Thursday, 27 September 2007

I feel a bit of a fraud.....

.........everyone is being so lovely about my job - but I really was only a Saturday girl every other week - I just wanted it to be more. It had great potential - lovely people, interesting houses, loads of people-contact and I got to do clever computer stuff - I had set up some spreadsheets with graphs and pie-charts to analysis customer feedback and towards the end had got to play on the computerised floorplan drawing thingy! I love learning new things especially clever technology! Realistically though, I have three small children, can only work until 3pm and have no childcare to cover the school holidays, so I'm not very employable really!

Anyway - on to my craft empire instead then! A friend has just phoned (whilst I was typing this) and has ordered two wallets without even having seen them!

Monkee Maker did a meme type thing the other day and sent out a general invitation to people to take it up. I complained to her that I couldn't do it without a proper invitation, so she wrote back to say I was formally invited to take part so here goes:
Four jobs I've had ......
Part-time florist (well inexperienced flower girl really!)
Tutor in Roman History with the Open University
Four places I've lived ......
In a little village near Andover in Hampshire until I was 17
Newcastle (University days)
Near Sunderland
(so, very South England, and then all North-East England!)
Four places I've been on holiday .......
A tiny island on the West Coast of Scotland (honeymoon)
The Cotswolds
The Lake District
Four favourite foods .......
Mum and Dad's fabulous roasts
Takeaway curry!
Allotment picnics
Courgette soup (because I have to like the stuff - there's loads of it!)
Four places I would rather be right now .......
Well, as I am blog-addicted, I quite like it here......
At my sewing machine
Watching a film with long-suffering-husband and doing some hand sewing
At the allotment with the whole family and our friends (not now though - it's freezing!)

So feel free to take up the baton and post about yourselves. I think we are all nosy enough to want to know more about each others lives!

Thanks for all your kind comments about the job-stuff. I'll be fine and it's not like I've had a huge drop in income to cope with. My work friends are still all just round the corner and my boss did check I would still "come in and be a pain in the proverbial!"

Wednesday was a funny old day. .

I gave a Moo card to one of the mums in the schoolyard because she had asked me what kind of things I did.
Then I went to call on one of my sewing friends on the way home and we arranged to go fabric shopping in the afternoon.
Then I called into the local estate agents where I work part-time (literally just around the corner from my house) to see my friends there.
While I was chatting to them my mobile rang - it was Clare, the mum I had given the moo card too. She had gone straight back and looked at my blog and loved everything on it and wanted me to make something for her baby daughter!
As I was still at the shops I went straight round to her house for a cuppa (she lives opposite our old house!)
We were chatting about the sort of things I could do and she mentioned that she had a bag of newborn baby clothes and would love something made out of them - now I didn't call myself Lucy Locket Recycled Her Pocket for no reason, what I would love to do as part of my craft "business"(!) is make things for people out of their children's clothes. I even approached a publisher with a book proposal based on this theme earlier in the year - they didn't want it :-(
So we both very excitedly went through the bag of clothes picking out some gorgeous items to make into a patchwork quilt. It is going to be challenging but great fun so I left her house on a high.

Then I called back into work to speak to my boss. As I said a couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to work semi-full-time for a week and a half and I loved it. I have worked there for 3 years in a part-time capacity but my hours had gone down to every other Saturday morning. After working the proper hours I didn't feel I could go back to this very part time role much as I loved the job and as the housing market is pretty bad at the moment with interest rates etc, Linda and I decided that it was better if we called it a day. It was my idea but I still burst into tears! I love the girls I work with and my boss and her husband. It is a real family firm. But I think I will always hope there will be more work when there isn't going to be. So now I need to move on. I don't really like change though!!!

But then, I got 3 commissions for craft things before I even left the office! Linda wants two wallets and Joanne wants me to make a little rag doll with her friend's baby's name and "first christmas" embroidered on the hem of the dress.

And then I got to go shopping with Kerry and bought loads of new fabric for bags and wallets and a new dress and cardigan!

