Monday 27 February 2017

Artistic Zone with gorgeous fabrics and very sharp scissors...

Twinkling lights, candles, red fabrics and
threads and a cosy log burner!
It's a Hygge kind of a day here at HQ.

The Rain is practically trying to beat its self in through the windows this morning and I have put all
the little lights on as well as our resident fairy lights.  The candles are all lit and one of them is scented and the smell of winter is around this morning.  It looks like it outside too.

When I finish this I will be lighting the log burner and having my breakfast before I start my day.  The sound of the rain on the window and the warmth of our bed did not make me jump up out this morning, I am much later today and could have happily sat in bed reading today for a few hours and listened to the rain.  Its a Hygge kind of day that's for sure!..

Today I am working with some gorgeous fabrics and threads and a two pairs of very sharp scissors, one large and one small for detailed cutting ... I am really looking forward to this Christmas project for later in the year obviously but it has to be stitched now ready for publication and I am so pleased with the design.  On a day like today it is perfect to think like it too, although the light for tiny stitches could be better but by a good light it is all good.

One of my favourites is the one with the check and the embroidered white flower square, I think it looks so Scandinavian but it is not, it is very old French fabric and was once on a dolls bed.  When I bought it I was told a little history and so it is very special and I do not have much of it but for this particular project it is perfect and will be seen again once more and admired, It features not only in the border but in the sampler its self.....

Gosh I wish you could hear this rain it is so loud and is coming down in a relentless stream.  I keep thinking how lovely it is to be able to be indoors and not having to go out in this weather and work from home.  Today's sewing is in front of the fire for sure.... Another reason to love hand stitching!

Also this week I am taking a day off to tackle the sewing room because I think it is going to take two
days if I am honest.  It is not just a case of tidying, I am getting rid of some of the things I have in there and there is going to be a change around too.  So It is a case of getting most of the things out and then putting back so I will have to utilise the hallway upstairs and so it is going to take a while.  So today is my only blog until Thursday this week.  I will need tomorrow and Wednesday.  This way I will be able to photograph fabrics and things that I am up to by then.  The last straw came when I could not find the photo copy fabric and still can not so every cupboard, draw and box is being sorted I am not going to stop until it is done.   I thought that today I would start this project and then I have something underway to get back to on Thursday.  Who knows I may finish tomorrow and surprise myself but very much doubt it!

I also have some books to show you as well and these are vintage embroidery books and they are large.  I would like to show you them and some pages they are divine and I bought them last year.  They are large and thick and so detailed .. I feel they should be in a stitching museum really but they are going to be well looked after here and of course looked at.  I will be able to take some photos tomorrow whilst finding a proper home for them.  There are some gorgeous illustrations in them.

This Saturday is the Vintage Bazaar and I am very much looking forward to going on Saturday.  I am
sure there will be some gorgeous treasures to be had and that is another reason for the big tidy up as well.  There will be some great stall holders there including Donna Flower Vintage, Vintage to Victorian, The Washer Woman, Daisy Darling and lots more.  I know there is one reader who will be there and I am very much looking forward to meeting her, so if you are reading this Mo I will see you there on Saturday morning.

Also I am on the look out for dates of vintage fairs for April please so if you know of any events please let me know because I would like to put them on here in the next two weeks so that others can get them in their diaries.... The season has started and I am very pleased to be starting again.  Not only is it amazing to be able to be under one roof to finds so many beautiful things and fabrics but indeed it is also such a social thing getting together with other like minded people......

Anyway that is it for today and I will see you back here bright and early on Thursday, If I am not please send help as I am probably under boxes of fabrics and can not get out!!!

Have a wonderful day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Friday 24 February 2017

With my needle & thread ....

With  Love  In  Every Stitch
there is also joy and care.

Yesterday the weather was really wet and blustery early in the morning and then as if by magic it stopped raining and full sun was out, although very windy still.  But the light became great.  I had decided to design because of poor light but by 9 o'clock it was all change.  So I got a basket and
started to sew.  The thing is when you get such good and natural light it is time to stitch and of course to take any photos, you have to be flexible and savour each day and what it throws at you.

I have so many ideas rattling around my head and so much going on that I live by my lists and journals.  I am so pleased to write things down because it clears the cobwebs in the mind.  I feel half the battle when we have so much to do is making a list and just doing one thing at a time and putting a line through it when it's done.  The sense of achievement is immense and it helps our brain have a spring clean.

I love my Sajou scissors and pins( pictured above) and love using them, it makes the stitching all the more special somehow.  I have several pairs of embroidery scissors, you will be shocked to know! but these are my favourites to actually use.  I love all the different pairs though and they are great for photography as staging .... I am a big fan of not only things need to be useful but beautiful to me as well.  

For me when I design I have to fall in love with it a little even if it is for someone else.  I truly believe if you do not like it yourself as the designer and stitcher that it will never be your best work.  It would be so difficult for me to be able to work with fabrics I really did not like.

