Thursday, 29 May 2008
As you may have spotted, Laurie's lovely creation wasn't the sole inspiration for making a bag from this fabric - acquiring a mustardy-coloured skirt had something to do with it too...I am wary though, for one doesn't like to be too matchy-matchy in one's accessories...do you think it is permissible to wear them together or should they be taken out on strict wardrobe rotation?
These pictures are courtesy of my lovely little zebra-girl who photographs me displaying my creations with such wonderful humour. Oh no, she will squeal looking onto the display, that one is so blurry, let me take another. I've cut your head off, she will warble delightedly before calling Dinosaur-boy over to look. I love that when I upload these photos most of them are of a blurred me bent double with laughter.
We are now half-way through our week off and it's going far too fast. We have been swimming, gone to craft-activity groups held at the library, have a sleepover planned for tonight, and yesterday visited our local ceramics studio with Grandmama. It was the first time that I've dared to take Dinosaur-boy along with us, as his attention span for painting and drawing has always been fleeting. But he surprised me by spending a whole hour daubing his rabbity egg-cup. He was so proud of his work that I can't wait to see it looking shiny and glazed with an egg sat in it. Zebra-girl painted a cupcake pot with smarties on top.
We arrived horribly late for our session though and although we were told that it didn't matter and that we should take our time, I rushed my coaster as I had no idea that Dinosaur-boy would sit happily for so long. I had taken along some Heather Bailey fabric for inspiration, but wish that I had spent longer marking out the pattern first as it lacks the clean lines that makes her print so pleasing...
I do love these colours together though, so I'm still excited to see what it looks like once it's been fired.
Monday, 26 May 2008
We went on a long walk over the weekend and came across this tree house high up in a tree. It was very professionally made and too good not to investigate further, though unfortunately my ballet shoes have suffered for my adventures.
I came across two exciting things on the Internet at the end of last week: the first of which has been added as a high-priority item to my Amazon wishlist, for in October (what more Autumn goodness could a girl wish for?) the much talked about Marie Claire Idees will be publishing a book of 45 bag patterns: Simply Irresistible Bags: 45 Designs for Going Out, Looking Chic, and Shopping Green. Could there be a more exciting publication? From the preview pictures, of which there are quite a few, it looks like it will be quite wonderful. The second piece of excitement was slightly more of an anti-climax once I realised the event was further away than I wished to travel, but I thought I'd mention it just in case anyone else is in the vicinity who might wish to go: I read on the wonderful Five Valleys Fabric website that they will be hosting a visit from Amy Butler herself, where she will be presenting and talking about her new Midwest Modern collection. In some ways it is a complete relief that this event is out of range, for it is never a nice vision to have of oneself fawning hopelessly over someone, which is what would inevitably be the case if I were to meet Ms Butler. Instead I shall hope that someone else goes and subjects themself to that and is good enough to blog about it afterwards. Oh to be cool as a cucumber around those I admire. Which reminds me of one of my favourite sibling anecdotes: at a book launch for a very serious and incredibly famous and well-respected author, my sister, Laura, presented him with a copy of his book that she hoped he might sign. What would you like me to write in it, he asked. She thought for a moment and then replied: I wonder if you wouldn't mind writing 'For Laura, with thanks for the inspiration'.
Thursday, 22 May 2008
I am simply loving looking in the mirror from this angle for double-bobbin fun! Heaven.
I must also tell you about a new fabric marker that I have come across recently (finding the perfect one is something of an obsession of mine). This one is made by Sewline and is apparently of 'Japanese selection'...I don't know why, but it felt like that might have been written on there as a marketing ploy to make it seem a little 'cooler'...it worked, I wanted one desperately!
On a slightly different note, lets talk about vignetting. I am being driven to distraction by it...I had never really noticed it as a phenomenon before (and still don't when my photos are large) but while Ian's been working on creating my little shop a lot of my photos have had to be reduced down to thumbnail size and then it really is noticeable. Reading about it on the Internet just confuses me and launches me into a land of camera technicality that I don't feel mentally-equipt to enter. If you happen to be in possession of the non-technical solution, then please do tell (most especially if one must eat chocolate to make it work).
Wishing you all happy weekends...another bank holiday. Yipee! And then a whole lovely week with the little Teacakes free from their educational pods, I can't wait.
