Friday, 18 August 2017

That Friday feeling ..

Slow stitches make pretty
artistic fabric art. Embroidery
& vintage buttons finish a piece ...

I am loving my hand stitching and being back this week but today is going to be a challenge because I am so excited about a few things, firstly we are off to the beautiful Cotswolds to the vintage fair at Toddington this weekend and out with friends in the evening it is going to be such a beautiful weekend and to catch up with such wonderful like minded people is the cherry on top! The fair is at Toddington but we are out for a meal in the most picturesque town of Broadway.  We did this last year and it was such fun we decided, lets to it again.

The second thing is we have decided to go back to America for our holiday this year we need the break so we are going to book our flights and go for 20 days ..... Meet up with our friends over there and generally have a total relax!  I am excited to the point my tummy is doing little butterfly movements all the time and the smile will not come off of my face!

We have a friend to house sit which is fabulous and so our birds will get fed and watered.  This year we were not worried about hanging baskets or flowers because my husband put in an irrigation system so everything gets watered three times a day and it is really fantastic.

I will be doing a blog when we arrive just to say we are there and will resume a few days after my return and take lots of photos of stitchery things for you see, other than that I will be taking time out of a difficult year just to soak it all up.  I will let you know nearer the time the dates.  I will need a few days upon my return because I get jet lag coming back this way and not going.  We will visit Quilted Threads and The Canterbury Shaker Village and along our journey visit stitchery and vintage shops as we come across them.  We are also going to Cape Cod so my design journal will be out.....

When we arrive home our lovely friend from Australia will be here staying so it will be an exciting
arrival home as well....

You can now see why today is a challenge for me because I actually can not settle to anything in particular I am sooooo excited and want to just scurry around like a child ....

This morning I have been going through my hand dyed shaker threads and also looking on the website at the colours I need to pre order to pick up when I am there.  We go to Quilted Threads and buy them but because I go for larger amounts it helps both myself and Becky if I select before I go and they are just there for me to pay and pick up.  When I then get back to the Inn we stay at I lay them all out and have a good old look and feel ... its like the best treasure hunt of colour and I enjoy myself thoroughly....

For now though I have to come down to earth and prepare for this
weekend of fun and a vintage fair along with getting on with my
stitchery and not get too distracted by my butterfly tummy!

I finished the words on the quilt pieces and the Christmas sampler and now I have embarked on another piece.  I have to make a trip to the photographer and then on to the framer next week but I would like to get another piece finished.  I need to settle down.  No more coffee for me today I am already hyper as it is ... grin!

I have had a look through some bits to add to my list for the weekend in the Cotswolds so that is now sorted.  From such a difficult start to 2017 I feel it will end on a high.  Mum is settled and well taken care of.  I have started to sleep again soundly knowing this and we have so much to look forward to.
What started as such a bad year for me and my family has smoothed its self out and now we can go away.  Last year we could not go because of it all but now, well things are remarkably settled.

Who would like a mouse mat with homespun stitchworks on it ?  I have several to give away so if you leave your name on here and say why you might like one I have three to give away so all the names will go into a vintage china bowl.....

I will let the three lucky winners know next week on Thursday so you have nearly a week to enter.

I will be reporting on the fair for you and the blog will be going out on Tuesday next week after I have collated all the photos for you.

Sorting out a basket to take to carry any little treasures that I might find tomorrow at this gorgeous
event, it is one of my absolute favourites and if it can help it I will never miss this yearly event.  Winston the dog is always at the door to greet everyone and he is almost the star of the show he gets so much attention and of course he takes it all in his stride ...

My thoughts are turning to an Autumn state of mind not only because of going to see New England and New Hampshire in the Fall but because it has a slight feel in the air here about it.  So I am starting a Autumnal sampler today and I am really going to enjoy that.

Well that is it for today and sorry its a little later than normal but it has been an exciting start to the day.

Have a wonderful weekend and I will see you back here on Monday morning.

   Happy Stitching! XX

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Redwork Embroidery in a basket & other projects!

Sewing :     fills my days!
and my cupboards, drawers and 
baskets in my sewing room !!

Firstly this morning I have been checking my project journal and looking at things that I have sketched.  When I was in America I sketched a seagull who was perched on a large wood pole near the ocean.  He sat there quite obliging and my brain and thoughts turned to what he may be thinking.  It could of been something like "Don't you have seagulls in the UK then ?" but he was such a fine specimen and the back drop of the ocean and they way he was sat just made me want to capture the moment.  When I was looking through my journal I came across it and the memories came back to me so I am going to design something around that and that fine fella as the star!

So I have ear marked that to do some work on it and see what I can come up with.  Then I was looking at other designs and that started me on the road to project baskets as I have finished three in the last two weeks which is wonderful.  I want to make up some more baskets.

Then I decided to cut out some more diamonds and hexagons for my Winter Star project so that I can take a few pieces with me at the weekend when I go to the Cotswolds vintage fair so that I can look at other fabrics to blend in ... so that got me going for a while.  All of this before 7.30am this morning.  I love going into my creative space and bumble about with this and that it is my favourite part of the day, whilst sipping my coffee and watching the birds.  Miss Muddy Beak was out there this morning very busy indeed and I opened the window and said good morning to her.  She stopped and looked up
at me ... then carried on very non impressed it seemed to me !

