luckybear · norfolk · Sewing · sewing bags

My new favourite pattern

Sometimes I get a new pattern that I fall in love with and have to make not just one or two but lots! (Tilly & The Buttons Coco is one of those – I have quite a collection of them now!) It happened again last month: I bought my first Dog Under My Desk pattern, the Two Zip Hipster, and I love it! Friends have been asking me for a top-zip cross-body bag as the ones I usually make are either open-top or close with a magnetic closure. So I’ve been searching for a good pattern and have seen several recommendations in the sewing community for Dog Under My Desk.

I made the first one in plain denim with a blue stripe cotton lining. I didn’t have any sew-in interfacing or canvas, as was suggested, so used the thinnest wadding (batting) I had, which in hindsight was a bit too thick, so made quite a puffy bag, although it is very sturdy and will protect whatever is inside. But the pattern and the instructions are great, so I have since sewed up 4 more, in different fabrics, and have a fifth and sixth cut ready to sew (I’ve run out of zips so have to wait for more to come – aarrgggh, the torture!)

I then bought a second pattern from Dog Under My Desk, the Daytripper bag. Again, another lovely pattern with amazing instructions and great step-by-step photos. I highly recommend these patterns and will be back for more. The Daytripper took a lot longer, but I have ended up with a lovely, huge bag that is great for stashing all my stuff! It is even big enough to carry a magazine, and the back zipped pocket is roomy enough for a large notebook/journal or iPad. I am one of those gals that carries so much junk with her, (it’s all necessary junk, of course!) but this bag takes it all, and then some! I made it in a cool Rose and Hubble cow print fabric and it’s really nice and has been so useful!

I have a couple of other new bags and pouches in the pipeline…more on them soon! Hello to my new followers! Great to have you here – drop me a message!

In the meantime, if you’d like to see the bags I have for sale, please check out my Etsy shop  or my brand-new nuMonday shop.

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luckybear · norfolk · Sewing

Down to Business!

I’m planning action! I’d like to step up my game, increase my output and make more sales. I’ve already planned in a few craft fairs/events this year and have others on the back burner (watch this space), and want to try to reach a wider audience.

A full-time teaching job means that time is limited for making and selling. But I love it, especially the making part! It’s my switch-off from schoolwork and lets me indulge in my creative side. Plus it gives me an excuse to buy yummy fabrics! And I get a real kick out of each and every sale, either in my Etsy shop or face-to-face. Some of you reading this are already loyal customers! So thank you to every one of you who has bought a luckybear item so far, because I love it when you choose to buy something of mine. I always hope that you will love it as much as I do!

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So I am determined to make more time to sew and sell. One thing I have decided to do is to take part in the Make May My Month Challenge – #makemaymymonth – , run by a fellow Etsy seller (Jade Hargreaves of  The Pattern Parade Design). It’s a month of challenges to refocus you on the business and I hope it will enable me to get some things sorted. This looks like it will be great collaborative support and networking. It’s good to share the love!

I am also planning some exciting special offers and giveaways, so follow me on twitter, facebook and instagram and I’ll keep you posted!

Fingers crossed that May will be a productive month! If you’d like to check out what I have in stock right now, have a look at my Etsy shop. I will add new items regularly. Have a great bank holiday weekend, everyone!

 

Sewing

Me-Made May – 1/2 way mark! (Beware: cringe-making photos ahead!)

Here we are, half way through the month and at the half-way point of Me-Made May 2016. I had great intentions to document more regularly – such as each week. However, week one came and went, with me busy with this and that, so now I am doing a 2-week update. As it’s now fourteen days’ worth of the project, I won’t bore you with 14 different photos. (Yawn!) Just a quick update – I have been really pleased with myself this year – it’s gone much better than last year! I have managed every single day wearing something that in some way has come about at the hands of ME!

There have been a couple of days when the me-makes have been accessories or bags, or on one day, an altered garment, but otherwise I have managed pretty much to wear an outfit I have made myself. Me. (Hence the “Me-Made” in the title!) Oh, just remembered – pyjamas too (no way am I showing you shots of me first thing in the morning, though. Nobody deserves that!)

So here is a little montage of some of the outfits! You will have to feel very honoured that I am sharing them with you – I HATE photos of myself, and some of these are totally goofy (blame my photographer!)

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L-R: Stripey Coco dress (awful selfie, as aforementioned photographer had already left for work!), appliqued Delphine skirt, green lined wool skirt with flounce, Dottie Angel frock.

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Ladybird spot Coco dress, wool felt corsage (on a day I wore a store-bought dress!)

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What I call my Minnie Mouse dress! Worm for a friend’s 50th – I love this petticoat! I also made matching earrings (can you see them?) Apologies for coats and schoolbags in the background!

