Friday 26 November 2010


I am currently enjoying reading 'Katherine' by Anya Seton, a novel based on the life of Katherine Swnford. Having read a factual biography of Katherine not so long ago, I was discussing her life with a work colleague, who later presented me with this book as a gift (what a lovely surprise!) Having spent the last couple of months with my head inside 'The Seven Basic Plots', (which, though incredibly interesting and fascinating, has needed lots of concentration and thought), it is a pleasant change to just enjoy a story. The character of Katherine in the novel is captivating, (although it always helps if the heroine is beautiful - naturally) and of course, her counterpart, John of Gaunt, is portrayed as the equivalent of Rhett Butler - suitably heroic but with a dash of darker characteristics. It is the perfect book to be reading at this time of year, when it is dark at 4.00pm. An open fire, good book and some chocolate are the perfect antidote to the cold (and my favourite way to spend an afternoon or evening).

Thursday 25 November 2010

Embroidery stitches

Above is my other latest purchase in the book department and it is a fantastic resource. It shows an amazing number of embroidery stitches with step by step instructions and includes embroidery as well as tapestry stitches. I am particular interested in 'seeding stitch' and in different stitches that I can use for plant forms. It is a really inspirational book to dip into and has given me lots of ideas for embellishing my felt work. Now I need to sit down (with no other distractions) and finish off those pieces. Once they are complete, I can start on some new pieces.

On a totally unrelated matter, this morning I noticed that the ice on top of the car had formed into the most incredible swirling patterns. Why is it that I never have my camera with me when I need it? As the cold icy and snowy weather is due to continue into next week, hopefully all is not lost and I may be able to take some photos tomorrow.
(Photo from

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Angelina again...

Having investigated, in a very small way, the way Angelina works, I decided I needed some guidance on the subject, to know just what can be done with it. Trawling through various websites, I found only one book - 'Between the sheets with Angelina' - (rather a tongue-in-cheek title, I thought) so ordered it. I wasn't disappointed as it has lots of ideas and examples of exciting things Angelina fibres can be used for, from embossing to adding to scarves, the list is wide and varied. I think I need to keep the 'less is more' mantra in my head when I use it though, as it would be very easy to get carried away and it would then lose its impact and would detract from the felt. I have just ordered some more Angelina in 'Forest Blaze' and 'Peacock' as I felt these colours would work well with my felt landscape pieces. Now to do some more experimenting.
(Photo from

Friday 19 November 2010

More on Angelina

Here are my first rather tentative experiments using Angelina fibres in various different colours. The camera does not really do them justice as they are a lot more reflective and sparkly than they appear. I combined a few different colours to see what the effects would be and then cut into a piece to investigate various shapes and cut lines. I can see possibilities within my felt making as I can apply pieces and attach them with embroidery as well as trapping fibres during the felt making process. I also tried to punch shapes out, but that wasn't quite so successful, as the end result didn't have the clean edges I was hoping for. I am going to have a lot of fun experimenting!

Thursday 18 November 2010

Hello to Angelina

I was busy doing my ironing and happened to be watching QVC crafting one Tuesday, when the presenter demonstrated Angelina fusible fibres. I had never heard of them before and was intrigued. She laid various strands of the fibres in between some non stick parchment paper and ironed over the top for all of three seconds or so. The fibres bonded together to create a fabric with lots of sparkle! This material can be sewn into, stamped on etc. and I could see huge potential for embellishing my felt work. The fibres stick to each other and not to any background fabric so could be placed and secured with wool in a felt piece.
I started to investigate via the internet and ordered a selection of colours so that I can experiment. I am looking forward to finding out what can be done with this material. It has been around for a few years and seems to have originated in America, as so many of the crafting materials do. I'll post some of my experiments onto my blog and you can watch my progress...

Monday 15 November 2010

Craft Fairs and websites

I went to two little craft fairs last weekend and there was a lot of interest in my felt landscape images as well as the hears and stars. People wanted to know all about the inspiration and the felt making process and were extremely complimentary about the work.
However, encouraging people to buy something was a little more of a challenge! I did get one commission for a twilight felt piece and I sold a few of the hearts and stars, so more than covered my costs.
I shall have a think about next year - perhaps I should spread my wings and take part in larger craft fairs and set up a shop on folksy. I have also been rethinking the website and have come up with a layout I hope will work. Now I just need Chris to get it all up and running for me! No pressure there, Chris!

Tuesday 9 November 2010

A Little Treasure

Chris and I enjoy pottering round little antique shops when we have the time, and we did just that recently. There was a pile of original art work on the floor, in a bit of a muddle, and we spent quite some time looking through it and sorting it out into better order. Amongst the endless life drawings (we came to the conclusion that the owner of the work may have been an art tutor and had kept his students' drawings), there were several watercolours that caught our eye. There was a variety of skill on show from lots of different artists and we saw the above little sketch and both really liked it. It reminds me of a snowy day and is very atmospheric. It is quite small - 16.5 cm x 12cm approximately.
We don't know who painted it as it has no name or date, but it is going to have a new lease of life in our house, once we have had it framed. You never know what you are going to find in an antique shop - sometimes nothing, sometimes lots of things you would like, but can't afford, and just occasionally, a little treasure.

Monday 8 November 2010

Fabulous Fireworks!

As we live near the local football ground, we are treated to a free show of the City Council's Firework 'Spectacular' each year around 5th November, and this year, it was held last night. I like to try to challenge myself and my camera and see whether I can capture any of the explosion of colour.

I was really pleased with these photos - for a little 'point and click' digital camera, I think it has done a really good job.

All I have done to the photos is to crop them down using Photoshop; other than that, they are as the camera took them.

These last two really show the explosion of the fireworks and the bright colours.

I particularly like the red firework to the right of this image and I think it is quite amazing that photography can capture and hold that split second. Fireworks are one of the most ephemeral of things - they last for such a short time, but we can now relive the moment. Where would we be without photography?

Sunday 7 November 2010

Flowers to lift the spirits

I was out in the garden this morning and noticed this little Dianthus 'Moulin Rouge', which had put out three gorgeously scented flowers - even at this time of year and with the weather closing in a bit. I decided to cut them and bring them inside to help to lift the spirits. Yes, it is Autumn and yes, the weather will get worse before it gets better, but nature still has the odd surprise up her sleeve to make you stop and think "Wow!"
Long may that continue!

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Scandinavian inspired felt

I have been busy making some more stock for the upcoming small craft fairs I'm going to. Last year, the white stars with red embroidery sold well, so I have made a few more, adding gingham ribbon instead of the satin one I usually use. I like the Scandinavian influence and am considering doing some plain red with white embroidery too. I hope they will prove popular!

Monday 1 November 2010

Autumn descends...gently

As I had a wander around the garden yesterday, I noticed how gently autumn has descended on the plants. There are still colours to be seen, but in the fading leaves and flowerheads. Rich shades of red, orange, yellow, russet and brown are dominant, but there are still some flashes of brighter colour as a final fanfare.

Hydrangea Arborescens Annabelle, gracefully turning to brown

Rich chocolate and yellow from the leaves of Magnolia 'Susan'

Jewel shades in the leaves of a Blueberry

A flash of brilliant fuchsia pink in the rose leaves of 'John Paul II'
Although it is sad to think that the garden is getting ready to hibernate for a few months, the wonderful thing about gardening is the promise of next year. And there are still some beautiful colours to enjoy before Winter comes.