Tuesday, 25 July 2017

stitching! ... with beautiful vintage fabrics and threads and dates for your diaries for August.

I sit beside the fire and think of all that I have seen
of meadow flowers and butterflies in Summers
that have been.

J R R Tolkien

When sat in my sewing room and looking out at the garden and the wildlife that visit and the beautiful flowers that grow in the summer along with the heady scent of the roses and lavender that filter through my window I know I am one lucky lady doing this as a job and still being at home.  Having my own timetable and agenda however can be a juggling act with things that crop up.  I do have deadlines and also things that go wrong and I can drop what I am doing and deal with it.  I also have to be disaplined and catch up as well.  However I am my own boss and I then do not have to ask permission to take time out for friends and family.

I am going to pick a friend up from Devon and have a week with him here.  I will be stitching some days as he loves to sketch so we are happy doing that in each others company but he has been a little under the weather so I am going to have some time out with him next week well at least this is the plan at the moment but it could change slightly so I will keep you all informed.

This will make me really busy this week getting some things finished and other project baskets ready just to pick up so I hit the ground running when I take him home again and start work in earnest full time once more.  We are also going to have a holiday in September as well, a well deserved rest after all the time spent settling my mum.  Although I had time of from work whilst doing it, it was a high pressured few months and this will be a laid back time out kind of a holiday.

The month of August though has some great  dates for your dairies  and I can only tell you of the ones that I know of so here goes these are the ones that I hope will be going to but I know I will be at the Toddington one as well as the Dorset Brocante ( which is down the road from me) I will also be at Wisborough.

Firle Vintage Fair
Firle Place
Pl6 BN8 
 Lewes, East Sussex

Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th August
10.00am - 6pm

Entry Fee .. I have to find out.

A brocante style vintage festival in the heart of the picturesque Sussex countryside - A weelend of Cherry-picked Vintage & Antique exhibitors - Country living homewares - latest crafting trends and displays - Artisan food -emporium - Vintage fashion carwalk by The Artemis temple - Swing Jazz band & dance troupes, not to be missed a fantastic display of vintage cars on the lawns in front of Firle Place.

Cotswolds Vintage Fair

Toddington Village Hall
Stow Road
GL54  5DU

10.00am - 4pm

Entry Fee £2 

This is one of the most beautiful fairs that there is and I never miss it if I can.  This year I will be there and there is a pop up vintage cafe as well as some most gorgeous people selling vintage treasures abound.  There is not only the village hall its self but a huge marquee full of stall holders plus other little marquees outside too.

We meet up with our wonderful friends here and all go out for a meal the 6 of us in the evening luckily all the husbands get on too!!!

Vintage on the Green
The Country Brocante

The Green
Wisborough Green
West Sussex
RH14 0BN

10.00am - 4pm

Entry Fee £5
Dogs welcome on leads.

70 beautiful Country Interiors and Artisan Brands in their beautiful marquee.

The Dorset Brocante

Deans Court
BH21 1EE

Monday 28th August ( Bank Holiday)

11.00am - 4.30pm

Entry Fee £5

Dogs welcome

over 40 stall with a range of decorative Brocante, textiles and delightful hand made gifts, furniture and a delicious food cafe all in this stunning setting of Deans Court.

Well there we are ladies and gents a lovely four that I know of so get those in your diaries for this month.  I hope to see some of you at one or two of these this month.

Does anyone no of any more for September? if so get in touch and I will feature them on here. Also I will not be having next week off it will be the week after, all change.... 

Well that is it for today so as always Happy Stitching! XX

Monday, 24 July 2017

I might of bought some gorgeous fabrics .....

My favourite thing
paisleys ... oh my!

I have been having withdrawal symptoms from vintage fairs recently and so I though I might have a little look out there to see what was on line in the way of gorgeous vintage fabrics. I did not have to go far as I firstly looked at Clare's shop on Etsy which is Lou Lou Retro and oh my!

As you know I am the paisley and eiderdown fabric Queen, really if it is gorgeous I can not walk away from it and especially if I do not have that colour or pattern and this is what happened to me when I went a looking last week.

