Friday, 23 June 2017

Very Slow Stitching in June sunshine.

Summer Time and the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin' 
and the cotton is high.....


So now are you all enjoying this glorious weather? I certainly am but it is a bit too hot to stitch unless I am by a fan.  When your hands get really warm it is not so easy to hold a needle without it slipping and pricking yourself, which means blood..... this means some could get on the beautiful fabrics, and
that would never do!

So by the fan on my little stall in my sewing room I have sat reading antique sewing and embroidery books for a while, feeling it is still working as I am increasing my knowledge but I am waiting out the midday sun.

However I am not complaining just in the real heat of the day I am doing something else and looking at the pure blue sky, not a cloud to be seen in a week!  I am trying not to be terribly British and complain about the weather because it all that we do.  Complain it is raining, complain it is hot, but it has been exceptional heat and we really are not used to it. That said I am loving this gorgeous weather and sitting eating our dinner in the garden, at night is glorious..

Tomorrow I am off to The Summer Brocante in Midhurst West Sussex and I am thoroughly looking forward to it, hoping all the treasure will not have been sold today ..
We will be leaving early to get there when it opens and so we can leave at a reasonable time to get back as we are at a Birthday drinks party in the evening and I want to get a full day in.

Whilst I was getting ready to write this blog I heard a familiar cry in the garden, we have a new very tame baby pigeon in our garden, he is fairly big but still fluffy and can fly  ish but we think he has been booted out of the nest.  We feed him and make sure he has water daily.  Already we have rescued him from a cat as well.  You will all not be surprised that I have named him and it is Percy.  Yes Percy pigeon and he now cries for me to come feed him!  So I went out and gave him his food as we want him to make it if we can possibly help that along.

There is a balance though because he is a wild animal and not a pet so we want him to fend for himself too, it is just at the moment he is relying upon us every morning and he is too cute.  So tomorrow we will be leaving before his normal visit so I am just going to leave some food in his normal place and hope that the chuckle brothers (baby magpies) do not get to it before he does.  All the birds are fed and watered in our garden we help them through nesting and through the winter months too.  We feel we get paid back in spades because they are all very tame and the bird song is beautiful to hear and it is also a great honour to be trusted by the wild life as well.

I have been sewing early in the morning to keep up with my progress and the bright light and sunny days and evenings have been fabulous.  In the early evening in the shade I have been taking my stitching outside and watching the garden cool down and the honey bees still working away from foxglove to foxglove! and lupin to blossom it is the best part of my day, that few hours waiting for my husband to come home and stitching quietly in the warmth of the June sunshine.

Also I have been playing around with an idea on some scrap linen and trying out some made up stitchery to see if works as well in real life as it does in my head.  I love that part of my day too the design and sketch part and the lets see if this works well part.

Tomorrow I  will be going to find Clare of Lou Lou Retro and see what fabulous fabrics she has on offer at her first ever vintage fair and I will get to meet this lady face to face for the first time.  I am looking forward to that.  In addition it will be lovely to meet up with some friend there too and sit and have a chat and coffee.  I have looked through my design book and have adjusted my list of things to look out for but I often find more that is on my list ... it is my one weakness!

Well that is it today as I must get so much done.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and enjoy this amazing weather to the full.

I will see you back here on Monday so until then Happy Stitching! XX

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Thread work and discovering a treasure!

The wonders of what can be
achieved with a needle
and thread. Slow
stitching through the ages 
by children especially.

Years ago in a tiny little shack of an antique shop in Brockenhurst in the New Forest, which unfortunately is no longer there I found this little treasure.  In a basket that said everything 50p I went rummaging and came up with two beauties.  Firstly there was the little needle case that was stitched by a wounded soldier from the first world war, I have shown it to you before on here under the heading Soldiers Embroidery Industry .....  It is a piece of history and a work of art and I could not believe it was classed as a bin end!

