Wee Wednesday

Wee make day today!

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

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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:

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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:

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

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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:

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

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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

Minute Monday

A minute to read this – or minute as in teeny weeny makes, either way – here we are:

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A Harris Tweed coin purse, requested by a friend of mine, who didn’t want it big enough for cards, just a nice pocket size. Lined with a bright blue cotton which matches that thin vertical stripe left of centre – turned out very sweet!

And then some monogrammed drawstring washbags for our friends’ four children as they are all off in a big caravan for 6 weeks around Europe. They are Aussies and naturally adventurous (they’d have to be – 4 little kids!?! I feel I need to psyche up and the have cavalry on speed dial  when I take 4 kids to the park…). It made me smile that they wanted some personalised prettiness for their journey.

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The kids got to choose their own fabrics from my stash. I am always amazed at the choices children make. Emily is only 6 and chose this lovely retro Tanya Whelan print called lulu Rose from her Delilah collection (Freespirit fabrics). Size 9”x10” approx.

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Angus is 4 and liked this bunting print above from Reunion by Sweetwater for Moda. I like it too – it’ll grow with him better than the cars I thought he might have liked.

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That picture is one lying flat. You can see the channel I made for threading the cord through. I used a spring-loaded cord lock (like you get on rucksacks) rather than a traditional drawstring – I think it makes them look more substantial and the opening stays shut better.

My friend wanted them to have a waterproof lining, so I lined them in a white PUL – “polyurethane laminate” – which is a polyester knit  laminated on one side to make it waterproof. It is slightly stretchy so you have to be a bit careful sewing it. I would have liked to use my walking foot, but needed to use a teflon foot because of the shiny side.  The sewing then went OK – except I had to turn the tension dial WAY down. Then all was good! Although my friend said to just use a bit of cut up shower curtain (!!!), I am obviously far more safety aware than that – this PUL contains no lead, phlalates or BPAs so are suitable for products intended for children under 12. It also inhibits the growth of fungi, which is good for this purpose, especially because these kids will be throwing their toothbrush in there with their wee shampoos and soap apparently. It can be washed at 60 degrees, so all good. I would like to try “procare” at some point too – a foodsafe medical grade fabric with similar (but even better!) properties to PUL – and less stretch…

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I know a bad picture, but I had to give them up in a hurry. This is the four together. Charlotte’s washbag is Paula Prass’ “Par Avion” from the Flight of Fancy collection for Michael Miller, an old print, but rather lovely. I never have managed to use up the bit I have somehow. I was glad she chose it. Isla’ chose princess castles from Happy Ever After for Riley Blake. Apparently they were all very pleased with their finished bags – phew! You get no sparing of feelings from unsatisfied children…

I used steam-a-seam2 to make the monogramme appliques, and a well-washed, almost felted dark grey jersey I had lying around. Steam-a-seam 2 is the best I’ve found for reducing fray on letters. I hand- stitched them on to be sure they won’t fall off. Fingers crossed they still look good after a few washes. It’s OK though, the family are heading back to Australia in a couple of months, so I won’t know if the monograms fall apart 😉 It’d be a bit embarrassing if it happened before they lleft though… (I’m sure it’ll all be fine really!)

Ok, maybe forget I even attempted a “quick minute” Monday. in my dreams. Speaking of which… Night night all, hope summer is treating you all well and the creative juices are flowing freely! Till the next time,

Poppy xx

A week of sewing like a madwoman? I feel a craft fair coming on..

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Of all the things I’d planned to blog about – and there is now a queue – this was not one of them. 6 days ago I agreed to do a craft fair – which is in 5 days time – eeeeeeek! I think I must be a little insane.

It’s the same craft fair that I did a year ago, in our village, usually for a charity, and is part of a stately home open day, where there’s a bouncy castle, facepainting etc. I did it last year at 3 weeks’ notice and thought I was a mentalist then, but apparently that was me being organised, positively relaxed even… The day before it, I launched this blog, and since then I’ve had a nice gentle stream of sales and interest from the village which has been very lovely. So maybe that’s why it felt right to do it again.

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So this is the very popular zippered purse, this one in Sidewalks by Riley Blake. It’s pocket sized but bigger than last year to more comfortably fit cards as well as cash. Interfaced with batting for durability and that soft feel, and of course always a pretty lining, because we deserve eye candy inside our purses even if there’s not as many notes in there as we’d like!

Pretty and floral designs:

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(Clockwise from top left – Enchant for Riley blake, Flutter for Riley Blake, sweet shoppe Michelle D’Amour for Bernatex, Songbird in white, from Vintage Summer Collection by Little Yellow Bicycle for Blend, Sweet Shoppe, Marmalade by Bonnie and Camille for Moda)

Liberty coin purses:

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Brights and retro:

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(Clockwise from top left – Flutter by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake, Blue birds on lampost by Kate and Birdie from Bluebird Park for Moda, Sidewalks by October Afternoon, Flutter)

Fun or for kids:

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(Clockwise from top left: oh darn, cannot remember the name/designer/anything about the owl fabric! Sorry! Going Coastal by Emily Herrick, Out at Sea by Sarah Jane fo Michael Miller Fabrics, Ele train shroom by Dan Stiles for Birch fabrics (organic), Bluebird park by Kate and Birdie)

And the most popular thing I seem to make, the large toiletry bag /washbag

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Lined with white canvas, interfaced for stability with softness, I love these! And they have improved the look of my dressing table no end, they are deceptively big and take all my bits and pieces including my hairbrush. That one was in Flutter red for Riley Blake…

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That was Ele Train Shroom by Dan Stiles for Birch and is Organic cotton – somehow manages to be grown up as well as cute.