I am very lucky to know Clare and she also popped in a lovely letter and a little gift for me as well so it was like Christmas in July.  Talking of July this is the last day of it and I really can not believe it.

Look at the paisley fabrics that were once on eiderdowns many many moons ago!  I wish I had a time machine to go back and buy some of these beauties and bring them here now they really are so gorgeous.

My great luck though and a great arm chair treasure hunt.  I do not have either of these colour ways
and designs so I was thrilled.  Then there was the matter of some really lovely pieces of vintage quilts so they had to come in the post as well.  The bottom right photo was a gift piece to me and I really am so very thrilled, thank you again Clare my lovely generous friend.  This is a close up for you all to have a peek at.

I have been looking for some more pretty and different pieces of old quilt bits and this lovely bundle was just what I had been looking for.  Some lovely little pieces in the bundle and different to what I have.

When I opened the bundle up and saw them close up I was thrilled.  On Lou Lou Retros Etsy shop
she has the measurements up and photos but seeing them in the flesh as it were it was even better then I had imagined so I decided to take a photo of the pieces for you to look at as well.

Happiness is getting a parcel through the post like this with stunning vintage fabrics and a letter from a lovely friend .....

This morning I was gazing out of my Stitchery room window and waiting for my lap top to fire up and do its checks whilst sipping my coffee and who should be out on the lawn but my absolute favourite Miss Muddy Beak and so I sprang, yes sprang into action and went down in to the garden and she let me take a photo of her.  It may have been a thank you for her new decoration of nest ( the paisley scraps that I had popped into our pear tree) Normally she is very camera shy but today she posed long enough for me to take a photo of my gorgeous girl.

She was hopping around with her head down listening for worms and so when I went out she stopped and I was talking to her as I do, then I said would you mind if I take a photo of you today and lifted up my I phone and there we have it she stayed still and let me..... she had a muddy beak too because the ground was still wet from the huge thunder and lightening storm we had the other night with rain that went on for at least 6 hours and it was like stair rods from the sky.  So as she was looking for juicy worms her beak was all muddy, this is how she got her name from me originally  It has been so gorgeous of late with very high temperatures  that she has not been able to dig about in the lawn for months and it seems to be her favourite thing to do even when there is bird food provided for her.

I am having a few days off next week just to pre warn you all as I have a friend coming down to stay and I am picking him up this week from Devon well at the end of the week.  More about that at the end of this week when I know exactly what is happening.

For today I am going to get into my sewing frame of mind and get some serious things finished I hope so have a wonderful day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Friday, 21 July 2017

Let your work speak for itself! ... my mantra!

Develop your slow stitching skills
to create work that is the culmination
of your vision.  Truly unique and based on your 
involvement in life.  For each and every moment
you spend living contributes to each and every
creative endeavour you engage in.

Paul Buregar.

I was asked about how I come up with my ideas and really this is going to sound rather strange but it just pops into my head.  I see a button and whole picture is made from that.  The button is not normally the round plain type all be it mother of pearl one, but indeed but one I have purchased that is a carved very old mother of pearl button and from that tiny thing comes ideas dancing around in my head.

Walking around the garden or in the forest or even the beach can give me an idea as well and I have always said keep a little note book and pen with you to jot down and idea and you can do a little doodle as well, that only you may understand on the paper but from that grows a full idea.  From little acorns and all that!

In addition I sometimes stitch part of what ever I am working on and then leave it for a while because I can not decide if I should stitch something that I have in my design.  I hate unpicking anyway (reminds me of school needlework!! and you all know how I liked that NOT) but also it is because unpicking on delicate vintage fabrics is not good so I would rather walk away for a few days and start something else and then go back and look at it with a fresh eye.  It really does work I promise.  This does involve having several pieces on the go at once but who doesn't have that right?  Its like books I read I may have at least two on the go depending what I feel like reading..... Murder mystery or maybe something a bit more girly in its plot and words.  I can always remember where I was on something and pick it up and carry on.. There is one exception to the rule though with my reading, if it is the new Kate Morton then I do not put it down until it is read she has a way of describing things that when I read her book I am there in the room she is writing about and an observer of what is going on and being said and my world has been completely closed off and I can not even hear
someone speak to me ... its like a trance.  Sorry I digress!

