Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Its cold outside

and rather dark this morning. The shortest day will be here soon and so will Christmas. Presents to be wrapped, house to be decked and kitchen to fill with smells of food and spices. Its nice, in amongst all the festivity preparations, to just take five minutes and breathe remember why we do this, to share with family and friends to celebrate and give joy. This morning I thought I would try and share a few festive images to make you smile and put you in the festive spirit. The window in The Gallery Leek seems to be a delighting  all who see it, and I am pleased. My lovely Catherine Dineley photographer went and took some night time shots. They are beautiful photographs and unlike mine have no reflection from the glass! I hope you enjoy them and share with friends a Merry Christmas to you all....

always a wise owl to keep order !

the whole window

wouldnt be Christmas without a deer

and the cheeky mouse peeping round a corner !

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Christmas comes but once a year ...

in The Gallery Leek! I have just finished a Christmas window display. Sewing like a busy bee to create a lampshade Christmas tree all decked out in hand made bunting , baubles and old glass buttons. Characters vied for a place in the scene, they are nothing but exhibitionists ! A reindeer pulls Lizzie across the Winter landscape in HMS Minifred, George the dog hides around the trees waiting for squirrels to appear but this time no squirrels or rabbits just the ever watchful eye of a wise old owl ensuring decorum prevails ! Mice scurry around reveling in the excitment and  little gondoliering rabbit joins the fray trying to help create the story of three sailing ships but alas only two can fit this window! Yee ha the donkey ( who thinks he is a wild west pony) gets in on the act squeezing himself into the smallest of gaps he peers through hoping to get noticed. If you go to visit, give him a wave  such a small donkey but bags of character !

busy arranging everyone !

close of Christmas tree

a mouse  making mischief!

a night time scene

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

My favourite things

I have that Sound of Music song rumbling round in my head !! Hence I thought you might like a close up of my favourite things ie fabric and stitches. I have been described as a dimity girl who just loves natural fabrics. OK I confess to loving cotton, wool,tweed and cashmere. I relish wrapping up in layers of wool skirts, jumpers and tweed coats ( I have a few too many!!) My characters have been evidence of this love of pure old fabrics with nothing man made or silky in it, I also dont really do beads and sequins but love the pureness of natural fabrics. Country Living Magazine has the most wonderful fashion spread for January with tartans and checks and wonderful rustic style headresses by Emma Freemantle or Worn with Love. This just appeals and already I am deciding which tweed skirt to wear today with woolly scarf of tarten hues on top of my herringbone jacket even the names do it for me! So having established my desire for simple rustic  fabrics I also like very simple stitches. My two favourite stitches are a simple straight running stitch,  loved after many years quilting and  a beautiful blanket stitch. Both of these stitches I tend to do with wool, I collect old tapestry wools cast out by people who never managed to finish the Penelope tapestry of a cottage in the woods! I have made various bits of furniture adding to terrible old wooden pieces. The wooden pieces became bases and were added to using card then papier mache, to finish they were painted waxed and drilled so I could add what I consider my signature a heavy wool blanket stitch. Blanket stitch appeared on edges of outfits , samples for Paris, and in costumes on animals. Lovely red straight stitch also appeared  reminding me of the red flannel petticoats once worn for warmth... so here is a taster of stitches enjoy and dont forget the humble blanket and straight stitch where would we be without them !

 top edge of a dresser stitched with wool

 the stage is set..blanket stitch tops the theatre

green blanket stitch

stitched pocket

red wool blanket stitch and straight stitch

Thursday, 28 November 2013

pink tinged grey clouds cover the blue sky....

and I wonder if the sun will come out today. The weather is such a big part of my life as I take Lola for a walk I ponder the garments to be worn, be it mackintosh or tweed and woollies. I relish my moments out walking allowing my mind to wander, rest a while or conjure new creations. Today is a day for golloshers as the ground is wet but I think I can get away with a skirt and warm winter coat, may not even need mittens! Sewing sewing sewing of a tall Christmas tree for a window display has been pre-occupying my mind at present and as soon as I get good weather and the tree is nearly done I shall post some images and set the scene for you. Meantime, Lola is patiently waiting and so i shall show you photos of details and duck post as she flies past in her transport...

duck post zooming past

side view of transport

collar detail

Monday, 25 November 2013

frosted leaves decorating....

