Thursday, 14 October 2010

The heady days of Autumn - birthdays and makes and walks!

I can't believe where time goes... it flashes by. We've celebrated my daughter's birthday and have my son's coming up fast. She had a lovely party, with a cake my sil decorated this time - I love decorating cakes, but was in too much of a panic with party preps, so I was lucky she also loves decorating cakes and was able to step in. I decorated cupcakes with my daughter, with initials, which was fun. Here they are:

The cake didn't photograph so well, but it was lovely - a heart-shaped cushion, with lace patchwork in icing and a wonderful bow. She was a very happy girlie. The cupcakes went fast!

On her actual birthday she chose a family walk, followed by a big meal. Hence the shot she took of her sister's walking boot. The walk was fun - one we've done before, which covers 5 miles of lovely countryside, and is guided by metal arrows and phrases on the way:

Great fun! Especially the chocolate choosing bit...

I've also been busy making. I made a frog doorstop for the shop, which was fun:

Please do visit my little blogshop if you haven't, as I've added a few more makes recently. Link here. I've also made some more chicken doorstops, which I always love to make as they make me smile.

And of course endless hearts. I was rather pleased with these - they are made from a 30 year handmade Polish lace, which I set on silk a friend brought back for me from Singapore. I think this form of lacemaking is called spiderweb or eyelet lace.

One last thing, any tips for photographing fabric would be hugely appreciated. It drives me mad. The fabric fibres fight with the pixels in the camera, and I have to delete a lot of what I shoot. Any advice and help would be much appreciated. How do I get those lovely closeups without the swirly whirlies?

Thursday, 9 September 2010

More fabric obsession, oh dear!

While away, I fell in love with this bird fabric - it's just so unusual. Haven't a clue what I'll do with it, but it's lovely to have in my stash. Anybody seen it before? Actually,I was a bit naughty with my fabric addiction and also fell in love with a little bit more...

And more, but I've not photographed it all as I think I'd start to feel mighty guilty. I especially love the 1930s inspired print, second from right, and the Kaffe Fassett next to it. Yummy fabrics.

I've been packing up some orders for lovely Sew Happy customers. I always enjoy gift packing, but I haven't found a way to make it quick. These packets took 30 minutes. Do you have the same struggle to gift wrap your things?

I've also finally got around to photographing some of my newest makes, though when I say new, I've been working on various fish related goodies for the past year.

That's all for now. More soon!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Back from a summer break

Go on... dig in. It is as scrummy as it looks (if you like a good banana split of course, and I couldn't resist!)

I can't believe the summer has gone. We had a lot of fun, and I thought for my first post I'd just pop a selection of pictures up... we went kayaking:

and saw lots of fascinating wildlife including endless varieties of large birds:


It was hot hot hot: we did this walk in 90 degrees, which I thought was impressive!

And we went the year this place opened:

It was all fabulous. I now have a lot of photos to sort through. That's the problem with digital cameras!

Much, much closer to home, in Dorset at the weekend:

I love summer and the many adventures it brings.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

A letter to my teenage self x

Musing on the trials my teenager and my soon to be teenagers are going through prompted me to think on my own teenage experiences... if I knew then what I know now kind of stuff. It's got me thinking, and I decided to write it down. If any of my lovely followers would like to do the same, please let me know. I'd love to see the result. I'd also love your comments on this one, as I don't make personal posts very often. What would you tell your teenage self? x

So, my letter:
To my lovely teenage self

I’m smiling as I write this, because I know you just won’t listen. Anybody over 21 is an ancient as far as you are concerned, and hasn’t a clue. Yet you long to join them and be an adult. Top of the list of what I want to say to you is: HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF. You are so much better and capable than you believe. If you don’t believe it, nobody else can either.

On friends: Good friends will pull you through the rough patches and push you back up. Choose your friends carefully – close friends, truly close friends, are few and far between, but a goldmine and worth 100 others. Four of the friends you now have will be with you for life, through thick and thin. They will constantly inspire you, and carry you along with their loyalty and enthusiasm. And you will make other friends along the way – it’s always possible to make friends. Always! Other friends will drift in and out of your life. Don’t always think that other people have tons more friends/are more popular/have no issues… everyone has issues. Everyone! Everyone struggles. Don’t judge. Those around you are going through just what you are going through. Accept those around you for what they are and you’ll find life a lot easier.

On school: You are completely right with your thinking on this. School really didn’t prove to be the best years of your life. Yes, it’s a lot of fun. But boy does it improve tenfold once you move on and you have the freedom to make your own choices. The old chestnut saying about school really is just that. It doesn’t fit all, and it certainly doesn’t fit you. But I figure it’s better that way. How sad if school really was the best years of your life! You have eons of time to enjoy after school – embrace it!

On dreams: Follow your dreams and hold those dreams solid in your heart. You really can achieve so much of what you want if you believe in YOU. So, please have confidence in yourself. Stop saying ‘that’ll never be me’ or ‘I couldn’t do that’. That image of yourself you held from the time you were 13 of you at 21 driving a red convertible MG? You’ll have that convertible one day, and believe me, the longer you hold the dream, the more powerfully satisfying it is once it is achieved. That hint of what you’d like to do as a job? You’ll achieve it and more. Dreams really can come true.