I picked up a new journal in Bath when I was there and although I make some for me if I see one I love then I will purchase it and this one hit the spot.  Not only because of the picture on the front but that it had good quality plain paper inside to jot notes and doodle a design as well.  This is my new take with me book for what I have been talking about with you. Picture above.

My journals used to be so messy but I try and keep them better inside now as I take a little rough note pad in my handbag for ideas on the go and then think about what I have jotted down and put it in my design journal with a little more clarity.. Both come with me but sometimes when you are on a beach or indeed in the country side a tiny note pad balanced on one knee is enough to deal with.  Then on
the go and sat having a coffee somewhere I can transfer my ideas and notes to a more legible state.

You will be pleased to know I am still cutting a few diamonds and hexagons out daily it is my first job of the day usually and Project Winter Star is getting closer to having all the materials to just stitch come Jan/Feb months ... I am looking forward to stitching it but not wishing this glorious summer away just yet.  I know however that those horrid dark months will be filled with some joy.
 January also is when my gorgeous friend Jo goes back to Australia after her visit so I get a bit morose because we have to wait 2 years for the next one... this project will help kill the blues! in addition I believe the new Kate Morton book will be out in time for Christmas so that will be saved for then too, when the eyes can not take anymore stitching in the day....

Well that is it for today with my ramblings I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend and that you get some creative time in for yourself. I will be back here on Monday and I hope that you will all join me here then.  As always Happy Stitching! XX

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Walk a creative journey if you can, its so good for the soul.

When we walk a creative journey, our slow stitching
path may not always be straight but being present during
our process, will take us to amazing places.

Lorn Lee Chambers.

The above is so true, the creative creature in me loves to be thinking of new ideas and things to stitch, for me it is part of my soul and if I could not be creative with my time then I think I would not be me. I am so lucky that I do it daily and do not have to go to another job, I do count myself so lucky that
my husband gets it and gets me.

Of course it is not the route to take to be a millionaire but hey its the route to our happiness and I am lucky that my husband goes to the salt mines ( as we call it) and that enables the holidays and the extras .... 

Stitching, reading, nature and flowers along with walks along the beach looking for sea glass and shells and watching the seagulls and yes a fox the other night playing in the surf this is all part of how I get my creative juices flowing to be able to design and think of ways to stitch and create. Nature especially with plants and of course some of the little animals that visit.  I am hoping that when we do get to move to our forever home that a hare or three might come visiting that would make my year! 

I have been thinking about going to look at a new camera and micro lens  as you all know, and the more I think about it the more I believe it would be great for my work.  My husband and I have talked about it and now I am thinking it is time to go looking.  I do not want it to be to complicated I just want it to take great close shots for the details of things and have a zoom lens so that shy retiring creatures ( woodpeckers, I live in hope clearly) can have their own space and distance from me but I can see each and every feather on them to be able to study them.  Flowers would be amazing and its something that I really love doing, is taking photos. My mother in law in a email to me had read my blog and came back and said that if the woodpecker had a red head ( and it did) then it is a boy! so now boy names are being thought about should he return.  Also she said they adore desiccated coconut so I have purchased some of that to pop out at the weekend and we will live in hope.

It would be a great work tool and also when we go on holiday then I could take some  great photos
when we go back to America next year because the seals that are just bobbing in the water and also whale watching well I think it would be a good purchase and not one of those things that we would play with for a little while and then leave in a cupboard.  So a looking we shall go.

In my sewing room I have a large antique glass jar and this is where I house lots of my vintage ribbons on spools I have some beauties and occasionally I like to tip out the jar and make sure they are all OK and not dusty or been munched and yesterday I did just that.  I get a little distracted, I can not help myself.  Pushing my memory banks to where and when and from whom I bought them.  There are a few that are my absolute favourites and in a cluster they are divine.  Two light blue ones with a pink and chocolate.  Two are silk and one is velvet and the very very light blue one has another element to it and I can not make it out but it was bought from Donna Flower and I know all about it because she knows I love to know, where vintage stitchery items are concerned I am a sponge.  The two blue ones I am talking about is pictured above.  I have had them a while and they are both now in a work basket to finish of a sampler that I started a while back but it needed something and I could not for the life of me decide what.... these are the what!!

