Monday, 28 February 2011

I recently bought this gorgeous Folklore Kokka fabric on Etsy. Don't you just love it? I really like Kokka fabrics. This is another of my faves that I intend to buy very soon.

Today I had my first sewing day for quite some time and this was waiting patiently at the top of the making pile (there is a serious making pile backlog going on right now).

As well as making these flat-bottomed pouches to gay abandon in varying shapes, sizes and fabrics, I have a new zipper pouch design that I have been working on, but I need to get that more perfected before I use precious fabrics like this. I am dying to use this fabric on my new design, but in the meantime you are just going to have to manage with this style.

And it's available right here.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Yesterday Manda and I ran a Grey Circles Workshop on making children's clothes. We had 4 lovely ladies join us - Justine, Debs, Julie and Alice. Julie had made the trip down from Scotland and Alice joined us from London. Justine and Julie had a much easier journey being based in Yorkshire too.

Normally the workshops are held at my house, but due to the crazy time I'd been having and still having the house-guests, we decided to relocate to Manda's, which worked out more than just fine.

The aim of the workshop was for everyone to make a top/dress, followed by a pair of trousers for any size from 6 months to age 6. We got off to a great start with everyone choosing fabrics and discussing their worries and concerns, the major one being sewing curves.

Alice kept us all entertained with her desire for precision measurement and concerns for achieving such. Alice was also quite scared of sewing curves but is demonstrating here how she has achieved the perfect curve.

Everyone chose fabric combinations and made great tops, but even going an hour over we had to leave with the trousers needing to be finished off at home. With 2 of our party having trains to catch and a long journey ahead I didn't manage to get photos of all their beautiful finished wares, but hopefully I'll get photos sent through and be able to show you then.

In the meantime here's the one I made - a dress for my almost 5 year old niece. The wonderful thing about this pattern is that you really can customise it to your own desires. I used a crisp plain linen for the body and sleeves and appliqued some Liberty print circles along the hem to add a little detail.

This really was a fun workshop and lovely to produce a garment. So, if you missed it this time, but would like to join us at the next one on May 7th, click away here and join us then. We'd love to see you.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Wow, how did it get to be Friday again so quickly? I am seriously concerned with how life is passing by. I have had a productive week, but as usual the week ends much sooner than I anticipate, leaving a longer To Do List each week.

It's Half Term in England this coming week, so we are taking a jaunt to London for a few days to see some friends. We haven't been to visit for a while for one reason and another and I'm really excited to be heading down to stay with our buddies.

Heading down to stay with them meant I had to make time today to take a hostess gift to take with us. They have had huge renovations to the house since we were last there (translate that to mean walls ripped down and rooms created) so I am even more excited than usual to head down.

I've been through the renovations every step of the way with Jo, so I can't wait to see if they look anything like what is in my head! One thing they have done is create a massive kitchen living area. I'm not really sure what they need to accessorise the new place, so I figured I'd take a little something this time and once I've seen it be able to do something bigger.

All I could get at this stage from Jo is it's all very grey and since they haven't set on any accent colours, I decided it wasn't my place to dictate it (although I'm obviously pushing for some yellow), so I'm taking down a couple of grey based tea towels that I hope they'll enjoy and will fit in with whatever else they decide to add.

Happy weekend to you and look forward to catching up on our return x

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

My new Organic Range has been borne.

I had had interest in the new Pencil Pouch range from various Eco friendly peeps, but as soon as I said the fabric wasn't organic, it was a thumbs down.

It was only when I was using some of my collection of beautiful Cloud 9 fabrics, that the penny dropped. These were organic and would work fantastically. The cotton is so crisp and holds it's shape so well, that it's a dream to work with and looks good. And on top of that the designs are just scrummy too.

So with reinforcements received and swatch of the options to hand, I got going on a collection to offer.

I'm using the dotties as linings for all, which I'm loving the look of. Obviously you can't see them when they are closed and all together. But I know they are there and that gives me a lovely feeling to know how well coordinated they are. Sad I know.

Because they are heading out to an eco friendly stockist, not only are the fabrics organic but the trimmings are the vintage ones I have been using, adhering to the recycled element of green living.

The first of my Organic Range pouches are now heading out to the lovely Eco Eco. Eco Eco is a stylish boutique that promotes green living through it's lovely collection of ethical and environmentally produced products. Eco Eco is based in the beautiful Peak District, but if you aren't lucky enough to be able to visit in person, you can peruse their collection online.

I am really excited and proud to be able to produce more ethical products and am looking forward to doing a lot more in the future.

If you are an environmentally aware stockist and are interested in my Organic Range, I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, 14 February 2011

With Orla constantly around me and being my biggest source of inspiration these days, is it any wonder that my latest little girl's bag has turned out quite the way it has? I like to think of it as my Orla for Kids Bag.

It has a strap large enough for a little one (or a bigger little one) to wear over one shoulder as an across the body bag. If a certain model had been in the mood for showing how this looks, then I would have been able to illustrate the point. But let's put it this way - never rely on kids for anything.

The bag is fully lined in my favourite of the moment crisp fresh green stripy shirting fabric.
I've also inserted a zip to keep everything in it safe and secure.

