bunny

The making of Miss Matilda Catkin, or ….

by Helen on September 12, 2014

…. why you should never give up on your softie!

As a child I much preferred my collection of stuffed animals to the dolls that misguided relatives presented me with from time to time. These were always left on my toyshelf – beautiful – and often naked as I would heartlessly remove their pretty clothing to dress my teddies, rabbits and most favourite of all, my panda! Now I love to design and make my own softies, and sometimes it’s hard to limit myself to just one in each issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine.  But sometimes, even after carefully drafting and re-drafting my pattern pieces, as well as making a sample in some scrap fabric, actually continuing with a softie make can be a bit of a leap of faith.

This year I’ve enjoyed putting together a collection of long-limbed, jointed softies, beginning in January with Fred and Ginger the dancing rats …

Then continuing with Miss Mabel Fox, and later in the summer Emily (and Albert) Rabbit……

And this month I thought it would be fun to add a cat to the collection.  I knew the body should be fine, although I made a couple of small adjustments to the limbs, giving my cat rounder paws, to which I plan to add little stitched claws.  But the head was trickier.

Here she’s beginning to take shape.  I decided to add nice plump little cheeks – I’ve been staring very hard at some of the cats that live nearby, and have noticed they have quite round faces that only narrow to little pointed noses quite low down.  I’ve marked the position of her eyes with glass-headed pins to try to imagine how she’ll look, but honestly?  I’m not feeling too enthusiastic at this point.  But experience told me to persevere, so I gave her a body and a nice long tail with a cream tip to twitch …..

(yes, it’s been warm enough to sit and sew in the summer house still .. lovely!).  Then the next afternoon she grew a leg ….

And a temporary nose – an old button secured in place with another pin (sorry Miss Matilda!).  And I could at last begin to imagine how she would come together.  This morning I finally finished assembling her body, giving her proper beady eyes, a pink button nose and long whiskers.  Now she’s helping choose the fabrics for her dress – and perhaps she needs a flower or a headband too?

I’m glad I persevered with Miss Matilda Catkin and think she’ll look very cute when she’s finally finished.  But I have noticed that almost all my softies seem to go through that ugly stage, when I ever-so-nearly lose faith and think they’ll never turn out OK.  If this happens to you too, and you’ve discarded any half-finished softie projects, then it might be worth taking a second look as they (nearly) always come right in the end!

 

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After all the excitement of THE BIG DAY life here at Coombe Leigh is beginning to return to normal.  I haven’t forgotten to show you photos – I’m dying to share – but as Rosie & Dan are away I can’t consult with them on which ones to post yet.  In any case the official ones won’t be ready for about a month :(

I began to unpack all the boxes we brought back with us from the reception earlier today – and had you been in my garden you would have seen my lovely vintage Liberty and other print napkins drying on the line above my cutting garden …

Rosie wants me to incorporate them all into a new quilt for her and Dan – a project that will keep me busy through the autumn months.  But first I wanted to start a new project for myself – something not pastel, floral and wedding related!  A couple of years ago I made my first full-size quilt using the quilt as you go technique and was fairly pleased with the result …

But now it’s time for another one.  I’m still planning on using the quilt as you go method – I don’t think I could manage to quilt a whole double-bed size quilt on my domestic machine and I’ve chosen the Turning Squares design by Erica from Kitchen Table Quilting that I found here in the Moda Bakeshop.  I think that it will lend itself very well to this method as it’s constructed in three separate rows that are then joined together to complete the quilt.

I’m going to use the same colours, and indeed some of the same fabrics, as my earlier quilt as I want to layer them both on my bed for extra warmth and snuggle-ability during the winter months.  But those months are a long way off at present and this afternoon I spent a happy couple of hours in my summer house beginning to cut out fabric strips.  The pattern calls for 2 jelly rolls, but I’ve decided to use just one and delve into my stash for the remainder …

And, now that the wedding’s over and I have more time to spare, as well as beginning my new quilt, I’m planning on taking a good look at Bustle & Sew as I’d like to introduce some changes to make it (even) nicer.  To help me do this, over the next few weeks I hope you won’t mind me asking for your thoughts to add to all my ideas for the future.  Meanwhile, the first definite change I’ve decided to make is to my logo.   The little Bustle & Sew bunny has remained unaltered since the earliest days – way back in 2009 – and I think she would benefit from a bit of a makeover – along with the rest of this website.   The BIG DAY might be over – but there are plenty of exciting times ahead for Bustle & Sew!

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Home again – and the April issue

by Helen on March 23, 2014

Phew… home again and a chance to relax in my nice comfy armchair with a bun and hot drink – served in my new mug – a gift from my lovely daughter …

Who very much appreciated all my decorating efforts over the last few days!  We all sat down to a fish and chip supper last night in their new dining room and, though there was still some painting left to do, it was all looking rather nice. The log burner gave a lovely cheerful glow, and before long the house was almost too warm and cosy!

I’m home again today, and for the last hour or so I’ve been catching up on my emails before I collect my furry friends from their kennels in half an hour or so.  Which gives me just enough time to tell you a little more about the April magazine.  This issue is really bright and cheerful – spring is definitely here now, and the colours I’ve used were inspired by this old school poster ….

I’ll be sending out a printable version of this poster to newsletter readers a bit later on this evening – I think it would make a lovely addition to your home this spring – perhaps as part of your Easter decorations?  One or two of the projects in the April Magazine will be good makes for Easter too ….

As well as all the projects above, you’ll discover an extract from “Heidi”, some vintage flower ideas, the next part of my “Making Money from Making” series and much more too.  The April issue is published on Thursday, and if you subscribe before then you’ll receive the March issue (and your free gifts/50% discount code) straight away, and then the April issue when it’s published – bargain!!   Just click here to learn more and subscribe.

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So much busy-ness!

by Helen on March 16, 2014

Rosie came to visit this weekend with her friend Naomi (aka Maid of Honour/Chief Bridesmaid).  With only just over 3 months until THE BIG DAY there was a lot to do and a great deal of busy-ness.  We visited the church and met with the flower ladies, while my new overlocker (serger) was put to very good use indeed ….

Wedding invitations!!  They are so beautiful – we are very pleased indeed with them.  Rosie originally wanted to print the invitations on an assortment of vintage hankies – but fell in love with a particular pretty little pink floral one.  So we scanned it, played around with photoshop for a while and when it was just right we uploaded the file and ordered several dozen from Spoonflower, printed onto Kona cotton.  Then more to do when the fabric arrived – cutting out the individual hankies and overlocking the edges with just the right shade of pink thread (very carefully chosen). Above are the finished results and we think they’ll make lovely keepsakes for the guests too.

As well as hankies, Rosie brought her pompom maker for me to borrow as I needed to make some bunny tails for my “Whoops! Bunny” project for the April magazine ….

Very fluffy!!  It’s amazing how much fluffiness you can achieve with the help of Ben & Daisy’s slicker brush!  We also practised our ganache-making skills – Rosie wants some chocolate ganache mice and bunnies to enjoy with coffee at the end of her wedding meal …..

They’ll be great for Easter too – I’ll include the recipe in the April magazine for chocaholics everywhere!  And it’s no wonder that with all this busy-ness going on, a certain young Newfie (who absolutely has to join in every activity) was totally worn out by the time Rosie & Naomi left earlier this evening ….

She’s so cute when she’s asleep.  But when she’s awake – a proper little pickle!!

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