Wednesday, 28 September 2011

hoops of fun

If you're looking to create a personal gift for a loved one or fancy crafting a cute display for an empty wall, why not come along to my next workshop and I'll take you through the whole process of making a unique piece of embroidered art, ready to hang and be admired. I'll be running the workshop with the C.O.W gals at their lovely studio in the Jewellery Quarter on Wednesday 12th October. I'll be making some basic templates or you may already have an idea of what you'd like to do - someone's name for example, or a simple illustration. For more info and booking click here.

Last weekend I had my first table at the Staffordshire Handmade and Vintage Fair. It was a lovely day, I met lots of very talented and inspiring artists and crafters from around the Staffordshire area and also some very lovely customers. Thanks to Lauren and Julie for inviting me. I'm looking forward to going back. If you fancy a trip to Newcastle-under-Lyme for some really top Christmas shopping, well away from the hustle and bustle of the high street then take a look at their blog for future fair dates.

Two of my fellow stall holders. Top left, Emily Notman and bottom left/top right, Maxine of Little Peche

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Thank you


Been meaning to write a thank you to all the wonderful people who have left comments and words of support on my blog since it started just a short while ago. I love getting comments. They really do brighten up a bloggers day, so please keep them coming. Also, I wanted to say a big thanks to some lovely people who have featured my little makes on their blogs or Etsy treasuries.

Firstly thank you to Deanne at Quirky Boots who featured one of my owls in her blog.

And thanks to these Etsy peeps...

Leslie at palimpsest blue with her treasury treetop adventure

Amy O. from greyish bleu with the leaves are fallin'

Melike from a cup of sparkle with husbands and wives

and Sarah from sentimental objects with unorthadox embroideries.

If you have a chance, click on the links and check out their work. And for a real treat take a look at the Poppytalk Lookbook at the top of this post. Some true gorgeousness in here.

I've been busy sending out application forms for our Bearwood Christmas Fairs this morning. By email of course. So my shoulders are a wee bit achy from being hunched over the computer whilst sitting in a draft. Time for coffee. Then on with the making. Designing some embroidered hoops for another workshop.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Antimacassar and me

Here are a few stitched works in progress. I actually discovered a new word recently. I was on a hen weekend in a tipi (!) talking to a friend about what I've been making lately. I was trying to describe the decorative cloth people put over the backs of chairs to prevent greasy marks. Your granny probably had them. Or maybe you do? Anyway, it is called an anitmacassar. A pretty amazing word for such a mundane piece of cloth don't you think?

I found these gorgeous vintage linen antimacassars at a local car boot sale in the summer, along with the hand-crocheted doily in the picture below. The lovely vintage rose fabric came from a friend. I'm thinking of stitching "I never promised you a rose garden" onto it.

My priority this week is to prepare for the Staffordshire Handmade and Vintage Fair. If you're around, or fancy a trip to Newcastle-under-Lyme on Sunday then do please pop along. Over the next few days I'll be running up some garlands on the machine and trying out a few new pieces that I hope to launch at the fair. I'll post about them later in the week. In the meantime why don't you pop over to their blog and see who else will be at the fair.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

"I'm Scor-tish"

I wouldn't dare bore anyone with the 500 photos we took on our recent trip to bonny Scotland, but here are 12...and they tell some of the story. I made some notes, a brief diary of our trip, every night when we were all snuggled up cosy and warm in Fleur, the campervan. We had the most amazing family holiday. We have some truly great memories that cannot be captured in pictures. Here's the abridged version:-

day 1: Pick up Fleur the van in the Lake District. Drive to Lochmaben. Rain. Sonny loses coat. Chicken and haggis for tea. Howling wind threatens to blow down nearby tree. Jez gets upper body wedged between bed and roof of van.

day 2: Swan and five signets come to say good morning. Fleur won't start. Fleur starts 2 hours later. Lunch at Loch Lomond. Accident ahead of us temporarily halts our journey. Get to Oban as the dazzling sun starts to set. Baked beans for tea.