When I am hand sewing tiny little stitches or French knots or even split stitch I am so happy and smiling, I enjoy what I do and am so lucky to be doing this.  When I start a new project it is exciting and I know that I am grinning getting it all ready to take the first stitch.  It is no wonder that at the end of the day my mouth hurts from just grinning to myself, I often wonder if people could see me that they would not think I was a poor thing who was dotty, stitching and talking to the animals in the garden through out the day.

The saga of my sewing room that looks like world war III has been fought and lost in it, it started obviously when I lost some things because I  did not put them back where I should have!! my fault entirely.. well today I am going to finish sewing at 3.30 and give it a couple of hours.  Now that I am feeling better I will enjoy it more.  For 3 weeks now every little thing has been a chore as I have had little to no energy but it is coming back.  I also do not feel so cold, I have warm hands again so going into the war zone will be more enjoyable now that I am not freezing, shaky and cold.  I will enjoy going through everything again.  The buttons draws are in need of a little sorting too.  Some order is needed in my sewing room and good clean.  There are some things I know I do not need or want anymore so I will be clearing out as well.
I found these dear tiny cotton spools the other day and feel they should not be in a draw so I am going to change some thing around that are on display so that everything gets to see light of day.  I really do not think I could bare to use these but I also could not bare that they sit in the back of a drawer buried for no one to see .... that would be a crime! treasure is to be loved as well.

I have my list of things to achieve today so I must away and get going on it.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend and I will report back to you on Monday with hopefully headway on my sewing room and on some stitching! nothing like lists and goals is there?

Have a great day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Thursday 23 February 2017

Sewing Bee

Beautiful things come together
one stitch at a time.
Stitching with a friend makes
it perfect.

What a blustery, wet and cold day it is today such a change from yesterday.  Yesterday was a fabulous google for her.  She is shy about her talent but her quilts are so beautiful and there is one of hers in particular that I covet and if she is reading this today she will be grinning as I am sure she must check its still there when I leave her and her gorgeous dog Phoenix, the most adorable cockapoo with an age old soul ......
day because I got to spend it with a great friend of mine, Suzy.  Suzy is an incredible lady with sewing a quilting talents that are some what awesome!  She is known for her teaching in this area and lots of people go to Suzy for quilting advice.  She is also known as Quilted Happiness, have a

I was there with her from 10am until 2pm and making bias binding, picking her brains, drinking
coffee and laughing.  She has a huge sewing room as she used to have a long arm quilting machine but decided on a swap for a super duper but smaller quilting machine and she loves it.  To see her quilt a huge quilt on it is unreal with all that fabric surrounding her and the machine, makes my heart palpitate at the very thought of it.  I watched a video she made and Suzy is tiny and all this fabric swamping her and the machine but she is never fazed at all.

Firstly I had to go into my sewing room which so needs to be tidied but just need to sew right now so it has a slot over the weekend again to keep going on it.  It is being done draw by draw and cupboard and box by cupboard and box.  It has got worse before it gets better but I know it will be so much better when I am finished.
Anyway I went to my paisley draw because some fabrics were needed for me to do this at Suzy's.  It is so much fun stitching together a real little sewing Bee. Suzy is the lady that taught me how to do mitered corners as well and how to sew some great seams, she is a patient teacher and a perfectionist and I am so honoured to call her a friend ...
patchwork, not wedding ring, bear paw things like that but basic patchwork and she taught me well.  Also

Well I had a bit of a choice of fabrics but I settled for taking only 6 different ones and then I could choose what I thought would look best on something I am stitching at the moment.

Phoenix all the while is either curled up asleep in the sewing room with us or having a tummy tickle from me, I adore dogs, well all animals as you know but this little chap is such a calm and gorgeous boy.  His eyes you could drown in and he was very interested in my hand when I had a it shut with lots of pins in it ... he thought is maybe cheese, I was informed, because he is partial to a little of that on occasions ...

Well what is lovely is next week he is with me for the day as Suzy has to be out all

day so I will have to get my sewing room done by then because that is where he is used to being.. if not I am sure that me sat hand stitching on the sofa with the fire would please him equally, just so long as he is with you he is happy.

As you can see from the bundle of delicious fabrics here on the left I had a hard job with the choice part but in the end I took just six and had a great time.  Also some hand stitching .....

It would normally of been my day for sketching and design but I was not going to pass up such a day and since my cold is leaving me and I felt much better and the sun was out, well it was a really lovely change to my day but still very productive.  We are going to do more of it too, I will be going back to do the same in a few weeks.  Suzy has a much larger sewing room than me so it fits us in beautifully and she always has an ironing board and iron up for pressing .... fabulous!

Well that is it for today and I hope you all have a wonderful day whatever you are up to.  If any of you have a friend who you can stitch with on occasions than I can highly recommend it to you because sewing and laughter is very good for the soul.

Happy Stitching! XX

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Photo copy fabric sheets and delicious trade cards of yesteryear!

