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 🙂

Bright and Sunny…

I had been waiting on a half finished project to be completed before writing this post but as with everyone else I find myself distracted by the beautiful weather, that and my studio being an inhospitable 27 degrees for most of the morning, the down side of all that glass.  So what’s a girl to do instead of sew?  Why do a spot of on-line shopping whilst sitting with my feet in the paddling pool and eating an ice lolly, of course.  Perfect.

As my seasonal taste goes, I am into mixed bright colours the moment.  First up on my little spree is this bundle of Kaffe spots to feed my ongoing spots addiction.

and whilst I was placing an order with the wonderful Saints & Pinners I bought a little bit of the Forest Hills Voile in sea (as with the last Voile I am planning some summer tops….when exactly, I’m not sure, at this rate maybe in time for the summer of 2012!).

I also treated myself to some bright new tea towels from the Pantone/Typhoon range.  Already can’t remember where from, they are pretty common to buy but I cannot keep white tea towels white, they inevitably end up grey so I set myself the challenge of buying solid bright colours and these fit the bill perfectly.

We have been spending quite  bit of time outside, me in the vegetable garden and Charlie mostly playing on the decking around the doorway, usually with his pencils and paper.  He created this bright little scene the other day, note how the shoes are neatly lined up….hummm, art and neatness, wonder who he takes after!

As for the ‘open project’, here is is still very much open.  Honestly, I bought the Echino fabrics back in August (see here) specifically for this, I even cut the squares and stitched up two of the sample lavender bags and that’s where it ended.  The rest have been sitting in a box waiting for their moment.  As you can see it will be a stack of 4 large lavender bags, I figured some people just want some plain (but pretty) lavender squares to pop into their draw or wardrobe to keep things smelling sweet, so that’s what I’m aiming for.  I will complete and photograph soon, I’m making a point of leaving them in the middle of the work bench in the way so I can’t put them aside again.

Right, I am off into the garden to water the poor wilting seedlings and make the most of the sun whilst it’s here!

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.

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!

Nice and tidy….not!

Before I get into this blog post, huge thanks everyone who has left a comment on the Blog Birthday Giveaway, it’s really lovely (gush, gush) to hear from you all, still plenty of time to enter and win a cute Linen Mouse if you haven’t left a comment already.

Thanks, also, for your get well wishes for the boys, there are both back on tip top form and it’s great to have everyone healthy for a change (cross finger & toes do a hop, turn around etc).  The relay of sickness in this house has meant both plenty of time to sew (as I’ve been stuck in the kichen/living room attending to the every whim of the boys) and yet no time at all, if that makes sense.  I have found myself standing around, rapping my fingernails but cannot leave the area to come upstairs and use the machine or my studio as quite a lot of cuddling and general Mumminess has been required.  So I have spent this time prepping projects and hand sewing, I could have cleaned the kitchen, of course, but I would much rather sew!

I took a quick photo this morning before starting a general ‘tidy up’ to show you how messy things were getting

it’s like a Jenga tower of work, I tried to remove some paper from the bottom of the ‘pile’ and everything started to topple, still it’s all back upstairs in the studio now and I have made a little order of the mayhem.

I’ve mainly been sewing beady little eyes onto the remainder of the spring birds, they just need to be mounted on cards and photographed ready for the shop (I am waiting for a new long armed hole punch to arrive).  These have proved so much fun to make I have plenty more planned

I really enjoy picking the ribbon colours for the tails, I think the number of small jobs involved making up the birds is part of the attraction, I can spread the work over a number of days and it’s easy to pick up if I only have half an hour or so.

I do now have a large bag full of the off cuttings of felt that I can’t manage to throw away.  I feel sure they will come in handy for something, the yellow have already been used for birdy beaks and I have a new project in mind for small circles cut from some of the larger trimmings.

Right, I need to get back to work, my sister has just invited herself over to stay as she has no hot water or heating at the moment (she lives 5 mins away and generally prefers to ‘drop in’ around the time she knows we are eating!) so I have bedding to change and plenty more tidying to do.  I did want to mention I have had problems leaving comments on Blogspot blogs, it’s all sorted now but please don’t think I am being rude by not saying, “hello”.

Bunny Egg Cosy…

Last night I finished the first batch of Bunny Egg Cosies so I’ve just taken a quick photo for the blog.  A real photo session will be needed but I’ll wait until I’ve made up some other new designs and the light is better.

It is pretty much as doodled last year in my sketch book (optimistically entitled ‘Easter’ I noted…I only made a fraction of the designs up as I ran out of time).

They have cute red herringbone brushed cotton linings to keep the eggs cosy and I even used my new scary maroon labels.

The labels have been inserted into the lining side seam, on the original Egg Cosies I stitched them flat into the back but it’s quite time consuming to do it neatly and get them straight.

