From the heart

What a year this has been! We have just come back from France for a cosy Christmas with my family. We left this morning for a 12 hours journey with many white roads, a light covering of snow and our little one saying ” I really, really want to make a snow ball!”. Not enough down and having left late after a lazy relaxed breakfast with my mum, there was not enough time either. Now we are back, it would be nice to have a snow dusting here too. I love snow, It completes Xmas ad makes it really magical.

We were in such a rush before leaving. Making many handmade Xmas cards and some presents added to the pressure. When people still had 4 days of shopping and the like, we had to be packed and ready. Well, we were, just after recovering from a lingering cold and my voice going very raucous for a couple of days but we were ready. What is it when you make something really special that the pressure builds? It is not that I did not know what I was doing, far from it. One of them simply had to be finished in time for us to take on our journey It was just a mix of trying to impress my mum and making something she loved that may not be something I would have in my home. I had to reflect her taste and not mine but without compromising on quality and a style I would be proud to add to my portfolio as someone else may like it and ask me to do something similar.

So what did it take? Lots of cotton to sew the different trials and final lampshade. A few hours of carving lino stamps that are stored until I use them for a different version. A few heated moments struggling to get some fabric glue to work and going for a an alternative in desperation. Spreading myself literally quite a bit leaving sorting out the house to the last minute… After a lot of anticipation, my mum loved it, my brother too and I think quite a few of the people that saw it since too. It is deceptively simple but has a lot of flowing lines sewed in the background and orchids added for the final flourish. This will join mum’s collection and cover that bare bulb naked for over 3 years! Here are a few pictures.

Orchids lampshade  with close ups from both side.  This was designed for a ceiling  but has not been fitted in situ yet as I have discovered since the French fitting is different to the one we have in the UK and  needs changing. Nothing expensive but a picture of it properly fitted will hopefully soon.

Orchids lampshade with close ups from both side. This was designed for a ceiling but has not been fitted in situ yet as I have discovered since the French fitting is different to the one we have in the UK and needs changing. Nothing expensive but a picture of it properly fitted will hopefully soon.

So, after all this making, I have just had a free week which felt quite strange and the main reason is my brain has engaged into a very creative process for the last few weeks, even during the orchid lampshade. Ideas are just parked in a corner of my head waiting to come out. I have also bought new materials and tools before I left which I have not had yet the chance to “play with”. Yes, some of what I do includes paying and experimenting. What I call “happy accidents” when something turn out unexpectedly to create a bit of magic. You can’t rush it, you can plan for it. You just do it.

So now the new year is approaching, I am planning more experimenting time, a few lines of wonderfully bespoke lampshades and artwork. Oh and planning a wedding! Yes a we are back on after putting things on hold for a year. Less than 6 months (if we get the date and venue we want) to organise a handmade (you could have guessed that) and laid back wedding filled with wild flowers and unconventional moments. If you like formal, look away now as they say!

But before I do all that I wish you all a year filled with health and happiness. I also wish for more peace in a very agitated and suffering world. It should not be that way and if we can all put out two pence of peace in our patch, maybe it will have a ripple effect, you never know. Fancy trying?

Best wishes to all.

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Downtime

What is a maker/crafter/designer to do on the lead to Xmas?

Well, as shop started to sparkle I took part in some Xmas fairs or fayres as some spell them. I visited some to check venues and events out for next year. I made things and am still planning a couple of things a s presents.

This time of the year is always a bit manic, between the things I feel I have do (not all necessary but there you go) and the more earthy, chilled side of me this year. Because I have made quite a lot of things I stayed away from the high street store which all get the same generic stuff and have very little good service added to it. I always wanted to make more things but this was more a wish than a reality… until this year.

I have taken part in some regular workshop which have given me the chance to have a go at many things like wet and needle felting, soap making, mono printing… so I have taken a few pictures. These workshops have given me some well deserved time out that me and my little one both enjoyed, learnt new skills and in some case confirmed I don’t want to do something ever again!

So I hope you enjoy the following pictures and they may inspire you in making things for yourself, as a present or even just for the pleasure of discovering a new craft.

Chocolate goodies

Chocolate goodies

Handmade soap

Handmade soap

Wet felting and free motion embroidery

Wet felting and free motion embroidery

Hand painted clay decorations

Hand painted clay decorations

Fizzy bath balls

Fizzy bath balls

Foliage decorations

Foliage decorations

Merry Xmas.

The magic of Xmas

Every year it is the same, I am like a kid again. I love this time of the year, the general atmosphere.

I can’t wait to drag the big box of decorations from under the bed, unwrap all these little treasure that I have collected for all these year and that also remind me of people or travels.

I always think about having a handmade Christmas and then… I never have the time. So this year, I have approached this in a complete different way. I have booked myself into a couple of local-ish xmas fairs and the first one was last night and today. Nancledra is a primary school in the middle of nowhere. lovely setting and with a nice feel to it. 30 or so crafters like myself were allocated spaces into 3 classroom and a hall. A curry and a barbecue were simmering outside ( I was on the other side to that window and I had to have what was on offer. It smelt too good!). I have done design fairs before but not craft fairs. What I do now is different and more in line with this so why not?

What I liked was how much more people were smiling, so much more readily. The feeling of Xmas was already there. The displays were sparkling and twinkling. The goods on offer excellent so that more little bags gathered on people’s arms as they walked along. It is hard to plan for an event like this because it is a matter of personal taste and the next fair may have different visitors liking different things. Having said that, comments about my work were very positive and shall I dare to say very enthusiastic. I am looking forward to a few commissions on the back of that.

I did not get the chance to take pictures of the whole thing as I was on my own but I have at least some of my display. For the people that have taken my details and will discover my blog for the first time it will set back the scene of an event they enjoyed visiting! Enjoy!

My display at the Nancledra School Xmas Fayre

My display at the Nancledra School Xmas Fayre

I am now back home tired but happy. Spreading the joy of Xmas is a privilege, seeing all generations come together and giving love to each other through small tokens sometimes, it is the thought that counts and that is the way it should be.

I know it is a bit early still but never mind… Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel and Nadelik Lowen! (Cornish)

Filled with love

I am quite amazed, especially at a time like Xmas, how commercial things can become. Also the pressure of people to do or buy certain things just because it is the thing to do, peer pressure and so on can be crazy. In fact, it is easier to forget that some things don’t cost anything but are worth all the gold in the world.

So what do you fill your house with?

I fill mine with:

  • love
  • trust
  • friendship
  • people I love
  • space to be me
  • understanding
  • time to dream
  • time to reflect
  • & chocolate cookies!

 I guess this time is the first year when I did not feel under pressure and it feels amazing. I have enjoyed making things, plan unusual gift tags, having a chocolate and mulled wine afternoon…

 

nutty chocolate slices with hazelnuts and pistachios. yummy!

nutty chocolate slices with hazelnuts and pistachios. yummy!

generally taking time to do things and enjoy social times in between. What can be better than that?!

So if this is my last pos of the year, have all a wonderful Xmas and enjoy the little pleasures along the way. I look forward to hear about some of them.

xx