Thursday 31 December 2015

New Years Eve and Welcome 2016

New Years Day.  A fresh start and a new chapter in life waiting to be
written.  New questions to be asked, embraced and loved.  Answers
to be discovered and then lived in a year of delight and self discovery.
Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream with
pen in hand ... only dreams give birth to change.

Sarah Ban Breathnach.

It is New Years Eve and I hope that you all had a lovely Christmas.  At midnight tonight a new year starts and we welcome 2016!

Happy New Year to you all and I hope that is a good one for all.  I am excited that I have new designs to play around with and a journal full of ideas and inspirations.  I did receive some beautiful books and stitchery items so I will be able to sort through my work room and make room for new items and get some work baskets ready......  

I will be back here on Monday 11th January when the house will then be back to normal and we have waved a sad farewell to Jo. 

I am having a week sorting everything for my business and workroom and that is why the 11th seems like a great day to start writing again and telling you of my plans and designs for 2016.  Also we plan to put our house on the market in the next month or so and a move will be on its way....2016 is going to be new chapter for us personally and I hope to get an old farmhouse and have a work building away from the house so it is like going to work daily and keep the house free of pins and needles ( well work baskets may creep in on the winter evenings!)  I am excited and really ready to move.  I am hoping to have the strength to do so as well.

Hoping you all have a lovely evening whether it is a huge party or a quiet gathering ....

Thank you for 2015 and all your support, which I hope will continue and grow in 2016. XX

Thursday 24 December 2015

Christmas Eve & Thank you

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol

It is Christmas Eve an everything is in full swing everywhere today.  I would just like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas whatever you are doing this year.

A HUGE THANK YOU to you all for coming along here and reading this blog and also to those of you that take the time to comment, it really is appreciated very much.
This is a very special day in our house and probably the most exciting one because of anticipation as much as anything .. for us it is a few days to all be together.

This year is made even more special as our wonderful friend Jo has come all the way from Australia to be with us, which is her two yearly thing and we all look forward to it so much.

I will be taking a few weeks off and will return here on Monday 11th January when all has been packed away and I can get ready for the year ahead.  There will be a blog on New Years Eve as well if you would like to come along and read.....

I am hoping that I might be lucky enough to get some stitchery presents this year as I was asked to write a wish list to be passed around the family.

To you all I wish you a peaceful time and hope that even if we can not all be with our special loved ones for whatever reason we can reflect and smile about the times we have had with them.

Happy Christmas 2015 XX

Thursday 17 December 2015

Christmas is coming and the geese are getting fat!

Chill December brings the sleet
Blazing fire and Christmas treat!

Good morning All

Well my lovely friend from Australia has landed safely and it is now time to take time out to be with her and enjoy her company.

I will be doing a blog on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve but other than that I will be returning to work in January.

My health due to a really terrible bout of flu has been a disaster since October and I feel I have achieved nothing literally for ages.  :But I hope to return refreshed, well and with lots of exciting things to share with you all.  My design book is full ( this is what has kept me resting basically .. I felt I was still doing something with stitching) so I will be sharing this with you all along the way.

I am hoping for a few stitchery books and bits and bobs for Christmas and I will be able to share some book reviews with you all as well.

The house is now filled with Christmas magic, with stockings stuffed and presents under the tree all tied with bows.  Vintage Christmas baubles in glass jars and a real Christmas tree that makes the house smell divine!  Cinnamon sticks are at the ready for mulled wine and apple cider and the fires are lit.

There are jars of candy canes and handmade chocolates and twinkling fairly lights and the scene is set for a cosy and magical time with our friends and family.

My stitchery room although extremely tidy with a guest bed made up in it is ready for 2016 and I have some beautiful fabrics, button, ribbons and linens to create with.  My hand dyed shaker threads are ready and safely tucked up in their boxes .. shining like jewels and ready for design work.  The spectrum of colours is amazing and I am very pleased with how it is all there waiting for my return.

I can not wait to experiment with my new ideas for samplers with incorporating cross stitch and vintage papers.

Sorted are all my cotton threads, paisley drawers and linens ready for the off and on that note I hope see you all here Christmas Eve if you can and ready back here for us to share stories of what we had in our stitchery stockings ... I have been a good girl Santa so fingers crossed!

