Saturday 27 March 2010

Domestic Goddess

A day out with Gill at The Country Living Spring Fair yesterday resulted in one or two necessary purchases - after all, who could resist polka dot cupcake cases...

With matching red glitter.

I can see that I'll be needing to return to Holly Cupcakes for more supplies in future.

It was also a perfect excuse to play at being a domestic goddess in my beautiful new apron.

Don't you just love that fabric!

Of course the illusion of domesticity is ruined slightly by my not wearing my best frock, high heels and lipstick while I baked... not quite sure pyjama pants and woolly socks create the same image.

There were other purchases made and one or two other blogging friends (plus a big sister) to meet but that will have to wait for another day... if you'll excuse me I'm off to polish my taps...

Thursday 25 March 2010


I've always loved the original Tenniel illustrations.

And although some Disney adaptations can be a little disheartening (don't get me started on Winnie the Pooh) this chap still makes me smile.

And after seeing the latest version at the weekend... (which I absolutely LOVED!!!)

I was feeling somewhat inspired to try my own version...

I'm not convinced I've got him quite right yet...

All that green makes him look like a leprechaun...

And the facial features are a little too menacingly mad rather than gently bonkers (as all the best people are, of course)

What do you think... shall I work on improvements... or should I just stick to the mad vicars?

Mmm... two posts in one day... I think it is time for Tea.

Presents in the Post

I've been a bad blogger! I have been the winner of not one but TWO giveaways recently but have failed to mention the fact so it's time to put the record straight. The first was from Heather. We first got chatting because she is a mother to four girls and as you know I have four boys... comparing notes etc! Heather gave away this lovely felt table mat because she felt it needed some stitched embellishment. I thought I would blog about it when I'd added the stitch... but as yet it hasn't happened.

and my second win was from Sue - a huge envelope stuffed full of the most beautiful papers which I will use for books. The idea was I would make a book or two and then blog about this win... but that hasn't happened either!

So while these lovely prizes sit reminding me that eventually I intend to do something with them I thought I should say thank you to both Heather and Sue. And when I get around to doing that "something" I can blog about it all over again. Thank you both for my lovely presents!

Monday 22 March 2010

I'm getting the "hang" of this...

I found another wooden hanger lurking at the back of the wardrobe...

So it had to be done really...

but before you start telling me off and sending me back to my homework, I've been doing that too. Lots of "fashion" drawings, different garments, each in different colourways like this long sleeve top.
And then samples to show the fabrics and embellishments in each case.

Twin needle stitching and buttonhole edging on the sleeves...

Extra large buttons covered with embroidered fabric...

And reverse applique echoing Broiderie Anglaise designs revealing little embroidered wheels designed to look like Dorset buttons

The results of weeks spent exploring buttons in every imaginable shape and size... but I've not finished yet!

Friday 19 March 2010

Hanging about

Okay... so what were you doing before breakfast this morning? Having seen some rather fantabulous crochet covers for coat hangers on Dottie Angel last night... together with instructions... I had my hook and yarn out by 7.30 am. By breakfast time I'd finished this.

Now I'll be the first to admit it's more than a little less than perfect... and where I should have had thirteen shells I ended up with twelve so it's all a little stretched. But I still rather like it... and would like to make lots more except this was the only wooden coat hanger I could find.

Which is just as well really as I've a deadline in two weeks time and instead of crocheting coat hangers I should be working on my final fashion designs and samples.

So if you see me lurking on here over the weekend please send me back to my drawing board with a slapped wrist and a stern talking to. Hope you have a happy weekend!

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Stitched Portraits

Regular readers will know that I'm no stranger to stitched portraits. I can frequently be spotted surreptitiously sketching people on trains and in restaurants which I then translate into stitch. But this week I've tried a different approach and have ended up with something a lot more cartoon like... and fun!

One of the other tutors in Jersey last week was Louise Gardiner. If you are not familiar with Louise's work then check out her website... her portraits are totally mad and fun... a lot like Lou! As well as being incredibly talented she is also a lovely lady... after all what's not to like about someone who buys you a hot water bottle on only the second day you've met. (We had heating problems in our guest house... as in total lack of!)