We had some bad news from our friend, his buyers have pulled out!!! He was packed to go on the 23 of August... the money wasted on his survey the other end and Solicitors fees and his phone was cut off ready and internet not to mention loosing his house the other end!!  So he has asked for the lines to be re connected ... unpacked some boxes and we are going to visit him for a weekend in September.  He had signed before he came here but they had not and decided to pull out and rent instead .... Its been so stressful for him.

As I said we have changed our plans for holiday and when it is booked I will let you know but now it is October ....

When I was awake earlier than our friend last week I took my coffee and juice into my sewing room and sat in my chair and looked out of the garden.  One day I decided to look on You Tube to see if there was a little film on Redwork embroidery and to my great delight there was.

I have decided to get a redwork project basket together and so I can pick it up and start stitching.  I think a red work sampler would be really lovely  and I want to design it myself not get a pattern so it is something that I will be working on really soon. But I had a go on some linen and decided to draw
a jug and do it in red work, I have only stitched the outline so far and I am going to do a red work design in the middle of the jug .... It is so effective even at this early stage I think.

Red work embroidery looks so stunning and it is so easy with one colour and just little stitches.  It is so effective ...

If anyone is looking to start a easy project to be added to anything then this is very good way to start especially for C........... Stockings .. I know I keep mentioning it lately but if you want to stitch something for then as a gift or for yourself as decoration for the house, you need to give yourself time and not be starting it in December so I thought I would show you all a great little You Tube film to get you inspired.

I am stitching little squares to attach to a table cloth for that time of year.

Indeed you can stitch things for bags or for a hanging hearts as it shows you in the following You Tube video and it is only short just over a minute but it will hopefully inspire you like it has me.  I am going to design some little ones just for red thread and use my precious hand dyed shaker thread in Holly Berry colour.

Also whilst off I bought some fabrics from two friends over the internet and I am very pleased with them and have taken pictures for you to see and look at on here .. First picture at the top of this blog is two pieces of fabric I bought from the lovely Yvonne of Absolutely Evocative and the second picture of some gorgeous eiderdown fabric again is from Clare of Daisy Darling ... thrilled with all three pieces.  Yvonne also made me a heart out of some of the same fabric and it is hung up in my sewing room as it is filled with lavender ... muncher repellent !!!!

Well I will leave you with this little You Tube video to watch it really only a few minutes long but it inspired me to design some redwork and I hope you enjoy it.

Have a great day and Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Button jar rummage!

Buttons and patches and cold
winds blowing the days pass
quickly when I am sewing ...
or with my head in a button jar!

Very early this morning I decided whilst sitting in my cosy chair in my sewing room and sipping my
first coffee this morning (somehow always the best of the day!) that I needed to look for some buttons to stitch onto my cross stitch pictures and they needed to be in a little packet and in the personal work basket so that when I needed them at the end - there they would be.  Well goodness me before I knew it over an hour had gone, I swear if I could have climbed in my huge jar of tiny buttons I would have, It is a relaxing, all consuming but wonderful pass time and the time flies when having that much fun.

Then of course before I know it I am behind my time to start the day but I have to say it was worth it this morning.  I also like to catch up on Instagram as well and oh my I was happy as The Cotswold's Vintage Fair had a post on there with a picture of lots of cottons on reels coming to the fair for purchase and you know they are on my list.... I will be able to while away some time just going through those on Saturday!! This weekend coming just keeps getting better.!!

I thought I would share with you my coffee coaster which is a large wooden button and that my Mother in law bought for me some years ago, if she is reading this I can bet she thinks to herself gosh she still has that, and of course I do Mum.... Its what my coffee goes on everyday... and as you will see from the photo my cup needs a refill because I have spent so much time with my head in
the button jar I have only had one cup this morning and must say I am not really wide awake yet!

As you can see buttons have been very much on my early morning agenda today.

So I have completed that task and now it is very much all on the sewing today.  I would like to cut out some Winter project diamonds and hexagons today sometime but other than that it is a full stitching day which is bliss.  I was toiling with the idea of packing some stitching to take to the Cotswolds but then I thought, no there will be no real time I am sure so just my reading book to lay in the bath for a
while before bed and read ....

I live by my lists because it is easier that way, now I know a list is only as good as what is on it but it
helps me check off things when done and gives me a great sense of achievement when I see a list with lines through it .. I know I am getting somewhere then.  Also my journals as well and I have to take my little sketch journal just because when I get an idea and I am away the times it has been on a piece of scrap paper in the past and it has gotten eaten up by the handbag monster and been
swallowed into the ether .......

This morning there was a funny moment when I saw something from the corner of my eye near the window, now I thought it might be a spider and you know how I am with those! so very carefully I went to investigate then I heard a flutter, now I thought it better not be a muncher because eviction time or worse but it was a gorgeous butterfly who had lost its way.  So there is me balanced on my little stool with a glass and a piece of paper so as not to touch its wings.... I had the fore thought to open the window first and was able to let it out with out much of a to do! but it took longer for my heart to stop pounding over the thought that it could have been an arachnid! eeeeeeek!  Honestly the tales of the stitching room! if it could tell stories ..

Now before I go the competition result.  The names were written on paper and folded and put in a china bowl, vintage of course! and one lucky winner was picked...

THE WINNER IS ................. little pause for effect, drum roll to break the silence .....  

Diana Hunter ..... well done and thank you for entering everyone.  My lovely neighbour helped me pick it, I put all names in a bowl and she put her hand in and picked one out.  She enjoyed doing it which was splendid.

