Thursday, April 26, 2012

My House Today ♥♥♥♥

Weeds your days are numbered.  I'm coming at the weekend..

Violas still looking pretty in the porch...
A pretty new dress my mum bought me yesterday

Dahlias and seeds coming to life in the conservatory.

My newly organised craft book shelf.

Some of my threads and buttons (starting to be sorted in colours). Need more jars!

A nice view in the corner of my craft room.

Happy Thursday xx

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Workshop with the Enchanting Julie Arkell!

Yesterday I met up with lovely sewers, crafters & bloggers to attend a workshop with Julie Arkell at Hope & Elvis.  I love workshops like this, its great to meet up with like minded up people, all of us dotty about fabrics, sewing and Julie Arkell!  I have loved Julie's work ever since I first laid eyes on her beautiful papier mache creatures, and was so inspired after her workshop, that I couldn't wait for her to come back to do another one!

Before we start have a little look around the studio..
 As usual Louise had laid out all the lovely fabrics for us to use
 Look at all these precious bits of special fabrics in the cute cot for us to rifle through x
 There's lots to see around the studio.  One of Louise's pieces by Julie Arkell
 The right royal tea area!  There were some delicious chocolate brownies and blondies to have with our tea!
A piece of Louise's hand embroidered art

A cup of coffee later and a quick look around the shop and then Julie arrived! We all waited excitedly to see her creations be unpacked carefully from her bags. One by one she got them out a made a display for us. Would you like to see? (Do click on the photos for a close up of her work).

 Beautiful Ephemera Brooches
 Fabric flower brooches with lovely long stems, (the steams are perfect to twirl around your fingers in a quiet moment Julie says!)
 More gorgeous flower brooches
Flower bouquet brooches, some made of suffolk puffs
 My favourite -Julie's creatures! Can you see Monsieur Lapin and his curly moustache?
 Tic-toc watches

 I love these tic-toc brooches
 More beautifully embroidered brooches
 One of Julie's latest pieces, a daisy chain which could be worn as a necklace or hair accessory like a tiara, soooo beautiful!
Another of my favourites, Julie's What-not bracelets made of precious little things!

 Julie showing us how to make a daisy for a daisy chain.
And finally her new"Make A Scene Brooches"
This was what she suggested we might like to make on the day. The idea is that you make several elements, like a tree, a toadstool, cloud, rabbit house, creature, flower or little lamb, and then choose several elements to make a scene to wear!  We loved this idea, and thinking about what we would wear sparked a debate about numbers and how many pieces should be worn at once, 3, 5 and 7 seemed to be everyone's preference, 2 was a definite no!

I was so engrossed once we started sewing and chatting that I didn't take any pictures until the end. Here are the pieces that I made on the day:

A Rabbit House

Here it is picture of my Rabbit House with my JA creature brooch "kindness" that I bought on the day

and I also made a 1940's inspired wool brooch ( I still need to finish some of the embroidery around the edge).

Here are some of the beautiful pieces made by other people on the day..

I loved this creature and look at her gorgeous purple leather handbag and purple shoes! 

This beautiful scene By Daisy Moon, (with her creature brooch by JA) can you see "Daisy made a tree" and "I am a summer cloud"!

I loved the fabrics that Anne from Angel Eden used for her cute butterfly and little woollen lamb!

Julie was taking a second workshop today and if you hop over to Hope & Elvis Facebook page I think Louise will definitely be posting more pics.

Julie currently has an exhibition at the Bluecoat Display Centre in Liverpool entitled "I've Dusted the Farmyard" and there are some super pictures on their Facebook page. The exhibition runs until 12th May and I would definitely love to go.

Just a little pic to end of my "treasures" that I've been assembling from my craft room, to make my own little what not inspired bracelet!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The sun has got his hat on hip hip hip hooray, the sun has got his hat on and Julie Arkell is coming on Sat-ur-day!!

Woohoo today is a much cheerier day than the dreary rainy days we have had this week!

