Tuesday 28 July 2009

Now for something completely different.

In this building in Toxteth, Liverpool ,

there is a huge wallpainting, signed and dated 1903

It was in a pretty poor state just over two months ago...

when my husband was called in to look at it.

Slowly, steadily with tiny swabs of the correct chemicals,

he worked away at it.

Carefully cleaning, gradually, inch by inch,

day by day, he revealed the beauty

of the original work.

Isn't he clever? And so very patient.
I just thought you might be interested.

Monday 27 July 2009

You know what pride goes before?

All that boasting in the last posts has set me up for a fall and I've just had it.
My Beach towel lookalike has been rejected from the exhibition I submitted it for, and ITS MY OWN FAULT.
I had a perfectly good idea, and a perfectly good piece and I altered it to something else just because I lost confidence in the original.
Woe is me.

But I think I would have been very embarrassed to see it hanging up .
I'm going to cut it up right now and restore it to its former state that I was very happy with.

No matter how many successes you have its always the one failure that makes you feel like ...well ...you know what.

Sunday 26 July 2009

Pictures I should have added in the last post

Just rooting through my photographs on my laptop and what a nightmare mess they are in. ( Does anyone else find that they have hundreds of 'unsorted' pictures just waiting to be copied/backed up/re organised?)

Anyway I came across the fish purses I mentioned in my previous post.

I have no pictures of the driftwood with the rusty nails though.

I think that warmed us in the winter.

Two nice things have happened since my moany post.
One is, that after I had one of my brooches on the Etsy front page, a man called Anthony from New Orleans has ordered some felt pieces, not brooches, to use in his 'High end Purses'.
I have no idea what he's going to do with them but he promises to acknowledge my input, and as he's primarilly a jeweller, and is selling these things at events to help in the regeneration of business in the city of New Orleans, I can only let my imagination have full reign.
Mardi Gras?

Secondly I have been interviewed very politely, for a post on this German blog and its very encouraging.

There was a third but I find it baffling even with the help of Babel Fish.
Look here and here and a few other similar sites. Same pictures?
How does that work?

PS I have to supply a 10 word sentence to describe my work in a submission for a craft fair.
Any ideas?

Friday 24 July 2009

One man's meat...

Nothing much to report(but has that ever stopped me before?) except that I have had one of my Marrakech felt pieces accepted for The West Lancs Open Exhibition at The Chapel Gallery in Ormskirk. (This is for JP. I can't reply to you any other way. Its on Now. I went on Friday to the preview..mine is in the bit leading to the toilets!!! Some kind of judgement I suppose)

I have also done my annual accounts and sorted through the pile of slithery books pamphlets cards and papers on my sewing room table, so I feel a load off

It made me think of another open exhibition I submitted for about 12 years ago.
Do you want to hear about it?
Are you sitting comfortably?

Then I'll begin.

I was new from City and Guilds and had had a year or two doing my own things.
I had two pieces I wanted to submit to an open exhibition. A Celtic panel and Three little purses based on Tropical fish.(They look a bit like This, I don't know why I didn't submit these instead)
Yes, three purses, so I had to find a way to combine them to make them into one piece.

I looked into having a perspex box made but it was fiendishly expensive .
Then I had a brainwave...they were based on fish, so if I had a piece of driftwood it would enhance the sea connection.
Now, the seaside near me is not the kind of place you would be likely to find driftwood.
Blackpool, Southport, no pebbles or driftwood so we went a bit further afield and drove to Sunderland Point,(Do click that link, there's a lovely set of photos there) near Lancaster, where you have to cross a causeway at low tide, and there's a wild pebbly beach full of all sorts of junk.

We strolled along looking for the perfect piece of driftwood, collecting a LOT to choose from.
My husband even picked up the back end of a boat and was going to use it to make a sign for his studio. Not exactly appropriate in a moorland mill village.
As we got back to the car a local resident looked at our bundle and said 'We'll have to start buying coal if you keep coming '

Once home I selected the perfect piece..a block with three rusty bent nails, around which I entangled the purse cords so that they looked like flotsam (or jetsam?) and duly submitted my purses and my Celtic panel for the exhibition.

Time passed
My letter arrived...one piece accepted, one rejected.
'Oh well ' I thought, 'that Celtic piece was perhaps a bit traditional.....but I knew they'd like those bags.'
I went to collect the rejected piece.

Shock Horror!
They rejected the purses but wanted the Celtic panel.
I expressed my surprise at the choice.
She asked what it was I'd had rejected.
I said 'Three little purses like fish.'
'OH!' she said, 'We loved those bags........

......we just didn't like that driftwood they were attached to'.

