Sunday, 31 August 2008

Fred and Happy. I'm in Happy style heaven!

Well, I am still quivering with excitement. I got to meet Fred from Fred's World Blog and Happy from Happy Loves Rosie. And they were such lovely peeps. So lovely. I'm sure they thought I was a complete idiot, as I've been so in awe of their blogs and their style that I've only recently felt able to leave comments, so meeting them was a little bit scary. Yep, I'm all of seven years old! I walked past their stand twice before I plucked up the courage to say hi! Sometimes I could give myself a good whack.

So, of course I had to buy one or two little things on their stall (which they had started to pack up!). Although I've just seen Fred has described it as a ram raid! Outrageous!!! Angel, I didn't, honest!!!
I almost didn't go, as it was p**ing down with rain, and I was sure nobody in their right mind would be there, but I'm so glad I did, as it made my day to see them. Blimey, I sound a right odd one here, don't I. I should've got their autographs!

So I've given you a peep of one of the items, because I have to wait for sun to photograph the rest, otherwise it just wouldn't do it justice. I've also got to download a pic from my phone of me and a certain rather lovely stallholder!

So, on to other things. Last night was so warm, the children did a surprise in the garden...

Yep. They laid out the table! Good, isn't it!

And they helped make the pudding...

which was yummy.

Shame the weather didn't last (for Fred and Happy especially).

Oh, and to humiliate myself ... here's the awful clutch bag which I've given up on.

The skirt worked. Thank you for asking - I'll post a picture as soon as I remember to steal it back from my daughter's room.

Hugs, all. xxx

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Quilting and patchwork and Veronique Requena

I have always loved quilts and patchwork, but because of my limited skills never felt able to try it, aside from a patchwork cushion I made as a child and which I've always kept. I look longingly at the Kaffe Fassett books, and even took one on holiday recently to drool over. But still feel in awe. But this seems to be changing with my new found confidence with sewing. And also this magazine...

which I literally stumbled across in Smiths a couple of months back. I've never seen it before, as I never look at patchwork magazines, feeling they are beyond me. A recent blog post, which I left a comment on, but forgive me I've forgotten who it was (please do remind me if it was you), reminded me I had this by my bed. It must be their best edition yet (it's number 44, should anybody want to try and track it down). It's so good, I too wanted to blog about it, to spread the word about why it's so good. It seems to have been blogged about endlessly, particularly in France, but some of you may not have heard of her/seen it.

The reason it is surely their best, is because the issue is dedicated to a rather amazing Franco-Canadian quilter, Veronique Requena. She is so inspirational, her warmth and enthusiasm drips off the page. I just wish I could visit her shop, in France (though she mentions that she has always wanted to live in England, so I hope and pray she does move!). But I may just have to visit her shop. It sounds more welcoming than the occasional quilt shop I've found in the UK, which have always intimidated me.

Here she is, in her amazing shop...

stuffed with American quilting fabrics...

And the projects in the magazine are simply drop dead gorgeous.

This is the one I feel able to attempt...

So, I am inspired to try. You can find out a little bit more at her website, Born to quilt. Enjoy!

Also, a teaser. I am making another bag, but a bit more challenging...a small clutch.
This is the lining. I think you will be surprised by the outer fabric. But if you have a careful eye, you can just make it out!

Will post a pic once I finish it.

I'd also like to add a huge thank you for all your encouraging comments on my last post. They mean an awful lot.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Handmade bag obsession, a decision, and BM

Hello all and welcome!

Before I start, somebody wanted to pop their head up and say hello... do you remember this little gal?

As to my last post, yep, you guessed so right - I was making a fabric bucket. I forgot to take a picture, but will post it when I do. You know me so well!
I've been making more bags -it's become a bit of an obsession. My handles from Robson and Mason arrived, and so I tried the Sew Pretty Homestyle one last night...

I got a bit frustrated with the pattern. There are never enough pictures in books to explain the steps to complete novices, but I'm pleased with the outcome. It's using the lovely Robson and Mason handles. And it's from a pillowcase I got from Ikea. The set came with a duvet and four pillowcases... all that lovely material for about £18, I think. So I'm planning to cut it all up for various things. I think it works really well for this sort of bag.

