Tuesday 28 February 2012

I am sooo incredibly happy today.

As you know, I am a little bit in love with screen printing and really enjoy going to the studio to print down there. I have however been wanting to have the flexibility of being able to print at home. If someone orders something they generally don't want to have to wait a whole week (at the least, ahem, Reene...) before I can generally get down there again.

We are lucky enough to have an amazing space here and I have been wanting to convert a part of it to set myself up down here in the cellar ever since I started screen printing.
Because I was used to printing at the specialist studio, I had it in my head that I needed everything set up properly at home to manage to do it.

This week, because I wanted to get Reene's labels done and couldn't book to go into the studio, I decided it was a good opportunity to give it a try here. Bible in hand to check I had everything I needed, along with a trip to Homebase to get a decent hose spray so I could wash the screen out successfully afterwards (this was actually my biggest concern...I didn't want the screen being ruined because the paint would all dry on it) off I went...

I can not reiterate enough how goddamn easy it was here! I am excited beyond belief at the flexibility this will give me. Not only that, but it is so much easier printing on fabric on a cushioned surface than on a vacuum bed. I made a lot of mistakes at the studio with fabric slipping, but here it is fantastic.

All I need now is to get all my designs onto screens and I'll be set up good and proper.
This has revolutionalised my printing, I tell ya...

Wednesday 22 February 2012

So, it's still half term round these parts, which equates to lots of people getting rather impatient with me and my enforced 2 week break from schedule.

I've been working on an order for almost 3 weeks now and all that was finally left was the labelling. When I was screen printing with Ruby last week I resisted doing it. It was her time.
I bloody well wish I had done it then tho!

I wouldn't have run into the problems I had today if I had at least started.
I turned up today with my prepared hand stamped signage all ready to quickly photocopy and get the screen prepared...a quick squidgee and hey, presto...

...or rather no!
The photocopier was broken.
Bad, bad timing.

I spent the next hour manually drawing out the necessary image, which had to then be done on acetate with the spottage added on top in order that the stamped labels didn't cause a blow out like this little detail on the flower below.

This was a surprise little extra for a certain someone who had hinted that perhaps I wanted to do something for her, (you know who you are...) but unfortunately that didn't work. Hopefully next time.

Because of the rather crude way of making my image ready for printing, it wasn't wholly successful. The dots came out rather patchy and I wasn't totally sure I'd be able to use any of them.

I carried on regardless because, quite frankly I have to get this order off this week and this may be an occasion where something is better than nothing.
And then, when I added them to my pieces, I actually quite liked how they looked.
A certain handmade quirkiness perhaps? Maybe?

Saturday 18 February 2012

There's something very lovely about having Me Time on the weekend...

...especially when it involves sewing and especially when it involves sewing at one of my favourite places.

I'd been looking forward to the cushion making workshop with Donna Wilson for what seemed like aeons. I can't even remember when I booked it, but after a tweeting with Katy and Helen sometime last year, whilst in the middle of Christmas mayhem, we booked on the course as something to look forward to at some point in the future.

And today, very excitedly, the future arrived.
In a beautiful light strewn first floor studio space was the lovely Donna Wilson and all her stunning felted wools.
We had a choice of sewing an appliqued green square cushion (I'll leave Katy, below, to tell you about that one) or, the one I chose, a cloud cushion with 3 raindrops.

The main pleasure of the workshop, besides seeing Katy and Helen and besides being Weekend Me Time, was working with Donna's gorgeous fabrics. The task was very basic...merely using Donna's template...but the result was just perfect...
...and as predicted, one little girl decided it was perfect for her...she's going to be sorely disappointed come bedtime when I grab it back.

As well as the workshop there was an exhibition with Donna's work. Katy and I went for a quick look around after the workshop.

It was as expected, a quirky show of Donna at her best, from the woollen arrows leading the way to the exhibition to the forest of creatures.

