Sunday, 29 March 2009

Trying New Things

Doing City and Guilds Embroidery is certainly opening my eyes to all sorts of exciting things...I love it! I started last September and have relished every minute of it. There's certainly a lot of work involved, but can it really be called work when I enjoy it so much?! We've been looking at all sorts of things...line, colour, shape and pattern, texture and now form. I got so carried away with texture that I made a little fabric book and filled it with all sorts of examples...

A little bit of zig-zag stitch, a few beads, some transfer printing and suffolk puffs (which are currently my favourite variety of textile additions!) and a couple of vintage buttons all came together to create my little book.

I must admit, I tend to start creating something like this without rigorously planning it out...I just have an idea and start creating. This isn't always the best approach as I find myself having to cover up my mistakes, or thinking, "I'll remember to do that if I ever do this again"! I do think it's a great way to work sometimes frees me from thinking I should be doing everything absolutely perfectly. It also allows for experimentation and 'what if moments' (as one of my tutors calls them). For the texture book, I raided my fabric stash and mixed vintage fabric scraps amongst new ones...Amy Butler sitting besides 1940's polka dots. I hid my messy edges by trimming them with ric-rac (another favourite of mine) and bobbles which, I like to think, adds to the notion of 'texture'. 

I really got into the idea of making fabric books after I made one for my Mum's last birthday. I made it from 1940's fabrics, filled it with photos of Mum from over the years (transfer printed on to cotton fabric) and embellished the pages with vintage buttons. Making it was fabulous fun and I was really happy when I saw how thrilled Mum was with my little offering. Now all I have to do is think of an idea for my next fabric book and then there'll be no stopping me!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Getting Away From it All

Spontaneity is definitely the way forward...I can't recommend it enough! After spending all day Friday working with the sun streaming through the windows, my lovely husband (Nate) and I decided to head to the seaside in search of fresh air, the sea and an escape from the craziness that has been our lives of late. So, we found a hotel, threw an overnight bag in the back of the car and motored down to Dartmouth. How we love Dartmouth...with its sailing boats bobbing on the water (very Swallows and Amazons!), brightly coloured houses on the other side of the river, lovely shops for mooching in and great restaurants. 

We were rather excited to find that Simon Drew (whose brilliant illustrations have kept us amused and puzzled for years) is a Dartmouth resident and has a gallery in the town too. He was even there when we popped in to have a look around - we recognised him from looking at the inside jacket of one of his books that was on sale! No end of ideas started to pop into my head when we were walking along the water all I need to do is create them!

We stayed at Browns...and loved it. Fabulous food! Its decor is contemporary and funky, but there's none of the pretentiousness that can sometimes be associated with boutique hotels. I loved the 'caviar' wallpaper in the hotel's restaurant and now I'm wondering where we could put some in our own house! I love bold colours, shapes and designs. If I could fill our house with the work of just one designer, I'd choose Sonia Delaunay every time. She was the most fabulous textile designer!

We spent Saturday doing all the things we dream of when we're at home...walking along country lanes, visiting interesting houses (this time it was Agatha Christie's old house, Greenway), fish and chips by the sea and spending time together, just the two of us. I took this photo in the garden at Greenway...I thought the tree was just so beautiful. The flowers looked like paper and I wish I could have taken them home to hang up in the house. The decision to leave the car in Galmpton and walk to Greenway was one of the best decisions we made all weekend! It was so idyllic wandering along the lanes. We even heard a woodpecker tapping away in the trees!

It's amazing how even the shortest of trips away can make a big difference. I feel completely inspired and as soon as I'm finished here, I'm off to grab a sketchbook and start doodling ideas for the book of sewing projects I've had in my head for ages...craft posts aplenty will follow in the following weeks, I promise!

Monday, 16 March 2009

Sun, Sewing and Starting a Vege' Patch

Isn't it fabulous when the sun comes out? It makes me think that anything is possible and usually inspires me to imagine of all the things I'd like to do...write a book, have a go at designing my own fabric, making something with all the wonderful bits of vintage fabrics I have. We really must book our summer hols too - we're thinking of Jersey this year. 

It was that time of year again yesterday when we de-camped outside for the morning to plan and plant our vege' patch. Last year's crop was not bad for a couple of beginners, but we're building on our experience and hope to be able to eat lots more of our own home grown veges this year. Our very fluffy cats (Tinker and Phoebe) had a great time with us out in the garden too...chasing each other, chasing a ping pong ball, chasing their own tails and helping us plant seeds when they needed a rest!

I was at Sewing for Pleasure at Birmingham's N.E.C last week...demonstrating free machine embroidery on Sewing World's stand on Thursday and then visiting with Mum on Saturday to have a good look at all of the stands and wonderful work on display. 

I was also just a little bit proud to be able to take Mum to one of the daily fashion shows so she could see the skirt and clutch bag, that I'd designed and made for Sewing World, on the catwalk! Both were made for a series of projects I did about restyling old jeans (February and March '09 issues). Although great fun, I'm not sure I'm really cut out for the life of a fashion designer...think I'll leave that to the likes of Stella McCartney and Alice Temperley!

I was fairly restrained on the shopping front at this year's show and only came home with a few bits and pieces - some glorious red faceted beads (for a necklace I've been planning for a while), some Lutrador (I've heard so much about it, I thought it was about time I tried it out) and Anchor's book of 'Colour on Colour' (for £3, who could resist?!) 

The sun is still shining here, so I think a cup of tea in my favourite dotty mug and a read of the new issue of Mixtape will be on the cards when it's time for elevenses! Hoorah!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Letters from America

There's something wonderful about receiving post. I still find myself rushing to the doormat whenever I hear mail drop through our letterbox! When I was little, I had a post office set and when I wasn't busily stamping letters and selling stamps to imaginary customers, I was 'out on my rounds' delivering post around our house with my favourite brown satchel...I think this is where my love of correspondence started.

I've been pondering for some months now on how exactly to start my blog, but I could never quite come up with how to begin. Perhaps today it was meant to be since, at twenty to eight this morning, a brown box arrived from Amy Butler's office in Ohio (USA). Packed full of glorious stationery in Amy's new Lucky Flowers design, I knew immediately that this was how I was going to begin my adventures in blogging. My posts have therefore started with post. How apt!

I urge you all this week not only to visit, but also to race to the doormat whenever you hear the post never know what exciting things might be waiting for you!