Tuesday 29 July 2008

Blatant Advertising.

This is the first actual real useable handbag with embroidery that I made back in about 2000. I spent ages on the embroidery, its the same on both sides

and fastens with what I have learned to call a 'vintage' bead, and although its faded a bit worn, I used it on a number of occasions and I still like it. I went on to make lots more bags, large and small. I realised there was no need to cover the entire back in embroidery,
but there's always a little bit. I must have made and sold a hundred or so.
Its the embroidery part I enjoy, but when you are making a handbag for sale you have to pay attention to good quality construction.
Which is why I am not making any more like this. Too much construction and not enough fun.
The Hard Sell (Please look away if this offends)
I am reducing the price of all my remaining handbags from their original £35 - £40 (£50-£60 in certain galleries with commission) to £20. That $40 for American readers plus cost of postage. It sounds such a lot in dollars doesn't it? I can e-mail you extra pictures if you like andI take paypal.
Right, you can look again now.

Every bag is unique and is lightweight, pure silk with hand dyed silk velvet applique and fastening with either a roll of silk or a large bead, some vintage.

The bags are lined with an appropriate fabric and a little pocket is stitched into the inside big enough for a credit card, or bank notes. They are really 'special occasion ' bags as silk is a luxury fabric, not especially hardwearing, but look at the blue one..although its faded it still looks good.

These lemon ones are slimmer and would hold a few necessities such as a tissues, lipstick, phone, keys when you don't want a huge bag with you.
Lemon drops on the left is paler than the more golden swirly one.
The light has caught the swirls differently , thats what I love about velvet.
I've been awarded the Wild women award by paula. Thank you Paula I am honoured. I've seen lots of awards on lots of blogs and I think everyone has had them all by now so I am going to pass it on to anyone who would like it who has made a comment on my blog.
Thats how wild I am.
Not very.
But here are some nice blogs that I read. Caroline Inckle is in the North of Scotland
and does mysterious magical paintings and embroideries,
Julia is also in Scotland and does beautiful handstitched one offs, and Victoria and I share a love of all things 50s.
Later that night.....she corrected the spelling of blatant then....
Now I have a question. I was reading this and it reminded me of a blog post I read a few months ago. Someone went on a trip to New York and visited a wonderful ice cream parlour, and a shop called Tender Buttons, and I left a comment that when and if I ever had the wherewithall to visit NY City I would get back to them for an itenerary.
Who was it? If it was you please tell me! Its driving me mad.

Sunday 27 July 2008

This is....

The this is game dreamed up by three buttons a is free for all this week so I am saying 'This is...the best day of weather this year so I'm off for a walk.'

If you want sewing or pictures please refer to my previous post, and thank you for all the lovely comments there.
I have found another new blog elliemacphee you might like to add to the list.
Bye for now.

Friday 25 July 2008

Return of the Good Wife

Against all the odds another deadline has been met.
By dint of working till 1am for a few nights I have submitted one older and two new pieces to another open exhibition.

Just more of the same really but on a slightly larger scale,
and called 'The Rhythm of Life' 1, 2 and 3. Competition is stiff and space is limited so I have no expectations.
They are recalling 50s and 60s patterns

and I thought the title was appropriate as life definitely has its rhythm.
One minute your house is immaculate and you can't imagine ever having to lift a finger again.
The next minute you have forgotten you owned clean clothes and think the stair carpet has a squiggle and dot pattern, and that you have mysteriously outgrown all the bath towels.

Next week....I said NEXT WEEK...we will have clean, ironed, and hung up clothes, and bath towels that will wrap all the way round. I will be able to get dressed in the morning without rummaging through the ironing pile. We will have a plain stair carpet, and I will be able to walk across what we euphemistically refer to as the 'Utility room' without my seven league boots.
We will have a lawn and not a prairie outside the back door. The complicated recycling will be in all its various bags.
The privet that was chopped off the hedge will be gathered and disposed of, and Willow will be re-acquainted with her lead.

My sewing room will be tidy. And all will be well just in time for our 31st wedding anniversary.
A Good Wife!
(And a good husband)

But I am starting some new projects. Dressmaking.. feltmaking...embellishing... Edit: I must make a sock monkey

Talking of felt. Do you remember this?
A person with impeccable tatse has bought it!
Thats the best compliment you can get.
So if you are reading, above person, Thank you so much.

