Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Tick Tock


Lately of an evening, I've found myself stitching tiny clocks out of felt. This is my favourite so far, but I do think I need to try out a few more shapes before I'm really happy.


I've also had some secret making of an evening too as Miss Rosey hit the grand old age of 14 years on Monday. After seeing her sisters Bunny doll (made ages ago) she asked for a monkey version. 
I hooked one up for her birthday complete with a curly wurly tail and monkey ears. 
She's been named Gloria in case you wonder these things.


Other excitements around birthdays have been fabric finds as usual with a barkcloth that makes me dream up so many ideas. I fancy a coat, but would a dress not be a safer way to go?

 

Either way I've got the most perfect foxy footwear to go with it.


The saddest news wa the return to school today of my girls. This officially signals the end of carefree days and summer capers for another whole year.

We certainly packed in a few more happy memory days over the last few left to us. 

We went boating at Thorpeness to explore the islands and bob on a boat. I was chief rower as it turned out my man had only ever rowed once before. Years together and see I still don't know everything about him. I taught both the girls to row so that they'll be able to take turns next time.


Once one cygnet wanted to check us out all his mates joined in too. Miss Millie loved it, Miss Rosey was a bit worried and yelled row faster, faster. I did as I was told to calm her down and so they swam faster and faster. Never ever try to outrun a cygnet is my advice to you.


At a party by the sea we ventured off to see the classic cars on the cliffs. 
Dream cars were lined up. We oohhed and ahhhed for a while, before heading down to the shore below.


A stroll turned into a very long explore. It was a heavenly evening, the tide slipping in while we gazed into rockpools made from the chalky cliff base.


Finally we turned inland and climbed the cliff path away from Sheringham to head to Beeston Bump.


Over that ridge was the most glorious view and the path back to the party we'd been away from for quite a while.

Thankfully we have understanding friends.

So here we are in September. 
A wonderful month where if we're lucky we are blessed with an Indian Summer. I always see it as a time of change.
An ending of things and the start of the new.



Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Golden Days


At the start of the summer I thought I'd have far more time to be blogging and instead I seem to have neglected my little old space over here somewhat. Ive been existing more in that live in the moment giddy world of Instagram. She's seduced me, but hasn't won.

I really intend to get back on top of that very soon.
 I think a spot of autumnal sprucing up here and blog visiting are most definately in order.

Now what have we been up to.

Well one day we went on a train. The train stopped at Cambridge and off we went for a wander. I took my knitting on the journey dreaming of lazing on a punt later in the day. Miss Rosey refused to get on the punt. End of that idea.


Next Monday my eldest girlie will be 14. She's finding her own feet these days and very much deciding if she wants to come on an adventure with us or not.  Thankfully it's not us that she's avoiding, just the things we want to do. So it's all change here and sometimes we're a family of 3 and sometimes a family of 4.


 Around our adventures there's always been time for sewing. 


 Then there's a new addiction of mine. 
Lampshade kits. 

These are so easy to use and totally addictive.


Two smaller ones made for my girlies rooms. 
I won't stop until each lamp has had a re-vamp.


We've had a week away at my mum's while my man worked and then he had more time off to play with us.

Summer stopped that week and hasn't really been back since.

Under a bed of pebbles down below and an Aran Cardi and scarf up top when we picnicked at the beach. 
Laying down out of the wind was much warmer too.


It was much warmer on the cliffs exploring Greyfriars above Dunwich beach. We also had a pootle in the tiny village museum.


In the middle of the week blue skies beckoned and so we whizzed off to see the Red Arrows flying over the sea at the Cromer Carnival.

Then we took our picnic off to Felbrigg Hall to get away from the crowds and get the most of our NT membership. Miss Rosey was very keen to see inside the house - yay as I love this home.

 

The following morning we were up bright and fresh to drive down to London. We had fancied visiting the Imperial War Museum to see the new WW1 exhibition. Not a great decision looking back on it.

At the moment a lot of stressful work related wranglings are going on. Hands feel tied, frustrations and fears - all of those things. We needed more laughter and a big dose of war with the Holocaust thrown in wasn't ideal. I was fascinated by it as a child. A close uncle had been part of the Medical Corr finding Belsen and then stayed on in Europe for years after helping in the refugee camp. Our girls were interested and handled it really well. I was worried as I knew exactly what they would be about to see, but I didn't want them protected from it either as it's so important to know what happened and still happens today.