Thank you all for participating and I will be doing another competition very soon.

Diane you need to message me your address. x

Well now it is time for me to get on with my stitching and I hope you have a wonderful day today. Think of me and my slow stitching with one eye out for spiders now!!  See you back here on Thursday..  Also we have decided a change to our holiday plans and are going in October, more about that later in the week .....

Happy Stitching! XX

Monday, 14 August 2017

Vintage fabric, buttons and thread .... I have missed you!

Creativity and Stitchery is
contagious .... Pass it on!

I have had such a wonderful time off and spending it with a great friend and my lovely husband has been the best.  We are all meeting up in London in December for a few days, we are off to the ballet for my Birthday to see the Nutcracker and going to the Ritz for tea another day but that is it until then so it was lovely to spend the time together.  Our friend is moving from Devon and going to Norfolk near his family so it will be a much longer journey for us all to get together, however London is half way each.  As you can see we have been planning and booking whilst we were all together on this week. Planning a day trip in the January or February to the V and A as well as Liberties too so things to look forward to and of course we will make the journey to go stay with him and see his new home. The thing is if you have a great friend you will travel any distance to see them and for us this is a two way street, a little further, yes, too far? never !!

 Thank you for some lovely emails saying you have missed my ramblings on here, I have missed sitting and talking to you all on here as well, it is part of days now and when I do not do it on the four days, well it is strange! and I actually miss it too.

Because of sorting out my stitchery room before my time off and because I had sorted lots of project baskets ready I am able to hit the ground running this morning as my husband likes to say.  It is so good to be back in my sewing room and looking out the window at the wild life and sipping my coffee this morning .... although when I was up before everyone I crept into my sewing room and pulled up my cosy chair with a coffee and had a few stolen stitches I must admit....  The house though does seem very silent ... the laughter these walls heard.

Also got some other rather happy news that our friend from Australia will be over this year for sure
and for a little longer that normal and she is going to have Christmas Day with us so I am busy planning that now as well .... the laughs that will be had.  So much to look forward to these winter months, I am wondering how much time will actually be spent on my Winter quilt project!!!

It is a exciting week because at the end of it we are off to Toddington vintage fair in the gorgeous Cotswolds and I am so looking forward to it.  I only seem to see the lovely Alison of Betty and Violet once a year at the moment because she has her vintage shop too although I will be seeing her again next month this year as well and this could well result in a evening out too!!
We are also meeting up with darling Jo of Hesta Nesta and her lovely husband too! and to top it all off one of my favourite vintage fairs as well.  So there will be a jolly six out for dinner on Saturday night.  I have added to my list of things to look out for, as you do but really I do not need anymore fabrics right now, not to say that if there is a piece of paisley or eiderdown fabric that is different to what I already have it will not come home with me would be a fib because it would for sure!  I am always on the look out for threads and buttons and of course ribbons. I want the Winter Star to have as many blended old and gorgeous fabrics as possible and that there is my justification ... a memory wall hanging in a way.

I was so excited about this fair that very early this morning I started packing to go .. well it had to be done.
Photos will be taken and I will report back to you all that could not make it to this fair.  I will go around snapping photos and let you see.

For now though I have to settle down and focus my mind on work this week.  I have several things to start and one to finish so it is heads down and try and focus on my working week.

Also some typing on fabrics will be done this week to experiment with to stitch onto samplers.  I am starting with sepia ink in the Imperial to see what it looks like in capitals and worn fabrics so I am looking forward to that because I want to finish some designs off in my design journal.  Words that have been typed on a 1906 typewriter is just thing to add to some stitchery and I am hoping that what is in my head will indeed be as good in real life.  I will be doing that later in the day though.

Also I made up a personal work basket of some cross stitch as well as I have not done any for what seems like ages and it probably is.  I have bought some gorgeous patterns and want to complete them
to frame so I have made up two baskets with all the things needed, pattern, threads and aida.  This is personal stitching but at the end of the day its is really good to sit down to some personal stitchery.  I know some would say after stitching all day but honestly I like to stitch my personal bits and cross stitch is different to applique and embroidery and it is really relaxing ...

These are both of the ones that are ready for me to cross stitch and yes I know its  Christmas ones but I would like them up this Christmas. The polar bear sat in the back of the truck holding the tree with his scarf on! Oh I love it.

So they are in their own project baskets with the threads, needles and aida ready to start as soon as possible so that they can get framed, also a little twist might be sewing on a vintage fabric border as well .....

For today though it is back to the here and now and I have my basket to pick up and continue my day. I had such a lovely time off but I am more than ready to get back to my slow stitching by day and cross  stitch by night.  I also have some letter writing to do as I belong to a Happy Mail group and it really is a pleasure getting out my calligraphy pen with sepia ink.  Writing a letter and making an envelope, then getting out the wax and seal and a few lovely little gifts to pop inside. I now write to around eight people around the world and it is great to swap ideas and threads, buttons and empherma along with all our chatty news to one another.

Do not forget that the competition I set before my break is still open until 6 pm so just scroll back to Friday 4th August and leave your comment on here to go into the hat to win the gorgeous book.  Sorry no comments left on the FACEBOOK page will be counted so on the blog please.  It is worth it if you are reading this it is easy to leave a comment and then I do not miss anybodies name going back and forth to see new names ... this way it is easier.