And another thank you to all who read and leave comments here.
Its just fantastic -the friendships and contacts made through blogging.
Here are a few of my favourites.
This one always inspires me and makes me laugh, this one is full of beautiful things, and this one is lovely and supportive with much creativity, but won't do her homework!

More next time.

Tuesday 22 July 2008

A Little Maggik in our lives.

I would like to introduce a new blog which has arrived in the blogisphere this morning. Its very young and I am expecting great things from Margaret. I know she would welcome a comment or two to get her started.
Talking of comments, I have never had so many 'Happy Birthdays', thank you all so much. I suppose I fished for them by announcing it but I didn't mean to, it was more in the way of news really. And the 'This is ' game.
I am working on something at the moment that is not coming along very well so here isn't a picture of it, this is just an old bit I did last year on a book cover. Its already been on flickr and now I'm 57 I can't be expected to remember if its been blogged before so I apologise if you're sick of the sight of it.
Even though Margaret gave me a lovely lunch, scones, and strawberries, she still presented me with these delicious palest pink roses for helping her with the blog.
A touch of Magic.

Sunday 20 July 2008

A year for every heinz.

Guess what yesterday was?

I was 57....(Hoo b***** ray!)
Oh well.
I had an absolutely lovely day. Lots of cards, flowers and gifts, and,as you can see, even a card from Porky and Blodwen. I wonder who lifted them up to the letter box?

I got a new chair for my sewing room from my husband, and this amazing book, which was a complete surprise. One of the advantages of leaving the 'Embroidery' magazine in the bathroom.
A big bag of goodies from my friend Denise and some lovely Kit Heath earrings from my friend Anne
I had a visit and another beautiful book from my favourite cousin.
My sons bought me this..and I'm sure one day they'll come and show me how to use it!
This was from my lovely Mum, who knows how much I like fine dining!
We had booked a meal at that particular restaurant for my Birthday treat by coincidence, so the vouchers came in handy. It was a shame my Mum couldn't come.

But the best bit of my Birthday was being with my nearest and dearest. I apologise for the atrocious photo, and for chopping my husband out altogether. I blame the wine and the lovely food. And I was overcome with emotion at the goings on at the next table ...a proposal with a ring in the dessert and everything.

The 'This is' game this week is 'what makes me happy'
Lots of things make me happy.
This fits the bill exactly.
Thank you friends and family for giving me a lovely, happy, birthday.

Thursday 17 July 2008

Not one,not two,but three lovely things

This post is very self congratulatory so if it makes you feel nauseous skip it! (I apologise I've interfered with the precious html so these pics won't click)

I was getting a lot of 'favouriting' on ETSY so I had a root through the treasury to see why and I found that I had pieces in two treasuries so this is to say thank you to Terri and to Grace Napoleon Etsy can be a lonely place, so its nice to get a few more visitors now and then.

Even just the browsers and lurkers.
Then yesterday when I was flickring look what I found attached to one of my very old photographs.
I never know whether I should be pleased or affronted when this happens, but after I had clicked the link to the blog I was absolutely delighted and felt a bit weepy.
Its amazing how all sorts of people look at pictures on flickr and a young woman with a very good business head, who could be my daughter if I had one, is interested enough in my work, as different as it is from her own, to write in such glowing terms. So thank you Urban Threads, you've made an old (ish) woman very happy. (You can click on 'urban threads' but will have to scroll down the page to find the bit about me)

While I'm at the Oscar type speechifying, thank you to everyone who reads this blog for all your lovely and encouraging comments. Corny as it is they mean a lot to me. So don't just lurk, say hello.

One other fun thing. I decided to have look at who else is blogging in my area and I found Grumpy Old Mum She lists her interests as 'moaning, jigsaws and finding new swear words'.
Unfortunately it seems to have been abandoned. I wish she'd start it up again. It makes me laugh. Maybe you just have to be from Lancashire. There are only 5 posts and no pictures. The cutlery post is my favourite.

This is the negative bit and I'm thinking twice about saying it and I may even delete it,

Well I did delete it because I don't want to make enemies...but it refers to playlists.
Any thoughts on playlists anyone?

