Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Square Boss Stitch

Good Morning All

I have lots to write about for you this week but I am afraid today it is a tutorial as I have had a phone call and must trundle off to my Mum today.

This is a great tutorial and I had not heard of the Square Boss Stitch before! Have any of you?

Enjoy this today and I will be back on Thursday, I still have a show and tell from Cowslip and there will be some writings on some vintage fairs in the next week too.

Lots more reporting before I take my Annual Christmas break which this year will start on Dec 16th ( that will be my last post of 2016) until I return back on Monday January 9th 2017 apart from my Christmas Eve hello and Happy New Year blog....

This is a great little tutorial so enjoy and I personally think this such a pretty and neat little stitch, I would  love to know your thoughts on it too.

Have a great Day and Happy Stitching! XX

Monday, 28 November 2016

Stitchery Book review ... 'Tis the Season for gifts fa la la la la la

The excellence of a gift lies
in it's appropriateness rather 
than its value.

The above statement I believe to be so very true, its not what is spent on someone but finding something that is unique to them.  Their favourite bubble bath, a pretty bundle of fabrics which to create or even a book you know they would love.   The book I have just bought for myself is one such book for lots of us stitcher's and creators out there.  This is not on my Christmas list this year because I wanted to buy two books to review for you all and this is the first one.  It is called Slow Stitch by Claire Wellesley - Smith and it says  its a mindful and contemplative textile art book.... How very delicious! When you open the book up there is a little write up but I am going to repeat for you the first paragraph ' The speed of life in the 21st Century can be overwhelming but taking a calmer, more measured approach to the creative process can help you find new joy in the experience of making - and to produce textile art that it personal, sustainable and beautiful.'

This book is a page turner and you will not regret either buying yourself this as a treat or indeed asking for it as a gift for Christmas for yourself or buying it for a stitcher in your life.  Who ever gets this book will adore it I can promise you.  It is under £20 on Amazon ( Around £16)

There are four parts to its contents:

Part One .... Slow

Part Two ... Materials and Techniques

Part Three .. Cross-cultural activity

Part Four ... Contemplative 

Then there is a fabulous introduction and a piece called about me, which is about the lady who wrote it .... 

I have to be very careful to give you a great taster but not to spoil it for you so I will only show you three photos and I will skim around the book a little.  This is not a particularly a project book but indeed an ideas and encouraging you to think about designs, textures, resources and sustainability.  There is a little on natural dyeing which I have covered on here before a few years ago.

Hand stitching and rhythms and developing your stitches and exploring  the processes.  Kantha stitch strangely enough along with fabric exploration of layers of fabrics as well all things that I have touched on but there are always more things to learn for us all.

I have started reading this book instead of my reading book the past couple of nights because, firstly I can not put it down but also I wanted to be able to do this little review for you because this book is fabulous.  There is talk of using what you have to hand, what is the essential tools in her opinion and of course sourcing
and buying what you feel you need and starting a collection for your creating and stitching.

There are guest designer and stitchers in this book with some of their work and I am particularly taken with Lotta Hellebergs work with  leaves and vintage fabrics with patchwork detail.  This book is creative and makes you want to go explore what materials you have and do your own piece of fabric art.  As she say life is in the fast lane these days and this a calming a wonderful past time which can be done from a armchair and your imagination can take you to great creative heights ...

I can not recommend this book more highly and its not only got beautiful photography ( after all stitching is a very visual thing and we love to see beautiful things do we not?) it is also very informative and a great read.

So get writing your Christmas wish lists ladies because this is a book for you vintage stitchery lovers!

Have a wonderful day and Happy Stitching! XX

Saturday, 26 November 2016

How to make a toothbrush rug

Happy Weekend!

This is a great little tutorial and the rug is made from old sheets, my idea is to use vintage linen sheet and of course lengths of vintage fabrics.  It is really made from fashioning an old toothbrush as well!
I know!

Well have a watch of this taking some notes and with a warm drink and enjoy ,,,, I really want to have a go at this sometime and I have written down lots of notes.

Have a great weekend.

Happy Stitching! XX

Friday, 25 November 2016

Do you love English Paper Piecing ?! .. It just got easier.

The art of English Paper Piecing
made so easy and beautifully
plump and smooth.

Whilst at Cowslip Christmas Fair I found this lovely couple called Suzi and Colin who own Ashmead Designs.  They have come up with an easier way of English Paper Piecing because what they have come up with is the paper pieces not being paper anymore but a sort of fabric paper that you can leave inside your work, let me tell you all about it in their words .....

We are a small Company based in Devon with a passion for English Paper Piecing - namely Hexagons.

We have developed a new method for doing EPP that is quick and easy to use.  The unique construction of the templates that we use, instead of paper, means that they are fully washable.  The templates are left in to give the fabric a plump, luxurious effect.  We have called our templates 'Hexiforms'.

