Thursday, 24 September 2009

Cute as a button

I have finished off and sent my button jewelery swap. My partner was Pennydog who makes the coolest resin jewelery, incorporating all sorts of treasure. She had mentioned on her blog a love of liberty print fabric so I ordered some from E-bay and bought some gorgeous glass buttons which are handmade by a local pal. I ended up with a choker, cuff and brooch, with a couple of button rings because- well how could I not!? As fate and luck would have it our parcels crossed in the post and I opened mine to find this; A gorgeous ditsy print embedded, used to cover a button and co-ordinated to make a lovely necklace, wool, fimo buttons, pink resin star magnets and Chocolate!! This has been another fantastic swap so a big thanks to Incywincy. I shall have such fun wearing my necklace and making something cool for ME with the ace buttons. I also plan to make a scarf with the wool, something to match the necklace. I have been having a really nice time playing with wool and making new scarves for the winter fairs. I haven't made a scarf to sell before but have been asked for them so thought I'd give it a go. I have been knitting plain ones on a very large circular needle, working along the length so as not to let the scarf stretch and distort. I also had a go at crocheting a scarflet type lariat thing- somewhere between a scarf and necklace. I love these! I have made a matching brooch to go with each scarf, something to make them a little more attractive and I can see these looking so nice under a smart jacket, with the brooch on the lapel, or over a jumper with brooch pinning the scarflet together. It is all fairly mindless and soothing and just what I need right now. Perhaps a little fool- hardily I now have three swaps signed up for and to complete, but am feeling really excited about all the making possibilities and reveling in coming up with all sorts of wild plans and possibilities. Making is my refuge and I am enjoying letting it sooth me.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

The time has come to press the button

Well, I promised that I'd show you the treats that I've bought from Folksy this month and here they are! The leather cuff was my pay day purchase and is made by Beautiful Skin. At first I worried that it was a bit small but on wearing it has softened to a buttery texture and it smells divine, like new ballet shoes. I have read that the sense of smell is the most strongly linked to memory and I can certainly believe it. The smell after the sweep has been, blackcurrant jam boiling, giblets being cooked for the dog, Ysatis all shoot me back to the house where I grew up with a force that would make your cheeks wobble! New ballet shoes are a good smell, so the beautiful cuff, and it's aroma are making me very happy indeed!
Secondly I have purchased these vintage buttons from Noodlebubble. I was thinking they might get used in the button jewelery swap but I have found something else for that so these elegant little chaps are staying with me. I am picturing a cuff studded with these, maybe against a peach silk, a little redolent of a slip, perhaps that lace sent by Wanda will find a new home?
Apart from sending such gorgeous buttons Noodlebubble is one of the most outstandingly friendly Folksy sellers that I have had the pleasure to meet. I don't know how you are feeling at the moment, how the change of season has affected you but I seem to have been consumed with melancholy. I feel a gentle little sadness and it is confusing me, I am trying to be gentle with myself, trusting that it will pass. It doesn't scare me exactly but it does make me feel at odds with the rest of humanity. There is so much change here at the moment and I am a creature who appreciates stability and security. Do look after yourselves and I trust that I will soon be back to my usual robust, jolly self. xx