So it was a day of great "ups" and huge "downs"!

Yesterday was more stable! It was freezing cold and pretty wet but Alison and I went up to the allotments and picked bags full of beans, courgettes, pumpkins and marrows and then had a cooking marathon in my kitchen as Alison's hob has died and she is waiting until her new kitchen is fitted before replacing it. We took it in turns to make vast quantities of courgette soup then treated ourselves (and our children) to some homemade chocolate crispy cakes!

As for today, well I already felt fairly flat as I was walking back from school (it is cold, drizzly and windy) so I called in to see my friends at (ex)work, saw some files in my in-tray and burst into tears! What a complete and utter wally I am!

So I thought I would come home and spill it all out onto my blog (sorry everyone) then I am going to have a quick tidy up and get on with some fun creativity! I think I am going to need to make myself a wall-chart to keep up with all the different orders that are coming in. (I also have 3 cushions to make, some blanket orders in the pipeline, a different sized wallet to work out (thanks Trashalou - I'll be in touch soon) and a baby sampler to design).

Sorry for the long post - now I need to choose some nice photos to make it less gloomy!

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Plot Shots

We popped up to the allotment this morning to pick some courgettes to make soup for lunch - I had armfuls of them!
I took some more photos to show how it is looking now - fairly scruffy and tired looking really (and no I'm not referring to LSH here!!!!)

Some of the pumpkins are doing really well although the leaves are beginning to get mildew and die back. The photos are of one of my Turk's Turbans - although it still needs to turn orangey-red and green - what an ugly fruit! The smaller pumpkins are Jack be Little - I'm not sure when to pick them! The chrysanthemums were given to me as seedlings by my lovely friend Ron who has a plot a few down from ours and the sunflower is from a ridiculously cheap packet of seeds - 19p!

Finally, to show new life, here are some of the seedlings I have coming through - a kind of winter mustard I think but I can't remember what I sowed where!

By the way, I have added two of my wallets to my Etsy shop - tell me what you think - have I done it right?

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Melly and Me and Moo's

I was very excited on Thursday because my Moo cards arrived!

I had been out craft shopping first thing in the morning after dropping the children off at school and spent far more than I had expected on all sorts of things - zips, press studs, interfacing, and ....... other things! It all added up unfortunately but I was pleased to see that my local craft shop had increased it's fleece stock for the winter - it is quite hard to make my blankets during the summer and I had to order the cream fleece for the elephant blanket from Ebay.
I had rushed back from shopping so that I would be here in time for the postman just in case the cards arrived and didn't fit through the door but it turned out that he had been early and they were small enough to be posted! Hooray!
Isn't the little box lovely?
and aren't the cards fab?

Certain photos haven't turned out as well as I had hoped but that means I will know which sort to choose for next time. They really do seem to be excellent value and I have already parted with a few! I think I may have to keep some for myself though!

Then today a parcel arrived from Melly and Me - I love their designs - which I frantically opened before going to work! They are having a SALE in their etsy shop at the moment and I have been eyeing up Rosie's quilt cards for a while so I bought a few packs. They had also said they would include a free gift if you bought two or more items but as I had only bought cards I didn't expect anything - but look at the gorgeous pincushion that arrived! I had even thought of buying one of them but thought LSH wouldn't talk to me if I spent any more money! There was also a lovely letter from them - I'm so delighted!

I need to get back down to some sewing now. Dorothy and I tried to go over to the Fat Quarters for a sewing session this afternoon but we were stuck on the motorway in solid traffic so I had to call Kim and cancel unfortunately. I will have to put in an online order next week for the things I would have bought and need to do some sewing this evening to make up for what we missed!

But first I'd better cook LSH something for supper as he has looked after the children all day while I was at work and out with Dot and cooked their tea, washed up, blitzed the kitchen and generally been an all-out Supermum-type-husband - where would I be without him? I can tell you, with a lot less time for crafting, that's where!

I told you he was tolerant and long-suffering didn't I? Well now you know it's true!

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Got the zips!!!!

So what do I spend my time doing?


