Spring Birds…

I’m clearing more of my list in anticipation of not being able to do a lot of sewing next week.

This project has been sitting in a box since last March when I bought the fabric (Water Bouquet in mint by Amy Butler, bought from Saints and Pinners and blogged about here), cut out the pieces, made up the ribbon tails but got no further.  Quite simply I didn’t like my ribbon choices and never quite mustered the enthusiasm to stitch them together.

After a play around at my desk, I changed the tail colour and felt happy with my new choice.  It is very green but with the bright splashes of colour in the body works well, I did try some pink and some gold in with the green but it just looked messy.

The obligatory ‘lined-up’ shot, minus the eyes in this case.

I spent today attempting to photograph all the new stock, but it was really hard to capture the colours.  In the end I went for an over exposed shot of the Lavender Bird, even though it washes the colours out a little they are truer than when using the auto settings.

For now they are listed here on Folksy.  As I’m still working on the new site, I see little point adding new stock to the existing one (which is still very much up and running, I should add).

Phew, that’s another thing ticked off, right what’s next? 😉

New Winter Lavender Birds…

Well, as the title suggests I have finally completed the new lavender birds

they are both in fabrics I bought last year specifically for the project, the fabulous Snow Flower/Blossom (which is the nicest Christmas fabric ever, not too over the top but the perfect shade of red) by Dena Designs for Free Spirit Fabrics and Amy Butler’s Wall Flower in gold.

I’ve exchanged the usual brown bead eye for black glass, I love the little glass bead eyes on my felt birds, they always seem to really bring them alive so I’m following suit here.

Although the designs are led by the fabrics used, I also took inspiration from this postcard which faces me every day as it is pinned to my noticeboard; it’s by ‘Belle & Boo‘ and I love the mix of red, beige and white,  so decided to use a similar combination for the Snow Flower bird tail.

In fact, whilst I’m mentioning Mandy Sutcliffe’s lovely work, I should also show you this cushion bought really quite a long time ago but never blogged (at least I think not blogged, apologies if I’m showing you this twice).

These colours are all very ‘me’ and fit perfectly into our house, I love the hand embroidered detail on the tree.

Back to the birds.  Again, I’m struggling to get decent photos, I really need to invest in some professional lights, not just for photographs but it’s becoming quite difficult to work in the evenings as I can’t really see what I’m doing,

still, I figured it was more important to get the new birds listed, I can always change the images at a later date.

Both birds can be found on Folksy and at my on-line Shop and any Lavender Birds from past Seasons are now in the SALE section so grab a bargain whilst you can.

Ticking the list off…

I’ve knuckled down a bit here and thanks to a rainy day today have worked though some more of the half done projects.

First up I finished the lavender stack.  It’s pretty high when piled up (it will be fastened with a nice ribbon and tag for selling) so I’m now wondering if I should actually sell them in stacks of two instead?  I should also mention these are quite big 13 x 12 cm in fact and stuffed only with lavender, also the backs are in plain linen, which annoyingly cost more than the Echino so was a bit of a stupid move.

I guess they would then be sold in the pairs above, I haven’t worked out the pricing yet but it’s going to be about £15 for a 4 stack and £7.50 for a 2 stack (before P&P), all thoughts on this are most welcome.

I also spent today making up some new brown Linen Cats (shocking light today so please excuse the photos)

I used to make a dark-ish green linen cat but I found the weave a bit flat in colour whereas this brown has a different warp and weft thread so it has a bit more life to it.  I really like the green button eyes.

I had some dresses already made up but still need to pick the final bead details (for the ‘hair’) and the third is a boy so he needs his tweed trouser/scarf combo.

So, all in all a pretty productive day.  I want to work through all my open projects (which could take some time) and then sort out the studio.  We are having the flooring fitted downstairs soon (wooden over electric under floor heating) and it’s the final biggie of the house, I have become mightily sick of staring at the cheap unfitted lino and I’m ready to put skirting on and pictures up throughout the house, after 4 years here now I think I’ve earned that 🙂

Bunny Love…

It’s been one of those days today, I woke, did the school runs, did my run (I’m getting a lot better and have dropped most of the intervals but would love to see a bit of weight loss, hey-ho) bathed then arrived downstairs knowing I only had 1 hour before picking Mr C up.  As always, I had soooo many jobs I wanted to do and struggled to decide which ones to attack first, I feel like I’m treading water at the moment but my pyjamas are running out of air quicker than I can blow them back up! (do they still do that in swimming exams?)