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Not that I made them to be sets, but they could be – the flat pouch is a makeup pouch or handbag organiser for keys/ phone/ purse/ lippy whatever. Or a pencilcase, especially when made in a kid fabric.

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The above is Sidewalks by October Afternoon for Riley Blake – this is my new current favourite fabric 🙂

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Jungle Elephants (makower)

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Peak Hour Ad White by Kellie Wulfsohn for Riley Blake – so cool! Especially with a bright fabric lining (from Space collection by Makower I think)

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Out at Sea by Sarah Jane – I’m a bit obsessed with those mermaids! Remind me of the Heather Ross Mendocino Swim Sisters which I never got any of but now is so rare it sells for a small fortune on etsy – I actually gasped, even though that’s something you only think happens in novels. This is not a bad second though. I got some of this with my little niece in mind, but haven’t yet managed to make her something yet – a swim bag maybe…?

Not everything is newly made this week, I have a few lavender pillows which still smell divine, and one or two kindle cases – soft yet waterproof and padded to prevent scratches or mishaps with burst waterbottles in your bag or by the pool. This one is in Songbird in white by Little Yellow bicycle for Blend fabrics.

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And finally… some Scrabble tile pendants! These are fun, sweet and funky – an image on a wooden scrabble tile topped with an epoxy resin seal, a nickel and lead free bail on the back and sold with a silver plated (nickel/lead free) chain (or alone). I’ll have about 50 on the day. They seem to sell well at fairs, so fingers crossed, and though this is a small selection, they are mostly different from each other. 

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The best thing about doing these this year has been “meeting” (virtual, she being in the US and me being in Scotland) a lovely lovely Etsy seller called Leslie at the Graphicalmuse, whose talented work you see on pendant numbers 2 and 4 above. I love Etsy and love these amazing and lovely creative folk we get to “meet” through the blogging and crafting world. This whole craft fair is worth it for having made a new friend 🙂

So I’m finished sewing now; I don’t want to get too tired before the fair because I found the event fun but tiring last time, and I’m going to follow all my advice I gave myself after doing it last year, but get organised well in advice.

https://cuckooblue.co.uk/post/48960849472/craft-fair-and-other-stories

I wondered why I could blitz through all these makes, when it normally takes a while to do one washbag  – the answer is factory line preparation. I spent 2 days literally collecting all the fabrics I wanted to use, then cutting everything – fabrics, interfacing, gathering all supplies everything. Then sewed it all up. I broke 6 needles. And I sewed like a maniac until I was SO BORED of sewing, which has never happened before that I can remember. And my room looked like this: image

So I’m glad to be getting it back, and am excited about some more quilting, because I got new quilting toys that I can’t wait to try out! I’ll tell you next time. By the way, anything I don’t sell will hopefully finally get put onto this blog and/ or a facebook page for sale, though probably UK only unless I get a lot of pressure!

Meanwhile, enjoy doing whatever you’re doing, and see you very soon.

Till the next time, Poppy xx

The Champagne of Cloth – Harris Tweed

So, all my Harris tweed arrived and indeed it is lovely! I got to work straightaway; keen to sew it but without any real purpose for it other than an urge to possess some, I made hisnhers toiletry/ washbags:

The pink:

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The Traditional Herringbone Lovat:

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I lined them with a high quality white PUL, making them water-resistant and wipeable on the inside anyway. That was a royal pain in the proverbial though – I usually use white canvas on the basis that you stick the washbag in the wash and it’s much easier to sew into these bags. but Harris tweed should only really be dry cleaned, so I thought the PUL would be the better option for in between drycleans…

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These were both instantly swiped by my sister-in-law when they came to visit though! I only just got the photos in before they disappeared down South of the Border. oh well, given their high standards, I’ll take that as a compliment!

So what’s the deal about Harris tweed?

Well first it’s the only cloth which has it’s own Act of Parliament. That’s quite a feat!  This is from the Harris Tweed Authority website:

The Harris Tweed Act

The definition of Harris Tweed contained in the Harris Tweed Act of 1993 clearly defines Harris Tweed as follows:

“Handwoven by the islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides, finished in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides.”

The Act ensures that all cloth certified with the Harris Tweed Orb symbol complies with this definition and is genuine Harris Tweed, the world’s only commercially produced handwoven tweed.

And did I mention the cloth must be inspected by the Harris Tweed Authority before it gets an official stamp of approval and earns the right to “Wear The Orb”, which is what you see on the label.They call themselves “The Guardians of the Orb”.

