Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Wedding fever part 2 - a woman's prerogative

Yes, every woman has the right to change her mind and this is exactly what I have done.

I got as far as sewing the exterior of my bag together and then wasn't sure. So I went back to the shop, found a fabric that was a slightly different colour, and some organza to cover it with and felt happier. Except now it was turning into a race against time. Pretty much like the one Keanu Reeves was facing in Speed…Yes, that serious.

So, after printing some fabric and then machine stitching over the top, I was ready to assemble my purse.
I printed the fabric with the same colours as my previous piece of fabric and then machine stitched around the design using free-motion stitching.

With hindsight, it probably wasn't the best time to embark on a new project and a new skill with so little time to go, but if you don't have the right bag, then things get desperate!

So everything was going well, I sewed all the pieces together, slot A went into Slot B. and then I went to fit the purse to the frame. First of all, I glued the frame, and then the fabric. And then I put the two together. I had no idea it would be so fiddley! And if that wasn't bad enough, it wouldn't fit. I was about 2cm short on one side. I finally realised that the pattern had printed as 'shrink to fit to page' and was now a little a little too snug.

After abandoning all hope, I went to bed and had a dream in the night about how I could fix it. I cut down the sides a bit to make them shorter, and hey presto, it finally fit. Who'd have thought my subconscious had the answers all the time? And where was it when I was weeping into my gluey little hands?

Anyway, all is well and to all intents and purposes, looks good! I have the necessary battle scars for next time to make it easier for myself. There has to be a next time as I bought two frames…

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Wedding Fever

I have a family wedding approaching. Looming really considering that I am without the mainstay of most women. A bag! I have bought my fabulous outfit - a Phase Eight Chateau Print dress and matching bolero (please don't let us have a freakish snow showers in April…). I have ordered shoes to match, have bought a small fascinator (no Princess Beatrice Pretzel for me), and yet, the perfect bag has failed to materialise. What's a girl to do? Make her own, methinks.

I bought some fabric Tic Tac by Kim Schaeffer for Andover Fabrics PATT3135, which was a close match but a little too peachy. I then rifled through my fabric paints and found a good mix - Stewart Gill Metamica in Amourosa and Rich Bronze.
Stewart Gill paints which I mixed together

Mixing the two together gave me a pinky-purple colour. I used a Crafter's Workshop 6"x6" template Capricious and stencilled a piece of the fabric.
I sprayed with craft mount to stabilize the stencil on the fabric
When the fabric had been painted all over, I left to dry and then the next day I heat set with the iron (no steam) for 5-10 mins (10 overall, but 5 mins for each section - I am very impatient and also, I won't be putting it in the washing machine.  It is merely insurance for the freakish snow storms...).

The colour is better on the top photo, although I would rather it had been so for the bottom - that's a MUCH better match for my dress.  Ah, c'est la vie.

After this, I used the Gathered Flowers Crafter's Workshop Template to stencil over some parts of the fabric. I didn't want to cover the swirls completely.  And after that, I gave it a glitter wash with Stewart Gill Galactica in Salmon (currently on sale at Rainbow Silks!  A bargain). It is very blingy and was very watery, but this was ideal for me, as I needed to cover the whole piece. 

I then covered the whole thing with a black chiffon scarf, to knock back some of the glitter and make it a little less peachy.  And it worked, pretty much.  It's a much better match with the dress.

So, now I have my fabric pretty much ready, all I need now is a bag to make it into. I have enlisted the help (unbeknownst to her) of Lisa Lam, the fantastic bag maker and owner of the wonderful U-Handbag (who, the last time I ordered from there, had also put a little pack of Haribos in there, which is enough to raise your respect of anyone).  She has a fantastic purse tutorial on her blog for straight and curved purse frames, so I took a little look on there.

U-handbag purse tutorial

This website is great.  You not only get free tutorials on there, but all the lovely bag making materials and tools you need to make them.

Having looked at the tutorial, I realised it wouldn't fit the frame I had (from Panduro Hobby).  In fact, on closer inspection of my frame after reading the tutorial, it is going to take a little extra brain power to fit the frame to a pattern, so I decided to have a look on U-Handbag and see what else I could see.  And in the end, I settle for the Baguette Clutch Purse Kit:


I downloaded it as the kits were out of stock. Luckily the purse frame wasn't, so I ordered that, downloaded my pattern and got started.  Hurrah!