  • 3 pieces of information : My posts are not showing up in google reader again. What should I do? Any ideas? And thank you to people who have still managed to find them and commented.
  • I've been told by Victoria that the top treasury also appeared on ETSY front page ..wooooo! At last!
  • If you want to know the gist of my feelings on playlists read the comment from 'Wabbit'. She too has jumped out of her skin at unexpected heavy metal!
  • Further update: Does this make ME a Grumpy Old Mum? I would just like it if the control panel for the music was easy to find, thats all.

Wednesday 16 July 2008

Miranda and Meryl, Prospero and Pierce

I have always loved Islands and the sea, and I am a lover of Literature, so when last year I was part of an exhibition at the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, I combined the two and made these 5 panels illustrating Calibans Speech from 'The Tempest' by William Shakespeare, set on an Island, where Prospero and his daughter Miranda have been shipwrecked.
I embroidered the text from the speech onto the silk paper seascapes.

The isle is full of noises
Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt notSometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about mine ears, and sometimes voices That if I then had waked after long sleep will make me sleep again;
and then in dreaming the clouds methought would open and show riches ready to drop upon me
That when I waked I cried to dream again'

(Apologies if you have already seen too much of these last year on flickr)

I am also obsessed with Greece. I went to Greece as one of a gang of students over thirty years ago. We arrived in the middle of a sleepy fishing village near Kavalla with our tents and our noise, and our summer dresses. The only women we saw were swathed from head to foot in black. We had a great time but I suppose in the eyes of the local people our behaviour (Although very restrained by todays standards) was scandalous. Certainly the young men of the village were very entertained.
In an innocent way I must add.
A few years later I went alone, and visited a friend who had moved to Athens. I visited Delphi and Sounion and the usual sites. I loved it.
That was 1976 and it wasn't till 2006 I went back to Greece with my husband. I'd been afraid of flying for all those years, and afraid of finding it was too busy and commercial and not the Greece of my imagination.
We found a company called Laskarina who specialise in smaller more 'Greek' islands. We went to Skopelos in 2006, I shed a tear when we landed ..not relief..but happiness at being in Greece again.
Then Laskarina closed, so we were very brave in 2007 and booked our own holiday, to Symi and Tilos, much hotter than Skopelos, further south and east, and the water was like this:

I am a late learning swimmer and now I find it hard to stay out of the water, especially from a boat moored on an uninhabited island.

Back to Skopelos..our first Greek Island.

There were lots of beaches but this was the quietest, Kastani,the one we liked the best.

No facilities and just look at the crowds....
and that little dot in the sea is me.
I have just discovered something about Skopelos. Click Here and here and I'm sure on any other search results for 'Skopelos' you will see what I mean.

Now go back and read the speech again. This Island was not full of noises when we went there, but I fear it might be now.

Perhaps not.

Sunday 13 July 2008

A ''This is.' and a 'these were...'

This weeks theme for the 'this is' game was chosen by Flightless boyds.

We could choose between 'This is ... what gives me goosebumps' and 'This is ... what scrambles my brain when I try to understand it' so as I showed you the goosebumps thing in this post I thought I'd try the second because there's certainly a lot of scope for it.

This is the first thing that scrambles my brain..I have recently set up Google reader to view all the lovely blogs I enjoy so I don't miss anything, but then I found that it wasn't picking up some of them, so I subscribed to my own to see what happened...this happened:

and it wasn't even a real post, just a test I did when I first started, and the previous post from my blog on Google reader was from weeks ago, with nothing after it.

The second blog related thing that scrambles my brain when I try to understand it is this:

Now lets be honest, we do like our blogs to be read.

We can look at Technorati now and then to massage our fragile egos, (well I do at the moment but I'm relatively new to blogging so it may wear off) and having learnt how to 'ping', and even how to configure a ping, I am often checking back and forth, and I now know that 'authority' means I have a lot of links.

I have no idea what rank means but its nice when it goes up..gives me goosebumps in fact...but sometimes it says I have an authority of this or that and one day last week it said 'No authority yet' and rank down in the zillions.... and the last post it picked up was last Sunday's, despite me pinging all week.

I do not understand!

But do I need to understand? Its really not important, but if its there it should work.

