Monday, 31 August 2009

Hands off

it's mine!

Despite a lot of hinting I was convinced hubby would not be giving me anything by Cleo Mussi for my birthday, not least because when I first mentioned it a couple of months ago he dismissed me telling me he didn't like her work. Well, I knew full well that he wouldn't be buying me something he didn't like.

But he double bluffed me and little did I know he was in cahoots with her all along and that he had commissioned one of her signature hands for me (he asked for J's and a heart!). The children looked on startled as I opened my present and cried with pleasure.

good old-fashioned trading

One of the things I love about where we live is the community spirit. We don't over-do it but we keep an eye out for each other, which is just the right balance for us. Saturday morning brought a knock on the door which led to some great neighbourly business. Hubby was asked for some gardening advice and ended up agreeing to prune a plum tree sometime later this week. Money was offered and rejected in favour of some home grown produce.

Later that day a down payment arrived.

Saturday, 29 August 2009


I have been blessed this week, by a lady named Jenny. I put a 'wanted' on freecycle for a manual typewriter, and 2 days later Mr H returned home somewhat horror struck staggering under the weight of this beauty!

When I put the ad on I never expected vintage gorgeousness, anyway Jo and I are thrilled with our new crafting toy, Mr H and Mr P think it should have got to the tip, and cannot understand the excitement!

Anyway with typewriters in mind here is a nice print form the lovely site paper and stitch.

and a free download from the beautiful stationary website papermash (might have to staple Jo's purse shut when she sees the tape on their website!)

Friday, 28 August 2009

so inspired

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the school holidays and the joy of spending time with the children and MR H (who is a teacher so is around all summer which is lovely), but and its big but! I just don't have time to get anything done and something has to give, so I have been sadly neglectful of my favourite reads .....sam from sams notebook has been away on a julie arkell course and to paris so no guilt there, have a look at her fabulous photos here.

Lobster and swan is one of my most favourite reads, I think its on a par with a paper copy of selvedge magazine, but i do like to plonk myself down with a cup of tea and read in peace without having to break up a fight over lego, or go and find the dog who has escaped through an open front door. I haven't had the pleasure since school finished!

Anyway this morning I woke up at quarter to five, I am having a stressy work time so struggling with sleep, and I thought I can't go in the studio as babes will wake, so I came down in the dark made a big mug of tea and had an hour and half of inspirational joy. THANK YOU JESKA!

I don't know what Jeska does to earn her crust but I really hope that it is something in design.

Finally I paid a long overdue visit to the lovely emma bond, garden designer and writer and photographer extraordinaire!

Emma is doing some wonderful things with polaroid and film, they really are beautiful - go and take a look.
Anyway sorry lovelies for the summer neglect, the leaves will soon be falling and I will be back to reading on a (guilty) daily basis......................

Thursday, 27 August 2009

guest posting

Never in my wildest dreams when we started this blog did I imagine that Jo and I would end up chit chatting to so many people all over the world, its armchair travel at its best!!
Anyway a month or so ago Holly Becker the esteemed writer of decor8blog asked me, along with lots of very talented people (I do feel v. privileged to have been included, so thank you Holly. - but Jo's house is much nicer than mine and I will shortly be asking her to do the same post but of her space!!)
I was going to post some shots of my studio, but decided not to as those photos have been published here before, so the ones I chose are more personal corners of our home.
Anyway you can see my post here, and for those of you have haven't visited decor8 do head over and have a read, holly is the queen of blogland and attracts thousands of readers a day, a stylish lady if ever there was one.

Roald Dahl picnic

We are into Roald Dahl at the moment. Boy has books, DVD's and CD's and is absolutely loving them so we decided upon a holiday outing to the Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden. Depsite it being aimed at children older than my motley crew they really enjoyed it, and it was great to discover some of the inspirations behind his books and characters.

For lunch we had prepared a Roald Dahl picinic. Up till late the night before with paper, pens and laminator we had great fun theming our food. A giant cucumber became a snozzcumber with Sophie hiding scared inside(BFG), a bottle of lemonade was Frobscottle (BFG), Bird Pie (the Twits), Peaches (James and the Giant Peach) and sweets from Willy Wonka's famous Chocolate Factory. But the highlight had to be the eyeball bought from the museum shop and placed in everyone's drinks, just as Mrs Twit placed her glass eye in Mr Twits beer. In true British style we sat under a large tree whilst rain hurtled down and our lips and limbs turned blue, but we were determined to enjoy the picnic.