On Tuesday, just after getting back, I made this one...

That was using a T-towel I found in T K Maxx. I love this thing with fabric craft, that you can use anything that takes your fancy.

I am enjoying this so much, though I feel a bit of a fraud as I have no specific textile/sewing training, aside from a mother who was an excellent seamstress. But in those days, I wasn't interested in sewing. I bought a little bit more fabric yesterday - I'm trying to find out what batting is. All the books refer to batting, and I haven't a clue. So I asked in fabric world, who have usefully opened a shop not too far from me. They are on the web, but their shop is amazing, and they have several all across southern England. But the two girls in there didn't have a clue either, which I thought was hilarious. But they were very young, and they reminded me that I'm of advanced years and don't know. I love my blog, because I don't feel embarrassed to admit I don't know.
Anyway, ramblings on batting aside, I've made a big decision, which I'll own up to here as it'll help to fix it as fact in my mind. I want to have a little stall for Christmas, at a fair, to sell my bags and buckets and whatever else I can make before then. How outrageous is that! I'm a complete beginner at this, but I love it so much and it means I have an excuse for indulging myself in fabric and sewing every spare minute I get. I'd like to say a big thank you for all the encouraging remarks from you all, because they have helped me go from a totally negative feeling, to believing I can do it. Nothing's impossible! So I'll update regularly on progress.

I don't think I've shown you my belt holder yet. I decoupaged a plain black life-size half mannequin a while back, and it occupies a pretty corner in our bedroom. I thought it was about time I popped it in, and hopefully it will encourage me to finally finish the other mannequin I posted about some time back.

As to the little gal who popped in to say hello, here she is in all her finery. This is of course one of Bloomin' Myrtle's - probably the best she's ever made (but I would say that!). We were discussing soft toys on the shabby chic forum, and BM's are a world apart and incredible prices. She puts so much care into them. If you are lucky enough to have snapped one up from her website, shared with her daughter who produces lovely jewellery, you have got a real heirloom to pass down the family. If you haven't got one yet, good luck, they go fast!

Have a fabulous day all and thank you for reading my post. Blessings. xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Huge thank you to April and fabric musings

I wanted to say a huge thank you to the lovely April at Cake makes the world a better place

for her 100th post giveaway, which I was fortunate enough to win. She sent me some absolutely lovely cross stitch pieces that she has done - a notebook and bookmark. And she also sent some beautiful pastel buttons and beads.

They will all be well used. Thank you, April. Her blog is such a good one, aside from one of the best blog names I've found, so take a read if you haven't already discovered her.

Now, I've been doing some more stitching...can anybody guess what I'm making...

I've been so encouraged by everybody, and I'm enjoying my new discovery of sewing so much that I've made a big decision, but I'll post about that when I'm feeling braver!

I also wanted to show you a little itsy bit of one of the lush fabrics I found in France on holiday. Can't wait to get going on it.

More to come, but got to go and sort out new school shoes now for the three little ones. Gulp. Have a lovely day everyone.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

First pic of holiday and my award

So, this was where we were staying, in rural France. It was a perfect find. There are two gites, and our neighbours booked theirs last October. We booked ours in June. They couldn't believe we'd left it that late, but we didn't know how finances would work out so had no choice. I think we were lucky to find it for exactly the two weeks we wanted it, but we always tend to leave it late and know we'll be okay.
I'll try and get some pictures sorted of the fabric I indulged myself in.

I'd also like to say a big thank you to Bloomin' Myrtle, a incredibly talented lady, who has awarded me a creative award, which I'm very touched by.

Thank you, Elaine. Your comments have encouraged me so much.

Monday, 25 August 2008

I'm back!

Hey all! I've just got back from holiday and it's gonna take a while to catch up - but I just wanted to pop in and say a big thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post. I'll get around to visiting each of you in turn, and have lots to post about - but I have an even larger pile of washing at the mo!
I've missed my blogging pals. xxx

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Socks and gloves and Marcus and Pig and Love

Look! Who are these little fellas:

We've been having lots of fun with a couple of socks and gloves. You start with these...

Or pink gloves if you have a particular friend in mind who is fussy about the colour she may end up...

And before you know it, little characters are appearing...

