Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Threads of time

Buttons and Patches and cold 
winds blowing my days pass quickly
when I am sewing !

Threads of time is a favourite of mine, what I mean to say is I love working with old threads and fabrics.  I often sit and look at fabrics, threads, quilts or pieces of them and beautiful old timeworn fabrics and I wonder about them.  What stories they could tell me if they could speak.  Who
once owned this sat in their project basket down by a chair?

Fabrics in quilts that are from pieces of others lives and delicate eiderdown fabrics that once sat on beds to keep you warm and to look cosy and inviting.  Threads that were chosen and bought but some how never used or indeed some that have been used a little but not all of it and finally decades and decades later I find myself the custodian of such wonderful stitchery history.

I love the idea that I makes things with them and they become loved once more and no longer sit in a drawer or an old box in a loft collecting dust.  Now the pieces of fabric come to life once more.  You can see them positively yawn and stretch and smile as they are washed, pressed and made into a piece of stitchery art.

As you know I keep every tiny bit of fabric until it really can not be used and of course I put it out in the trees for nesting time, as I have said before I like to think there are some rather beautiful and upmarket nests around here because the birds do take it and I have watched them do just that.  Their cosy nests with paisley walls ... perfect.

It is very windy outside today and what I call a proper Winter day, the weather has been incredible for this month and we have had some very warm days that you only get, if you are lucky, in the Summer.  Last week when we took Mum out to shopping the outside temperature was 22 degrees in the sun I just could not believe it.  I was in flip flops and no coat, unlike yesterday when I was wrapped up like a snowman.   I am still hoping for snow and there have been a few reports that we may have some.  Fingers crossed for the child within me.

Well as you all know I am off tomorrow very early to The Winter Brocante in Midhurst, West Sussex.  So there will be no chance of a blog tomorrow I am afraid.  I am also at The Vintage Bazaar in Devizes on Saturday as well so I will have lots to write about next week for you including and treasure that I bring back with me from both fairs and I will photograph for you to peek at.

I am going to have a little look through my fabric stashes for one, to see if I actually need anything in particular ( I can hear those of you who stitch with fabrics laughing from here, NEED? when it comes to fabric you NEED it all !) well yes but I do not want to double or treble up too much.  Also whilst there I can finish getting some inspiration packs ready as well.  It is a great excuse to sit on my little stool and dive head first into Narnia!..

I am getting everything ready today so that it is an easy start in the morning.  Also today is my lovely friends Birthday, Jo from Australia and we are going to be celebrating today in style.  First stop I am taking her to the hairdressers for a re style as part of her gift from us.  She would like a style she has had before.  There is Birthday cake later and some fizz along with a Italian meal that I have already prepared.  I made my Nonna's Cannelloni and it is waiting in the fridge ready.  We are starting with an Italian platter. The fire will be lit and gift opening will be done.

It is going to be a lovely day and a great weekend.  I feel like I have not been to a fair in such a long time and tomorrow to my joy there are some great friends going as well and it will be time to catch up over a warm drink and possibly a piece of cake.

In addition I will be going to the vintage Brocante at Kingston Mauward on Sunday 3 December which is just a little way from Dorchester in Dorset.  That will be my last one this year and should keep me sane until they start again in Feb/March next year.  I will have plenty of supplies and lots of stitching to do by the fire.  When all the decorations come down it is sad isn't it.  The house looks so bare afterwards but still there are always fairy lights in our house and candles.  This is the time I put out beautiful flowers and make sure the candles are scented of something wonderful like cinnamon or some such.

My sewing machine needs a little attention and my husband gives it a good clean for me, he gets into its inner workings and gets rid of fabric dust and then re threads for me ... This time of year I like to make a Christmas Stocking or two and they have to be strong for little gift stuffing in all the nooks
and crannies.

On Sunday we will be at home and I think a Christmas film is in order, It is getting to look a lot like Christmas here with little bits being done daily.  When  I cleaned my huge dresser in our kitchen and put it all back and changed bits around, put bits away and put some of the Christmas bits out I had help as you can see.

