Thursday, 13 September 2012

Something fresh

You know that Belle & Sebastian song, Don't leave the light on baby? I feel like i have sung that first line to myself several times over the last year or so.

Not that anything is majorly wrong, but you know when you feel like things just haven't been going right? I find it can really kill your creativity.

I had a load of lovely crafty projects on the go, but i feel as though most of them have come to a grinding halt. And this has probably contributed to the 'not going right' malaise. It has also contributed to the lack of activity on here.

So today, i decided to start something new.
Something fresh.
Something simple, that doesn't require me to umm and ahh too much. I'm using a pattern* (so i don't have to think about it too much) and scrap fabrics (so i don't have mini periods of complete paralysis whilst trying to cut into a fresh batch of fabric).

And here are its beginnings.

Bright and pretty. Pieced from scraps.

I hope its a good omen for things to come. I shook hands with a chimney sweep today too, so that should help.

* the pattern i'm using is from Anna Maria Horner's (BEAUTIFUL) blog. Saw it, loved it, going to make the baby version so I'm not working on another massive quilt for the next 20 years. It is called the feather bed quilt. Here is what i hope it turns out like...only smaller.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Enveloping fun

Wow - it's been a while! Life got crazy, and still is crazy, but i have a few minutes to break my blogging drought. I thought i would do that with these ... pretty envelopes!

I had a ball making the small pockets with wallpaper samples and lining the larger envelopes with recycled wrapping paper.

I love the colours, prints and patterns.

Its the simple things that make my heart smile.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Stitch-up and Colourful cushions

Well, it is December already. I know I feel this more and more every passing year, but where 2011 went, I really don’t know. 

Although saying that, one thing I have been waiting for very impatiently, that seemed to make the last few months drag, finally happened – the little sewing and haberdashery shop opened up around the corner yesterday and I was in there buying lots of lovely little bits and pieces. The shop name is Stitch-Up and yes, they are going to host sewing groups and classes so I am really excited! I had a pang of jealousy walking around the shop and hearing all the positive things the other eager patrons had to say, but ‘Shoulda, coulda, woulda’ as they say. 

The shop is called Stitch-up and they have a website at that doesn’t actually appear to be up and running yet, but baby steps. Once it is, I think they will post information about the classes and groups they are running. So if you frequent the Wimbledon area in London, be sure to check it out. I made a suggestion for a little lesson on sewing in zippers because this is something I have attempted and pretty much failed at a few times now. 

In honour of this very sewey occasion, I thought I would share some cushion covers I made recently for a friend. 

I love the pom-pom trim - makes them much more fun!

Hopefully they bring some brightness to this otherwise very dull London Sunday.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

The drop seats continue

I have finished the first drop seat to calico! Yay! Here is it is in situ. My friend still needs to pick her fabric and then i will finish it off by covering in that, but the calico will do till then. I quite like it plain. So how did it get to this stage? Well here is where we left off. 

I had finished the webbing and filled the wooden frame.

The underside of the frame.

I covered the webbing in hessian.

Then i sewed the rubberised horsehair in place...

before covering with wadding...

and finally stretching the calico over the lot.

Trimmed and neatened.

And back where it should be!

Letterpress Galley Trays for sale on eBay

In case any letterpressers read my blog, I am selling five galley trays on eBay and wanted to let any interested parties know! They are from the massive pile of letterpress goodies I recently acquired and are all in pretty good shape, if in need of a bit of a cleanup.

The auctions end on Sunday, 6 November 2011 and all start at £0.99. Am happy to post overseas too.

Check the listings for more detail. You can find them here.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Letterpress luck

Recently, I have been the recipient of some amazing letterpress luck.

I received a call from a stranger offering me a 'shed load' of letterpress equipment that otherwise was going to the tip. To me, this call was akin to getting a call from the lotto people. I couldn't believe my luck. Particularly when i had been asking around about moving lead type myself and what this would cost to get started. Lets just say there was a bit of a financial barrier.

I am going to need to make a few trips to get all of this stuff home, but basically, so far i have another Adana 8x5 press, that i have cleaned up and looks like it should be in good working order, as well as boxes and boxes of lead type, wood type and other printing miscellany.

I am going to document here things i find as i go because i need some way of remembering everything i come across. And perhaps even to get a bit of help identifying some bits, as there are already a few pieces i am uncertain about. So you all better get your letterpress hats on cause here we go!

The back of the car packed up with the first load. My little car struggled with the weight of all that lead!

Cleaning up the Adana 8x5

Sitting in its new home next to my first press. They make a cute pair. It just needs some new rollers and i would prefer if is had a gripper for when i print. Lucky for me it is almost exactly the same as my first press so i have had something i can compare it to. 