Our aim is to introduce English Paper Piecing to a wider sewing audience, people who would like to try  EPP but are put off by all the preparation needed for a project the size of a bed quilt.

Our Range starts with Hexiform Sheets 50cm x50cm and packs of pre cut hexagons -Hexiform Blanks and extends through to a wide
range of projects, for example; pillows and cushions for home décor - bags and purses for every occasion - fun soft balls for all play  and wedding ranges and ring pillows. There are kits for Christmas tree decorations too.

Full Kits ....  Everything is supplied: Hexiforms ( all cut to shape), Fabrics ( all pre-cut hexagons and again cut to shape) Wadding ( not needed in ball kits) quilt panel backing ( for pillow and cushions), freezer paper and full, easily understood instructions.

Basic Kits .... Again everything supplied apart from fabrics.  The pack contains Hexiforms ( all cut to shape ) wadding (if needed), quilt panel backing ( for pillows and cushions), freezer paper, full and easily understood instructions and a 'Hexagon template sheet' for cutting/quantity information.

Whilst talking to Suzi she show me a sample of a cushion .. half made with the paper method and half with Hexiform method.  The difference was vast in the fact that the side made of Hexiforms was stiffer and more plump and the one with the traditional method was indeed softer and not as plump.  I personally feel both have a place in our stitching depending on the make. That said I would personally use Hexiforms for most of what I stitch.  If I wanted some hexagon patchwork on a skirt for example I would use them because they always would look ironed and flat.   Suzi told me they are fully washable and do not scrunch up and ball in the wash and they look so clean cut and smooth they are simply amazing!

But here is the thing there are not just hexagons of all different sizes there are diamonds, squares, jewels, skinny hexagons and so many more.

So let me tell you some prices.  For pre cut hexiform hexagons  for a pack size 60.

1/4" -     £2
3/4" -     £3
1" -        £5
1 1/4" - £7
1 1/2" - £9
1 3/4" - £12
2" -       £15

The above is just some of the prices but do get in touch or look on their web page. details to follow.

I bought some hexiforms to try and I bought two packs so when I use them I will show you what I have done.  It may well be some decoration for that antique linen skirt I bought I have not decided yet but I will be using them and was very taken as to the quality and thought that has gone into this fabulous product.

There is so much to say about this product and so many kits or just packs of different shape Hexiforms that I have barely touched on it.  So if you are intrigued or would like to buy from Suzi and Colin Argent then here are their contact details for you to do just that.

Web:  www.ashmeaddesigns.com
Face Book:  Ashmead Designs
Email:  designs@ashmead.com
Mobile:  07890 584386

Ashmead Designs
EX21 5DA

Do get in touch with this lovely couple and see what products would suit you.  If you would like to buy just the hexiforms you can or indeed a kit.  What a fabulous Christmas gift a kit would make for a stitcher in your life.  The bag kit is particularly lovely I think  so just get in touch and look on their websites at their fabulous kits with all you need to make, even the fabric.

Well I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and do not forget to come back here for a great tutorial tomorrow morning ...

Happy Stitching! XX

Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Cowslip Christmas Fair .... Part Two.

Cowslip the home of the quilt.

I have to say if you have never been to this three day event then it is worth the effort of finding somewhere to stay over and attend because there is so much there for people who love Vintage and
for people who love quilting as well, not only with vintage fabrics but with new fabrics as well.  You can buy everything you need to make and complete a quilt with not only fabrics but tools, thread and so much more.  There a whole quilt packs so you have everything that you need in them.  The cafe and the shop is open all the year except for certain dates and bank holiday ( see the web site for details, search google Cowslip Workshops)

Well as I said we went for a few hours on the Friday evening and the atmosphere was wonderful with Carol singers and sparkling lights and candles.

The next day we went back for a daylight look and for me to look properly in the very well stock quilt and fabric shop that is on site.  Busy is not the word for it but its all part of the charm and the atmosphere.  I decided to go to the shop first in the morning before going around the barns again.  There were around 4 ladies in there to help you if you needed it and they were busy cutting lengths of stunning fabrics and I must
say Nicki I kept thinking of you as I was going around.  It must be one of the best stocked fabric and quilting shops that I have ever seen.

The shop is beautiful with so many fabrics, wadding, tools, threads and packs to choose from with quilts hanging around to add to it all.  You have to walk around several times because you will miss things first time as there is so much to see,  The ladies working in there over the event were knowledgeable and so very helpful too.

As you were looking you could see colour coordination and the shop basically blended in waves of stunning colours and patterns.  Wadding was in rolls and stacked up right along with some gorgeous ticking on the roll. I felt that if what you wanted was not in this shop then it was not manufactured because the choices were vast and it was such a lovely experience.

I spent some time in here looking and snapping away photos, whilst dogging people so as not to obscure the fabrics for you all to see.  If you had seen how many people were in here you would pat my back!  They were lovely and moved aside for a quick photo shoot from me ....

