Something for me…

I have lots of good intentions about things to make for the house and for myself, but realistically very little time to actually make them; I did however sit down last week and sew something just for me.

I’ve had this project in my head since our Yorkshire holiday, when I picked up quite a few pheasant feathers with the boys, I wanted to use them along with some tweed to make my own Bunny Purse.

Sadly, we didn’t collect enough and they have ended up with our other ‘found’ objects, sitting on the window sill.  Instead I raided my Millinery trimmings stash (you have NO idea how much this feather fringe costs, I used to buy it by the cm it’s that expensive) and came up with

I’d planned to use a brown tweed, one with quite a lot of texture but I fell so in love with the green bought recently from Fents that I changed my mind.

Oddly, as I took the tweed out to work with, the weight and texture felt very familiar, turns out it is the same one used as the recent Fox bodies, only in a green colour way (I mentioned in a recent post that the eBay supplier I buy from must source his fabrics from the same Mills as Fents as quite a few were familiar).

I didn’t want to crush the feathers, so my new purse travelled on the outside of my weekend bag to Yorkshire, where I was going to a surprise party for my sister’s 40th.  The party has been six months in the planning (by her boyfriend) and was a huge event, with a marquee at the Family farm, a number of bands (including a Take That tribute band), great food and of course great company.  I danced and danced, and quite frankly my legs still ache from a night in these heels strutting my stuff on the dance floor.  Incidentally, along with two of my cousins we were the last people standing and only retired at 3am, needless to say we all have young children and were a little over excited to be child free for the evening.

The purse was quite popular and it raised a few questions.  I made the lined cavity most of the body and head (in my first batch, only the body part is an actual purse) so I could fit my iPhone in; but along with an eye liner, some money and a lip balm, it was full.  Is this big enough?  I kind of feel if it gets any larger it might lose something.  Secondly, there was quite a lot of discussion about price so I was wondering how much you would feel comfortable paying for one?  Please don’t be shy to say, any thoughts are most welcome.

Right, back to the grind, I am getting all the Winter duvets onto the beds today and allowing my poor legs to recover by generally taking it easy 🙂

Work in Progress: Foxes…

I’ve been matching up ears

stitching tails

making neat little piles of mini clothing (you all know how I love neat little piles of work!)

and I’m so nearly there but just ran out of thread.  Rats.  Oh well.

I really want to get some more of my list reduced so I’ve spent most of this first child (ish) free week working on Foxes in the second colour way.  I so enjoyed stitching the dark heather capes whilst in Yorkshire and wanted to continue with these lovely Autumnal tones.

The second colour way is based on the tweed I had and some Liberty Tana Lawn bought especially for the job.  It’s one of my favourite prints – Mirabelle – but in the plum/olive colours, not everyones choice but I love it, I have a bit of a thing about luscious deep purples.  I then couldn’t decide on green or dark plum for the linen, but decided to reach for the ‘Burlesque Red’ dye by Dylon as I had some in stock and have been desperate to use it (all the linen for the fox clothing is hand dyed).

So sadly, I need to order new thread but I think the break is welcome, the studio needs de-fluffing after a week of tweed work, it has a tendency to get everywhere and I have a little ‘me’ project I would like to do tomorrow.  But there will be Foxes, soon, I promise 🙂

Easter Bunnies…

I mentioned a while ago about buying some tweed that arrived smelling rather musty, it was no use for the intended project  but I knew straight away I would like to use it for making tweed bunny purses

All the tweed has been washed, which has slightly thickened it (a bonus in this case) and I’ve made up a batch of four to see how they go in the shop (not yet listed but due on Folksy soon) and maybe I’ll tweak the design a little.  I haven’t made a purse before but I have made bags so have a pretty good idea of interlinings etc and it was great fun trying out the different processes.

I made a little extra work for myself by using concealed zips but I think they look really nice and tidy

and I lined up the fabric on either side which looks pretty neat

the insides are lined in ‘Snow Flower’ fabric by Westminster which I was saving for next Christmas but it was so perfect for the job.  What do you mean, they look a lot like a certain golden wrapped confectionary available in every store at this time of year?  I have no idea what you’re talking about.  Oh, OK, it’s not mere chance, I was eating a mini one when the tweed arrived and I thought, “now there’s an idea for Easter”, which no doubt you will have noticed I am too late for, serves me right for taking so long to put a thought into action.  Still, next year I can pretty much guarantee a golden linen or tweed version complete with bell.

