Cross stitch obsessions...
I used to wonder how my Mum was so prolific with her cross-stitch creations! However I’ve found out that it’s strangely liberating to stitch without a design to follow, making it up as you go along...and although I haven’t perfected the art of random flower forms (mine are a bit odd!) it’s extremely compulsive...you just have to keep going! I’ve lined the resultant little purse (or maybe it’s a glasses case) with a sumptuous silk and it will be a gift for grandmere en France! Hope she approves!
I am making pretty little sunflower purses, measuring 9x6 inches, with a contrast cotton lining, zip and beaded zip pull. These are £9.50, £5 of which will go to the Ukraine Crisis Appeal. (The rest just covers costs and my labour is free!) Please contact me HERE to order yours. Together we can make a small contribution towards helping the people of Ukraine in their hour of need. Thank you.
PLEASE NOTE: Lining and zip and bead colours may differ but the outer will always be in the sunflower fabric.
Remember how forlorn the little wicker bag looked a few posts back? So here we have it washed and brushed up, cleaner but still with that lovely aged patina. I found a way to attach a new leather strap (the old strap was beyond redemption) so no more turning upside down! I tacked the pretty lining with an elasticated pocket inside. Wielding a hammer in such a small space proved tricky, and I bent as many tacks as I used! It was a satisfying task, to make it lovely and useable once again. What do you think?
Wicker Work...Part Three
I've made a little boat out of cotton fabric-well that's what it looks like! It has an elasticated pocket one side and a little bit of wadding between the layers. I decided to use tacks to fix it into the bag rather than attempt to sew through the slats. It was fiddly trying to place the tacks and keep them upright and then hit them with the hammer (Not my forte!)
Just the lid to do now, plus solving the little problem of how to attach some loops for the new handle to clip on to. Please come back for Part Four!
Wicker Work...Part Two
Firstly I took it into the garden and removed as much dust as I could with a stiff clothes brush. It then had a gentle wash with an old washing up brush. I let it dry then carried out a second wash. It certainly looks brighter, but its difficult to clean between the individual canes. I decided that would do, as a certain amount of patina is expected on vintage items.
I then tackled the brittle leather strap, applying first a neutral then a brown polish. It has become more pliable, but I think would still eventually break with use, so I'll ditch that and use a shiny new adjustable cross body brown leather strap instead!
I then made some paper patterns for the lining, which will be double sided so that I can sandwich a thin layer of wadding between the two sides and it won't show from the outside. Come back later to see what's next!
I've bought a cute but old, tired, dusty, dirty little wicker handbag with a crusty, hard, inflexible leather strap that looks as though it may have once had a buckle and has been attached in a Heath Robinson way to the base so when you hold it the bag tips upside down! K. Oliver used to own it (whoever she may be) as she written her name on it three times! The bag is more or less structurally sound, but just needs some Toots Totes magic. I intend to transform it into something lovely and useful once more.
First job is to start dismantling. Luckily the lid is easily removable and I remove the decorative cane on one side, where it remains, so it matches the other side and the the strap is easier to take off without damaging it. Before cleaning I need to try and stabilise any damage with wood glue. Luckily it's mostly intact.
Come back later to follow the process and the progress!
Scooting for Girls...
A lovely client has a new scooter and asked me to make a posh zip topped tote bag to fit onto the handlebars. I made a prototype first to check how the dimensions would work and how the velcro straps to attach to the handlebars would sit. I finally decided it was best to have little loops to thread the straps through so that they could be removed for carrying the bag by hand. Here is the result in a William Morris print. With its leather handles it's dead posh and she'll have the smartest scooter for miles around!
What? Feb already?
January is often a bleak and non-productive month for makers, after the Christmas rush!
I'm happy to say my lovely clients have kept me quite busy, providing ready made and bespoke items. I've also had a sale on Etsy and MyFlair, which always drums up some interest!
The Year Ahead Now I'm looking ahead to the coming year, hoping to attend a few more fairs. I have just applied to the Braintree Textile Fair, hoping I may secure a pitch there. It's a great event and back in full force after a couple of years when events were difficult to arrange due to the unmentionable! Click on the link HERE to find out more about this year's event.
Sustainability And then there's my vow to be more sustainable. I already use eco-friendly wrapping, that can be recycled or reused, now I am looking to find some more sustainable ways of creating items. I have in the past, used preloved fabrics and woollens, so there will be a bit more of that, certainly.
Refurbishment I am also offering a free refurbishing service for Toots Totes bags you may have bought from me in the past that need a new zip or lining to make them last longer rather than you buying new. My bags are made to last with the best fabrics and threads and strong construction methods, so they'll stand up to that challenge!
Furthermore I intend to find sad and unloved wicker handbags to clean and refurbish giving them a new life. Watch this space!
Lower Waste Christmas Part 2
I hate clearing up the aftermath of Christmas crackers-it's all so wasteful and the plastic nic-nacs all go into landfill. So I made my own reusable crackers this year from dupion silk! I didn't put a snap in but the velcro makes a satisfying rip! I filled them with chocolates, printed off the worst Christmas jokes I could find and made paper hats from coloured tissue. They went down a storm and the best bit is that i have them for next year too!
The immediate family also decided to give eachother consumable treats, rather than spending money on things none of us needed, only problem with that was that I then put on far too much weight!!
Lower waste Christmas
It is estimated that in the UK we use 227,000 miles of Christmas wrapping paper a year, much of which is not re-cyclable.
Using a Wrap Sack is an easy eco-swap and can be used for years to come, so a good investment! Less paper to stuff into the waste and a pretty alternative wrapping.
These Christmas Wrap Sacks handmade by Toots Totes, in Emma Bridgewater designed cotton fabric and fully lined in a lovely coordinating spotty cotton are topped off with a burgundy ribbon and could be sitting pretty under your tree this year!
They measures about 30 or 40cms across and about 30 cms from below the ribbon gather.
£20 & £25.
Head over to MyFlair.uk to purchase or contact me via email@example.com
Holly and Sampler can be made in other sizes-just ask!
Hello, I'm Ruth Overton. My nickname as a child was 'Ruthie Toots' which is how the name