Friday, 29 May 2009

The Big Reveal!

After what seems an age. I am in print and I have now received my complimentary copies of Quilting Arts .
Thats not a complaint but it seems such a long time since I was contacted by Pokey Bolton with a view to writing an article....out of the blue.
How exciting.
She phoned me!!!!

Thats me in the middle of the cover..retro inspired.

I made some new pieces for the article based on pieces I had already done.

They came home today after a trip across the world to places I have never been and will probably never go.

Its so exciting.

Its only me.

And my sewing machine.

And the contents of my little brain spilled out into stitch.

I wish I could be cool and blasé (can put the accent in now. Thanks Kitty!!)........but its just not me.

Sorry to be such an insufferable show off.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009


Since coming home from our unexpected trip I have been desperate to get back into my sewing room, but I knew I had this task awaiting me.
A problem to be solved.
How to line and 'zip' this felt bag.

I made it ages ago trying, as I said before , to incorporate my usual embroidery style into felt.
Its just not possible to do the embroidery as part of the pre felt process because the velvet needs to be tumble dried to get a good finish, so I stitched it onto a strip of felt and used the embellisher to attach it to the bag.

Then added a decorative flower stitched on by hand.

There are lines and obvious separateness but I quite like that aspect.
The biggest problem is the lining and adding a zip in a professional way . I think I got it in principle. Its a piece of lining fabric..not rubber as it may seem in the picture!

It took so long, if I sell it on ETSY it will be fiendishly expensive.
I've got one in pink, one in lilac and a duck egg one too.

When I'd finished wrestling with that I had a bit of fun with some HUGE brooches..I mean HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE.
Would you dare to wear one?
At least 5 inches high.

Even more wacky and wild.

It was such a joyous process.

Then I calmed myself down with some pinkness.
Which I have to say is a much prettier colour in reality than this photo shows;
The velvet is a beautiful rich cerise.

Not a bit orangey like this picture.

Then I finished with blue.The centre is beautiful deep rich turquoise and indigo.


While I was doing this I was listening to the afternoon play on Radio 4.

Setting the scene #I
When I was a teenager I saw a tv film of a ghost story by MR James called 'Whistle and I'll come to You My Lad'. It was the most frightening thing I have ever seen on TV and always comes into my head when I stay in a B&B because the scary bit was in such a place. I have not forgotten it even after all these years.
(In fact, my older son went away to camp with school and was equally scared at the telling of it by one of his friends. Came home and told me all about it and I instantly knew what it was)

Setting the scene #II
My husband has some work he has to return to people in Aldeburgh, and I really fancy a trip there. We could stay in a B&B for a few nights and make a little holiday of it.

The play I listened to this afternoon(as well as being quite creepy in itself) informed me that #I took place in the proposed venue in #II!!!!!!
M.R. James based all his Ghost stories on Aldeburgh.

How can I go now?

Now I have to prepare myself for a sad event.
The last ever episode of ER.
I think I've seen every one.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Sea Interlude

May I share my recent jaunt with you? (There is no fabric or stitch in this post)
It was not, as I had planned , a trip to the laburnum Arch in Bodnant Gardens, but a visit to Norfolk for 4 days.
My husband had a meeting on Thursday so I spent the morning in Norwich where I saw different laburnums..surprisingly white not the usual yellow.

The Cathedral is spectacular, but you need a monocular to see the bosses in the vaulted ceiling.

The cloisters are lower and its much easier to see them. Rather over restored here is one of them, a green man.

After two days we moved on to the coast.
The land of Farrow and Ball.
No woodwork remains unpainted.
Lichen, Ball Green, Old White, Bone, Mouse's name the colour, you will find it on the North Norfolk coast, along with some of nature's own spectacular hues.

We stayed in Cley(pronounced to rhyme with 'fly')next-the-Sea, where there is a famous windmill which we could see from our window.

