Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Stash Bustin Messenger Bag

In the interests of stash-bustin I made this bag for my son from some denim fabric I bought at a market several years ago and from the beach fabric I wrote about in an earlier post. I cut and appliqued some of the fish and a shark from the beach fabric and used bondaweb and stitching to attach them to the front flap. There are also two little fish on the back of the bag.
I lined it with the beach fabric and lined the strap as well with the beach fabric so there are glimpses of colours as you use the bag. I really enjoyed the construction of this bag and working out how to fit it all together. The denim got really tough to sew through on bits like the straps as it is thick material in just one layer, let alone three, and I had to finish off the sewing by hand as it was a bit too much for my poor old sewing machine.

I had thought initially about making bags from the beach fabric by itself but I am glad I stopped and thought a bit, did some sketches and decided to do it this way as I think it is always good to try something a bit different. I do tend to rush into new projects and I am trying to alter that way of working, taking a bit more time to think things through and sketch first. Making this has reminded me a lot of when I was about 17 and used to make lots of bags on my mum's sewing machine. AAAhhhh, nostalgia.
My son has requested several times that I use the rest of this beach fabric for a duvet cover so what can I do but oblige??

Thursday, 18 February 2010

A den and gloomy day

It is half term holiday here so while I have been working on my Stashbustin' honest, but have been distracted and out and about, walking in the woods, building a den under the dining table. The den used a large piece of camoflauge cotton fabric , so it is stash bustin in a way (with parcel tape not thread!) but it is too dark here to today to photograph. (It's snowing again this afternoon) The camo fabric came to me via Freecycle and is kind of awful if you are thinking of sewing clothes but it is fab if you have an almost seven year old boy!
I enjoyed reading Zoe's post this week . I agree that it is liberating to give up buying mass produced clothes and to stop shopping so much. We are such a consumer driven society where shopping is one of our top leisure activities and it seems to me that there is something in the zeitgeist in blogland rejecting this right now. (Love that word, zeitgeist!) I have been thinking a lot about how we as a family seem to have so much stuff - since becoming parents, Mr Minnado have been amazed by how much stuff our kids get given. When T was a baby I can remember all his toys fitted in to one carrier bag - now our house is awash with toys, and yet compared to some houses we go to we don't have AS MUCH STUFF! I try and give a few things away every now and then, but still things keep coming. My family tend to give one present to each child for a birthday but my in laws like to give a big sackful - this has led to tension in the past and we have T's 7th birthday coming up soon....just to add to my rant he won the school raffle top prize at Christmas and I was torn between being pleased for him and being appalled at it. It was a huge basket filled with toys, sweets, one book and a dvd. There was more there that I would give him at Christmas myself! I couldn't understand why they didn't giveout 8 or 12 prizes to different children rather than have one child win the lot. There were some lovely things in it - his favourite being an aquabead craft set and a remote control car! But it just highlighted to me how out of touch I seem to be with other parents who think this is okay. We did divide the basket up infact , as there were several pink girly things that went to a couple of friends with girls. T gave his sister the cuddly toy and they have both used the craft sets.
Anyway, I have managed to put half a dozen pieces of clothes on Ebay this week, and filled a bag for the charity shop. And am workign on several stash bustin projects...need to stop typing and get sewing to finish!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

oh dear

I have become one of those strange women who carry scissors in their handbag - no, not as a weapon but so I can cut down and collect things that inteest me while I drive down country lanes to school. I love the silhouette of these cow parsley seed heads that grow in the hedgerows and successfully cut some down a few days ago. My first attempt to just pick them without scissors was pathetic and I nearly fell in a ditch. Not so good on the way to school. I have been drawing them and their spidery-ness with my lovely Rotoring pen. I have to keep this pen hidden unless both kids are asleep as nothing is sacred and I know my eldest in particular would love to get his mitts on it. But he presses really hard with pens and would doubtless break it. Look, here is an initial scribble drawing, apologies for poor photography, my scanner is broken.

I have been starting my stash bustin - been drawing out plans for beach bags, and little child dresses, but am so tired after another 4am start courtesy of my daughter....I am just off for a nap with her now.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Stash bustin' - some random thoughts

I added Zoe's button to my side bar for Stash bustin' then caught stomach flu and was unable to get to write my reasons for being interested in this project. I stumbled across Zoe's blog on sewing a couple of months ago. I like the way her sense of humour and character comes across through her sewing posts and of course she makes some fab clothes! I was attracted initially to the Stash bustin as I like many others am trying to cut back on spending, trying to buy more second hand goods and also I am addicted to having clear outs and getting rid of stuff. I do not have a sewing room and have to store my things where ever I can!

I am also aware of my mental list of sewing projects and the fabric waiting to be used. I do also have a bag of small bits of fabric saved from sewing projects that I usually use in applique - in this instance I LOVE having a stash. It has saved me from many a trip to buy fabric for small projects such as cushions or bags. I love the smug feeling of making something without having to go and buy any extra materials! During the recent snow I was able to make the pointy cat from Wee wonderfuls as described in an earlier post entirely from my small scraps stash. Lots of those scraps come from my mum whose stash of fabric is amazing - over 30 years of collecting there! I will have to take some pics next time I visit.

Anyway, after reading about the stash bustin' I crawled under my bed and pulled out a plastic box - one of a pair I may add! Looking through some of the fabric I can see patterns emerging (in my behaviour, not the fabric). I don't think I spend lots of money on fabric and I don't often visit fabric shops - the nearest decent ones are 15 miles away in another town which for me and my toddler necessitates a Planned Outing. The fabrics are either a "Bargain", a Gift or bought for a project and awaiting their use. The green and orange in the photo here were bought to make a bag my son has designed. The Ikea bird fabric I bought to make some new cushions - though I was temporarily sidetracked by the thought of making into a skirt. Do other people do this I wonder? I visualise almost all fabrics I like initially as skirts.

