Thursday, 31 October 2013

Happy Halloween!

Today the excitement is building, our road is being transformed.  Pumpkins are being carved and the tea lights are being found.
The children will all be excited and I am going to be getting ready here too.  I have bought lots of sweets and I hope the little bumble bee comes back this year!!
I might even get a little stitching done today.  Have a wonderful day and if you are off out tonight be safe.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The history of sewing!

Good morning all.

Well today I thought I would do a little history lesson of the start of sewing.  It amazes me how things have evolved, not always for the better but there are some great tools of the trade out there now for us.

 Hand sewing is over 20,000 years old! and the first sewing needles were made from bones or horns of animals.  The first thread was made of animal sinew.  It wasn't until the 14th Century that iron needles were invented and the 15th Century was when the first eyed needle appeared!

In the 1850's a man named Isaac Singer brought out the singer sewing machine.
In the 1860's women start to form sewing societies and sewing bee's to make quilts together.
In 1863 Ebenezer Butterick makes the first graded patterns.
Today we have so much to help us.  Every kind of needle you can think of with different purposes and different eye sizes for  thickness of thread!
Quilting we have great cutting boards and rotary cutters and great rulers so that our fabric is straight, yet hundreds of years ago they cut up old fabrics and stitched it together.
Threads now are in every conceivable colour variation that your heart desires.
We are so lucky that so much of antique samplers and quilts and indeed the old needles have survived.  I love looking at the history and I will be looking into the 1920's when embroidered and beaded gowns were all the rage and handmade.
Enjoy your day and all our wonderful tools and equipment.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Beautiful smelling fire lighters..... Hand made.

Good morning all

This is just a quick one to update you all on the fact that I will be making fire lighters again this year.  They are for sale on my Etsy shop.

They smell divine for one, and they are great to light the log burner or open fire with.  You can also use them to light a camp fire if you so wish.

I will be taking orders too.

Great little gift for somebody.

 They have a cinnamon and orange scent! instead of paraffin.
And don't forget to do what it says in the following quote......
' Stitch all your stress away'
Great advice me thinks!!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Vintage china

Hello all!

Apart from my sewing items I also sell some vintage china pieces.  I make candles in teacups and vintage soup bowls, with plates and cake plates too.

I sell these in my local coffee shop called Mocha Turtle and of course on my Etsy shop.

I do not make lots of them as a lot of people do make and sell them, but it is a side of my business that is  booming.  The candle teacups sell particularly well, especially this time of year.  When the candle has been used, the recipient will then have a delicate bone china teacup and saucer for their dresser and indeed to have a coffee or tea in, which was its intended use.  I call it the gift that keeps on giving, as indeed the cake plates are hopefully used and loved.

I search for china and normally take my husband on these days out around antique shops and markets as he has a great eye for the unusual; I love finding beautiful exquisite china to work with.

I have to get some more ready for the November Christmas event I am attending.  Once made, the teacups and saucers are wrapped in cellophane with a bow and a hand written tag with what china it is. For example Wedgewood.

So today is candle making day with a few hours of  stitching in between whilst the liquid wax sets.

I hope you all have a great day, whatever you are doing.


Sunday, 27 October 2013

My love of French General fabric!

Morning all

Today I thought I would share with you my love of French General.  As you all know I make most of my things from vintage fabrics and vintage blankets.  I always use antique mother of pearl buttons, BUT some things like my ribbons can not be made with vintage.  The next best thing is French General fabric.  I enjoy the books too.

My two lap quilts that I am doing are both with French General fabrics.  It is new fabric with that vintage feel.  So if something has to be done from new fabric, well this is my first choice every time.

The colours and designs have a French feel to them and are quite simply stunning.  Kaari Meng is the designer and her talent is boundless.  Have a little look at some of things that she designs.  The fabric is produced by Moda.

Have a fabulous day!

A day patched with quilting seldom unravels!!

This is a great book!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Shaker threads

Good morning and Happy weekend!

This is just a quick pop in today.  I wanted to show you some of the colours of the hand dyed shaker threads that you can buy.  You will have to order in America as to my knowledge no one stocks these in England. ( if anyone knows different, please get in touch)  The internet makes ordering easy and you can pay with a card or pay pal and they arrive at your door.

As we know threads are not cheap but you can build on the amount you have and then mix and match.  Not only the colours of these are amazing but I get caught up in there names!!