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Paid it forward

I am pretty sure all my pay-it-forward recipients should have received their packages by now so I can show you what I made for them; These bracelets are made from felt beads. decorated with smaller sparkly bits and simply threaded onto elastic. I learned the technique for making these beads from this book from Search Press. The book has been a really good starting off point and although there are some gorgeous designs it is really for me about the technique and what you feel like doing with it. Essentially the process is just to cut an oblong of felt and wrap it tightly around a thin rod to form your hole. The felt is then bound and decorated, this is where your imagination can go wild, and left on the stick until you are ready to use it. I have loads of ideas for these beads; I want to try embellishing the felt first before wrapping, making two colour beads, putting silly faces on them, making massive ones for bag dangles or Christmas tree decorations. Although this is only a slim book it has certainly given me lots to play with!
I made my three, very different bracelets and wrapped them in a fat quarter of fabric, which I hope will be of use to the recipients, tied it all up with ribbon and posted them off to Daisie, In a Handbasket, and Blonde designs. Thanks for taking part you guys, I really enjoyed making these lovelies, and hope you enjoy wherever the pay-it-forward might take you.
I forgot so say that I, once again, made a pay-day Folksy purchase this month, and also an impulse buy at another time- I will show you what I bought soon, because it's all rather lovely and I have to confess that these won't be presents but will be staying with me. I also did some shopping on E-bay which seemed a bit of an extravagance at the time (and I still haven't managed to pay the joint account back) but I now wouldn't be without my new storage. Before my work area looked like this;
Well, this is how it looked tidy! The plastic tubs were cheap but I had to go through a mammoth process of stacking and unstacking to look for anything and as this is a corner of our dining room and now Simon's study as well this wasn't really very practical. I had to do a fair amount of de-stashing to free up more space for Simon to do his work and this has allowed me to fit things much more neatly in my new chest of drawers. (I can shut all the drawers it just happened that I was working from that one!) I am not worried any more about the whole lot toppling onto a nosey child and I am getting a silly amount of pleasure from finding things in my oh-so-neat drawers.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Do you remember I told you that I had a very talented friend form Embroiderers Guild called Ann. Ann recently had an exhibition which I couldn't get along too but I thought I'd share with you what I missed! These lovely ladies are Ann's creations. They are all fabulous constructions and each are complete individuals, maybe you recognise someone here? Maybe yourself?

Ann has been good enough to share some of the background to these beauties. I am really hoping that Ann might be persuaded to start her own blog soon. I would love to see what she gets up to behind closed doors!

'I have made traditional rag-dolls for about 30 years – the sort that children can cuddle and carry around. I entered a competition at the Knitting and Stitching Show five years ago, making a contemporary art-type doll and although not a winner, I was inspired to make more dolls in this style.

It is usually a piece of fabric that will inspire a particular character. I love rummaging in charity shops for something unusual – a local gift shop selling-off faux-fur cushions inspired Beryl the Floozie. The posters advertising Royal Ascot, inspired two different dolls, complete of course, with wonderful hats. Blossom the Hippie … could she be me? Then there is Wanda the Walker, a mermaid, so many others. 17 are now with their new owners, after being shown at exhibitions in Hythe in 2007 and 2009.

I especially enjoy painting the faces – this is the best bit which I always save until last. After needle-sculpting I use coloured pencils and felt pens, taking a lot of time to get the eyes perfect – a lovely face really brings the character to life.'
Thanks for sharing your girls Ann!
I will be able to show you my pay it forward packages next post, and then some new brooches upon which I have been working for the Autumn season. As always my eyes have been far bigger than the time space available!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Clever pals!

I have 'met' some real genius here in blogland. It never ceases to amaze me the sort of mischief that people get on with- along side family and working life. Firstly I told you about Nifty knitting at the picnic. I have seen Niftys Meerkats in the flesh but watching Nifty work on a commission was something else. There was no pattern or notes, just a photo, wool and four needles. It really is magic. This guy has now been followed by a new range of super hero Meerkats, which are simply amazing.

I have also seen Marmalade Kiss make a passion into a whole new online shop. If you are a dressmaker with a little experience and fancy a special garment for the holiday season you could surely do worse than attempting a project from here.

I have also recently been invited to an exhibition of work by a lady from my Embroiderers Guild. Ann doesn't have a blog yet- but with a bit of luck (and gentle persuasion) it won't be long! So I shall be showing you some of her lovely ladies and do a little profile in another post over the next couple of days- meanwhile here's a little teaser;

Friday, 4 September 2009

Coco the saviour

Yesterday was nearly altogether too much. For some reason this last day of the summer holiday almost finished me off. Simon has started his new job this week and after having him around all summer this has come as a bit of a shocker to all of us. I guess this is the way it will be from now on, I am pleased to say that he is really interested in his new job and although it may be a it early to say it looks like a good decision. I feel a little jealous though, never very attractive, I am loosing him to this new world, a world where I never really felt at home. I still have strong rebellious thoughts about my secondary school days and find myself raging against the machine when he tells me about his day- maybe time I got over that! Like I have said before I never would have tried to 'snare' a science teacher in my single days, isn't it weird how life sometimes deals you these things. I have read somewhere that girls end up with someone like their Dad and although my Dad wasn't a teacher it was obvious that he could have/should have been one and he has always done voluntary work with young people, maybe it's all coming full circle and like my Mum I will be walking down the street with people of all ages shouting 'Ello!' to my other half!

