Monday, 24 September 2012

Saturday was a good day

I think the measure of whether my days are good or bad has a lot to do with the weather one way or another. 
Saturday was good and it was beautiful weather, today is bad, it has been raining all day and I'm suffering from cold hands and feet and it's miserable here. If I could sit my computer and desk in front of the aga then I'd benefit from a bit of heat but I'm having a cold reminder today of how bad this draughty bedroom of an office is when no sun is out and it's wet and windy.

Anyway lets relive that nice day on Saturday. 
I went over the Humber Bridge to Barton, now that bridge fee has gone down to £1.50 a journey I had been looking forward to doing this trip on a fine day.

The destination was The Ropewalk, museum, gallery, workshops etc. I didn't realise it was an Open Studios weekend (and also next weekend) but that added to the pleasure of wandering around the gallery and visiting some of the artists in their studios.

I went to see Wendy Chan who is a lady I did a fabric workshop with a couple of years ago, Wendy was demonstrating some simple screen printing which caught my attention. She insisted I had a go even though I was happy watching but anyway I scribbled down a quick bird design and cut out a template. Within minutes I had a print and then we did a second onto a canvas bag, it was brilliant, I was very impressed and pleased with my result.

Visited another lady doing pretty textiley things and she had an interesting business name, Pampootie, she told me where she's from in the west of Ireland it's the name for a slipper, an ancient shoe. Most interesting, she is just developing her website.

After tea and cake and more artists studios we went for a wander at the nature reserve by the Humber bank in Barton and here are some sunny pictures, it was lovely and warm.

From the nature reserve we drove to Thornton Abbey which would also have been nice for a wander however it was no longer free entry. Not that I want to sound like a cheap-skate because I am pleased funds are being taken for the upkeep of such a great place, but time was of the essence and I've been so many times before that on this occasion I gave it a miss.

The other place I wanted to revisit, and these are all places I used to visit regularly when I lived over there, was Julians Bower which is an ancient turf maze. The maze is in the village of Alkborough which over looks the Humber, the maze is maintained by volunteers. It was smaller than I remember but interesting non the less.

That brings us to the end of our trip over the Humber!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Vintage camping fabric samples

This week I received the printed fabric samples of my vintage camping design and they have come out quite nicely, although I would say that wouldn't I???!!!

See what you think, there are 5 colour options and all are now for sale in the Spoonflower Marketplace,  bit pricey though, I think a FQ is $11.

The design is quite a big repeat, to give an idea, the tent you can see measures 9cm across.

NOTE: I just wanted to mention this, incase anyone buys fabric of any sort from Spoonflower. Once you hit the limit of £15 worth of goods (which can easily be a yard of fabric + postage, about $25), there is a duty charge and Royal Mail admin fee to bring your parcel into the country. I have been stung with this charge on one occasion and the Royal Mail admin fee was a horrendous £8 to collect my parcel. Please be aware of that, if buying fat quarters then there's no problem.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Weekend Car Boot at Sledmere

I had been working most of Saturday so I took some time out on Sunday morning and visited the so called, Stately Car Boot sale at Sledmere House. I've been once before and it is rather good compared to other car boots I've been to. Plenty of vintage and retro things to rummage through.
Plus the event helps support the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and it was great to see the helicopter land in front of the house.

This year there were quite a few stalls with Hornsea Pottery on, nothing terribly rare so I just looked.
Here is one stall with plenty of Hornsea. I happened to be stood near when a big gust of wind came and blew the next stalls heavy clothes rail right onto all these pots and knocked them flying. Absolutely amazingly, nothing got broken or chipped when we picked it all up.

I had to take this picture as I spotted something which I used to have as a child, circled in red is a little tin xylophone which had Magic Roundabout characters, I think I also had one with Yogi and BooBoo.

Lots of nice tins and suitcases.

This lovely tea set with the crinoline lady design.

Nice but expensive antique and costume jewellery, lots of vintage linen, some fabric but nothing groovy enough for me.
I was quite retrained, only spent £10 and here's what I bought.

Pretty vintage hankies,

A vintage Dutch tablecloth,

And these original 1890 something French advertising postcards for chocolate and biscuits. The stall I got these from had hundreds of these beautiful cards and postcards, not cheap though hence only buying 2. A big selection of them would have made a fabulous collage to turn into a fabric design.

A nice way to spend a couple of hours pottering & reminiscing!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Crafty update and iPhone cases

I can feel a distinct chill in the air this week which is a bit of a shock to the system as it was like summer last week. My cardigan is back on, (not long since I put vests and cardies away) and the house is feeling cold which means I must get an Aga man out soon to service it and turn it back on for a bit of heat and so I don't have to battle on with micro waving food which I have been for weeks!

However, whilst the days are still light enough I'm steaming ahead with crafty things. I've had requests for iPhone cases so that is what I'm on with this week.

Some time ago, last year even, I had some Spoonflower fabric printed with my artwork designs, planned roughly to a size for a gadget case.