Her work is so unique and full of fun, with lots of humour at every turn.

Above and below are 2 of my favourite creatures in the forest.

All in all, a very lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon and here's to plenty more Me Time Weekends...or Any Times for that matter.

Thursday 16 February 2012

Sometimes Half Terms have a habit of working out just right. Sometimes they are a right pig's ear with all the juggling that they entail. Quite honestly I wasn't overly looking forward to this one (ok, dreading is a more accurate word) as Ruby was off this week and the boys next week, so not just one but 2 weeks of interruption and juggling.

However it has turned out to be one of the nicest Half Terms we have had in a long time. I think it has actually helped that the boys weren't around this week. Ruby and Noah love each other to death but bicker with the same intensity too, so often it's very wearing having them both around together.

Because I knew that Ruby was going to be around by herself I planned something for her every day, whether it was going to a friend's, having a friend here or us doing something for part of the day. I even took her to Build-a-Bear goddammit!
Being organised definitely helped with the guilt and juggling. Often, if work demands it, Ruby can be ignored for the day leaving the TV as her playmate or, worse, us both rubbing each other up the wrong way because I have to work and she, understandably, wants to play.

One such activity I had up my sleeve was to take her screen printing. Genius...win-win for both of us! Not that I was going to get any of mine done, but at least I was somewhere I enjoyed being, unlike the afore-mentioned B-a-B...

She absolutely loved it! Not only did she absolutely love it and was pretty good at it too, but she relished every little process, from the designing, to the preparing and cleaning her screen, to, of course, seeing her end results.

Well done, Ruby, you were an absolute star...let's do it again very soon!

Sunday 12 February 2012


Thank you SOOO much for all the interest in this quilt and requests for the pattern. I've tried to get it to all that requested but some don't have links to your email, so here is where you can purchase the pattern.

I would love to see your finished quilts so please do send me a pic or join my Flicker group Blueberry Park makes...and post it for all to see!

I've had a lovely weekend finishing my Hexie Quilt and thanks to all the Twitter advice of how to bind it...no binding, machine binding, or as most of the advice suggested, machine on front and hand stitching the back. I'm normally far too impatient for hand-stitiching, but am so pleased I did as, not only did this provide perfect Hustle viewing activity, but also really does finish a quilt off nicely.

For the backing I used Anna Maria Horner's Loulouthi Flannel, which is oh so, stunningly snuggly soft. It was test-run by Ruby who demanded PJs made out of it. I can't blame her much as they are just the softest. I hope you have some left Kate, as I think I need a pair too.

I have to say there a things about this quilt that I absolutely love. I love the mustard Lotta Echo fabric that I used to bind the quilt. I'm really glad I went for such a contrast and didn't play safe. I love the size of the hexies. I would definitely do that again. I love each and every one of the fabrics I chose, but something doesn't quite sing to me with it. Maybe it's one thing loving each fabric individually, but whether they gel sufficiently is another thing.

Meanwhile a little someone has decided that doesn't matter too much and is quite happy with it just as it is.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

It's my sister-in-law's birthday today and I had no card, no present and no idea, even if I had them, when I would get over to give them to her.

Not that I was panicking or anything.
Oh and did I mention I had a hospital appointment that was going to take up half the morning too?

So, there I was, running out of time big time, but fortunately I at least knew what I had in mind for her....just as long as it worked.

She and my brother travel a lot...and I mean A LOT! (me, jealous? well, actually, yeah, I am!) and one of the things I love having with me, when I do get to travel, is pretty accessories to organise my packing. My lovely friend, Tara, who is going off on her own travelling adventure tomorrow, showed me something similar that she has for her smalls and it was something I was wanting to try for a while now.

Perfect opportunity and as it turned out a perfect present because, guess what my brother bought her for her birthday? Only a 4 day trip to New York! As I said, me, jealous? Yeah, just a bit...