Anyway a bit of sewing relief since there was a glimpse in the 'snip' above I will now bare all and show them in their full glory. These are some silk purses like ones I made 10 years ago when I had an offer of an exhibition the showcases of Pendle Art Gallery. I had to think of something small and sellable so I started playing with my favourite material, silk dupion, and produced these little bags which I thought were totally my own idea but I have since seen similar elsewhere so I'm not sure. Maybe two people can have the same original idea, who knows?

I didn't sell any there but they were later accepted by another Gallery which led on to other things, and they were all sold.

I later discovered that 6 of them went to a man on Christmas Eve who was giving his coin collection to his Children or Grandchildren and he bought the bags to put the coins in. Isn't that gratifying...they have become heirlooms.

Anyway since they are no longer unique to me I now offer a workshop which is quite satisfying for a day because you do a bit of machine embroidery, a bit of construction, as much decoration as you like, make your own cord and tassel, and sew on a few beads.

Just look what Macclesfield Embroiderers Guild did! (Scroll down to the bottom picture.)

About 5 years ago I took a lot of these to an Agricultural show Craft fair and decided to name them 'Reticule' purses. My first browsers were an elderly upright couple and the husband asked me what a reticule purse was, so I said it was the name some purses had in Regency times, Jane Austen heroines may have carried them.

He went off quite satisfied, I thought, but about 5 hours later he was back with the important news that these were not reticules as a reticule was a netted or crocheted bag.

I tore up my sign, but now know that it was correct in the same way as we say we are Hoovering the carpet and we use a Dyson. (I have seen that referred to on many a blog but I had often thought it myself)

Anyway it was a lousy day for my stall . It rained and my friend who came to help me was wearing jewelled flips flops, and a cheescloth skirt, and when she got back from looking round the show ground she had mud up to her knees.

I would say that in general in this part of the world, people who visit Agricultural shows are there to look at pigs, sheep and bulls, watch the tractor pull, and drink beer, and not buy crafts.

But right at the end of the day a young couple came up to the stand.

The woman was very pregnant and the husband was the most handsome, blue-eyed, black curly haired, wide smiling, rogueish looking farmers boy you have ever seen, eating fish and chips out of bag, with a can of beer in his other hand.

His wife wanted one of my bags and he forked out a sizable sum and bought it. Or rather, she forked out the money and he looked on. (It was one of those occasions when you forget how much you need the income and almost want to give it) I felt as if I had just been part of a Thomas Hardy plot.

Since then I have avoided Agricultural shows .

There weren't even any puppies.

These are some more items from the same era.

"Oooh, my daughters getting married next year/I'm going to a wedding but I haven't got my outfit yet, when I know what colour/ my little girl is going to be a bridesmaid.. can I take a card and we'll be in touch?"

followed by " "

Friday 11 July 2008

Space invaders

I didn't manage to get a good sharp picture of this before I sold it, so this will have to do. Its dyed silk velvet on a background of handmade silk paper, I lay the velvet on, cover it with sheer fabric, machine around it and cut the top of the chiffon away, then draw patterns with the machine.

I did the same with this.

These are not the 'Space Invaders' of the title but I suppose its an easy mistake to make. Right, thats the sewing over with, now for 2 horror stories, well, one horror and the other not too bad if you like mice.

The First Horror story.
The other night at half past midnight I was in the kitchen playing 'blogging' when I heard a teeny weeny little noise coming from somewhere. It was a regular noise which I can't spell, the nearest I can get is 'tchchchc tchchcch tchchchc'
I called in my Husband but, as you probably remember from the end of this post his hearing is not the best and he said I was imagining it.
But no, there it was, 'tchchch tchchc thchch' and it seemed to be coming from behind the cooker.
I got a torch.
I got a stepladder.
I climbed up and leaned over to peer behind the cooker.
A yellow slug eating the yellow expanding foam we had put in the gaps to stop the slugs getting in. The builder who damproofed our kitchen left the holes on the inside wall and there are ornate Victorian airbricks on the outside wall.
Work it out.
(How much do you think it would cost to rip all the units out and replaster? I need more ETSY sales)
The 'tcchchc' sound coincided with it slimy little head moving from side to side.......I am distraught.
(But I must have bloomin good ears)
Please don't ask what happened next.