They are a bit ‘Winter’ looking and not very ‘Spring’ like if you know what I mean.  I am torn between a kind of  fairytale-woodland-creature-deep-red and a more modern pale-linen-against-bright-cotton design style at the moment.  It could be the snow that’s throwing me back into Winter colours (or the fact that it is, after all, Winter!) but I like to try and keep a ‘collection’ feel about my designs so need to get into a colour palette and stick to it.  I am also running out of the beloved Lecien ‘My Folklore’ fabric used above for the ears, which I also use on the Cashmere Bears so need to go easy on that.

In the meantime I am waiting for M to return from the US (Hurrah!  Thai take away, wine and a huge backlog of TV to watch tonight, Lost, House, Heros, Wallander…have I ever mentioned my addiction to US TV shows?  Don’t think less of me ;)), he is also bringing back some fabric I ordered on Etsy which I am most excited about.

I am in the process of dying linen for the new mice in the machine.  I used to love dying fabric when I was designing and making costumes, I could spend many a happy hour mixing colours but it’s not the same doing it in your own washing machine.  The last lot I did was a dark navy and I swear, no matter how many cleaning washes I did the dye was there for weeks, seeping into my whites.  I said then I wouldn’t do it again but I made a mistake buy a while ago of a large amount of natural Linen, I then made it  worse by over washing it causing pilling.  I’m hoping a dye session followed by some good ironing will make is useable, we’ll see I guess.

Right, best get the house into order before M gets home.

Playing Catch-up…

It’s all go around here, I am ‘confined’ to the kitchen/living area again, this time because we have the decorators working in the hallway.  I am very excited as I am normally the painter and decorator but I really don’t have time, it’s odd paying someone else to do it, feels a bit like money down the drain but it’s so very exciting to peek in and see the transformation and there is no way with Mr C still at home full time that I could have done it.

The shop has also been busy, I seem to be packing and posting throughout the day.  In fact I had a run on fairies which I wasn’t expecting so there has been a lot of this

frantic last minute making, and I ran out of cashmere bears so have had to run up a batch of those

I am slightly alarmed that I will run out of the lovely cashmere/wool blend fabric as I only bought 6 meters and it was an ebay find so is all gone now.  I love it so much, I’m not sure what I will replace it with.  I have been doing a bit of ebay fabric buying recently, in fact this lovely Liberty Tana Lawn arrived this morning

The pattern is ‘Wiltshire’ and I have bought it for next winter (thinking ahead!).  My winter coat has the same fabric as lining and I have had a project in mind for some time, one I had planned for this year but haven’t had time for.

I’ve also packed up some stock for the School Christmas Bazaar,

they were asking for ‘homemade’ items to sell so this is my contribution.

There has been time for a little cooking, the squash I grew makes a great decoration but I wanted to make sure some gets eaten whilst still in it’s prime.  I made a squash pizza from the book Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros, one of my favourite cook books which has the best photos.

I am done now.  No more making for the shop, if I run out, I run out but I have blinds to make for my sister and still a bag to make for my Mother and I want some time to tidy and decorate the house (tidy being the big one right now) so I have decided to sew for the shop this week and then stop.  Yeah, right!  Like that’s gonna happen.

Finally, as always, I have found just a little bit of time for some online shopping (other than fabric) and I treated myself to

some Christmas origami cranes on the Folksy shop Little Crane to hang in the kitchen window and some book name stickers bought from the wonderfully talented (come on, we all know her) Emily Martin over at the black apple.

Right, need to get on, things to do, places to go and all that.  Oh, there’s still time to enter my Christmas giveaway if you haven’t left a comment, go on, it’s free!

(PS sorry for the dodgy photos but the light has been very bad as of late)

A Mixed Bag…

It’s all gone a bit Pete Tong.  Just in case you were hoping to see a lovely patchwork bag or something as the title suggest, sorry, but there are some highlights so do keep reading (and I’ll apologise now for the dodgy photos but the light is very bad here today).

The Good

It all started last night, I received a late night order, from a Gentleman no less! (not many of those order from my website) and he chose very well….unless it’s a girl using her other half’s PayPal address which has happened in the past…either way, I said good bye to my last SALE cat, which was ordered along with an Orange Winter Berry Cushion, they look good together don’t you think?  I added a little Egg Cosy as an extra.

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The Bad

Now, I am going to have to divert here for a little introduction to

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Smelly, my cat.  Her real name is Smilla after ‘Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow‘, one of my favourite books but she has always been called Smelly.  I will give you a full cat history another time, the thing is, Smelly has only had part house access since we moved here 3 years ago as she daily brings dead animals in.  I am OK, with this, she is a cat after all, but when Charlie was younger and mostly crawling it wasn’t very nice so at night she has been restricted to the utility room in a cosy bed by the boiler and she isn’t allowed in bedrooms.  As we have no door in our new (old) extension she has been lounging about on the beds at night and last night she PEED on my bed!  She has a history of doing this and it’s partly how she became known as Smelly.  I was not best pleased but luckily the cat wee hadn’t gone all the way through to the mattress, only the duvet and sheets.

