Monday, July 30, 2007


quite unintentionally I have been in a sort of self imposed exile. Maybe it was the awful weather, maybe it was the onset of the summer holidays, maybe it was just laziness but I just didn't feel like blogging and indeed haven't really been that bothered with keeping up to date with other blogs. A bad state of affairs indeed.

But today is sunny and bright and cheery - so the perfect opportunity to make amends.

First, I must show you a lovely package goodies I received in the post in the last week. Emma kindly bought one of my bags and she sent me these beautiful buttons
and some dolly pegs and that fabric they are nestled on, is a lovely little draw string bag. Emma runs an online fabric shop and there are she has some lovely fabrics for sale.

I have also been working on a quilt as a gift for my cousin and his wife who have just had a little baby girl. My mum wanted to give a quilt as a gift and so I am making it for her to give.
My fabric choice was restricted to what I had in my stash as I really must start using some of those fabrics. I opted for pink for a girl but hopefully the green and cream help stop it being too saccharine.
So there was the cutting and then the piecing. And now I am in the process of hand quilting it. I love the process of hand quilting because it is the perfect opportunity to just sit down and watch a film and get on with it. The only problem is that it has been so long since I last did any quilting that my fingers have become too soft and the callouses have faded so my thumb and pointing and index finger are blistered and sore. Ahh well as they say 'no pain, no gain'.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

freezer paper fun ...

thank you for all the "waving boy" love. I must confess that I was very chuffed with how the T-Shirt came out.Freezer paper stencils are a nice quick way to add a design to an item of clothing and I thought of putting up a tutorial but there are far better ones here and here than I could produce.

It really does need to be freezer paper, waxed or greaseproof or parchment paper won't work because they don't have the plastic coating that bonds the paper stencil to the fabric. The only maker of freezer paper seems to be Reynolds and here in the UK there are several places you can buy it from, mainly quilting supplies shops. I tend to get mine from the Quilt Room or Quilt Direct and I have spotted it for sale in a local sewing shop.

I use whatever paint the local art supply shop has at the time - I just check that it is fabric paint and what temperatures it can be washed at.

For more Freezer paper stencil inspiration there is a Flickr group.

And look what the postman brought to my door todaymy prize package from paper-and-string. Thank you so much Sarah.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

waving boy ...

makes his debut.

I turned the little fella's picture into a t-shirt design with my trusty freezer paper and fabric paint. This one is for my husband and I plan to make one for me too - although we will be sure not to wear them at the same time. For that would be a level of twee-ness too far.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

inspired by ...

My little fella drew this quick little sketch today.
I think I can see this little waving boy on a t-shirt or two and dare I say it a bag.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

guess what ... more bags...

I've been cutting up the last few bags that I have had orders for and tomorrow I plan to try and sew as many as I can before I have to head into work.

One bag I have finished is my first 'commission'. The request was for a beach bag that needed to be large enough to carry three or four towels, suntan lotion, bottles of water and various other beach accoutrement.
It also was requested that it should be bright and cheery so the Rowan beachball fabric seemed a natural if obvious choice. I teamed it with a pinky reddish linen blend and the lining is an aqua coloured linen blend. This helps it all fold nice and flat for packing into a suitcase.

I have yet to show the bag to the women who ordered it so I hope she likes it but it certainly is capacious enough for three towels, water, beach toys, sun lotion .... It measures 54cm wide by 53cm long and has a depth of 14 cm. The handles are 54cm long and the bag can be carried comfortably on the shoulder. Although if you would want it on your shoulder when it is full is another question entirely.

I am particularly pleased with the pocket - which can take a 1.5 litre Evian bottle you can just see its lid poking out the top. The other side of the pocket is for all the other bits and bobs that you don't want to lose in the bottom of the bag.

After I have finished this little batch of bags I think I need to find something else to work on as I feel I need a rest from bags. Luckily I have a quilt commission to work on, so that should fill the gap nicely.

