Friday, 28 December 2012

Coasting along

I've kept busy since the Christmas orders were finished. I made a tote bag with a zip closure for a friend. She ordered it at the last Craft Fair. She wanted it in the pretty batik fabric with large gold butterflies on it. I tried a different way of inserting a top closure zipper, the one from Lisa Lam's latest book, A Bag for All Reasons. I'm not sure about this method; it looked all right but the closed end of the zipper stood up rather a lot. I didn't take a photo of it, though.

I also made a tote bag for my nephew's wife. It was her daughter who received a tote bag as a wedding present and Tracy wanted one as well. The fabric is from the same range, Safari Nights, but with a different design on it. I included a small zippered purse attached to a hook. Here it is:

I receive a newsletter from Sleeping Bear Crafts and for Christmas they added a free downloadable PDF pattern for Criss-Cross Coasters. The method was different to any I had seen before so I gave one a try in some Christmas fabric I had. I was hooked! I made another five so that I had a new set of six Christmas coasters. In fact, I enjoy making them so much that I have made a set of six as a birthday present for a friend of mine. The patchwork-like effect is achieved simply by folding squares of fabric and lying them on top of each other. They are really quick and easy to make.

Sorry about the flashback but it is so dull outside that I had to use the flash on my camera.

Happy New Year to everyone! Keep crafting!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

A look back at 2012

This is the time of year when, traditionally, one looks back on the year that's flown past and picks out some highlights. As this blog is about life in general, as well as sewing in particular, I've looked at some photographs and thought I would share a few with you. Today is also our 45th wedding anniversary but I'm not going back that far! Looking forward, on the other hand, is rather scary: in five years' time it will be our Golden Wedding! Arghhh - I don't feel that old - yet!

We spent the first few months of 2012 looking forward to our trip to Italy with Sean, Allison, Emily and Alex, our son and his family from Durban, South Africa. We enjoyed a wonderful two weeks there, with special family times and experiences of Italian rural culture. Here is my favourite photograph of Emily and Alex taken there:

We then prepared for a visit from my sister-in-law, Pam, who lives in Johannesburg. She came to the UK for our great-niece's wedding in September. Ian was privileged to take part in the marriage ceremony of Meg Jenkins and Chris Matthews; it was also a grand family reunion for many of us. Here is a photo of Ian and me taken after the ceremony; his magnificent stole was hand-painted by Pam.

We brought Pam home with us and she spent about three weeks here. She had to fit in with our daily lives, which meant she had plenty of time to do needlework, read, meditate and do some art while I slept after doing night shift. We did manage to show her around our corner of East Yorkshire and here is a photo of Pam and Ian with the North Sea in the background.

Then came the shock when our son, Charles, daughter-in-law, Sharon, and lovely grandchildren, Tarryn and Angus, packed up home and moved to Bahrain at the end of October! We came here to be a support to them at the beginning of 2002; I didn't think that would include helping them pack up their home to move halfway across the world nearly eleven years later! I don't have photographs of all of them on this computer but here is one of Angus just before they left; he is now twelve but was nine months old when they came to the UK. He is now a handsome young fellow! The gorgeous Tarryn is rather camera shy, though.

Now we feel rather bereft and somewhat like aging orphans. But life goes on: Ian continues with his share of the ministry in the church in this Deanery of South Holderness and, of course, enjoys playing golf twice a week, weather permitting. I continue caring for elderly people where I work in the care home and then ... there's my sewing, need I say? So, to end, here is a photo of my table at the Craft Fair in St Andrew's in Paull.

I thank God for His continued grace and mercy shown to us, our good health, our home, family (even though they are far away) and friends. To whoever might read this, may you know God's love and peace this Christmas and His grace and mercy in the coming year. Thank you for taking time to look at my blog! XX

Friday, 7 December 2012

French connection

This is why I love making bags! Today I completed an order for a bag for someone who loves going to France and all things French. I am really pleased with the way it has turned out.

The fabric is French toile, which I bought from Love Fabrics; it is manufactured in France and was sent to me from France. Because of the rural designs on the fabric I fussy cut it but, fortunately, didn't have to waste any. The fabric has a linen look and feel so I interfaced it with light iron-on interfacing before working with it as I was a fraid it would fray. I think that has given the bag the extra body it needed and it looks really neat. I used Thermolan as the bag interfacing.

Inside there are two slip pockets and a key/purse hook. I also fussy cut and  made a zippered coin purse. This is what the bag looks like:

This is the front with a tab closure with magnetic snap. And this is the back:

I just love this fabric! Don't you just love it when things come together as planned?

Monday, 3 December 2012

After the Fair is over...

The Craft Fairs have come and gone. Interestingly, I made exactly the same amount of money at each of the Fairs where I had a table. I didn't sell very many bags but two of the Kindle covers sold and I received an order for a bag in the same fabric as one that was on sale but it is to have longer handles that go over the shoulder and a top zip closure. I have some orders to make up before Christmas so that will keep me going and bring in a bit of money but I'm feeling rather unimpressed with sewing for Craft Fairs; it is so difficult to know what people are going to buy.

There was somebody with a table near mine who was selling quilted cushion covers (on cushion inners) and shopping bags. Her bags were very basic denim shoppers imbellished with a few flowers; they were not lined, had no inner pockets etc and were a fraction of the price of my bags. She sold about four of them. It seems that tote bags made with pretty fabric, magnetic snap closures, inner pockets and key fobs are not so appealing. (A description of my bags.) What do people want??

Anyway, here are photos of my tables at the Craft Fairs:

Why is it that one never has everything you need for a project? I have to go and buy a couple of zips and some threads in order to get on with my orders. It does mean that I can go and have coffee at my favourite coffee house!