Monday, 19 October 2009

Bags and beads

I promised you last week that if the sun shone again I would rush outside and take some pictures of the other bags that I have been making... well, here they are.....
As you can see, I have been inspired by the lovely heathery colours that are filling the moors at the moment...
The main body of these bags is made from a vintage blanket that I have dyed and felted...

I do so love this squirly, circley design.. It's so much fun to do.. if you've never had a go at freehand embroidery on your sewing machine, I would urge you to give it a go... it's not nearly as scary as you think it will be and you will be amazed at what you can do!!



This one is very retro don't you think? I'm especially pleased with this bow detail too... It's definitely all these little details that set you apart from other designer/makers and also add that little extra something


This was definitely my most favourite make of the day.... a new cushion for the sofa!

I just love the colours together and the big shiny buttons!!
I do get moaned at for having so many cushions on my sofa, but I think you can never really have too many can you?
As an aside..... see all those gorgeous cosmos flowers? Well, these are the ones that I grew from seed back in the spring, and they are STILL flowering profusely. I will be planting these again next year too as they are so easy to grow and give so much pleasure.
I took a trip here last week ( I know it's loathed by many!!!) and came home with a few extra things that snuck their way into my shopping basket... such as some new sewing threads... oh, and underneath them is my new table cloth... I LOVE the colours, and, although it's waterproof... I vowed I'd never have another one of those now that the children are all grown up - I really wanted to have grown up, vintage, fabric cloths (I do have those too), this doesn't look at all plasticky, just bright and colourful... yay!

Oh... how did they get in there??? More fabric I hear you say... well..... yeeessss!! Just a couple of metres for a few more bags and other goodies that I want to make. The sewing bug has really caught on again... I think I was shamed into it by a very dear friend... you know who you are J... who was shocked at my lack of sewing over the last few years and said as much... thanks for the shove!! So, watch this space for some more fabricky goodies in the near future...
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Well, here we are at The Bead lagoon..... This is the lovely shop in Sidmouth where I take jewellery making classes on a regular basis....
... and here we are inside... all prepared and ready to go....
I love the wall paper and curtain fabric.. it gives the shop a warm welcoming feel...
My students trying to choose their beads for earrings and necklaces...
This is the hardest part of the morning I think... choosing colours and styles!!!

Well, wouldn't you find it hard with all of this amazing selection to choose from?


... and this.....


Scrumptious!!!! If you are ever in the area this is a place NOT to be missed, you will be amazed by the selection and quality of the beads...

Here are just a couple of other shots of the shop... as you can see there are many, many trays of beads and findings and plenty of inspiration in the form of jewellery that has been made by Kate, at The Bead lagoon, and also some of my pieces too!!!

There are several more workshop dates in the diary now....
Saturday October 24th... Beginners workshop 10am - 1.30pm
Thursday November 5th... Beginners workshop 10am - 1.30pm
Saturday November 14th... Wire work jewellery workshop 10am - 1.30pm
Thursday November 26th... Beginners workshop 10am - 1.30pm
Saturday December 5th... Jewellery making for Christmas presents 10am - 11.30 am and 12pm - 1.30pm
I would love to see you if you are in the area.... and if not, why not treat yourself to break and stay at Pebbles, which is not far away, and come along to one of the workshops... you will not be disappointed with either!!!
I am now off to try and finish my promotional literature for some workshops that I will be holding at The Flavel in Dartmouth on the first three Tuesday evenings in December... could be difficult though as when I came to find the photo paper on which to print my posters, I discovered that there is only piece left... hmph! ... the others having been snaffled by a certain daughter who is taking photography as an 'A' level... grrrrr! Looks like I will be off to the shops then!!!

Bye for now xx

p.s if you would like to know how to do freehand machine embroidery on your sewing machine, please let me know and if there's enough interest, I may put a tutorial on the blog.. woo hoo.. my first one!
I'm happy to give you tutorials on jewellery making too if you would like them... just let me know

TTFN xx






Monday, 12 October 2009

Blessings..