Keep warm and well and have a great time..... Happy Stitching!

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Early 1900's specimen needlework book .... of C M James.

I have just taken delivery of my latest E bay find and win in the form of a wonderful needlework specimen book.  When young ladies had to learn how to stitch properly and had to samples and stick them into books.

This is a perfectly beautiful specimen in its own right, with tissue paper between pages to keep this beautiful stitching safe.  The stitches are like mice have worked them and I am reliably informed
from the lady I bought it from it is early 1900's and by now looking at it closely I would say she is correct in her dating of this fabulous piece of history.  I do not know who C M James is but she was a great little stitcher.....

The work shown in this photo is of seams, single and double binding, application of lace and a sleeve.  The work is exquisite..

I am going to see on one of my family history sites if I can spot a C M James at all around the late 1800's being born.   I will let you know how that goes.  It of course could be a complete needle in a large field of hay stacks as there is no school name but the book on the front does give a clue to who made the book and it was Robert Gibson and Son Glasgow...... did she come from Glasgow or Scotland .. well it is a place to start.

The pictures on the right are of shaped facing and cross cut hem, openings and strengthening, flannel work of openings and patching.

The pinking sheer edges would have been some of the first as the first patent for them was in 1893 in the United States...

The first photos above are all very delicate old linens and this does help to date the stitchery.  The flannel is however very fine too...

The samples in this photo are again top left of patching on printed linen, strengthening and darning on wool, machine stitched darning and breakfast cut and the last photo this is a piece of work that was not pinned in the book with some teacher remarks pinned to it .. which is delightful.

I am absolutely thrilled with my first of a growing collection I am sure.  To start me off it has been a real joy and pleasure to turn these delicate pages....

I hope you have enjoyed sharing this with me and have a great day and as always Happy Stitching!

Monday 14 December 2015

Book review ......A school girls work

This book is from the Spencer Museum of Art and Barb Adams and Alma Allen have joined with the museum to share historical schoolgirl cross stitch samplers.  The examples contained within the pages span the years between 1710 and 1841.

I bought this book whilst in America this October and whilst resting up have read from cover to cover and it really is a beauty.

This book wonderful and if you love samplers ( and you know my passion for them) well this book is for you.

There are 24 samplers that are featured and it includes names and dates and a write up of each sampler with some great photos.  You can look at some beautiful needle work ship and to think these were very young girls who
produced such needlework.

The sampler on the left is the work of Sela Sibley, she was aged 11 years old and is dated 1817.  She was born on October the 8th in 1805 in Massachusettes.  She finished this piece of work on July 23 in 1817 right before her twelfth Birthday this beautiful book reliably informs us.  No further information of Sela life could be found but at eleven years old to produce such needle skills you can only imagine what she went on to acheive.

The verse on her sampler reads:

Awake my soul and with the sun
The daily state of duty run
Shake off dull sloth and early rise
To pay the morning sacrifice.

Flowers, house and people with an ABC this is truly a folk art sampler at its best.

There are so many beautiful samplers in this book for you to look at and learn from but it does not stop there my dear readers.  There is a section in the back of patterns and pictures of projects you can make with all the patterns for you do complete each project.

One of these is a sampler called 'where flowers bloom so does hope'  The inspiration for this piece is from a Hannah E Sunderlins work and this is a beautiful one to stitch.  All of the projects are equally as stunning and I can not recommend this beautiful book enough.

I have checked and this book is on Amazon at several prices so check before you order....

I hope you have enjoyed a little look into this most beautiful book .... one for your wish list I think.

Happy Stitching!

Saturday 12 December 2015

Pom Pom maker ...... Oh this is amazing!

Good morning all and Happy Weekend!

I just wanted to show you my new gadget!  I bought this beauty in Arundel when I was in West Sussex last weekend.

There is a little Victorian enclosed shopping mall in Arundel and along with a bear shop and antique shop and lots more there is a little stitching shop.  I went in and saw this great device.  The lady in the shop explained to me how it works so that you can make up to 20 at a time..... the more you make the smaller they are but you can make 4 large ones in one go too.

You choose your wool and tie it onto the frame and wrap the wool around.  Then you divide the sections with wool and cut them off and fluff them up
to make wonderful pom poms! oh joy....

