Tote’s amaze

I love using cotton tote bags, as book bag for uni to sports bag, and though you can find them with any print, I like to make my own.

This week I’ve been playing with transfer paper and scans from old magazines. I love vintage magazine covers and¬†advertisements, they’re like paintings.

On the front the cover of a 1930s French ladies magazine.

Tote orange front zoom

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Having a laugh for charity

I have recently moved out of London, back in the Dutch countryside. One of the surprising things I’m missing is browsing my local charity shops. In my London neighbourhood about every other shop sold second hand goods for charity. In Holland I have yet to find an Oxfam store for some cheap books or old granny finds.

However with the start of summer most local churches have their annual flea markets. They are basically one big charity fete where between the trash you can find the greatest things for no money.
I have to admit, most of it is rubbish and its also very much about having a laugh with friends and family. The first one I visited was from my nan’s local church. She intended to go alone, but in the end we had a car full with my mum, brother and I joining.
She wishes she’d never told us about it. They had just opened and we were already almost fighting over some deck chairs! My brother got lucky and got the last one for 5 euro. Such fun to see people practically running to be the first to find a great chair, vase, bag or whatever. Soon we split up, only to find each other at the strangest places with the craziest things in our hands. While I was diving into the handbags I spotted my brother with an old stereo and a rug under his arms.
My nan managed to make me crazier than I already am at such occasions. My brothers rug was obviously hers and together we found another rug for in my caravan (I guess you ¬†can’t wait to see my carpeted caravan). And I got the last 2 English china cups and saucer after she bought the rest. (50p per set!)
I also got a large leather weekend bag for only 2euro (partly to carry everything else), 2 small tins for teabags and sweets (1.50 together), a 1950s Afga Clack photo camera for 5euro, and a pile of books.
After about 2 hours laughing, coffee, cake and greeting people we carefully made our way home with the deckchair balancing between our heads as it only just fit in the car.
This Saturday I’m helping out at the flea market of my own local church, who knows what we’ll find there.

Machine Embroidery workshop

A little while ago I did a course in machine embroidery at ‘Sew Over It‘ in London. I’d already been there before to just use the sewing machines (see week 4). For my birthday I got given a machine embroidery course as I love the look and idea of it, but was a bit scared about using a sewing machine for loose curves instead of straight lines.

On a rainy evening 8 likeminded women gathered in the cosy shop to learn the tricks with a cup of tea. As I suppose tea is a big part of sewing most of us choose the teacup pattern to practise on. With little gems from the overflowing scrap basket we stuck our teacups on a plain piece of calico with bondaweb. Then the fun began of machine embroidering or free flow sewing. Initially it felt a bit scary and unnatural to move your work around and going sideways, but it is so much fun. Together we laughed about each others mistakes and ideas.


Now we knew how to do it it was time to actually make something. We could choose from a lampshade, tea cosy or cushion. Thinking easy and practical I went for the cushion and staying in the tea theme I went for a teapot with two cups. Choosing the right fabric seemed to be almost the most difficult part of the night, with so much to choose from. I settled on a pink with white polkadot as background and blue paisley print for the items.

It seemed we had a little too much fun playing around, because most of us didn’t finish at the end of the night, but I decided to meet up another time with a couple to finish our projects.


I now only need to buy the right foot for my sewing machine and I can continue what I’ve learned.