Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Rain rain....

What a rainy few days.

I rather like the rain, but for the kids on half term holiday it's always a shame if it goes on too long. But rain can be fun...we had a very wet walk to the post office yesterday and the kids loved splashing through the puddles on their scooters. Also its a good chance to do all those crafty things inside. The girls always get great crafty type birthday presents, there are some brilliant kits available to buy. Yesterday we did clickkits and paper coiling and this was the sight on our table on that wet soggy Bank Holiday Monday....( poor daddy had to work.. so we had a girlie day)

and the results...

decorated boxes with glittter inside, ontop , on the floor...pretty much everywhere.

and my eldest made this box and bracelet for her friends birthday.

I am pleased the sun is out as my smallest one has her friends' Garden party ' today....hope the weather holds. We have bought her friend some Charlie and Lola books. We love Charlie and Lola, created by Lauren Childs. Beautifully observed with great illustrations.

I should be tidying the house now as we have a family party later as my eldest turns 9 on Friday. We are taking a small group of girls to the cinema tomorrow, for a birthday treat... all a new thing for us as we usually do the traditional party thing but i have to accept that she is wanting more ' grown up ' parties. She does still want a pass the parcel though with forfeits!
Well i have put off that house cleaning for long enough so had better go and get on with it. Think i will recruit my 2 small helpers and hopefully make it a fun thing.
G x

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Take time to smell the roses...

Zephrine Drouhin
A highly scented thornless climbing rose

This year, as my elderly neighbour said to me yesterday, is
'a good year for roses'.

I had noticed that along our street several of the rose bushes were really full of blooms, ours included. I'd put it down to them enjoying the extra soaking they got last August when our entire street got flooded in freak weather.

I love roses, particularly for their scent. I love the deep reds and pinks best but also love the creamy white flowers which twinkle at dusk.
My eldest daughters's middle name is Rose after my Grandma.

Life has been really hectic recently and i feel as though my feet haven't touched the ground, hence the length between posts.

We have been very busy in the studio and lots of new things are on the go but none as yet completed. (apart from the pegbags).
Hampton Court Flower Show where we will be exhibiting in the Country Living Pavilion is looming. Very exciting but still lots to organise.

The evenings are taken up with redesigning our folkydokee website. My lovely technical man is onto this, I just have to keep him stocked up with wine and beer as an incentive.

There is lots to do in the garden with the veg growing in full swing and my girls are very busy with school activities and end of term shows. We are all pretty tired and are looking forward to the half term break. The housework just hasn't had a look in... so it's catch up for me (when i get a chance).

It's difficult to keep a balance when life gets so busy. Anyone got any tips to share for coping with juggling things at busy times ?

When i get caught up with the stress of life I always remember what my sister once said to me;

' take time to smell the roses'.

I'll leave you with that thought and wish you a happy weekend full of rose sniffing!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

School trip and pegbags

My 8 year old went on her first 3 day away school trip this week to an outward bound activity centre to do abseiling, archery, fencing, zip wire... etc... She had a great time and even the miserable weather didn't spoil it for her. I on the other hand found it a bit strange, especially as she couldn't ring home at all. I knew she would be fine but 3 days and no contact was pretty weird.
Luckily we had lots to do in the studio so that helped pass the time and Alice really did keep me busy.

We have made up 20 pegbags in different colours and fabrics.
They are rather a fun little design with either a flower or a heart opening through which you put your hand to get to the pegs. Alice designed these about 18 months ago and they are one of our most popular items. They are made from canvas and recycled fabrics and have a wooden hanger which can be removed for laundering.

stitching the letters

ready to sew up

some finished

We even got a request played on our local radio station this week ... and yes it was that old favourite copa cabana... a very long song and we danced the whole way through.. a great release for my nervous energy.

Finally, I would like to introduce you to Alice.
She has kept my spirits up this week and has made me laugh and laugh. Thank you Al x .

Alice sewing on the Industrial Bernina

Tommorrow is yoga again and I am really looking forward to it.
Have a good weekend. G x

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I love to take photos....

pink clemetis

I love taking photos, always have done.

I started when working with performing arts students, taking photos of their show dress rehearsals, to record the event and for costume reference. This was all done with a, now 'old fashioned' Minolta SLR camera. Digital cameras really have really transformed things. I am more snap happy than ever and clog up my computer with so many shots. I am in dire need of going through and editing them, but really can't spare the time as i'm too busy taking more!
The business has archive photos of pretty much most things we have ever made. This is good to jog the memory and is invaluable when repeat customers wish us to make new items to match.

Wisteria flowers

Tulip in bud

I have always enjoyed capturing a moment in time or recording something for reference. I am really inspired by the beautiful photographs i see on many blogs and I would love to experiment with photography further and learn more about lighting. I regulary take photos of my garden so that i can record that 'moment in time ' and the different stages of how the plants evolve. I keep these photos for my own pleasure but i would like to share these recent favourites with you. The clemetis is my absolute favourite as it is so delicate. I also love the effect of the blurred backgrounds in some of them.. not sure how it happened but am pleased with the results!

french bean .....just sprouting

forget me not

Thanks for letting me be self indulgent...Have a happy week.
G x

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Watts Gallery and some new brooches....