Anyway reading this back it does sound like this week had raised some issues for me huh?! I was very glad to see two good friends last night and go to see the 'Coco before Chanel' film at our tiny and very cute local cinema. The film was very elegant and I felt the acting excellent. It was interesting to see Coco's beginnings and how her creativity was a mark of her individuality and her novelty. But of course it was her huge success and probably her sanity in the darker times. The film was also a lot about kindness in a funny kind of way and how love will allow you to be yourself.
What a funny reflective post. I have added some photos of a finished piece of work. I started this bag at a residential weekend with Fay Maxwell. It is a version of the layered raggy bag but with a grid stitched across the layers of scraps and the top fabric and then with these cells being snipped back and stitched and beaded into place to reveal a myriad of colour. I was advised on the course that white should be avoided as it would kill the colour dead- so of course I wanted to rebel and use white. I get the feeling that Fay has had her rebellious moments so she didn't bat an eye lid when I disobeyed and this was the result. The bag now hangs on it's driftwood handles in Mum and Dads spare bedroom, because frankly it's a bit too nice for me!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

The Famous Five

So the list of unfinished projects stands at ten and I have moved five to the FOCUS list. Apart from a sneaky bit of work on my new brooches for autumn I am trying really hard to make progress on these five. The first was started on a two day workshop with Julia Caprara studying York Minster. It is large and neglected and needs some machine work, which isn't my forte but I have so much sketchbook work it seems a shame not to push forward with it. The second is the Water Lilly piece inspired by the hand spun wool I won in Knitz and Bitz giveaway. This is progressing much more easily and has now been under the embellisher and has some quite strong embroidery added to give some depth. I think this will be the next to be finished. The thread is a tiny glimpse of the secret project, I am working on this daily to try to meet the deadline and I really feel like I'm on the home straight- won't be able to show it in all it's glory for a while yet though! The fourth is a fabric Christmas garland. I have formed my fabric beads along the length of twisted cord I made (in March 2008!) and now have to add beads sequins and sparkly bits along the entire length to make it all festive and shiny. I have two more Christmas projects I want to finish for this year (ha!) so need to knock this one off first. The fifth and final project is a casket which I began after a residential course with Janet Edmunds around Easter 2004. Again this needs some machine embroidery- which I can't do- but as it has been kicking around for so long it is about time I killed it or cured it! I have also managed to mend three pairs of Wills trousers quickly when I had the machine out today so I do feel like I am moving forward. I need to finish two of these to allow my swaps to move to my FOCUS list so best pull my finger out!
So it's confession time what's lurking in your cupboards, and what's on your FOCUS list?
Next post I will show you some things I finished a while ago- just to show you (and me) that I can do it!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Ooo you are a card!

Look what I won! Aren't these cards fabulous? They are designed by Monda loves.... who really does make the coolest stuff. I have already given the bird card to a lovely pal who has recently moved house and the flowers have been put safe and sound ready for another special occasion. Thanks so much Monda.
I have heard that two of my pay-it-forward parcels have arrived safe and sound which is brilliant but the third is sat on my mantle piece. I thought I had a third person who was interested but I have had no reply to my mail asking for her address. If you would like the third parcel please leave me a comment saying so....otherwise i will send it out as a R.A.K with no obligation to P.I.F!
I have signed up for a second swap, it was one that I knew about when I wrote my list of things that needed finishing so I can justify it.....just about! I have had the name of the person for who I am making and they are intimidatingly brilliant. I think that this will really force me to raise my game and try some new stuff. I have loads of ideas, I just hope I can pull it off without embarrassing myself! I am obviously a seasoned swapper now (!!!!) but I wondered if anyone would like to do a virgin swappers swap. I am happy to host and I would try to mak it a 'safe' way to try out the whole swap thing? Let me know what you think.