Saturday, March 12, 2011

Proof of Life

It's okay, don't panic. I'm sure you've all been imagining the worst. Kidnap, pirates, antisocial behaviour orders requiring me to wear a tag and refrain from bloggery, or one of any number of other highly plausible scenarios.

Rather than taking a picture of myself holding today's Evening Standard in order to prove I am alive and well, I thought it might be more interesting to post some pictures of things wot I have made since I last checked in. Forgive the crappy photography. It's late and I can't be arsed to fiddle about with saturation and exposure. For the avoidance of doubt, my wall is not actually pink.

First up is an owlicious smocky top for the small girl, from an Oliver + S pattern. I don't often work from proper patterns, but this one took my fancy due to its lovely simple style and great potential for variation.

This bag is from Rae's brilliant Buttercup Bag tutorial, my favourite thing about it being that it only uses one fat quarter for the outside and one for the inside.

I made another version, slightly bigger, based on the same design, with a super-camp gold lamé lining (despite much camera wrangling, it became apparent that lamé sadly does not photograph at all well... just use your imagination, okay?)

These little trousies are for a certain little imminent godbump of mine, and make me wish that I could shrink my great big overgrown nearly-four-year-old down to brand new size again just so I can smooch her. Temporarily, mind. Chronic sleep deprivation is not on my wish-list for this year.

This one here is a sneaky preview of the godbump's main welcome gift. I could show you the whole thing, but I'm rather proud of it and I might save it up to give it a grand reveal all of its own, possibly involving a photoshoot with a smoochable newborn.

And last but not least, one of a batch of dresses to sell at some point when I am not up to my eyeballs in work. Love the cowboys. So much in fact that I kind of wish I had a cowboy dress. I did try to persuade Ruby that cowboy wallpaper was a good move for her new bedroom, but she wasn't buying it.

So there you have it. Rumours of my death may or may not have been greatly exaggerated, quite possibly by none other than yours truly, but I am officially still here, still making stuff. Catch you later. x

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sybaritic Sewing

Alright, alright. So I said I'd try to post more and I haven't. I have been truly, truly, uselessly absent.

But. I don't get to do much sewing right now. It's ages since I have sewn anything interesting, and exponentially longer since I have sewn anything interesting for

So tonight, with a great big heap of work parked very firmly in my blind spot in the dining room, no more than an indistinct silhouette in the corner of my eye, I dusted off my sewing machine and cutting board and made something I have needed for ages. I guess the fact that I needed it means that it is not total self-indulgent extravagance in the truest sense of the word, but it certainly feels like it.

A couple of hours playing around with a set square and a few scraps, and reacquainting myself with my poor neglected Singer, and we have here a brand new makeup bag. Small enough to fit in my handbag, big enough to hold all the things I actually need. Plus, it's got a funkalicious orange lining, and I have such strong affection for orange. Oh, the luxury.

I'd also like to draw your attention (if it has not been drawn by others already) to the glory of oh comely magazine. I may be way behind the times with this recommendation (so, what's new there?) but this magazine is be-oooooo-tiful. I could lose days reading it. If anyone loves me and is wondering what to get me for christmas, consider this a hint.

Now that I've fallen off the wagon it may not be imprudent to assume that you could be hearing more from me. Given the fact that I'm getting an overlocker for my belated birthday (can you say 'Fuck, yeah?!')and am unlikely to be able to resist playing with it far too much when I ought really to be working, that may appear more feasible still. Those of you who know and love the sporadic nature of my blogging will naturally know not to get your hopes up too much.

I will, however, tentatively pledge to have the shop up and running in time for Christmas shopping – at least for those less organised amongst us who don't get all our gifts bought before the clocks go back – as much to force my own hand as anything. Feel free to nag / harrass / abuse / flagellate /otherwise encourage me when I inevitably look like I'm going to fail to deliver. It's actually looking fairly well-stocked at the moment, so it's really just the web design side where I really need to pull my finger out. Be gentle with me though, okay? I have a full time job and a three year old.

Catchya later x

Monday, September 6, 2010

Breaking radio silence

It's been a while, I know. But bereavement will do funny things to you.

