Cotterell Cottage

Cotterell Cottage is the name of my new design that is based on some old wallpaper. I first saw this wallpaper when I visited a friend for a night on our way to the ferry to go to Portugal in August. My friend and her family live in a house that is hundreds of years old and is slowly being renovated. One of the oldest rooms has been stripped back to the original stonework, although one wall has been left with some old wallpaper that looks like it comes from Victorian times. It has no colour but reminded me of a William Morris pattern and I got my friend to send some photos after we’d left as I thought it would make an interesting new design.  I have no idea what the plants are in the picture! I would have loved to have seen it in it’s original state.

When I was in Portugal I drew my take of the wallpaper.

original drawing

I still have no idea what the plants are, and they are probably even more unidentifiable than the original, but not everything has to be real, right?

Once home, and quite sometime later, I finally got around to designing the pattern in Illustrator. I’m still very much a beginner with Illustrator, and because I don’t use it as much as I should I forget how to use it and have to get out all my notes from the course I did last year, and look up tutorials online. This was my most complicated design and it’s still not perfect, but it’s workable, and I love it!

Downham v2-01

The first lot of fabric I had printed didn’t have the colour of the background that I wanted, more purple that dark blue, but I was still pleased with the way it came out and the stationery tins were far nicer that I thought they would be. As a big fan of stationery, having my own design on a tin = big smile!

cotterell purses

I have ordered more fabric from a different printers so it will be interesting to see what the colours are like, including waterproof fabric. I get too inpatient to send for samples, and as it was so close to Christmas, I just wanted to get the fabric. I’m really hoping it arrives this week so I can make a few items for my markets next week and add it to my existing products. I hope you like it as much as I do!

cotterell at market

 

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Flip flops for summer

Last month I launched my latest design and it’s all because of a pair of flip flops. These flip flops in fact

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These are my daughter’s flip flops and while we were on holiday last year I drew them and added other flip flops.

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This year I worked them into a design on the computer and now have flip flop fabric and am making it into lots of items. Its different to my other fabrics – and not a flower in sight – but it does have similar strong colours. I made a complementary fabric for linings and after a mistake in the size of my image now have flip flops in two different sizes. The larger size is good for bags.

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A trio of pouches which are perfect for pens, glasses or even sanitary items.

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Funky lavender bags

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A swim/ PE bag and a tote bag made from the larger flop flop print

The make-up bags have beads added to the zip pull and I’ve printed the image into the price tag

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A sunhat and hair bow

And finally (enough of flip flops?) A6 plain notebooks and for these I made a dark blue design. I am soon going to add two more colours to range.

So there we have it. The new range to get you into the mood for summer!

Etsy, bags and hats

In January I re-opened my Etsy shop. I had first opened it in 2013 but had no idea how to use it and after a few months stopped doing anything with it – and had no sales. This January I thought I would give it another go and stumbled across a great group on Facebook called ‘Etsy Resolution’. Led by group of experienced Etsy makers we were given weekly homework, plus a couple of seminars on building our businesses and learning more about who our audience is. I must admit that doing Craftee Fox alongside a 4 day a week job means that I don’t seem to have time to think about my audience or growing Craftee Fox, but I did learn more about how to use Etsy to sell.

As well as learning more about’search engine optimisation’ (SEO), the importance of tags and titles, the most enjoyable (and difficult) was photography. Clean photos look good on Etsy and there is a real skill to taking them – one I haven’t mastered yet, but I hope I’m getting better.

Since January sales have been up and down but I know it can take time to build up sales and have been excited to send goodies,including bespoke ones, internationally.  I am continuing to do markets and had a really fun day at this years Walthamstow Garden Party as part of the E17 Designers group – now there’s a group of talented artists, designers and makers!

So apart from playing with Etsy I have continued to sew. I often think I should be more focused with what I make but then I enjoy the diversity and playing with so many different fabrics. Below are some of my favourite makes, including a bag with leather handles – South African shweshwe one side and upcycled denim jeans the other. Of course, I continue to make brolly bags! I’ve also been making some clothes, so I’ll post that soon.

 

Christmas 2015

Christmas has been and gone, although with a week left of the holidays, I’m still very much in relaxing mode after lots of sewing pre-Christmas. This year my focus was on sewing for markets as I knew I had some markets close together and wouldn’t have time to re-stock in-between. Orders were quieter this year, which is a mixed blessing, as working 4 days a week leaves little time for sewing, and balancing making stock for markets or orders can produce a little stress (to say the least). This year I’ll see whether I can build up stock for markets AND get more orders AND be more organised.

Here’s a few of the items I made for markets and orders. The tartan stocking, upcycled from a skirt, was a particular favourite of mine and of course, there were elephants for the tree again! I made a few sets of covered notebooks and matching pencil cases, which make perfect presents, and the brolly bags sold as well as ever.

As ever, if you see something you like just send me a message.

Tartan stocking

Upcycled tartan stocking

 

Brolly bags

Brolly bags – for your wet umbrella