Its not 'on Sea' you notice because areas of marshland fill the spaces between the village and the tide. High dykes take paths from one village to the next in a circuitous route. One mile by road from Cley to Blakeney; by coastal path its two point one miles.

Worth every step.

Cley beach is a shingle bank built up by the tide over many years.

Cue the Sea Interlude.
Click the picture to enlarge it. (You may have to open a new window to do both)

Sunny but cold.

On the way there we'd spotted Seagates Irises and made a promise to ourselves to get some on our way back.

There were irises as far as the eye could see in every colour and combination of colours.

It reminded me of my work with fabric, choosing or coming across unexpected combinations.
My favourite, 'Copatonic.'

In Norwich our accommodation was smart and chic and had everything we could have wanted including a huge shower in a stone tiled bathroom.Little armchairs and tables and chairs in the room, and internet access.
In Cley the carpets were thin, there was a gap between the door and the frame, there were no chairs in the room or coat hooks on the door so we piled our jacket on top of our suitcase, the shower leaked and there was nothing but a small bar of pink soap to use in it.
And yet, I preferred it and felt more comfortable and relaxed there.
I don't know what that says about me.
I must say here that we both found everyone we met in Norfolk most welcoming and friendly.

The cat is out of the bag now.
I am in Quilting Arts Magazine in the June/July issue. Well, my work is .
Thank you to all those people who have e-mailed me to congratulate me.

Talking of cats..Jools has been missing since we got home.
UPDATE:He's back..large as life and twice as bossy.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Unseasonable Fabrics

Even though its the end of May the weather is awfully like March so I thought I would re visit Harris Tweed.
I peeped into my stash and found one hiding that I hadn't noticed before.
Don't you just love its tiny pattern in grey pink and cream?
I do.
I had just the right shade of velvet to go with it so got to work and made this little phone pouch..or whatever.

Then I made a green one with squares,

and another green one with circles

Then I turned the template the other way and made a wider shorter purse in tans, with my favourite colour combination, orange and blue.

I had some little trigger hooks so I stitched one on each, I don't know if that was a good idea but they can be cut off if not wanted.

Group photo-

all to send away to here.

The Henley Arts Trail

If you are in the Wargrave area at the weekend my goods will be at venue 13, Joanna Sinclair's studio. Click the link above to find out more.
Before an event like this I always underestimate how long the labelling and packing takes. I was sewing till midnight then packing almost all day today. The parcel tape ran out, The printer malfunctioned, I lost the address, my fineliner pen ran out...but eventually I got them on the Post Office scales and off.

My trip to Bodnant Gardens is off, but a trip to Norwich is ON!!
Hope the weather improves.

Now, I feel like a bad blogger. One of those blogger types I mentioned before who sucks up the comments and doesn't give anything back.
I have been so busy I just haven't had time to read my ever growing list. Every time I find a nice new blog or a new commenter I add it to my google reader list.
I now have 373 items to read
I am not equal to the task.

But I do enjoy it so.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Hot cakes

Yes, I actually had to use that expression today as my felt brooches and little round brooches flew out of my Etsy shop like the proverbial.
I have a little pile of brown paper parcels waiting to be dispatched tomorrow.
I love how I can walk a few hundred yards to the Village PO and send a parcel to Australia, Canada, New Zealand .

I've been really excited this week to have found my brooches features in two other blogs, Hip and Handmade, and Craft Gossip. Thanks to stat counter for finding those.
A big thank you too to Lynsdey who puts in hours of work on Cuteable , and featured my brooches there.

This is one I didn't photograph because it was a bit different from the others.
(Now in my ETSY shop)

Its in a summery colour and its derived from an Indian Motif so I could call it 'Indian Summer', a name I have already used to describe this.
Please let me know what you think of this shape before I commit to doing a whole lot of Paisley shaped brooches in different colours.

Here's another one that didn't have its photograph taken because it got separated from the rest.

Its in a really pretty rose pink .

