Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Best fun you can have on the kitchen table.

Sorry to disappoint after that title. I thought I'd get a few extra readers by being a bit suggestive.
My ideas of fun may not be the same as others.

More felt was needed to make more brooches. I'd come to the part of one multicoloured piece where every bit had badly clashing colours and I wanted something different.
I set about it with lots of colours which didn't look promising  until I wet and rolled and rubbed away, and there we go again..little areas that just make me wonder  how felt works its fuzzy magic.
Such fun. But I avoided  pinks and now I need some. Those encroaching leaves tell me I should have added more lilac.
I'll save that for next time.
I'd be doing it right now but I left all my wool in the car boot yesterday and I am just too lazy to go and get them, and its too cold outside. Instead, I'll sew more leaves.
I love doing them and now I have another order, from Dorset this time. (Thanks R) Isn't it exciting?
I haven't heard if I am doing the craft fairs I mentioned yet. I've decided not to do the outside one.
 It was the table size that clinched it...I have a 6 foot table and they wanted 5'2". It was the last straw.
I can imagine unloading all my stuff outside at night in December, but not the table as well.

Last Sunday we went for cake in Haworth. Thats the Brontes' Haworth, in case you didn't know. I don't expect Charlotte, Emily and Branwell went to the bottom of the hill for cake, but if 'The Coffee House ' had been there, I'm sure they would have.
It was sunny and the Coffee house was full. We had a bit of time to kill so we browsed the secondhand bookshops and I came across this.
A  super book from 1960.The kind of book I used to borrow from the library in my young days. I 'd spend hours making things like these,

or these

from a book like this.
Don't you think the pictures in the book look like the work I make now?
Mid century was a cool time to grow up.
Or seems to be when people who didn't, actually look back at it.

As for me, I have happy memories of childhood but when I think of lying in a very cold bedroom, with ice on the insides of the windows, and my luxurious over-the-bed brown bakelite light switch, hanging from twisted fabric-covered brown flex,and the air too cold to reach up and pull it,  reality strikes and I realise how lucky we are now.
However with projects like these to keep used amused

                     we could tell the younger generation a thing or two about having a good time.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Another order-done

 The last few days have been spent fulfilling another order, not S.O.R this time.
I'd already made the Tweed Things the gallery wanted, and just had to spend a few days making silk Hearts, to go with some cuffs, so I thought I'd share them.

I had an annoying moment when I realised I'd spent ages on two gold ones and there was an obvious flaw in the fabric, so the above is one replacement, I replaced the other with a blue one.

These reds are my favourites but don't photograph well.

I think I like the one on the right with the navy stitching best.
There have to be silver ones too. Now, I've over cleverly edited this picture with the iphoto 'enhance' tool, and I don't think it does....enhance them I mean. They look a bit weary.
Speaking of silver and gold,
look at the sky we followed home from Haworth last Sunday.
We just had to stop and enjoy the sunset.

Now I am left with a sewing room like a tip after having to change boxes for posting my goods . 
The only one I could find had 'other stuff' in it.
What a mess!
I am going to tidy up and then have fun with felt.
Watch this space.

Friday, 22 October 2010


Another day another order filled. Unfortunately 'SOR' this time. For the uninitiated this means Sale or Return.
This can be slightly unsatisfactory because they may not 'S' and have to be 'R'd, sometimes, in no fit state to be 'S'd anywhere else. Of course the money doesn't arrive until many weeks later and often you lose track of whats still around.
In fact I visited one gallery recently where my work is for sale, and admired a mirror with a frame made from silk and velvet, and I thought 'I wonder who made that'.
Yes you've guessed..I did.
They'd had it so long I'd forgotten even making it.
However , the Galleries are very high profile and its good to have a presence, so I defer financial gratification.
I made some slightly more symmetrical Paisley type brooches in my usual colours; here are the greys,
and do you remember the meaty coloured felt?
It makes a nice background.
and green,

and a bit of self indulgent pink
and purply pink.
I was aiming to make 20 and just had one to do . I started one in orange and stitched all around the velvet, and suddenly looked and asked myself what it would be like if I decided not to put the frilly edges on.
Instead I did a bit more stitching in matching threads.
I was hooked. 
I think they have an early 60s look. The kind of things you got in books about lino printing, or illustrations of fruits.
The smooth edges are so pleasing to trim away and the little bits of felt left showing are a delight to stitch on.

I should call these 'The First of Many'.

I'm not sorry they are not Pumpkins.
Whats going on in the UK this year with Halloween?
Its like Christmas..the shops are full of scary stuff and even little shops have Halloween displays. 
I don't think I like it. Bonfire night was always my Autumn festival of choice. 
Very British. 
I love reading blogs from all over the world and the cultural and national differences are what makes them fascinating. 
It seems a pity to homogenise all the traditions by aping culture from across the pond.
I've also noticed American terms terms being used by UK bloggers.
'Stopping by' and 'gotten' for example.  Nothing at all wrong with them but somehow eroding the differences.
I agree with Ursula's comment below that language isn't static .
I love that I have contact with many delightful Americans, but I'm sure they -you - like the differences too.

Listen to me...grumping. Its not really important in the grand scheme..just a little niggle. Hope it doesn't cause offence..none intended.
Don't get me going on the misuse of language..'one fowl swoop' and 'heart wrenching' to name but two of my pet hates.

