Thursday, 3 March 2016

Happy Shopping

Long before the advent of the 5p plastic bag charge I started making Happy Shopper bags out of beautiful barkcloth and vintage cottons. 

I made my first one six years ago now and then sent it off to it's delighted new owner. Many more bags have been sent hither and thither over the years. 

A couple of months ago I fired up my machine to start making Happy Shoppers again.  I was thrilled to hear from a lady in Australia who wanted to buy another one to add to her first which is still going strong and being adored. It was wonderful as a maker to know that something I've made and sold is still used and loved. Handmade goods have a part of the maker in them. A lot of love and thought goes into the making of each item, so it's unavoidable. To know they bring a bit of sunshine to someone else is a very good thing to hear. 

The hardest part of making these bags has been adding to my stash to ensure I've got a steady supply of beautiful fabrics to use. 

How awful it is searching markets and online for beautiful fabrics. Ah well, someone has to do it don't they!

The other very difficult bit is sharing it, but that's why I buy a lot of what I do. I choose fabrics that catch my eye that I know I will love working with and that will be loved by their new owners when they become a new thing.

Our new home is up and running so I've commandeered the dining room as my workspace. 
At present I'm between jobs and suddenly Bobo Bun is coming back to life as a small business once more. Rather than completely planning it, it just happened to me once I think all the business of the past year or so had been boxed away. I have lots of plans and am busy beavering away on all sorts of things. All the same I think I shall have to find a part-time teaching job eventually, but for now I'm trying to use my time to make what I love work for me. 

Working from home means I'm also here if my man stops by with a delivery for me. Funny that I was working on red rose fabric at the same time. Serendipity.

Once I've cut and stitched together the main bag, there's the serious business of choosing the perfect spotty lining and stitching together my labels.

I love each part of making these bags as I'm surrounded daily in a sea of colour and textile history.

I've even been adding to my vintage towelling collection so I can offer some Happy Shoppers in these too. After all they're not just for shopping, but for days out, taking crafty things and work stuff here and there too.

Alongside the Happy Shoppers that I make and sell through instagram, I've also received a few commissions for  bags in favoured fabrics. 
This one was for a surprise gift which I duly posted off. 
I was really pleased to hear this morning that it is loved.

Another favourite fabric has been this gorgeous mustard cut from a beautiful 1950's bedspread. I've made a fair few bags from it and now and only have the frilled edging left to play with.

Each scrap always get used up somehow or other mind you. 

I've had a few requests to sell the scraps from my making. This morning the talented Pompombelle (instagram) let me know she had finished creating another beautiful creature of hers. Seaside Sally wears a skirt and hat adorned with one of the fabric scraps she bought from me. 

Isn't it wonderful how we are keeping all these beautiful throws, curtains, bedspreads and fabrics alive by re-using them to bring colourful splashes to our everyday. 
Boy I do love vintage fabric.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

This 'n That

Well it's certainly been a colourful few weeks here. Full of lovely people, flowers, fabric and interesting places to visit.

A friend and I met for lunch at a stunning cafe by the sea called Margo's. 
It was a real feast for the eyes and we managed a good old chin wag and giggle too.

Even the toilet was a real treat. Some can be real hell holes, but this was one to linger in

I only wish it was on my doorstep as I'd be visiting far too often.

Another lunch with another friend followed by a flea market mooch turned up the perfect bookcase. I'd been needing one for a while, so I was thrilled to find this old wheeled library trolley. 

Come Spring and licks of paint will be going on this and lots of other furniture needing a freshen up.

There's been chilly strolls by the coast with my love. As well as a flying visit to London to sort out a passport.

He's been filling my world with flowers, which I can tell you is very appreciated indeed. 
A single rose delivered as I cut out rosy barkcloth for the Happy Shopper bags I've been back making again. More of them in my next post.

On another quick trip out to get more lining fabrics for my bags I made sure I walked that little bit further to visit a favourite shop of mine, Junk & Gems. Just the window alone makes me stop a while to enjoy the visual pleasures.

I came away with a few fabric treats, as well as this little angel who plays Silent Night and flickers her candle.

In between general life stuff I've been faffing our home to get it just as we like it. I think it's nearly there. Just need the pictures and shelves up and we're cooking with gas.

I've started on the new lampshades to make sure I have more of my favourite fabrics on show.

Found the ideal spot for dingy dangly hangings 

and even found the perfect rug to cheer up the sitting room. Please excuse the eldest teen's non-verbal communication. 

The rest of the month has been filled with fabric finds. 

A huge amount was found and some left too as I ran out of money at Little Vintage Lover Fair on Valentines day. A perfectly perfect day by the sea chatting, being with my love and oohing and aahing   at beautiful things followed by a lovely evening. Life certainly has moved on. 

Monday, 25 January 2016

And suddenly it just came back again

Just after Christmas the urge to make things came back big time. 
The very opposite to having to give an addiction up, I was waiting for my creative addiction to come back again. 

And it has.

I'm so thrilled. My mum is thrilled. My girls are thrilled. My best mate is thrilled. My man is thrilled. 
It's a big part of me and it just got lost in all the debris of the past year. I wondered if I'd ever feel the desire to make anything again. 

For my first stitchery treat I whipped up an Arielle skirt by Tilly and the Buttons in a dark denim.
This is such a fabulous pattern. Great to make up and even better to wear. It hugs right up into the waistline and for an extra bit of sass I moved the buttons over to give a tighter wiggle.
I've worn it lots and lots and also made another one in black and a patterned red and blue one too.

If you've been tempted by this pattern then I'd say definitely give it a whirl as you won't be disappointed. 

As my dress size has dropped this year too, dresses I made before had been relegated to the not being worn pile. I got onto this problem a couple of weeks ago with one of my favourites, my Townie dress. A few alterations later and it was soon back in action again.

