Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Quick trip to Skye

I'm just back from a 4 day trip to Skye, it only feels like 2 days with the 10 hr drive up and back filling the best part of 2 days. It was mainly business with a bit of pleasure. 

A few months back I was working on some new branding for hand made clothes shop Skye Batiks, as well as batik clothing they have a fabulous range of handloom smocks which had previously been known as Skye Smocks. They wanted to change the name into something more unique for the smocks, after much bouncing back and forth with ideas the name chosen was Guga (guga is a young gannet).

I designed a fair few logos experimenting with gannets, handloom textures, landscapes, fishing nets, weaving etc and the chosen design is the simple one at the end, blue and white with the Scottish flag. As with lots of designs, it comes down to how easy it will be to produce at a small scale on a woven garment tag and the chosen design works great for that.

I've designed leaflets, mugs and quite detailed folding tags for the garments. They let me have a few mugs and tags to take back as samples but they haven't had the leaflets at the shop yet.

The thing about visiting such an interesting shop is I always find something new to buy and surprisingly on this trip I came away with a 'toy' and not a skirt. They use all the leftover bits of fabric from clothing to make little soft toys, there are seals, mice, puffins and new to me was the sea eagle. They're fab, they are really quite substantial chunky and heavy, beautifully made.

I was thinking of a name for him on the journey back, Eddie the eagle was too obvious and I went through various ideas but I looked at him and decided he was an Idris. Welsh name I know but there is a sense of fierceness to him like a dragon so Idris it is.

Here is Idris showing you some views on the trip, is it a bird, is it a plane, no it's Idris sea eagle!
Below, Idris swoops over Uig bay, you can catch a ferry from Uig over to the Isle of Lewis.

Idris near Duntulm castle ruins. The weather was beautiful whilst we were there.

Idris passes through Glencoe on the trip back.

I stayed in Portree the capital of Skye, I did a walk around part of the bay which I hadn't done before, usually because the weather has been poor but it was the hottest day of the year so far. This is the view from the bay across to the Cuillin mountains.

And when you've walked around and climbed upwards you come to this part which is where they have their Highland games and festivals.

I took my little friend Bob with me and here we are having a very tasty goats cheese salad and fresh raspberry milkshake at Cafe Sia in Broadford.

Somewhere new we went to investigate, and some of you may recognise this if you ever saw an episode of Grand Designs building a turf house on Skye.

This is the turf house at Kendram.

The two ladies who have this have turned their art studio, which was a separate building, into an espresso bar and below is the Single Track cafe. It's a fabulous little piece of architecture with a stunning view from the landscape window.

We got talking to owner Indi who made us some fabulous coffees and we feasted on a huge mozzarella and tomato sandwich. It was a lovely place to while away some time and take in that view.

The trip was all over in the blink of an eye and I'm back here to some weird sleety weather this afternoon!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Hornsea Pottery Society AGM 2015

Yesterday was a big day in our Hornsea Pottery calendar, the AGM on hallowed turf at Hornsea, which interestingly fell 15 years to the day that Hornsea Pottery went into final receivership.

Our meeting and talk was very interesting, lovely to catch up with people who I only see once a year as it's difficult to get to the other 3 yearly meetings they have scattered around the country.

The stalls were brimming with pots for sale, I'm sure there was more than last year, or may be more of the designs which I liked this time.

Loads of Contrast which I like and still use. I was wanting a particular mini soup tureen but no one had one.

A wonderful stack of Heirloom storage jars.

Below, the lovely white teapot in the middle was called Alaska, it is sort of a white version of the brown Contrast design.

If only I was starting my own coffee shop! Many many different espresso sets. This design I hadn't seen before called Prelude in a dull minty green and brown.

Lots more things than usual in the auction, below.

So what did I buy, well, I got this wonderful 1977 mug by John Clappison for £1 on the auction, they sell for lots more on Ebay so I was very pleased. It will a be a birthday pressie for a Scorpio.

I also found just one Concept espresso cup with saucers, this was good because I already have one cup and no saucers, so it is useable now for coffee and a piece of cake for two.

And finally, this was rather unusual and irresistible to me as it was very minimal and stylish.

These plates and bowls in a wave/cell shape were designed by Caterina Fadda in the late 90s, she commissioned Hornsea Pottery to produce them for her so I'm happy to say these design icons which broke the mould in plate design were made in Hornsea. The museum had purchased them some time ago and were selling them to raise funds as they had duplicates.

I bought a combination of the black and white. They will be fabulous for serving a tapas style meal with bits 'n pieces on the side.

Caterina has a London studio with furniture and other stylish designer items for the home.


Thank you if you made it this far, I do tend to get carried away with Hornsea pots!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Bird friends, woolly creations, apple tiles

For the last couple of months the garden bird friends have been gathering in our bit of garden as they think about nesting. I have been reluctant to put food out with the large number of mice there are here but when my favourite bird, Gladys the Great Tit appeared tapping on the door handle for food I had to give in.

She is such a character and an intelligent little bird, Graham her husband is with her but he is a little more timid. We can now stand outside with arm stretched and food on hand and Gladys will flutter and land on you for tit bits. Graham won't come that near.

These pictures are not very good as taken on the phone but if you look carefully you can just see her coming in to land.

We have 2 robins, given the usual names of Robbie & Ruby although they must be different robins to previous years as they act quite differently. I'm convinced it is the same two chaffinches so that is Judith and Brian mentioned. We have Barney the Blue Tit who has recently brought along his friend Beryl. And new this year, on his own at the moment, is Dave the Dunnock.

Whilst the birds have been busy teaming up, I've finished what will probably be my last neck warmer until winter again.
I just had to use up this weird, fluffy wool and it's quite horrible to use so it leant itself to wrapping around a knitting loom.

I have crocheted another flower necklace with the cotton yarn which is very nice to use.

I'm just working on something which I don't know if it will work yet, I've done a quick prototype which suggests it should work and now I'm embellishing a felt sugar skull before moving on to the next stage with it.
All will be revealed if I do have a successful outcome to this project.

Finally, I do like a bit of simple, 1970s retro design. I spotted these apple tiles in B&Q at the weekend, not a shop I've had reason to go in really with renting a house for 7 years but DIY shops do seem to have some interesting things in occasionally.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Happy Easter and some recent makes

April and it's Easter already, I hope the weather is kind to us all and we can enjoy some sun and chocolate, bliss! 

I found a lovely little craft activity on YouTube the other week which is great for using up old scraps of fabric which I'm sure most of us have in heaps. Long thing scraps like these are best.

And look at what you can turn it into. Beautiful recycled fabric twine.

I will give you the link to the lady called Hester who posted this nice little tutorial on YouTube.

It's such a simple and mindless task you can sit and do in front of the TV and the results are lovely.
It's all in the twisting!

Here's the link and Hester has some other nifty ideas on YouTube too.


I've been busy with my sausage dog kits. The printed kits arrived back from the printers this week.

I will be selling the kits with a choice of jackets or bandanas. You can see the prototype below which I stitched up with a lovely tartan jacket.

I have also been working on another sausage dog, not a printed kit but this one will be cut out from scratch with his features appliqued on. It very nearly made it into a sewing magazine but they already had a dog toy lined up to go in so I may see if I can get it featured elsewhere.

This dog will be slightly bigger than the printed kits.

And lastly, another one of my fabric designs which I have been revamping for Woven Monkey, this one is my Flower Girl design. I've done it in lots of colour combinations.

Enjoy the long weekend folks! :)