When it is completed It can be photographed and offered up to the magazine in America.  Then people can make for themselves with whatever fabrics etc they would like.  It is the best way because by the time these pictures are completed and the hours of slow stitching go into them and the framing of them well the price is not cheap.  Hand made is really, in my opinion, so much better than a printed picture of which there are thousands but those are much much cheaper to purchase.  This way with people getting there own buttons, threads and fabrics and doing the long hours of work themselves or indeed using the idea to make a smaller and less detailed one, they can cut their costs and I get to keep the original.

I am lucky enough to have some originals from other makers and one of my favourites is the talented
Simone of Ayres & Graces.  I have a hare she made and she sits on my bed as most of you will know. She was not cheap (and should not be in my opinion she was priced right when I was told the hours that went into her making!) at all but worth every single penny because the hours and hours that went into to making her and she is jointed and all the vintage fabrics and thread involved, to me, was worth every penny.  I then have a piece made by this lady who, like me, adores animals and it shows in her gorgeous nature along with her work......

Well that is it for me today and I will be back here tomorrow.  I am off to my stitching as I have so much to do.  Also it is lunch day with my mum as well so my day is in two part....

Have a fabulous day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Happiest of stitching days!

We can let others convince us to rush or
we can choose to live in the moment
connected with our stitching and the past.
Even if it is only a few minutes a day.

Kit Dunsmore.

This is what I love about hand stitchery you can become one with it.  I have to say I am not keen on machine embroidery it looks too manufactured for my taste but that is my taste others love it.  I think the machine free motion embroidery is good but still would prefer to do it by hand.  My Grandad used to say of me" darling your were born too late! " As a child I was always always more interested in the old ways of things and I believe he was correct.

Swirls of words in patterns is something I have been playing with on paper and I think that might make a beautiful picture or wall hanging.  You may have guessed I love words and quotes and sayings, I am always looking or reading for more and with some beautiful very old poetry books I have been using the words of Shelley and Byron and of course Mr Shakespeare!!

Words have always been powerful and some are beautiful and thought provoking so sometimes it is all you need in a picture with little swirls of them to make people look at it and their head go side to side to read it ... it certainly is a talking point!

One of the swirls that is in my design journal has these words and I loved them.

Develop your slow stitching skills to create work that is the 
culmination of your vision.  Truly unique and based on your 
involvement in life.  For each and every moment you spend living
contributes to each and every creative endeavour you engage in.

Paul Buregar.

I have to report I have not seen the Woodpecker again and I have got all sorts of things they like including fruit as well.  There is a veritable smorgasbord board and basically the gulls come and clear it up of an evening which is good but daily I am trying to entice it back.....  I think one day I will just be sat in the garden and it will appear.  This weather is just right for sitting outside and sewing whilst playing the wildlife game!

Vintage fairs are on my mind and I am going to be doing a blog on dates for August and so if you know of any and would like them mentioned on here then please let me now very soon, I know of three and I am going all of those I am pleased and happy to say but if you know of some get in touch.

I am really happy stitching my Summer sampler with bees and the words that I have chosen for that really make me happy and smile.  I am loving playing with stitches for different cottage garden type flower and it is a real joy to get it out daily from its project basket and carry on with it whilst I ponder.

When I was sorting out my sewing room and getting things put away there was one little box that I
just put into the wardrobe and thought I will sort that another day and that day came this morning and to my joy I found more of the ceramic Debbie Mumm magnetic needle holders and am so very pleased this means I have ten now as I have four of the pin cushion ones.

I have one each of the moon & stars, bee hive, Noahs Ark, flying heart, teapot, and the violets one at the bottom and the four pin cushions so I have enough when I take courses for people to use whilst there with me.

They are not only really useful but they are so very beautiful as well ... at the moment I am using the heart and the teapot .... I keep changing them around and it makes me smile.  So that was my last little box to sort and what treasure I found.

