Friday 29 January 2010

I don't know what the weather is like where you are, but it's beautiful here today. Cold, but beautiful. I've been on a lovely little run out to Ilkley to take some stock to a gorgeous new stockist, Cakewalk.

This is an absolute gem of a place, tucked away off the main high street and is a collection of a few independent shops under one roof. It's a real Aladdin's cave full of vintage and handmade work, most of which is made in Yorkshire. Cakewalk is run by artist Emma Straw, who has some of her own lovely work on show. I was thrilled when Emma asked is she could stock my hearts and needle and pin sets and even more so when I delivered them there and saw what a find it was.

Of course I couldn't leave without buying something, but I did limit myself to just one thing (even though I could have bought the entire shop). As soon as I saw this jug I knew I wasn't leaving without it. Isn't it a beauty?

If you live in the vicinity, you must go visit. You won't be disappointed, I promise. Ilkley itself is a wonderful little town, full of quirky unusual shops like Cakewalk and you can always revive yourself at Betty's afterwards.

Thursday 28 January 2010

Remember I splashed out and treated myself to some rather special fabrics? Well they all arrived and are even more beautiful in the flesh. I've had them strategically positioned in my studio so I catch a little glimpse as I pass by. Naturally I was tempted to dive straight in but, no, I've been good.

Until last night. We had the confirmation that the work is going to start on the house on Monday and even though they envisage it all taking about 8 weeks, I obviously needed to make sure that the cushions would be ready in time. Obviously.

I picked out one of Pippijoe's and decided they went really well with the Ink & Spindle ones I'd bought from M is for Make. Maybe it's something to do with them both being our Antipodean friends. What's more they work so beautifully with the Orla wallpaper that I had chosen.

I knew it was a bit of a gamble as things never look quite the same in the flesh as they do on the screen and they weren't cheap...worth every penny, might I just add, but alot if it wasn't right. But I am chuffed to bits with how the feel of this room is coming together. I'm just going to have to wait a while before it resembles my mood board, however.

I guess that gives me time to make a few more then.

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Thank you all for your lovely comments about the quilts and also advice on batting/wadding. It seems like you are all in agreement and I shall go order some of the cotton/wool...even tho I bought 5m of the other stuff. I'm sure it will come in handy for something!

I've been busy this week doing the first of 6 embroideries I need to do for a Flickr Swap. See more about what everyone is doing here...

My first one is for Dena whose brief is woodland and woodland animals.

I think it fits the brief and hopefully she'll love it. The aim is that we decide on a theme and then send fabrics to each member of our group. I thought I'd incorporate a 'living room' theme into mine and plan to use it for cushions/quilt for our soon to be redecorated room. Can't wait to see what everyone comes up with for me!

Saturday 23 January 2010

As some of you know, on my lists of things to have a go at this year is quilting. And as per usual my actions are somewhat driven by an external drive.

Some very good friends have just had twin boys. This wonderful occasion was the driving force behind the start of my quilting journey.

I decided to go for a simple design to start with. Partly because I am a complete novice and partly because we are going to visit them for the first time tomorrow and I wanted to be able to take the quilts with us.

Whilst I'm very pleased with the way the fabrics have come together, I am less pleased with the feel of them. I probably should have asked you experts out there before this what you use as batting. Both Manda and Kristy suggested a wool batting.

I however didn't use a wool batting and not only that used a too heavy weight one. The result is that the quilts are a bit stiff. They haven't got the snuggle factor that I was hoping they would. I think I might have to suggest they are used as changing mats or playmats.

So what type of batting do you use ? If you use something that makes a soft and snugglable quilt I'd love to know. Particularly if you are in the UK, but would love to hear your suggestions anyway.

I'm delighted to have started my quilting journey and I'm certainly not put off. I have loads of plans, including the rather large one I have in mind for Ruby's bed and for our new lounge. but I definitely need to purchase some superior wadding before I do.

Wednesday 20 January 2010

Today has been a very busy one. I've been down in London for a couple of days down at Top Drawer, which was fab. Wonderful to meet up with lots of peeps and also very inspired to give it a go myself very soon. Because of being away for a couple of days, I now had a lot to cram into the remainder of the week.

The biggest thing is getting my tax done. That working-to-deadlines mentality that I seem to frustratingly live by, has kicked in. If I don't want to throw away £100 just because I can't get myself into gear, then it's now or never.

So I spent today processing all the figures and getting ready to input all the data. Actually it really didn't take very long. Which is why I had plenty of time to finish off an order for a stockist. The Cambridge Gallery had ordered, amongst other things, heart cushions. So with tax almost completed (I still have 10 days, for goodness sake, a little more procrastination of the finishing touches is needed), I set out to finish off these.

So now looking back on the day I am feeling good. A big admin project almost completed, an order parcelled up and ready to go...and a big glass of wine to celebrate! And it's still not quite 8pm. I've got a feeling that a bit more might yet still be achieved...

Friday 15 January 2010

Notice anything different?

Need a closer look?

He hey, look what arrived for me?!

Now isn't that a sign of beauty?

