Wednesday, 31 August 2011

I'm still here!

No, in case you were wondering - I haven't fallen off the face of the planet :)

I'm still trying to find the balance between work/life/sewing/me....hopefully I'll get there soon!

I had thought (naively) that I'd still be able to sew in the evenings when I got home from work....little did I know how wrong I'd be.  By the time my days off come round, I have no idea what I'm doing and haven't got any sewing planned, so it all feels very unproductive. 

It hasn't all been neglected though...I have managed to do a little online shopping :)

Wanna see what I've been buying?  Yes? Thought so!

Remember a while back, I won a jelly roll giveaway from SewHappyGeek?  Well, I chose my jelly roll...and since it was coming all the way from The Fat Quarter Shop I thought I might as well order some other fabrics while I was at it :)

Do you have any idea how difficult it was to choose a jelly roll??  This decision took me sooooooo long!  In the end I went with 'Farm Fresh October Afternoon' for Riley Blake Fabrics.  It's got lots of animals on it and some really cute ginghams and polka dots so it'll be really versatile for lots of projects.
Here's the beautiful pile of other fabrics I ordered -

I say pile....what I really mean is 'mountain' :)

Here are some of my favourites -

Isn't this just the coolest??  Now just to decide what to use it for - notebook cover perhaps?  More like 'little black book' cover!

This one is also so cute.  I couldn't resist.  It would make a lovely needle case or sewing roll.

I have been coveting these Ann Kelle owls for aaaaages!  And at USA prices, I just couldn't afford to miss such a bargain.

I also headed to Seamstar this week and placed my first ever order with them for some of their lovely new wool felt.  I chose a little roll of 'wintery' colours, I've got some Christmassy things in mind for making with these lovely colours -

Oh, and some pretty gingham ribbon, cos one can never have enough gingham...or ribbon...

That's all to report for now folks, if anyone has any advice on how to conjure up some extra hours in the day for crafting, please let me know!

I'll try not to leave it so long next time...

Friday, 19 August 2011

PJ bottoms and Tilda books

Since I am a huge Tilda fan, decided it was high time that I made myself a Tilda Angel to adorn my newly kitted out walk-in wardrobe.  As if it wasn't already girly enough, I just think I need a pretty little angel to watch over my clothes, make up and jewellery when I'm not there! 

There are many to choose from, but I particularly liked this one on the left with the sewn on bodice, skirt and cute leggings underneath!  As you can see from the body parts, I'm almost at the stuffing stage.

As you can see, she's a leggy lady and is going to end up far bigger than I realised (I've previously made the Tilda cat and bunny which are both about half the length of this angel!) Oops, that'll teach me to check first.  I'm looking forward to making her pretty leggings and skirt and embellishing them with some very girly lacy bits.

Have any of you got your hands on a copy of the new Tilda book - Tilda's Studio?  Mine was waiting for me on my return from work on Tuesday. If you like the Tilda angels, there are many new outfits - all equally gorgeous!

If I had a Barbie loving little girl I'm sure all of these pretty outfit patterns would come in very useful.  (If you haven't seen the series of these books, clothes include - dresses, trousers, dungarees, jackets, dressing gowns, 'Jane Austin' dresses, etc)  They're all for the angels, but with a bit of 'tweaking' I'm sure they could be made to fit a favourite doll. 

I can't help but feel that this latest book is somewhat lacking in new ideas.  I go back to Sew Pretty Homestyle and Sew Sunny Homestyle all the time when I'm looking for inspiration, and I always find it.  I'm not sure if Tilda's Studio will have the same effect.  There were only a couple of projects in this book that I know I'll end up making -

Very well dressed little elephants!

And an equally cute giraffe. 

To be honest, there wasn't much else in the book that screamed 'make me!' 

On an entirely different note, I have had the urge to make some trousers for my toddler.  I thought it might be easier to start with pyjama trousers, that way if they don't turn out quite right no-one but us will see them!  I knew the car fabric I got from IKEA a few weeks ago would make perfect pj bottoms.  I did a bit of research online and read through a few different tutorials - who knew there were so many different ways to make trousers!?  I ended up using techniques from a few different tutorials. I used an existing pair of his trousers as a template, sewed them up, and hey presto! Some cute pj bottoms -

These were really simple, and with an elasticated waist and huge hem, they should last for a good while.  Since the fabric was about £5 for 3 metres, these trousers have ended up costing about...40p!

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Sunday, 14 August 2011

Monday blues

Well, tomorrow is finally the dreaded 'Return to Work'.  Although I've been off for 2 years (and 2 months!) there probably hasn't been a day gone past when I haven't thought about my return to work.  I will miss Joshua a lot while he's at his new private nursery, but I'll try to look on the bright side - going to the loo ALONE!  Enjoying a full cup of tea while it's still HOT! And having some adult conversations with no INTERRUPTIONS! 

I've kept myself busy the past few days, Joshua needed something to put his spare change of clothes in for keeping at nursery so of course I got creative!

May as well make it personalised eh?