Wowsers. It sounds so romantic. I imagine knights fighting dragons, glimmering Orbs of light held aloft, symbols of truth and bravery. Aragorn and the like. Mmmmmm, Aragorn….

Ahem.

This is the label:

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And when you get approved Harris tweed you get a number of labels (strictly metered out and guarded, you can’t just buy them) for use on products you make with it. I am a little bit in love with my labels! They somehow feel very special. Even if Aragorn doesn’t come with these orbs. Sigh.

So I had a little left from the pink tweed fabric I bought, and made a couple of small coin purses:

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and a little zippered pouch for a handbag – maybe to hold lipstick, mobile phone, even a pair of glasses. the batting and the thickness of Harris Tweed gives it a nice padded stability. I somehow like it the most of all the things i’ve made from it so far!

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Photots will never do Harris tweed justice. it feels nice in your hands. Or maybe it’s just that everyone in Scotland and maybe the UK understands its heritage and that’s what it feels like you’re holding in your hands; an ancient history.

This is the website of the Harris tweed Authority, if you’re interested:

http://www.harristweed.org/

I did get rather a lot of the Herringbone Lovat fabric (not the pink one) which is what I feel is the traditional tweed; it looks great on anyone, young, old, male, female, modern, classic. So I imagine I’ll be sewing a lot more with Harris tweed which will be a pleasure. And I still have some handbags to make with it. So much to play with! Hurray!

Till the next time,

Poppy

xx

ps. Am daydreaming now! (am such a geek)

Marmalade quilty love, teeny cars and more pink tweed

The sun is still shining here in Scotland (Yay!!!) so I took the opportunity to photograph this little quilt made with Marmalade fabrics from Bonnie and Camille for Moda. It measures 31.5” x 36”, 100% cotton.

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I was really excited to see a collection in flannels, so bought them for this quilt, making it gorgeously cosy and soft. I think it is a beautiful quilt and exactly what I would choose if I had a girl – definitely my taste!

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I stipple quilted it, backing it in this Ikea cotton print called Rosalie based on a Cath Kidston design. The design is a little “pixelated”, but really it doesn’t seem to matter once it’s all sewed up, and makes a lovely quilt backing. 

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My only minor regret with this quilt is that I hadn’t realised only some of the designs were in flannel, and so I didn’t receive many of the beautiful prints I really like, like this one:

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So I did buy some of this print and make it into a washbag, which is very pretty, and may be on the “for sale” page soon! I keep wondering whether to go the whole hog and reinvest in the whole marmalade cotton collection just to satisfy my love for it, but I haven’t got a daughter – and even this quilt has not got a home to go to yet. I might put it for sale too.  And I still have enough of the flannel for a 45” x 45” toddler quilt (bigger if I use a border), so I can’t really justify it 😦 I think my affair with Marmalade may be over…

… particularly as I am falling in love with (and trying hard to resist) this latest collection again by Bonnie and Camille called Happy Go Lucky:

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… But I am seriously trying to resist because I have already spent many impatient months waiting for the release of this collection called “High Street” by Lily Ashbury for Moda:

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You can’t see much of the fabrics here, but trust me, the designs are too beautiful, with just a hint of ethnicity and yet such modern bright girlish colours! I have NO BUSINESS getting this, as I am not going to get a daughter, and all the babies coming are boys, but I so badly want to sew up this collection that I have promised myself I can get it. If I make some sewing money. And when it is released. Which is August in the U.S. and probably ages for the UK 😦

Instead I am busying myself with wee projects like this little washbag I made for baby Hamish – I know I made him bunting, but this print was too cute – check those teeny tiny cars! You’d think a child doesn’t need a washbag, until you think about cotton wool, wipes, cream, bath wash and later on toothbrush, their own toothpaste – they are more high maintenance than me!

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…and despite my dislike of making the same thing over and over,  I was persuaded to make another bag using those pink and aqua fabrics, but this time a bit smaller 10.5” wide x 3” deep x 8” tall in middle – and with the fabrics reversed – pink on top. I actually like it much better this way – like the size and love the pink tweed. It was given to me years ago as a present, so when it’s gone it’s gone – I should remember that and enjoy using it now! The felt flower is a brooch, so is removable. I probably would remove it if it was for myself, but a lot of folk seem to like it.

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And purse feet! Well, they are my new favourite thing 🙂 I know, I need to get out more…

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So I should get going. I have heaps of stuff still to sew up instead of sitting procrastinating at my computer! Such as: A huge beanbag (pattern review to follow) almost finished for my friend’s husband. More travel chalkboards. A quilt for my goddaughter to be. Some Happy Birthday bunting for same precious girl (almost done!). A wholecloth quilt for a neighbour’s daughter. A christmas stocking for a neighbour’s new grandson. Some baby quilts for a few babies – including my new nephew who’s on his way in a few months, I can’t wait! Some washbag commissions. That’s a sneak preview of the next few blog page!! And at some stage I’ll be listing a few things on my new “For Sale” page… hopefully…

Hope you are enjoying the sun wherever you are,

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/