Monday, 29 August 2011

Fashion crisis resolved!

My wardrobe seems to be suffering lately, and I was having a mini fashion crisis, so James suggested a trip to Brighton was in order.  Why the crisis?  Well, Hastings has some very cool parts, but there is a distinct lack of decent clothes shops.  Debenhams and River Island seem to be the peak of fashion here. And whilst these places do have some decent stuff, I've found my wardrobe slowly deteriorating into pre-Felix jeans that really don't fit properly and supermarket bought tops!.  Add to this a baby who seems to think that changing rooms are the worst punishment ever and you might see where I'm coming from

So off we go, and ...success!  Jack Wills, All Saints and Zara all produced the goods and I now own jeans that fit, some lurvely All Saints stylish jumpers and a cool tweed blazer!

And that little cutie in the front is for Felix to wear to a wedding next week.

Roll on Autumn, I'm ready for you!

The only downside to our shopping trip?  £25 for 4 hours NCP parking in Brighton city centre!!! Am I out of date or is that loads?! 

In more exciting news, in the last week I've had two commissions (from strangers, not relatives!) and have agreed to supply a third shop from late September.   (eeeeeee!)

The first commission was for a cushion to go with this one which was for sale at "Made in Hastings"

The brief was "must be the same size, similar style, not necessarily the same fabrics".  Eeek, in the end, I made two so she'd have a choice....

The first is the "safe" option.  The same design and fabrics, in reverse.  The second uses the same grey and the same colours but the fabrics are different, pieced in rows with a border. I've dropped them off at the shop but haven't had any feedback yet so don't know which (if any!) the customer chose. It was fun to work from a brief for a change, so thank you mystery customer!

On which cushion would you place your bet? :)


Thursday, 25 August 2011

Craft chaos

I almost didn't do this post because, well, it's just too shameful.  In the end I agreed with myself that I'd take one (and only one)  iPhone picture of my craft chaos, and hope that you wouldn't be able to see the full horror...

This is our bedroom which has a beautiful fireplace and a nice wood floor, oh, but you won't be able to see that because half the room is covered in fabric!  Every day, James quietly steps over fabric to reach the's not good.

To be fair, it's not ALL my fault.  My dedicated craft room is in the basement below the path to the house. It has a leaky roof and bad damp, and, despite doing some work on it, it's just not suitable for fabric at the moment.  I decided this shortly after I found a batch of mouldy fabric in the cupboard, luckily not my favourite fabrics, but still somewhat distressing!

Anyway, we've decided that I can use another basement room for my crafts - this one is part of the main structure so is at much less risk of damp but is currently full of all the tat that happens when you move two houses into one. 

So yesterday, I made a little progress.  Gone is Mount Fabric in the bedroom, hello to a tiny area of order in the basement - I filled up this storage of the drawers is dedicated to scraps - it's brilliant!

Plus four plastic boxes....see doesn't that look better?

Now I just need to throw away a roomful of tat so I can fit a table and my sewing machine in too!

Oh, and if you came here for patchwork, two more creations dropped off at the shop.

I'm looking forward to getting my teeth into something different, which is good because Sarah - Brit Bee queen for August, your blocks are in my head and soon to be transferred to fabric - I haven't forgotten!


Saturday, 20 August 2011

The one that almost didn't get away...and a spot of virtual reality

I finished up a couple of items for this new shop I'm supplying in St. Leonards-on-sea.  The first is one of those cushions I posted about a couple of days ago.  It has an envelope back using a light beige soft furnishing fabric.  This a bit of a diversion from my normal dark grey backs and I like it, with the lighter back and apples it feels all a bit retro Scandinavian!

The second is try number two of a bag.  It's another tote bag with an external pocket but this time I went for a single strap, made from the bargain car boot cotton webbing I picked up and a strip of stripey fabric.

I bit the bullet and cut into my Melody Miller Ruby Star Rising print, for a patch on the front and an inside pocket...

I wasn't sure about this bag in the process as I used another biege-ish furnishing fabric (a bit so-so, I thought) for the body of the bag, but by adding that delicious print and the strap, I suddenly found I was really really quite fond of the finished product!

I handed it over to the shop though, through smiley gritted teeth, and silently vowed to make another similar one, and maybe pop online and treat myself to some more Melody Miller :)

Whilst on one hand I'm selling some handmade things, I did also manage to purchase a handmade gem today.  We went to Brighton on shopping mission for James and stopped by at the Brunswick Festival because my virtual (and now real!) friend Ilona from I Drew this had a stall with her mum-in-law, selling clothing under the brand "Oui made this". Not only did I get to meet the lovely Ilona but also her gorgeous daughter Olive, and clever stitching mum-in-law, Maureen!

