A Christmas stocking for Ivo…

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I’ve just finished sewing in the lining on this latest Christmas stocking…this one is all ready to send off to Norway to a little boy called Ivo.  (I made him a quilt earlier in the year)  Last year I made stockings for both his sisters, and then he was born this Spring.

 

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I’m really pleased with this one….I try not to make anything anymore that I don’t like making (I just don’t see the point) but these stockings really do have a big place in my heart….I never fail to smile when I’ve finished them, and love to play with them, filling them out toys and gifts to see how they’re going to look come Christmas morning. (gosh, can you imagine how disappointed you’d be to find one of these lovelies at the bottom of the bed, then only to find a piece of coal at the bottom.)

Now this one is finished I’m busy sewing up some smaller ones ready to take to Clutter City this Saturday at Norwich Art’s Centre….

While I’m sewing those I might possibly make some hot chocolate and pop in one of my favourite Christmas films, the excellent and dark Rare Exports….if you’ve not seen it you are in for a real treat.  It’s a Finnish film and is a bit scary (so not really suitable for children) …but oh my goodness, it’s so fantastic.  I’m completely in love with the little boy in it (Onni Tommila) he’s brilliant and just has the most beautiful face.

 

Spring posy giveaway…….

Once again I’m in a mad panic,  busy sewing and crocheting, trying to get things finished and pack everything all ready to take to the Post Winter Fair at Clutter City which is on Saturday 15th March.

 

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In between making brooch samples for the best commission ever, I’m playing around with some new colours and ideas in my work.  (Basically getting very distracted by finding a new bag of old tapestry wool that was hidden at the back of a cupboard)

Gazing out of my window there are signs of Spring everywhere, and looking down at my work table I can see what I’m sewing has been influenced by what is happening out in the garden, and in the lane behind our home.  Walking to the local shops I’m seeing tiny clusters of the most beautiful and intense smelling violets.

 

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Tiny blossoms, little posies, fat bees……scents and sounds of Spring make me feel like a sleeping bulb, waking and stretching, responding to the warmer weather.  This is what I try to imagine when I am doing my morning exercises…. sewing and crocheting all day means I have exceptionally toned and trim fingers… sadly it cannot be said of the rest of me!!

 

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In just over a week it is the first official day of Spring, though it seems to arrived truly early here this year, and at the end of March in the UK it’s Mother’s Day,  to celebrate these events I’m doing my second blog giveaway.

 

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For the chance to win a spring posy brooch either for yourself or for someone you love, please leave a comment below saying what you love about Spring or you can just say Hi!

This give-away closes on 16th March, and I will announce the winner on Monday March 17th.

This give-away is open to anyone, so please do feel free to leave a comment xx

This give-away is now closed

Little bird, little bird

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I’m in the middle of sewing and crocheting, embroidering and quilting all ready for the Clutter City Post Winter Fair on March 17th.

 

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Along with some new items that I’ve been busy working on since Christmas, I’ve also been sewing and embroidering some old favourites.

 

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This is like a little strip-tease….. you can start whistling the stripper music any time you please…..

I really don’t like a lot of unnecessary packaging and when I do use it, I try to source recycled and acid free papers where I can…. however I do appreciate that there is something delightful in the act of carefully un-wrapping a present…..

 

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These little bird brooches are about 3 inches long and are completely hand sewn from pure wool felt.  They are filled with a pinch of sheep’s fleece so they have fat tummy tumkins.

They are lovely for spring weddings, as a gift or to wear.  Originally I was commissioned to make a white brooch by a lady (whose name I now can’t find…I’m so sorry) who wanted a little gift for her daughter to take on her honeymoon.

 

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Each nest is a little different in colour and size.  I really wanted to make some packaging that you would want to keep and not just throw away in the bin.   I was inspired to fill the nest with felt confetti after seeing a small birds nest at Norwich castle.  It had been found in the eaves of a church porch and the birds had used soft tissue confetti as lining for the nest.

 

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The birds are available in other colours, and for the non-wedding brooches I fill the nests with green leaves for Spring and Summer, and an Autumn range of yellow,orange and red.  I’m planning to put some of these into my Folksy shop after the weekend.

More little stockings…..

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I’ve just finished sewing a few more little Christmas stockings ready to take to Clutter City tomorrow.   These are all hand embroidered using vintage tapestry wool.

 

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I think the above stocking is probably my favourite.

Using Quality Street sweeties as props for the other stockings was a big mistake as I ended up eating them all while re-setting the camera…they were very nice though…

The Colourful World of Sasha

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Continuing my posts about some of my favourite artists and crafts people, I really must mention my friend Sasha who makes the most amazing and colourful toys.

