Friday, 31 August 2012

Preparing for a Handmade & Vintage Extravaganza

It's been a busy week or so, haven't really seen anyone, just been sewing and designing, oh and I did a bit of printing too! I have a stall at the Vintage & Handmade fair in Milton Keynes on 8-9th September to prepare for and I've really enjoyed making lots of one-off things. Although I really love the quantities selling online involves (and how it makes my handmade work a viable business) sometimes it's nice to have the freedom to make one-off pieces. So this week I have been making things in much smaller quantities that will only be available at fairs.

One such thing is my Weetabix Alpen cushion, made from a vintage Alpen tea towel, I really love this one, so it may not even make it to the fair!

If you are in the Milton Keynes area (or even if you're not) and you like Vintagey/Handmade Loveliness you should get down to the Shopping Centre MK next weekend, you won't be disappointed, if you do make it, come along and say hi, hope to see you there!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

New work space

I moved into my new workspace back in June but have been far too busy sewing and designing to write about it. I had every intention of writing a bit before the summer was out the last few days have started to feel this way, so before my thoughts are turning to cosifying and chutney making I am going to share a few pics.

A small selection of my buttons, these ones are organised into pretty colour co-ordinated Jamie Oliver jars that were pilfered from my sister's kitchen (thank you Juju)

A bit about my new space

Just to clarify when I say 'new work space', I haven't had anything built or moved into a studio (yet) I have just moved some room around at home and now taken over the dining room, I used to have a studio off-site that I worked in but having a toddler at home now it's more conducive so work from home.

We painted the new space a bright white to keep it clean and fresh and hopefully help me keep it tidy, I also didn't want to be influenced by the colour of the walls (sounds daft but it's true). It's a lovely bright room now, with a big roof light and doors to the balcony overlooking the garden, it's been really lovely working here over the last few weeks and it's going to be great watching the seasons change from my desk.

I'm also pleased to report I have only seen one very small mouse (those who have known me for a while, will remember I had a similar set up in my old house with my work space next to the patio doors, only to discover we had what can only be described as a colony of rats living in the garden!!!! We moved not long after this discovery).

I've had a bit of time to sort out some of my workspace to get it looking something like how I want it to look and function. I don't want it to be cluttered as that just stresses me when I have lots of orders to work on, it's needs to be clean, tidy and everything needs a home! Although I like the chaotic artistic look, I just can't live with it for very long if I need to be productive.

My Corner Stash

The footstool was from the Sue Ryder shop in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, it was a new item but still a bargain.

My pretty pen pot from A Most Marvellous Place to Shop in Northampton

Big Button Coaster, from SqaurePear Furniture at

That's all for now, I'll add some more as and when I get sorted. I'm also going to be having a huge de-stash of things that I no longer need or use, that are just taking up valuable space, so stay in touch to find out details. Enjoy your bank holiday!

Friday, 17 August 2012

A day screen printing

Over the last few months, I have been busy designing new products and am launching a new screen printed range. I love the screen printing technique, it's so fast and quite satisfying (when it goes according to plan) I have had a few mess up's, like blocking my entire screen when trying to print on an especially hot day, I just wasn't quick enough and the mesh all clogged up, total nightmare, had to strip the screen and start again. But that was a hard lesson, learnt the hard way!

I did quite a bit of printing yesterday, here's my set up in the studio:

I always mean to take some photo's when I am actually printing, but I'm a bit too scared to take any mid-print as I don't want to leave it too long and clog up my screen again (see I did learn a lesson).

Here are some of the products I have made that are now finished, I also have 6 more products that have been printed but not made up yet. I will also be selling some items as craft kits.

Big Button Pin Cushion 

Never loose your pincushion again with these super-sized button pin cushions, the perfect companion for your sewing project!

I Love Shopping Tote Bag

The first in a new range of printed bags, don't go shopping without one!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Bunting in a hurry!

