Friday, 18 December 2009

I have been laminating felt today, I made my cousin a holder for his Oyster card for Christmas, I'm pleased with the way it turned out, I couldn't find any patterns or tutorials for one that I liked for him so I played around until I worked out what I wanted. I hope he likes it, making things for men is soooo much harder than making things for women!

I like that it is grey and masculine but still has a secret hit of colour in the edges and hidden behind the card.

My street is covered in a thick blanket of snow today, it snowed through the night last night and has just started again, it's pretty but I hope it rains soon, I am a complete wuss about driving on snow or ice and I need to go out tomorrow!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

My wait is finally over, I've been desperately trying to get hold of issue 12 of Sew Hip to see my interview in print ever since I got an e-mail from someone saying they had seen it on Friday morning! I guess I should subscribe because it seems subscribers get it ahead and it only reached the shelves today! I am really happy with the way it looks....slightly miffed that my website address is wrong ( instead of .com) but on the whole it is fab and very exciting. It is especially fun that it is a magazine I loved anyway.
oh...and I had to share this with you.....look what I made a couple of days ago.....
....and just because I think he is extra'specially super cute, here's another pic!
you can make one too, the tute is here --->

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

An extra special sneak preview for my extra special blog readers! Here are some snippets of my new range, the three designs will also be available in another colourway but I have to keep you in suspense about something! The new range will be available from January

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

I went along to a meeting of the Mead Quilters last night. Janet Cook was speaking about her gorgeous quilts and it was very interesting, if you get the chance to see any of her work take a close look because they become more beautiful the closer you get.

They were also running an open sewing day today so I went along and had a lovely time putting together a christmas table runner which may or may not be heading towards a close family member the December. Um, Michelle...don't get excited, it isn't for you!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

It's hard to believe a week has gone by since I last posted, I have had a birthday since then and have been spoiled to high heaven. My parents came over for the weekend and we went to the theatre and out to dinner then lunch the following day with Gran and three separate birthday dinners with friends! I am very lucky and have had a lovely week.

That being said Ilford 'craft' Market was a complete wash out and certainly does not live up to its name but you live and learn. I have the second of the three fairs being held in Bishops Stortford on Saturday. It is free to get in and there were lots of good vendors last time so I would recommend popping in if you are local.

I have been busy getting together images of my designs for an article going into Sew Hip next month so that has been a lot of fun and I am really excited about seeing the outcome!

Other exciting news is that I am launching a new range, it will be available in January.....I may put a sneaky preview up over the next week or so :)

I am still loving piecing onto paper and have tried out a wonky log cabin block for a baby quilt that I am working on for Laurie. If you haven't seen pictures of her nursery go and check out Michelle's photo gallery - there is a link on my website. Mark and Laurie commissioned a custom range of fabrics when they were designing their nursery and it looks fab, now we just have to wait for their daughter to arrive!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

just a really quick one as I am snowed under getting ready for Ilford Craft Market tomorrow...I thought it was only fair to announce that my camera and tripod have arrived (actually they arrived on Tuesday so the 9th working day). I am very relieved as I had started reading all these awful reviews of the company and had started wondering whether I would ever see my camera or my money again, yes, a little over dramatic! I still think it was a REALLY long time to wait for something that is in stock to be sent from the Isle of Wight to Watford and it irked me to see them state 'fast delivery'! on their site but I am super delighted with my camera! Of course, the first thing I did was make it a case with a snuggly fleece lining :)

If it looks a little wonky that because, well, it's a little wonky! Ooooh, speaking of my inability to make unwonky things (totally not true BTW if you're thinking of buying anything I make!) I have been having a go at string piecing using paper, wow, it's so much fun and everything comes out so neatly! In fact I am in two minds as to whether I will ever use the blocks I have made so far because that will mean taking the paper off the back and then it won't look so beautifully neat anymore! I followed a link to a tutorial from after seeing the gorgeous spiders web blocks she was putting together and now I have


'scuse my toes in the first pic! I have tried out two different blocks, I'm not sure what I will do with them except maybe keep making them whenever I have a spare couple of hours. I highly recommend trying it if, like me, you have a box full of strippy shaped scraps!

Right, wish me luck, Ilford needs to be a good one!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Isn't the world beautiful at the moment? I love autumn and all the changing colours, particularly on a day like today when the sun is shining, although the shining sun is highlighting how dirty my windows are right now!

I got a call from one of the organisers of Northwood Craft Market yesterday evening to say that they had a cancellation for this Saturday, I am very excited because-

a) Northwood is only 10 minutes away!
b)They have a Craft Market once a month all year 'round.
c) They had been fully booked until January

Other exciting news......I have just finished an interview for Sew Hip magazine, so much fun! I will let you know when it will be out, there might even be a sneak preview of a new range!

