Monday, 5 December 2011

Little chefs aprons

Here are some aprons im working on. They have been a real nightmare. Taking ages to print and line up using my stencil method. But i like the outcome, so i suppose its all worth it. Next there will be a pocket on top. I am a little in love with the illustrations of Cecilia Hinde, especialy in the childrens cook book 'Floury fingers' and this was of sorts inspired by well as my daughters love of baking 'happy cakes'. Will post a picture when its done. 

Monday, 14 November 2011

Bows, lots of bows.

Here is a taster of what is to come............

Think colour, children and lots of bows, then check back soon to see if you were right!

Picnic for two

Here are some teddy bears / dolls picnic blankets I've just made. My daughter grabbed herself one of the rejects and started her own picnic with rabbit, while i was still sewing the rest next door! One satisfied little customer.......

Silk screen printed onto double layer cotton gingham. This is a print i have been meaning to do for months.

Sick of fluff around the house.

My beloved old stool finally gave up. Its been around as long as i can remember and since i moved to London, it moved house each time with me. I will never get rid of it, its the perfect work stool and really comfy, in my opinion! Poor thing has been through a lot though, especially since my daughter was born. This was the tantrum at breakfast........

Prior to this it had been pee'd on - accident. (Her not me!) Its been through some intensive hand washes and finally the sides rotted away, letting all the dreaded ancient fibrous stuffing escape. It took me over 4 months to get around to doing anything about it. Meanwhile, everyday i was hoovering up that blasted stuffing which sought its way all around the flat- jeering at me!

Finally re-stuffed, re-stained and oiled and with a new tapestry from my friend in New York. The stool lives on, ready to face another few decades. Thanks Jess. xx

TV shelves

As you can see, there is a theme here..... 'childs bedroom'. This is because the floor in my daughters bedroom was ripped out due to damp, finally after a lot of stress, replaced and now I'm trying to make up for the fact she spent almost two months sleeping on a mattress on the floor in a doorway! A little bit of colour makes everything alright.

So here are some shelves i made from old wooden crates, with enamelled broom handle legs. Once id put it together it reminded me of an old fashioned TV, so i dug out a bit of my daughters broken push along toy that id stashed in my boiler cupboard about a year ago (nice when you feel rewarded by your insane hoarding tendencies). A blob more enamel on the end of that and i stuck it on the top like an arial. When my sister saw this she giggled at my logic/creativity but I'm pretty happy with it. Though essentially it should be along a wall and not in a corner, but small flats dont allow for much choice.

However, had i more cash id have wanted something a bit more like one of Will Shannon's cabinets.        And here you can see that mine is a very unsophisticated version of one of his.....almost!

Book display

Ive been pondering the idea for some time.... To make a book display shelf for those really lovely books that you think are too good to keep hidden in the book shelf, that deserve to be on display much like a painting. Im still desperately trying to locate my mothers copy of  'The tall book of  Make believe' for which i had these in mind. I wanted a small ledge, deep enough for one book, (not a shelf) which could be used to display one book at a time but that could also be changed at will, i.e. no fixing or framing of the book as it will still be read and looked at regularly. Now, bare in mind that this is for a childs bedroom, so the theme is somewhat child orientated ('kitsch' to the rest of you). Here are my pencil book displays....

I made three in all, my daughter loves them and they work just how i wanted them. Again you will notice they have been given the enamel treatment!

(Framed print by illustrator Rosie MacCurrach)

Enamel, sweet juicy enamel!

Ive been gone a while, combination of damp, builders and general housing mayhem all taking place in my shoe box flat. I started to get depressed not being able to make anything and living in what amounted to a bedsit of dusty space with my daughter but now that its passed I'm trying to make up for those wasted two months of my stressed out life.... So i got busy again.

Ive had a love of glossy enamel or lacquered wooden objects for a while. Then, since having a baby i discovered Vilac, the french toy makers and that love was again reinforced. So as a piece of lovely colourful design that would cheer up my everyday life, i made this bathroom light pull. Made from natural cord, wooden beads, various enamel paints (which i will add cost a bomb, due to much experimentation) and a nice big can of Montana gloss spray. I had to extend my light pull to encourage potty training my daughter, and after the various bits of extra string, tassels and a piece of crystal that all got added to the original one (which looked hideous), i decided to slick the place up and be a bit more sophisticated. So here it is...............


