Monday, 24 December 2012

Twas the night before Christmas...

 Christmas Eve, and I am wallowing in nostalgia over a photo box and memories of Christmas past. 
 On a top branch of the tree is a blue glittery eggshell that Josh made in nursery - he is now twenty - and a stocking made by my great aunt Carol more than forty years ago hangs on my living room door.
 Me 'n' Santa, early/mid 70's.  I still had a very tight hold of my mum's hand in this photo!

My now adult son is out with fifteen of his closest friends while I am home alone. Home alone with two snoozing cats and a plate of goats cheese and chilli jam...oh, my goodness, how much do I love goats cheese!!!

The lights on the Christmas tree are twinkling, presents are wrapped and Bethlehem is on the news - a very different Bethlehem to the Bethlehem I remember from the 1980's.  Then, it was still possible to clamber down the hills from a  Jerusalem kibbutz and in to Bethlehem, without need of a passport. 

Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Winding down.

Sunday morning.
 Chocolate brownies, a half finished Christmas tree and a full eight hours sleep.  EIGHT HOURS!!!   
After a fortnight of working till after midnight, sewing machine whirring regularly at 1 am, erratic eating, baking at midnight - finally, I can see light at the end of my owl tunnel.  Just four owls to go...
These are three of six owls that went to Edinburgh last week.  I love these fabric combinations.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Love at first touch...

Ten months in, and this is my first Christmas trading as The Sherbet Patch.
Phew!!! November - busy, busy, busy.  
December - swamped with order deadlines, but today I can see a chink of light in the owl paraphernalia that has slowly taken over my front room.  I'm on the home stretch with my order book,  and there will be room for a Christmas tree after all!
Exhausted.  And looking forward to a two week break over Christmas.  The last time I had more than a day off from sewing was July.  Self employment is tough,  but satisfying.  I've learned a lot this year.

I source my material from many different places - online, independent retailers, Liberty, John Lewis...Brick Lane.  However,  you can't beat the satisfaction gained from unearthing a gem in a charity shop, and the gorgeous (fully lined!) tweed above - complete with original labeling - was found lurking amongst the polyester duvets in a Swansea charity shop.  Love at first touch! 

Monday, 3 December 2012

Snoozy, groovy, floral cat.

Of all the fabrics I have in my stash,  this has got to be my all time favourite!

It is the epitome of 70's flower power,  once an original 1970's St. Michael's curtain, and now a groovy, snoozy cat doorstop.


Sunday, 2 December 2012

By the light of the fire...

11.56 on a gloomy Sunday morning,  a morning just 23 days before Christmas!  How did that happen?  I must admit to being pretty jaded about Christmas,  the magic disappearing once children grow up and away, and Father Christmas is relegated to little more than a cartoon character.  And what exactly do you buy MEN??? 

But there is one thing I do love about cold, December evenings.  A fire - a real, log fire roaring in the grate, and my dad is particularly wonderful with log foraging.

There is something mesmerising about a fire; the flames, the hiss and spit of the logs and toasty toes.

And although I may be missing the magic of Christmas, I am loving the fantastic Christmas fabrics on sale this year, particularly this red reindeer material.  It is a cream and red cotton fabic by Kokka, which has a crisp, timeless, Scandinavian feel to it.

 This week I have also been pondering how easy it is to let friendships slide.  In this age of technology it should be easier than ever to keep in touch, but I must be getting lazy, as I discovered yesterday that a very dear friend got married thee weeks ago and I knew nothing about it!  Admittedly, he lives a thousand miles away in a beautiful part of Israel, but as part of a large group of friends still in touch after 20 years, I was amazed how few of us knew that Shimon had got married and we'd somehow missed it!  Obviously,  men aren't very good at passing on information.  Unless it's a football result...

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Apple crumble...pure comfort food.

 Looking back on a week in which I have waved 24 owls off to Newcastle,  an emergency food parcel to Cheltenham, closed my Facebook orderbook and rediscovered fishfinger sandwiches.  And now,  inspired by my mum's Sunday dinner, the sweet smell of apple and cinnamon is wafting round, as a crumble cooks in the oven.  Apple crumble - pure comfort food!
Cinnamon is said to be the happy spice - said to lift spirits.  Well, maybe it's the cinnamen, maybe it's the fairylights - or maybe it's knowing that I'm no longer behind on my orders - but I'm feeling very relaxed.
And happier now that I know my 20 year old son has food in his cupboards again, after the bank took a sudden interest in a depleted and beyond student bank account!  And how good are Tesco?  Order in Swansea, deliver to Cheltenham, all within 24 hours and all for £3.50!!!  