Today was one of those days that took a while to get going. After running the girls to school in Dartmouth, clearing up the morning mess and having a quiet time I was struggling to decide what to do... it's not that I didn't have anything to do, just where to start and... what do I really want to do... just like the endless times I stand in front of the wardrobe in the morning unable to decide what to wear, and then nothing feels right... ever have that feeling..... when you don't feel right in your skin... or is it just me? Anyway, I'm rambling again!! I spent some time doing not very much in particular, before deciding that what I really wanted to do today was to sew... then the decision was... what do I want to sew... aghhhh!! As you can tell, it was a bad start, life didn't 'feel right' and I couldn't settle to anything. I decided that I was going to make some more little bags like these....
I had a stall at the Torquay Food and Arts Fair at the weekend and made these little bags to put on my stall... I really love them, they`re so jolly and colourful. They are made from recycled blankets that I have machine dyed and then added applique motifs using the many, many fabric scraps that I have stashed away in every nook and cranny!!
This green one was my favourite..

...... very autumnal...

This one was photographed before I added some red and white spotty heart buttons to the handles, but I still love it...
It was too late tonight to take some photos of the bags and cushion cover that I made today.. I will endeavour to take some tomorrow as long as the sun continues to shine!

It was the right decision to sew and the fact that I completed several items made me feel a little better.
However, the highlights and blessings of the day came from my children. I decided that after not having spoken to Josh since I took him to uni, I really needed to hear how he was doing, so I picked up the phone and called him. Well... you could have knocked me down with a feather!!! I was expecting him to be his usual mono syllabic self, but I was speaking to a different lad!!! He sounds different... is that normal? As well as really enjoying the course, he has volunteered to be the student rep for his course (wow!), joined the outdoors society... walking, climbing etc... (wow), done some washing (wow, wow!), is going to find some volunteering work to do (wow), eating sensibly(wow), been to church on the campus.. more than once (wow), and is generally throwing himself into uni life... including frequent visits to the student bar!!! I am so proud of him, he really is coming out of his shell and that is a real answer to many prayers!
The other blessing came home on the back of a motorbike!!!! Harriet has been through a rough time just lately.... as well as suffering under the weight of A levels, Ucas forms and Uni decisions... all of this together has caused her to feel down about herself and her future... Anyway, tonight after school she went with a few friends down to the beach and then was offered a lift home on the back of a motorbike!!! (Good job I didn't know about this before she turned up!!) The look on her face as she arrived outside the house was a picture... mouth open, eyes popping out from under the helmet and the biggest grin you have ever seen. I love the fact that she 1. has the opportunity to do things like that and 2. grabs them with both hands... never on to miss out on an experience.. fantastic!! This has really lifted her spirits and mine too... FAB!
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I thought you might like to see a few pics from the Food and Arts fair that I had a stall at this last weekend......
As usual, I had a great time... I just love chatting to people, meeting the people who buy my product and inspiring others....

Oooo look, there are some of the bags that I made...

I was really pleased to have an electric point this time as I think it makes a real difference having some light on the product. Also, we were inside a shopping mall which didn't have great lighting...

Here is my beautiful green glass jug and glasses that I picked up from a local thrift shop... they are brilliant for displaying my earrings on..
I had so many lovely comments about my product and the look of the stall, it was a real encouragement to me... note to self.. have more faith in yourself! It was a definite shot in the arm... I think that it is hard as a creative person to work in a vacuum, you really need to interact with people, which is why I love my teaching... on that note, I have another workshop at the Bead Lagoon in Sidmouth on Thursday.. I would love to see you if you can make it.
So, at the end of a mixed day, I am thankful for the creative gifts that I have been given, for children finding their way in life and overcoming their own personal difficulties, for food on the table, a roof over my head, the warmth of the autumn sun, for the opportunities to share my passions with others and to walk the road with those who need friendship and support.
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Thursday, 8 October 2009

'Tis the season to make jelly....

Just time to pop by and tell you about the yummy bramble jelly I have made.... You need some of these... I know they don't look that amazing but they are only from the local hedgerows and they taste scrumptious!!
... some of these...
I would have liked windfalls but I don't have a tree myself and I don't know anyone locally with umpteen of these beauties to give away.. *sob*!
Chop up lovely and small ....
and mix together in a preserving pan...