The Amy Butler fabric here I bought when at the Quilts UK at the NEC last summer and I fully intend to make a dress/tunic from it to wear this summer. It is on my list....

Some of the other fabrics I pulled out seem to have a common theme of being a bargain find in a charity shop or remnant bin - I love a bargain, and I love buying second hand. BUT, the seaside fabric? It is a big piece of fabric and this is just one bit. It is a good quality furnishing fabric found in my local charity shop.

I am not even sure I like it....I am toying with idea of putting it on Ebay.. I thought about making beach bags with it or towelling lined swimming bags for birthday presents for evey child I know....but well, life is short, time is precious and when you have two young children, a partner, a house to rebuild (yep, with my bare hands), then I think I will prioritise, keep the fabric I like for the projects I really want to do and get rid of stuff I don't particularly like.

PS: There's another stash I have to confess to... I need to photograph it first though. It involves vintage lace. I will confess all soon.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Birds on a sunday

I made these birds from a kit sent to me by Sarah of ruffle top fame - she is one of those people with a knack of giving great presents. They are by the wonderful illustrator Alice Melvin and are from the Tate shop. They were very quick and easy to make. They are supposed to be strung into a mobile but I have hung them on my "tree" for now which hangs on our living room wall. I rescued this branch when several large trees were chopped down at the end of our road ( all cos of the imminent superstore!). At Christmas we hang little wooden ornaments on it. The birds create great shadows at night.
I am recovering from stomach flu - my daughter had it first and bounced back after three days. I feel very out of it in regard to blogging, emails etc and also with making.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Thrifty 365 and January

January's finds...ikea red and pink duvet and pillow cases (£4) to cut up for sewing fabric, two teacups and saucers (50p per pair). The basket is one I bought last year in a charity shop and currently has to travel every where with Little I, stuffed full of toys. (I just wanted to show what we cannot leave the house without.)
Also bought in January:
2 1960s dresses £ 2 each , they are pretty big but can be resized, (pics soon)
1 pair jeans £3, (I have worn these a lot)
2 wooden cd racks for kids' bedrooms £1 each (I put all the cds in them. they take them out...the pattern continues)
Chess set for T, £3 (A great thing to teach a 7 year old, seriously)
1 Sindy doll, 95p

I felt at the end of the month as if I had bought lots in charity shops and at a nearly new sale but that list is not so big.

After a year of not buying new RTW clothes I thought I would try and summarise and think about what I have learned. I don't get tempted often by new clothes, but the things that have tempted me are mainly jeans....sales such as Howies when I am sorely tempted to buy a pair of their jeans. Or the People Tree sale also is a temptation especially for their dresses, and jersey t shirts. The other temptation is when a friend shows me their new purchases and sometimes I just feel a twinge of "must rush out and buy something new too" but it is a much fainter twinge than it was twelve months ago! And it is a misplaced emotion when I want to buy something new just because a friend has...what is that all about? Thinking about it after a friend had visited a couple of weeks ago, she showed me her new jeans and was describing a dress she had bought in the sales. I think the thing I was actually envious about was the fact she had gone out with a friend and no children and had that free time to wander round, maybe have a coffee.

As I try to move to a wardrobe that consists mostly of clothes I have made I have also been jettisoning other RTW clothes. Working on a one in, one out principal, over the past year, I sold some of my old clothes on ebay and donated lots to the charity shop. I looked at my ebay history yesterday and counted that I sold 13 pieces of my clothing on there in 2010. To me it seems that I must have had a lot of clothes. I like the idea of selling my things on eabay and using that money to fund my sewing as this creates a closed circle of activity in my mind.

I think that last year in only buying second hand clothing I did go a bit overboard and bought too much second hand clothing. I have to say I do like the feeling of buying myself a new-to-me item of clothing and the idea that I have got a bargain.

Some of those 13 items sold on ebay were mistakes bought from the charity shop. Sometimes I think I buy for the person I used to be before two kids and body changes. And I am still in the process of working out what shape I am, and what suits me. I guess a £3 mistake is better than a £30 one. I am not going to beat myself up about my buying too much over the last year but I am trying to reign myself in, even if it seems like a bargain I need to slow down and think.
I thought that joining in with Sarah's Thrifty 365 challenge would be a good way to consolidate what I was already doing and to carry on in a more cohesive way, plus she has cute blog buttons. Sarah is a creative powerhouse, how does she manage to do all the projects on her blog? I don't know.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Noah in a truck

I noticed this morning that Noah has left the ark, Mrs Noah and animals behind and moved onto a more uptodate form of transport, though he is currently stuck in a traffic jam in the multi story carpark.

Amy butler tunic in grey

I have been toying with the idea of making the Amy Butler "Anna" tunic in a plain fabric for a while - since I made it last summer in a print really. I used some wool mix suiting fabric from ebay and lined it in bright pink which you can just see. I added two front pockets but I can see now they are slightly skew-iff - I am going to try wearing it for now and if the wonkyness drive me mad I will alter them. (But I suspect I won't)
I found it quite tricky working in a plain fabric as I felt that any little mistakes or wobbly bits would be more visible.
I am looking forward to wearing this over a longsleeve t shirt. It is part way to the idea of a daily uniform which I am keen on - I do like these tunic style tops/ dresses. I cannot wear it yet however as my Little One is ill and I am waiting till she stops being sick before wearing a new top! The painting visible here is one of a pair my son did when aged three. A Polish friend of mine when first visiting my house thought they may be my paintings and was Very Polite about them. I felt this tunic is what you might wear in an art gallery, looking intelligent and perhaps accessorised with an Interesting Art Teacher Necklace?