The second thing was this embroidery by a child who was practising and there are two sides to it which I keep turning over so both can be seen.  It is about 6 inches by 6 inches and is the most delightful and naive piece I have ever seen and it was 50 pence too!

It lives in my sewing room as a sort of a mat on my little drawers and I look at it every day. There is something so utterly pretty about this little piece and I treasure it, keeping it away from the sun as well.  What it was for, if anything, originally is a mystery to me.  The two sides are stitched together but it opens at the top.  There are little holes at the top that once may have had a ribbon threaded through, but I have studied it and can see no date it appears to be random letters and numbers with little daisies throughout one side ..  Well I paid my £1 for both of my treasures and have given them a home with me. 

 I have done lots of research on The Soldiers Embroidery Industry and have written to Windsor Castle where they keep all the history of each sovereign, you may ask why but Queen Mary (our Queens Grandmother) was patron to this cause and they wrote back to me, a letter cherished also.

If I can I like to find out the history of these things, I am fascinated by history and often wonder what the people would think about us all treasuring things they made a 100 years ago or more, would they shake their head in disbelief or would they be pleased that something they toiled on is still kept safe
and loved today.

I have bought some variegated threads to stitch some fabric to old paper and linens on my machine just to keep the tiny bits in place.  Then I will go over it all with slow hand stitching and make it pretty.

Sometimes I wonder in a 100 years will someone find a piece of my work in a charity shop and treasure it too.  I always put some information on the back of each piece I frame in a little handmade envelope with my signature and the date so that if indeed it is found they can have some information to read about and know a little about the piece that I have stitched. 

Life today is just such a fast pace, we all need to be somewhere.  The roads are busy and everyone seems caught up in the rush of the day so I count myself lucky to do what I do and be able to work at a slow pace and watch the world go by staring at or in our garden.  I love the fact that I am keeping some old ways alive and hand sewing.  It has become popular again and that thrills me no end, long may it continue to be popular.  Younger generations are loving it too and that is so wonderful to see.

At the moment I am setting up my next project and will be drawing bits on to the vintage French
linen, this will then be put in an embroidery hoop.  I believe in them and like it when I am stitching words because it is neat and for me it is easier too and with my new found needle holders as well I am very organised to go back and forth from sewing room to garden to stitch.

The next one I feel like stitching is the Autumn one with those tiny leaves, I do not know why but there it is ...  Maybe it is because it is my favourite season I do not know.

In addition I have found in my fabric stash a great inspiration pack I bought from Helen of Rosie's Armoire and it is perfect for my Halloween sampler with Russell the crow, there is some gorgeous black and white fabric, ticking and quilt pieces just perfect so that has gone into the project basket - what do you think?

Well I will leave you with that thought and get on with my day. I hope you all have a great day and for me its some serious stitching today both inside and out.  I fancy lunch in the garden today with my sketch book.

Happy Stitching! XX

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Stolen tiny stitches .. on Summer mornings.

It was June, and the world smelled of roses.
 The sunshine was like powdered gold
 over the grassy hillside.

Maud Hart Lovelace

Early mornings with the sun coming up and the birds in full song is a magical time.  My husband has
to be up very early of a week day to go to work in one of several places in the UK he needs to be in any given week.  In the dark, cold winter months I will snuggle back down for a few hours but in this glorious weather I like to make a warm drink and sit in my chair in my sewing room and look out into the dawn and watch the garden and wildlife come alive and start its busy day....

Sometimes I do a little doodling or maybe read or look through a book, other times I am eager to get a few tiny stolen stitches in before I get myself ready for blogging and the rest of my day ahead.

Today was such a day and it was peek in every project basket that is already to go time... like I was checking that a thief in the night had come along and had somehow pilfered my plunder of treasure! its such a pleasure looking at all the pretty fabrics and I
must admit to counting all the little leaves I have cut out, after nearly loosing one it seems I have to check to make myself happier..