the hedge outside makes me realise it is cold and a woolly scarf will be needed for my morning walk. Before I go I thought you might like a bit of festive colour. Its that time of year and a bubbly excitment lies beneath the surface, as Christmas looms on the horizon. It brings a cheer to see the bright sparkly lights  beginning to shine and the idea of bringing the outside in with holly , ivy and the lovely smell of pine. The darkening evenings mean I hear the owls hooting in the woods and try as hard as I can to find them, to glimpse a magical moment , they allude me! The post is crucial to this festive season bringing missives from families spread around the globe, so duck post is sharing your news today. Delivering her post to animals in the depth of woodland, tucking themselves up ready for the cold, nuts stored,  scarves and stoles tightly wrapped they hunker down in their burrow.....

duck post ready to deliver the mail

my lovely patchwork curtains

tweed covered body!

Monday, 18 November 2013

mellow afternoon light....

is dwindling and I am just  thinking its nearly time for mine and Lola's afternoon preamble. It gets darker earlier and so the afternoon seems to get shorter. Today has been a day of sewing  making sure the " Lost and Found " is already for the Open Art Exhibition at Unit Twelve. I have been fortunate to be selected and so need to get finished and delivered this week. Today I thought I would share my lovely fat bodies, close up details and "off to catch the post". Construction was quite a project to work out as I wanted my figures to have strength and stature. I happen to have a love of upholstery so that was the route the bases took,they are well stitched , covered and stuffed with wooden bases so they stand tall (some almost two feet !. Fabrics are collected and searched for at vintage fairs along with buttons and other bits and bobs. I love ticking, wool blankets old children's woolen clothing, hand knitting and luscious printed cottons....I hope you enjoy  

Thursday, 7 November 2013

not a cloud in the sky....

and beautiful blue sky, just like the lovely kingfisher I saw this morning whilst walking Lola. Everything was out and about today because the fine morning suited the squirrels collecting acorns and the buzzard hunting  shhh mice ! Poor mice I don't think he catches too many really! Today good news My work has been selected in the Open Art exhibition at Unit Twelve run by the lovely Jennifer Collier. The story is a short one as its for just one character and this time instead of an animal its a lady. Its called " Lost and Found"  and as you can see she is pushing a perambulator ( no not baking tin!) full of found dogs. Its her mission to rescue these lost souls that have been abandoned, discarded from family homes where they were once treasures and give them a new role in life. She will be traveling to Unit Twelve on the 21st November ready for display on the 5th December so please take a peek and say hello to her if you go....

"Lost and Found"

dogs in perambulater
 padded handle

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

the sound of crackling of logs ....

in the fire and a warm cup of tea are much required after such a cold damp walk. The nights are dark and all birds and animals tucked up away from the whizzes and bangs of the brilliant coloured fireworks. Today was a day for staying inside with needle and thread in hand,however packaging and boxes need to be sorted.  A trip to my ceramics studio then onto the flea market which provided one or two little nuggets that might inspire. The camera is not working so i am afraid  that will have to wait for another day.  Whilst I take a break from ceramics I am still busy with needle and thread creating things to wear. I am a fan of recycling and love to find little gems that can be embellished and added to to create something new. At the moment it is a cardi from a cashmere jumper that someone has shrunk in the wash , once finished I shall show you but you must keep it secret because it is a friends Christmas present! So I have rifled through my photos and just thought you might like a selection of bits and pieces from buzzards drawing pencils to bits and pieces I have collected.. I hope you enjoy... and you remain watching my progress for who knows where the path I follow will lead

pencils packed ready for drawing

bits and bobs found and collected

 a lovely retro bow broach

a snippet of loveliness

Friday, 1 November 2013

splishy splashy raindrops.......

are landing in my garden on this Friday afternoon. So instead of getting your feet wet sit down with a lovely cup of tea and a good read! All my characters are safely home and tucked up waiting  for the next story who knows it might not even involve them ! but shhh I haven't said anything like that in front of them ! The next couple of weeks its all about Spring cleaning I know its November but after such a hectic time sewing a tidy up is required. Its good to take time and reflect  allow new stories to perculate and do a bit of research and to be quite honest with the rain outside I am quite content to tidy and rediscover things that have got buried under mountains of fabric buttons and lace !
many of you have seen my facebook page and my line of "washing" . i have taken my camera and played with collaging objects and fabrics. This is something I love to do, it makes you think about what works and what doesn't. I have a large collection of bit bobs and vintage broaches so hope you enjoy the mix of images ......

