Thursday, 30 September 2010

Here's the finished cot quilt that I was doing this week to take to one of my stockists. I'm really pleased with how it turned out and is the beginning of a new range for them.
I backed it in Ikea's House fabric (I'm sure it's not called that. In fact I'm positive it isn't...it doesn't sound very Swedish does it?) which I love. I love the childlike bold illustration. All in all I am pleased how it turned out.
But it got me thinking...What's your view on binding?
My quilting journey is very much a learn as I go along adventure, seeing what works for me and what I like. I'm pretty much in a place where the quilt top is a style that suits me...little fuss and letting beautiful fabrics do the talking.
But when it comes to binding I'm a little bit stumped. My initial reaction to it is that it is an added detail that is more fuss than I am generally drawn to.
But like everything, my thoughts are changing as my journey continues. I still like the simplicity of a quilt without binding. Take this gorgeous quilt by Manda. Again the beauty is in the fabrics and to me it is complete without binding. In fact a binding would detract from the beauty of it. Make it too perfect. Is it the simplicity of a design that doesn't need a frame to hold it all together?

But that's not the case here in Ashley's stunning quilt. Still, the use of a simple style and stunning fabrics, but all framed with a coordinating binding that pulls it all together. Would it work as well without a binding? Is it the large size that forces it to need holding together?

Is it a busier design that requires a binding? Would it float around aimlessly without the binding to hold it all together. I can't imagine Kate's beautifully worked piece without the binding.

So is it the size? Design? Complexity? Or am I just too much of a shirking, corner cutting quilting novice to think that no binding is ever right?

What's your view on binding?

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

I had a little splash out on fabric this week. Ok, not so little. But not so flighty either. Ever since Cloud 9's gorgeous flannels came out, I've been lusting after them. And this week with needing to design some new cot quilts, I knew this range was going to be the basis of it.
So a quick stop off at one of my favourite UK online fabric stores and 24 hours later here it is.

And boy was it worth waiting for. It's gorgeous! The designs are what you would expect from the talent behind the label that is Michelle. This children's range is quirky, yet cute, yet humerous. A range that appeals as much to adults as it does to children.
As for the soft flannel finish...scrumptious. I'm not normally one for painstaking operations and when the pre-washing instructions came with the fabric, I took one look at them and thought grrr, this is too high maintenance for me.
But, I slowed down and decided that this little pile was worth looking after and nurturing. And I'm so glad I did. Into the wash and off to the drier it went and I'm so glad it did.
This softened up the flannel no end and if it wasn't perfect enough before, it certainly was more than perfect after this process. This has taught me an important lesson, a little bit like I have learnt from quilting. Every step is important. Every step is part of the process and should be enjoyed as just that.

I cannot wait to cut into this pile. But again, I'm going to take my time. No rushing, but plenty of thinking and planning and enjoying every step and snip.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

I'm popping into Harewood House tomorrow to see how my collection with them has gone down. It must have gone down pretty well as I've been asked to bring some other pieces in for them to see.

I haven't actually seen it all in situ yet, so I'm very excited. Quite a few people have let me know they've seen it. One of the lovely things about having a stockist on the doorstep is friends and family stumbling across my work in a real live shop. I don't about you, but I'm always hesitant telling people about my things, but when they catch sight of it themselves, it gives a certain satisfaction.

One thing I've been asked to bring along is some cot quilts. Typically I haven't any in at the mo, so it's Operation Sewing. Not that I need to be asked twice. I love making quilts. All that expanse of fabric and the softness you can create when it's all quilted together, makes me wish I could just quilt all day every day.

And then of course there's my little penchant to adding some hand embroidery onto the requisite linen I have to use. All in all, so not a chore. So not what I call work.

I'm awaiting some of this lovely fabric that I want to design the range around. It comes in 2 fab colourways ~ pinks and tealy blue. I've been dying to get my hands on some of this gorgeous flannel and to make winter quilts with it seems the perfect excuse. Unfortunately I won't be able to make the quilts up in time with this, but am hopeful that it will at least arrive in time and I'll be able to take a little mood board with me to entice Beck with it's loveliness.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Since being back from London Gift Fair, I've been working on that conveyer belt of kit building, which doesn't leave much time for anything else.
I do love it. I love seeing the pile of boxes grow as they get made. And I am really loving how the new sleeves are looking when they are all together. Not only am I pleased with how much more appealing they look, but they provide the added bonus of saving alot of time to do. All that hole punching of the swing tags and tying with ribbon, was an arduous process. This is one wrap and you're done!

So whilst it is very satisfying making up trade orders, I do miss the time it leaves to actually sew and create. It also means that updating my different stores gets neglected too.
I got to where I needed to be today with order deadlines and took a little time out to finish the lavender bags I had started with before the fair. They have been sitting teasingly on my desk waiting to be finished. I wanted to put some of them on Etsy, as I haven't updated my Etsy shop for quite a while.

It's fair to say I didn't get all that far.

Just this one set.

But at least it's a start and I should be able to get the others finished and up there over the weekend at the latest. This set is right here.

I love creating new things and am determined to time-table in making time. Even when life is at it's busiest.

