The biggest pencil cases you’ve ever seen.

 

Yesterday I broke the rule. The one about not starting Shiny New Projects until you’ve finished at least three…but rules are meant to be broken, yes?

Paul asked for a bag for his new birthday present. He said he wouldn’t mind a drawstring bag, but as he picked out this rather fabulous tie-dyed denim, I thought it may be a bit stiff for pulling a drawstring tight. So off into zipland we went, and I lined it with white cotton too.

 

Tie-dyed denim zip bag with strap

 

Now, if you’re going to make one bag, you’re probably going to wish you’d done a second one to carry around that lovely hardback book on photography, too.

 

Tie-dyed denim zip bags

 

This is what he’ll keep in his bag. Lovely new tai chi shoes, just in time for the championships.

 

Tai chi shoes

 

I’ll admit to a moment’s panic when I handed it over – oh, please tell me it came out the right size!

 

Denim zip bag with tai chi shoes

 

Perfect.

There are a few other things in the pipeline, if you’d like to follow what else I’m making you’ll find me posting work in progress at

https://www.facebook.com/NixieInTheMakery

See you there 🙂

 

Fallow January and the fruits of Imbolc

Hey! How’s life treating you?

We’re settling into a routine after all the hoo-hah last month with builders and pipes and other unappealing problems, I’m happy to say. In hindsight, I think it was a good time to implement Fallow January.

What’s Fallow January? Exactly what it says on the tin. It’s my decision to have a month off from normal life, from now until forever. I used to be swept up in the New Year, New You, make some resolutions, get cracking, sort out your life kinda talk. Well, it just doesn’t work in the long run (for me anyway) so I’ve decided to take my lead from the trees, this January and every one from now on. Get off the merry-go-round, allow ideas to percolate, wrap up warm, read, drink tea and talk to friends. I still have to go to work and we have all the usual household business to attend to, but the non-essentials? Let them wait. Rest. While I’m at it, I’m cancelling most of December too. With the best will in the world, I always get behind with Christmas and birthday preparations so we might as well be realistic. December is now officially about baking, giftwrap, festive films and sparkle. Excellent. A ten month year has a certain pleasing quality, wouldn’t you say?

The close of Fallow January falls in line with Imbolc. The pagan new year comes in early February, when the sap is rising and we are starting to feel the first surges of light and growth. I think it makes much more sense to start the year as the earth wakes. We had a beautiful little celebration; candles and evergreens, salt and incense, water and written intentions that we planted in the garden. And so the next cycle begins, and I feel clear-headed and ready for it. Plans are afoot. Let’s get to work. Starting with a new wardrobe for these guys…

 

Wicksteed Park Punch And Judy Puppets

 

…because I’ve started volunteering at Wicksteed Park, where it’s not just about litter picking and directing traffic. Oh, no. There’s a world of adventures there for my creative development, in a land full of trees (which I truly love) and a programme to develop local and traditional craft skills (which I truly love). Watch this space! It’s going to be a fascinating year!

 

 

 

 

 

Make No. 36: Redwork Feather Bookmarks

 

We’re attending a Christmas craft fair next month, and these little redwork feather bookmarks will be part of our entourage. I’ve been toying with the idea of small embroidery for a while, as we don’t want everything we display to be expensive. Who doesn’t love a stocking filler! It’s also nice to make small things sometimes. Cloaks take up a LOT of lounge floor, and you can never, ever find your scissors while you’re playing Dressmaking Twister.

I love feathers, and I’m loving the redwork and blackwork designs that I’ve seen. So inspiring…I love the idea of turning a doodle into machine embroidery, or screen prints.

 

 

I kinda like ’em! I might just have to make myself a purple one.

 

Make 35: Embroidered Tree Surcoat

 

Paul’s been on about a tree surcoat for his larp character forever. Well, maybe about a year. There was a long debate about fabric. Many sketches ensued. He spent hours and hours getting the design right, and to his credit it’s turned out nicely. I can’t bear a tree with droopy roots…

 

surcoat-3

 

We had lots of fun and games getting the embroidery machine to play ball. We spent an entire evening tearing our hair out, wondering what was amiss. Turns out it was a dodgy spool of thread! Once that was sorted, it was onto the coat design. The basic coat shape came from a Simplicity pattern. I had made one mandarin collar before, but for a different sized coat, so it was literally back to the drawing board.

 

surcoat-1

He wanted side flares to give more swoosh (I reckon he wants to smuggle things. I think smuggle might be my favourite word). Another learning curve for me. I think most of this year has been curved 🙂

 .                     surcoat-2

 

He’s happy. I’m happy. The embroidery machine is happy. Everyone’s happy! Happy Sunday!

15138555_1213406085385844_4376903427833516518_o

Make No. 31 – Syringe Driver Bags for Ipswich Hospital

Happy Sunday morning! How’s your weekend so far?

We had an unexpectedly lovely day out yesterday…we had only planned to stay home and get some jobs done, but when we found out there was a huge book fair going on in a stunning church nearby we couldn’t resist.

 

st-marys-church-exterior

 

st-marys-church

 

I think a separate visit to hunt down green men and gargoyles with my camera is in order soon. It was only built a century ago so I might be out of luck…but in the meantime…tea and books. Lots and lots of books. Heaven. Paul bought two, I got sixteen. Greedy girl 🙂

Next we shopped for some bits and pieces for a Halloween party next week. It was a strangely liberating experience, buying stuff to trash (don’t worry, the costumes will be re-used, my eco conscience doesn’t stretch that far). Zombiedom awaits! Then off to a housewarming party, to meet some new people, hug some old friends and giggle at kids wearing pampas grass tails and setting fire to marshmallows. Fabulous.

