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!

Obsession…

I have been displaying typical ‘me’ obsessive behavior recently, I would love to say I get obsessive about things like cleaning, or even running but sadly that’s not to case (although I am quite enjoying the running at the moment).  I think most folk who sew and blog know some of the areas I am talking about, I permanently have a laptop attached to me and cannot resist buying nice fabric.

My most recent fabric purchase is from the new cotton voiles by Anna Maria Horner, bought from Saints & Pinners.  I couldn’t resist it even though I have no need of more fabric but it’s intended for making a summer top, I rarely sew for myself, especially clothes despite being able to pattern cut and construct and this summer I intend to make an effort to keep those skills alive by making some of my own clothes.

I have also been indulging my printer obsession, I could happily spend hours creating and printing stickers.  I’m not sure if any of you have visited The Shop recently but I have (slowly) been giving it a mini face-lift, including a new banner.  I’ve then spent many a happy hour printing matching stickers, tweaking the paper bit by bit to get the images exactly on the sticker lines.  Worrying really!

I also spent rather a lot of time sitting at the laptop viewing Google Maps, Streetview.  I LOVE it!  The boys and I ‘drove’ to Grandma’s house in Yorkshire from the nearby village, taking in the 360 views, which they thought was great, they couldn’t understand why we couldn’t pop into the house to say, “hello”, bless!  Well, I had a stunning, cunning idea, the above painting belonged to my Father, a gift for his 18th Birthday I believe and is a water colour by an artist called Angus Rands.  It always take pride of place for me, among our varied and quite often modern artwork as it’s so exactly Yorkshire in both it’s scene and colours.  I know it’s painted up near Beckermonds in the Dales but I have always wondered exactly where.

Well, Streetview provided the answer, that and my ‘walking’ down a long stretch of road inch by inch until I found the spot.  Sorry to go so off topic on the usual craft chat but I have been looking at this painting for years and have even driven along the road trying to see where it was painted so for me it was a bit of a ‘Eureka’ moment.

Finally, I have been shopping on-line again (some would say yet another little obsession!)

This is ‘Melvin’ and he comes from the very talented Flora over at Through the Round Window.  He was supposed to be an Easter present along with ‘Maurice’

but I rather fell in love and have ordered more to replace them as they are now hanging in my kitchen window, where they make me smile daily.

There are new products in the pipeline (as always, waiting on supplies needed to complete them) but right now it’s time to go and work on my final obsession and the main reason for my slow blogging at the moment The Garden, there is so much to be done and the weather right now is perfect for pottering in the greenhouse so I’m off, hope you are having some sunshine where you are.

Awards and the perfect fabric…

First I wanted to say a huge thank you to Nerys over at Crafty Jemima for passing along  the ‘Sunshine Blog Award’.  I was most definitely not a little ray of sunshine that day, I was a grumpy old bag to be honest so it cheered me up no end to be on her list of 12, go read about her other choices here (I was in very good company!).  It also shamed me into remembering that Anne of Andamento passed along a ‘Kreativ Blogger’ award agggggeeees ago (read here) and I never told you, or linked back to her (really sorry Anne).  It’s one of my failings, I need to reply to emails and texts asap or they get missed in the mayhem of life with young children.  Back to the point, thank you ladies for thinking of me when you chose your blogs, I will be passing them along, but need to take time to find bloggers on my list who haven’t received them already, I just wanted to say thank you whilst it’s fresh in my mind.

Right, on to the second part of todays waffle, the perfect fabric.  Don’t you just love it when you match the perfect fabric with a project you are working on?  For instance, the Liberty Tana Lawn that I use for Wool Baby Bunnies is just right for the dresses, but wouldn’t work for the Linen Cats, they need a quilting weight and I seem to favour Japanese prints (mainly Kokka), or fabrics with a retro feel.

So I was very pleased when my little bundle of Kaffe Fassett fabrics arrived from Saints and Pinners and I just knew they were perfect for the Linen Mice.  I have never taken much notice of them before, they have never appealed but I am suddenly in love with both the Dots and Asha prints.

Lastly my fabric arrived back with M from the US, I can only order small amounts as he generally travels with a small bag but it’s so much cheaper, so here we have:

Alexander Henry In the Kitchen Fabric, Apples and Pears in Blue

Alexander Henry In the Kitchen Fabric, Apples and Pears in White

Alexander Henry Monkey’s Bizness Fabric, 2D Zoo in Primary

Girl Friday by Cosmo Cricket, Flowers and Butterflies in Green

Michael Miller, Joyful Damask in Lime

all from the Fabric Closet and mostly destined for Linen Cat dresses (oh, yes, I use quite a lot of Alexander Henry fabrics here as well).