Louise was teaching classes in free machine embroidery and getting the students to draw fabulous whacky portraits using the sewing machine... (check out Angela's) and I was desperate to have a go. So this week in my Tuesday machine embroidery class I grabbed my chance. It was the last session this term so the students were given the task to make fabric postcards using any of the techniques we'd covered during the past two terms. And while they were busy stitching I made some of my own postcards based on some little drawings I did of each of the ladies in the class.

Free machined in black thread on calico and finished off with a touch of red... Margaret above and Helen below.





and Thelma!

They were all busy trying to work out who they were meant to be so when they arrive tomorrow they'll know! You could be forgiven for thinking I teach a rather peculiar looking bunch of ladies but in real life they all look quite normal... honest! I was just glad that four of the ladies were on holiday yesterday or I would never have got them finished.

And while I was busy with the portraits the ladies finished their postcards too... which have also gone in the post today. Let's hope they bring a smile to a few posties' faces!

Monday 15 March 2010

For Mums...

Just popped by before I hit the M25 on my way to Farnborough...

With it being Mother's Day in the UK yesterday I thought I'd share a picture of my Mum with her Mum, taken over 10 years ago just because it's a lovely photo of two special ladies!

My Nan was born in Tredegar, South Wales and so Welshcakes were something we grew up with. My Mum made them throughout my childhood (and still does make them) but I've never made them before. So inspired by Diana we had some Welshcakes this weekend... I've never eaten them hot from the griddle before but they were very good!

There were also more tulips for me this weekend (and chocolate and a new hat!)

And as ever something witty in a card from Sam:

Dear Mum,
I am reliably informed that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, that all of our atoms were present at the dawn of the universe and will exist still in the unfathomable future when it all drifts to a halt.
However, these last 24 years have contained all the best bits.
Ta for that,

I can always rely on him to make me smile!

Before I go I must say a long over due thank you for this cheery blog award which I have been given at least three times over the past few weeks (Thank you Annica, who gave it to me first... Sorry...I've forgotten who else passed it on) which I shall pass on to all Mums who should be appreciated all year round not just on one day!

After that random collection of stuff spuriously brought together under the heading "For Mums" I must now dash .... the M25 awaits...

Saturday 13 March 2010

I'm home...

and I'm shattered! It's been a wonderful week at the Textile Showcase in St Aubin, Jersey. A week of glorious sunshine but bitterly cold wind. It's been great to meet up with so many of the people that I met there last year - it felt just like like meeting old friends. The work schedule has been full on - teaching workshops every day, meals out every evening - all great fun but completely exhausting.

I managed one afternoon off when I walked about two miles around this bay (in a howling gale)

... just to see the beautiful Lalique glass in St Matthew's church.

I'd like to say I've come home for a rest but I'm giving a talk in Farnborough on Monday and teaching again on Tuesday... not to mention all the degree work I need to catch up with. However before that there are a few domestic issues to sort out...

How many days do you think I need to be away before someone else in my household would think about loading the washing machine???

They think my forgiveness can be bought with tulips....

... they're right! I'm easily bought!

Friday 5 March 2010

I know...

I said I'd see you the week after next. But after the longest, wettest, coldest, muddiest, most grey, dreary and miserable winter I can remember.... this week of early Spring sunshine has been pure joy. Simple pleasures like drying shirts outside make me happy.

Must go... bags to pack, places to go, planes to catch... I really am going this time!

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Busy, busy...

Life seems to be one long round of teaching lately with an average of three different classes a week. I'm not complaining because I love the teaching side of my work but there seems to be little time for anything else by the time I've prepared for each class.

Some of the ladies have been working on pieces for a competition...

We've had a session on cutwork, using machine stitching, sheer fabrics and a soldering iron.

Last Saturday was spent making tassels, cords and beads. And that's just a fraction of what's been going on. (I seem to forget my camera quite a lot!)

Meanwhile I've also been trying to squeeze in time to try out some different samples of my own for my fashion module. Little stitches that look like Dorset buttons, white thread on white fabric.

Then dyed

Plus some experiments with a twin needle on dyed fabrics- all of which have somehow got to incorporated into a fashion collection by the end of this month.

But most of all I've been busy getting ready for The Jersey Textile Showcase next week. More classes to prepare, materials to gather together, a freezer to fill, dog walkers to organise, etc. Not to mention a little infestation of head lice to deal with (I thought I done with those along with Primary school!)

But when it all feels too much I remember this advert that has appeared in various embroidery/stitch magazines...

And it makes me smile because it all seems worthwhile! See you all again the week after next!