Friday 29 November 2013

Ballards School Christmas Fayre

Good morning all

Today is the day.  Packed and double checked.

So wish me luck and I hope whatever you are doing today it's a good day.

For those of you who are sewing today ..... Enjoy!

Have a wonderful weekend and keep warm :)))

Thursday 28 November 2013

Packing up for tomorrow

Good morning all

Well today is about packing up for tomorrow and making sure everything I need it there.

I have bought some beautiful chocolates to display on my little bon bon plates and I have remembered the cloth for the table!!

I am still fighting a cold but at the moment I am winning!!!! yippeeee

Plenty of warm drinks!  and I will dress warmly.

My stand will have some Christmas stockings, handmade ribbons, some Christmas journals and china.

So wish me luck today and hope that I remember to pack everything!!!

Have a wonderful day.

Thanks Giving

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers.  I hope you have a wonderful day with your family and friends.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Christmas recipe!

Good morning all

I thought I would share a recipe for Cranberry sauce with you.  You can make it now and put it in a air tight jar and it will be perfect for all of Christmas and will be good for a good six weeks after that!   If it lasts that long.

I punnet of fresh cranberries
half a cup of orange juice
A good slug of red port .... :)))
two ounces of sugar.
five orange segments chopped. Pith removed.

Put all ingredients into pan and cook on a medium heat until all the berries have popped and the mixture has thickened.  Let it cool slightly and decant into  air tight and sterilised jars.

Believe me it's good and a tick off your Christmas list that is sat happily in the fridge.


Tuesday 26 November 2013

Chasing a my tail!

Good morning

These next few weeks are very busy for me.  I am finished making stock but I must finish the prize picture!!!!
I have a Christmas Fayre on Friday and I have a cold that's slowing my every move.  It's not so much the blowing of the nose, it is the aching bones and the sore throat!! I am so cross with it.

I have my Birthday coming up and friends coming and of course Christmas.  Cleaning, cooking, present buying and wrapping and guest beds to make up!!

All I really want to do is cuddle up somewhere warm.........

I am just slower at the moment, thing is not to panic.

So dear readers wish me luck in my quest over the next few weeks.

Have a wonderful day.

Friday 22 November 2013

Hares and bunnies!

Good morning

I have been doing a cross stitch sampler for myself for about six months now!! Its just time that is holding up finishing it.  I have so much else to do and if I am sitting at night hand sewing, at the moment it is for the prize draw...... other wise I would feel guilty!!

The cross stitch sampler I am doing has rabbits on with a beautiful alphabet and lots of antique mother of pearl carved buttons............... ladies and gents it is divine!!  I hope to finish it soon.

I love rabbits and hares and it is a symbol of gentleness and purity and is said to be good luck in your home.

I have done some vintage fabric pictures with hares but will be designing new ones for next year.

Whatever you do today have a great one.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Christmas hamper idea

Morning all

Is there any panic out there as to what to buy for someone this year..... How about a hamper?

Get a basket and fill it with either homemade gifts or bits and bobs you buy.

The foodie basket .............

Tea drinkers....... or coffee!
Pamper yourself hamper.
You can do any hamper you like.  Find a basket in a charity shop or buy one.  Your imagination is your limit only.  Think about what that person or a couple love and make up a little hamper.
For a couple who love films, Look for a DVD and pop in packet of popcorn, sweets and a bottle of wine.......  It will be appreciated in January when the weather is horrid generally and the excitement of Christmas is packed up.  They can snuggle up and have a duvet evening!!
Any ideas from readers........?? Come on lads, your opinion counts too!!

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Christmas idea

Morning to all

I must show you all what I found! The most amazing pin cushions!!

These are wonderful and I am afraid I do not know who made them but I think that they are useful and beautiful, I gift that I would not mind receiving.

Anyone out there who reads my blog, do you have any ideas to share with people for stitching makes?  Please feel free and also a picture if you have one.

Happy Stitching Day!

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Little House Sampler ..... New date for draw.

Good morning all

Well it seems some people are having trouble getting to my blog.  My blog has to be categorized in some way.  If people have a family and have tightened the security so that they can not get onto unsuitable sites, then this is where the trouble begins.