(here's us trying to get Olive to look at the camera!)

They had set aside a big bag of scraps at a bargain price for me, and look what I bought for Felix!

The fabric is designed by Ilona and the reversible top is made by her mum-in-law (as well as those fab hats the littles were modelling!).  No chance to get a photo of Felix in her new top yet  - she was far too grubby by the time we got back from the beach this evening!


Thursday, 18 August 2011

A teensy bit of sewing and some vintage loveliness...

We've had guests this week, first Mum and Dad and then my since-school friend Sian and her two boys, ages 6 and nearly 1.  It's been brilliant, think walks on the beach, yummy Italian ice-creams and garlic prawns with bread and salad for tea...perfect summer activities..

As a result, sewing productivity has suffered somewhat and I haven't even touched the bounty from last week's Festival of Quilts...  I did however, manage to put together a couple of cushion tops, destined for the two shops I am now supplying around here (woohoo!)  Sorry about the creases and loose threads, these are definitely works in progress!

I'm trying out this new colour scheme of red, lime green and grey...

This second one is quilted and I played around with a teeny bit of free motion applique on one of the apples.

 I was quite chuffed until I showed James and he said "Oh no!" ..he thought I'd accidentally sewn inside the apple instead of around the edge...I told him it was intentional detail and huffed (for about a minute!)

Having guests has, however, meant time for a little vintage bargain are my most recent finds which have restored my belief that there are still bargains to be found!

In this little bundle is:
  • A roll of Wonderweb from a charity shop (£1)
  • 150m (so it says!) of white piping (50p), I've no idea what I'm going to use this for, but couldn't turn that bargain down!
  • Vintage bias binding (20p)
  • A 3m roll of heavyweight cotton webbing for bag handles (50p)
  • Some beads and sequins from the most amazing stall at a car boot (£1). The chap had lost his aunt whose business had been making wedding dresses and he was selling off her stock.  This lady must have been amazing, there was apparently only a fraction of it left and it still filled three six foot trestle tables with bags and bags of beads, ribbons, sequins etc
This black and almost white print in a soft weave, no idea whether it's cotton, but I'm hoping so (£3 x for 37" x 71" )

These two skier prints, in two shades of blue (£1.50 for both, 31" x 45" and 45" x 76")

This tablecloth (50p - 50" x 60") that I thought I'd cut up and use, until I got it home and looked at the label and it's Mary Quant! A sarong I think, and not that vintage, rather 1980s cotton and polyester mix, but still...sell it on Ebay or cut it up, what's your view?!

And finally, This rather fabulous tablecloth from my local antiques place (£5 35" x 35") and yes, it does pain me to cut it up, but I'm still going to!

If anyone would like a slice of any of these, (or some of that piping, I think I've got enough!) please let me know.  I'm unlikely to use the whole lot, and since you can't order this stuff from a shop I think vintage is there to be shared.. :)


Saturday, 13 August 2011

I spent the fabric fund!

I went to the Festival of Quilts on Thursday...and I spent all my cash!!

It was brilliant, not only were there hundreds of inspiring quilts / works of art to be viewed, there was shopping galore AND I got to meet two of my bloggy Brit Bee friends in real life :)

I did take a few pictures but then got carried away and completely forgot to get a photo of Terri, Judith and I:
a) nattering
b) stroking fabric (we did quite a bit of that)
c) shopping
d) making inappropriate jokes

Before I show you pictures, I just need to give a big "whoop whoop" to my mum for entertaining Felix whilst I got on with the above.  Thanks Mum, you're a total star :)

So back to the fabric..I was spending my fabric fund (the proceeds from selling vintage stuff in a local antique shop over the last couple of months).   Last Thursday, this totalled £177, ,all of which I managed to spend, plus a teensy bit on my debit card :)

Firstly, accessories:
  • A much belated purchase of a 24" ruler - no more wonky strips for me - I kept accidentally clouting people with this - sorry if that was you...
  • A large can of 505 (swear by it!) 
  • A new rotary blade
  • Bargain freezer paper

And then fabric basics:
  • Two metres of grey pinstripe cotton - I'm thinking bags and linings
  • Two metres of navy/white pinstripe cotton - the same
  • One metre of a very soft linen - quilt backing
  • A metre each of a vibrant Kona shade from Mandy at Simply Solids - not sure what for but I love them!