reindeer with his harness on...

washing with reindeer...

collar detail

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

a frosty chill to the start of the day....

 but now a warm golden sun is shining through the window and the exhibition  from Shire Hall Gallery is all packed away waiting for the next outing. Today is a day for cleaning and putting straight (actually think it may take longer than just one day!) The studio needs sorting fabric is strewn all around and needs folding . Meccano wheels lie scattered over work desk and I am sure someone will get carried away and go skating off somewhere ordered needs to be  returned to the studio before I commence work on the next pieces. To start I am going to unpack a few characters and change my window display I haven't done this for a long time so I feel I need something new. I feel Winter is just beginning , a time of roaring log fires and warm winter woolies , days of sewing and reflection so I am showing some nice cream images of characters all wrapped up warm and lovely embroidered bits I have found......

Sunday, 27 October 2013

charcoal grey clouds scudding across the sky....

as i sit here at he computer pondering the week ahead. Follow the Line to the ha ha and beyond finishes today at Shire hall gallery Stafford. I cant believe six weeks have passed since all my characters went on show to tell their tale. Now most will be coming home whilst some venture out into the world inhabiting new environments. Lush green valley's and urban landscapes will be their new homes , so I have bid a fond farewell and hope they bring a ray of sunshine to peoples lives.
what comes next who knows so watch this space or my facebook page to find out. There is rumours of winter displays and Lost and Found has popped up to hopefully appear at Unit twelve.
So today I thought I might just post a few memorable images of the  characters who came to live in Stafford for a while

me setting up at the photographic studio a favourite image on my facebook page as you get a sense of scale

Friday, 25 October 2013

golden afternoon sun....

streaming through the window and I just thought I would explain my page is looking a bit odd as I am in the process of recreating the heading. Please keep watching this space for updates on daily life and creations being made , stories being told...

a wet autumn day and everything may seem grey...

but leaves sparkle golden yellow, vibrant reds, and deep rich browns. Lola is waiting patiently  and wellies stand to attention at the door. Just a quick note today that Follow the Line to the ha Ha and beyond finishes on Sunday 27th October at Shire Hall Gallery. Characters will be wrapped carefully for their journey home. Some are off on new adventures . to live in lush valley's and hills far away.For all of you who have liked my facebook page you already know this but I just wanted to say thank you for visiting and enjoying my exhibition your support has been much appreciated my characters have had a ball and are just dying to know where they are going next so watch this space...

Monday, 21 October 2013

golden leaves glistening with rain......

what a very wet Monday morning. After a lovely sojourn in Normandie France I am back to start work. Today its a piece for Unit twelve open art exhibition. May have a flavour of France just watch this space! One week and all my little characters will be coming home to roost they have been excellent and entertained lots of people during their stay at Shire Hall Gallery. Just need to sort out where they are going to next .... one or two ideas but again its a case of wait and see.  Oh my the rain has stopped just like that as if someone has turned off the tape , its still pretty glummy and grey definately a day to stay inside and stitch and sew. Thought you might like these photos a lovely lovely card of Mark Hearld this owl sits in my ceramic studio I love the texture and detail he creates it reminds me of my owls so here are photos of the Admiral last February in the snow in the garden.......

 the lovely Mark Hearld's owl card

owl in the snow

almost but not quite finished

Friday, 4 October 2013

puddles and dripping trees dotted this mornings stroll....

however the sun is battling with grey clouds to dry up all the rain!  Thought I would tell you the story of Mr Obediah and the mice today. Mr Obediah was a cat who lived in a beach hut (actually he still does). He spends his time snoozing  and fishing. He fishes for the mice that live underneath his beach hut and uses large lumps of cheese (actually paisley fabric stuffed cheesey triangles). The mice are very cunning and have devised  wheels to make quick gettaways. They are quite dapper mice with smart ties. All in all life is a big game for these characters and all enjoy the thrill of the chase and I promise no one ever gets hurt!!!

out in the garden

the beach hut

 mice on wheels

resisting cheese