And this is as far as I have got:

Looking fine I think.  Just needs a flower.  Which I think I have seen on a pattern for another bag so I might be a magpie and filch that.  When I dig that pattern out, I will acknowledge it.

Will leave it there, as need to be somewhere else 5 minutes ago...  Story of my life.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Sex and Sensibility part 3

I was watching the last part of this fabulous programme whilst doing the ironing. Child 2 appeared whilst some of Klimt's nudes were being shown on screen. "That's a lady's bottom", child 2 pointed out. "That's art", I corrected. "It's still a lady's bottom". Conversation endeth for today.

Only Smarties have the answer.

We were out and about last week and the children were suffering from chocolate withdrawals. Yes, a day after Easter, and the double-my-bodyweight quantity of chocolate awaiting them at home was not the right kind of chocolate.…sigh. So, in Tesco, child 1 asked for Smarties and we duly obliged. It was only upon closer inspection that we realised that it is the 75th anniversary, and to celebrate, they are printing Smartie tubes from the 70s! Just seeing the packet took me back to the nostalgia of that time - platform shoes, Clothkits, The Muppets. Hang on, that sounds familiar… anyway, just seeing a little bit of my childhood made me feel all sentimental. And not in the same way as when my mum brings round plastic bags of my old clothes/toys/exercise books/admonishments to the Tooth Fairy for dropping a tooth on her way out. It was more a feeling of warmth for a time when happiness was a trip to the Sweetie Shop for a packet of Smarties. Luckily said child didn't request a Retro Mars bar. I shall be forever plagued by guilt at having got my mum to do my science drawings for me and my Headmaster giving me 14p to buy a Mars Bar as he was so impressed. I don't remember handing over the 14p to her. Sorry Mum. I realise now what a thankless task motherhood can sometimes be.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Sex and Sensibility

We were watching a tv programme we had recorded recently, and saw an advert for Sex and Sensibility. No anything to do with Jane Austen-style hot flushes in the presence of dashing (rich) men, but rather a documentary and commentary of the Art Nouveau movement. The programme having passed me by when it was on, I managed to find it on the iPlayer where I found the first two episodes.

It was fascinating. I knew about some of the artists (particularly Rennie Mackintosh whom I love and went to Glasgow to tour around some of his finest moments) and buildings, but the history of the movement and historical background was pretty new to me. I also found Stephen Smith a very engaging presenter. He has a very dry sense of humour and delivery, and the smooth voice of Kevin McLeod, and I thought he made the whole story interesting without being dry. Particularly interesting were the segments about Rene Lalique and Emile Gallé. It was a fascinating programme and I'll definitely be watching the next episode.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Felt Hearts

I am in the middle of a little project, currently at the stage of work in progress. I saw a short tutorial on Pinterest of these felt hearts strung together and thought it would be an interesting diversion from all the other pressing engagements of my life (currently, it's school holidays so nothing is proving to press very hard). The general idea is that you cut 2 pieces of felt, sew along one short end, fold over and sew the other short end, thus creating a heart shape. Then you cut strips off and, voila, lots of hearts. If you cut two different sizes of felt, you can get big and small hearts. I did yellow hearts this way, but found that two thicknesses of thick felt produced quite uneven cutting lines for my hearts. So with the orange hearts, I cut pieces beforehand (both widths were 1 1/4" and the length of the larger was 6 1/2", the shorter 4").

I also jazzed up the orange felt with a bit of printing with a stamp. It was from a set called Ironworks from Prima Marketing that I got from That's Crafty Online. In the sale as well - bargain! I used Sherrill Kahn Sorbet Lemon and when that got a bit low, I switched to a Dulux Tester Pot in Lemon Pie which wasn't as clear, but did the trick. The emulsion paint went on the inside so it's not as noticeable.

I used 3 thicknesses of Perle and zig-zag stitched them together to create a cord, and then started to string them together. I haven't quite finished yet, as it's turning out to be longer than the Nile, but I will try and print a picture of it in-situ when finished.

The only trouble I had yesterday was when washing the stamps. Due to its close proximity, I used the bathroom sink to wash my stamp, brayer, hands, face (it's easy to get carried away with the sheer delight of being messy) and later on was on the doghouse for leaving traces of paint in the sink. I did explain that it's preferable to trailing everything downstairs (probably) dripping as I go, but I have now been banned from the convenience of upstairs rinsing out. So when we have Mixed Media stairs, he'll only have himself to blame.…