On friday mornings, just after we drop off a school a group of mums go for our Friday morning power walk, (nothing to intense, about 40 minutes to an hour depending where we go of brisk walking).  Its a nice chance for a chat and a catch up, with some feel-good exercise thrown in, and this morning the sun was shining and I saw my first swallow of the year skimming the fields!

On the way home I felt justified in stopping for a chocolate croissant to have with a big cup of tea when I got home and was doubly pleased to see The Fishman back at my local farm shop.  He comes all the way from Grimbsby with fish fresh from the market that morning on the back of his van, and his fish is the freshest and The Best. For a while he stopped coming as he didn't get enough support, so I'm telling everyone he's back so hopefully he'll stay this time!  I picked up some seabass which I'm going to do with some smashed new potatoes and lemony green beans for tea. Yum.

I also took a bit of deviation to my local The Works where I picked up this book which I am looking forward to flicking through on the sofa tonight. Isn't the cover pretty! Nice price too x

Back home now, big cup of tea and chocolate croissant going down nicely, and thinking about all my chores I want to get done and out of the way I can enjoy my day tomorrow guilt free. A workshop with one of my favourite artists! Yipee!  Yes the wonderful Julie Arkell will be at Hope and Elvis again and I can't wait!  I did a workshop with her last year, pics of our day are here.

I've been ooohing and aaahing over all the photographs lucky bloggers who have visted have posted of her recent exhibition "I've dusted the Farmyard in Liverpool" and am so looking forward to seeing what she will be bringing with her!  (Hop over to Lemonade Kitty for some lovely pics of the exhibition and she was lucky enough to come away as an owner of a beautiful piece!).

Last summer some of Julie's pieces were on display at a gallery near to me

and (after huge deliberation!) I treated myself to The Day I Nearly Lost Poor Lamby.

which takes pride of place in my sitting room x  Have a lovely weekend folks!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Quilts & Basting

I've just spent a wet morning picking up my poorly car from the garage for it who had allegedly fixed it, for it to break again:-( We limped back to the garage in the rain and then I had to wait to be picked up).

Back home now anyhow.  Yesterday I finished piecing the quilt top for my daughters quilt, using some  Tanya Whelan offcuts I had left over from another project and some plain white cotton I found at a car boot sale.  It's a single bed size, although I I've made it a little wider to drape over the sides a bit.

As this is really a quilt to use up fabric and things I already have, I'm not buying special backing fabric, so the back of the quilt is going to be a simple white sheet, although I might some fun with the binding.

I'm going to give it a good press this afternoon and then make my quilt sandwich before deciding on how to quilt it.  Hopefully when the weather improves I will be able to show you a finished quilt!

Speaking of quilting, this weekend it was my birthday and we went to York for the day.  Whilst the rest of the family headed off to the train mueum, my mother in law and I headed off to the York Quilt Museum and Gallery.  The museum is managed by the Quilters Guild and was staffed by really knowledgeable ladies and volunteers who were able to tell us all about the exhibits. The exhibitions there change regularly and the one we went to see was Decline & Revival, quilting through the 20th century.  Unfortunately we you can't take any photographs of the quilts (although there are a few on their website), but it was fascinating to see some really beautiful quilts from different times through the century and hear about their history and how they were made.

I have to mention one thing that particularly caught my eye however whilst watching a volunteer demonstrating hand quilting.  She was quilting as you go, and it looked as though her piece had been hand basted with lots of little stitches in black thread.  However looking closer, they weren't thread, she told me they were microstitch tags little plastic tacks that you could use as a time saving way to baste your quilts.  They are a bit like the plastic tags in clothes shops that keep the label in and you apply then with a gun.

Has anyone else got experience of using these? It looks a fantastic gadget to me! Apparently they have been around for a while. I use quilters spray for my mini quilts (but it seems to get everywhere) and safety pins for larger ones, but this looks like a much simpler quicker alternative.  I'd love to know if you've used these before!

This afternoon though I'll be on my hand and knees on the living room floor with my safety pins!

Keep cozy x