Thank You and a Give Away…

Well, winter’s here then, I know, as I’m currently wearing thick wool tights that are wrinkled fetchingly at the knee and ankle, in the style of Nora Batty, and it must be cold if I’ve broken out my winter staple wardrobe of wool tights.  It’s also pissing it down and so dark that it appears like it might be the middle of the night, which makes me want to snuggle up in a corner and read all day, shame I have loads of work to do.

I’ve been meaning to do a quick give away for ages and say an overdue thanks or two.

DSC_0198To get right to it, ages ago I blogged about Royal Doulton Fable Tableware (I just noticed the hilarious typo in the title of the post, how is it I don’t see my mistakes whilst I’m writing, yet they are so obvious later?  I know you all forgive me, it’s clear to anyone who reads my blog that I wont be winning any prizes for my grammar and spelling) and shortly afterwards I received a package in the post containing a gift of one of the mugs and a lovely letter from the Royal Doulton team.  Made my day, which at the time was all a bit pants, I may even have cried a bit (yep, it was the kind of day when the John Lewis Christmas ad makes you weep).

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The mug is lovely quality and as my current china is old and getting quite stained I figured I’d buy more as a replacement.  Weirdly, after my little moan in the post about not being allowed such colourful crockery, I ended up with a box set in the plain white version, the only pattern pieces I chose being some ‘Mixed Accents Mugs by Charlene Mullen.DSC_0142Basically, I need my everyday china to sit well with my vintage pieces, so white is the sensible option, but the lure of the little animals hiding inside the mugs was too much so they also jumped into my basket.

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I will be sticking with Fable in the white (which you can buy via Ocado as well – bonus!….oh and there is 1/3 off at the moment – double bonus!!) but I can see the lure of Charlene Mullen’s ‘London Calling’ range, which is also rather lovely.

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Now to the give away.  I haven’t done one in ages, which is a bit crap of me, so I have two little birds that need new homes, they have wonky ribbons in their tails but otherwise are in good order so I’ll send them both to one name picked out of the hat in two weeks time (Friday 28th November).  I’m happy to post anywhere in the world, just leave a comment on this post and please make sure it’s linked to an email address.  That’s all, nothing fancy, just a ‘hi’ will do.

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Lastly, but by no means least, I was lucky to be asked to take part in Laura’s (of Bugs and Fishes) ‘Crafty Ladies’ series.  I’m amongst great company, so was thrilled Laura contacted me, you can read all the interviews, including mine, here.  For those who don’t know Laura’s work, she writes a wonderful blog and creates beautiful pieces in felt, so it’s well worth a visit to her shop.  She’s also a craft writer and I see has a couple of books out that are ‘starred’ nicely on Amazon.  Jealous, me? Noooooo.

It’s stopped raining so there are no excuses not to get to work, which is a shame as I was quite close to giving myself a rare day off to just read.  Ho-hum, well at least it’s Friday 🙂

Royal Doulton Fable Tableware…

Super quick post to share my new crush…

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Royal Doulton Fable Tableware.  As discovered whilst trying to find some new white crockery (oh how I wish M would like these…but I know he wont, so I’ll stick with white as I always do…besides it goes with everything that way I suppose) on the John Lewis website.

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That’s all.  Back to hanging out with the kiddies 🙂

Sale Shopping: Dresses…

Just a very quick post as the sales have started and I’d squirreled away some money to spend.

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I got hyper-excited because Orla Kiely had put this dress into their sale section under the pre-season banner, with quite a lot off the original price, I even put it in my ‘basket’ but then thought, no, I don’t need any more OK dresses, I’ve been collecting them for years and lovely though they are, I tend to save them for best (they are often silk and need dry cleaning) so they don’t get worn often and in complete truth Orla Kiely is out of my price range these days, even in the sale section (I should add, I have pretty much only ever bought sale items).

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Instead I went for this pretty cotton number from Boden, and it works well, it’s light and easy to wear and has enough of a vintage vibe to keep me happy.

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In fact I am so pleased, I’ve also ordered this version (both 40% off at the mo).

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Finally, I somehow found myself buying this mustard frock by Mary Portas from the House of Fraser sale.  I know her things are comfortable and often very flattering so it should be a winner and hopefully I’ll got loads of wear out of it.

Done.  There will be no more shopping for a good while for me now 🙂

Leaning tower of books…

I feel like today’s post is a bit of an interlude (should there be a photo of a potter’s wheel here?!) but I am trying to get a grip on things at the moment, not in a bad way, but there are many things, in general, that I have been putting off and it’s time to get on with them, in order to stop me from feeling like this

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In the last few days I have booked appointments with the doctor and dentist, finally bought soil needed to get the garden seedlings started and next on the list, I want to clear the piles of all sorts that cover the surfaces of my studio so I can properly get back to work.