I dreamt I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke.
 Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly,
 or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?

I feel a wall hanging coming on with these beauties ... I would like to piece it all together and then get it professionally quilted.  I have a friend Suzy and she is an amazing quilter and she taught me a stitch the ditch .... yes I know the language I just can not speak it if you like.  Basically it is when you quilt in the seams and it is harder than you may think but believe me to get it to look good, well that is another story all together.
couple of years ago.  Because of her I finished a lap quilt with butterfly fabric and I love it.  She would say to me ( and if she is reading this she will phone me up) you can quilt it Sarah I showed you how on your machine.  The thing is I am not that an experienced  quilter so when I have pieced this together I think it would look best with  the quilting term

So the first photo is one which is upright and possibly it might be in the very middle of the the wall hanging.  The others are all the other way.  I thought that I would cut them all out and then add a vintage French linen border... there might be some
word embroidery on some of them as well.

As you can see they come out beautifully don't they.  I have done some and had to buy a few as well as I do not own the whole collection of these beautiful antique cards ....

What could be better and more unique than 1920's ladies with butterfly wings ... the colours have come out beautifully and I think it will make a beautiful wall hanging.  With 12 of the panels being length wise and a upright panel in the middle ... I have four to choose from but have just shown you one.

These are the other half of the twelve and are just as beautiful but I do have my favourites of course.

Sorry with some of the photos as I have not pressed them all yet and so there are a few creases that show up in the photography but you get the general idea I think.

Now you have seen them you can understand why the quilting part out to be 'stitching the ditch' and not go across the pictures ... it would ruin it I believe and I think as a wall hanging it would be a real show stopper.

I am still trying to find the packaging of the sheets that I buy, I think I binned them but I know that I have another full pack, its finding it at the moment.  With all the drawers out that are being sorted I can hardly move in there right now and I know it will get better if I could put a good few hours into it in the next few days, It is partly time because I like to do this sort of thing when the light has gone for sewing but at the moment I am feeling so very tired.  I tend to have nice warm bath after my day
stitching and get into cosy PJ's and read until my husband comes home.  I missed reading when my eyes were streaming with cold and I am reading such a good book that I am devouring it in front of the fire with a throw over me.

The picture on the left is of a close up of one of the panels and I am thinking of doing a little stitching on each one to bring it to life ( 3D it a little) bring out some details with some invisible stitching and a little embroidery when it has the think wadding tacked to topper when they are all stitched together.

I have also photocopied some other bits to do some pictures with and they are more stitchery trade cards but with details brought out with some hand stitching and embroidery I think they will look lovely in my sewing room ( for our forever home) then I hope to have a much larger sewing studio and the walls can have all sorts of stitchery memorabilia on them...

I promise to make a conservative effort to find my missing packet of photocopy fabric sheets ... because not only have I promised them to you but its annoying me that for the moment I have lost them and they are not cheap to buy .... I should be more careful putting things away.

Anyway I hope you have enjoyed a little look at one of my personal projects that I wish to get started on and I will be back here on Thursday - Hoping to feel more energised by then too.   I do not think the cold weather helps as I go into hibernation mode and Hygge  is most definitely my life style right now ...

Have a great day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Monday 20 February 2017

Fabrics, Ephemera and threads!

Ephemera (singular: ephemeron) are any transitory written or printed matter not meant to be retained or preserved. The word derives from the Greek ephemeros, meaning "lasting only one day, short-lived" Some collectible  ephemera are advertising trade cards bookmarks, catalogues, vintage cards, letters, pamphlets, postcards, posters, tickets, old french marriage certificates, envelopes.

I have a little box of  little vintage bits in it.  Let me explain it has some tiny crochet buttons, tiny bits of pretty lace a vintage ticket some very tiny buttons that look like they would belong on dolls clothes maybe and all sorts or bits that might other wise get lost in the eitha that is my work room ....

At the end of last year I was playing with mixed media as you might remember the hearts that I was tearing out of old paper and also stitching onto envelopes ... I was doing something for seasons and love as well.  These are what I was adding tiny bits to when I got distracted last week.   Adding little bits of vintage maps, buttons, embroidery, ribbon and even an old key can all add to something not only interesting to look at but beautiful as well.  I am all for framing work like this because of dust. When there is so much going on and it is on a wall hanging it would be hard to keep clean and free from a moth nibble too.  Although with some of my little antique French envelopes the would look gorgeous as a hanging with the old french pharmacy clips that I bought  ... It is a matter of deciding really.  Moths do hate lavender so you could spray them with a little lavender water from a distance and you get them smelling good too!!!

I am all for subtle approach and not lots of black stitching lines everywhere but that is my personal taste and at the end of the day when we make we sort of make what we like.  If I am stitching a commission piece then I discuss with the client what they have in mind and then respect what they are looking for but generally as they have picked me to stitch something they have seen some of my
work and like the way that I interpret things and my subtle way of stitching....