Then there's another Tilly and the Buttons pattern which I bought yonks back and have finally made up. 

For the Orla top I chose a Tania Whelan red hearts fabric that I've had  in the stash for a while. 

Now this was a joy to stitch up too. Even those curved front darts, which give a flattering shape once you get them to fit just so.

The best part about this pattern though is the beautiful snowdrop collar. 
To be truthful I don't like the shorter sleeve style. Might just be that it doesn't suit me, who knows? All the same I re-drafted those to a shape that I prefer. 

There it is then, the finished article being worn on our one and only chilly snowy day in Norfolk. Being a sensible kind of lady I made sure I wore my vest too to keep any risk of chills off my chest.

Last week I was busy stitching a new Mr Bobo Bun. My man's birthday was looming and I wanted him to have a little fellow of his own. 

The wee mouse that I'd bought to turn into a brooch climbed up on to his shoulder and refused to budge. How could I separate them? Two new friends that went off to their new home together and much loved from the off.

My stitching pile already has a man's shirt waiting for finishing flourishes and another Orla which needs fitting adjustments.

Then there's the Happy Shoppers I've started making again, all cut out on Friday to sell.

My minds racing ahead to the next few projects too. 
So yes, I think most definitely I'm back in the making saddle once more and enjoying it thoroughly.

And I always make sure I have a rest now and again with cake and hot choccy too. 

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Big Girl Socks

2015 has nearly run its course. In two days this blog will have been occupying its little space in the blogosphere for seven years.

Those seven years have seen a lot of events unfold. None more so than this last year when I learnt that letting go can be empowering. Once I accepted each of the things I had to lose with grace, the new life looming ahead looked more exciting. It hasn't been as easy for my girls obviously. They chose none of this, but I've done my best to support them through this new life. Maybe I've got it wrong at times, but I've always been there with my love for them.

I could say it's been a hell of year.  It's certainly been an emotionally turbulent year, a year full of changes and yet as I look back over it I know it's also been a year of enormous growth and wonderful memories too.

Death and re-birth have been so central to this year. 
The death of my marriage and now the re-birth of my first love from my teens. 
A wonderful man and we've found each other again.

From the dreadful news of Vanessa's death before last Christmas to the wonderful community that came together to make a blanket and raise money in her name. For nearly six months that project kept me focused just as my world fell around my ears. I fought on to keep as much of a hold on it as I could for my daughters sake. And I know I have succeeded. 

In the middle of all of this my job ended. Funding was cut and I was left feeling redundant professionally and personally. My creative heart left me. I know it's still in there shouting to be released again. And it will be I know that. It has to. What I did know was that I was good at being a mother.

I sold our family home and eventually found us a new lovely home to make our own. Moving here has been a wonderful thing. We're in the heart of the city, life is all around. I love it. I do miss our country life, but we have gained new things. 

I've had such amazing support from family, friends new and old and the blogging and instagram community. Jane of Flaming Stitch, who made me a Chin Up Bravery Medal said the other day "Your strength in pulling up your big girl socks and soldiering on has been inspiring".  Well I'm keeping my socks firmly pulled up and the only way is forward.

So with that in mind, here's a bit about what we've been up to lately.

We've had a first ever Christmas as a three and it's been wonderful. In the summer I felt sick every time I thought of Christmas. Probably because the last was marked by the world I knew tumbling apart and I was trying to hide it from my daughters for as long as possible.

Now I think how silly to dread it when we have made such lovely memories and done things our way, our new way.

I started to feel festive for the first time when my good friend Cat and I spent a day chatting and christmas bits and bobs shopping. 

When I got home the sparkly Christmas tree brooch I'd bought from Donna Flower was waiting for me. I've pretty much worn it every day since. 

Living so close to the city we pop in and out as we wish. There's something so utterly magical about a city dressed in its Christmas lights.

Our home is just about sorted as a proper home now as we had the delivery of two beautiful new sofas. Our new neighbour and new friend had our velvet sofa to make room for this pair. We were a pair of weeds and so enlisted the help of the strong man from the corner Barbershop to help us shift it from one home to another. 

The girls have also been getting very creative with my hair. This is definitely a staying in type of do.

Just before the end of the school term I went on a long walk by the coast with my first love. We'd been talking and meeting up for a few months and on this day we knew our love for each other was still there, stronger even.

We found the most idyllic clifftop cafe where we were welcomed by Alfie the dog and a cosy woodturner before we headed back over the headland.

Later that week I started to get busy with wrapping gifts and decorating our two trees. We decided as we were going smaller then two, one for the sitting room and one for the dining room, were needed.

Once the girls broke up I had another interview for a job, but sadly no luck there either. 
I cheered myself on the way back by getting the red brogues I'd been lusting after for months.

A naughty buy that I've worn every day since.

The end of that week was emotionally turbulent, but fabulous also.
We had friends in and out of the house, evenings laughing with a lot of fizzy stuff and food. 

That weekend my old/new love brought me a dozen white roses and one yellow picked from the market early that morning. Picked carefully for eternal love and friendship to mark the start of us again.

Before we knew it Christmas eve was upon us and preparations were in full swing. Well slow swing as we decided to just go with the flow. Our supper was shared with my mum and a great friend and then we all started to get just a little bit excited knowing Santa was about.

I'm so happy that the girls enjoyed their Christmas. I wanted to make them memories to build on and give them strength. I believe we're getting there you know.

Now I'm a year older too as a birthday was passed on the 29th. Afternoon Tea with my girls, a quick G & T with my love and then the end of the pier Christmas show with family and friends. 

Life is looking good, there's still a few challenges to face, but life is about growth so I'm your woman to take on the new, here I come 2016.