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)

Stuffing stuff…

DSC_0234

The production line has been rolling and I have been busy stuffing stuff!  I always think there is a comical cartoon look about flat softies, they sort of look like they have been run over, I like bringing them to life with a bit of filler it makes all the hard work worth while.

DSC_0251

So after a minor bit of tweaking the first Little Bears are finished.  They were really nice to make as the cashmere blend is very soft to work with.  I’m not sure if it’s just me but I get really sensitive fingers if I work a lot with rough or synthetic fibers, the polyester stuffing is a killer so I tend to break up that job, it’s OK at first but after a while it kind of makes my teeth go on edge and my fingers really uncomfortable, it’s always been the case and is why I favour natural fabrics…could just be me?!

Anyhow,  ‘Teddy’ became a Bear, not sure why but once made ‘Little Bear’ seemed better then ‘Little Ted’.  The original sample passed the wash test with flying colours (gentle hand wash, spin and line dry but I think it will probably survive a machine wool wash, will try this next) so I am very happy to have added them to my shop where they fill a nice spot of affordable present for younger children.

DSC_0234

How cute is that!

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!

And relax…sigh…

I’ve had a really nice day today.  Don’t get me wrong, I often have really nice days but it has been a bit hectic and stressful around here recently and today everything seemed to slow down to a nice relaxing pace.  The boys let me sleep until 6.30 which is pretty good for them and (forgot to mention in last post that we are all sick) all our colds are nearly gone, just a few coughs from the boys and my cheese grated throat feels normal, in fact I feel quite perky which is good as M has drunk our substantial stock of Night Nurse…I think he may have an addiction here as I am always buying it but personally only use it about 3 times a year, if that…he get’s ‘man flu’ a lot!

DSC_0237

So, after a bit of a ‘lie-in’ I spent the day embroidering Christmas products (more about that at a more appropriate time of year) and making a Teddy for a cousins new baby girl, Poppy, what a lovely name.  I put a ‘P’ on teddy’s belly which was a plan that’s been in my head for some time, I will have to decide if I can face making this personalised version to order in the shop, as having young kids, my time isn’t very consistent so I generally prefer to offer ready made stock.

I had time to potter in the vegetable patch and made an Irish stew which I am going to have for dinner tonight with parsley dumplings.   I may even treat myself to a movie (we have Apple TV so we can buy movies on-line from ITunes).  Of course Mr F is testing my patience trying to kill Charlie every few minutes but that’s the way it always is so I just need to get on with that one.  

DSC_0258

Finally I cleared up the Studio in an attempt at ‘tidy home, tidy mind’ or in may case ‘bit tidier, bit less stress/guilt’.  I found all the old samples that evolved into Teddy so laid them out for a photo.  One of my original designs on paper was for a ‘lavender sleep bunny’ for babies.  I abandoned the lavender quite quickly on the basis that anything in bed with a baby will need washing at some point and soggy lavender, even if mixed in with stuffing didn’t seem like a good idea.  You can see the progress above, lavender bunny developed into my Wool Baby Bunnies and the original pattern was used as a base to create Teddy (have to think of a proper name).  I find it helps if I use the same basic, simple shapes and patterns for similar  products, so the shop has an overall continuity.

To add to the sweetness of my day, F decided that the original Teddy sample had been made for him and took it to bed to cuddle, which is pretty amazing for a 4 yr old who is obsessed with plastic Gormiti and Ben 10.  OK. Time to go and heat up my stew and sort out that movie.

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!).  

DSC_0239

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.

DSC_0240

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.

DSC_0238

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!