Friday, 18 December 2009

Deck the halls

A week ago we put up our Christmas tree, we were the first on our row of cottages to do so but I just couldn't wait any longer, plus there is this supposed tree shortage this year so we didn't want to end up with a really duff one.

It just about fitted in the car and we spent quite some time dressing it. It made me think about how Christmas when I was little and how exciting it was unwrapping the baubles that you hadn't seen for a year and carefully picking a branch to hang them on. I'm lucky enough to have quite a few baubles which were on my mums trees when she was little. As well as an ever growing collection of vintage ones from charity shops and markets. We also treated ourselves this year to some lovely ones which look old but aren't. I'm not one for themed trees, or people who end up buying a new tree colour scheme every year. Christmas is all about nostalgia for me and I treasure these decorations. They are so nice I thought I'd share my favourites with you.

I love this decoration, it always makes me smile. Half gnome half fir cone.

This one is about 70 years old, I love the shade of pink and the drop shape to it. It's so delicate and dainty.

This was one I was always wowed by, it's an Arabian palace made from glass. It's very old and I can remember there being more of these when I was little.

This is a very very old one that was my mums, it's a little basket with brightly coloured flowers in.
Probably my favourite one, it's quite large and again dates back to my mums childhood trees. It had to have a bit of a silver tape repair on the top as it had cracked and the wire loop wouldn't stay put. I hope to see this bauble every Christmas.

This funny little fella came from a charity shop and only cost 10p, he's made from a bauble and is playing a fiddle. I think he is American vintage. Cute.

Phillipa gave me two of these little fir cone people. They had been made for a church fair and the outer hoop is made from some recycled strips of plastic packaging tape. Ingenious.

Just to finish the room off we pinned up my Tunnocks tea cakes bunting. Fantastic. A real home made treat.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Christmas Fairs and Wares

Last weekend I took part in the Unfold Christmas Fair as part of a collective called Sewing Circle. We did the same fair last year and found it a good thing to work towards with our crafting plus a really great way to spread the cost of a stall.
We used a large dolls house (the kind any child would dream of having) as the central display, setting our work out inside it like a miniature department store. Here's Karen (KEB) peeping over the roof.

'Second Floor, Heavens to Betsy'- This year I started selling as Heavens to Betsy rather than Miss Pussycat (which I have sold under for the last 9 years) I showed a collection of necklaces and brooches made from Liberty prints, vintage lace trims and vintage buttons. They had all been made during my Wednesday Knit, Natter, Stitch and Chatter sessions as they were a nice small transportable project, perfect for pub sewing.

This wooden collectibles display unit was perfect for showing mine and KEBs pieces.
Karen showed some lovely whale mobiles. The whales were made from felt, padded and with the neatest blanket stitch round the edges. The main frame of each mobile is an embroidery hoop. In the background are Mrs Anderson's Owls and Spaniel, vintage toy patterns brought to life in Liberty print cotton with vintage button eyes.

Mrs Anderson's Bunnies, Harris Tweed products and Strawberry Knit bags.

Mrs Anderson's craft kits to get novices started on the road to creative stitchery. Resistance is futile!

Patchwork bag kit made up, each of the Liberty prints have been labelled. I think I'm in love with 'Lucy's Farm' print and must buy some this weekend.

We all sold pretty well but best of all was chatting to people about sewing and crafting and telling people about the Knit, Natter group.

Only thing is now the craft fair is over what shall I make on Wednesdays? Is now the time to start on some of the more traditional projects I've had in mind? A patchwork quilt? Some Crewel work? Christmas gifts? Decisions decisions.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Grand day out

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate. It was amazing but so exhausting that I only now feel fully recovered to look at what was there and post it up.
We made it to Harrogate in good time (where it was a sunny, winters day) and piled straight into the International Centre. I cannot imagine how many stalls there were, not to mention the exhibitions. It was massive and everywhere I looked there was something to go mad over.
A real highlight for me was seeing the Royal School of Needlework graduate exhibitions, sadly photographs weren't allowed. The quality and detail of the work was exceptional, employing traditional techniques to produce contemporary pieces. The RSN, based at Hampton Court Palace, are so highly regarded they make all the coronation regalia for the monarchy. I'd love to have studied there.

Casting Off- 350 knitters from around the world knitted a sailing boat and the sea life to go with it.

I really wanted to bring this king crab home with me, what lovely crabby coloured wool.

Karen, Phillipa and I sat and ate our packed lunch in the Royal Hall, which had been turned into a tea shop/cafe for the show. It's a really amazing Edwardian Theatre, we sat on red velvet flip down seats to eat our sandwiches taking in our gold sculpted surroundings and planning the afternoons route round the stalls.

I bought lots of very special buttons from The Button Lady, her stall was dubbed 'the oooh ahhh stall' and it was just that. I totally blew my button budget without even a scrap of guilt. Watch this space to see what I have turned them into.

I also purchased a contemporary stitch piece of a Blue Tit by Catherine Ellis Roberts. I kept pondering over it all day but decided in the end, given that Joey seems to be single handedley annihilating our local Blue Tit population, it was just too lovely not to have. Will post a picture up when the little blue fella arrives in the post.
You can see more photos of the day on my Flickr page, there were too many to post them all on here.

My absolute highlight of the day however was the hairstyles of these two elderly ladies. It was amazing, sections of hair pinned into tiny curls from the crown, like a little hair hat.
To be honest I lost track of what I was there to look at and just followed their hair around for a good half hour. I've never seen anything like it and especially not in duplicate. Karen said they were probably spinster sisters/best friends who lived together and did each others hair.
I so wanted to be in their hair gang.


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