Sunday, 29 March 2009

Off on A tangent

I've got a hellava week. BCTF is no longer round the corner (look away now, Manda), but at the end of the road. Saturday is set up day. I'm beginning to feel a bit nauseous about the whole thing.

Not only that but Passover is next Wednesday and I have 22 for dinner that night (note: that's the day straight after BCTF) and 13 for dinner and guests for the week the day after.

So not much going on then.

A good friend of mine always quotes Parkinson's Law to me at times like this. Parkinson's Law states that everything that needs to get done always gets done in the time available. I think that means if it has to get done it will get done. Even if you have to stay up all goddamn night to do so.

This week is definitely stretching the limits of ol' Parky's Law and only time will tell if there is ever an exception to the rule.

Consequently, do you think this week was the week to indulge in my latest obsession? I think not. Ruby and I went to the The Beadwork Fair in Harrogate yesterday. I'd made a couple of lariats a while ago and was looking for some inspiration for some more. As you do. WHen you've time on your hands. With nothing better to do.

I was fairly restraint. There were stands and stands - and more stands - of strings and strings - and more strings of the most delectable stones and my head was spinning with all the things I could make with them. I came away with a very small collection (but many cards of which to contact at a later date when I have a smidgin more time than I do now)

These first ones are Thai Silver from the Hill tribe 'Karen' women (well it would have been rude for ME not to!) I've actually been there and can picture these women skillfully creating these pieces, which I thought would look fab on a simple leather tie.

I wasn't going to buy these denim stones. I haven't time to play with them right now and they are certainly distracting me big time. BUT these Dumortierite stones are just so fresh and springlike in their colour and so tactile it hurts that I could not leave them there. Tied on a simple light blue ribbon and voila, a new spring necklace. (And enough left over to make a little bracelet too.)

Finally, one for the boys. My boys love pendants and I thought these lead and nickel free metal stars would look really cool on a leather tie. They thought so too and now they are up in the shop.

Now I need to put everything in a box, literally and figuratively and wait for all this to pass and then I can get it all out and have a good ol' guiltless play.

Life is very distracting. Or maybe it is just my inability to stay focussed. Or maybe it is the same for most of us out there. There is so much crafting to do and oh so little time. Life is definitely a whirlwind tha leaves me very dizzy, but I really wouldn't have it any other way.

As for yet another new possible prospect... Let's just say, watch this space.

Like Mother, Like Daughter

It was another of those Saturday afternoons. Wet and wild outside. The boys had all gone to see 'Monsters & Aliens' (thumbs up by all) and Ruby and I were home alone.

We were up in my studio and my plans of her sitting quietly (there's always a first) while I got on with preps for the impending were scuppered after several seconds. Ruby was interested in making something. This could have gone one of 2 ways. I could fight this as long as possible, determined not to lose valuable time, but get nowhere because Ruby wouldn't let up. Or give in and enjoy a bit of quality time with Ruby and worry later about what I had to do.

Obviously we did the latter.

Ruby wanted to make a bunting. Like the one in my studio. Not a glue and stick kind of bunting. A fully fledged sew with the machine kind.

First off was choosing the fabric (please don't want my Liberty fabric. Please, please, please) With a little guidance Ruby chose some well matched fabrics and we set to work.

Ruby competently drew around the template, cut out all the triangles and began to line them up on the floor. She became quite meticulous in measuring them into place. (I SWEAR she can't ever have seen me do that. Could she?)

We then chose a nice pink gingham for the topping, after her rejecting my first 3 ideas. And I have to agree that this works far better than the (old, tired, trying to use up) fabrics that I suggested.

Onto the machine. I haven't actually braved letting Ruby loose on the machine by herself. I am a little bit frightened about that, to say the least. So her on the foot pedal, me feeding through and before we knew it, task completed and one hellava gorgeous bunting to show for our afternoon's toils.

Me. Well, no work done. But I did add a little something to the tote, just while I was hanging around.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009


We've had some new visitors to Blueberry Park today. As much as we love them, we hope they are only temporary because it means you love them too :-)

Clever Alice, from Alice Apple makes these fabulous Sausage Dogs and Elephants. She always gives me a choice of the most amazing fabrics from which to choose. It's so difficult because they are all gorgeous. In the end I just give her an idea of the ones I like and I know that whatever she chooses will be great.

We've added a new little missy to the collection and she is just so sweet. I think I've already lost one to Ruby.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Sew not on the To Do List

I've been so busy of late that I haven't had much time to just sit and 'play' in my studio. (Apart from the latest cards of course)

As we all know, just because we are busy it doesn't mean our minds stop going off on a creative tangent. I decided to take a few bits with my whilst sitting watching Ruby's swimming lesson yesterday and came up with these little brooches. I'm quite pleased with them. Perfect on bags etc.

I've also been reading alot about patchworking recently and been keen to have a go. I pulled out these fabrics last night (some of my new linens and a gorgeous greeny Amy Butler number) and got started.

The colours have come out a bit sludgy here (not helped by photographing on the carpet) but I love the freshness of them, which hopefully will be apparent when they are finally finished.

I haven't quite decide what it is going to be. Maybe a tote. Maybe a cushion. Maybe a pot holder. But it's fun getting started and having a go.

Hope you have also managed a bit of creative time away from the humdrum of what you should really be doing.