Less exciting and rather annoying news is that my new camera still hasn't arrived, hmmmm. In fact, when I checked it's status today it hadn't even been sent yet. I am not impressed seeing as I ordered it a week ago yesterday and they said it was in stock. Their quoted delivery times are 3-10 working days, we are now on working day number 6 so they haven't failed that yet but I just can't see why they can't get it moving already. It frustrates me that when they say 'in stock' they obviously mean it is 'in stock' with their supplier rather than with them. It feels dishonest and I will not buy through them in future.

Sorry, moan over!

Friday, 23 October 2009

I have just had an exciting delivery; it's my birthday in a couple of weeks so decided to treat myself to a new camera, tripod and light tent. The light tent arrived this morning and it's fab!

It came with white, red, black and blue back drops and it has hooks and loops so you can hang your own fabric as a backdrop and/or suspend a product. It is big enough for all the products I make (save quilts!) yet it packs down to fit in this bag.

I will be busy gradually updating photos of my fabric and products once my new camera and the tripod arrive, I ordered them on the same day but the light tent arrived super fast (thank you Steve's Photo Shop!)

This is the camera I have chosen, it's a Panasonic DMC ZX1 - it has 12.1 Megapixels and 8x optical zoom and lots of lovely extras to stop your photos blurring and face recognition so your chosen people always have the best pictures!

I am upgrading from my old Pentax Option 750Z that I got about 4 years ago, I LOVED this camera when I got it, LOVED the retro styling that concealed 7MP and 5x optical zoom (top spec in those days for a compact!) I still love it but the picture quality is not making the mark anymore and the lens cover doesn't retract properly :( poor old friend, I will try and remember to miss you when your replacement comes!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

So sorry I have been absent this week..Michelle and I decided to do our post show wind down in the Cotswolds....we stayed at a lovely hotel called the Lygham Arms in Broadway. I love the Cotswolds, it's so pretty and peaceful there and we were lucky with the weather, glorious bright sunshine until the last day (Thursday) when it was drizzly but it was assigned as a shopping day anyway, Michelle wanted to go to Bicester Village. Our stay was nicely topped off with dinner at my cousin's where it took me almost to the end of dinner to notice that her step dad was wearing a cravat made from two of my fabrics! He looked styling and I will add a pic as soon as I retrieve it from my cousin's camera.

I have been busy booking myself into small, local craft fairs over the last couple of days and so far I can confirm that I will be at -

Bishops Stortford - 22nd October, 14th November and 12th December

Ilford - 6th November

Much Hadham - 22 November

I am also very excited to have made 2 more Etsy sales this evening - both to the same person in Spain!

I am off to bed now, I have an early start tomorrow morning...I am doing a car boot sale to try and offload some of my books - I have a terrible supermarket paperback habit and I've decided I need to cull my collection!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Saturday, 10 October 2009

One more day to go

It's the last day of the show today, I am having mixed feelings because on the one hand I am tired but on the other hand I don't want the show to be over, I love the buzz of being there and meeting people, hearing their response to my designs and seeing the same faces in different places. On the familiar faces note it has become increasingly apparant that I am rubbish at recognising and remembering faces and that my sister has a freakish photographic memory. We have had several conversations that are a variation of;

Michelle - "they were at the festival of quilts"
Paula - blank expression

Michelle - "she was looking at our stand this morning, she must've waited to do her spending in the afternoon"
Paula - blank expression

Michelle - "Paula, you just asked that girl if she had a card when you gave her one yourself an hour ago"
Paula - "ohhh"

I sincerely apologise if I have failed to recognise you when we have already met!

We are having a sale today on my handmade products, I have sold about half of the stock and some items are sold out. I was going to keep any left for Etsy or for following shows but then I wouldn't get to make so many new ones!

I also made my first Etsy sale yesterday and it was a lovely lady who had already bought fabric at the show on Thursday (Hi Marion, if you are reading!). I am very, very happy to be having repeat customers already.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Knitting and Stitching Show Day One

Day one went well, it was a lot of fun again to get people's reactions to my designs and products. I particularly enjoyed the fact that there were a lot of school trips there....I don't think a single 15 year old girl walked past my stand without pointing at this fabric and squeaking!

It also made me smile a lot that GCSE and A Level students were taking photos and (lots of) business cards to add to their coursework. I even saw a student from my old school (Hi Lucy!) who did a huge double take to see 'Miss' there!

The most exciting part of the day was being approached by a couple of buyers for stores (one of which will remain nameless but its name begins with an 'L' and it is on a street that begins with an 'R').

More from the show to follow over the next couple of days, I will try to remember to take a picture of my stand to post too.

If you are visiting the show, come by stand K33 and mention the blog to get a free lavender bag!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

photos finally!

Covered diaries and address books, they have loops at the side that hold the book closed when you slide a pen through.

Here are the covered notebooks, I bought more this morning so this collection may grow if I have time!

Sorry it is on it's side....this is the baby quilt. I put the top together while I was in France and I quilted it on Thursday - it's backed with baby blue fleece and I used the cheaty sew and flip method instead of binding it.

