Monday, 31 May 2010

Blue patchwork purse

I made a piece of patchwork some months ago. Then, a little while ago, I embellished it with some embroidery, I finally made it into a purse yesterday, listed it on Folksy, before setting out for a day at the coast, and when I got back it had been sold!

I thought I'd show you a photo of it anyway. Photos from our day out - tomorrow - hopefully!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Flickr Feast

I love to visit exhibitions and festivals, when I can. Now I've made myself sound like a seasoned needlework-festival goer, and, unfortunately, I'm not. I have enjoyed the ones, mainly local, which I have made it to. There are also one or two other places which I have visited that hold needlework collections - such as the Elizabethan needlework at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire.

Its cold and wet and miserable outdoors today. We hadn't planned anything in particular since we weren't too sure what our 13 year old had planned with her friends. She slept out, bivvying with Scouts, last night! Actually 'slept' is rather a miss-noma on this occasion. Anyway she got back, left trail of smoke-infused laundry and went out shopping!

So I settled down to go a-visiting and marvelling on Flickr. I'm not a fan of the principles of face-book - maybe one day! However, Flickr just seems such a natural way to discover other very visual craft works and find out a little about their makers. A wonderful, international, open-all hours, rich programme of exhibitions and galleries! Paradise!!!

I have recently joined these groups, and after a pause for a late lunch, intend to make some new contacts, read some new blogs, and then go to look for more. Why not set out to join me. These are amongst my favourite groups at present:

Friday, 28 May 2010

Dragonfly Summer - Folksy Friday No.12

I hope you like my choices this week. Click on any item to view it in its Folksy shop.

Joys of Glass Sabine Cornic
Clutterbux aldridgeglass
Dottery Pottery MinXtures

Item 1 by: Joys of Glass
Item 2 by: Sabine Cornic
Item 3 by: Clutterbux
Item 4 by: aldridgeglass
Item 5 by: Dottery Pottery
Item 6 by: MinXtures

Thursday, 27 May 2010

New Exhibitions

I had planned a far more interesting post today. Unfortunately, I have spent ages wrestling with HTML in Blogger in an attempt to update my gallery page. I need to collect my 13 year old from a peculiar mixture of percussion and athletics training (athletics has clashed with her usual music lesson and she literally runs back and to between them!). I do have more pieces which I would like to display at a later date. For the moment, I have created five more exhibitions. Please accept an invitation to visit my Gallery by clicking on the bar at the top of this page.

Monday, 24 May 2010


......... Abbey ( not water feature).

Carrying on from my web-footed friends on Thursday's blog, our favourite campsite in Yorkshire is just about 1 mile from Fountains Abbey. I had wanted to visit since I was a child. The following pics come from my compact camera so please excuse the quality.

I haven't time to write much now but these notes are some of my lasting thoughts from this visit

Scale of ruins - All hand-crafted in the most real sense!

Economy - Part of an international Church community and economy with European travel common

Self Sufficiency - Fishing lakes, Sheep and all vegetable and herbal crops home-produced.

Power - sufficient to challenge the monarch - for a time at least.

Site - Carefully chosen - sheltered, flowing water, agricultural land.

Beauty - the site, the ruins,and what must have been!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Have a Gander at these - Folksy Friday No. 11

This theme has developed as an extension of yesterday's blog (please take a second or two to look - the photos are cute!!). Click on any image to view the item in its Folksy shop.

Coming Around Again






The Mosaic Garden


Felters Journey


Thursday, 20 May 2010

Duck, duck, goose

A simple circle game which we play with Brownies to fill odd moments.

It has reminded me of some photos which I took last year at our favourite campsite in Yorkshire. Having looked, I couldn't find the file from last year, but I have found 2007. These should really be titled Goose, goose, goose - but I'll show you anyway:

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Picnic and Promises.

In Guiding we are celebrating our centenary. In Brownies, the girls learn to take part in planing their own programme, learning how to reach joint decisions by discussion and voting, and learning to accept the choices of others. We have a '100 wishes' chart at the centre of our pack's celebrations. A matrix of 10 x 10 squares, each one containing a personal challenge or a particular activity.

One of these challenges was to exchange postcards, of a local scene, with 100 other Brownie packs. We are falling some way short in this. Any other leaders prepared to get their girls to write a few lines in exchange for a similar message from us please get in touch with me.

Another challenge was to 'have a picnic on top of a mountain'. Although we live in Wales we don't have a mountain as such on our immediate doorstep. However, a country park has been formed from a 'slag heap' from one of the mines in the area. A sculpture at the top commemorates our area's mining tradition, and there is a wonderful view in all directions.

