Tuesday, 30 November 2010

November snow

Like many of you here in the UK I woke to snow this morning. I volunteered to dig up some carrots for our beef stew and dumplings.

 So here is my garden this morning.
 The cotoneaster which never seems to be eaten by the birds until after the New Year. Then we often get flocks of red wing and fieldfares.
My pots of bulbs protected by pieces of netlon to stop the squirrels digging them up. They don't seem to eat the bulbs, but use the soft compost to bury nuts in.

My neighbour's coloured clothes pegs.

My watering cans lined up for the winter.

So glad I bought a hydrangia, it is worthy of a few close-ups,but not this morning.

Must go and get that stew on the go - keep warm.

Friday, 26 November 2010


I was really determined that I was going to write a post this week and not leave it so long, so I have managed 
six days so I have just about fulfilled my brief. I seem to have been really busy with visits for x-raying Mr T's knee (which is no longer giving him pain), the chiropractor and the hairdresser as well as spending a good few hours with the Nutty Knitters. I actually did some knitting this week, but ... well I might share it with you... I don't think I shall be knitting again for a while.  I have finished an order for a couple of book covers and a purse for a friend and a couple of mini-journal covers, but  I think this cycle of making has almost come to a close.  I had to remind myself that my Etsy shop is somewhere I can offer for sale the things I make rather than feeling I must make things to sell, which was not the point.  A little part of me feels I ought to exploit the Christmas present market, but only a little part. It has made me also realise that my urge to create is much stronger than my urge to make  money.

So I am going to share with you my next project, although the final idea I am keeping to myself for a while. 

This is my sketch book developing the idea of a tree in each of the seasons. I sketched them onto four 8cm x12cm rectangles of pelmet weight vilene.
I then coloured them with some Koh-i-noor watercolour dyes
and then enhanced the colour with my  lovely soft, waxy,  blendable Karisma colour pencils which are no longer available.

I then free machine stitched each panel over layers of coloured voile and organza .... but just as I finished with the orange/yellow thread on the foliage of the autumn tree my sewing machine seized up!!  I cleaned all the fluff out of all the accessible bits but that didn't help... oh no... B*******!!! have I done something wrong, or is it a fault with the machine?   I bought it locally from a very long established supplier so I do hope Mr Theobald is able to help me tomorrow.  Luckily I had finished my orders.
The little panels are ready for hand stitching, I want to build up lots layers of embroidery and I have in mind something to make with them, but I'm keeping that quiet for the moment. My Honesty Seed head book cover is more or less finished, I've added quite a bit more stitching since the last picture,  so it is waiting to be made up into a book.  I don't need my sewing machine for any of these things thank goodness.  
(Up-date: as the machine is still under warranty it is back to the manufacturer, so only hand stitiching and paper projects for a while)

I've just noticed that I have 97 followers, so when I reach 100 I shall have a special give-away so watch this space.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

November blues

What a gloomy time of the year this is, a no where land. It is bone-chillingly damp and dull, and yet I feel it is wasteful to keep the heating on all day. The lights have to be on, but  really I could just turn them all off, curl up and hibernate.
However I haven't been hibernating and thought I would share these with you.
This is the cover of my latest little book based on Honesty seed head. I have added the seeds and covered the main 'pods' with irridescent chiffon, some more stitching and embellishment is still needed.

I have also experimented with some 'cracked paper quilts' which a learned how to do through three free videos by Carol Wiebe.

It is a sandwich of paper, fabric, felt, fabric and paper stitched together with 'cracks' cut out and then stitched back with free hand machine stitching.

This one is based on a print made on ordinary copy paper of one of my photographs made at the Walled Garden. It is a starting point for some more thinking and great fun to do.

I have also been working on lots of other projects.

I am making a couple of book covers and a purse for a friend and I am working on some mini-jounal covers for Etsy. I found a denim skirt in a charity shop and by soaking pieces of it scrunched up in household bleach for various times have managed to create several interesting shades of denim. Now I need to finish these off and get to work on the Christmas card production line, then perhaps I can hibernate.