The winner will be named tomorrow .....

Also I managed to finish those gorgeous patchwork log cabin blocks with the Kindness words so I am very happy indeed.  I finished a mixed media picture as well and stitched the last thing on the Christmas sampler .... the star button.  See I have been busy stitching whilst chatting away to my friend....

So with out further a do I must start my first day back as you can see I have a full day ahead of me with lots on my list so I best get started. It is good to be back.  Have a wonderful Monday and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Friday, 4 August 2017

Vintage Treasure! ... I am a magpie for it.

One mans rubbish is another 
mans treasure and all that! .....

And its competition time again,
read on .....

Well our lovely friend has arrived and so this is the beginning of a week and a bit off for me.  We went out to dinner last night to start off the proceedings and of course my husband works from home today as well so when work is over there is no more commute than walking down the stairs to enjoy the frivolity .... and there is always an abundance of that, my sides are still aching from last night and the laughter!

I will be doing some hand stitching today and have a few project baskets on the go but I am hoping to start and complete the Kindness design this week and that should be very possible.

When I was packing away all my bits and bobs in the sewing room and of course looking at bits and popping the threads and buttons needed to complete the project baskets, I wondered at some of the things that are treasure to me.  I have a few vintage spools of cotton and some only have a little of the original thread left on them.  They are quite bare really and you can see the wood of the spool.  

Anyway it got me thinking because I do not want to use what thread is left so that I would never see that colour or hue again so I got a pad out and wrote down what cottons they were and the colour number so that when I go to the vintage fairs this Month I can have a search for some. I would like to use some of the threads, will not use the last little bit for it to be gone forever!

I have been told there are a bundle of vintage threads going to the Cotswold fair on the 19th August so I will have my list and have such fun looking through them all, I am sure there will be ones that actually are not on my list but will come home with me anyway, its the thrill of the treasure hunt!

I love the Sylko threads and the Coates ones.  Ah the Coates ones remind me of my lovely neighbour who died ( three years ago now) and as you all know he worked for them all his working life.  I miss him so much and his stories of threads.  I have such a collection now he would be thrilled with it.  His lovely wife and I talk about it and of course him.  I know he would have some stories about some that I have picked up of late.  Just before  he died I took him round some Coates threads I had truffled and I still have them but especially one of them.

 He took one look at this particular thread and with a look of disdain that came across his lovely face he said " In my opinion this one should never have been made!"  tickled me pink.  He said it was a problem from the start and not strong enough for use.  He was right of course it easily breaks and  I keep it purely for the memory of Ray and those last words about threads to me.  I am as you may have guessed a sentimental Gal !

So many lovely things to look forward to this month and it looks like it may be busy in September as well which is wonderful.  December through until March is so quiet on the vintage fair front and by then we are all getting fidgets to get out and meet and look at beautiful things... only this year I am sorted by making my patchwork wall hanging so I have to make sure I have all the fabrics I require and any other bits that will make it unique to me.  I would like to do some hand embroidery on some of it with of course some words .. it is my one weakness!! (of many!!)

I have a little pile of delicious fabrics tied with string that is going to be used in my Winter Star wall hanging, I love the fabrics, the colours that blend and so some diamonds and hexagons will be cut from them all.  If I see some other gorgeous fabrics then of course they will be part of it too I should suspect.  I like enough of my fabrics to use on my projects too but this way when that piece of fabric has gone ( and generally forever as you might never see that same one again) I will always have a memory of it as well.  So it is a kind of memory quilt in a way as well.

I am not saying I want to hurry up to the Winter at all but this year I have things to keep me going so that I am happy curled in front of the fire with my personal project.  I will have a couple of things to do for magazine work for the following year as it has to be in very early but this will keep me busy when they are finished.  It is a quiet time over the January/February months and although I can design and doodle and cross stitch well this is something else that will keep me happy.

I think if I have a Winter project and my work as well I will not get so stir crazy and can light candles and the fire and dream of the Spring when the birds start to become busy being parents and the earth starts to wake up and the little spring flowers poke through to say hello once again.  This then gets me designing for Summer again!!

I would like to design my next Christmas/Winter sampler as well having finished last years ( late because of the happenings with mum but there it is) I have got to fill my design book up for the months that will soon be upon us .... I know no one wants to talk Christmas in August but the time just flies by or it has this year for me, so my nesting instincts are getting ready so I can hibernate inside by the fire and create without having to go find thread or some such thing.  I like to have lots of bobbins pre wound as well just in case ... I am not one for wind and rain if I have to go out in it.... Watch it out of the window whilst cosy inside that is wonderful but walk out in it ... not for me!

Through my quieter months as well I like to sketch new designs for the coming months and for Wedding samplers or Baby samplers, so if I am approached for a commission work I have some things to show the prospective client and then we can tweek it for their needs and likes but it is a great foundation....

But before I leave you for my week off it is about time I did another competition and that is what I am going to leave you with.  The competition is open to all, even if you have entered ones before and won or not as the case maybe.  It is open to anyone reading this even if you live abroad.

If you are reading this via the link on Facebook then you can enter but please enter on here on this blog page as ones on face book will not be counted I am afraid.

All you have to do is write a comment on the bottom of this blog as to why you would like to win this gorgeous new book.  That is it!  you have to be in it to win it and I will put all the names in a bowl and get my husband or neighbour to pick a name out after the closing date which is Monday 14th August at 6 pm and the winner will be announced the next day!

