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

Monday 24 July 2017

I might of bought some gorgeous fabrics .....

My favourite thing
paisleys ... oh my!

I have been having withdrawal symptoms from vintage fairs recently and so I though I might have a little look out there to see what was on line in the way of gorgeous vintage fabrics. I did not have to go far as I firstly looked at Clare's shop on Etsy which is Lou Lou Retro and oh my!

As you know I am the paisley and eiderdown fabric Queen, really if it is gorgeous I can not walk away from it and especially if I do not have that colour or pattern and this is what happened to me when I went a looking last week.

I am very lucky to know Clare and she also popped in a lovely letter and a little gift for me as well so it was like Christmas in July.  Talking of July this is the last day of it and I really can not believe it.

Look at the paisley fabrics that were once on eiderdowns many many moons ago!  I wish I had a time machine to go back and buy some of these beauties and bring them here now they really are so gorgeous.

My great luck though and a great arm chair treasure hunt.  I do not have either of these colour ways
and designs so I was thrilled.  Then there was the matter of some really lovely pieces of vintage quilts so they had to come in the post as well.  The bottom right photo was a gift piece to me and I really am so very thrilled, thank you again Clare my lovely generous friend.  This is a close up for you all to have a peek at.

I have been looking for some more pretty and different pieces of old quilt bits and this lovely bundle was just what I had been looking for.  Some lovely little pieces in the bundle and different to what I have.

When I opened the bundle up and saw them close up I was thrilled.  On Lou Lou Retros Etsy shop
she has the measurements up and photos but seeing them in the flesh as it were it was even better then I had imagined so I decided to take a photo of the pieces for you to look at as well.

Happiness is getting a parcel through the post like this with stunning vintage fabrics and a letter from a lovely friend .....

This morning I was gazing out of my Stitchery room window and waiting for my lap top to fire up and do its checks whilst sipping my coffee and who should be out on the lawn but my absolute favourite Miss Muddy Beak and so I sprang, yes sprang into action and went down in to the garden and she let me take a photo of her.  It may have been a thank you for her new decoration of nest ( the paisley scraps that I had popped into our pear tree) Normally she is very camera shy but today she posed long enough for me to take a photo of my gorgeous girl.

She was hopping around with her head down listening for worms and so when I went out she stopped and I was talking to her as I do, then I said would you mind if I take a photo of you today and lifted up my I phone and there we have it she stayed still and let me..... she had a muddy beak too because the ground was still wet from the huge thunder and lightening storm we had the other night with rain that went on for at least 6 hours and it was like stair rods from the sky.  So as she was looking for juicy worms her beak was all muddy, this is how she got her name from me originally  It has been so gorgeous of late with very high temperatures  that she has not been able to dig about in the lawn for months and it seems to be her favourite thing to do even when there is bird food provided for her.

I am having a few days off next week just to pre warn you all as I have a friend coming down to stay and I am picking him up this week from Devon well at the end of the week.  More about that at the end of this week when I know exactly what is happening.

For today I am going to get into my sewing frame of mind and get some serious things finished I hope so have a wonderful day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Friday 21 July 2017

Let your work speak for itself! ... my mantra!

Develop your slow stitching skills
to create work that is the culmination
of your vision.  Truly unique and based on your 
involvement in life.  For each and every moment
you spend living contributes to each and every
creative endeavour you engage in.

Paul Buregar.

I was asked about how I come up with my ideas and really this is going to sound rather strange but it just pops into my head.  I see a button and whole picture is made from that.  The button is not normally the round plain type all be it mother of pearl one, but indeed but one I have purchased that is a carved very old mother of pearl button and from that tiny thing comes ideas dancing around in my head.

Walking around the garden or in the forest or even the beach can give me an idea as well and I have always said keep a little note book and pen with you to jot down and idea and you can do a little doodle as well, that only you may understand on the paper but from that grows a full idea.  From little acorns and all that!