Anyone know what these are?? 

Or what these are used for??

A bag of wood type that i need to sort.


and bags...

and bags of lead type that i need to sort and identify.

Who knows what these blocks are used for? The base of each is dirty with ink from type from the look of it. 

Loads of quoins.

I think these are galleys?

Not sure what these bits are actually called, but they are for tightening and loosening the quoins and there are some tweezers in here for my eyebrows. No just kidding, i presume these are for moving the type around. I haven't come across a composing stick yet, which i think is a fairly vital bit of kit from what i understand, but hopefully there are a few kicking around in some of the boxes i have yet to unpack!

There is even some lino to make my own lino blocks with.

And finally some spacing blocks.

This will do for now - if anyone has any light to shed on any of the items i am unsure of, i would very much appreciate it, so please, shine away!


I am in love with Kewpie dolls and treated myself to a few of them recently. They remind me of the Easter Show when i was little. Did anyone else used to come home with a Kewpie on a stick? They usually wore a little ballet tutu with glitter instead of hair. They sat for years on my dresser.

Here are my new (but old), slightly larger Kewpies. Photographed with my iPhone 4, using a suitably retro filter from Instagram.

Too cute.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Haberdashery jealousy

When I heard a haberdashery shop was opening up on our small high street around the corner, I was really excited...but I was also a bit sad. I had been nursing a dream for the last two years or so to do the exact same thing. Then, when I heard this morning, they would also be offering classes as well, I slumped into a bit of a jealous heap frankly. This was my dream business!

To cheer myself up, I had a look at my favourite blog, Yarnstorm by Jane Brocket (I have raved about her here and here before, she is awesome, and her blog always makes my day) and spotted her latest children's book offering, Ruby, Violet, Lime. On the cover, was a photo of some cupcakes with lime green icing. I needed some of those lime green cupcakes in my life, I couldn't be sad with those in my kitchen so I set to baking, and this is what I got. 

Hummingbird Bakery vanilla cupcakes with a bit of food colouring in the mix 

I think some of the plants on our terrace were influencing my colour choices subconsciously.

See what i mean?

My husband's pride and joy - Abutilon. Very pretty.

I still feel a bit sad, but it has mostly been overtaken by feeling a bit sick from a cupcake induced sugar overdose. But seriously I don't think I can let myself feel jealous anymore just because I didn't get around to starting such a business myself. And I didn't start my dream business for several reasons. It doesn't mean there is any need for me to let go of this dream, just because someone has realised theirs around the corner from me. I think I will try and pick up some tips and tricks from them and their experiences, and you can pretty much take for granted that I will be down there enrolled in all their classes. Fingers crossed they start a sewing group. I dream of afternoons spent like this. If they don't, does anyone want to start a sewing circle with me?

I was probably a bit too 'green' to start my own haberdashery business just yet anyway.

Monday, 29 August 2011

A trip to Aldeburgh

Having heard such wonderful things about Aldeburgh, Suffolk, from a variety of sources, I had been desperate to go for a long time. I finally got there this summer. 

It didn't disappoint. 

We picked a rainy couple of days, which only added to the atmosphere of the place. I can't quite find the right word to describe Albeburgh; eerie is a bit negative, otherworldly is not quite right, isolated is again negative, but it is kind of all these things, only in the most positive way. Perhaps gentle is the best description I can come up with. The sort of place your grandparents would probably like. In fact we were probably the youngest in our hotel by a good 50 years or so. 

It is a small seaside town. The colour of the gunmetal sky against the green of the sea and red of the shingle beach cut across the horizon, stretching seemingly forever in both directions, leaving you feeling rather insignificant, which for me, was strangely relaxing. 

The beautiful weatherbeaten red brick houses and walls around the high street seem to echo the red shingle beach.

We ate a high tea at the Cragg Sister's Tea Rooms that consisted of crab sandwiches (freshly caught) and home made cakes, scones and tea. It was delicious and the room itself is so incredibly kitch (again, in the best possible way!) with hand knitted tea cosies, vintage tiered serving plates and gentle 50's tunes playing in the back ground. A wonderful little place.

We also managed to sample the UK's best fish and chips (apparently) and it was very good too. It was strictly a take away number, so we ate it staring out to sea on the beach wall.

Much of the architecture in Aldeburgh tended towards the quirky.

I loved how each house was different, very different to the often homogenous streets of London.

I definitely recommend a visit. We will be back there soon. It is the perfect place to drop out from it all (outside of school holidays that is).
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