I am so far behind in my blog reading I have stopped commenting, the garden is taking up a lot of my time and I haven’t even had a chance to re-read through the comments from the Giveaway.  I realised I never thanked everyone for taking the time to drop by and say ‘hello’, it really is a pleasure to read what has been written, so…huge thank you!

Back to the subject at hand, I have been lapse in many areas and am trying to catch-up, I always feel a lot better as I tick of the mental list in my head so I have pushed myself to complete some open projects and hurrah! I have finished the latest batch of Bunny Lavender Bags.  I think they will be the last as I’m out of wool serge and much as I love them they are quite time consuming.

They are available online at The Shop and also on Folksy.

I am not only having bunny love at the moment but the Ellie fabric from Michael Miller is my new favourite so I finished the first batch of Lavender Birds in new colours starting with this

I have changed the ‘tweed’ wings to linen but otherwise they are to the old design, it’s one I really like and I have a number of these hanging around the house.

Right, I had better get back to the list and to reduce it before M’s next US trip, which is imminent ash cloud and strike permitting, or I really will need more than a pair of PJ’s to keep me afloat!

Here comes the rain again…and again…

Well isn’t it just sods law that come half term and all it does is rain.  It’s getting into the time of year when the garden will start to take up more time, as always I am sure most of April will be spent pottering in the vegetable patch and I would have liked to get a head start over half term as well as get the boys outside for a good run around but hey-ho the bright side is I get to sew instead 🙂

So, I have been batching up Cashmere Bears as they have proved very popular, especially in the woodland print

and, I finally got around to starting the new Lavender Bunnies.  The basic wool shapes were cut out back in Jan 09 when I made the first batch but I found them quite a chore and only did half so I’ve been putting off the new batch.  It makes sense to get them in the shop in time for Easter as they do make quite a nice alternative gift to chocolate, or better still, as well as chocolate!

I was quite enjoying myself until the final stitching then I remembered why I was in no hurry to make more.  Still I do like them in the Kaffe Fassett Asha, which is sadly hard to see in these photos as the light really isn’t helping to show the colours at their best, they are much brighter and prettier in real life.

I will make some in girly colors for the next batch which will use up the final pre-cut shapes then they may get relegated to the ‘past design’ box despite their popularity  (I still have to stuff them with lavender which I also remember was a bit of a nightmare, getting the lavender into all the corners through a small gap).

As I wrote recently, I am rather in love with the Kaffe Fassett, Asha and Dots fabrics at the moment.  I had seen them a number of times over at Saints and Pinners but they hadn’t taken my fancy until choosing fabric for the Linen Mice, now I can’t get enough.  Oddly, I had a look though a few other K F fabrics but really didn’t like many, so maybe that’s why I had dismissed them so easily.

I have been trying to photograph the finished Linen Mice ready for listing but the weather is making it rather difficult, still, here are the last two colour versions and I am oh so in love with the boy mouse with his yellow shirt and brown cord shorts.  I don’t like to have favourites but if pushed brown mouse wins my heart.

Best off and get the boys dressed as we need to do a food top-up shop.  Hope those of you with children are enjoying half term and the rest of you are avoiding any public place with kid appeal, in order to keep your sanity!

Where did they go…?

When I came to pack up the Bunny Lavender Bags photographed the last post (thank’s Kirsten!) I was surprised their storage box looked like this

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where did they all go?  Well I guess that’s a daft question, I’ve sold them all except the last lonely three left, of which I plan to keep one as a sample.

When I originally made them, my husband was not keen, he really didn’t like them so much so that I gave them a low price and then they went in the sale with a really, really low price.  They then turned out to be one of my best sellers which just proves my husband knows nothing about these things and I should trust my instinct.