 The little rascals were reading a plate that went up that said ' It was Christmas Eve and all through the house' not a creature was stirring not even a mouse!! .. The tiny squeaks of excitement ...

Slowly but surely Christmas is creeping in here and the pre Christmas cleaning for the main decorations to go up is being done daily.  Yesterday I got 4 hours in so that pleased me some what.

As Christmas is approaching I am just stitching for personal bits and not working on anything for publication right now.  Plenty of time in January to get going on it with the cold dark days and the warmth of the fire and the Hygge atmosphere that is so prevalent in our home for the next few months until Spring.

Well that is it for today and until Monday, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and if you are attending either of the two fairs and you see me, be sure to say hello.

Have a great Weekend and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Cosy Stitching ! ....

Needles threaded and ready.
Fire ablaze and a warm drink
on the table.  Twinkling fairy lights
and candles burning gently.
Its a cosy stitching kind of a day.

Another wonderful day here between my stitchery room and my cosy chair by the fireside.  Cold hands do not make for good tiny stitches and it is wonderful curled up with sewing on your lap and a project basket by your side. 

Three little fabric mice who I believe have been investigating the dried cranberry slices that I have put in the bottom of our glass hurricane lamps ...( I need to check them for tiny teeth marks I think. ) have been scurrying about and I have noticed that they settle down near the fireside when its alight and doze.  Little tails swishing where they are dreaming of cheese and biscuits I think... and what mischief they can get up to next.

Also if you are reading this Janice I am nearly there on your inspiration packs that I promised to get ready for you.  Just a few more drawers to go through to see if I can find some other precious bits of fabrics for your project.

I have to tell you that night after night we have had some really beautiful sunsets over the sea as I look from my sewing room window and they streak the sky with gorgeous hues of pink.  I keep hoping it is a snowy sky, but not yet it seems.

Wishing for snow here, now I know there are probably a few of you that are groaning at that statement but I have to say there are probably treble  of you who want the same as me.  I adore snow so much and it would be magical for December.  Christmas eve would be perfect and oh for my Birthday too please ... if anyone is listening to my hopes and wishes ..<3

I have gone into complete Christmas cosy mood and can not wait to put up the decorations this year and getting the house all festive and inviting.  I am thinking of getting my husband to get the vintage sleigh down early so that I can decorate the little light up tree in the dinning room and pop it on the sleigh and then I can wrap some little gifts to pile on the sleigh ...   It will please the little mice who are still investigating their new home.... and by the looks of it, helping one another on their adventures.

I want to get some tidying done in my stitchery room as it has got a little ( just a little) messy.  I have a pile of Christmas presents in here for wrapping as well so next week I will set to on a few evenings to that they are ready just to pop under the tree in December when we go and choose it.  My husband and I love doing that and he is patient.

He dives in all the trees in our local garden centre and pulls them out so that he can hold each one so I can see all sides to make sure of its shape.  This can go on for a while.  

Then we choose and whilst it is being wrapped in netting we go and say hello to the reindeer that always visit there and they are beautiful.  When we get home we put it in its tree holder and leave it over night to settle before decorating it the next day together.  The smell of the pine that fills the room over night is beautiful and any bits we cut off go on the fires to add to the aroma.  There is nothing like a real Christmas tree.

Still I must get some stitching done today again and make headway as it is a short working week.  I have to say I am excited about going to two vintage fairs.  I need to make a list and also a list of little bits for gifts too.  

My basket it ready and I have that stood in my sewing room and then I must get my purse ready as well.

Just before I go I would like to show the sunset from the other night here in my sewing room it really was splendid and you can see why it reminds me of a snowy sky and that is from a childhood memory as well when my Daddy would say ' looks like a snowy sky' and it was always pink and in fact is was normally correct.

Well that is it for today as another working day is beginning so all that is left for me to say is I hope you all have a great day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Monday, 20 November 2017

Light the candles & Stitch

“A flame that flickered,
And a soul that whimpered,
A candle that blazed,
And a fragrance that raised.