I bought some ticking fabric for a lap quilt that I want to make or get someone to make for me depending on how my
time goes, and at the moment I have very little.  If I have not started it by January then I might be calling upon a very talented lady who made me a paisley quilt.  I have all the fabrics so I will see if I can persuade her ... Miss Nicki x

I went in and out of the shop several times through the day to look at all the fabrics and the patterns and colours of the fabrics but it was time to go over to the main barn to take some photos that I needed to take in the daylight.  As I walked across I could smell a B B Q and there was a sign saying that there was a B B Q this way .. just follow your nose!  and some people were walking along sniffing the air.

Entering the big barn witch was decorated with lights and Chinese lanterns across the ceiling and quilts hanging on the walls, you could hear chatter and laughter and it was indeed very busy.  The stalls had re stocked from the day before and people were wandering around with bags and baskets with their found treasures in.

I headed to Teresa Dunne Textile Artist with some beautiful dresses made of fabrics and pictures.  I was talking to Teresa for quite a while and we were discussing how long things take
to design and make.  I had told her I had made a small dress from vintage fabrics earlier this year and that I was really proud as I am not a clothes maker at all.  I am not sure if I tried to follow a pattern it would turn out right.  I had just cut the fabrics out and made a little dress ( well it is about 16 inches long) and I had stitched it all together and gathered the waist etc.  She was saying about how she went about things and also how she loved the back of her work even more sometimes that the front.  Teresa also is a beautiful embroiderer too and she said that the back of her work made such a pretty pattern that she loved so much.  So much so that when she can get hold of the antique glass frames that show the back as well, she loves putting her work in them. I had seen her work the evening before but felt that her work needed light for the photographs to do it justice .....

Moving along I found Bee and Ivy This lady sold wool, not just any wool but from her own flock witch she then collected and washed, combed, natural dyed and spun ... The colours of this stall
made you stop and just stare.  I love colours that are a bit different in shading and this is what this lady had achieved.  With some beautiful wool.  I can knit a little but I am not a knitter but I really wanted to buy some of this.  I did refrain because I just did not know when I would get around to it with everything else that is going on in my life but I took a card because when my Mum is finally settled next year I will have my time back to create more than I am now and I would love to knit something with this wool.  I am a very basic knitter but maybe a knitted patchwork blanket would be in order with some fabulous colours from this collection.

The Stitching Post was next and there was some really lovely Christmas fabrics there along with packs with everything you needed to complete a project from napkin holders to Christmas ornaments. People who love to make quilts as well would have done well here with fat quarters of fabrics both in bundles and separately for you to buy.

There were little felt Christmas ornaments and also little packs for you to buy and take home and make if that was what you wanted to do.

Cotehele Mill Pottery was one of my personal favourites because as you know I adore
Hares and Zane who is the maker must love them too because he made some great tiles with them on. You will see what I bought in the show and tell next week of course but I took photos at night because of the candle holders he had made and they were all twinkling away in the evening.

This talented man made owl candle holders, tiles and coasters among other things and I went back twice to buy some things.  The tiles you can hang on a wall because they have a hanging hole at the back for a hook.   I will say I bought three tiles and a coaster for my sewing room because, yes you guessed it there was a hare on it and it had to be done!

Textured Tana was selling packs of William Morris design fabrics and of course this was Liberties fabrics.  I thought of you again Nicki and I know you would have picked up something here.  It was beautifully set out and as I say there were packs of fabrics enough for great projects or quilts.  There were packs with instructions to make say a cushion and all sorts of fabric goodies to be had ...

Now I have to say in a little barn there all cosy was a man selling antique bottles and pottery and I did blog so I can add it to his pictures .....  Just have a look at this Aladdin's Cave of treasure!
buy a few.  He wrapped them for me beautifully we had a chat and a huge laugh.  He helped me and was thoroughly lovely.  I can not for the life of me find a card for him and it is a great sadness to not be able to name this business and also for me to get in touch again.  If anyone out there reading this knows the name please leave a message on this

Can you see why this was such an amazing display of good condition bottles and jars ... so please if you were there and know who this lovely chap was let me know so I can add his name here.  Thank You!

So add on ... Sue of Vintage to Victorian has come up trumps for the Bottle Man .. It is Richard Westacott - Jones and his number is 07734434081  Thank you Sue, once more to my rescue! X

Well that is it from Cowslip Christmas Fair and I hope that you enjoyed your virtual tours of such a
wonderful place.  Cowslip is open for courses take both by Jo and by guest teachers with different skill sets.  I know that Mandy Shaw was there taking a course around a week ago and of course the lovely and talented Sarah Perry takes embroidery lessons there as well to name but two.  If you go to the Cowslip web page you will find a list of courses and events for your diaries.

I hope you have enjoyed today's blog and sorry it is a little late .....