The hand stitched surface is a really lovely book and I thought I would take some photos of inside as well to wet your appetite a little.  It is a book of slow stitching and mixed media techniques for fabric and paper it says ...  So please join in and let me know why you would like to win this gorgeous book even if it is because you do not actually have it and would love it ... What ever the reason your name goes in a bowl.... the why is just for fun and for others to read, and it makes me smile so please indulge me a little.

 Get typing and I will have fun reading them and writing all the names out and folding them up upon my return.

Well that is it for today and for a week.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a great week ahead of you.  I will be back here on Monday 14th August bright and early and bushy tailed from my rest and time with a great friend. Lets hope the weather behaves for us. It is now time to join in all the fun that we will inevitable get up to today, we should have been brother and sister because that is how we feel.  One has an outrageous idea and the other one follows like a lamb!! .... Laughter really is the best medicine after all.

All that is left to say is Happy Stitching! XX

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Slow Stitching brings relaxation and inner peace.

Slow stitching allows me to simply
focus on enjoying the
moment of creation.

David Martinez

Whilst slow and deliberate stitching is going and I get into the slow rhythm of what I am creating.  It allows me to not only focus on enjoying what I am doing but to think and design in my head.  I am able to think of ways to stitch a flower or about a piece of fabric that caught my eye in my vast collection and what imaginings of design it conjured.  It is relaxing along with being a creative art.
It actually relaxes me as well and there is a inner peace that I can not explain.

This is my job but it helps the every day stresses and strains we all have and I am able to immerse myself in what I am creating and erase noise and mayhem of the world around me.  It is a form of mediation that is so good for the soul.

We have had a week of darker days, not raining but just so dull and not sunny so instead of being a bit down about not being able to stitch in the garden because of light have turned on the table lamps and lit lots of candles and got on with the task in hand.  The lights and candles bring the Hygge back and make it really a beautiful atmosphere to create in.
I am hoping for some nicer weather next week for my friends visit so that we can at least go for a long walk along the beaches at Sandbanks and go sea treasure hunting one day ... It is better if it is not scorching hot because then the beach is full and it is impossible to treasure hunt like that.  So a dull day but not rainy will do us .... If it is hot well we can go down the beach later when they all go home and take a bottle of wine and a cheese board and watch the sunset. Although he is coming earlier now but will be here all next week too.  This side of the holiday looks set to be rainy! such a shame but we have so much to catch up on and I bought a couple of new films to watch just in case as well.  We are all readers with our books and when I am stitching and our friend is sketching my husband gets a car magazine out and we are all happy in each others company doing what we all like to do but still chat and maybe drink some wine, depending on the time of day.

A while ago now I was walking along the beach looking for what she may give up and place on the shore to be found and I found this beautiful piece of sea glass in the shape of a heart.  It is one of my favourite treasures that I have truffled by the ocean.  So it would be lovely to be able to have the weather to just amble along.  It is best if it is not really hot because the beaches are full then, just not raining and too windy...

When we were in America last I bought the most stunning mermaid and she is very treasured, It has given me an idea to make one in fabrics one day ..It was her hair and face the made me pick her up and she is fairly large.  All things give inspiration for me and I think in fabric she will go well with my seahorse in the bathroom......

Vintage cottons that I collect sometimes get used for embroidery for fine work and I do have some
really beautiful colours.  I can not stop picking up greens, pinks and beige at the moment.  All different hues of those colours and they are great for details like spines on leaves in the greens.

I know they are not strictly for embroidery but for me it is perfect for very detailed and dainty stitches and being cotton it is very strong as well.

I think some of those cottons for the scales on the mermaids tale would look good and in those colours too, make them there but not really visible and with those different colours and hues it will look like the scales on fishes that change colour in the sunlight I think, what do you think?

The sewing room is still really tidy I like to put things away at night and keep it very tidy and clean.  I have a small dyson in my sewing room and at the end of each working day I go around with it and keep the carpet nice and clean and free of bits of cotton.  I check first for any bits of fabric because as you know I do not like to waste even the tiniest of pieces.. they now go for the birds to pick up for nests.....

I have finished a couple of projects this week that I am pleased with and one will go to the framer and the other I have framed myself in on of the glass frames with a piece of fabric instead of a chain to hang it with .... Must put my own little touches to be different!

Well that is it for my vintage rambling today and time to get my stitching out.  I hope you all have a wonderful day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

August slow stitches.

To appreciate the limitless and endless
possibilities for inspiration in
our creative lives, it is important
to approach every day  with
a sense of child like wonder!

Mark Lipinski

Oh so true is that statement above and I am not called Peter Pan at home for nothing, I look at everything that way.  It keeps us young and creative.  Its like when you watch a child play on their own and there are all these things and people in their heads and they are in that fairy tale land with
not a care, as childhood should be, that is how we should think when we design our work... step out of everyday and imagine ; because it is our imagination that makes us unique and creative.

Having had some peaceful days sewing it has helped me be creative as well with thoughts of things to explore to stitch.

Also I like to get some vintage beauties out and make a collage of bits to give me inspiration with fabrics and empherma along with buttons maybe and suffolk puffs this all adds to the imagination and helps to to design.

