Tis the season to go shopping…!

My first craft fair was really good fun, and I learnt a lot. I hope most craft fairs will have larger tables, but I have learnt not to overload whatever size table I have. I sold quite a bit at the fair and more in the online shop, but had got a bit carried away making stock, so still have some to refill the virtual shelves in my online shop.

Amongst the stock there are lots of Christmas stockings…

black and white Star Wars stockings
black and white Star Wars stockings
Star Trek stocking
Star Trek stocking
red and black Star Wars stockings
red and black Star Wars stockings
Wizard of Oz Christmas stocking
Wizard of Oz Christmas stocking
snowmen stocking
snowmen stocking
snowflake stocking
snowflake stocking
holly stocking
holly stocking
glittery stockings
glittery stockings
welly boot Christmas stockings
welly boot Christmas stockings

and aprons…

and bags…

IMGP9165

and cards…

and Christmas tree decorations…

I generally post first class, but am happy to upgrade to courier service to be sure gifts reach you before Christmas – send me a message and I will let you know the additional postage cost and expected delivery time. Do go and have a look! Deerey Me Etsy shop.

getting old?

Maybe it’s the effect of a wet, grey day or two, but I have been feeling a little old this last week. Old dodgy knees (to be fair they have been dodgy since I was six years old, so I cannot entirely blame old age), tinnitus that had me saying “pardon” every couple of minutes at the Bath WI wine tasting and an inability to sleep beyond 04.00 have worked together to make me feel 40 years older than I am.  I’m actually not feeling terribly sad about it all, just…pensive. As I tidied up the flowers Mark bought me a week or so back, it struck me that some people are like roses – glamorous and showy when young but quick to fade and wilt, and soon on their way to the green recycling bin.

faded rose
faded rose

Perhaps others are more like the ornamental cabbage – rather homely but with a delicate beauty as they grow older. Well I know I was never a rose, but maybe, just maybe, I’m a cabbage!

ornamental cabbage aging gracefully
ornamental cabbage aging gracefully

Even my once fierce pumpkin…

grrrr...
grrrr…
trick or treat
trick or treat

…has become old and gummy. Ah well, at least I’m not mouldy!

gummy and mouldy...not a good look
gummy and mouldy…not a good look

These cooler Autumn days I do have to hold on to a little ferocity though, or lose my work chair to the cats…well fierce isn’t so much my thing…and the wooden dining chairs are not so uncomfortable. Would you have the heart to move them???

brotherly love...or at least warmth
brotherly love…or at least warmth

While the cats don’t want to move much at all, George the spaniel from down the road gets quite huffity with me if I hold him up on his walk to take a photo. Although, he may just have the cafe in the park in his sights – he always pulls to go in.

what are you stopping for?
what are you stopping for?

Ah well, had a lovely family lunch yesterday – laughing so much my face hurt. I have the best sister! Mum seemed to have a good time too as she modeled her new scarf.

Mum
Mum

I suppose I should include some craft – it is supposed to be a craft blog – so here is the birthday card I made Mum. It was quite a change to make a card that was not Christmassy – I am so hooked on free motion machine sewing, and will be making a load more this afternoon. I have an idea of a snow globe…!

birthday card for Mum
birthday card for Mum

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

free-motion embroidery

I have long admired machine stitched pictures, but had never tried it myself – seemed like a very scary concept. The instruction to “lower the feed dogs” alone had me trembling in my slippers! However, I have been inspired by others’ work and when I was lucky enough to win a giveaway from Rebecca Bourne, it was the push I needed to dig out my darning foot and lower those damned feed dogs.

Attempt 1 was for my sister’s birthday card (to match the fabric I used for the bags I made her). I was quite pleased, but realised I should have used an embroidery hoop. However, my oldest friend Karen (the one I have been friends with longest, rather than the most aged) leapt to my rescue and explained that I needed to buy stitch and tear to stabilise the fabric and then would not need a hoop. She is right, of course. Karen is an incredibly talented embroiderer and all round arty person but annoyingly, and despite my nagging, has no form of online presence for me to show you her work!

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

 

Attempt 2 ‘sew n sew’ at the Bath Guildhall Market obligingly had stitch and tear in stock so I bravely re-lowered the feed dogs and attempted a second card. Now my control of the thread drawing does need some work and the likeness to the intended Swedish vallhund is not all I could wish, but I think it was sufficiently successful for me to want to try again…

free motion swedish vallhund
free motion swedish vallhund

 

Of course a card alone was rather miserly, and when the Vikings invaded in March for a weekend on a canal boat, the Vikings had been rather enthusiastic about our English hot water bottles, so I thought I should venture in to another new realm; that of the hot water bottle cover. A soft fleecy, quilted number. There is something very satisfying about sewing with cuddly fabrics like fleece and flannel…the fabric equivalent of apple crumble and custard.

hot water bottle cover
hot water bottle cover

 

I played hookey this morning and spent several glorious hours celebrating Gail’s birthday at the Pump Room with tea and Bath buns (with cinnamon butter!) accompanied by a really excellent quartet of musicians. In recent times the Pump Room has rather been edged out of my affections by Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms, the Tea House Emporium and the Royal Crescent Hotel, and I had forgotten how lovely it is. The music was amazing and the service was impeccable and the setting has such Jane Austen echoes (if I half close my eyes and squint I can almost see Anne Elliot rushing to greet Admiral and Mrs Croft).

I spent the afternoon putting together a photo book before my credit expires – so much easier and nicer than a photo album. All good stuff, but tomorrow I need to sit myself down at that sewing machine and restock my shop (thanks to lovely Teresa, Nick and Claire! – I hope you like your goodies). I spent last weekend with my stepmother in London and she kindly gave me a large bundle of fabrics and trimmings, amongst which was some black velvet. Yesterday morning I was out in the garden in my slippers taking photos of dewy spiders’ webs and I think an embroidered spider’s web on black velvet could be rather lovely…what do you think?

So is anyone else mid project? Come on, spill the beans…what are you sewing???

 

finishing touches

I decided my bags and purses needed a little extra je ne sais quoi and ordered these fab little labels from Able Labels. I am very happy with themand will be stitching them in to everything from now on.

 

seaside shopper

I received them very quickly, but had already made this little seaside shopping bag…what is it about bunting that is so irresistable? I want to put miniature bunting on everything now!

seaside shopper
seaside shopper

 

greetings cards

Although I plan to mainly fill my Etsy shop (which I hope to open the week after next!) with sewn goodies, I also decided to get a few of my photos printed up as cards…here’s a few and I will put some more in the photos gallery.

seaside/countryside
seaside/countryside
birds
birds
bees
bees
butterflies
butterflies

 

strawberry gin

The strawberry gin is ready! I don’t quite understand how 70cl of gin, when left to stand with sugar and strawberries can now fill two 35cl bottles and still have enough left over to fill another small jar plus a good measure for the cook. I guess the strawberries must just have been very juicy.

I did find myself pinching the leftover gin-soaked strawberries as I cooked (mushroom and stilton pie) until I realised I was fast becoming a gin-soaked strawberry blonde!

gin-soaked strawberry blonde
gin-soaked strawberry blonde
strawberry gin
strawberry gin

 

and finally…

Last Saturday was the Flavours of the South West food festival in Bath and my cake won the WI Queen of Cakes title! It was a bit of a rush tracing the logo and filling it out with melted chocolate, and I managed to squish the icing while transporting it – I even forgot to take a photo (this was one the ladies (wo)manning the table took). I didn’t know there was a competition, but it’s very nice to win!

Bath WI cake
Bath WI cake