Collected over the years I have old maps, bits from old cookery books, old envelopes and letters copperplate pictures from books to bad to save and I buy lots of these from Kiss the book the lovely Jayne and she sells packs on her stall as well as gorgeous old books.  If a book or map is just too badly off she splits them up and makes interesting packs of old paper and sometimes there is a feather of a little bit of ribbon or dried flower that has been kept in the book as well.....

Making beautiful things from all sorts of materials really is great and if like me you might like to make things that can be washed then of course you can photo copy onto the copy fabric and then you can have the best of both worlds as it were.  You can add on old thimbles as I have done as gorgeous looking beehives .... I also have a new find a ball of silk twine made from vintage sari's and it is beautiful .

I am loving experimenting with mixed media and have lots of ideas... then I will be able to use up some of my gorgeous papers and envelopes .. I have a few of those glass frames that you can see back and front and like the idea of making something to look at on both sides as well...

Now that reminds me I must find the packaging (hope I still have) of the fabric photocopy sheets I use and I will show you some of the things that have been copied .... I am very pleased with them.

My hand dyed shaker threads have had a slight tidy as well and I have been
bunching some colour ways together so it is easier to find what shade I am looking for.  These are what I call my seaside colours (above) and they are in part of a box and then of course the ones that I seem to always be drawn to are my reds ... I can not help it as it is still winter to me and because red and white on stitching is my favourite thing and what I tend to home in on.  You can see why though can't you?

Well enough of my ramblings for today, I hope you all have a fabulous day and I am off to my stitching. My basket is ready and I am going to make myself another warm drink.  I have drunk a lovely cup of coffee whilst typing this and I am now going to choose a herbal tea.  Cinnamon or fiery ginger and rhubarb  and can not decide right now ...

Happy Stitching! XX

Friday 17 February 2017

Tiny wee stitches and tippets for mice!

small little hand stitches
snippets of fabrics &
lots of concentration!

After talking to you yesterday I was stitching away by the fire and then I stopped for some soup, I have been taking tablets for my cold and was told they should be taken after food so I have gotten in to the habit you see.  Anyway I then went upstairs for a embroidery thread that I needed and that is where it all seemed to go a little wry ....

There was was the bag of the tiny bits of fabrics and I could see some little bits of lace trimmings in there too ... I got distracted a little and then tipped it out into a bowl to have a a proper look at what was in this bag of treasure that had been forgotten in a draw for far to long, hmmm you guessed it I started to play around with it and that was it the afternoon was gone!

I am hoping that my first real week back next week to working is going to be more productive.  I still have a cough but that does not stop me from stitching.

Not wanting to jinx it being that firstly it is still on February but it looks like Spring is on its way, I ventured out into the garden to feed the birds yesterday because the pair of robins were sat on my kitchen window sill looking in at me.  They really are very tame indeed and it was almost as if they had there beaks open and pointing to their mouths .... So I went out with a big bag of meal worms and other goodies too.  I did have a scarf and coat on but it was noticeably warmer to me.  Not sure we are out of winter just yet mind but it was nice to feel the sun on my face anyway.

Sorry for being a little later today but had some phone calls to attend to about Mum so they had to be taken and as you know these things are never quick.  I have not seen her for 2 weeks because I do not want to give this to her but I speak to her on the phone and this morning she was very talkative, I think the warmer weather has perked her up as well.

I want to get some serious stitching in today and also continue with the big tidy up in my work room as well, the trouble is I have very little energy right now so really the sewing is my best option because I am sat but being productive at the same time ... the bad patient in me gets cross with no energy ...

I am looking forward to the start of all the vintage fairs this year and I will be at the Vintage Bazaar in March, would have loved to gone to some this weekend but feel it would be a bit silly as I am not
fully recovered and I do not want to go backwards at all.  So my goal is the VB  on Saturday 4th of March and it would be fabulous to meet some of you there if you are going.... promise I will not be contagious by then!!

If any of you are going to a vintage event this weekend then please let me know where you went and how it was I would be very interested to here about it.  Well I think I must get to my stitching and not get distracted today if possible, although I am loving playing with the little bits of fabrics. Have a great weekend whatever you are up to and I will see you back here on Monday ...

Happy Stitching! XX

Thursday 16 February 2017

Loving being back to sewing by the open fire! .. on the mend.

..**Gorgeous vintage fabrics, buttons, lace and 
hand dyed embroidery silks
with gorgeous vintage patchwork pieces..**

All is well with the world, my life is back in balance.  My cold, although it is still trying to hang on is much better and I can actually see without my eyes watering .. My blurry world has gone and I have spent a while threading up needles just to show off to myself!! well not just that as I am going to get down to some serious stitching today in front of the fire.  I am still feeling the cold even if the temperature has risen slightly .. Yesterday the skies opened and the rain was really heavy, I watched Miss Muddy Beak stand her ground with two robins.  She was digging around in the border for juicy worms and they had dared to come too near to what she considers her territory ... It did make me smile and she was braving heavy rain too.  Normally in a down pour like that the garden is empty of birds, so she must have been hungry....

