Saturday, 25 April 2009


I have managed to get my 2009 Journal Quilts finished for the first deadline. I have been very behind with them this year. I was ages deciding what to do and then one day during a massive pre-decorating sort out I found an old diary that I had bought just for the photographs. 'Earth from the Air' is the subject . The first one for January is a volcanic landscape. I used a piece of felt I had made with many different fibres, stitched into it and then painted on the detail.
This one is a piece of painted and heated Tyvek. I had painted the Tyvek in peacock colours and then heated it to shrink and distort it. I then layered up some cotton and sheer fabrics and laid the Tyvek on top and stitched into it.
For this one I wove strips of cotton fabric together, printed over the entire area, layered sheer fabric on top and then stitched heavily into it. The out came the heat gun and I burnt away some of the sheer fabrics to expose the printed background. I then hand stitched a paper cast I had made using a wooden Indian printing block on top with big stitches.
This one is made using a piece of old Durham quilt. I spread molding paste over a small area of the quilt and embedded a piece of antique lace into it. When this was dry I painted the lace with acrylic paint and the rest of the quilt was painted with diluted acrylic paint. When this was dry I hand stitched big stitches over the blue (sea) area. I call this one 'Reef''.

This is the first stage over. I can relax a bit now and think of what to do for the next four in Stage 2.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Canary Bird is Singing Again

I have been waiting patiently for weeks now for this moment and it has been well worth it. My absolute favourite thing in the garden is this rose tree. I have been a bit worried about it as it was cut back quite severely. I am never sure of the right time to prune roses so it gets done when I think about it and have the time. I was afraid that myCanary Bird' would not flower this year but it is better than ever. It is the view from my kitchen window and stands like a yellow umbrella over the fish pond.
The same goes for this clematis. I cut it down as it had rambled everywhere and thought I had 'done for it' but it is beautiful again. I am always afraid to cut things back drastically in case I kill them and so the garden reverts back to nature after a while and becomes quite a jungle, but this year it has all been given a tidy up. I always get terribly excited when I see the new shoots pushing their way out of what looks like dead wood.
These primroses are offspring from ones that were brought from Lyme Regis by my Mum when my parents first moved into this house in the late 1950's. I love this time of year when the garden starts to fill with colour. As we haved removed an old rose and clematis laden arch that was buckling under the weight, there are areas now that are bathed in light again and I am looking forward to seeing what decides to pop its head up from under the gloom.

I have missed a lot of the sunshine this week as I have been catching up on some sewing jobs. I have finished the shirts for the Magician and have been finishing off my Journal Quilts for the end of the month deadline. There's nothing like a deadline to kickstart me into action. With less than two weeks to go I just have my notes to write up and I am finished. Just as well as Linda and I are off on the Ferry to France on Wednesday evening for another of our 'trolley dashes' around Brittany.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Bath Vintage Fashion Salon

Early morning in Bath city before the traffic and shopping starts. This was a marathon week-end for me. I arrived in Bath city at 1 p.m. on Friday afternoon . I had a lot to do and I wanted to get my bearings as it is a long time since I was in Bath centre on a week day. I needed to find my B&B and also the most important thing was finding somewhere to park the car all day and evening. I managed all this quite quickly and was able to get unloaded at the venue and put the car away by 2 p.m. Then I went to find my B&B, which turned out to be only a stone's throw away from the venue at Milsom Place. When I was shown my room it was all I could do from getting into bed!!!!!!!!!!!!! but it was back to work for another 4 hours. We had a jolly evening, fueled by a couple of glasses of wine. There were a few customers and everyone seemed set for an enjoyable week-end. When we closed at about 9.30 p.m. I went out for a meal (my first since breakfast at 7 a.m.) with Jane and Joan to a nearby Indian restuarant just up the road. The meal was fantastic and then I staggered back to B&B for bed.
I had taken my wedding dresses with me hoping that there may be a few budding brides about.
The Octagon soon filled up and the atmosphere was set.
These are the fabulous combs I had taken with me. I used an 18th century style wig to display them.
Shoes, flowers and ribbons. I tried hard to make the stall look as pretty and interesting as I could.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Technology Problems Again

