Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Give away

At last after all the teasers I have got it together to organize my give-away. I have an ulteria motive as I am offering one each of the items that I am thinking of selling. I have already had lots of lovely feedback from people viewing the photos on previous posts, but I would like some from people who have handled the 'goods' too. I have sold some to friends and given some as presents, but it is different to sell to a 'stranger'.

Plea for advice
I would also be very grateful for any tips on selling you may have. I have not got enough stuff to set up a stall of my own at a craft fair and I know that the rental for space can be very high. I am thinking of an Etsy or Folksy shop. But I am not self employed and a pensioner, so I am not sure of the UK tax implication, even though selling at a reasonable price would be unlikely to yield a profit when I consider all the 'stuff' I have bought. The other possibility is to set up a separate blog, but the only publicity  would be through this blog page. The reason I want to sell is that I enjoy making things and there is great satisfaction in thinking that someone is willing to part with their money to own something you have created. It is also a great incentive to create. I have sold paintings and drawings in the past, but this has been through exhibitions. If you have any experiences you are willing to share I will be very grateful. You can e mail me via my profile page if you prefer.
The Give Away
I am giving away the following items in the rough order at which I value them. I will draw names randomly after a week or when I have 25 entries, which ever comes first.
To enter the draw you must be a follower of my blog (new followers welcome) as I feel my regular contributers deserve to have priority. I also ask that if you do receive one of the items you are willing to e mail me with a few comments about the item. I will include a few very straightforward questions.  I hope this is not too big an ask and hopefully you will think it is worth a punt. The item I send may not be exactly the same as the ones photographed.
So here is what I am offering -

Number one: A crazy patchwork purse

Number two: A scented crazy patchwork heart

Number three: A tatty-chic flower brooch

Number four: A lotus flower moth book

Number five: Two packs of gift tags
(One with two large tags and one with three small ones)

I am willing to post overseas.


PS Mr T is making an excellent recovery - thank you to all those who asked.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Blood, sweat and tears

At last I have finished my crazy patchwork bag.
It has taken me hours - I reckon at least 12! 

First I lay out all the pieces out and bonded them to some felt, then machine stitched them down. I  embellished each patch with machine or hand stitching, then added the fastening, a wooden button and a cord made from toning twisted threads and beads.

I then sewed in the lining complete with zipped pocket. It was at this point that the blood came into it. As I pinned in the lining I hadn't realised I had pricked myself and after I had sweated over the zig-zag edging I found blobs of blood all over the lining. 

The tears followed as I had to sponge off the blood - and also I was not very happy with the finished edge as it is very uneven. 
I made the handle by zig-zagging up and down three pieces of coloured string and wool and then plaiting them together.

A friend of my husband popped in to see him and watched me showing off my bag and asked me if I had been a 'Hippy Chick' - Hmm not sure if I approve of the title 'chick', but I did think that Hippy Chic might be a good description of the style. (By the way I was a bit of a weekend hippy way back in the 70s)
If I was going to make these to sell I would have to simplify it a lot and find a different way of finishing the edge, possibly by binding it. But they would be a labour of love! 
Meanwhile the sewing machine is having a bit of a rest.

(But not this bag!!)

Friday, 23 July 2010

A Country Walk

You may remember that I gave a talk to my U3A Natural History group on a local beauty spot called Sharpenhoe Clappers. On Thursday the group arranged to take a walk round the hill. We were very lucky as the forecast was for rain, but the sun shone for us. 
Here is the group setting out across the meadows.

The beech wood is just over the brow of the hill.

The meadow is full of wild flowers, bees, butterflies and grasshoppers. 

Wild carrot

Hare bells

A Chalkhill Blue butterfly

We walk through the wood and out onto the edge of the ridge. I love the views from here.

The path along the edge is single file, but there are still things to spot.

Wild Basil

Stemless Thistle (ouch)

a nameless pink vetch.
Thanks to Victoria who is brilliant at identifying wild flowers.

The weather stayed fine and the sky was as beautiful as the landscape. I haven't walked up here for ages, it is only a few minutes from home and a brilliant spot for blowing away the cobwebs and restoring the spirits.

Thursday, 22 July 2010


Whilst Mr T was in hospital I made good use of my time and built up a bit of a collection of hand made bits. The idea is to maybe sell a few things after a give-away as market research. I am writing this to commit myself to organising a give away. I have been thinking about it for ages, but I haven't got it together, so writing this post is to make me get it sorted over the next few days. I hope to whet your appetite with my mosaic of pieces all of which have featured before on my blog. I hope you think it is a good idea.

Meanwhile Mr T is doing well and thank you all for your good wishes they have meant a lot to us both.
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Monday, 19 July 2010

He's home...

Marvin I can relax. Marvin is glad Mr T is home from hospital too.
(An old picture of Marvin. We'd been away and he had taken to sleeping in the green house)

Sunday, 18 July 2010

I'm here

Thank all of you for your support and good wishes. Mr T should be home from hospital tomorrow. But we are not counting on anything until he is in his favourite armchair. 
Meanwhile I have been busy and I have had to do a bit of vacuuming up of snips and scraps of cotton and fabric which formed a colourful layer under the dining table.
Amongst other projects, I have been working on a larger version of my crazy patchwork purses - a small shoulder bag. I have stitched down the patchwork and added some free-sewing machine stitching and it is now ready for some hand stitched embellishments.

