Thursday, 25 March 2010

I know it seems like I'm always buying fabric, but I actually don't think I have for quite a few weeks now...and in my book that's quite some time. I think I've been so busy at looking at wallpaper, paint colours and prints for the walls, that my fabric stash has got a bit neglected. Sad, but true.

Fortunately I've put all that to rights this week with just a small little shop at Saints and Pinners, one of my favourite on-line British fabric stores. I was driven by the need for a fabric to back Ruby's quilt. I've been coveting this Dolce Deco Fans for a while and think it will work beautifully with the fabrics we have picked for the top. Fortunately Ruby agrees.

This stunning Barefoot Roses is such a gorgeous duck egg/grey colour that I couldn't resist throwing it in the basket. You can never have enough dots in your stash. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to incorporate it in Ruby's quilt, but I'm not too worried about it being saved for other projects if I don't. It's going to be a useful little number. The little black dress of the fabric stash.

Final purchase was this beautiful Voile from the new Anna Maria Horner Collection. Another recent covet that I succombed too. I just bought a fat quarter as it's quite expensive, but I think I'll be going straight back for more. The stunning vibrant colours are what you expect from Anna Maria's fabrics and the weight is akin to Liberty Tana Lawn. Feeling it is tactile heaven. This has leapt into one of my all time favourite fabrics.

Ruby took one look at it and gasped in delight at the thought of it going into her quilt. No, my darling, this one is not for you...

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

We had to say 'a bientot' to some very close friends this weekend. Scarily we worked out that Matthew and Jem have been friends for over 25 years. That made us feel far too old - particularly since this was a University friendship - not just old Primary School friends.

Jem and RD are emigrating to Israel - and taking their new gorgeous baby boys with them. They are in Manchester and we are in Leeds, so we don't see them all that often...but it's a damn site nearer than Jerusalem.

I know with the internet we are all so much closer and more in touch than ever before, so hopefully it won't be too difficult to keep in touch. And hopefully we'll visit one day soon.

And in case you were wondering, although you've probably already guessed...I made these placemats for them to have a little bit of us with them until we do. What do you give people who are moving country? They certainly don't want to have to schlep even more belongings than they already are.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

I haven't had alot of time for playing in my studio recently and I'm not even sure I've felt the desire to do so either. My mojo has definitely left me stranded. Part of me has wanted to just escape to the studio, but a bigger part hasn't even had the energy to do that.

I do know however that if I can just get myself back into the swing of it I will feel a whole lot better about everything. So yesterday I forced myself to start cutting squares out of the fabrics Ruby had chosen for her quilt.

Isn't it amazing how with those first cuts a rush of excitement enters and you just want to do more? You start to see the design in your head. The fabrics start talking to you and leading you and you wonder why it took you so long in the first place.

This afternoon I'm going to start laying them out and see where we get to. It's going to be interesting to see how it all blends. The quilt is for Ruby so I did have to let her choose what she wanted. However, as we all know, kids choices aren't necessarily the right ones, so I have added a couple of my own and taken out a couple of hers. There were some that where non negotiable...from both of us.

By the time they are all together and I've added the necessary (for me) linen and embroidering, I'm hoping it will be pleasing to us both. Time will tell and I'll be sure to let you know how our journey goes...

Saturday, 20 March 2010

The modern wonders of Amazon. Every year for my birthday I ask for an Amazon voucher from my in-laws. This way we are both happy. I get to choose something I love and they get to be relieved that they don't have to worry about getting it right for their fussy daughter-in-law. Obviously from one birthday to the next my wish list of books grows bigger and bigger and I have to be selective about what I choose.

I am totally in love with my selection this year and I want to share them with you. First off I want to show you this one...

Like all Japanese sewing books it is a book of beauty. The colouring, the photography, the sashiko abound. Not only is it an absolute gem to lose yourself in accompanied by a coffee, but it is full of gorgeous projects that are crying out to be made. Ruby has already demanded this Bunny Pencil Case.

It is simply yet beautifully written. Each project is simply described and straightforward clear instructions accompany photographs and illustrations.

I also love the 'Zakka Fact' that accompanies each project.

I don't want to spoil it for you by showing you all the gorgeous photographs and projects, so if you want to see more go purchase won't be disappointed.

Next up, Material Obsession...

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Thank you all for your positive and encouraging comments yesterday. I didn't mean to be all moany yesterday, it's just with the thought of worse to come this week got the better of me. I'm feeling a lot better today, thanks to a little Ikea jaunt with Manda and Lily. Thanks ladies...the distraction was just what the doctor ordered. (So was the tray that you can see featured in these photos!)

In celebration of remaining cheerful I thought I'd post some pretty, beloved objects that make me happy.

I have a bit of a thing for jugs. I don't know what it is about them, but I just can't have enough. Here is a little collection of my favourite ones that either sit prettily on shelves in full view, or get used nearly every day. Some do both.

Starting from the left, this is my latest vintage pick up, which I blogged about a few weeks ago. it's rapidly become a firm milk favourite to accompany my morning tea.