We took our parachute and a soft ball, had our picnic and played games. Our four newest Brownies then had their promise ceremony and became full members of the pack. A simple evening out in the fresh air learning about our heritage and having fun!


I have always enjoyed using ribbons in my craft work. I have some weaving planned and some further patchwork projects. For the moment I have found time to list this simple roses brooch in summer pinks.


Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Our First Strawberry..

...... of 2010!

Our garden is not very big, but we do like to grow, and particularly harvest and eat, fruit and vegetables. At present, we have onion, broad beans and herbs outside. Peas, more beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, and capsicums inside (the peas and beans soon to go out). We have had a lot of apple, cherry and plum blossom this spring, so fingers crossed. There was not quite so much pear blossom, but we had a good year for pears last year. We won't get any raspberries this year since we have just replaced the canes. Black currants, red currants, and gooseberries usually do well - saw fly permitting. (I don't normally like killing things but saw fly larvae are an exception - I don't kill them directly but I am very happy to evict them!).

Then we have the strawberries. Since our space is limited we don't have many plants, but we do like to extend the season as much as possible and then we can add the fruits to fruit salads etc. In addition to the plants in one of the raised beds, and a few in the bottom of the fruit cage, we have three strawberry pots in the greenhouse. Our first strawberry ripened yesterday. Now there are four of us ........ My husband dutifully found a sharp knife, and with all due ceremony, solemnly cut it into four. It wasn't very large to begin with, but that quarter had so much flavour!!!

These two baskets are, hopefully, OK outside now since we need the space in the greenhouse. I know white flowers against a white wall seems an odd choice - I'm sure it will be fine when everything else matures - those little plants have a very long flowering season - we hope!

Back to craft. Now this link is really dreadful, in the worst of Radio 2's tradition. My mother used to describe a certain pink colour as 'crushed strawberry'. I'm not quite sure why, since, in my experience, crushed strawberries are first red then brown. Anyway, you've guessed it, the main colour of this bag is a pink which my mother would have so-described. (I warned you the link was dreadful!)

The central panel of this bag has been constructed from 'strip-patchwork', which has then been embellished with hand-sewn ribbons and hand-embroidery. The side panels are embellished with vintage white and cream buttons applied to the textured squares of the fabric. The bag is fully lined and closes with a 'sliding toggle' on ribbons around a vintage wooden toggle. Coordinating wooden beads decorate the ends of the ribbons.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

I've been a bit distracted!

I had decided to be quite disciplined in my approach to making new items, whilst privately wondering how long it would last. I was doing quite well with a number of pieces of embroidery part finished and a needlecase and notebook cover nearly complete. Then Chumley posted  about a destash sale and I popped to look. I bought some organic merino - I love the colour. I then started thinking about felting/embroidery/weaving??? Then  I noticed some lovely batches of fabric and had to make myself look away - I really have too much fabric anyway. I then started thinking about some of mine which I had not seen for a while, and, in searching for it, found lots of other pieces I'd forgotten about.

Eventually, I completed the machining of a patchwork strip which will, when hand embroidered, form the front panels of two duffle bags, as featured in my Flickr stream. The shades are lilac and plum and there are a couple of lovely silk fabrics. I'm not sure I can persuade myself to part with both of them, but one will eventually appear on Folksy.

I now need to climb into the loft to get a spare rucksack for 16 year old. I had thought he had finished with his school one, which had almost become unusable, so I saved the buckles and binned the rest. Apparently he needs one for the next two weeks. Not a problem - I have a spare, but the spare is dangerously close to an old suitcase and my old college trunk. Both are full of fabric and I still have not found the piece I was looking for yesterday. I'm not sure if it is up there but I can almost guarantee that I'll get distracted again!

In the meantime I have managed to finish this needlecase which was part of my plan - so all is not lost.


Friday, 14 May 2010

Giraffes - Folksy Friday No 10

Here are my choices this week - I hope you like them. Click on any image to see the item in its Folksy shop.


Original Art By Clare




Hazel Fisher Creations


Crack in Pear




Molly Moo and Jessica too


Thursday, 13 May 2010

Last Day of School

Can you remember yours?

In all honesty - I remember leaving primary school and sixth form, I don't actually remember my last day at high school.

Anyway, today is the last day of normal high school for my 16 year old. He hopes to return for A Levels. He is nursing injured ribs, looks as scruffy as ever, despite my best efforts, and looked a bit lost when he left for the bus this morning. He can sometimes find change very hard and a lot of the people he has been in school with, some since the age of four, will be following a different path next year. It does seem strange! There is a presentation this evening, before which I need to tidy, find emergency tea, drive to same school to collect 13 year old from music lesson, try to find some presentable clothes for myself etc.