Life has got so much better here at Homespun HQ and I am fitting in all that I have to do without to much drama, still having time to work.  My early morning cuppa and stolen tiny stitches get me ready for my day and I am then eager to get stitching.

I am pleased to announce that today should see my Christmas sampler finished or at least enough for me to say ok
I will look again in a couple of days and check on it.  I have always been an advocate of letting your work speak for itself and not over stitching or adding.  This means getting to a place where you stop stitching and walk away for a little bit and take another look with a fresh eye to make sure.

When a project starts out for me I lay everything out and look at it against my design.  It is never written in blood and you can add or take away as you go.  When it is stitching time it is good to do the same just stitch and keep putting it down and revisiting it because unpicking vintage fabric can really spoil it.

This morning I was getting so carried away with stitching and this blog that I still have my PJ's on, it is cosy but when I finish on here I am going to shower and change and go into the garden and stitch.  I had to laugh when I came across this a while ago it is so true of artistic people ...

I am of course trying so hard to keep my new found work space tidy and have been hoovering after each day and going round with a duster, it of course can not last but I really am making every effort to keep this space clutter free and tidy and clean .....

Well that is it for me today the sunshine is calling and so is my fruit and yogurt and another drink.  I
have my work basket ready and waiting to take out to the garden and there are fresh flowers on the table out there in a jug, it brings the bumble bees closer you see ...

Before I go I wanted to let you all know of another vintage fair this weekend so here are all the

A Vintage Summer
Guildford Cathedral
Stag Hill

Saturday 24th June
10.30am - 4pm

Entry fee £2 under 14's are free.  Dogs welcome in the grounds.

With over 60 beautiful stalls selling antiques, vintage finds, French textiles and handmade treasures. There is a English style country tea room for drinks, cake and light refreshments.  Bring a picnic and have it in the grounds with far reaching views overlooking the lovely city of Guildford.

Have a wonderful day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Monday, 19 June 2017

Summer stitches ... tick tock.

Time flies over us 
but leaves its shadow behind.

There are lots of very beautiful and old clock faces out there for sale, lots of vintage sellers have them on their stand and recently I have bought a few, not lots but four actually.  I was not sure at the time what to do with them but I am glad to say I have designed a (what I think) is a very pretty sampler/picture to use one of them in.

I am officially going to make this my Summer project of 2017 and I have actually drawn it out on some most gorgeous French Linen.

There will be some lovely old eiderdown fabric as well somewhere I think as well and I am very pleased with it indeed.  It is all in a basket waiting its turn.

I have been designing and enjoying it, a little too much because I need to get down to the importance of stitching and finishing some bits.

Autumn has been on my mind as well and not just the Halloween part but the jumping in gorgeous leaves and wandering through the forest for a long walk crunching in the leaves under foot kind of Autumn day with acorns and gorgeous colours that look like a patchwork quilt.   I have designed a Autumn sampler picture as well and there is a basket for this also... So much lovely slow stitching and pondering time this Summer.

The weather has been so great that lots of it is happening in the garden whilst watching the wild life and taking in the heady scents of all the roses and beautiful flowers out right now.  The cutting out though is done inside because cutting little leaves out of gorgeous fabrics can be tricky with a little welcome breeze to cool me,  a leaf out of fabric can be gone in a second, and they do take a while to cut out properly .... Me chasing around the garden after a paisley leaf and the robin sat on one of our shepherd crooks and watching with amusement only happens once!  This is the little offender! .. yes I found it nestling nicely under my pink rose bush and rather camouflaged!

I have some news for those of you who are going to The Love Lane Vintage Fair on the 23 and 24 June ( this week in fact)  For the first time ever the lovely Clare of Lou Lou Retro will be sharing a stall there and her fabrics are so good your heart goes a bit faster.  She will be selling
eiderdown fabric bundles and patchwork pieces along with some really beautiful paisleys and ticking.

