Wee Wednesday

Wee make day today!

I’ve been busy! 5 cute zip purses for my friend’s children and cousins:

image

Fabrics: Tortoises by Dashwood Studios, tossed mini owls in pink by Timeless Treasures, Main Forla pink from Madhuri collection by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake, Baby bunting in grey from Reunion by Sweetwater for Moda, Bottle caps in multi from Going Coastal by Emily Herrick.

These are great for little pockets or school bags; and in different fabrics, I love them for jeans on a girlie night out, perfect for a card and some cash without spoiling the line of your beautiful figure  – because all figures are beautiful except when they have a big bulge in the pocket…

In fact here are a couple that might be more suitable for grown ups:

image

The news has been so tense and somewhat depressing in Scotland recently, that I decided to have a giveaway to my facebook friends – 4 people picked from anyone who posted something positive got one of these. It was actually really fun, and lovely to send them off today! If I ever launch a Cuckooblue Facebook page I’m definitely doing giveaways. They might make you out of pocket, but they do cheer your day immensely!

Toiletry bag and purse fabric is from Riley Blake’s Sidewalks, Blue Paisley from Delilah by Tanya Whelan. All lightly padded with pretty linings of course:

image

I use stripes for lining the boys’ money pouches (they don’t have purses of course!), but they also make very smart exteriors:

image

Harris Tweed Toiletry bag for my friend’s 40th. It is lined with a stiff natural canvas with such a tight weave that it is waterproof. Waterproof is important becasue Harris Tweed should really be dry-cleaned. It makes it lovely and sturdy:

image

And finally, for my friend’s daughter’s 8th birthday:

image

image

It only has some iron-on interfacing, and no hardware (buckles etc), which keeps it nice and light, perfect for the slip of a girl that she is. The tie top makes it great for adjusting as she grows too, and means she can use it cross-body or over her shoulder. I forgot to measure but it can only be about 10” across. In fact I also made one at the same time for another friend’s daughter’s 5th birthday who needs a wheelchair, and I thought she could tie it to her chair, or round her waist, whtever was easiest. This is actually that one as it has a magnetic snap for ease of access for a little one – the other has a zip closure.

I based it on this tutorial which I had used when I first started sewing bags and wasn’t designing my own, just because I still had the template from all those years ago – I made it smaller and pieced the straps to avoid cutting so much fabric, but it’s otherwise the same: 

http://tinyhappy.typepad.com/tiny_happy/2006/06/shoulder_bag_tu.html

Phew, there is more, but how many purses and washbags can you look at, pretty fabric or not? And I made a quilt for a little boy – which I LOVE… but will show you another day.

Meanwhile, thanks for stopping by! Hope your creative muse is inspiring you and that you’re having fun whatever you’re up to.

‘Till the next time,

Poppy xx

Free motion embroidery fun – A Bird Cushion

image

A year ago little Emily was born, and I made her a quilt in Sophie by Chez Moi for Moda. In fact here it is, hurriedly photographed on our uninspiring then-driveway before bundling into the car to go meet the new wee princess: 

image

You are just going to have to trust me that it’s very sweet when next to a baby instead of thrown over a chair on a driveway

Anyway, she’s one all of a sudden. Yeah, I did mention it was a year ago, but you wouldn’t believe how fast that year has gone, not to mention I am in denial that time is passing this quickly, whatever my grey hairs are saying. And I rather suddenly needed to think up a present. I can’t tell you how much I love this wee girl, she’s just too adorable for words, so I felt like making something special.

Having decided on a freemotion embroidery cushion, I looked to the web for inspiration, feeling too short of time to think up a design – and saw this beautiful cushion which I shamelessly copied (well a little shame, but isn’t imitation the sincerest form of flattery?)

image

It looks like it is made by a German artist, but couldn’t find her name. The link is here; she seems to have a shop of other lovely things:

http://de.dawanda.com/product/33525229-Kissenhuelle-Sommerbrise-40x40cm

It’s been years since I did any freemotion embroidery (I did some bags with birds on very similar to the above and sold them for charity), so wanted simple but effective.

image

I had a 26” x 26” cushion inner from Ikea – these are a great size for a reading pillow in bed by the way – and another moda charm pack in sophie, to match Emily’s baby quilt.

I cut a 17” square piece of white fabric  and chose some charms to cut into 2.5” squares, which I used to cut into the bunting flags. One charm square for the little bird, a scrap for the wing and a scrap of black felt for the dot of the eye. I used wonderweb to fuse the pieces to the fabric and then rougly outlined everything on the machine a couple of times using black thread. Trying to be imprecise goes a bit against the grain, but it was fun, and gave it a “drawn on” effect (as it should be apparently).

image

Then I sewed two strips of 4 charms with 1/4” seam allowance, centred it, sewed to opposite sides of the picture and trimmed the excess. Next I sewed two strips of 6 charms and did the same to complete the “frame”.