Have a wonderful day and as always Happy Stitching! X .. I hope you have been inspired to create.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Cowslip Christmas Fair..... Part One

Love in every stitch
and quilted with care and love.
Cowslip the home of the quilt.

As you all know I went to Cornwall for the weekend and for the first time ever attended the Cowslip Christmas Fair.  For those of you that have been and for those of you that have not this is a tip of
what was there and this wonderful working farm.  The weather was not kind to anyone at the weekend and the rain was monumental which meant mud.  We parked in the field because we have a 4x4 but others did get stuck and the tractor was set to and pulling out.  There was a park and ride and some people with tiny cars were directed there.  They had straw down in the field to help with traction and everything possible had been thought of.  On the Friday this was the late night until 8pm where they had Carol singers in the large barn and also their on site Cafe was open for soups and stew, drinks and cakes among other things. So to get an idea of both evening and day we went along for a few hours on Friday evening and we attended on the Saturday as well to see it all in daylight, This is a three day event and the opening times have been well thought for ease on peoples busy lives.

The rain and the mud did nothing to dampen the Christmas spirit here, with twinkling lights
everywhere,  and everywhere you walked it was Christmas.  Jo and her team made sure there were beautiful quilts hanging in the barn and in their own fabric and quilt shop for people to see and every nook had been filled with a Christmas something it really was stunning.

I was not sure where to start as there was not only the big barn with exhibitors but there were little barns with people in as well.  Willow Workshops was there and making beautiful animals from willow.  Horses, Hares, Owls, Deer  and so much more.  There were also plants for sale along with some beautiful lights for sale that you put candles in.

In the main barn as you walked in it was busy and all around hung really beautiful quilts on the barn
walls.  Firstly I spied Donna Flower who was set up and as usual her display was beautiful and Donna and her beautiful smile was there to greet people.

The display was packed with gorgeous buttons, threads, ribbons, fabrics, patchwork pieces along with antique Christmas baubles and a most beautiful old tin with a robin on it......

Next door it was a happy surprise because Christine of The Sea Garden was there with her stunning makes along with some beautiful inspiration packs and lace, buttons and a beautiful display as always.

I had a wonderful time here truffling through all these beautiful treasures and Christine and I have a mutual love of antique bits of patchwork and sufflolk puffs as well ... It is always lovely to see this lady and have a quick catch up....

There was a very cute vintage teddy sat there too!

Then I happened upon the very talented Sarah Perry and her stunning embroidery.  Sarah, if you have never seen her work before, does stunning 3D animal embroidery and they are so life like you need to double take.  Sarah also has a china range out with pictures of her work on mugs and I am lucky enough to have a robin mug on my dresser at home!  Sarah had a little sale going on here at the weekend because she has just signed to do a series of greetings cards and is making room in her sewing studio to be able to house them all.  You can go direct to Sarah Perry Designs or indeed she sells on madebyhandonline.com as well.  I have one of Sarah's designs at home hung in my hall way witch instead of being frames is a wall hanging

on a very old hanger and I love it.

Next door to Sarah was Caroline Zoob and Caroline had lots of Christmas decorations that were twinkling with the light from all the candles lit around them.  This display screamed Christmas and the candles smelt gorgeous too.

With green foliage and Christmas smells from candles this was such an amazing display...

It had been busy at Cowslip all day apparently and when we got there around 4pm it was getting dark
and it had a little lull with people going home and others arriving and it had thinned out a little so I was able to run around and take some great photos but within 15 minutes people had begun coming in for the evening as it was open until 8pm.  The Carol singers were singing away and it was very festive indeed.  Donna had found me wandering around and took me to see a lady who made really lovely Christmas decorations from china clay as well as labels for the kitchen.  Have a little look at some of these ...

Sarah Jayne's Ceramics and I have to say I may have come home with a few little bits!

Wanting a warm drink at this point we went along to the Cowslip Cafe that is there all the year not just for events such as these. I was really amazed at how lovely it was and how very popular as people had pre booked tables to be able to have an evening meal there. There was one quilt in there that caught my eye and I really could not take my eye off of it at all. It depicts World War I and it is stunning just take a look at this.

It was hung in a corner with a cosy table and benches to sit on with cushions.  It is a work of art and so beautifully done... I fell in love.  I think the not only the work that has gone into this outstanding quilt but the colours too,  What a tribute to those who fought and the brave soldiers and animals that lost their lives ....

In addition to this there were quilts everywhere you looked and in the barn as well as their own fabric and quilting shop that is there and open all the year.  I had to take some more photos of the Cowslip quilts and here is a little taster for you.

The talent and the time it has taken to make these beauties ...

There was also a quilt that was the prize in the raffle in aid of Alzheimer's and that being very close to my hear my husband bought us some tickets.  Have a little look at this beautiful piece of stitchery  that some lucky winner will be taking home with them.
They were selling tickets and had beautiful displays around them with also some of the great things that are in their shop as well to buy.  It seemed everywhere you looked there was beauty from quilts to the talent that was there stalling.