I am having trouble with my laptop again. So soon after having had a new hard drive. I think it is software problems this time. Internet Explorer refuses to work and I keep getting messages about being corrupt. I will carry on with the trusty Firefox until I can afford to get it looked at again, but although Firefox is a good browser my Website building tools don't support it and all my good intentions of getting the website up to date will have to go on hold.
The photographs are of an outfit I made in 2001 for a Department Store centenary. It is historically accurate to 1901 and I drafted the pattern from Janet Arnold's book 'Patterns of Fashion'. I have listed it on Ebay today. This is the last of my historically accurate stuff now. I have a couple more historical fancy dress outfits made for my shop, including a glorious black and red satin Lady Cavalier outfit complete with Tricorn hat bedecked with massive feathers. I did enjoy making all the historical stuff and there were lots of times when very raucous laughter would be echoing through the corridors of Brewer's Quay, where my shop was situated, when people had put things on the wrong way around.
I have it in mind to start making up costume again and selling it on Ebay. I have a cupboard full of fabric that was bought for the purpose including some luscious regency stripe brocades for waistcoats and jackets, and these things do sell well. At the moment I am making a couple of shirts for a Magician to wear on stage. One is finished and the other half done. The finished one is made of a silver holographic type fabric that turned me stir crazy when the sun was shining through the window on to it. Fortunately my beloved Bernina sewing machine was behaving itself and made the most beautiful set of buttonholes I have seen for a long time. I have after sewing for about 40 years started using the correct feet for the job.!!!!!!!!!!!It does make a difference. I have never been one to read instruction leaflets properly - just scan through and get on with the job and sort out the mistakes later. Always in too much of a hurry, though it wastes time in the long run. When I was a teenager I used to make a skirt to be worn out that night and when I was in my shop I used to work all day and sew all night. Those were the days. I can't do it now. I need my sleep and my eyes go on strike after midnight. I have already cut out my next project-a Regency ballgown in crushed raspberries and cream coloured silk. Once I have finished the Magician I will get going.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Back to Reality

Home again from Cornwall after a lovely few days at Cowslip Workshops. Linda and I were there with our Vintage French Textiles and other lovely goodies.
The weather was lovely and the sun shone for the three days we were there. The farm looked marvellous with daffodils and cowslips in flower all around and lots of lovely lambs frolicking in the fields with their Mums.
We had a great time with Jo and Stephen, who are so generous with their hospitality. We had lots of lovely customers, many of whom have become friends now that we go so regularly. There was an exhibition of quilts in the Workshop made by Sue Spooner and Helen Keenan which were very interesting and a delight to look at.
Friday evening we all had a meal together in the Restaurant which was looking gorgeous with all Jo's lovely textiles. The food as always was excellent and we all had a great time. It is difficult sometimes to remember that we are working here, but we do work very hard with all the packing and heavy lifting so we need to take care of ourselves and enjoy what we are doing. Going to Cornwall to work at Cowslip is one of nicest things we do and we are already looking forward to being back there at August Bank Holiday week-end. However, its back to work as usual and I am now busy getting things ready for the Vintage Fashion Salon at the Octagon, Milsom Place, Bath this week-end. Friday 18th to Sunday 20th.
This promises to be an exciting Fair and I shall be taking lots of lovely costume. Certainly hope it lives up to expectations.

Monday, 13 April 2009


'Little Gems' are A4 size quilts. These little quilts will be at the Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, 20-23 August. They are being collected by the Contemporary Quilt Group for a Tombola to help raise funds for the Quilters Guild Museum at York. Anyone and everyone is invited to take part either by making and donating a 'Little Gem' or by simply buying a ticket. Full details of the project together with photographs of some of the little gems already donated are on the website .
If you don't want to make a quilt then perhaps you could help spread the word by printing off a poster and asking your local sewing shop to display it in their window.
Any help will be gratefully received as we are quite a way off from the target.

Friday, 3 April 2009

What a Lovely Day

Wednesday 1st April was Talent for Textiles Fair at Ilminster. What a lovely day it was. It's always good to meet up with old friends, colleagues and customers at these Fairs, and this one was no exception. After a frantic start to the day when I realised while I was eating my breakfast that the alarm had gone off at 6 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. as I had forgotten to change the clock on my mobile phone, I was just settling down when it was time to pack up!!!!!! We had a busy day, with our French Fabrics and Ribbons being well received.
This is a basket of silk scarves that I had dyed to take with me. I know these aren't vintage but I usually take some of my own textiles with me to some of the Fairs.

I made this little bag with vintage fabrics and french lace and linen.

Easter week-end sees Linda and myself setting off for our favourite destination - Cowslip Workshops, Launceston, Cornwall. It is heaven on earth and we never wan't to come back to reality. But needs must ..........
I realise I should have written another post about the French trip but was overwhelmed with washing, ironing, dyeing and stitching. We are off again at the end of this month - same route - Portsmouth to St. Malo, so I will make an extra effort to take loads of interesting photographs for the Blog. I don't seem to be able to upload more than four photographs per post - is this the norm? Does anyone know?
A la prochaine ..........................