In addition I sometimes stitch part of what ever I am working on and then leave it for a while because I can not decide if I should stitch something that I have in my design.  I hate unpicking anyway (reminds me of school needlework!! and you all know how I liked that NOT) but also it is because unpicking on delicate vintage fabrics is not good so I would rather walk away for a few days and start something else and then go back and look at it with a fresh eye.  It really does work I promise.  This does involve having several pieces on the go at once but who doesn't have that right?  Its like books I read I may have at least two on the go depending what I feel like reading..... Murder mystery or maybe something a bit more girly in its plot and words.  I can always remember where I was on something and pick it up and carry on.. There is one exception to the rule though with my reading, if it is the new Kate Morton then I do not put it down until it is read she has a way of describing things that when I read her book I am there in the room she is writing about and an observer of what is going on and being said and my world has been completely closed off and I can not even hear
someone speak to me ... its like a trance.  Sorry I digress!

I picked up a new journal in Bath when I was there and although I make some for me if I see one I love then I will purchase it and this one hit the spot.  Not only because of the picture on the front but that it had good quality plain paper inside to jot notes and doodle a design as well.  This is my new take with me book for what I have been talking about with you. Picture above.

My journals used to be so messy but I try and keep them better inside now as I take a little rough note pad in my handbag for ideas on the go and then think about what I have jotted down and put it in my design journal with a little more clarity.. Both come with me but sometimes when you are on a beach or indeed in the country side a tiny note pad balanced on one knee is enough to deal with.  Then on
the go and sat having a coffee somewhere I can transfer my ideas and notes to a more legible state.

You will be pleased to know I am still cutting a few diamonds and hexagons out daily it is my first job of the day usually and Project Winter Star is getting closer to having all the materials to just stitch come Jan/Feb months ... I am looking forward to stitching it but not wishing this glorious summer away just yet.  I know however that those horrid dark months will be filled with some joy.
 January also is when my gorgeous friend Jo goes back to Australia after her visit so I get a bit morose because we have to wait 2 years for the next one... this project will help kill the blues! in addition I believe the new Kate Morton book will be out in time for Christmas so that will be saved for then too, when the eyes can not take anymore stitching in the day....

Well that is it for today with my ramblings I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend and that you get some creative time in for yourself. I will be back here on Monday and I hope that you will all join me here then.  As always Happy Stitching! XX

Thursday 20 July 2017

Walk a creative journey if you can, its so good for the soul.

When we walk a creative journey, our slow stitching
path may not always be straight but being present during
our process, will take us to amazing places.

Lorn Lee Chambers.

The above is so true, the creative creature in me loves to be thinking of new ideas and things to stitch, for me it is part of my soul and if I could not be creative with my time then I think I would not be me. I am so lucky that I do it daily and do not have to go to another job, I do count myself so lucky that
my husband gets it and gets me.

Of course it is not the route to take to be a millionaire but hey its the route to our happiness and I am lucky that my husband goes to the salt mines ( as we call it) and that enables the holidays and the extras .... 

Stitching, reading, nature and flowers along with walks along the beach looking for sea glass and shells and watching the seagulls and yes a fox the other night playing in the surf this is all part of how I get my creative juices flowing to be able to design and think of ways to stitch and create. Nature especially with plants and of course some of the little animals that visit.  I am hoping that when we do get to move to our forever home that a hare or three might come visiting that would make my year! 

I have been thinking about going to look at a new camera and micro lens  as you all know, and the more I think about it the more I believe it would be great for my work.  My husband and I have talked about it and now I am thinking it is time to go looking.  I do not want it to be to complicated I just want it to take great close shots for the details of things and have a zoom lens so that shy retiring creatures ( woodpeckers, I live in hope clearly) can have their own space and distance from me but I can see each and every feather on them to be able to study them.  Flowers would be amazing and its something that I really love doing, is taking photos. My mother in law in a email to me had read my blog and came back and said that if the woodpecker had a red head ( and it did) then it is a boy! so now boy names are being thought about should he return.  Also she said they adore desiccated coconut so I have purchased some of that to pop out at the weekend and we will live in hope.

It would be a great work tool and also when we go on holiday then I could take some  great photos
when we go back to America next year because the seals that are just bobbing in the water and also whale watching well I think it would be a good purchase and not one of those things that we would play with for a little while and then leave in a cupboard.  So a looking we shall go.

