Santa Claus is coming to town…!

Such a wet, grey day seems perfect to do some quilting. All snugly on the sofa (half) watching slushy movies, toasty under the quilt as I work on it (with an eye out for muddy pawed cats!). Here is a sneak preview:

Moda 'Winter's Lane' quilt
Moda ‘Winter’s Lane’ quilt

I have also been making good use of some of the Christmas buttons I found. Sometimes I just ‘see’ things in my mind and it is such a joy when they work out as I imagined.

Rudolph won't you lead my sleigh tonight
Rudolph won’t you lead my sleigh tonight
Santa's coming to town zip pouch
Santa’s coming to town zip pouch

The reverse of the wash bag was just right for a left over Halloween button.

black cat button
black cat button
cat on a cold tile roof
cat on a cold tile roof

However, all this Christmas sewing is taking it’s toll – and just to make sure the old bah hum bug doesn’t surface from all this festive overload so early in the year, I decided to make a Spring apron, with a big white flower and a flower pot pocket – perfect for any young gardener.

apron for young gardener
apron for young gardener

Oh and one last thing….

Happy birthday for Monday Mum…see you for lunch on Sunday!

Mum...a few years ago.
Mum…a few years ago.

ta dah!

Just a quick post – the lovely people at Making magazine chose my dalek pincushions as the winning entry for this week’s Monday Makes! I have been getting Making for a little while now (since Sue in my old office recommended it) and have sneakily been waiting for a good subscription offer. Last month’s issue offered a huge bundle of sewing goodies; really useful things like shears and pinking shears and a number of large reels of extra strong thread and…well you get the picture…so I took the plunge and took out a subscription (you don’t need to subscribe to enter the weekly competition on Facebook). I have entered a few things in the weekly competition on the Making Facebook page and was really delighted to win this week. I know it’s just a weekly Facebook competition, but it means a lot to me!

While I am here, I have made a few more things:

Christmas cards with robins…

robin Christmas card
robin Christmas card

I like the way the fabric frays a little around the edges; rather like feathers I think.

robin detail
robin detail

 

glove cats and dogs (not in the shop, as I can’t CE mark them as have not yet been able to track down reasonably priced gloves with EN71-3 dye data – if anyone knows of a suitable manufacturer, do let me know!)…

glove cats and dogs
glove cats and dogs

and a couple more linen zip pouch bags with round trees and little bird buttons…

green tree, red birds
green tree, red birds
green tree, white birds
green tree, white birds

 

I also made a child’s apron with a flower pot pocket and a white daisy growing out of it – will take photos tomorrow.

 

 

Christmas is coming…the daleks are getting fat…

Christmas is coming…the daleks are getting fat…

Well it’s something like that. I have been getting myself a bit stressed about how much sewing I have to do for Christmas and for my first craft fair* and have been trying to get as much stock made as possible. I had been making things I know well as I can make them quickly, but as I calm down a bit I am letting myself have fun designing new pieces. While I was beading daleks for custom order Christmas stockings I began to think about the possibility of a dalek pincushion and this week set about designing one. I am rather pleased with my first attempt, what do you think?

dalek pincushion
dalek pincushion

Of course do remember that a dalek is not just for Christmas!

Stallholders at the Christmas fair are being asked to donate a raffle prize and as soon as I hit send on my email, I knew a gingerbread house was a silly thing to offer as cooking is not part of my business. Bags are more my thing…but then surely a bag could be a gingerbread house…

gingerbread house handbag
gingerbread house handbag

I will probably add a bit more detail to the windows, but it was fun to make (and sent me off on  the trail of some gorgeous Christmas buttons to make a second (or third) gingerbread house bag.

I  am totally immersed in Christmas. Most years I hate the commercialism of it all and the way the shops fill with decorations and gifts as soon as Summer holidays are over, but this year I have no option but to jump in to it head first. I have been making more free-motion sewn cards and even a bit of hand emroidery.

 

French knot polar bear Christmas card
French knot polar bear Christmas card
tree Christmas card
tree Christmas card

Today I also gave in to Pinterest and made a snow scene in a jam jar – I first saw these on Pinterest last Christmas and I think they are so cute. For gifts (not for sale) I am also going to make some edible snow scenes in jars, with shortbread trees and sugar snow.

jam jar snow scene
jam jar snow scene

 

I have had some time off making things though, including a trip over the bridge to chat to some textile students about the things I make. I was a bit nervous – it’s a really long time since I have even been in a school – but thoroughly enjoyed myself. Everyone was lovely and they showed me their beautiful past projects and we talked about their upcoming projects. I am looking forward to seeing the end results.