One of the things it has done to me is to make me curl up and hide and not have any contact with the outside world. Including you lot, I'm afraid. I've just been feeling too raw. I'm starting to come out of my hole, but be gentle with me, and and try not to give me funny looks when I switch from mopey depressive wreck to frightening fixed-grin-happy and back again as quickly as a very quick thing.

One of the other things it has done to me is to motivate me. When you watch someone die too soon, watch them mourn for all the things they will never get to do, you can no longer escape your own mortality. The finite-ness of yourself. I will not allow any more time to go by while I faff about not following my ambitions to fruition. So, in between the periods of wanting to curl up like a little hedgehoggy ball and offer the world my spikes, I have been working. Really hard. Drumroll please.... Ruby in Blue is going into business. I have been sewing my little socks off producing piece after piece of hand-crafted gorgeousness. Watch this space people. There will soon be a shop, stocked with beautiful things for you to buy for your very own small people. I'd been planning to do it for ages, but this was the push I needed. I am excited.

Coincidentally, the other thing bereavement has done to me is make me very, very busy. I am now heavily involved in my dad's company, and I am currently on a steep learning curve, finding my footing in the world of finance. It's a big step and a huge opportunity. Challenging, different to what I'm used to, and exhilarating.

Oh, and lest we should forget about the small girl, she still needs feeding and cuddling and playing with and reading to and tickling. If anyone knows where I can purchase additional hours for my day, I'd be really grateful. She is still the personification of gorgeousness by the way, and makes me smile a thousand times a day, even when I am an inch away from crying. Just in case you were wondering.

So, lots going on, and very little spare time as a result. It never rains, hey? As a little offering by way of apology for being so absent lately and for the serious lack of actual sewing in recent posts, I would like to direct your attention to the brand new button over there on the right: Sew From Scratch, by the very wonderful and clever LiEr at Ikat Bag. This is the holy grail when it comes to drafting patterns, a whole series of posts that will take you all the way from how to get the measurements you need to having a perfectly fitted sloper for your subject. I'm serious. I have waited my entire sewing life for someone to put together something like this. Anyone who has ever wanted to know, really understand, how to draft a pattern from scratch and have it absolutely perfectly fit your child, then you will want to set aside a couple of hours, some chocolate and some wine, and sit down to read your way through this whole series. Trust me, you will be glad you did.

I'm going to try to post more often. Don't expect too much in the way of sewing because, well, because of all the things I just wrote about. But I will be trying to add recipes, and generally blog more. If you notice I've been quiet for a while come and poke me with a sharp stick. If someone could also bring me a cup of tea from time to time that would be really great too.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

For my Daddy

I'm sorry. I haven't been here in what feels like forever. The practical reason for this is that I have been without a computer for the last couple of weeks. The real reason though, the reason I have no words and nothing to say, is that my Dad died on Friday. I am numb, and I am wordless.

After a long and awe-inspiringly courageous battle against cancer, which began in his colon and spread through his liver, lungs, spine, bones, and finally his brain, he died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of Friday morning, surrounded by the people who loved him, with my sister and I asleep on either side of him. He was sixty-one.

I can't imagine a world without my dad in it. He was the most generous, kind, loving, eccentric, wonderful man in the world. He filled a room. He made a party. He lived for music and beauty and family, and for each and every day. He will leave behind him an unfillable space, and a quiet to which we are unaccustomed.

Ruby understands, I think, in the way only a three-year-old can. She had a dream, a week or so before he died, about flying with her Baba, holding his hand. She says he can live in her heart, and that there are stairs in her body for him to get in. She blows kisses out of the window to him at bedtime. She reminds me that he is not ill any more.

It seems wrong, that these few sentences should be all I have to sum up my father, when I would normally find such comfort in words upon words, but for now I am mute. I could talk about the incredible things he has done, the funny stories and the cock-ups, the bravery and the reconciliation, but silence feels more fitting, more natural right now. The words will come, in time, I'm sure.

I love you, Baba. I will miss you forever. I am proud and thankful to have known you.