Started to make new embroidered brooch at 8.30 am. Two lengthy phonecalls, one mislaid roll of bonding tape, one mislaid spool of yellow silk embroidery ribbon, one camera tripod with jammed fixing screw, son's tripod with missing quick release plate, and slightly shaky (hopefully OK for now) hand-held photos later and my latest landscape brooch is listed. Hope you like it!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Snail and duck race.


Take one Brownie pack ( 12 Brownies only last  night!)
Pour pink champagne (cranberry juice and lemonade- obviously)
Make fancy hats ( folded newspaper with collaged embellishments)
Arrange Brownies in 3 teams.
Each team cuts a duck shape from yellow card (using template)
Each team cuts a snail shape from brown card (using template)
Each shape is mounted onto the 'front' of a cereal box (so that it sits 'boat-like' on the floor)
A piece of string (measured to extend across the floor is securely fastened to each box (Tie round a pencil inside box and poke through hole)
For each snail tie other end of string to pencil and tape in place.
For each duck tie other end of string to fatter cylinder ( One of our other leaders had kindly left some lengths of drain pipe in the cupboard - goodness knows why!)
Each team races their snail by winding the string round pencil to draw the snail towards them from the other side of the room - snail moves very,very slowly (Brownies not very dexterous).
Then repeat with ducks and drain pipes - ducks move faster!!
Marker posts (cones) mark stages at which team members swap with winder.

I only wish it was possible to show you some photos. Hats were brilliant! One Brownie was heard to say she preferred real champagne!!!! Everyone was rivetted by the races. (Except Mum's who were waiting for too long outside and didn't seem to get it when I apologized about the snails taking too long).

A fun and cheap evening.

Who was it on Folksy that asked what we do in our 'spare' time.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Look what I found.......

........ hiding in the corner of may craft space. I almost finished it last winter and then got distracted by something else. I was searching for the project bag it was in, intending to use the bag for a couple of almost-finished scarves. I've finished it off and here it is:

Its not my intention that this blog descends into a catalogue of my own crafting activities. I would like to thank my followers who offered me their advice and comments after yesterday's post. Any other thoughts greatfully accepted, please see below.

Tomorrow a complete change of subject - Snail and duck races!!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Evolution of Exhibits

I love to make things which I think are distinctive and I hope beautiful. I tend to get the biggest 'buzz' when I finish one of my embroideries - probably the closest I shall ever get to grown-up art work.

My embroidered brooches are proving quite popular, but I realise that not everyone is a brooch person. My scarves are quite unusual, but I have a seasonal problem at present! In trying to decide what to make next, and in attempt to structure the time which I spend on producing for Folksy, I have been trying to analyse my current stock and sales. I use the term analyse loosely. I dimly remember from my days in market analysis, that certain minimum volumes are required for statistical validity!

My main 'processes' are - patchwork, applique, knitting, crochet, felting, embroidery and, possibly, in the near future a little weaving. Some items are formed from a combination of several processes.

My main items are - brooches, scarves, 'purses' of various types ( gadget cosies, specs cases, coin/card purses), stationery items (notebook covers etc), needlework items (needlecases, mending sets, pin cushions), card holders/wallets.

Now, at present, all my scarves have been knitted or crocheted, but I have some lovely pieces of velvet so I  shall be considering some patchwork/embroidery/applique for that 'department'. Whilst a knitted cover for a notebook might not be particularly practical, an embroidered one could be very effective. Over the next few weeks I shall be trying to fill in the matrix of items v. techniques. In particular, I have really only used embroidery on its own on brooches. I am embarking on embroidered notebook covers, needlecases, gadget cosies etc. I listed a patchwork shades/specs/ case yesterday and hope to finish a patchwork gadget cosy later today. Once I have completed the sensible permutations for my existing range of products I might consider some new items.

I'm not too sure whether this approach is going to unleash some new creativity as I consider the possibilities , or whether it will prove to feel restrictive when I wake up one morning with a compelling impulse to make something that doesn't fit into the plan. Time, and potential purchasers, might tell.


In the meantime here is the shades case from yesterday:


Saturday, 8 May 2010

A Preoccupation with Patchwork!

My first attempt at patchwork was a bed cover which I made to take to university. Mum had always made most of our clothes and there were plenty of scraps which we had used to make dolls clothes etc when we were tiny, and I decided patchwork would be the thing.  I think it had eight main panels in two columns of four and a simple border in between. I adapted a sort of flower basket pattern mainly using triangles - it was all paper- pieced, the only method I knew of at the time. There was no time to make the sides so I put on a deep frill out of some sort of nylon-type fabric in navy blue. The top was backed but not quilted. It looked quite effective in my study bedroom. (I'm sure its tucked away in the deep recesses of the airing cupboard still).

