Tuesday, August 23, 2011

An Aladdins Cave of Russian Dolls

Whilst out and about in the holidays we happened across the most amazing shop.

So we were so excited when we saw a new shop had opened in town selling everything relating to Russian Dolls.

Would you like to see some of the beautiful things for sale?

Did you know that the Russian doll is known as Matryoshka, and is a symbol of motherhood and the everlasting circle of life?

There was a huge variety of every type of doll, from the decorative fun sets, to the true collectors pieces, the painting work on some of them was so detailed and skilled.

Speaking to the owners husband, he told me that his wife was Russian and the things they sold were all made in Russia by people known to them for a fair price. There is concern that true Russian Doll making is a dying art, Fair Trade helps safeguard the true industry for the future.
We really liked these sets. This one is the Three Little Pigs with their houses of Straw, Sticks and Bricks and the big bad wolf.
This was our favourite - run, run as fast as you can, you can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread man!
Look at these stunning Christmas Decorations, I looove these houses.
and these...

We couldn't leave without buying something, we bought this cute brooch with a tiny Russian Doll family, but we will definitely be coming back nearer christmas to buy some of the beautiful decorations.

If you love Russian Dolls too or would like to visit their online shop, their website is here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Booty Bargains

If you drop by my blog now and again, you will probably know that I love a boot sale. Today seemed to be my lucky day, I found so many lovely things, would you like to see?

The best first. A huge Emma Bridgewater Platter! I always use platters for serving roasts and things. Its in perfect condition no chips! £3!
Look at these, just my sort of zingy colours and prints, an brand new pair of AGA ovengloves and matching apron. £3!
Lovely packets of buttons and another Toadstool pincushion for my collection, I've got a thing about toadstools :-)
What next. A sweet little sewing machine and pair of scissors that I'm going to make into a brooch.

I know these are an acquired taste (my husband looked in disbelief when I brought them back) but I love them, they will lovely filled with flowers, and they are much larger than the usual ones you see, the tall one is almost 30cm tall and are both in beautiful condition.

Some really cute books, the sock monster one will be definitely used by us next week following our monster fantasy creature making workshop this week! An the history of Hello Kitty, I know two people in this house who will be interested in that one.

Last but not least I don't know why but I couldn't leave this book either called Fruits.

There's no words in it, I think its a fashion book, just pictures of Japanese people on the street in different cute outfits. It fascinated me. Maybe I'll pick up some tips ;-) It will be a good one to keep as a coffee table book.

Plus, a Miffy Bag (for me!), some vintage teatowels for my collection, embroidered pillowcases (ditto) and some board games, we are planning to have a weekly Family Game Night inspired by Mel.

I have to mention this morning Michael Ball played his telephone interview with Doris Day, which for a DD fan like me was such a treat. I love her films, and can watch them again and again. He played her new single which is from an album coming out in September (her voice is still beautiful, slightly older but the same if you know what I mean), as well as her classics. If you're a DD fan like me, it might be on the iplayer, and is well worth a listen.

Off now to start cutting fabric for 50 meters of bunting that has been ordered!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fantasy Creature Making

We are lucky enough to live near a fantastic gallery that during the school holidays offers family workshops in all sorts of things from sewing, printing, working with clay, and even bread making and hot cross bun making.

Today we were very much excited to be booked onto Fantasy Creature Making. When we arrived we looked at the sample creatures laid on the table made by Ruth Waller.

Teachers Pet - pocket shaped to fit into a teachers pocket.
A sock slug (which could be turned into a snail). Don't you just love the lips on this one!
Another sock creature
An apple collecting monster, with long springy legs to jump high into the tress and put the apples into his apple bag!

To get started Ruth suggested we take some felt balls and string them together to make caterpillars, which we could make into brooches. Here's my daughters' brooch.

Here is my son's long caterpillar that I was very impressed that he sewed together himself!

We then chose a creature we would like to make. We chose the Apple Collecting Monster and the one eyed sock creature.

I did the sewing on the machine, and they helped with the cutting, stuffing and adding the details. The Apple monster was soooo fiddly as he had verrry long thin legs to turn through and stuff, but with a little patience we did it.

The one eyed monster has a rubber ball in his bottom which means when you throw him on the floor he bounces. What a brilliant idea!! Needless to say he was a total hit with my son and was thrown all around the courtyard.

Here are our finished creations!

My daughter finished her monster off with a dress out of an elasticated fluffy sock, and completed her with a necklace of felt balls.

I'm not sure who had more fun today, them or me!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The shopping has been unpacked...

...and this is what I bought at the NEC on Saturday. There were so many fantastic stalls there you could have spent hours just shopping. While dashing around the stands, I heard someone exclaim "thats one of mine!", and who should it be but the lovely Helen (HenHouse) and her equally lovely sister. I was wearing one of her pretty brooches! We had lovely chat, and they told me all about this amazing new presser foot for sewing curves at The Cotton Patch - I did go and watch the demo H, it looked really simple to use, can't wait to hear how you get on with it!

Here are my purchases. Some gorgeous polka dot fabric for some polka dot birthday bunting..
Some lovely red white and blue fabric for a custom bunting order for an event...
Some Aurfil threads that I have heard a lot about and have been dying to try, they are made in Italy and are totally gorgeous
A telephone, no not really, I bet you know that its a suction handle thingy to stop your ruler slipping when you're rotary cutting..

And last a little treat, a gorgeous kit to make this mini quilt, which I'm going to make as a wall hanging, couldn't resist the liberty prints.

That's my haul, looking forward to getting sewing!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Festival of Quilts

Yesterday my MIL and I went to the Festival of Quilts for at the NEC. It was the first time either of us had been and we were blown away by the exhibits. So many amazing and inspirational quilts, exquisite workmanship, and such original ideas. Unfortunately I had a little difficulty with the camera on my iphone, so I apologise in advance if some of the photos are a little dodgy, but these were some of the amazing quilts that caught my eye (sorry i can't give exact details on each one).

Group Quilts: Mere Kats (comparethequilt.com)

This one includes knitting and crochet

My absolute favourite by Jenny Hubbard, Stash Findings. Inspired by Janet Bolton and JulieArkell Workshops, (I wondered if we have ever been on the same workshop together?)(So annoyed with my camera, I would have loved better photos of this one).
I love all the little details, especially the knitting with the tails.
Teeny Tiny hexagons!
Stunning Fabrics
Based on Positano, Italy (which I visited a couple of years ago). I seemed to be really drawn to quilts with houses and buildings.
Loved this minature quilt with tiny liberty squares.
Tea cups
Fantastic owl
This huge quilt was amazing. The work of six ladies, and I absolutely loved the fun style and colours it.

Baby Peter, Louise Presley (Hope & Elvis) so tactile.

It was a brilliant day, the morning was spent looking at the exhibits, the afternoon for shopping and looking round. I'll post my purchases later, I'm just off to unpack them now!