Grumpy…

Oh yes, to say I’ve been a bit grumpy today would probably be an understatement; I am cheering considerably as I write this entry (which I will finish tomorrow, due to the need for photos), drinking wine and watching an old Dr Who episode but today, for some reason, has been a challenge.  Still, I have finished some blinds for my sister, which are partly to blame for the grump as I really don’t enjoy what I think of as ‘straight line sewing’.  It’s party why I don’t sew many clothes for myself and also why I didn’t slip into making wedding dresses or ball gowns after my degree, which would be an obvious and sensible way to take the costume design when not actually designing and making costumes.  Don’t get me wrong, I love designing and making period work and have a bit of a thing about early 20th century dress designs (hence a LOT of time spent browsing this site after recently watching Atonement and becoming slightly obsessed by the green dress) but I always see the faults in things I make for myself and prefer smaller more detailed work for my daily fix.

I digress. On the cheery side, I am in Molly Makes this month – hurrah! – I did know, they had asked for some photos but it was still a thrill to see it there in print, little old me.  Lovely.

I haven’t actually had a proper chance to read the new MM but from speed reads in-between blind making and catering for the every whim of my boys (one of whom is sick. He actually said to me today, “Mummy, I wish I had a bell so I could ring it when I need something, like they do on TV.” !!!!???) it promises to be just as wonderful as all the issues so far, most definitely a magazine to be proud to be in.

I have made a little ‘Gone Fishing’ sign for the shop front during my holidays. Not great timing considering the MM mention but I’m looking forward to two weeks in my beloved Yorkshire, breathing in the Northern air (which is most definitely different ;)) and hopefully not eating too many Bettys yummies.

Not bad for a 5 mins grab at things hanging around the studio, need to learn more about my camera though, a bit of variation in exposure wouldn’t go amiss.

And if that’s not enough to get a person out of a grumpy mood how about this beauty made from a tutorial found on Heather Bailey’s blog.

It’s a super cute wrist needle pincushion.  I’m not really one for too cute things but this I fell in love with, I really wanted to make it in the purple colour way from her original pincushion version but this was the perfect time to use up all this scraps of felt I insist in keeping (hence the top photo).

So, the shop will be closing this week and I’ve already shut down Folksy.  I need to do some drastic re-stocking and I’ve quite a nice stash of new things to photograph when I get back, ready for the Autumn change over but for now, I intend to enjoy our Summer 🙂

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 🙂

Early Christmas Celebrations…

It’s been a slightly odd and busy few days, F missed his last day of school due to an overnight pile of snow and everywhere closing up.  It was a good 20 cm, which for Kent is a lot, in fact the most I’ve seen here ‘down South’ and despite the sun it’s still with us, as I write it’s all rather dripping and wet but still quite thick on the ground so I think we’ll have a few more days of snowiness yet.

I closed my shops last Thursday, which was lucky considering it was Thursday night the snow came, some of the last packages to go were the Foxy Twins, for which I made an additional butterfly lavender bag (to my original lavender bag design, set to make a come back in the New Year).  Thanks everyone for bidding on them (and Nicky for winning – hope they have arrived OK).

Another order going out last week were these Linen Cats, I couldn’t help but think they went very nicely together as I was packing them up

I am now running very low on Linen Boys but I have packed up the sewing machine until after the New Year, so replenishing the shop will wait.

I finally finished the last Roman Blind for my sister’s cottage in Yorkshire, altogether there have been 6 to make and they are VERY large, about 230 cm wide which is about as big as you can go with Roman Blinds.  The last two (for her kitchen) had stripes of my favourite Linen from Tinsmith on the sides so I used it as an excuse to buy a little for myself, it’s expensive but I have a special project in mind for next Spring.  As always, Mr C ‘helped’, he likes to drive his car up and down the lines, complete with F’s Gormitis inside as he only gets to play with them when F is at school (this is not a posed shot, I came back into the kitchen to find the car as photographed).

The blinds are now on their way to Yorkshire with my brother who has just been to visit us for the weekend.  We were very happy to see him (especially the boys, he is F’s new BF), he rarely gets away from the farm as it’s hard to find someone willing to look after it for a couple of days and he still made the journey despite the snow, so we were very pleased.  As my sister lives around the corner but is away for Christmas we had an early pretend lunch, complete with all the trimmings followed by some snowy antics outside and a little competitive brother/sister snow fight (I stood inside watching and taking photos which seemed like the best option to me).

All in all it’s been a great weekend, it’s becoming increasingly rare for me to see my brother and sister at the same time and we had such a nice day, I am now looking forward to a nice quiet Christmas with just M and the boys and hopefully some time to relax, we have such a lot to be grateful for and I feel very happy and contented right now.  I hope you have all had a nice weekend and f I don’t post again and for those who celebrate it, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

If you go down in the woods today…

It’s been a bit of a stressful couple of weeks.  I had a frantic Roman Blind order to do for my sister in zero time so had to pull out all the stops whilst also doing all F’s last week of Pre-School parties and new school ‘taster’ days.  The housework got ignored and I got to the stage where I made stupid sewing mistakes (got to love that unpicker I got free with my machine many years ago!).  

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Above is one of my favourite fabrics for blinds, Lumimarja, by Erja Hirvi for Marimekko.  We have the same fabric in silver and also with orange berries as blinds in our house.  It especially looks good with the gold silk dupion border on either side.  The blinds were very wide, 220cm, so one of the hardest problems was laying them out on the floor for marking and tacking, each time I got them perfectly lined up the boys would come running in and jump all over them.  I got just a bit stressed.

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I survived the panic sewing and decided to reward myself by swapping to small scale projects for a while, the kind you can pick up and put down as the mood dictates and that don’t take over the house.  I mentioned a while back some lovely new very snuggly cashmere/wool fabric I bought and had a pretty good idea I wanted to make a simple teddy to add to my collection.  I know I said I was trying to cut down on softies in the shop, to try and expand other areas of making but for this fabric a teddy was in order.

This is the first attempt and needs some tweaking.  Maybe a bit slimmer in body with bigger arms and the orange stitching was simply to hand, but I am pleased all the same.  Does he need a tail?  I thought so but husband says no…not sure he is to be trusted he knows little about sewing.  It’s nice to make something lovely and simple and I have been dying to use the My Folklore fabric by Lecien which has been in my stash for a while.

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Also as antidote to the mess and mayhem of our house I put my foot down and demanded more shelving in the spare room/studio so a very early morning trip to Ikea was in order for Saturday.  It was a good excuse buy more fabric (it would have been rude not to at their prices) and some sweet nibbles from the Ikea food shop as a reward for a day of unpacking books that have been boxed since we moved 3 years ago!  It’s lovely to finally have them to hand, who knows in another few years we may finally unpack the last boxes!