Wednesday 28 September 2011

I don't know about you but I rarely make something for me or the home because I want to. There's normally a zillion other things that NEED doing.
It's more a case of "oh my g-d, I need THIS and I need it NOW!"
(I really should have taken a before shot to illustrate EXACTLY how much I needed to.)

It's Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starting tonight and I have 24 for dinner...hence a lot of table cloths needed ironing. The makeshift ironing board cover that I put on a month ago (because the old one split) was not doing the job with ironing super-sized cloths, a tricky job at the best of times.

So with shopping still to do, lots of dinner still to make, not to mention the rearranging of the house to seat the aforementioned 24 people, I set to making a new ironing board cover. I know I could have just grabbed everything and gone to iron them at Mum's - hell, she'd have probably offered to iron them for me if I had - but no, I had to have a new ironing board cover and NOW!

Have you ever made an ironing board cover?
It's one of those really gratifying projects. It's pretty quick to do and with a little consultation of this tutorial, the whole thing was done in way less than half an hour...far less time than it would have taken me to take the whole lot over to Mum's in the first place.

And what's more, now I have a pretty - and functional - ironing board.

One day I will sit and make something for us because I WANT to...

Sunday 25 September 2011

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of a book we have all been waiting for, The Liberty Book of Home Sewing.
If, like me, you are a Liberty fan (Liberty's of London was on my Must See in London List when showing Ruby the sites of London earlier this year, for goodness sake), then this book will not disappoint.
From the minute you hold the book in your hands, with its beautiful fabric covering, to the flicks through the first fabric printed pages, this is a Liberty Lover's joy.

However...I then have to admit to an initial disappointment, as I impatiently flicked through the pages, thinking it was dark and uninviting.
The trouble was, I delved in so quickly, I didn't savour any of it and thankfully I very quickly realised my initial reaction was oh so wrong, and what I had in front of me was a beautiful, broody, evocative and indeed very insightful sewing book.

The book does not forget that it is essentially a sewing book. It is full of a comprehensive list of projects, the projects themselves which are exquisitely styled and photographed and entice you to want to make every one of them.

What else defines a good sewing book? Well, obviously clear step-by-step instructions are a must.
I love the hand drawn illustrations that go alongside the instructions. I'm a bit of a sucker for pictures to go alongside recipes in cookery books and I expect the same with sewing books. The projects are full of illustrations making following the instructions very straightforward.

Like all the best sewing books, there are detailed descriptions of basic sewing techniques, again accompanied by lovely hand-drawn illustrations.

And just when you are ready to take a breather from all the excitement, the final pages will have your heart racing even more...a glossary of beautiful Liberty fabrics to feast your eyes on.

So do add this book to your sewing library and I implore you to take it slowly.
Don't do as I did...go make that cup of tea...sit down when you have time to savour it and then slowly, slowly take pleasure in the visual feast and be safe in the knowledge that this book isn't going anywhere and it will be one you will return to for many years to come.

Friday 23 September 2011

...on a cushion roll...

...this one is now in the shop...'s the end of the week...i'm very tired...have a great weekend one and all. x

Thursday 22 September 2011

I'm feeling a little bit overwhelmed and under pressure at the moment.
Not only is this my first proper Christmas with stockists wanting handmade pieces in time for the Christmas rush, hence I have a LOT of sewing to do, but also we seem to have a crazier than ever schedule at the mo. I keep waiting for life to calm down. It somehow never does. One of these days I will fall off this treadmill...

In the meantime it was all go in the sewing room yesterday, finishing off my new Vintage cushions (see, no sympathy with myself - 'new' products? at this time of year? crazy girl).
First up was hand making the binding for the envelope back. I love making the binding for cushions...a little pop of colour showing it's face.

And then, hey presto, cushions finished. I'm not actually delivering these for another couple of weeks, but I did need to finish them off having started the fronts last week.
And besides...if I didn't, how could I justify cutting into these latest arrivals???