Meanwhile I snapped this rather colourful Six-spot Burnet moth ...

... and my new penstemon  is a rather more vivid blue than I anticipated....

...but it looks great with the wonderful cerise lychnis coronaria.

Hopefully I shall be 'on-line' again soon, and will be able to catch-up with everyone's posts.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

lavender blues

lavender blues

Things have been eventful so I thought I'd keep you up to date. Mr T had a bit of a set back yesterday as he has developed an infection, which could mean another op. So today I have been touching wood and keeping my fingers crossed. I have been looking for good luck signs all day - they opened a check-out at the supermarket and I was first in the queue, three green lights in a row, saw two robins and it rained enough to make watering veg unnecessary but I was cursing myself for looking forward to a few days to myself.  When I saw him today he was up and smiling - pumped full of antibiotics. The infection was no worse so every bit of my will power is on overtime hoping that tomorrow it is on the retreat.
I have been stitching nearly all day- and hopefully will have a few things to share with you soon. I'm lunching with friends tomorrow so that will be good. Life always seems in suspension when you are waiting for hospital visiting time to come round.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Thank you

Thank you all for your kind wishes - Mr T's op went well so he should be home before too long. I am SO tired but cannot relax enough to take a nap and certainly am not up to doing all that crafting I was going to do with the house to myself. I will catch up with you all later. I am going to try to find a soppy film I can watch and fall asleep in the chair and miss the ending!
I hope you are enjoying your weekend,
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Thursday, 8 July 2010

All round the garden....

Rose Gertrude Jekyll
I feel as if I have been round and round the garden this week. Mr T is going into hospital at 7am tomorrow for what should be a routine op. But he has a horrible habit of being different and we have got all our fingers crossed. He should be out in (3, 5, 7, 10) days depending on who you speak to. I shall be happy with 7. So I shall either be on-line a lot in the next few days with time on my hands or just too busy filling the house with my projects before I have to retreat back to my work room.  I have been very busy and I shall be sharing what I have been up to later, but meanwhile here is a tour of my sister's garden on the Isle of Wight.
Janet is a tireless worker and as you can see she has a beautiful garden absolutely bursting with gorgeous flowers and shrubs, as well as a flourishing vegetable garden. This was when I visited last month. Now she says the dry weather is taking its toll so I am glad I managed to capture it at its best. I am sure you will agree that it is worthy of any gardening magazine and I must let her know her garden is here on-line as she hasn't seen these pictures yet, due to her sisters tardiness in getting a disc together for her.

Up the garden path - I believe Janet laid all these slabs herself.

Water lilies
Janet had a pond dug when she had builders in adding an extension - I think they got carried away with the mini-digger.

The pond is raised as her garden goes up-hill. Here she is doing a bit of dead-heading.

This lovely archway divides the garden.
It is a average size suburban bungalow garden, but by creating lots of different areas the garden feel larger than it is.

Climbing Rose Handel

A shady spot by the pond.

A bumble bee enjoying the kniphofia.

The veggie patch
Climbing Rose Ice-berg

Looking back towards her bungalow.

I am sure she won't mind me mentioning that she is a widow bringing up two teenage boys on her own, as well as working three days a week and constantly crafting in her 'spare' time. Her energy and resourcefulness leave me speechless, so this is dedicated to my little sis.

Friday, 2 July 2010

The Evolution of the Paper Moth

Last Saturday I photographed these Eyed Hawk Moths and dyed some paper for another project...
... and I just knew something was going to happen.

First I made this large cut-out moth in my A4 Journal.
But something was not right, it was too large and neither one thing or another. So I cut out lots of small moths.

As I had decided they were 'paper moths' they needed to be on a paper background. I felt these small versions looked much better.
Another ideas that has been going around my head is to make some Lotus Flower books which I had first seen on Heloise blog. It was for these that I had coloured the paper, but I hadn't decided on a cover theme. The paper moth seemed ideal. I used the moths on the front covers.

The background is a scanned paper bag from The Chattanooga Choo Choo museum in Chattanooga and an old style publicity newspaper from Niagara Falls, both souvenirs from my Greyhound trip round the USA in 1977. (Rummaging around all the bits of paper I brought home cost me several hours of reminiscing). I added a bit of distressing ink, pen and pencil work and a bit of glitter. The results are here and I am pleased with the way they have turned out.  The pages are folded 10cm squares and the covers just over 5cm to allow for an overlap.

Linda at Blue-eyed Girl was my inspiration here and she gives a super tutorial on how to make these pretty little books.


I tried to be aware of my creative process here; the initial idea of wanting to use the image of the moth, then the frustration as it didn't quite work out as I first thought. Then the connection of different inspirations and influences to complete the final design. Now I feel no desire to repeat the pattern, but may well try some variation.
I am still staggering from the amount of 'stuff' I have manged to  create in the last year or so since retiring. I want to feel that I am not just madly running from one novelty to the next, but following my own 'art foundation' course and hopefully somewhere along the  way I can feel I am truly on an artistic journey.
Thank you for sharing it with me.