Monday, 14 May 2012

Bunting for Boys!

I must admit to being somewhat surprised when my seven year old son seemed jealous of the bunting given to his little sister for her first birthday.  So, I asked whether he would like his own name in bunting - and when he said 'yes please' almost before I had finished asking - I had the tussle as to what design I could try out to satisfy the ever demanding requirements of this young man.  After all, my usual bunting for boys was more geared for the very small variety for whom rainbows and pastel blues were more in demand!

Maybe it is living near the sea, and an area that revels in all things pirates, that this seemed to be the most suitable theme to pursue.  The annual Pirate Day is ever popular and requires the ubiquitous eye patches, ragged edged shorts and a bandana at a rakish angle over one eye!  So, onwards and upwards, how to create pirates in felt ........

Colours just had to be black, red, grey and white and, luckily, I tracked down several shades of grey to add a little more interest!

Crossed scimitars formed one end panel - too many stories from the Arabian Nights I feel!

 It gave me a use for some gorgeous glass chips to decorate the handles - after all, what self respecting pirate would not have jewel encrusted scimitars!

And for the other end panel???  Well, it could only be the Jolly Roger (or at least, my interpretation of the Jolly Roger!  Not sure the original had a bugle beaded grin!!)
And the end result - a happy boy come Christmas morning!  He even chose to take it into school for show and tell - which was the biggest compliment yet!

I did of course ask his permission before I replicated his design on the next batch of little pirates: 

As long as little boys are pleased with pirate bunting - I will continue to sew it. 

Now, what other themes for older boys can I think of ..... hmm, planets, rocket ships .... Space is the next frontier!!!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Little things that make life happy!

Colour does it for me!  It has the perpetual ability to lift the spirits and make life less gloomy when things get that grey tinge (metaphorically as well as literally).

From those balmy days at Uni - dressed somewhat randomly in head to toe yellow (thankfully no photo's remain), to the much loved and much missed bright green suede boots (still in the wardrobe despite being broken without hope!) - colour has always been able to lift my mood and keep life cheerful.  (This of course accounts for the decision to have a selection of cats whose discarded fur would both compliment and contrast with every single item of clothing!)

It can as basic as buttons

Which are kept in little glass jars to cheer up the top of a little brown chest of drawers and act as a distraction for a certain small girl who seems to have inherited a love of colour - but rather distractingly still calls them all yellow!

A few days ago a very large parcel of felt arrived from and opened into a veritable rainbow

I think this also means I need to turn my attention to the order book - which currently contains requests for Hello Kitty, a London Bus and a Union Jack (MUST get it the right way up!)
Our little house is a riot of colour - some of which is unavoidable with small children around -
but most is intentional, keeping white walls with bright and cheery paintings and ceramics to add character. 

However, the little bursts of colour in every day life are the best - like the golden curls on my little daughters head!

And .... a new pair of green boots which recently just toppled into my arms in T K Maxx ...

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

A retail interlude ... in Rye

I hadn't thought to post so soon again - but on Saturday following a rather lovely jaunt around the streets of Rye I am still full of happy things that we saw, read and, I have to admit somewhat guiltily, bought!!!

I went looking for a little shop that stocked locally made crafts with the vain hope that they might be interested in my sewing, but, it seems to have packed its bags and departed - or at least hidden itself since I found it last time!  I anyone knows the one I mean, and where it has gone to, I would love to know!

However, we did find some more than acceptable alternatives!

Can I recommend a visit to - a shop full of pure loveliness - a quirky and eclectic mix of vintage and contemporary art, design and just plain fun!  For the princely sum of £2 we bought eight copies of old Beano magazines - which pleased a certain small boy very much indeed! 

An absolute bargain at 25p each!!

I picked up a print of an Oscar Wilde quote and found that I just could not put it down - so rather happily it made its way home with me!

The colours are beautiful.  I shall be putting Lion Street Store on my list of 'must visit' shops when in Rye!

To top it off, when, fully intending to return to the car, I spotted the monthly Art & Craft market was on - and it drew me in like a magnet (admittedly it didn't need much persuasion!).  It was full of beautiful things made by very talented people and usually I escape with my purse in tact - but today, in the corner was an artist called Hadyn Cornner, with some of the funkiest prints I have seen in a long time! !  And again I came away with a little print - who can resist The Ministry of Normality and a print that advises that you don't drink your own bath water!  Brilliant!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Time to get organised ...

Before I start - thank you to all those who came over and spied out my first post - it is lovely to see you all!!  I must mention the lovely lady who I now get all my felt from (I'm not nearly brave enough to make my own ..... yet!)  Check out - if you are a felt fancier you won't be disappointed (nor if you like buttons - why not try making your own, it is strangely addictive!)

