Thursday 13 November 2014


My goodness its a long time since I posted.

Thank you all for the lovely comments and support I get here even though I hardly go round and read other blogs. I spend far too much time on Facebook...

I've been working hard making stuff for galleries and for my etsy shop, and been kept quite busy running up and down to the post office which is a good thing.

But now I've nothing pressing to do and i hate to say it but I'm BORED!!

Bored bored bored. I think it must be the November gloom because I can't be bothered to do anything.

I should of course be sorting through my sewing room and getting rid of junk.

I could be cleaning out the kitchen cupboards, catching up on the ironing, tidying the awful  full-of -junk 'side' bedroom but I'm not.

I had a little play when I'd finished the brooches, mainly because I've run out of brooch backs, making a 'decoration'.

Here it is in a really bad photo.

I've got it as a giveaway over on my facebook page. I'm choosing from the 'likes' on the picture and there are 500 so far! I think I'll have to do a random number generator or I'll be all week making raffle tickets. Then I feel sad for the other 499 or however many that won't have won.

Nothing interesting has happened in my life since the last post unless you count the day I went to for a clinic appointment to the hospital.

It took me half an hour to park the car, which I finally dumped 5 minutes walk away, in a housing estate, then I went to one department after another (have you seen those tv programmes where they tag a cat and track its route with red lines on a map?  It was like that ) until I was finally told to go to one about as far from the main entrance as you can get,  then back to the pharmacy which is by the main entrance.

Before I went back to the car I called in Booths (In case you don't know, thats the heavenliest supermarket in the Northwest..even their Christmas catalogues are fabric bound with gold lettering) and bought myself a pack of stollen slices and a bag of crisps which I ate on the way home.

I had completely forgotten I was going for a cholesterol test the day after I took two statins before bed time and it came back perfect. (Is that cheating?)

That might be too much information.

But if I told you what the clinic was in preparation for, it definitely would be.

Suffice it to say that from 7pm one day in two weeks time, I won't be sitting watching tv for any long stretches of time .

Oh Joy.
Something to look forward to anyway.

So here's some pics of my Christmas brooches.

OH HANG ON A MINUTE.....I've just remembered something.

I'm in a lovely book.

I'm so honoured to be among some wonderful textile artists.

Here's my page.
Its a very inspiring book.

Hetty is unconcerned. All she wants is the back of the sofa and a bit of sunshine through the window.

Monday 27 October 2014

Venetian memories

A very long time ago it seems, I met a lovely lady who asked me to make a piece of embroidery for or rather a collection of small pieces mounted together. We discussed colours and she said 'think old Venice'   Well I'd never been to Venice so I put it on the back burner for a while. 
Earlier this year we went to Venice and I took a million photos. It was still on the back burner as I was busy up until Yarndale but after that I got going. 

Looking back through my photographs, at the colours of Old Venice, I saw faded lime-washed walls, grey green water, curly iron work, and bare stone and white marble. 

I had some lovely felt coloured with natural dyes some time ago at our felt group. Soft and muted and perfect for the task.

I made a start, using the motif Wyn liked, which I suppose is reminiscent of Gondola 'pointy bits' 

I used muted velvets for the centres with the exception of the terracotta which I thought was a very accurate match for the view from the apartment we stayed in in Venice.

A little pale green echoes the verdigris on the spire (Although I've only just spotted that!)

Ahh lovely Venice, beautiful scenes around every corner.

I mounted them on a card, just slightly raised from the background 

and used an unfinished deep pine frame which can be painted or varnished.

Well I'm extremely pleased with the way it turned out and I think Wyn loves it too.

It makes me think I might do more in a similar vein.

Wednesday 22 October 2014


This is retro in more ways than one..I've had this fabric for years and years. I think it's early 60s and was in my scraps box. I almost used it as brooch backing fabric. 
But then I examined the pattern and voila !
Can you spot it? 
So my old style brooches and old style fabric have combined.
Here they are uncluttered by fabric backgrounds. 
Just three at the moment but altogether there are a dozen made now.
And here's a size guide. 

Small and cute.

Going into my etsy shop soon. 

If you came here from facebook I apologise for the 'emotion manipulation headline'. Don't they annoy you? But I didn't drag you here to advertise at you like they do. Or come to think of it....I suppose blogs are all self promotion so I'm sorry.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Alice, Sebastian, Colm, and Cheska, Elton.......and me.

Last week we had a little visitor. Cheska. Of course, despite the fact that I was the one who welcomed her, introduced her to Hetty, kept the peace, kept the cat away, guess whose knee she preferred?
Hetty is not the most gracious hostess, which is a bit worrying as we are having TWO dogs next week!

Now the Alice bit. I went to an event in Manchester lit festival. It was held in a building in the University where I was delighted to spot these two wonderful wallhangings. I recognised them instantly as the work of Alice Kettle. I took a couple of pictures. 

