At the end of March I will be running a crafty workshop for the Bath WI. We will be making pincushions in teacups (and flower pots), so I have been busy designing and making some samples to take to the WI on Wednesday so people will have an idea of what we will be making.
On the risk aversion scale I am about as risk averse as you can get, so when I started trading I knew I would have no peace of mind without insurance. When I looked in to insurance to sell worldwide I was quoted almost £1000 – utterly crippling for such a small business – so I decided to limit sales to the EU for about £60. Over the months I have had a number of requests from buyers in USA and Australia and have hated having to turn them away, so determined to track down something more affordable…now I have found it!*
I spent much time yesterday working out my ‘everywhere else’ postal charges – ridiculous timing as Royal Mail prices change on 1 April, but hey ho. So, wherever you are do have a look at my shop!
You will find a few new Easter drawstring bags. Photographing them was a bit of a challenge due to Rio the cat’s love of the camera lens…!
I do love daffodils and when I saw this pretty, simple vase at Barrington Pottery at Barrington Court on Saturday (photos in Deere Diary if you’re interested), it simply radiated daffodils. I am sure I will use it for other flowers throughout the year, but for now the daffodils look lovely in it.
n.b. the little mouse pincushion in the top photo was a free kit in Prima Makes magazine, I just swapped the wool tail for cord finished with a little metal cap, added bead eyes, rather than the embroidered eyes suggested and filled him with crushed walnut shells rather than the toy stuffing provided. I think he is rather cute, but I feel so mean sticking needles in him!!
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…
I like the way the fabric frays a little around the edges; rather like feathers I think.
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!)…
and a couple more linen zip pouch bags with round trees and little bird buttons…
I also made a child’s apron with a flower pot pocket and a white daisy growing out of it – will take photos tomorrow.
Those who know me know I have a guilty secret…something of an obsession you could say; a ‘Fifty Shades of Tea Pot’. There is just something so comforting about a teapot – not to mention that I rather share the same body shape as a teapot (but without a handle or spout!). My rather lovely other half not only accepts my tea pot tendencies, he actively encourages it. Many of my tea pots were gifts from Mark (including the one shaped like a football that he thought expressed us perfectly as a couple!). So when we were away and I said we should not be frittering away money on more tea pots, he frittered away regardless and bought this elephant tea pot for me.
Now with tea pots comes not only tea (thank you Bath Tea House Emporium!) but cake. I just had to make some cupcake pincushions from silicone cupcake moulds, fabric, felt, toy stuffing and beads…and of course pins!
I have been very bad about keeping everyone updated – lots of sewing, lots of trying to get organised. I have had a load of custom orders and need to be very sure the requested fabric doesn’t get used for any other projects.
current custom orders:
- 3 pairs of slippers
- 5 drawstring bags
- 2 zipper pouches
- 2 evening clutch bags
- 1 phone case
- 1 Ellen Mouse
- 2 Dr Who christmas stockings
As if this is not enough to keep me out of trouble, my favourite season is starting to take hold and I am loving the colours and that hint of chill in the air. To celebrate I have been making Cinderella pumpkin pincushions (also perfect for Halloween) with cloves tucked in the stuffing and cinnamon stick stems: available in my shop
The house smells delicious – I am just going to have to make some more!
Of course no Cinderella can carry out her housework duties without a good apron! I am hooked on these little cool and contemporary ones, and they really show off some of the lovely fabric in my fabric stash. My only problem is that it would be nice to include a photo of them being modeled when I put them in my shop and me standing on a chair taking a photo in my workroom mirror just does not cut the mustard…I am going to have to rope in friends and neighbours!
The aprons are fully lined – thank goodness for the fab fabric shop on Green Street in Bath (Fashion Fabrics) as I am getting through quite a bit of fabric.
My non-sewing activities have been taken up with the lovely crab apple tree in our front garden. Last year there were so few apples we left them all for the birds, but this year it has more than I have ever seen. I have already had 5kg and there is still plenty left for both us and the birds.
I am a big fan of cookery books but when it comes to jams and preserves I always come back to Gloria Nicol’s Fruits of the Earth; I do like to tweak recipes though and add cinnamon and cloves and ginger to the fruit when I boil it up before straining.
To finish, I have to share another photo. I just popped outside to photograph the crab apple tree and Rio the cat was in his favourite position on the door mat…he’s even there if you look at our house on google maps street view (not going to put my address here, you’ll just have to take my word for it!)
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 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!
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:
- glittery stuff
- plain and background patterns
- arty patterns
- animal themed prints
- seaside prints
- Christmas and Winter prints
- other themed prints
- 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.
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.
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!
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.
Some like it hot…and some don’t. I am one of the latter. Don’t get me wrong, I like sunshine as much as the next (wo)man; I just don’t like it hot. Give me a cold, icy day with blue skies and sunshine and long Winter shadows and I am as happy as a pig in muck. Once the temperature gets much above 20C, I start to wilt and with temperatures at the moment closer to 30C, I turn in to the wicked witch of the west country – bad attitude and cries of “I’m melting, I’m melting!”
Everything is taking me longer than usual, but I have been surprised to find that keeping making things takes my mind off the far too hot weather and reduces my whingeing. So I have been quite busy…
1) a herd of seahorses. Actually, ‘herd’ is far too dull a word for seahorses. I understand they move through water through the undulation of their dorsal fin, so I reckon the collective noun should be an undulation of seahorses. What do you think?
I think I will add ribbon loops to the seahorses so they can be hung in wardrobes or from doorhandles. Good idea?
2) I have also returned to the granny’s flower garden patchwork we did with Scrapiana at the Bath WI craft workshop. I sew the little hexagons made from Liberty of London lawn by hand which means I can sit in the living room with Mark and nod and smile as he tells me what England has to do to beat Australia at cricket (I understand cricket about as well as I understand Mandarin). At the workshop we sewed together seven hexagons (I used some of Scrapiana’s Kaffe Fassett fabric) which back home I turned in to a pincushion. I use it all the time, and thought it might be something other people might like too. This one I backed with my favourite sage green cotton with white polka dots (it came from a Bath pop-up shop, and I will be very sad once it has all been used up).
3) while I had the Liberty fabric to hand, I decided to make a little pencil case too…
4) …and to add another piece of granny’s flower garden patchwork to a larger bag (for make-up or, in my case, sewing machine bobbins). I love this purple fabric, printed with script and highlights of twinkling gold. Don’t try telling me that ‘all that glisters is not gold’, I am a total magpie for anything sparkly.
Determined to open my shop this week
Now then, I am determined to sew my heart out Monday and Tuesday and then spend Wednesday and Thursday (and maybe Friday) working out prices and postage and taking product photos so I can open an Etsy.com shop at the end of the week! I think it only right to celebrate with a giveaway; just need to decide what…