I added Emily’s name in pink – I used an alphabet die in my BigShot with Steam-a-seam2 fusible web, but could have printed the  “emily” in Times New Roman font as big as would make the letters about 2” tall, traced it onto the Steam-a-seam2 BACKWARDS, ironed it onto my fabric and cut it out. A bit faffy but worth it. I hand stitched round to secure so as not to lose the neat lines.

image

This is the finished cushion cover lying on my rather rumpled bed. No idea when I will learn to stage my photographs. Although you can’t see in this picture, I backed the front with 100% cotton batting and quilted a straight line round the inside of the big white square 1/4” away from the edge of the charms, and another line all the way round but this time within the charm “frame”. If that makes sense. It’s just to secure it anyway. An envelope back using a pretty wildflower print:

image

And it was all done. It looks quite pretty on the little sofa in the corner of my bedroom. Who says pretty bird pictures are just for little girls? Good thing for her that it has “emily” well and truly stitched on.

image

 And the reaction? Emily’s mum loved it. Ooohs and ahhhs from the other mums. Emily toddled off precariously to empty the contents of a  kitchen cupboard onto the floor, pretty much oblivious. Emily’s 4 year old big brother said “But it’s the wrong ‘E’”.

“It’s art,” I said. “It’s modern”.

“It’s wrong,” he said, and busied himself playing with one of Emily’s OTHER, not-wrong gifts. Pah. I’m going to spell his name wrong when I make him one.

😉

Till the next time,

Poppy xx

Bored of Bunting?

Well then look away, just about now:

image

It’s everywhere. Everyone makes it, everyone sells it.

What is it about those coloured triangles, dangling merrily from their saggy tape that look, well so jaunty? And jaunty, whilst of course being a word  which conjures up singing jolly songs whilst steering an eccentric rickety but beloved little boat, sailor cap on head at a , ahem, jaunty angle, also goes hand-in-hand with festive. And celebration.And there we have it.

And it seems there have been many celebrations requiring of bunting lately. The most important for me being our new nephew joining us, which called for some bright happy flags I thought! They took pride of place above the fireplace in their home which made me happy, although actually all emotion was dwarfed by the love and amazement of having a new teenytiny member of the family of course!

The fabrics were leftover from some bunting I’ve recently made for a for a lovely girl in the village who wanted some for her son’s 2nd birthday.

image

He’s a sweetheart, and loves flags and cars/tractors/planes/trains… Well, what boy doesn’t?

image

This flag is the only designer fabric – from “Scoot” by Deena Rutter. It’s  quite difficult to find transport fabric which isn’t directional; that is to say you can hang it upside down and still look right (so you don’t waste half your fabric when you cut the triangles)

image

And I decided to intersperse the transport ones with star fabrics (yellow and red) and a thin blue stripe fabric. It was all very fun to choose and sew up. The above picture was the best I could do before giving the bunting to its owner – my bunting holder is only 3; so the bunting couldn’t be held any higher, and by the next photo it was being well and trluy played with, thus ending the photoshoot. At least I knew it was a hit with small boys!

So far so untedious.

THEN I offered to make bunting for our dear friends’ little girl’s christening. They are Greeks and a christening is a Big Fat Deal. And I love these guys. So 15 metres (in 4 strings that they can tie together as necessary) and 60 flags later… yeah, tedious.

image

 She wanted vintagey (*love*), and was happy to change from her idea of Olde English Rose to smaller, brighter pretty florals, some ginghams and stripes, on the basis that it befits a little girl more for future birthdays etc and is still adult enough for them to use for garden parties or whatever. Gotta love working with someone like that 🙂

To be honest, I wasn’t convinced by her idea of pink and turquoise – but actually it worked really well, and looked lovely when it was all made up.

image

Again it looks better in reality than on pictures, especially when I’m always rushing to send them off and have to make do with a quick snap on my dining room table. You’ll see this table a lot…

I’ve made plenty of name bunting for children, but not usually such a long string. It’s been bit dull, but I guess sometimes it’s nice not to have to concentrate, unlike when you make a bag, and there’s something new to do every 3 minutes! I have become a fan of the audiobook (using google’s Audible) during this sudden bunting sewathon.

image

And every single time it just looks so pretty. It doesn’t matter what fabrics you use, it always looks great. So simple. But tedious sewing for that reason. However, after seeing all that pink and turquoise bunting, I’m a little bit jealous, and wondering if I can bring myself to make some for us..

And so, my friends, I have come to recognise that no matter how many triangles of fabric you sew, no matter how tedious and repetitive the task is, the end result is always so very beautiful, so very celebratory that it makes you want to shout “hurrah” with abandon, and have a Pimms with cucumber sandwiches wearing a big hat, or a cup of tea from a teapot with jam and clotted cream wearing tweed and pearls. Neither of which is ever reality, or any reality I get to visit, but certainly I come over a little bit Jolly. Bored of Bunting? As Samuel Pepys once said, “When you’re bored of bunting, you’re bored of life”. There was more London in his actual quote and less bunting, but you get the idea.

Back to quilting for next time, till then

Poppy

xx