The Bothered Owl

Alex and Sarah's crafty corner of cyberspace

Last orders. December 22, 2010

I am officially done! No more orders now until after Christmas. (Unless you’re local and prepared to come and pick it up tomorrow! And even then, no more orders!)

I thought I’d quickly share a couple of the last ones I’ve done, partly because one of them is delightfully fun and partly to illustrate the amazing difference fabric choice can make, even more than the choice of shape/style in a bag.

Firstly, a bag that is more than meets the eye. (Oh yeah, I went there. I am no stranger to the bottom of that barrel and I’m happy to scrape it.)


The print is really big, it was quite hard to 'centre' it when cutting.

I went with a really long flap on this bag, instead of putting in a button or magnetic closure. I used loads of extra reinforcement to stiffen the fabric too, so that flap is staying shut unless you want it to open.


The bag has a main pocket and smaller external pocket.

Under the main flap you find the main pocket and a slightly smaller exterior pocket with its own button flap.

Sadly, I had no robot buttons so I had to go for something more understated. Red works, I think!

The strap is made from the same material as seatbelts. It’s polypropolene, very very shiny and smooth and most importantly blinking hardwearing. And adjustable. I like using bronze sliders and D-rings, they’re sturdy and they look really smart.

Final touch is the teeny weeny mobile phone/ wallet / key pocket on the inside:

How can you resist his grumpy wee robotic face, glaring at you from his soul-less robot eyes?

I have to say, it took me bloody ages to make this one but it was totally worth it and it was for a friend’s son and I hope she (and her son, obviously) will love it. (Before any one asks, I have no more Transformers fabric left. I can probably find some, if I look hard enough and you ask nicely enough. But not before Christmas. No, no, no.)

Next up, a couple of bucket bags. These were the last two things I finished today and I am showing them, mainly as an illustration of how different fabric totally transforms a design.

While I am really proud of all the bits and pieces I’ve designed over the last 18 months, I think it’s fair to say that without totally awesome fabric they’d be nothing. We’ve noticed when manning (owling?) the stand at the various shows we’ve done this year that it is always the fabric that hooks people. Most  of the time people don’t seem as bothered about the size of the bag – unless it’s for a specific project – as long as the fabric is just right. There’s something about fabric that just clicks for people. I’ve seen people spend the better part of an hour going through our stash crates looking for The One and it never fails to make me happy when they find what they’re looking for. The look on their faces when they find it is priceless.

Anyway: same bag, two ways:

Ignore the owly needle roll for a minute and look at the bags. They’re cut from the same template, they are to all intents and purposes the same bag. But see the difference the fabric makes? One is cute but more serious, slightly understated and very grown up. The other is quirky and cheerful and is just begging to go out and play.

The first bag is made from some adorable Japanese fabric (  I _think_ it’s a Kokka print but can’t remember off the top of my head and my selevedge/scrap box is in the other room. What? I’m pregnant and lazy, that’s way too far!)

Can anyone spot the Big Bad Wolf?

The second is a bucket bag and matching needle roll for a lovely newish knitter, desperate to keep her needles from the curious (and pull-y) fingers of her small child.  Some more details? Well, of course I’ll oblige!

Em requested some special pockets, one to hold scissors and various notions (That’s the one on the left) and one large enough to slip patterns or knitting magazines into. Pattern pockets are something I’ve been meaning to incorporate into the bucket and messenger bag designs for a while now, so I was glad to have a chance to try it out and see if it would work with the dimensions of the current design. It does!

I used the same owly fabric as the exterior, just on a brown base for the pockets. I love those owls, they’re just adorable!

The bag closes with a button flap and I managed to finally get a reasonable shot of the little teeny weeny owly button:

Surprisingly hard to photograph, for an inanimate object!

For some reason, even using the macro setting and no flash, these little guys have proved remarkably resistant to me taking photos of them in the past. You can kind of see the details here but it’s still far from perfect.

To match the bucket bag, Em asked for a needle roll for straight needles. I don’t actually own any straight needles any more, but I know how long they are and I DO own a tape measure. (Or four. ) Plus our standard needle roll design is deliberately sized to be adjustable for straights or circs. Easy peasy!

And that’s it!

I had a bunch more custom bits and bobs that have already gone out, but I don’t want to overload you with pictures of shiny things made for other people 😀

Anyway, I am done diddly un until after Christmas now and planning on hiding out on the sofa with the kids, NOT checking the computer or making anything even vaguely sewing related for the next week or two. I have socks to knit and presents to wrap and meals to plan and general merriment to indulge in.

Have a fabulous seasonally appropriate festival/non-festival of your choice, folks!