The flames were fed the same,
But one remained diminished,
While the other touched vintage!” 
 Jasleen Kaur Gumber.

When we were in the Summer months and my days started this early it was already light, the birds were singing and the moon was yawning goodnight and the sun stretching to say hello it was a perfect start to my day because the world outside was still in slumber but nature was awake.

Miss Muddy Beak and Mr Fat Robin awake and waiting for their breakfast along with Mr and Mrs Blackbird and all the other beautiful birds that visit.  Mr Squirrel is the funniest of creatures and plays in our pear tree whilst awaiting his peanuts in their shell.

 Although now it is very dark and chilly on the early morning starts I am not sad at all.  I love my seasons and this, the Winter season, is just perfect with candles lit and the Winter aromas of them that I adore filling the house along with fairy lights popping on.  There is a cosiness to the start of my day now and as I sat all wrapped up in a quilt drinking my coffee there is a peace that hovers over Homespun HQ.

 My husband has extremely early starts and when he leaves the bed it is not as cosy anymore, so I might as well get up and start my day.    The birds are not even out in our garden then and it is not such a mad dash to get out to them to top up their feeders and bird table.  The chuckle brothers ( the baby magpies) who have grown so much now still come into the garden together but the child like games are coming to an end.  They would hang upside down off of the fig tree and chatter and peck one another.

When I start to write this blog it is still dark and then of course it is suddenly light when I am about to finish off here and start my day ..  I love the early morning coffee or Cinnamon tea whilst quietly contemplating my day.

I write what I am thinking and some of the time I do have time to go through with spelling and grammar and other times I only have a very quick sift through so excuse any mistakes that appear in here along the way. I write from the heart and what is on my mind daily....

Today I have a whole day at home alone and I made a list for myself for today's tasks. There is the matter of some more housework bits to complete and when the light fades I am going to continue with a design I am working on,  normally do that on a Wednesday being as there is no blog on that day but this week it is all change.  

Thursday is my friend Jo's  Birthday and this year we are spending it together.  I am taking her to my hairdressers for a cut and blow dry as part of her present.  

Friday I am at The Country Brocante in Sussex and Saturday is The Vintage Bazaar in Devizes you see so it is a very busy few days.  I will report back next week some time on the fairs that I visited at the end of this week.  I am thoroughly looking forward to it as I have not been to a fair since beginning of September.  With the holiday taking up all of October in some way or another. 

So there will be no stitchery for 4 days!!! so today is all about that and getting some bits done and when the light disappears then it will be sketching and doodling away.

The mice are making themselves at home and I thought I saw one looking thoughtfully at some Christmas wrapping paper, I will have to check it for nibble marks !!

Well that is it for today from me as I am itching to be stitching! So all that remains to say is I hope you all have a wonderful day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Friday, 17 November 2017

Come sit with me and drink Cinnamon tea.

Fire ablaze, Slow stitching basket ready.
Candles lit and fairy lights on.
And naughty fabric mice!


I sat very early this morning with a cinnamon tea by the fire, it was still hot from the night before and I was watching little flickers of hot coal in the black grate.  It reminded me of when I was a tiny little girl and sat with my Grampa.  This time of year he would say that those tiny little orange embers were fairies watching me to see if I had been a good little girl and they were going to report back to Santa on the situation. 

It was a wonderful memory and made me smile and I appreciated that particular memory coming back to me.  Of course I tried to be very good indeed because I was about to write to Santa with a wish list of parcels that I felt would be wonderful to find wrapped under the huge tree.
Always but always there were art supplies requested on that list, and one year I asked for a doll with long hair so I could brush it ... The fairies must have thought I had been a helpful and nice little girl as my wish came true.  The joy that I felt at her beautiful hair.  I would brush and brush her hair as my father would brush my long hair.  Another smile at a beautiful memory of my late Daddy and time he spent with me and my long hair, that I begged to keep and he insisted on making sure it was kept well.  The day I had it cut I was 18 and I had a bob, oh dear! ... anyway that is another story for another day.