There was a strange moment when they were looking at the Aryan Genetics part and people stared. There were my three 6ft and over and blonde.

In one of the films at the end I got to see the lovely lady who had spoken to Miss Rosey and her class in the Golders Green Synagogue a few weeks back about her experiences as a German Jew.

How strange it seems after that to be talking about making jam. 

Well that's what I did and so I will. The week before Miss Millie was born was Mother's Day I was given a Greengage Tree. 12 years later it's thriving as you can see. 

I've never ever made jam before, but with this bumper crop there's only so many crumbles and tarts you can face eating.


I can't believe I managed it. 
Six jars of soft delicious jam. One burnt and blackened hob.

Thanks for reading and stopping by. I really enjoy reading your comments and will get back to replying very soon I promise. 

Saturday, 16 August 2014

These are the Days

Well I didn't plan to stay away for that long, it just kind of happened. 
Sorry about that if you've popped by here to see what's been going on. 

Well what has been going on?

We've been having a lovely summer, simply enjoying time together. Time off scarily means no pay packet until to November, such is the way with sessional teaching contracts. I'm putting that to the back of my mind though as these are precious days.


We've explored woods, piers and plenty of seasidey places.


Picnics, swimming and lazing by the seashore have all been most pleasant,


We always feel the need to go exploring afterwards and then reward ourselves later with a cream tea.


I've also spent a whole week re-decorating Miss Millie's bedroom after breaking my promise to do it last year. Miss Millie and Rosey did offer their painting services now and again too. 
I'll show you that handiwork another time. Miss Millie's thrilled with her more grown-up room which is what it's all about.


Around all this family and DIY time, I've made sure we visited a few Vintage fairs. 

I've thrilled with the beautiful fabrics I've collected together this summer. 


Some were added to this quilt I was commissioned to make just before the end of term.

I have a friend who collects and sells the most fabulous stuff, mainly 60's and 70's happiness. For a long while now she's made it plain she'd love me to make her a quilt and I always said no. I worried about fitting it in around everything else and the pressure of getting it just right for the price I was asking.

Somewhere along the line I said yes, we chatted a long while about how it would be and so off I went to plan, cut and sew. 


The fabrics and the design were the most important part, the snuggliness and warmth of the quilt came a close second.

To make sure it was cosy enough I used a Witney blanket instead of batting and then a soft as soft can be flannelette sheet for the backing. It made for a heavier than usual quilt, but boy was it cosy.



Early one morning, as soon as the hand embroidered label was sewn on the back Emmie arrived to collect.

She was beyond thrilled and so I was too. Phew the relief.



I had an extra surprise of a thank you pressie.
My favourite and much coveted Dolly Days china trio with lollies too.



No sooner than Emmie had left than I was back on my machine again doing some me sewing. It was a rainy yuk day and so I thought I'd brighten up the house a bit.

I'd bought a few CK teacloths, along with the fabulous blue modflower print from PommedeJour and they were just the thing to turn into some cheery cushions.



Since then I've made and done quite a few more things, but I think they can wait until next time don't you.

See you soon.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Days of Flowers & Fun


It's been a floral, sunny and perfect first week of the summer holidays. We're so lucky to live in a holiday county where the coastline and countryside is fabulous.
We kicked off the holidays with a glorious day at the beach where the girls and their friends had seals swimming alongside them. 

When we chose to send the girls to their school we explained that meant we couldn't afford holidays too. They're happy with this as they really enjoy every day of school so much, but just sometimes I wish we had the pennies to go a bit further afield. That's only sometimes as I see such happy girls who love being at school.
I just thought I'd mention it in case you wondered are these people afraid of leaving Norfolk!

Right outside our door are quiet lanes running through cornfields waiting for us to cycle along. We pedal away until we find the perfect spot to hide and munch our picnic lunch. 

Sometimes we find it's not just us hiding out. 

Last week we managed to come home laden with flowers, eggs and homemade strawberry jam from all the honesty stalls we'd passed.


We've also been fruit picking. Miss Millie turned our haul into a raspberry, honey, lime and ginger cheesecake for Friday night's meal.

I rustled up lots of different salads and then the girls prettied up outside for an evenings dining experience.

Now we're feeling properly relaxed and ready for the rest to unfold. We've so many plans and dreams that I doubt we'll even get halfway through the list, but we'll certainly try.