In other developments...I have applied to do three craft fairs, one outside at night on 3rd December, one the day after inside, and one on 18th December inside again.
The second one,Vintage and Handmade, has asked on the application form, for any details of innovative and unusual ways of displaying one's wares.
Short of lying on the table draped only in  back copies of the Womens Weekly and placing my brooches strategically, inviting possible purchasers to mind where they stick the pins when they put them back, I have no ideas.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Pastures New

There's no tweed at all in this post. First a comment on many..over 60 for the last post I can't believe it. Thank you. Its very encouraging. I hope most have received a reply, I tried.

All the tweed has been sent to the Isle of Harris at great and unnecessary expense. 
The post office lady misinformed me and I ended up paying about two and a half times what it should have cost. When I discovered this I complained, and the 'Postmistress' in charge gave me a complete refund. The parcel has not arrived yet though after three working days on the road....rather worrying .
UPDATE:I checked on the track and trace website and its says 'delivered'.

I've had a change from Tweed and made a long feathery leafy thing..I apologise for the rubbishy background. I've been trying to edit it in PSE but a monkey could do better so you'll just have to mentally edit out the stitch marks in the canvas.

 I've been thinking about this idea for a while. What do you think?  Altogether different when its rolled.

 I don't know if I like such a large amount of velvet all down the centre.

 The fastening is velcro and not right at the end so I have added another velcro spot to sort of latch on to the surface of the felt where it overlaps. The felt is a mixture of colours with just one area of blue, and the velvet is deee-lic-ious pinky purply ness.
The stitching is in aqua shades.

I wrapped it round my own wrist to try to illustrate the point but I'd need a lot more than an erase tool to get rid of the wrinkles so I spared you that sight.

So there it is.

We have had the most amazing weather here lately, as have many bloggers, so I'm just going to add to the feast of berries and leaves and blue sky around the web.

These are viburnum berries and have such a waxy unreal surface they look almost luminous with the sun on them.  Is the word 'dayglo' still in use?
It was difficult to focus in the brilliant sunshine but I still like the pictures. They almost make up for the grey skies in the Summer.

I should be very grateful for any sky at all. I am just trying to imagine what it must have been like for those miners in Chile during their time under the earth. 
We stayed up late to watch the wonderful scenes as they started to come up to the surface. Well, I went to bed but found I was still alone at 4am so went down to find my son and husband watching TV and well...I watched with them. Its a good job we can choose our own working hours, I didn't get much made today.
But its so good to see them as they arrive on the surface isn't it?

In the middle of all this positive emotion, I received a call to say that a friend of ours, who we haven't seen for quite a while, had been killed in a motorcycle accident last Sunday. 
I have mixed feelings about mentioning it as I don't really think comments of sympathy for me are appropriate, so I would appreciate it if it does not become the focus of this post.
 I only make mention of this here to mark his passing which has shaken all of us.  
My thoughts are with his wife and daughters as they try to come to terms with the sudden loss. 
He was a gentle and unassuming chap always with a ready smile. He was not young, but at 60 neither was he old and should have had many years of life ahead.

Finally, someone else has been enjoying the great outdoors.
He came in with guilt written all over his face..literally. A big dangling feather stuck to the top end of one of his whiskers was dangling down over his face.
Can you see it in front of the printer?

When he started to wash his wicked face, we saw that there were other feathers stuck to his toes.
What can't speak can't lie.
He is a very bad boy indeed.
I am not speaking to him.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Order Complete

Finally the 'Big Order' is finished so I'm afraid this is going to be a showing off post..well, I'll show what I've made and lovely readers can draw your own conclusions as to whether I'm showing off or not. I apologise for showing some of the stuff I had in the last post but I really enjoy having a huge pile of stuff made ready to send on.
So to recap..the Tweed Weaver on Harris asked me to supply her with 10 of everything I showed her.
So above there are three lots of 10.
Then there are 10 cuffs, the pictures are suffering from ..wait for it...too much sun! Yes! The back of the house was dark so I went to the room at the front and the sun was blindingly brilliant.
10 little purses cunningly constructed to hold an iphone 4 or 3gs.

Here's a detail I couldn't resist, showing the velvet/silk/Harris Tweed combination. This is what gives me the pleasure, and the drive to continue. Its the surprisingness ( is that a word?) of the results that delights me. 
A different combination of colours gives  a totally different feel.
Now, what do you think these are? I don't even know, but found that I had some large pins and had to make some either extra large if you dare shawl pins, or mini wallhangings.

Its good to sort them into groups of the same colour too.
I had such a good time doing these.
Thank you for the encouragement I had after my last moan. Every single comment is read with care and gratitude and I apologise if I didn't reply to those 'no reply-ers' among you.
I am excited again about future projects, but have a few more orders to fulfil before that and a possible Christmas Market.

A day out in beautiful Mid Wales,cheered me up no end yesterday. My husband went to Powis Castle for work and left me in Montgomery, a lovely little town. I  visited a lovely Crafts Gallery, a vintage and  crafts shop, and the best Hardware shop I've been to in a long time, Bunners.
A lovely drive via Dolgellau  and a walk on Barmouth Beach  walked off the lunchtime cake,

followed by a meal in Gales of Llangollen on the way home.
Its a great place but I have to confess to feeling a bit queasy when I remember the huge half a beef tomato and equally huge mushroom both of which I ate first to get them out of the way.
I hate warm tomatoes.
It makes me think of 8 portions of boiled fish swimming in liquid in a metal tray each with a warmed half tomato on it . Convent School Dinners circa 1965.
I think I'll ask for the salad next time.

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

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