Monday, 24 August 2009

teddy bear's tea party

And when I wasn't creating for myself I was creating for the children. A sudden heavy downpour of rain meant games in the garden were ended abruptly and found the children wanting. Out came tissue paper, scissors and sellotape and 5 minutes of my time meant we had party hats for teddy bears. That led to a teddy bear's tea party that kept the children entertained for long enough for me to finish those baby cards!

baby cards

I told you I had the creative bug back. Today was spent grabbing every opportunity at my desk or sewing machine to make some of the things that are whizzing around in my mind. Following on from the engagement card I made the other day I have, at last, made cards for all the babies that were born at the beginning of the year (well at least they're not 18 yet).

Sunday, 23 August 2009

upcoming excitements

The summer holiday has got to me and keeping the children happy and entertained whilst dealing with decorators in our tiny house and taking the car in and out of the garage has sapped me of any creativity or productivity -hence my recent lack of posts. However things are on the up. I can feel routine is around the corner and my brain is beginning to twitch with ideas again. Not least because I keep picking up brochures relating to upcoming events.

Mum lives in Bradford on Avon, a town not too dissimilar to Stroud with a history of woollen mills and textiles and a large number of arty people living in the town (in fact new magazine sew hip has offices there). Anyway during a recent visit I picked up a leaflet for the Bradford on Avon Arts Festival 2009 which has loads of exciting things including an exhibition called In the Mind's Eye, where mum's neighbours Alan Peacock (see above) and Cirel Greenwood will be displaying some of their work, another exhibition of paintings by the internationally renowned artist Ray Ching, called Aesops' Kiwi Fables, there's another opportunity to see some kimonos and a tea cosy making competition.

I've also been into Cirencester, picked up the latest brochure for the New Brewery Arts Centre which has loads of great things on for the Autumn, including and exhibition of work by Cleo Mussi (I love her stuff and am busy hinting at hubby since I have an upcoming birthday!)

I've also had a great weekend sitting in the garden reading some back issues of Selvedge that I have been given. There is SO much inspiration in these magazines. For a while I thought they seemed rather expensive, but I get so much out of them, every page fascinates me, the photography is fantastic and the way the magazine is put together is very satisfying and I've decided that it is well worth the money. I'm trying to persuade hubby for a subscription to Selvedge as well.....

Sorry for all the hyperlinks, and this is just the beginning of what is whirring around inside my brain at the moment.

inspired by nautical

all these seaside trips have made me come over all nautical. here are some lovely nautical inspired goodies from notonthehighstreet.

left to right ALL FROM
top row
1. beach sign on driftwood, greenpoint
2. beach hut teatowel, £6 ruby may london
3. beach sign £10, buy the sea

middle row
1. beach hut fridge magnets £11.95, creative flourish
2. boat card £3.95 thoughts of you.
3 Cushions, kirsty elson

bottom row
1.teacosy £37 poppy teffry
2. chunky boat £7.95, creative flourish
4. fishing boat greeting card, kirsty elson.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, 22 August 2009

beside the seaside 1

we have just returned from a fabulous few days on the beautiful Gower Peninsular in Wales. It is a relatively wild and untouched stretch of coast and has been designated an area of outstanding natural beauty, so there is very little development there.What I particularly loved was that virtually all of the beaches are only accessible on foot, so they were quite empty as the large and lazy were deterred from parking their windbreaks and chairs. Three cliffs bay, above is quite difficult to access and the walk back up isn't for the feint hearted, but I love beaches that you have to work a little to get to. Anyway I had seen pictures of Rhossilli bay on the visit wales ad, but I had never expected it to be as beautiful as it is. On a hot and sunny august day there were barely 100 people there. Fantastic surf for the kids too.

we stayed at the YHA in Port Eynon which was wonderful, an old lifeboat station right on the beach, but I have to admit I don't think hostelling is for me as I didn't like being in a bunk bed - ok if you are 9 not so great if you are 39 and can't reach to poke the snoring husband (grrrr!!)
I think when we go aagin we will stay at one of the great campsites from the cool camping wales book.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

new products

well while we are in red white and blue mode I thought I would show you these little lovelies which were comissioned by a good friend for her seaside home. The semaphore cushion is made from my new semaphore flag fabric. The hearts and star are made from polka dot, and tiny star and I filled them with lavender.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

new things

Have you noticed there seems to be a real trend for vintage flag cushions at the moment? Well Jo and I were talking about them because Jo was looking for something for her sons bedroom and we thought if we could find a nice vintage flag perhaps I could print one on my linen. Anyway our lovely friend Vix came to the rescue with just the thing. So here are the results, I feel some oblong cushions and some cheery bunting will be on by next week!watch this space to see what the finished articles look like.