Wednesday 22 July 2009


I have just been alerted to the fact that I was on the front page for a second time yesterday.
I am blogging this because I'm an obnoxious little show off I want to share with you ETSY sellers the fact that there is a flickr site full of Etsy front page shots so if you miss yours you can find it here.

Tuesday 21 July 2009

Brief encounter

Only half an hour ago I was sitting at my computer wondering how to improve my ETSY sales.
Should I shut my shop?
Should I completely empty it, make new things one a time and re stock one piece at a time until each one is sold?
Should I just give up the whole idea of selling online?
When the little blue envelope in the right hand corner of my screen chirrupped and it was a message fro karen telling me I had made it to the ETSY FRONT PAGE!
Here's the screen shot.I'd have missed it if Karen hadn't told me. She's a star
Click to view it larger.

Anyway it seems to have brought a lot more traffic to my little shop so I'll leave it for the moment.
I feel as if I've had a brief encounter with fame.
39 hearts and 757 views for my little brooch in about an hour.

By the way, if you have an etsy shop do you know about Heartomatic?
Just enter your shop name and it will show you how many Hearts your shop as well as single items have.

Monday 20 July 2009


I know this is supposed to be a sewing blog so I'll start with a bit of sewing related news. One of my Marrakech felt pieces has been accepted for an open exhibition. More in a later post.

I have been to the teabag paper mines and am now in possession of a sore back and enough plain teabag paper to last me, you, and probably all out neighbours for the rest of our lives.
Its available in both my Folksy and Etsy shops. If you look and its gone, I will relist over and over again..
Its very versatile and is now in packs of 10 x 60 inch long, foot wide strips, so even more versatile.
Free P&P to UK buyers.
Lovely stuff.

Now I must tell you about my Birthday.
On Friday and Saturday I worked hard to get a clean tidy house, and all ironing DONE!

Lovely presents from friends and family, surprises in the post, but my boys have heard neither of the Royal Mail nor the early morning, so I am supposed to be getting a visit today.

We planned to go on an Ullswater Steamer, but steam was what appeared to be over the moors when I looked out of the bedroom window yesterday morning..and torrential rain.
Besides that I was convinced I had swine flu...runny nose...sneezing..feeling a bit poorly, but with hindsight I can put that down to dusting as an extreme sport the previous day, and a 'night off' from the diet on Saturday night.
After mulling it over we decided to go out anyway and set off at the crack of 1.30pm ..and where do you think we were?
Look at these trees and that sky...

It looks positively tropical,
but there were clues here to other weather conditions; look closely at the blackboard...

I think those ponchoes are plastic.....rain forest?

Is this a monkey? No ..its a Herdwick lamb.

This isn't the rain forest, nor even Ullswater..its Keswick,

Beautiful Derwentwater,

Don't those clouds remind you of the Fellpainter?

Here's the view from Friars Crag

If we'd known the weather was going to be as good as this we would have set out earlier and done the steamer thing.

But instead we had a very late lunch here, in the two chairs on the right of the picture, and (I'm so sorry and so guilty in the presence of vegetarians ) the most exquisite lamb I have ever tasted

with a view to make you gasp.

But it seemed a bit insensitive..eating with the bleating.

Please forgive me dear lambs.
We drove home via Ullswater, Glenriddings and over the spectacular Kirkstone Pass, had a late evening snack at The Queens head, Troutbeck and arrived home about 10.30 pm.

I've had another lovely birthday, but so totally different from last years.

By the way what do you think of the blog makeover?

Wednesday 15 July 2009

Against the odds!

Blogging is such great therapy.
When you are feeling low you can count on the blog community to make you feel better.
Thank you lovely blog friends for your comments on my last miserable post which seemed to veer from empathy with the constant battle to reckless advice to eat cake!
The point is, I really do have to STOP the cake eating and I am learning to be restrained.

I had a lot more to say on this topic but its all gone out of my head because :
Despite having to delve into the ancient history part of my wardrobe and feeling thoroughly unhappy about what I was going to look like.
Despite my number two son telling me he was washing his suit trousers and no he hadn't had a haircut
Despite number one son deciding he wasn't going to wear a suit because his trousers don't match his jacket(but he did in the end)
Despite my husband deciding he wasn't going to wear a tie*
Despite my chunnering and bossing and moaning and cajoling the three men in my life,and my lovely mum, we managed to have a very lovely day indeed and I don't care that you can see exactly what I look like because


I think the answer may be obvious from my very wide smile.

*Actually he looked really nice.

