Friday, 29 March 2013

Fabric-alicious Friday - Liberty Loveliness

I had a big old tidy-up in my sewing room the week before last and tried to organise my fabrics better.  I do have quite a lot of fabric, but I haven't yet reached the point where I have shelves laden with hundreds of evenly sized pieces, in colour co-ordinated piles like you see out there in Blogland...

From Sheree's Alchemy

Piecemeal Quilt's 8' x 4' bookcase

Lovely, but I wouldn't know where to start when choosing fabric for a project and Mr U-t-B would probably have kicked me out!

Anyway, I do have a teetering stack of ugly plastic trays that allow me to organise my smaller pieces of fabric into 'Vintage and Feedsack', 'Plain', 'Spots, Checks and Stripes', 'Pictorial' and 'Floral'.  

The Floral tray is the largest, and has three piles within - one of regular fat-quarters and remnants, one of retro prints, and then on top, my very favourite pile of Liberty Tana lawns.

I've talked often enough about my love of Liberty classic Tana lawns and how it all began with a 'Pepper' blouse I made when I lived in Paris for a year at the age of eighteen.

One of the things about Liberty fabrics is the beautiful surroundings in which you find yourself to look at the bolts of fabric.  My Parisian Liberty bolt-hole was the magical Galeries Lafayette...

...though I don't think they sell fabric any longer.

Of course, in London, I dearly love to head to its very birthplace and home...

But at £22 per metre, prices within these hallowed walls do reflect the loveliness of the surroundings so it is handy to know that you can buy from a huge range of Liberty designs either online or in person at 
Shaukat on the Brompton Road.  Prices range from £13 to about £16, a significant saving.  You won't necessarily find the print you want in the colourway of your choice...

Oh how I wish that Felicite in the lilac pink colourway was available!  You can, however, get it in purple.

But the selection is so large that you are bound to find something to tempt you.

Here are the ones I've had my eyes on recently.

But if you don't want fabric in whole metres, but lots of little pieces to select from, snip away at and piece together, I can highly recommend Very Berry Fabric, who you can find on Folksy.  The owner, Ali has a refined selection of fat-eighths, 'mini-singles' (9 x 12" pieces), patchwork packs and bundles, a perfect way to build up a lovely little stash.  

Very Berry Fabrics

When I ordered from Very Berry Fabrics, my mini-bundles arrived so quickly that I was able to get started on the project I had in mind the day after I had placed the order. 
(I hasten to add, I am not sponsored in any way on this blog, but when I get good service, I do think it's worth spreading the word!) 

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

What's on my bookshelf Wednesday (And what's not...)

You find all sorts of helpful things out there in Blogland.  

And last week, while reading Joanna's blog, I  realised that some books, no matter how highly recommended and lauded they are, are not for me, and that reading is not meant to be an endurance test.  So I gave up on Wolf Hall, about a third of the way through.  I'm not certain that I won't pick it up again and try to finish it, but in the meantime, I am reading this...

The front cover drew me in, and so far the writing is keeping me turning the pages.  Here's a little excerpt...

"All her life she had believed in something more, in the mystery that shape-shifted at the edge of her senses. It was the flutter of moth wings on glass and the promise of river nymphs in the dappled creek beds. It was the smell of oak trees on the summer evening she fell in love, and the way dawn threw itself across the cow pond and turned the water to light."

My bookshelf has also acquired another French embroidery book.

It's just a little tiny one, but has some sweet designs...


Bed linen


Definitely looking forward to doing some of these!

For now though, I have a big cushion-making job to do.  Did you spot the lovely fabric behind my books?
I'm going to use that for a couple of the many cushions I need to make. 

A big welcome to new followers - the number has been creeping up steadily recently.  I think I may be able to mark 150 soon - a giveaway perhaps?  Thank you also for all the lovely comments, especially about the things I've made recently.  I really do appreciate them!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Rag Bag Rescue - Babycord Shorts and Liberty Smock

If I'm honest this isn't exactly a Rag Bag Rescue in the same sense as the others I have done, as the only part of this that came from the charity shop is a triangle of felted cashmere no larger than an inch square!  

But the bottom half of this outfit is made with an item pulled from my very own 'rag bag',  the large Victorian trunk that sits in our attic room filled with larger pieces of fabric and old items of clothing that I can't bear to part with, all awaiting a transformation.

