Friday, 31 August 2007
Above is a picture of the village that she has painted onto her fireplace surround...this is one of my favourite things ever to look at - I always spot new things in it each time I see it - this time it was a couple seen kissing through an open window and a pair of trousers hanging on a washing line that I recognise as belonging to her little girl (pictured left)....it also fulfils my childhood love of all things housey and spending time choosing where I'd like to live and who might live in the surrounding houses - looking at pictures of houseboats is another favourite for the same reason.
Nothing is ever too colourful for Donna....and we have spent hours looking over paint charts together, despite having very different tastes - she is solely responsible for me having any colour at all in my own home and we tease each other horribly about how my idea of being adventurous with colour is to paint my front door a soft muted acorn green, while hers would be to paint it with rainbow stripes in bright primary colours.
In the kitchen is a giant mural of a cockerel painted straight on to the wall and beneath it is this printer's drawer (below) which she has sprayed gold and filled with tiny things; drawings, dolls house foods, and seashells.
Thursday, 30 August 2007
With the soporific qualities of the seaside air having now worn off, crafting has been resumed. Molly Chicken's fantastic Mousey in a bed pattern that I'd followed last week has set me off on a 'creature in a pouch' jag...and I found myself rather excited by the prospect of creating a Piggy in the Mud...so here he is. The pattern only needed a tiny bit of tweaking to transform Mousey into a squealing little piglet; a curly tail, pinched in ears, and a shorter nose that was then given the 'snout treatment' and voila! What fun! The children love him and Zebra-Girl encouraged me to embroider the word MUD on to his pillow (was this her way of tactfully suggesting that his identity transformation wasn't obviously complete, I wonder?). Whatever, the possibilities are endless!
Last night I finally started on my fairground carousel that I seem to have been talking about forever now....it's not going too badly, but I've decided that another trip to the fabric store is needed as I think I need to introduce some colours other than gold...and as my thread box hasn't previously been overflowing with metallic colours I can feel some necessary purchasing coming on! What's a girl to do?...
Tuesday, 28 August 2007
So it's the last week of the holidays and I'm feeling a bit glum about it...it's been so lovely having the children at home - late mornings, late evenings and altogether much more relaxation and fun. The weather had been so good over the bank holiday weekend (or is it just that it's been so bad for the rest of August that we now think 22 degrees is a scorcher?) that we thought we'd go off to the beach today...the forecast was good, it looked fine when we set off and yet the first hour on the sands was spent feeling very British with all our woollies on, huddling in the shield of two hired (extortionately priced) wind-breakers and looking up at the biggest, slowest-moving black cloud I've seen all year.
I've cropped most of the beach out of the photo to preserve the modesty of one particularly brave man who had put most of his naked body on display, save for a very small pair of trunks, but even without the sandy bit, you get the picture as to quite how mean-looking the cloud was. Weirdly though, absolutely no rain accompanied it....thank you!
No matter though...five hours later and the black cloud was a distant memory and we even had to apply a small amount of sunscreen. We spent much of the day, when not paddling, making these pebble pictures, digging holes and gobbling sandy picnic food. There will be no crafting tonight...seaside air always makes me incredibly sleepy; I have no idea how coastal dwellers get a thing done!
Sunday, 26 August 2007
Anyway, my dear friend, Charlotte, is having her baby soon (well, in December) and I am currently making a pink option and a blue option and will be posting a pair over to Canada as soon as I hear what sort of baby it is that arrives!
The pattern for the booties is Heather Bailey's, found here - so many options for varying the design, colours and embellishments...they are very much fun to make! I chose a spotty cotton sole for mine, instead of felt, as it picks out the red and pink from the hearts, flowers and stitching - and also requires only the tiniest scrap of material; some fabrics I have difficulty bringing myself to use because I love them so, so much, and this is one of them. It was a really cheap fabric bought from Ikea nearly five years ago, but it is one of the fabrics that I used to make Zebra-Girl's curtains - for me it represents her entire bedroom, the smell of it, the 'feel' of it and just her as a little girl (she's had them since she was two and I've altered them each time we've moved to accommodate a new window size) - so nostalgic that I can't bear to use too much of it at a time and so I eek it out on small, special projects. I dislike the idea that her curtains will be fading in the sun too (it's a bay window so when they're open in the day the sun shines straight onto them)....oh I must try not to think too much...particularly as all my thoughts seems to be so very maudlin tonight!!! (picture of much loved curtains below).
Thursday, 23 August 2007
Each one seems to come out with a slightly different facial expression and as there are endless possibilities for embellishments on the duvets , or even the addition of some whiskers, I can't see myself tiring of making them and so may end up making a whole extended family if they are well-received at breakfast time.
I haven't really attempted any children's toys before, but after reading about a book called Sock & Glove by Miyako Kanamori on Fred's World I went to Waterstones and had a quick look through...and gosh you can do some amazing things with a sock! The fun I've had with the mice has made me think that it may not be an entirely ridiculous addition to my bookshelf.