This next one is one Matthew bought for me whilst at The Edinburgh Festival one year. I love the drip marks sliding down the side. It's my favourite one for heating milk up in the microwave for my morning coffee ritual. It's the perfect size for 2, so please pop in and share a cafetiere with me.

This next one is probably my most expensive jug and thus is never used. It sits on my beautiful cake stand in the kitchen alcoves where I can see it every day. It is exquisite and delicate and I could stare at it for eternity.

This porcelain dimpled jug is very special to me. Not only is it unbelievably tactile and sits just oh so comfortably in your hand, but it was my very first item sourced for Blueberry Park. I have used mine every single day for 4 years ever since and have never stopped getting that breathless feel when I pick it up out of the fridge. I know - it's a jug, goddammit! But simple pleasures 'n' all that...

And now for my latest addition to my all time favourite jugs... It was my birthday last week and the gorgeous Kristy, quite rightly, decided that this would be the perfect gift for me (along with this fab bowl too). Not only do I absolutely love it, not only is it just perfect in my home, but the fact that Kristy has come to know me so well, despite us never actually having met. The wonders of the internet that our paths can cross so.

Definitely a day for cheery thoughts...

Monday, 15 March 2010

This is what I am looking out on at the moment. Okay, the sky could be a bit bluer, but it's rather pleasant, I think you'll agree.

And here's where I'm sitting right now. A real little haven of a place.

Until you turn around and look at this...

and this...

The entire house is suffering from an identity crisis. Every room is upside down. Every room has the contents of a different room in it, rather than the contents it should have. Nobody and nothing is where it should be. This week is really going to test my patience. The hall and living room floors are being sanded and revarnished. The radiators are all coming out. The front steps are being built. Oh and the inner hallways are being stripped and redecorated. This all equates to lots of people, lots of mess and no space for moi.

I'll be breathing a sigh of relief come Friday and in the meantime I'll just sit in my little corner looking out at the view...

Friday, 12 March 2010

The other major event in our lives this year is getting somewhat overlooked thanks to all the renovations.I wouldn't have planned it like this.

Samuel's Bar Mitzvah is less than 3 months away. Actually I think it's nearer 2 1/2 but who's counting? This is an event that we've obviously known about for almost 13 years and, like a child's first day at school, I can't quite believe it's almost upon us.

It's a major milestone and a major celebration. We are celebrating by having a big party in a marquee in a field. We are all very excited...but there is SO much to do.

Invitation design has been top priority. We decided that we needed to design it ourselves...especially after one friend asked if this was going to be a 'Handmade Bar Mitzvah'?...was I hand-knitting the invitations? So the pressure was on...

We went round the houses with so many different ideas (hand-knitted not a million miles away!), but kept coming back to paper cutting. This was greatly aided by the delightful Hazel and her access to a laser cutting machine. With some tweaking from Hazel, I think we are just about there.

As for the uber cute cut-offs...I'm thinking table decorations...

Monday, 8 March 2010

I've had the real Monday Blues this morning. As you well know, and I'll try not to dwell and moan about how awful it is too much, I'm finding it fairly difficult in the house at the moment. Mondays are the worst. We get back to some normality over the weekend and then my peace is disturbed with a bang again come Monday morning.

So without dwelling on the bad any longer, with our 5 steps back and one step forward, every now and then something wonderful happens. The walls done in our bedroom was one giant and fantastic step forward. I am taking much solace from being in there, despite it still full of contents from other rooms that are still waiting their turn.

And just when I was feeling thoroughly rotten this morning, with all the project managing that needed handling, the decorator called me up to show me some exceedingly old wallpaper that he'd revealed while stripping the top inner landing. How amazing is this?

You hope that when you live in a house this old you'd discover some long lost original features. (Matthew is hoping for an original tiled floor in the hallway - I think he may be a tad disappointed)

Beneath it all, I am quite easily pleased. Yes, I'm exceedingly pissed off with sharing my life at the moment, but one little revelation like this and I'm all upbeat again. It truly is stunning and am chuffed to bits that it has been revealed. I'm just wondering how we can preserve it and not cover up this little patch again. Any ideas?

Thursday, 4 March 2010

I've been doing a lot of hiding in my studio at the moment. The dust, the noise, the constant tramping through my house by as many as 5 workmen sometimes is taking it's toll. It's taking it's toll on my sanity as well as my creativity. It's fair to say I'm not getting much done in the way of work at the moment.

Yesterday, however, I managed to spend an uninterrupted complete hour up there. I think it had something to do with the fact that the builders didn't turn up and so there was only the decorator here. There's only so much disturbing one man can do.

I've a lot of deadlines to meet at the moment and am so short of time that it's been difficult to work on new things or build up stock. I'm aiming to do a Fair towards the end of March and I am pretty much aware that I don't have much stock at the moment...or anything new for my regulars.

I made a couple of my animal cushions and was pleased with having more of those made up. I then, on a very similar theme, made an initial cushion as an idea that had been brewing. I'm sure you all do it too, but I always trial these with my kids initials. Well, if they don't work for work, they can get something out of it. Guess who's already sleeping on this one?

I'm so glad I got all that done yesterday, because today, well that's an entirely different story...