Sunday, 24 July 2011

It's turning out to be a really lovely summer with lots of little vacations.
We were at my cousins' last weekend. They have just moved back into their newly built place in the middle of the countryside. It was stunning and such a treat to be hanging out there...swimming pool 'n' all!

Then this weekend we stayed in this stunning hotel, courtesy of my parents - we all went to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary. I'm not sure I have been so pampered in all my life. If you have an excuse to do something special, I highly recommend it.

And no sooner are we back than we are getting ready for a vacation to Israel. I am very very excited to be going. We are visiting family, friends and generally looking forward to hanging out in the sunshine for a couple of weeks.

I have presents at the ready (including this), been making pretty, lightweight skirts for Ruby, a dress half way made for me, and then fresh, pretty bags for our smalls...

I think we are ready for take off.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Ode to Kate...

Sometimes very special people cross our paths in this world of blogging (not that all of you aren't special to me, oh lovely readers). Every now and then we meet someone who we click with, even if they happen to be thousands of miles away and we have never actually met over a real cup of coffee or glass of wine.

I've introduced you before to my kind and clever pal, Kylie and I think I have introduced you to another Aussie friend of mine, Kate.
Well, Kate and I were chatting, as you do - for that hour cross over in time difference, one of us was up with our kids, the other was trying to put them to bed - about Flickr group swaps and the like and before we knew it we decided to have our own little swap.

By the fact of what is coming to me and what I am sending to Kate is true testament to the fact that you don't have to physically see people to know people. Kate has got it absolutely spot on with what she knows I will love and I'm pretty sure I've got it right with her too. When Kate posted the cushion pics last night (obv I didn't see them til this morning), I gasped at the sight of them...that was even before the realisation sank in that the cushion was for me.

The hoop at the top, by the way, is something I did for Kate a couple of years ago now, in a Flickr Group Swap we were in. Apparently it takes pride of place in her kitchen. I'm pretty sure this cushion will be taking pride of place in my home when it arrives.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Fabric has taken on a whole new meaning since I have been screen printing.
I'm trying to steer away from all the beautiful patterns that once sucked me in and spat my bank cards out. I'm obviously working towards using mostly my fabrics. There is however always a need for all sorts of fabrics, so I'm in little doubt that my shopping days are over...just possibly curbed at the moment.

One thing I am in need of is good base fabrics...good textured, varying coloured fabrics that will work well in taking the ink, as well as being the right weight for different projects.
I have quite a thing for organic fabrics too, so when Rachel announced arrival of all her different organic fabrics, i was pretty sure I'd find some that would work for screen printing.

It's obviously hard to tell by just looking at them. How they take the ink is one of the important factors. So armed with my swatches today, I spray mounted them onto paper and set out to print.
It's quite interesting to see how the different fabrics take the ink and the different colours too. I used a dark ink because if they work well with this then they are going to work well with any.

As well as the coloured fabrics, I tried a good range of white ones. I'm going to need a real good look at these to narrow down my choices, but I was really pleased how they worked out and am pretty sure I have found some good dependable base fabrics for screen printing.
And organic too...

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

I am feeling a little anxious about heading away for our summer holidays pretty soon and being absent from the screen printing workshop.
Really. It's a big concern.
And then not only that, but how am I going to get in there when we get back while the kids are still on school holidays?
As I said, Big Concern.

I have booked in a session this week, which I'm hoping will enable me to get my fix before we go.
But then, what about time for sewing with it all?

Vacations are supposed to be exciting aren't they?
Quite frankly, I'm rather keen on sending them all on one and staying behind to have my own vacation right here...
Is that very wrong?...

Monday, 18 July 2011

The sewing into napkins is now complete and what a lovely activity it turned out to be. To be honest I anticipated making them to be rather fiddly, but was more than pleasantly surprised to find this was not the case.

I'm not sure why I should have expected otherwise, as I have had this revelation with almost all, if not all, sewing activities I have done. I always envisage something to be more complicated and thus annoying than it turns out to be. I am self taught and consequently forget I am quite competent.

Because this was so enjoyable, I sewed away making quite a few sets of these...all of which are now sold and gone on to their new homes where I hope they will be enjoyed by their new owners. I desperately need to get into the workshop this week to print more.

I have put a couple of sets of the not quite perfects into my Etsy shop if anyone fancies a bargain set.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

White Stuff is my number 1 shop of choice for everyday wear. I do probably over buy from there...preferably in the sale as it is quite pricey. That said, the quality is fantastic, the pieces so wearable and the attention to detail is just breathtaking.

And that's not just with the clothing...
White Stuff labels just get me every time.

This latest one on my recent purchase is case in point...

The retro design is just perfect. It goes without saying that the aqua/red combo is a winner in my book.
And would you take a look at the safety pin...

White Stuff pay attention to every aspect of bog standard pin for them.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Forgive me for harping on about screen printing as much as I am.
It's partly because I am so loving it and partly as my own diary and record of what I am printing and where my journey is going.

My journey is moving at quite a pace and if I don't keep a note of it then, like anything, it's so easy to forget how it has been developing.

Today I went into the workshop for 4 hours - 4 whole fantastic productive hours. I produced so much stuff today and just about all of it I'm very excited about.
I experimented with some new card designs - more about those another day - and I also worked on a new stitch design, as well as trying out Framed Flowers in different colours, all with the idea of turning into napkins.
What do you reckon?

