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

A quick gift for a little girl

Just a quick post today – if I’m capable of quickness – extolling the merits of learning how to make zippered pouches as part of one’s sewing repertoire.

But first, another culinary slipup which has again blown any resolutions into smithereens. But chocolate ones, which are the best kind of smithereens of course. This time Mary Berry, although I wish I had had some raspberries to include in the filling. If you make this, I’d vote don’t go any darker than 40% chocolate; alternatively consider reducing/ omitting the extra cocoa because it’s pretty rich…

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http://www.maryberry.co.uk/recipes/great-british-bake-off-recipes/the-ultimate-chocolate-roulade

So on with the sewing. My son’s nursery friend turned 4 and had her birthday party this weekend.  I loved her party. No fancy theme, no bought-in entertainer; a local village hall hired for a few pounds, lots of balloons, bouncy castle borrowed from a neighbour, tea and coffee, party food for the kids…  and a load of small children, running, bouncing, giggling, exploring, playing with each other and balloons. Perfect. It just goes to show how little they need at this age. In these days of “formal entertainment” parties which kids can find a bit freaky, it was SO refreshing to have a back-to-basics “Jelly and ice cream” party!

Anyway I digress, and have instantly failed at my first sentence aim 😉

 I decided to make the her a pencilcase. You’d think pencilcases are quite boring – I guess they can be, but there’s no reason at this age to fill it with pencils. I filled it with a few small pencils, a “snow white” rubber, 4 chocolate coins, some stickers and wee toy.

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Now this is one tomboy of a girl. But a girl nonetheless. I gave Kiddo the choice of 2 great fabrics for her:

Jungle Elephants by Makower

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or Kokeshi girls from Alexander Henry fabrics – sadly out of print, but still finadble if you look hard enough. I have it in black (pictured but too sombre for a kid surely,) pink (too girly for her) or green – and this one apparently won. Perhaps Kiddo already thinks dolls are for girls at this tender age, but it apparently was a hit, so phew.

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There are lots of tutorials on zippered pouch making online, if you fancied a go yourself, and they are not as difficult as you might imagine. My pencilcases are made with 2 each of exterior and lining fabric pieces (and optional) batting) measuring 9.5 x 5.5” and 1/2” seam allowances except for the zipper insertion, and this seems to be a nice size.

Whatever you’re doing/sewing/painting/reading/watching/playing/working on, enjoy your January and see you soon,

Poppy xx

Parting is such sweet sorrow

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… and sorrow is was. My boss, colleague and good friend with whom I’ve worked for 10 years, is leaving Edinburgh and moving his family to Durham, where his lovely, talented wife has found a job which is perfect for her. The problem with being two married doctors (which they are) is that when you specialise and reach consultant stage, it can be difficult to find two jobs in the same city – obviously there are limited consultant jobs in each speciality in each city. So with sadness, I said farewell to a man who has nutured and encouraged me professionally, and has been gracious enough to also listen to my views, opinions and learn from me too – what a rare and beautiful thing that is for an employee, particularly for us doctors – the medical profession can still have those vestiges of the male-dominated profession it once was, and upon whose principles it was founded. But this guy is special enough to see past it all, and all my medical skills and achievements have been because he enabled me to believe in myself and brought out the best in me. Still wanted to slap him sometimes!

Anyway, enough of the sorrw and on with the sweet. This is a sewing blog after all! It was hard to think of a suitable gift. I had thought a large sofa quilt, but I don’t really know what their new house will be like, or how they will choose to dress it – I would hate for the expense and amount of work involved in making a quilt to go to waste.

So I settled on a family set of washbags/ toiletries bags, trying to second guess all their tastes, but keeping them fairly neutral, so that even if they don’t love them they should still find them useful…

Firstly David, the man himself:

(These are all cotton fabrics, structured with polyester batting, lined with white cotton canvas)

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Coastal “painted planks” from Makower.

Next for his wife:

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I love this fabric from Tanya Whelan – Blue Paisley from the Delilah collection for Free Spirit fabrics. I bought it for myself, but decided to part with some as they are such a special family to us! I was keen that their bags in particular coordinated together. Then decided to try and do so for the family!

The two girls – one is 18-ish, the other is about 21 or so. Both girls are very nice, clever and pretty, albeit with two different personalities (quite how it should be!) – they will go far!

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Fabric is Freebird Geranium in Sky by MoMo for Moda, yes I know I love it lots!

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I’ve had this piece of fabric for about 5 years, having made a bag with some of it. I really love it – it is a large scale print, so sadly you can’t see the whole print on a washbag, and I forgot to photograph the reverse! It’s Par Avion from the Flights of Fancy collection by Paula Prass for Michael Miller. I bought more of the brighter “spring” colourway, but have struggled to use that one somehow, whereas this one, ordered as an afterthought is more versaltile. Funny how that happens.

And finally for David’s son, who is 10. Not yet a teenager, but will be soon – how hard a brief is that? Anyway, I chose this fabric:

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It’s “Bottlecaps in Multi” from the Going Coastal collection by Emily Herrick for Michael Miller. I struggled to find this in the UK, and when I did it was on offer (YAY!!) but there wasn’t much of it (boo). Anyway, My husband has chosen a washbag for himself after his last one fell apart (not one of mine, to be fair he’s had it years) in this – I love it when he asks me to make him something. I hope the kid likes it. He’s a gorgeous, well mannered boy, I wish it was easier to make fabric things that a boy would actually like!

And the family photo, smile everyone:

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I wish this lovely family all the very best for the new chapter in their lives and all their exciting adventures!

Meanwhile, I have acquired a piece of this beautiful Harris tweed in a pink check as my friend would like a bag made in it.

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There may be enough left over for a toiletry bag – I think it would be beautiful, and make a lovely gift! Having held the fabric in my hands I can see why it has its own act of parliament governing the right for the fabric to “wear the orb”, a particular label, which is the mark of Harris Tweed. Apparently it must be

“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.”

It’s also very expensive. It’s like the champagne of cloth 🙂 I’m looking forward to working with it.

Till the next time,

Poppy xxx

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

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

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/