Thursday, 28 August 2014

What a day ...

Yesterday we had a brilliant day!

I have been very busy the last month trying to start on on-line business so my time has been pretty precious.  How can it be that you want to start something that is all about making things and end up not making much but spending LOTS of time on your computer?

Anyway, yesterday we went over to my Mum's for breakfast with some friends who are visiting from Canada.  Breakfast was delicious - fruits salad, homemade granola, pastries and true Canadian Maple Syrup.  Did you know it takes 40 litres of sap to make 1 litre of maple syrup?  Now I understand the price.  They had also bought over maple butter which I haven't tried yet but will look forward to next time I am at my Mum's.

Then it was off to Packwood House.  It's a regular haunt of our but we hadn't been this summer yet and I really want to the house in the woods I friend told me about.  They have some follies in the grounds which were amazing to look at.

The girls had great fun figuring about what parts of the pieces of furniture were used.

I was using a digital SLR for the first time.  My nephew has lent me his and I had so much fun - 200+ photos is a testament to that!  I have a manual SLR which I was really enjoying using before Miss M was born (nearly 10 years ago now) but have since just used a compact digital camera.  Oh it was so lovely to look through a viewfinder again and to have sports and macro modes.  I won't put up all 200+ but here's a few ....


They both raced up to the lake edge and couldn't wait to feel it.  "It's kind of like a beach.  I just want to go swimming in it!"  Water and the coast is certainly something that has been missing in our lives since we returned to the UK.

I got beautiful shots of Miss C dancing wildly on the lake shore but, unfortunately, I was not allowed to use them.  I was, however, given permission to use the one of the back of her head!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

With thanks .... (and some sewing!)

So what to do on very wet Bank Holiday Monday?  Well we caught up with ourselves and our paperwork!
We've had a lot to be thankful for recently so the girls made and wrote their Thank You Cards ...

The middle ones were made one day last week whilst I was playing working with my new die cutter.  It was one of those idyllic moments every home edder loves - you doing something you love whilst your offspring quietly work/play alongside you.  It really was the most creative afternoon, all at our dining table.  Just a pity we had to tidy up for dinner.
I was also able to finish some patchwork scarves, along the lines of the ones I made way back here.  I love the whole process of creating and how making one thing inspires you to make something else ...
Seeing these all lined up and with some of my favourite material in them I realised how much I would like to make a coin quilt.  I have lots of small pieces of precious-to-me fabric and I think it would be a great way of showcasing them.
Lots of vintage fabric in these that I have found or be been gifted over the years ...
And finished off with a vintage button ... 
And the two originals that started it all!!  Over 4 years old and still going strong.  Although I have to say they were both eyeing up the new ones whilst I was making them.
Now I just need to enlarge them to keep my neck warm this autumn/winter! x

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Out with the old and in with the new ...

'Tis BlackBerrying season again and I have a terrible confession ....... I still have last year's blackberries in the freezer.  Admittedly they were picked right at the end of the season and they did not taste good.  We picked them with the express intention of using them for dyeing.  Well, a year later I had a go.  It's something I've always wanted to do and I have to say there was a lot of smiling going on from me today!

I love the sharp distinction between white and .... blackberry! 
The dye bath was frozen berries, 1 tablespoon of sugar and water to cover.  I heated it and was supposed to simmer for a while but I forgot it and it was boiling!  I left it to cool for a while and then put the material in.

First lot of material in the dye bath. 
I used 100% pure cotton white used sheets that had been mordanted with alum.  There was also some off cuts of ?polycotton white used sheets that I had on my sewing table thrown in aswell.  I don't know exactly how long I left them.  We went into town, wandered around, drank a coffee, ate a pastry .....

And then there was this! 

 I just LOVE the colour.  Left hand side are the pre-mordanted sheets.  I realise that this is not going to be colour fast and I will look into how I can achieve something more stable but I really like the results.  Being of a thrifty nature I thought I would do another batch.  (In fact I'm now wondering what I can put in overnight!)

So the results from the second bath
From left to right: same 100% cotton sheet as used in the first bath but not pre-mordanted, vintage white cotton trim, 100% linen from a modern white skirt, white ?cotton twill tape and a vintage crochet doily, not sure what this was made from probably cotton.  They are a different colour which I expected because it was the second lot but maybe also because they were pre treated.
Well it's certainly whetted my appetite and there's now room in the freezer for more this year. x

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Living in the here and now ...

I sometimes find it hard to live in the here and now.  The past is always there for comparisons and the future hold untold possibilities.

At the moment I am finding it very difficult due to the fact that I have opened an online shop and a FB page.  Lots of the chatter is about Christmas and already I feel like I am behind the 8 ball with this season.  Isn't that somewhat ridiculous with us still in late summer?  You see I say late summer?  Because although it has been very autumnal this last week I am still hoping there will be a later summer revival!

So I went for a walk this morning.  It is a beautiful clear sunny morning here, although somewhat chilly.  I thought I needed to reconnect with what is actually happening out there.  Right now.  This season that we are in TODAY!

And look what I found ......

So a reminder to myself:  there's conkers to find; blackberries, elderberries, hips and haws to pick; hedgerow jam to make; maybe some natural dyeing thrown in for good measure; and of course the sunshine to enjoy.  Enjoy every last bit of warmth there is in the sun before the seasons really do move on and there is Christmas around the corner. x


I am so pleased to announce that my new website has been launched.  It's taken me some time to build and it's not all finished yet b...