Saturday, 28 August 2010

A mouse lived in a windmill

I have lots of pretty photos of Amsterdam......on the other computer so here are the really important bits= the tiny amount of stash shopping I managed. The shop from which I bought these treasures was down the road from the Museum of Amsterdam and opposite a tram 5 stop. It was packed with all things fairytale and kitsch. I also found two quilt fabric shops not far from the station and a bead shop in the Jordaan district- unfortunately all were closed on Sunday and Monday. Never mind I am sure we will be back. Because Amsterdam is LUSH. We had such a perfect time, we ate well, drank well, heard some great music and generally mooched and pootled around the city.

We particularly enjoyed looking for Hoffs which are small gardens shared by a number of houses or flats and often behind a closed door in a wall between buildings.
It was in one of these tiny, serene, peaceful, magical little places that Simon asked me to marry him. I said yes, I've been waiting to say yes for fifteen years, so I didn't need a second thought. Mum and Dad were in on the secret and had been for weeks-so there part in it was giving the children a lovely holiday whilst we enjoyed the rare and precious chance to be simply together.
This morning we found a ring in the jewellers a few yards from our home. This ring picked me, it made me shake and my stomach lurch when I put it on, though I wouldn't have picked it out in a million years the ring wanted me. It is second hand and I get very good feeling from it, like it wants to see another wedding and long marriage. It has Rubys in too, which are my birth stone, I feel like a very lucky person, blessed by the love of a good man and the support of a kind family.
Here are Simon and I about to set of yesterday to the wedding of some good friends. We had a brilliant tine, and I managed not to cry the whole day.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A design for life

The great big book of designs is HUGE. Really, this book is weighty and dense and fantastic it has 3000 line drawings, 3000 images with nice thick lines, for photocopying or tracing. It is made up from smaller similar books covering; Aboriginal, Art Nouveau, Aztec, Celtic, Floral, Folk Art, Garden, Native American, Persian, Roman, Tudor and Viking designs…..phew, that is a lot of designs. That’s a lot of inspiration, a lot of embroideries, a fair few cards, a good selection of stained glass pieces there are just so many applications for these beauties! Do you know the best bit though (apart from the fact that this book is only £14.99)? The best bit for me is that this book can sit happily on my shelf acting as a source book for me, an occasional photocopy colouring book for Anna and when Will comes home with his first dreaded school project and I am going to be armed and ready with fantastic images for him to use. I can’t think of many people who wouldn’t benefit from having access to this book; teachers, crafts people, needle workers….it’s just ace!

(in case you were wondering- I'm keeping this one!)

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

You spin me right round baby

Get Spun. The step-by-step guide to spinning art yarns by Symeon North

is a bright and beautiful book with the most amazing ‘art yarns’. These yarns range from adding textures to a hand spun with slubs and wraps of other fibres to spinning with fabric and plastic. But this isn’t just a show off book, where you peep through the window at what the author has created and shut the book with a sigh a you realise the results are unobtainable for mere mortals. No- this book has all the technical information you need for playing around with your own yarn, everything from dying, carding and blending to tying in metal elements. I really really wish I had a spinning wheel and could have a play. The author does say that others have reported that results are obtainable using just a spindle but she says she is unwilling to comment herself as this isn’t the technique she used herself. This is a lush book, I would love to get my fingers on the yarns pictured, I think it would be a brilliant book for a spinner who has neglected their wheel and needs a new burst of inspiration.

As I don't have a spinning wheel, this book s taunting me so I am passing it on. Leave a comment telling me if you'd like your name in the hat and I'll pull and post before the end of the month. xxx

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

My parcel has landed, in Florida, and now Clare has seen what I sent her I can show you too! Mum and Dad gave me some gorgeous draw liners for my birthday which came in this fantastic rococo box. It just seemed perfect to pack the bird themed goodies in here.
Clare used to live in the U.K so I made sure there was some Cadbury's treasure in the box, and as Clare is a paper crafter I found some rubber stamp with birds and some little printed tags. I thought long and hard about what bird themed item to make and lay in bed one Sunday morning flicking through my memories of what I had seen on Clare's blog. There had been bright colours and reference to a collection of crosses on her wall.

By the time I had had my shower I was ready to draft my first ever mini-quilt. I used some 2" squares of fabric to build a cross and background, then I appliqued flowers, leaves and birds and did a little light embellishment. I quilted with very big stitches and a thread with some metallic to represent light shining from the cross. I loved working to this scale and really loved playing Sherlock to find clues as to what might appeal to Clare.

On another issue if anyone has any recommendations as to what a foot loose young couple might get up to in Amsterdam I'd be glad for any advice.....otherwise it might be all books, galleries, beer and .........well, we can't have that now can we? ;)

Friday, 6 August 2010

Build a little birdhouse in my soul

I got some post this week, and it's absolutely amazing! Clare has put her heart and soul into this baby. This was a bird swap organised by Noodlebubble, isn't it nice when people organise swaps? I know from personal experience that it isn't always straight forward. So I'm doubly grateful to these lovely ladies because this bird house is a total treasure.
Clare has glued and painted and glittered and embellished to make this house truly from HER and for ME if that makes sense?

Something else which is lovely about this gift is that when I took it out in the back yard to photograph it I found the cameras macro setting. There isn't much to snap in our little patch, but I will definitely be exploring this facility in the local gardens. I used to use an old 35mm SLR to rattle of the odd reel of real close ups, I even had some of Dads old macro rings to play with. I have missed the patterns and textures that I was able to record in this way, in general I like producing all over compositions rather than creating a landscape or picture and I'm hoping that this function will lead me back in this direction.
Hopefully I'll be able to show you the package I sent Clare soon, she's on holiday but I'm really excited about her receiving her parcel- it's the lovely anticipation of swapping! xxx