Always your daughter,

B x

Friday, July 16, 2010

A spanky new look for Ruby in Blue

...courtesy of the lovely people over at Shabby Blogs (yep, up there on the top left corner) and their glorious font of gorgeousness. And, get this, it's free to use.

Let me know what you think - are you a fan of the new look, or do you prefer the simple beauty of our former aesthetic? Leave a comment and let me know. This is a democracy, y'know.

I mean, I'm the boss and all, but I'll factor in your opinions... ;)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rubyisms, for posterity.

Much to my dismay, Ruby's pronunciation of words is improving exponentially at the moment. I can see some of my favourite Rubyisms vanishing from use entirely in the not too distant future. For the amusement of you fine people, I thought I'd write down a few of my favourites.

Trickult [tri'-kuhlt] (adj.)
Not easily or readily done; requiring much skill or labour to be done succesfully.
[Origin: Compound word, formed from the synonyms 'tricky' and 'difficult'.]

Lilypaddling [li'-li-pahd'-ling] (noun)
The leaf of an aquatic plant, the water lily, upon which frogs may sit.

Swimsuitcase [swim'-suht-keys] (noun)
1. A usually rectangular piece of luggage used for carrying clothes whilst travelling.
2. A garment worn for swimming.
[Origin: compound word, combining the meanings of two related words into one convenient multi-purpose term.]

Annoining [uh-noi'-ning] (adj.)
Causing annoyance; irritatingly bothersome.
eg. 'Oh, that's very annoining!'

Upside-up [up'-side-up'] (adj.)
Correctly orientated; antonym of upside-down.

Boffum [boff'-um] (noun)
The buttocks, or rump.
eg. 'Mummy, stop pinching my boffum!'
[Origin: early mispronunciation, reinforced by sentimental parent and grandparents.)

Oboe [oh'-boh] (noun)
The bend or joint of the human arm between forearm and upper arm.

These are too precious to forget. I sincerely hope I never do. I know there are more, but it's late and I can't think of them right now. Plus, I'm in Cornwall with no internet, and this is turning out to be a fairly tortuous process on my iPhone (on which grounds I would appreciate your understanding as regards any typos). Will try to stop by again while I'm away, but in case the tempermental phone signal fails me, or I an just too busy having a good time, I hope everyone has a great week. Peace x

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An age old tag, fulfilled...

Two posts in one day. I know, it's madness. Well, I was reading my lovely friend Skip's blog earlier, and I clicked on the label "happiness", as you do, and found this post. Seems I was tagged, and quite some time ago, and I never even knew it.

Here’s what to do:

1. Open the first (oldest) photo folder on your computer

2. Scroll to the 10th photo

3. Post the photo and the story behind it

4. Tag 5 or more people to continue the thread

I wasn't going to do anything about it, thinking it's a bit like realising you never paid your library fines, and that it's a bit late now, so the best thing to do is simply never to go back to the library again, but then I opened iPhoto, and I found the 10th photo in the first folder, and I thought again:

It's not one of the ten oldest photos on my computer, so I don't know how it snuck into that spot, somehow hoodwinking my computer and its grasp of chronology, but I'm kind of glad that it did. This is my Dad, and the picture was taken a couple of years ago, when Ruby was about five months old, on holiday in Cyprus.

I keep writing and rewriting this, going into the backstory and and the now-story, but all I really want to say is that I love my Dad more than I can say. He is the most generous, loving, brave and inspiring man I have ever met, even if he does hide it pretty well sometimes behind the fact that he's from Yorkshire.

This picture sums him up for me. It is how I think of him. He's the best dad I could ever have hoped for, and I wouldn't trade him for the world. I wouldn't even swap him for Bill Nighy.

Coincidentally, that was also the week my little baby girl first stood up, sat up, crawled, and grew her first two teeth. Busy holiday for her, that was.

Don't feel in any way obligated to take up my out of date tagging, but here are my five taggees:

1. Pixie at I'll be Francoise

2. Robyn at Rose Lullaby Dolls

So, take it or leave it my lovelies, but I found something rather special doing this, so it might just be worth a shot. A big belated thank you to lovely Skip for that little nugget of love.