Now there is a slight change to my friend coming down and he will be joining me at the end of this week so I will be having next week off to spend some time with him.  I will return on here on Monday 14th August.  I will be excited that week as on the 19th it is the Toddington fair in the Cotswolds and we are meeting up with our lovely friends and of course going to one of my absolute favourite vintage fairs so that week will be making a list for things for me to look out for and also back to lots of sewing.  That said my friend is a very talented artist and so he sketches a lot so we
are happy in each others company .. him drawing and me sewing and still chatting away..

I have finished two of my designs last week so I think I will be starting the vintage quilt pieces next week whilst my friend is here.  I think I have chosen different pieces and they will look really good with a little added extra.  Some pieces of quilt just look fabulous as they are and could go into a frame and be looked at and admired.  The ones I have chosen could stand on their own too but I think this little add will be just the cherry on the top so that will be my work basket to take down stairs and have in the lounge for when my friend is here...  The picture above is of one of the pieces and they all blend beautifully so the words on these plus a little something else are going to be .....

Kindness  sprinkle it everywhere you can.

This will have Kindness as one word on it then the sprinkle it then everywhere you can with a hand embroidered something .... this is the plan of action.

I have a treat for you all today a lovely friend and reader Julie has shared with us a great little device that she inherited from her mum,  It is a hand held darner machine and she says that it is a 'make do and mend,' tool sometime called the 'Lancashire's smallest loom' and is circa late 1940's.

Simple to use ( so Julie tells me) and held in place with nothing more than a nicely turned wooden mold and a elastic band!

You push the slider from side to side like you would on a proper weaving loom to raise the warp threads to slide a darning needle with thread to make the weft threads.

It is amazing isn't it and so pleased she shared it.  I am sorry that people can not load their own photos on here in the comments column it would be so lovely but if you have something to share then email
me the photos and I will load them on here for you because it is so really lovely that some of you want to share with us ...

Then another lovely reader and friend Dawn shared some photos of treasure that she has.  Vintage Darning threads in the original boxes.  So many lovely old treasures that are still being used today and also loved and looked after.  Thank you ladies ....

Well that is it for today I hope you have a great day whatever you are up to and of course as always Happy Stitching! XX

Monday, 31 July 2017

The toil of the needle! ..... Not that way for me!

Women derive a pleasure incomprehensible
to the other sex, from the delicate toil of a needle!

Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Scarlet Letter

I loved that above quote! toil ? what toil, not for me but my husband would probably agree to that statement it would drive him mad I think but not if he was re upholstering a car seat, now that he would be happy with and that indeed would be a toil for me! There is definitely differences between girls and boys but that said I know of some fabulous men who do knit or indeed stitch I mean you only have to look at Kaffe Fassett and his skills as a designer and stitcher and his endless love of colours and patterns.

It is the last day of July today, and I am trying to believe the weather man who said summer is returning in August because I am not done sitting out in the fresh air stitching just yet.  I am not ready for the open fires and throws, not yet so fingers crossed we have a few more weeks of gorgeous weather.

Trying to create some more project baskets and of course keep cutting out my pieces of fabric for my Winter quilting project and still doing some each week,  I have stopped doing it daily for now as I have so much work to do and catch up on. 

Last week I took a day off and went with my sister and my niece and took our Mum to Compton Acres for the day.  The weather was glorious on the Tuesday and we had heard there was rain from Wednesday last week so we changed some bits about to take her.  She had a fabulous time and she did make us laugh.  As we left and she had had a cake and coffee when we got there, lunch and then ice-cream and coffee in the afternoon walked around the gardens twice and stopped and looked at beautiful waterfalls and flowers and some of the biggest coy carp ever, we said did you have a lovely day Mum.... her answer " yes! but I only came out to buy toothpaste!"  She makes us hoot with laughter and she joins in too.

So slight catch up this week on things and our next jaunt this week, weather permitting is Wareham and have lunch by the river with her.  Other than that I have a full week of
gorgeous stitching and sorting project baskets.

I was looking at these lovely quilt pieces (above) and they were bought a while ago, I knew they would look lovely on or with something and it finally came to me so in a basket they have gone with the threads and I am hoping that it will look as good as it does in my little sketch and in my imagination.... or if I feel that the design should go on any other pieces of vintage quilt I pinned a note to them and I will decided properly when that basket is due to be picked up and stitched. I mean there are so many pieces on that bottom shelf to choose from!

If I have a 'toil' it would be what to stitch next and I have often said I wish that I had several pairs of hand if it would not look so weird and the obvious trouble buying tops and dresses!!

As you can see so many beautiful bits of vintage quilts but with what I have in my mind I do need three squares that I can line up to stitch on and have it framed in a long frame so that you can read the words from left to right.

When I pull my little stall up, after asking my large duck who sits on it would you mind or excuse me! yes I do and then I laugh at myself .. manners instilled in me as a child do not stop at stuffed animals I am afraid!!  I can pull the little stall over and sit on that and go through that cupboard and spend hours doing it if I am not careful!  as you can imagine.

As you can see I have been in there this morning early and being that is very light very early on,  I can sip at my first cup of coffee and stare in there and think about what pretty things that can be made before my day honestly starts.

Well with out further a do I must get my stitching out and make my day count, so whatever you are doing today have a great one and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Friday, 28 July 2017

Adding to a stitchery story!

I am reminded that every day I have the 
chance to pick up a needle and some thread
and add to the story.  To stitch together 
something beautiful and unique, to patch
a scrap of fabric to my own designs and a 
story of my making .......

