Friday, 30 July 2010

Nikki's Review Round Up Competition

At the end of June, Nicole Mallalieu - my favourite bag pattern designer - decided to hold a competition and I'm taking part!

Having made quite a few of her bag patterns over the last year (OK - virtually all the bags I've made have been her designs!), I decided I was in a good position to write some reviews of those patterns which is what the competition is all about.

All entries are now in and now it's time to vote...  if you like my bags, why not hop on over to Nikki's blog and vote.  I've got quite a few entries in there - the voting buttons are on the right hand side in grey and at the bottom of the blog post is a list with links to all the reviews / photos.  You only get one vote for the review / bag you like best.  Please note there is one entry from another Fiona - number 6: Fiona (WF) is NOT me - just to confuse things.

Of course, you're free to vote for someone else or not at all - I'll never know!!

My entries are listed below with links to older blog posts containing photos of the bags:

No. 2 - 150mm purse frame kit
No. 4 - 75mm purse frame kit  - the little coin purse in the main photo
No. 5 - Adult Hat
No. 8 - Baguette Bag
No. 9 - Chunky purse frame kit
No. 10 - City bag
No. 11 - Clutch bag
No. 13 - Day Bag
No. 19. - Mod Bag
No. 20 - Party purse
No. 24 - Squared flat bag

Thursday, 29 July 2010


200mm purse above .... I love this one

150mm purses ... very cute

My Creative Space

Lots of purses waiting to be finished .....

Grainy photo taken at with high ISO because we're in the middle of another thunderstorm and it's so very, very dark and foreboding.

I see craft glue in my immediate future!!  Not my favourite part of the process, but a necessary evil.  If my customer decides she doesn't like the large grey purse with red interior, I'll be keeping it.  I love the colour combination and - with the frame separating the two fabrics - it looks wonderful (I just did a dry run).

Still more purses to make next week.  I'm getting quicker at these - especially now I've twigged that my jean-a-ma-jig is perfect for that final side seam, sewing towards the bulk of all that fabric and batting!  Why did it take me so long to work that one out ...?

Don't answer that!!!

If you sew and you don't have one of these gizmos, it's one of the most useful (cheap) gadgets I've bought and is an essential part of my sewing kit along side my long-handled wooden spoon and a small block of post-its!!

Anyway with my heart in my mouth I sent an order of 8 bags / purses off to Brazil with A at the weekend.  I get really nervous about customer reactions, but apparently everything was loved and appreciated and the girls threatened some more orders.

Oh my!  Going to have to get organised!!

And some girls at work (my voluntary job) here are also interested.


This could become a full-time "hobby" soon.  Luckily A fixed the transformer before he left for Brazil, so I no longer have to lug the transformer from the coffee machine over to the dining table every time I want to sew.  Now, that's a relief - the thing weighs a tonne!

Guess I'd better get back to work!!  In the meantime pop over to Kirsty's blog and see what everyone else is making this week.

Friday, 23 July 2010

New Bag Pattern (well, for me!)

What a week!

On Tuesday I got my new specs and suddenly the world is back in focus!  It does make such a difference - I can thread the sewing machine needle quickly and complex patterns suddenly seem much easier!

So, I thought I'd tackle a new pattern.  It's a difficult one from my favourite bag designer, Nicole Mallalieu.

What do you think?

The weather is dark and stormy today, so getting a decent photo has been impossible.  I moved it right up to the window to try and get as much light as possible on the bag and I tried with flash but that really didn't look good!

New photo - gives a better idea of the bag shape.

Anyway, this is a large bag by my standards and is heading to a customer in Brazil on Sunday.  Hope she likes it!  I'm just going to have to find some fabric and make myself one when I've got some time.

I've also got some knitting on the go and some secret squirrel projects underway (well, Christmas is only 5 months off now!), so I've been really busy here.

What are you making this week?

Monday, 19 July 2010

Cracking Crochet & Other Things

Dare I say it .....?

I'm actually starting to enjoy crochet!!

So, I made the scarf - I cast on along the length of the scarf and then did a couple of rows of half-double followed by one of double crochet (I think that's half-treble and treble in British crochet lingo) repeated three times.  Hardly rocket science - but a huge step forward for me!!