This memory game started when my lovely friend Jo from Australia and I were talking about first memories of childhood and I struggled to recall what my first  memory I had was, what age?

And so I must have dreamt about it I believe because today the lovely memories flooded my head sat by the fire quietly before even the birds were awake....

Before coming into my stitchery room I walked over to the dinning room I spied our new additions to
the family home, three little fabric mice and they are mischief makers.  They came through the post on Wednesday and have settled in very quickly it seems.

At this very moment in time they are all sat under the little light up tree gazing up in wonder and waiting for the decorations to start.

There were biscuits crumbs near them and they are trying to look innocent and failing!  I also think they have been rummaging around in my project basket and sleeping in the fabrics as I am sure I left the basket a little more tidy than when I looked at it this morning!

Thinking about writing a child's book about the adventures of the three fabric mice .......

The dark morning is now breaking and I can see the shadows running away and the day is dawning.  I have opened my window in my stitchery room to hear the dawn chorus of the birds who are awake and wanting their breakfast.  They make themselves known in a beautifully vocal way.

Today I have a full day at home and I would like to get lots done both housework and of course stitching.  Little slow stitches will be made later and I am going to relight the fire and sit and stitch.  I re arranged my rather messy project basket and folded up the little bits of fabrics that are in there.  I also need to go to my box of gorgeous hand dyed Shaker Threads and pick some out.

Buttons have to be found today as well and then I feel I will be ready for my afternoon of stitching.  Firstly though, today a couple of hours of housework it helps me be creative if I am not sat in chaos.  The only thing with open fires are dust and it has to be busted this morning.  Jo my friend has been going around doing little cleaning projects for me and it is like having a fairy godmother in the house. Wonderful!!!

Also I can report that yesterday we went out with my Mum and helped her choose cushions and throws and new curtains for her new room.  I took over a red quilt for her bed and she has fresh flowers and some room plug in scents around her 'little flatlet' as she calls it.  Sat there and looking out at the garden and being brought in a tray of coffee and watching her happy face lifted our spirits and it was a lovely few hours ....

I hope the picture above makes you giggle, I did and when I told my Mum that she really did laugh and had a twinkle in her eyes.  Although daily now she leaves us to go into another world she comes back to us still for short periods of time and we make memories still as a family ...

Well that is it for today, I have to check on the mice, get the fire ready to light and do a little housework.  Then its make a warm drink time and light the fire and settle down to slow little stitches, what utter bliss.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I will see you back here on Monday.  Have a great time and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Vintage red fabrics and Christmas Samplers....

Christmas stitching with
red and white fabrics and
the smell of cinnamon cookies
baking in the oven.

It has started in our house, the pre build up to Christmas.  Things are getting done. Slowly this week the beds have been transformed and now little things have started being sorted.   In our dinning room there is no main centre light and I have a hanging wicker basket that is a cone shape.  Filled with large glass balls and candles around it.  Yesterday it was all cleaned and decorated ready for December... My little light up tree in there has been divested of Autumn and is now ready for our Ice Skaters to adorn it.  Little shelves have been scrubbed and moved about in anticipation of further pretties to join them and the excitement is beginning to build.

With open fires daily to keep us all warm and to bring cheer the dullest and coldest of days it actually feels Chrismasy ... The picture above features the Christmas sampler that I stitched last year, well finished this one but I love the sentiment and the tiny houses and church with string and ornaments along the village.  

I have a small basket of hand stitching to do and of course this contains some Christmas trees and some red and white fabrics to stitch some bits with. I have had fun looking through my fabric stashes to find little bits of delightful red and white fabrics ...
This is the time of year I love to design Christmas samplers because inspiration is all around and everywhere you go now.  Its the build up for me I love it so much and enjoy it.  Some people I know say its too early but I think with all the prep that goes into most our homes and gift buying, shopping, cleaning and wrapping ... it can not be just for one day.  I like it done and to sit and enjoy the pretty wrapped gifts under the tree, the extra twinkling lights and the whole atmosphere and smell of Christmas spices and cinnamon.