Over the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to collect quite a few of her kitty and bunny toys, in fact one of our sofas is full of them.

Sasha makes all of these by hand using materials and fabrics, notions and trimmings that she has sourced from over a lifetime of foraging at flea markets and brocantes,  carbooty-ing and antique shop rummaging (indeed she is often referred to by me as Queen of the Carboots).

The big cat in the above picture is called Pandora and she is one of my favourites.

 

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This is Tabitha, she was my first Sasha doll so holds a special place in my heart, she is wearing some lovely hand knitted pieces which are “vintagey”, a specially made skirt from some of the nicest Sanderson’s fabric ever, and around her neck is a jaunty little scarf a-la Isadora Duncan.

She’s made from a beautiful vintage fake fur fabric which I’m guessing was originally for swanky teddy bears and the like.  And her face is carefully embroidered with vintage silks and sewing threads.  She’s not a very smiley kitty, personally I like her rather sad expression, I like to think of it as thoughtful.

 

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And this velvety beauty is called Mildred.  She’s long and willowy like a super-model.  And is wearing the most fabulous and incredibly delicate vintage dress, along with a sensible hand knitted cardigan.

I love how Sasha dresses her dolls, and I’d be more than happy to wear some of these creations myself…in fact if I had a dress like Mildred’s I’d wear it all the time…

 

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This “fabulous vintage” dressed bunny is one of my other favourites, I love her antiquey embroidered ears and that  fur coat….so classy with the silk rose on her lapel.  She’s also wearing a beautiful crocheted top and a patchwork skirt and is holding a tiny genuine 1950s hand sewn felt toy.  She makes me think of Miss Hannigan from Annie for some reason…

 

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As well as making toys, Sasha also makes the most brightly decorated Christmas decorations you are likely to see, her Christmas trees are some of my favourite pieces.

 

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A couple of years ago she made these lovely Jingle Bell decorations from vintage tablecloths which had been heavily hand embroidered and further embellished with vintage trimmings.

She also makes beautiful puffy cloud mobiles which are festooned with brightly coloured ribbons which would look wonderfully cheery in a child’s bedroom or nursery.

 

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Sasha’s toys are incredibly unique with a wonderful vintage aesthetic.  Each toy is carefully sewn, embroidered and then dressed, often in authentically vintage doll clothes, so no two are ever going to look the same.  Each one is a true individual.

The above little kitties each came in their own highly embellished Christmas Stockings with crochet and vintage pearl beading sewn on them .  Less is more is not a phrase in Sasha’s world.

She also waves her magic wand of colour over old toy beds, transforming them into the  sort of items you would have loved to find under a Christmas tree when you were small… and to be honest, some of us ladies of a certain age would still very much clap their hands with older girl glee to come downstairs and find one of them.  You can see some on this pinterest board.

 

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And even Bernard is a fan, here he is with one of her earlier creations, we like to say she is Bernard’s girlfriend.

Sasha doesn’t sell on-line so if you want to buy some of her amazing work then you will need to pop down to Norwich Arts Centre this weekend for the Clutter City Christmas weekend fair, where you’ll find her Saturday and Sunday with the most brightest and colourful stall, which will be filled to the brim with fantastic, handmade toys, baskets of black velvet kitties, buntings and decorations.

These really are wonderful pieces and would be sure to delight children and grown up ladies this Christmas.

And yesterday’s Christmas Stocking giveaway is still open , it closes 7pm UK time on Sunday 15th December.

Bunnies and lavender

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It was a flurry of activity yesterday as I started sewing items for September’s Clutter City.

Clutter City is a local craft show held every few months at The Arts Centre in the fine city of Norwich.

I was busy sewing little bunny faces out of wool felt all ready for a new batch of children’s clothes hangers.

 

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I really enjoy working small, these little poppets are about 4 cm wide by 5 1/2 cm tall and are filled with just a small amount of wool fleece so they feel soft and slightly squishy.  The little pink spots of colour at the bottom of the picture are the bunnies cheeks, these are made using a hole punch and each cheek is sewn on with 6 or 7 teeny tiny stitches.

 

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The hangers are made from vintage wool blankets which sometimes I then dye if I can’t find a particular colour.    The red hanger is a fantastic orangey red, and the pink one is a real raspberry pink.  They each have wool felt “carrots” hand sewn either side of the bunny.  Finally they are filled with Lavender.  I’ve already got some for sale in my Folksy shop.

 

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They look really sweet hanging up behind a door or on a wall hook displaying a pretty dress or a fancy pair of dungarees.

My little sewing studio now smells of lavender which is really nice.