Yesterday one of my old work colleagues came over and we had a National Trust day – the Courts and Lacock. It kept looking like it was going to pour with rain, but held off until we were having a meal in the pub in the evening. I rather like grey skies they add a touch of gothic drama.

Lacock tree of light
Lacock tree of light

I will sort out the other photos and pop them in to Deere Diary in a bit.

 

* St Mary’s Church (bottom of Bathwick Hill in Bath) 7pm to 9.30pm Wednesday 4th December 2013

the stockings were hung by the chimney with care

I am sorry I have not posted in a while – so busy! Not only have I been lucky enough to have a load of custom orders, I am also sewing like mad to make stock for a Christmas fair (Wednesday December 4th, 7pm until 9.30pm at St Mary The Virgin Church on Darlington Street, Bath)…added to which I had a small mountain of cake to bake for Mark to take in to his office for his birthday.

Excuses over, here are some of the custom orders…no names in case they may be gifts!

slippers
slippers
zipper pouch
zipper pouch
slippers and bag
slippers and bag
Ellen Mouse tunic
Ellen Mouse tunic
pug dog drawstring bag
pug dog drawstring bag
pug dog slippers and drawstring bag
pug dog slippers and drawstring bag
Ellen Mouse tunic
Ellen Mouse tunic
Dr Who stockings
Dr Who stockings

One of my custom orders – Dr Who Christmas stockings – set me off on a Christmas stocking fest (all now in my shop!). I bought some more Dr Who fabric and intend to  make some for the shop too.

Skandi Christmas stocking detail
Skandi Christmas stocking detail
Skandi Christmas stocking
Skandi Christmas stocking
Skandi Christmas stocking detail
Skandi Christmas stocking detail
Skandi Christmas stocking
Skandi Christmas stocking
glittery blue and gold Christmas stocking
glittery blue and gold Christmas stocking

My favourite has to be this welly boot Christmas stocking made from oilcloth – I love it when I can realise and idea.

oilcloth welly Christmas stocking
oilcloth welly Christmas stocking

welly boot Christmas stocking

There is also a little Ellen Mouse in my shop – sporting a Christmas pinafore!

Christmas Ellen Mouse
Christmas Ellen Mouse
Christmas Ellen Mouse
Christmas Ellen Mouse
Ellen Mouse
Ellen Mouse

wingardium leviosa!

I have been having a Harry Potter hour or two. On Saturday, pottering (sorry!) around Toppings book shop in Bath I had a flash of inspiration about a book book-bag which, by the time Alison got there, had developed in to a Harry Potter book in the middle of a shelf of classics, with a little magic escaping from the Harry Potter book. I put it together and am chuffed to bits it turned out just as I imagined it! What do you think?

Harry Potter book bag
Harry Potter book bag

there's magic in them there books!

Harry Potter and the classics
Harry Potter and the classics

 

bags of bags

The zipper pouch bags seem to be a bit of a hit and are selling fast, so I thought I had better make a few more…now in my shop http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DeereyMe

I love bees – do my best to plant my garden to attract them and am forever taking photos of them – so when I saw this bee fabric in Country Threads in Bath I just couldn’t resist. The bag seemed to be calling out for a daisy and I remembered a tutorial I pinned on Pinterest and made my first Kanzashi flower; certainly not my last as they are so much fun to make!

bee garden pouch with kanzashi daisy
bee garden zipper pouch bag

 

Years back I treated myself to a bundle of seaside fabrics and you know how it is, some fabrics are so pretty it seems a shame to cut in to them, but finally I decided that this one needed to fulfill its destiny. I love it…and have enough to make another one.

large seaside zipper pouch bag
large seaside zipper pouch bag

I made a pincushion as a gift with some of this cute Westie fabric but had some left and thought it would make a nice little bag for a dog lover, and was the perfect opportunity to use one of the dog buttons I stumbled across.

Westie dog zipper pouch with shaggy dog zip pull
button detail

Now the new bags have been added to the shop I had better get on with some more sewing – a contemporary apron and then I need to get out the fabric paints to create a couple of Beauty and the Beast panels…eh Karin? Mark has a day off so I might finish early today and get him to help me pick crab apples – the jams and jelly season is with us, and spiced crab apple jelly is my favourite!

the bag lady

I spent last week working on zipper pouch designs – I now have patterns for pretty much every size of zip, and am getting faster, and what’s more I am starting to get orders…yay! So without further ado, let the bag parade begin!