We here have been trying for days to sort this out but have thus failed in our attempts.  So with this in mind and having to get my poor husband to find time to get this problem sorted and giving people more time, the blog joining competition will be held in January instead.  Sorry to anyone hoping to be lucky enough to try and win before Christmas!  Also in an email from a lady in Australia she pointed out that posting such a lovely thing at the height of the Christmas rush might not be very wise with so much post that goes missing and is damaged that time of year! and after careful thought I have to agree with her.  I apologise to you all and hope you will understand.

So this in mind the draw for the Little House Sampler will be held in January on the 20th.

This also helps my framer who is so busy at the moment and has announced to me he is retiring!! I nearly had kittens when I was told, he is so good at his job and now I have to trust his replacement. 

I will continue to work on the picture and will put a picture up of the finished article and when the draw has taken place and I send the picture to the winner I hope they will send me a photo so that I may pop that on here too.

At the moment I am sewing the path to the door of the little house...... :))  I would still like it finished on my schedule time so that I know its at the framers. 

I hope today whatever you are doing that you have a wonderful day.


Monday 18 November 2013

Jane Austen clothing ........ smocking

Good Morning

As you all know my love of embroidery and hand stitching is boundless!  I will be doing some courses next year to improve my skills and learn more stitches.

The love of history goes hand in hand with what I do, as my love of vintage shows you.  Times gone by produced beautiful fabrics and workmanship that today has been sadly dying out, except I believe is making a revival....... The young people who love vintage because it is in vogue want to learn how to do things!! 

Jane Austen era (Regency) I adore the ladies clothing.  It was flattering and was more free than fashions before.  The stitch work on the fabrics was stunning. One being smocking, which does take skill.

Smocking has several stitches and with that produces different patterns.  It makes the garment stretchy ( before elastic) and it also makes it beautiful.

The stitches used are:-

1.   Cable stitch

2.   Stem stitch

3.   Outline stitch

4.   Cable flowerette

5.   Wave Stitch

6.   Honeycomb stitch

7.   Surface honeycomb stitch

8.   Trellis stitch

9.   Vandyke stitch

10.  Bullion stitch

Smocking refers to work done before a garment is made up.  Traditional hand smocking begins with marking dots in a grid pattern on the wrong side of the fabric and gathering it with temporary running stitch. These stitches are anchored on each end in a manner that facilitates later removal and are basting stitches.  Then a row of cable stitching stabilizes the top and bottom of the smocking.

Jane Austen 1775 - 1817
Although not a lot of smocking on this, it is beautiful.
Example of honeycomb stitch on a 18thC gown.
Quote of the day.
Her needlework both plain and ornamental was excellent, and she might have put a sewing machine to shame!
James Edward Austen-Leigh .... about Jane Austen.

Sunday 17 November 2013

Wedding favours

Good morning

I had an order for jam pot covers made from fabric for a lady in America.  She wanted 50 of them to put on jams she had made and they were wedding favours!

What a lovely idea.  She put on what jam she had made and a tag with the date and names of bride and groom.

It's a lovely idea for anyone getting married next year.

Happy Stitching!

Saturday 16 November 2013


Good Morning all!
I thought you may like to see some of my journals that I cover.  I use vintage blanket and then embellish them with fabrics and buttons and hand stamped ribbon that I make.
This time of year, I find a journal to be very useful for writing Christmas lists of cards. presents, food and parties.  But I use journals all the time.  My journals have a removable cover so that when your journal is full you can then pop in a fresh one and start again!  I make journal covers on A5 size books and there are ones for Christmas, as I said, gardening, your daily thoughts or I have one that on the cover says LIVE LAUGH LOVE. There are ones with manikins on the front and for your family tree .  I believe these make wonderful gifts for this time of year.  You can buy them on Etsy.

Happy Saturday!

Friday 15 November 2013

Bird feeders

Good morning

This morning I wanted to show you what I have been making.  Bird feeders in china cups.