There are:

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books, many from my Birthday and Christmas that are waiting to be read or have been already, and need putting away;

DSC_0032(you may think these photos are staged, they are in that I cleared a bit of desk to photograph them on, but otherwise they have been sat here for weeks, just hidden under mountains of fabric and threads…and my desk really isn’t all that big!)

DSC_0037vintage jumpers and skirts, also dumped in my studio waiting for any needed repairs, or cleaning, and that probably need to be packed up for next winter now.

DSC_0039Vintage patterns waiting to be sorted through.  This is most of my stash, collected over many years and it’s in dire need of a good tidy.

I’m also going to decide, in the coming days, whether to change how I work.  Basically, I might skip summer sewing altogether and in doing so only work on autumn/winter products.  I know that in the professional world that’s how it’s done and I can see the advantages, how wonderful, come September (after the long school holidays when sewing becomes abandoned) to be ready to go, with work complete, photos taken and items already listed?

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The downside is I am generally quite influenced by the weather, I’m not sure I can be thinking of Christmas in the balmy (yes, yes, this is the UK so I might be dreaming here) summer days and from a blogging point of view I would perhaps feel I should keep things hidden until the proper season before posting about them, which would feel restrictive as it’s never as much fun writing about making in retrospect.  It would also mean there wouldn’t be new items in the shop for some time, a problem as it’s quite important for me to keep it updated.  Ho-hum, one to think on there.

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As it is, I am happier to have some more space around me now, both physically and mentally,  it makes me feel I can breathe more easily…if you ignore the air pollution warnings we currently have and resulting Sahara sand being dumped all over the place.  I was a bit amazed to see the plumes of dust rise into the air when a fat little wood-pigeon landed on the trees in our garden a moment ago, there was so much that I genuinely thought next door had lit a garden fire…most might have noticed the sand and dust on their car but ours is always so filthy I just considered that normal 😉 .

Lastly, I just pledged some money on Kickstarter for the wonderful project called ‘Lightcase’.

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Which, to use the designers (Dominic Crinson and Brenna Jensen) own words, is:

“Lightcase is basically a mini photographic studio that gives you a quick, affordable and low-tech way to get clear, sharp and well lit photos. We designed it especially for creatives selling in the various online marketplaces such as Etsy, Folksy, Made it, Zibbet, Ebay… but it’s also a great tool for bloggers and for social marketing on sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and just about anywhere you need great photos of what you do.”

Fabulous idea…could do with being a bit bigger for me, but is still too good to miss.  If you fancy knowing more you can read about it here and pledge here.  Clearly I now have a vested interest in their raising enough pledges but I also thought it was a great idea generally for sharing.

Oh, in case you wondered, the little birds are typical of the random (but precious, to me) ‘junk’ that fills my world and I couldn’t resist photographing them before they were put away 🙂

 

Mojo?

I started writing a couple of posts recently, but quite frankly on re-reading them they sounded so whiny and glum I’ve decided to scrap them and start again.  Basically, I’m still trying to hunt down my mojo.  Lots of bad things keep happening to good people I know and I’m struggling a bit with the whole life isn’t very fair thing.  Still, for my immediate family, life is good, we have no complaints and on the sewing front, I’ve decided that part of my slump is that dreaded sense of ‘the list’ not reducing, in that I’ve got things I know I need to make but just don’t feel like it, so I sit in my studio and half heartedly stare at them, not really making progress but feeling that I can’t go and work on something more fun.

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Sod that.  Today I decided to work on things that I’m actually interested in, which means beaded spiders, sequined black silk and getting the acorns finished.  At least this way, I might miss Easter (again!…heck I managed new Flower Brooches and Lavender Birds in time for Mother’s Day, so it’s not all a disaster) but I will be waaaaaaay ahead come next autumn.

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On the subject of Mother’s Day, this arrived today and it contains…

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a little sweet gift from me, to me, because I’m worth it.  M is away so I’ll be begging the boys for a lie in past 6am, come Sunday, and I’m hoping with a little xbox bribery I might get to at least sit in bed drinking coffee and scoffing chocolates, whilst pretending I can’t hear them argue.

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I other news, I’ve had a birthday since I last blogged and in the new tradition I got frocked up for a day in London, courtesy of my generous sister; browsing shops, eating lunch in Liberty’s and then going to the Opera.  It was great.  Also, a new tradition of recent birthdays, I took a photo, as I pretty much never take photos of myself as I don’t like having my photo taken but think the once-a-year shot is a good record of me getting older time passing.  In this case I asked M to do it…..where? no not here, the sun is too bright and there’s a wheelbarrow of garden rubbish in the background?  Sorry, it’s fine?  It wont show in the photo?  Ok husband-of-mine who is a MUCH better photographer than me…..that he might well be but he’s crap at choosing backdrops.  I love this skirt, it’s from Viviene of Holloway and the shoes are Chie Mihara (of course!).