Today will be our day of Doing Jobs and Making Stuff. So, on to Make 31, which is in response to this appeal from Making For Charity.

We’ve had a request from the staff at Ipswich Hospital, they are in need of some syringe driver bags. if there is anyone in the area that would like to help out the address to post them is

FAO Sister Jane Mooney,
The Stour Centre, Ipswich Hospital,
Heath Road, Ipswich,
Suffolk IP4 5LS

Here goes with the first set…

 

ipswich-syringe-driver-bags

 

If you would like to learn more about the charity, or specifically syringe driver bags, you can read more at the links below.

http://makingforcharity.co.uk

http://makingforcharity.co.uk/node/340

Syringe driver bags are simple to make and it’s been touching to hear some of the happy responses from people who are going through a tough time. If you sew, or are thinking of taking up sewing, they are a wonderfully straightforward project. All straight lines, no zips or buttons. I’ve got more fabric lined up for future bags, which I will slot in between bigger makes.

Have a good Sunday!

Walk in peace.

 

Make No. 30: Medieval Mandarin Collar Coat

 

Make No. 30 is a test drive for a hand drafted coat pattern – a simple medieval coat with a Mandarin (standing) collar. I’ll be making about ten matching coats using this pattern over the next couple of months, in different sizes, some with split sides and some not. I’ve also got an order for a reversible surgeon’s apron with pockets to scratch my head over. I love this stuff, although I seem to be skirting around the edges of Actual Maths. Shudder. Surely not!

 

medieval-split-coat

 

My first challenge was the creation of a Mandarin collar, at which point my many reference books bore glorious and impressive fruit. Aaah, books…the trim, on the other hand, will have to be made from bias binding as I’d like it to run around the neckline and ordinary fabric just doesn’t have the stretch. I’ve got a big roll ordered. A very big roll.

I also wanted to enclose as many raw edges as possible, and I’ve managed it. A little French seam here, a little bias binding there, and we’re good to go.

So there we have it – a new skill acquired in the collar drafting department of my Sewing Brain, and the green light for a shedload of larp coats in the next few weeks. Eek. Bring it on.

 

Make No. 29: Embroidered Velvet Horse Banner

Make No. 29 is a gift for my parents to give to some friends that they haven’t seen each other for 35 years. Cool huh? They’ve got a lot of catching up to do!

horse-banner

Getting five layers of squishy fabric was a bit of a mission, but it was nothing compared to my efforts to stop the banner flying off into the sunset. Highly amusing. This shot was taken as it took its maiden voyage across the garden. I’m going to be embroidering different coloured horses onto cream over the next few days. Should look AWESOME!

Make it a wonderful evening 🙂

 

 

Make No. 28: Collage Birthday Card

Emergency cards for boys! We all know about those…this one’s for my godfather. I don’t know how old he’ll be this year, which probably makes me an extremely bad goddaughter.

card

Still. Let’s hope he likes it, and doesn’t notice that I did the stitchery drunk and in the dark. Must have been quite wonky underlay. Reminds me of a house I once rented; my co-habitee sprinkled lettuce seeds on the carpet when we left, because the landlord refused to believe that the house was Actually Very Damp Indeed. But that, my friends, is another story…

 

Make no. 26: Dragon Embroidery

 

You’ve heard of blue dragon…sorry, today’s make is not noodles 🙂

blue-dragon-cp

I’ve been poking around the files in our embroidery machine and found this rather magnificent fellow. Or he might be a she?

green-dragon-cp

It’s really been an experiment to find out if I like Gunold threads. I do. They have a good range of colours, they wash well, they don’t give me tangle headaches. Result. Will I be adding to my collection of 24 colours? Oh, I think so…

purple-dragon-cp

‘Cos you have to have purple.

 

pale-blue-dragon-cp

Time for a bright green one, I think…very Welsh…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make no. 25: Medieval masquerade leaf masks

Well hello! Yes, I’m still alive and kicking…but what a few weeks we’ve had. Mostly good, but with a couple of hard challenges that have taken up a lot of mental energy for me. Isn’t it funny how you’re sailing along quite happily, and something monumental comes to light that upturns your boat in the space of a day. The tranquil mind is a lifetime’s work.

We’ve also had some time away, which was wonderful. We had a weekend of larp, which inspired Make 25. Our faction is very druid-like, worshipping the land and the Goddess, protecting the natural cycle and freedoms of the people. So when we were asked to bring masks to a day of the dead masquerade to honour our fallen around the campfire, my mind immediately leapt to leaves. I made four in the end, and they did look pretty cool in the firelight. I’d really like to make a coat out of leaves, and one day I will…but that will surely take a while 🙂

 

Leaf mask

 

After our weekend of drinking mead and battling undead and werewolves, we took ourselves off to a valley in Exmoor for a few days’ holiday. I hadn’t realised how beautiful that part of the world is…steep wooded valleys (how do the trees hang on? I have no idea), a wide river that ran through the campsite and on for a three mile stretch of forest with a perfectly charming tea room at the end, a gorgeous sandy beach with hundreds of rockpools, evenings giggling around the fire and more stars that we’ve ever seen before. Exmoor National Park is a dark sky reserve, the first in Europe and the second in the world. And oh my, it was breathtaking. No TV, no internet, no phones, no radio…just birds, wild ponies, deer and a silent, voluptuous landscape, resting in its magnificence. We had one day of solid rain, during which we dozed, read books, chatted, ate, dozed, read books, chatted…and the world didn’t end. Even though the most productive thing I did all day was wash the dishes 🙂 Wonderful.

So here we are back home, all recharged and filled with inspiration – and I’m still kinda behind with my 52 makes! So I’ll be catching up with them over the next few weeks, I hope you enjoy them.

Have a wonderful day. Walk in peace.