Thursday, 29 December 2011

Tis the season to be jolly

Merry Christmas everyone!  Hope you've all had a lovely time and that you're still enjoying the festivities.  Christmas here was fairly quiet and lovely, with plenty of cooking, films and family.  In order to claim the dining table back my sewing machine and fabrics have been temporarily moved upstairs, but it hasn't stopped me planning my next projects....

A few weeks ago my great uncle sent me a couple of his old suits.  The quality of them is amazing - heavy wool fabric tailored beautifully.  As he no longer has any need for the suits he wondered if I could re-purpose the fabric - I think I may have actually squealed when my mum showed me!  I'm hoping here will be enough fabric to make a couple of skirts for work - I never normally wear skirts but I'm not sure why and I think it's about time for a change!  Unfortunately there isn't enough fabric to use the pattern I had in mind, but I just need to find (or draft) another pattern and then I can get on with sewing.  I know the fabric will be a dream to sew!

I also found a few minutes to do a little on-line fabric shopping - well I had to cure my textile withdrawal somehow!  Fat Quarter Shop had some fab offers on during the run up to Christmas, and I managed to pick up a design roll of Tula Pink's Prince Charming at half price.  I possibly shouldn't be quite so excited, but I've admired this range for ages and this is the first time I've bought fabric like this just for me!  I plan to make a quilt with it to live on my sofa, for anyone to have a lovely snuggle under it when they fancy, and no doubt for Alfie to claim as his own and to have little naps on.  We've watched a lot of films over Christmas and, despite there always being a fleece blanket in the living room, my daughter keeps dragging her bright blue sleeping bag downstairs to make herself cosy on the sofa.  I'm hoping that making a lovely quilt out of gorgeous fabric will render the need for me to keep carrying the sleeping bag back upstairs!  I've never made a quilt larger than a cot size before, but it's something I've wanted to do for a really long time. 

Which leads me to my final 'to do' project for the new year....

This quilt along will be another first for me; I think that may be a theme for 2012...I have piles of fabric sitting around, and I think I'll want this quilt to be as scrappy as possible so I'm going to try to be very inclusive of the fabrics I'm using and not get drawn into worrying about how it's going to come together. you fancy joining the Bust Yo Scraps quilt along?

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Leeds, Leeds and a bit more Leeds

Last week was a really busy one, both at home and work, not least because I needed to fit three 70ish mile trips to Leeds in.  My daugher came with me on the first trip, and we managed to fit in some shopping, although our grand illusions of getting all the Christmas shopping done were completely shattered!  We called into the Corn Exchange where I found the (hopefully) perfect present for my boyfriend, Huw, who is incredibly difficult to buy for, and got to watch the artists at work in the centre space.  We also discovered the Blue Rinse Vintage shop, which we both loved.

Four days later I headed back, on the train this time, to attend a regional meeting for work. Missing my train in a high drama, slow motion-esque style was not the best start to the day and I wasn't thrilled at having to risk hyerthemia waiting around for an hour.  The ticket collector on the next train was so happy, singing Christmas carols as he checked tickets and cheering everyone up.  I couldn't help smiling when I noticed the little Christmas tree stamp he'd used on my ticket - how cute!  The meeting was held in the Shine Business Centre - a gorgeous old building coversion which showcases the work of local artists as well as providing conference and meeting rooms.

The final trip was with Huw to a Christmas Party that I'd been really looking forward to.  Much like last year, it was a fab evening spent with lovely people, gorgeous food, dubious dancing and waaay too much alcohol.  Anyone who know's me knows I'm not a drinker, in fact the last time I'd got a bit squiffy was at the same party 12 months earlier, so it wasn't a great surprise to wake up the next moring feeling a little delicate.  Still, we managed to fit in a trip to Ikea on the way home, even if it was with noticeably little patience or enthusiam (both of us) and a minor meltdown when the foody shop had no Dime bars (yeah, that was me).  I picked up some fabric for a special project - the photo really doesn't do it justice!
The rest of the week, when not working, was spent trying to finish off Christmas presents.  I'd decided to make a few pressie's this year for my friends children but had been so busy first getting ready for the December fayre...and then making items that had been ordered, that I hadn't had chance to make them.  Cue a few very late nights and a lot of sanity questioning...but hey presto, they're finally finished!  I made little personalised aprons, and we'll give them with small wooden utensils, sets of cookie cutters and children's cook books.  I've put press studs on the bottom of the aprons, so that they can be made different lengths as the girlies get older, and used velcro on the neck strap for safety.  The main fabric is the Ikea pink and red spot cotton, and I found the ice cream fabric which I used for the trim in my local quilting shop. 

 Again the photo doesn't do them any favours - I really must work on taking some better photos, but at this time of the year it's too dark both before I leave for work and once I'm back home.

Well with Christmas only a few days away, the rest of the week at work and a couple of gifts still to make, I really better get on! x

Monday, 12 December 2011

Fayre's, Stocking and Buttons....

Love Alfie finally went public last Sunday, with a stall at a local craft fayre. I had no idea what to expect as it was the first time I've ever been on the sellers side of the table, and it's fair to say there were plenty of last minute nerves. My lovely daughter came with me though and helped me to set my stall up, she's a star, and we had a really good day.  It was so nice to chat with the other crafters and to get positive feedback from people.  A BIG thank you to everyone who came along to offer support!

I've been really busy since the fayre - both personalising the stockings and apron sets that had been ordered and making some secret presents to send over to my gorgeous nieces in New Zealand- I just hope they arrive they arrive in time to be opened at Christmas!  Alfie helped me to make this stocking for his best friend Proffy - an adorable black lab puppy.
And finally...check these out - aren't they beautiful!  Its hard to tell from the photos but they're actually wooden and I adore the tiny, bright flowers on them.  They were a present from my lovely friend Kate!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Welcome to Love Alfie x

So here goes my very first post after a long time of thinking about starting a blog but not quite getting round to it.  The truth is Alfie was supposed to be doing this, what with being the inspiration for Love Alfie and everything.  I was nagging him to get on with it earlier this week, and he was coming out with the usual 'I'm worried about chipping a nail when I type', 'It will seriously impact on my nap time' and 'I'm not sure you can afford my blogging services'.  After failing to successfully negotiate Schmako payments I decided I best just get on with typing myself.....

I guess I should tell you a bit about myself. I'm Fi;  I've always had a love of fabrics and an unhealthy obsession with buttons.  My mum's a craft genius and I grew up watching her in awe as she effortlessly whipped up pretty much anything and everything on her sewing machine.  12 years ago (my god, is it seriously that long!) I graduated from university after studying Textiles and Clothing but, unable to commit to the long hours of working in the textile industry, my skills were put on the back burner.  I've wanted to get back into the whole textile 'thing' for ages, but if I'm truthful I've lacked the confidence to do anything about it.However, I've recently been given a kick up the bum by enough people to start getting focused on designing and creating.  These bum-kickers know who they and they've all been uber supportive - thanks peeps!  I'm hoping to get an Etsy shop set up soon, and I'm doing my very first craft fair tomorrow (eeek) where I'll be selling things like these little baking sets...

So where does Alfie come into this….
Just after Christmas in 2005 I visited a rescue centre and found my little Alfie.  He was very scared and incredibly sad, and I immediately fell in love!  By the beginning of the New Year he'd moved and he's had everyone wrapped around his (not so) little paw ever since.  Alfie loves it when I get my sewing machine out - it seems to make him extra sleepy, and he loves 'helping' with anything you're trying to do, so it seems perfect for Love Alfie to be named after him.