In my sewing room I have a large antique glass jar and this is where I house lots of my vintage ribbons on spools I have some beauties and occasionally I like to tip out the jar and make sure they are all OK and not dusty or been munched and yesterday I did just that.  I get a little distracted, I can not help myself.  Pushing my memory banks to where and when and from whom I bought them.  There are a few that are my absolute favourites and in a cluster they are divine.  Two light blue ones with a pink and chocolate.  Two are silk and one is velvet and the very very light blue one has another element to it and I can not make it out but it was bought from Donna Flower and I know all about it because she knows I love to know, where vintage stitchery items are concerned I am a sponge.  The two blue ones I am talking about is pictured above.  I have had them a while and they are both now in a work basket to finish of a sampler that I started a while back but it needed something and I could not for the life of me decide what.... these are the what!!

When it is completed It can be photographed and offered up to the magazine in America.  Then people can make for themselves with whatever fabrics etc they would like.  It is the best way because by the time these pictures are completed and the hours of slow stitching go into them and the framing of them well the price is not cheap.  Hand made is really, in my opinion, so much better than a printed picture of which there are thousands but those are much much cheaper to purchase.  This way with people getting there own buttons, threads and fabrics and doing the long hours of work themselves or indeed using the idea to make a smaller and less detailed one, they can cut their costs and I get to keep the original.

I am lucky enough to have some originals from other makers and one of my favourites is the talented
Simone of Ayres & Graces.  I have a hare she made and she sits on my bed as most of you will know. She was not cheap (and should not be in my opinion she was priced right when I was told the hours that went into her making!) at all but worth every single penny because the hours and hours that went into to making her and she is jointed and all the vintage fabrics and thread involved, to me, was worth every penny.  I then have a piece made by this lady who, like me, adores animals and it shows in her gorgeous nature along with her work......

Well that is it for me today and I will be back here tomorrow.  I am off to my stitching as I have so much to do.  Also it is lunch day with my mum as well so my day is in two part....

Have a fabulous day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Tuesday 18 July 2017

Happiest of stitching days!

We can let others convince us to rush or
we can choose to live in the moment
connected with our stitching and the past.
Even if it is only a few minutes a day.

Kit Dunsmore.

This is what I love about hand stitchery you can become one with it.  I have to say I am not keen on machine embroidery it looks too manufactured for my taste but that is my taste others love it.  I think the machine free motion embroidery is good but still would prefer to do it by hand.  My Grandad used to say of me" darling your were born too late! " As a child I was always always more interested in the old ways of things and I believe he was correct.

Swirls of words in patterns is something I have been playing with on paper and I think that might make a beautiful picture or wall hanging.  You may have guessed I love words and quotes and sayings, I am always looking or reading for more and with some beautiful very old poetry books I have been using the words of Shelley and Byron and of course Mr Shakespeare!!

Words have always been powerful and some are beautiful and thought provoking so sometimes it is all you need in a picture with little swirls of them to make people look at it and their head go side to side to read it ... it certainly is a talking point!

One of the swirls that is in my design journal has these words and I loved them.

Develop your slow stitching skills to create work that is the 
culmination of your vision.  Truly unique and based on your 
involvement in life.  For each and every moment you spend living
contributes to each and every creative endeavour you engage in.

Paul Buregar.

I have to report I have not seen the Woodpecker again and I have got all sorts of things they like including fruit as well.  There is a veritable smorgasbord board and basically the gulls come and clear it up of an evening which is good but daily I am trying to entice it back.....  I think one day I will just be sat in the garden and it will appear.  This weather is just right for sitting outside and sewing whilst playing the wildlife game!

Vintage fairs are on my mind and I am going to be doing a blog on dates for August and so if you know of any and would like them mentioned on here then please let me now very soon, I know of three and I am going all of those I am pleased and happy to say but if you know of some get in touch.

I am really happy stitching my Summer sampler with bees and the words that I have chosen for that really make me happy and smile.  I am loving playing with stitches for different cottage garden type flower and it is a real joy to get it out daily from its project basket and carry on with it whilst I ponder.