On body image: Don’t feel awkward about your body, and always be covering up with baggy jumpers. Listen to your mum – she’s right. You are gorgeous, and it’s good to have a waist and show it off! Don’t wait too long to discover yourself. You love high heels but your friends hate them? Step out proudly. Get those heels and work them! It may seem a small thing, but it's so not... Don’t listen to other people. What is right for them isn’t right for you. Oh, and avoid browns and blacks. They just make you look miserable!

On boys: Don’t fret so much about boys. They are fun and basically very simple to understand, as well as easily pleased. Enough said on that topic.

On self image: Have respect for yourself. You don’t have to do what your friends do if you feel uncomfortable or uneasy about it, or feel it’s just plain wrong. From respect comes strength. And from strength comes the power to achieve what you want. It’s okay to love yourself. You are completely and utterly loveable, and nobody will ever understand you better then yourself.

On life and death: It’s a harsh lesson, but people you love do die. Never miss a chance to tell your family and friends you love them. They may not be there tomorrow. Never go to bed on an argument with a loved one. Life can be very short.

You’ll do fine. In fact, you’ll do far better then fine… you’ll be grand. It’s fun to enjoy your job, and it is possible, despite what lots of people around you probably say, so follow your instincts. It is possible to combine love and romance and marriage and make it last a lifetime – lots of us do it. 30 years from now, you will still find your heart skips a beat when your soul mate walks into the room. Just know it can and does happen.

It’s a cliché, but the world really is your oyster and you are right at the beginning of your journey. Don’t waste time. Go get it!

Lots of love, me x

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Giveaway winner announced tonight!

Just popping in to give huge apologies to have left you all hanging... it's been a difficult couple of weeks, and my blogging has taken a back seat. But I really appreciated all your comments, and thank you so much for entering my giveaway. I now have all of you in a hat, and will have a special draw this evening and announce the winner.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

A catch up post!

 I don't know where time goes at the moment. It seems to slip through my fingers rather too quickly. My head buzzes with ideas, but I simply lack the time to try them out. But I've managed to find the time to pull a long simmering idea to the front and I'm really excited about it.

I've just updated my Sew Happy blogshop here with the first in a new line of fabric jewellery I'm making. I've had lots of fun working on ideas for this and have been testing it out for ages. I wanted to wear my fabric as jewellery, and aside from yo-yo necklaces, I hadn't found anything that I liked. When you can't find it, make it!

I'm thrilled with the results, and I'm still trying out new ideas. Earrings are currently being made!

To celebrate, and to celebrate the fact that I've reached an amazing 130 followers, I'd like to do a giveaway - I'd like to offer one of the necklaces to somebody who will love it. You can choose whether it's a heart, oval or button disc. To enter, please leave a comment and I'll leave it open for a week, until next Thursday. If you link back to my blog telling others about the giveaway, let me know and I'll enter you twice.

I hope you like the necklaces!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

A wonderful day viewing quilts. Special quilts!

I don't know where to start, as I've got so much to blog about, but you'd all get ever so bored if I did everything all at once. So I'll just blog about a couple of things today. First off, I thought I'd show off my necklace. I was inspired to make this having seen them in Sew Darn Cute:

And I loved it so much I made another...

Those pictures make me realize that I really must finish my mannequin off soon. It's been a WIP for a good couple of years.
But do have a go at yo-yos if you never have. They are very, very addictive. Google 'yo yo necklace' and you'll find lots of inspiration.

So, today was incredibly exciting. I got in touch with Dorothy Stapleton. Remember my post here. Well, it turns out she lives pretty much down the road from me, and invited me over. My goodness it was so inspirational to meet someone who is so clearly at the top of their field. Her quilts are stunning. Truly stunning. She generously gave me some postcards, and they simply don't do justice to the originals, but they will prove a wonderful reminder of a very happy morning.

This postcard is of a large quilt that hangs in her home, and I could have happily studied for a couple of hours. The images are made by using chemicals to imprint the fabric - definitely something I am inspired to try. Then all quilted together.

Another I absolutely adored...and again, much much larger and delicious in real life than this picture conveys.

Babies, in their cradles, with the things people say and the baby's take on those words. Fabulous. And very funny. I can't even begin to tell you the way Dorothy uses fabric. I've never seen done what she does. She was incredibly kind to spend time with me, and it's had my head spinning ever since.

I got another book, which I can't wait to read:

But most exciting of all, as I was leaving she gave me a piece of quilting she had done.

A butterfly. Now, I'm new to quilting, but I think this is log cabin. I'm only just realizing that quilts have names! That's how green I am. The gift of this had me almost speechless. Totally unexpected. It will have a very special place in our home.

