Thursday 28 April 2011

I am very much made up of contradictory elements. On the one hand I fail to cross the finishing line when I am almost there. On the other hand I get a bit obsessed so when I have something in my head I have to get on with it.
At least the advantage of the latter is I get things done.

Hence the making of cushion number 2 in double quick time.

Thank you for all your comments and ideas for this second cushion.

I decided to go for using a piece of the first fabric but incorporating the grey too.

I'm really pleased with how this second one has turned out and how they look together. In fact I'm liking them so much that I think I'm going to have to do the same combination in our bedroom.
Or is that overkill?

I just can't bear to have this gorgeous fabric in the place in the house that I pass fleetingly without stopping to admire and appreciate.

I suppose I could always take my coffee break in one of the seats...

Monday 25 April 2011

How was your Easter weekend? Great I hope.

We have just come back from the best weekend ever. We went to visit one of Matthew's brother's who lives in Bristol. The other bro and his family came over too. We get along just brilliantly. (Take a look at us girls here). I couldn't ask for better sister and brother-in-laws. Really, I couldn't.

And what's more all the cousins, ranging from my big boy Sam at almost 14, down to little Luka at almost 3, are so close and love spending time with each other. They are a great team.

And what's more (just gets better and better, hey?) they all let me indulge myself by being my willing guinea pigs in crafting activities.

I'd brought along freezer paper, fabric paints and bags for a little activity yesterday afternoon and as if they'd be prepped by the other Mum's and Dad's - "you know what Auntie Karen's like. Just humour her and play along..." - they all sat willingly to 'play'. They continued to play along, even when I made them sit and work out their design properly before letting them lose on the freezer paper and paints.

Even Anastasia, aged 4, took it in the spirit that it was meant to be taken...

The boys were surprisingly keen. Hardly surprising. They've know Mummy/Auntie Karen for long enough.

They were only supposed to do one each (at Auntie Ruth and Auntie Alex's request to do one too) but as you can see they all loved it so much that they wanted to do a second. I was so impressed with what they've produced. It was such a fantastic afternoon and a great activity to do with them all as, despite taking some effort and concentration, results were pretty rapid and immediate.

And the bags came in pretty useful for our next activity - having something to carry home the precious rocks in that they had all collected in the rock pools by the beach.

Friday 22 April 2011

I don't know about you, but I am so slow with finishing touches. I'd like to think it's because I don't like to rush things and like things to come together organically, working out what would work in a space.
Quite frankly I think it's because I'm not good at the finer detail.

However, in an Etsy perusing mood last week, I hit on this fantastic piece of fabric by the uber talented Heather of Skinny Laminx. This has long since been an absolute fave piece of fabric of mine and something that day connected with my brain and told me to buy it right now to make the much needed cushion for the newly appointed hallway.

Heather's fabrics tick every single box for me...
crisp linen...
simple eye-catching designs...
lots of greys and yellows.

Even without seeing this fabric in the flesh I knew it was going to work perfectly in this space. It compliments my hand-printed wallpaper by Missprint beautifully.
I used some of my new Ikea grey linen for the backing, which I binded with another new (to me) Ikea fabric, the pretty ditsy daisy.

I love the splash of colour here in the hallway and I love the fact that the space is just about complete. I say just about because as you can see there's a second chair that needs a little Skinny Laminx treatment. The question is do we go for a cushion in the same colour and design or same colour, different design? Me being me I'm all for a different design. I'm not too good on matchy matchy.

What do you reckon? If this was your space, what would you do?

Thursday 21 April 2011

It's that time again. The next Grey Circles is in just 2 weeks. Something to look forward to after the mayhem of interrupted time due to school holidays, Royal Weddings and Official Bank Holidays.

If you fancy some 'me' time after all that, then grab a place on our Children's Clothes Workshops on Saturday May 7th.

You will learn to make a top or tunic, along with a pair of trousers for any age from birth to 8 years. We ran the workshop back in February and it was a great success, both meeting great people and learning new skills. These designs are perfectly suited for summer clothing, so come along and design something unique for the children in your life to wear and enjoy all summer long. All you need to do is turn up and we'll provide everything else; including machine, all the fabrics you will need, lunch, tea, coffee, cakes, everything to enjoy the perfect day away learning new skills and meeting new friends.

