Bird satchel

>> Thursday, November 30, 2006

One of the first things I made when we returned from our trip was this bag. I don't know why I make so many but whenever I get inspired with a new idea I can't help it. I have tons of my handmade bags that I've only used a few times, sometimes only once!

While I've accepted the fact that I can't resist buying new crafts supplies, especially vintage or anything that resembles a "grab bag", I still try to "use what you have" as often as possible. This bag was made from leftover scraps of brown cordoruy on the sides, and a scrap of upholstery fabric for the front and back. It's quite thick, and therefore good for a bag, and is a kind of peachy colour with a cream coloured scallop pattern. The inside is lined a white cotton with pink "v" pattern. I added a compartmented (is that a word?) pocket inside and one big lined pocket on the front.The strap is light olive green cotton, and is adjustable so that the bag can go work as a shoulder bag or have the strap go across the chest.

The front flap of course is the best part, made from a piece of the lovely pink wool sent to me by Cathy as part of a swap package (Thank you Cathy!). I appliqued a branch with flowers and a bird from wool felt. I don't know why always the bird motif but it's still my favourite. I'm just not tired of putting birds on everything.One of my favourite parts are the middles of the flowers which are affixed in the middle with a star of thread, but have the ends free to stand out.
In the meantime I am already inspired with an idea to make another one with a similar shape but quite different materials. That's right, another bag. And I can't say for sure but this one will probably have a bird on it too.


Bird card set

>> Friday, November 24, 2006

My bird card set is now all printed up. I had them printed on letter size card stock and then trimmed them myself so I could do the rounded corners.

These cards are going into my etsy shop today!


Winter chickadee

>> Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I just finished the fourth and final piece in my bird series of paintings. These are watercolours that I'm having printed on postcards and will sell in my etsy shop as a set. I'm working on getting them printed today! The cards represent the seasons, so this is winter, with a black-capped chickadee. Here's a detail: In case you're wondering I just checked today and while I didn't think of it before, it luckily turns out that they don't usually migrate.


London - part two

>> Friday, November 17, 2006

When it came to craft shopping in London I relied on the advice of a fellow blogger: Ruth Singer who posted about textile shops she recommended. It turns out we were staying nearby to the shops she mentioned.

We found both Cloth House Shops and I took pictures at my favourite one. The picture at the top shows what I bought there, a nice soft blue gingham and a polka dot fabric, and some vintage trim. The trim was very expensive but I thought they were worth it.
There were tons of spools with vintage ribbons and trim.
And of course the requisite wall of buttons:
We also visited the famous Liberty shop. They have several floors including home decor, jewellery and cosmetics. I bought a notebook, some fabric and a few buttons.
These are the cotton fabrics I bought, the one on the left has strawberries and flowers on it. These cottons are fairly thin and nice and soft - I would probably use them to line bags and pouches.
And that was it for crafts shopping. On the last evening we had planned to see a play about T.S. Eliot and his wife (Tom & Viv) but it was sold out. So I got my wish which was to see Mary Poppins which we had seen a poster for the day before. We bought two of the last four tickets ten minutes before the show began and I could. not. believe. my. luck. It was the perfect way to end our trip and I recommend it because it was Absolutely Wonderful. Happy two months Bradley!


London - part one

Ok, here it is I'm wrapping up the honeymoon pictures as of today! After one night in Grenoble we flew to London for our last few days. First of all I'll just show some of our pictures from visiting Kew Gardens. We'd both been to London before but never to Kew Gardens and it was really wonderful. I wish we'd gone earlier because we stayed for three hours but it wasn't enough.

There are several greenhouses, all kinds of gardens and a pagoda. There are paths that wind around everywhere and there's just so much to see. I loved this huge tree - you can see how huge because Bradley is behind it and he's really tiny in this picture.
This is the pagoda:
We climbed to the top and this was one of the views. You can stop at each level of the pagoda and look around. It was good timing because after we came down it started to rain and there wouldn't have been a view if we'd climbed up later than we did.
Just loving berries as usual.
Inside one of the greenhouses there were lily ponds with koi fish.
We also saw a bird with a red breast in a tree very close to us singing! I tried to take a picture but it was a bit too dark so it came out blurry.I think holly makes me think of England more than any other plant. There was a whole avenue lined with various kinds of holly trees.
And finally, while everything was quite beautiful we must remember that nature can also be dangerous...
London part two will be all about my crafts shopping in London!



>> Thursday, November 16, 2006

This has nothing to do with crafts, but I really wanted to show off all our amazing mountain pictures from our visit to Mt. Blanc. That's right, I'm still going on about my honeymoon and we haven't even got to London yet! I think Mt. Blanc was my favourite place because it was so beautiful everywhere and I love hiking in woods and (apparently) on mountains. I've never been on a mountain before and I can't wait to go back.

When we arrived in the afternoon it was very cloudy and it soon began to rain. The picture at the top is the view from our hotel window. We could see glimpses of the mountains and even a snowy glacier right from the balcony! But it was so frustrating having clouds covering everything and it really began to pour in the evening. We spent quite a while walking around town looking for a raincoat for me.