Monday, 20 September 2010

When in doubt...
when nothing else seems right...
when all else fails...

...sew.

Friday, 17 September 2010

I was really excited yesterday, on walking into Tescos to be faced with my bowls on the front cover of Country Living Magazine.

To be truthful, they aren't my bowls exactly, but belong to the talented Alison Campbell. I sourced these beautiful pieces from her at BCTF one year. I fell in love with them instantly and desperately wanted them for Blueberry Park.

They had Blueberry Park written all over them..."handmade with love in Britain oozing charm and individuality".
It makes my heart skip a beat when I come across something like this. And I get quite proud when the things I find are the things that other people enjoy too. So I do take a bit of personal pleasure in seeing something I have sourced in the pages of a magazine that I love.
And when they are on the front cover too...well, there's no stopping my excitement!
And what a beautiful feature to be part of. I think this feature would be my favourite in the whole magazine even if the bowls weren't in it.
I have a bit of a thing for seedheads. You've seen my screenprinting...you know what I'm talking about! It all looks so calm and inspirational. I love everything included in the feature.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

I love Ruby's bedroom...not necessarily the décor, we have a little ways to go on that, but I love the size of her room and the space she has for all corners of her activity.

We've recently made a fab little sewing corner in one of the alcoves. If you look closely you can see how she's even managed to sweet talking me into not only hijacking a couple of my favourite wicker baskets, but also fill them with a selection of MY fabrics. I tell ya...it's a good job I love this child.

The latest addition to her room happened whilst I was away this weekend. Ruby had been begging for ages to have the bunk bed taken out that she had inherited with the room when Noah and Sam used to reside in there. We'd previously bought her this pretty bed, but it was stored up in my studio.

She and Matthew had concocted a plan in my absence to do the switch. And I'm so pleased they did. I love this bed and think it really prettifies the room...although I do think I need to give the furniture a bit of a shake around as I'm not 100% happy with the layout.

I'm also thinking the expanse of white wall needs a little something on it and was delighted to flick through the latest Cox and Cox catalogue and stumble across this very pretty wall sticker. And at just £4 a set (yep, you heard correctly!) I think we might need a whole forest of them.

It takes time to get the finishing touches done to the rooms, but I think we are more than one step closer now with Ruby's room.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

You know when a major project has been taking over for a few months and suddenly it all comes together? That's what's been happening here. I've been redesigning the packaging for my Take Away Craft Kits and this week the new labelling was all ready.

The packaging for my Take Away Kits used to look like this. And whilst I was very happy with how it looked in terms of being received as a gift, I was feeling less and less happy with how it looked commercially on the shop shelves.

As we all know, it's very hard with handmade products to make them commercially viable and fit in, or rather stand out, amongst mass-produced items. And unfortunately sometimes you have to go partly down the road of compromise to be viable.

As I said, I was really happy with how they looked before in theory, but I knew I had to change them to make them stand out more readily.

My very clever and talented friend Roz, who designed the labels in the first place, was the talent behind what I now have. We pretty much used what we had before put added internal shots of the contents, so it's obvious to the buyer what's in.

I'm really pleased with how they've turned out and the impact they now have on the shelf. I am very excited, as well as exceedingly nervous about launching the new look kits at The London Gift Fair this weekend.

If you happen to be heading down that way, I'd love you to stop by and say hi.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Everyone is back to work and school today after the long summer break. Whilst i am delighted to be able to get on with everything uninterrupted, it does feel a little bit quiet. It's only 10:40 and already i have half of today's To Do list done...and had a coffee, so in terms of productivity, it's fantastic.

But, as i said, it is rather quiet.

But somebody somewhere has obviously decided to send me some extra love today to stop me feeling lonely. I've already spotted these little signs.

Firstly, there was Ruby's breakfast mug left out on the drainer... (actually, it's my breakfast mug, that she bought me for my birthday one time, but she seems to think that buying it makes it hers).

Secondly, i've just come in from hanging the washing out (To Do List Number 3) and stumbled over this little offering from Ruby. She was trying out her new paints yesterday.

Lastly, this gorgeous heart shaped pebble that we found on the beach, usually sits unnoticed, but today it's jumped out at me, sending me a little love message.

This should all keep me going until 3:30


Friday, 3 September 2010

As is normally the way when I am struggling with time and under pressure, I get side tracked with sewing something completely irrelevent and not what needs to actually be done.
Maybe it's something to do with needing the stress release of sitting playing with fabric and having a little sewing time. Maybe it's a good thing that I do that.

I have been (and still am) unbelievably stressed this week with getting the prep done for the London Gift Fair. I've been getting myself in a real flap trying to make my stand as I want it and finding the time to do so. So why I then go off on a tangent and sew up some new lavender bags is beyond me.

I was kidding myself that I needed them for the show. As if I have time to start designing and making new items at this late stage. And now all that is left is a pile of half made sewn together pieces that are hanging around waiting for something to be done. It's not like I need any more of that about...believe me I have plenty of half finished projects lying around.
Still, looking at the one completed one gives me, for some strange reason, a little bit of peace and calm in this crazy crazy week. I might just take it with me as a lucky charm.