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My Spider-Man dress! My son got new Star Wars curtains for Christmas, so said I could have his old Spider-Man ones! He has now asked for PJs with the other curtain once he saw my dress. Think I need a Wonder Woman one next!!!

So, will try to continue to do the Me-Made thing for the next 2 weeks! (This will include a camping trip – the pjyamas might get another outing!)

 

Sewing

Me Made May Update (a bit late!)

My “Me Made May” so far –

Wow! Half way through May already! Have been rather poor at documenting the challenge, and actually within the first few days it became very evident that I have massive gaps in my handmade wardrobe! Well, I’ve only been making clothes since the summer, so I am still learning! Have also had to make lots of bags and things to restock both the Etsy shop and the Norwich one! But here’s the story so far…

The first few days of the Me Made May challenge saw me camping. A bit of a challenge for wearing things I’ve made, because I’ve mostly made dresses and skirts (not great for pitching the tent!)

But I did my best!  May 1st, I had an informal interview for some supply work. I wore my red spotty Coco, which I love. Then we went off to Lincolnshire for camping. I wore my hand-knitted Noro yarn cardigan – turns out I needed lots of fleeces as well! What a cold night that was – took about an hour to get warm inside the sleeping bag, then had to get up in the middle of the night to visit the loo. When I came back, I saw that there was ice on the tent! Brrrrr!

May 2nd – again, cold, so needed to layer up, but I wore the pistachio knickers I made on my knicker-making workshop. No photos here, guys!

May 3rd – Raining. And when I say rain, I mean something more akin to the deluge that Noah might have experienced! Not in a great mood to start the day because we discovered that our tent had tiny gaps in the seams that didn’t quite hold up to 8 hours of solid rain! Wet towels, jeans and sleeping bags, plus the inability to use the gas stove and make a morning cup of tea means a grumpy Lucy! But it cleared up into a beautiful day and we had a great time with our friends in Lincoln at the castle.

May 4th – our last day. I cheated a bit by counting my handbag as my made item (I did make it – and I did say that my pledge was for clothes and accessories!)

May 5th – I wore my red spotty Coco. Did I mention that I love, love, love Coco? I have two and they are the constant staples in my wardrobe! This challenge has shown me that I get them out to wear a lot, so maybe I need another?! I have seen some stripey jersey that I really like, but am a bit scared of matching stripes…eek!

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May 6th – The Other Coco – my helicopter one. Every time I wear it, I get compliments about it, and today was no different. I feel really chuffed when people like things I’ve made myself! It’s still tights and boots weather here, so am making the most of it and layering it up with a cardi too.IMG_5052

May 7th – Today I wore my Skater Dress in navy pinstripe wool. This is a Simple Sew pattern that I wished I’d done a toile for, as the waist is a couple of inches too high for my liking. However, I wore it with a wide elasticated belt to hide that, and it is ok. If I make it again (as with my Ruby – by the same pattern company), I will extend the waistline down a bit if I can figure out how to do it!

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May 8th – Went quite casual today in my Delphine skirt from Love at First Stitch by Tilly Warnes. Someone I know commented that this looked like a White Stuff skirt they’d seen (compliment!) – again, coloured tights & boots.The back

May 9th – Helicopter Coco again!

May 10th – No garments today, but wore a brooch I’d made (felt flower).IMG_6098

May 11th – Ladybird Coco. It’s good for teaching as you can just chuck it on and it’s smart-ish, but also comfy enough to get down with the kids (so to speak!) Didn’t wear it for long before I had to change into my PE kit!

May 12th – Again, no actual clothes but wore a wooden brooch that I made from a Mollie Makes kit. Went for a lovely afternoon tea with a friend.IMG_6103IMG_6106IMG_6100

May 13th – Helicopter Coco again! Am realising I need to make at least 2 or 3 more Cocos! They really are my go-to thing!

May 14th – Me-Made handbag, as I couldn’t wear Coco AGAIN. It’s getting ridiculous, and my other clothes are getting jealous!

May 15th – Maroon pants!

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May 16th – Pistachio pants!

May 17th – Margot pyjamas from Love at First Stitch.IMG_5814

So, that’s the end of the halfway-through update! Am already noticing that I need to make lots more clothes! Brilliant! Bring it on! Have chosen and cut the pattern for a new dress that I am about to make – maybe in time to wear it during this challenge! Also see the need for a jersey cardi or two! Plus some more pjs, and some dresses that aren’t Coco!

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One whole week without Jeremy Kyle!

It’s been a funny old week for me. A weird one. But one that I have really enjoyed.

