Friday, 19 September 2014

Christmas Craft Fair

I know! I'm sorry to have mentioned That Word already, and it's only September - but there are some things you need to prepare for, and I have about SIX WEEKS to get some stuff ready to sell. I have spent nearly three weeks finishing the Large Wool Cushions, which may or may not be taken by someone who spoke to me at the Letheringsett Craft Fair. I just don't know when to stop once I start embroidering!

Still waiting to get round to finishing these three large cushions, buttons are made, they are all cut out and ready. I set to and completed this Blue Bird cushion over about three days hard stitching, as usual, my camera does not show the green up very well.

 My thoughts turned to Christmas wreaths, and I am working out how to make them in felt, yet have a little bit of weight and substance to them. Yet for what I could charge for them I don't want to spend too much time and energy making them! With that in mind I began on a prototype this needs tweaking a bit, more appliqué, and a swifter way of construction. I'm not too sure about the background colour either, but it can't be green or red..... decisions, decisions!

 Cards are another option, I need to speak to my friendly local printer who is very amenable to all kinds of ideas. Tons of ideas run through my head the minute my head hits the pillow, but there really isn't too much time to be experimenting with things which may not work and need to be rejected. Felt tree decorations are one idea, but to be honest, people are not prepared to pay more than a couple of pounds for a decoration, and so they would be pretty sparse and mean-looking to make them worth making. It really is a fine balancing act between materials cost, and effort, and what you can ask for your wares.

I have an Angel panel commission too, and I should like to make some modified panels for the craft fair. Meanwhile, I've begun work on another smaller cushion .

Entirely removed from sewing, I'd just like to say,I sat up and watched all but the final hour of the Referendum last night/this morning on BBC Scotland Live. Fascinating. Personally I am glad we still have the United Kingdom, as I believe we are stronger together, but it is time the politicians pulled their fingers out and opted for BIG CHANGE. More transparency, more accountability, less cronyism, less cosying up to Big Business and doing deals  behind doors which do not benefit the citizens of these fair isles. But there are a lot of Scots out there hurting at the moment, so much passion, emotion, hard work, on both sides, and so many dreams dashed. I hope the breach can be healed and we can move forward to change government for the better.

Have good weekends, be creative, be political, engage!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Cherish Your Friends

Well that's stating the flamin' obvious, isn't it? You thought, on reading the post title. However, it becomes more and more obvious to me as I get older (Cripes, she's getting serious now!!) that cherishing ones friends requires a little more than a passive amiability of attitude towards them. You have to actually WORK at cherishing. It doesn't require grandiose gestures or expensive gifts. It doesn't even, in some cases, require that you see them face to face, or make frequent phone calls. But it does require that you feel that fondness in your heart and that you - in some way - make it known to that person.

I'd also like to be pretty vague about who I mean by 'friends'. I include relatives. Old friends you've known for years, and new ones you have recently made. And yes, even Face Book friends!  I have FB friends in countries far far away who I will probably never ever get to meet, but I enjoy their 'company' and their wit and wisdom; we've shared some highs and lows along the way these last couple of years, and I think of them as Pen Pals, who give me an insight into their lives and their worlds.

Blogland is another fertile field for collecting friends too! There are bloggers who I regularly read with whom I have a pleasant, easy relationship. Hardly friendship, you might say, but we share bits of our lives, our hopes and dreams, our ups and downs, and there is something there which, if not friendship, could be on the way to becoming. Regular readers of my blog, who are in the habit of leaving me comments, I also think of as embryonic friends, especially the chatty ones, your words cheer me up, and your opinions are valued. Some of us have even met in person, and this is terrific when it happens.

Regular readers will know about my annual visit to the Burwell Bash. This is a coming together of people from all over the world, actually, to play music and be part of a very special experience. Burwell folks get together when they can, keep in touch and consider themselves true friends, even though they may only meet once a year! But year on year, I find I see more and more of my Burwell friends 'in the flesh' and it enriches my life.

So yes, quite a vague interpretation of the word 'friend', perhaps just someone whose sense of humour tickles your funny bone, and brightens your day, or some one with whom you you instantly see eye to eye on maybe only one topic - be it textiles, or music or food, or books - let us cherish those relationships too.

Cherishing requires that we keep in touch, leave a personal, private message where you would usually make it public. Hugs are (nearly) always appreciated.
A bunch of flowers, the loan or gift of some books or cds or something you have cooked or baked. Some fruit or veg from your garden to someone who doesn't grow their own. And the gift of time is very precious - we seem to have so little spare time - so a nice long phone call or a quick visit can mean the world.

I cherish my readers by always replying to their comments - I hope you remember to come back and check! And I regularly comment on other blogs, partly because it is nice to join  the conversation, and partly because it is nice to pass on the unspoken message "I am here, I hear you, and your words move me, I am responding" otherwise, well otherwise you are writing only for yourself!

Until next time, remember to cherish away to your heart's content, and believe me, you make me feel very cherished indeed! Thank you!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Edwina's Post

Hello, it's all pictures today! This post is for Edwina who has asked about the Sunflower Farm quilt several times. Edwina, I took some photo's outside this morning in full sunlight so they haven't come 0out terribly well, but have added some older ones of folded quilt and selected motifs. I hope you enjoy them!