When I was sorting out my sewing room and getting things put away there was one little box that I
just put into the wardrobe and thought I will sort that another day and that day came this morning and to my joy I found more of the ceramic Debbie Mumm magnetic needle holders and am so very pleased this means I have ten now as I have four of the pin cushion ones.

I have one each of the moon & stars, bee hive, Noahs Ark, flying heart, teapot, and the violets one at the bottom and the four pin cushions so I have enough when I take courses for people to use whilst there with me.

They are not only really useful but they are so very beautiful as well ... at the moment I am using the heart and the teapot .... I keep changing them around and it makes me smile.  So that was my last little box to sort and what treasure I found.

I believe now I am sorted in here (my stitchery room) and I even have some empty drawers, soon to be filled no doubt but it is a lovely feeling when you know where everything is ... ish and that you can just go to and find what is needed.

Anyway that is it for me today and I hope what ever you are up to today it is a happy day for you. Tomorrow is my design day so I will be back here on Thursday.  We have, I think sorted out our holiday this year so more about that in a few days when it is finalised.  Its an exciting trip and much needed.

As always Happy Stitching! XX

Monday 17 July 2017

Throw out all the rules & enjoy creating.

Stitching is relaxing especially
when you throw out all the rules!

Liz Kettle.

To be able to create and design my own pieces is so liberating to me, when I was at school I did not enjoy needle work really and it was because there was not freedom of your own design.  Yes please show us and teach us the basics but where is the art in it.  In our art lessons however our teacher was
all for it.  Choose your medium and learn some things that you have to do, but then go away and impress me with your imagination .... I loved art!

So for me these days I like to learn some basics but then I love to create and have the freedom of choice when I might think, I wonder will that work? and you give it a go. The slow stitching that has become so popular as well is free hand motion type stitching that is more patterns than actual objects like a daisy or bee hive... the rules have been thrown out and it is all about creativity and where your own personal imagination takes you.

I had a wonderful day stitching on Friday last week but I did not see the Woodpecker at all and I sat very quietly and hoping that it was not just a one off visit.  I am trying all sorts to entice it back so that it is a regular visitor to our garden.  I have been reading up on them to get my facts straight.. yes google is my friend. I have turned into Miss Potter over animals and love to feature them when I can in my work, especially hares as you all know. To me they are magical creatures with the most gorgeous of features, those very long ears!

At the weekend I did manage to get to my box of gorgeous bits and bobs ( its a 64L box so you can imagine how much is in there to look through  - grin) anyway I found those tiny crochet buttons and thought you may like to see one if I took a photo for you. As I say it is tiny so the picture is a little blurry but I think you will see its beauty, it is smaller than my little finger nail in real time.  This picture has given me the thoughts of going to get a new camera and a micro lens ... not only can I get huge clarity of photo but taking photos of flowers and wild life would be incredible.  So I spoke to my husband and we are going looking to see.  I do not want over complicated just the clarity especially on small detail.

The other great thing is I believe I have enough of them to use some in each of the samplers I would like to stitch them to, so all is well.  I have never seen anything like these before or since and so for them to be stitched to go behind glass with preserve them well.  Not to be on things you wash and eventually get a hole or some such disaster. I had thought about them for on the cuff of The Dress but I could not bare that they degrade with age.  Although the dress will be dry cleaned because of all the stitchery etc that will go on it but still...

So now my project baskets for stitching have all there bits in including threads, any buttons, fabric, any appliqué cut out ready that is part of the design, lace and other essentials .. they are now a go!

Again this morning I have cut out more hexagons and diamonds and really need to do a little lay out trial because the pattern I have is for a big quilt so I do not need as many so I just need to make sure how many are needed.  You would have thought I might have worked this bit out before cutting but I couldn't I really need to see it on the floor and look at it to decide if it looks ok.  Then measure it to see it will fit my wall hanging rail.  I might have to tweak it a bit but I have high hopes.

