Monday 31 January 2011

I know we are a long way off thinking of summer vacations here, but you never quite know when you may be packing to go to distant climes. Maybe a skiing trip planned, or a winter break here in the UK, or maybe even lucky enough to be heading to sunny distant climes.

All the above have influenced my latest product...the Linen Laundry Bag.

I love pretty things and I love travelling with pretty things. Yes, there's nothing wrong with having a few extra plastic bags in your case for separating clean and dirty washing. But what could be nicer than having pretty bags to pull out?

My linen laundry bag is lined with crisp cotton shirting and finished off with a vintage braid tie threaded through a strip of Bright It's a Hoot Monster Stripe.

It's also roomy enough to store a pair of shoes in.

And if like me, you aren't planning any trips at the moment, you can still use it to store your underwear all nicely organised in your wardrobe.

Now available in my Etsy store...

Friday 28 January 2011

Ooh, I wonder what this could be...

Only my, I mean our, belated Anniversary present from my Mum and Dad. Mum knows my love for Orla, along with my love for a red and blue combo, so was lovely enough to give them to me, I mean us.

Are they not the most beautiful tableware that you have ever seen? I adore the usual simplistic design we know and love from Orla. And the retro design of the pieces themselves are oozing with charm.

I love the teapot and I know I, sorry, sorry, WE will use it and get pleasure from it every day, but it's the butter dish that I am truly in love with. The retro shape is just delightful and the chunkiness of the lid is such a joy to hold (Karen, for goodness sake it's a butter dish).

All that's missing now is a couple of these to complete the look...

Monday 24 January 2011

As promised, we have the winner of my "Guiltless Sewing in Order to Avoid doing my Taxes" Giveaway...

...and the winner is...

Thank you all for entering. I really appreciate all your comments of support. It really does mean a lot and here's to happier times x

Saturday 22 January 2011

I started designing a new tote last night with the wool felt I picked up form Fabworks that I'm rather pleased with. I haven't worked with this wool felt before and it is a joy. It obviously doesn't fray like cotton fabric, so just a cut and an overlapping sew and it's sorted.

Since I couldn't decide which of the delectable felts that I bought to use, I went for using all 3 - 2 shades of grey and a teal.

I like that there is unity with the teal on both sides, but with the 2 shades of grey making it less perfectly matching.

I lined the tote with my favourite stripy linen and made coordinating handles with it too.

Some sashiko stitching to finish it off and we have a useful seasonal tote. This one is in the shop now and I'm hoping to get to Fabworks this week to get different coloured felt, so if you have any requests give me a shout...

Friday 21 January 2011

I am delighted to report that taxes are all done and dusted...until next year. I can't believe I say the same thing every year about being organised and every year the same happens. To think I could actually do them 8 months earlier never seems to compute.

But then where's the fun in that?

As a result of feeling a massive weight of relief, I've taken today off and am treating myself to doing a few projects that have been on the wish list for quite some time.

This first one - Bunny Pencil Case from Zakka Sewing - has been on the list since I bought the book for my birthday last March and fell in love with it then. It's been on Ruby's wish list too and since today she was reluctantly piled off to school whilst the boys lazied in bed, as it's Entrance Exam Day at their school, so closed for pupils, I thought it was only fair she comes home to a little special treat.

This was a lovely project to do. Firstly, working in linen is so pleasurable. It is soft to the touch, but holds its shape well. I also love the utilitarian look and feel of linen.

Whilst the project was classed as a 3 - challenging - the most challenging thing I found about it was having enough hands to pull in the bunny tail! I think if you are adept at zippers, then this really isn't too tricky a project.

The only other challenge I found was hand drawing out the template, as I don't have a photocopier to enlarge the patterns 200%, hence a rather 'unique' looking bunny...

I'm so pleased to have found time to start embarking on some projects that I've been wanting to do for a while now and delving back into this gorgeous book has inspired me in several ideas to use that lovely wool I picked up a couple of weeks ago.

Watch this space...;-)

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Guess what? I started my tax today!

I have had an entire day of finding, sorting and collating receipts, invoices, bank statements, bills etc etc and even though I'm not quite finished I feel giddy with excitement with the thought that it is almost over.

I'm so excited about what I'm going to do next week without this hanging over me.

And also, I have not done an iota of sewing today. And there's a certain someone out there (you know who you are...!) who couldn't quite believe that this was going to be possible. But it was. I did it. Not out of choice, I hasten to add. More out of necessary concentration and focus.

Maybe I got it out of my system yesterday by allowing myself to slowly recuperate and not put pressure on myself by insisting I start my taxes yesterday. Maybe when push comes to shove, I am actually quite capable of focussing and prioritising.

