs to the big bed where F was already lounging after coming up the middle of the night, I tried stern Mummy voice, “back to sleep boys!” and of course they wriggled and giggled and them jumped all over the bed.  I lay there wondering if I should buy an old CoffeeMaid (can you still get those?? better still, is there a ‘full-english-breakfast-maid’?) for future early mornings then I dragged my tired butt into the bathroom and got on with it.

The good thing about all these early mornings is how much work I am getting done, it adds an extra few hours to the day, after a coffee and with the aid of cbeebies I can sew guilt free until it warms up enough to open the doors and head outside with the boys.

I have noticed on Google Analytics (which I have set up on the shop pages) that the biggest search hit bringing people to the shop is ‘Lavender Bags’, more importantly I am on the first search page (Google UK search that is not the whole world, I am not up for world domination yet! – I just checked and I am back down to second page but it’s still fantastic) so for the purpose of keeping up stock levels, for the past couple of days I have been sewing new owl lavender bags.  I took a few ‘in progress’ photos and here they are:

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It’s been a while since I made these, first I had to cut new patterns (the old were the originals on paper scraps, they are now in brown paper and fully marked up) then I cut out all the pieces needed.  I find a production line method works best for me, it took the best part of a day (whilst on Mummy duty and with a walk in the woods etc) to get these cut out.

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At this stage I was thinking I’d forgotten how long they take to make, stitching the eyes on drives me a bit nuts after a while.  As you can see feet, ribbon etc are stitched into place before putting the backs on, I find this a lot easier then trying to get them straight whilst stitching both sides together and it ruins the final owl if the ribbon doesn’t hang correctly.  After taking this photo I changed the back fabric to a plain pistachio green cotton which works much better than the gingham planned.

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This is my favourite bit, turning them out and having a neat little stack of owls.  I store them like this, stuffing with lavender to order (or in small batches) so as to keep the lavender fresh.

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The linen on the candy striped owl (which is about to hang on my kitchen wall units I like it that much) is vintage linen which was a set of curtains from the 60’s bought by my Gran and is in amazingly good condition.

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The back of the blue stripe owl is in lovely funky floral fabric which is the perfect finishing touch.

Right, I am in need of another coffee in order to keep going as I am starting to feel the lack of sleep now:)