Do you remember, if you are as old as I am, those lovely big paintboxes we got as children?
My brother and I had some, sent by relatives, each with a picture of the Queen Elizabeth Liner arriving in New York, on the front.
I can still remember breathing in the smell as I opened the lid to reveal, beneath a piece of waxed paper, dozens of little squares of colours, with their poetic names written on the white enamel below them.
Vermillion, scarlet and crimson; lamp black, ochre, burnt sienna, raw umber,viridian, olive, flesh, and my favourite, rose.
Or was it rose madder?
Most puzzling ..Ivory Black.

Thats my response to the BBC exhortations to put a little poetry in my life.
Except for Listening to Poetry Please on the radio this afternoon and holding back the tears at the reading of extracts from 'A Shropshire Lad'

Speaking of black,ivory or lamp, its so difficult to photograph.
The overall effect of this piece should be deep, inky, midnight, but the light has made it look grey.The thread I've used is a variegated one called 'night sky.' Its a cuff with a heart brooch to match.

I was just looking back at all the lovely comments I had on my bloggiversary post and I'm sure I didn't manage to reply to everyone. I really appreciated every one of them.
Thank you.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Back to Normal

But what is normal?

Whatever it is I'm feeling a lot more 'it' anyway.

It just suddenly happened one day, that I woke up a bit less gloomy a bit more focussed and wanting to clean, to sew, to get on with stuff.

The 'stuff' I got on with was the blog draw and thank you for all those great comments.
Such fun, too, to see lurkers and anonymouses (or should that be anonymice?) commenting. Lurker is such and unpleasant term and there's nothing wrong with reading and not commenting. I am just amazed that people want to read what I have to say.

UPDATE:The parcels have all gone to winners now.

The other stuff was the felt brooches which have excited me with their possibilities, and I've made load more and listed a few on etsy, as well as a few little round ones. I am waiting to sell a couple then I can just 'relist' because its sooooooo (Sorry Sesga!) tedious to list stuff one by one.
I've added a few more pictures to this post today . I sat up till 2 am trimming the linings and then had to photograph them today.

Its very difficult to get a sense of perspective on etsy..the felt brooches are big and wacky and bold and the 'little' ones are small and cute,and need affection, and they all look the same size on esty!
Here's a picture with a match for scale. Its just a bog standard short match.

What a coincidence that there was a programme on BBC 4 on Thursday night about Sylvia Plath and Heptonstall, and I've only just been. Did you see it?
Don't you love it when that happens?

I'm hoping for a day out on Wednesday if the weather's nice. Bodnant Gardens I think.

(If you read in google reader you may find a non post..ignore it.I made a nice comment on another blog and somehow it also appeared as a DDC post and I deleted it but be warned.
This was a nice comment.
If you drink a bottle of wine and decide to do a post about someone who's upset you and then in the cold light of day delete it....even deleted posts appear on Google reader.)

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


Strictly speaking it wasn't a draw. I hope you'll forgive me for asking my totally disinterested completely impartial son to send me five numbers.
I counted from the top, I ignored my own comments and counted each commenter as one even if they left two comments.
The first number he sent belonged to 'Magpie's Mumblings'.
So you can choose anything from my previous post or from my ETSY shop. This little piece about 8 inches square and mounted on board is the first prize but you can choose anything if you don't want it.

Now for the other four winners who will all receive a little round brooch. You will have to contact me to tell me, with careful descriptions, which brooch you want. Its first come first served so be quick! Please remember they are VERY small.
The four winners are:
You can tell there hasn't been any cheating or 'fixing' because the postage is going to be quite pricey. If I'd fixed them they would all be UK winners.

Thank you all for taking part and I hope I hear from you again. I'm so sorry you can't all win.
Thank you for all the lovely comments you've left over the last year.

I had a major scare about two hours ago.
I was trying to copy and paste all your names into a spread sheet so that I could cut them up and have a proper draw. Google perceived this as spam and locked me out of my blog.
Coupled with that, I had been trying to be clever with a new bit of html knowledge which is a dangerous thing.
My son taught me how to do a strikethrough using the html code, but I left out a teeny weeny but absolutely vital little forward slash so every single word I've ever written on thsi blog had a line through it, and because I was locked out I couldn't fix it.
Fortunately he was able to log in for me and sort it, and I unplugged my internet cable and plugged it in again and hey presto!