I love my trunk's original papered lid and the manufacturer's label

Something I had failed to part with, in spite of its ordinariness, was this navy baby cord skirt.  It's probably been languishing in the trunk for about twenty-five years - honestly!  But it had become so soft and comforting through all the washes it had in its life as a useful 'school' skirt that I was sure it would be useful - one day.  

The sellotaped hem a clear sign of days rushing out to work, with no time to pick up a needle to catch up the fallen hem!

The skirt was quickly deconstructed - waistband off, zip out...

Iron to prepare for pattern cutting...

Establish straight grain (easy with cord, otherwise use centre seams, in general) and cut pattern pieces...

A pair of bloomer-style shorts with front patch pockets were easily cut from the skirt, suitable for a two year old. 

 Then I found a length of Liberty Tana lawn that and made a smock to go with the shorts...

Front detail...

Back closure...

I edged the smock with some broderie anglaise salvaged from pyjamas I made when I was 18, but the pockets were missing something...

Ah!  That's better!  A little bunny peeping out...

Bunny's bottom is the bit of cashmere!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Easter is round the corner

Today I got round to putting up some Easter decorations.  I raided the contorted willow in our front garden, which was a bit of a struggle to do, as we had pruned it so severely a few months back there was very little to raid!

Some painted eggs, a whole load of mini-decorations that I got a few years back from Paperchase (they have similar ones this year, here), some wooden bunnies and lambs from Lidl and one of Miss Used-to-Bees' cast-off bunnies are all adorning the dining room table now.  

Shame my camera threw several hissy fits when I tried to get it to take snaps - it seemed to be exclaiming 'But where on earth do you want me to focus?'  So this is as good as it gets...

Earlier on, I had been out on one of those little rounds of errands, diving into various different shops and workplaces to tick all sorts of jobs off my 'To Do' list.  In amongst the errands, was a trip to the Post Office, to send off the last of the books I had piled up last week. (And a certain bunny - off to a new home for Easter!  Thanks Abby!)  

As I got out of the car, I found a sweet and rather forlorn little dog sniffing away at the side of the pavement, looking rather lost.  Having asked passers-by if she was theirs and received only a 'No',  I grabbed her and unscrewed her little identity tag.  Luckily, her address was on the adjacent road so I picked her up and found the number - in fact it was the corner house of the road we were parked on, actually right there where she was! 

I felt a bit of a numpty!

Maybe she wasn't lost after all, but she wasn't WITH anybody and she was close to the road, so I walked up to the front door and knocked.  Then the owner appeared from the garden, and told me that she is a regular escapee called Doris who can't see or hear very well and is frightened of his chickens, which were roaming happily in the garden!  

Anyway, I handed her over, a bit embarrassed and then went into the Post Office.  By the time I came out the nice gentleman was handing over a box of half-a-dozen still warm eggs as a thank you, to Mr U-t-B in the car.  How sweet!

Boiled eggs for tea!

Look at the lovely trug of Spring flowers my lovely sister gave me on Mothering Sunday!
Once they are finished indoors I will have to plant them out for next year - such pretty, frilly blooms!

Thanks for all the lovely comments on the bunnies and the Gladys Peto illustrations.  The bunnies are all gone now, but I did have fun making them!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

What's-on-my-Bookshelf Wednesday

Just recently, I acquired this lovely book...

I love Gladys Peto's illustrations!

Quintessential Art Deco styling...

Gladys Peto was a children's book illustrator and writer, an advertising illustrator and a fashion designer as well as a sometime travel writer and costume and theatre set designer.  Influenced by Aubrey Beardsley, she was a household name between the two World Wars.  

Her art work was used to create pretty Tuscan Ware sets...

...and if you ever come across one of her books of hankies, do try to buy it (they're worth a small fortune!)

Strange that she is now so little known...

I love the black and white illustrations.

I'm not sure what  a Boojum dog is (I will have to read the story, perhaps!) but I'm sure I'd like one!

This tale was penned by Gladys's husband.

This one makes me think of a Dr Who story...

But even better than the black-and-white are, of course, the colour plates!

Magical places

Homely places

Far away places

Mysterious places

I'm sure Gladys's beautiful books transported many a child on delightful adventures.

What books did you like to read, or gaze at, as a child?

PS Talking of books, I put six in the post yesterday.  I'm really sorry if the mice didn't pull your name out of the hat this time, but will be in touch with Jill, Briony and Penny when I finish my next batch  to see if they fancy any of those instead!  

Oh and Gill (with a G) - the mice DID pull your name but my attempts to find your email have failed, so if you leave me a comment with either your email or address, I won't publish it, but will get in touch!