Monday, 22 November 2010

will it snow?

with the festive season nearly upon us, there is a count down on Ebay if you forget!!
I have been busy stitching new decorations and delights.

A busy week ahead, stitching (when I can) for 2 fairs this weekend, planning some teaching and putting together a stitching workshop next week. Busy bee, thats me. Which reminds me, a lovely bee keeper has asked me to make her a bee brooch. I will add this to the list :-)

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I love these little button fella's bellow. A reindeer has been haunting me for best part of 30 years! When I was at 'Middle' school there was a book I remember borrowing from the library over and over again. A book on felt toys, sigh. It was in the days before the internet and our local craft shop didn't sell felt (I know!) so I would just dream of making the red and white reindeer. A couple of years ago, I found this said book on ebay and hey bingo, made my own variation of the deer. The original is very fiddly and uses wire to keep the legs strong - I haven't got time for wire!
Then Mr P. Olar bear came along to join Mrs R. Eindeer and their journey begins.....

So I am packing my delights and egg boxes for a Fair Trade Coffee Morning at St.James's Church in New Bradwell on Saturday 10.30-12.30 and then hot footing it to MaKe at the Madcap Theatre in Wolverton on Sunday 10-5
Might see you there, hope so!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

A grand day out

Last Sunday I went to my first Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra palace in North London.
I've never managed to go before - husband away, busy with some family occasion, just not managed to organise it - you know the score!
Anyway, it all came together rather easily in the end. Just needed a very early start on a Sunday morning to get a coach which would take us to the door step and then bring us home again after a long day of "oohing and ahhing and the odd mmmm, perhaps not"

I have managed to take a few pictures, there were lots of signs saying 'No photo's please respect my work' which was fine. Some of the artists had postcards, but not they were not the ones I would have snapped anyway, hey ho.

There were some lovely quilts from the Quilters Guild, shaky hands got in the way a bit, but you get the gist of them I hope.

And then there was a lovely exhibit of paper art, they were happy for snaps too, 'just don't touch'!!

These were large collages of found paper by Peter Cook for the Holland Paper Biannale.

We walked out legs off, bustled with sturdy crafters who held onto their own space very well and spent a bit (!!) of money on lovely things, just to save on postage you understand. Next year, we will know what to do and where to go first and might even sign up for a workshop.
Great day out though, cannot wait to get stitching! xx

Monday, 6 September 2010

Summer Inspiration....

Aaahhh, all is well and good in the Charles family household. We have returned from various camping excursions around the country, covered many a mile and put the tent and down about 8 times in 20 days.....The weather? Mixed. From blazing sun to hale stones in the Highlands of Scotland and torrential rain and just that good old British Grey day.
The one thing that saved us and the children for the 2 weeks in Bonny Scotland was joining the NTS (National Trust for Scotland). It ticked all the family boxes, Chris and I enjoyed fantastic gardens and castles, the birthplace of JM Barrie and the amazing Robert Smails printworks. The children, while moaning a little, had to spot the muddy footprints of Gnasher from Dennis the Menice Comics. After finding all the foot prints in 6 properties on our travels they will be rewarded with copious amounts of Dennis 'stuff' - they were obsessed and we now have to wait until October to reap the rewards of this challenge......3 times over!

Back to inspiration- this was my favourite castle, Crathes - stunning, beautiful and a lovely sunny day out.
Now, I have to admit...... I broke the law of the NTS (shhhhh). You are now allowed to take photos and the children were mortified that I even attempted to. Mortified. Butter wouldn't melt of course, as we had to remind them. But I could not risk not being able to be inspired if the shop did not sell the specific post cards I needed, could I? So just in case.....
This was a snippet of a painted ceiling:

And this was a beautiful appliqued bed cover, which I continued to dream about and plan some work around. I was disappointed that there was no postcard, so it's a good job I was a bit body saw anyway.

Around the gardens I was allowed to snap away at the lovely flowers, no body minded.

Noah was amazed by the size of these daisies as you can see.

So here we are, standing in the gardens of Crathes, just lovely.....Happy Campers all round. The Gnasher trail was our saving grace and fantastic value for money spread over the year. Oh, and another thing....we can use our membership to visit UK National Trust Properties too!!