Who'd have thought...

I did however sneak in a little more sewing last night before the dawn broke on my new found commitment to the cause. Having given away the pencil pouch that was sewn with the intention of being mine, I realised that if this one wasn't mine, then I'd better make one that was.

So here, we have Patchwork Pencil pouch Number 2...and sorry folks...this one is mine ;-)

Thank you so much for all your lovely well-wishes you left yesterday. It really does mean a lot...thank you, thank you, thank you xx

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Question: What do you do when you are supposed to be...

a) doing your tax forms? and
b) doing lesson plans for Maths classes?

Answer: Sew, of course!

Having been on rather a zipper pouch roll of late (what, you hadn't noticed?) I was really in the mood for making one for me for a pencil case. As I was saying earlier, I have far more pressing things than make myself a new pencil case, but due to the rather emotional week we've had, I couldn't focus on anything today. So in order for the day to not be a complete wash-out I figured I may as well sew.

For those of you that follow me on Twitter, you'll know that Matthew's Nan passed away late Saturday night, after fighting a losing battle this last week. It's been an exhausting week emotionally and physically, but at least now she is at peace. At 98 it's inevitable that your days are numbered, but when the time comes, it doesn't matter how old, it is still the loss of a loved one.

Hence the lack of desire or energy today to do anything but sew. But in order for me not to feel totally guilty about this, I've decided to make this a giveaway and thank you all for all your comments and support of my blog. I don't always manage to reply to your comments, but I love reading them and in my mind I have replied!

So as a proper thank you I'm giving away this zipper pouch and it will be filled with a whole host of surprise goodies too ;-)

To enter all you have to do is be a follower of my blog and leave a comment to say hi...easy as that!

I'll be making the draw AFTER I have registered my tax next Monday...there, if that's not driving me into action, I'm not sure what is.

Thanks again for following and being there x

Saturday 15 January 2011

Declaring more from the holiday buying fabric stash...

Last night I made some Wash-bags with waterproof lining. The linings were delivery number 43 in the buying stakes, bought from Dreams Come True.
I'm waiting on delivery number 44 for some more linings for more designs I have planned...
They are available right here, here and here.

Thursday 13 January 2011

A while ago now the lovely ladies at Saints and Pinners sent me a pack of the Warm & Natural Batting they are now stocking. I love this batting and have been using it for a while now and was delighted when Jo and Fran started to stock it. If you haven't come across this before you really should head right over to their shop and grab some.

It is exactly what it says on the label - Warm and Natural.

It's not a heavy batting which, in my eyes, makes it ideal for an array of projects, from quilting to oven mitts to wall art to table mats. It is warm and cosy enough to be used for throws and padded enough for those items that need a little cushioning, without it being overly weighty.
I've been itching to use it for a project but with everything else going on have only just managed to do so.

I'm off to London next week and was in need of a protective case for my Macbook and decided that this batting would work perfectly.

I had a little bit of time this morning (actually I MADE a bit of time this morning, otherwise there wouldn't be another opportunity before my trip) so I got started.

I love whipping something up for myself, partly because it hardly ever happens and partly because it's a good excuse to rummage through my fabrics.

Initial rummage got me to select the above blues and reds and whilst I really love them, they were stronger than I wanted for this particular item. I have however placed them to one side to make a cushion for my studio.

Second rummage gave me more of a look I was after. No great surprises in this selection I think you'll agree - obligatory Social Climber, Kei Grey Dots, a little hand printed pieces, some linen, along with several other faves. Maybe I'm getting boring or maybe I know what works for me.

After I'd pieced together the patchwork front, I quilted this with a layer of the batting and stitched across all the squares. I then stitched a piece of batting in place with the back piece. All super quick and easy. Super cute spotty lining and handles in place, oh and the addition of my favourite vintage braiding and less than an hour later I'm all set and ready to hit The Big Smoke.

The batting is absolutely perfect for this project. The tote has protection without me feeling I'm lugging some weighty, bulky accessory around.

I even managed to keep to my resolution with this project, as not only did I use some of my all time favourites, but incorporated some of the newer stash, the striped linen and the black speckle, which has just arrived from Cottonpatch. I think both of these are destined to be classed as all time favourites too.

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Ok, it's time I started declaring all the fabric that has been mounting up over the holidays. Part of the reason I have been ordering with such gay abandon was that my Aunt came over from US during the hols and I always make use of getting fabric Stateside, without the worry of heavy postage and import costs. However now that the airlines have started charging their baggage allowance according to weight, I'm not sure she'll be quite so agreeable to letting me take up precious kilos. In the meantime I made the most of it.