Well, if I'm honest and want to be precise, I haven't been doing grown up tidying, more like playing really - rearranging my sewing area to make it even prettier! It is still overcrowded and rather messy really but it's mine and I love it!

(sorry about the dark picture - flash doesn't seem to be working)

The curtains are a particular example of Lucyism:
  1. They are made out of tea-towels (except for the spotty fabric)
  2. They are not even half-made yet! One curtain is wider than the other and neither are wide enough. They have no lining. No hem. No edge. And the top bit is just roughly folded over with the rings clipped on. But they are my mess and I love them. (have you heard that before somewhere?) Anyway, there is so much clobber (clutter) on the table that I couldn't close them even if I wanted to!
But, back to business, the zips are here (in quantity!) so I must get to work! These are the wallets I have made so far (I did manage to make two yesterday by cutting down extra long zips) Some have worked well and so will be going on my Etsy shop soon while others are less accurate so I'm not sure what I will be doing with them yet.

I also ventured into the world of "pretty handbag" making with this attempt inspired by my Bend the Rules Sewing book but adapted on the way. It's not right yet, it needs to be deeper and I will have to change how I do the top and handle because I broke lots of needles trying to stitch through the layers! I do think the colours are pretty though.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Bits and Bobs

I am sitting in front of the computer in a creative rut. My new fabrics arrived from Japan yesterday and I am desperate to play with them because they are so gorgeous. I have been making some more wallets and they are going quite well and so I want to try them out with the new fabrics but unfortunately I have run out of zips. The obvious solution is to go out and buy some more but LSH has the car! There is one place I could have got to by Metro (underground train) but I have just rung them and their zips are 3x more expensive than the ones I got last week :(

So hopefully inspiration will strike and I will think of a lovely zipless-project to make this morning - although I should really do some housework!!!

Yesterday I decided, after reading lots of different blogs, that I needed a dedicated sewing area where I could leave my machine, cutting board and iron up permanently without the risk of splatterings of food etc from the children. Our house isn't really big enough to do this in but I have gone ahead anyway!!! It isn't fully organised and "prettified" yet and I really must make some curtains for this end of our downstairs room as it is only a single glazed window and it is freezing here at the moment. I told LSH that I needed a wheely-chair so I can scoot along from machine to ironing board and back to the computer (all in one line) but he sensibly reminded me that as we have NO money at the moment I couldn't have one yet! The dining table is now shunted down towards the sitting room end so it feels a bit crowded - but at least my bit is nice now! (me, spoilt? never!!!) The only real problem is that I will now have my back to the room when I am sewing and I will have to tidy the garden as I am looking straight out onto it and it is a mess! I'll show you a photo of my new sewing "room" later when things are a bit tidier!

Fred's teacher emailed me a photo of the cushion he made her at the end of last term so I can show you that now. When we were in Italy he did a lovely stitchery of a lizard and he also has a ladybird cushion and giraffe stitchery underway. I wonder when he will decide that sewing isn't "boyish" enough? Not too soon I hope.

You can't really see in this picture but the cushion is made out of black fabric with chalk board writing eg ABC, 1+2=3 etc so I thought it was particularly relevant for a reception school teacher!

Ally (my big sister) also sent the photos of the wallet that I made for her - and very cleverly included one showing how well her credit cards fit!

Finally here are a couple of cushions that I designed myself. I am always in such awe of designers and think I could never do it myself but here is proof that I have (twice!) even if it was a few years ago. (I do design all my blankets myself with input from the people that order them and I draw the images free-hand without templates etc so I suppose that is my own "creation" but I never really think that I am able to design things)

I love using "heavy" denim with "dainty" patchwork fabric and stitchery designs (especially with seams or pockets as you will have seen before!) although these photos are a bit dark. The red one was a sketch I drew on my birthday a few years ago when we were staying in a lovely Bed and Breakfast in the Cotswolds and the chicken one is sort of a "photo" of my back garden a couple of years ago with the banties and their hen house and the runner bean wigwam. I no longer have the hens but they were beautiful when they trotted around the garden although LSH didn't like the little presents they left lying around!

