cards, cake and crafty nights out

 Very Berry Handmade artist trading card swap

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.

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Pride and Prejudice ATC by Alix at Used-To-Bees

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…

hippo baking - 3
Hilary the Hippo, “can I lick the bowl?”
hippo baking - 2
mmmm….springy and coming away from the sides
victoria sponge with vanilla butter cream and raspberry jam
victoria sponge with vanilla butter cream and raspberry jam
cat cake - 1366
black cat anniversary cake
cat cake - 8
diamond anniversary cake

 

 

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!

bunting making - 01
Eirlys shows us what we are aiming to make
bunting making - 03
you can almost hear the concentration!
bunting making - 05
I really covet Eirlys’ Singer Featherweight sewing machine…sigh…
bunting making - 08
can you tell we were having a good time?
bunting making - 09
Look at this teeny weeny sewing machine!
bunting making - 11
lemon drizzle cake and apricot flapjacks and earl grey tea
bunting making - 13
Sheila’s perfectly sewn bunting waiting to be sewn on to tape
bunting making - 14
Trish’s almost completed bunting
bunting making - 15
Kitty wanted pointy bunting and Eirlys was happy to oblige…and it looks fab!
bunting making - 16
love seeing everyone’s choice of fabric

I chatted far too much and didn’t actually sew my bunting until today…ta da!

my bright bunting
my bright bunting

 

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!

Molly the mannequin? Delia the dummy?
Molly the mannequin? Delia the dummy?

 

And finally…

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!

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brotherly love

 

 

 

 

 

Max shoe box - 1
Max in a shoe box
Max shoe box - 2
cute or what!
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you could do with a bigger box Max!
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I did warn you…

 

 

a few of my favourite things…makers, suppliers and bloggers

I usually have a list of New Year’s resolutions as long as my arm, but this year I am resolving to let go of the lists. At least the ones at the beginning of the year – at the end of the year perhaps I will make a list of all I have achieved rather than berating myself for the things not ticked off. Mind you there was one or two things I did decide to do:

1) restring my guitar

2) move my focus outward

Now here I can polish my halo with number 1), as I did restring my guitar on New Year’s Day. The top E broke at least 18 months ago and I do not want another year of not playing the guitar. I play classical guitar (although can sometimes be found singing Ralph McTell or now, thanks to a Christmas present from Mark’s parents, accompanying myself as I sing from the Les Miserables songbook), but I am self-taught and very amateur, however it never fails to calm and energise me.

Number 2) is a bit less specific, but I am aware that I do tend to focus on myself. I want to worry less about what others think of me, about whether I say something stupid (the more I focus on that one the more likely I am actually to say something stupid so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy). I want to listen better to others’ conversation rather than miss the point because I am trying to think of something to say (that won’t make me look stupid!). It would be rather foolish not to talk in my craft blog about the things I make, but it doesn’t only need to be about me. I just need to accept who I am, go with the flow a bit more and make the most of the fascinating people in my life. Since I set sail on this artisan adventure I have discovered so many interesting, talented and really nice people, along with suppliers who have a real eye for fabric, haberdashery and the like and who offer a really high level of customer service, not to mention bloggers who’s creativity is matched only by their eloquence. There is more than I can fit in to a single post, but I would like to make a start…

Makers (and teachers):

Lilla Lotta: a wonderful illustrator who reproduces some of her work on cotton tape. Her shop is closed for a little while, but you can see some of her work on her facebook page.

Mister Finch: this chap makes totally awesome over-sized moths, toadstools and other pieces, often from vintage pieces of embroidered textiles. He has a following almost as big as his imagination.

Very Berry Handmade: an amazing lady who not only makes beautiful pieces and sells Liberty fabrics (including pre-cut in to hexagons for paper piecing) but is also generous enough to share tutorials so others can make their own pieces. She also organised the artist trading card swap I took part in, which introduced me to a lot more oh so talented people!

Scrapiana: I am not sure where to put Scrapiana as she is so multi-talented. She has taught a couple of workshops for the Bath WI and generously shares her knowledge about mending and darning and also sells sewing bits and pieces and some vintage pieces…I think of her as the teapot temptress!

