Friday 31 January 2014

Saving our bees ..... and stitching some on our sewing!

Good morning all

As you all know by now I am busy designing and making up new projects.  I have been looking into bees for something I am designing and so I have been doing some homework on them.

I think we all must know by now that they are suffering in numbers and they really are key to our survival.

Did you know that without them 80% of plants will disappear, which in turn will make butterflies extinct and our fruits and vegetables will diminish  !!!

I am incorporating some bees in something I am working on and became shocked at how bad the situation really is.  Take a look at this site .....

They really are beautiful creatures when you study them.  I for one am going to plant more in the garden this year that they like.

Have a Happy sewing day ! .....


Bees do have a smell you know, and if they do not, they should. For their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers!
Ray Bradbury

Thursday 30 January 2014

Vintage English 1930/40 Eiderdowns

Hello and good morning to all my readers!

When I am searching for vintage fabrics for me to give a good home to, until they are needed for one of my projects, I always scourer for vintage English eiderdown fabrics.  These precious scraps are from eiderdowns that can not be saved, but bits of the fabric are good to make things with.

I love paisley and if I see it and it is the right price then it has to come home with me and be wrapped and popped into it's appropriate drawer :))

There is something about our English eiderdown, and I do own three that are beautiful and could not possibly be cut up and destroyed from it's beautiful natural state.

I own some lovely paisley fabrics in all sorts of colours and it is always a favourite of mine to use on vintage applique picture that I create.

I do have some suppliers but you can find scraps on Ebay if you look.

So I am off to that sacred drawer now to look for just the right pieces and colours for one of my summer designs....

Happy Stitching!
1940 example of a stunning eiderdown.

1930 example of eiderdown fabric ......

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Sampler exibitions in England and America!

Good morning all

Well there two sampler Exhibitions this year one here in England and one in my second home - America!! (my other home as I love New England  and in particular MA and NH)

There is a sampler exhibit at the Royal school of needle work from the 20 Jan - 22 July 2014.
It includes traditional samplers with letters and numbers, map samplers and pattern samplers and much more.

In Plymouth MA at the Pilgrim hall museum there is a sampler exhibition from Feb 1st - April 25th 2014.  This has more that 60 on show of different examples.

I would love to go to both!!!  I only wish the one in America had been last October when I was in Boston, and the Pilgrim Hall museum is not far away in Plymouth.

'sampler' gets the name from the French essamplaire, meaning any kind of work to be copied or imitated.

Girls were taught it to aid techniques and learning to spell and do their numbers whilst some boys were taught to sew and professional embroiderers were often men.

Often for girls several samplers were made to show growing proficiency and skill.

British and American samplers between 1750 and 1850 tended to be from the bible, religious poetry or from hymn books.  By 1850 children's samplers concentrated on letters and numbers.

In the late 18thC samplers had ceased to become an 'exampler' of stitches, although still an exercise of skill, were more significant for moral and pictorial content.  The 19thC seemed more to concentrate on learning household skills in stitching rather than embroidery.

I hope that some of my readers will attend one of these exhibitions.

Examples of antique samplers I found on the Internet. 

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Quaker friendship quilts

Good morning

I have found some pictures of some Quaker friendship quilts.  Unlike most quilts, that were made in celebration of a wedding or anniversary, these quilts were made to mark a different kind of occasion!

These were made often by a woman saying goodbye to her family,friends or community forever, maybe to accompany her husband in search of work, land or gold!

I have found some beautiful examples and I hope that you enjoy the history and looking at them.

Today I am hand sewing and working on some of my ideas that I have been mentioning to you... Also I am working out another competition.... watch this space!

Enjoy your day and happy stitching!

Monday 27 January 2014

Simple designs..... The shaker way!

Good morning to you all

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. 

Whilst relaxing over the weekend I had to run and get my design book.  I thought of a design based I suppose on Shaker art.  Their art was always simple but stunning and that burst through in all aspects of their life.

They made what they needed and to sell so that they could buy what they could not make.

When I was in America and visited the Canterbury shaker village ( somewhere I love to go) I was looking at some of the art work that they produced plus pictures of quilts and of course their sewing room....... Ahhhhh to be back!

Anyway I have decided to to some pieces based on their simple designs and I am very excited about it......

So whatever you are doing today have a great day.