I do know I'm not getting quite enough sewing time. That does need sorting out very soon. 
In fact, after our fruit picking the girls and I headed off to town where I found the beautiful fabrics up top. 

The delicious cotton lawn was in my head all day Saturday. As I was stuck in a hot city waiting for Miss Rosey while she went to the cinema with her friends any plans for that had to wait. After three hours five red-eyed girls appeared, having watched The Fault in our Stars. I couldn't even cope with Watership Down and even the sound of Brighteyes still sets me off. Although I'd love the story, I've avoided Warhorse because I know that would bring on throat hurting full on sobbing. Miss Rosey was just that bit braver, although she knew she'd get really upset.



On Sunday morning I was up and about fairly early with the house to myself. No one rose until 11am. After two nights of thunder storms with girls and cats jumping in bed with us they were all shattered. 

Finally I could get on with my plans for the lawn that had had me in its thrall ever since Friday. You know that thing when the vintage fabric you've lusted after and known must exist suddenly appears in your hands and you just feel giddy with pleasure. Or perhaps that's just me and I need to get a bit of perspective here. 

Anyways. Sunday morning. It's quiet and I know exactly what I want to do with my treasured find.


This time I was going to make up the Jiffy dress (Simplicity K1609 in case you were wondering) with a bow at the neck.

As the delicious fabric is so floaty and light I decided to fully line the dress so it wouldn't rip and pull out of shape. The pattern doesn't offer tips for this, but all I did was make an exact copy of the dress pattern, but just a little shorter in the length. 

As I didn't have any lining fabric to hand I used a soft lemon striped sheet instead.

By the end of Sunday, straddled either side of meals and other whatnot, I had a finished Jiffy Shift dress.


This is my most favourite, most pleased with and most loved dress that I've ever ever made. 
Can you guess how much I like it?

At a guess I'd say the fabric is 1950's as it's 36" wide and the colours are far more 1950's than 1940's. To jiggle it all about I made it up in a 1960's pattern and lined it with a 1970's bedsheet.


Excuse the mad staring eyes. That's me after two stormy bad sleep nights and one late sewing obsessed night.

 

The cardi I knitted a while back looked an absolute treat with the dress too. As my mum was staying over and I'm still hiding my tattoo from her (five years on and I'm in my 40's for god's sake) I always cover up. 

Mind you my man has added another tattoo to his arms of the most beautiful mermaid. I must show you as it's his design based on a C19th original sailors one. It's got me thinking about maybe adding another one somewhere else.


All dressed in my new finery I dropped Miss Millie at her friends while I went off to have the Bob put back in my Bob.

Then on the way back I grabbed them and my other two mischief makers to head for a paddle and an icecream.


Isn't summer grand.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Blog Hopping

At the moment there's a thing called a blog hop going on, bouncing from blog to blog to find out more about the how and why we create.

I was asked if I'd like to join in by Jacqui over at Living with Ethel and Claire at Mrs Brown Makes
two very lovely blogs you could hop backwards too if you fancied, although I'm supposed to being hopping you forward really. I think hopping back and forth is far more fun, don't you. 

Oh and before I go off chatting away, a few of you thought I might have meant I was going to stop blogging. Well no that won't be happening as I love it too much. So there you go, you're stuck with me.


First thing to think about is What I'm working on Right Now?

Well there's just no way that could ever come down to just one thing. Like most creative people I'm a flitterer. I love to knit, crochet, sew, make clothes, cushions, bags, quilts, toys, brooches - whatever I'm in the mood for really or what has been niggling away in my head waiting to become a real thing. When I get new yarn or fabric I get excited about working with it so everything else gets dropped.

So right now I'm slowly adding a row here and a row there to a large stripy blankie.


I've forgotten about my pink flower cardi for now, but I could get the urge again any day now, who knows.


Instead my needles have been working away at more of these beauties. I realised I just don't have enough and that won't do at all.


Dressmaking has become my main thing at the moment. I'm really trying to push on my skills and set myself new challenges with this. There's so much to learn and as I'm self-taught I'm really proud of all that I've achieved. That said I have a huge pile and bag load of half made things to finish and then a long list of requests also. 