Turn up the heat and leave to come to the boil...
Meanwhile, prepare your straining bag and bowl.. I used an old tea towel that I boiled beforehand to sterilise, a wonderful Cole and Mason bowl and an old chair. the lovely thing about this was that the chairs used to belong to my Grandma - she was always making things, whether in the kitchen cooking, knitting, tatting, sewing etc.... and when I turned the chair up side down, there were already pin marks where she had obviously done the exact same thing many many years ago.. how lovely to be following in her footsteps and reliving history...

Bubble, bubble. Leave to simmer for a while... in the meantime enjoy the gorgeous smells wafting through the house...

.... pour the fruit into the straining bag and leave for 8 hours to drip through...

.... return the jewel like fruity nectar to the pan and bring to the boil. Add sugar and bring to setting point. Pour into sterilised jam jars and leave to cool.... If you can resist that is!!
Then, the moment of truth.... homemade bread and the most delectable bramble jelly ever.... mmmm... mmmmm... mmmmm.. Anyone like some?

Just a quick reminder that I will be having a stall at the Food and Arts fair in Torquay tomorrow and Saturday... I would love to see you if you are in the area... bring a nice hot cuppa with you!!!
Have a lovely weekend xxxx

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Poor Peas.....

I never realised how calm and creative life could be until this week when I have been car less.
On the one hand its been very relaxing and stress free, on the other, I am now going a little stir crazy after having been stuck at home for nearly a week... arghhhh!! Poor poor PEAS, she has has to have a new clutch AND a new gearbox... *sob* Poor poor purse too.... *sob sob* It looks like the new dishwasher that I was hoping to treat myself to is going to have to go back on the list yet again!!! Poor poor hands... it's not true what they say about Fairy you know.. my hands prove that!!!
However, every cloud has a silver lining, so they say, and in this case it's true. I have spent many a happy hour indulging in my jewellery making. You might remember that I am going to teach at some jewellery making workshops at the Bead Lagoon in Sidmouth? Well, the first of these is on Saturday.. I am so excited about it.. I just love teaching and inspiring people... bringing out their creativity and watching their confidence grow in new found skills.
I have also been asked to put some of my jewellery for sale in the shop, so I have been a busy bee making some new pieces.....
I love these lucite flowers, they are sooooo pretty... I bought these lovely beauties at Creative stitches in Exeter last week and have made this necklace and the scrumptious bracelet above... I can't decide which one I like best and I know that I am going to have a hard time leaving them behind at the shop as I love them both and wouldn't mind them for myself... looks like I'll just have to make some more!!
Sunday saw us stuck at home again on a beautifully sunny day and so we decided to set to and paint some more canvases like these as we have had so many lovely comments, oooooh's and ahhhhh's.. thinking Christmas?
So here are the girls, this time outside thankfully, having a splatting time! You would never believe the aching arms we all had the next day.. what a fun way to work out!!
As usual.. it looks like more paint ended up on us than on the canvases...
Bet this tickled when she cleaned them... hope she has :: mmmm :: note to self.. check Harriet's feet!!
Oh... and then it got really silly. Fortunately I am the one who writes this blog and chooses the photos, so there will be no embarrassing ones of me with war paint on too!!!!! Yes, I was persuaded to sport indian stripes... the one and ONLY time Harriet will ever get to paint my face in that way!! BUT those photos are under lock and key!
The paintings are not quite finished yet, we still need to add spots and glitter, so I will show you once they are spotted.. can you wait?
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Monday saw us baking yummy chocolate brownies to send in a food parcel up to Josh.. I know, what a softy mum, but they are his favourite.. that and macaroni cheese, but I'm not sending that is a parcel up to Liverpool!! And lots more time making jewellery. Here's just a sneak at some of what I have done.
Some of these pieces will be wending their way to Pebbles as the jewellery that I have for sale there is going like hot cakes, and the rest will be for sale at the Torbay Food and Arts Festival on the 9th and 10th October. I would love to see you there if you are free... come and say 'hello'.

To end on a positive note... I have just heard that PEAS is ready for collection.. yippee, watch out devon, I'm back!