A couple of weeks ago I got a message for a customer who wanted to order some cupcake bunting for a birthday, but it needed to be five metres long and say "Happy Birthday Katie" this is about four times the size of the usual personalised bunting I make, so I worked out how to amend my listing in my shop so that she could buy through not on the high and she placed the order that day.

I usually ask for 14 days to make the normal bunting, so to get this huge order done in the same time was going to be a challenge. I set about cutting out the triangles and bondwebbing fabrics to applique.

On day 8 I was enjoying a nice relaxing Friday night meal with my family with at the local pub when I got a message to say that the buyer had messaged me, it was a panicked message to say that they had just realised that they might not get the bunting in time for the Birthday suprise it was intended for on the Sunday. I had a slight panic and then decided that I didn't want to let anyone down, especially on their Birthday so I phoned the customer to reassure them and offered to stay up that night to get the bunting made and said I'd be happy to drive it to the place of the party on the Saturday morning so they would have it in plenty of time for Sunday, needless to say they were pretty pleased!!

Luckily it was the night of the Olympics opening ceremony so I had that to keep me company as I stayed up until 2am to get it finished.

I got up early on the Saturday morning and delivered it to Rose Narrow Boats near Rugby (about 30 miles from home) the party was going to be on a Narrowboat and my bunting was to decorate the boat, how lovely is that and what a great idea for a celebration?!

The customer was really pleased with the bunting and the service, I was super-pleased to see they left me some lovely feedback yesterday, so thought I'd share it with you:

"I cannot fault the service we received. Firstly I demanded a different length of bunting from that advertised and having emailed Lindsay, she immediately set up the new length. I then ran out of time and needed the bunting the next day for a 21st party. Lindsay was amazing and worked long hours to get the bunting finished and then delivered it personally to our venue the next day. I have never had such caring service. The bunting is beautiful. It is exquisitely made and worth every penny. Thank you so much."

Here are some snaps of the finished buntings.

It was really hard going staying up so late to get it all done, but I would have hated myself for letting anyone down. I'm delighted that I got it all made in time and the customer was so happy too :)

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Summer Bake

It's Saturday morning, I sitting at my desk with a list as long my arm. But I don't mind as I have had a very busy but productive week. There have been lots of play days with my 3 year old and the weather has been so kind this week, we have managed to get out every day and meet with friends to play outside and make the most of the holidays.

I have limited childcare in the holidays as I want don't want to miss out on this important part of our lives, the downside to this means I end up working every evening until my bedtime and of course Saturday mornings. But now that I'm in the full swing of things I am finding that actually it's working pretty well and my days feel completely fulfilled.

I had a lovely suprise yesterday when my good friend Quirky Boots  sent me a text message to say that my new carrier bag holders had been featured on the not on the high facebook page they are still there and have 115 likes!! So if you have a spare minute please take a look.

As it's the weekend I thought I would share with you a recipe that I made this week, it's an old favourite, it uses up the glut of tomatoes and courgettes that are available at this time of year. Whether you have grown your own or are taking advantage of the in season offers at the supermarket this dish is perfect accompaniment to a summer bbq or as a main dish with some nice crusty bread.

I made it in a big dish that I bought from a recent vintage fair for £1.00!!! Bargainous!

Courgette and Tomato Layer Bake

What you need:

2 x large (or four small) courgettes sliced thinly
2 x large (or 1 beef) tomatoes sliced thinly
1 x onion chopped or sliced
1 x red pepper chopped or sliced

olive oil (drizzle)
oregano and basil
garlic (crushed)

50g parmesan or any strong cheese (grated)
handful bread crumbs (optional)
What to do:
1. Fry the onion and pepper in some olive oil for 5-10mins until softened, over a gentle heat. After about 8 minutes add the garlic.

2. Put the fried ingredients in the bottom of the dish and layer the courgette and tomato slices in a round, following the edge of the dish. I had so many for this dish that I did two layers, it wokred fine, just needed a little extra cooking time.

3. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter with oregano and fresh basil.

4. Bake in a medium oven for about 30mins, once it all looks cooked cover the top with the cheese and breadcrumbs and bake for another 5 mins.

5. Tuck in!!