Tuesday 30 December 2008

Review of 2008

The idea to do this came from Cathy Cullis of November Moon.

I wish everyone who reads or comments on my blog, wherever you are, a very Happy New Year.

Thank you for all your encouragement and support during 2008.

I hope to do some real Textile Art in 2009.*

Monday 29 December 2008

A Little Game

I am getting a bit bored with the holidays now.
I read everything in google reader the other night and discovered this little game on a lot of blogs.
Open your pictures file and choose the 6th folder. Open it and find the 6th picture and upload it to the blog.
Now, being the worrying type I wonder if its 6th from the top and therefore the most recent, or 6th from the bottom.
So I am doing both.

This is the 6th from the top. And it was the 6th picture till I named it '6' and then it went to the top.
You can't win.

Its a cobbled road along my walking route. I took the picture when I was working on these bags and it struck me how they were uneven rectangles all fitted together in much the same way as I had done with my velvet.

Now here is the reverse..ie 6th folder 6th picture from the bottom.

Here goes.
Oops slight problem..only one picture in the folder..anyway here it is

A few years ago, my son, who is a big fan of 'The Wicker Man' , was messing about with his friends in the garden.

We are great hoarders of wood as well as everything else, and all this was in the pile waiting to be chopped up for the stove. Two bits of fence panel, two empty hanging baskets, two old christmas tree trunks were transformed by them into the Wicker Man of Brinscall.

This picture was taken a couple of months later when we dragged it a mile and a half to our friends' bonfire on 5th November, prior to its spectacular burning.

You may be relieved to know we did not strip naked and dance round the fire.

Friday 26 December 2008

All is Calm

Possibly my favourite day of the year.

Boxing day.

The feast of Stephen.

The cooking has been done and we have delicious leftovers to eat until we get tired of it.The house is reasonable tidy and calm.

A Merry Christmas was had by all.

A little change in the festive decor this year..

..a bit of kitchen kitsch.
We usually hang these in the living room but I just couldn't be bothered to get the ladders out and it wouldn't be Christmas without them.

So I just lowered the clothes rack and hung them on.(Its rather off balance because all that ironing yeilded a mammoth harvest of tablecloths and I wasn't sticking them in a drawer to get all scrunched up again)

They'd been there for 3 days when my husband asked why I hadn't put up the santas.

It still took him 2 days to find them.

He was responsible for putting out all the cards.

He is very Artistic and found the perfect place for the one form my long time 'pen pal'
Carol Santora..co-ordinated with the clutter.

Can you spot the moose?

Tomorrow all this will be put away because this room is going to be re decorated.

As I was sitting here in the calm quiet house I thought I'd take some pictures of the crib I made from FIMO many years ago.

But at close Macro range the faces don't bear up well.

The Kings look more manic than magi-

Joseph has the eyes of a man who was up all night in a stable

and I wouldn't want these shepherds anywhere near my newborn babe.

But as a whole the group conveys the Christmas story.

Have a peaceful week.

Monday 22 December 2008

The Secret life of Christmas Decorations.

Each year Christmas arrives more quickly than it did the year before.

Is it really 12 months since I got the decorations out?

Each one is laden with memory.
(I'm sorry the pictures are so dark but it didn't seem appropriate to use flash.)

This is one of two paper lanterns from my childhood tree, at least 57 years old and the inspiration for these.

Next is one of a batch we made in 1977, our first Christmas together when we had no money to buy many Christmas decorations. We used a cardboard tube cut into rings and cooking foil.

These are from a trip to Copenhagen in 1984 when I was pregnant with my second son.

And here are my two lovely peg dolls new this year from Sesga, and they will become part of the history of my tree decorations..

This is what happens to your poinsettia when an old blind dog has a good wag a bit too near it.

This is my first blog Christmas and I must say how much I have enjoyed my first 8 months.
The pleasure I have had from reading your blogs has been matched by the friendship support and encouragement you have given me.

I've celebrated, agonised, moaned, complained, puzzled, rejoiced..and you have been ready for me with your comments ..most of which have made me smile and feel grateful to have discovered this amazing world.

I wish all of you my dear friends, readers, contacts, wherever you are, a very peaceful and Happy Christmas.

(Sorry..that sounds so corny..but I really mean it)

Friday 19 December 2008

Pressing issues


Previously on that same day..another birthday lunch.. a different assiette of desserts.
Christmas pudding, strawberry meringue and creme brulee. Yum.

Now just look what I received this week.
A gorgeous card

and two little sweetie peg dolls

from Sesga .
Beautifully made and cleverly designed. And sweetly packaged and sent to me. Thank you Sesga.
Then this fabulous card from my dear friend Viv from Hens Teeth
She is so creative.