First off let me introduce this burnt orange dupion silk number sporting a silk pansy embellishment and faceted, light-catching zip pull. I love this Autumnal colour – and it took some stiff upper lip to cut in to the fabric.

dupion silk zipper pouch with pansy detail
dupion silk zipper pouch with pansy detail

 

Next, modelling the season’s butterfly theme, we have a pretty little blue and cream number. I have a love of all things bugly and couldn’t resist this fabric – all the more so for the glittery gold highlights!

When Irene was visiting she bought me the most lovely teapot earrings (teapots are a big thing in my life), and I set out to source the lovely little teapot charms to use in some of my work and, serendipitously, I still had left some of the teapot/teacup fabric I once used to make a lavender heart for Irene, so the fabric and charm came together to make an afternoon tea bag!

It was my sister’s birthday yesterday and I wanted to make her something special, so used some lovely coastal village print cotton in grey and white and made a larger zipper pouch bag, with wadding rather than interfacing, to give it a cuddly quality. Rather stupidly I forgot to take a photo of the soft shopper tote I made from a mixture of this fabric and a grey/blue tartan (lined with part of my sister’s old duvet cover actually – I like to recycle fabric where I can), which I folded up and put inside the zipper bag.

IMGP7763 IMGP7764

I spotted this frame for a small coin purse at Sew n Sew at the Bath Guildhall Market and decided to give it a go. I was a little disappointed that the ‘pattern’ that came with the frame was a line 8.5cm long with instructions to add whatever you want below it…gee thanks!…but it didn’t turn out too badly. A little froufrou for my taste, but enough fun for me to seek out sleeker, square frames on eBay to try some more.

framed coin purse in crushed velvet
framed coin purse in crushed velvet

 

Friends and family are great at donating odds and ends of fabric they find hidden in their lofts and cupboards, and this lovely oriental style fabric, despite fraying like mad, worked beautifully for bag making. I am going to make some envelope clutch bags with it too.

I bought some sale fabrics from the Village Haberdashery and this Laura Gunn garden wall fabric is even more lovely in the flesh than it looked on the website – no wonder they only had one skinny quarter left! A very dear and clever friend (Karin that’s you!) asked whether I could add wrist straps to my zipper pouches…fab idea! I will be doing this on more bags…

Now my corners are sharp and my bottoms are flat and my zips are a joy to insert, I want to unleash my imagination. When I went on a small business finance course at City of Bath College (highly recommend it if you are local), we were asked what our USP (unique selling point) is. The group laughed when I said it was that I am untrained, but I explained that it means I am also untethered. If you know exactly how something should be done, I think it is quite difficult to give your imagination free rein. Of course it means a bright idea can take quite a bit of working out and practice, but hopefully the result will be uniquely quirky. So now I have the basics sorted, I want to try some more adventurous bags…I have an image in my head of a cloud bag with raindrop fringing, and a double-decker London bus bag, and a dragon, and fish, and….oh the possibilities are endless!

Of course woman cannot live on bags alone, and there have been other creations in the week. Ellen Mouse, fully CE marked, is now in my shop – modelling a white brushed cotton top and reversible pinafore.

A scalloped edge blue felt rose brooch with gold-speckled blue bead centre…for blue days. I love my scalloped edge pinking shears!

felt rose brooch
felt rose brooch

And finally, inspired by talented Rebecca Bourne, I decided to make my sister’s birthday card, to match the coastal village fabric I used for her bag. For a first attempt at sewing pictures in a non-applique sort of way, I was quite chuffed. Mind you, they aren’t kidding when they suggest using an embroidery hoop when free motion sewing – I do like the non-square cartoon-like quality of the beach huts, but not the little gathers in the fabric. Next time I will use the hoop, after all it’s not like I don’t have half a dozen of them sitting on my shelves already!

beach hut free-motion sewn card
beach hut free-motion sewn card

 

Of course all work and no play makes Sue a dull girl, so Mark and I had an outing yesterday to Westonbirt Arboretum’s tree fest. We resisted the swing seats and hand-carved mirrors and tables with tree root legs and the little wooden house, but – again with Irene in mind – Mark bought me a tea cup birdfeeder (and a trug so I can be a proper gardener).

teacup bird feeder
teacup bird feeder

If you would like to see more photos of the Treefest, have a look at Deere Diary:

 

wooden t-rex skull at Treefest
wooden t-rex skull at Treefest

more cake making

I had a break from sewing to make a cake for a family party yesterday. So nice to get together with everyone, and thankfully it was not so hot that the galaxy revels musical notes slid off the cake, and it remained together (until cut and eaten!)