The prize quilt is beautiful and a good king size in the flesh as it were and the work that has gone into this quilt and the hours it must have taken and I hope that it raised lots of money for this worth while cause .....

Moving on there was a great stall with hand made boxes called Yours to Keep and they really were wonderful.  There were Christmas boxes of course but also boxes for treasures and keepsakes as well with little poems and rhymes on them too,  Stationery for all ages ...  I love stationery and boxes to put things in, its a particular favourite of mine.

Boxes for champagne and boxes for birth and  marriage certificates as well  these were absolutely lovely.

Have a look at this as well now I am not going to say too much because I will be doing a blog on this couples business because it is such a great idea.  This is Ashmead Designs and they have developed a
fabric to use in English paper piecing and it is outstanding and what an idea!

Take a little look at some photos for now and I will be letting you know all about it and how to contact them to buy some for yourself.  The quilters out there reading this will be over the moon.

This is not only the home of the hexagon but every shape imaginable ..... so watch this space later in the week.

Well there was so much to see and do that I have had to make this into two parts so please come back for part two, you will not be disappointed at all and there is so much more to see.

I hope you have had nice time so far and keep warm and dry today because I think we are in for some more rain, can you believe it.

Have a wonderful day and Happy Stitching!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Meet The Maker: Jo Colwill ...Cowslip Farm.

Good Morning!

This will be my last blog post until Tuesday 22nd of November as I am off to Cornwall to the Cowslip Christmas fair.  Where I am staying there is limited Wi Fi (if any) so I have decided not to take the chance of not letting you know in advance and stressing over blogging whilst there.

I am very much looking forward to this event which has been running for over 15 years I have been told, although it has grown in size and popularity over the years it is still a family run event and was, I suppose, made more famous when Kirsty Allsopp televised a Christmas craft programme about
Cowslip and its Christmas Fair event.

So today I am going to share with you a video about Jo Colwill who lives at Cowslip Farm and also teaches quilting and patchwork workshops here as well as hosts several Fairs each year. (Picture taken from Google from Cowslip photos - this is NOT my work)

Never have I managed to be at one these, and this all about to change, as I am going to the whole event to take pictures, report and take the odd video myself as well as do a spot of Christmas shopping myself.  I know that Donna Flower will be stalling this weekend as will Caroline Zoob and the very talented Sarah Perry but that is all I know at the moment as I wanted to be surprised myself as to whom I may meet.

Friday evening is the late night with twinkling lights so I will be reporting on that too.  I have packed plenty of warm woollies, gloves etc and I have to say I am very excited indeed. We are staying in a little cottage and I have packed my hot water bottle too as at the moment I am feeling the cold something shocking ...

I really hope you watch this amazing video which is a little under 15 minutes and its worth enjoying it with a warm drink in hand like I did ...

Well I best be going with lots of things to do ... If anyone reading this is going to Cowslip this weekend please do say hello if you see me dashing around.  I will see you back here next Tuesday and will be reporting on what will surely be a fabulous Christmas fair event ... lots of photos, a show and tell and hopefully a great little video for you to watch!

Happy watching and Happy Stitching! XX

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Winter stitching ...

When feeling low its time to sew!
So a very close friend said to me yesterday.....

Life can be cruel and for families like mine going through a loved one with Alzheimer's it is not easy, especially with such a cruel decease like this one.  Decisions we do not want to face, in the end have to be.  So with such a terrible weekend with Mum that my sister had with her and neighbours we have decided its time for a home for her.  Yesterday was action stations to go look at suitable and lovely homes ( the prices are outrageous by the way) but still the home has been chosen.
There is a few weeks of preparation for us to go through and luckily a friend is having my mums little dog who has suffered a little over the past few weeks with not as much care and walks that is needed.  So I just wanted to let you all know that until after Christmas my blogs may be a bit sketchy in the fact that I may have to drop what I am doing and sort some things out.  Once my mum  is settled then it will be a lot easier and she will not be as scared either, bless her.

I have a mound of Winter stitching and can not wait to be able to sit and stitch with ease, at the moment I am like a cat on a hot tin roof with phone calls and worry so it will be a good thing all round.

Having several weekends away with vintage fairs as well, including this coming weekend I am in Cornwall for the Cowslip fair so we have had to get extra help on standby but hope we can get mum settled before then ... Its a possibility anyway.  I will be able to take stitching with me and sit with her which will be calmer for all concerned too.

I am excited about going to the fair at Cowslip as I have never been before so this is a big first for me and I intend to take lots of photos and possibly a little video of the event to report on for you next Tuesday as we are not heading back until Monday and with no signals really in that area and a bit hit and miss it is best.  I have a little list of some things and want to find some fabulous photo frames for old photos over the next few fairs ......