This afternoon I listed Petunia on Folksy.  Or all the owls I have made, Petunia is a definite favourite.  I love the delicate colour palette, and she's very appealing.   As is my apple crumble :)

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Move over, owls...

Sometimes, I feel my home is being taken over by owls. Owls in various stages of production, draped decoratively over tables, the ironing trees.  
Waking up today,  peering out at the winter sky and my first thought was  ''What a great day for photographing owls!''  And not the feathery kind,  now that would be understandable.  Oh no - my owls are floral or tweed or bedecked in tartan, and photographing them involves conifer trees or blankets draped on chairs...all in broad daylight,  usually in pyjamas.  That's me in pyjamas, not the owls.  Now that would be silly!
Much as I love owls, I have wanted to make a fox for a while, but have been snowed under with orders.   
However, I have now cracked the owl backlog, so after a very productive rummage amongst bolts of gorgeous, autumnal, woollen fabrics I have made my first fox cushion!  I love the contrast of the orange fox against the burgundy background, and am now working on a snoozy fox, all curled up, with his head resting on his bushy tail.       Move over, owls!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Life skills.

My son has reached the grand old age of 20.  He can travel solo to Australia and is captain of the university tennis team.  He has lived away from home for the past two years, but if there is one thing that fills him with dread, it is the cooker.  Below is a conversation we had yesterday night.  The subject was gnocci, that complicated, italian food which requires four minutes simmering in water on the hob...

  • Josh Eves
    I couldn't work the hob, so I boiled a kettle, kept filling the saucepan and then draining it when the next kettle boiled. Did that a few times. Haha. And microwaved cheese sauce for it too! Ha.
    • Sarah Eves
      was it cooked?
      why could't you work the hob???
      • Josh Eves
        Of course!
        • Josh Eves
          Couldn't light the hob, will get lessons off my flatmates. 

          Oh my, oh my, oh my !!!

        Thursday, 8 November 2012

        Desperately seeking...Hector.

        Well, it appears that Hector has yet to reach the Knutsford depot.  Although I'm basing that on Mystic Andy at the depot,  who informed me that he knew Hector hadn't arrived as he hadn't been scanned.  Not scanned?  Hector is recorded mail, which means the only tracking available is a computer generated number to show he was posted (Llanrhidian), and a signature at his destination address to prove he was delivered.  Royal Mail, I am cross!!!  But Mystic Andy has assured me that if I ring again tomorrow they will have a better idea of where Hector is.  Really???  Needle in a haystack springs to mind,  but for now I have faith  in Mystic Andy.   

        And the update on Hector?  He arrived!!!  Safe and sound, my faith restored in Royal Mail.

        Wednesday, 7 November 2012

        The quirks of Royal Mail...

        Pondering.  In the last three days I have sent out ten parcels.  By the law of averages they won't all arrive on time, but what of the three I sent out Monday morning?  The two second class parcels arrived today, whereas first class Hector is still in transit!!!  Languishing in a depot somewhere, awaiting delivery. 
        And I am left wondering.  In 2012, is there really any difference between first and second class post, aside from cost?  

        Saturday, 3 November 2012


        Today is a lazy day.  On the sofa, bowl of cheerios in hand,  I am trying to muster up the enthusiasm to finish Scarlett while  ignoring the splatter of hailstones falling down the chimney.  6pm, but feeling much later.  Not a big fan of winter.
         I love my owls, but my shop is missing small, impulse buy items;  items that are (relatively) quick to make and can sell for under £10.  I think £10 is a cut off price for impulse buys,  and it would add variety.  So I  have been experimenting with gadget cases, and will soon be an expert on phone dimensions, ipod dimensions,  kindles.  So many gadgets, makes my one solitary phone look quite minimal, never having owned an ipod or a kindle.  
        But what I do own is a hot water bottle...a beautiful, moss green hot water bottle, bought from a wonderful Folksy shop called Selvage.  Yes,I have reached the age where I find hot water bottles exciting - I love hot water bottles,and Selvage does  beautiful ones!

        Thursday, 1 November 2012

        Oh my, oh my, oh my.

        Poundland.  A treasure trove of bargains amongst the tat.  I love finding a bargain, but today I had an altercation at a till. Bip, bip, bip went the items.  £2 went the till.  I had more than two items.  As I (thought) I was handing over a £10 note, I queried the bill;  bip, bip, bip the items went again, I handed over another note and then wondered what had happened to the first one.  How could it possibly disappear??? I rummaged through my bag, my pockets...the floor - no note.  The lady on the till called a supervisor and off they disappeared to do a till check, leaving me to ponder the missing note.  For ages.  And then I realised - I hadn't had a £10 note, having spent it earlier.  Mortified...