First up in the show and tell pile is this collection from Fabric Closet. I'd seen the Kisses in Red by Wendy Slotboom and thought it was fab and then found the other 2 by Wendy too. They are perfect basic stash fabrics. While I was there, as you do, I dropped Michael Miller's Brady Bunch (far left) into my basket. too.

Whilst it is pretty clear that there is little chance of me giving up my fabric buying addiction anytime in the near future, so it really was pointless to make any resolutions to do so, one thing I have however made a resolution to do, is to keep any new fabric on my work desk in full view and approach it first when making something. This way, hopefully it will become integrated into my making psyche and not hide away and be forgotten.

So today when I needed to make some gifts, I headed straight for the new pile. The girls in Noah's year are all celebrating their Bat Mitzvah's this school year (girls come of age the year before boys) and he seems to have a party almost every weekend. I'm trying to keep stock up in the present pile to avoid that "aggghhh, what do you mean you are going out in half an hour and you need a gift??" panic.

Judging by Ruby's response to these Make Up and Purse Pouch Sets, I'm hoping the girls will be pretty pleased with them.

Tuesday 11 January 2011

I promised to show you some of my purchasing from over the holidays. And I will but I am ashamed however to tell you that none of this is any of it.

This is all yesterday's shopping.

I know it is shameful - especially since this is just an iota of what has been arriving into this house over the last few weeks.

But let's not dwell on that. Let's talk about yesterday...
Manda and I headed to Fabworks (remember where I bought all this Liberty and shirting?) and I knew it was going to be trouble with a capital T.

And trouble it was...

First up was those bundles of the most delicious felt, in stunning colours of teals and greys. I have no idea at the moment what I am going to use it for, but at just £1 a piece it would have been rude to pass it by.

Everything else however has a purpose. (Do you think if I repeat that enough times I'll be able to convince myself as well as you?)

But it's true...

Having designed the Summersville Pencil Pouches and on the whole being really pleased with them, there was a nagging detail that wasn't quite as I wanted it. Before going to Fabworks I put my finger on what it was...the need for a little tab detail. I'd already begun searching online for some ribbon, but hadn't got very far. I needn't have worried as one whole shelving unit was given over at Fabworks to stunning vintage braiding which I am overjoyed to have found and even more overjoyed to see that this works a treat on the pouches.

Of course a trip to Fabworks wouldn't have been complete without the purchasing of a stash of fabrics. And as I said before, these all have a purpose. (They absolutely really do).

First up was the selecting of several Libertys - very useful little numbers for quilting, kits, linings.

Next up was crisp shirting at just £3/m. I love the shirting. It works beautifully as lining for the pouches and I particularly love the green stripe. I find it quite difficult to line green, but this stripe is just perfect.

Last up and almost *gasp* passed by, was this gorgeous linen with red line through it. How amazing is this? It is incredibly soft and utterly beautiful. Simple understated, just how I like things.

And of course creating this Make Up Pouch was far more important than doing my tax forms today...whoops...

It is however available in both my Etsy shop and Big Cartel shop if you'd like me to feel that it was money and time well spent...

Happiness is...

...a new coffee mug and a homemade blueberry muffin.

Update: The mug is from Habitat, but unfortunately now out of stock...and I desperately need a second before someone else in the house pinches mine...

Thursday 6 January 2011

I don't know about you but I'm really struggling to get back into a good working rhythm after the break. The children had all gone back to school by Wednesday but Matthew was still off until today.

This had the advantage, as I've already told you in my last blogpost, of slowly getting into 2011, but it's had the negative effect of making it difficult for me to reestablish any kind of routine. I've been having the joy of spending lots of time with the family and not being cocooned up in my studio in the attic. But it's resulted in me being out of the swing of blogging, tweeting, making...generally attending to my business.

I have had these photos uploaded into edited mode for about a week now, but couldn't get into the right frame of mind to actually write the post.

I can't quite put my finger on why that is. I'm so excited about these new pencil pouches and am very keen to get them out there and have already got a couple of stockists interested, so it's all good. But still I can't quite move myself into action.

I've got my tax return hanging over me. That always makes me sick to the stomach until it's all done and sent off and I'm hoping that that's the root cause of my unrest. It's time-tabled to be done this week, which is the first opportunity after the silly season and holidays (if you don't count any time from April 6 2010...)

So hopefully all this New Year procrastinating and inability to focus will disappear into a puff of smoke just as soon as I hit "send" with my tax return and I'll be back to bugging you regularly with constant tweets, flickr uploads, blogposts and anywhere else you may happen to be lurking...