Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Something fishy

I whizzed up another set of alphabet name bunting the other day for a 1st birthday pressie.  I'm really enjoying making this alphabet bunting at the moment and I might start making commissions soon.
 Applique and machine embroidery again, this time with a number of new letters to design for...
F is for Fish
R is for Rocket
The next one is a little tenuous, but I needed a second E and the only other ideas I could come up with were eel or egg, neither of which I thought would translate well with applique and embroidery.  So I went with an elk, which looks suspiciously like a reindeer!
E is for Elk
Two Ds were required, so I settled on duck and dinosaur...
D is for Duck, and...
D is for Dinosaur!
Back to the tried and trusted for the last two letters...
I is for Icecream
E is for Elephant
Happy Birthday Freddie!
Kate x

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Granny's buttons

Today is my Granny G's 90th birthday.  We had a little family tea party in the home where she now lives.  She moved out of her house a while ago now, when her alzheimers became too much to live by herself any longer.  Last year was pretty emotional, clearing out her house so it can be sold, so many happy memories for us all.  She had quite a collection of vintage sewing supplies, among them a few tins of old buttons, many of which I think must have been passed down from her mother and maybe even grandmothers.  Buttons that have been salvaged from all manner of outfits; I love that nothing was ever thrown out, kept for future use. 
Love the retro boxes
Pretty glass...
Shiny metal...
Plastic fantastic...
Crazy shapes...
The ones on the left look like little aeroplanes!
1960s retro...
Lovely leather - some of these look like they came off a dufflle coat...
Some old dress shirt buttons...
And my favourite, the mother of pearl buttons...
Oh how pretty they are, gleaming and shining, with the shell showing on the back giving a hint of where they came from.
What to do with all these buttons?  Some of them have made appearances in the little clothes I've stitched...
I wanted to make something for my parents with some of the pretty mother of pearl beauties.  With a little wire, bias binding and thread I came up with this...
Then I made a couple of pairs of earrings...
Whilst at my parents, Dad pulled out another old box for me to take a look at...
This one containing a load of old military buttons, some from my granddad...
One of my favourite finds was this, from the days when mangling clothes was the norm...
So many lovely buttons, from my granny, my great-grandmothers and quite possibly my great-great-grandmothers...
There's still a fair few buttons left so I think I'll make some more of the button hearts.  When I get round to it.  For now I'l just enjoy the gleam of those buttons in their jar, and playing with the buttons in their boxes.

Kate x

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Getting Birdy!

Well, the tree is down, the visitors gone, PLH back at work and the only remaining vestiges of the festive season are the extra pounds around my middle!  There is one more Christmas present to share, and this time we're getting birdy!

My love of our feathered friends is no secret and it's a love shared by most of my family.  Walks are often peppered with stops to look at the birdlife and boxing day was no exception.  
Birds?  Yawwwwn!
Not sure the boy always appreciates the bird stops quite as much, but a couple of weeks ago he showed some early ornithological promise and started signing bird - imagine my delight!  My bro was pretty impressed when he saw the boy's birding progress.  Also fans of the feathered flighty ones, he and his girlfriend were the recipients of some birdy bunting this Christmas.  Sadly the photos are not great - they were taken in a rush as we said goodbye after Christmas, in pretty shocking light.
I took inspiration for most of the flags from my local Farlington Marshes...
Bearded Tit
Oh!  How I love an Oystercatcher
Lovely Lapwing
Short-eared owl (slightly surprised looking)
Tufted duck
Treecreeper (not a Farlington find!)
Egret - I love their yellow feet!
My brother and his lovely lady seemed to rather like it - hopefully I'l see it up on the wall next time we visit their flat; maybe then I can take some better photos!

I think there will be more birdy bunting coming along in the not too distant future!

Kate x

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Six resolutions for a New Year

Well hello 2014!  2013, it's been a blast.  Actually it's been the best; an adventure into new motherhood and discovering the full force with which love for a little person can hit you.  Unbridled joy, unfettered worry, unending tiredness, mental hormones, but most of all love, crazy, crazy love.  
We've hung out with a lot of lovely lasses and babies, sharing the highs and lows, drinking tea, eating cake (a LOT of cake) and keeping each other sane(ish) through those sleep-deprived months.  Over the course of the last year it has struck me just how differently we women do the mothering thing, each of us following the path that is right for us.  It took me a while to realise that that the way those differing paths diverge is no criticism of my own journey.  So resolution #1 is to have confidence in my mothering, and not to judge the ways of others.

Much to my surprise I have managed to find time for a fair bit of stitchery.  I've loved my forays into making clothes for the boy, adventures into machine embroidery and all the other little bits and pieces I've done.  I love the buzz of having new ideas and trying them out, designing new pieces and seeing them come to fruition.  But I am not always so good at finishing them off; I have a rather large pile of works in progress (WIPs), so resolution #2 is to finish those WIPs.
A pile of WIPs (there are more!)
WIPs and zips...  Despite having had a pretty constant relationship with my sewing machine, and having tried a number of stitchy things, I have never sewn in a zip.  Shocking(!) I know and resolution #3 is to remedy that this year.
Two zips ready for practice
I've blogged a little about my love of the great outdoors and our feathered friends in particular.  I am definitely a rank amateur when it comes to bird identification and it would be great to be more confident in this.  This year I will start on the birds on my doorstep, put the feeders back up (they came down when we had the chickens), and try hard to get a little more connected with the birds in my back garden.  That is resolution #4.
Goldfinch - perhaps we'll get some of these
Along with the pile of WIPs, my sewing box is stashed to the max with fabric.  A LOT of fabric.  My resolution #5 is not to buy any more fabric this year.  I will make a couple of exceptions to this...  If I need something to finish a project, e.g. backing for quilts or base fabric for bunting, then I can make a purchase, but I will first try to buy second-hand and used fabrics for upcycling.  On a related note, I am keen to cut down on consumerism in my life and will attempt to buy no new clothes this year (second hand, charity shops and ebay only).  Good for the wallet and good for the environment.
An excessive stash?
Back to the sewing for the final resolution.  I have decided not to return to work for the time being, and instead be a "Stay at Home Mum" (I really hate that label, but that might be more about my ego than anything else - not helped when I first went on maternity leave when a friend asked how I was enjoying being unemployed...).  Looking after the boy is definitely a full-time job, and one I am pretty proud to do, but I will have time in the evenings for some sewing.  Resolution #6 is that 2014 will be the year I start to sell some of my creations (if anyone will buy them!).  

Happy New Year!
Kate x