Monday 6 February 2012

Hello and a Happy Monday to you!
It's my favourite kind of winter weather at the moment. If you have to have winter, you may as well have it like this...crisp snow, blue skies...just perfect.

2 bits of news this week are...

1. A new Etsy shop!
2. A new product!

First up, my new shop...Blueberry Park Sample Shop...is something I've been meaning to do for ages. I gather a lot of samples from one thing and another. Whether it's from trying out a new design or making up things that don't go with "a range", I have a lot of pieces that don't fit.
In an attempt to keep my original Etsy shop more cohesive I needed another place to sell all these one offs.
The good news is these will all be at a great discount! I've started to load up some pieces (well, two) but watch out over the next few days (I hope) for lots of one offs at brilliant prices!

As for number 2 and a new product...
Whilst screen printing today I thought perhaps peeps might like my Euro design as a fabric patch to use in whatever project you like...add to a tote, a quilt, cushion...I don't need to tell you what you can use a patch for, but I thought they were a cute little purchase for adding a little something. Anyway they are right here, in green cross hatch and navy/grey squares.

Whilst printing up these patches a happy accident occurred...

I was using an old piece of newsprint to test the Euro screen and I don't know about you but I am pretty excited by the result!
These aren't great pics because, as I say, this was just testing the screen, but I like the effect.
Do you?

Now at some point I will be trying out a 2 colour screen and I think this will be high up in the queue. What do you reckon? What colours would you like to see together?

A good start to the week for me...weather...pro-activeness and general happiness...here's to it continuing for a whole week long ;-)

Sunday 5 February 2012

The internet is a powerful and dangerous thing...
...particularly when I'm outnumbered and all we are watching on Saturday night is Match of the Day (that's the day's soccer round up for all you non-Brits)

What else is a girl to do but go fabric shopping?
I've been needing (yes, Nina, needing!) something a little different in my stash recently and this yellow Woodland is just what I'd been after. I've been on the look out for a small yellow pattern that was a little different and this fits the bill perfectly.

This next one, a Japanese Washi piece is just so pretty that I couldn't resist. This one wasn't so much a need, but I'm pretty sure it will come in very useful, so in it popped into the basket.

And whilst I was there I picked up a yard of this Denyse Schmidt that I had seen in the UK, but my usual port of call seemed out of stock, so in it popped too.

Seems like Saturday night's in watching footy aren't so bad after all...

Friday 3 February 2012

I don't know about you, but I occasionally get what I think are spam comments on my Flickr pics.
I mean, congratulating me on Explore...isn't that for, like, AMAZING shots.
Well, thanks to Lynne for putting me straight that apparently I have been on Explore and so they are legit Congrats AND what's more I've been on 11 times!
I am seriously over-whelmed, amazed, flattered that some of my pics have been picked out, for whatever reason and caught someone's eye, so THANK YOU, Mr (Ms) Explorer Dude for liking me enough to do just that.
And here for you are my 11 Explorer Stars...

It's dead easy to see if you have any too (thanks to a quick lesson from Lynne...) simply go to Big Huge Labs Scout. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised ;-)

Thursday 2 February 2012

Taking a look at today's posting you'd be forgiven for thinking it was summer outside, instead of snow threatening the UK this week!

Maybe it was working with this selection of fabrics for Olivia's cushion that infiltrated my brain and got me printing in summery colours this week.

I'm not overly sure what the cause was, but it feels nice to preempt summer a tad and forget that it is so cold outside.

Olivia's cushion was completed last night, having been backed with the prettiest brushed cotton candy pink stripe that I picked up on Etsy recently. It is so super-soft, it is just perfect for the cushion.

I'd had a request for some of my Hexie prints (thanks, Nicky!) and whilst my brain was still on Spring/Summer, that's what got printed up.

Nicky swiped up this pack, but if you too are hankering after a bit of spring, there are more pieces in the shop...

After that unseasonal interlude, normal colours will resume very soon...