These new cushions were supposed to debut at The Little Northen Contemporary Craft Fair today (sister of the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair - which I will be at!) but annoyingly a broken down car and a tow truck meant that neither the cushions or I made it. Which was not part of todays plan! The cushions will be available at The Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey though, along with matching quilts.
It's funny, while I was writing this I checked the pre-publishing preview to see how the images looked, and a post from my first few weeks of pregnancy with Lily came up as a suggested post.
Only yesterday Lily asked me properly for the first time about my 7 miscarriages. She wanted to know what it felt like, and why I had them and whether I was upset each time.
At the time of the miscarriages they almost defined me, they were such a major part of my life. But I was surprised to realise today, just how long it's been since I've really thought about them.
We have our two girls and we're very grateful, but we still wish we'd been able to have four. While I was talking to Lily I remembered just how bad I had felt at the time. And then reading the post just now, about the early weeks of my pregnancy with Lily brought it back even more. It really is a reminder of how even the strongest pain does eventually ease. I can't imagine not feeling the awful pain I feel when I think about my Mum's death. But reading this and talking to Lily has made me realise that there will come a time when I can think about Mum without hurting the way I do now.
All that from a post about new cushions and a car breaking down! Who says blogging is a waste of time!
More new clothes for Lily. The horse print kills me. And it's now Lily's favourite dress.
The vest was a bit of a happy accident. I was working out a pattern for some boys overalls, and got the sizing completely wrong. So I cut off the legs, added some elastic to give it some shape and told Lily that I'd made her a new vest!
It was so lovely to have a few sunny days over the Easter holiday. I used some money that I inherited from my mum and bought us a years family membership to Harewood House, so we were able to take full advantage of the sunny days and spend as much time there as we wanted.
Harewood is one of our favourite places in Leeds to visit. The adventure park is fantastic, and keeps the girls entertained for hours. Which leaves me time to sit in the sunshine, reading magazines. Win, win.
Over winter I had forgotten how much difference it makes to our general moods to get out and run around in the fresh air. We're naturally quite a homebody family, with all 4 of us happy to stay in our pj's for days on end, but when we do get out in the sunshine it just changes everything.
Lily in particular benefits from being let loose in the country side. She's like a child from an Enid Blyton book, making friends with woodlice (she loves woodlice), talking to flowers and earthworms, lying on the grass, peering in to a new worlds.
It's our mission in the next year to move home. I want Lily to be free to explore, the way that I did. So we're hoping to move to the Isle of White, one of my childhood stomping grounds. But in the meantime we're going to take full advantage of being able to visit Harewood whenever we want.
This months issue of Coast Magazine features the very talented Poppy Treffry, in a huge and wonderful 10 page spread, that features her gorgeous home and beautiful family (and shop of course!).
I was a fan of Poppy's long before we became friends, and I can happily tell you all that she is as funny and as lovely as you would hope.
Coast magazine is also always a favourite of mine, so you absolutely can't go wrong when it comes to combining both Poppy and Coast!
And as if it wasn't lovely enough getting to see around her beautiful home (I love that we both have Sarah Heaton plates!) I was very excited to see that her gorgeous daughter Biba, is wearing a Treefall Design blouse!
I'm quite clearly biased, but if you love beautiful, fun designs, and you want to support a truly British business that produces wonderful, handmade pieces then go spend your pennies here....
Oh and if you want one of Biba's blouses, you can get it here!
Apparently Lily had nothing to wear today. Her favourite dress is the last one I made for her, and it was in the wash, so I very quickly ran her up another one in this jersey that I've had for the last couple of years.
These dresses are so quick to make that from cutting the fabric to wearing the dress took well under an hour.
Lily and Bella are both developing such great senses of style. I've spent my whole life expressing myself through the way I look. As a child I wanted to be a boy, and would only wear boys clothes. At the age of 14 I realised that trying to look like the rest of the pretty girls in school was never going to happen, and bought my first pair of bondage trousers. At 16 my mum helped me with my first mohican and at 21 I shaved all my hair off. I spent all of my 20's as a punk. Now that I'm in my 40's I don't particularly stand out anymore, but Bella tells me that I still don't look like most of her friends mums.
I don't expect Bella and Lily to need to express themselves in the way that I did, but I totally understand how much being in the wrong clothes can affect you, and have always let them change their clothes throughout the day, as their moods have changed.
Lily hates the way some clothes make her feel and that can often dictate what she wears, but she still takes great pride in putting together outfits and always includes as many accessories as possible. Most days she wears 3 alice bands at the same time, or a pair of rabbit ears.
I know that this dress is going to be on high rotation. The fact that all the seams are on the outside means that it feels extra comfortable for her to wear. She also loves the fact that it goes so well with the hat. That's my hat by the way! Of course it also looks great with rabbit ears....
