I popped these pretty number cards onto the website today. I will be making some more with ’80’ and ’90’ on but I needed a break from the fiddly cutting. I love making these but my word they test me sometimes! When I decided on the style and size of the digits I did not think ahead to the reality of cutting them out of the fabric and I almost gave up and went larger. I’m really glad I persevered with the smaller numbers though because I think they look just right as they are on the 9x12cm cards.
The numbers are all cut from reclaimed fabrics and the background prints are all vintage Laura Ashley (of course), there has to be some of that in there somewhere right?
I’m not sure what we have lined up here this weekend. Uncle Feedle is spending tomorrow with his children in lieu of Father’s day so I may get lots of sewing done, or I may do some more work on our little front garden. I’ve just about recovered from last week’s weed (and muscle) pulling session! I suppose it all hangs on what the weather decides to do. My youngest had her last day in school today so now that’s behind her I’m hoping she might get back into her baking habit. She did promise to teach me crochet too so perhaps that’s something we can do if the thunderstorms hit this weekend.
Isn’t it nice to finally see some sunshine? The warmer weather and long days have had me craving warm juicy strawberries fresh from the garden but as I no longer have a garden big enough for a Strawberry patch, I stitched some instead. They’re all made from tiny scraps of vintage and repurposed fabrics and if you asked me where each individual fabric came from I could probably tell you! There are pieces from a couple of baby dresses and a few old skirts included in the one above as well as some vintage Laura Ashley fabrics.
But summer isn’t just about the strawberries. Another thing I love about summer is seeing and hearing the Bees buzzing around the Lavender and this week I thought it was about time I made some more Lavender sachets. I’ve been itching to use some of my vintage Laura Ashley fabrics so I chose a few prints and made these. They all have a cotton print on the front, a repurposed plain linen or cotton on the back and are filled with organic Lavender grown here in the Uk. I listed these and the cards for sale yesterday so now you can buy a little bit of summer to help see you through the not so sunny days.
Something is happening to me as I get older. I am slowing down. I don’t mean in the physically ageing sense but in a more philosophical way, in the way I approach life. I have more patience now for certain things than I did when I was in my twenties or thirties, or even my early forties. Take sewing for example.
I started making things in my teens. An elderly friend of my mothers had given her an old tin full of sewing paraphernalia and some oddments of fabric. I remember following a pattern from an old magazine and on the hand crank Singer that my mother owned but never used, I made a little duffle bag and a matching ‘smoking cap’ style hat out of a remnant of deckchair fabric. I used the bag a few times but I don’t think I ever had the confidence to wear the hat outside of my bedroom but what I liked about that first project was the speed at which I was able to bring those functional items into existence.
That was around the same time I got my first job as a Saturday girl in a soft furnishings shop. One morning I was tidying the remnant basket and found some scraps of plain glazed cotton. I remember distinctly there was some peach, a minty green and a denim sort of blue. I asked my boss how much they would be with my staff discount applied and she let me have them for nothing! In my lunch hour I nipped to the haberdashery store round the corner and bought a couple of metres of elastic and not being the sort of teen who had a bustling social life, I spent my Saturday evening making hair scrunchies in my room, listening to Pink Floyd.
Those first teenage projects all had one thing in common. They were fast makes that I completed in one sitting. Even the first skirt I made was run up in an hour or so, no pattern, just some fabric and a bit of elastic for the waist. I liked the instant gratification of being able to finish something in one sitting and that didn’t change for a good few years. I made pull on trousers and bloomers for my kids because they were quick and easy. I made a few pairs of pull on trousers for myself for the same reason. Anything else seemed far too complicated so I didn’t bother trying. I made the curtains for our house and I did cross stitch but even the time that took frustrated me! It wasn’t until my fourth daughter was on the way that I started experimenting with making other things and by the time she was born I had an Ebay shop selling bunting, baby bibs, kids t-shirts with motifs appliqued on, Christmas stockings and very crude versions of the hand stitched cards that I still make and sell now. But I still wouldn’t make anything I couldn’t finish in one sitting!
Then life started to get complicated for one reason or another and I found that more and more often I was having to abandon a project for days, weeks or sometimes months before I could see it through. More often than not the half finished things got tossed, either into the bin or back into the fabric stash waiting to be ripped apart and made into something else. Eventually I was able to pick an abandoned project up and continue on with it and what a revelation that was. It meant I could prep more complex multiple items for selling for a start! By this time I had opened my first Etsy shop and my confidence was growing. But life wasn’t straightforward and over the years I shut up shop, started another, moved to Folksy, back to Etsy (and all the other platforms in between that sprung up and have since folded!), had creative droughts and crises in confidence. I have recently emerged from such a period and this time I have been able to simply pick up where I left off with all the unfinished projects.
There is something very freeing about being able to put down and pick up. I’m sure there are many creatives out there who have always been able to do this but for me it has been an important stage in my creative evolution. Apart from a few cross stitch kits and my Strawberry Thief tapestry I have really struggled to go back to things, but now I actually have multiple projects on the go and I’m quite enjoying the flexibility of being able to choose whether to knit, embroider or baste and sew hexies together when I have space in the day for it. I love that crafts I once felt were beyond me are now open to me, like patchwork for example. My youngest has just taught herself to crochet and I no longer see it as a craft other people do but as another one for me to pick up when I’m ready. Hand sewing patchwork pieces together was once something other people did and I never thought I would even give it a try! Now I fully understand the virtues of slow stitching anything. My mantra has changed from ‘machine it if you can’ to ‘can I do that by hand’.
Hello I’m Natalie. Textiles artist, amateur vintage Laura Ashley collector, massive Bagpuss fan (hence Auntie Feedle) and novice English Paper Piecer. Once country bumpkin, now urban dweller. I love tiny floral prints, folk anything and prancing about in old Laura Ashley gear. Regular time traveller to the 1970s.