All manner of bits and bobs

I haven’t been working on anything too big since my friend’s two bags, which I gave her today – It’s so lovely to see her reaction, she was so thrilled! Particularly with her bag, she loved the size, pockets, shape, purse feet and particularly the fabric – and I gave her a few wee accesories to go with it, which was a nice surprise for her. She really is a darling, it’s hard not to give her more, she’s so appreciative!

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And the accessories – I actually stole the bigger flat zip bag on the left to keep all Kiddo’s wee toys and things for my bag…

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Drawstring bags by the way! They are the business, it’s the cord and toggle that did it for me. I love this one and was tempted to steal it too, but my superego won in the end and did the right thing. My friend was pleased with it, so I guess it was the right thing to do!

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Meanwhile I got some thick insulating batting from my local fabric shop at a good price – like a loon on ecstasy I couldn’t resist it, even though I had no idea what I’d do with it. It is thicker than insulbrite wadding which I’ve used for insulated lunch bags, but it would make rather bulky lunch bags. But tea cosies on the other hand… they are supposed to be thick and, well, cosy. And I had the perfect fabric:

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Then I realised that I never use a tea cosy, and hardly even this tea pot. So it is going to be a present to my friend Caroline, who has an amazing farmhouse cottage in the middle of gorgeous countryside with the most stunning views of the sea… and who insists on using a tea cosy every time – how aspirational is that?! And I seem to remember she has china mugs with exactly this pattern on it. I may become number one friend ๐Ÿ˜‰ She is making me Godmother to her beautiful daughter in August; she gives me a daughter and I give her a teacosy. Not an equal exchange but she will have warm tea.

Next up is a commission from a girl in our village, who bought a travel chalkboard for her little son at the craft fair and got in touch asking for one for a gift. This is for a litttle boy too, so I used some Thomas the Tank Engine fabric I had – it’s a fact that all little boys love Thomas!

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These are great and with ours I roll up some paper and sheets of stickers, and put chalks and coloured pencils in the pouch, so it’s a lightweight but sturdy complete art pack on the go.

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I used a zipper pouch rather than velcro spots as the child is still quite young, and I worried in case the spots came off despite the most superduper glue ever. I think it’s an improvement – and then the hubby said ” I don’t know why you don’t make the pouch as tall as the board, then it will fit full size pencils in too”. Doh! Of course. It is a bit more fabric, but I think it’ll be worth it – I’ll try it next time.

And finally…

My lovely neighbour has had a new grandson. She is a huge fan of handmade, and bought several things from me for him whilst he was still snuggled in his mummy’s tummy, including these two quilts (both detailed in my Flickr stream)

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So I thought I’d make the baby a wee present, this time of some bunting, for his room, maybe on the wall above his cot or above his door:

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Hamish! Isn’t it a sweet name? I can’t wait to meet him ๐Ÿ™‚

Well I think I should get some sleep now – we are having the best summer I have ever seen in Scotland – Kiddo and I even paddled through the sea yeasterday and the water was warm! Actually WARM! But all this summer makes you get out and do things all day, and frankly I’m pooped. I tell you, we wouldn’t be a naation of couch potatoes eating deep fried mars bars and goodnaturedly grumping at our lot if summers were like this more often – the country has been transformed! We have builders working in our garden just now who didn’t touch the chocolate biscuits I gave them with their coffee but ate all the fruit! What the??!

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Till next time,

Poppy xx

ps you can email me at poppy@cuckooblue.co.uk

or visit my flickrstream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cuckoo-blue/

In love with my machine

And I am! The new needleplate came superfast thanks to the lovely folks at http://www.uksewing.com/ who were just wonderful and coped admirably when I phoned up slightly hysterical – and it arrived the following day, hurrah! And it turns out, the whole episode was A Good Thing, as I now feel suitably chastised about not regularly cleaning out the machine now that it is supersmooth. And where is that ratatatatatat noise of it sewing? Gone. I had forgotten how quiet it is supposed to be! Ahem.

So I have been putting it to good use. First with the ill-fated quilt of my last post. It remained a bit ill-fated as I sewed a deep pucker into the back and couldn’t bring myself to unpick it after everything – I thought it would never get done! So I left it, beautifully scarred, but made with love. (and sanity). The back is completely plain, and with all our plain-backed quilts we never see or show the backs, so hopefully it won’t be too awful. The front looks good though, I think!

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This is the beautiful “Etchings” collection by 3 Sisters for Moda. I have used their fabrics a few times and am always struck by how unbelieveably soft they are – why aren’t all fabrics like that? More than any other Moda fabrics. And they are genuinely luminescent. With gorgeous classic designs.The biggest problem is they don’t show up as beautifully on photos as in real life.