In addition to what I was finishing  I found two more unfinished pieces when I was sorting through my work room that I had started in a playful kind of way but I want to finish these I think as well,  I am being very strict with myself .... It is a very hard thing to do but it will pay off in the end as the excitement builds to start a fresh for 2017.

Having so many ideas jumping around my head and getting on to pages of my design journal I may just let myself start them next week and finish the other two another time as these were experimental anyway. ( already talking myself into starting a new) Personally I am stitching something for me but that is at weekends just because so that is not in the must finish basket at this point in time.

I have some gorgeous fabrics to create with and I have been trying to sort them out into some sort of order as you know .. its getting there.

Colours were the way forward to go when I started tidying the drawers of fabrics.  Pinks, Reds, Blues and Greens then I thought I can put some order into the ticking and stripe fabrics that I have as well and this seems to be working.  I do have rather a lot of fabrics but I know they will never come again so it worth collecting and then I have some great choices in my work and for when I start some classes too.  Others can choose to use some of the wonderful fabric that I have started to collect over the last 2 years .....

Whilst looking through my fabrics I came across a small bag with tiny bits of fabrics that I could not bare to throw away and I had forgotten about completely.  Pushed to the back of a drawer so I got those out and had a look at them and then had an idea as well so that bag is now on my work table ready to have a little play with.  When I say scraps of fabric, there is not enough to cut a tiny heart out of the pieces as they are more like strands really ... Fabric pieces that I have used for commission work and no longer have any left in my stash so it was like walking down a fabulous fabric memory lane.  I really hate throwing away beautiful fabrics even if it is just ' tippets for mice!'  

I have some bundles of fabric tied with a little bit of fabric that has length to it and is almost falling apart with the fraying because it is so thin but hey it makes me happy!

Talking of Happy did you all have a great Valentines Day?  I was a very lucky girl and had two wonderful flower
bouquets delivered.  My favourite colour in flowers is white and green and I had the most beautiful huge bunch with white roses and snow berries along with eucalyptus as well and then to my utter surprise I had a red bunch as well with red roses and gypsophila  ... explanation later in the day from my husband was he wanted to get me my favourite colours but then thought it was not very valentiney being that they were not red so he ordered me both ... the house is now filled with gorgeous flowers .  I had opted to not go out to dinner with my cold so I cooked in and was really pleased that I did as it was raining all evening and we were sat in eating steak and salad and I had made a peach cobbler for desert and a great bottle of wine, which I could actually taste as the cold is on the mend The fires were going and the candles were lit and we talked about our day and also about the possibility that this is the year we find our forever house, which is our favourite topic of conversation at the moment. .... It was a lovely evening.

Well that is it for today I hope that you have a great day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Monday 13 February 2017

The Quilt Sanctuary ... by Laura Goulding

Those who sleep under a quilt
 sleep under a blanket of love.

I have a real treat for all you quilt lovers out there.  I have been fortunate enough to have been
introduced to a lovely and talented lady by the name of Laura Golding.

We were introduced basically by our respective husbands because they work together.  Now I know us ladies chat but very rarely do the men chat about maybe what their wives do for a living but by happy coincidence our gorgeous pair support us both and are proud of what we do .. thus a friendship has been born.

So why not get yourself a warm drink and enjoy a little tour in to Laura's world of quilts in her own words and have a look at some of the fabulous things that she makes.  The Quilt Sanctuary offers a long arm quilting service as well so if you love to make a patchwork quilt but do not have either the time, skill or just feel that on a small machine it might be a little daunting then contact this lovely lady and have a chat.

Both of us know we are so lucky that we do the jobs we love because as I have said before when you do a job you love, you will never work a day in your life ....
 Laura not only offer the professional service of Long Arm Quilting but also sells quilting supplies.

The first picture is the award winning sampler quilt that is on the Long Arm Quilter ready to be quilted It is a stunning quilt as I think you will agree.

Enough of me and enjoy your read and marvel at this lady's talent ......

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for the opportunity to have a chat with you.

As you know I’m the owner of The Quilt Sanctuary and we offer a Professional Long Arm Quilting Service. We also sell some gorgeous Jane Makower fabric, extra wide backing fabric, wadding and various other quilting supplies.

I’ve been a keen sewer for many years and was making my own clothes from the age of 11. My first introduction to Patchwork was when a school teacher taught me English Paper Piecing and I made a Hexagon Flower cushion for my Mum. Back in those days I knew little about fabric and patchwork techniques, but have certainly learnt a lot since then! 

I took a Sampler Patchwork Course during the 90’s and from there I have continued to explore Patchwork and Quilting in all its forms by participating in many workshops as well as designing quilts at home.