With my bathroom being under 2m its hard to take a good full length picture but I'm sure you get the idea.
Ive got a hunger for gloss now, this is not the last of it!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

busy busy busy

I know it looks like im doing nothing again....... but im jumping from one idea to the next and my head is a little too excited to set down and complete things right now. We are planning another Christmas shop! My ideas have gone wild with excitement, so once ive reined myself in i shall reveal some of the things ive been doing these past weeks. More prints, more bright colours and plenty of Kids stuff.
Alongside this, i am grappling with builders, interior decorating/ repairing and also allowing myself a bit of dreaming. I have just found a mini set of Tomado shelves for my daughters room, (my £2.50 recent lottery winnings didnt cover much but they helped). The shelf colours have inspired me to use some flat bold colours in my next project. Hope i have something to show for it all soon.

For now i leave you with Trumpet by Meister whose prints are bold and colourful and really 'totally' jazzy- super fun! (website should be up soon, this is the FB page).

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Off the Radar

Ive not posted anything for a while as I've been flat out, chained to my sewing machine. Alas, not my own projects but things for other people. Restaurant seating, museum exhibits, that sort of thing! I've also had an extra child to look after which has made logistics somewhat more difficult. I hope to be back on track in just over two weeks. I've tons of ideas  (unfortunately no money but i will try to work around that- as always). Id really like to sleep but i must get back to the sewing machine now.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Hand luggage

I didn't have a bag either big enough or small enough to use as hand luggage for my upcoming holiday (first in over 5 years as well as being first time away, even for a night, from my daughter! Can you tell..... I'm excited!), so i decided to make one.
I used the dimensions of the upper size limit as the basis of my bag design. There wasn't much to it, i printed the fabric, rounded the corners, added some leather and used a zip i already had. So it better fit into that 'hand luggage' guide, else I'm going to look like a real plonker!
I can see some elements id like to change, as always with these things. The best design input comes from actually having tested something for its real purpose. So here goes.............

Id like to do some more bag prints. I have tons of designs from a few Louis Vuitton interviews i did back at college. Having specialised in Womenswear i didn't get the job, which was in accessories design but it did spark an interest in bag making and learning about composure, something Louis Vuitton do exceptionally well. Obviously my bags are more rags in comparison...... but i can dream that i will learn the skills. Until then, budget calico, cotton drill and stencil silk screen printing,...... is where you'll find me.


There is one smell that transports me straight back to the studios of St. Martins, the waft of scorched Calico in the air. That singed, slightly over cooked biscuity smell i associate with toile making. I both love and hate it at the same time. Memories flood in, of a time when i was so passionate and excited about my work as well as experiencing extreme tiredness and having a constant fear of failing. Wow, the smell of burnt Calico can do so much!
Well i had another incident with the iron today. I had just printed a sample of a hand drawn check and decided to whip it up into a bag, when i lost my focus and burnt it. The smell transported me and in my daze i just decided to repeatedly burn it all over, what the heck, why fret, just roll with it. And the result is a bizarre kind of tie dye effect with interesting (steam hole) spots all over. Im not saying its a cutting edge design but i do like that evocative biscuity smell. I wonder how long it will last before it washes out........

'Shawma' sheep

Birthday cakes were a big deal in my family. My mother has three daughters and each of us had a totally unique 'themed' cake for every birthday, til at least the age of 14 or 15. Hand made from scratch of course, nothing from the shelf of a supermarket!
So being a bit of a craft/ make snob, i feel i have to follow. It doesn't have to be amazing, im not going to compete with my Mother (because i don't have a chance) but i feel i need to at least make an effort. This year i pinched my friends Czech cast iron lamb mould. I checked the web and found a recipe and got straight down to it. I know i dont really write about food but as there seemed to be a bit of a web following and many pictures of peoples Lamb cakes i thought id add mine to the pile too.
This is actually a traditional Czech Easter cake but i decided to use it, partly as i had no better ideas and then as an after thought, my daughter is currently obsessed with the Aardman animations, 'Shaun the Sheep' and every time she sees a little lamb she shouts, 'Shawma sheep'!  Indeed the birthday cake had the same effect....

The most important thing is to line the iron mould well. I greased it with butter, then sprinkled it with semolina.

 Using a pound cake recipe i adapted, i filled the face half and put the back half on top like a lid. The cake mix expands to fill the mould. Not a sandwich job, which we are so used to in the UK.

And Shawma was well recieved.........

Though unlike Czech traditions, no one severed the head first, it was carefully left until the end, when one guy asked if it would be ok to have the head. Very civilised!