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This is from a quilt I made with this same collection last year (https://www.flickr.com/photos/cuckoo-blue/7443697326/in/set-72157630302286578)ย  – just to show you that amongst all the muted classic colours and patterns there are street maps of Paris and blueprints of French buildings – quirky and sweet, but still grown up. I really like the collection ๐Ÿ™‚

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We ran across the road to take this picture against the backdrop of the forest we live next to after I complained that the car isn’t very inspiring, snapped a couple of pictures and ran back as the baby monitor was out of range despite us being 10 metres in front of the house… So not a great picture of the quilt, despite the lovely setting sun, but those wildflowers make me happy! I can’t imagine what the neighbours thought we were doing. N said it felt like streaking. If only we were so adventurous!

Quilter’s dream cotton batting, pattern is the “double slice” free pattern by Missouri Quilt Co again (link to the tutorial/ pattern is in my previous blog post).

… And I made myself a bag for the holidays, a pretty one which still carries all that kid stuff! Hurray. I initially chose this wonderful home decor print by Valorie Wells called Finnelopy in Curry from her Novella collection:

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It’s so great and I was so sold on this as THE BAG for the holidays. Started making it. Was uncommonly pleased with how it was all going. Then, partway through, the husband wandered in, casually said he “wasn’t keen on the yellow” – “but it’s OK, it’s your bag, if you like it that’s what matters”. Hmpfff.ย 

So. Somehow I just lost 100% confidence in it, and changed my mind; chose instead a lovely print called songbird in powder blue by Little Yellow Bicycle for Blend fabrics and here’s my new bag for the holidays:

Sorry in advance about the rubbish photos, I was losing the light! This is the fabric as it actually is, the colour is almost accurate, so you might just have to use some imagination and “superimpose” this on my bag picture!

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It’s a pleated bag, measuring 15” at botton, 14” height and 4” depth, and I can confirm it’s the perfect toddler bag size! image

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The interfacing makes it soft but structured and will stand on its own. I actually really love it ๐Ÿ™‚ So bring on the holidays!

I won’t be blogging for a couple of weeks as we will be enjoying the longawaited and most welcome sunshine with some time off, so meanwhile I’ll leave you with a picture of a finished lily stem – I did them with pipe cleaners and green florist tape. They look really lovely actually, and the flowers have been getting lots of compliments – another silver lining to the needleplate incident ๐Ÿ˜‰ I will show you how I did them in another post as the internet was no help in making the stems for me (though lily tutorials are all over the place, which is great!)

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Till the next time,

Poppy xx

ps you can email me at poppy@cuckooblue.co.uk

or visit my flickrstream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cuckoo-blue/

Baby Emily arrives! well, she’ll need a baby quilt (and her mummy needs a bigger bag)

My good friend, Jane, just had a baby girl, whom I met for the first time today, just days old! She’s so gorgeous, and tiny and precious. I got all clucky! The kiddo liked her too, but loved more that I had taken car lego with us to keep him entertained – I don’t think he is champing at the bit for a sibling – just as well!

Anyway, I had made her a baby quilt – the collection is Sophie by Chez Moi, cotton batting, stipple quilting, a pretty rose print cotton from Ikea for the back. It’s a charm pack quilt with 1” white sashing, 38” x 43” ish, I think. I just remembered to photograph it as we were getting into the car to go see her, so the backdrop of my driveway is less than inspiring, but here goes!

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And she had requested a changing bag, as her previous one was too small already for her 3 year old, let alone a baby too. The spec –ย  “not too girlie” “some flowers would be nice” “maybe purple” but “husband would like gender neutral”… Hmmm. I chose a large messenger (15” x 12” x 5”) style, charcoal grey exterior and interior, waterproof interlining (actually I just sewed in some of Ikea’s acrylic coated fabric), interfaced with fusible fleece and flap made from Amy Butler’s Memento in Mulberry from her Love collection. It was hard to keep faith that it would look nice whilst I was working with ALL THAT GREY but once the flap was on, it looks just great, and I hope she’ll be able to use it as an overnight bag/ large bag when her 2 kids are no longer needing changing equipment!

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She LOVES her bag and it got a full seal of approval from hubby, so hurray! And I got to use purse feet which I love, I have no idea why I love them so much! Maybe because they are easy to use, but makes the finished bag look so much more professional, win-win. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I’m kind of jealous of this bag. I think I might have to indulge myselfย  with something smaller but similar. Even with a three year old you still need a big enough bag to lug the water, snacks, sticker books, cars, trains, change of clothes (he’s a boy, if there’s mud, water or muddy water to be found, he’ll find it)… It’s so easy to get bored of the one you have (ahem, ones you have)… I feel some freebird entering my life very soon ๐Ÿ˜‰

till next time,

Poppy x

ps you can email me at poppy@cuckooblue.co.uk

or visit my flickrstream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cuckoo-blue/