The excitement when I found out!  I have being buying from this wonderful lady for a long while now and we have become virtual friends and chatty, so to meet her in person firstly and then have a browse through lots of her beautiful vintage stock is so great.  I have asked her where she will be stalling that weekend as there are three marquees and she is going to get back to me with it....  I will be making for her straight away.  I am not going until the 24th but she assures me there is plenty for all and a re stock will happen after the first day on Friday 23rd so panic over.

As I think I told you I do have some empty drawer space which is just as well I think, The fabrics that you buy here are wonderful and so good for what I like to work with as I look for small print for applique work mostly ....  My shopping list is ready and I have packed my bag ready to go.  I have missed a few vintage fairs lately and so I am looking forward to this weekend.  The picture above is a selection of some of Lou Lou Retros fabrics that have been on sale lately .... See what I mean!?  

Well I think I must away now because before I start my day I have to just go and fill up the bird baths
and fill the feeders for the day ahead and a quick water of the garden.  This weather is glorious but everything is thirsty.  I stencilled a huge old tin bucket with a bee and filled it up with flowers and it is doing beautifully but needs watering morning and evening in this heat.  Then I think some sewing in the garden with a warm drink is on the menu.  I might even have my lunch out there today as well.

Have a fabulous day whatever you are up to and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Friday, 16 June 2017

Little patches ....

Little bits of stitchery
to stitch on to clothes.

I came across some patches that I made a while back but have not stitched to anything yet and that is
about to be rectified in the next few months.  It is lovely to add a bit of vintage stitchery to garments to make them unique and I have on one white cotton shirt I have which I love.

I am about to start 'pimping' some more things for me to wear that will make them look different and unique to me.

Thinking this will go on a white shirt I have with lace bottom and I will stitch it on the front right bottom corner maybe ...

Then I have a very light blue shirt I wear with jeans and I thought this patch might look just right and on there sort of a summer nautical look in a way ... what do you think.

With a tiny boat bobbing on the sea and some very old ticking and blue fabric as well as some old linen I was pleased with this one.

Then last but not least I found this one I did and again it will be stitched to something I like to wear
and probably at vintage fairs mostly I would imagine or when I am working.

Sorting my sewing room as made me rediscover other bits that had been buried and I am able to use now.  Those stitching magnets for needles are amazing and pretty to look at so really pleased I found those old treasures, I was trying to think and they are about 19 years old now I believe.

In my er hum .. paisley drawer there were bits of paisley buried in there I had forgotten I had,  and happily have come to the front of drawer all tied up and ready to be used in a design or two .. I love discovering treasure.

I have been stitching away and the weather has been getting warmer daily so I have stolen some little stitches outside whilst drinking some homemade lemonade I have made.  I love watching the birds and the Mr bumble going about the garden I often wonder if you got up close to a bumble if you could smell the beautiful pollen on their dear little feet ...

Not sure who would be more surprised !??

Thank you to those who have already got in touch about vintage fairs in July I will be doing a blog with dates in about two weeks so there is still time to contact me with any you may know of with full details and address.

I have some more work to do on my Christmas sampler and in this warmth it is strange to be stitching this kind of thing with reds and whites but you know I love reds and its a favourite time of year for me.  I am looking forward though to its being finished and framed and want to get on with some other of my projects,

 I am still trying to decide on the Halloween sampler at the moment because I keep changing my mind, Not about Russell the Crow being centre stage but the words for the sampler ... I will keep looking back at the words to decide.

 Firstly though I think a summer sampler is in order so I am going to look in my design journal and if there is nothing there that takes my fancy I think I will have a little sketch over the weekend. There might be some Victorian  Suffolk puffs staring in this one but I will have to see ....

It is fathers day this weekend so a visit to my Dads grave with flowers is one of the sad things to do but strangely now I find comfort in talking away to him there whilst arranging his flowers just so.  It used to make me so very sad but now well after 18 years I guess I have become calmer over it.