Yippee- do-dar, more lovely inspiration just waiting for a visit.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Etsy blow my trumpet (for a while at least)

I did miss the actual moment sadly, but just as we got back from the end of tern school concert, I picked up a link from two lovely ladies in Argentina who had picked one of my items from my Etsy shop :-) thanks girls!!
To commemorate the first landing on the moon some 41 years ago, they picked 'moon' linked objects and my Button Moon sewing tidy snuck in there - hurray for today.

I am very excited, I've just had my first 'Treasury listing' - whoo hoo. Shame I cannot work out how to link this button to my site, not my blog- it's too late to try now, maybe tomorrow....
nobody's watching now anyway :-)

Thursday, 1 July 2010

The Day of Diversity...

It's still quite shocking that speed of uploading information isn't it? I have been asked to do some workshops in the Summer for MK Arts for Health and they requested some suitable jpegs to illustrate one of my proposed workshops.

So, in less than an hour I was able to design the block - a polystyrene pizza base and biro ( all high tech stuff), print a few colour combinations....

And then whizz up to the bathroom (best light in the house) to take the photos.
Uploaded them, turned them into Jpegs and sent them on their way to the project.
Not a bad afternoons work.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Bonjour Le Camping....

We had a lovely half-term in France on the Ile De Noirmoutier.....the days were long, sunny and got warmer as the week went on. We had a treat too, staying in one of these tents rather than having to set up our own. We have learnt to our cost that France is always further away than we plan, often getting stuck in some detour around a town which holds us up.

So this year, we went for one that came fully equipped and didn't need putting up as dusk falls and the rain clouds open.

This was how close we were to the beach and sea.....I had forgotten to take my 'camping fish mobile' so had to make one there, a cross I was willing to bare. They look lovely swinging in the breeze and I like to think they bring some luck - wishful thinking most of the time, but this week worked a treat.

Step out of the tent and this is the view, the boats just bob about, don't really see who owns them. This time of year the area is famous for shell fish and the campers in the 'know' go out every low tide with rakes and a basket collecting their lunch or dinner. They spend the whole summer months on the site and probably get annoyed with the pesky English interrupting their holiday this week.

We spent a couple of hours on the other side of the Island one evening watching the sunset. This was about 10 0'clock and rather lovely...

We also managed our first family frisby session, Smallest bean No.3 is now old enough to catch and throw the frisby and we did manage a whole round a couple of times - a Charles Family First :-)

Oh and did I mention my stitching? Inspired by a recent vintage purchase and my new camping fish, I cut out 9 squares of felt and embroidered them with fish. The colours of fish matched the felt and I just swapped them over to create and balance the design. I often suggest this simple technique to my stitching learners and it works well most of the time.

I used a paper template and an air fading pen to work out the design and then space the stitches by eye, still work in progress as we speak, but I hope to finnish it off soon.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Spring in the Garden

Things move too quickly in the garden, don't they?? Sometimes for the best and sometimes for the worst.....Spring suddenly arrives with new shoots and lush green leaves, like on this Golden Hop:
I love these bleeding hearts, but now as I blog this, they are past their best :-(....
This was a great week though, they looked lovely:

And this euphorbia looks great, but the stems are now quite long and need propping up.

We have a lilac tree in the garden, it smells just lovely, I didn't manage to capture is though and now the flowers are turning brown which is a shame. We're off on holiday for a week and the one thing I rush home to check is the garden, what has bloomed, grown or sadly not enjoyed our vacation and decided to wilt.

Hope the neighbours and in-laws remember to water my tomatoes at least!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

I've had a busy week!

Living so close to London, about 45 miles, you would think it was easy to 'pop' down for the day to see an Exhibition or do a 'bit of shopping', sadly or probably sensibly it does not happen very often.
But with some child care shuffling and a friend who wanted to go to, I was able to escape and venture to the Victoria & Albert Museum in Kensington to the Vintage Quilt Exhibition. We were not disappointed. For those in the Quilting world, you may have seen reports in the press about the collection and projects inspired by this amazing collection. It's going on tour after London, look out for it in a City near you!!
I knew there would be danger in the air of course, a spending mine field of temptation, I would have to be restrained. So I didn't buy a guide. Will probably regret this and have to back to get one, a false economy if ever I saw one. The V&A in an inspired merchandising ploy have got together with Liberty and produced a range of Reproduction cotton lawns and this is where I tripped up. Oh and the 2011 pocket diary, with a good selection of photo's from the exhibition and textiles collection. It could have been worse, believe me.