A little trip down iPhoto memory lane reminds me I had a nightmare marking out the patterns

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and that the originals were to have button tails and were to come in four colour ways

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but my finished Bunnies were most definitely cute enough

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so much so that I will miss them and plan to make more after a Bunny break, probably next year now and most definitely in time for Easter (yes, yes I am always thinking ahead for the shop, sorry), but for now there are two green ones left on Folksy ready to hop away and when they’re gone, they’re gone!…well ’till next year anyway.

Phew, stress over…

Well, the first day of school went well.  I was, as I wrote in my last post, a bit anxious, mainly about the routine and commitment (no deciding on a whim to go off for the day) but after dropping F off I came back to the house and felt very calm and stress free.  OK, so Mr C was still demanding attention but it was quite blissful only having once child to look after and it has dawned on me how much work I will be able to get done, who knows, I may even clean the house!  I should point out that F had a nice day, he was pretty indifferent to be honest, I fear once he realises he has to go every day he wont be a happy bunny but time will tell.

The builders are cracking on, they have demolished the back of the house and are busy building it back up, we have new windows already and I am very impressed with their progress.  It’s almost nice that the living room is chaos as I just have to accept that’s how it is going to be for a few weeks and not get stressed about cleaning.  This allows me to sew guilt free and I have finally made a start on the new colour hanging birds/lavender bags,

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which in turn has allowed me to go on a bit of a ribbon buying spree.  I ordered quite a bit from Ribbon Oasis, they have a good selection at a fair price.  I love shopping online as I can be quite firm about not over ordering, I have a tendency in a good haberdashery store to buy lots of things I don’t need but fall in love with.

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I still need brown ribbon then a big photo session is in order of the new Autumn/Winter stock so I can update the shop and Folksy.

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:)

And relax…sigh…

I’ve had a really nice day today.  Don’t get me wrong, I often have really nice days but it has been a bit hectic and stressful around here recently and today everything seemed to slow down to a nice relaxing pace.  The boys let me sleep until 6.30 which is pretty good for them and (forgot to mention in last post that we are all sick) all our colds are nearly gone, just a few coughs from the boys and my cheese grated throat feels normal, in fact I feel quite perky which is good as M has drunk our substantial stock of Night Nurse…I think he may have an addiction here as I am always buying it but personally only use it about 3 times a year, if that…he get’s ‘man flu’ a lot!

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So, after a bit of a ‘lie-in’ I spent the day embroidering Christmas products (more about that at a more appropriate time of year) and making a Teddy for a cousins new baby girl, Poppy, what a lovely name.  I put a ‘P’ on teddy’s belly which was a plan that’s been in my head for some time, I will have to decide if I can face making this personalised version to order in the shop, as having young kids, my time isn’t very consistent so I generally prefer to offer ready made stock.

I had time to potter in the vegetable patch and made an Irish stew which I am going to have for dinner tonight with parsley dumplings.   I may even treat myself to a movie (we have Apple TV so we can buy movies on-line from ITunes).  Of course Mr F is testing my patience trying to kill Charlie every few minutes but that’s the way it always is so I just need to get on with that one.  

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Finally I cleared up the Studio in an attempt at ‘tidy home, tidy mind’ or in may case ‘bit tidier, bit less stress/guilt’.  I found all the old samples that evolved into Teddy so laid them out for a photo.  One of my original designs on paper was for a ‘lavender sleep bunny’ for babies.  I abandoned the lavender quite quickly on the basis that anything in bed with a baby will need washing at some point and soggy lavender, even if mixed in with stuffing didn’t seem like a good idea.  You can see the progress above, lavender bunny developed into my Wool Baby Bunnies and the original pattern was used as a base to create Teddy (have to think of a proper name).  I find it helps if I use the same basic, simple shapes and patterns for similar  products, so the shop has an overall continuity.

To add to the sweetness of my day, F decided that the original Teddy sample had been made for him and took it to bed to cuddle, which is pretty amazing for a 4 yr old who is obsessed with plastic Gormiti and Ben 10.  OK. Time to go and heat up my stew and sort out that movie.