Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Bloomers!

In the last month or so, I've embarked on a new (ish) adventure...dress making.  Well, baby dress making that is.  

And as a result I had a request from someone to make a dress and a pair of bloomers.  You know the type that go over a baby's nappy, and co-ordinate ever so cutely and perfectly with the dress.  Well I was up for the challenge, and this is what I came up with.


I think the Wee Wander fabric adds to their cuteness, I just love this little deer that looks you right in the eye.  

And here are the ruffles on the bottom ;-)  


They worked out just fine, but there's definitely a few things I'd do differently next time...it was a learning curve!  

So now I'm mid dress making and looking forward to sharing it with you soon. 

By the way, this is one of my favourite fabric lines of all time, and in case you didn't see it before, here's the cushion I made using it last year.  



It's too cute! 

Sarah x 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

'Dusty' inspired Planes Cushion

When you look at my 'Dusty' cushion, you will either instantly 'get' what it's all about, or, you'll have absolutely no idea.  



So for those who don't know, Dusty is the main character from Disney's Planes, and is loved and adored world over by anyone 6 and under. (Ok,and adults too!) My children are crazy about him. 



So with my son's pending 3rd birthday coming up, I knew I wanted to make him something 'Planes' inspired.  And when I opened up the 'Planes' CD so that we could listen to the soundtrack in the car, there was my inspiration right there.  



The image on the front is of the Jolly Wrenches Insignia, which Dusty has branded onto his side, during the first film.  I made myself a template and appliqued it on using a zig zag stich, onto a lightly quilted background.  I can't remember if it's Kona Coal or Charcoal, but it's a lovely shade of grey.  And isn't that just the perfect shade of Aurifil thread! 

For the back I used my friend Chris' Hidden Zipper Tutorial and as you can see it worked a treat. 


It's the first time I've put a zip in a cushion and it was no trouble. I think the style is better suited to this cushion than my usual hand made buttons.  More streamlined I think!  

As well as William's name, I also appliqu├ęd the shape of the Planes motif at the bottom as a final but subtle nod to the film. 

I'm so pleased with this cushion, as it's themed but not in a really obvious way.  My son may have had a glimpse of it already, but he will have to wait until the big day till it's his ;-)

Sarah x

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Book Review - Craft a Creative Business by Fiona Pullen

When I heard, over a year ago now that Fiona Pullen of The Sewing Directory was going to be writing a business book, I knew from the start that it would be detailed, comprehensive and packed full of useful information.  I wasn’t wrong! 



Craft a Creative business is essential reading for anyone with a craft business or anyone thinking about or taking that giant leap from crafting as a hobby, to turning it into a part or full time job.    


The book is divided into six colour coded chapters; Where do I Start? Legal Matters, Presentation, Social Media, Selling Online and Selling Offline and includes extensive web links at the end of each chapter; activities and space to make your own notes and reflections.  It’s not the type of book to sit pristinely on the shelf, but to become more of a working document; annotated with your own ideas, plans and jottings.  Clever! 



Where do I Start? Covers the pros and cons of self-employment and how to make a small business work.  It talks about the importance of identifying your target market, creating your USP, (unique selling point) writing a business plan and costing your products. 

Legal Matters – Fiona tackles this somewhat daunting topic clearly and concisely and includes information on regulations, tax and the law, health and safety, copyright, insurance.  There are many web links included so that you can access the latest up to date information. 

Presentation – In this chapter there is a wealth of advice, hints and tips on presenting your business, from choosing the right colours, to branding and a strapline.  Fiona also shares useful insights into how she branded Craft a Creative Business.  There’s an extensive section on visual marketing and photography - and the importance of getting it right!



Social Media – For many, this subject is a minefield.  With so many social media platforms available, it can be daunting to know where to begin.  Fiona details the main social media sites and the pros and cons of each, some very useful do’s, (and don’ts!) when posting on line and there’s a detailed section on how to set up a Facebook, Twitter, Blog and Pinterest account. 


Selling Online – This chapter discusses how to sell on line and the different ways in which you can do it.  As well as highlighting legal implications, it covers where and how to sell, payment options, SEO strategy (search engine optimisation) and there’s a detailed guide of considerations when building your own website.

Selling Offline – If you’re planning on selling off line, then there’s lots of useful tips and do’s and don’ts on how to sell at craft fairs, galleries and shops.  There’s also advice on how to get featured offline, such as in magazines and newspapers and how to promote yourself and network offline too. 


As you can see, there’s a lot in this book!  I think the thing I like about it best is it’s really reader friendly, and as you read you feel you get to know Fiona.  She does this by including lots of relevant personal examples of her own experiences of setting up a business.  She is frank, honest and realistic!  Although throughout the book are case studies of small businesses, which really brings the book to life, and proves that people really do set up successful creative businesses.  With activities to complete in each chapter and the space to write notes, this really is so much more than a book – it’s a manual that you will refer to time and time again. 