Monday, 19 May 2008
Towards the end of last week I was busy sewing. Each morning when my father wakes he spends time doing various exercises on something approximating, but a little thicker than, a yoga-mat...but my mother had reported that it currently had him leaping around rather more energetically than he intended, as the material of the mat seemed to be giving him small electric shocks! So my plan was to make a cover for his mat. I ordered an over-sized black and white floral print into my local fabric shop and then set to work....but best-laid plans rarely go smoothly...I realised (through my own gymnastic experimentation) that the cover slipped slightly when in use and that when you rolled it up post-exercise it started bunching horribly...so my only option was to quilt the cover to the mat. My sewing desk had to be moved into the middle of the room to accommodate the unwieldy mat and my machine groaned and chomped as I made unreasonable requests of it. But somehow, as ever, it amazes me with what it can do (oh how I love my wonderful machine), and although I would have planned many aspects of it differently had I known of the many problems I would find in the making of it, it was a project just about rescued from the edge. By the time I finished it I was too exhausted to photograph it....so you will have to imagine it.
The little Teacakes did lots of lovely drawings on some fabric for me, so that I might sew over their lines and then turn the canvas into a tissue-box cover. It was relatively easy to make as it follows the same principles that one might use for making a doorstop (of which I have made many!).
Dinosaur-boy drew this rocket....
As anyone who is a regular reader of this blog may recall, Mr Teacakes is normally in charge of cake-making in our house, but he had so many other things to do last week that I decided to hand the decoration over to the little Teacakes. Faced with bowls of milk & white chocolate-covered raisins, glace cherries and silver balls they discussed their design (I had expected them to just randomly put them on) and then very carefully executed it doing half the cake each and meeting in the middle.
As for my 30th birthday I took the whole week for my celebrations, for his 60th, my father has, quite rightly, planned an entire year of fun. I do hope he has the most lovely time. x
Friday, 16 May 2008
Lovely treats have arrived through my door this week. Firstly this wonderful package of fabrics from Helen, who had offered to send me some Minkee so that I might sample its softness. I was surprised and delighted to find that she had kindly filled the envelope with other fabric treats too. I was indescribably excited by the apple and pear print as it is something I have always coveted in other peoples sewing projects...so to have some of my own! It will definitely become part of an applique I think.
The Minkee is just as soft as Helen had said it was and Zebra-girl has quite fallen in love with it...so perhaps it will end up being turned into a polar bear for her to snuggle with.
Another surprise came from my father. Wonderful vintage pinking shears, still in their box.
I have never had a pair, so to have such special ones is quite wonderful. Amazingly, they cut perfectly and are completely free of rust. I love that he goes ferreting out these little treasures for me on his bargain hunting expeditions - they are always things that I really want. It is his 60th birthday today so I have been busy sewing for the last couple of days in preparation...the results of which I'll post up once he's actually unwrapped them.
And finally I thought I'd show you this little ladybird that I made for one of Zebra-girl's friends. I had been going to make her one of Molly Chicken's little Mousey and his Bed lovelies, but I know that this little girl really loves ladybirds, so I thought I'd create my own Ladybird in a Leaf for her.
A couple of days later as she sat on the sofa with Zebra-girl waiting for me to put a video on for them, she told me, completely unprompted, how much she'd liked it and that she'd taken it on a day out with her. I was so pleased and touched that she'd thought to tell me.
Wishing you all a lovely weekend. x
Thursday, 8 May 2008
Perhaps it's not comprehensible how excited I was to receive this email unless you too have fallen in love with this baby, but it was one of those moments when my heart felt like it was about to burst with happiness, for if I ever had thought about who might have created the infant (for some reason, I hadn't, perhaps because it looks so perfect that the idea that it had been chiseled away and formed by human hand seems quite absurd) I would probably have guessed that it was carved hundreds of years ago by a team of men....so to find that it was one man, very much alive, with the most perfectly lovely wife who reads craft blogs...well, I was stunned.
There is something so lovely about the roughness of the earth that this perfect child comes out of, as if to say that no matter what the state of our world, each child is born into it perfect and unblemished, and the fact that this is set in stone is, to me, emblematic of the certainty that this will always be. What reassurance of goodness this sculpture provides. Rachel told me that the sculpture is in fact named The Christ Child, which was created for the Millennium to celebrate the birth of Christ...which somehow threw me for a moment as, not having a faith myself, I had never imbued the baby with any religious associations...but actually, like all art works, I think any viewer will give it their own meaning and so although I'm now mindful (and I can't write that word now without smiling for, following my best-loved words giveaway, I know that it is one of Robyn's favourites) that it was created with a particular representation in mind, to me it will always more strongly hold an element of both of my own children in it, as well as the lovely innocence of infants...I love to think of it lying safely on its stony bed, blissfully unperturbed by the drunken revellers that carouse below it around Trafalgar Square on a Friday night.