Friday, 20 March 2009

The first cut

Ever since I came home last week with my gorgeous Liberty fabrics I hvaen't been able to look at any others. Whenever I've been working on a project or doing an order, my eye zones in on these and any other fabrics that I need to use just pale into insignificance.

Until yesterday I was too scared to cut into them however. I have plenty of other fabrics that I've been equally delighted with and in the past jumped to use. But now I have these in my possession I can't focus or be satisfied with any others.

So finally, I cut (aaagggghh) into them. I had a few cards to make. So I figured on the principle that you'd hardly notice I'd used any.

But now I've started, there's no stopping me. And instead of getting it out of my system, I'm even more obsessed with them. They are beautiful to use. The colours are breath-taking. And quite frankly everything else does pale into insignificance.

I'm just pleased I can satisfy my urge for them by using the tinsiest pieces at a time.

Thursday, 19 March 2009


There are less than 3 weeks to go (I'm saying that very quietly, because it's too scary) before BCTF, I'm slowly getting everything together. It is fair to say it is taking over my life at the moment. I'm either thinking about it, doing something for it or tearing my hair out as a result.

I am very excited about taking my kits out in the big wide world of trade fairs, but unbelievably nervous as well (that was a polite way of putting it). It could be a very costly mistake. But you don't know unless you try.

If you live in the vacinity, or are planning to make a specific trip up to Harrogate to come, please let me know and I can send you an invitation.

(And I've learnt the art of mosaics - albeit it's a bit on the small side. So I need to look into lesson 2 on that - unless anyone has any tips?)

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Autonomous Artisans

A big thank you today goes to Rose of Felt Giraffe, who had the chutzpah of asking me yesterday if she could feature my Design-an-Apron Kit in a feature she was doing on Aprons for the blog Autonomous Artisans that she writes for. I know. The cheek of it. Free advertising? What was she thinking? And what on earth was I thinking by agreeing?
Thanks, Rose. Your article is fab and I am desparate to get my hands of one of the beautiful aprons by La Marquis des Anges

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Loud and proud

I have been working long and hard at producing a new website and I'm finally proud to announce that it is ready to face the world.

I can take no credit for any of the technical aspect of the site. That honour goes to the fantastic Joanne from Poppy Design who has worked incredibly hard to come up with, what I'm sure you will agree, is a stunning site.

Whilst we are on the Oscar thanks, I obviously have to thank again my very talented friend Roz for her logo designs.

If you ever need any assistance in either building a site or having a great logo designed then look no further than these 2 people - they're your ladies.

Anyway, I'm keeping you. Go take a look for yourself.

Kicking and screaming

Yesterday I got dragged, kicking and screaming by Manda to go to the fabric shop with her. I know. I obviously didn't want to go. After all, what is one to purchase in a store like that? I did the best I could under the circumstances. I didn't want any of it, obviously. Certainly not the to die for linen in cool shades of off-white and duck egg blue. Certainly not the spotty fabric, perfect for the apron kits. Definitely not the tiny floral fabric, equally perfect for my cards and Personalised Pictures. AND as for the liberty prints. Who needs 'em?

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

The simple things in life

I don't see myself as high maintenance. As long as we are all well and happy. As long as I have time to play in my studio (actually I even let Ruby and Matthew play in there with me on Sunday). As long as I can get out for my runs. Honestly I don't need copious amounts of material goods (although I LOVE my new bracelet Matthew bought me for my birthday).

It's the simple things in life that I get so much pleasure from.

Like having a little tray of bread and jam and drinking tea out of my mug that my 7 year old so sweetly went out to buy for my birthday.

Monday, 9 March 2009

And the winner is...

...congrats to Hannah from Span's Stitchin', who was quick off the mark and became the 100th person to favourite me on Etsy. Thanks, Hannah. And thank you the rest of you who did too - just not quite as quickly as Hannah.

These cards are on their way to you... Can you guess which ones they are?

Friday, 6 March 2009

97, 98, 99...

Every now and then I check my Etsy 'Who Favourite's Me' and I was delighted to see today that 99 of you lovely people out there Favourite Me.

So in celebration of this up-and-coming milestone of 100 favourites, I am offering the lucky 100th person a random set of 4 my cards. So if you haven't already hearted me, now is your chance. Just click here.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

A place for everything...

...and everything in its place.

My gorgeous attic studio had got a little bit out of hand to say the least. Over the Christmas silly season everything gets dumped and there is no time to make sure it is all away and sorted. I probably should have taken a before picture to show you quite how bad, but you'll just have to believe me on that one. Noone was allowed in - I was far too embarrassed for anyone to see what I slob I'd become. Right, Manda?

When work slowed down in the New Year I got on the case of sorting it out. This was no mean feat. Stock was left in all sorts of places. Fabric was thrown (gasp) any which way it can and it was generally a complete trash pit.

Stage 1 was to clear out the cardboard boxes of stock lying randomly all over the floor.

Stage 2 was to do a proper stock take and put it all away in an organised fashion.

Stage 3 was to pull down all the fabric piles and sort and put away properly.

Stage 4 was to clear the desks and file the paper work.

Stage 5 was to sit back and enjoy.

I am determind to not let it get as out of hand as it did. I am so lucky to have this amazing space to work in and even though I enjoy being up there under any circumstances, I am the first to admit this is now a pure slice of heaven.