I love feeding the birds in our garden and always looking at new ways to do this that also looks pretty in the garden.  China cups that have no saucer to make it a set!! perfect.

I have these going for sale at the Tuckton Christmas fair in December.  They will be wrapped in tissue and cellophane and would make a great little present for someone for Christmas. 

When the birds have eaten it all they can be refilled or pop a candle into the teacup.

Whatever you are doing today have a great day!

                                HAPPY STITCHING!!!

Thursday 14 November 2013


Hello all.

One of the things that I do is pictures to sell and indeed for my home.

I always start off with a piece of vintage French linen and I draw a pattern and cut out fabrics and applique the pieces onto the linen.  Then it is embroidery and buttons and beads on occasions.

A few years ago I managed to find some vintage beads that were glass so I have a little stash, I am always on the look out for more.

I enjoy designing pictures and love having pictures in my home that are unique and not mass produced too.  The only limitation on a picture is your imagination!

I take commissions and it is a case of knowing colour schemes and then seeing what fabrics I have will delight.

This is my seahorse picture.
This is a hare picture with a poem about friendship.
Happy Stitching.

Wednesday 13 November 2013


Good morning

Today as you can see from the title I am talking ribbon.  I like proper ribbon made of fabric or silk, I really do not like that sparkly, thin ribbon.  Now I know the first kind is more expensive but the thing is if you are wrapping a gift, it's for someone special to say Happy Birthday or Christmas or indeed for a New little person being welcomed into the world and for me that's special.

My family can tell you that when I buy a gift not only do I think very carefully about what they would like or what their hobby is (it is not about money but about thought) but I like it to look inviting to open as well.  To me its like a meal, if it looks beautiful on the plate you feel it will probably taste good.  In addition to that if something is worth doing it is worth doing well, so I like to wrap my gifts carefully.  Santa of course, when wrapping for stockings, is different but a gift under the tree or that special occasion should look lovely.

With this in mind I like making ribbons from fabric and hand stamping them to sell on my Christmas stalls.  I will be putting other ones on Etsy for New baby and Birthday to name but a few.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Buttons Buttons Buttons!

Good morning

Today I have to sort through buttons! (It's a dirty job but someone must do it!! :)) ) In my work I only use two types.  Firstly is vintage carved mother of pearl buttons, these are so beautiful and when I say vintage I really mean antique because some are very very old indeed and very rare.  Secondly I use buttons that I have covered in fabric, mostly vintage fabrics and some are from French General fabric, which is a replica of old designs.

I am getting ready for two Christmas markets that I will be attending and I want to take some of my covered buttons to sell.  You can sew them onto a plain cushion to make it look new and different and really you can sew them onto whatever you like.

My mother of pearl buttons are stock, for me to sew onto my work.  Some of them are extremely rare as well and personally I think are a stunning addition to a picture or stocking that I make.  When you buy one of my pictures or stockings you are getting a hundred year span of history or more.  The French linen that I sew my pictures onto at the moment is 110 years old.  It used to be a sheet until I cut it up.  Then you can get buttons that are at least 70 years old or older with the addition of vintage fabric from the twenties through to the fifties or even older.  So although its a new picture, it is in fact already an antique.

I always put a little hand made paper envelope on the back and inside is the provenence of all the materials used, with my signature and a wax seal.

So today is making sure what buttons I have to sell and do I need more!

Happy stitching!

A selection to put onto cards.
Four lovely buttons in 1930 paisley fabric.

Four buttons in vintage 1950 fabric.

Monday 11 November 2013

Little bit of history.

Good morning all

Well today sees me chasing my tail a little.  I just have to get some orders out and make sure I have enough products to sell.  My sewing machine played up a bit!  Its true you know - never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry!!

This week I am totally focusing on my work in hand.

I am looking forward to my Jan/Feb months of designing and playing with my new threads with my new designs, but must just focus on the next few weeks before Christmas.  I have a great friend coming over from Australia for my Birthday and would like to spend time with her so my focus must be finishing everything I need for the next few weeks.

There is of course my competition piece and some more Christmas stockings and ribbons.

I also love writing my blog and finding new and I hope interesting things for you all to read.

