The Winter is such a busy time with craft markets and Su and my ‘At home’ – not to mention a busy time in my day job and lots of Christmas baking…
I rather thought the New Year would be quieter all round, but actually all aspects have been decidedly busy – not least with commissions (and gifts) of appliqué and free motion embroidery portraits of pets…
Hampus the Swedish Vallhund
..and even horses!
Applique and embroidery landscapes and seed heads…
There are more commissions but I can’t share photos of them until I know they have been given to their final recipients.
One of my favourite blogs is Knitsofacto, and Annie has been sharing 10 (rather wonderful) random things. In addition, with my Bath WI hat on (a virtual hat…although I rather like the idea of us all wearing hats!), I have been researching local artists and crafty people to run workshops for us. It has been, and continues to be, lovely and fascinating seeing what people make and how they market themselves and I love reading their blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds. It gives me a warm squishy feeling that the world is full of such nice people. One of the creative types I have signed up for a Bath WI workshop is Sami of ‘Made by Sami‘ and I have been enjoying her blog posts about 10 things she loves…do have a look at her Little Red Button blog.
These two ladies have inspired me to think about 10 things I love (in a random sort of a way):
1. Mark. He is mischievous and troublesome but he has sparkly blue eyes, a kind heart and an indefatigable sense of humour – and he puts up with me even when I am, as he describes it, grumpilicious.
(oh and his work colleagues are going to love this photo!)
2. Cats. Our two cats in particular. They are brothers from the same litter, but Max is long-haired and of a generous stature, while his brother Rio is short-haired and of a more athletic build. They are affectionate and loving…and only dribble a little bit.
3. Sewing. Everything to do with it – fabric, haberdashery, designing, making…even unpicking, as long as it is not too often.
5. Stately homes and gardens
6. The City of Bath
7. The seaside.
8. Friends and family
10. Afternoon tea (and teapots)
I would love to know what your favourite things are!!
Last year in my sewing exploration I stumbled upon artist trading cards (ATCs) through a swap organised by Ali at Very Berry Handmade (brilliant for all things fabric and sewing – lots of excellent tutorials). I have posted photos of my secret garden card, and here is Alix’s gorgeous Pride and Prejudice card I was lucky enough to receive.
I am such a fan of Jane Austen and the card is so beautifully made, I was over the moon when it arrived. Alix writes a blog at Used-to-Bees, which is full of lovely things and well worth a look (I subscribe to her posts as I don’t want to miss anything!).
diamond anniversary cake
Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time will have realised by now that, as well as sewing, I like to bake. Friends and family often ask me to make celebration cakes and this week I was asked to make a Diamond Wedding Anniversary cake…with two cats on it. It could have been a problem as I knew it was 60 years, but had it in mind that 60 was a ruby anniversary…eek. However, I checked first and switched from a sparkly red 60 to a sparkly white 60.
Hilary the Hippo wanted to help…
the Bath WI crafty night out
I quite recently took over organising craft workshops for the Bath WI – what we like to call our ‘crafty nights out’. Yesterday lovely Eirlys at Scrapiana came over (with lemon drizzle cake) to show us how to make scalloped bunting. There is something so sociable and relaxing about sewing with friends. We talked non stop, ate lemon cake and flapjacks and even did some sewing. It was just a really good evening…can’t wait for the next one!
I chatted far too much and didn’t actually sew my bunting until today…ta da!
Molly the mannequin? Delia the dummy?
You may have spotted a tailor’s dummy in the bunting photos – it is another early birthday present (this time from Mark’s mum and dad). I see her as a Delia…must be the apron!
The cats have been as cute as ever…Max took a particular liking to a new shoe box, but it really wasn’t big enough!
I mentioned before that I entered my Dalek pincushions in the Monday Make competition run by Making magazine’s Facebook page and won – I received a lovely book and was asked if they could include my pincushions in a column in the magazine. However, I realised I didn’t share with you what was printed in the current issue!
I had already taken out a subscription to the magazine. Having decided only to allow myself one crafting magazine, I checked out as many as I could find before committing to a subscription and liked Making best.
As if having my work in print were not enough, lovely Tessa at Life and Loveliness nominated my blog for a Liebster award! now this is not without work as it comes with tasks:
The liebster award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers who are up-and-coming in the blogosphere and involves answering 10 questions from the person who nominated you, nominating 10 blogs yourself and setting them 10 questions.
1. why do you blog?
This ought to be an easy question, but it is actually a bit complicated. I started my old blog when I decided that when I eventually got my redundancy I would have a go at working for myself, and everyone said you need a blog to get yourself known. However, when I started writing I found it really therapeutic and thoroughly enjoyed writing and sharing photos. I found myself wittering away about not only crafts, but lots of National Trust gardens and tea shops and the cats and the birds in the garden. To the point that when I actually started my business, I felt the crafting side was overshadowed by witter and photos and thought I should make it more professional. I now find it very hard to find the right balance. I allowed myself Deere Diary to witter away and bore people with my photos and try to make this blog more about about my sewing and other crafts. I find I write less, and I miss the writing/wittering.
2. what is your favorite song and why?