Not content with sending the lovely card she also sent me one of her exquisite embroidered pieces.

How lucky am I?
Just some thoughts for fellow makers to mull over.
I have some of my work in two up market craft galleries and have had offers from two others.
Now galleries as we all know have to add a large percentage to the sale price.
I can't afford to sell my things any cheaper so they become very expensive in Galleries.
This week I have made as much by selling things on Etsy and by e mail as I have in two months at the Galleries.
But its very prestigious to have work in a nice Gallery.

Thursday 18 December 2008

Pile up

Its 10 past nine on thursday night.
There's no getting round it..it has to be done.
I've put it off since September.
A huge great mountain that became a roomful.
I have decided to bring it all downstairs, put the telly on and iron.
Its not as if I am particularly well groomed or smartly turned out . I just have a lot of tee shirts from my hot flush days.

I have been wondering whether to show you this.
Go on then.
Picture 5.
Me sewing behind my stall.
I am shocked that in the picture my mouth bears a strong resemblance to Wallace when he says 'No Crackers Gromit' and my hands look like hams. And in general I look like the sort of anonymous 'lady' mentioned.
I'm sorry your dreams of a tall elegant stylish dogdaisy are now in pieces.
I felt quite old and untrendy that day but still enjoyed it.

Back to the pile up.
As I carried the pile downstairs I gathered other piles of washing from around the house, it was like a huge juggernaut progressing towards the ironing board and it now sits next to me as I procrastinate further.
I am not going to bed till its done.
As I stepped off the bottom step into the hall I realise that the piece of burnt toast I had given to Willow had at that very moment been dropped on the hall floor just where I was about to put my foot.
Oh Joy.

Tuesday 16 December 2008

The Day of Reckoning

This post is an homage to
Tomorrow I am going Christmas Shopping with my Mum.
The meaning of Christmas shopping is this:
I, who have no money to spare, will rack my brains to find presents for my nearest and dearest who also have no money to spare,
who will be out wracking their brains to find something to buy for me.
In some ways I am looking forward to it.
But I know I will be expected to choose something for Christmas.
This will probably be, in utter desperation, clothes.
I will be unsuccesful for the following reason:
Once when I was making a jacket, I bought a multisize pattern.
You had to measure your height and your width and cut the corresponding size.
I measured my height: a size eight.
I measured my width: a size twenty.
I gave up.
As I will tomorrow.
Wish me luck.
(And don't forget..you can do your Christmas shopping from the comfort of your own home in etsy and folksy...if you hurry and are in the UK)

Monday 15 December 2008

The Birds


This Hitchcock-ian scene is to show those who are interested which Harris Tweets are available after the weekend. And for anyone else who just wants to look and read I extend an apology for the commercial nature of this post.

I am not going to put them in my etsy shop because it will take too long. You can still use paypal directly to me, I'll give you the details if you e-mail me.
If you would like one they are (in UK) fifteen pounds including postage and packaging.
Or, to anywhere else, with NO GUARANTEES of arrival in time for Christmas, twenty eight US dollars including P&P.

I only have these six, as I have put 4 one one side for people who asked me for them earlier.

Please go to my flickr page and leave a note on the picture on the one you like. Just click 'add note' and drag it to the one you would like. (UPDATE:only a couple left now.)
I'm off to list a whole lot of bags and brooches on etsy now.
Well you did ask!
First come first served. I am definitely not making any more for quite some time.
Thank you all for your supportive comments. They mean a lot.

Sunday 14 December 2008

Fair Enough.

In view of all your lovely words of encouragement and support for the weekend I thought you might be interested to know I had a wonderful craft fair.
All the 'Tweets' went in the first hour on Saturday so in the evening (and into the early hours of the morning) I made 10 more and sold NONE today.
I don't know!
Here's my stall in the Whitworth Art Gallery.

enhanced by a very valuable painting by Gillian Ayres. (I hope she didn't mind my work in front of her work)

The stall thinned out considerably by Sunday afternoon. In fact I got everything that was left in two boxes.
The whole event was amazingly well organised by Sally of Manchester Craft mafia. It went without a hitch. The atmosphere was lovely especially on saturday when there was a brass band in the foyer playing Christmas Carols..(ooohh I DO love a brass band..sends shivers up me spine!)and a sort of mini farmers market with the fabulous aroma of mulled wine wafting through the gallery, and getting every one in the festive (spending) mood.

When you sit by a stall at a craft fair there are always moments you remember.

Today two lovely young men, brothers I think, after much deliberation about colour and practicality, bought a handbag for their mother for Christmas.