Posted by Picasa

Monday 13 July 2009

Not Bright and Cheerful

This group of brooches is bright and cheerful but not representative of how I am feeling at the moment.
(I have put a few of the more subtle colours in my etsy shop but if you are interested in any of these please get in touch. They are all the same price)

Its a mystery to me why one day you feel quite happy and motivated and the next you have the blues for no apparent reason.
I have been very busy for a long time and have been looking forward to today when I can get on with other pressing matters..(really pressing; ironing actually among other things) but I woke up this morning feeling as if my face was on the floor.

Then I went into my local town and found it as always a deeply depressing experience.
Streets full of charity shops and pound shops and empty shops and people walking about eating pies for elevenses.
Horribly uneven pink block paving covers the lovely old cobbles on the main street; the Market has been enhanced by two ridiculous pointy structures that William Morris would have loathed. They are neither useful nor beautiful...but I doubt our local planners have any inkling who William Morris was.

I could go on and in fact composed a whole 'what a depressing town' post in the car in my head on the way home but will save it for another day when my mood will allow me to do it with a more tongue in cheek approach.

The event at the weekend, in a far nicer place, while yielding a few sales was not as successful as I had hoped.
As we have had a good week in the healthy eating department I kept myself down the non-food end of the village hall, and for two days successfully resisted hot potato pies, and cream cakes.
Even when they brought the unsold cakes down to the table next me to be sold off I stuck to my resolve and didn't binge when I got home.

So I can only conclude that todays mood is a result of not eating cake.
What do you think?

Saturday 11 July 2009

Moving on hastily..

Thank you for all your nice comments re the you know what.
I really shouldn't have blabbed so please lets forget it just now until something happens then I'll tell you.

By the time you are reading this I will be on my way to Knowle Green to a Craft Fair, more of a stall really .....well I should be but I'll probably be in the shower as I am renowned for my lateness. I try, I really do.

I just wanted to show you these which I will be taking with me.

I can do subtle.

Well, better than the beach towel anyway.

I must say I took these pictures with my husbands camera..its FANTASTIC and I want it. there was hardly any available light and I didn't use flash.

My husband and I have just had a conversation while watching the News.
It went exactly like this:

Me: Who's that? Bono?
He: No, its Colonel Gadaffi
Me: Has he had plastic surgery?
He: No he's got sunglasses on.

Should we be worried?

Friday 10 July 2009


While some of the bloggers I secretly subscribe to are prancing about talking about 'yummy' this
and 'scrumptious' that and delighting in their own creations, I am on a bit of a downer at the moment.

Stupid mistake number one:
I was excited when I made these and displayed them on little tiny box canvas frames.

But then I had to go and spoil it all.
I wanted to submit them to an exhibition and when I read that they had to be mirror plated I decided I couldn't mirror plate a dozen little frames.

(This, by the way, is a mirror plate.

I had to put that in for all those who asked.)

They looked great all together but guess what?
I forgot to take a picture.
I tried them behind glass in an Ikea frame.
It didn't look right.
I tried them all together on one canvas box frame but that didn't look right.
I made a special piece of felt to attach them to.
It started to look better ..
But by the time I'd tried to attach them with bondaweb, then the embellisher, then handstitch, then finally machining , they were so mangled they lost all their impact and the whole piece, (which I am too embarrassed to show you) now looks like a beach towel.
Here's a bit of it.

I'll let you know when I get the rejection letter.

Next stupid mistake:
I sold my Gaydon Cake stand for £1.99 plus postage.
NOT ENOUGH POSTAGE!!! I forgot how heavy it was.
Still, I suppose my main reason was to clear out and if someone can love it, thats better than throwing it in the bin.

Oh I almost forgot..
Stupid mistake number three:
I have withdrawn my word brooches from my etsy shop after I realised(with a little help from my lovely friend Kitty) that you cannot sell and item which is to be displayed on the buyers chest with the word 'FELT' on it.

On the upside, I have had a commission from a lovely Gallery in a lovely place in Cheshire for 30 felt brooches, not sale or return either.
(They want some photographs for their ad in a very upmarket magazine. Sssshh...I said shssshhh!!!)
(EDIT: Thanks for all the comments but Oh dear..pride goes before a fall and I bet I've completely jeopardised it now.
It was just a whisper and its not MY ad its the Gallery Ad and they might not even put my work in it. So try not to mention it)

PS I forgot to say I am having a little stall in Knowle Green Village Hall near Longridge on Saturday and Sunday. They are having an open garden weekend and people who use the hall are having a couple of stalls. I am there as part of the Felt Group. Now officially the 'Fellside Felters.'

Friday 3 July 2009

Hungry for Hungary

Quick quick quick!
I need a sewing post ..I'm slipping down the 'Big list of Sewing blogs' and no wonder. I've been chunnering on about all sorts of non sewing stuff for a few posts and I really can't blame you for getting bored, distracted, not reading.....