Today I am busy making zipper make-up bags – butterflies and teapots complete and now about to start on some velvet and silk ones (photos in due course). I love my job!

Frida Kahlo, fabric stash and kilner jar pincushions

Frida Kahlo

A little while back I stumbled upon a little online shop called Viva La Frida that sells wonderful Mexican print oilcloth along with Mexican folk art bits and pieces. The colours and patterns all but throw themselves at you and, just as the wand chooses the wizard, I believe the fabric chooses the project and a bag of Viva La Frida remnants all but shouted at me “bunting and bags!”

Oilcloth is an odd thing to work with. Firstly pins mark forever, so I always use clips to hold it in place and, secondly, the vinyl side tends to be reluctant to feed through the sewing machine, so it is quicker and easier and results in far less swearing if you sew through tissue paper both sides of the oilcloth. Actually the nice people at Viva la Frida provide some hints and tips for working with oilcloth.

the sky blue-pink side
the sky blue-pink side
front pocket
front pocket
tote - the green side
tote – the green side
red and green Mexicana tote bag
red and green Mexicana tote bag

The nice lady down the road let me hang the bunting on her front fence to photograph it; she doesn’t even seem surprised by my strange requests these days!

bunting
bunting
Mexicana oilcloth bunting
Mexicana oilcloth bunting
bunting close-up
bunting close-up

fabric stash

For years I have sorted my fabric stash by colour – the quilter in me, no doubt – but you know these days it’s just not the most useful arrangement. So today I did a stock take and arranged the fabric by type of material and pattern:

luxury fabrics:

  • silks
  • velvets
  • glittery stuff

cottons:

  • plain and background patterns
  • arty patterns
  • animal themed prints
  • seaside prints
  • Christmas and Winter prints
  • other themed prints

Utility fabrics:

  • calico
  • sheeting
  • ticking
  • cotton drill

Not only can I now find exactly what I am looking for but I have reminded myself of what fabrics I have and that has refueled my enthusiasm to make a load more things.

fabric stash
fabric stash
fabric by pattern
fabric by pattern
neatly sorted fabric stash
neatly sorted fabric stash

Kilner jar pincushions with sewing kits

Finding I had so much silk and velvet, I put a piece of shot purple/blue silk to good use by adding a pincushion to the lid of a kilner jar. I made one a few months back and now both are in my shop. I have added a simple sewing kit to each jar – I particularly like the vintage style embroidery scissors.

kilner jar pincushion and sewing kit
kilner jar pincushion and sewing kit
kilner jar pincushion and sewing kit #2
kilner jar pincushion and sewing kit #2
sewing kit #1
sewing kit #1
sewing kit #2
sewing kit #2

 

In other news…

After much searching I have found a fabric supplier who also provides details of EN71 compliance, which means that once the fabric arrives I can carry out the CE certification testing on the new fabrics and start making and (hopefully) selling Ellen Mouse!! There are some limitations – no plain brown fabric, so no Freja Mouse production line, and they will all have to have the same pink inside ear fabric, but I am looking forward to getting back to sewing mice. We have visitors next week, so I won’t be sewing (although I may be picking my friend’s brain for crochet help), but soon Ellen Mouse will be back!

 

And finally…

Don’t forget I will be making the draw for the lavender heart tomorrow morning! Just comment or like here or on my facebook page.

Liberty print lavender heart
Liberty print lavender heart

follow the yellow brick road…

Many years ago I stumbled upon some rather gorgeous Wizard of Oz fabric. Having a somewhat dubious sense of humour, I decided it would be funny to make a Dorothy dorothy bag…

Wiktionary: dorothy bag – a woman’s handbag gathered at the top by a drawstring whose loops are used as a handle; traditionally used by bridesmaids to carry confetti

I mentioned this idea to my friend and her daughter, Maddie, suggested it would be even more fun to make a pair of ruby slippers to go in the bag! Brilliant!

I made the slippers first to make sure they would fit in the bag and am now hooked on making slippers. I never made them before, but I think I can safely say I will never again buy a pair of slippers!

I found some lovely stretchy sparkly red fabric for the top, used the ruby slipper fabric for the lining, padded them with some thick cotton wadding and finished them with my favourite glitter ribbon.

handmade ruby slippers
handmade ruby slippers

The bag is also lined with the ruby slippers print fabric and uses two fabric designs for the outside, with purple trim. Simply quilted and finished with white ribbon, it is done…I can’t believe it took me so many years to get round to it!

Dorothy dorothy bag
Dorothy dorothy bag

I may be the only person in the world amused by such silliness, but I really enjoyed my work yesterday! (actually I enjoy it every day)