Thursday 31 March 2011

Tomorrow sees the finishing touches being completed for BCTF.

Or should I put it this way - tomorrow MUST see the finishing touches completed, as Saturday I head over to Harrogate to set up my stand.

I probably won't be around again until after it's over, so I just wanted to say thank you for all your lovely comments of support. I really do appreciate your support and encouragement and I hope I can report back that you were right and it all went well.

I am a tad nervous...

Sunday 27 March 2011

Final countdown week in the BCTF preparation stakes this week.

I've had a bit of a breakthrough this weekend with getting the stand how I want it. It's been in the preparation stages in my head and I have finally got around to getting it sorted in practice. 'Bout bloody time, you may say, and you'd be quite correct.

As well as making sure the display is as I would like it, it's all systems go as far as making sure all the samples are completed. There's still a fair amount of work to be done in that area, but I'm sure it will all get done...quite frankly it has too. There's nothing like putting yourself under a bit of pressure.

If you happen to be in the vicinity of Harrogate next Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, I'd love to see you. So please come and say hi - Im on stand D399. And if you need a ticket, just give me a shout and I'll pop one your way.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

No trade show preparations are quite complete without the necessary trip to Ikea, King of storage and accessories solutions. I headed there this morning to purchase these, but obviously a trip to Ikea is equally never complete without a visit to the fabric department.

Boy was I in for a treat today. I needed some more white cotton for show makes and Lenda is my fabric of choice. Not only did I pick up metres (yes, metres) of this, but my timing was perfect as today saw the re-arrival of Aina, the linen that Ikea used to stock and hasn't been available for a long time. I picked up some of this in white and was over the moon to see that they are also stocking it in grey.

The most perfect grey linen EVER. I've been after a good grey linen and haven't been able to find one that works for me and I think I may just have found it.

I'd almost walked away, when this beautiful grey rose caught my eye and it seemed rude to walk on by. It's even more gorgeous in the flesh and is going to be turned into some lovely summer cushions for our bed just as soon as BCTF is over.

It seemed equally rude to walk past Kajsastina, this lovely daisy.

Most of the pile of beauties will have to stay untouched for the next couple of weeks, put out of temptations way. They aren't right for the show, but they sure are right for me.

Monday 21 March 2011

In about 10 days it's the British Craft Trade Fair and less than 10 days ago I signed up for it, which gave me at the time less than 20 days to prepare.
Quite a mountain I'd say.

One reason I hadn't decided to go before now was all the personal stuff going on here and to be quite honest the whole timing completely passed me by.

Having made the decision and been accepted (again - as I did show there a couple of years ago) it's been all systems go.
I'll be there with my Take Away Craft Kits, with a couple of new ones added, as well as various accessories that I have been working on this year.

There's going to be an emphasis on hand-printed fabric to go alongside the items I already produce and it's this that I am most excited about showing and having on my stand.

Since I was accepted last Monday I have been working like a maniac to get all the work done, so that next week I can focus on the stand itself. One of these days I'll get into the rhythm of doing regular trade shows so that it all happens as a matter of course, rather than being a starting from scratch each time.

I am getting there - sort of - but there's still a lot of blood, sweat and undoubtedly tears to be had first.

Sunday 20 March 2011

Yesterday I managed a trip out to get crafting supplies, including some fabric paints for my hand-printing fabric projects.

First up on the project list was taking the pencil pouch idea a step further by personalising it.

Ruby has headed off to her friend Sadie's party today, so of course she was first on the list to get one of my new pouches.
Despite the fact that Ruby's response was "Mummy, I wish we could give my friends something other than crafty stuff for their birthdays. They aren't all like me and like it you know. Can't we give them something normal?"

I'm still wracking my brains to think what may be construed as normal, if a personalised pencil case and matching keyring isn't. I'm thinking Ruby was implying something pink and plastic. Or perhaps glittery and sparkly.

Either way, she did rapidly back it up with could I make her one.
And I'm pretty sure Sadie's Mummy will be more than happy with this pink and plastic, or silvery and glittery alternative.

Friday 18 March 2011

First off, I have an apology for this post.

As beautiful as the photography was in yesterday's post, today's is the other extreme. Quite simply, some of these images are not pretty. Not helped by the colour paint I have been using.

But please bear with me, as I take you through my journey.

You all know of my love of hand-printed fabrics and my desire to do more screen printing and produce pieces of my own, but since access to screen printing is out of the question at the moment, I am looking at alternatives.

My Gocco printer is still not in full working order, due to the need for several accessories for it. So when I discovered Saints and Pinners were now stocking Freezer Paper I swiftly ordered some and have been sitting waiting patiently for it to arrive. I know that sounds like I have been waiting an inordinately long time, when in reality I think this has been less than 48 hours, thanks to the super efficient service Jo and Fran always provide. But considering my fabric producing journey started almost a year ago, this has been a long time for me.

So today I started experimenting with Freezer Paper Printing. The seedhead design that I used in my first screen print in the summer seemed a good place to start. I want to use hand-printed fabrics in lots of different ways and incorporate it my work with other fabrics too, so I'm starting with little patches that I can add to my work.

The Freezer Paper method is very simple to do. The paper has a shiny back and this sticks to fabric when ironed. Once you have cut out your design and ironed the paper on to your fabric, you stipple your chosen colour over. If you want to repeat the pattern reposition the paper and repeat as many times as you want.

This really is a fantastically fun and easy way to print fabric and produce something really unique.

