Saturday, 30 July 2011

Hit or miss?!

Have you ever made something that you're not quite sure about?  Is it a hit? Is it a miss?   Well, this happened to me yesterday, so I need you clever, thoughtful bloggy friends to give me your HONEST opinion.  Not your toned down bloggy opinion, but the one you'd give your partner if they asked if THAT tie went with THAT shirt...know what I mean?

It all started when I popped into another shop that could potentially stock my quilts and cushions.  The owner of the shop wasn't there, but the guy serving was nice and we got chatting about handmade stuff.  He liked my cushions, but said that bags sell I do bags?....hmmmm...  Well, I've made a few before, but none recently so off I go to Google to find some inspiration. 

Whilst browsing, I stumble across this tutorial for the most amazing recycled shopping bags made from fusing your average supermarket bags this idea! 

So, I get totally distracted from the task at hand and start ironing Tesco's bags together (much to the bemusement of James).  Fusing the bags together gives you a robust plastic-y material that you can cut and stitch like a stiff fabric.

It turns out we don't have enough Tesco's bags for a shopper so I think on the spot and turn 8 (yes 8!) bags into a purse (of sorts)

Here is what I made...

I don't have a serger, so I used a fancy stitch on my machine to finish the edges and added an applique heart and a snap fastener to the front.

So the question is simple...Hit or miss?!  Shall I experiment further?  I think this would benefit from a red fabric lining and neater stitches on the edges...but is it worth a re-try?  Would you buy this at a craft fair or in a crafty shop? or would you say "that looks like a Tesco's carrier bag" and walk on by....

I'd love to know :)


Thursday, 28 July 2011

A big thank you....and sorry Mum!

Firstly, an apology.  Apparently, I swore in my blog post yesterday...and Mum was NOT happy, as I am not setting a good example for her granddaughter, so sorry Mum, it won't happen again... :)

Secondly, I got some lovely post this morning...yes, it was my giveaway prize!  The host of this giveaway, the lovely giraffe-loving Jan, who blogs at Isisjem - the creative life and times, had a 1st blogiversary giveaway.  Look what I got!

This delicious Kath Kidston tea towel, which is going nowhere near our dishes/grotty fingered children!  I'm going to make something with it, but no idea what yet...

AND this fab huge selection of scraps, some from Jan's own collection and some from Fabric Rehab.

I totally love scraps!  They inspire me and are brilliant for the Ticker Tape cushions I've been making recently, so this is the perfect prize for me!

THANK YOU so much Jan!  Very chuffed to be a winner :)

If you get time, do pop over and check out Jan's blog - as you will see from her blog header, she is a hexie genius who also takes brilliant photos!


Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Chicken dinner winner!

The title of this blog post has sod all to do with chicken dinners, however, this week I do feel like a winner!It's Wednesday, and there's progress to share, thanks to:
  • Felix going through a phase of decent length morning nap-times
  • Lovely parents-in-law taking Felix for a very long walk this afternoon
  • James being very tolerant of me spending more evening time with my machine than with him...
and if that wasn't enough, look what he bought home with him last night...

Thanks James, my scissors are gorgeous, you're the best :)

So, onto progress, first up, I finished a ticker tape cushion for the shop

And I got cracking with Mark III of the rainbow quilt.  I managed to design and cut this on one evening, piece it during nap time the next day, and make the back, quilt it and bind it the next evening!

It's roughly 40" x 28", the back is linen, with a cotton rainbow stripe, and I machine bound it (for reasons of speed and durability!)

I think I prefer Mark II but was still pleased with this one, and it came together quickly which counts for something when it's going (hopefully) to be sold!
I also managed to make a gift for a cool little chap, Noah, who's first birthday party it was at the weekend..

Things on the go - still working on the diamond cushion, thanks for all your suggestions re sashing, I've opted for pale green and a rectangular cushion. Here's how it's looking...

So all in all a good week on the sewing front....AND....I won a giveaway at the weekend!!!!  Double chicken dinner winner! yeay!  A proper bloggy thank you will happen when the goodies arrive in the post..

As usual, I'm linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced and I'm off to catch up with some blog reading because for once I've managed to get this post done at a reasonable hour  :)


Sunday, 24 July 2011

A top-notch crafty day out

Had a fab day out on Thursday!

We went to Art in Action at Waterperry (near Oxford).  Imagine a beautiful house and gardens, taken over by at least 40 marquees jammed with all sorts of craftiness..and no rain.

There was a tent dedicated to Metalwork, glassblowing, printmaking, woodwork, plus many others, including of course TEXTILES! 

Exhibitors are hand-picked so everything is very high quality and there are a vast range of different skills on show.  Apart from marvelling at people's creativity, you can ask questions of the demonstrators, and of course pick up a few lovely items in the market, if your pocket allows!

Here are just a few highlights that inspired me:

Fabrics treated with light sensitive chemicals, then printed using plants etc and good old sunlight.  This is just a sample, but Barbara Gunter-Jones was also selling beautiful stitched collages made with these fabrics.

THE most amazing machine embroidered pictures by Rachel Sumner .  Apologies in advance for the picture quality, only had my iPhone with me.  This one uses a product label, amongst some clever machine stitching.

 And this one was an amazing fishing scene, complete with some blissfully unaware fishermen!

The most beautiful funky clothing with hand-painted scripts by Carole Waller.  Would have made a purchase here, but the likelihood of expensive silk being covered in baby food was just too high!

I also fell in love with Robert Race's automata.  My purse was out for this moose, whose eyes flick from side to side with the pendulum is swung, but common sense got the better of me and it stayed on the wall...darn it! might have to rethink that decision!