I’ve always enjoyed hand stitching including cross-stitch and silk ribbon embroidery. I recently incorporated some of these stitches and techniques in my ‘African Alphabet’ wall hanging, which I thoroughly enjoyed creating and stitching.
(pictured on the right)

On the 1st March it will be The Quilt Sanctuary’s 1st birthday and we have so many new fabrics and exciting events coming up in 2017. As well as teaching a Beginners Patchwork Course towards the end of the year, I’ve been requested by various Quilt Groups and other organisations to deliver talks and/or workshops throughout the year. I also hope to set up my own Quilting Bee soon.

Some of my latest projects have involved a couple of Quillows, which were specially commissioned for Christmas gifts, 2 sets of Table Runners, Place Mats and Coasters for sale, in between quilting customer quilts.

I’m originally from South African and have travelled expensively throughout the world and love seeing traditional crafts first hand, especially fabrics. I’m now settled in the stunning Snowdonia National Park, Wales and my environment inspires me every day.

We have a website under and a Facebook page and Instagram account, both under The Quilt Sanctuary name.

You really can’t go wrong when you’re doing something you love. And I love Patchwork and Quilting!

Thank you,

I would like to thank Laura for supplying all these beautiful photos of her work and I really hope you have enjoyed taking a little peek into The Quilt Sanctuary.  We are going to see it this year and spend some time with Laura and her family and I can not wait to have a look at the supplies that are for sale as well as any quilt that may be ready in that magnificent Long Arm Quilter machine.  I am sorry that the link in blue that was supplied does not seem to work on here for you just to click on but it is well worth jotting it down and going and having a look.  There are lovely photos on the Facebook page as well as on Instagram and its worth following Laura and keeping up with her news of any up and coming courses that will be on offer later in the year with the added bonus of the gorgeous surroundings that is peaceful and beautiful and a great place to learn and be creative.....

Well I hope you have enjoyed today's stitchery read and I hope you have a wonderful.  This has inspired me to do a bit more patchwork.

Happy Stitching! XX


Friday 10 February 2017

Timeworn fabric sorting .... a great way to relax!

Aladdin's Cave with wonders and
forgotten treasures.  Its a world
I happily loose myself in.

What's a girl to do when she just can not stitch? Well as you know I have planned a trip going around England, France, Paris and Italy on a treasure hunt with stop offs along the way ....  But yesterday I decided to go into my inner sanctum which is known to most as my stitchery room or sometimes where it looks like wars have been fought and lost in ..... It can get messy its how it is sometimes.

I thought is was time to sort out the two paisley and eiderdown fabric drawers I have and so It was time to brace myself and get in there. I also knew that other fabrics had been put in there and things
were in the wrong place. They do say it gets worse before it gets better don't they? well it has because I am full of cold and can not breathe properly so sat on the floor with a box of tissues, candles lit and pulled out one drawer!.....  Then of course one drawer is not enough because there are two drawers with fabrics in so both had to come out and search and seek was the mission of the day. The scissors, antique rabbit pin cushion and star button were not in the drawer with this gorgeous paisley but I could not help myself photographing it with them on there! ... David Bailey moment!

Well of course then you start looking at the fabric and remembering where you bought it and how much you paid for it and how lovely it is and feeling the very timeworn beauty of each piece ... yes you guessed it I did not get hugely far in the 'tidy' part really and is worse right now but over the next few days it will get better.

To my surprise I had all sorts in the first drawer, it must have been me hurrying to clear the room at Christmas so that some floor could be seen and the little bed in there was free for someone to sleep in, whilst praying all the stacked clear boxes did not fall on them if they sneezed!!!

This piece of vintage hexagon quilt along with others was amongst the drawer contents, folded nicely not screwed up or anything but not in the quilt pieces box! ... I knew I had to dig deeper and I had a job on my hand....

These gorgeous pieces of quilt and I can unpick it into these sorts of pattern ways
 to do something with or indeed cut pieces out of it but I am thinking that these shapes are really beautiful and would look gorgeous when framed.. then of course there is the question to add to or not to add to.....

A little word on each might look good and a tiny button as a full stop but I think these are beautiful enough without adornment and somethings do not benefit from it. Of course you could cut it about and makes a few cushions but then do I really want to do this.  Well for now they are wrapped up and in the box they should be in but the box it getting full to bursting so some has to be sold on or indeed used.  I am collecting to be able to take classes too as you know ... come on forever house, show yourself!!

By now I was getting intrigued to know what other buried treasure might show its hand, it was getting exciting and I was in heaven ..

I came across this tiny weeny vintage sampler in red and white ( I have a weakness for these!) and it is not framed but I think I was thinking that I might add a border of gorgeous vintage fabric to it before framing and had put it in the drawer for that purpose.  It has tissue paper on the back strangely enough and it is timeworn and has a couple of teeny holes in it ... and I love it!