I was quite fascinated by what Rachel's house must be like, as my first thought was that it must be so strange (although obviously very normal if you're Rachel!) to live with someone capable of creating things quite so extraordinarily beautiful all over your home...so of course I asked her, and it does indeed sound like their house is full of special things, (such as a stone mouse carved running up their fireplace), but actually I've come to realise that Rachel is more than capable of her own lovely creations...and I'm left convinced that if she ever chose to start a craft blog it would be full of the most wonderful things.
I think to me the coincidence of Rachel seeing her husband's work on my blog represents how far-reaching and extraordinary blogging can be...even with a relatively small readership, so many different sorts of people will pass by the pages...and ultimately the world seems very small.
I have a photo of the stone baby tucked into the frame of my mirror, next to another baby that has also become special to me. When I was a couple of months pregnant with Dinosaur-boy my sister sent me this postcard of a painting by Blaise Smith that she'd seen at the National Portrait Gallery as part of the 2003 BP Portrait Award exhibition. I adored the colours in the painting and propped it up on our bedroom fireplace in the house where we lived at that time, purely because I liked the way it looked...but a couple of months later I found that I felt incapable of taking the postcard down; I had looked at this baby each day and become more familiar with its face, the folds of the blanket that it lay beneath and most especially had come to treasure the pose of its hands, so much so, that it seemed to have come to represent the baby growing in my own ever-expanding middle.
The reassurance of seeing this baby each day, sleeping beneath an identical checked wool blanket to the one that was folded in my airing cupboard, was great. It is only more recently, that a very dear friend walked into our room and looked at the pictures propped in the mirror frame, and commented, horrified, that the baby's slightly grey, lifeless skin made it appear to be dead...I can see exactly what she means, but to me it is a happy contented picture, proving as I had said earlier, that every person will view an artwork differently. For me this baby sleeping so sweetly has become so muddled with my memories of Dinosaur-boy sleeping in his crib that it is as much one of his childhood photographs as any that actually picture his true self.
And while I'm on the subject of babies...I've just read Lisa's latest Craft Boom post where she interviews Amy Butler and have seen that her next book is focused around patterns for mother and child 0-12 months..,what an incredibly powerful incentive to have more babies...but no, I will buy it in September when it is published and make things instead for the lovely babies of friends.
I also must say that my sister has drawn it to my attention that I have recently only blogged once in two weeks...sometimes real life crashes in to such an extent that blogging temporarily takes a back seat...but I feel I ought to apologise for the huge amount of unanswered emails and messages (currently over 300) and the fact that I haven't commented for so long on so many of my favourite blogs. I am delighted by every single one of the comments that people are kind enough to take the time to leave, and I have enjoyed catching up with so many of the wonderful blogs that are my daily reads on Bloglines...but time feels sparse at the moment and my mind is elsewhere, so I hope you won't mind if I am temporarily a little un-interactive!
Wishing you all a lovely weekend in the sunshine.
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
I bought Zebra-girl and Dinosaur-boy an enormous glassy heart-shaped button each, that sparkle in the most gaudy and unsubtle way. They have been so well-loved since my home-coming that they have worn away much of the silver backing...the result of being clasped tightly in sweaty little palms.
I wonder though, after wishing for a wooden last for well over a year, what I might actually do with it in reality. I had imagined that it may look nice by the fireplace...but actually it just looks a bit strange; as though a one-legged friend may have come to visit and left a vital bit of his walking apparatus on the hearth.
In the evening we wandered over to Waterstones 5th View Bar in Piccadilly where we chose to sample some of the drinks from their extensive cocktail menu, although unfortunately I was still nursing a hangover from the previous night so I was a little unadventurous in my ordering. Then suddenly it was very late and we all had to get back to our homes...as we were walking through Trafalgar Square, Lisa and Joanne remembered the wonderful carved baby that I mention in my sidebar (eyes right)....I was so pleased. I hadn't had time to go and visit it in the morning and it feels odd to be near without doing so. After admiring its lovely little stone form we saw that the doors were still open to St Martins...and so took the opportunity to go and gaze at its old pews and wonderful ceilings...we pondered on what paint they might have used to make it appear to look both so white, and so warm.
On the train home I tried to keep myself from sleeping by reading an article about Dolly Parton printed in the weekend newspaper, but I only succeeded in reading the same line over and over again, punctuated by 2-second naps. It was only a fear of what a night spent at the end of the train line might hold that kept me partially awake.
In the morning Zebra-girl and Dinosaur-boy, sparkly buttons in hand, wanted to see pictures from our day...but I realised that I had hardly any that included Helen, Lisa or Joanne...which is what they wanted to see (not more of Mummy's boring still-life-of-a-button shots)...how awful, this means we will have to recreate the whole day at some point.....more cake, more fabrics, more chatting, more giggling! It will be hellish.