Linen Mice Specials: The Red Shoes

First, thanks lovely ladies, who were kind enough to comment on my last post (you know who you are!), it’s really nice of you to still be reading, let alone commenting after my serious blog neglect and I really do appreciate it.

OK…where to start. The title says it all really, I guess.3965748679_4e68ed8727

Every year I find myself saying I’ll never make linen mice specials again. They are time-consuming and expensive to make, verses the price I feel I can sell them for; but then, every year, I get an idea into my head (I already have one for next year!) and I really struggle to let it go.1200

Like many little girls, I went through a phase of wanting to be a ballet dancer (somewhere between wanting to be a fairy and a nurse, probably) and I did dance for quite a few years as a child, before getting bored in secondary school and giving it up, something I later regretted. That and my penchant for watching old movies, again something I’ve done since I was a kid (we didn’t have many channels, you know, and only very limited kids TV….and we walked to school barefoot and were lucky to get jam on our bread, ha ha) meant I got obsessed with the idea of ‘The Red Shoes’ mice. I wont bang on about the movie, only say it’s fabulous and a classic and if you haven’t ever seen it, it’s definitely worth watching.

(On a side note, I just LOVE the colour of Moira Shearer’s hair….I’ve just comeback from the hairdressers and have gone my usual, similar, bright, fake red…wish I had her figure too!)dsc_0139I started them back in January, which is often the case for winter specials. I do quite a bit of designing and planning for the next festive season, just after one has passed; I think I just want to commit to some of the new ideas I’ve had that I don’t find time to make with all the craziness that happens in the run up to Christmas . dsc_0143There were mistakes, as always, with the odd swear word used, dsc_0140but I’ve managed to refine the making technique of mice to avoid the past pain of turning the whole thing out, skirts and all, through a teeny, tiny gap in the side. Bonus.img_20160415_135723On another side note, one Secret Cinema event I’d have loved to have attended, was ‘The Red Shoes’. A blogger at the time (no longer blogging, sadly) had a stall there and it was one of my first introductions to how Secret Cinema works. Oh, just looked and they have a very short movie/link to the experience if you want to get a feeling for how it works.dsc_0013I worked on them over the summer, Instagrammed them (and subsequently sold a few before I got to blog and list them, sorry);resshoesmouseeditedbut the last few have just gone live in the shop.dsc_0004dsc_0024I really am supposed to be winding down the things that don’t make a great profit, but at the same time, I really enjoy making them and they are always fun to photograph, usually because of the skirts and shoes…..we’ll see, maybe there will be more next year  after all 🙂

Vampire Mice…

For those who’ve been reading this blog for some time, you may remember that I once stitched a vampire mouse for my oldest son, he loves anything scary and both boys had requested special linen mice so a vampire and Batman version were created (you can read about it here).
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After planning the witch mice, I didn’t want to leave the boys out and thought I’d add some little boy vampires, complete with capes and flouncy sleeves.
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They are pretty much the same as the original, only I’ve used black silk where I had used linen and the medallion is a little tidier.  I also didn’t add the embroidered blood dripping off the teeth as F was never entirely keen on that part!!
DSC_0228Of course, if there is to be a boy vampire, they really should be a girl too and I got quite excited over the idea of making her a nice beaded cape, I have a Victorian one in my collection that Mum once gave me and I went to find it for inspiration only to discover it wasn’t quite as fancy as I’d remembered it to be (still pretty though).

DSC_0045 Instead I found this AMAZING Edwardian dress which I had totally forgotten I owned.  It’s bigger than a lot of my other antique clothing in that it’s probably nearer a modern size 12, which is possibly why I’d passed it by, I was about a size 8 when I was in the phase of wearing the things I collected, I cringe now to think I regularly dressed in some beautiful, delicate, beaded numbers, it’s a miracle they survived.DSC_0042It’s quite faded in places and the silk is damaged but it’s covered in the most beautiful bead work, I spent quite a bit of time studying it before carefully packaging it back up and storing it away in a large trunk where I keep much of my antique clothing.DSC_0164I then went on an extensive search for beaded lace etc, to use on the little mouse capes, it was at this point I found the lovely panels I used on the vampire bags.
DSC_0188The cape ended up with a little bead fringe and some sequined lace pieces and is lined in russet silk.DSC_0214 The rest of the mouse is essentially the same as the witch, partly because I had the supplies I needed already in stock, the crochet bias binding had been bought in a 25 meter roll and both coloured silks were in my stash, also as I’d spent time working out the best variants of the design for the witch already, there seemed little point trying to change things.DSC_0210She was super tricky to photograph with the face being in such pale linen and the body all black, I have to consider that I need all photographs to sit well together on my other site and for this I have a preference for pale backgrounds.  I can imagine it would have been easier to use a coloured background but then they wouldn’t have matched everything else.DSC_0234DSC_0242 DSC_0247Both vampires are now in the shop, a couple of you who are very quick off the mark have already spotted them, so thank you for that, they will be posted out today.

That’s the last of the Halloween themed things, I really enjoyed making them and maybe I’ll add more next year, but for now I need to move on to Christmas, I know it’s still ages away but in shop terms it’s not, I’ve already started selling little birds for the tree and some items intended as festive gifts.  As for mince pies already being in the supermarket – no, I say! That’s just crackers 😉

 

Witches…

As predicted, the weather has turned and we’ve moved into Autumn proper, complete with its overcast, rainy days and a definite chill in the air in the mornings.  On Facebook, there is even much talk amongst the Yorkshire folk of turning the heating on, of course if they are true Yorkshire people that wont happen until it reaches under 3 degrees (right A?! – hee hee).

