Thursday, 29 September 2011

Time off

My trusty Husqvarna and I have been having some quality time apart this week.  It's just so lovely here in Hastings at the moment, and I was a bit "sewn out" after last week, so we've done a bit of this:

and a bit of this:

and of course a bit of this:

(Brit Bee ladies, I thought since we were sharing photos I'd show you some of the lovely James, since you already know what Felix and I look like!)

Not the sewing machine has had a complete holiday, I had some fun making Susan's Drunkards Path blocks:

I may be being daft, but I seem to have missed why this lovely pattern is called Drunkards path...can anyone enlighten me?

And I'm trying out some designs for handbag mirrors with cases.  I bought the machine and the kit to make 250 of the things when I was 35 weeks pregnant and slightly hormonal!  I thought I might cover them in vintage fabric scraps, and make little cases like the one below for selling at the craft fair in November, but I'm still not sold on the design - it's fiddly to do the lining and I'm struggling with witty phrases to add to the front.  James vetoed my suggestion of "Have I got spinach in my teeth??" saying no one would buy it!

Any ideas?  I also thought maybe adding a ribbon with a keyring?

Oh and finally, I left my computer alone for a second and it oddly found it's way to Whipstitch fabrics and ordered me a pile of nifty fabrics - how clever is that? :)

Friday, 23 September 2011

A creative dilemma

I've been sewing like a woman possessed this week, which has put me in a bit of a creative dilemma - one that has been brewing for a while, I suspect.   This week's sewing was for a new shop in Kent, which is opening tomorrow and is stocking all sorts of vintage loveliness, mixed up with handcrafted goodies.  It's quirky and right up my street (I think it warrants a blog post of it's own!). Fortunately, the owner likes my stuff so I had free rein to make whatever I liked...

Here's where the dilemma (actually there's multiple dilemmas!) comes in:

1) Do I churn out things I can make easily and quickly or do what I really want to do and experiment with new designs and techniques?  (which take more time and may go wrong!)

B) Do I make things I like or try other styles that may appeal to a broader cross-section of buyers?  (I've stuck to the former so far, there's no joy in making stuff you're not keen on!)

C) Do I use the fabrics I like the most, or some that I want to get rid of? (I've stuck to the former on this too, for the same reason as above)

I'm sure most creative folk who try to sell their work face this dilemma, creativity versus economics I suppose.  I know I'm only doing it on a tiny scale, but I'm feeling the dilemma because like a lot of us, my sewing time is limited to evenings and maybe an odd hour here and there during the week. I was up against today's deadline, but still veered towards trying something slightly different each time rather than turning out repeats.  As a result, I managed to hand over 3 cushions, 2 door stops and a simple bag...(when I was aiming for 5 cushions, 3 doorstops, two bags, plus some little extras)

And that's before I get to my bee blocks, my list for family and friends (Susan, Matt, Nikki, Sian, Holly, Aunty Sue - I haven't forgotten!) and a project just for me, ALL of which I really want to get on with.

Hmmmm....for the moment I don't want to give up the selling, or compromise my creativity too much so I think I'm going to have to find some middle ground, like finding some easy makes and shortcuts that still allow me to add my creativity (for example, the handles on the doorstops below, much quicker than a stitched handle)

and maybe, just maybe, think about a teensy bit of childcare for Felix, so I can get one afternoon a week at the machine...

Phew, ramble over, I hope I haven't bored you...  here are the results of this weeks stitching.

This cushion was inspired by the backing for this project I saw over at Comfort Stitching.  I used only scraps and was very strict with myself not to cut into any new fabric!  I stitched all the pieces in place with meandering straightline pattern, which I loved when I looked at the back, might have to make a cushion front like that one day.

This next cushion was inspired by this picture which I found in my Flickr favourites, it goes to show my stash is weighted towards green and turquiose fabrics because I didn't have to repeat any fabric twice - wish all the colours of the rainbow were that well represented in my fabric collection :)

This next one is appliqued, and features this month's favourite fabric, Ruby Star Rising (thing I might be Ruby Star addicted, need to find a new crush)

Plus two doorstops, with handles made from some woven rope type stuff that I bought from a vintage habadashery that only opens on Saturdays here in St Leonards.  Apparantly it's normally used for making espadrilles.

And lastly, I opened my new book, The Bag Making Bible, at page one and had a stab at the Flat Bottomed Girl shopper bag.  Furnishing fabric, plus a bit of an IKEA print made this a speedy and cheap make - ooo is that some middle ground I just found?


Sunday, 18 September 2011

It's been a busy week (or two!)

 I've been a bit remiss on the bloggy front recently (both reading and writing of blogs!).  It's been a bit hectic round here, but hopefully normal service will be resumed next week...

First off there was the wedding in Ireland

which was a boozy three days long and much fun (this picture is day three, and the bride is the radiant blonde on the left!).  The Norwich girls were reunited which was brilliant.  Hopefully they are now subscribing by email to keep in touch with my ramblings :)  Hello all!

Then there was a day out with Terri, gorgeous Brit Bee friend

where there was much chatter and a teensy bit of fabric browsing

All whilst working on a commission and stock for the new shop which is opening in a weeks time.

(Oh, and Felix has decided long morning naps are for wimps....)

So here is just a bit of the sewing that's happened around here:

The second two cushions are commissions.  The rainbow one is made from all sorts of fabric, including 3 silk scarves, 2 skirts, some of the scraps from Jan and Ilona, some red and gold sparkly tops, and a pair of jeans!  Interfacing was used with anything sheer or vaguely stretchy but piecing it was still a little tricky!

I also made the same customer a doorstop using my treasured Ruby Star Rising "vintage ladies". 

The last door-stop I made was half the size of this and filled with rice.  The problem was it just slid across the floor with the weight of the door.  So this time I made it twice the size, and filled it with play sand.  The sand is in a food bag and there is a calico lining so this should be safe's definitely heavy enough to stub your toe on :)

oh, and look what arrived from Amazon...  how did that happen?!

More things to sew!  anyone got a time machine?


Monday, 5 September 2011

There's a slug in my craft room!

No, this is not a euphemism for something else, there really is a slug in my craft room, I found him with my bare toes when standing looking on the shelves for some ribbon.   Oh, and then I found his mate too.

The fact the craft room is so damp that slugs can have a party there - not good
The feeling of slug between unsuspecting toes - really really NOT GOOD!.

Something needs to be done....

However, in the warm dry kitchen I did manage to make a few things last week.  I made this skirt for Felix's friend Georgia's first birthday....using this simple pattern, and just scaling it down to baby size.

I got Felix to model it...
...and then James vetoed giving it away, so we kept it and I made this one instead for Georgia!

Oh, and a few days late (posted now, so should be with you shortly, Sarah!) I also managed to complete the August Bee blocks.  Sarah sent us a fab array of blue and black fabrics and asked for anything non-traditional.   She said experiment, so I did!

Block 1 almost beat me when I completely underestimated the amount of black needed, but I was rescued by a little package of more black and I was able to finish it.  Don't ask me where the idea came from, I think I started with Harry Potter, but then I couldn't resist adding the the way, big thanks to my bloggy friends for the lovely Flickr comments on these blocks, made my day :)

Oh and finally, for those of you not in Brit Bee (Mum!), here is a glance at the finished Project 51, which was a secret project that all the Brit Bee ladies contributed to. Trudi did an amazing job of the quilting and it has now reached it's lovely recipient. I hope it's being snuggled under right now..