Another young man carrying a baby boy bought a little Tweed purse for the baby to give to his mother for Christmas.

I am very proud to say that the curator of textiles at the Gallery bought one of my Harris tweed handbags so I feel 'validated'.
I met fellow bloggers Sue of Mousenotebook.
Her beautiful table with its subtle cream and natural linen, aqua and brown made me feel vulgar and garish.

Guerilla Embroidery has been a favourite of mine for ages on flickr and I met her on Saturday and saw her lovely work.
Linda came and bought some things. Thank you Linda, and I met Paperfish too, and Ness Donnelly.

I shall be posting some pics of the remaining 'Tweets' tomorrow when I have made a dent in the ironing.And maybe putting some cuffs and bags on ETSY.

Thursday 11 December 2008


This is how my eyes feel at the moment.
I've had my head down working for the weekend and am pinning my hopes on this Craft Market

I should know from experience that they are never what you hoped for so on monday brace yourselves for a dejected Dogdaisy and a full etsy shop.
Actually I put some tweed brooches in my etsy shop last week and have sold two already!
I had another 'idea' two nights ago, that I would make some brooches from just velvet, small and precious like sweeties. No tweed, no silk,

I intended to make 20 this morning but only did 10.

I have been so focussed lately on the craft fair that I have onky just realised that all over blogland people are sending and receiving presents .
I haven't had any time to make presents to send but I have been so lucky to receive one from one of my very favourite bloggers Green Phoenix.
I had been e mailing a friend who has just lost her Mum and was saying that she must be feeling terrible at this time of year, when we always remember lost loved ones, which got me thinking fondly of my father. Then she told me about her mother's cat who had run away from his new home, and she had had to take him in, which her own cats didn't like.
And then I opened my post and found this...

..all wrapped in purple tissue paper inside was this heavenly little creature

and when I turned him over he has the same name as my dad!
Which is funny and lovely and sad all at the same time.

Needless to say I am absolutely thrilled.
Thank you so much Nichola.
Please have look at Nichola's blog not just the cats, because all her work is exquisite.

My work is in a heap in the hall..well that which is finished is anyway.

All I have to do now is make 10 more brooches, 6 little purses and some more tweets, which I hope to hang from these branches drying out on the radiator, which have yet to be painted white.
Last episode of Littel Dorrit tonight.

Monday 8 December 2008

Saturday 6 December 2008

Manchester Craft Mafia xmas markets

Next weekend I will be taking part in the Manchester Christmas Market at the Whitworth Art Gallery.
All this work I've been doing is for that.
The trouble is I have declined to send my work to three different galleries, who have asked me for it and not put it in my etsy shop, in order to have a stall full for the Craft Market.
So I have high hopes.
Too high?
Now there aren't enough hours in the day for all the ideas i want to try.
If I'd started in August I would have had enough for everyone...but I just wasn't inspired then.
How does everyone else do it?

Thursday 4 December 2008


The target of 4 items a day seemed a bit ambitious, especially since some of them were handbags.
I showed you the first of these in my last post and I have now made 4 altogether.

I just heard Anna Freud, (a poet and daughter of amazing artist Lucien) on Women's hour.
(Is that apostrophe correct? Women is already plural and the s makes it possesive...)
She was talking about her time as an embroiderer, and how she might put two colours together, say a peach and a dove grey, and the effect would be amazing and unexpected and thats why she loved it so much.
Take that peach further until it becomes orange, and the dove grey becomes turquoise, and voila!

I have devised some other bags with three 'bullseyes'. The centre bullseye is on a flap that comes over from the back to fasten it.

More unexpected colour thrills.
In this tweed below there is a blue grey thread among the weave, so I added blue grey velvet.

I've cut into the precious bright tweeds for these bags.

I loved the bullseyes so much I made a whole lot of brooches.

I sat watching TV last night fraying the edges.

(Oh I do love Matthew McFadyen as Mr Clenham in 'Little Dorrit'. Does anyone else find his acting incredible? He can change his expression so imperceptibly and subtly that you hardly notice, but know exactly how 'Mr Clenham' feels. Sorry non-UK friends who can't see it)

It seems a pity to be unweaving all the Harris tweed edges, and its very hard to fray a circle.

They were such fun to make and I kept the backs simple, no extra fabrics or stitching so I can keep them down in price.

So, thats 8 bags, 12 tweed brooches, plus a couple of hearts I've sent off for people, since Sunday afternoon.

And I was out most of Tuesday.

I hope it doesn't count as mass production.

But don't mention the housework or the ironing.

I have a wardrobe full of empty hangers and a spare room full of crumpled clothes.

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

Dear Anonymous.....

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