I'm in love with the world of quilting and it's so wonderufl to meet someone like this, as I've been a bit overawed by the techniques, but she made it all sounds so simple. And humorous. I love the humour she injects into her quilts.

A final little something I've been working on. A letter brooch, made out of Cath Kidston oilcloth. I was rather pleased with this. So was the recipient.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Fundraising - urgent appeal

I'm busy sewing for a fund raising evening on Friday. Please take a moment to read about the appeal here. I'm hoping to be able to contribute a healthy sum. This little boy's family need to raise £300,000 to take him to the States for treatment for the agressive cancer he has. The appeal has reached £200,000, and he needs to go this summer. Please forward the link - it raised a huge amount in one leap simply by one person forwarding it on as an email signature. Every bit helps.

Here's a link to a youtube video about Adam Bird as well. Here!

A few bits I'll be taking include some pretty placemats and coasters - Cath Kidston:

or a fab letter print:

And I've been busy making lots of brooches. Here's a small selection.

Adam, the little boy in the appeal, has suffered enormously, and there's a lot of fundraising going on locally. There is a chance the treatment could save his life. We are all hoping so. Please support the appeal if you feel able. x

Friday, 7 May 2010

Adventures in quilting - Quirky quilts

I've always loved house quilts. And it's long been in my mind that when I quilt, my first proper quilt will be a house quilt. So I've started on a quilt top. I've tried plain walls...

and dots and paisleys...

and all sorts of fabrics...

and I'm really pleased with how they look together.

I've got quite a few more to do. But in the meantime I popped into a shop a couple of days ago I never go in usually and found this:

I flicked through quickly and saw a feature on making a quilt showing your own house, something I've also long wanted to do when I feel competent enough...

When I got the book home, I opened it properly, and it's dedicated to me and signed by the author, Dorothy Stapleton. Seriously. It has my name inside... and says 'Happy quilting' and the author's name. I guess it's meant to be. But I did a double take.... 'How did she know I needed this book?' Her style of writing is brilliantly funny and I love it. Funnily enough, she lives not too far from me. I have no idea of names in the quilting world, but I love her work.

Until I finish my quilt, I have to make do with the bought American quilt I have, which I love and into which a lot of work has gone, though it was a shop make. But looking at it, I'm convinced parts have been hand quilted. It's a schoolhouse quilt pattern... I'll do this one day as well.

What I love about this one is that the houses are all pretty different - each with a different print. Quilting opens up a whole world of adventures and possibilities. Please do leave a comment if you have the time. I'd love to know what you think, and if you have quilted I'd love to look at what you've done.

Now, I'm trying also to finish another stash buster project... more to follow very soon.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Happy stash busting - about time too!

As you know, I'm trying to destash as it's all got rather desperate lately in terms of how much I have squirrelled away. I've had this small piece of fabric for a while. I bought it on impulse at the local quilting shop as it made me think of holidays in Cornwall - one of my favourite places of all. But as usual I had nothing in mind. Well, I'm getting fabric out at the moment and sitting looking and playing... expect more posts like this. So, I matched it up with a piece of gingham:

and pinked it into the squares it was crying out to be.

All sewn together and filled with lavender, from my local lavender producer. Then I matched it up with cords, again from my stash. I am so naughty and it's got to stop. Stash busting here I am!

I'm very pleased.

If you are one of my lovely GB visitors... happy voting day. I wonder who'll we'll have tomorrow!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

The promised picture of the cake

I promised to show you how the cake turned out... want a slice anyone? It's delicious. ; )
The next post will be very craft orientated, I promise! Coming soon.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Fabric obsession - that first cut

I will let you know in my next post whether this worked or not! It's in the oven at the moment. I wanted a heart cake for tonight, but only used 2 oz of flour, etc so it turned out a bit small... We'll see. I'd bought the tin today, as £1.99 seemed too good to leave it in the shop.

I wanted to talk a little about my fabric obsession, because I fear it's getting out of control. I know it's a common problem, but I don't know what to do about it. I am having to rein myself in tightly at the moment, because of funds, but it means I'm rediscovering my stash and I unearthed this gorgeous fabric, and of course decided to try a heart...

which soon became two hearts...

you get the idea. It's a beautiful thick linen mix. Absolutely lushness through and through. And all mine. : )

Another fabric I love and dug out - see the creases?! This one was stored so badly, and I feel cross with myself, but nothing a good iron hasn't fixed. I've left these stored simply because they are so difficult to cut into. It actually physically hurt to cut into them. But I managed it:

And I have to say, I'm rather pleased.

I've made some mini scatter cushions, with those and other stored fabric. Cough cough. And they are pretty.

The more you cut, the easier it gets. I'll keep practising.

Now, the ducks. I just had to show you our ducks.

They were so funny the other morning. The mallard drake is interested in the female. But the Chinese mallard (at least, I think he's a Chinese mallard) is having none of it, despite the fact he's pint-sized compared to the drake.

He got quite agressive. And the drake got nowhere!

Just had to include those pics!

Right, I'll go and see what a disaster is unfolding in the oven. Thanks so much for popping by.