(again, if my sister sends any better pictures i shall update, afteral it was her that did most of the hard work with the white chocolate fleece icing- credit! Oh and great tip from my mum, to colour dessicated coconut and ice it down as grass.)

Party dress

I have been holding off posting this, as i've been waiting for my sister to send me some pictures.... alas she hasn't and as i know she is a busy lady, i will cease harrassing her and just use the ones i have. (Pity as she is a professional photographer, though i hope one day her pictures will grace my blog posts!)

Anyway, here are some pictures of the party dress i made my daughter for her 2nd birthday party.

This is the fabric the dress was made from and indeed the reason it was made. It is a beautiful print by Textile artist/ Illustrator Rosie MacCurrach. A light weight silk, in nude tones reminiscent of my favourite Fashion House, Chloe, with the most beautiful wave and leaf design floating across it. This makes me think of Japanese rock gardens as the brush strokes appear very much like raked sand. It has the most serene quality and a feel of timesless beauty.  I fell in love with it as soon as i saw it. It had to be for something special or something that lots of people would see.
I only had a small piece of the fabric so the rest of the dress was the result of chance and quite a few mistakes. It took a while to sew due to silk underskirts and 'much' hand sewing, all of which was not exactly planned. The matching hairband was hardly worn but never the less it was a lovely little dress and transformed my 'little boy' into a girl for the day!

(should i get some better pictures, i shall update these)

Monday, 27 June 2011

Party bags - year 2.5

Finally the party bags are complete and with their little people. Second year done- made it, phew! Lots of fun things inside, including Bear snacks, Stella McCartney for Gap hoodies, art and tattoo packs. Very diy this year and super fun to make. My bags were much admired and my daughter really likes hers. Girls had pink and boys got orange.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Ice Cream Cards

Last night i finished a new edition of cards. Ice creams in mint, an edition of 40. I have lots more ideas that i think will look great as card designs but im not showing you my childlike drawings as you will just laugh!

Jenniflower, Exeter Devon.

Here are a few pictures of my work in Jenniflower. The display is small and understated but just enough colour to attract attention. I will admit i was a bit rusty in setting up a display but the Exhibition organiser Anna was a star and did a great job. I really like the card display and have decided to work on some more ideas.......i already have a note book full of scribbles. I just need lots of energy to work through the nights, as its not safe to work in the day with a toddler on the loose!

Past Present Future, Exeter, Devon.

This is the exhibition i have just put some things into. It is in Exeter, where i studied Art Foundation, so many moons ago. I love that the leaflet has a picture of a 'Fab' ice lolly and abstract sprinkles, just like my screen print cards. I am not sure if this is a complete coincidence but its great! My work is in Jenniflower, a beautiful Florist next to central station. The Exhibition blog can be found here

Quilting clouds

I machine quilted my big cloud screen print in the dead of night. It took ages and i had to put my machine on the floor due to the size of the fabric. I was attempting to re-create a sail makers studio that i saw in Antigua. they have pits in the floor where the sewing machine is inset. The machinist sits down in the pit and the needle plate is level with the floor- ingenious! This was as low as i could get my machine to the floor without breaking my back. Of course a larger table would have been much better!

I turned this into a quilt with a turquoise binding around the edge.

'English Summer' screen print

As its been pretty obvious from my blog, clouds have been a big theme in my work. Yes that's down to you English weather! I have worked my motif into a repeat print, this time with some happy yellow umbrellas, which represent the sun, (wherever it may be hiding!) Two screens with four colours. Thanks again to my mini squeegees! It was a lengthy process due to my tiny table but the outcome was worth it.

Another spoilt!

A friend of mine recently gave me a huge collection of her screen printing supplies. She is relocating back to New Zealand and i was the lucky one who received this bundle of delights! I was so excited, i got to work immediately. As there were both fabric and paper inks i decided to print some cards for and upcoming display i am to be part of, back in Devon.

Ice lollies as before but ive re-aligned the stencils by cutting them more acurately and changed the colours so they are less murky. I also did this mini rain cloud card, which was a nightmare. There were too many colours and very sharp angles in the stencils, which meant the ink splurged a lot. Almost half printed were waste! I have decided to print in limited editions. If a print is to be repeated the colours must be different. They were actually quite fun to make and a hand printed card is quite a special thing in these times of impersonal internet card companies. Im pretty sure there will be more to come.