I think probably Joni Mitchell’s ‘A Case of You’, but tomorrow I might give a different answer.
3. describe yourself in three words.
I have pondered this all day, so asked Mark what he would say and he said ‘caring. creative. knackered’ – actually I think that’s about right.
4. who is the one person that can always make you smile?
5. describe your idea of a perfect day.
Breakfast out (Bea’s Vintage Tearooms, the Pump Room or the Roscoff Deli in Bath or the Watch House cafe in West Bay), a long lazy walk around a garden or woodland (perhaps Lytes Cary, Westonbirt Arboretum or the Abbotsbury sub-tropical gardens), afternoon tea, then home to snuggle up on the sofa and watch a film…oh yes, I am a real wild child!
6. if you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
I would like to travel around Scandinavia and visit friends in Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
7. where do you find inspiration in life?
Everywhere. Really, I am inspired by people I meet, flora and fauna around me, patches of sunlight, pieces of music, scents, textures – most of the time I think life and the world around me is amazing.
8. if you could spend a day with one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
My dad. I miss him.
9. what would you like to be remembered for?
10. have you ever experienced a turning point in your life? if so, what caused it, and what have you learned from it?
I guess being made redundant last year. It was very welcome and allowed me to try something entirely new without having to panic about money (of course Mark helps with that too). I think I have learnt that sometimes you just have to have a go and see what happens; not everything can be controlled and the things you didn’t expect/plan could well be the best things.
Is that ok Tessa? Now for my nominations. I have to be honest, quite a few of my favourite blogs have more than 200 followers and some I am struggling to see how many followers they have, but here are my less well known favourites (apologies if some have more than 200 followers – they all deserve thousands of followers):
Here is where I ran out of blogs that I already follow and that I think do not have too many followers (although I am not sure about a couple of them as they are just so good, they may well have more than 200 – but I can’t see a number on their blogs). I decided that, as this award is intended to help people discover new blogs, I should go looking. I found these I liked so much I will follow them:
I almost forgot my questions for the bloggers I nominated!
1. why do you blog?
2. what is your greatest ambition?
3. who inspires you?
4. if you could swap places with anyone, who would it be?
5. if the world was set to blow up three weeks on Tuesday, what would you want to do with your remaining time?
6. what is your greatest fear?
7. which five people (alive now or magically brought back to life) would you choose to join you for afternoon tea at the Ritz?
8. what advice would you give your younger self?
9. what do you want to be doing this time next year?
10. what is you favourite food?
On Tuesday, the forecast was for sunshine – a rare commodity these days – so I decided I would take it as an inspiration day, take my camera and walk in to town. It was the most beautiful morning, although the pavements were like ice-rinks with frost, and I got a little carried away. Here are a few of my favourite photos from the day and there are more in Deere Diary if you are interested.
A little early you may think, to be wishing everyone a happy new year, but my online shop is now closed and I will not be around next week. The house is all clean and tidy awaiting our kind and lovely house/cat sitters, the bags are packed and the seaside awaits! I am hoping for icy, blustery walks with wild seas…but no flooding please! I may have to bore you with a photo or two when I get back.
Edit: Oh dear – just had a flood warning from the Environment Agency for West Bay. It doesn’t look like the drive down would be very safe and the forecast is for rain all week, so we have decided to stay here…I will go now and reopen my Etsy shop. We will make the most of it – after all Bath is a pretty nice place to be anyway – perhaps dinner out and maybe the Hobbit at the cinema.
Talking of photos, I often get my sewing inspiration from the photos I take of gardens and birds and bugs…and seascapes of course. This morning I woke to a world white with frost and was out at first light with my camera. I thought you might like to see some of my shots…
Now I had every intention of stopping here, but as I uploaded the images from camera, Max the cat decided he would fit in the small box on the table beside me. My phone was to hand and I recorded his valiant attempts…! I guess I am not the only one who needs to diet in the new year.
I hope everyone has a fun new year’s eve and a happy, healthy and creative 2014.
…paper hats from crackers were worn and games were played…
…and now it feels like time to take down the decorations and clean the house ready for the new year. I am not a big fan of New Year’s Eve. Whatever the opposite of a party animal is, that’s me. I do, however, love New Year’s Day. I like the excitement of opportunities ahead and the feeling like I have a clean slate and a little mini fresh start. I have a lovely piece of red velvet with little red riding hood’s name on it (metaphorically speaking) and a big roll of chalk cloth and 100 blank cards waiting for a bit of free-motion embroidery and a head buzzing with ideas (and not all of them totally crazy).
Flooding permitting we will go and get some invigorating sea air (while Sue and Don cat and house sit), hide all remaining chocolate (we were given loads!), rediscover fresh green food and ditch the sugary carb-heavy Christmas food habits, dig out our bikes for regular exercise, put up the raised beds where we cleared the turf, plant seeds in the grow house, decorate the bedrooms…oh and I will be grasping my new crafty person role with the Bath WI. See what I mean? The new year is really exciting! I have such a good feeling about the coming year…!
How about you? What are you all looking forward to?