I see the Shopping man in his nice Ocado van arriving, so best dash.  I have a Linen Mouse post to follow.

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.

DSC_0236

The Bad

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

DSC_0242

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.

DSC_0240

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

DSC_0247

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

DSC_0255DSC_0256

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.

DSC_0249

DSC_0252

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!

DSC_0253

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.

Very overdue post about some more Lovely Objects…

Just can’t get away from the word ‘lovely’ can I?

I am ashamed to say I bought some of the below a very, very long time ago so apologies it has taken so long for me to post about them.

First up, back in June I was picked as a Folksy Featured Seller and was asked to choose the sellers for July.  Among them was Jemima Lumley who makes beautiful jewellery, so beautiful in fact that I fell in love with one of her cuffs and made M buy it as my rather belated Birthday present (if you don’t ask you don’t get, besides he had been asking what I would like for 4 months).  It’s silver rolled with antique lace to leave an imprint and I wear it most days, which is great for me as I used to be rather stylish but these days I leave the house looking like a bag lady, at least my wrist can be well dressed.

(Sorry about the awful photo but I am struggling a bit today).

DSC_0235

I am also rather partial the this lovely crochet necklace (which I wear as a bracelet) made by Izabela at Blue Fish Handmade on Folksy.  It’s delicate but not so much so that I fear wearing it.  Izabela has so many things in her shop I would like and as always I have crochet skills envy.

DSC_0237

Next, I started my Christmas shopping early, it makes me feel a bit more in control of the mayhem that is my life and makes it a bit easier on the wallet.  With this in mind I bought this wonderful stained glass bird brought from Flora of Through the Round Window (also at Folksy).  It came beautifully packaged and I am very pleased, in fact I may be keeping it which is a bit naughty.

DSC_0234

Bright_birds_turq_orange_red

Whilst yet again on the subject of Christmas, I recently bought this fabric

DSC_0235

from Saints and Pinners.  I mentioned a while back that I wasn’t entirely happy with the fabric I used for my winter Lavender Birds, annoyingly the above is exactly what I had in mind, it’s the perfect colour for a winter Robin and not too Christmassy, if you know what I mean.  Too late for this year but I couldn’t resist buying a bit.  Also, big thanks to Jo and Fran for giving The Linen Cat such a lovely write up on the Saints and Pinners Blog, made my day.

DSC_0248

Lastly, we have my new winter boots from Celtic Sheepskin.  I do have some lovely healed boots but for school runs and quick dashes out into the cold you can’t beat a nice pair of sheepskin knee highs.  I prefer these to Uggs as they are taller which works better for me as I wear quite a few skirts and it’s a more flattering height.  I became addicted to them during my first pregnancy when my wide feet wouldn’t fit into anything else and the boys each have a pair courtesy of Auntie Tori last Christmas, they were perfect for Yorkshire and I love the fact I can shove them in the wash.

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!

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,

DSC_0239

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.

DSC_0242

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 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!

New supplies and a bit of organisation…

Whilst still in ‘get ready for the builders to trash the house’ mode and also whilst F is on Summer hols I have been pottering about, tidying through the studio/spare room and trying to finish half done projects.  I placed some orders for new supplies and went maybe a bit over the top with cataloging where everything comes from.  I get really annoyed when I need to order more of something and I can’t remember where I got it from, or which colour number it is so I did as below:

DSC_0257

do I need help?  Probably.

I ordered some new bias binding by 33 m reels from BG Payne.  I have never bought from them before but they charge £2.29 for 16mm, 35m reels and they had quite a few colours I was after that other people didn’t stock so it worked for me.  They don’t have a colour chart but you can see the this at the manufacturers website.

DSC_0253

I also went on a hunt for UK suppliers of Echino linen/cotton fabric for Kokka.  Ever since I made new cushions which ended up in our living room (and are standing up very well to the boys slightly boisterous playing and food spills) I have been a bit in love with this fabric.  I had already bought the purple, as below, from Celtic Fushion, but found the others in the photo at the eternal maker, yet another new online shop for me who sell it for £7 per half meter (oh I love that they sell in meters!).  If anyone knows anywhere that I can buy this cheeper, do let me know as I fancy some Roman blinds for the new/old extension but would need quite a lot.

DSC_0255

Although I am twitching to sew with my new supplies, the sun is trying to come out so I am off to play with the boys in the garden.