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!

And the winner is…….

Jill of I should have listened to my Mother blogspot (Jill writes a lovely blog, you should go and check it out) who wrote comment No. 16.  As you can see, I didn’t use the old random number generator, I enlisted the help of my glamorous assistant (oh and mental note: do remember to tidy the background of the shot next time – doh!) and he obliged only after I took photos of his new Gormitis, he was a bit grumpy so I’ll be using the younger but happier to help glamorous assistant next time!  He’s cuter but slightly harder to control.

So, one of the gang will be on it’s way to Jill soon, after which I will pop the rest in the shop.  I have been in the studio quite a bit this week working on some replenishment products in new colours, which deserve a post of their own but I wanted to ‘announce the winner’ before heading outside to make the most of this lovely weather.  I hope you are having some sun and a very relaxing weekend 🙂

Memory Lane…

It’s been busy around here.  I was ‘home alone’ again for a while as M travelled with work and if I’m honest I found it hard, it started OK with both boys sleeping well but went swiftly downhill midweek and I gave up my run for sleeping (and I must note, I am most grateful for having the opportunity to go back to bed after dropping the boys off, it’s been a long time since I could sleep during the day).  Still it all improved over the weekend when I cadged a lift to Yorkshire with my sister to visit ‘home’ and attend my 20 year school reunion…..20 years…..I feel old!

On arrival we made a trip to Hubberholme Church where my family are originally from, to visit and clear the grave where my Gran’s ashes are buried.  It’s rare to find time to drive up there but it’s a beautiful setting.

The graveyard has a number of family stones and it was only when we buried my Gran’s ashes that it became apparent I have a family name (Elizabeth Anne Foster) which is purely an accident I am told, sadly many of the older Foster stones have eroded so much in the Yorkshire winds that there is very little left to read.

The church does get a lot of ‘weather’ being so far up Dale and the windows are all protected by mesh outside to protect the glass and stop the birds nesting, this makes it quite dark inside

although it didn’t stop my sister and I from hunting for mice carved on the pews by Robert Thompson (The Mouseman of Kilburn), as we did during our rare visits as children.

The reunion was fun, quite strange but great to see so many old faces.  The slightly surreal feel to the occasion was amplified by lots of old teachers turning up, they looked rather startled and huddled together in a corner around a table, I imagine it was trickier for them to pretend they might know who we all were than for us to remember our favourite teachers.

I then spent a very relaxing Sunday at my sister’s cottage cooking for Yorkshire friends, walking with my brother and sister in the afternoon (I don’t think we have been together, just the 3 of us for years) and relaxing.  It felt quite odd not having the boys to look after, especially as the lunch guests had similar aged children, odd but very pleasant if I’m honest (must do that more often ;)). The cottage is such a nice place to be, I was pleased to see a couple of my Linen Bunnies perched on the sofa and I finally got to see all the Roman Blinds I had made in situ.

The massive (well, they all are actually) blind above was made for the kitchen (more about that here) and it fitted perfectly with the view, echoing the trees.

It made all the hard work (for those who regularly read my blog, you may remember I didn’t enjoy making these blinds, they were very large to sew) worth while.

It was also nice to see some of my Gran’s cross stitch on the walls in the form of a calendar hanging, she was always stitching or knitting, it reminds me how nice it is to have handmade ‘things’ to hand down to future generations, every time I look at a piece of her work I think of my Gran.

Sadly the weekend came to an abrupt close as we had to leave early Monday to dash back to London, we were rather sad to drive away on what promised to be a gorgeous morning and miss out on all the village May Day activities, we’d already planned our day and it included a Bettys trip for brunch, thank goodness you can shop there on-line!

OK, time to close the laptop, you can still enter the giveaway and thanks for all your lovely comments so far, I forgot to mention I can’t reply to them (in case I use the old random number generator, as my comments would also be given a number), it’s been especially nice to hear from some of you ‘lurkers’, being a committed blog lurker myself 🙂

101st post?!! Blog Anniversary Giveaway…

Ha, ha, so I wanted to do a Giveaway for my 100th post but I have somehow got myself muddled so this is in fact the 101th post Giveaway…oh, well, the best laid plans and all that 😉

I guess I should really write about how much I love blogging (which I do) and how I enjoy the on-line community it has brought (which is also true) but instead I’m going to waffle on about my favourite product, the Linen Cats & Bunnies.