This is just a tiny snippet, check out the website, and do go next year if you get a chance, it's amazing.

x (feeling inspired!)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

It's wednesday again..

Is it that time again?! Blimey, I can't believe I haven't blogged for a week..I'm a bit gutted because I wanted to be a more regular blogger than that...In fact, I'm generally a bit disappointed in the amount of sewing that's going on around here at the moment...despite lots of effort I have just about managed to keep on top of my Bee commitments (which by the way, I love - I'm learning so much from joining in with these sewing communities, plus my Bee members are a highly entertaining and lovely caring bunch!)

but I don't have a lot else to show!  Which means another week has passed at the shop without me putting any new stock in there...grrrr..and I had grand ideas about approaching a couple of other places too...

So next week, I need a concerted effort to get all these ideas buzzing round in my head down onto fabric.  I'll link up to the lovely gang over at Freshly Pieced (despite the lack of progress!) but won't do a full round up this week, instead here's the little bit of sewing I have managed to do!

Bee Europa block for Cara. It's a braid strip which is surprisingly easy to do, but such an effective result...I'm fascinated to see how these come together..

Project 51 - this is a secret project for an amazing person, and I am just a little piece of it, here are the blocks I've made and I can tell you now, the finished article is going to be BRILLIANT!

Oh, and to make myself feel better I had a little splurge at fabric rehab at the weekend, on colours I don't seem to have a lot of....  With their normal brilliant service, this little pile was received yesterday..(the two on the end are a little extra from my local sewing shop!)

Including the awesome Alexander Henry print on the right (Griffith leaf) which was on sale and inspired me to have a play with diamonds this morning (during morning nap!)...I'm thinking white sashing...what do you think?

This is inspired by a gorgeous gorgeous cushion I saw in the making over at Don't call me Betsy, only I don't have a "Go baby" to help with the cutting (sob!)

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Work in progress Wednesday No.

It's been a while, what with holidays / a new kitchen / the hidden cottage / the fabric fund and a one year old who took her first steps on Sunday(!) but there has been time for a little sewing! Here is the latest work in progress Wednesday report, linking up with Lee over at Freshly Pieced

Financial projects:
The fabric fund now stands at £177!!! not bad for clutter that has been lurking around our house for some time.  I'm squirrelling it away because there's a chance I might make it to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham in August, and a little bird told me to take pocketfuls of cash to spend on fabric :)
Completed projects:
Hmm.  Lots but they've all been the subject of previous non work-in-progress posts so I'll only witter on about the latest two.  (But if you really want to see the completed Supernova, click here!)
Both are Brit Bee related. Here are the Miss June's blocks.  Fiona asked us for two disappearing nine-patches, which were really fun to do, partly because of the gorgeous "vintagey" fabrics she chose.

And then Miss July, Judith, sent some red and white Oakshott cottons and asked us to..well do what we like, really!  Here's my efforts
This optical illusion one took me longer to work out the maths for than it did to sew it together! I ended up making two sets of stripes and then slicing them into different thicknesses and alternating them before sewing them together. If anyone wants the numbers, let me know, I'll happily pass them on to save someone else the pain!
This second one was completely improvised, in contrast to the first - and equally fun to make!

Work in progress:
  • Sliced Coins quilt. Still no progress (beyond a joke really!)
  • Bee Europa - it's my month!   I've sent these fabrics:

And using this quilt as my inspiration have asked for flower blocks with any kind of piecing around the edges.  I can't wait to see what the clever ladies come up with!
  • The shop in Hastings.  The Rainbow quilt and the ticker tape cushion both sold pretty quickly, so I've committed to do another quilt and a few more cushions.  The only progress worth photographing is  two similar cushion tops.
  • In a bit of a departure from my normal bright colours, I've done something in neutrals...what do you think? (honestly!)  Will these sell or shall I go back to zingy colours?!
  • Project 51 (sssshhh we can't talk about it!)

Projects taken on but not yet started:
  • Bee Europa June block - I'm late, sorry!
  • Dining room chair cushions for my brother
  • Bench cushion for my oldest friend
  • A Rainbow quilt for little Matthew
  • Sock monsters (like the original Mr Stripey) for my friend Sarah to give to two little girls she knows.
Ok, If you've made it this far, pat on the back, thanks for reading my braindump!

Friday, 8 July 2011

A holiday and a paper-cut (the good sort!)

We've been on a little holiday, Felix's first, to Malta.  Hence the lack of blog posts.  A lovely time was had - I can totally recommend Malta and the Westin to anybody looking for a stress free holiday with a baby!

The highlights:

  • This view from our balcony
  • Swimming twice a day with Felix
  • Pancakes with melted white chocolate as a breakfast option
  • Cocktails and Maltese Bruschetta - yum!
  • Reading a whole book, for the first time in ages!
The lowlights:
Only one. Felix decided to throw up on the return flight - until then I thought this was something that happened to other people, but no, it happens to us! Felix was not at all perturbed by the incident and paddled in her own sick, but James is still picking the bits out of his watch strap!. We did have to giggle, though, as people started surreptitiously getting out their duty-free perfume purchases to cover the smell.  Sorry folks!

On another note, there was a FANTASTIC parcel waiting for me on our return.   The gorgeous and uber talented Nic who blogs at Supercutetilly had made us a custom paper-cut for our new kitchen.  I'd sent her a brain dump of our family, and she brilliantly turned it into this!

It's totally personal, has the kids names, our house layout, and some of our favourite furniture and lighting wonderfully recreated with a knife and paper.

Nic, I know you know this cos I've told you, but we LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!