Tuesday, 21 August 2007
But lovely as all those things are, the idea of all those colours on my wall (if I ever get around to making this picture) is seeming like it has the potential to induce migraines....which is why I'm thinking at the moment that I may want to sew my carousel purely in gold coloured thread and make it more of a 'line drawing' on a creamy coloured background....possibly wimping out, but I don't want to end up having to put it in one of the children's rooms because it's so garish; I'd quite like this for the living room mounted in an old gilt frame....oh how hideous I'm making it sound...if only I could take a picture of what is in my head it would all be simple. I must be quiet before I put even myself off the whole idea!
Anyway, we had a super time despite the rain and general gloom, but I have come home feeling like I may need to have an early night tucked up in bed with a good book. I'm currently reading Bonjour Tristesse, which my sister, Laura, gave to me as a gift last weekend - it is wonderful and, this week in particular when I don't feel I have the brain capacity to retain too many thoughts in my head for too many days, all the better for being such a slim volume!
Monday, 20 August 2007
I can't quite decide whether it errs on the side of looking slightly childish though -maybe it's the fabric...Zebra-Girl may well wake up with an unexpected present beside her bed in the morning.
We had a very relaxing day today - a rare day during the holidays when we had no one to see and nowhere that we needed to go....so we stayed in our pyjamas until 1.30pm...and didn't even feel guilty! Zebra-Girl did some of the scrap book that my friend Clare bought for her earlier in the summer, although it is not actually very scrappy at all, as it is the most beautifully made book. It has lovely pom-poms dangling off the sides and sheets of stickers that you can use as photo frames. Zebra-Girl chose to use these to frame the items on her birthday wish list (in no particular order of either desperate wanting of the item on her part - it's all equally desperate - or likelihood of us actually buying the item in question on our part): a computer, an Ariel Mermaid AND Ariel dressing up costume (!), a cat that purrs (!!), a gemstone bracelet and a cuddly toy unicorn....I love the way small children covet the oddest of things that bear no relation to one another.
Sunday, 19 August 2007
So here is the wallety photo holder thing I'd been talking about yesterday.
I had been so excited about this project...everything about it seemed so perfect:
a) it uses hardly any material,
b) allows for the use of nice contrasting lining (a most appealing prospect in a project),
c) is vaguely useful (unlike so many of my ideas) and
d) seemed just all-round lovely.
However, I hadn't really thought very hard about working with plastic....these are the downsides:
a) gone are the nice little neat stitches...these were achievable on the top side, but not on the underside (does anyone have any suggestions???)
b) even though the plastic was covered by material on both sides it felt like it was ice-skating beneath the presser-foot
c) it is just so....crinkly! eugggh!
So anyway, I am most displeased by it...I still love the idea of it, love the materials together, but it was so horrible to construct that no satisfaction can be had, particularly when looking at those vile sloppy stitches (below right)....such a disappointment to a girl!
However, all is not lost because these things are good:
a) While doing this devil's work I thought of something else that I wanted to make that doesn't involve plastic (horay!!!)...but more of that later.
b) I don't believe I will ever tire of ironing on interfacing - it seems to instantly transform the material into looking spookily like a 'finished' item without even having sewn a stitch or it resembling anything other than a square of fabric
So, does anyone have any great ideas for what can be made from fat quarters or preferably smaller scraps?
Thursday, 16 August 2007
The picnic was nice and the rain stayed away until our walk home, at least. I've also photographed the delicious-looking strawberries that I was cutting up to take with us this morning...although I didn't get to taste any as the children gobbled them all up in about two minutes!
Wednesday, 15 August 2007
So we went to pick them up today and were both really pleased with them. Above is the finished drinks coaster that I picked up today and here is a picture of Zebra-Girl at the studio....at this point she is convinced that the unicorn will be pink....on picking it up we could both see it is most very definitely bright red...which makes for a less docile looking unicorn than you might be traditionally used to seeing, but she is delighted with it anyway.
Sunday, 12 August 2007
I've sewn all the t-shirt designs by hand using blanket stitch, as sometimes it's nice to be doing something creative that doesn't tie me to the sewing machine. On the right is a picture of my little boy Dinosaur-Boy wearing one last summer. Above, I've also included one that I made for one of his friends on their first birthday and for that one I chain-stitched his name onto the lorry, along with one of an ice cream cone and flake.
It took a while to work out how to stop the velvet from fraying (if you singe the end with a match for a couple of seconds it forms a plasticy end) and then also how to keep the beads from going out of line (you have to sew back through them all several times)...but ended up being really pleased with the result.
In retrospect some interfacing on the pockets may have been a good idea to help them stand up a bit more...but it's too late for that now, so am trying not to think about it and instead have sewn tiny velcro tabs on to the backs of the house and the cake to stop their tops from drooping down.