You know that old bit of advice?
''Have you tried unplugging it?''
Don't knock it.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

At Last

Entries for draw closed now, but still feel free to comment.
results later.

Have you noticed, if you live in the UK, how the weather forecasters always say what lovely weather we're having when its nice in London?
Well I live in the North. The wind is howling around our moorland village and creeping in through all the gaps in our old house, one of the highest in that village.
The central heating has broken down and we are COLD.

To take my mind off it I am having my bloggiversay at last.
One whole year of blogging(and a couple of weeks).
One hundred and forty five posts, 2,528 comments, 110 followers, 233 subscribers in reader, I don't know how many photographs, 365 days of fun.
Because of my blog I have
  • coped over the recent sad days with your support and comments.
  • enjoyed my trip to Marrakech all over again when I relived it on the blog.
  • been encouraged to pursue pieces of work through the reception they have had here.
  • Found lots of lovely friends in blogland
  • received amazing gifts from far and wide
  • had an exciting development (can't mention it yet)publishing related.
  • been invited to exhibit in an arts trail
  • sold lots of pieces of my work on etsy and by requests.
I only had two nasty comments all year ..actually one was an e mail the other was from 'anonymous' who didn't believe we were really friends.
Not a great deal of spam except the usual Chinese stuff.

At times I couldn't work blogger but you were all there to help.
I learnt how to link, how to stop links, how to use Google reader, and how to install stat counter.

Now for the thank you. Because I really want to say a big thank you to everyone I have communicated with in any way.
I said I would make a special thing for the giveaway but my creativity has been under pressure lately so this is what I'll do.
I am going to draw 5 names from 'the hat'.
The first name can choose one anything from my etsy shop or from this post.
The other 4 names can choose a little round brooch (now featured on Cuteable)from the 21 below .
(I put the other picture of these on flickr and its been a great success going straight into 'explore' and getting loads of comments. Its great but I don't know why. I preferred the one of them in their box.)

I am offering this piece as first prize but you may not like it.

Its about 8 inches square and is based on Ancient Greek Motifs.
really much nicer than it appears here.
But as I said, you can choose.

I've finished these pieces as brooches now.

Because of their irregular edges I couldn't stitch the back on so have had to rely on a combination of bondaweb and pva, but they are up for grabs in the giveaway.
All you have to do is leave a comment here. You could tell me which is your favourite post if you like but you don't have to.
Now I don't want anyone saying to themselves ' I won't comment because it looks like I only do it if I want something'.
No .
And come on you lurkers. You are just as important as the regular commentors.
Even if its your first visit, feel free.
All those lovely people who commented in the last fortnight when I was so sad. Leave another.I would esecially love to include you.
All the regulars as well..come on!
I wish I could make something for everyone but I can't.
I'll do the draw midweek. Wednesday evening perhaps.

Now although I wasn't feeling creative, I was committed this week to decorating our church for a wedding today, so last Thursday I worked my socks off and bunged all these flowers in various arrangements.I was absolutely shattered by 5.30 having set off at 10.30 am to buy the flowers and been on my feet all day. I haven't slept very well since 'you know what' and it takes its toll.

The bride is a girl I used to teach. She and my son were schoolfriends. She often looked after our dogs when we went away, until she got her own,and she is absolutely mad about animals.
I hadn't seen her for a few years when one day last year I was walking Willow up the hill towards home and a white van screeched to a halt and out jumped Yvonne and her Adam, delighted to see Willow again.

So it was little surprise to see how she arrived at church.


Barefoot too.
Shoes put on later.
She loved the flowers.
They are honeymooning in Ireland so they can take their dogs.

st of my pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Dear Anonymous.....

....don't waste your time...I have a spam filter.