I have so many gorgeous old faded, pre loved and timeworn fabrics to choose from but would like some reds in it so any paisley with a red or dark pink will mix nicely with some French red and white fabrics ... it is giving me an excuse to sort through some really lovely fabrics.  Sat on my little stool and going through layers of fabrics has become addictive but I have to put a limit on it or before I know it there would be no stitching done and I would have been at this joy all day long.

The little stool I bought for my sewing room has become such a great buy, to be honest it was cute and gorgeous colours of duck egg and cream distressed paint that it came home with me in a split second but it has been stood on to reach a cobweb in my sewing room ( huh! and you all know how I love spiders .. NOT) and I can sit and not be on my knees when getting to the bottom drawers and cupboards as well as the book case.  When I am not on there my huge duck sits on there ( he is a door stop and will occasionally do door duty) when he is not needed for his purpose. It is so comfy to sit on down low and not be kneeling and getting pins and needles ( pardon the pun!) that I can sit there for far too long treasure hunting in my fabric stashes!!

Well that is it for today, it is the start of a new week and I have to get stitching, where is July going.  We have been talking holidays as well so tonight we are going to decide on where.  This year I am afraid America is a bit far just in case of mum but she should have settled by next year and then we can return to our second home New Hampshire/New England in the Fall.

We will meet up with our friends in Europe somewhere...

Anyway have a fabulous day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Friday 14 July 2017

A delicious day of hand stitching!

Slow stitching means setting aside
time to find myself somewhere
in the thread and spread myself
out on a piece of fabric.

Kelly Martinez

It is that kind of day today a really lovely all day ahead of me slow stitching day where I can stitch and ponder, delicious!

I love having a day where I only have one thing to think about as it were not stitching then off to do this and back etc no today is a full stitching marathon and I am looking forward to it so much with lots of happy thoughts buzzing around my head whilst creating.

This morning before writing my blog I threaded lots of needles so I could have a uninterrupted hour or so of no threading and I have laid it all out to begin.

The weather is still gorgeous and I have my basket ready to go be it inside in my stitchery room with the window flung open wide watching the wildlife or indeed outside on the table, it depends on the breeze. as you know chasing little bits of appliqué fabric around the garden is not my favourite hobby although it does amuse the robin!

Talking very quickly about wild life we had a visitor the other day in our garden that we have never seen there before, a woodpecker!  I could not believe it.  They are not very big either but the colours
were gorgeous.  He was having a drink then eating meal worms ... I looked it up and they love to eat insects so we were thinking that under our holly bush we put lots of old logs and dirt for insects to mooch around in and that is what has attracted Mr Woodpecker!! It seems it could be  l his local restaurant now...

So I am hoping today he will return and I can maybe get a picture, they are very shy creatures so it is not easy but I live in hope that if I stitch in the garden quietly he may come back and he will get used to me being there. It would be too easy to call him Woody so I am going to think of a name for this regal fella! or it might be a girl ... hmmm any ideas?

This morning early I sorted out some more gorgeous fabrics that I would like in my Winter Star wall hanging and so later in the day I will cut out some more hexagons and diamonds.  If I choose three fabrics daily it will soon be all ready and waiting for me later in the year.  I fancy one evening later this summer getting the fire basket going and starting a little sewing whilst waiting for my husband to get home from work on a cooler evening ....

I have to get out one of my large clear boxes in a stack, its the third one down and so that might be at the weekend loving rummaging through this box because it has lace, monograms vintage
embroidered linens, the most gorgeous tiny weeny vintage crochet buttons and all sorts of goodies in there ... this is not just for pure pleasure ( although it does come into it) but because there are some bits in there that I need to put in to two of my project baskets.  I had tied a note to myself on each basket so I want to get them in before I use the bits on something else which would be a disaster!

Time when doing something like that just ticks on by and I just keep looking and remembering where I purchased it and who from if it was a fair.  It is like letting a child into a candy store to be totally honest. One of the things I need to get are in fact the crochet buttons for the Autumn Sampler I need to check how many I have and how many I believe I need ... If there is some left over they might go on the Summer Sampler too ...