Jo Lucksted: brilliant local ceramacist; I have bought buttons from her but drool longingly over her bowls and hanging planters too (and that daisy necklace that has been in my favourites for so long). She also has a vintage shop ‘the love fleas’ where I bought a vintage flower press that I totally love.

Sewn by Sam: a textile artist who creates the most beautiful fabric and embroidery pictures. I stumbled upon her page when Mister Finch encouraged people to post links to their own work on his facebook page – see what I mean; crafters/artisans/artists are lovely people!

Rebbecca Bourne Textile Artist: as I type this I am looking at a framed card I won from Rebecca in a giveaway; a sewing machine and cotton reels surrounded by cheerful bunting. She combines free-motion embroidery with paint (along with a good dose of imagination and more than a pinch of humour).

Printmeneer: quirky and unusual cookie cutters; I couldn’t resist the Mr Darcy and Lizzie Bennett cutters along with some clouds…and I just spotted Alice in Wonderland ones!

Handmade and Heritage: I love this handprinted wrapping paper and tags; particularly the bird prints. I used it to line my vintage suitcase.

Stokes Croft Stitching: I was lucky enough to receive an amazing artist trading card from Marie as part of the very berry handmade ATC swap and have since been admiring her work in her blog – I am not sure whether she belongs here or under blogging, but as she is a wonderful maker I decided to put her here.

Sally Prendergast Art: beautiful little paintings, mainly of bunnies….so cute!

Tuliya: very reasonably priced, beautiful gold earrings – never make my ears sore, so I have gone back to buy more.

Betz White: great sewing tutorials – really professional stuff.

Suppliers:

Cloud Craft: suppliers of fantastic felt (I don’t buy felt anywhere else now) and trimmings, run by a lovely lady who always ships really quickly and offers excellent customer service.

Plush Addict: great selection of fabrics, including fleece and brushed cotton and waterproof (they usually include a lollipop in the order too so even Mark likes this supplier, as he get the lolly). Particularly useful as they include EN71 info for toy makers.

Cotton patch: excellent selection of fabrics and quilting/sewing supplies.

Viva la Frida: brilliant bright oilcloths and vinyl fabrics – a total ray of sunshine on a grey day (and they provide advice on working with oilcloth).

Quilt Backs UK: really good value extra wide fabric.

For anyone in the Bath area, I also love to hang out at  Wool and Country Threads and Sew ‘n’ Sew (Bath Guild Hall Market) in Bath and Midsomer Quilting in Chilcompton.

 

Bloggers:

Many of the makers and suppliers above also have excellent blogs, but here are some additional blogs I follow.

vastgotaspets och tradgard: two points here; firstly I have to confess a bias as this blog is written by one of my closest friends (although sadly not so close geographically) and secondly it is written mainly in Swedish. I do not speak Swedish but find that Google-translate adds an extra element of enjoyment to the blog, as the translation is often…interesting. The blog is full of beautiful photos, crafts, garden stuff and of course a very handsome Swedish Vallhund called Hampus. It is written with wit and intelligence and brightens my day – so please don’t be put off by it being in Swedish!

Knitsofacto: again beautiful photos and crafts and written with insight and eloquence. My learning to crochet was due almost as much to yarn envy created by Knitsofacto as to the Bath WI #craftynightout where ‘Wool” in Bath took us on those first steps to getting hooked (now I just need to learn to knit!).

Lizzie Lenard – Vintage Sewing: I discovered Muv’s blog when trying to find out more about the 1907 sewing machine I picked up in a Dorset antique/junk shop – really useful tutorials on maintaining and using vintage sewing machines. She also is another talented photographer and her free motion quilting is amazing…a very talented lady, who is so generous with her knowledge.

Quiltar och Silver: another Swedish blog (also written by one of my friends) – some of the most beautiful quilts I have ever seen and jewellery that deserves to be shown off in the best boutique jewellery shops.

Butcher, Baker: gorgeous blog, predominantly baking and cookery-based – one of those ones where the writer feels instantly like an old friend.

There are many more makers. suppliers and bloggers I admire, but I am going to stop now so I have some to share later in the year. If you know of (or are yourself) a maker, supplier or blogger please do add a comment with a link to your site, as I would love to have a look!