Monday, July 09, 2007

it was all OK ...

don't panic my silence hasn't been because I have been hiding away in a cupboard as a result of a traumatic Fair experience but rather because it was quite productive really.

The sun shone, everyone had lots of fun and I sold 5 bags which out of 12 is not bad going. With hindsight I could have done alot more to show off my wares and draw in customers but I think it was a bit too personal for me. I was just too shy and embarrassed to make anything of it. My big concern was that other mums would feel obliged to buy them and that thought mortifies me. So maybe a fair where I am a bit more anonymous would be better - either that or Etsy.

Having said that the Fair did also lead to a couple of orders for bags in different colourways. So I have had my head down cutting, sewing, pinning and packing. But it is wonderful to feel that I am actually getting something back from my hobby and I can continue to invest in it. Which is just as well because a package of fabric arrived from Cia today.The lovely Heather Ross latests. The colours in real-life are gorgeous and the photo really doesn't do them justice.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

more bags and a few plants...

as promised here are the other bags I have made for the fair. They are the larger shopper bags and measure 45cm wide, 41cm long and 10cm deep, the handles are 50cm long.

The linings in these bags are more sedate and understated. It is also a heavier weight fabric which helps to make the bag more durable and sturdy. Like the smaller bags there is a patch pocket in the lining.

And here's the price tag. I have had a lot of fun trying to make these as it forced me to try and get a feel for Illustrator. I'm lucky to have Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator on my computer but despite lots of promises to myself to learn how to use them I still haven't. So these tags were the perfect opportunity to dip my toe in the water. But I really must make more of an effort to learn how to use them all properly or even just a little more effectively.

We also have some marigold plants to sell at the fair, courtesy of a neighbour who is a commercial gardener. So at the moment the trays are lined up on the stairs down to our front door. It does tend to make it look like we are running a sort of hash factory!

Please cross your fingers that it is dry tomorrow afternoon and I'll be back to let you how it all went.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

sewin' up a storm...

it seems only appropriate that as the weather rages on in its storm like state that I do likewise but with my sewing machine instead of thunder, lightening and hail.

I have been making bags upon bags over the last few days. First I made some book bags using linen and a mix of Rowan fabrics and a little bit of ric-rac for good measure. The lining is a bright cheery contrast to the outer fabric and there is a single patch pocket in the back lining of the bag.On the vital stats front, the bag measures 26cm wide by 30cm long and is 6cm in depth whilst the handles are 48cm long. And there are six of them for sale at my son's school fair on Friday.

As you can see I have even made tags for them showing their price.Now you can see why I have been trying to pick your brains about how to price hand crafted items. I took on board all your advice, which I am very grateful for, and came up with a price that I am sort of happy with. I have made sure that all my costs are covered and there is a little bit extra to re-invest in fabric. Also I have priced it with the school in mind as they take a percentage from any sales. Of course I may come home with all of them in which case it will be bags as birthday presents for the time being!

I have also made six of my shopper bags which I haven't taken any photos of yet so I'll do that tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

lazy bones ...

that's what I've got when it comes to regular blogging. I don't know what it is at the moment I just seem to be in a bit of a malaise. I have been up to lots of things but when it comes to sitting down in front of the computer and write about it all I just can't seem to get motivated. Infact I am writing this as I watch the season finale (whatever happened to calling it the last episode?) of CSI

Well, so what exactly have I been up to? Getting some fantastic post for starters. Heather Bailey fabric I ordered from the Quilt Room in Dorking.Then this gorgeous package arrived from Dottycookie.
Those beautiful buttons are all her own work - aren't they pretty. There were some dotty cookies too that were yummy.

And talking of yummy things I made some of the almond and cherry cakes from the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living. They are perfect little bite-size cakes although I would probably add a little almond essence to them to really help the almond flavour.

On top of that I enjoyed some macaroons - pistachio, rose, coffee and lemon to be precise.I think all this wet weather has led to me eating as if I were preparing to hibernate.