Interlude-A Summers day in Brinscall

The second not-quite-so-horror-and-a-little-bit-funny story

Another night at half past midnight when I was playing 'blogging' , our bad boy cat, Jools, came hurtling through the flap with four pink legs and a tail hanging from his mouth. I could see a definite wriggle so decided on a rescue mission. (Sometimes its just better not to)

I grabbed badboy by the scruff of the neck at which point he sank to the floor and dropped the dear little mouse which ran under him and was trapped with just his tail sticking out.

I held him down with both hands and shouted for my husband to come and grab the mouse. It took him ages but he eventually arrived , and made an unsuccessful grab for mousey, who shot off somewhere. We spent quite a few minutes looking under, behind, inside things, he'd just disappeared into thin air.

I had done a talk the night before and all the bags and boxes were in the hall so I assumed he had run in there.

H decided to make a cup of coffee, he filled the kettle, walked to the fridge, back to the kettle then next minute he was bending down squeezing his trouser leg like you squeeze a tube of ointment but instead of ointment it was a mouse, coming head first from the bottom of his trousers.

We couldn't catch it this time because we couldn't stop laughing.

Its under the kitchen units...somewhere.

Jools has lost interest.

I haven't.

Sometimes I'm ashamed of this blog. Other people write about deep things..philosophies, religion, family history, illness. Mine's just rodents and molluscs.

(By the way, does everyone know how to do machine embroidery? Would a post on tips and hints be of any use to anyone?)

Wednesday 9 July 2008


What a relief.
The West Lancashire Summer Open Exhibition!

Monday 7 July 2008


I always had a lot to thank arlee for and now I have even more.
She has been a constant source of enjoyment, inspiration and encouragement to me on flickr and it was she who first gave me the suggestion that I might blog. Her blog is wondefully energetic and honest and what she doesn't know about rust , tension, and flowers isn't worth knowing, not to mention her corruscating trousers.
She has shown me how to link.
LOOK LOOK Arlee I can link!
Thank you so much.

Before you showed me the way I was keeping a big sheet of the html stuff and pasting urls into it then cut and pasting...what an idiot and thats why my links weren't working properly.
(couldn't find a picture of a pillock which is my preferred description).
PS. Please don't forget to read
this post and this one which are both quite new and haven't had time to be read yet, and maybe even this one which has quite a bit of sewing and felt in it.

Sunday 6 July 2008

Mor Karbasi .

Two posts in one day? Its because I want to show you Mor Karbasi and can't edit the other one without losing all the links. This is really the second half so if you read this, go back to 'This is..' and read that and please let me know if you have any solutions to my link problem.

This was not the best song she did but it was the only one I videoed. I've had to cut it short for the upload. I'd love to know what you think.

Her voice and movements are amazing, and Joe Taylor the guitarist and co-writer of some of the songs, was perfect for her singing. She sings in Hebrew and in English, songs in the tradition of Jews exiled from Spain in the 14th Century, and there is a strong flamenco influence. (I need to find out more) It wasn't what you expect to find in a Village hall in Lancashire on a wet and dreary Sunday afternoon.

This is...My most precious childhood possession.

Last week in a mad moment I came across a few bloggers playing a 'This is' game. I liked this one so I said I would join in.
I've been out all day and had forgotten all about it until I saw Julias version.
So here he is

No matter which way you look at him

he's in a bad way.

Its because 50 odd years ago when he was a lad, he used to get many a bath, and then he would get put through the mangle and hung out to dry like this. (Reconstruction)

So his nose is bit flat.

The theme was thought up by teacupsontreetops and the 'this is' game by three buttons.

Now, this is an edited version of the original post using my super duper newly accquired link-making knowledge so it might look a bit different if this is your second read of it.

What I really wanted to do today was to tell you about Mor Karbasi, but you'll have to click the link to her. My video won't upload . (Update: I've done it now, next post)

We went to Glasson festival and she was on at the afternoon concert and I spent all afternoon with tears rolling down my cheeks at the beauty of her voice.
Same thing happened in church this morning when we had a visit from the Ubangane Choir from Kwazulu natal. Just schoolchildren but they sang like angels.
What a lovely day apart from the weather. Rain...for a change.
Oh and I am really missing Porky and Blodwen.

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

Dear Anonymous.....

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