The second day things cleared up a little and we took a train up the mountain so we could see the ice caves and this glacier:From here we did some hiking and even saw a marmot hiding under a rock. It was very scenic despite the foggy clouds that were still lingering.
I love this view of the mountain because it looks like it could be in Narnia.
Lucky for me, Bradley LOVES maps and did all the navigating so I could just follow his lead. He bought a fantastic map at the tourist place that had details of all the hiking trails throughout all the mountains that surround Mt. Blanc on either side.
On the second day it was still overcast so we went hiking again in forested areas of one of the mountains across the valley from Mt. Blanc. The scenery really looks similar to forests in Canada.
There are chalets up in the mountains where you can stop and have tea and cookies or drinks and a meal. The chalets are quite picturesque but there was a sign asking us not to take pictures of the house. On a clear day this picture would have had snow-capped mountains in the distance.On our way down the mountain we came across a field of blackberries. I picked lots of them (I love picking berries) and we had a picnic of baquette, goat's cheese and berries. We were in the habit of having baquettes everyday in Paris so we had carried them with us on our hike!
Up until this point we had a great time but Bradley was sorely disappointed about the weather particularly as he had wanted to take the cable cars up to the peak of Mt. Blanc and there was no point going with all the clouds. So on our last day it started out foggy but by 10 o'clock we were so thrilled to finally see the sun peaking out and see this glimpse of snow-capped mountain tops.
On that day we took the train partway up the mountain then did a five hour hike across to where you take the cable cars. It was so beautiful!I did not realize how goofy my sunglasses are until seeing the photos...

This is the kind of path we were following, in some areas it was quite steep and the path was very narrow. We got a bit of vertigo in places and decided not to look down too often! Believe it or not some people were actually parasailing from the mountain tops.
The autumn colours were gorgeous... more berries...
This is the area near the cable cars - a huge snowy glacier.
Here is the view into the valley below:
And the view in the other direction:
If you look carefully you can see tiny mountain climbers in the snowy expanse of the picture below. They are the little row of dots near the bottom of the picture. This was the view from the top of the mountain once we took the cable car up.
This is the view from the top across the mountain range towards Italy. There is actually another cable car that will take you across to Italy where you can descend and spend time in a village. We had wanted to do this but it was too late in the season and that route was closed. It was disappointing but at the same time this trip looked a little scary!And here you can see how happy (and emotional) Bradley was to finally reach the top of the mountain on our final day there. Thank goodness the rain cleared up! After this we had to rush down and run to catch our next train - which we did with only minutes to spare.


Had a little swap

>> Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Recently we have been very busy fixing up the apartment. When we were away we were staying in hotels and just seeing simple rooms with only a suitcase (and weekender bag) full of things. And when we came home the clutter was so obvious. Also there were lots of things I've been wanting to fix for ages but we were busy with wedding planning.

So I've been sorting through everything and getting rid of things and it feels great. I had lots of things I didn't really want but couldn't quite bring myself to give away - but now I'm trying to be quite ruthless about it. It's better because in the end you enjoy the things you have more.

My favourite change so far is finally removing the horrible flourescent light box fixture in our kitchen. It turned out to be a much bigger job than expected but we've finally filled the huge gaping hole left in the ceiling. I say we, but Bradley did the hole filling part and I just patched up the crevices and smoothed everything out. We have a very nice fixture for Restoration Hardware that we're going to install, a simple schoolhouse semiflushmount light. I can't wait until it's in!

The other improvement is a window treatment. I finally figured out how to have a sheer curtain and a heavier curtain at the same time. IKEA has fixtures with two curves on it to hold two curtain rods. The inner curtain rod is plain and you put the sheer curtain on that (for privacy that still lets in the light) and then the outer rod can have a fancier knob on either end and that one has the heavier curtain. A very simple solution I didn't know about before.

But in the meantime I did manage to fit in a swap with Cindy from She requested a custom cosy for her telephone with the same berry design embroidery I had used before (picture at the top of this post). She didn't want a clasp so I had to measure everything exactly to make sure it would fit her phone snugly - I guess it worked because she was very happy. These are the pretty earrings she sent me in return - I love them. And I love that I can be in Toronto and trade a cosy for a pair of earrings with someone in Singapore.

Ok now I have to get back to sewing my new curtains...



>> Friday, November 03, 2006

After Paris we took the train to Lyon, and had a couple of days there. It was the weekend so a few things were closed but we still saw a lot. The first evening we walked to the town square and saw some people dressed up in big white balloon-like costumes. (The picture at the top was a big red balloon floating away in the sky. By the time I was ready to take the picture it was quite it's not quite the picture I was hoping for but I like it because seeing that big red balloon float away reminded me of one of my favourite films.)
The next day we took a bus tour and did some hiking at the top of the cliff that overlooks the city. There was a wonderful view.Lyon is the birthplace of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and we found the statue that has the author sitting with his creation, the little prince. We also came across a market by accident - it was wonderful - full of fresh fruit and vegetables, baked goods and even some tables of fabric. It was set in a long avenue of chestnut trees, just like the ones they have in Paris.
Then we visited the textile museum which is one of the city's main features. I took a lot of pictures like this in Paris too, there was so much nice stonework detail on buildings.
This is the outside because unfortunately photos are not allowed inside the museums. The main building on the left has a history of textiles and the building next to it has a museum which shows textiles and other furnishings as they would appear in a home. There were so many beautiful things there.
The other reason you might like to visit the textile musuem is that there were several stores nearby selling yarn and fabric and other crafts/textile related things. I saw this display of wool felt in a window and was disappointed because it was closed and I couldn't go inside!
So that was Lyon - after that we took the train to Mont Blanc...


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