It wasn't until I was on my way out that I saw the photography prohibited notice and the list of dire consequences if caught taking pics, but I think it meant in the auditorium. I did confess but no action was taken. 

Anyway. About the auditorium. 

Two brilliant Irish authors were in there chatting about their work and reading from their latest books. 
I have read three Sebastian Barry books and they always leave me mesmerised by his beautiful prose, so I was really there to hear and see him and he didn't disappoint. I also enjoyed listening to Colm Toibin reading and talking. 
The banter between them was very entertaining. 

Afterwards there was a signing (after a little buying!) so I am now in possession of signed copies. 

I'm glad I made the effort to get there even though it meant wandering up Oxford Road on my own due to a time miscalculation. I phoned number two son who lives near there and he came and met me halfway and entertained me in his new flat until my dear husband switched his phone on! He'd been to a music class at the Irish centre and my Irish thing finished earlier than his Irish thing.

Thanks everyone for the comments on my last post. 
I've had a go at doing some smaller brooches. 
First I made some 'silk heavy ' felt, to echo the surface of the old-style brooches I wanted to return to. 

Then I got going and copied one of them which appeared In Quilting Arts magazine a few years ago. 

I like how it turned out and had a go and made a few more. 
Here they are. About two inches long. Maybe a bit more, but definitely not as big as my usual brooches which are often over three inches. 
Now I have to see if they sell.
The proof of the pudding etc?
And Elton?
Last weekend I had a mini reunion with some college friends. 
One of these friends has an amazing memory. 
I remembered that way back in 1971 I had persuaded the social sec at college to book Elton John for the Saturday night concert/dance. He did, but Elton at that time wasn't a big enough draw, and didn't have enough material for the entire night, so they had to book another band as well. 
My friend with the memory says she remembers Elton John sitting all alone in the college refectory and she had to restrain me from going over to sit with him! 
Well I never. 

Thursday 9 October 2014

Musings on the past and the future.

In the haitus between the great thrash for Yarndale, and the coming thrash for Christmas, I have been musing on my work.
At Yarndale, I had a lovely appreciative couple who loved my work. 

However the woman said though she liked the brooches, they were too big for her and she wouldn't wear one.
The next day she came back and found and bought this one ,

much smaller, and one of only two I had left from an old batch.

2008 in fact!

They were 'mid-century' inspired and very popular.

I blogged about my work back then and included this picture.

and this.

I went on to make lots and lots more.

The base was silk fibre paper which was a joy to stitch on but a beast to oversew the edges.

I went on to create a few pieces of wall Art in the same vein.

They appeared in Quilting Arts Magazine. 
I sent them all the way to America to be photographed .

Exciting times!

 I made little round ones...I sold all of them but one..which I sold at.....???

Yes, Yarndale.

Then I discovered I could make the same patterns in felt.

This was the prototype.

And that was the beginning of a whole new production line.
But they are big and quiet hard to make smaller.

So I'm thinking 'back to the future'?

They are very pretty.
I have an idea.
And new skills I didn't have back then.
Watch this space.

Monday 29 September 2014

Hellos and hugs.

Life has been a bit hectic lately. 
Two posts today. this one and one about our Symi trip which is here if you'd like to read it.
If it isn't enough to have made almost 100 brooches and lots of small pieces of embroidery, any show or exhibition also requires a lot of preparation and, I suppose, logistics. Turning a sheep pen into an exhibition required copious amounts of calico and hard thinking about design.
Anyway we won't go into details but here is my stand just before kick off on Saturday morning.

Now I have a garden, I could take a little bunch of flowers to prettify my stand.

I had THE BEST weekend. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it. I sold loads and loads of stuff but thats not why I enjoyed it. The reason I really enjoyed it was the visitors. I felt like a star when people who know this blog, or had seen my facebook page introduced themselves to me, told me how much they liked my work, and were generally delightful.

I don't want to name names because I might leave someone out, I have to admit that it was a a bit of a  whirlwind of hellos and hugs, and I saw so many old friends, some I knew were going to be there and some that were a surprise. I was given gifts too. I felt so honoured.
Just because I can do  bit of sewing ...I was treated to this lovely experience.

I sold so many brooches, and here are two happy customers who were so well co-ordinated and their brooches fit right in.

The show itself was full of inspiration..this wool made me almost want to take up knitting.

So on Sunday morning it was slim pickings. That was not as much of a negative as you might think as I sold plenty of Harris Tweed brooches.

 I had to take a picture of this lady in her lovely original 50s frock.

So a big thank you goes to the organisers at Yarndale. It was a terrific success for me and all the other exhibitors  were smiley and happy so I'm guessing it was the same for them.

But my goodness am I tired !!! It was worth every minute of the work and preparation.

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

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