        Saturday, 27 October 2012

        Simple pleasures.

         I am the mother of a 20 year old. Sometimes, it seems like yesterday that I was bundling Josh in to his dufflecoat, bread in hand, to feed the ducks.  So many afternoons spent at the park.  But then he started school and we didn't go so often.  Years passed by and I forgot all about the park - until a visit two years ago, with my parents and grandma. Memories came flooding back, and I now visit regularly.  In a hectic, materialistic world the park is an oasis of calm.  Now, I am rediscovering the simple pleasures that nature offers.  With my camera.  Sitting with the squirrels, feeding ducks - the rich colours of autumn, the falling leaves - the rustling underfoot.  Simple pleasures.

        Monday, 27 August 2012

        150 miles.

        Today is one of those days when I just can't get motivated....I'll rephrase is one of those WEEKS when I just can't get motivated.  A prickly 20 year old home from uni, too little space, too much rain and a distinct dissatisfaction  with rural living.  An obsession with vintage fabric, fueled by a visit to the most wonderful shop off Brick Lane that I just can't get out of my head.  150 miles away.  150 miles between me and an Aladin's cave that I could happily root about in for hours at a time!  A tiny shop, with material piled to the ceiling, overflowing baskets and an owner who actively encourages rummaging through deep, wooden drawers.  A shop where a cash register is irrelevant, labels  handwritten,  fabrics  cheap in price, beautiful in quality.  Like stepping back in time.  And then I'm back in Llanrhidian.  

        Tuesday, 1 May 2012

        That moment in time.....

        In everyone's life, there is that defining moment, or a time so special that the years which pass fail to dim the memories or blur the edges.  For me, it was the summer of '91.  The defining moment was pregnancy, with my now 19 year old son, but those five months, from July to December, contain so many special moments and memories, and the friendships forged during that time are still with me now.  Funny how a time nearly two decades ago has had such an influential effect on my life.  


        Israel.....special from the first moment I set foot in Jerusalem, in 1986.
        Kibbutz....four, but the one which remains so special is Sdot Yam.
        Jerusalem....oh, my goodness, Jerusalem!!!  Mad, crazy times, set against such a beautiful backdrop, where seeing the sunrise usually meant a 4am walk up Ben Yehuda from The Underground.

        But what was it that made the summer of '91 so special?  SdotYam has that magical quality; the beach, the sunsets, Mexico City, but they were there before.  The people.  Yes, the people ~ there was an energy, a vibrancy, chemistry.  We bonded over blue jugs and bonfires.  Hitching.  Midnight raids on the kitchen.  Afternoons chilling.  Parties.  The Underground.  Ein Gedi.  

        A moment in time.....

        Wednesday, 28 March 2012

        My dad, a man on a mission.........

        I admire people with limitless energy and the motivation to see a project through to the end.  I seem to be lacking.  Distractions everywhere I look, unfinished projects, a day lacking structure.  The Sherbet Patch has gone off the boil lately, as I have struggled with motivation while working from home.  Boundaries have become blurred.  And I need to get back on track.  
        My dad is 66.  He works 6 days a week, sometimes for 11 hours, is self employed, motivated, and will always find another project to do on the back of a long day at the factory unit.  He is my inspiration.  

        Monday, 26 March 2012

        The Owl and the Pussycat.........

        The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea in a beautiful, peagreen boat........
        My favourite, childhood poem, illustrated beautifully in a 1970's book of nursery rhymes, long since disappeared.  This is a book I remember vividly, a bedtime book, pages dogeared and worn soft by use.  And this is a poem I am going to use as inspiration for Sherbet Patch projects ~  how beautiful would a textile canvas be of this poem ~ the waves, the sea, the umbrella ~ a lazy cat and rowing owl ~ and what a great excuse for fabric buying!!!
        The Owl and the Pussycat.....

        The very wonderful LIBERTY of London

        Tuesday, 24 January 2012

        By the light of the moon......

        Everyone has their own way of working.  Being in employment brings structure and routine, working from home is more difficult.  The lines are blurred.  Where does work end and home begin?  The endless distractions of the internet, the teapot, daytime TV.  Am I an owl or a lark?  I wake early, love the still roads and birdsong of dawn, yet my most productive and creative time for work seems to be evening.  By the light of the moon.  Tonight, it's an octopus. A patchwork octopus. 
        It's been a funny old week.  A cat on diazapan, a son ignoring me and a floral owl in transit to Birmingham.  My first online order!  Very exciting.  Royal Mail, don't let me down....... 
        And then there was Penclawdd Produce Market.  Oh, my goodness, Penclawdd Produce Market!!!  Where were the customers?  Definitely not in Penclawdd.  But  there was the stallholder who refused to let me have the table next to her because my box contained a doorstop.  Who proceeded to pointedly ignore me for the duration of the event, throwing me the odd dirty look, and I was reminded of the school playground.  I think I'll take it as a compliment.

