Modflowers

What I've been making lately(ish)

It's been a while (4 months!) since I did one of these posts - ahem! But in my defence I have been rather busy with house selling, hunting and buying shenanigans - and that's not over yet! I think there's a very good reason it's up there with the most stressful life events! Anyway, I digress.... In order to keep my sanity, the sewing machine has come out to play several times....

I made the tote bag above and below back in August, just in time to take away with me on my summer hols. I thought I'd try adding a pocket for a change, with some precious little pieces of Alice Apple fabric - I think the prints co-ordinate perfectly with the main vintage sheet fabric (my all time favourite print). The tote bags are the perfect size for carrying around Blythes, so they get used a lot, as well as being a pretty display on my wall :)

I then made a little batch of pencil cases and coin purses for presents (below). I'd been itching to use the bunny fabric I'd bought a little while ago, together with the contrasting polka dot fabric - don't they make the perfect partners? The little birdy purses were made from some fabric remnants I picked up in Cambridge - I love the colours together.

Then it's back to the tote bags again and my favourite fabric. I made the bag below for my sister's birthday and thought I'd try a little bambi pocket this time :)

I had a special request from my sister for some embroidery hoops with vintage fabric to display on her wall - not a problem :) I enjoyed rummaging through my stash and picked out these favourites (below). I also couldn't resist making another cat cushion from the pattern by Modflowers from Mollie Makes issue 39. This fabric worked perfectly as the print wasn't too strong - I think he might be my favourite cat yet! I even attempted to use the applique stitch on my sewing machine for the first time on the eyes, ears and nose - rather tricky round the curves - but you've got to try these things, right? You can see my other cats in the My Makes set on Flickr.

And last, but not least, it's another tote bag! I'm addicted to making these - such a lovely way to use and display favourite fabrics. This time I didn't add a pocket as the print was so fabulous and psychedelic, I didn't want to cover any of it up (the fabric came from the most gorgeous of fabric shops: Rainbow Vintage Home). I used another strong print for the lining - think they work well together.

And that's it! But not for long - I have plans for some cushions with some more wintry looking fabrics - time to change the summer ones! TTFN, Zoë x

What I've been making lately, in-between the DIY

After my last (rather epic) what I've been making lately post, I promised myself I wouldn't leave it so long next time. So here I am with a little round-up of recent makes. Not quite so prolific as other months, as I've been busy painting lots of walls and doors and door frames and skirting, which hasn't left much time or energy for anything else!

So, first up, we have some more cushion covers in some lovely summery vintage fabrics. I like to refresh things quite often, and cushion covers are a great way to do that. I've made these in a simple envelope style using vintage sheets, with a contrasting fabric for the back. The fabric behind the bambi (which I didn't make by the way - he's a maileg bambi) is my all time favourite print and I was literally jumping up and down for joy when a package containing s super king sized sheet in this fabric arrived by sea all the way from Canada :)

Next up is the very lovely Harvey the rabbit. He's from a pattern by Chloë Owens from her latest book Chloë Tells You How. I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book and it is pure eye candy, just like her last book. It's full of beautiful illustrations and photos and is a bit of a cross between a girl's annual from days gone by and a sewing book. There are so many things I want to make, just as soon as I get some time.

Harvey was probably the trickiest thing I've attempted to make so far - those skinny arms and legs are very fiddly and it's a bit mind boggling sewing them all in inside out and upside down! So I'm rather pleased with him. I had so much fun (read spent a very long time!) choosing fabrics - his ears even match his bow tie :)

Then we have a couple of cat cushions :) These are from a pattern by the lovely Modflowers in Mollie Makes issue 39. The first two images show the first kitty I made from vintage fabric (front and back) and the third image is the cat I made for my cat-loving grandmother-in-law for her birthday. This one was made in a contemporary fabric for a change: Josephine's Bouquet by Amy Butler. I loved how the print placement looked a bit like eyebrows :)

And last, but not least, we have another tote bag in a super gorgeous, super soft fabric. I just adore the print, and will enjoy carrying it around with me this summer :)

The times they are a changin'

Change is most definitely in the air. As we drift into October the leaves are starting to turn and fall, the nights are drawing in and there is a definite chill in the air in the mornings and evenings - I love this time of year!

Soft landing
Autumn pinks

And for me this year, things are changing in a big way. I've just left my job of 9+ years as the Head of the Systems & Information Management team in Research Services at the University of Oxford. It's been a wonderful place to work and I've been privileged to work with many fantastic people that I respect and admire. But I've been battling with chronic fatigue for the last few years and am thoroughly fed up with feeling achey and exhausted all the time and barely able to drag myself through the working week....

So I decided I needed a big change and a chance to rest and recuperate and focus on my health. I'm taking a career break for 6 months or so to give myself the time I need to recover. And a chance to think about what's next. I'd love to do something creative, ideally with my photography....perhaps some freelance work - who knows - the possibilities at this blissful stage are endless :)

If you go down to the woods today….
Every shade of autumn in one tree

I'm planning to spend my time doing lots of lovely creative, crafty things. I want to learn to knit and sew properly, and hopefully crochet too. I am so looking forward to being able to potter about at my own pace, instead of rushing from meeting to meeting....

I have been slowly amassing a little stash of vintage fabrics and I am so looking forward to getting stuck in and making things....I have booked myself into a sewing course for November and will be making a tote bag and a make-up bag as part of the course...and then I hope to get to work on some cushion covers...and maybe an owl if I'm feeling adventurous.

My vintage fabric stash
Destined to be some Blythe scarves and maybe some hats...

I will be able to surround myself with beautiful happy colours in my home. My owl shelf of happiness makes me smile every time I walk into my bedroom. It's had a very special recent addition - the new owl on the far right was custom made for me by the wonderful Modflowers in a pink and aqua colourway, especially to co-ordinate with my owl shelf :)

I'm over the moon with him - isn't he gorgeous? You can read about the making of him on Modflower's lovely blog.

My owl shelf of happiness
My fabulous owl from @modflowers

I'm also really looking forward to doing some more Blythe customisation and photography. I've got lots more faces to matte....These shelves of colour in my craft room just make me smile, even on gloomy days...

My happy shelf #1
Work in progress….
Zahra approves of the new chair

I'm planning to do lots more photography too - I've got lots of ideas for a new line in greeting cards and small prints....I've been hunting out bambis like my avatar over the last few months and will finally have the time to photograph them :)

Vintage teal & yellow: a delicious combo
Finally managed to find a bambi like my avatar :)
Bambis are multiplying!

So, exciting times ahead! But first, I'm off on a special trip to the USA, including a visit to Blythecon New York to celebrate my (gulp) 40th birthday later this month! So my blog will be quiet for a little while. But no doubt I will be posting like a mad woman on Instagram, so you can follow along with me there :) Tara for now! Z xx