softie

A very clever softie in a very silly post!

by Helen on April 9, 2014

This morning as I sat at my table sewing my new top, my eye was caught by a tiny movement in the corner of my workroom ….

Who could it be?  No, not the French hens .. nor the lovebirds …  But wait – I see –  what is my little fox in a frock doing?  Let’s look a little closer ….

She’s taught herself to embroider.  What a clever fox!  What beautiful neat work!

Especially as she only has felt paws!  Well done Miss Fox.  Her vintage bluebird pattern is from an old pattern sheet with half a dozen different bluebird designs and I’ll include it in the May magazine as well as the pattern for Miss Fox.  

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Fox in a Frock and my Easter sale

by Helen on April 6, 2014

I do enjoy making softies, which means that there’s a softie pattern in almost every issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine (I have to limit myself to just one!).  I’m busy working on the May issue now, and as an antidote to all those Easter bunnies and chicks (lovely though they are) I thought I’d create a fox.  But not your ordinary, everyday sort of fox – oh no – my little lady is a fox in a frock!

I had so much fun making her – and my overlocker came in very handy for gathering the skirt of her frock – though it’s easy to do with long machine stitching of course – I just enjoy playing with my new toy!  I’ve given her nice stripey laces on her black boots and embroidered dainty flowers on her little felt collar.  She’s actually quite a large softie for me – though very slender – measuring around 15″ tall.  Her arms and legs are jointed with strong thread and buttons so move quite freely…

Here she is nonchalantly perched on the edge of my ribbons box, casually swinging one elegantly booted paw!  You’ll find her pattern in the May issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine – once all those spring lambs are safely out of the way!  But at the moment we’re still eagerly anticipating Easter – though chocolate is likely to be severely limited here at Coombe Leigh as wedding day diets are underway! So as a different sort of treat, I’m having a egg-stremely good (groan!) good sale here at Bustle & Sew …..

There’s 40% off everything in my store (except magazine subscriptions) until Easter, so if you were thinking of stocking up on a few projects for some holiday stitching, now is a great time to shop.  Just CLICK HERE to visit the Bustle & Sew store and don’t forget to enter code “EASTERBUNNY” at checkout to receive your egg-stra special discount. xx

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Has spring arrived?

by Helen on March 8, 2014

At last .. the sun is shining brightly in a clear blue sky and I have hung my washing on the line at the end of the garden for the first time this year.  The air is warm and the breeze is gentle and, with lots of squabbling and squawking,  the jackdaw family have returned to the nesting holes at the back of my house.  Could spring possibly have arrived I wonder? But, whether the warmer weather is here to stay, or (most probably) not, we’re making the most of this lovely sunny weather while it lasts.  

We enjoyed a lovely walk up the bridleway toward Stokenham this morning.  Look – no mud!!  And also look – isn’t Daisy grown up?  It’s hard to remember what a tiny fuzzy little creature she used to be ….

Not so very long ago!  I’ve been enjoying some spring stitching too with projects for the April magazine.  I’m in the middle of sewing the binding onto my Woodland Alphabet Quilt – and hope to be able to show you the finished quilt very soon.  But I took a little break from binding to complete ny Running Hare softie ….

I sometimes see brown hares in the fields above France Farm when I take Ben and Daisy to their favourite kennels, and I’ve been planning to make a hare softie for some time now.  I’ve mounted him on the base of a carved bird (the actual bird was damaged so I removed the base and painted it white) and decorated it with ribbon and ric-rac braid.  

Four wooden buttons secure his powerful legs (great for running and leaping) and a tiny dark brown button completes his nose.  He’s found a home on the table next to my laptop with one of the last of my beautiful camellia flowers – the bright pink is nearly over now – but the smaller, deeper pink camellia is just coming into bloom, so I shall have flowers for my vases for a while yet.  

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A new Humphrey for you

by Helen on February 15, 2014

Phew …. it’s been a busy few days what with one thing and another!  I’ve been working hard on a couple of commissioned designs as well as the March magazine, so haven’t been around much online recently.  But here I am now with a new updated Humphrey pattern.  

Humphrey was one of  my original free patterns – based on a vintage design from my own childhood.  I’ve updated that old pattern and included some a few tips on how to stop fabrics fraying when hand stitching your softies.  If a softie’s quite plain I sometimes feel felt can be a bit (whisper it) boring so it’s nice to use a patterned fabric, though you do have to deal with the fraying issue. I thought Humphrey needed this patterned treatment  which in his case has acted a bit like a face-lift!  He now looks a lot younger than his age recreated in a lovely vibrant pink check …..

If you’d like to make your own Humphrey, please just CLICK HERE to download your updated free pattern.

I’ve had to keep Humphrey – and his friend, the famous super-model(!) Sidney well out of Daisy’s reach while taking their pictures.  I think she is becoming rather jealous that they take all my attention while I’m sewing them …….

Wonder what she’s thinking!  

She enjoyed her walk today though – the first time for ages that we’ve enjoyed a bright sunny morning – perfect for a longer excursion.  But the bridlepath was blocked by a fallen tree – a casualty of the recent gales.  

We approached the problem in various – but very typical – ways.  I stood back – assessed the situation, measured by eye and decided I could clamber over the tree through a gap in the branches.  Ben used his enormous strength to force a hole then shoulder his way through the lower branches, whilst Daisy – oh dear – couldn’t wait to follow her brother through the hole he’d made but  twirled round and round in mad excitement, then made a flying leap, became stuck in the tangle of ivy festooning the trunk and had to be rescued.  Silly puppy!  Then home for a little stitching on another project for the March magazine….

A vintage illustration from “The Rosie Posie Book” by Anne Anderson. I’m really enjoying stitching this – it makes me think of summer days to come and I hope subscribers will love it too.

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