I made up a simple drawstring bag with some of the fun children's IKEA fabric I bought recently -

Perfect size for a change of clothes -

I suppose I feel like there will be a little bit of me keeping an eye on him while he's at nursery :)

And not to feel left out, I decided that I should make myself a little pencil case so I've hand appliqued some cute flowers to a lovely grey fabric and I'm now in the process of hand quilting around them.  I'll have too order some zips before I can actually sew it together though.

(Sorry, not a great photo) I haven't done much hand quilting so this is a little experiment and practice for me. 

Needless to say - I won't have a lot of sewing time for the beginning of the week now but hopefully Thursdays and Fridays will allow me plenty of time to fit in all the sewing and crafty things I just have to make.  Things may also be a bit quiet around my blog too, but don't worry, I'll be back soon showing off my crafty makes!

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Thursday, 11 August 2011

Squeaky clean

You know the best thing about being able to sew? When you decide you need something new - you can just go ahead and make it!  (Within reason that is!)

Take today for example - for years, I've used facial cleaning sponges like these -
But they don't seem to last long and they're not that cheap.  The alternative of course is a flannel face cloth.  Not that pretty though, right?  Hmmm, thinking caps on....and I came up with pretty little facial cloths.

I took one plain, boring face cloth -

Trimmed off all 4 hemmed edges -

Folded in half and cut in 2 -

Quilted each 'square' - (1 straight lines, 1 diagonally)

Added pretty binding (and a hanging loop) -

Enter 2 new facial cloths.  Each one is quilted adding a bit of texture, and thus helping with the ever important 'exfoliation'! 

Aren't they so pretty?!

I made some of these a few months ago and they've been used (and washed!) so many times that they're now all horrible and scuzzy - and I wouldn't even dare show you a photo of them!  Now I've replaced them with these 2 pretty ones and they literally cost about 30p each to make.  If I have to use something - I like it to be pretty :)

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Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Too cool for school

I haven't mentioned it on my blog before but I do actually have a 'real job'.  I was lucky enough to be able to take a 2 year break (from working in the office of a nearby primary school) when I had Joshua.  Unfortunately....that 2 years is almost up and I'll return to work on Monday :((((

With the craft fair last weekend, preparing for that has been a very welcome distraction from next week's 'big change'.  I'm fortunate enough to be returning to work only part time (the first half of the week only) so hopefully the days at the end of the week will remain fairly the same as they are now - toddler gymnastics on Thursdays and swimming on Fridays (mummy's sewing time during afternoon naps).  I'll also only work every other Wednesday.

I've tried to make the process a little easier by shopping for some nice new work clothes, buying myself a pretty lunch bag....and the latest 'happy' addition is my pretty patchwork notebook cover!

I chose some funky bright fabrics - some from the lovely selection I received last week from The Fabric Loft, some other newly acquired ones, and a couple from my stash. 

I wanted to show off all of these pretty fabrics so I went for 2.5"  squares -

Sewed them together....(please ignore the horribly wonky top row!)

And voila - a beautiful notebook cover (front and back) -

I found a lovely green button in my collection and added it to the front.  There's also an elastic closure loop which has been sewn inside the back cover -

The loop closure also acts as somewhere to store my pretty new purple pen :)

I also quilted either side of the seams with a pale green thread.  I used some 100% cotton batting behind the patchwork for a slightly 'quilty' look with minimal bulk. 

And that's not all!  I sewed a pretty ribbon to the top (inside) of the cover to act as a page marker (this ribbon was one I received from Julie in our last scrap swap) -

Well, that should brighten up minute taking :)

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Sunday, 7 August 2011

Craft fair success!

The craft fair that I have been working towards for the past 9 weeks(!) finally happened yesterday.  I'm very pleased to say that I had a great time, and I cannot wait til the next one!  It was a really long day as I was up early (and couldn't sleep with excitement the night before), it was a half hour drive to the venue, then half an hour to set up my stall, and then it was open for business! Here's my stall all ready -

I was really pleased to make enough money to cover the cost of my table AND still come home with a bit of  profit :)

According to the organisers, it was a really quiet day in terms of numbers of customers so I'm looking forward to seeing the difference between that and what they'd consider a 'busy' day. 

I'll have to wait a little while before I get confirmation of other dates I can attend, but I'm really looking forward to it, and the initial nervousness has now gone. 

Another great thing is that now I have my stock built up, there won't be so much work involved in preparing for future events.  (Although I will need to start thinking about CHRISTMAS!)

One thing that sold really well yesterday were some little lavender scented hanging hearts.  I did a little bit of embroidery on each one, all different.  This one was a particular favourite of mine -

It'll be hanging in it's new home by now!  I wish my embroidered writing was always this neat too....its the new standard to meet!

I'll take a little time to digest yesterday's craft fair and may post a few tips later on in the week for anyone thinking about taking the plunge to have their own stall at a craft fair.

Here I am on my stall during a quiet moment -

Now that the frantic sewing of 'stock' will ease off, I really must get on with making a cushion that I've been promising Joshua for ages!  I've had the fabric looked out for months and now I have no excuse for not getting on with it.  I also have the other cushions to make for my sofa..... No rest for the wicked ;)

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