My other problem is that it was very dark and dimly lit to enhance the beauty of the quilts, and preserve their colours, so I could not take photos. mmmm, you will just have to go and look for yourselves, sorry :-)

However, in the courtyard cafe we found some lovely lemon trees with real lemons. Yes, lemons in London in May!

I know!

And then on the outside, there were a couple of Elephants. A London wide parade celebrating these endangered magnificent creatures and bringing colour and fun to the streets of London. A great idea, the children would love to spot them and it probably means we will be popping down with them soon to do such a thing.

Just encase you cannot get there yourself, have a look at the website and donate here :-)
So we had a great day, thanks for coming with me Sophie, I will probably have to go again it would be a shame not to......

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Handmade & Vintage arrives in Stony Stratford.....

I have seen 'Handmade & Vintage' mentioned many a time in other lovely blogs, promising just that- handmade treasures and vintage or pre-owned delights.....oh have I dreamed. What has stopped me going to such an occasion? Life. They are always too far away, or we are busy doing something else or I have missed them (note to self, do a bit more research perhaps). Of course the other problem might be that I am too easily drawn into NEEDING new and lovely things and our house is already jam packed with 'stuff' and children :-(.

Anyway, back to the plot, I was invited by the lovely Shelly to join her for a new venture just up the road from myself and I fair jumped at the chance. This delightful day was yesterday and I was not disappointed:

The only problem with these photos is that it looks quiet, believe me it was not! It's just I took these at the end of the day when things had gotten quieter and I had some space to snap away.

My new egg-box display idea took along time to arrange, too much tweaking for my liking but I was happy with the result, what do you think??

The table mat, was one I rescued from my Nan's house when she moved onto the big Charity shop in the sky, I have a lot of her vintage treasures and cannot part with them. I have lots of ideas for up-cyling but not always the time. This however, seemed the perfect occasion to stitch a much needed sign for my stall. One day it might say 'for your home and your coat' but I ran out of time. It did provide a good place for my cards though, so perhaps it will stay blank.

And then there were the cakes......mismatched tea sets, vintage Royal wedding mugs and a whole lot of Union Jack flags made for a lovely tea time feel all day long, I think we were British and Proud of it!
York House In historic Stony Stratford provided the perfect setting for this occasion and there was a lovely array of both Handmade and Vintage, it's just this blogger is a bit scared and not famous enough to ask to take day perhaps.

This is my friend and she didn't mind, thanks Yvonne. A lovely talented lady, always wise and funny. Her beautiful jewellery made from handmade felt, textiles and vintage beads are lovely and she had a great day. (Thanks for the donut Jeff)

Other attractions included a proper ice-cream lady, you can see her wares being eaten in this picture I think. She ran in at the end of the day, sad that we were packing up and she had been too busy to come and look.

I didn't speak to an unhappy person, it was a joy of a day. I sold to new and returning customers and bought a couple of things, there was more temptation of course, but I was very restrained and remembered the size of our house.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

I'll just knock up a quick tree if you don't mind?

You can imagine the scene - "oh yes, that's a good idea I will exhibit a tree in an exhibition. It's just sitting on my window ledge after it's last outing and needs a new adventure...."
Time passes......
Oh, but the exhibition is to showcase textile decoration- dying, printing and embelishment and my tree does not tick those boxes so I will just have to re-make it!! No pressure....

So last friday morning, I set about printing my 'bark-ing' design onto some previously dyed fabric, as you do. It wasn't proper fabric printing, meaning that it takes forever to dry but does the job eventually and you probably cannot wash it. This is not such a problem for Mr Tree though, he is not to be worn.
I worked out a template for a leaf which would tally nicely with it's self and set to work. The print was created very quickly with a polystyrene pizza base and a biro pen. After a day on the line and a day inside, the ink still wasn't dry so I gave it a quick go over with an iron, job done.
Now to make it pretty, or just work which ever came first.

Some machine stitching is always a good start, then some hand stitching.....and then "why not, some vintage inspired embroidered flowers" I have been looking for a reason for months to have a go. I plan out my design.

After about a couple of hours solid stitching I had great fun inventing new blooms from my limited range of suitable stitches, you can see here it is mounted onto some interfacing to give it more stability:

I found a large piece of vintage polka dot fabric to use as a backing and stitched rs together.

With the help of a bamboo cane, a bag of mung beans and alot of stuffing, the tree was standing up for itself:

Now for the leaves and a couple of friends to chat to:

Ta Dar: Mr Tree No 2 is now finished but more of a Mrs I think, plans for more when I have a bit of time in the future I hope.