OK, so the first shop item I ever made was a Linen Bunny, which I created for my oldest son (now about to turn 5!) followed by a Cat version and that’s how The Linen Cat was born, as simple as that.  They remain one of my favourite things to make, not least because I don’t make any two alike, I will often make more than one dress or set of trousers in the same fabric but they will always have different trimmings.

(I have just checked my blog for a link to the full bunny story only to realise that this is a double celebration as The Linen Bunny itself is now 2 years old!!)

It’s been a while since I made any, as they sell in flits, nothing for a while then I’ll sell quite a few, usually to the same family or group of friends, so it appears that they sell better in ‘the flesh’ as it where.  I think the price might put people off as compared to many homemade looking, but mass produced softies they cost more but they take quite a long time to make and the material costs are one of the highest, I also think the attention to detail doesn’t come over very well in the photos and the restriction on MrSite to 1 photo is a bit of an issue (I could pay to upgrade, allowing me 3, but I am a little unhappy with some bugs on MrSite right now).

Finally, the ‘not suitable for children under 36 months due to small parts’ I know puts people off.  Quite a few Linen Cats & Bunnies have been given as Christening presents and I guess most sensible parents would not be daft enough to put an item with buttons and beads in bed with a chewing baby, or allow them to play unsupervised….I could loose all the beads/buttons but I so love the detail of the back button on the boys tweed trousers, I’m not sure I could part with that.

So, for giveaway, we have either the Oatmeal Girl Linen Cat in Flower Dress with Red Buttons (as above) OR an Oatmeal Boy Linen Cat in Tweed Trousers with Red Trim (also as above).  The winner can choose which of the two they want.  To enter, please simply leave a comment on this post.  That’s all, nothing fancy just say ‘hi’.  I will close the giveaway on Friday 14th May (midnight BST) and I’m happy to post worldwide so anyone can enter (but the package will be sent by Airmail so might take a while).

Finally, I know you know this, but I really enjoy reading everyones comments on my blog and I totally appreciate anyone who takes the time to write.  I do try to reply and rest assured that anyone I know about I do also read your blogs, some as a lurker and some ‘out in the open’, I am just quite bad at leaving comments sometimes, for which, I do apologise 🙂

I’m back….sort of…

After the blog lull of the Easter Holidays everyone else seems to be back in the swing of things and I am feeling suitably guilty at my lack of posts.  We had a nice break, once we got over the flu/cold/eye infections, we made the most of the beautiful weather with lots of trips to our local parks, zoos and woods and there was a daily ‘picnic’ in the garden for the boys lunch.  I have to admit though, I was ready for them to go back to school, they had become a little bored towards the end and I was starting to feel like one of those stressed entertainers you see at some kids party, all smiles and jolly faces, frantically trying to keep the kids entertained but inside screaming, “get me out of here!”.

I was holding off blogging in the hope of showing you all my lovely new makes but I am finding myself distracted by the house which I want to Spring clean and decorate (and tidy first!) and there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  I have found time to made a start on some new Linen Cats and Bunnies,

there is a bit of a boy shortage in the shop plus it will soon be my 100th post so I am planning to give one away (I will hopefully be blogging the giveaway shortly, once the girls are completed).  As you can see I am enjoying the bright colours of Spring flowers in our garden and this is reflected in my fabric and trimmings choice.

That is, of course, the final distraction, April is rather a busy time in the garden but things are getting under control now so I should be able to spend some proper time in the studio soon and finally finish some of the projects in process, now wont that be nice!