Enjoy your look and enjoy your weekend!

These are just a few of the colours you can get.

I liked this idea and a great way to wind thread when in use.
Then add some stunning vintage mother of pearl buttons!

Friday, 25 October 2013

Vintage French linens and designing days!


Vintage linens are one of the favourite tools of my trade and I love to use them as the basis of my work, especially my appliquéd and embroidered pictures as you are all, I am sure, by now aware of.

I have been sorting through my collection to find just the right one for an up and coming project.  They all differ you see, in colour and in the weave.  When I can find them with monograms on, I am delighted.  I try and buy the ones with mine or my husbands initials so that I can cut them off in a lovely square and pop them (at the moment) into the drawer I have dedicated to them.  You see when I get time .... January is normally very slow, I am going to make some cushions for our bed with them as part of the decoration. 

January and February are very quiet months for selling as you can imagine but they are my catch up months and my 'glorious designing all day' months and 'making up samples' months......  You see that I do enjoy what I do, can't you?  I hope that it comes across in my work as well.  There is not a day I get up and think .. Oh I have to sew today or finish that piece or work.  No, not me, I am very lucky to be doing what I do and to enjoy it so much.

I was asked the other day about how I would expand should the need and demand present itself.  Well it is quite simply .... I can not.  I make what I make and that is what is for sale on my Etsy store.  I do take on commissions and did a Wedding sampler last year for a present for the couple.  I enjoyed the whole process.  I was delighted that the couple in question dropped me a line to say how thrilled they were with the picture and what a most beautiful present... How can you hand these things over to other people to stitch.  Did any of the famous painters, I wonder, get others to paint for them?

So today I will end my blog with some great ideas for you all to look at, and the beautiful linens that are out there for you, or me, if I beat you too it :)) to buy.



Thursday, 24 October 2013

Vintage samplers

Good morning

These next few weeks are hectic!

I am continuing with the competition prize plus making Christmas things.  Because of the article out in America there have been enquiries and so lots of paperwork, emails and boring things that are part of business have had to be sorted!!  I am not really complaining though, it's really lovely that people appreciate what work and products I am producing.  Also I am meeting new people who are of the same mind about hand made items for gifts or for their own homes.

I will be showing you all pictures of the competition prize so far in a few days, when I get around to uploading some photos but until then, I thought, you would like to see some vintage samplers.

I am lucky enough to own one antique sampler which hangs in my stair well but I was looking at pictures of some and they amaze me.  Some are stitched by children.  I know it was a way of teaching the ABC and numbers, but the stitching in some is just outstanding.  Try and Google for pictures and see what you can find to marvel over.  Its a great inspiration and a way of discovering different stitches to learn and practice as well.

I get little scraps of vintage linen from pieces of work that I do, but they are never wasted.  They go in a box and it is on these bits that I practice or do a 'dry run' of a design so I can see what it is like, before I have a costly mistake and have to unpick it ...... carefully.

    So the quote for today is so true...................................

                We don't stop laughing because we are growing old
                We grow old because we stop laughing!!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Searching for just the right piece of vintage fabric!

Hello and good morning to all.

'Fabricologist resource centre'  .....  well that sounds better than fabric stash! and have I been through it all!!

Hmmmm, well I have been searching and searching for a piece of vintage fabric that I thought I had, could I find it.... NO is the polite answer.  Well not for ages anyway.  It is found now but was put away where it really should not have been.  I can not think that I would have done it, but as I am the only one who goes in my work room, it must have been me.

I am very protective of how I store and keep everything in there as its precious stuff......

Anyway panic over.  The fabric police can be called off and I can put away my deer stalker and magnify glass .... the culprit has been found......ME! So the road blocks are lifted and I can get on with my day. That is when I have folded all the fabric again and put it back where it should be....

I am really busy and love to just design, go to get the fabrics and buttons etc. that is needed and quite simply stitch......  Still I had a good look through my fabricolgist resource centre  today but I am afraid with not so much enjoyment as normal..... Its so annoying when you can not find things isn't it?

So I am off now to my stitching and I hope you all have a wonderful day, with no disasters or annoying interruptions....

                                                                       If only ........

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


Good morning all!

Today I am talking pumpkins.... I think they are great.

I enjoy eating them in things like pumpkin and apple soup or pumpkin pie or indeed in a muffin.