Just before the Easter holidays, I gave up the full-time teaching job that I have loved for 12 years. I won’t bore you with the details; just a few words will suffice – stress, exhaustion, Ofsted, paperwork and lack of family time. Having thought of nothing else for many agonising weeks, the final straw was when my 5 year old son, just a week after the Christmas holidays, said “I can’t wait until the summer holidays Mummy, because then you will have time to play with me again”. Ouch! My life had become a refrain of “Not now, sweetheart, I have work to do”, and putting my job before my family. Because that’s what teachers do.

People that know me will know what a hard decision it was. Yes, I am giving up a regular salary. Yes, I will miss the children. Yes, I feel that I am abandoning the job that I love. But really, something had to give. Either the job, or my mental well-being, family life and relationships. In the end, it was a no-brainer. My little boy’s comments really hit home.

So, at the end of the Spring term, I said goodbye to the lovely school I had been teaching at for 12 years. Twelve years! Where did that time go? I had a fabulous last day full of lovely comments, presents and a super assembly from all my friends and the children. I have refrained from writing about it until now because I wasn’t really sure how I felt about everything.

But now I can tell you. The Easter holidays were the best two weeks I have had for many years. No planning, marking, assessment or preparation for the new term. Just winding down, enjoying time with my family, taking my little boy on outings, actually cooking proper meals and of course doing some sewing. Yay! Time for sewing! Much excitement!

But that was the holidays. The first day back at school was weird. Being a parent first and foremost, and not a teacher (my little boy goes to my old school). I met a couple of other teacher-parents on the way in, one of whom said “I’m really jealous of you”, the other who said “You lucky thing – enjoy it”.  Once I got home I thought “Now what?! Jeremy Kyle and Homes Under the Hammer?!” I don’t know how to be unemployed – I haven’t done it since I was about 19.

But I have filled my 5 precious days with sewing (I have my things in this shop in Norwich and online in my Etsy shop, both of which really need restocking); organising things that I haven’t had time to do for ages (filing, decluttering, etc.) and generally just regrouping and thinking about the future. I also did a day’s supply at a local school, which was great because I went in at 8:15, taught the lovely kids, then left at 3:30. No, people, this is not what teachers normally do!!! But it was good. The best thing was that one day this week, I picked up my little lad after school and then we went to the park! Yes – the park, after school! No getting home, throwing some food together and having just half an hour with my child before bath and bed. It was just lovely.

I have had so many positive comments from colleagues, friends, other parents in my son’s class, and relations. One lovely ex-parent (of a child I taught a few years ago) bumped into me at the castle and gave me a huge hug and said “Well done for getting out!” (her husband is a teacher too, so she knows what it’s like). That really made me feel good. I feel like I am finding myself again. And I hope my family thinks I am a bit more chilled out and less shouty! The house is marginally tidier (miracles don’t happen in a week!) and the home cooking has improved.

Not quite certain yet what the future holds. I am not sure if I can leave completely – I am a teacher and I love to teach. I just don’t like what the teaching profession is at the moment. So I am looking around for what I might do come September. Maybe a short-term teaching contract, maybe part-time, maybe something totally different? In the meantime, I am looking forward to doing some supply days here and there, but I am also busy making bags and bits and doing the family thing. I am really busy and enjoying every minute.

And daytime telly hasn’t even gone on once! Sorry, Jeremy, you’re just not even on my radar.

norfolk · Sewing

The wonderful Norwich Lanes

I spent the day today manning the shop at Norwich Gift Emporium, where I have my bags for sale. Wow, what a talented bunch of people there are exhibiting their things here! Just beautiful, unusual things and all handmade by local artisans.

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The shop is situated in Lower Goat Lane in the Norwich Lanes district. This is a part of Norwich that is full of lovely small shops, cafés, galleries and other independent businesses.  Down the road there is the Birdcage bar, at the top of the lane there is Imelda’s for fabulous shoes, and there are loads of great eateries to offer coffee, cakes and other yummy delights!

The Norwich Lanes offers the chance to escape the mass-produced generic experience on offer on the high street. Here you will not find Primark or Starbucks. It is fun to wander around looking at all the interesting bits & bobs on offer. I love stopping off for a pot of tea and a cheese scone at Biddy’s Tearoom or browsing the unusual books on offer at The Book Hive.IMG_5962IMG_5953 IMG_5952IMG_5944

I thought I’d tempt you with a selection of photos of some of the goodies that the Norwich Gift Emporium has to offer. Come and have a look! While you’re here, explore the rest of the Lanes – Norwich is really lucky to have such a lovely quarter – come and use it!

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Sewing

Christmas Crafts at my favourite pub

I’m having a stall at the Golden Star in Norwich on Saturday 29th (see pic for details).
That’s my little boy in the photo. The NICU saved his life. They’re amazing. IMG_5416.JPG
Please come & support this worthy cause. Also a few small tables left
if you’d like a stall. Let me know! Continue reading “Christmas Crafts at my favourite pub”