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Oh and I also took a glitzy bag by Orla Kiely that I’m in love with.  I don’t get out much, so when I do I really enjoy dressing up.  Sad, I know.

Right, I will attempt to catch up on replying to comments, reading my blog list and proper regular sewings posts again soon 🙂

You Win Some…

And sadly, some you lose 😦DSC_0149

I buy a lot of my vintage clothing from the US and I’m lucky in that it mostly works out.  This 1950’s dress cost a pretty penny and was described as ‘excellent’ in its (vintage) condition but sadly it’s not.  I had already left positive feedback for the seller, one I’ve used many times, but when I came to give it a good iron and decided if it needs a dry clean, I noticed loads of badly mended holes, including some patched that actually rather ruin the dress.  Shame.  We’ll just have to chalk that one down to experience.

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On a happier note, whilst perusing the net for Chie Mihara shoes (I do this often, I’m afraid) I found these beauties on one of those aggregated shopping sites, one last pair left, in my size for a silly low price (for Chie Mihara shoes) and I went for it.  They came from Saks NY and were bought using the Borderfree system where all taxes are pre-paid in advance.  It was  a thoroughly pleasant shopping experience and they arrived in record time.

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Another lovely bit of shopping, these cosmetic bags using vintage tapestry bought from the Etsy shop EllaOsix.  I saw them on the fabulous blog modflowers and couldn’t resist buying a couple (one is for a gift and has been squirreled away).  How did I manage before internet shopping existed – ha ha!  I joke, but I pretty much never go clothes shopping for myself in actual shops, I have no patience for it and know what I like and tend to wait for bargains on-line. 
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What else?  Oh World Book Day.  This year we had to provide a hat with an Alice in Wonderland theme, I’ll be honest and say we cobbled this together at the weekend, really very quickly using some cheap hats bought on Amazon.  Half the kids in school were wearing top hats with card decorations.

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The addition of some Linen Cat bits was purely because they were to hand, F wanted some red roses on his and C needed a ‘doormouse’ for his teapot (which is a sneak peek of a design for next winter).   Job done.  Only ‘Tudor Day’ and school play costumes to go.
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Lastly this little lady is giving me a run for my money.  She’s been back and forth to the vets due to weight loss and sickness.  So far they can’t find what’s wrong with her and as she finds going there traumatic there is a limit to what I’ll expose her to.  I can feel her time is coming an end, she’s 16 and I’m slightly dreading her leaving, for now she just follows me around all day sitting as closely as she can.

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Since I wrote this (a couple of days ago) Smelly has perked right up!  I think it’s the sunshine, perhaps she was just suffering from SAD and needed to roll in dust baths and stalk around the garden in the long grass 🙂

Over A Month…

Since my last post, which is odd as I have been sewing LOADS.  Mostly things for later in the year, including…

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I’ve also been buying on-line again, resulting in some pretty parcels wrapped up in paper and string…

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a lovely vintage beaded bag from 1940s Throwback (the beads on the left are another of my winter projects….and this photo has reminded me what a bi*ch the planned black silk and bead items will be to photograph!).

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and another fab bib set from Jenny of a crafty hen (this is Jenny’s photo below as I forgot to take one myself).

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I’ve also been hanging out with the boys over half term and making the most of the sunshine by working in the garden.  C came out one day having dressed himself, as a spy, apparently.  007 1/2 – ha ha!

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Ah and the adorable older brother in the background being funny for the photo, which always involved pretending to attack Charlie.  Sums it all up really.

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We ate some yummy goodies from Bettys, thanks to my SIL sending them as a thank you for the recent blind making.  The box below contains Fat Rascals, one of my very favourite things.

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Not only have I been making winter things, but I’ve also been working on spring designs which are just about ready to list and blog, I just need to take the final photos.  About time too, really 🙂

Too many ideas…

I have never hopped between so many projects before.  As I promised myself, I have been trying to finish some open projects for next winter as well as start some well needed re-stocking and some new bits, but I can’t seem to work on just one thing.

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My desk shows just how out of control things are getting.

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I’m also still using both machines as I want to get to know the new one, but sometimes it’s easier to use what’s familiar, plus I have an insanely large stock of pre-wound bobbins in all colours for the old machine and I’m a bit lazy about winding on new ones (even if the new fancy-pants Bernina makes is sooooo much easier).