Also I enjoy decorating with them at this time of year.  I love to carve pumpkins (not sure if its the artist in me or the child..... probably both!) I love making pumpkins from fabrics to decorate around the house and I enjoy cooking with them.

Where we live, lots of us decorate for Halloween as the young children love wandering along, looking for a house that welcomes 'trick or treat ' and some of the costumes are amazing. 

Like America here now, its not about scary costumes but dressing up in general for the children, who think they are out soooo late because its dark.

Last year a little girl about 2 or 3 years old came to our door dressed as a bumble bee...... Oh readers my heart jumped she was so lovely and excited.  It was raining and her head piece that had the bumble antenna on was dripping with water, but she was all smiles with her dad holding her hand and her big brother next to her.  ' hello lady, happy Halloween' ... well I could have given her the entire candy bowl and the toffee apples I had made.

Even if  you do not like Halloween for what ever reason, you must remember like a dog is not just for Christmas...... A pumpkin is not just for Halloween!!

So give it a go, carve one and pop a candle in or make something warming to eat.

Happy stitching, carving or baking !!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Whipped running stitch.

Good morning all

When I am creating a piece of work it starts with the idea.  I then draw it in my art book, being sure to write in any little notes such as an idea for a stitch or the fabric for the applique work.

I sometimes have a little practice on a tiny bit of linen, just embroidering a tiny flower or may be just a small line of something and then it's pinned into my book next to my design.

The whipped running stitch is great.  If you use the same colour it becomes a great outline or if you use two different colour threads it then becomes a pattern in it's own right. 

This stitch is versatile and beautiful in it's simplicity.......... Give it ago.

I found some pictures to show you so have a look.

I hope you enjoy your day and that maybe you will give some embroidery ago in some spare time.... it is addictive.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Quilts, quilts, quilts!!!!

Hello everyone!

Well as the title suggests, today I am talking about my other love...... apart of course from my husband you understand!! ..... yes quilts.

As you know I am learning the art, thanks to a wonderful lady named Suzy of quilted happiness..

But for years before that I have always loved them and indeed have been collecting them for a few years now. Always marvelling at how clever the person is to produce such work that is not only beautiful to sleep under, to make a bedroom look inviting but the work that goes into some of them.

I am understanding more about the work that goes into them, as under the watchful eye of Suzy, I am endeavouring to produce two lap quilts...... which have been on hold for a while because of how busy I have been.  I am however trying to do my homework for when I go back in November for my precious 2 hours of bliss and learning.  Suzy and I also have a coffee and catch up with each other's news, and we laugh, which is always great for the soul.

So I have not done much to the little house sampler today ........  but do not worry it will be ready and framed for the prize draw, I promise..

                              For todays thought and quote...........................

                             Quilting with a friend will have you in stitches!


Dresden mini quilt ..... Not done by me I may add. But it is stunning.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Embroidery ...... I love doing every stitch!

Hello everyone!

Well I had a wonderful Wedding anniversary..... Will tell you all about it another time.

Today I am talking hand embroidery.  I simply love doing it.  It's time consuming ... yes.
It can be difficult... yes.  It has to be done in good light ... yes, which is difficult at this lovely, cosy time of year BUT OH IT'S WORTH IT!!

As you know I am beavering away at the competition prize but also working on other pieces that I must do to sell.  Having fallen in love myself with the sampler, I am working on other samplers for the future....... and maybe a cheeky one for our home!

I love drawing lightly on the vintage French linen (which is always my base of any picture I create)
and then stitching the design, building up the colours and filling in details along the way, much like a watercolour artist with layers of paint.

I know some embroidery is done on these new massive electronic automatic sewing machines, but for me, it lacks that Je ne sais quoi! that hand stitching brings to a piece.  A part of the person who stitches something goes into the work and makes it feel special.

So my quote for today is ................................................

     Some may wonder if hand sewing, with its seemingly endless
     stitches, has a real place in todays busy home.
     Just a comfortable place I reply, like a rocking chair in a nursery.

                        by Sarah Howard Stone.

Happy Stitching!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Stunning vintage quilts

Hello all

I could not resist showing you all some beautiful quilts that hang at a hotel in America; The Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Boston.  I took these pictures two years ago and when I was sorting out the pictures on my laptop I came across these that I snapped!  The quilts hang on every floor of the hotel, behind glass, and hang in the huge stairwells too.  I remember getting into some strange positions to try and take the pictures!  My pictures are not as good as I would have liked, but I would have got told off if I had tried to suspend from a bannister for the best shot!

