Monday, 27 June 2011

Another brilliant bloke

I love those 'happen chance' moments; you know when you're thinking you need to find a solution to a problem and the very next moment the problem is solved by the world presenting the answer there and then...

I need some bags for my stall (should the minor miracle occur that someone wants to buy something); I was on my bike, daydreaming about this very matter and as I looked up there was Gardners staring at me.

It is a most brilliant and excellent shop, run by the most brilliant and excellent Paul, who is charming, helpful and has a million squillion bags to choose from.

Gardners Bag Merchant

Gardners Bag Merchant

Gardners Bag Merchant

There is an excellent article on Spitalfields Life about our Paul, read it and marvel. He and his family have had the shop for 4 generations and he is just about surviving the regeneration of the local area. Rents have sky rocketed since it got all chi-chi around the market so we must all go and buy bags from Paul. Because when you can buy BRILLIANT black and white candy stripe paper bags for literally pennies from a man who holds respect for his customers in higher regard than profit, then that can only be good thing.

You can find Paul at 149 Commercial Street, London E1 6BJ.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

This week's casualties

Why is it that everything starts to run out at the same time? Doing so much sewing has taken its toll on my thread stash and I started lobbing the empty spools into a basket. By the end of the weekend sesh I had got through more than I thought and I noticed how they look when empty; lovely shapes and colours and textures. So I thought they deserved a nice photo of their very own.

This week's casualties

And then I noticed that the purses I've been making look a little like basking sharks as the glue dried on the frames; their mouths gulping for air...

Basking purses

I've not made much time for noticing things recently what with the keep-the-head-down-grindstone action, so it was good to look for a moment or two.

Incidentally I happened upon a new sewing equation: (glue + frames + fine fabrics) x (me + lager shandies) = one helluva mess. May this be a lesson to all, drinking lager whilst gluing frames will end in tears. And with glue on the fine fabrics. And glue on the frames also.

Head over to Our Creative Spaces for lovely stuff.

Friday, 17 June 2011

When the inside is better than the outside

In the material The Magnificent Mum gave me a little while back, there was a whole bunch of heavy cottons - stripes and what have you. Just bits and pieces, offcuts, wonky shapes, a nice little collection. So I pieced them together to make into tote bags for my stall and with no overlocker I needed to zig zag all the edges. It was when it came to pressing them that I realised I loved the insides with the raggedy edges and zig zaggy bits and stray threads somewhat more than the ordered outsides. I'm tempted to make some 'inside out' versions, but I wonder if anyone else would love them like I do? Hmm....

Sometimes the insides are better than the outsides

Sunday, 12 June 2011

My lovely dress

I went to the most wonderful civil partnership ceremony yesterday at the most beautiful location. It was one of those weddings where everything was just brilliant - the couple are totally perfect for each other and utterly charming, the guests all mingled and were bang up for it, the speeches were hilarious and warm, and there was plenty of the most excellent food, vino and entertainment. We had a fabulous time. And I wore my fabulous dress from Davina Hawthorne. She is awesome because: 1) She is incredibly talented, 2) She made my dress in record time and 3) She also sent me off-cuts so I could make a clutch bag to match.


I felt like a lady for the first time in a long time. Man, that sun was bright. I was squinting all day :-) Happy times with happy people. B-rilliant. Must remember to frock up more often.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

My creative space is getting ready

I have a few weeks until my first stall and things are hotting up. Most of my patterns and prototypes are ready and I've started to get organised. Doing multiples of one pattern has such a different vibe to making a single piece from start to finish. It sort of de-personalises each product a bit, but I also find it strangely therapeutic to do the same seam over and over, and the same bit of pressing, and then a different seam over and over. And before you know it, you're making progress! Lots to do, and I haven't even started to think about how to dress the stall yet. If any of you lovelies have some good tips for a first timer then, please help :-). A cracking list of things to remember over at Handmadeology was shared by Kt from Thisel and Bean, and I've found some groups on Flickr...

But in the meantime some hot off the press sneaky peeks. Lots of cutting out:

Lots of cutting out

A little bit of appliqué with some saucy minxes:

A saucy minx

A saucy minx

A saucy minx

Some very "now right now" colour blocking:

Colour blocking

And some fabric combos that still need a bit of work methinks:

Hmm fabric choices not quite right yet

Lots of creative goodness over at Our Creative Spaces.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Something ticked off the list...

...but may it be a lesson to me about what happens when you rush things. I spent ages looking for a label supplier; so long my eyes were bleeding and I was despairing of ever finding anything that looked classy but wasn't going to stop me from feeding my family. I eventually found a company that seemed to fit the bill and their samples were great. Got some deadlines you see (The Cally Fest on 3 July amongst others) and needed to get on it.

So I supplied artwork, and they sent artwork back to me saying, "We've done jiggling about... blah blah etc etc... is this correct..?" (or thereabouts) and I took all of a nanosecond to look at it and replied, "Yeah! Ace! Brill! Get cracking!" Which they did.

A gigantic box of labels

They arrived today and whilst the quality is excellent, I've realised that the text is way too large within the area of the label.

They look small on something as gigantic as The Man Quilt:

Label on quilt

But look a bit, er, gigantic on something as small as a purse:

Label in purse

And I've got 1000 of 'em. They're cool and everything, but crickey. Lesson learnt: Slow down a bit Jo Simmons.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

The Magnificent Mum's idea of a scrap... completely different to mine. "Darling, why don't you pop up to see me overnight?" she said. "I have a few scraps you might want and really I need you to look through them to make sure you like them."

A few scraps. This picture represents half of it.

A "few" scraps

I call it trebling my stash. Thus, I have lugged them home in a massive suitcase nearly breaking my arm in the process. I now have lots of upholstery weights and dupion and batiks, and African prints and vintage Liberty (good lord, how I got out of the house with those I don't know) and denims and tweeds and all sorts of goodness. I am one very lucky lady. Thanks Mum, you rock.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The Cally Fest

I live in a very "vibrant" area in North London. I've lived here pretty much all my life; I know all the ins and outs and what have yous and the where nots to go after certain hours and so on. It's a giddy mix of million pound houses on one street and council estates on the next. Can you guess which is my flat?!

Can you tell which flat is mine?

Anyhoo, I stumbled across The Cally Fest via The Make Lounge. It's a day to close off a section of Caledonian Road, make merry and celebrate the regeneration of the area.

(Loving the branding) There is going to be music and arts and crafts, food and fashion, stuff for kids to do, stalls, street art, workshops and all sorts. I'm very excited about it, because I feel very strongly that our area is a good place to live and I'm looking forward to meeting more people from the surrounding community. And the lovely Anya from The Cally Fest team has informed me that I've been allocated a stall!

This will be my very first outing with my products so I am beyond excited. I really must get my skates on now and get cutting and sewing and cutting and sewing...