I believe now I am sorted in here (my stitchery room) and I even have some empty drawers, soon to be filled no doubt but it is a lovely feeling when you know where everything is ... ish and that you can just go to and find what is needed.

Anyway that is it for me today and I hope what ever you are up to today it is a happy day for you. Tomorrow is my design day so I will be back here on Thursday.  We have, I think sorted out our holiday this year so more about that in a few days when it is finalised.  Its an exciting trip and much needed.

As always Happy Stitching! XX

Monday, 17 July 2017

Throw out all the rules & enjoy creating.

Stitching is relaxing especially
when you throw out all the rules!

Liz Kettle.

To be able to create and design my own pieces is so liberating to me, when I was at school I did not enjoy needle work really and it was because there was not freedom of your own design.  Yes please show us and teach us the basics but where is the art in it.  In our art lessons however our teacher was
all for it.  Choose your medium and learn some things that you have to do, but then go away and impress me with your imagination .... I loved art!

So for me these days I like to learn some basics but then I love to create and have the freedom of choice when I might think, I wonder will that work? and you give it a go. The slow stitching that has become so popular as well is free hand motion type stitching that is more patterns than actual objects like a daisy or bee hive... the rules have been thrown out and it is all about creativity and where your own personal imagination takes you.

I had a wonderful day stitching on Friday last week but I did not see the Woodpecker at all and I sat very quietly and hoping that it was not just a one off visit.  I am trying all sorts to entice it back so that it is a regular visitor to our garden.  I have been reading up on them to get my facts straight.. yes google is my friend. I have turned into Miss Potter over animals and love to feature them when I can in my work, especially hares as you all know. To me they are magical creatures with the most gorgeous of features, those very long ears!

At the weekend I did manage to get to my box of gorgeous bits and bobs ( its a 64L box so you can imagine how much is in there to look through  - grin) anyway I found those tiny crochet buttons and thought you may like to see one if I took a photo for you. As I say it is tiny so the picture is a little blurry but I think you will see its beauty, it is smaller than my little finger nail in real time.  This picture has given me the thoughts of going to get a new camera and a micro lens ... not only can I get huge clarity of photo but taking photos of flowers and wild life would be incredible.  So I spoke to my husband and we are going looking to see.  I do not want over complicated just the clarity especially on small detail.

The other great thing is I believe I have enough of them to use some in each of the samplers I would like to stitch them to, so all is well.  I have never seen anything like these before or since and so for them to be stitched to go behind glass with preserve them well.  Not to be on things you wash and eventually get a hole or some such disaster. I had thought about them for on the cuff of The Dress but I could not bare that they degrade with age.  Although the dress will be dry cleaned because of all the stitchery etc that will go on it but still...

So now my project baskets for stitching have all there bits in including threads, any buttons, fabric, any appliqué cut out ready that is part of the design, lace and other essentials .. they are now a go!

Again this morning I have cut out more hexagons and diamonds and really need to do a little lay out trial because the pattern I have is for a big quilt so I do not need as many so I just need to make sure how many are needed.  You would have thought I might have worked this bit out before cutting but I couldn't I really need to see it on the floor and look at it to decide if it looks ok.  Then measure it to see it will fit my wall hanging rail.  I might have to tweak it a bit but I have high hopes.

I have so many gorgeous old faded, pre loved and timeworn fabrics to choose from but would like some reds in it so any paisley with a red or dark pink will mix nicely with some French red and white fabrics ... it is giving me an excuse to sort through some really lovely fabrics.  Sat on my little stool and going through layers of fabrics has become addictive but I have to put a limit on it or before I know it there would be no stitching done and I would have been at this joy all day long.

The little stool I bought for my sewing room has become such a great buy, to be honest it was cute and gorgeous colours of duck egg and cream distressed paint that it came home with me in a split second but it has been stood on to reach a cobweb in my sewing room ( huh! and you all know how I love spiders .. NOT) and I can sit and not be on my knees when getting to the bottom drawers and cupboards as well as the book case.  When I am not on there my huge duck sits on there ( he is a door stop and will occasionally do door duty) when he is not needed for his purpose. It is so comfy to sit on down low and not be kneeling and getting pins and needles ( pardon the pun!) that I can sit there for far too long treasure hunting in my fabric stashes!!