Sarah x

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Glancing back, leaping forward...welcome 2015!

It's that time again.  Time to reflect on the year that's past before blindly leaping into the year ahead. I'm pleased to say that overall, 2014 was a good one for me.

There were so many highlights, it's hard to know where to start.  It was my first year of teaching, not only at at The Harbour Gallery in Jersey, The City Quilter in New York (it was wonderful to meet Chris at last) and MyBearpaw in Edinburgh too. My goodness what happy memories I have of those times and all the wonderful ladies I met.  

The Fat Quarterly Retreat was also fabulous and it was wonderful to catch up again with fellow quilters at the Stitch Gathering in September.   I've nearly finished the quilt I made with Thomas Knauer!  



I also had a fabulous time here in Jersey with some wonderful textile artists.


Not to mention taking a 2 day class with award winning Phillipa Naylor, who shared her secrets of FMQ.  What an inspiration she was.


And I met the wonderful Strip Bee ladies, and we swapped our beautiful quilts in the sunshine of Jen's back garden.  It was so much fun, I just wish we could have been together for longer.  






And so to my year's makes in pictures.

Starting with quilts.  Not so many, but each special in it's own way.


Then there was lots of bunting and cushions...


And then I got a little bit obsessed with making mini's,  zipper pouches and sitting in front of the tv stitching pretty embroideries.


I know there's more makes than I can find photos for, but I think it's fair to say it was a productive year.  2015 certainly has a lot to live up to!   But no fear, I'm hatching plans, hatching plans...I can't wait to see what it brings.

Thank you so much for stopping by,

Sarah x

Linking up with:

  Fresh Sewing Day

Thursday, 11 December 2014

An Apple for My (Daughter's) Teacher

So it's that time of year again; everyone's feeling festive and the mood in school is lightening as work winds down and they start having some fun!  

My daughter's in year 1, and she's worked incredibly hard this year, and come on so much, even since September.  And it's all due to her wonderful teacher Mrs L.  So what better way to express my thanks than to create a little hand made gift.  As soon as I saw the apple fabric I knew it had to be for her!  



I love that green fabric to, that I refer to as my 'pear' fabric.  What better a match than pears to go with the teacher's apples!  

I'm really looking forward to my daughter giving this notebook to Mrs L.  Teachers do such a great job, and hopefully they know how much they are appreciated. 

Sarah x

Linking up with:

Needle and Thread Thursday



Tuesday, 18 November 2014

A Christmas Cushion

I'm struggling to keep up with blog posts for the things I've made recently, so here's a little cushion that I made a few weeks back, ready for our home when the festive season is upon us!  



I just love the background fabric and knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted to make a snowflake cushion.  It was lovely to use a combination of techniques too; machine applique, machine quilting for the background, and some hand quilted detail.  I had forgotten how much I enjoy hand quilting!  

It was lovely to make something for the family, and I look forward to getting this cushion out every winter, hopefully for many years to come.  

Thank you so much for stopping by,

Sarah x

Linking up with:

Fresh Poppy Design


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Autumn 2014

It's that time of year again, the Blogger's Quilt Festival 2014!

So if you are new to my blog, firstly, welcome, and secondly, I hope you enjoy listening to the story behind my entry.  


I made this quilt for my daughter's 5th  Birthday.  She adores Hello Kitty, and I knew that I wanted to make her a quilt for her birthday, so a Hello Kitty quilt was perfect.  I got the original inspiration from a cross stitch pattern, and it didn't take me long to blow it up and turn it into a pattern for a quilt. 


That's when I realised there were 720 squares!  I wanted the quilt to have a real 'pixel' effect, so I didn't cut corners, I cut and sewed back together even the white background squares instead of using strips...that did seem a little crazy!


I'm not one to use solids a lot in my work and so this was a real departure from the norm for me.  And with so many white areas, I really wanted the quilting to add texture and depth to the quilt.  So I matchstick quilted it, which took what seemed like forever, but hopefully you will agree was worth it.  


I also included a new technique that I wanted to try; piping around the binding. This is something that I had seen done by my quilting icon, Philippa Naylor.



I think it's a really lovely detail, that I will most certainly be using again.

So here is 'Hello Kitty' basking in the sun in our garden back in the summer.  


I do hope you like her as much as I enjoyed bringing her to life!

Quilt Stats:

Pattern:  Hello Kitty Cross Stitch Chart
Size: Approx 50" x 60"
Fabric: Kona Coal, White, Azalea, Carnation
Backing: Kate Spain
Thread: Aurifil
Quilting: 1/2 inch horizontal straight line quilting
Pieced and Quilted by: Me

Thank you so much for stopping by,

Sarah x

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