Couldn't resist:
  • Two half metre Echino prints - Cameras and cars - LOVE these, the only way I could possibly use them is if I cut them up really small!
  • Two half metre Melody Miller prints, one from Ruby star Rising, and one from the latest range, Ruby Star Spring, just because I HAD to own one!

A few random choices - I wanted to make sure I didn't come back with just one type of fabric, so I chose:
  • A stunning print by Dan Bennett, plus two prints from the latest Philip Jacobs range (I think!)
  • A half yard of a Liberty "map" fabric

  • An amazing heavyweight London map fabric that was 98" wide
  • Some Oakshott cotton (thanks to Judith I made a beeline for this stand!) in a totally gorgeous neutral Earth shade
  • and some spotty upholstery weight fabric
 Phew, how happy am I?!  Haven't had any time to work with it so far..but am itching to get my scissors out!

I'll leave you with a few iPhone pictures of just some of the gorgeous quilts that caught my inspired!



Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Today is about the boys

What with the surreal events happening in our cities, today has been all about my boys. If I wasn't worrying about James who was travelling and working up in London today, then I was worrying about my brothers who also both work in London.  The youngest also lives in Hackney, so had given me a first hand account as he walked down his devastated street yesterday.

I'm not going to rant on about the fact I'm at a loss for words...but I couldn't chat on about sewing without first saying that I was, and am, worried.

A little light relief came in the shape of another (slightly smaller) boy. It was Matthew's first birthday party this afternoon.  Matthew is lovely friend Nikki's little boy, and potential suitor for Felix :). 

Guess what? he got a home-made present. (as well as some Duplo!)

I went for a simple pair of trousers with an elasticated waistband and optional turn-ups.  I was short on boy fabrics, but found some yummy Michael Miller prints that did the trick just fine.

Here's Felix kindly modelling said trousers this morning before they went to the birthday boy..

Not her best look...and yes, that is a bottle of Tabasco she's clutching, stolen from the cupboard behind her...fortunately the lid is securely tightened...!

Happy Birthday Matthew

Friday, 5 August 2011

Gosh, how exciting!

Apparently I use the word "Gosh".  James finds this highly amusing, especially in amorous situations (sorry mum and mum-in-law!).  But since I think it's probably the only bit left of of my Oxfordshire dialect (after years in other parts of the UK) I'm hanging onto it!

Anyway, today is a "Gosh, how exciting!" day because my Supernova quilt is being featured by Quilt Story!

If you are a lovely follower and if you've seen my Supernova a hundred times before / are a bit bored about me going on about it, then just to entice you, Heather and Megan have kindly added a "never-seen-before" picture of my 8 week old niece using her quilt - yeay!!

And if you are new and have arrived here from Quilt Story, Hello! thank you so much for visiting :)


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Bag lady...and look at what the Bees are doing!

After my brief foray into plastic (thanks for all your honest comments, they made me giggle!) I have been back working with my beloved fabric this week. 
There are a whole host of patterns on the web for bags and I was flitting about from pattern to pattern when I thought it might be wiser to enlist some specialist help :)  The lovely Judith from Rags to Bags (this clever lady runs classes so I knew she would have a few good ideas!) suggested this tutorial for a summer tote.   I had a play with the template, added a bit of piecing to the front and made my own straps with a contrast lining...and voila!

This is made in grey denim with an ikea fabric lining.  I'm really pleased with how this turned out since it's been a while since I made a bag, so now I'm going to have a play with some other patterns....

As for other work in progess, there are more cushions in the pipeline (sold a couple more this week - yeay!) but nothing photo worthy instead I shall show you another work in progress, the blocks that are being made for my month in the European Bee I am a member of, Bee Europa.  So far, six blocks have been made and pictures posted on Flickr and they are AMAZING!!

To recap, I had asked for my Bee members to take inspiration from this gorgeous quilt which Vickie at My full colour life was creating, using her Bee.  Instead of birds, I asked them to make flowers as the focal image on each block...

So here you are:

Susanne from Suleon adapted a Dresden pattern with stunning results

Muriel (Doucepoints) totally worked it with the paper piecing and added an inspired F for my daughter Felix!

Miriam from Berlinquilter went 3D, which Felix is going to adore, look at those flowers and leaves!

Ulrike at Lieblingsdecke worked some wonderful pinwheel magic with a cute little flower

Amelie from Amelies Whirlygiggles did some clever applique and very funky piecing

and Cara at Pink Stitches did a bit of everything to make a fantabulous block!

Ladies, thank you so much, I have a VERY good feeling about this quilt :)


PS Linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced, thanks Lee!