Lots of cookie baking and several batches eaten on the run up because you really can not beat a cinnamon cookie with a warm drink and you also can not really fit one in on Christmas day itself so these are the build up goodies we have here.

Little favourite and precious memories come out when we start to decorate and both my husband and I are sentimental creatures.  We have a little ceremony for fat robin, not the one that visits us daily you understand but the one that his late Godmother gave to him before I even met him.  He comes out every year we say hello to him and them my husband chooses where in the tree he will peek out from and people actually come in and look for him now .. its a bit of fun and a great remembrance for my husband as well.

Each ornament has a little story of where we bought it or some such and it is very much a journey down memory lane, sometimes a little sad and sometimes laughter but that is Christmas.  The picture on the left was taken last year of one of the skaters that go on our tiny tree in the dinning room and when they all get unwrapped, Christmas is on its way.

As you can see the mood is festive here at Homespun HQ and the fire once again is alight and the atmosphere is full of cheer.  So I need to design another Christmas Sampler and do some serious slow little stitching, and over the weekend as well.

After the little village sampler of last year this one might involve Christmas trees with a whimsical twist so lets see where my doodles take me today.  I am also off to see my Mum for a while with my sister and her new room has become a hit! we are pleased to say.  She is loving seeing nature and she also loves that her sofa and chairs are there to sit and look out in comfort.  Today I am taking a Christmas red quilt for her bed to swap over.  It will look really lovely when we have finished.

I hope you all have a fabulous day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Designing Days ... Love them.

Fire alight and the pencils
sharpened. Design Days
I love them

On these rather cold and dark starts to the day I am loving slowly changing our home over to the cosy reds, creams and greens that the fairies seem to magically helping  me with, little bits and bobs placed around.  The house in December will be ready for Christmas and we will get our real tree about the second weekend of the month.  Slowly though the transition has started in earnest.

The fire is alight most of the days now when I am in and the frosty mornings I really love.  That said I am so aware that I am a lucky lady who does not need to battle out in the freezing weather on icy roads and I know I am one of the very lucky ones.

With my rough journal that I sketched and jotted ideas in I would like to transfer some in to my proper design journal and get some firm ideas underway.

I love to doodle and paint a little and put notes in the margins for variations that may or may not be used.  The fact is they are there and ready then for me to pick up to maybe start the paper patterns if applique is required,  then all I have to do is make a project basket up ready just to pick up and start.

I have started to get my designs ready for next years publications and I hope that the rest of this year will be kind and nothing else will happen to stop me in my tracks.

I thought tomorrow I would  design but I am getting it all ready today but for today some serious slow stitching has to be done.  There are the matter of the little Christmas trees to be finished for one and there are several things I really would like to finish before my Christmas break.  I still have to
stitch and complete my large needle case if you remember I cut it all out before my holiday.  It seems impossible that there is only 42 days I believe until the Christmas Day!! when we will have a house full of wonderful people. I am trying not to panic...

If  I do not get the needle case gets done in January well so be it but I would like to start wrapping soon so when the tree is up I can just place the parcels under it ( best laid plans and all that!)

As you can see from the picture on the right our bed has started its transformation to Winter and the very old red and white quilt is on there and the vintage cushions all in reds and whites.  All the bedrooms will be dressed with similar apparel, getting into bed here can be tricky for some ... I am so used to moving it all off for the night and then dressing it again the next day ... My husband is too he always says that it looks great and patiently waits for me to undress the bed before we climb in ..  It just makes the bedroom look cosy and inviting and some days when I am tired it takes all my will power not to just climb on and cosy down for a nap!!

As the transformation continues I will take a few photos for you.  For now though I really must concentrate on actually doing some work.

Have you noticed the skies of an evening lately they are pink and I remember as a child my Nonna saying it was a snowy sky .... Now am I wishful thinking?  I would so love some snow for Christmas maybe Christmas Eve and wake to the silent white world after Santa has been.  How magical would that be.

The child in me is ever present and I think that is why I have such an imagination.  I love that I still see the world that way.