Do everything seasoned with love.
(shaker quote)

Sunday 26 January 2014

New England Quilts

Good morning all

Today I thought I would share with you some great things going on in America! I thought some of my readers would like a look.

New Hampshire quilt festival held in Manchester - April 9 -12 2014

Also in New England there is the quilt museum in MA and they have a quilt exhibition from now until 12 April 2014.

Also there is quilts of New England exhibition in the National quilt museum in Paducah KY.
for a little look and information on this

Have a wonderful Sunday .......... and enjoy your browse.

Also for anyone reading this who lives in New England this is a great website to find quilting shops.
And for us poor people this side of the pond we can only dream, I am afraid!

Saturday 25 January 2014

Happy weekend .... With thoughts of stitching!

Good Morning

I just popped in to wish you all a great weekend.  I will be braving the shops this weekend with my husband as we have got to go and get a few things for the house.

BUT after that  we will be heading home  and I  will be having a warm drink and dreaming of new ideas.....
My husband will probably be cleaning cars .... he loves doing it! and I am being honest now as well........ good job we are all different in our likes and dislikes.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Friday 24 January 2014

It maybe winter outside .... but in my heart it's Spring!... sewing whatever the weather!!

Good morning!

Well can you believe it is Friday again ?  I really do not know where the weeks are going!

Oh the rain today is monumental!! I am so pleased to be inside and in my cosy sewing room environment!

This is my designing time as you know but I am starting to make things up.  I am working on picture at the moment and also strangely some Christmas designs!!  It is very strange as we have all just packed up from the big event a few weeks ago, but that is my world.  Good job I love Christmas isn't it.

I have to report my applique/chain stitch seems to be working rather well.  All to be revealed further down the line.

Well I hope what ever you are doing today, that you have a good one....


Thursday 23 January 2014

Chain stitching and applique

Good morning to you all

Today I am only working for the morning as I am taking a friend to hospital this afternoon.  I have a few precious hours and I have decided to experiment with chain stitch and applique shapes.  I wanted to see the results.

I am thoroughly enjoying playing about with ideas and have decided to try some things out just to see.  I always keep my experiment pieces, firstly if they are good then it is nice to have them to look back on and to copy onto my pieces of design work, or to look on in horror and learn from!

I have so many ideas and techniques I wish to play with, the days pass so quickly and get very dull and dark, by 3.30pm at the moment it is like dusk!

When you cut a piece of linen and then start sketching onto it so that you can embroider it is so exciting.  Thread some needles and you are away.......

So I am away to my lovely sewing room and to start playing with the ideas that are bouncing around my head.....  Have a great day :))

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Coco Chanel embroidery

Good morning

Whilst doing research I came across an evening gown made by the House of Chanel in about 1922.

I love looking at embroidery and beading and admire and appreciate the time and patience it would have taken to produce such a work of art.

Coco Chanel happens to be an icon of mine and I adore her perfume Chanel No 5, which my husband and friends will bare testament to.

So today I am going to be doing some sample embroidery and dream of one day having a dress like this!

Ankle length black silk georgette evening dress, embroidered with golden beagle thread and bugle beads.  The Russian House of Kitmir embroidered exclusively for Chanel.  This dress resides in the Londons V&A..... At the moment it is in storage there.

Coco Chanel born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel 19 August 1883 - 10 January 1971.
A girl should be two things:
classy and fabulous!
CoCo Chanel....

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Fabrics, buttons, linens and stitching!

Good morning!

I have had an idea and so that means searching through my delicious 'stash' for just the right piece of vintage of fabric! I have in my minds eye the colours and pattern that I think would be just perfect.
So it's a hard job BUT someone must do it!! :)))

It's raining again but I can see the little bits of green pushing through the dirt, which tells me that our tulips are trying to wake up! I hope they are not too early because I have heard that we may be in for some snow in February.  Although the weather has been cold here, it has not been freezing and we have not had much frost at all.

Today though as I sit in the warm and arrange my mood board for the project that I am working on, I am happy and content.  I do enjoy the summer and sitting outside with some hand stitching and I am looking forward to lighter evenings, which mean longer days!  When it gets dark at 4.30pm I loose all sense of time.  I sometimes engross myself so much that I forget lunch on some days and wonder why my tummy is grumbling!!

So I will leave you now with thoughts of summer...... Enjoy your day.

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness!
John Steinbeck.