In love with green…

Blimey, it’s been a while since my last post, I have slightly lost my sewing Mojo recently and have been busy with other things.  I started running again last week, with Mr C in Pre-school I finally have the time and I am not really a gym kind of girl, I get very bored but I love being outdoors so running it is.  I have found a nice route directly from C’s Pre-school through a quiet lane and then out into the fields, I am not a natural runner, I find it quite difficult but I run in intervals (at the moment run 3, walk 2) which means I get to have a good look at my surroundings in between huffing and puffing my way along, I love watching the seasons change on my run route and really need to loose some weight after having the boys so this suits me very well.

I’m loving the green everywhere, we have been lucky to have so many sunny days, all the garden is springing into life and I have been planting seeds like crazy.  We made the most of the weather at the weekend with a trip to Groombridge Gardens and Enchanted Forrest, near Tunbridge Wells in Kent.  The boys loved it, the peacocks were giving us plenty of tail displays

and I fell in love with the woods and all their fun details including these little ‘fairy’ houses along the river banks.

It was also my Birthday over the weekend.  I don’t really do much these days, I was very pleased to get a lie in and nice breakfast complete with a Paddington Bear cake and balloons, hummm, wonder who chose those those then!

C, has rediscovered F’s Linen Bunny.  Mr C has a Linen Cat but he had the above in bed for cuddles after waking in the night and taking him down from the shelves, C was feeding him carrots at dinner the other night, it’s sweet to see as this really is mainly a plastic toy household now the boys are getting older.

Despite not doing a lot of sewing I have a number of projects in the pipeline.  I fell in love with the above Water Bouquet in mint by Amy Butler (from Saints and Pinners) for making new Lavender Birds, I love picking out the ribbons for the tails.

There are other new designs that need to be made up into samples,  just need to get sewing instead of prancing around the garden planting things and absorbing the sun, on which note I had better get on as the day is disappearing fast.  I win the award for the most uses of the word ‘love’ in one blog by the way 😉

I hope you are as lucky with the weather as we are and are finally feeling the effects of Spring.

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

DSC_0239

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

DSC_0277

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

DSC_0283

but my finished Bunnies were most definitely cute enough

DSC_0278

DSC_0281

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.

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

DSC_0258

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.

girlbunnyapplessm

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.

girlcatredrhbluesm

girlcatrussianpinksm

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

girlbunnypinkanaluciasm

girlcathorsegreensm

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!

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!

DSC_0234

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.

DSC_0237

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!

The Boys are back in Town…

First, a completely non craft bit.  I was very lucky to see The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain at the BBC Proms on Tuesday night and they were excellent.  I get to see quite a few Proms as my sister always gets tickets but Tuesday was great fun, so much so that I keep listening to concert on the iPlayer , it’s only available for the next few days so sorry if you are reading this post down the line.  For anyone with kids you may have seen TUOGB on Space Pirates (or 4 members of the group) doing their version of The Proclaimers ‘I would walk 500 miles’, they played Grassington Festival last year (yes, Grassington, a small village deep in the Yorkshire Dales has a festival each year and a big one at that.  I didn’t know until my mother casually mentioned that she had just seen Toyah Willcox play there!!!!!) so I have been keen to see them for a while and they didn’t disappoint.  For a quick taster watch their version of Wuthering Heights or Life on Mars.

Right, back to more crafty ramblings.  The sale has been going well, a lot of these have been posted out

DSC_0235

and I said goodbye to my last Wool Bunnies in a Kitchy dresses as they have all sold now, along with the last dark green Linen Cat.

DSC_0248

I get a bit panicky when my stock levels get too low, I have to decide if I want to make more of the now rather depleted stock or if I will consign some to history and bring in new designs.  I already know I will continue with a few, just in new colours others are to be replaced, but whilst I am working through these ideas I have been sewing products that are here for the long haul.

DSC_0243

I’ve added a new Boy Wool Bunny (I started these ages ago but never finished them – tut, tut!) and  I’ve been getting a bit happy with our new printer, creating thank you cards and labels.

DSC_0245

I especially love these ones with the rounded corners from aalabels which I use for larger packaging

DSC_0250

Right, back to wrapping parcels before the trek uphill to the post office pushing buggy and buggy board (with kids obviously)…I need lighter children!