Thank you so much for your comments and emails about my 'planning' post! I felt a little silly admitting that after all this time I still find it so hard to plan properly, so I'm very relieved to discover that I'm not the only one.
One of the reasons that I knew I had to sit down and write more than just a list was the fact that I have to finally produce more clothes for boys. The comment I get more than any other at shows, is that everyone wishes there were more clothes for boys.
So although there still isn't that much for boys, I have finally finalised my final (yes, I'm stalling) plans for some boys clothes, that will include a romper, trousers, a tunic and a t shirt.
I'm also working on more accessories. Smaller bits and pieces that still look lovely. And with that in mind, I've made some new newborn hats. For girls and boys.
If you follow me on Instagram you'll know that I spent almost all of yesterday sat at my kitchen table, attempting to finally form some sort of physical plan for my designs for the next 6 months.
I'm not very good at drawing or at putting ideas down on paper, so instead of planning what I'm going to make, I tend to write down scraps of ideas as I get them, and then in any quiet time, when I'm not making orders, I try out the new ideas.
The problem with this process is that while it always feels very natural, it also always feesl really disorganised and I often forget the ideas. It also means that it's not a cost effective process. So in an attempt to be more organised this year, and to stop the voices that go around and around in my head just as I'm falling asleep, I've made a concerted effort to overcome my fear of committing ideas to paper.
In order to manage this, I had to start small, because I genuinally find this kind of thing overwhelming. So I started with a stack of scrap paper, and a blue pen and a pink pen (and it's at times like that that you realise why it's good that girls and boys are colour coded) and wrote down the very basics of a collection - dress, trousers, blouse etc - marking each piece of paper with either blue or pink.
Then I took an A3 pad and taped each piece of paper to a page. And because I have a problem with not being able to make note books look 'good' enough (because I'm rubbish at drawing), I purposefully didn't try to make it all look pretty and just used plain masking tape (no washi tape for me!) to tape the notes on, along with scraps of the fabrics that I wanted to use for each design.
It's taken me a good few days to finally record everything that I want to make, and it still all looks pretty messy and a bit jumbled and would definitely benefit from someone that could actually sketch the designs properly and make it look all nice. But the process itself has made me feel so much better and orgainsed. And has genuinally made me feel that I have a target to work towards now. Which in turn means that my quieter time (when I'm always left feeling suddenly overwhelmed, without a deadline for me to focus on) will be used effectively and I'll no longer be left feeling like I'm floundering with no real end point to work towards.
I'm sure that to everyone else this all sounds very basic and obvious, but committing to ideas and having a plan has long been an issue for me. So only a few months in, I feel much better about facing the rest of this year. And I did it at the perfect time, because after a week of quiter time, today I got 3 magazine commissions!
After spending the morning shaking my head over colours and prints and combinations of fabrics in preparation for my first big show in June (which is only TWO months away) and an exhibition in July (only 3 months away!!) Bella and I went out after lunch to Red Brick Mill for a hot chocolate and apple crumble.
I don't get to spend a lot of time just with Bella, and at the moment it's really needed, because Lily's problems are pretty hard for Bell to have to cope with, and some time out to just chat about 9 year old girl stuff is really necessary.
I love Red Brick Mill - it not only houses the only northern branch of Heals, but now also has Made.com, and a vintage section, plus a cafe on the top floor. Our favourite bit though is the wallpaper that you can colour in!
This evening we all had dinner at our favourite place to eat in town and then after the girls went to bed Jim and I started an American Horror Story marathon, thanks to discovering it on Netflix. The result of which is that I will no longer be able to go down in to our cellar.....
Tomorrow I have to go back to trying to decide on fabrics.
It's been a rough couple of weeks. Some days it's felt like I've been swimming against the tide from the moment just before I open my eyes until I close them again at night. There have been entire days spent wondering what on earth I am doing and how on earth I can sort it all out.
Fortunately I don't take photo's of those days. I take them of good days. Or good parts of those days. Because that's what I want to remember and because looking at them helps me realise right now that it's not all bad. It's not all uphill struggles.
Saturday morning's are always good. I get up before everyone (and that doesn't have to be early, because I live with 3 lazy bums!) and start making bacon, coffee and croissants.
And going to our favourite cinema to watch The Muppets is good, especially when we get given free tickets!
Tulips are good. I got lots last weekend, for Mother's Day, but these orange one's are my favourites.
Our new kitchen light is good. It makes me happy every time I look at it. Especially with it's bright red cord. I don't even care that it gives out about 2 thirds less light than our old one and that for the first few days of having it, we kept reaching to switch it on before realising it already was on.
I'm very lucky that even during the weeks when the bad pretty much outweighs the good, there still is good. I appreciate that fact very much.