Friday, 14 August 2009

elaine pamphilon artist

While I was at my lovely friends house for tea the other day I spotted a card by the artist Elain Pamphilon. I am always drawn to text within artwork, I love anything with bits of writing incorperated.Elaine Pamphilon has a beautiful website, and exhibits nationally.

She has a studio in Cornwall and paints seascapes.

And also truely beautiful still life pictures.

I wonder if I could add one to my Christmas list?!

Monday, 10 August 2009

little pocket mermaid

I just wanted to share with you these photos of a mermaid I made for my mother in law as a thank you for letting us use her house in Cornwall. The pattern came from one of my favourite making books Embroidered Treasures by Claire Garland. I've made a couple of other projects (and I know that Sarah has too) and so far I have been successful in my creations, which is a sign of a good book!
The book does recommend thread colours etc, but I rather disregarded that in favour of what was already in my sewing basket. As a result this mermaid does look rather like she could do with her highlights being re-done.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

beach towel

A great beach towel idea for the kids, from Martha Stewart. Good for keeping chldren entertained on the beach.
I think it would eb nice made with a contrasting colour tape for the noughts and crosses board rather than white. Cut 4 pieces of herringbone tape (or you could probably use ribbon but its not as hard wearing) pin them on to the towel and stitch along all of the edges - I would probably do one at a time rather than trying to sew the whole thing in one go. Use shells or pebbles or driftwood for the counters.
you never know - if you take one of these to the beach with the children you might even get to sit down and read more than 3 words of a book!!!!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

a bucketful of mackerel

Mackerel is a cheap, plentiful, sustainable fish, and when it is super fresh you can't beat it for flavour. We were give a big bagful of freshly caught mackeral by the skipper of the 'mary-kate' in Padstow. Which immediately made us think beach barbeque. We gutted the makeral and gave them a swish around in some olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, some chilli jam and a few sprigs of thyme.
I think camping brings out a certain make-do-and-mend in one, so the bucket had been making sandcastles all day, but was just the job for mackeral!

A sprinkle of sea salt, a disposable barbeque.

A spritz of lemon, and alot of napkins for sticky fingers.

We took a big bag of french bread, a bowl of ceaser salad a bag of fresh prawns and lots of cold wine down to the beach, and a good time was had by all, impromptu beach cooking at its best (and a little bit of a headache in the morning!!)

back from cornwall

well hello! I have just returned from a fantastic week in Cornwall with a big group of friends. We camped by the beach near to Padstow, and I have come back full of seaside ideas and yearning even more for a little wooden shack by the beach...................ah we can but dream!

Monday, 3 August 2009

wedding belles

One of my greatest university friends has just announced her engagement and is getting married in September. Some how I managed to find some time to sit down this weekend and make a congratulations card. I had envisaged using an old photo of a married couple and discovered Stroud Vintage whilst searching in Stroud on Saturday morning, a treasure trove of vintage goodies. However I was unsuccessful so, while the little girl watched Sleeping Beauty, I spent the afternoon on the sofa scrolling through old magazines in the hope of finding what I wanted. I was saved by a Cath Kidston catalogue.

I was quite pleased with the end result - all I have to do now is get it in the post.

life's a beach

Yet more rain as I sit here tonight and I have decided that the only place to be is the beach. You're going to get wet anyway!

We've spent many a wet weekend in Cornwall thinking of interesting ways to entertain the children. The house (and beach) is by a boat yard so there are always plenty of bits of old paint for the children to hunt for, along with softened broken glass and bits of old china. We made this boat using some of our finds.

Last time we decided to try crab racing. Having caught the crabs, which provided entertainment itself, we made a starting line with fishing nets and let the crabs race along the beach back into the sea. Half the fun is watching everyone pluck up courage to pick the crabs up and of course they don't necessarily go in a straight line, or at all.

lavender's blue

Polly and Jesus decided to complement their seville orange theme with a more English country cottage lavender, pulling the two colours together with green to create an informal setting for their wedding. Trestle tables were arranged in a continuous snake around a courtyard that glimmered in candlelight as guests ate a fantastic salad of figs and serrano ham, followed by Iberian pork stew and then a huge selection of naughty puddings (Jeannie is a cordon bleu trained cook and the food was amazing)

Bridesmaids wore blue and white flowers in their hair with simple white cotton dresses and plimsolls. Page Boys wore sage green shorts, white polo shirts and the same white plimsolls as the girls. Seven of them aged between 18 mths and 6 trundled along behind the bride carrying a rope covered in more flowers.

As Polly arrived at her wedding the sun was setting a fiery orange behind these hills, then later on guests were able to gaze at the shooting stars! Auspicious perhaps?