Remember when I bought this book to help me with the bird apron and then promised to show some samples? Well, as a kind of trial run I made this bag using 'invisible machine applique' (and a slightly adapted version of my original design):
It worked really well, the book was incredibly easy to follow, so well written and the technique works beautifully. Preparing the pieces for applique is fairly time-consuming but actually applying them is a breeze. (Isn't that always the way with sewing?... It takes me an hour to cut out and prepare pieces for dress-making and then thirty minutes to construct). I had some problems with clipping and tucking under the fine pointed tips of the leaves so they are a tiny bit frayed in places. But the book does offer an alternative method (or four) which I can use to combat that when I come to do leaves again.
I'm so glad I tested the technique before throwing myself into the apron (that's not how I usually do things!) because I've learned a lot and I'd have been gutted to have my finished piece spoilt by the little flaws in this. And I so highly recommend this book if you're at all interested in applique, machine or otherwise.
I'm most self-satisfied with this bag because I used fabrics I had already. I usually jump on any opportunity to buy new fabric, but I'm starting to feel a little extravagant. The deep brown and white fabric I used for the applique is from a thrifted apron which I ummed and ahhed over buying for a few days (and it was only £1.50: crazy huh?!). I dyed the green fabric myself a year or two ago with a big project in mind which never came to fruition and I slipped the purple from David's shop before he closed it. So now I feel a little more eco-friendly and am on my way to justifying a new shopping trip!
Continuing the feathered-friend theme, Annie and I made a bird's nest this week while Eliza napped. We got the idea from a book called 'I'm Bored', which is just full of great ideas for things to do with your children, most of them free and all excellent fun. And while I haven't decided to turn this blog into a book promo site, it would be really handy to have around during the Summer holidays. (See this post and the great comments for more inspiring ideas also).
We constructed it by building up our nest from a hexagonal base, overlapping the twigs slightly at each corner. Then Annie lined it with moss and we decorated it with flowers, petals, leaves and pine cones.
It was an incredibly enjoyable, thoroughly therapeutic activity. I would still have loved it even if Annie wasn't there(!), but it was obviously all the more sweet because it was something we could do together.