Thursday 18 July 2013


After a week of last minute making, cleaning, tidying, hanging, labelling, cleaning again (those spiders keep making cobwebs)... I still don't feel ready for Open Studios. But then I never do. I never feel I have enough work. I have recurring nightmares that people won't come and visit. Then I have nightmares that they will come and visit and hate everything.
I've been doing this for eight years now so you think I would learn that this never happens. On the whole there is a steady stream of lovely visitors who are kind and polite and sometimes even enthusiastic about my work. People like to chat and tell me about what they make and there are always inspiring conversations. (Only one year a lady complained about the quality of the lighting in my hall)
But it doesn't stop me reaching this feeling of desperation every year. To keep my mind off it there has been another last minute make - some citrus coloured bunting (Planet Penny yarn again... beautiful stuff!) decorated with daisies. When I saw crochet daisies on Facebook I knew I had to make bunting with daisies.... although someone I know said they looked like fried eggs! Fried egg bunting... lovely!

Remember... you can buy the pattern for my bunting here and find details of my Open Studio here.
I may be taking a little blogging holiday for a while as immediately after Open Studios next weekend I'm off to Missenden Abbey to teach a week of Summer School. I may think I feel desperate now but I think I'll be totally bonkers by this time next week as I get all my stuff packed and ready. I can't really see blogging being a priority... I've got another workshop to teach and an Embroiderer's Guild function before then too! But I'll be back in August.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

The Psychology of Shopping

As well as wall mounted work, I also like to have a table full of lower cost items for sale at my Open Studio. Not everyone who visits either wants or can afford work for the wall - in fact I would guess that accounts for the majority of visitors. But quite a few people like to buy a card or small gift item.
I've made sure I have plenty of past best sellers such as my brooches...

and pin cushion jars. Although having sold well in the past is not a guarantee that they will sell again

There is a basket of these chaps... these used to outsell everything else I made but not so much anymore. Maybe they no longer appear "on trend" or perhaps I've saturated my market? Maybe I just need a different patterned sock?

I've also added new items this year... crochet pin cushions packed in cupcake boxes. Will these sell or are cupcakes as passe as we are led to believe?

And although these are nothing new - I've seen lavender fish on the internet for quite a few years - today I had the urge to make a whole dish full. And it remains to be seen whether they sell like hot "fish"cakes... or whether I'm left with a dishful after the weekend.
I've given up trying to understand the psychology behind shopping. There has been many an Open Studio weekend when I've sold out of an item on the Saturday, have stayed up late replenishing my stock and then not sold a single one on the Sunday. It's all a guessing game.. but at least I've had fun making stuff!
Open Studio
20th & 21st July and 27th & 28th July

Monday 15 July 2013

Open Studios

Due to various reasons, I seem to have had even less time than usual this year to make new work. As a result the thought of Open Studios looming has seemed a daunting prospect. Last week I really knuckled down and cleared out my studio and display areas and sorted out the work I've got available to show. This week I thought I'd see if I could add a few new pieces of work and I've come up with this trio of small appliqued and free machined canvases.
They might not be high art or be steeped with concept and meaning but they are quite pretty and I think they might have "mass appeal". And if not I don't really mind because I like them.

"Spotty Teapot"

"Spotty Jug"

"Spotty Bowl"

In fact I liked them enough to make two larger canvases in the same style.

Open Studio
20th & 21st July and 27th & 28th July.
Full details of mine and other studios open in Cambridgeshire can be found here.
Would love to see you!

Saturday 13 July 2013

End of Term

It was a bit of an end of term atmosphere at our Young Embroiderer's meeting today and even though quite a few of the girls were missing due to other commitments it was lots of fun as usual. Last time we met we made bunting but as the girls hadn't finished by the end of the meeting they were under a promise to bring it back finished this time. And doesn't it look fantastic! I wish we could keep it on the guild notice board all the time... much more fun than notices.
Today we were making little brooches from woven threads and beads and Imogen finished this beautiful pink and purple one.

Francesca made a brooch for her dog "Lucky" and here he is sporting it on his collar!

Very smart and sophisticated!

Bluebell managed to finish two brooches and was wearing them both... they look terrific together.

Hannah's looks fabulous with her clever use of complementry colours.

Gabby made her pretty brooch to decorate her bag.

Jemima also finished two... one for her little knitted friend, which she had knitted herself.

And this beautiful one for herself. So clever... and I love those nails!

And Abigail finshed hers just in the nick of time as we were packing up. I did take a photo of Heather's too but it was out of focus... sorry Heather!

And of course, it wouldn't be end of term without cake!

It was a lovely meeting girls... thank you! Thank you to my lovely helpers too... we did a great job clearing out the cupboard  and now I'm wondering if you fancy coming round to my house for a clear up!.

Wednesday 10 July 2013

More Crochet Bunting

I would like to start this post with the bold claim... "By popular demand"... but to be perfectly honest there wasn't any demand, popular or otherwise!
However I was not going to let a little triviality like that stop me and I have been beavering away to make more crochet bunting... and more importantly... to write up the pattern.

Now I am very aware that there are lovely bloggers out there who will happily write up such patterns and give them away for free on their blogs. And I'm quite sure that gains them many, many more loyal fans and followers than I currently have or I am ever likely to have.

But tempting though it may be to get lots more cyberspace friends, I am foresaking popularity for the need to actually make a living.

So the pattern is available as a download, for a modest fee, from my Etsy Shop.

Lovely bunting that you can make yourself in any colour combinations you like.

I would love to see what you make!

Sunday 7 July 2013

It's a Beautiful Day

It feels as though summer is here.
The sun is shining and we've had a family barbecue... you know what it's like... I've marinaded meat, made bread and salads...
I've mixed a large jug of my very special rum punch...

as well as making a summer pudding. But it's a barbecue... so Stewart cooked lunch!

But after several of those rum punches I don't mind if he takes the credit.
I'm just enjoying the tennis.

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Birthday Bunting

I crocheted some bunting.
I used some lovely Planet Penny crochet cotton which was fabulous to work with. I took bits and pieces from various patterns and combined them to get the look that I wanted, finishing it off with some of my dyed buttons (one batch of scarlet dye produced all these different reds and pinks)

I pondered over how to best photograph it... it's not easy to photograph bunting in order to show it off at its best you know.

And in the end I decided it looked best draped over my dresser... but it didn't stay there as it was not for me. It was for a special friend who had a birthday at the beginning of the week.

But I might have to make some for me too... because I like it on my dresser... and I have a bithday at the end of the week. And the world needs more bunting...

....and cake.
Birthday cake... for my friend and me!

We did share it with all the other ladies from Spectrum.