Need to know anything more? Just contact myself or Manda for further information.

Ready to book? Go straight here and we look forward to having you join us.

Monday 18 April 2011

Whilst we are on the subject of spring and garden's and enjoying our beautiful weather here in the UK (sorry Aussie's heading towards winter) let's just stick to the theme of flowers for one more day.

I'd mentioned that my garden and particularly my deck needs some attention and colour leading into summer, so yesterday, when I walked up to the local florists to get Passover gifts for family we are visiting over the next few days, I put in a few sneaky purchases for us.

These daisy plants just sang out to me and I can just picture them re-flowering throughout the whole summer. They depict summer perfectly to me and I'd already decided I fancied lots of fresh white and yellow on the deck.

I'd seen some mini ones of these and already thought a row them in yellow would be fun filled with an abundance of white flowers.
Then I placed my daisy pots in my flower stand, which my lovely Grandma bought us for a house warming gift and decided that this filled with the white daisies would get the look I was after too.

So my 3 pots are a start - it's amazing how many plants you actually need before you start noticing them - and pretty soon the deck will be my summertime solace and if the sunshine continues, then all will be good.

Sunday 17 April 2011

I think spring has to be my favourite moment in time.

I'm a real one for the days being longer and it staying light for longer. It is such a feel-good factor beyond anything else.

Much to my husband's difference of opinion, I am very low maintenance and really value the simple things in life:

a quiet moment with a coffee...
a quiet moment with a glass of wine (are you sensing a theme?)...
an evening spent with family...
an evening spent laughing with good friends...
time in my studio creating...

Along with all these and other simple pleasures, the onset of spring is way up at the top of the list.

Our garden is at it's best in the spring. The cherry blossom against the blue skies is just stunning. We have Grape Hyacinths aplenty, along with the most stunning red tulips. And finally, my uppermost most favouritest plant, my Peony, by the front steps, comes up year after year, without fail, to shock and take my breath away every year.

Simple, unadulterated pleasures in life.

What does it for you?

Friday 15 April 2011

I've talked before about my hoarding of scraps and my inability of throwing anything out. After all, you never know quite when you may need them and what they can be used for.
And this is the reason why...

The leftover pieces from my pencil pouches weren't exactly huge but they were too big to be discarded in the bin. It's almost a criminal offence to throw away these bits of beauty.

At 11.30pm last night, my normal lightbulb time, when I should have been finishing off and heading to bed, I started playing with these pieces and voila, the new Lippy/Coin Keyring Pouch was born.

They will be in the shop very soon.
I can't guarantee what designs there will be.
After all, as I've said, they are just a bunch of scraps.

UPDATE: Now available right here...

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Since BCTF I'm back to making kits in abundance.
It's funny because the fabrics I have generally been using with my other work is very different from what I call my "kit fabric". Since the kits are children's kits the fabrics I tend to use are a lot brighter and zingier than I use with my accessories. So I had to put my kit-making hat on and make selections. It's not always clear quite how these fabrics look in the flesh but the lovely ladies at Saints & Pinners are more than happy to send out samples of fabrics making it much easier to make the right decisions. After all it's costly making mistakes. And I have made some right clangers in my time.

Today I received my samples (I only ordered them yesterday) and I'm really pleased with all of them and as well as wanting them for the kits I am also liking the bottom two, Genie by Annette Tatum for summer clothing for Ruby and possibly they may even sneak into the accessories range.

The top fabric, a gorgeous teal Mod Flower, also by Annette Tatum, will work perfectly in the kits and the 2 bright flower designs in the middle there from the Weekends collection by Erin McMorris are just great. Their brightness stands out perfectly.

So, if you are unsure about whether fabrics you see online will work for you, I strongly recommend you see whether samples are available. I know M is for Make will also send samples and I'm pretty sure most of the lovely online fabric stores will offer this service.

Monday 11 April 2011

As you have seen from all the printing I have been doing recently for BCTF last week, there has been a lot of new work going on. Most of it was for actual items, but some has been for a couple of new kits I've been developing.

