Here I am…

Once again, it’s been ages since I’ve been here on this here blog. Been making lots of plans and selling fabrics and teaching and ALL of the ridiculous admin that the Dept. of Education requires teachers to do now. I have to say (minor rant) that my word of the year as far as education goes is ‘irony‘. There’s something VERY wrong when teaching a class gets in the way of completing paper work which is SUPPOSED to make us better teachers. It’s nuts.

Anyway, enough about that. What have I been doing with mabel and george? Making sewing patterns! A new bag called “The George Bag’ is in the pipeline. Sample made, instructional photos taken, written instructions half way there. Pattern drawn up ready for printing – and I’m trying to teach myself how to make E-patterns – it’s really an interesting process. First sewing pattern will be the good old printed paper kind. Love a good ‘hardcopy’!

'Sneak Preview' - The three fabrics I used for The George Bag sample- Red is 'Margaret, Aqua is 'Dora and green is 'Eleanor'.

‘Sneak Preview’ – The three fabrics I used for The George Bag sample- Red is ‘Margaret, Aqua is ‘Dora and green is ‘Eleanor’.

The bag is really easy to make, a ‘sling’ style large, ‘fold-over’ style.  Proper photos coming soon for your viewing pleasure!

A selection of some of my more recent fabric designs.

A selection of some of my more recent fabric designs.

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Last Emu Plains Market for me until December

This Saturday will be my last Emu Plains Market until December. In April I’m off to Sydney for the school holidays to visit my sister and her family. April is the last EPM until October and in October I’m off on a 6 week trip to the UK and Paris with my Dad! We get back on November the 30, so I should be back on board with the markets from mid-December.

If you are free on Saturday and in need of beautiful fabrics to add to your stash or an easy embroidery project, come and see me at the Balnarring Racecourse from 9am-2pm.

IMG_0411I will still be at Kallista Community Markets on the first Saturday of every month until November and you can contact me through Facebook mabelandgeorge or email at mabelandgeorge@gmail.com. I’ve heard of a couple of other special markets coming up that I might be able to attend, I’ll let you know.

Making in the New Year

Once again, it’s been a long time since I posted. Christmas, four weeks away from home, a creative blank (due to end of year overload), and a new year at school means that I have been struggling to think of anything to say or make. I want to be able to find my equilibrium – one foot in front of the other is my motto at home and school right now.

Anyway, enough talk, time for photos. I have posted some of these already on Facebook and Instagram but some are brand new.

A new fabric design I'm really happy with. Still thinking of a name for it.

A new fabric design I’m really happy with. Still thinking of a name for it.

An hour of painting at Mum's

An hour of painting at Mum’s

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This will form the basis of a new design. My spaniel daisy loves the snow, so..

This will form the basis of a new design. My spaniel daisy loves the snow, so..

More new fabric possibilities. Hanging on the wall while I study them.

More new fabric possibilities. Hanging on the wall while I study them.

 

 

 

 

Last Market This Year

This Saturday is my final market for the year. It’s been a busy second half of the year. The dream is to one day go part time at school and spend the rest of the week on the textiles work, but until the time comes when I feel confident that the business income is steady I work on the business after hours. It’s been pretty hectic and I end up working 7 days a week and at night too! It hasn’t really felt like work though. It’s great because it’s so motivating and I love having a real sense of purpose – also, it is whatever I want it to be. In the last three weeks though, I have run out of puff! I guess the point comes when you have to slow down for a while. School is always frantic at the end of the year and this year we’ve introduced a new programme where the kids have started their 2014 school year 3 and a half weeks early, so we are all-systems go. It’s a great idea which keeps the kids on-task and I can see it will have real educational benefits for them, but boy it’s knackering! That coupled with end of year report writing, being on three interview panels for new staff, completing professional development work and curriculum writing – gosh, I don’t know when I’m going to clear out the textiles store room and do all of my stores ordering – means that I have few reserves left at the end of the day and on weekends. Last weekend I slept alot – frustrating when I really wanted to get into some new design work. Never mind – I realise that I can’t fight it and I just need to ride this time and accept what it is. Also listen to my body. On the 21st December I load the dogs into the car and we head up the Hume freeway to Forster NSW, four hours north of Sydney . Christmas at the beach with my Mum and Aunt will hopefully be a restful and renewing time. I plan to spend as much time as possible creating new designs, reviewing where’ mabel and george’ is now, all that I’ve achieved and how I want it to grow. As I write this I am already feeling excited at being able to concentrate on this thing I’m creating.

Fabrics

From the top: 'Ironing Day', 'Angelica Green', 'Margaret' and 'Francoise Beige'

From the top: ‘Ironing Day’, ‘Angelica Green’, ‘Margaret’ and ‘Francoise Beige’

I just wanted to share with you some images of some of my digital print fabrics. It’s so satisfying to start from a ‘doodle’ in my sketchbook, scan it onto my laptop and then be able to draw all over it and colour it in using my drawing tablet (I’ll take a photo of that soon so you can see what I’m talking about). I feel incredible freedom to be able to design WHATEVER I WANT! The only frustrating thing at the moment is that I’m so busy with the markets, orders, embroidery kits (and teaching of course) that I haven’t had the creative head space to design some new prints. I’m hanging out for the summer holidays. I’ll take my laptop, sketchbook, drawing tablet and reference materials up to my Mum’s for Christmas (she lives on the mid north coast of NSW) and hopefully I can just CREATE. Can’t wait.

The top design is 'Iris', then 'Angelica', "Grace', 'Edith and 'Eleanor'

The top design is ‘Iris’, then ‘Angelica’, “Grace’, ‘Edith and ‘Eleanor’

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Thinking

You know, a successful market day isn’t just about making sales (although they do make it pretty great) . My biggest joy comes from meeting lots of new people who share sewing and ‘making’ as a passion.

The heart beats a little faster and the talking slides up a notch when we start sharing stories. People yesterday were telling me about what past experiences the colours in the fabrics reminded them of, the pleasure and relaxation which comes from their ‘making’ and a common theme: I wish there was more time!

I heard about parents and grandparents who created through sewing, crochet or knitting and passed their love and talents for making onto their children and grandchildren. I heard about moving homes, planning new colour schemes and the excitement and relief of being able to access their packed boxes of materials. It makes my day.

As a textiles and art teacher in a large secondary school I often feel a slight sense of urgency to try to pass on this love of making to my students. Things have changed alot since I started teaching 23 years ago. It seems that fewer students have access to parents or grandparents who ‘make’. It is such a precious thing to create something that didn’t exist in this world until ‘we’ made it. Making really does feed the soul and helps us breathe.

Making is meditation, health giving and generous when shared with others. I told my Year 9 girls last week ‘if you have some solid sewing skills under your belt, a passion for making and a few creative ideas, the sky is the limit and your life will be richer. Oh, and you can even make a little pocket money for yourself (or alot!)’