I have a little shopping list for my skirt project as well as I had a little doodle on some paper and had some fresh ideas,  I know its not a ball gown to meet the Queen in but I do want it to special and something I will love to wear for a long time so I am careful not to stitch too much before I am absolutely sure.  What I do know and will not change my mind on is the vintage fabric frill I showed you and the different buttons to close the split at the side of the skirt when the draw string is fastened.  If not there would be a gap from tied waist to top of my legs!!! down one side so I think the buttons rather than poppers are a lovely decoration as well as practical.

Antique patchwork squares are wanting stitching their saying in and some buttons stitched on and two other pieces need completing too so I have to get going.  The weather has turned so cold, at least I am freezing at the moment so its log fires and log burner season and the baskets have been filled with logs and the coal hods are full too.  There is nothing like sitting by the fire all cosy and stitching or reading a book later in the evening ...

Today I have the day at home to sort through some things and also sit and stitch as I have only a few day until Cornwall ... I will be packing to go and popping my list in but also having some stitching time too and going over to Mums this week to sit with her and stitch possibly as I will not be able to pop in over the weekend.

I think I may have a stitchery book review for you all coming up as well, just awaiting its arrival and as its that time of year when loved ones are looking for gifts for one another its probably perfect timing for lots of you because of your love of stitchery.....

Have a wonderful day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Monday, 14 November 2016

Good Morning!

Good Morning All

So sorry this is a little late this morning but some things had to be sorted with my Mum and I have
such a lot to do for her today. There has been a turning point and that I was away at the weekend as well has not helped.  So lots has to be sorted today so please forgive me this unexpected day off from my work.

Apologies to you all and I will be back tomorrow.

Happy Stitching! XX

Saturday, 12 November 2016


Good Morning All

This is just a very short video today because I wanted to show you these gorgeous Georgian little
books with stitchery.

The guy who, is trying to sell them, is not the greatest commentator - that said its because of these exquisite little books that I am sharing this less than a minute video.

Take a look at these 1802 beauties .... Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Happy Stitching! XX

Friday, 11 November 2016

Button Love ....

Buttons & Threads with cold winds blowing
My day is not complete unless I am sewing!

Well today is a strange one as I am not working all day but indeed heading to friends this afternoon and very much looking forward to the rest.

My husband and our friends husband are off to a classic car show on Saturday which is fabulous because as you know my husband goes to all the vintage fairs with me and this Saturday it is all about
what he loves ... and it is well deserved I can tell you.  I am taking a book I am reading and some stitching as it is going to be a relaxing one for us ladies.. If we want to go out we will, if it is blowing a hoolie we can stay in by the open fire and chat catch up or indeed sit and do our own thing but in each others company ... You know then when you are with a good friend when that is easy to do!

Yesterday when I was sorting my project baskets I had to go into my button drawer and I have to say I have some beauties ......

Collecting over several years and all for use I may add, I could not but help take some photos for you to look at whilst I was admiring the beauty that is antique carved mother of pearl ..

I actually have six of these flower buttons and they really are stunners  In fact I love the stars and hearts too and can not chose a favourite as it is impossible to do for me!

When I buy mother of pearl buttons I do clean them ( this is another one of those ' two camps' of thoughts thing) I use a very mild detergent - in fact it is the rose and cedar washing liquid I use to was my vintage fabrics and quilts.  I put in about a five pence piece amount to a half filled butler sink full of warm water and swish it about to make a mild cleaner.

Then I take each button separately and with a clean cloth I wipe over each button and they all get a
clean non detergent wipe over with warm water before I dry each one.  It brings back their lustre and makes them shine! .. its the magpie in me, what can I say!

These antique mother of pearl doves are amongst my most precious and they are used in either baby or Christmas samplers amongst other bits that I have designed.  I bought eight, which was the whole vintage hoard that a lady in the States had after clearing a very old haberdashery stash of her mothers ... the stars and hearts came from her as well and I am so glad I bought them.

It is a pleasure for me to get them out and photograph them .. one day I must get all my unusual one out and take photos of them all for you to look at.  I equally love the plain mother of pearl buttons and when they are stitched together in say a heart shape they look magnificent, and as any magpie will tell you they shine like treasure when the light catches them.

One of these beauties (doves) is going to be used in a commission sampler piece which is for a family Christmas heirloom picture, I have stitched one onto our Christmas sampler picture as well, this is unusual for me to stitch any button on to anything until it is finished but I just had to in this case ...

Well I really must away as lots to do before lunchtime, although I am packed ;; hooray!

Have a fabulous weekend and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Stitching mends the soul ....

Personal Project Love!

Do you remember back in the late Summer ( go on cast you mind back to warm weather) I bought a vintage skirt from Beyond France and I then sent it to my dry cleaners to let Donald do his magic? Well it came back whiter than white and now it is time to pimp it .....

