Saturday, 24 April 2010


It has been very busy here so I am taking a break to do a quick catch-up whilst Mr T watches the IPL cricket which he recorded earlier. I had to give in and do some gardening today. Because of a very large hernia (awaiting surgery), Mr T is finding all bending down very difficult, and so the vegetables have come over to me, under strict supervision. We had to pay someone to prepare the beds - I am not up to digging, but they are now ready for the mange tout and sugar snap peas growing in the greenhouse. Then there will be further crops of beetroot, carrot and salad stuff.  I also weeded and mulched the raspberries and tayberries this afternoon. My end of the garden is looking a bit neglected, but bursting with flowers, we have robins and backbirds nesting and there is constant activity at the bird feeders.


Last week we went to see my in-laws. Jean had said she would look out her embroidery threads for me, but she hadn't found them. However she did bring down a drawer stuffed with sewing bits and pieces including more pieces of lace than I could imagine. I thought she was going to hand the lot over to me, but she wanted to keep most of it, just in case, and I don't blame her. But she cut me off half a metre or so of each piece. Some of it is absolutely gorgeous, what luck. Jean was a great sewer once, and made nearly all her own clothes. My in-laws are the worlds greatest hoarders and bargain seekers so there home is stuffed to the rafters. 

Jean's lace

Jean also had a great collection of braids  - enough to trim a 'flotilla' of lampshades - I did not say 'no' to a few feet of these. I  know you ladies who enjoy vintage lace and haberdashery will be intrigued.

Fringing and braids

Meanwhile I have been working on my handmade books. I thought I would show you the paper I have been experimenting with. I mentioned it before, but the results are wonderful. Using the Frances Pickering technique I have coloured this paper by soaking it in a Brusho water colour wash. You tear the paper and dampen it with plain water first. I used heavy duty lining paper here. I mixed three colours, two reds and a purple and generously slopped wash on both sides of each piece of paper stacking it in a higgledy-piggledy heap. I then sandwiched pieces of torn paper doily, lace, flowers and leaves in between the sheets, something my fellow course member. Paula Watkins had done previously. The pile of paper is then wrapped in a plastic bag and left for at least half an hour for the paint to soak in. I then dried it of with a hair-dryer and gave it a press with a hot iron.

The colours here are a bit brighter than the actual colour. Frances recommended Brusho colour as it is relatively cheap and the colours are very intense so you only need a little to make a strong wash. Also the pages do not stick together - having them stacked is what helps the patterning to develop. Unwrapping the paper and peeling the sheets apart is great as each page is different and a surprise.

Here are a couple of pages from my book of 'J'

The Joker card is a scan from a beautiful miniature double set of cards which belonged to my grandmother. I should think they date from the 1920s or 30s.

...and  here is Jezebel.

Hope you are having a great weekend too.


Printed Material said...

I've been waiting for Jezebel to put in an appearance. She is as sultry as expected! The image of the Joker is wonderful as is the whole book. I have some brusho inks which I bought a couple of years ago. Never really got on with them but, if I may, I'll try the idea with the lining paper and doilies. That could make some fascinating background papers as you suggest. Sounds like a productive day in the garden. The photo of the chives is stunning Lesley

marigold jam said...

Love that chive photo - isn't it amazing how the simplest things can be so artistic if looked at in a different way?

I am impressed with the J book and what with your posts and Lesley's over at Printed Material I am inspired to want to have a go at making some books myself. Not really sure where to start though but I might just hold my nose and dive in and see what happens.


sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Sounds like a busy weekend for you Jill! The lace and braids are very pretty and it's interesting to see your book developing. Bye for now, Lesley

helena said...

wonderful collection of lace and the book if coming along beautifully - tempted to plan an equivalnet for my initial (H) later in the year

Lalabibaby said...

Pleased to meet Jezebel .... I was wondering about her too. What a wonderful collection of lace .... we were looking at the lace exhibition in the museum last week and I was trying to explain to the children how it was done with the cushion and bobbins. I know my eyesight wouldn't be up to doing it ;-)

Leenie said...

Hope the hubby's operation goes well. We went through that last summer. Good for you to help out with his part of the garden. The chives photo is a beauty and the lace is a treasure.

Sandra Hall said...

Those lacey bits and the braids will be put to good use very soon I am sure! The J book is looking wonderful, especially that wiley Jezebel!

Menopausal musing said...

I laughed out loud at Jezebel. I just LOVE the way she is looking so alluringly from behind the curtain you have made for her. Delicious! Your photo of it conjures up everything I imagine a Jezebel should be.

I would give my right arm to have a rummage through all that lace!

Your gardening efforts will pay dividends.

Bernice said...

Have you seen the Stitched Sketchbooks two-day course at the Festival of Quilts in August at the NEC.

harmony and rosie said...

The J book is coming along beautifully, I'm so glad you're finding some time what with all that manual labour you've taken on!!

The lace is stunning, absolutely stunning.