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)