Monday 27 June 2011

Today was one of the hottest, most exhausting, most enjoyable days ever.
My lovely Twitter and now real life friend, Sophie is an interior stylist and we've been plotting and planning to have my house featured in a magazine for quite some time. So much so that it was hard to believe that his day had come.
Today was Shoot Day.
Originally the house was to be featured in Ideal Home Magazine, but since then they have launched a new magazine, Style at Home and that's where it's being used for.

I spent most of last week getting ship shape (hence the big studio and Ruby room tidy up) and doing all those finishing touches to the house that had been needing to be done for months. I wasn't entirely sure even then that the house was ready, and I was incredibly worried about today.

All the negative feelings and worries were very swiftly dissipated when Sophie and her fab photographer, Oli turned up this morning.
Whilst Sophie spread her magic touch around my house, moving things here there and everywhere with her clever eye for detail, Oli and I were enjoying Hampton talk - it transpired that Oli lives a stone's throw from where we lived in London.

Whilst today was incredibly hard work, the most of it obviously done by Sophie and Oli, it was also, as I said, one of the most enjoyable. The sunshine made it incredibly exhausting, but also shed a beautiful light on the rooms (at least it looked like it from the sneaky glimpses I got from Oli's amazing shots.)

The house is due to be featured in September's edition of Style at Home, due out at the beginning of August. I soon! I was nervous about today and am equally nervous about that, despite being very confident that Sophie and Oli have done an amazing job.

Friday 24 June 2011

Having tidied my studio this week and cleared out and sorted through all my fabrics, the scrap buckets were crying out to me.
Coupled with being in a manic sewing mood to accessorise all the clean freshly sorted rooms, I couldn't rest until I'd played with some of the scraps.

Some of my scraps are so diddy that at the time, I'm not actually sure why I keep them, but when projects like this come to mind, it reminds me why I never, and I mean NEVER throw away any fabrics. Even the teeniest inch square piece of loveliness has a use.

This was the easiest, quickest, prettiest quilt I have ever made. I simply laid scraps onto wadding until I'd filled all the gaps. Then it was a matter of sewing every edge in place. There's no front-to-front sewing going on here. This one is all about the raw edges.
A quick one piece plain backing was sewn on and then I whipped up some green stripy binding (oh, I'm such a pro at binding now) and before you knew it even the dollies had a new quilt.

As predicted, Ruby wants a full size version for her bed.

Not sure that will be quite so quick to whip up...

Thursday 23 June 2011

The girlie quilt is finished...

I seriously can't understand how Noah thinks this is girlie.
If you asked a girl what colours she wanted her quilt to be made in, I'm pretty sure grey, black and red would hardly be mentioned.
And there isn't a flower or heart in sight.

I lined up various fabrics for the binding - (btw that's the first time I have bound a quilt, so I have been doing a little celebratory dance having accomplished that) - and decided to use the black Kei dots to just be sure it was as far from girlie as possible.
Still too girlie.

My friend Tara put the nail on the head. Maybe quilts in general are more girlie, being snuggly and cosy and all that. I think she has a point.
I'm pretty sure that anything I did for Noah, even quilting his beloved Arsenal badge on it, would be too girlie for this boy wonder.

ps Noah...that poster so has to go...

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Some days my postie gets a nice surprise...he doesn't have a mail bag weighed down with fabrics.
Most days however he does and today all these yummies arrived at once. It's a good job he's so lovely.

These bottom 3 are beautiful vintage pieces I bought from Peachy Vintage. Whilst I was buying more of the gorgeous pink floral from Jess, I snuck in these other 2 into the shopping basket.
This one below is going to be used for the quilt for my bed. I haven't quite decided whether it's going to be part of the quilt or the binding. Will see how it all comes together...WHEN I get around to doing it.

I have no particular plans for this fresh blue and green floral. It just seemed rude not to buy it while I was shopping.
I'm having a bit of a thing for vintage fabric at the moment, so I think you will see quite a lot more pieces making their way into my collection.

Kei dots are one of my favourite ever dots and I chose this one to bind the quilt I'm doing for Noah and hopefully make it a little less girlie than he currently think it looks (I know...I don't think it does either, but thank you for your comments confirming it). Kate's speedy service meant that I didn't have to wait more than a day for it.
So guess what I'll be doing tonight??

The final fabric purchase that arrived today was 2 yards of Heath in metal. Due to my penchant for grey, I can never have enough basic grey fabric in my stash. I'm also going to use it for my screen printing designs. I think (hope) it will work well.

And here's where the good news for you comes in...

Here below is just a section of my fabric stash.
I've been through various phases and tastes over the years and whilst I have no doubts that this isn't going to stop in any hurry, there are a lot of fabrics in here that I no longer need or can envisage using. There are some fantastic fabrics in here that I have decided to part with. I'm going to be listing a lot of it in my Etsy shop very soon. There will be some yardage, some FQs and some great scrap packs.