Saturday, 15 September 2007

I've been busy

Although I have been working fairly full-time for the last week and a half I have also been creating quite a lot. I think it is partly because I have been working that I have been so desperate to create something and think crafty things in the evenings! I started taking one of my birthday books in with me each day so that I could look at it in my lunchbreak. It turned out to be quite a good idea as it meant I studied how to make things without starting straight away and making those inevitable mistakes! I now have a rough idea of how to make a lined, zipped purse, how to scallop edges and how to sew the undercarriage into an elephant (ooooh sounds painful - glad I'm not the elephant)

I have finished an order for a friend to make a patchwork fleece blanket for a new baby and I am really pleased with it so obviously I need to show it off to all of you!

It even has the very first of my new labels
- almost accurately sewn in!

These are two of the wallets I have made using Melly and Me's amazing Wally and Wristy pattern. The pattern is brilliant and I am really pleased with how these have turned out. I made another one for my sister using Japanese tortoise fabric but didn't get chance to photograph it before I gave it to her so I am still waiting Ally waiting paitiently for her to email me a picture.
I have also made this little needle case from my new book by Tilda.
I have tentatively decided to open an Etsy shop (see right) but as yet it has nothing in it. I would welcome any advice on what to put in and what delivery costs to apply - and what to charge for things obviously! I'm not sure whether I should be doing this at all - usual crafters reticence I think!

With this in mind I have just ordered my first set of Moo cards and I am sooper-dooper excited about them - I hope I have cropped the pictures right otherwise I'm going to look pretty stupid!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Happy Birthday to ......................................


Yep, it was my birthday the other week and I was very excited! As I had been allowed to order most of my presents before the day I knew how much I was going to like them!!! I was very good though and didn't peek even when they arrived weeks early.

This little tale will show you where my money-spending priorities lie:
A friend and I had been clothes shopping just before the school holidays and I had seen a nice dress but decided I couldn't afford it. My friend suggested I got it from my parents for my birthday
"But I can't do that" I said "then I would have less birthday money to spend on craft books!"
So this is what I got myself:

You should see the pattern for the pull-along elephant in here - it's gorgeous!Angry Chicken's book is great - some useful tips in here.

These Japanese books may be incomprehensible to me but the designs are universal and absolutely amazing
I can't wait to get sewing!

I haven't had a chance to read this yet but I am looking forward to discovering what makes other crafty people "tick"

I also treated myself to some wonderful patterns from Melly and Me
I have wanted the pattern for Pocket and Floss for ages and was intrigued by the wallet design - and even more exciting - I managed to buy a wallet made by Melly herself! It is wonderful to have something actually made by a designer I admire so much. I really treasure it. I have been able to make two wallets from the pattern - they are fab - more about them in a later post.

Then, having discovered Japanese Import fabric, I bought myself some from Nuno on ebay - it came really quickly and is absolutely gorgeous! I keep going back to their shop to see if they have more goodies - I can't wait for them to restock!

I also got a copy of Sarah Raven's new book - full of ideas on how to cook my glut of courgettes and all the other veg from the allotment! The fridge is full of home grown goodies but I don't seem to have the time to prepare them all :0(

Finally, if those goodies weren't enough, my very good friends (the sewing girls) took me out shopping to our local patchwork shop The Fat Quarters, and each gave me spending money for my birthday so I could choose my own treats (how well they know me!) Kim had the new Tilda book in so I had to get that! and then some of the lovely fabrics, ric-rac, buttons and felt that go with it (although I have spared you photos of them). Tilda has produced three amazing books that have been translated into English but I think this one has to be the best of all - even just the room sets are amazing - I love her style.

So, all in all, a very, very HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! Sorry it has taken me a while to write this post but as you can see there were rather a lot of photos to take and upload and I have been working semi-full-time for the last week (9.15-3pm) so I have not had much "me-time". It has been quite a shock to the system as the last time I worked full-time was over 10 years ago!