It is such a clever invention and such a simple design and idea I am just surprised no one has thought about it before but I am glad that they have.

I will let you know how I get on after Christmas when I make some and take photos as I go along....

Have any of you seen these before? and if so what do you think?

Have a great day and Happy Stitching!

Friday 11 December 2015

Hand Dyed Shaker Threads ... my booty from America!

I'm itching to be stitching!  ~Author Unknown

Looking through my beautiful threads the other day was wonderful and I have to admit to spending far too much time doing so.  In my defence I was not only taking photos but also looking at my design book so that I could match up some threads at the same time in the column at the side, this way when I get around, next year, to be stitching them I have some idea as to how to start.

I have some beautiful colours of embroidery threads I must say and with that kind of choice then I am set for next year.

I have recently bought some beautiful cross stitch patterns for me to stitch for our home and I am really looking forward to doing some of that.  I have decided to incorporate some cross stitch in my embroidery and appliqué  sampler designs next year, I have been inspired buy not only looking at antique samplers but indeed cross stitched monograms on French linen sheets that I have in my stash.....! 

Having spent lots of time resting in bed over the last few weeks, which is not a good place to bring a needle, and with watering eyes mistakes are to readily made, I have as you know been designing.  I am pleased with some of the results and I have
incorporated some old papers and book pages along with some paper maché as well .... I am going to give some of them ago which will be coupled with embroidery as well as fabrics.....

I managed to go to the Sarah Moore Christmas vintage barn sale last weekend and that is it for me this year.  This dreadful cough and infection has taken its toll on me and I have to know when to give in and rest.  So all of my work now is on hold for January and I am getting ready for Christmas.

I have now sorted my beautiful hand dyed shaker embroidery threads out and I have put them into colour ways for you to look at......

Look at those reds ... oh they are beautiful and I
do use an awful lot of that colour.  then there are of course greens, greys, blues, oranges and yellows and browns to name just a rainbow of thread colours.

I have a huge box that is clear with a clip lid but I am thinking of down sizing to smaller ones with all the different
colour ways in them which would be easier for me really.  The really useful boxes stack beautifully and it seems it would be a great solution and also a time saver in a way.

I am very much looking forward to starting my 2016 with better health and much more energy than I have at the moment.  I am looking forward to stitching again and continuing with my magazine work....

I hope you have enjoyed a peak into my thread stash and hope you have a great day and of course as always happy stitching!

Thursday 10 December 2015

Sarah Moore .... Christmas barn sale.

Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, does not come
from a store!

Dr Seuss.

Well I managed to get to Sarah Moore's Christmas barn sale and I am so glad that I did.  I wrapped up warm and off we set to West Sussex on a rather blustery day to be greeted by Sarah and her great enthusiasm and cheerful smile and a roaring open fire with a bench that was outside in the courtyard with blankets and basket of logs.

There were tables outside with tea light lamps and fresh Christmas smelling greenery and as always it look beautiful and welcoming.  You can  tell that lots of artistic thought and work goes into these vintage sales at Sarah's home and all that come are welcome.

The barn was done up in in all its splendour with beautiful and unusual gifts to buy for loved ones and for ones self.  Outside in one of the stables Hector and Fox had set up and they had some amazing Christmas fairy lights made from old shot gun cartridges.... There were beautiful smelling candles ( yes some came home with us) and plants planted into beautiful containers and kissing balls made from tiny cones ... visually and aroma wise your senses were working over time ...

Inside the big beautiful barn at the far left hand end they were all set up for making Christmas wreaths.  There were I believe two classes that day going on and there was baskets of beautiful holly and all sorts of scrummy greenery to make a stunning wreath.

Then as you looked around the barn flowed like one large Christmas shop.  Dressers laid with stunning vintage china and cutlery.  There were beautiful vintage linens and baskets of baubles along side stunning fabrics and makes.  There was something there for everyone and I borrowed a basket and started to wander around looking at all the beautiful things that were displayed for purchase.

It had by now got very busy we were there when it opened at 10am but within 15 minutes or so it was bustling with people all with smiles on their faces and wandering around happily.

The barn had been decorated with lights and greenery and there were tables and dressers that were brimming with Christmas vintage goodies.  