I have decided today I am going to sit by the fire and really try and get some Christmas trees stitched ready for the machine work at the weekend.

Later I need to go through my red fabrics just to see because I had another idea the other day so I need to take stock to see if it is possible.  I will tell you about that another day if it turns out that it can be done.

Whatever you are doing today stay warm and cosy.  I am lighting candles in a moment and then I will be having a warm drink with you all, then needles threaded and little stitches will begin.

Have a great day and see you all back here on Thursday.

Happy Stitching! XX

Monday, 13 November 2017

Its a Hygee kind of stitching day.

Hygge ( hoo ga) is about
creating a cosiness of the soul.
Warm and calm surroundings with
candles and blazing fires ...

On these rather cold starts to the day at the moment one of my best friends is our open fires.  There is
something about it that is rather curious.  As soon as you put a match to a fire, instantly the room is cheerier and warmer...

Now it can not be warmer but our brains tell us that it is.  Whilst the fire is really getting going then it is time to make a warm drink and grab a project basket.  Cosy up in a big armchair and stare at the flames, this is how I am starting my week and it feels wonderful.

Lighting candles too makes my soul cosy and with little lamps on it brings the house awake and the calm surroundings help my creativity.

 It fortifies me for the cold journey out in the garden to the bird feeders when the dark mornings yawn awake and I can see the garden and the beautiful birds waiting patiently in our pear tree and on top of our little shed.  They know breakfast is served.  We get rewarded with their chatter and bird song and it fills me with happiness.

I now have all my white fairy lights down the stairs and around the fireplaces on timers and they pop on happily when I get up.  It makes me smile and I am happily going about my early morning rituals.

On the rather chilly nights at the moment the skies are clear and I look out at the stars, there is still the little girl in me as I like to go outside and watch my breath ...   I am looking for an evening when it is around 10 degrees, not raining and we can put on the fire pit and wrap up in fluffy blankets and have mulled wine outside and cook pizza on the b b q ....   I have a cream bubble hat with a huge fur pom pom on the top and it will be cosy and lots of fun.  Although I am fairly hardy and love this kind of adventure, at minus one ... well I even draw the line at that, the child in me becomes an adult at that point, although if there was snow, well the child would be back!

So back to today, it is stitching day and I am really excited to get some little slow stitches under way.  I am so pleased I sorted out a few project baskets out for my return now it is just a case of which one.  In addition I would like to cut out some more of the hexagon and diamonds for the Winter Star wall hanging quilt.  I am determined that next Christmas that will be hung on our quilt hanger in the Lounge.

In addition to this I have to do some designing as well in the next few weeks.  My little rough journal book that I took on my Holiday has lots of ideas for me to work on and some are embroidery with applique and some are of mixed media with old papers as well.  I left my little water colour palette out when we went away and it is has enough colours for me to mix up so that I can very basically do some sketches of what I in vision in my head.  The colours of the Fall in New England and the
coastlines there gave me so many ideas.  The land is vast and mighty beautiful and I could not help but be inspired.  The Shaker village and the Shaker Threads inspire me as well and so I am bursting
to do so much at the moment.

With Christmas just around the corner I have been seeking out pretty red fabrics to use and of course I am working on Summer and Autumn sampler and pictures and projects for next year as well.

Two of my most favourite animals are Hares and Seahorses both of which are magical in my eyes.  I would like to do a little set or series of project involving them both and so I would like to design a set
of three maybe for each of them.  The ideas are flowing and my graphite pencils are sharpened.

There is so much that I want to do and so I have to just write it all down on a list and work my way through it calmly.  Beauty is made one little stitch at a time and slow stitching can not, and should not, be rushed.  It is a gentle art and is food for the creative soul.

Hours of sewing can pass by like it was minutes for me and I am sure most of you know that to be true for you as well.  Creativity is a blessing and I love my days to be filled with just that and of course a warm drink or three.

For today then I will leave you, I could talk all day to you all but that will not get my work done.

Have a wonderful day and as always Happy Stitching! XX