I started to look into the history of embroidery and found that it is believed to originate in the Orient and Middle East.

One of the greatest periods was 1250 through to 1350 when English work (Opus Anglicanum) was exported and admired. it was famed for it's fine gold work (mostly for the Church Vestments and furnishings) as they had the money then.

There is a piece in London's V & A museum - Syon Cope.

During the middle ages embroideries representing historical events became popular with many being bought by wealthy households.

Embroidery in Tudor times became more confined to wealthier households on court dress and home furnishings.  Servants were often hired because of their skill with a needle (learnt at home with their ABC's and the need to make do and mend) they learnt to do fine stitching for work.

By the 1600's and 1700's samplers and pictures were in vogue.

During the 1800's elaborate freehand stitched embroidery began to dwindle as machine embroidery developed but  The Royal School of Art Needlework (now Royal School of Needlework) devoted to hand embroidery was founded in 1872 and moved to Hampton Court Palace in 1987.

Embroidery is very much making a big come back and a lot of people want to learn it in some form.

I am going to take the time next year to take a course in it to add to what I know and to improve my skills.

               Syon Cope.

Simple but stunning gown in white work.
The beauty of embroidery.
At Hampton court.  Look at all that lovely thread too!
An example of early embroidery.
This is a hare that I appliqued and then embroidered his detail,  The fabric is from Liberty in London and is modelled on a William Morris design.  The linen to which it is stitched is French 1900.
Happy Stitching!

Sunday 10 November 2013

Tuckton Christmas Market.

Hello everyone

Just to let you all know that the Christmas market in Tuckton will be hosted by Mocha Turtle coffee shop again this year.

It's on 11th December from 4pm and there will be lots of stalls for some Christmas shopping.  I will have a stall there selling Christmas ribbons and stockings and some vintage china. There will be lots of other stall holders for those special handmade gifts that just can not be purchased on the high street and that will be unique and special.

A Christmas design by Homespun Stitchworks.

The butcher Neal's and son will be doing a hog roast.

Mocha Turtle will be selling mince pies and mulled wine as well as hot chocolates and coffees with delicious cakes to buy.
Santa's grotto will be there along with Christmas carol singing.
In addition to all of this there will be a raffle and lucky dip.
A Christmas design by Homespun Stitchworks.
See you there!!

Saturday 9 November 2013

Happy Birthday Mum!


Today my blog is dedicated to my lovely Mum in law.  Today is her Birthday and we hope to be spending some time with her.

She is a great lover of quilting and stitching.  She belongs to several groups who gather to sew, chat and share skills where she lives in Somerset.

Over the years she has made me some beautiful gifts including an amazing knitted shawl  in pure cotton and it is stunning.  It took over 100 hours I believe and was a real labour of love and I am so grateful and proud to have her want to make such things for me.

Back in 2003 she made me a table quilt that I put on my dinning room table at this time of year and it has apples in the fabrics and my favourite colours.  This is what I am sharing with you all today.

Happy Birthday to a very loved and special Mum!

Friday 8 November 2013

Teaching stitching

Good morning

Well you all know how I feel about art and sewing........

Years ago children were taught their ABC's with stitching.  They had to master little stitches too.

I believe time should be set aside to continue this. Even in schools where needlework is taught they do not touch on embroidery and making things, instead of just making the cookery apron and being told they will be making a blouse next!!

What about felting and knitting, crochet?  I have spoken to a lot of teenagers who love vintage.  13 to 19 year olds who would love to have the skills to make a granny blanket or a Christmas stocking or know how to applique a picture from vintage fabrics that they would love to hang in their room.

Why do we not offer such skills in schools.  Not everyone is academic and lots of children want to learn skills that they could use at home or for work.  If needlework is offered at school then why not offer clothes making, home furnishings such as cushion covers and a little felt making and embroidery, even if it's only one lesson a week........

I hope the education system will see that it is necessary to incorporate such life skills into children's lives as well as better English and Maths!

She watched and taught the girls that sang at their embroidery frames whilst the great silk flowers grew from their needles!
Louise Jordan Miln
from the Feast of lanterns.