Sunday, 31 January 2010

Happy Wanderings

Mr Treasure and I went for a pootle around the pretty village of Bosbury yesterday. It holds a special place in our hearts as it's where some of Mr Treasure's roots are (so to speak!) I thought I'd share a few snapshots of the village that appealed to me in particular.

It was rather colder than we'd anticipated and I was jolly glad that Mr Treasure had a spare warm coat in the car that I could wrap myself up in! I always think sun on snow looks pretty (although, to be honest, I think we've had enough of the stuff for one year).

I was rather taken with the shapes of the metalwork on the church doors. With all its flowingly curvy lines, it would be a great pattern to try in machine embroidery.

This made me laugh out loud!

I love the lettering and design of this sign. There's something very pleasing to the eye about a script typeface!

Red telephone boxes never fail to make me smile. They're so quintessentially British and I love their bright colour.

When we were last in Devon Mr Treasure and I had cause to make a call from a phone box (on account of being in a pocket with no mobile phone reception) and we got in the most awful pickle. It'd been so long since we'd had to use one, we'd completely lost the knack of how they work. Not only did we have to rummage in our pockets to find enough loose change and then remember to wait for the line to buzz before we could dial the number, we then did that classic thing of talking extra fast when we heard the beeps! I feel very nostalgic when I think of the days when mobile phones weren't commonplace...I always carried 20p in my pocket when I went to school in case I had to call Mum to tell her the train was late (or that I'd forgotten to feed my goldfish)!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Light Up Your Life

It had never crossed my mind to make my own lampshade...I've always just popped to Laura Ashley or John Lewis when we needed a new one. However, after discovering this book I think things might be about to change!

It was the cover of Judy Lake's The Lampshade Lady's Guide to Lighting Up Your Life that grabbed me...the colours, the fabrics and the thought that I too could create something with the fabric scraps that sit in a basket by my work table hoping they'll one day be put to good use.

The glossy pages of this book are full of the most inspiring photos of what you could make, as well as giving you great instructions, tips and some helpful step-by-step photos. Judy has a really friendly writing style and after reading just the introduction, I felt entertained, inspired and thinking that perhaps even I could have a go at making a lampshade! It's always reassuring when a book has a good start...and this one has a good middle and ending too!

I thought the 'Whimsical Floral Embroidery Shade' was fabulous. What a great use for a vintage table cloth that's perhaps a little worn (the only way I could justify cutting up a vintage embroidery to myself!) or unused. This design would fit perfectly into the house in the country that I often daydream about!

My favourite type of trimming in the whole world is ric rac, with pom poms coming in a very close second. This is therefore my perfect lampshade as it features both!

There were so many lampshade designs I wanted to show in this post, but in the end I had to choose my tip top favourites. This is definitely one of them. Who knew a vintage tea towel could look so elegant?! I love the idea of taking something ordinary and making it into a piece for the house that could take centre stage somewhere.

This lamp made me smile. I love wooden toys and these blocks are so colourful...never mind making this for a child's nursery, I'd happily have this one in my work room!

This book not only shows a basic lampshade-making technique, it also provides a wealth of ideas for easy, intermediate and advanced shades. There's a great section on 'The Language of Lampshade Making' at the start of the book, which talks you through everything from shapes and supplies to fabrics and trims. As a complete beginner, I found this book to be very reassuring and encouraging.

Feeling utterly inspired, I think I'm going to have to have a go at making one of the lampshades in this soon as I can stop myself from flicking through the pages to look at all of the photos again!

A bit of info...
The Lampshade Lady's Guide to Lighting Up Your Life
by Judy Lake with Kathleen Hackett
Published in the in 2009 by Potter Craft (distributed in the UK by GMC Publications)
ISBN: 978-0-307-45232-0

Monday, 25 January 2010

In Print

I've been writing for various magazines for about seven years now and I must admit, I still get a buzz of excitement when I see something I've written in print! Articles are often submitted at least three months before their publication date, so I'm always keen to see how they've been put together by the magazine. I thought I'd share a few of my latest endeavours with you here.

Back in August I blogged about the Festival of Quilts and my interview with Amy Butler. Well, the article I wrote is in the latest issue of Sew Hip magazine. Amy's new fabrics look stunning and I can't wait to get my hands on some of them!

I've also been writing a series for Sew Hip about the history of fabric design. The article I wrote all about the 1960s was published this month (along with my Amy Butler piece). I'm thrilled to have been able to illustrate my articles with the gorgeous vintage fabrics that Donna Flower has to offer.

Also out recently was an article I wrote for Family Tree magazine all about fashions in the first part of the twentieth century and how family photos can be dated by looking at the clothes people are wearing. This was a particularly special piece I was able to use photos from my own family's albums as some of the illustrations.

I write about people involved in sewing for Sewing World magazine each month. I've been lucky enough to meet some wonderfully talented people, including Lou Gardiner, Jean Littlejohn and Caren Garfen. The latest piece to find its way into print is all about House of Tammam, an ethical fashion label with an eye for style.