There were problems. It was hand-sewn, but I was in a hurry. It could have been neater, and would then have been more durable. My piecing was not very accurate. I didn't have a good understanding of the effect of different prints and the design was not very 'balanced'. The frill was a good idea though. It framed the top, hung to the floor - hiding anything which may have been lurking beneath the bed, did not crease and was very light and compact - it is a long train journey from North Wales to Durham! I sometimes wish I could re-think my use of so many of the fabrics which are associated with my child-hood.

The next quilt which lodged in my memory, was in a museum in Guildford, where I lived for a time. It was also pieced on a paper background. The pieces were about one inch square and were formed from half bus tickets. I later found that leaving the paper in the back of the folded shapes is typical of the time, and helps to date the quilt. Again this was pieced and backed but not quilted, and was almost certainly, a form of recycling. I was inspired to do a little more and I have a couple of cushion covers which I made about then. I had my first flat and mum was making noises about 'all my stuff' still in their house. So all my hoarded scraps of fabric moved in with me. Bliss!! I started making a quilt based on hexagons. Is it called 'Granny's flower garden'? It was never finished and in this case I really do wish I had not been so hasty in my use of precious fabrics. I was still piecing over paper, still unaware of any other techniques, and still not quilting my finished pieces.

I think the next 20 years of my patchwork journey may find their way into another blog.

For the present, I have a pieced, but only partially quilted, king-size quilt (machine pieced, but hand-quilted), a partially pieced, small quilt and numerous bundles of fabric for other projects. We have a Christmas table runner of which I am very proud, and a similar one for the rest of the year, which is pieced but not backed and finished. I have several bags and my daughter has a Beatrix Potter bed quilt, which she has now outgrown! I love the serendipity of the new pieces of fabric which emerge from the old. I sometimes buy fat quarters and hoard other fabric, but I love to use scraps or re-cycle. Something beautiful from next to nothing is valuable indeed and the memories hiding in these fabrics - my child-hood, my first two flats, our first home and the baby clothes I made for my children are priceless. Amongst the most precious, the scraps of floral fabrics from which my aunt made clothes for my grandmother (who was not a standard dress size!)

My skills have improved. I love to make smaller items which are, I hope beautiful, but are also functional, and which, although time-consuming have a realistic chance of being finished. It is these items which sometimes find their way into my Folksy shop. The first few had almost all been sold. This needle case is the first of their replacements.


Friday, 7 May 2010

Folksy Friday No. 9 - Turquoise!

One of my favourite colours and so many possibilities on Folksy. I hope you like my choices. Click on any image to view the item in its Folksy shop.



Murgatroyd and Bean


Wharfedale Woolworks


Hooked Yarn


Little Red




Wednesday, 5 May 2010

It could have happened anywhere!

The weather last week-end was better than forecast. Our 13 year old daughter was camping with her guide group and our 16 year old was 'helping' with a cub scout cycle camp. With only a few weeks until his GCSEs I did hesitate a little about letting him go. However, much as I would like to think that he would have studied hard all week-end, if he had been at home, I know that he would have done very little. I wanted him to show some support for the organising leader who has given my son a lot of his time, and , whilst I thought he might be of limited use in helping to supervise the cubs, he is very good at fixing bikes. So it turned out and I was pleased he had been of use.

Unable to go far with nobody else to name as an emergency contact, we actually camped a few miles from our son. We didn't see them and they didn't know we were there. We had a relaxing time and some pleasant walks.

We collected our 16 year old on Monday afternoon, intending to drop him at home and then collect his sister. In the event I took him to A&E and my husband went for our daughter. Son has bruised or possibly cracked ribs - they don't bother to X-ray if the chest cavity is intact and the lungs are OK - apparently! Nothing to do with cycling he ran at full speed into a 'tall tree stump' in the dark whilst chasing the cubs round to wear them out before bed time! LESS THAN THREE WEEKS BEFORE HIS GCSEs!!! He went to school yesterday but didn't cope well with the pain. Now trying to arrange with school a 'reduced' timetable so that he can go in for shorter days and concentrate on any outstanding work and essential revision. Have spent most of the day trying to get someone at school to call me back whilst trying to determine what the priorities should be for home study. I can cope with physics, chemistry, biology and maths - that's my area. I could probably be of some help with French. However, English Lit, which I hated, and history, which I had to give up for physics are a mystery to me.

Horrible day! Worried about son's studies, no time for craft, irritated by inability of school to contact concerned parent and no time to write more interesting blog - my apologies!