Monday, 31 May 2010

Friday, 28 May 2010

Retro-Tastic PJs

As it was so warm last week (where's it gone now, eh?) I made myself some summery PJ pants out of the retro charity shop fabric I hauled back in January.

This was my first pair, which is a little tight across the hips and bum:



The second pair I made bigger, but by waaaayyy too much, so these, typically, are too big and bunchy round the posterior. But you don't want your PJs too tight, now, do you?



I've cut my pattern (which is the Drawstring Pants pattern from the Martha Stewart sewing book I blogged a couple of weeks ago) down a bit so it's now somewhere between the two sizes, so hopefully my next pair with be fine! I've got some old duvet covers I'm going to make into another pair or two and I'm going to experiment with elastic in the waist band. Even Boyfriend has requested a pair! Maybe not out of the 70s purple floral, though...

I have loads of fabric left (I think they were sheets in a previous life) so I may try some kind of top half to go with them, or maybe a summery dressing gown...decision, decisions. But two pairs of PJ trews for pretty much free is A-OK in my book.

Thanks for all your congrats about the Spoonflower win. They've updated their blog now so you can read a bit more about it here. They had 116 entries in total and I received over 900 votes! Woo!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

My Fabric Won!

Check it out, peeps, my 50s Atomic Fish won the Spoonflower Fabric of the Week competition! Look! Right here! I now have $100 to spend on Spoonflower! $100 worth of fabric!!! Woo!!!! Thank you very, very much for all your votes, you are all awesome.

Doesn't it look so good in real life?

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

PBK 10

This the work from the Open House at Jubilee Library I'm currently taking part in:





The light was rubbish in there, so I apologise for the rather dull photographs. I like the hanging of the work much better than last year, but I think this year it looks a little empty. I know I shied away from doing more than once piece, so I wonder if other people felt the same. It was very quiet on Sunday afternoon, only 10 or so people in, and I've hardly made any money, but I suppose people were making the most of the sudden - and now gone - summer weather!

My favourite piece is this wonderful paper sculpture by Meghan; I don't know how she has the patience to cut, fold and stick all those tiny pieces of paper! She has a lovely Etsy shop here with some fab jewellry.



PBK 10 runs this weekend, too, unlike most of the other OHs, so do go and take a look if you can. Top floor of Jubilee Library, open 11am-4pm Saturday and Sunday. Thanks.

Monday, 24 May 2010


My fabulously talented friend Deb has been working with Mr X Stitch to produce some PDF embroidery patterns of her work! I am SO excited about these. How bizarre that I've been rabbiting on about stitching and Deb's been secretly working on these! I love it when things like that happen. I've bought the gardening Robotingtons one and can't wait to give them a go; they'll go with my very own Robotington who I bought from Deb at a craft fair in Manchester a couple of years ago:


You can get the patterns on Mr X Stitch's etsy shop here for the bargain price of $6. Go!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Print Plan 2


Print Planning

You know how I was banging on about how I was not sure what to do with my day on Thursday? Well, in the end (after EE and food shopping, and popping out again in the afternoon) I cracked out the sewing machine and made the final curtain for our bedroom (which I've only be putting off for like, five months or something) and the curtains for Boyfriend's Boy Room. Finally. We just need to put the curtain rail back up and they can be hung and the bottom edge hemmed, once I'm sure I've cut the two of them to the right length! (However, he has to clear all the crap from in front of the window first so I can actually get the ladder in near enough to hang them. Ahem.) Then I made up the little birdie that's now sitting atop my screen.....annnnnd take a breath.

What I didn't get to do (and haven't until this morning) was finish the plans for a new print. Lovely Deb challenged me on Twitter to a print-planning session and crit by the end of Friday. Oops. Fail there. However, it's here now, and Deb, I'd very much like your opinion. It's very rough at the moment, but I had the idea walking back from Tesco, laden down with shopping, as you do, that I would like to do a series of prints based on the fairytale of the 12 Dancing Princesses which also encompasses some sort of collage.

This is my first idea in rough:


Much like the inspirational embroidery collages I linked to a couple of weeks ago, once I've screenprinted the outline in one colour, I'd like to cut out a part of her clothes and lay either a fabric, a nice paper or some embroidery in a colour that matches the outline, behind her. I'm not sure if I'm quite prepared to make 12 of them at once, but I know I should as I'll only get half way through and move on to something else which has captured my attention, much like what has happened with my Scary and Fairytale Alphabet prints. (I am going to do something about those, though, when I can get back in to the proper print room. These I can probably do at home.)

Any thoughts from anyone? Thank you very much in advance.

This afternoon I'm off to look after the Open House exhibition I'm a part of. I went very briefly to the opening three weeks ago, but this will be the first time I've properly seen it all. I'll take some photos today, and not just on my phone!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Glass Beach Hut

Boyfriend is half way through a six-week stained glass course that I booked for him as a present. I am SO impressed with this as a first attempt; I can't believe how neatly soldered the joints are:


I'll have him making 6' windows in no time.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Thursday, 20 May 2010

More Spoonflower

Not only did my lush Spoonflower fabric samples come through last week, but I decided to enter one of their weekly fabric design competitions for the first time this week. The theme was "50s" and you were restricted to a limited palette of a specific white, black, green, red and blue. This is my entry:

fish spoonflower2

If you want to see it tiled up or how it looks over a large swathe of fabric, go to my profile here.

It's now up on the Spoonflower website and you can vote for it to become Fabric of the Week here. There are LOADS of great designs this week and you can vote for more than one. Maybe casting nine votes for other designs might work against me....