After finishing the quilt I whipped up some tissue cosies. I didn't have enough packets when I took this but I got more this morning so they are all full now :)

Yesterday's project was cushions - you can see my fabric mountain in the background - the tall boxes are fabric still on the roll and the ones to the right are fat quarters all packaged and ready for sale and the stuff on top is the fabric set aside for me to use.

This little dolly is todays project and she will have some friends coming to join her shortly. The gorgeous boy behind her is my best friend's son Ethan, he's coming to see me tomorrow so I am taking a day off!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

And so to the end of another productive day. I managed to do all of the things I set out to do - write instructions, visit Gran, finish quilt - but I also managed to make 11 tissue cosies! The show feels scarily close now, the countdown has started.

Mum and Michelle were making lavender bags today so they have been busy as well :)


I am just a little bit excited...

...and isn't just because the latest edition of Sew Hip is on the newstand, although that is always a cause for minor celebration in my world.

'Why has she bought three copies?' I hear you ask yourself.


Wednesday, 30 September 2009

A productive day today (thank goodness!) I have covered 2 diarys, 2 address books and 6 notebooks. Sorry for the lack of photos, I don't have the energy! I think my plan for tomorrow is to head over to my local starbucks and sit and write, write, write all of the outstanding instructions for kits so that I can e-mail them over to Michelle to 'pretty up' not that she's been nagging me or anything :) Then it is about time I went to visit my Gran before heading home and finishing a quilt for the show.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Back in the UK

I got back home on Friday, mainly because my car tax, MOT, insurance etc is all due at the end of September so I have been busy getting that all sorted. Today I got settled into getting some work done for the show - I have been making passport covers with a POD style union jack - quite fun, hopefully people will like them! I will take some photos tomorrow.
It is good to be back with my things, I had a joyful reunion with my Bernina but I was sad to leave my family behind, one member in particular.....

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

I thought I would share a little experiment with you. I spent a few hours yesterday afternoon figuring this out and making it then once I had finished I realised.....I don't know what it is supposed to be! I just got caught up in the 'how would i do that?' of it all. Oh well.

More succesfully though, I made a cover for my diary. I am going to look out for some 2010 diarys to cover and sell at the show.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Here we go, sorry for the dark picture, it is very dreary here today and has now started to rain. Hopefully you can make out the creatures embroidered on it though, my favourite has to be the rabbit carrying an umbrella, very apt for today's weather! I have washed it gently with some Woolite since taking the pic and it is now hanging to dry. My first attempt at removing the little rust spots will need to wait for another day as I am going to sprinkle them with salt then lemon juice and leave it in the sun to dry. I want to avoid needing to use a commercial rust stain remover if possible.

I must get started on some work now...I am going to finish my bunting then get started on a baby quilt for another show kit.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

I have been busy over the last week, making products and creating project kits to sell at the Knitting and Stitching show and Michelle has been busy working on the website and setting up listings on Etsy and Dawanda. Today we took a day off to visit a few Brocantes (we are both in France this month, working between her house and my parent's), it was a really fun day and I managed to finally buy Michelle's housewarming and birthday presents - a cute, small bird bath to go out by her pool and a wrought iron outdoor thermometer.
I am most excited though that I found a gorgeous length of embroidered mantle edging, I will post pics tomorrow I promise...I left my camera behind in England so I will have to wait to borrow one. I am going to need to wash it and try and get out a few small rust marks, I am guessing it was pinned up.
I also bought a tiny wire basket in the shape of a heart and I am thinking that I should collect together all of my heart shaped things together on one shelf when I get back, maybe in the kitchen.
Oh, and I bought some ribbon because yesterday I was making bunting then realised Mum had no plain ribbon for it....I keep getting thrown by not being surrounded by my mountains of craft supplies! The lady in the fabric shop laughed because I stopped by and then only spent 1 euro 10 cents :)

Monday, 14 September 2009

Well, I thought it was about time I started a blog. I have been tempted many times in the past as I do enjoy reading blogs so much but I have always come across the stumbling block of 'what do I blog about?'. Now it is obvious....I blog about my business!

So, by way of an introduction; I have recently given up my paid employment as a teacher in order to start a business designing fabrics and making products, patterns and kits. My sister (Michelle) is working with me and handles all of the business, marketing, financy type stuff and I get to immerse myself in all the yummy creative side, how lucky am I?

We have been working on this since spring, me building up 6 ranges of designs and Michelle writing an enormously detailed business plan, sourcing printers, base fabric, organising samples and getting well and truly up to speed with with the textile and craft industry.

We launched at the Festival of Quilts in August and had fantastic fun hearing what people had to say about our fabric, so much fun in fact that we decided there and then to book a stand (bigger and better!) for the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace 8-11th October. Whoop! I am so excited, this is my favourite show to visit and now I get to have my own stand!