So you see, I can't settle easily on anyone thing. For me it really is about what I'm in the mood for and also what's practical. I can knit and crochet anywhere, but when I sew I take up our huge table where we eat and the girls craft or do puzzles. A crafty room all of my own would be bliss, but then I also love being here in the heart of it all too. We're a creative family and it's a huge part of daily life to be making a something.


My big job right now is a commission for a patchy blanket of floral happiness. I've been asked again and again and have finally said yes. As I have the summer off this year I knew I could fit it in.


Now for the next question - How does my work differ from others of it's genre?

This is a complicated one. I guess we all like to think we're original and certainly not copying others, although we can't avoid being inspired by what we see around us. I used to organise and sell at at vintage fairs and makers markets until a couple of years ago when I decided I wanted to focus more of making without the demand. My dad had just died and I needed to slow down I guess.

Now I'm ready for taking it all up again. I've been selling a few of my Annual Tops and accepting a commission or two. I have plans, just need the oompph that goes with it now.



So to answer the question I'd say my work stands out by the way I put my colours and prints together. I know I've got a good eye for balancing up colour and I think the ones I'm drawn to have become part of my style. I also think it's the little touches such as contrasting facings and bindings on clothes, the spotty strips sewn on patchwork along with the colourful rows of stitches. 

 

Next thing for me to consider is - Why do I write and create what I do?

Simply put I just feel I need to, I can't not do it. Whatever I'm doing, wherever I am I have ideas playing around in my head, I look forward to getting home and trying these ideas out. I get a surge of bliss in a yarn store or rummaging through piles of vintage fabrics and trims. It relaxes me and makes me happy and that's what life should be I reckon. 


I write my blog for so many reasons, but the main part is to attach a story around what I do, connect with like minded people and to think my thoughts through properly.


I also write stories, one day I might even be brave enough to send them off.

 

Mixed up with that is my love of vintage. I've always loved old stuff, kitsch stuff and childhood happy stuff. It's all part of being creative to me. A friend said the other day that it must really P*** you off that how you've always been is trendy now so you just look like another follower. I've never  quite seen it that way. I love that there is more of it about and that I can now share it all with more people. My tastes have just evolved. As a teenager I wore 1960's coats with Victorian petticoats and bloomers, now I seem to wear 1970's bedsheets and make my older colleagues laugh at work seeing their bedding mobile.

Last question I have to answer is - How does your writing and creative process work?

My first thought is, it doesn't. It's all a haphazard affair really. I find it easier to be creative when no one's at home as I can really lose myself in the moment. By that I mean no distractions so I don't feel guilty for grabbing my time. Otherwise there's the demands to clear the table, the school run (which thankfully is no more until September hurrah) household chores and going to work when I'm in the middle of something. 

 

I used to struggle to balance my teaching head with all the stresses of highly vulnerable teens where it's demanding, full on and sociable with the solitary flow needed for me to be creative. 
Simply put I think it's because I surround myself with creative things, I write my ideas down and go with the flow grabbing the creative moment as it arises. 

Hopefully that wasn't too much of a long read for you. 

Now it's time to pass the baton on and send you off blog hopping to two lovely ladies out there.


I'm meant to choose three blogs to join in next week, but I chose two. Rules bring out the rebel in me.
 I'm blog hopping over to Letitia at the Bloggings of Mrs Bertimus and Ada Bee at Vintage Sheet Addict.

I found Letitia's blog a while back now and just felt I was meeting her in person every time I read a new post. She writes openly and straight sharing her passion for art (she's an amazing painter and needlestitcher, along with being an art teacher). We've become bloggy friends and one day I might actually get on one of the workshops she's running at Hope and Elvis to meet her for real. 

This is what she has to say to say hello to you:
Mrs B loves stitching, painting and charity shopping. The kettle's always on and the bissy tin is open for anyone that wants to pop in and visit. There's also a mad Chihuahua in the mix and charity treasures ready to be snuck into the house.

Next up is Ada Bee who is a lovely lady to have in blogland. I was touched and suprised when she wrote to me years back, before starting her own blog, to say how reading mine and Jane at Teawagontales
had kept her happy during tough times. Through her blog Ada shares her passion for life, bringing colour into her home, her love of family and friendship. She shares lifes ups and downs, but there's no misery here it's simply a sharing of life's realities and how her family deals with it. At the moment life has taken a change of direction so although Ada may not be able to take part next week? I still wanted to send you off to read a lovely blog in case you haven't visited there already.