Remember when I put out a rather pathetic plea for one of these tins that I couldn't possibly live without? Well the wonderful Ann answered my plea and in no time at all this truly delicious tin has made it's way from a Finnish supermarket into my kitchen. Doesn't it look right at home?

What's more, Ann sent me a set of postcards depicting her fab fabric designs. Go check out her website and if like me, you don't understand a word of Finnish, you'll enjoy looking at all her stunning photos.

(Thank you all for your well-wishes. I am feeling great at the moment, but warily lift my head from the pillow each morning wondering what awaits)

Thursday 14 January 2010

I don't know if it looks any different than it has done to every morning we have woken up to for the last 4 weeks. (4 weeks? really?) Or whether it's because the room wasn't spinning when I lifted my head off the pillow. (I've been suffering from labrynthitis and feeling very grotty).

But when I drew back the curtains this morning it all looked so magical.

And I feel great! It's going to be a good day...if I ever get these children to school that is...another delayed start for snow and ice!

Have a magical wonderful day whatever you are doing today x

Tuesday 12 January 2010

There was a discussion going on in Twitterland today about whether we are turning into mini factories all over the country. I was busily producing my new Message Hanging Hearts and tweeted the fact that I had a bit of a factory going on and was this a good thing.

The hearts have several stages...the printing and cutting out of the message labels...the cutting out of the hearts...the pinning in place...the stage one sewing of the label followed swiftly by sewing round the heart...stuffing the aforementioned heart with wadding and dried lavender...and finally, sewing the opening.

It was generally decided that if you like the processes and find them therapeutic, then what does it matter anyway. And how rewarding is it to see the pile grow and have physical signs of hard work at the end of the day. How often does that happen? Unless of course you are going to include the piles of washing and dirty dishes!

So, as the lovely Jane of Snapdragon Garden put long as it's a happy factory all is good!

Friday 8 January 2010

We have big plans this year to put our own stamp on our house. We bought this house when we first moved back up from London over 5 years ago. And whilst we fell in love with it immediately we have lived with some interesting decor that we haven't quite managed to obliterate.

Until now.

Next month we are starting attacking with vengeance and I am having an amazing time putting into place all those items I have been drooling over for aeons.

First off the living room...after some persistence I have managed to persuade Matthew that we NEED this Orla wallpaper around the fireplace. Fortunately he's relented. I've given him first choice for the bedroom. Well that was easy. You have seen what we've been living with there. Anything will be an improvement. And it's not like I entertain in my bedroom!

Having got the wallpaper, the teal, grey with a touch of mustard theme was beginning to materialise. Next stop Etsy to finalise some fabrics that had been on my wish list for almost as long as the Orla wallpaper.

The first two are by Caitlin of Pippijoe. I just love her patterns and the richness of the colours she uses.

These next 3 are by Roisin and Arounna of Repeat. An equally talented pair that produce the most stunning handprinted fabrics.

These fabrics are now all on order and I'm now sitting very patiently waiting for them to arrive. Ok, so I'm not so patient. I'm beside myself with excitement and can not wait to get going on some cushions and possibly a quilt for my new room. It's going to be unrecognisable.

Wednesday 6 January 2010

I've long been a fan of Sanna Annukka's and until I can afford one of her stunning screenprints I will have to settle with just oggling at her work.

And then I came across these beautiful tins on Print & Pattern that Sanna has designed for Paulig Coffee. How gorgeous are they? They tick all the boxes. Tin addiction. Stunning scandi design. Red! I simply have to have one. Actually I'd love 2 or 3 but I would happily settle for one. I'm not greedy.

I have no idea how to purchase one, so now I'm crying out for your help. If I have any Finnish readers out there that know how I could get one, I'd love to hear from you. If I have any readers from anywhere out there that know how I could purchase one I'd love to hear from you. Maybe we could do a swap?

Tuesday 5 January 2010

This week has not started too well. We have had a great holidays and I really switched off and enjoyed a much needed break. We caught up with some friends. We went on a great walk in the Yorkshire Dales (queue picture on my header). We ate alot. Drank alot. Chilled alot.

I knew I'd relaxed well because towards the end of last week my fingers were starting to twitch. I was beginning to sleep less well as I needed to get active with work again.

My studio had got into it's usual pre-xmas over-worked chaos that needed tackling head on. I had all these plans that required the children to be back at school. A trip to Ikea was in order so that I could sort the chaos. Oh and purchase some more fabric ;-)

Samuel was still off yesterday so that was already a staggered start to the week. Matthew was off too, so a trip to Ikea was order of the day. I'd been planning to get this set of drawers for a while - highly recommended by Madame TFD. Purchase made. Drawers built (by aforementioned off work hubby). Organisation started....

And that's where it's ended. The night's heavy snowfall has scuppered any further plans to regain order up in my studio. The children were off school today and with school closed again tomorrow, I'm not totally sure when I'll manage to venture up there again.

Still, there is something rather mesmerising about that colour coordinated site, don't you think? Or am I just a little more anal than normal?


(P.S. Thank you for your lovely comments and good wishes about my grandparent's anniversary. We had a fab old time with grandad rather proudly declaring secrets of their courtship - stories we'd never heard before!)