Well, I suppose I'd better get back to my research and writing...copy deadlines seem to come round all too quickly!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Creative Stitchery

I've been pretty restrained in the post-Christmas sales this year and haven't really bought anything. It's not that I haven't been looking, it's just that nothing's really caught my eye...until the other day!

I'm a HUGE fan of Poppy Treffry's designs, so imagine my delight when I received an email newsletter telling me all about the glorious Poppy Treffry January sale!

I've long held the belief that a girl can never have too many bags. My justification for buying this 'Flouncy' was that it would be perfect for a wedding we're going to in May!

There are always lots of little design features in the things that Poppy and her team this little butterfly that's on the back of my new bag.

Hoorah for machine embroidery!

There's always time for a brew and I also couldn't resist this tea cosy. We've already got a 'Tea by the Sea' one, so I thought this would be a good companion for it!

There's ticking inside our new tea cosy. It reminds me of deckchairs on a sunny seaside beach.

And on the back, is a Poppy Treffry doodle. Such a lovely touch!

This is the book that Poppy's just published. I bought one as soon as I heard about it and I'm so glad I did. There are inspirational pictures aplenty and projects of all ability levels to have a go at.

How fabulous would it be to use an egg cosy this cute for breakfast every morning?!

I think I'm going to have to have a go at making a picture or two. It'll give me a good excuse to raid my fabric stash!

This purse would be great to make as a present...but I fear I wouldn't want to give it away once I'd made it (either because the stitching was all wonky, or because I was rather pleased with the projects have a habit of always going one way or the other)!

New Year's wish No. 1 - make more time for creative sewing.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Life's Little Indulgences

If there's one thing I love most about Blogland, it's the lovely people you meet along the way. It's fabulous to be part of community that's so friendly, exciting and generous in spirit. Just one lovely friend I've met through blogging is Mrs Bun (aka Denise). Besides following each other's blogs, we also write letters to one another on themes that we choose. There's something really wonderful about writing and receiving letters!

The last letters we wrote to each to each other were all about 'Life's little indulgences'. Mrs Bun's letter was bursting with inspiration and as she puts it (and I hope she won't mind me sharing her wise words here), "I realise from my ponderings that I view 'indulgences' as the non-essentials of life - but the things which make life sweeter and happier."|

I was absolutely thrilled and so touched with this sensory indulgence that Denise sent with her letter. It's one of her own creations and will be treasured greatly. I put it on my bedside table and so I fell asleep last night with the wonderful smell of lavender in the air. Denise, you're such a talent and I can't thank you enough for your gorgeous kindness!

The festive season is always a time of indulgence, but that's not to say that we shouldn't spoil ourselves throughout the year too. I'll leave you with some of the little indulgences that Mrs Bun and I love the most...

A new magazine
Time (to be with family, sit and do nothing, create...)
Getting away from it all
Afternoon tea with cake and Earl Grey
Wearing dresses
Craft books
and of course...blogging!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

We were beginning to feel a bit left out here in the reports of snow in the north, but not a flake here. Until today...

It's been snowing here all morning. The snow-covered trees we can see from our bedroom window are so pretty.

Our magnolia tree was soon covered in snowflakes.

I keep dashing to the window to see how deep the snow's getting!

I'm having a Narnia moment... Let me know if anyone spots Mr Tumnus!

Monday, 4 January 2010

New Year, New Adventures

Happy New Year everyone! So, here it is, the start of a new decade. Who knows what it'll have in store? Ten is my favourite number, so I think this year may well be a good one! Mr Treasure and I decided that just this once, we'd spend New Year's Eve at home, just the two of us (plus the moggies, of course).

Mr Treasure cooked a lovely three course dinner, we drank champers, watched a film and tucked into some of the yummiest chocolates I've ever had.

Violet creams, chocolate gingers, lemon and gin truffles....mmmmm!

The London fireworks were spectacular (from the warmth of our lounge!)

I can't believe it's ten years since we welcomed in the new millennium on the banks of the River Thames, just down from the Houses of Parliament. I'll never forget the fireworks that night. They went on for what seemed like an absolute age and the noise was really was breathtaking. The transport in London was free that night, but there were so many people using it, we decided to walk back to Earl's Court (where we were staying). It took us about two hours, but we were so caught up in the fun of it all we didn't notice. I just remember everyone shouting "Happy New Year" as we walked along the champagne cork covered roads. I've never seen so many champagne corks in one place!

It's now time to take the Christmas cards and decorations down, so we'll be finding out all the boxes again tonight. Before everything's packed away, I thought I'd share this vintagey Christmas card with you. It was handmade by my very talented Mum! Fabric, paints, beads and lace all went into its creation and the design is taken from an old Christmas card from when Mum was little.

Here's to a wonderful 2010!