So crazily busy at Blueberry park Headquarters and yes, life is a tad more stressful than I would like, but I am aware at the moment that my stress is all good stress - getting orders out on time, getting my children to all their clubs, activities etc, doing a job that I love - and long may that be the case.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Sewing has got underway with the new linings, starting with the gorgeous AMH voile. This fabric is so beautiful to work with. It feels like silk. Just gorgeous.

The rest of my fabrics have been pouring in this week, including these much awaited for dotty oilcloths for my washbags. Mr Postie handed me 4 envelopes and had the cheek to ask whether I was expecting anything else...he should know better than that...of course there are still more to come.

I have been waiting for these oilcloths to arrive from US for EVER (a week is forever, right?) and so when they arrived today, it was washbag making mania at the ready.

They are as fab as I had hoped and am delighted with how well they work with my screen printed fabrics.

These are the start of another batch of goodies getting ready to make their way down South to another of my lovely stockists.

Hope Stephanie likes pink...

Monday 19 September 2011

Fabrics galore...lovely, lovely fabrics...

I've had a bit of a fabric binge this weekend and the most exciting thing about it is waiting each day for delivery day and see which ones have arrived.

First up to arrive today was this little selection from M is for Make. An email pinged in on Friday evening from Kate about a 20% off weekend sale, so I quickly went for a look...well, it would have been rude not to.

Considering what an amazing selection of fabrics Kate has, I think I was pretty refrained. I actually made a conscious decision to look for fabrics that I could essentially use for my pouch linings and not be swayed by all the other beautiful Must Have fabrics in my stash. Shock, horrors, I know!

So with my focussed brain on, straight into the basket went firm favourites of Kei dots and Cloud 9's Shards from the Cut Out and Keep collection. You can never have enough dots and Kei dots are my absolute favourite. I just love Shards and Cloud 9 fabrics run out so quickly - it would be criminal to be without any of this in my stash.

Next up, a couple of Anna Marie Horner's Pastry Line Voiles. If you don't know Anna Marie Horner's Voiles, you should get acquainted. They are beautifully soft and silky, and this design has been on my wishlist for a while and perfect for pouch linings.

Another fabric line that I've had my eye on is Sara Morgans' Feedsack. They have a wonderful vintage vibe that will pair so well with so many fabrics. An essential. A staple. A must. Just gorgeous.

Last up was a little frivolity... What?? You didn't really think I could be totally focussed and unswayed by a beautiful fabric.
Another fabric in Kate's store that I have had my eye on for a while is this gorgeous Nani Iro yellow and grey dot. So while no-one was watching, I quickly slipped it into my basket, akin to a chocolate treat at the supermarket. Hey, I'm only human and let's face it, you'd have been disappointed with me if I hadn't. Wouldn't you?

I'm very very happy with all of these and have already lined a few pouches with the Pastry Line Voile and they look just perfect, so generally some very sensible business decisions.

In the meantime, I wonder which will arrive tomorrow...

Friday 16 September 2011

I had a little bit of playing time today.
Well, that's not wholly accurate. I was asked for some more cushions this week from one of my lovely stockists and since I hadn't made up any yet with my screen printed fabrics, I wanted to have a little creative experimenting time.

It can be quite stressful 'having' to produce something, but actually there was no stress involved today.

I knew I wanted to keep the cushions quite simple, but yet when they are sitting on a shop floor things have to have a 'look at me' factor. I picked out my pile of vintage fabrics, a pile that's dwindling rather too rapidly and set to work.

I like to put things in situ for a while after I've made them - on a bed, on a shelf, somewhere I can pass by and see if they catch my attention. And I have to say, these do. I'm really pleased with them and just as soon as I replenish my vintage fabric stash , there will be more of these heading into my shop.

And the best bit of all? My work really is playing!

Thursday 15 September 2011

I'm playing along with Our Creative Spaces today. I keep meaning to play along as it's such a lovely thing to see what everyone is up to and I love WIP pics.

It doesn't normally work out that I am actually creating on a Thursday, let alone have a moment to blog that I am. But this week, as you know, I have been working on my Flickr swap pillow and today I had a little time to not only do a little more, but also have time to join in Our Creative Space.