The above antique trade card for cotton is in a project basket and is going to be part of a mixed media project with the butterflies.  I adore this little card and need it to be framed to keep it safe and enjoyed.  This will be a keeper for me but I will be showing people what they can do with things like this in the future.  I love butterflies and that it has a connection to stitching as well makes this even more special to me.   I have also photocopied it onto fabric several times so that I might use the
image on other things in the future, because once it is behind glass that is where it will stay in my life time...

I have a few of these sorts of trade cards and a whole series with children dangling cotton to play with animals, some are pictured on my home page here at the top.  I have photo copied those onto fabric as well and they need to be framed but the one above, there is going to be more to it than that.

So as you can see I have my work cut out for me over several weeks so that is it for my vintage stitchery ramblings today because I need a good start on all this stitching with some deadlines to meet too.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend whatever you are doing; today is a Birthday for a family member as well so its really is a special day....

Happy Stitching! XX

Thursday 13 July 2017

Stitching * Garden * Books *

If you have a garden and
a library you have everything
you need.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

That quote above made me laugh when I read it because it could have been written by my Father in law, although he would have added fresh baked bread, cheese and jam to that! but partly its true of me I love books and sitting in the garden reading whether it is a great novel or indeed a stitchery

book, maybe a antique embroidery book.  My add would be a project basket filled with glorious treasures to stitch and create with.

Still holding my breathe over this summer we are experiencing and being able to be sat outside for breakfast, lunch and dinner most days.  Last year we did not get our wooden table and chairs out it was so bad.  We have a plastic one that is out in the winter months ( rain does not hurt it you see) and if it is a cold but sunny day we will wrap up and still go out and sit but last summer (she says with tongue in cheek) the weather was dreadful so it didn't happen.

Anyway I have sorted several project baskets ready for the off and have an ongoing project basket being filled daily, The Winter Star basket, and cutting several hexagons and diamonds daily, it is growing and with a large white cotton reel of white cotton and a needle in it already threaded I feel it is getting somewhere.  In addition to that the pre cut diamond and hexagon papers have arrived and
they have been added to the basket in two plastic boxes ... I am getting ready for the hibernation months clearly!

I have cut out two pieces of vintage linen to the size of two rather gorgeous frames I bought at a vintage fair and I am going to frame the finished samplers in those.  So I thought cut out the correct size and arrange my designs accordingly saves any tears if they will not fit later after all the stitching is finished.  Also I bought this gorgeous large piece of vintage paisley and thought you may like to see my latest treasure! I bought it from Clare of Daisy Darling and I am thrilled with it ... Looked at and now folded gently and in the paisley drawer .. Until needed and away from the munchers!

This morning already I have sorted through a little basket of snippets of fabric and cut out a few hearts, saved some strands of fabric that can be used and deliberated over why oh why I thought this piece might be of use! I know I have an adversity to throwing out bits of precious vintage fabric but really! I made myself laugh out loud to this even mice would give it back to me I believe. So with a heavy heart and some resolution  I ...... put it in the garden on our pear tree to see if any birds wanted to re decorate their nest!

I imagine Miss Muddy Beak sorting it all out and having some vintage paisley twirling around the perimeter, Its the Beatrix Potter in me!

Catching up with all that I have to do after months of not doing much has not been easy and of course I still go visit my Mum, although when I or my sister are not with her she is cared for and fed and not wandering the streets which is a weight off our minds truly.  When we are not with her she joins in but as soon as we walk through the door she is between us holding our hands and smiling ...
Today is the day we take her for some lunch so I have a long lunch break ( 3 hours actually)  It is lovely spending time with her and watching her smile.  She always tells everyone who she can 'these are MY Girls' .... makes us grin too.

So today I am going to really get my head down and stitch for a few hours and tomorrow it is all day and not moving unless to refill my drink and get a sandwich at lunch time day.  My husband works from home on a Friday so we take turns in getting drinks through out the day but I am the lunch maker.

My project baskets are filling and I am not counting my Winter project so it is hi ho its of to stitch I go!

I hope you all have a great day and I will be back here on Friday morning bright and early.  Have a wonderful day and Happy Stitching!