So I thought I'd do another ' blast from the past'
My Hungarian embroidery project from my City and Guilds days.
Here it is.
I chose Hungarian embroidery and I didn't realize why at the time. It seemed to be 'in me' to be interested in Hungary.

I investigated Hungarian costume and made a book that was long and narrow,I wanted it to look like the long embroidered ribbons in Hungarian costume like these.

So here it is.
Pre PC days so a lot of work.
Colouring, drawing, stencil, print..

I hand stitched it in the Matyo Rose style.

Hand embroidery for the most part so why is some of it machine embroidered?
I will enlighten you later.

At the bottom of every page I illustrated it with something from Hungary.

I used lots of books for resources.
Remember, no internet then.

Fortunately Chorley is twinned with Szekesfehervar so there were brochures to chop up.

But look a little more closely.

Whats that little round impression on the corner of the pages?

This woman's embroidery is a bit more pierced than it should be.

The beautiful braid I made for the binding is considerably shorter than it oughter ..be.

I'll tell you.
This was thirteen years ago.
Regular readers my be able to work out who was a puppy thirteen years ago.
Our dear darling departed doggy ate my Hungarian embroidery project!
THAT is why the hand embroidered cover had to be hastily re constructed with machine embroidery, and the braid trimmed to neaten it, and the little round holes?
Puppy teeth.
By the way, you may be interested in My other blog to see dog related thoughts update.

Now here's why I think I was immediately drawn to the Hungarian option.
When I was 12 I discovered this book.

And this.

Kate Seredy was an artist and illustrator born in Hungary and moved to the USA later.
These books are stories of her Hungarian Plains childhood and captivated me from the word go.

The beautiful illustrations depict the deep memories and character of her homeland.

They do 'contain attitudes prevalent at the time' so are slightly non-PC but they were written in the 1940s so I can accommodate that.

I was in love with the rural community she grew up in.
Men in national dress...so noble somehow.

Of course women were a bit hamstrung!

But the warmth and affection of her drawings and descriptions tugged at my adolescent heartstrings.
I remember with some embarassment, the last day before the school library closed for the summer, sitting in the library until way after everyone else had gone home so I could finish the book before having to hand it back for the 6 weeks holiday.
I sat there so long my bladder gave out and there was a puddle on the library floor.
Thats the first time I've admitted that to anyone!
And I finished the book.

I read everything of hers I could find.

Later she moved to the USA and these two books reflect that phase of her life.

The one on the left is set on an American farm.

Talking of America.

So I think thats why I had Hungary in my heart.

Now another Hungarian connection.
I was tagged by Corryna , a Hungarian textile artist,a few days ago
I have to tell you 7 facts about myself.
Well you just got one I didn't intend.

I have one other that I have thought long and hard about sharing becasue its a very personal thing.
Here it is.

Since I was 13 I have had Primary Lymphoedema in my legs and feet.One day I went out and my feet swelled up.
I hate it .
I hate how my feet look and photographs of beautifully painted toenails all over blogs don't help.
But, my feet work, I can walk so if its all I have to contend with then I can accept and live with it.
I only mention it because about 10 years ago I discovered the lymphoedema service at my local hospice.
It changed my life.
I still have it, but its now managed, and although its a horrible ugly condition I feel a lot better about it and about myself since I discovered the service, and I just want to encourage people to seek treatment if they have the condition, and if the service is available in their area.
I know I am a bit overweight now but my legs were just as bad when I was 7 stone. Of course in this weather, wearing 'compression hose' is essential but very very hot.

I did a '7 fact' post quite some time ago so you can read it here.
I don't usually do it but I have discovered some new blogs lately so I am going to tag some other bloggers who can ignore it if they want. There are lots more in my list at the side but I can't do you all.
Here goes:
  1. Chris from the Shady Grove, just look st her teeny weeny patchwork jewellery. Its exquisite.
  2. Cat at The Raggy Rat who is such an artist.
  3. Kirsten from Fleur de Boheme vintage fabulousness
  4. Judy Martin from Judy's blog . Fabulous artwork.
  5. The Wild Somerset Child who writes and blogs about her beautiful house and garden.
  6. Joanna May and her fairy illustration blog.
  7. Chris Gray who has just blogged a fabulous collection of work for her exhibition.
I don't usually pass tags on but its only fair to give a bit of publicity to a few other blogs.

If you want to join in, link back to me, write 7 facts about yourself that we wouldn't know from your blog and then tag 7 more bloggers.

And finally...
Here's what you do when its pouring down and you don't really want to go out.

Sit here for hours.

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

Dear Anonymous.....

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