My business sewing is pretty much finished for the year and now I feel I can take a breath, finish off a few Christmas gifts and get on with a bit of Christmas baking. A few of my Christmas presents may actually miss Christmas, but should reach their recipients early in the New Year. I have made some Christmas and floral Dalek pincushions as gifts but have a few more things to finish.
For us it’s just not Christmas without a trip to the American Museum at Claverton. It’s decorated for the season and this weekend there is also a craft fair and a sale of Christmas decorations.
Mark and I bought each other a Christmas decoration, although my choice may well stay out all year long. This beautiful glass toadstool is about 10cm tall, and very elegant.
Mark chose something more seasonal…
Mind you I am already excited about next year’s makes. I am waiting for an order of red velvet for some little red riding hood themed items to start my fairy tales range, and some tin boxes in which to make miniature fabric scenes for Spring and Valentines Day, and this strange parcel arrived from Plush Addicts…
I am very excited about using the chalk cloth (in the tube) to make storage boxes with labels you can write on and bunting where you can change the message at whim.
First things first…with the New Year looming I thought somebody might like a free calendar. I love taking photos and these calendars (one wall calendar and two desk calendars) are my chance to sift through the hundreds of photos to pick out some favourites. If you would like one, just add a comment here or on my facebook page and I will pick the three winners on Friday 20th!
Well I have opened the first door on my advent calendar (a rather nice mug of hot chocolate) and the drawers on Mark’s wooden advent train are filled with gifts and chocolates (48 going on 10), so I guess it really must be December… The house is overflowing with stock and my oldest friend (in terms of years we have been friends…35 years to be precise), Karen, is here for the weekend and helped Tamsin and me post WI Christmas Fair flyers through the doors of huge and lovely houses on Bathwick Hill, so all that is left is to add price labels and make up an album of past makes and a pile of custom order forms…oh and to dig out the Christmas lights. I am so looking forward to the Christmas fair on Wednesday evening; it’s no secret how big a fan I am of the Bath WI (it’s like a trifle with layers of creativity, intelligence and knowledge, topped with dollops of loveliness). If you are local, do come to the fair – there are going to be fantastic stalls, mulled wine and edibles.
I have also had some more sales – it is so comforting to now be selling to people I don’t know, so I can be sure it’s not just the sympathy purchases of kindly friends. My favourite Harry Potter bag is off to Paris (which makes me rather warm and happy inside as I have long had a love of all things French), one of the sewing kit jars went off to Oxford and the apron models worked their magic and one of my aprons is off to London in the morning.
Karen and I managed several pots of Christmas tea at the Bath Tea House Emporium as well as leafleting and spent Friday evening at the Theatre Royal watching Fiddler on the Roof – fab! Strange to think of the crush I had on Paul Michael Glaser as Starsky when I was 10 years old and now here he is in Bath as Tevye (and very good he is too!).
Yesterday we spent the day at the West Country Quilt Show, before coming home via Midsomer Quilting to an awesome dinner out at the Bathwick Boatman. Lovely day.
The quilt show was much quieter than I expected. Great for being able to browse the stands comfortably (and perfect for someone who hates crowds and tends to panic when surrounded by people), but I do hope it was still worthwhile for the businesses with stands.
Too many quilts to photograph them all, but here are some I particularly liked:
I gave myself a cash budget and stuck within it, checking out everything once before allowing myself to go back and buy a ‘few’ things…
I think my favourite, on grounds of cleverness/silliness, is the cat among the pigeons fabric!
Right then it is disgracefully late for my other half to be sleeping…will wake him up with a cup of coffee and drag him off to Dyrham Park!
Maybe it’s the effect of a wet, grey day or two, but I have been feeling a little old this last week. Old dodgy knees (to be fair they have been dodgy since I was six years old, so I cannot entirely blame old age), tinnitus that had me saying “pardon” every couple of minutes at the Bath WI wine tasting and an inability to sleep beyond 04.00 have worked together to make me feel 40 years older than I am. I’m actually not feeling terribly sad about it all, just…pensive. As I tidied up the flowers Mark bought me a week or so back, it struck me that some people are like roses – glamorous and showy when young but quick to fade and wilt, and soon on their way to the green recycling bin.
Perhaps others are more like the ornamental cabbage – rather homely but with a delicate beauty as they grow older. Well I know I was never a rose, but maybe, just maybe, I’m a cabbage!
Even my once fierce pumpkin…
…has become old and gummy. Ah well, at least I’m not mouldy!
These cooler Autumn days I do have to hold on to a little ferocity though, or lose my work chair to the cats…well fierce isn’t so much my thing…and the wooden dining chairs are not so uncomfortable. Would you have the heart to move them???
While the cats don’t want to move much at all, George the spaniel from down the road gets quite huffity with me if I hold him up on his walk to take a photo. Although, he may just have the cafe in the park in his sights – he always pulls to go in.
Ah well, had a lovely family lunch yesterday – laughing so much my face hurt. I have the best sister! Mum seemed to have a good time too as she modeled her new scarf.
I suppose I should include some craft – it is supposed to be a craft blog – so here is the birthday card I made Mum. It was quite a change to make a card that was not Christmassy – I am so hooked on free motion machine sewing, and will be making a load more this afternoon. I have an idea of a snow globe…!