So keep an eye out for a heads up as to when it will arrive as you will hear it here first. If you want a very special "tell me before anyone else" then just leave me a comment of how I can reach you. There's plenty here for everyone!

Sunday 19 June 2011

I've spent a lot of time on my machine these last few days.
Whether it's been sewing up some of my screen prints, or creating a new quilt for Noah (how he can say this is girlie, I have no idea), or sewing up some sweet softies that I've been wanting to try out since buying Kajsa's fab book Scandinavian Stitches.

These dolls are based on her angels and I've put my own slant on them making them patchwork dresses. I love a project that is quick and easy to make up and has instant appeal and impact. In fact these are just 2 so far of a long line of patchy dolls that I'm planning to make.

If you don't know Kajsa's book you really should seek it out as it's full of fab projects that are so depictive of her unique style.

Friday 17 June 2011

Rather than have all yesterday's prints sitting around doing nothing, I wanted to sew some up to get a feel for how the designs I'd done were working. The designs I did were too large for pouches but were perfect for a cushion.
And because the designs were A4 they looked best for a 30 x 40cm cushion.

I love how they've come up. There are possibly a couple of tweaks here and there that I want to do in the design, but on the whole, considering they are my first proper real screen-printed produced item, I am over the moon.

Having now done these, it has really helped order my mind in what I want to produce and keeping things cohesive. I'm going to slow right down (yeah, yeah, heard it all before) and keep things simple.

In the meantime, these first original one of a kind screen printed cushions are right here...

Thursday 16 June 2011

Today was the last day of my Screen Printing Course. Ordinarily it would be sad at the thought of a course being over, but not this one. Having completed the course I am now able to screen print whenever I want. You can not believe how much joy this is giving me (although if you've been reading my posts on screen printing over the last few weeks, you've probably got a pretty good idea).

I was a little bit nervous about this week's lesson. Remember my disasters of last week? And then everyone was telling me how much harder it is to print on fabric. Printing on fabric is obviously my main raison d'ĂȘtre for screen printing and if I'm having problems before I even get to the fabric stage, what chances do I have of succeeding?

Needless to say, all worries and concerns immediately evaporated as soon as I got going. Maybe it was the anticipation of disaster. Maybe it was the fact that I knew i needed full concentration today. Maybe it was the fact that some of the processes (making screen, printing technique) were becoming a bit more natural, leaving me able to concentrate on today's new aspect.

I'm not going to worry too much about what made it feel right, but enjoy the fact that it did.
I brought with a variety of fabrics to get a feel for how printing worked on the different textures. I wasn't sure I'd make a good print on linen, being causer and less smooth than cotton, but the linen I'm using at the moment is fairly close weaved, so this didn't seem to be as problematic as I'd envisaged.

The shirting worked a treat. It's very smooth and takes the ink beautifully. I'll be using these fabrics quite a bit.

The Klona cottons worked a treat too. I'm going to need to play around with colours however as even thought the pale blue took beautifully on the brown, the pink came out a little bit murky. Whereas on the white the pink was lovely and vivid.

I chose designs today that I could experiment various styles to see how they come out on the fabric. I wanted to play around with the font stamps I have, so included both of those. I also wanted to see how intricate detailing would show.

I think because I had such little expectations today, the results have thrilled me even more. I'm learning what works and what needs changing. I've booked to go in again on Monday and looking forward to playing around and experimenting some more and then, my friends, I'll start to get my mind ordered as to producing pieces that will actually be used.

This is just the beginning...

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Every now and then a fabric comes along and takes me by surprise.
I'm not generally a pink lover. I'm not adverse to it, but I don't ordinarily gravitate to it. However I was after a pretty floral to add to a couple of cushions that I'm making for a friend's two little girls.
I found this pretty vintage piece on Etsy and decided it would work for what I was after.
I wasn't ready for falling in love with it and I've had to quickly go buy up what ever Jessica had left. I'd only bought a fat quarter and this was already allocated for the couple of projects that I'd eyed it for in the first place.

The first project is, as I mentioned, a couple of log cabin cushions for these particular little girls. Here are some of the strips waiting. The vintage piece lifts the whole thing, don't you think?

Whilst photographing the fabric on my landing I was standing by my old Lloyd Loom chair. It sits on one of our mini landings in all it's worn out glory. I love the shabbiness of the chair but am also quite aware that it could do with a little care and attention.

I think this fabric is going to work beautifully on here. I'm yet to decide in what form, but it will certainly be the starting point for any future renovation.

And because I'm the impatient person that I am ("what? moi?") I couldn't NOT make anything when it arrived and so last night I happily made this Needle and Pin Set.
Well, I did have to see if the fabric worked as well made up as I thought it was going to.

Fortunately it does. this fabric is going to have a very special place in my stash.

And this Needle Set is available here...

Monday 13 June 2011

I wouldn't ordinarily, blatantly post a pic of me on my blog. I'm much more interested in showing you fabrics and other makey bits and pieces.
But I was really taken by a fab project Holly is doing on Decor8....
Post a pic of yourself in stripes.
Coincidentally that day I was wearing the afore-mentioned stripes, so I decided to play along.