Well it has come out of its hiding hole  and has been put in a project basket with three fabrics that are contenders for the border and maybe I might find another fabric and add four different fabrics around it and then frame it.  I do have some of the glass frames that hang on a chain and you can see both the front and the back in them.  I have bought one of them to put some hexagons in that have gorgeous vintage old paper with calligraphy style writing on so I think that both the front and
the back should be seen.  In point of fact I prefer looking at the back of them but did not want to cover up the large fabric side either so thought these kind of frames are perfect ..  a bonus is I can do that myself so I think this weeny sampler is going to get the same treatment....

In addition I found this tiny bundle of vintage fabrics tied up in the corner of the drawer at the back ... I have brought that out for my jar of hearts and now they will be cut out and stitched ....

Then I found three pieces of vintage log cabin quilt each carefully laid flat at the bottom of the drawer and individually wrapped as well and I remember buying these at the Summer Brocante .. they are stunning and
again I must have had some idea or not ... thing to do is for me to look at last years or the year before journal to see what I had to say about them then I can make an informed choice... I think from memory I was just going to have the three piece framed side by side and leave them as they are or stitch the date on one .....

This one on the left is a particular favourite of mine as I adore the colours and love the way the lines of the log cabin in this quilt piece is slightly wobbly and it makes for such an interesting piece.  This quilt would have been stunning and the writer and history lover in me wants to know about each piece of fabric and wonders if this quilt to speak would it say there were several ladies sat around stitching this for a trousseaux or was it just
one lady who stitched this out of bits of clothes that were too threadbare to mend anymore?
Take a look at the piece of fabric on the second panel here on the right at
the top.  Its a beige colour with little blue flowers on it and I think it really is so perfect.

The last one of the three is this one on the left and my favourite piece of fabric in this log cabin panel is the very light blue ( almost denim) with the tiny white flowers on it on the right of the panel at the side.  When these three panels are side by side they look really rather lovely so they have been packed to go to the framers next week reading to be behind glass.  My framer laughs at me because always have one last stroke of the fabric for framing ...

Well that is it for me today and I hope you have enjoyed this little read this morning.  I am hoping that I will feel much better next week and although the cold may not have left me completely my eyes will have stopped streaming ....

Have a wonderful weekend and I will see you back here on Monday.  Happy Stitching!XX

Thursday 9 February 2017

Vintage Flea Markets .....

If I'm going to try and find something, I stick to the flea markets,
 or I pull hand-me-downs from my family because
 I like pieces to have stories. 

Troian Bellisario

Still nursing an awful cold and streaming eyes, I really can not stitch.  I am a bad patient as my husband would collaborate with a ' yes and some' kind of comment.  I feel being poorly is such a waste of time for me and I get cross with myself.  It would be OK if indeed I could stitch but with my eyes just streaming I really can not see tiny stitches and I had to unpick something because it was all over the place SO with a humph and a bottom lip quiver I have given in to this bloomin' cold! By now I was going to have finished my last bit of 2016 stitching and started on one of my exciting NEW project designs but no this cold has other plans ..... grumpy is not the word.

I can not really read much either but I can look through these precious books that I have.  I know this is a vintage stitchery blog but today so that I can talk to you (because there is no stitching to talk of) I would like to share with you my dream books ....

Do I have your interest and are you sitting comfortably with a warm drink in hand!?  I have been collecting these for a while now and have four of them.  One day in the not too distance future my husband and I are going on a road trip holiday to some Flea Markets of the world.

Looking through eagerly at where to go in parts of France to what little alley ways and tiny vintage shops to the Brocantes and larger affairs.  Each place has times, where and whens and lists the kind of things you can expect to find.  Obviously its not written in stone because what is for sale is never the same thing being Antique but certain places at certain venues specialise in certain things and I am interested in fabrics, buttons, lace and all things delicious in the world of stitching.  That is not to say that some French enamel would not get snapped up and other vintage goodies along the way like a gorgeous French Armoir but you know where my passion lies.

Then of course there is Paris! now Paris is a gorgeous place and for us especially has lots of sentimental memories as this was where we went for our first holiday together.  We then went on to The Palace of Versailles and we hired bikes there and rode around the whole of it.  It was the end of a
warm September and we stayed in the large Hotel there.  Now you see Paris has its own vintage flea market and little vintage shop guide and I have eagerly been planning this trip as to where we will go and places to stay with interesting stops along the way for the Artist in me like Monets Garden .....

Wandering around the chic city of Paris with my little book with all the book marked pages and clutching my Euros I think it would be a fabulous few days indeed.  In addition to that of course it is the city of artists and I would take my little sketch and ideas journal so that when I saw things that gave me an idea for a stitchery design I could write it down.

The other joy of all this is my husband loves to drive, so we would have the car for all the vintage goodies and would be able to go from place to place around France and then head for the Italian border  .....

Italy home of my ancestors and where the gorgeous bowls of salads and pasta would please me greatly ... well treasure hunting is a hungry job, just ask Indiana Jones!

I would love to have a Italian school sampler for my collection and some gorgeous Italian threads for
the collection.  Can you imagine how wonderful wandering Italy markets would be and still it is slightly undiscovered.  Bus loads of ladies go to the French Brocantes but not as yet Italy and their gorgeous stitchery through the ages and so I would love to go here and see .....