This is going to be a Christmas present for someone who (luckily) doesn't read my blog.  And I may just make myself one with the remainder of this lovely silk-based yarn in case I can't let this one go easily.

What to crochet next? - I think I've got the bug!!

The only other thing I've made this week is another Day Bag for one of my customers - this time (thankfully) in a different fabric:

This next week I have some new patterns to test out  - always fun!  And I had a fabric delivery - some gorgeous Japanese prints, some of which are destined for Christmas presents, so you may not see them here for a while.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

My Creative Space

Doesn't look like much, does it?

I've been battling with crochet since I got a book in January.  I could crochet into spaces no problem - so, circles and squares are fine, but trying to crochet in rows - impossible.

It just wasn't happening.

After a quick lesson last week at a local yarn shop, I seem to have overcome the mental block with the base chain ... just need to work on the rest (keeping the same number of stitches per row would be nice!).  This might become a scarf one day, but I'm erring towards frogging this and starting again with the base chain running the length of the scarf instead of the width.  If  can crack that, then I'm ready for bigger projects.  

Kill or cure, perhaps?   Wish me luck!

Head on over to Kirsty's blog to see who is making what in blogland this week.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Last Week's Work and the Week Ahead

It doesn't look like much for a week's work, does it?  I did do some other things - you know all the usual household stuff, shopping and some voluntary work - but it does take a lot of time to make each item.  Well - it does for me!  

I had thought at the beginning of last week that my production line approach was going to speed things up a bit, but honestly it just seems to take the same amount of time in the long run, so this week I'm going to be slightly less ambitious and just cut out a couple of things at once.  I'm also waiting for some fabric and purse frames for some of my orders to arrive in the mail, so there's less pressure to get sewing this week.

Time to drool over my fabric stash (well - a fraction thereof at any rate):


I'm keen to make something in that lovely doggy fabric .. but I'm waiting for a new pattern to arrive for that one.  One order I can make up this week is a Day Bag in the blue and white swirly fabric and then I'll be diving into some of this fabric to make some secret projects (yep - Christmas present time again!)

Thursday, 8 July 2010

My Creative Space

... is just a little bit frantic.

Last Thursday I was mulling over what to make everyone for Christmas this year and thinking about ordering some bits and bobs to get a head start, when 13 orders popped into my inbox.


So I'm at different stages of making the first batch of bags / purses.  So far, so good.

I think.

Just waiting for a few bits on order to arrive in the mail to start the next lot.  In the meantime I need to get organised.

It's keeping me out of mischief and this unbelievable heat!

'My Creative Space' is organised by kootoyoo - why not take a peek to see what other crafty bloggers are up to today.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

A Domestic Goddess Moment

Every so often I get grabbed by a strong urge to make something in the kitchen.

It's a worry!

I'm not the most talented cook, but I've always loved baking - that was until my celiac diagnosis five years ago and my egg allergy completely spoilt some of my favourite meals (eggs benedict, anyone?) and rendered cake and bread-making an exercise in frustration rather than delight.

Sometimes though, an afternoon in the kitchen is just what I need.  Forget the fact that it's 36 degrees (yes, positive!) and still climbing outside and the aircon is struggling to keep the house even vaguely habitable; forget also the fact that I have more bag orders than I know what to do with - this afternoon I decided to slave over a hot stove.

I must be nuts, right?!

Or not:

Home-made lemon curd.  Yum!

Just before I left for Germany I discovered a source of duck eggs and tried one, not really sure if I'd be OK or not.  As luck would have it, not only did I not react to it, but it tasted wonderful - much richer than a hen's egg.

Since then I've been mulling over things I need to try out with duck eggs.  Eggs Benedict is high on the list (with a gluten-free muffin) closely followed by meringue, but I kept coming back to lemon curd.  So this afternoon I consulted my culinary goddesses, Delia and Nigella, and concocted not very scientifically a recipe for lemon curd using duck eggs (they're huge - makes it all guesswork!).  I've added the recipe to Tasty Kitchen if anyone wants to know how to make it.

Just waiting now for the official lemon curd taster to get home from work!  But I can confirm that when I scraped out the bowl (I wouldn't want to be accused of being wasteful!), it tasted pretty good!