Spring has finally sprung here in the South-East of England – everything is a really vivid shade of green and bursting into life. The ferns in my back garden are unfurling long, sinuous tendrils which inspired me to make a patterned fabric featuring this intricate botanical. I had wanted to try linocutting for a long time so this felt like the perfect opportunity. I loved the process of designing and (armed with my Mum’s old linocutting tools from her art school days) carving my printing block and thought it might be helpful to show you the steps I took in case you feel inspired to try it too! Continue reading
Hello and Happy New Year! I really wanted to share some photos from the last couple of months by way of a little catch up. I’ve been taking Sara Tasker’s new e-course Gloom & Glow which has really helped me see the magic in these dark and gloomy days and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of getting out into the fresh air in search of photographs (and also hiding indoors with my fairy lights and blankets). Continue reading
Winters in England can be pretty brutal – grey skies day after day, freezing temperatures but seldom snow to make it pretty, rain, going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark, did I mention the rain?
I can think of two things that can help make Winter better wherever you are though – hot pyjamas straight off the radiator and going to bed with a hot water bottle! The pyjamas you can probably figure out for yourself but I’m excited to share my new and improved quilted hot water bottle cover sewing tutorial today! Continue reading
I’m just popping in this morning to share a little glimpse of a 1930’s style jumper I’ve been working on for Emily… Continue reading
It’s been a while since I sewed a new garm so I’m excited to share some photos of my finished bomber jacket today! The pattern is, of course, the Rigel Bomber by Papercut Patterns – a simple, unlined bomber jacket with welt pockets. I chose a pink sweatshirt fabric (rather more lurid than these photos make it appear…) as I wanted something warm, comfy and easy to care for. Also, since it’s super cosy, fleece backed sweat-shirting, I thought it might be nice to see the contrast in texture on the inside of the jacket.
I learned a couple of things while working on this project. One thing, which is blindingly obvious in hindsight, is that (of course) if you choose to make details like ribbing, zips and welt pockets in a contrasting colour then any imperfections will stick out like a sore thumb. But if I stand at a jaunty angle like this then perhaps you won’t notice 😉 The other is that although this is a simple enough jacket pattern, jackets are inherently more difficult than dresses as they don’t look ‘pretty’ in-and-of themselves and don’t ‘spark joy’ in quite the same way. Also there are more straight lines and corners to match up so if something is slightly off then it’s harder to sort of ‘use the force’ and ease on down the road and lose the excess in the side seams (or wherever – hope it’s not just me that sews like this!).
I’m hoping this will be a good addition to my day to day getup, especially once the temperature drops a little more. I’m already planning a silk version for work but think I might try lining it this time – and maybe skip the pockets to save myself a whole load of time (and a little bit of heartache – my overlocker chewed up two side panels as I tried to make the inside of the pocket situation look neater). Thinking about the pockets just then made my heart feel all heavy and then it hit me – making jackets feels a lot more like ‘tailoring’ and a lot less like ‘dressmaking’ – more mathematical somehow with fewer nice, curved seams and pretty necklines. One thing I have realised though is that I desperately need to sew more every-day things so perhaps jackets are something I’ll come to enjoy more with practice?
One last thing (to do with my upside down feet). Long story short, my tripod is broken. I really wanted to show off these trainers which are by New Balance though as they just go so well with the jacket – what a coincidence 😉
Orla: We don’t sit on walls do we Mummy? It’s too dangerous.
Me: *nods sagely* Yes that’s right.
Orla: Actually I don’t mean walls, I mean wolves.
Orla turned three earlier this month can you believe it? She is a proper little person now – not my baby to sweep up in my arms and smother with kisses, not a toddler that can be bribed with snacks or strapped into a car seat with brute force if need be but a fully formed human being. It’s such a bitter-sweet feeling. Overnight her drawings went from scribbles to figurative scribbles with eyes, ears and smiles – I’ve kept her first drawing of me and stuck it up on the wall. We’re currently working on not starting every sentence with the words ‘I want…’ but otherwise conversations are frequently hilarious. The other day she was in the bathroom and called out to me ‘Mummy come and see this trick’ and when I peered around the door she (very solemnly and with great stage presence) lowered herself down into the toilet bowl. I’m going to start writing down more of her funny observations and turns of phrase – I always think I’ll remember them but of course they just slip away. This is Orla’s last year before starting school and it makes my chest ache a little just to type that – this little window of childhood is so small and I hope I’ve done it justice.
When casting about for a title for this blog post that song by Abba kept popping into my head – the one that goes ‘slipping through my fingers all the time I try to catch her every minute’. I decided to roll with it and here we are.
Emily is 7 months old today – I really love this age and feel incredibly lucky to be doing this baby thing a second time around. One thing I really struggle to do though is take enough pictures. Does anyone else have this? Continue reading
Flower crowns always bring a smile to my face – probably because they remind me of summer and festivals! Making one from fresh flowers is the perfect way to add some seasonal colour to a photo like this and a great way to put your fading bunch of flowers to use. This was a spur of the moment DIY earlier in the week when I found myself with a bunch of chamomile flowers, a free hour and a sunny garden to work in…
Over the last few weeks I’ve been working my way through Sara Tasker’s new e-course ‘Bloom & Grow‘ (you may already be familiar with Sara’s stunning Instagram account and blog Me & Orla). I signed up because Instagram had been leaving me feeling kind of flat for a while and I just felt left behind now that everyone seems to have found their style on this platform and are creating (what seems like) a never ending stream of imaginative and beautiful photos day in, day out. I consider myself pretty creative but when it comes to taking photos for Instagram, I just can’t seem to make the magic happen (I’m like that guy from the Lego Movie ‘Just tell me what to do, and how to do it’). I felt like my account didn’t really paint a picture of me, my life or my work… which is kind of the opposite of what I’m aiming for.
The course is about harnessing the power of flowers to create photos that are captivating, surprising, delighting, thought provoking and above all creative. I’m taking my time absorbing all the course materials and am slowly starting to put the things I’m learning into practice. Sara’s lessons are really helping me figure out the kind of photos I want to take and how to get there – you know how the best teachers don’t just tell you what to do but gently guide you so that you figure out the answer yourself and learn a whole load in the process? Yep, it’s like that and I wouldn’t hesitate to reccomend it to anyone who feels adrift on Instagram.
This is a round about way of explaining that if you’re wondering what a melting peony ice cream has to do with crafts, the answer is that it’s another type of creativity that I’m dipping my toe into. Jumping in with both feet in fact. These are the kinds of images I want to create and I’m really looking forward to sharing that journey here as well as on Instagram.
If you would like to follow along on Instagram you’ll find me at @chloemullaneyuk. Don’t forget to leave your Instagram handle in the comments so I can come and find you too!
You can see what my other classmates and I have been up to (and share your own floral inspired photos) with the hashtag #bloomandgrow. I’m lucky enough to be taking the course with some truly fantastic photographers and I’m so happy to be a part of this community. I’ll be back soon with a few inspiring accounts for you to follow!