day 3: Up early to catch Oban-Mull ferry. Problems with Fleur losing power. Miss ferry. Buy replacement waterproof coat for Sonny. Catch ferry. Slow, stressful drive to Tobermory. Discover amazing echo on walk to campsite. Kids dance to Tears for Fears and Cat Stevens. Late night visit from mechanic. He goes home because it's too dark.

day 4: Early morning visit from mechanic. Not good. We'll have to be towed back to England. But first we'll hire a car and see Mull. Rockpooling on Calgary beach. See deer, highland cattle, a black pig, hundreds of sheep, maybe an eagle, buzzards, waterfalls, lochs and mountains. Simply stunning. We eat out - langoustines for me, crab claws for Jez and mussel and smoked haddock broth for the kids.

day 5: Shipwrecks and castle ruins. Ranger led trip to forest hide where we spot 2 white tailed sea eagles. Boat trip to Bloody Bay and back. "Bloody bloody bay" chant the kids.  We see heron, seals, porpoise, a salmon farm, another pair of sea eagles. The best fish and chips ever for me and Scout. Boys have fun in the pub. Pick-up truck picks us up and drives us to the far side of island. We see deer, otters, highland cattle, black sheep, and Sonny spots a golden eagle. Spend the night on oily garage forecourt surrounded by sheep in the middle of nowhere. Sonny has a slice of cheese, a scotch pancake and a banana for tea. Jez has nothing. We have nothing else left apart from a packet of biscuits which we save for breakfast.

day 6: Early start to catch ferry. Dropped in Hamilton services for rendezvous with AA. Kids are happy to be rescued by "the 4th emergency service". We mostly eat sweets and biscuits. Arrive in Lake District after 10 hours in the back of a recovery van. We're offered a full refund on the van hire which almost makes us cry. We find a pub, eat some hot food and drive home.

We miss Scotland. We even miss Fleur.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

everything changes

I don't have the words.  Well I do, I'm never short of something to say. But I don't have the right words today, to describe how I'm feeling. Sick, that's one. My stomach feels hollowed out like a big hollowed out thing. Confused, definitely, in a giddy, shuffling sort of way. Why? Well my oldest started his new junior school this morning and my youngest, well, she started school too. Oh no, you're thinking, not another bloody mum whingeing about her kids going off to school. Well, not really. I've stopped my afternoon child-minding so when I pick them up we'll have plenty of time together. I think it's more the 'what now?' And I sort of know the answer but that's what is really scary. This is my first official "make a go at this craft thing" day and I'm wondering whether I'm just completely nuts. We're skint, living in a house that's too small for us (I'm not complaining. We have a perfectly lovely house, but with a boy and a girl, a room each would be preferable), my husband's on temporary contracts and I'm attempting to live my dream by not signing up to the 9-5, refusing to work for 'the man'. Can I really make this work?  Who knows, but one thing is certain. I'll be blogging a whole lot more.

Of course, the summer holidays are over for us. We drove over a thousand miles and took just under a thousand photos so I have plenty to work with for that post which will be coming up very soon....but here's a quick taster!

Great news is that I've been accepted onto the Poppytalk Handmade online marketplace, which is just brilliant. There'll be more to follow on that too but in the meantime you really should check out their website

Also next week I'll be running a workshop with the lovely ladies from COW. If you fancy making a fused plastic garland or maybe a mobile then do book a place here. I'll be going through the whole process and you'll get to take away a crafty piece of loveliness like this.

The diary is also filling with craft fairs. I'll be having my first solo table here, on 25th September in Newcastle under Lyme. Hope some of you will be able to make it. We're also starting to plan the Crafty Muthas Christmas events, which I'll be shouting from the rooftops about nearer the time.

And of course I've got tons of making to do. I've been scribbling ideas down for months, repeating to myself that I'll have plenty of time come September. Well September has indeed come. And change is a good thing. Isn't it?