I'm at the stage where I have finished piecing and now just deciding which colour thread to quilt with. I'm actually thinking of using all of them.

Coincidentally, Ruby has been working on her own creative space too...

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Today I have mostly been playing...

I had a really productive day yesterday, but today I couldn't settle on anything, so instead I started picking fabrics for the Flickr group swap.

Now I'm going to go play some more and turn them into a pillow...

...and tomorrow I SHALL be productive and do some work.

Monday 12 September 2011

Last year when it was Samuel's Bar Mitzvah, Matthew treated himself to a new tallit.
It is customary for a boy to get his first tallit on his Bar Mitzvah and so Matthew's was rather old was his tallit bag.

Tallit bags are normally very traditional in style, made of velvet, with gild writing. It's very hard to get something more contemporary and modern. So when Matthew bought his sparkly new tallit (actually my Mum bought it for his birthday as she was taking Sam to buy his for his Bar Mitzvah) I decided to make him a sparkly new bag. Obviously this wasn't going to be velvety or gildy.

Matthew now proudly carries around his trendy tallit bag and gets lots of compliments.
Then, as is often the case, the tallit bag was in the right place at the right time and just when a friend needed a Bar Mitzvah present, they happened to see Matthew's tallit bag and commissioned me to make one.

Hence the new Personalised Tallit and Tefillin Bag Set was born.
I must say I am really pleased with these (as was the commissionee) and especially how well the Hebrew writing came out and particularly, as luck would have it, that I happened to have a silver fabric paint.

I realise this is a rather niche market gift and probably none of you, my lovely readers, have even heard of tallit or tefillin, let alone have use for them, but maybe one day when you are invited to a Bar Mitzvah, you will remember where to find the coolest gift.

Oh and if you happen to have any Jewish friends who would be interested, please do spread the word ;-)

Thursday 8 September 2011

It's amazing how much one can get done in a very short space of time.
Now that the children have gone back to school, it was full speed ahead preparation for the Saltaire Maker's Fair.

I was in the screen printing studio on Tuesday and then it's been all systems go sewing for the past couple of days.
I'm really really looking forward to the Fair, more than any other that I have been part of.

I've visited Saltaire Art's Trail before (the Maker's Fair is a central part of the trail) but never been in a position to apply let alone be accepted.
I'm certainly not quite ready yet (it's fine...there are still 48 hours to least) but I've been working damn hard these last few days to make sure there will be plenty on my table to peruse.

There will be lots of new stuff, lots of old faves and hopefully lots for everyone.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Another Flickr group Swap, another mosaic...

Another Flickr group Swap, another mosaic.

I have to admit one of my favourite things about a new flickr group swap is seeing everyone's mosaics. It's the Flickr equivalent of an Etsy treasury...all those delicious pieces all together.

It's so inspirational seeing work that I wouldn't normally notice...colour combos that wouldn't ordinarily enter my radar.

Having said that, my mosaic is looking rather predictably me, don't you think??

Go check out all the other delicious mosaics right here.

Sunday 4 September 2011

I've always had a bit of a thing for crocheted pieces...

...whether it's cosy colourful quilts...

...or a little detail on pretty clothing...

...and especially a present from a lovely blog friend.

I am however resisting the temptation to start yet another crafting hobby, even if it involves collecting a pile of colourful accessories...

Let's face it, I struggle to keep up with the crafts I already do.

Seeing the work of talented crocheters doesn't help with the I-so-want-a-go-at-doing-that syndrome.
Emma Lamb produces exquisite work (above and below). There's something about crochet that's different from than knitting. Maybe it's the shapes, maybe it's the stitches...whatever it is, I just love it. It oozes vintage nostalgia, even it's modern pieces.

Then there's my good friend Kylie.
She certainly achieves a modern take with her crochet work...

Her triangle cushions are stunning and her pixilated work is just awesome. Both are on my one-day-I-will-treat-myself list.

What crafting activity are you resisting trying??