There are not as many there as in France but can you imagine the undiscovered treasures that lay waiting ....

All the adventures that could be had and walking around in the warm breeze with my husband being The Donkey ( his words for carrying it all! bless him!)

Now it is not only abroad obviously that have some great antique market, here in England does too as you know and they are hugely popular and I have a fabulous little book on these too apart from the great ones that we also have like The Vintage Bazaar, Love Lane Vintage and other gorgeous Summer vintage Brocantes that are not to be missed
in my calendar so I would have to plan my treasure hunt in the med carefully around it but I am having fun doing it because its all that I can muster right now and stops me getting so grumpy with myself for not stitching.

I would love a few weeks doing this and what is so perfect is that my husband would love it too.  He totally gets how I am and what I love and he actually finds things for me that I have some how missed in my little vintage goodies for sale comma ..... It is so good to have another pair of eyes to look out behind you at things that that person knows you would love.

This my dear readers is what has kept me sane for the last two days planning this in detail and thinking about it properly for next year I hope.

Anyway I have managed to type this for you all and take the pictures which has been no mean feat so forgive any spelling mistakes that my blurry eyes may not have picked up on.

Have a wonderful day and Happy Stitching! you lucky people XX

Tuesday 7 February 2017

Ideas ** Doodle & Collate ** Needle, Fabric & Thread.

“Simplicity is not the goal.

 It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.”

 Paul Rand.

I see ideas for stitchery in everything, a word, in the garden, in the clouds, walking along by the beach or indeed in the markings on the bark of a tree as I have said before.  The trick is to believe in your ideas and then to doodle.  I have been asked recently how I work and the methods I adopt so here is a little insight to my working world....

Firstly I jot down the idea, then I get a scrap of paper and have a little doodle.  In the margin I jot down colours I feel it would be best in and the thread colours I am thinking of.   Then it is about doing a bit better sketch ( not a Monet but a bit more detail) .... The fun then begins when you look at your notes saying you feel that maybe blues, reds or say greens would be most fitting for the project - it is then going through your fabric stash to find the fabrics in your chosen colourways would fit the picture you are creating.  This happens to not only be the longer of the processes I go through because I get caught up in all the fabric beauty but there is always a dilemma when you have to whittle down your choices.  Sometimes I have say eight choices because I love them all.

Whittle down by size of pattern ( if there are small components to cut out, a large print will be lost in smaller bits of the fabric) so that will normally make the pile to choose from a little smaller.  Then it is the shade of the colour you have chosen so you can then think actually this is too dark a red, green etc .... and so it goes on until your choice has been made.

Then it is the threads that will be used so you can get them out to match in or indeed stand out depending on what you have in your mind on how it might look as  finished product.

Buttons are a must for me as you all know and I like to go through and pick out some possibilities and of course it is always the last thing I stitch on and you can keep changing the button and just placing it around your stitched piece and see where it looks best and which one or ones look best on the finished piece.

If ribbons are part of your vision or lace then it is a good idea to have a look through what you have and have an idea before you start stitching away as I really feel strongly about not unpicking vintage fabrics because they are more delicate and little hole could appear if not careful.

If I am creating a picture/sampler then I sometimes add vintage paper to it and stitch it on because it will be behind glass and framed and therefore it will not be washed so you can go ahead with that without worry.  If you would like to add a sewing trade card for instance but it is on something that will need to washed at sometime in its life ( a cushion say) then you can buy the printable fabric and you can copy the image onto it that is washable, which is a fabulous invention!  Indeed if you want to keep the original then you can do the same to add it to a picture.

The other day I photo copied a big bunch of old tickets so that I could stitch the odd one onto things as I wanted to keep the originals.... I love the fabric photocopy
paper and indeed it was one of my lovely readers Dawn who put me onto my preferred product of choice.  If you are careful when you place the items on the photocopier, you can get a lot on one piece to cut out properly to be able to stitch into a project.

I have a set of these gorgeous flower cards and with the size of them I can easily get six on each piece of the copier fabric with plenty of room around each to cut them out separately with a good border to stitch... these are my next photo copying project there are around thirty of them and I would like to be able to get them ready for future projects ....  I normally do this sort of work later in the day or early morning when the light is not so good for sewing.  I love getting things like this ready to use.

Finally, for me at least, I like to get things sorted and in some sort of order.  Boxes or drawer for just buttons or fabrics, lace or ribbons this way you know where you are and it is easier to see what you are looking for even if you are not really sure.  I like paisleys together ( yes my precious paisley draw!!) and all the vintage French linens that I have are all folded and in a big clear box so that I can see at a glance what I would like to use and helps when I am planning a project ...

Well that is it for today I hope you all have a great day and I will be back here on Thursday as tomorrow is my precious design day .. My cold has taken a real hold so I may even have a day off tomorrow ... we will see.

Happy Stitching! XX