Whatever you are doing have a wonderful weekend, for those of you lucky enough to still have your Dad, enjoy time with him ...

Happy Stitching!  see you Monday  XX

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Slow stitching progress, one tiny stitch at a time....

Creative is not the way I think
but the way I like to live.
I hope I inspire others to
create and make as well..

The passion that I have for what I do is boundless, each day I awake and love the thought of going to my sewing room and stitching and having ideas for the next and the next and the next project, I see designs in everything and wish I had several pairs of hands sometimes ... although clothes might be a
problem !

Whilst clearing my sewing room for the last few weeks I found things that I had forgotten about like these amazing magnetic needle holders I bought years ago from Debbie Mumm and I not only think they are so pretty but so very useful as well ..  I found a heart, a pin cushion and Noah's Ark, they now are in full use again.

Slow stitching gives me time to let my mind wander as well as achieving a finished bespoke item for the home ... Home is where we all should love to be and it should be individual to us and cosy warm and inviting I always feel, I like to think I add that to peoples homes in my own little way with designs for others to stitch themselves...

Our homes are an extension of ourselves and for my husband and I we like to choose together, I feel it is important that he feels that at the end of a very long day ( his hours are totally bonkers most weeks) that he loves coming home to that feel of cosy, warm and a place to let the pressures of his day drift away ...  He totally gets my vintage love and he himself goes off and finds gorgeous quilts and light fittings etc for our home.  He also came home with the most lovely antique light for our study/snug and that is another thing that is going up this weekend I hope.

With my designs and patterns that I produce I like to think others can create from them and with a simple addition like choosing their own choice of fabrics and their colours they have made it unique to them and that will fit into their space and lifestyle.

Another favourite of mine is seahorses I think they are such magical and regal creatures of the deep.
 If I had never seen one for myself I would say it was a myth because they are such a strange animal but so very beautiful.  It is how I started, making a seahorse picture for our bathroom as I could not find what I loved.  I feel I should re invent another design as well for others to make..

Well I am starting to make a little progress on the stitching front and things are starting it get done.  It will take a week or so for things to get finished but I feel better in myself that the progress is
beginning to show and I feel a sense of achievement finally after a long few months.  I actually can not believe that nearly half our year is over and that I am so far behind in my designs, but Mum had to come first.  She is settled and happy and her face lights up when my sister and I visit.  Funny story, my husband came to see her after work and he had a suit on with tie and the trimmings as I like to call it with his long grey wool coat on ( it was a rainy chilly day) and she smiled and shouted his name, then turned around for all the nurses to hear and said this is my son in law he is a Doctor don't you know!!!

The nurses  all looked at me and Andrew and said Oh we didn't know, at which point we both shook our head and mouthed he is not! ... it was so funny but now in my mums eyes he is a Doctor and we have been told not to say other wise, disagreeing with what they think with this decease is not encouraged.... it did make us laugh.  She also that particular day asked how old I was and when I said she said well that can not be right as she was only 35! and then started counting on her fingers but not in order, it is sad but amusing some days because if she is happy we just go with the flow ....

Sometime over the weekend I have to go through my embellishment box, it is a huge 64 litre clip and lock box and has all the lace, hankies, monograms, vintage embroidery bits old French initial laundry ribbons in.  With tiny antique crochet buttons and gorgeous bits like that in it.  I need a few things from their for my project baskets and it happens to be the third box down so some moving around and muscles are needed!  I can see it taking an hour or so at least because it is like a treasure trove to me and not to be rushed, treasure is treasure and should be loved and looked at !  grin...

The Love Lane Vintage fair is coming up on the 23rd and 24th of June and this month I have not managed to do a list of fairs I am afraid but it will resume in July so if you know of any in that month please get in touch, the usual date, day, time, entry fee, dogs allowed or not and full address please.

