Archive | May, 2011

Making baby blankets

31 May

I just found these photos hidden away in some folder on my desktop and thought I’d show off this quilt I made for a friend’s baby Theo a year or so ago. Recently another friend asked me to sew one for  her little boy so now I have an excuse to go fabric shopping and get working on a new project, hooray! I usually machine quilt  and edge a blanket up to be a yard square so it makes the perfect on the go blanket to carry in the buggy and pop down as a changing mat come picnic blanket.

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The Garden In May

29 May

We have been blessed with the most beautiful Spring weather this May and I’ve been busy out in  the garden almost every day, with my trowel and my camera. Its been so much fun to get out there with Henry and watch him learn about planting and growing and watering plants with his mini yellow watering can. I love that he loves the garden as much as I do. This season we have planted up lots of tomato plants as well as radishes, potatoes and a flourishing herb selection. I thought it might make a lovely series if I do a collage of the happenings in our new English Country garden every month so you can enjoy watching it grow and change as much as we do. After six years in the warm abundance of California there is something immensely satisfying about watching all this bountiful green grow up from the hard dark earth that was only a few months ago covered in a thick blanket of snow.


And for my next project…

25 May


Remember that weekend I went to visit my Mum in Hastings? Well of course I couldn’t go home empty handed and after rummaging through all the old family treasure in the attic I came away with this sweet nursery frieze that can recall from my childhood. It needs a bit of love so I’m going to paint a patch for the top right hand corner to fill in a few details and have a new piece of glass cut for the frame but then it should be ready to hang in Henry’s room. I also have a big haul of story books dating from back in the day, some classics like ‘The Tiger who came to Tea’ and other ground breaking stuff of its time and they have happily joined Henry’s nursery after a dusty 20 year stretch in storage. Have you got any childhood things of yours that you can share with the next generation?

Banana cake makes for an awesome weekend…

23 May


We have a few very busy weeks ahead of us with Andy away traveling lots so it was great to spend a quite weekend at home with friends, playing hide and seek in the garden, eating yummy frosted banana cake and not changing out of our pajamas till 3pm Sunday. I hope you had a nice weekend and have lots of good things happening this week, what creative projects are you working on at the moment? I would love to hear.

Welcoming baby Felix

18 May

A very good friend recently welcomed her new baby boy Felix into the world. I was lucky enough to pop round and be one of the first people to meet him and he is so small and so beautiful. I took him a teeny tiny pair of slippers that I made from 4mm thick wool felt in white with little blue hearts on the soles stuffed with roving and a blanket stitched center seam. It was lovely to hold a new little baby, it was amazing to me that this handsome little guy had been inside his Mum just a couple of weeks before and it made me realise how big my own ‘little’ guy is getting these days. I really enjoyed making these wee shoes and have been experimenting with different shapes and designs and learning  new techniques for embroidery and pattern cutting. The only difficulty so far is that I keep forgetting they have to come in pairs and get so carried away with new design ideas that I’ve only got as far as making a whole load of left feet! I will make up the shortfall and be back to share more with you soon. Hope its a good week for you out there.
xxx 

Would you keep a one-day diary for Mass Observation?

12 May

‘In 1937, Mass Observation called for people from all parts of the UK to record everything they did from when they woke up in the morning to when they went to sleep at night on 12th May. This was the day of George VI’s Coronation. The resulting diaries provide a wonderful glimpse into the everyday lives of all sorts of people on this day.’

Mass observation -Recording everyday life in Britain

Mass observation have repeated their request for your one day diary entry for this day this year. You can write about anything and everything that happens today and send it to them. I’ve never kept a diary of the proper journaling kind, it always seemed, well, too much like hard work to me. I’ve never thought of representing myself in the medium of the written word, why would I when there are pencils and an endless supply of sketchbooks to fill up, diary pages and text books to cover in doodles?
Don’t misunderstand me, I think writing a diary is a wonderful thing to do if you find it enjoyable and rewarding. The last time I tried to write a diary I was a teenager and thought it was something I should give a go, but I was also convinced that it was something I should be good at. This self imposed pressure to be good, to achieve a worthwhile end result is a problem that has permeated almost every area of my life and one which I have been trying to kick since becoming a mother. Its really not one of my finer qualities and certainly not one I wish to pass on to future generations.

Though I may not place any particular value on my writing (and believe me when I say that writing this is taking considerable effort) I am hugely touched by the written words of others. In my studio I have a suitcase that has moved with me everywhere I’ve gone since I left home. Its rarely opened and even then only to add to, but I know everything that is in it. Its my collection, a small time capsule consisting of every letter anyone has ever written to me since I was about 11 years old, all the cards, drawings, notes, phone numbers as well as all the ticket stubs from every journey and gig. Then there are the photos, the school ones printed on ‘proper’ paper with scuffed up edges, the ones of old childhood friends I now barely recognise but nonetheless feel deserve a place. I feel a huge sense of comfort knowing that its there to be added to and to look back on in the future should I ever feel the need.