Who are they?

Well, they made friends very quickly indeed...

Although they were a bit shy at first... (they are bonding over one of my lovely recent vintage sheet finds, clever things)...

So meet Marcus...

And Pig (soon to be renamed, I suspect):

With button eyes and noses...

Marcus wanted to take care of my 7 year old. While Pig wanted to look after my 10 year old.

We've all fallen in love! They are from the sock book I blogged about a little while back (also in my Amazon link on the r/h side). It's a great little book, with such easy to follow instructions (though a little beyond my 7 year old - he just fell in love with Marcus, clever chap).

And when I was searching my saved picture file, guess what a lovely surprise I found from I have yet to discover - I imagine my 10 year old, but isn't it sweet. It's named: To mum and dad.
I love my kiddies so much.

Blessings everyone. xxx

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Yummy things from Robson & Mason haberdashery

I have found a new online haberdashery, here, which I stumbled across at around 3 am last Saturday morning, when I was having a bad night. Turned into a good night, though, because it's such a lovely place. And my order has arrived this morning, and here it is:

Some gorgeous floral binding:

Floral scissors, which I just couldn't resist:

And I'm looking forward to trying the bias binding maker, in the top of this picture:

They even sent me some lovely freebies, because of posting about them all over the place (not that I could have resisted!), but look at the dinky little needle basket, and the fabulous leaf topped pins...and more bias in yummy pastel colours.

Best of all, they have a blog: here, which has some lovely pictures and links.
This one is written by a few people, apparently. There's also this one: Laura's, which is written just by Laura, who very efficiently and patiently has responded to the emails I've plagued her with. (Although I felt a bit green with envy at her latest post beginning...I was on the phone the other day to Cath Kidston head office... as you do! lol.)

But her exciting news about Cath Kidston's new book has got me jumping up and down. It sounds absolutely right up my street and I can't wait until it's out.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Winning giveaways and posting giveaways!

I've won!!!!!
I've won a giveaway, from April at Cake Makes the World a Better Place, a fabulous blog I discovered some time ago and fell in love with because I love April's pink kitchen. I'm so excited!

It is also time for me to post the winner of my giveaway, so my eldest wrote out the names and pulled one out of the bucket on Saturday...

and it was Michaela6955. Well done, Michaela. Could you email me your addy, and I'll get it off to you. I promise it was done very fairly Angel!

Friday, 1 August 2008

An even simpler tote - it really is easy to make a bag!

For those of you like me who may still disbelieve you can make a bag, as I did for years, this is the simpler one. I made this with my 10 year old. In fact, she made most of it and insisted on using it for the last two weeks of school. We didn't use a pattern for this. I just drew the size I wanted onto old lining paper and cut it. So a large rectangle, and a small rectangle for an internal pocket. I'm happy to post the measurements if you want, but have faith that you can do this as well. We cut two outer pieces, and two lining pieces. Remember to first pin and stitch the pocket to one of the lining pieces, folding under a small seam (having folded a double top hem in place to make a neat edging for the top of the pocket).

Then, with right sides together, pin around three sides of the lining and outer bag, making sure the open part of the pocket is at the open end of the bag...

Sew around the three sides with the machine...or you could of course do it the old-fashioned way.
We cut two long thin bits for the handles and pinned them together as below. (See my first more full tutorial for a bag if you need more direction, but I just want to show how simple they are.)

Then sew both up.
Sew the pocket in place... then slip the inside lining (turned right side out, so right side to right side) inside the outer bag.

Place the handles in position. I've pulled the lining out in the following picture to show this clearly.

but they should just be peeking out of the top as so:

Ensure they are pinned at the same distance from the sides, and also that the side seams are matched up before you sew all around the top as with my first bag tutorial, leaving a 5 inch gap to pull the whole bag through. Actually, it was a 4 inch gap as my littleun's hands are smaller than mine!

Then pin the open bit closed, with the cut ends inside the bag (obviously!), and sew around the top of the bag a 1/4 inch from the edge on the machine. And there you go!

By the way, if anyone recognises the fabric, please let me know. I know it's a good one, but I picked it up for 20 pence at a car boot, and don't know what it is. But it is so lovely to work with.