I bought about 3 meters of vintage fabric which at one point was a frill on something and is all ready
gathered and hemmed as well so I am thinking of stitching some of this onto said skirt near the bottom, just above the vintage lace...

Then I found some gorgeous vintage red and white  plaid like fabric which I would like to incorporate somehow along with some embroidery and embellishment to make a vintage unique piece of clothing for myself.  The beautiful fabric  will be lower than pictured, I have decided so that you can just see the lace poking out at the bottom.

I am thinking a little patch of patchwork on the back so that it looks like its patched and of course
some design darning in a heart shape as well.  I need to get a pencil and paper out to sort of design it.  The one thing I know for sure is I am going to stitch the fabric to the bottom of the skirt first and then hang it up and look at it for a day or two!
I am not a dress maker by anyway shape or form so having bought the skirt which is a drawer string top I am able to almost flatten the skirt out for the stitching of the fabric frill which will be easier to add it to a finished piece.

In addition from the draw string waist there is about 12 inches which is not stitched together to help step into the skirt and I am thinking of making some buttons for this skirt, each one different and putting in button holes so there is no permanent gap at the side .....

I also would like to add some of this fabric ribbon to it and possibly that will be a covered fabric button. I like the red and lemon floral fabric and love the other two fabrics as well so they could all be different button fabrics, but one button I am going to cover in vintage linen that I have embroidered, that I have made up my mind about....

This is going to be great fun doing and I hope to spend a few days on it to get it finished when I start it.....

I have my pins and scissors out as you can see and I have now folded it all in a basket to start it in a few weeks time.  I am rather busy at the moment doing a magazine piece and a last minute commission that I just could not say no too! ....

I am off to friends this weekend and the following weekend I am in Cornwall for four days as I am attending the Cowslip Christmas fair.... I may well take the buttons with me for my little bit of stitching whilst away project ... I will see.

To think when I bought this skirt it was almost grey in colour but it has come up beautifully and therefore it just needs my personalised touches.  I can not wait to get it done and wear it next year at vintage fairs.

Anyway that is it for today as I really must be getting on, I also have a meeting with helping hand nurses this morning for my Mum so it is a busy day and I have so much stitching to be getting on with.  Hopefully this meeting will result in me not having to be on call so much with these dedicated team we are putting together who specialise in this field of care for people like my Mum.

Have a great day all and as always Happy Stitching! XX  .. what are your thoughts on this skirt project?

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Show and Tell from The Vintage Bazaar! ... My Treasures ..

Forget pieces of eight!
Vintage treasure is the best....

Well as you know I went to the Vintage Bazaar on Saturday 29th October in Frome and as reported it was one of the best I had been to with such a fabulous atmosphere and friendly with lots of laughter.   In addition there was treasure abound!!

There were goodies as far as the eye could see and in no particular order at at the first things to show you were from Donna Flower Vintage and I bought some most gorgeous fabrics and a stunner of a spool reel which moves full circle.  I loved the wood on it and will put a vintage reel of thread on
there every so often ... it is a keeper for me.
The fabrics are all about a fat quarter size and are really beautiful colours and with just the right size pattern for me to work with for my designs.  If a pattern is too big and bold it is lost when cut up for smaller appliqué work and just looks like a blur.

Then the other thing that I bought was a WWII silk escape map!  Oh it is lovely and it is something I believe my own Grandfather would have had on him as a paratrooper in WWII jumping from planes.  Not this one as he was not in Asia at all but in France mainly and at Arnhem ...which is where my very brave Grandad lost his leg and I was always curious as to why one of his legs sounded like tin when I was tiny ....

MI9 and Clayton Hutton and silk escape maps....

 The history of the production of cloth maps by the British during World War II begins with the story an British Army intelligence officer in 1939.
of Clayton Hutton, an Englishman who was a pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War I.  He was not a career military man, but instead had lived a rather varied and colourful life with experience in journalism as an employee of the Daily Chronicle, followed by a stint as a publicity director in the film industry.  Upon the eve of Britain's entrance into World War II, Hutton was determined to serve in the uniform of his country again.  He applied for service in the Royal Air Force but was rejected.  He managed, however, with great persistence to land a job as
 Secrecy of Maps
        Hutton's memoirs reveal an impish decision by Hutton to classify the maps secret.  Although identical Bartholomew cycling maps were on sale in numerous stores throughout the United Kingdom, Hutton chose to mark his initial silk maps "Most Secret."  According to Hutton, one day two police detectives visited him investigating one of Hutton's silk maps of Germany marked Most Secret.  One of the detectives had confiscated a silk map from a young RAF pilot in a pub after the detective saw the man take the map out of his pocket and hand it to his girlfriend who used it as a headscarf as they departed the pub.  The detectives were rightfully concerned because of the Most Secret marking displayed on the map.  Hutton took one of the detectives to a Fleet Street stationer?s store in which identical Bartholomew cycling maps were openly on display.  Apparently, this cleared up the matter and the young flyer  was let off with a lecture regarding security mindfulness      Perhaps because of this incident, subsequent maps no longer carried such a legend although they were still considered restricted items.  Hutton also alleges that to maintain secrecy, he referred to his silk maps as "eggs and bacon" when he submitted his expense invoices to the Treasury for payment. 
        Even though the markings were changed and a large number of cloth maps were distributed during the war, MI 9 was quite possessive of  its maps as the following reveals.  In February 1945, the American Military Air Attach? in Madrid, Spain, requested that MIS-X send 50 copies of the British cloth map sheets K3 (Spain) and H2 (North Africa) for issue to the officers of the Spanish Air Force.  MI 9 denied the request stating that it was MI 9 policy to issue the cloth escape maps only to British and American forces.
That is just a little bit of what I found out about them on google because I wanted to learn more .... 
What am I going to do with my silk map? I am honestly not sure yet but one thing is for sure it is a lovely piece of history to treasure indeed.