Christmas Market roundup December 8, 2010

Filed under: markets — thebotheredowl @ 12:46 pm
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Okay, okay, it’s not a post with photos of the Yarn Party. Soon, I promise, my pretties, sooon. We’re still rounding up photos and all that sort of gubbins.

But I just wanted to let you know of a couple of Christmas markets we’re doing this week. They’ll most likely be our last ones for the year as we’re all exhausted!

First stop on the Christmas market juggernaut isThe Museum of London, Docklands. Alex used to work there, it’s a fab museum with some great exhibits and they’re holding a Fair there tomorrow evening. We did last year’s Museum of London Fair and it was a hoot so we signed up for this one. If it’s anything like last year, it should be great fun. Christmas carols, loads of great makers’ stalls and best of all a museum to have a look through. All details on the link.


Then this weekend we are dividing and conquering on a local scale as we hit both the Brockley and Ladywell Christmas Markets. We did these last year as well and they are such lovely events. Alex has been helping to organise the Ladywell one this year so she and Scott will be shivering by Ladywell Station, drinking mulled wine and enjoying the atmosphere. Whilst I shall be hauling my butt to Brockley to stand in the street as a purveyor of fine handcrafted wotnots for your Christmas purchasing.

We’ll have a wide range of stuff, as always, including some of the new lavender sachets we’ve been working on. Who says practical objects can’t be pretty? Ours are made with offcuts of the fabrics we use in all our other designs and we think they are rather fun. Plus, Alex found a really good lavender supplier so they smell absolutely divine – as long as you’re not a moth.

Details, details:

Brockley Christmas Market


Ladywell Christmas Market

Ladywell Station Forecourt

Railway Terrace




11th December 2010 – 10am-4pm


As usual we’d love to see you, if you’re in the area. If there’s something particular you’d like us to make up for you, why not let us know ahead of schedule and we can have it tucked away somewhere on the stall for you!


And that concludes this little public service announcement. The small child juggernaut rolls on too and I need to go bathe two paint covered miscreants who’ve been making a pirate island out of half of the mince pie box from the other night. Photos of their amazing creations later.




One more thing before I go December 23, 2009

Filed under: General Crafty Chat — thebotheredowl @ 9:48 am
Tags: ,

I’m off for Christmas in Cambridgeshire, if we don’t get frozen to the motorway on the way. And I am going to try my hardest to not do anything at all on the internet while I am there.

So have a lovely Christmas, internet people. I hope you got all your Christmas crafting done – I didn’t bother this year, I was too busy! I did, however, purchase some handmade gifts from some lovely people on Folksy, like the amazing Bookity. Maybe next year I’ll get back into the swing of making stuff for people rather than for the shop.

After Christmas I will be trying to think up some new tutorial topics for the site and generally trying to chat more about crafts rather than the constant stream of shop stuff. Which is important, obviously, but it’s more fun to be able to just talk about craft rather than pimping our shop all the time!

Speaking of which, one last plug. I spent about 8 hours yesterday (I’m possibly UNDER exaggerating there, it may have been longer) uploading pretty much everything in my black suitcase of goodies onto Folksy and Etsy. I couldn’t face the prospect of doing Coriandr last night as well, my eyeballs started feeling like they were about to burst into flames. That will wait until after Christmas. (The uploading, not the bursting into flames. Obviously.)

Right, that really is me done now until after Christmas. I’m off to eat lots of delicious vegetarian food, spend time with my lovely inlaws , knit some socks and generally relax.

Happy Seasonally Appropriate Greetings, folks!



Ticking things off maketh me happy October 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — thebotheredowl @ 12:02 pm
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Lists are good, reassuring things. This is something new I have learned in the last week. RE-visiting my panicky post of the other day and crossing things off that big list of stuff really helps calm me down.

And really, the situation is good. I put backs on 24 brooches last night and embellished just over half of them in a couple of hours. So now all I have to do is the side seams. It’s a question of lining them up and knocking them down.

Alex has been doing the same thing with her jewellery.

We’re finding that dividing stuff up into chunks really helps. So if I have 24 brooches to make, I do all 24 backs first, then the buttons, then the side seams and for some reason it just zips along much quicker. I used to find that with marking essays and exam papers too.

I really want all those brooches done and dusted by the time I get back to London (I’m at Jake’s parents’ house this weekend.) If I can get a couple of blankies done too, that’ll be a bonus.

Thursday and Friday are going to be craft-a-palooza. I’ll be honest, I think we’re both looking forward to the Christmas insanity being over so we can get back to a saner craft regimen. It’s like running a marathon, but with needles and pliers. Which, let’s face it, is a really bad idea.