There must have been 50 at least and the oldest one I could find was from around 1800 if my memory serves me correctly. I was wandering all around the hotel looking at them.  Some photos did not come out too well as lighting in the corridors was ambient!

Anyway I thought today you might like a little look.  Have a wonderful weekend, whatever you are doing.

This is one of my favourites!

Look at the detail..... I aspire to being able to produce something like it!

                ' Those who sleep under a quilt, sleep under a blanket of love'
                        'A quilt will warm your body and comfort your soul'

Thursday, 17 October 2013

When your work speaks for itself!

Hello and good morning

Today apart from carrying on with my hand stitching, including the little house sampler, I really must get some things ready for a Christmas event I am doing in November.  I think I have said before that I do very few but this one is a must for me.

I am busy getting homemade ribbons I make ready and vintage fabric coloured buttons and Christmas journals and stockings to name but a few.

I keep going over the stock I am building up for it.  Adding bits here and there to some stitched or stamped work.....  but really you have to stop somewhere or there is a chance of over doing things and making a mess!!

So today I am just going to stock take and start the packing up process in a methodical manner ( yes I can do it...)  I have to remember tissue papers to wrap things, scissors to cut the ribbon that I use to wrap things people buy, bags and of course a float.

I like my table to look suitably festive with pretty lights and bunting and make sure there are samples and a bowl of homemade cookies or sweets for people to have as a gift.

So that's today and hopefully a couple of hours stitching too.

                         with the above in mind, this is my quote of the day.......

                  When your work speaks for itself, Do not interrupt it!  Henry J Kaiser

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Lazy daisy stitch.

Hello all

I am talking lazy daisy stitch today.  Its very easy and it looks very good.  You can make beautiful flowers with it and always do French knots in the middle.  I know I keep on about variegated threads but it would really work on this stitch.  I was studying a daisy the other day.... now when you pass one by its white with a yellow middle and green stem, but no in the white there is a little pink and light lilac in the petals.  So it goes to show that in petals in general there are little variations of colours.

You can fill a lovely space with this stitch or stitch a basket and fill it with flowers.  I am a slight addict now of embroidery and may well book myself into a course to learn more stitches and there history.

If you are inspired then give it ago, you could brighten up a pillow case or indeed create a picture for your self.

Have a great day whatever is happening.....................

I did not stitch this but isn't it pretty. Only three stitches here, French knot, lazy daisy and running stitch.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Wedding Anniversary

 Hello all

Today is our wedding Anniversary so I will  just put up a lovely quote and go and enjoy our day!

                                    Life is short so...
                                    Break the rules
                                    Forgive quickly
                                    Kiss slowly
                                    Love truly
                                    Laugh uncontrollably
                                    never regret anything that makes you smile!


Monday, 14 October 2013

Fabrics, Threads, buttons and ribbons!

Good morning

I have been sorting through my precious stash of vintage goodies, a stock take if you will.  I do however get caught up in the beauty of them.  As I have told you before, going to my thread drawer is never a five minute job! I have to look and touch and re arrange!

Can you imagine when I am looking for just the right vintage carved mother of pearl button..... Well you have not seen what I have, but let me tell you I am very distracted by those shiny lovelies!

Then there are the fabrics and the vintage linens .... Oh dear.  I do in my own mind justify it all, as I do make to sell or I make to keep to make our home beautiful and homely.  In addition to that it is a kind of show case of my work in a way.  I love to design as well and I am going to do some designing this week.  I love to get my art book out; I sketch, put little design notes by them and also make notes of fabrics and buttons that I feel would look good.  It is not written in stone though and I do sometimes change the materials as my design is going along.

I have a very busy week this week and a Wedding Anniversary so I hope you will  forgive me if I am unable to update every day....... It will soon be back to normal.

                    So the above in mind, I found this quote.......

     My husband said if I buy more fabric he will leave me...... I am going to miss him!!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

The litttle house sampler ...... More has been stitched

Good morning

I hope you are all having a great weekend!

This is just a quick update at a bit more of the sampler.  I am enjoying this so much and I hope who ever wins this will enjoy having the picture in their home.  A lot of hours will have gone into this and an awful lot of love too.  I am always excited at seeing how a piece of my work develops and when one of my pictures is ready for being framed it's wonderful because it looks different again when it is picked up, complete somehow.  It is well worth paying to have a piece professionally framed as it makes a huge difference.