I'm dying to see the completed project when Holly posts later today.

Did you play along?

Sunday 12 June 2011

It's downright horrible here today and trust me, I have unfortunately experienced it at first hand. Today was the day we picked to take Sam and 7 friends to Alton Towers as a post exam/late birthday party treat.
I actually hate Theme Parks at the best of times. I'm not good with crowds, queues or heights and if you throw cold rain into the equation, you can imagine quite how my mood was today.
And by this time tomorrow I'll be tearing my hair out as they are all staying for a sleepover!

So this seemed a perfect day to distract myself and look at some loveliness.
This week I have bought the following fabric stashes, most of them to use with my screen printing and also I have several quilt orders and my thoughts are heading to designs with lots of plains - something new for me.

This first rather big pile comes from the range of Klona plains that Alice from Backstitch is stocking. The range of colours is incredible and at £5.50/metre, it's fantastic value too. A lot of these are going to be used for screen printing, so I'm rather excited about experimenting with them.

Remember the samples of these I received? Whilst I was on an ordering binge, I added these to the list. They are beautiful. The colours are obviously perfect and they are a lovely linen/cotton blend. Head here if you fancy trying some out for yourself.

I always need spots. I haven't bought these Oliver & S City Weekend dots before, but they will be perfect for Gerry and Steve. I wasn't totally sure when I ordered them that the spottage wasn't a tad small, but I gambled on them being nice and they are. They are perfect. Whilst I was at The Eternal Maker I bought the top one, Basic Grey Graph Dots. You know every now and then you are drawn to a simple fabric and when it comes it exceeds all expectations? That's the case with this one. Having satisfactorily made these for a friend, this Basic Grey is lined up to be made into a pair for our bed. Then I definitely need to order more for one of the quilts on order too. I've a feeling this is going to fast become a firm favourite.

After all this, I've almost forgotten about the bad part of the day.
Hopefully by tomorrow all sleepover madness will be forgotten too.

Thursday 9 June 2011

It's been a Bad Day at the Office today...

Last week's screen-printing class was cancelled due to a technical hitch in the workshop, so as I'm sure you can imagine, I was chomping at the bit to get back in there today.
I had quite a pile of designs since I'd had twice as long to play around with them, so I was already in a quandary as which one I was actually going to use.
I was really liking my latest design here on the top, but decided to go with last week's hexie design as it would work better in this week's task of Colour Alignment. Also I had incorporated a lot of different patterns in this and was keen to see how they would look in print.

We arrived, prepared and exposed our screens with the 2 layers of the design (sorry, omitted to take a photo here) and got ready to print the first layer.

All good so far...

I was really happy with how the hexies in the first layer turned out and was feeling rather excited at adding the second layer of design.

And this is where it all started to go wrong...

The second layer wouldn't line up with the first and I realised I had put the pattern upside down on the light unit and so had produced a back to front screen...grrrr. (You can see above, the hexie bottom left prints over the yellow one.)
And because it took me a while to realise this, in the meantime the screen dried out and consequently wouldn't print through.

I was a little bit frustrated, to say the least, that I wasn't able to execute the lesson properly and get any satisfactory prints.


If I am going to take any positives away from this week, it is to realise that there is a lot to learn and remember with every process and with every screen print. It really didn't matter that I had made mistakes. The finished pieces are for my journal, not for producing any perfect specimens. There is (hopefully) plenty of time for that and what it has enabled me to have is a perfect, in it's own way, example of problems that can occur and how to avoid or rectify them.

Next week is the last week of the course. We are using this week's design, hopefully the right way, to print onto fabric, which is very exciting.
And hopefully the mistakes that have come up this week will enable me to do that pretty much as perfectly as I am capable.

Sunday 5 June 2011

I have to start by apologising for the forth-coming oozing that is about to ensue about what is essentially a product that I have created.
It isn't very modest of me to be gushing so much about my own work.
And really I'm not so much oozing about the pouch, but more the fabric that I have made it with.

I bought this navy linen on my recent trip to Fabworks a couple of weeks ago. I fell in love with it immediately and even though I wasn't sure what it would be used for, since that has never stopped me in the past, I figured I needed to buy some anyway.

Unfortunately, due to my photography, you aren't seeing the beautiful colour of the navy. You'll have to trust me on that one. What you can see and consequently imagine, is the stunning selvedge stating the linen and wool mix. This gives the linen such a soft feel without actually losing the crispness that linen gives.

Along with the linen, the Liberty piece has been sitting on the pile waiting for it's turn to be included. I picked it up on my trip to Liberty back in April, spying it out for perfect pouch lining material. It's a beautiful contemporary design in navy that works perfectly with the linen. I love the combination.

So the combination of my new Stitched Design Pouches with both of these new fabrics is making me very happy indeed. I hope you like it too because there's going to be a lot more of this combination going around.
It has also given me a BIG idea with screen printing that I can not wait to try out.
I am very excited about this...