Monday 20 January 2014

AND THE WINNER IS...........................

I would like to thank everyone who joined my blog and hope you continue to enjoy reading it.
Also a big THANK YOU to Rosie and Jo from Mocha Turtle coffee shop who preformed the drawer for me today.  All 14 names were entered, thank you all.
Look out for a new competition coming soon.

Wheat ear stitch

Good morning

I hope you all had a wonderful relaxing weekend.

As you know I have been researching different embroidery stitches for me to practise and to put into some of my work.  This week is wheat ear stitch..... some of you more experienced embroiders will have heard of this stitch, it is not one that I have ever used so I am going to have a little practise today for an hour.  I have a design in mind and this would be perfect incorporated into it.

I have a lot on today and have split my day accordingly, I will be working on some magazine work that is coming up in America and I have some new designs and stitching to play with.

Whatever you are doing this Monday ..... have a good one!


Saturday 18 January 2014

Stitching, rain and weekend talk!

Good morning
I have just popped in as the house is still quiet and all the mice are still asleep! I thought I would pop in here and have my first cup of coffee quietly watching the rain.

We have our friend here this weekend and last night we had some other friends for dinner as well. It is always enjoyable when we get together, the laughing does not stop!

The rain is relentless here on the South coast of England.  If our local authorities put a hose pipe ban on this summer I shall want to know why!  But today is going to be a leisurely day by the fire.  If the sun does appear we may have a walk down by the sea..... but I can not see a break in this rain. I do not have to cook this evening as we are out, so the day lays deliciously in front of us.

I am never without my design journal though and if I have an idea I can then write it in there, to explore the possibilities another day. 

The other day I was doing some research on the laptop  and I came across some pictures of old needle packet designs, probably used for advertising.  They really are very pretty. My research hours fly by so quickly and I enjoy learning new things about stitchery in particular.  I have been looking at some new (to me) embroidery stitches for a project I have i mind and I am playing on scraps of linen. I am playing with 'raised cup stitch' and it really is lovely..... It is fairly involved but makes a stunning flower!  It is my mission at the moment to try every week to learn a new and different stitch if I can.

What ever you are doing this weekend, I hope you have a great time........

raised cup stitch

It looks stunning I think you will agree!

Beautiful needle packet .... now if that was in the shop I would be strangley drawn to buy those!


The little house sampler

The little house sampler is back from the new framer.  I have to get used to this being a little different than normal but the gentleman has not done a bad job. 

The drawer will be made on Monday morning and the winner will be announced later that day.

I hope who ever wins likes it as much as I liked doing it.

Good luck to you all who joined the blog.  The closing date is Sunday19th January at midnight.

There are more pumpkins in the field and the little crooked fence has flowers and mushrooms growing by it.  There are birds flying over the hills and far away and the heart smoke bellows from the little chimney pot.  I have stitched my initials too.

Friday 17 January 2014

It can't be Friday already!!!

Good morning!

It's Friday!! where has my week gone again...... I am very lucky that my week goes by quickly, as that means I enjoy my work! Today is a mixed day, 15 years ago today my Dad passed away and I miss him so much. I want to share with him daily, my delights and acheivements.  So I will pop up to where he is buried to have my little word with him and a rant about him leaving me! (I hope they give out earmuffs in heaven).

Well today apart from my dad there is stitching and sketching and some housework and chores.... Normally it is not my favourite thing to have to do when I am busy BUT we have our friend Charles down for the weekend and that makes it a happy day.

I always do an hour aday housework to keep up with things so it is not too bad.  We are all going out for a meal on Saturday night to another friend (and neighbours) house so that will be a lovely evening. In addition to that it will be cosy down here by the fireside and catch up time.  We will have a wonderful easy weekend.

So today I am going to do some practice work on some scraps of precious vintage linen.  I like to practice and do free hand design to see how it looks.  I do not use my lovely shaker threads for this, just odd bits of thread I have and keep for such an event at this.  I do enjoy stitching little bits to see how it looks...

Anyway I hope you have a wonderful weekend and happy stitching.....

The only place where housework comes before needlework is in the dictionary!
Mary Kurtz

Thursday 16 January 2014

Wonderful winter stitching time.

Hello and good morning to you all.

Well with the weather and all it's unpredictabilities at present, I am rather enjoying my design and stitching time.  I love my sewing room and watching  the rain bashing relentlessly at the window.  I adore the sound of the rain and I know I am lucky to be inside in the warm and dry on days like these.