I consider myself extremely lucky every time I receive a handwritten letter in this age of emails and texts and Facebook alter egos. I treasure everything from the smell of the paper to the inky smudges that bring news of people I love. I’m particularly sentimental about the family calendar I keep on the kitchen wall and enjoy flipping through the pages every December as I transfer all the important anniversaries and birthdays on to the new fresh pages of the next year. I like looking back over past years and relying on a few scribbles, times and names to jog my memory of where we were and what we were doing at a point in time. These aren’t fluent, self edited musings on life and love but they are a quick sketch of a personality, a life lived and documented in an informal way.

These papers all deserve a place in the suitcase and are my diary of sorts I suppose. They have a value in the future and I will keep them safe there just in case, just in case for me, for Andy, for Henry. I know they all say that its all about emails and texts, that digital photos never make it off the hard drive, that we have lost the art of doing anything longhand. And although I am not going to leave behind beautifully crafted prose for my loved ones to read when I am gone and understand the secret intellectual I had been hiding all along I will diligently write them inky letters, send postcards with stamps I have to lick, leave love notes and instructions on sticky notes and print out photographs with random ‘jog your memory’ scribbles on the back.

So I will write my diary for today and send it off to Mass Observations because just as I am someone who would pore over the diaries of  a hundred years ago with fascination at the everyday and normal, mine might find its way to being read with interest one day too. I’ll write about this as well, the blog that makes me sit and write all this and have another go at something I believed I was terrible at. I suppose this blog is my virtual suitcase, my concession to not being a total twenty first century luddite.

Finally, some new frames for home

9 May

A home isn’t home for me until I have decorated the walls in art work, mine, your’s, Henry’s, its all good because I just love collecting prints, paintings and postcards that are beautiful. Its never been quite so important to me to hang frames as it is in the new house because the walls are covered in outstandingly ugly textured and painted wallpaper, the place is full of it. I’ve been putting off putting anything up because of not wanting to make holes in the walls with nails and get charged for any damage that might be caused to the precious wallpaper but I can’t stand it any longer, I just can’t look at this hideousness anymore!
So far this is what I’ve got, a hemisphere map which is a sheet of wrapping paper I bought in a paper store back in California a year or so ago. A table of baking measurements that my darling husband who knows me so well bought back from Hatch Show Print in Nashville, Tennessee a couple of years ago and has only just made it into a frame. Three large and beautiful printed greetings cards of Santa Cruz and the boardwalk from the same paper store in CA and three from a shop in Brighton depicting beer swilling beach folk in old Brighton when it was a mere fishing town back in the day. All of these images makes me so happy and I’m so pleased they have finally reached their proper homes behind glass.

I haven’t worked out where they are going quite yet except the measurements one which belongs in the kitchen I think but I’ll keep you posted and any suggestions would be great. I couldn’t help but have a little browse about whilst I was online and ‘accidentally’ found a few other images that would be perfect for covering fugly wallpaper, here, here and here. Oh dear, I think I’m going to need some more frames.




Sunday Supplement V

8 May

Ahh, there’s nothing quite as nice as having a sunbathe in your three piece suit is there Granddad?

I found this poster last week in Hastings and thought it sounded like a really fun idea, to design a deckchair to sit happily on Hastings seafront. Plus they make a full size deckchair with your design for you to keep, that would be nice in the garden wouldn’t it? And as you can see from my recent post about Hastings this little town is chock full of visual inspiration so there should be no shortage of interesting entries.

“The aim of the competition is to encourage members of the public to visit the Stade in Hastings Old Town and explore the cultural and environmental heritage of the area and use this as inspiration to design a deckchair for the Stade.”

I’m tempted to enter but if I can’t have my very own designed deck chair how about one of these from hen & hammock instead? And in case you were concerned that the deckchair doesn’t evoke an English Summer strongly enough they even make one called the Oxford Don!


Or perhaps vintage Edwardian is more your style? I love this one with its fringed shade.


You can’t beat one of these Penguin CLassics for your next trip to the beach…

I hope you’re having a great weekend and find a minute to relax in a deckchair and relax.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!

4 May

Here is a glimpse of our sunny weekend away in the old seaside town of Hastings in East Sussex. We spent most of our time checking out the antique shops and even catching some rays on the beautiful beach. Happy days indeed.

                                           
                                         

Jack In The Green May Day Parade

3 May

Just home from a lovely long weekend by the sea in Hastings. I’ve got lots of photos to post but I wanted to share with you the May Day celebrations from yesterday  most of all. Jack In The Green is a traditional way to celebrate the start of spring in this part of the world and from where I was standing with my camera an excellent excuse to paint your face bright green, cover yourself in flowers and dance and sing your way all about town.

An elaborate figure made from garlands and foliage known as Jack In The Green is paraded along the streets by his attendants known as Bogies to banish winter and welcome the new season. We took Henry along and had a good vantage point from where we could see all the costumes, hear the wonderful drumming and oh, did I mention the giants? These are just a few of the best…

The man of the moment, Jack O’ The Green with a crown upon his head.
It looked like the whole town was in on the act, either as a musician or a performer. There were several drumming societies, bagpipes and more than a few piano accordionists.And of course there had to be a bit of a nautical theme with a giant saucy green mermaid.

An exhausted and green nosed Henry had to be carried home asleep after all the excitement!