The large barn had a corridor to the side that led to two smaller rooms, one being the pop up Tea Room and the other Sarah's workroom with her own personal stash of vintage fabrics.  Since the last pop up sale they have knocked these spaces into one room and oh my it is beautiful with exposed beams and lots of light.  Stone steps go from one barn to the other and there is also a side door onto this now other barn.  It was laid out as a tea room with beautiful vintage cloths on the tables and cakes under glass domes with piles of vintage china and the smell of coffee.  
Then at the far end was utopia ... shelves of stunning fabrics on display, which are not for sale but indeed for Sarah to create with.  Can you imagine sitting at a table eating home made cake and a cafetiére of fresh coffee and staring at all those lovely fabrics .... it was absolute heaven.

Whilst we were sat having our coffee and cake we met up with some lovely friends B and Julia and had a lovely chat and catch up.  Julia writes a blog and I am going to link it on my homepage here.  This lady is talented to say the least and her writing is warm and funny with facts and help along the way.

It was time then to go back to looking around and getting my final purchases before heading off.  I headed for a table that had to be Sarah,s products with beautiful hand made brooches, bags, cushions, button cards and so much more.

Every time you wandered around you saw something different.  This is the way to Christmas shop with hand made goodies that are not mass produced.  There is care put into each thing made and with lots of soul.  I was very pleased with my purchases and I did buy lots and lots of vintage baubles which I have put into a large glass jar and displayed on the side with a false tea light in the middle which makes all the baubles shine and dance.....
The Christmas wreath class was in full swing and the beautiful smell that permeated throughout the barn was wonderful of all the pine and holly that was being enthusiastically bunched together.

People were taking photos of displays and chatting about the beautiful smell of coffee and cakes that was tempting people to sit and stay a while.

We had a wonderful day and after we left we popped into Arundel to look at the Castle and see there Christmas fair that was going on too......

I am going to leave you with a few more photos and hope that you have a wonderful day today.  I would like to thank Sarah and her family once again for hosting such a great event and everyone else there who makes it all possible.

The pop up Tea Room.

Beautiful vintage glass and china.


Happy Stitching!

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Welcome December and Advent.......

How did it get so late so soon?
It's night before its afternoon!
December is here before its June..
My goodness how the time as flewn!
How did it get so late so soon?...

Dr Seuss.

The above rhyme just about sums up how I feel at the moment the panic is setting in. It is like I have lost 2 months of time and can not catch up and chasing my tail.....

However it is all coming along nicely really.  I am sorting my stitching room so that the bed can be slept in over the Christmas period with out fabrics, pins and needles getting in the way or worse!

I have managed to do lots of Christmas shopping on line without hitting the shops so that has been a blessing as well.

Yesterday I managed to sort the sewing room into some order to be able to make up the bed in the corner and hang a stocking on the bed post so that is more positive.  But when it rains is pours my lovely sewing machine started to play up so I have boxed it up to go to the menders ( under guarantee) and got out my old one, which now seems slow and ancient so that has further scuppered my list.

I am going to be doing lots of hand stitching and piling it up ready to stitch together ( some Christmas stockings) and starting a sampler I think in my little holiday whilst I catch up on chat with my friend.

I have been asked to write a wish list for my Birthday and Christmas so I have been sorting through my threads etc to see if there are any requirements, my family and friends are used to my quirky lists by now but on the positive side it is nice to give a gift that is needed or useful.

Since I have been back from America I have not even sorted through my hand dyed shaker threads ..... yes shows you how ill I have been doesn't it!!! well today that is to be my list tick .. Plus I am going to take photos for you to see the huge pile that I have bought back with me .. grin!

Life here is turning a bit back to normal and I am getting ready the house to decorate for the festive season.  I am not putting out as much this year because we are at a friends for Christmas Day (in fact four days  in Devon) so I actually do not have to do much then but for us Christmas starts when Jo arrives and there is a get together of friends here that weekend and I would like the the lights up outside and the trees up and the stairs decorated along with fire places.... so there's another goal.

Well I must away to sort the shaker threads and I need to go into the paisley drawer .. yes ladies and gents I could be some time.... I have missed my stitching and my fabrics and threads.

Have a great day and Happy Stitching! x