Sometimes if I am waiting for a parcel I sit and sew in my kitchen and have my radio on in the very back ground.  I know alot of you really do not like the Winter but I embrace it, infact I embrace all our seasons.... For me this time of year is a cosy time, and I really adore our open fires going. 

January/February months can be very bleak but in my book if you are cosy and can stitch,  you are living like a Queen and if you have a good hearty stew cooking and a bottle of red wine waiting for later the King is happy too!

Enjoy your day...

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth and the touch of a friendly hand and to talk beside the fire.  It is the time for home.
Edith Sitwell.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Designing new journals

Good Morning!

Today I am setting to and doing some designs for some new journal covers.  I have also found a better supplier for the inner journal, the paper inside is plain and very high quality.  The other journal inners were lined and I was never that happy with them.  I always knew that it was the cover I was selling but I am much happier with the ones that will be going inside the new covers.

So I am doing some designs this morning and will start to make and sew one this afternoon to have a little look.  The journal covers detach from the hardback journal so that you can pop a new one inside when that one is full and you can always keep your cover.....

I will be doing a little embroidery on some of the new ones too and maybe add some charms as well.... We will see how it goes.

I write in my journals daily and have one that is just for my designing and have one for quotes and sayings too.  I love to sit and write in them with my ink pen. 

Have a great day and happy stitching.....

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Antique Samplers for inspiration....

Good morning all

I have been looking at antique samplers for inspiration and admiration and quiet frankly the pure pleasure of doing so!

I love to see the stitches used and by some children as young as 6!  It is of course how they were taught to spell and learn their ABC as well as how to stitch, and I for one am grateful that their stitching is here to gaze upon.

As you know I have some more exciting things happening this year with publishing some of my designs and work and so I am extremely busy in looking at new ideas and some old forgotten skills to revive within my work.  Research, I find, is extremely interesting.  In fact I think you can tell that I enjoy all aspects of what I do.  With the things I make, I am selling a life style too and I hope that it shines through for all to see.

I will have some sneak previews of some of the bits that I am making but mostly they will be going to publication as apposed to being sold.  I will be making some bits along the way to sell and I hope to have some time to make some things for our home too...... All work and no play!!!..........

I hope you enjoy the following pictures to look at, I did, they are amazing..

Have a wonderful day whatever you are doing and happy stitching.

The more that you read,
the more things you'll know.
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go!
Dr Seuss

Monday 13 January 2014

The art of calligraphy

Good morning all

Well the weather has got colder here and I have lots of things planned for today.

You will be pleased to know that the prize draw picture The little house sampler is ready for being framed.  I hope that my new framer will do a great job for me.  I have put all my faith in him. Pictures to follow in the week, ready for the draw.

As I mentioned to you all I love calligraphy and I really feel strongly about hand writing.  With all the technology out there ( and don't get me wrong I use my laptop to talk to you all and my mobile phone) I believe the art of the written word is being lost.  With predictive text and spell check how on earth are the new generations going to learn to spell and have neat handwriting?

I love receiving a hand written letter and indeed I hand write letters myself, I think it shows care and time has been spent on the recipient and that to me is special.  If all documents and letters are typed either in email or on paper where is our history for future generations?  I have been researching my family trees for many years now and one of the pleasures of going to the archives is seeing the old hand written documents and letters.  My great mother on my fathers side, played the piano I have learnt.  This was found out in the Church record book as the vicar had written a little note to say that Ellen had played particularly well that day and the congregation had enjoyed singing to her music! now readers tell me that would be recorded by the BDM index we now have computerised.

I am a great lover of history and I believe that is why I am passionate about making goodies from vintage fabrics.

I will leave you with some pictures of beautiful calligraphy writing and what can be achieved.

Have a wonderful day.

Sunday 12 January 2014

Sunday sweet Sunday!

Good morning to you all!

I hope today you will be doing something wonderful and relaxing.  We have started the day with a special breakfast with fresh coffee and will be enjoying what we call a duvet day.

Light the open fires and catch up on some reading and I like to sketch too.  Possibly later we might watch a film together....

Sunday is a time to re-charge your batteries for the week that lays ahead.  It is cold here today but not inside where the fire is crackling......

Happy Sunday readers and enjoy your day.