Love Lane Vintage
Cowdray Estate
West Sussex GU29 9Al

TICKETS  Friday 23rd June
Early Bird £12.50  9.30am - 5pm
Standard £7.50  10.30am - 5pm

Saturday 24th June
Standard Tickets £7.50 10am - 5pm

Children Free, Dogs welcome and Free parking.

So this is the details of the next one I know of and that I am attending this month, as I say I am looking for July dates if anyone is interested in it being listed on here in the next two weeks.

Well that it is it for today and I am away to my sewing so I hope you all have a wonderful day.

Happy Stitching! XX

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Busy with gorgeous fabric, thread, buttons and vintage papers....

To live a creative life
we must lose the fear 
of being wrong.


 Joseph Chilton Pearce

The above saying is so true, we need to believe and love what we create because it shows in our work I always think.  

With creating it is so funny to see that we sometimes have the same ideas as others yet there is a difference in what we have done with it. 

 Take a heart shape in a beautiful fabric, what we stitch it to or what embroidery or words we use,  is not the same but it is a picture of a heart all the same.  

I have been working with old French envelopes and sewing things to them and of course others have done the same I see but not like mine (yet!)  it is my love of hares that keeps me different and it is kind of a signature for me like a button that has to be stitched to everything I do ...

I am of course trying to finish my Christmas sampler and I would like to start another one as well, I do have a thing for them.  They have words and sayings as appose to ABC and 123 on mine, and I am going to create a Halloween one as well I have decided, featuring a fabulous crow that I managed to sketch who visits our garden.  I have named him Russell ... yes I know but
what else would you call a crow!?

He is fairly tame and I did imagine what he would say to me should I tell him he was featuring in my Halloween design .... something like "I am always type cast!"

As yet I have not decided on the actual design except I have his shape and beauty but on Wednesday I will be sitting in my new/old creative space and looking and staring out of the window if it is not warm or indeed if Summer returns I will sit in the garden with my journal and design out there in the morning .. either way I need to get creative on it now so that when I visit the next vintage fair I will be able to hopefully find and purchase anything I may need and do not have yet to complete this design.  I truly do not know what I could possibly need that I do not have in my vast collection of vintage stock but you never know..... when it is designed I can form a project basket and then take stock of the situation...

I love the thought of being able to change pictures around in our home with the seasons and events in the calender so there is always a difference in our cosy spaces. 

 We love doing Halloween here and I do not have a picture so I thought I needed to put this right.  The design will go to print but the original will stay with us .... I think I might take a few orders for them as well but I will see how long it takes to make. 

The trouble is when making something like that and by the time it is framed and of course I need to earn a living it could be around £150 or more so it is best to design have photos taken and people make their own based on my design.  They can then use their own choice of fabric and it actually can be new fabric and not vintage if that pleases them ... this is why I love doing work for American magazines or sometimes here but mostly America who really do appreciate hand stitched designs and  know how much time goes into the whole process... I understand we all have a budget and it can be un-affordable to buy something of that price so that is why I only take commissions and not make things to sell,  I have been asked so many times about selling my work but it just does not seem it would work for me. 

However when we do move I will be taking classes and hope to meet some of you at one or two sometime.... use my design patterns, choose your fabrics and create.  Stay for the day and chat and enjoy lunch and take home a finished something to frame your self or get framed that you yourself have stitched and added a little something different to and made your own.

I keep the tiny bits of fabric scraps in a box and they do get used.  Also keeping the hems that I cut off of vintage French linens  and what I do with those is tie together fabric bundles with them and place a piece of dried lavender in the bow to keep the munchers away (moths) .. The plaque of my life I am always on the look out for them ... I patrol my quilts and fabrics, its like a scene from Dads Army!!

Well I am away to my stitching and a visit to mum for my lunch with her today .... then it is design day tomorrow and I will be back here on Thursday with an update of my vintage stitchery tales .

Happy Stitching! XX