                                           I wish I knew how to make photo mosaics!

The full length ones I took really did not come out very well in the sunshine, so have included these quarter shots with a bit more detail visible.

                                   There you go - don't say I never do anything for you!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

After the Craft Fair

Wow! I thought I was a late night trouper, with lots of experience at the Burwell Bash but these last two days of the Letheringsett Craft Fair have left me really, really shattered! Early nights both days and still I have been tired today. It's amazing how standing around for seven hours can tire you out!

                    Thanks Sue for this lovely photo of me - not the most photogenic of people!

However, I can say it was well worth it. We had fairly reasonable weather - lots of sunshine but with much cooler than usual temperatures for August. The open barn we set up our stalls in was a little windy at times, but on the whole it was a decent venue. The staff at Back to The Garden were very pleasant and set us up with a free tea/coffee making station in the shop, and also came round taking requests and bringing us drinks out to the stalls, which was jolly decent of them.

I made this little chap at the last minute on Friday, based on a Mexican folk style bird. I could have sold it several times over, and eventually it did go to a lovely little boy for his bedroom!

The bangles sold well, and I sold the little sampler with the lime green ric-rac down the side. The lower "Wingèd Heart " was repeatedly mistaken for an owl so I shall have to re-think the placement of the motifs!

Red Sanderson, who organised the event through North Norfolk Arts and Crafts had put a lot of thought and hard work into getting it up and running, and was there with us most of the time, checking things were ok, sussing out how things were going and being generally supportive.This was a new
venue for Red's events so it was an interesting exercise, with lots of lessons to be learned along the way. I had no idea there was so much to running a craft fair!

                             I have a commission for another of the top version of the Angel Panel

The small blue, red-bound  quilt folded over the towel stand at the front was purchased by lovely Jane-Ann, and is to be hung in her bedroom. To think that one of my quilts has joined the works of Janet Bolton, Mandy Patullo and other noted textile artists is very gratifying indeed!

There were more visitors on the Sunday, which was nice, as it makes the time go faster, and it is always lovely to chat to people who are interested in what you do, whether they buy or not. Most of us did pretty well, if not overwhelmingly so. I sold two quilts, a large wool/felt cushion, some bangles, some fat felt pin-cushions, a stitched sampler, a Mexican folk art style bird panel, and some post-cards. I was pretty pleased, I have to say. Also there was a lot of interest in the quilts, with two possible pending commissions, and a commission for three large wool/felt appliqued cushions. Well worth the two days of selling, plus the preparation, and of course, the hours and hours of designing and stitching and - finishing off - my least favourite part of the process!

My sewing table, covered with a round two dozen flower shapes already for appliquéd to three cushion fronts, should the tentative commission be firmed up. And if it doesn't, I have more stock for the next two craft fairs!

I know there are things I would do differently, and there things about my presentation which need a good tweaking, but I was pleased with the way the Textile Treasury stand looked. Thanks to lovely Nell Pols for her photographs, and to all my friends who toddled across county to come and see and support me - you know who you are! Big thanks too to Yvonne who came and helped out for both mornings - so good to have our company Yvonne, greatly appreciated. An especial thank you to my Other Half, Jim who packed all the stands and crates into his car - no room in my little Ford Ka once the quilts and cushions were in - and who helped set up, and take down at the end of Sunday. Thanks too to Red for giving me the opportunity to take part, let's do it again some time!!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Craft Fair at Letheringsett

Lest you think I have abandoned textiles entirely for a life of music and frivolity, here are a few photographs of some of the items I've been working on for the Craft Fair at Letheringsett this weekend.

First the details - Back to the Garden can be found very easily on the main road from Fakenham to Holt, and all the details are on the website above. Come along for a visit, have coffee, a snack or lunch - and there is also a food festival on at the same time as the craft fair.

As well as the bangles and pin-cushions, brooches and quilts, I have some new items, some of which I am rushing to finish!

                                    A woollen bag with felted wool appliqué decoration.

A new cushion using some of my dyed blanket. I made the buttons with felted wool and pelmet vilene.

                  A fourth "One Bird Upon a Hill" cushion, they are proving to be very popular!

                                           Folk art blooms and birds on this third cushion.

I made this little nursery cushion using reproduction "flour sack" fabrics, and the central panel contains a dozen genuine vintage Suffolk Puffs or "yo-yo's" as they are known in the States.

        And this is my latest Angel Panel, slightly smaller than the first one which has sold. I so enjoy         designing and stitching these panels - more in the pipe-line, but not in time for the craft fair!

It will be an early start on Saturday morning, though it is less than an hour's drive for me. I'm quite looking forward to it, and bless her cotton socks, Yvonne Autie rag-rug maker and silversmith extraordinaire, has volunteered to come and keep me company all day Saturday. I know several other friends have promised to pop up and see us, and I hope that my Norfolk blogging friends might be free to dash across-county and come and say hello. This is a new venue for North Norfolk Arts and Crafts, and I am very proud that Textile Treasury has been selected as one of the exhibitors, so do come along and help make it a success!