I am really enjoying experimenting with this and I promise the next photos I show you will be a little prettier than these...okay, A LOT!

Thursday 17 March 2011

Warning: Beautiful photos alert!

I've just treated myself to a couple of Japanese pattern books. Not only are the clothes in these books to die for, but even if it takes me a while to even begin to narrow down the list enough to make anything, simply browsing through the pages alone is enough.

The photography is aspirational, making you want to step right on in and live amongst the pages.

And the attention to detail is exquisite. I particularly love the doily detail that is throughout 'Stylish Dress Book'.

I'm really not sure which one I will make first, once my Japanese is up to scratch of course. Having said that, Kate of M is for Make, where I bought the books from is doing an invaluable guide on her blog of how to use Japanese pattern books.

I adore this pretty sundress, above, and would love to think I'll make at least one for our recently booked summer holiday in the sun.

Another strong contender is this smart dress, below left, perfect for a summer wedding. To be quite honest, I'd be ecstatic if I can make any of them.

On the theme of summer clothing, the second book I bought was 'Girlswear on Holiday', with the aim of making a couple of pretty summer dresses for Ruby.

Despite her favourite line when we go shopping together being "Mummy, that is so much more your style than mine..." we were in full agreement on what I should make for her.

Actually I'm quite wondering what size the children's sizings go up to...

Whilst the adults' book is shot beautifully, delicately, with a real sense of sublime utility, the children's one has captured such an air of fun that, any day now, while I'm jumping into 'Stylish Dress Book', I am pretty sure Ruby will be heading into the sun and fun-filled pages of this one.

Monday 14 March 2011

Moving on with The Organic Range that started with Zipper Pouches, we now have
The Cushion.
The cover isn't entirely organic as the backing is made from shirting, but the front is made from beautiful, bold, fresh fabrics from Cloud 9's latest Nature Walk range.

The sun is positively streaming through my studio windows at the moment and simply bouncing of these gorgeous fresh fabrics. It really is a lovely range. I'm yet to purchase the brown/red colour-ways which I love too, but am thinking they have a more autumnal feel.
I could be wrong and I'm certainly more than happy to get some and give them a try.

I was going to use the spots for the backing to keep it entirely organic, but it did feel like over kill when I put them together. Also the front didn't seem quite as zingy as when I matched the front with the blue stripy shirting.

These will be available in my shops very shortly along with some zipper pouches that are queuing up to be completed.

Thursday 10 March 2011

I've just had a birthday.
It wasn't the best, but wasn't the worst.
I've been feeling a tad strange recently, which is hardly surprising with all the goings on lately and my birthday seemed to come and go without me getting overly excited.
Or maybe that's just age.

It hardly seems a year ago that I bought this book with my birthday book money. I always ask my In Laws for an Amazon voucher (it's safer that way), so I can purchase all those books (well some of them anyway) that have made their way onto the wish-list over the year.

Seeing as though this book has been in my possession for a year now, I thought I'd better dip into it before the new batch arrive.

There are quite a few patterns in here that I've marked that I want to make, but it's this fab Everything Tote that I most wanted to do.
I'm in holiday mode at the moment, having just booked our summer holiday last night, so this seemed perfect for that.
I love this bag already. The handles are very comfortable and it's so roomy - it will no doubt be filled with everything-but-the-kitchen-sink all summer long.

Ok, summer is still a long way off, but at least I'm prepared, hey?

Friday 4 March 2011

Spring is in the air.
Isn't it?
Have you noticed the days getting longer?

I just love it when it starts to stay light in the evenings for longer. We've had our fill of cosying up in the dark winter nights and yes, there is definitely something magical about that, but compared to the feeling of awakening in the spring, winter just doesn't cut it.

And with the departure of winter, it's farewell to the woollens and out with the fresh spring fabrics. The springlike days make me look at fabrics differently and consequently this week's purchases from M is for Make look like this.

I actually think I have found a new contender for my All Time Top 10 Favourite Fabrics EVER with this latest delivery. This top fabric is Kaffe Fassett's design for Liberty Art fabric and is just divine. The colours are so crisp and clear, with the cold blue on stark white, being a winner through spring and way into summer. I'm thinking, as well as using for summertime accessories, I am hoping Ruby feels as passionate about it as I do and will allow me to make a skirt or summer dress, or hopefully both - particularly as I've just ordered this book from Kate too.

More springlike fabrics in the delivery were these gorgeous latest prints from Cloud 9. Again, striking fresh blues with crisp white. I love this latest collection. Michelle is such a talented designer and her prints just do it for me every time. I can not wait for her Cut Out & Keep Collection that she has done with Heather Moore of Skinny Laminx, to come out. Not long now as it's due out in April.

To tie all these together I am in need of some fresh plain cottons. Backstitch are stocking the new range of incredibly affordable Klona cottons. Not being sure of the colours I needed I opted for the fantastically valued Swatch Card, which is going to be invaluable for matching up to fabrics.

So, I'm all set for spring now...are you?

Tuesday 1 March 2011

I've been playing around with a new pouch design. I love the versatile stand-up variety that I have been making in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but they don't suit all needs.

This new design has come about by the need to lay some things flat, whether it be hankies, jewellery whilst on ones travels, or even somewhere to store ones smalls.

I love this crisp linen and it feels like such a little luxury item.
They will be available in varying sizes and also a coordinating one for the boys. After all they need somewhere to store their smalls too...

This size is currently available here.