I'm finally cutting into that fabric, it's often a big deal cutting into my Spoonflower fabric as it's so expensive. 

But here we are, iPhone cases in progress, some with my artwork and some with vintage linen and other groovy fabrics, with contrasting backs and lined in felt.

The top 2 in the above picture are Scottish hand loomed fabric and Harris tweed for a more masculine gadget case.

The back of the cases.

Some cases are just sleeves, some have flap over velcro tabs.

The back of the Woolworths case has a sweetie fabric to remind me of Pick n Mix!

The red one in the foreground uses some vintage Austrian edelweiss braid I picked up at a fair.
Lots more in the pipeline, some seaside ones with Scarborough & Spurn Point and  I want to do some coffee related ones where I will use some recycled coffee sack in the design.

Which brings me onto other updates. I'm going to be supplying The Attic above Harlequin cafe in York with some small textile gifts.
I've also made contact with the lovely Sunday Nest haberdashery above Me & Mrs Fisher cafe in York who will be stocking some of my festive cut and sew kits.
And, last week I went to the Art & Rose Gallery in Pocklington and they will be taking some of my brooches for their Christmas display which is all very exciting.

This lot should keep me more than busy between design work!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Birds, Butterflies, Dragonflies & Books

Robins update: - they all fledged and gradually disappeared, even Ruby legged it about a month ago. I can still hear Robin calls but the tree cover is so dense that I don't see them now. Saw a fleeting glimpse of red this week but I guess that is it until they return for food in winter.

What with all the lovely sunshine this week there has been a welcome visitor to the garden (for a change), lots of dragonflies, really big ones flying around like mini helicopters. They seem happy to sit for ages on the rosebushes. I find them mesmerising to watch flying, and some of them flap past your ears making a buzzing with their wings.

I'm finally seeing some butterflies other than the cabbage whites, this lovely orange one landed on the washing.

Moving into the weekend and I've got plenty of crafty reading material although I think I need to start making a batch of brooches as I've just had some work accepted at a new gallery for their Christmas display.

I found this Crochet book in the library which seems to have some easy enough projects.

The slippers and wrist warmers below just might be within my capabilities!

This magazine, Sew Home (sept issue), attracted me because it had the Vintage Christmas supplement with it and there look to be a few nice things inside, see below.

Hope you have a lovely weekend if you are crafting. I really enjoy making stuff when the weather as fine as the natural light and warmth seem to kick start the creative process. Whereas grey and wet (like it usually is) send me into that 'can't be bothered' attitude. Have fun!

Monday, 3 September 2012

My Coffee Tour of Leeds

I've almost succeeded in having a fortnights holiday but with the weather being bad last week there were only 2 day trips, Scarborough one day and then Leeds on Friday.

I think it's about 6 years since I last went into Leeds city centre and to be honest I haven't been back that many times since I used to live there in the 80's. Back then in those wonderful, studenty days, Leeds was a rather grimey Northern city, but with lots of character. It has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years and is a much more affluent city with its designer shops and pavement cafes, maybe a tad homogoenised in places but aren't they all!

Still, the point of the trip was a coffee tour around some of the cafes with the best baristas, as recommended by cafe owners in York.

The trip starts from the car park near the Leeds / Liverpool canal.

Walking under the Dark Arches into town, that deep, dark water rushing under the road always freaks me out.

Not far around the back of the station is Laynes Espresso.

We had a most delicious flat white, with a beautiful rosetta design. Also tried a brewed Square Mile coffee called Jirmiwachu which had strong strawberry notes in the taste, very nice too.

For the next stage of our tour we head right into the centre and to the Victorian Quarter. The covered shopping arcades look quite magnificent and restored to a high standard.

The glass roofs are amazing.

The next coffee stop was at a kiosk inside the Victorian Quarter, Opposite Cafe and here we have Bob looking forward to a slurp of another flat white, it was lovely, as was the double espresso chaser.

Look at these groovy boots I spotted in one of the designer shops!

We've reached the half way point in our tour, it's lunchtime and we've had so much coffee that we need food to mop it up!
We head for The Light, another shopping centre in Leeds.

In here we seek out La Bottega Milanese cafe, now as the name suggests, this one is Italian and I'm not normally a fan of darkly roasted, robusta coffees but no fear, the coffee was good. It wasn't my most favourite of the day but it was very drinkable and the focaccia sandwich was delish.

The sandwich was so big that I couldn't manage one of their lovely looking baked cheesecakes, or even one of the little Italian filled pastries, shame!

We break for some sight seeing. I wanted to look in the art gallery and spotted the gold post boxes on the way.

Underneath the art gallery is the wonderfully inspiring craft centre & design gallery shop which just so happens to be next door to our last coffee stop, The Brew Bar.

We finish off the epic coffee tour of Leeds with a well prepared double espresso, not sure if it was a Has Bean coffee but it was nice. I think at this point the day was drawing to a natural close as we were starting to get those caffeine shakes!

Time to go Bob, it's been lovely reacquainting myself with Leeds again and enjoying some lovely coffee prepared by passionate coffee people.