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Balcony

This is the state of growth on my balcony this evening:




The herbs are in their awesome Elho pots along the rail, and five out of my 6,000,110,054,979,458,457 tomato plants are now in buckets along the window. I ran out of compost during yesterday's re-potting so the others will have to wait for their permanent homes. The weather is supposed to improve this week and get warmer as it progresses (which is just great as I'm pretty much spending the entire weekend inside. Typical.). It's just what my little babies need to get moving and producing me some fruit.

I'm in a bit of an odd mood this evening. I usually go to Stitch 'n' Bitch of a Wednesday evening, but I'm just not feeling it today. (My knitting is pretty much at a standstill, anyway. I'll never get around to finishing Boyf's cardi at this rate.) I have tomorrow off, and the decision of what to do with my day is pretty much overwhelming me! I have Enforced Exercise and food shopping in the morning, then I'm free to fill my day as I wish. The pressure! There's also the feeling that I should make the most of it as come June and July I'll be working extra library hours on Thursdays, just for those two months, and so will really miss my Thursdays at home. I'm edging towards a bit of sewing, but also possibly planning a screenprint. Possibly I could do both, but I feel like I should spend some time developing some personal/portfolio/mail out work. Hmm, maybe this is where the fab print/embroidery combo stuff I posted last week may act as an inspiration.....

Too much stuff going on in my brain! I'll put up progress pics or sketches or whatever of my progress tomorrow, anyway.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

End of Week 20


Vampires are innnnnnnnnnnnnnn.
It took me five days to notice the vampire was actually looking at me, his eye being right on the top edge as it is. Once I noticed I couldn't look at it any more.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Spoonflower is Here!

My Spoonflower fabric design samples have arrived and they are looking just fab. The reds are slightly more orange than I had envisaged, but I can live with that.









They're now all up for sale at Spoonflower here, where you can buy them in all sorts of lengths from a swatch, to a fat quarter to over 5 yards and in a variety of fabric weights. I plan to have some FQs for sale in my various online shops, but that won't be for a while yet. I want to make a whole load of stuff and give them all a bit of a redesign and a big push in the next couple of months.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Images I'm in Love With

Bookgirl by Ward Jenkins

From The Happy Owls by Celestino Piatti, 1963.

Morning Song by Ylva Källström-Eklun.

This is a Town, illustrated by Robert J. Lee, 1957.

Just Pepper written and illustrated by Robert Barry, 1958.

Feed Me, Seymour

 We're going to eat some of our home-grown mixed salad tonight; it's starting to take over the living room. Just look at it now:

14th May

And less than two months ago:

26th March

I planted out most of our herbs in fabulous pots on the balcony last Monday and I want to re-pot the larger tomato plants into their permanent homes this Tuesday, weather willing. All we need now is a bit of heat and they'll be well away producing lovely little fruit for us. I love growing things; it's so satisfying.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Pink Neon

Excuse my raggedy cuticles, but check out the way this pink nail varnish GLOWS, especially next to the blue and the black.



The camera hasn't quite picked up how bright it actually is, so I've tried to enhance the pinks a bit. It's just amazing IRL, though. And I have the neon green to try next week, too.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Work I'm Loving Right Now

You may have noticed that I've become a little bit obsessed with embroidery recently. In fact, I've just got hold of a few more Sublime Stitching pattern kits, but those babies are going to have to wait. I came across the most beautiful work on Flickr today that encompasses illustration, embroidery and storytelling; all of which just so happen to be some of my favourite things of all time.

This lovely, lovely stuff is by Penny Leaver Green and you can find more of her work on her Flickr pages here, her website here, her etsy shop here (WANT!), and even more wonderful stitchery in the Feeling Stitchy Embroidery Flickr Group here, which is where I came across Penny's gorgeous work in the first place.

I'm finding her work uber-inspiring at the moment. I want to develop a way of working that incorporates illustration  - in particular my print making - and stitching. I'm not sure that it would be for my commercial/published work, but more for my personal, crafty, Folksy shop-type work. Something like this here or here would be awesome. Watch this space...

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Monday, 10 May 2010

New Books Are Just as Nice as New Fabrics

After reading a few reviews on other blogs, I bought myself this new book:


(I'm pretty sure those lovely threads there on the right hand side are the same Hemingworth ones I saw at The Eternal Maker t'other week. I just love their shape.)

It's a pretty damn good resource. If you're familiar with American Craft Goddess Martha Stewart's website (which is rather hard work to wade through and could do with a good tidy) then you probably know of a few of these projects already; but it's very nice to have them all in one, huge reference volume. The photography is just beautiful and it comes with a CD of all the patterns used, too. I've had a quick flick through so far (quick = 40 minutes. It's that big, people) and I'm impressed. The writing isn't as quirky as I would like, but it's informative and knowledgeable. I'm looking forward to trying a few of the projects, especially the drawstring trews (photo below), and I think it'll be a great book to have on hand if you suddenly want to know how to approach something fabric-based but don't know where to start. Take a look through:






In other news, I spent the weekend sorting out my accounts. I like to live dangerously, as you know. They weren't in quite as bad a state as I thought there were, but very behind none the less. They're all done now, though, and I've put my new-found Excel skills into good use by making them all pretty and easier to read and used merged cells and everything. I knew those Thursday IT courses would come in handy somewhere. I just have to wait for my 2009/2010 P60 from the council and I can fill in my tax return. Woo!