Monday, 26 August 2013

Sun, sun, sun...

Happy Bank Holiday!

By the law of karma, bank holidays in rural Wales are awash with grey clouds. 
Particularly summer ones, but not this one.
 This weekend has been wall-to-wall sunshine - great for photos, for al-fresco sewing...for baking. 
I have gone through more butter than I care to remember, with a lemon drizzle cake and chocolate brownies.
When my son goes back to uni next month I will miss the baking. 

Lemon drizzle...the taste of summer.

  Saturday, via a vintage fair for fabric and china, I found myself in a funfair - or rather three rides, three stalls and an oversized sandpit.
But there was a very photogenic helter-skelter, and a big wheel.
I loved the helter-skelter, and have fond childhood memories of sliding down on a scratchy coir doormat, over and over again.

I particularly like this shot of the big wheel, which has a magical quality of a bygone age.
I have just listed it as a print in both my folksy shop and Etsy store, and am working on a set of greetings cards.

The Big Wheel.


Saturday, 17 August 2013

Snoozy fox - inspired by a very snoozy cat.

I love making Snoozy Fox.
A soft, charcoal wool base and tactile, woollen fox in contrasting orange.

Now available to buy at my Etsy shop.


....inspired by a very snoozy cat.

When thoughts turn to autumn and my hand reaches for tweed.

Much as I love summer, I have to admit that my favourite clothes are all winter.
I love the layers, the tactile softness of wool, the scarves...
And I love tweed.  Not to wear, but to work with.

Sydney is my latest owl, resplendent in tweed.  A very British owl, and very tactile.
And sitting outside, there is a definite yellow light to the evenings, now that they are starting to draw in.
Although it's a shame the same can't be said of my tomatoes,which are looking decidedly green.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Commission orders.

Some of my favourite owls are the ones made to order, as these are one offs, made using a colour scheme of the customer's choice.
I love pick 'n' mixing with different fabrics and textures, and it's often the most unlikely combinations that work the best.

Below is Starburst a recently commissioned owl cushion.

Starburst stands 35cm tall on her plump, polka dot feet.

Commission owls can be ordered through my facebook page,

 or by contacting me via my Etsy or Folksy shops.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Memories stirred - by a humble, A1 mounting board.

How does it happen?
I arrived at Hobbycraft sane, sensible and sporting bunions.
Until I found myself in the art department, eyeing up A1 mounting boards.
And then - BAM!!! - stepping outside, clutching my boards and being buffeted by a gale, I was immediately transported back to Art School, circa 1984.  
Minus the bunions and infinitely younger. 
How does it happen?  How can such mundane activities trigger such vivid memories?

My teenage bedroom, a work in progress.
Art School.
I remember my first day, September 1983.
I was just 16, and wearing cropped trousers, a mohair tanktop and a beret. 
I remember how laid back and incredibly cool it all seemed, how we all had our photos taken by the tutors, who insisted we'd be unrecognisable by the end of year one.  
I didn't believe them, but - oh my goodness, how right they were!
I grew up in Art School - my mum would say ''off the rails'', but I prefer to describe it as a particularly rocky road through adolescence...
It was a time of dodgy fashion, dodgier boyfriends...a lecherous tutor who kept trying to get me to model for him...of unrequited love on a mohican clad student who had just as big a crush...on my friend!  
Of Adam Ant and Boy George, of parties, of London - of the infamous trip to Cornwall.
Yes, I packed a lot into those few years - and for some reason never actually finished the course.
But I did get given the book that would shape my life.

It was called  ''How to be a kibbutz volunteer.''

My first boyfriend.

Hazel...where is she now?

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Restoring my baking mojo...

I am definitely more a lover of savoury than sweet.

On the rare occasions that I do eat out I would never agree to share a starter, but can take or leave a pudding. And when it comes to hot, buttered toast there is no contest - marmite wins over jam hands down. 

However, there are some days when I just crave chocolate - chocolate is the exception to the rule - and today, chocolate comes in the form of millionaires shortbread.  
Homemade millionaires shortbread.  
And the shortbread aroma is wafting around beautifully as it bakes.  
(I'm just not thinking about the 450 grams of butter lurking in the mix!)

There is something very therapeutic about baking, and I don't do it enough.
I used to, but I lost my baking mojo.

Me and chocolate...we have an affinity.

And on a completely different note - how sweet are these spool mice!
Reminiscent of Bagpuss.  (I was a child of the 70's!)

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Mañana, mañana. The quirks of rural living.

Mañana, mañana.
This appears to be the new mantra of my village Post Office.

First thing this morning I traipsed up to the Post Office with an owl needing a flight to Australia.
I was greeted with the closed sign at the counter.

As Saturday is also half day closing and Birdsong had a flight to catch, I queried this, and was told the counter would be open in ''half hour, maybe two hours'' due to computer failure.

Two hours later the counter was still closed, but was magically opened for me to post my parcel -  now it was closed ''due to paperwork''.

Birdsong - enroute to Queensland.

Also of a quirky nature are my misshapen vegetables, grown in the weedy, overgrown jungle that masquerades as my back garden allotment.

While the cucumbers are monsters, the broadbeans and courgettes are decidedly stumpy and malformed.

And my dad is doing an awful lot of tutting about my abundance of weeds.  
I'm just not feeling sufficiently motivated to do anything about it.