So today whatever you are doing I hope you enjoy it.

                                            Quote today ...........................

                 What I make with my hands, I give of my heart!

The woolly lamb munching on a stalk!

Pathway to be completed but there will be flower borders.

Bee hive outlined.....
Its coming along as you can see, the lamb took some hours. about 110 French knots is when I lost count.
Happy weekend, enjoy.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Is it really Friday!!

Morning all!

Where has the week gone!

Today is an extremely busy day as not only have I got a pile of delicious sewing that needs my attention but I have a hair appointment.  I really need it cut as I can not see!! I look like an old English sheep dog! ......... Something ladies and gentlemen it has to be done, so I am off to have a hair cut.

So I have written my self a little list whilst having my first coffee of the morning, so that I can try and make the most of my busy schedule.  I will be sewing some more on the little house sampler, I am trying to do 2 hours a day, that way I can keep up with all my other projects that need completing too.  I am not worried as the competition does not end until the beginning of December but I would like it all ready to be wrapped for the winner.  I keep looking at it and I am going to make one for our home, although it will not be the same at all.  Different design and of course different fabrics as the fabric used on the competition piece is all that I had.  But I do have some ideas.  When I start it I will show you what I am doing.

I must completed some more ribbons and get those ready to sell at the Christmas event I am attending in November as well, so as you can see, another impossible list!

I will leave you with a quote today........................................................

                 Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift!

Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The beauty of French knots!

Good morning all

Today I am talking French knots.  It's a wonderful stitch when you have mastered it.. In a flower for example you can vary on thread shade, use several pinks or blues for shading and you then have something wonderful.  It works particularly well with hand dyed threads as they are slightly variegated anyway.

So today on one of my scrap pieces of linen I will have a little practice of what I have in mind.  It pays to do a little practice if it's for a piece of work already under construction.  I hate unpicking and do not like doing it on vintage linen, in case of damage to the fabric.

My love of embroidery is growing and I wish put more on my work, the trouble is the time it takes really.  I of course do not mind the time but the price is higher.  I think its worth it though but as you know I have a love of hand stitched.

It will nearly be time for me to go and get my hand dyed threads from the lovely Quilted Threads in Henniker...... Can you imagine how long I will sort through them and look?

So today let your day be a great one and I hope you enjoy what seems the last of our prolonged summer.

                       Quote of the day................................................

                          Sewing fills my days, not to mention
                          the living room, bedroom and cupboards!



Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Scattering moments!


Do you ever just panic when you see a list you have written?  Well its happened to me.  Short of breathing into a brown paper bag I have been staring at it with terror.

But all is not lost as I gave myself a talking to.  So I have decided that priority is in date order or when things are needed or have to be completed..... Yes calm has hit once again.

I have my hand sewing out for two hours, that is better than a chill pill! and then in order of when needed,  projects have allotted hours of the day and...... its working.

The sun is out but it is cooler here, no matter the conservatory is the place for hand stitching.  I can look out at the birds and the ever changing tree colours and marvel.  I have a coffee ready and that's me for a while.

Whatever you are doing today have a good one and I hope your day is calm too.

                          Quote for the day............................

                         All my scattering moments are taken up with my needle.
                                          Ellen Birdseye Wheaton  .... 1851

Beautiful thoughts........
Trying not to be this.........

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

American quilt museum Bath

Good morning to all.

Today I thought I would show you a fabulous museum in Bath.  It really is a wonderful day out.

The address is :

American quilt museum
Claverton Manor

Tel..... 01225 460503

I have been before but would really like to visit again.  There are wonderful quilts on show, which were hand sewn.  You can walk through and wonder at how long some of them must have taken, it really is incredible.

Also there is a café and stunning grounds to walk around.  This place is well worth a visit for anyone who has a love of stitching of any kind.  You want to come out of there and straight to a fabric shop to get your materials to make a wonderful quilt for yourself.... so be advised!

Today for me is some cooking that  I must do but some lovely time in my work room stitching, designing and making some fabric covered buttons for a Stocking.

I will leave you with some great pictures.  Have a great day.

The lovely grounds at Claverton Manor.

This quilt belonged to the Yarnell family who were quakers.