Well now, at the end of the last post I was resting gently on my laurels, having finished all the birthday bunting for the summer babies and was wondering what I should do next.  I had some faint plans of getting some generic Christmas bunting sorted out for a Craft Market organised by St Michael's Hospice (where I can be found when not sewing).  So, in the middle of summer I was contemplating delving into the reds and greens at the bottom of the felt box when .....

One of the baby mum's was so pleased with her son's bunting that she wanted to order more for her friends - two names that were anagrams of each other - luckily one for a boy and one for a girl to save confusing my poor mind too much. 

 I love the colours of Arlo.  

The stripey ribbon on the 'r' really lifts the name.  Note to self, get more stripey ribbon!!!

 Butterflies and lots of flowers for Orla. 

I have to admit to cheating sometimes and using chipboard shapes as templates for the pictures.

And then word was out there - they may take little time between order and delivery (but then they are all hand cut, hand stitched and hand decorated) but the requests came in thick and fast and all ideas of getting ahead in making my Christmas bunting were banished (and quite rightly so in August!!!)

For boys bunting I felt the need to experiment with new designs - here an owl with a patterned cotton outer, felt tummy and big button eyes.  Later models had bugle bead claws.

Taking the record for the longest name so far - for a pretty little girl living in Belgium - simple requirements 'Pink and lots of butterflies' - with every letter having a different decoration.

 A bit of a departure here - this little boy lives in Scotland so I had a jolly time finding some red tartan ribbon to act as the binding - it looked rather jolly when finished!  I wonder whether more people would be happy for tartan .....
Emily in lovely purples and Emma all in pinks.

'M's take the longest to sew and only fit in the square with more luck than judgement!

 I love these rainbow designs - it took a bit of arguing (with myself mostly) as to what order the colours should appear.

Should I go with 'Red and Yellow and Pink and Green, Orange and Purple and Blue'

 Or use the actual colours of the rainbow?

Or, and just to really confuse myself, the way that colours mix together - Red to Yellow to Green to Blue to Purple to Red to Orange to Yellow (my personal favourite!)

In the end - it all depended on the number of letters in the name, the images on the end panels (not absolutely convinced about blue oak leaves - but you have to try these things).

Even my mother got in on the act - ordering bunting for her best friends grand-children, I think this Jemma is one of my all tim favourites - I love the dark pink felt under the cupcake. Sadly, my mother's friend did not live to see the second of her orders finished - very sad indeed!

Odd though it may sound, time spent sewing is soothing, forgetting the odd needle down the finger nail incident, after a long day at work, the trials and tribulations of small children to sit down with the sewing box (an old cardboard boot box!) is an anticipated treat, dare I say I even feel out of sorts if my sewing plans are thwarted! 

On that note - next time 'Things that are happy making!'


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Brave New World (?)

A recent introduction to Pinterest and the need to start pinning things to boards - I have decided to set this up!  I imagine that it will mostly be me writing for me (to help my sometimes errant memory) and to allow me to post pictures of the things I make - oh how narcissistic! 

Let's go back to where it all began - with a wish to send a new baby cousin something for her 1st birthday that no-one else would send, a gift that would be personal to the baby and, hopefully, kept for years to come.  So, having discovered a bag of felt, some buttons, ribbon, sequins and other such loveliness I made some personalised bunting for the baby's room. 

This bunting was so well received by my cousin that I made my little daughter some bunting for her first birthday too - which is still hanging across the sitting room mirror (what else are mirrors for if not for displaying lovely things!)

This then turned into a rather rash decision to make all the babies turning 1 in 2011 a set of their own bunting, which resulted in a rathe mad period of cutting, stitching, buying coloured buttons and generally having fun with a needle.  The end results were:

A is for Ava - with butterflies and a cupcake

Something a little different for little Georgia - coloured letters on white backgrounds - rather effective!

I is for Izzy - butterflies made a third appearance!

A green Jake with my favourite oak leaves, and a beaded heart

A nautical theme for Liam when I tried my hand at a boat (and balloons!!)

A rainbow for Luke with hearts and balloons

My longest bunting so far - and I allowed the oak leaves to pop up again!

And then came a plethora of Noah's - two born on the same ward!!!

A blue Noah with hearts and balloons

A golden yellow Noah with hearts and balloons (there appears to be a theme!)

And finally, a green Noah with - yes you guessed it!

These are such fun to make!  There are no patterns, no rules, no right and wrong - all of which suits me fine!  I can make it up as I go along - and it gives me a reason to buy buttons (can you be a buttonaholic?)

I love walking into friends houses and seeing the bunting hanging up - it is rewarding to see that the end product brings as much pleasure as the actual creating!  And - it wasn't long before the orders started coming in - but that's a story for the next post!