I have to say, I'm loving this green ink. It's so zingy and fresh. At the moment there isn't a place that is calling out for green in this house, but I'm racking my brains as to where it might fit in, because I sure do have to have me some.

Tonight I will mostly be sewing up some of each into napkins...can't wait to see how they will turn out.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

I've been involved in a Flickr Group Swap this month...Pretty {Little} Pouch Swap. Since I'm big into making pouches at the mo it seemed the perfect group to be in. I don't do many swaps, but this one tickled my fancy - a nice small project, a quick time frame, and quite frankly nothing better to do with my time (and if you believe that you'll believe anything).

I love swaps. Actually that's not wholly accurate, but it's been quite a while since I've been involved in one, so at the moment I love swaps.
I love meeting new crafters. I love browsing the group and getting a feel for what everyone likes and fabrics they enjoy using.
And I love the opportunity to create a one off piece for my partner, using fabric combinations, designs that I wouldn't ordinarily be justified to find time to try out.

With the summer holidays upon us, it was decided that this would be a rapid turn around swap, which suits me just fine. Most of you know my character flaw of being all-consumed by a current project and consequently I made my partner's pouch in next to no time.

I used one of my new hand printed flower patches, some of my favourite blue palette fabrics, a little embroidery, all sewn together in a new (for me) shape pouch.
I'm pretty happy with the result and will just have to wait to see if my partner is too.

If you want to see what the rest of the group is up to, take a look right here...

Monday, 11 July 2011

It seems like a long time ago now that I was obsessing with Freezer Paper as a printing method, but since doing the Screen Printing Course it took a back seat. Not only did it take a back seat, but I wasn't sure if there was going to be a place for it now that I was screen printing.

Having invested in a fair size roll of freezer paper, I was a bit cross with myself for being so flitty with yet another craft.

Today I learnt that there is definitely still a place for freezer paper printing.
It goes without saying that screen printing is perfect for producing quantities in a way that just doesn't work with freezer paper.
And in contrast freezer paper is perfect for one offs. The time and expense of producing a screen for just one print obviously makes little sense.

So I was delighted to remember my stash of freezer paper that I could use to personalise this commissioned cushion. I used to embroider the details but with my recent penchant for printed fabric I really wanted to find a way of doing this.

I was very pleased to discover that freezer paper still has a place in my crafting...particularly since I have one mighty large roll.
And you never know, Jo and Fran, I may even need another one day soon...

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Please let me introduce my screen print design Numero 2...Framed Flower...

I obviously had to trial it out in one of my colours of the moment, but very soon, it will be available in other colours too...I'm awaiting a delivery of LOTS of inks this week. VERY excited...

The first item I've made up is this little pouch and lined it with one of my new vintage fabric acquisitions.

I hope you like Framed Flower and if you like the pouch, it's for sale right here...

Friday, 8 July 2011

I was led astray today...

I'd been wanting to get Orla Kiely's book Pattern ever since it came out last year, but couldn't justify the £25 price tag, merely just because "I had to have it".

I met up with my good friend, Manda, today for a quick coffee and her beady eye caught site of it in the half price section at Hobbycraft. As she quite rightly said, I'd be crazy not to.

As I always listen to her, I didn't need much persuasion to grab it and pay for it before I could change my mind.

Since buying it I've hardly been able to take my eyes off it.
As you can imagine, being a self-confessed Orla fan, it is music to my senses. It is, as you would expect, every pattern Orla has ever designed, along with fantastic pages of swatch inspirations of all her ranges ever.

I am such a fan of everything Orla (yes, I would be quite happy to be seen driving around in one of her Citroen's) that my children can recognise an Orla design from miles away.

I apologise to anyone out there who may see themselves as the style guru of the 21st Century, but I'm sorry, you are wrong, it is she, Orla, who is the one and only Queen.

I haven't had chance to read all the interesting prose behind the Lady, but have dipped in and am mesmerised and can't wait to read from cover to cover. This isn't just a picture book.

Besides all the incredible photographs in here from swatch choices to billboard adverts to blogs depicting Orla usage in our own homes, this picture below drew most attention in our house, with comments of "Mummy, wants that one. No, she wants that one. But she's already got that one."

Whichever one that one is, there is always room for one more Orla bag.
Personally that one more would be the grey and blue, top left.
Which one would you choose?

And if you don't already have this book in your possession, i can not instil strongly enough the need to find a friend to lead you astray and acquire it pronto.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

This is one of those quilts I so enjoyed making.
It could have been the fact that I knew I loved the colour combination from having done the scrap doll's quilt the other week, so I was excited to see a bigger sized version.
Or it could be that it is for a very special little girl.

Some very dear friends of ours went through extensive fertility treatment for several years and were eventually rewarded with 2 gorgeous twin boys.

Then, as is often the case, less than 6 months later our friend discovered she was pregnant again. Only naturally this time.
Obviously we were all over the moon for them and very excited about the impending arrival.

I don't know if it was just wishful thinking for them, but I had this feeling she was going to have a little girl. After all they had been through, to have a girl this time seemed the perfect addition.

I haven't yet had the pleasure of meeting the little bundle in question, as they live in Israel, but we are visiting this summer and I can not wait.