I am so very lucky as I keep telling you all that I work from home.  On gorgeous days I get to sit in the garden at our table and chairs and watch the wildlife about their busy day whilst stitching and
thinking about what to stitch next.  On days like today where it is not so nice I am able to stay at home and stitch in my sewing room looking out in the garden with the soft pat of rain on the window. Sat in my favourite chair with the little lamp on and candle going with gorgeous scents ... yes I am reminded that every day, I have the chance to pick up a needle and thread and add to my story.

Time is flying past and I can not believe that  August is just around the corner, we generally put our wooden furniture away at the end of that month and it only just seems that we have got it out!! Which in fact was in May so where has this gorgeous Summer gone, before we know it, it will be Autumn.  Now do not get me wrong Autumn is my favourite season but still I feel the world has to slow down a bit and take a leaf out of the book of slow stitching!!!

Yesterday I was sketching on some very old french papers, well they are letters and documents actually but when you sketch on them and then paint a wash over them ( very basic not complicated) then mixed with fabrics it can look great.  I love my hair picture that I did and it hangs on my armoire in my sewing room at the moment whilst I sort out the pattern for it ...It is a pleasing thing to the eye for me and of course being a hare! well I do not need to say more but I have been experimenting with other pictures too in the old vintage glass frames I enjoy making unique things for those.

I made a cat for a friend and a mouse for another both of whom have now framed them.  The cat went to Missouri in America to live and the Mouse went to Canada to live both of which are very good friends of mine.  We have never met in person which is a shame but we all write to one another and I have been on face time as well.  It is lovely to think some of my art has gone to live across the pond and that it is treasured.  I added my hare to fabric and it is a piece of patchwork with vintage linen in the middle of it.

As you can see there are patches as well and old scraps of vintage fabric tied on it, because I will not through away my scraps as you know and I think it adds a certain charm to this piece.... and I am still thinking of adding the signature button!

I have designed and made several pieces with fabric and paper and some with just paper as well.  I have a delicious drawer full of old papers and envelopes all ready to create with and would like to make some more pieces.  Sewing on to old envelopes and papers is really a beautiful way to display empherma.  One envelope I have with the actual letter inside ( so a piece of paper written on as a letter and then folded into an envelope) is dated 1792 and it is a real treasure and protected here.  It is at the moment in another envelope and in a drawer but it has to be displayed some how... it is a keeper for me but I would prefer to make some mixed media art with it and have it looked at daily than sat in  the dark drawer.  The picture right is of another piece of old letter writing and would look great in a form of something else like the hare above......

Well that is it for today and of course it is the weekend now so I will be back here bright and early on Monday morning as our friend is not coming now for two weeks.  I cleared everything down for the visit and rescheduled some things so now I find next week I have a delicious few days with nothing to do but stitch ... Oh bliss bliss bliss!

I am looking forward to getting to some vintage fairs, I feel it has been forever since the last one.  My diary has been filled out and I know where I am off too.  With my still very tidy sewing room I am happy with the empty drawers for any further treasure I may find on my August travels and I am so excited about meeting up with some great friends at the Toddington fair! plus a little light evening of fun and laughter!

Have a wonderful weekend and as always Happy Stitching! XX

There is now a P.S on here as I have been asked by Julie do I have photos of the cat I made for Donna in Missouri and the mouse I made for Bekah in Canada ... so here they are:

This is Bekah's Mouse ...

This is Donna's Cat.

Both were made by me for my gorgeous friends and the backgrounds are what they were snapped on for photo's .. they have both framed them now.  It would have been nearly impossible to frame here and hope that the glass travelled safely ....

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Darning an art form with a needle!

The verb 'to darn' is explained in my dictionary as follows:
'To mend by imitating the texture of the stuff, with thread
and needle'  But this definition does not correspond to 
work accomplished by some.  When a something
is darned and mended there is no disguise anymore
the art makes no attempt at concealment: it even takes
a certain pride in revealing itself !

I recently bought some vintage quilt pieces and on one of these pieces is some gorgeous darning and I simply adore it.  I will not hide or cover it but it will be part of whatever I make with it.  It is only small but a little wall hanging has its name all over it for me

As you can hopefully see from the photo it is the most beautiful piece of vintage quilt and I can only in my imagination think what the whole thing looked like .. such gorgeous pattern and colour.  Then you can see, I hope, from my photo the little bits of white darning work that is a picture in itself and adds to this little piece of the quilt that survived.  I do wonder at who stitched it as I hold this little piece of history in my hand.

I think that different darning stitches on a piece of vintage linen and add some words, because as you know words are my thing that would make a interesting piece of fabric art.  \

Having some worn vintage linen that was a sheet  originally and then we used it as a table cloth but it wore through in places it was washed and pressed and is no in my linen store.  I think cut a piece out with the wear and use some gorgeous hand dyed threads and make darning patterns in it.  This could sit on my sewing room wall as I could always have room on the wall for pretty inspiration to look at.

Watching a video on darning and the slow rhythmic motion of the weaving that is involved almost made me go to sleep I can tell you and this is why I love the slow stitching of today and doing hand embroidery. It was becoming a dying art but not any more it has made a huge come back and I am thrilled to say lots of teenagers are wanting to sew at colleges now as well.