Well that is it for today, it is the start of a new week and I have to get stitching, where is July going.  We have been talking holidays as well so tonight we are going to decide on where.  This year I am afraid America is a bit far just in case of mum but she should have settled by next year and then we can return to our second home New Hampshire/New England in the Fall.

We will meet up with our friends in Europe somewhere...

Anyway have a fabulous day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Friday, 14 July 2017

A delicious day of hand stitching!

Slow stitching means setting aside
time to find myself somewhere
in the thread and spread myself
out on a piece of fabric.

Kelly Martinez

It is that kind of day today a really lovely all day ahead of me slow stitching day where I can stitch and ponder, delicious!

I love having a day where I only have one thing to think about as it were not stitching then off to do this and back etc no today is a full stitching marathon and I am looking forward to it so much with lots of happy thoughts buzzing around my head whilst creating.

This morning before writing my blog I threaded lots of needles so I could have a uninterrupted hour or so of no threading and I have laid it all out to begin.

The weather is still gorgeous and I have my basket ready to go be it inside in my stitchery room with the window flung open wide watching the wildlife or indeed outside on the table, it depends on the breeze. as you know chasing little bits of appliqué fabric around the garden is not my favourite hobby although it does amuse the robin!

Talking very quickly about wild life we had a visitor the other day in our garden that we have never seen there before, a woodpecker!  I could not believe it.  They are not very big either but the colours
were gorgeous.  He was having a drink then eating meal worms ... I looked it up and they love to eat insects so we were thinking that under our holly bush we put lots of old logs and dirt for insects to mooch around in and that is what has attracted Mr Woodpecker!! It seems it could be  l his local restaurant now...

So I am hoping today he will return and I can maybe get a picture, they are very shy creatures so it is not easy but I live in hope that if I stitch in the garden quietly he may come back and he will get used to me being there. It would be too easy to call him Woody so I am going to think of a name for this regal fella! or it might be a girl ... hmmm any ideas?

This morning early I sorted out some more gorgeous fabrics that I would like in my Winter Star wall hanging and so later in the day I will cut out some more hexagons and diamonds.  If I choose three fabrics daily it will soon be all ready and waiting for me later in the year.  I fancy one evening later this summer getting the fire basket going and starting a little sewing whilst waiting for my husband to get home from work on a cooler evening ....

I have to get out one of my large clear boxes in a stack, its the third one down and so that might be at the weekend loving rummaging through this box because it has lace, monograms vintage
embroidered linens, the most gorgeous tiny weeny vintage crochet buttons and all sorts of goodies in there ... this is not just for pure pleasure ( although it does come into it) but because there are some bits in there that I need to put in to two of my project baskets.  I had tied a note to myself on each basket so I want to get them in before I use the bits on something else which would be a disaster!

Time when doing something like that just ticks on by and I just keep looking and remembering where I purchased it and who from if it was a fair.  It is like letting a child into a candy store to be totally honest. One of the things I need to get are in fact the crochet buttons for the Autumn Sampler I need to check how many I have and how many I believe I need ... If there is some left over they might go on the Summer Sampler too ...

The above antique trade card for cotton is in a project basket and is going to be part of a mixed media project with the butterflies.  I adore this little card and need it to be framed to keep it safe and enjoyed.  This will be a keeper for me but I will be showing people what they can do with things like this in the future.  I love butterflies and that it has a connection to stitching as well makes this even more special to me.   I have also photocopied it onto fabric several times so that I might use the
image on other things in the future, because once it is behind glass that is where it will stay in my life time...

I have a few of these sorts of trade cards and a whole series with children dangling cotton to play with animals, some are pictured on my home page here at the top.  I have photo copied those onto fabric as well and they need to be framed but the one above, there is going to be more to it than that.

So as you can see I have my work cut out for me over several weeks so that is it for my vintage stitchery ramblings today because I need a good start on all this stitching with some deadlines to meet too.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend whatever you are doing; today is a Birthday for a family member as well so its really is a special day....

Happy Stitching! XX