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New patterns have arrived.  A nice vintage dressing gown as I’ve been hankering for some time for a more glamorous but also still comfortable version than my existing one.  I think I might try to make it in brushed cotton, so it’s structured but cosy.  There’s also a ‘new’ vintage Vogue pattern and guess who forgot that even in these re-prints, the sizing is similarly small to the originals, so I should have sized up – doh – still, I’m slowly shrinking (in a good way) so maybe it will be my size, soon.

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Finally, look at this FABULOUS hand knitted sweater and corsage.  Both are based on vintage patterns and were bought from the Etsy shop 1940s Style For You.  I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this shop, I was probably looking for original vintage jumpers….anyhow, I couldn’t resist this lovely little number.  Oh how I wish I could knit.
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The brooch is a typical situation where I think it shouts out to buy hand made.  It really is rather special, I make felt flower brooches and I’m sure many in my position might think they would just make something similar for themselves, but I know that a. I wont ever get around to it and b. it’s just a personal thing, I will copy commercial things (like mass made clothing) but I never copy other handmade artist’s work (please don’t think I’m judging anyone else here, it’s just my personal mantra I attempt to stick to) and c. I’m happy to pay for something so beautifully made and reasonably priced; so it’s a win, win for me 🙂

The rain stopped today, for a moment and then the sun came out – happy days!

Cute Critters…

My obsession with collecting books that Gran used to read to us, and specifically ones with animals in clothing continues.  I am currently working through the older Racey Helps.

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Although I always love his work, and have now collected all those from the Medici publishers, these earlier ones by Collins have such beautiful illustrations, they are crisp coloured and beautifully detailed, despite the sometimes yellowing pages and battered covers (I am not attempting to collect pristine books here, although I do like them to be readable).

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The reason I’m mentioning this, is because I was browsing through Etsy the other day, when I came across some amazing felted animals by the very talented ‘Miss Bumbles‘.

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They reminded me so much of the vintage illustrations I love (I’ve been adding to my Molly Brett collection as well!),

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and so I couldn’t resist buying this little guinea pig, complete with tree, to hang in my studio for the festive period (and beyond, I doubt he will me moving, come January).

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I’ve noticed that Miss Bumbles’ stock sells very quickly, so I have been happily stalking keeping an eye on her shop for any updates, and oh my, I really did fall in love with this little group.  Perhaps it’s because I have been sewing deers again this week?  Whatever reason, they have come to live with me 🙂  There is clearly so much work involved; it makes me want to learn to needle felt, but it would take some years to reach this level of skill and I’d much rather support another artist by buying their fabulous work.  There was a note in the parcel suggesting that the scarves be removed and eggs be added in place of the christmas package so they could be used as Easter decorations as well – great idea!
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And look, even the packaging details are cute 🙂

This and That…

I’ve been a very busy bee these past few weeks, sadly not sewing but trying to get our house into order.  I have finally taken over the entire ‘studio’, booting the boys (play area) out and moving all my junk  prized possessions in.  I am such a happy bunny now that I have most things in one space, there are still some boxes of tweed stuffed under beds to find and absorb into the already full room but it’s nice to have everything in one space and equally lovely to have the rest of the house tidy of storage boxes.  We also spent the weekend clearing and organising one of the garden sheds, this was a job well done and has created loads of room to move more things (mainly paint and DIY things) outdoors to help free up even more space.  One day I will have a tidy home and ideally a cleaner (we can all dream 😉 ).

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I’ve taken lots of photos that I keep forgetting to show, mostly of pretty buys.

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This little beauty arrived from Camila Prada some time ago.  She is called ‘Beau’ and I blame Fiona for introducing me to these amazing ceramics.  I can see I am going to have to really curb my enthusiasm here and try to keep my purse mostly closed.  My bank balance will thank me if I do.

DSC_0037I wanted to put  it somewhere to be used daily, but ideally where the chances of breakage were low, it’s a perfect pot to use on my dressing table to hold clips.

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When I took the above photos, I realised I’ve never shown you this beautiful Hydrangea bracelet by Michael Michaud.  I bought it at the Hampton Court Flower Show and now have so many lovely pieces of his work on my wish list.

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I have found some time for sewing in amongst the tidying, I’m hoping that these little deers will be finished soon, so I can have them listed in the shop before Christmas – because, hey, I somehow managed to miss my Halloween deadline, and the Autumn one (but feel quite relieved to have things ready and stored away for next year!).  As always, I’m way behind in blog reading and replying to comments, but that’s a given these days, I think I need to add a magic time stopper to my wish list so I can sit down and catch up!

Back soon with actual finished work to show you…hopefully.