I wasn’t sure about the face and how much to do so opted for some understated whiskers and bead eyes, I always notice that the glass bead eyes make the Bright Birds come ‘alive’ so I figured it might work here.  I also added a detachable wrist strap, this was in the plan from the beginning, either in case bought for children (less lightly to lose) or if used by a grown up for, say, a Wedding as I hate trying to hold a purse and glass of champagne at the same time 😉  I write this because I am desperately waiting for someone to have an Autumn or Winter Wedding so I can wear either of these,

both of which I made on Millinery courses at the London College of Fashion, many years ago when I wanted to brush up and improve on skills learnt on my Degree, I rather liked the idea of setting myself up as a Milliner, something I might still do down the line.

Right, enough, time to go and look after the boys and think about their tea.  Was that Spring by the way?  has it been and gone and we are now in Autumn?  Oh, so British, always moaning about the weather!

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.

Getting there, slowly…

I am getting a bit frustrated by the state of the house and my motivation, generally, is rather low so I decided to focus this week on finishing sewing projects.  I made my first Amy Butler Weekender Bag last February (see this post for all the details) and both my Mother and Sister (who never read my blog so I am safe to write about this) keep asking if they can have one.  I thought they would make great Christmas presents, they are not cheap to make and if I am honest I find elements rather frustrating, such as sewing in the lining and watching my poor machine huff and puff trying to stitch through all the layers, but I think it’s worth it.  They take about 2 days each, whilst also on Mummy duty but I spread these two over a longer period so as to not get frustrated and make silly mistakes.

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I used the first bag I made so much I fancied a tweed version so the green bag at the back is another for me, the blue is for my sister.  When my machine has recovered from these two, I have another to make for my Mother, but there is plenty of time so I am taking a bag break.

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The linings are in Amy Butler’s ‘Lotus Morning Glory’ in slate and mustard, both fabrics were bought from Saints and Pinners and work really well with the colours in the tweed (bought on ebay).  The lining is supposed to be in a heavier weight fabric but the tweed, especially the blue is super thick so I used dress weight lining to give my machine a chance.  It’s times like these when I long for a nice industrial machine.  I also tweak the pattern and making instructions to suit, the cord piping is supposed to be in the lining fabric as a contrast but I prefer it also in the tweed.

My reward for finally getting the lining stitched in was to make a tweed bird to use in the wrapping of my sister’s bag.  I have a love of brown paper with pretty ribbon and ‘things’ attached.

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I am rather miffed that the bird works better in these colours than the new batches I made for the shop! Oh well.

Time to go and fetch F from school, best be off.

Blackbird singing…

First, I have to share this little gem.  Among the ‘Top Searches’ on my dashboard that bring people to this blog are ‘I will walk 500 miles cbbc space pirates’ which I guess brings them to my post The boys are back in town... where I talk about The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (they soooo rock!) and also ‘rubber knickers’!!!?!!,  sorry for the over use of punctuation but I have no idea where I have ever mentioned knickers in post, let alone rubber ones.  Bet they were a bit disappointed to find themselves at a crafty blog.

Thank you for all your kind words with regards to F starting school and messages wishing me luck with the builders.  We are getting into the swing of the new school run (half days for now, increasing to full days soon) and there is the lovely sound of constant drilling as the builders remove the old ragstone to make way for a new door but I like them, we chose well.  As a result sewing has been very slow and it has taken longer than anticipated to get the new birds finished but at last they are done (please excuse the dodgy photos but the light hasn’t been great recently).

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I already know the Backbirds will be hard to sell.  A few years ago Habitat themed their Christmas with a cross between Hanzel and Gretel meets Russian Folk, I was in heaven, it was right up my street and some of my favourite decorations are from that year.  The Blackbird has a similar tone with it’s My Folklore in black by Lecien body (which I bought from Fabric Rehab), although I am not sure it will be for everyone.  I searched quite hard for heather purple and dark green print fabrics for the new birds, but couldn’t find anything right so feel a little that I ‘settled’ for the colours used although I am very happy with the new ribbon tails (the Spring Birds had felt and ric-rac).

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I have to now hope for good light over the next few days so as to photo of all of the new stock and update the shop which is well over due, fingers crossed!

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New fabric…

Now, after a few glasses of wine at the weekend I decided to buy some new fabric to make the berry cushions from my last post (I know, any excuse and a bit naughty as the whole point was to use small left overs of fabric I already have – oops!). Now you know how it is after a few glasses of wine, it’s very, very easy to buy on-line and can, on occasion, go wrong. Not in this case, the below bundle arrived in the post this morning and I am very pleased to say the least. I also treated myself to some new cat/bunny dress fabric (the bright Michael Miller fabric on top) which is very yummy. All of this was bought for a very fair price from Fabric Inspirations one of my new favourite fabric sites.

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I also finished the tweed cushions I have been making for my sister and felt the need to photograph them (actually half of them as I made two of each).

And, finally, I have got my act together and started listing on Folksy as I need to increase my sales, so I am quite pleased with my day so far.  I am twitching to sew with the new fabric but the sun is shining and outside calls so we are off for a walk.