Keep warm and cosy,

PS Blogger would only let me upload one picture at a time so I went to Dashboard and then Edit posts which was the quickest way to get round theproblem. It is about time they resolved this glitch.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Good bye, hello

Selling what you have made is a double edged sword. You are pleased that someone likes your work enough to want to own it, but sometimes parting is difficult, like seeing your offspring off into the world never to be seen again. I first experienced this when I had a watercolour, which I was very fond of, accepted at the Royal Institute of Watercolour Painters open exhibition in 1989 at the Mall gallery, and had put it up for sale for what I thought was a  lot of money (£200) and it sold. I was at once delighted and flattered and also sorry to see what I felt was my best watercolour ever, (and probably still is) gone. Although I do have a rather poor photograph of it somewhere, the likes I have never achieved again. It was of greater bindweed which grew in abundance in our first garden.  Someone has just bought my leaf journal and I am very pleased and flattered. I still have it at the moment and will actually part with it next week, so I keep having a look at the pages and giving it a little stroke. Luckily this time I have a good set of photographs to remind me of my baby.
One for the archives.

However I do have another which I am adding to my Etsy shop of which I am almost as fond.

This one has a richly embroidered cover and blue pages. I hope someone falls in love with this one too.  I do love making my patchwork item and they have my heart in them, but the hand-made books have a little bit of my soul.

Meanwhile here is my finished covered journal.

 You may guess I am rather fond of French knots at the moment

It will come with a blank journal, but not a shell.

It has taken hours to take the photographs with a couple of reading lamps and an improvised light tent which I managed to melt a hole in with one of the lamps. I thought it was going to be brighter today. Oh well!

I hope you have a bright week,

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Thank you for giving me the confidence...

... to set up my Etsy shop. Since I started at the beginning of September I have made at least two sales a week - through Etsy, or through friends or through this blog. I have some orders for friends and a few things in the pipeline to add to the shop.  Here is a progress report on a project...

Here are some lovely pieces cut from samples of Vanessa Arbuthnott linen union my sister gave me. It is a beautiful pale straw and grey - I scanned this and it is difficult to get the colour right. Here the pieces are zi-zagged together on a piece of thin wadding ready for embellishment.

...and here it is after some embroiderywith some alternatives for a button and threads for a cord.  This is a cover for a journal and is now ready for my shop as soon as I can photograph it. I'm hoping for some good light tomorrow.  I have enough linen samples for one more cover in a pale green colourway if this one goes down well.

In the new year I hope to experiment with some different, perhaps more adventurous items as I don't want to become a patchwork production line. I do enjoy doing it however and hope to have a couple more purses for the shop when I have finished my orders.

This will be cut down the centre vertically and become two rather bright purses.
Thank you all for your encouragement and support and to everyone who has given me lovely feedback. I am a very happy bunny. (There always has to be something however, and I got a letter from the tax man this morning saying I will have fill in my own tax assessment form - hmmm, but I do have a friend to help).

Hope you are have a great weekend - it is all work here, must get back to the sewing machine!

Monday, 8 November 2010

One week later...

I keep wanting to write a post, but have had nothing new to tell, so here is a little photo-archive show -

Woke this morning to rain.

Watched the children hurrying past on their way to school, and braved the rain to walk to the papershop. (Less than a five minute walk.)

no time for photography
Resign myself to a bit of domestic duty.

Still raining.

Do a little dusting (or just think about it!)

rank and file
Get bored and sort out my pencils...

thinking of summer
...and dream about the sea.

Marvin's dreaming too.

Keep snug,

Monday, 1 November 2010


These pages look quite striking, but because there is lots of colour on the squares which are bleached out areas they did not take colour very well. There is always something to be learned when doing this sort of thing.  I was inspired for my November pages by one of my long term Flickr contacts who I have been neglecting a lot lately. Unfortunately I cannot download Diana's picture, but you can see it here. She had captured  autumn leaves amongst grey stones. Hopefully the grey days, which are squares of pastel paper from an old sketchbook will fill with colour.

Diana and I 'met' when we both joined the same Flickr group when we had the same camera and we shared a love of cats. However Diana is an amazingly prolific photographer and has an incredible range of subjects from beautiful formal still lifes to wonderful candid portraits often taken in New York . I would say she favours classic subjects, but she can knock you sideways with a stunning 'off the wall' shot. Definitely worth a cruise through her photostream or her website here,
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