Moving along I bought some beautiful ribbons from Hannah Whyman and have added them to my little collection of them that I have now.  I have used some of them but some I would like to do some little bits of hand embroidery on to embellish with as well on some of my future work ...

Then from Jane of Kiss the book who not only sells beautiful vintage books tied with vintage ribbons in stacks of colours, also does crafter packs as she calls them.  Bundles of vintage book plates and

book pages and delicious vintage ephemera and there was this stunning pack with hand drawn pictures on hand written menu cards and they are really beautiful ... I could not resist and they have come home with me to decide what to do with them to preserve them.  They are too wonderful to cut up and so my first thoughts for them is to be framed and hung in the dinning room because the art work and the penmanship in these are just outstanding and I hope if you are reading this Jane, you will agree and approve.  The silhouette type art work is really very beautiful with different poses and characters.

Run Rabbit Retro stall that I spoke about with lots of great vintage goodies on it had this little chap
that had a jumper on that had been felted from a vintage jumper and then put on him.  He was so charming and very happy looking that I really felt he needed a good home.  He is now in one of our guest bedrooms and happily looking out of of the window from where he is but not in full sunlight to fade his rather dapper attire! red bow tie and all ....

Now Clare of Daisy Darling had so many treasures on her beautiful stall that it was a little difficult to
choose but I settled for some great Christmas goodies mainly.  So I started with one of her Christmas candles for the kitchen with a most gorgeous smell in a rather beautiful small glass vintage jelly mould.  The smell is of Oranges and cloves basically and just what a Christmas/Winter kitchen should smell of.  That is when you are not cooking.  The other day I made two Christmas cakes, mincemeat and pear and ginger chutney with pears from our garden.  Also some Christmas fruits drenched in Brandy until they doubled in size in jars as a side to Christmas panacotta's ..... Then the kitchen, well the house smelt like it was that time of year.

 When you are not cooking it is lovely to have a rather wonderful smelling candle burning brightly on the dresser .... ( yes I can not help it I have turned all festive)
Then I could not resist these wonderful Christmas trees made from Vintage Christmas tree head decorations but given a little stitchery twist with vintage cotton reels as there stands and a vintage glass button stitched to the top which seems to twinkle in the light.  I bought, as you can see two small and one larger one.  I adore them and they will go somewhere on the mantelpiece in either room ( to be decided) but can you blame me for loving these ....

Then the final two purchases from Clare was a beautiful piece of vintage paisley fabric ( shocker!) and a lovely vintage eiderdown with a few flaws and I am deciding whether or not it is bad enough to unpick for fabric .. I have one already to do that is a mess with stitching coming undone and feathers leaking but this one is not quite as bad, that said if it can not be saved for purpose then the best thing is do exactly the same and salvage gorgeous fabric .... some for me and some to sell on ..   You can see the piece of paisley I bought in the top left picture and the other shots are of the vintage eiderdown and the fabric that could be harvested ....

My final purchase of the day was by no means the least two stunning vintage bottles from Emma of Little Wren Vintage and I thought they looked like ink bottles ( they are not but..) anyway that is now
what they will be used for.  Calligraphy bottles of ink when writing my Christmas cards probably.  Pictured with my dipping calligraphy feather pen they look most charming even before they are used for the purpose that I bought them for...... It looks like a scene from Dickens on my desk with sealing wax and stamps ready to start my Christmas card writing and letters that go with so many of these to friends abroad .....

Well that is it they are all my treasures from the Vintage Bazaar the other Saturday and I am thrilled with my purchases as you can see.  Off now to my stitching and I hope you all have a enjoyed a little peek at my purchases  I hope you all have a wonderful day and are keeping warm as it has turned so very cold now.  Open fire season has started in earnest here now.
I will see you all back here on Thursdays, until then Happy Stitching! XX