DSC_0148With this in mind, I spent some of the weekend making use of the last clear skies to try to photograph anything black, with mixed results.  I’d prefer better shots, but I’m aware of time slipping away so here we go with (first up) the witch mice specials.

DSC_0145There isn’t a lot to say here as it’s all kind of obvious.  I had some green linen left over after sewing apple aprons and I couldn’t resist stitching up some little Elphaba style witches for Halloween, especially as I haven’t sewn a Linen Mouse Special for ages.  Again, I had quite elaborate plans that didn’t entirely come to pass.

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The body is made from black silk with pleat details and black crochet edged bias binding.  I had thought about using some of my antique button stash for the embellishments, but when it came down to it, I just couldn’t bring myself to do so, I realised that the cost per button, verses the difference it would make to the finished mouse, instead of just using modern buttons wouldn’t scale, and I’d be sad to see the buttons go as I have been saving them for a special project for years.DSC_0196I was also a little bit worried about the fact that they are glass and might easily chip or break.  In the end I sourced some little shell-like buttons for the shoes and some nice metallic looking numbers for the front of the dress.

DSC_0193What else? Oh I had imagined this little mouse to have a proper witches hat on, covered in feathers and some beading, but despite trying over and over I couldn’t get a pattern to work that fitted over the ear in any way and looked correct, so I opted for a beaded brooch that can be pinned on the head.DSC_0161 DSC_0158I struggled quite a lot trying to get photos, I am no genius with the camera and really need to learn how to use it manually, for now I relay entirely on the editing tool in my iPhoto library or Photoshop, you can see from above how much difference it can make, DSC_0204and had really hoped to take some ‘life style’ shots but this is as far as I got.

DSC_0209I did take this last photo whilst I had some of my collected junk gathered together for use as possible props and it got me thinking that I might like to try some still life style set-ups in future, I just need to play around a bit more and see what works.

For now, though, the witches can be found here 🙂

Batman and Vampire Mice…

I have finally finished my last sewing project – hurrah!

Last night I quickly sewed up the cape for Vampire Mouse, which I have been trying to work on in secret whilst the boys are around.  This is more difficult than it sounds as my studio also has the spare bed in it and the boys like to ‘hang out’ there (it’s and old double brass Victorian thing) and watch tv (it’s the only other room in the house with a telly in it) plus M has made it his convalescence bed whilst resting his shoulder and ribs….I can’t lie I will be very excited to have it back to myself once everyone is back at school and work.

Anyhow here we are, Batman Mouse as requested by C when I refused to give up one of the new Pirate Mice I made for the shop.

and Vampire Mouse for F, both to be stuffed in the top of their stockings.  I have explained that I will leave them out for Santa to include in their gifts.

M and I just had a laugh that they will complain straight away that the details are wrong.  F is very specific about his ideas and likes to over think things, for instance he demanded dripping blood from the teeth of the vampire prompting a hasty bit of additional embroidery from me and as I was selecting fabric for batman cape there was talk of jet packs and ‘pointy bits on the arms’.  They are soooooo excited already, I think we’ll have to start counting down the hours soon 😉

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

Pirate Mice…

Now, I forgot to hide these one day and the boys found them almost finished, I felt rather mean gently taking them away but before you think I am an evil mother, they would gladly have one of pretty much everything I make if I let them plus I have promised a special one each in their Christmas stocking (which I have explained I will post to Santa so he has it ready for the big day).

These were really good fun to make, my brain is already buzzing with Linen Mice Specials for next year!  I do hope to make some new Super Hero mice this side of Christmas but I’m not making any promises, I need to try and reduce my handmade present list and finish the acorns first.

They are listed here.  Acorns next 🙂

Red Riding Hood Linen Mice…

I had forgotten about inset day at school this week, followed by lunch out with my Mum and Aunt (down here visiting my Sister from Yorkshire) and then coffee this morning with some friends, all in all there hasn’t been much sewing done.

On a very happy note, I did manage to finish and photograph the new Linen Mice specials so without any more chat here is the first, a sweet Red Riding Hood version.

My only regret is I did think of adding a white underskirt with a lace edge but I could keep on adding more detail and there has to be a cut off point, I keep thinking how yummy this shot would be with a lace underskirt….ah well, she does have very nice white linen frilly knickers.

The linen for the capes was hand dyed and the colour mixed as I had a very specific kind of dark scarlet in mind that I couldn’t get from using straight Dylon dye colours.  It’s always a bit hit and miss, even though I do lots of mini dye tests when mixing the colours but on this occasion has worked a treat.

This last photo makes me very happy, you know what I’m like about ‘neat little piles’ shots 🙂

And just so you understand how long some things take me to complete, the below photo was taken back in May!!!  Now I had planned this as an early autumn product but I got side-tracked, as you do.

Still the few that are left (sorry, half were already spoken for) are listed here.  Also, just to be clear I wont be making any more girl Linen Specials this side of the New Year, I had hoped to make a batch of Ballerina Mice but time hasn’t allowed and I think I am done with the fiddly turning out, as above, that is like squeezing a camel through the eye of a needle.
Next post, Pirate Mice.