        Sunday, 15 January 2012

        One......two......three......and b r e a t h e !!!

        Lavender.  The perfect antidote to stress, and, as any mother of a university age son will tell you, stress is ever present!
        Despite a cold that has rumbled on for a fortnight, bringing with it a dulling of taste and smell, the aromatic scent of lavender is filling the air. And it's soothing. Very soothing. Against a backdrop of student finance, two dead robins and the sewing machine, it is the perfect stress buster.
        Lavender. My latest project. Delicate lavender bags have lead on to robust, colourul pyramids.  I'm thinking  rosemary now. Dried rosemary bags, to scent the rather less pleasant odour of the shoe basket.  
         As a consequence of the lavender box, Humpty Dumpty remains legless.......


        Wednesday, 11 January 2012

        ''Yes, mum, I have my toothbrush!''

        It's a funny thing, grown~up children.  No matter how big, how old, or how much facial hair they sprout, in a mother's head they are forever Peter Pan.  As I'm writing this, my now 19 year old son, Josh, is jetting back solo from Melbourne, Australia to Llanrhidian, Swansea, a journey that will take 36 hours in total.  He popped over for a week......
        Funny how things turn out.  When I was 18, I volunteered on a kibbutz in Jerusalem, an experience which kickstarted a love of travel, of airports, of new places......of  Israel.  I survived, my son survives, yet I still find myself reminding him to check his belongings, his passport, his toothbrush. I worry he'll fall asleep in transit, lose his way in strange airports, miss connecting flights......the list is endless!!!  But, most of all, I am very proud of him. 

        Where black is black and white is white and grey.......well, grey just doesn't exist!!!

        Welcome to the insular world of JobCentre Plus...... Yesterday, I learned many things.

        Number 1 )   Self Employment is practically a swear word.
        Number 2 )   They love paperwork.....realms and realms and realms of it.
        Number 3 )  Childminding is ''employed'' work, whereas tutoring is not.      ????????
        Number 4 )  Sitting on the sofa all day, flicking the control and buying a paper is good......sitting on the sofa, sewing and building up stock, is bad.    ????????

        Where is the support for self employment?  Surely, in this rocky, economic climate, with limited job opportunities, self employment should be actively encouraged?  Next stop, my local MP!!!

        Tuesday, 10 January 2012

        Red tape and Beaurocracy.......

        In three hours time I shall be entering new territory - the job centre - for the first time since 1980 something, armed with a large sheaf of paperwork and a head full of misconceptions and assumptions.  I am expecting a beaurocratic nightmare. 
        I remember the last time I was there.  It must have been 1987 because it was Gatwick Airport JobCentre.....1987???  Oh my goodness,  that's 24 years ago!!!  Surely I've been since then???  I'd just got back from my first forray into that very '80's travel experience,  The Kibbutz Volunteer Programme, as a teenager, and got a job at the staff restaurant to pay for my next trip.  The walls were festooned with little cards, which you took to someone on the desk or slid behind others to stop anyone else seeing them, but I'm guessing it's all push buton technology now.  I think I'd prefer the cards. 

        Monday, 9 January 2012

        Country Living ...........

        One of the dubious pleasures of country living is that when the urge for chocolate strikes, there's a 7.30pm deadline.  On the flipside, I can track down the chocolate wearing my pyjama bottoms and nobody bats an eyelid!!!

        Yes!!! I have finally mastered ''copy and paste'' .!/pages/The-Sherbet-Patch/255290191161543

        Project Humpty~Dumpty!

        6pm on a gloomy Monday evening, and I'm sure it was only 5 when I checked a few minutes ago.  I need to get out of my (very comfortable!) chair, away from the lure of Facebook and get the Humpty Dumpty design out of my head and on to paper, as I have the ideal swirly, orange fabric for a retro 70's Humpty!!!   This will hopefully take my mind off the imminent interview at The Job Centre tomorrow, a place I haven't ventured for more than 20 years, and not a place I've ever wanted to go.  Hmmm, from what I've researched they're not overly keen on self employment and prefer to push the PAYE employment route. Dreading it.......
             23.52, and that's enough Humpty for tonight.  I have very fond memories of my own, floral Humpty Dumpty from the 70's, which my mum made.  Funny how there is always one toy that stands out, and for me, that's Humpty ~ I think he was made from curtains!!!
                                                  The original Humpty-Dumpty!