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The Really Bad

This morning, after getting some of the bedding into the wash, I packed up my order and was about to pop off to the post office when F’s school rang.  My should-know-better 4 1/2 yr old had shoved a bead up his nose, buried Pirate treasure apparently, so I had to pick him up and take him to A&E, along with Charlie on the doctor’s orders.  After a 2 hr wait (with me trying to get F to blow his nose really hard and yes, I did try tweezers) he had the lovely pink bead removed.  He wont be doing that again in a hurry.

Getting Better Again

I came home to find I had another order, this time for a Betsy Wool Bunny

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if you are wondering what the little bird attached to a card is all about, I have a big packaging post on it’s way that will explain all.

The Best Bit

Whilst out, the postman came by with a number of parcels.  This could have been bad, except we have great postmen who often sign for my packages leave them in a safe place.  So I came home with hungry, tired children and chips to cheer them up, to

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find my 2010 Calenders as ordered from Snapfish.  This has become a staple Christmas present for my immediate family, all my Father’s photos are on slides, which I am slowly scanning so each year I put together a Calender with a mix of old and new photos, I always wait for the half price sale and then get them ordered.

The Very Best Bit

Having saved the best bit until last (I waited over an hour to open this parcel as I knew what was inside and wanted to be relaxed with a coffee to hand, so as to really enjoy the experience) here is an order I placed with Nicky, of NickyNackyNoo.

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Nicky makes lovely things, plenty of which are for boys, an area I fail dismally to cover.  I have bought some of her great traffic jam bunting in the past and thought it would be nice for the boys to have hot water bottles so I ordered these covers.  Nicky added some fab tweed, for which I have a perfect project in mind and a bonus bag of flower fridge magnets, made using photos taken in her garden – how great is that!

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So it’ all looking up, best go and get the next load of laundry in and maybe fix our bedroom door so I can close it in future.

New Photos…

Did you notice the banner change above?  I sneaked it in a while ago, it was time to update my linen cats/bunnies line with some of the more recent stock, can’t help but notice that the green dress bunny is rather snuggly with the check trousered cat, not sure how that happened.

When I have to photograph new stock, here’s how it goes.  I notice the weather is perfect for a spot of photography (bright enough to show the colours but not so as to have too strong a shadow), I rush to get my needs-to-be-photographed stock which is inevitably in the bottom box.  I clear my table/floor/bed and lay out the stock, rather too quickly, in between making cheese sandwhich/juice/changing the tv channel (bad mother!)/fixing the lego robot back together for the umptenth time.  I grab camera, discover it’s out of battery, quick mini charge, set up tripod…..oh bugger, the sun’s gone in.

Also my boys LOVE having their photo taken, seriously, Charlie sees a camera and shoves his face into shot and says cheese.  He cries a lot if you don’t photograph him so I end up with plenty of these

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We haven’t been burgled in the back of this last shot, it’s a crazy mid builders mess shot and don’t even ask what happened to the white wall on the rhs.

However, last time around I did get some usable photos so finally we have

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as made back here and after having their beady little….er bead….eyes sown on, they are ready for listing on return from our Yorkshire holiday as part of the Christmas Shop update.

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Just for the record, my favourite are the dark red and mustard ones.

Christmas Fairies…

I talk a lot about my love of hoarding, vintage and especially about my Gran’s belongings, at Christmas it is a custom for us to have her fairy on the tree.  We think it is from her early married days so probably mid 1930’s and sadly, is getting a little worse for wear so say the least.

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My Mother allowed me to use it for the last two years, as she spent Christmas with us (Grandchildren change everything) and I figured it was about time I made a copy before the original disintegrates entirely.  I had planned to make an exact copy of the original, in card and tissue, but realised that it would translate well into fabric so back in June when I was in ‘Wet Yorkshire ModeI treated myself to some new silk and got working on a sample.

I am amazed at how slow my design progress was on this one.  I sort of pottered on a bit every now and again, in fact, the silk inspired me to make my sweet pea cushions in July first.

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By September I figured I had better get a move on so some of the bodies were made, M remarked at the time that they looked like aliens and I fear he was not wrong.

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There are some rather cross and bog-eyed fairies in this batch but I rather think that’s the beauty of handmade, it would be boring if they were identical.  The wings were a bit tricky to stitch in the slippery silk

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but finally they are done, or the first few anyway.  They are a little plumper than the original (but aren’t we all!) and the hair has a definite Tammy Wynette feel, I am sure if I was designing them from sctatch they would be a little more stylised but I am pleased with the result.

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They are made in silk and wool, with the exception of the silver ric-rac.  I am not a fan of using glue, don’t know why as there is no real reason, but I had to UHU then stitch the hair into place and the backs have a long ribbon for tying them into the tree, or looping so they can be hung as an ornament.

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My final problem is trying get a true colour photo of the plum version.  As you can see I haven’t really nailed that one yet, even outside in natural light the colour is very off, in reality it’s a bright plum purple.

I am not sure how I will price these, they take an insane amount of work and the silk isn’t cheap but the price has to be affordable so I’ll need to think on that one.

Right, only a few more days of hand sewing to get the rest finished!