I have 2 new kits that I launched last week - 'Gerry' and 'Steve'. Who's Steve you may ask? Well, he's an elephant of course. (A very good friend of mine put me straight on the over obviousness of Ellie the Elephant. Steve was the next natural choice...) And Gerry? Well, he's so a 'Gerry'.

That aside, Gerry and Steve went down a storm at BCTF and they are now wending their way across the country from Lavender Lakes up in the North, down to Hawthorn Gallery down in Dorset.

I'm just waiting for the new labelling for these kits to be back from the printers. I just love how they are looking though. And that side is all thanks to my brilliantly talented designer friend who is the brains behind all my Kit labelling.

I'm very excited about these kits and already have plans for similar ones that hopefully I'll have time to develop very soon.

That was a rather nice weekend, wasn't it? The timing of all that beautiful sunshine could not have been any more spot on. Here in Leeds today it's all but disappeared, but when the weekends manage to be sun-drenched, who's complaining?

The sunshine has such an affect on people, doesn't it? On Friday, I was feeling on top of the world. I was doing the same old stuff - food shopping, cooking, working - but when the sun is shining on you while you do it you just feel so positive and happy.
And when it continues throughout the whole weekend, so you can actually enjoying the finer things in life - picnics here, coffee and/or vino on the deck, taking an hour out to read in the sun - really, for that time, life is good and all problems seem to momentarily fade away.

And don't you feel you have more energy in the sunshine too? (well, once you have managed to jog yourself from your hazy slumber) That certainly seems to be the case in this house anyway. Ever since we decorated - gulp, almost a year ago - we've been wanting to get a table in the hallway. I have to say, I have fleetingly looked over the last few months and whilst still haven't found anything in the budget that quite fits the bill, with our sun-induced get-up-and-go this weekend, we did a bit of furniture removing and now we have the old redundant desk in a new position. And I love it.

And whilst I am under no illusions that we will find the most perfect affordable piece to replace this old worn out desk any time soon, I am thoroughly enjoying walking by this version in the meantime.
Particularly with my fab new print by Mrs Eliot Books that arrived this weekend...

Saturday 9 April 2011

Do you like japanese fabrics?
I do. A lot.
And I particularly like this circle range.

I'm particularly partial to this yellow and grey combo.
I know - I shock you with my revelations ;-)

But this red and navy combo is rather delish too.

The lovely Jo at Saints and Pinners sent me some samples of these fabrics that they are now stocking, along with some of these ditsy flower and dragonflies.

Gorgeous, aren't they?
I love how japanese fabrics are so compatible with each other and I can just picture them together in a variety of projects.

I for one am going to be racing to S & Ps pronto to add each of these to my fabric collection. I have a feeling as soon as the show orders are completed, I'm going to be in the mood to create with some of these lovelies.

Tuesday 5 April 2011

It's been a crazy few days. It's funny isolating a snippet of time and all that goes with it. I've had a fantastic few days at BCTF, partly as a result of meeting lots of wonderful cyber friends in the flesh and also as a result of the great response to my work.

There will be more about BCTF another time - when I've had chance to regroup and get my breath back.

In the meantime another very exciting thing happened during this period. I won a giveaway! Not just any giveaway but a giveaway by the uber talented Francesca, of Mrs Eliot Books. I've long since been a fan of Francesca's work and am so overjoyed at winning not one but TWO prints. And not just any old prints (not that I wouldn't be happy with any of them) but 2 prints
of my own choosing.
This in itself did pose a problem. Well, have you tried narrowing down these prints to just 2? I rest my case. This and this were on my initial short list but the two that won out in the end were these 2 right here. I love Francesca's use of collage mixed with her own drawings. She has such a great eye for patterns and illustration.

The 'I think your dress is very beautiful' print, above will fit perfectly in our hallway and how perfect is 'The knitting needles and the midnight sewing'? That is going to have pride of place above my sewing machine in my newly appointed studio. I can not wait to be staring endlessly up at it.
Thank you, Francesca for you very generous giveaway and being so darn talented to boot.