I found this image of a darning sampler on google and it is dated 1847 it is stunning and with the colours as well I think it is really is a piece of art.  Now the lady who stitched it would probably be shaking her head in disbelief that her darning skills were now that treasured, however I am sure she would be thrilled too.

Socks is another thing I think can be enhanced by a bit of clever darning and I am currently doing that to pair of my socks that actually do not need it but will be all the better for it in my humble opinion.  I saw this picture and it had to be done, what do you think.

I have a little collection of very old school girl sampler books and I have studied the darning in there.  There is of course the invisible mend as well which is what is was meant for I know but they had to do it as well with coloured thread for the needle work teacher to see their techniques.  I treasure this little collection that I have and would always be on the look out for more as well ... The things that we vintagers collect these days!  I also have some very very old darning yarn that I picked up at a fair and it is still strong and in a beautiful beige/cream colour so I think I will be using more of this.  It is
what I am using on my navy socks that I am hand darning just for fun with.

Do any of you darn? for fun I mean rather than make do and mend darning ... Do you have any collections of old school sampler books?  I would love to hear about it as I am sure others that read this blog would as well.  You can leave a comment on here and tell us all about it if you would care to share.  I am not sure if you can add a photo on here at all but if you clever people out there know how I would be delighted to see as well.

The rain cometh here for the last few days and although the gardens were in need it is time for our summer to return me thinks  I am really missing sitting in the garden stitching.  Monday and Tuesday were hot and sunny and I do sit out there in the rain under the huge umbrella as you know but it really has been blowing as well and droplets shook off the umbrella and onto my back, that was my time to retreat with my stitchery as water marks on my nearly completed piece would have sent me nearly over an edge I think so I am waiting for our Summer to return ..... Miss Muddy Beak is some what perplexed too she loves the rain for a while then she likes to grub about and she is not fond of water on her feathers it seems!

Well that is is for today, I hope you all have a fabulous day stay dry  and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

stitching! ... with beautiful vintage fabrics and threads and dates for your diaries for August.

I sit beside the fire and think of all that I have seen
of meadow flowers and butterflies in Summers
that have been.

J R R Tolkien

When sat in my sewing room and looking out at the garden and the wildlife that visit and the beautiful flowers that grow in the summer along with the heady scent of the roses and lavender that filter through my window I know I am one lucky lady doing this as a job and still being at home.  Having my own timetable and agenda however can be a juggling act with things that crop up.  I do have deadlines and also things that go wrong and I can drop what I am doing and deal with it.  I also have to be disaplined and catch up as well.  However I am my own boss and I then do not have to ask permission to take time out for friends and family.

I am going to pick a friend up from Devon and have a week with him here.  I will be stitching some days as he loves to sketch so we are happy doing that in each others company but he has been a little under the weather so I am going to have some time out with him next week well at least this is the plan at the moment but it could change slightly so I will keep you all informed.

This will make me really busy this week getting some things finished and other project baskets ready just to pick up so I hit the ground running when I take him home again and start work in earnest full time once more.  We are also going to have a holiday in September as well, a well deserved rest after all the time spent settling my mum.  Although I had time of from work whilst doing it, it was a high pressured few months and this will be a laid back time out kind of a holiday.

The month of August though has some great  dates for your dairies  and I can only tell you of the ones that I know of so here goes these are the ones that I hope will be going to but I know I will be at the Toddington one as well as the Dorset Brocante ( which is down the road from me) I will also be at Wisborough.

Firle Vintage Fair
Firle Place
Pl6 BN8 
 Lewes, East Sussex

Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th August
10.00am - 6pm

Entry Fee .. I have to find out.

A brocante style vintage festival in the heart of the picturesque Sussex countryside - A weelend of Cherry-picked Vintage & Antique exhibitors - Country living homewares - latest crafting trends and displays - Artisan food -emporium - Vintage fashion carwalk by The Artemis temple - Swing Jazz band & dance troupes, not to be missed a fantastic display of vintage cars on the lawns in front of Firle Place.

Cotswolds Vintage Fair

Toddington Village Hall
Stow Road
GL54  5DU

Saturday 19th August

10.00am - 4pm

Entry Fee £2 

This is one of the most beautiful fairs that there is and I never miss it if I can.  This year I will be there and there is a pop up vintage cafe as well as some most gorgeous people selling vintage treasures abound.  There is not only the village hall its self but a huge marquee full of stall holders plus other little marquees outside too.

We meet up with our wonderful friends here and all go out for a meal the 6 of us in the evening luckily all the husbands get on too!!!

Vintage on the Green
The Country Brocante

The Green
Wisborough Green
West Sussex
RH14 0BN

Saturday 26th August

10.00am - 4pm

Entry Fee £5
Dogs welcome on leads.

70 beautiful Country Interiors and Artisan Brands in their beautiful marquee.

The Dorset Brocante

Deans Court
BH21 1EE

Monday 28th August ( Bank Holiday)

11.00am - 4.30pm

Entry Fee £5

Dogs welcome

over 40 stall with a range of decorative Brocante, textiles and delightful hand made gifts, furniture and a delicious food cafe all in this stunning setting of Deans Court.

Well there we are ladies and gents a lovely four that I know of so get those in your diaries for this month.  I hope to see some of you at one or two of these this month.

Does anyone no of any more for September? if so get in touch and I will feature them on here. Also I will not be having next week off it will be the week after, all change.... 

Well that is it for today so as always Happy Stitching! XX