This is the first of a new style of bag for me and whilst it took me a while to work out the best way to design this zipped bag with a flapped front (I'm sure there's better terminology for that), now that I have, you'll be seeing a few different versions of this. Particularly if that afore-mentioned model gets her requested designs approved and produced.

Not that she deserves it, mind.

Friday, 11 February 2011

I'm quite aware that this time last week I had started on a new design idea that I haven't come back to you on. I was hoping to have had more time this week to refine this idea and have it ready to show properly. But as is typical with me, I underestimate how long these things take to get to that point and consequently you are going to have to leave it with me a little longer.

We are having quite a year of it already, one that I'm already fed up of - and it's still only February. As a result I am not getting the time or the ability to concentrate on things that I want to develop.

What I am able to do however is stick to simple things. Stick to what I know best. Stick to things that don't take up much head space in these more challenging days. On a personal level it has been far from a good start to 2011, but the least I can do is look back on it and see that professionally I have got some where.

These new Wash Bags in fab waterproof fabrics - one for the girls, and an equally fun one for the boys - are available now here, here, and here.

See, 3 shops...if that's not prolific, I don't know what is.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Want to cheer yourself up and banish the February blues? Then come and spend a day with Manda and me, learning a new skill and welcoming in the early days of spring by making beautiful, lovingly made clothes for the children in your life.

All equipment, fabrics and notions are included in the day, so you need to do no more than turn up ready to play with some gorgeous fabrics. We will also be providing a homemade lunch with tea, coffee and biscuits.

If you think that you might like to join us for the day in a lovely park side setting (and we hope you do!) then please email either myself or Manda at for further information or go directly here to book now.

Would love to come but can't make this date? We are running a workshop on April 2nd, where you can learn the delights of School House Quilting. We'd love to welcome you on that date instead, or even as well!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

There always seems to be another step to be done with the renovations we've been doing for over a year. The latest is curtains for our bedroom and the living room. I ordered a few samples from Tinsmith last week, none of which were fitting for the bedroom, but a couple which are in the running for the living room.

Tinsmith stock a fab range of furnishing fabrics, including the range of stunning St Jude fabrics, one of which I am desperate to make work.

I ordered a couple from the Treehouse Grey range, including the Faded Red which was so obviously not going to work anywhere, but I just had to have a sample of that. I'm still thinking the Grey may work in our bedroom but not quite convinced of the busy-ness with the Orla Striped Petal - or Fried Egg as we like to call it - wall paper.

I am leaning towards this for the living room. Again, there's a lot of pattern going on here. It definitely tones in and the fabric is a much smaller design than the wallpaper, so I think it may work. What do you reckon?

I dragged everyone over to Cheadle today to our nearest John Lewis, to look for more options. I found a couple of heavy cottons in differing shades of grey, which may work. You can order samples from John Lewis, so we'll wait for them to arrive and see how they match up.

It seems like we take forever to get a room finalised, by the time all the finishing touches are sourced and done. Are you the same?

Friday, 4 February 2011

I've been trying out a new idea this week. Actually, to be pedantic, I've been trying out an idea that has been mulling around in the far corners of my brain for, ooh, about 4 years, ever since I first started designing these.

I can't blame not being able to find the time. It's been more a case of stalemate and knowing where I was starting from and sort of knowing where I was going to end up, but not sure of the journey I was going to take to get there.

A lightbulb moment occurred last night, some time between finishing tutoring, dropping Noah off at Scouts and coming back to get Ruby to bed. You know how it works. And it was plainly obvious that I wasn't going to be going to bed until I'd at least got somewhere along to trying it out.

I have got somewhere along and I'm quite pleased with where it's at and hopefully they'll be ready for a bit more show and tell early next week...

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Are you swayed by packaging?

I'm fickle enough to tell you that I am. Bold, simple packaging gets me every time.
You know there must be something very healthy and good for you inside a package like this.

And one little glimpse told me that it looked tasty too.
My healthy eating habits have gone somewhat to pot recently, with longing for comfort snacks being more a quick purchase of Cadbury's Cream Eggs at the checkout (is it me, or have they got smaller?)

So, when I saw this at Sainsbury's today, a stern talking to told me I needed it more than the afore-mentioned chocolate snacks I've been resorting to of late.

And I don't know about you, but when I rediscover delicious healthy treats, I remember how much more preferable they really are.

Just until someone comes round with a non-healthy alternative that is...

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Here's how the conversation went with Ruby this morning, after she took a look at the Drawstring Linen Laundry Bag I designed yesterday...

Ruby: "It's nice, but...(uh oh)...I'd prefer it if it had the ones on my blue bag. Just long enough to go over my shoulder...but not too long so the bag drags on the floor"

Me: "But you like it, right? You think it works?"

Ruby: "yeeeeees...I like the lining... (phew)... but I'd still prefer longer handles...

"and the front is a bit plain. I think I'd like a bird on it...

"...or maybe a flower...

"or maybe both...

"Do you think you can do that by the time I'm home from school?"

That'll teach me to ask Madam's opinion (I'm still not actually sure I did ask, however), because somehow Ruby has managed to wangle a new bag.