Quilted ukulele bags in the Ivy Arch Etsy shop


Following the tremendous interest in last month’s blog post A new bag for my Flea, I’ve made some more quilted uke bags and they are now available to buy from my brand new Etsy shop.

They are all for soprano sized ukuleles and I’ve made each one in a different fabric - some vintage, some contemporary - all prints and all gorgeous. Please do have a look at the shop and ‘favourite’ the items you like! I will be putting more items (including uke bags) up for sale in the next few weeks.


The road to Emmaus

This morning I set off for Emmaus the second-hand superstore in Portslade Old Village. Emmaus is home to a community of previously homeless men and women who live and work together, running the on-site shops, fantastic tearooms and garden centre, all set in beautifully leafy and well-maintained grounds.
       My favourite shop is the almost hidden room just beyond the tearoom which sells superb vintage fabrics, furniture and ceramics, as well as delightful handicrafts made by people in the Emmaus community. I bought some brilliant blue 1950s barkcloth fabric and a large Sanderson William Morris Blackthorn print curtain.
       From there I breezed downhill on my bicycle to Portslade harbour where it was blowing a gale! I sailed along the coastal bike route to Brighton, stopping at Hove to record this brief but noisy video on my phone.



The labels have landed


I'm getting ready to launch the Ivy Arch Etsy shop and am thrilled that my embroidered labels arrived today! So much still to do. I'm hand finishing the ukulele bags (and sewing on those labels), need to photograph the items, work out postage and packaging costs, and then hope to have everything set up so that I can officially open up the shop on Monday morning. As well as the gorgeous uke bags, I'll be selling a range of brooches and handmade toys

This is the first time I've tried selling my handmade wares online and I'm really enjoying the process so far. I've had such a positive and encouraging response to the first prototype uke bag I blogged here last month, and am loving meeting so many inspirational people on Twitter and learning to use Etsy too. Stay tuned...

Ducks and trains in Arundel

The best thing about Arundel is the Wetland Centre. A beautiful and life-affirming sanctuary for wildfowl. The best thing about Ford is The Engine Shed – the UK’s biggest laser cut model railway shop. You don’t have to be a nerd to enjoy this kind of experience, but it helps. If only the real railway system was as well designed and efficient as Karl Gebele’s worlds within worlds miniature reconstructions – but then if it was we wouldn’t have stumbled upon the shop. We left smiling and clutching our Noch catalogues.

Citrus fruit brooches

Have just finished sewing the buttons onto some citrus fruit appliqué brooches.


I've made the brooches from a few favourite pieces of material; a fruity printed tea towel, some polka dot dress fabric and pieces of coloured felt. All lovingly glued and stitched together with a button sewn on top.

Tie-dye Sunday

This weekend I revisited a project from my 1970s childhood. Ever since she found my dog-eared copy of Angela Burdick’s Look I Can Sew, my daughter has been begging me to help her do some tie-dye.
Look I Can Sew is a 70s guide to sewing, batik and tie-dye for 6-16 year olds with wonderful bold and cheery illustrations. I’d done a few of the projects myself as a child and spent many hours poring over the pages of the book, so am delighted that it has the same strong appeal for her.

I was too chicken to let her loose on cold-water hand dyes so we started our tie-dye experiment with a single colour and used a Dylon washing machine dye (Flamingo Pink), which was easy to use and mess-free.



We think the results are great and next time I will be braver and we’ll try using cold-water dyes and do some colour mixing. 


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