The Watts Gallery may be familiar to those of you who watched BBC2's Restoration programme last year. The Gallery is a museum dedicated to the work of Victorian painter and sculptor George Frederic Watts– the first (and now the only) purpose-built gallery in Britain devoted to a single artist. It is still very much in need of funds to safeguard it's future. If you would like to help please go to The Watts Gallery link (on sidebar) and click on The Hope appeal. Thank you.

There is another building close by connected to the Watts family and if you are ever in the area do go and visit. You will be enchanted.

This is the beautiful Watts Cemetery Chapel at Compton in Surrey. It was designed by Mary Watts, wife of George Frederic Watts in 1895 and built from local clay under Mary's guidance by the villagers of Compton. George and Mary were dedicated supporters of the Home Arts and Industries Association which aimed to revive the dying art of handicrafts among the working classes. The Chapel is a unique Arts and Crafts community memorial.

The exterior is amazing with terracotta relief friezes, inspired by patterns from celtic art, softened with art nouveau forms and full of symbolism.

Standing inside the small mortury Chapel is overwhelming and extremely moving. It is covered in gesso panels in reds, blues, greens and golds of angels, cheribium, and intertwined with swirling tendrils of the Tree of Life. Along the lower half of the walls are flowers - 'the gifts of nature' which were all painted by local children. It is these flowers and motifs from inside the Chapel which have inspired some new brooches which are to be sold in the Gallery Shop. We have been making them up this week and are really pleased with how they have turned out. We are also working on more designs including some sumptuous handbags, which i can't wait to do. It's always good to stretch ourselves in slightly different areas as it leads to new possibilities.

They are having a fete this Saturday so hopefully they will sell well for them.

We have also been making up some of our own little flower brooches, cards and hairbands this week as we are doing a local fundraising craft evening tomorrow night in aid of Chase.
Although we are working tomorrow evening ( not really work.. more social ), Friday is usually our day off from the Studio. We will still meet up though in the morning for yoga. I am starting back tomorrow after .. hmm.. about 4 years off.. bad girl. Know it will do me the world of good and will hopefully help me relax as this i often find hard to do. My little mind is always busy. Must go and rest it now on a big squashy pillow.

Monday, May 07, 2007

A little thing called love...

After 2 days of nursing a very sick child i am now recovered (as is she) and am very loved up after witnessing such a beautiful wedding this weekend. When we finally knew our eldest was almost back to normal after her sickness bug we decided, after all to settle the girls with my folks and to go to Norfolk as planned for a wedding celebration. It's not often my husband and i get a chance to go away alone and we were like excited children. After a long 5 hour journey ( friday rush hour on a bank holiday weekend on the m25 at 4.30pm..hmm... not a good idea), we arrived at the hotel. A rather grand hotel, so very different from our usual camping breaks! As i 'd had little sleep with my sick girl the previous night, i slept like a log. The wedding was the next day in a beautiful little church near Beccles in Suffolk.

It was my friend Melinda's wedding to her man Nick. The day was gorgeous with everyone in great spirits and the weather glorious. We had not met Nick before but as they spoke their vows i could see his face and the pure love and adoration in his eyes. I know they will be truly happy and am delighted that my friend has found such joy. The service was beautiful and the female vicar, full of enthusiasm, gave a great speech on marriage, companionship and love. On how to allow each other the space to blossom and of endurance to work through the difficult times. During our 10 year marriage we have dealt with loss, illness and much change but also joy, delight, fun and laughter.
Thank you to my kind, loving, slightly eccentric man for sticking with this quirky, slightly crazy girl. x (and here's hoping for another 10 years +).

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Flour Loft and a bit about us...

This is the Flour Loft studio where Alice and I design and handmake textiles from our large collection of recycled fabrics.

It is in an old bakery building in a pretty market town in Hampshire where we grew up. Alice and I have been friends for a very long time now, since the age of 11, many many moons ago. We went to secondary school together during which time we took an evening class in batik and indigo dying in this very room. So when the studio became available it was fate, like a full circle as here was where our love of textiles began. The room, like us, looks a little different now .. the large dye vats have been replaced with crates full of fabrics and one end of the room has been closed off completely to create a small kitchinette area.

Our business started over 5 years ago , very much from the kitchen table and very much around our 4 children. We are still primarily mothers and proud to be so, but as the children started school we were able to put in more and more time and although lovely to work from home, we soon realised that we needed a shared space. We moved into the Flour Loft 3 and a half years ago and feel fortunate to be there.

It is a lovely place to be.

The building is situated just behind the Market square, so we are right in the centre of town. To get to The Flour Loft , which is on the first floor, you must climb a decorative spiral staircase. Very pretty but not practical for moving furniture and stock up and down for shows! Inside the studio we have 4 old crickle windows, 2 on each side so we get plenty of sunshine streaming through. We have one large cutting table which came from a local fabric store which had closed down and 4 sewing machines. 2 lovely old Berninas ( both family heirlooms), a more modern Pfaff ( from my costume making days) and a reconditioned industrial which at this late hour i can't remember what it is.. another Bernina i think. Anyway we are well equipped.
We also have created a little office area and the best thing we bought besides an essentail computer was a 4 in one printer, scanner, photocopier and fax machine. We tend to mess around with scaling up and down different designs and this is invaluable.
Even more essential we have a little area to make tea and keep biscuits. The kettle is always the first thing to go on each morning!

This is a late post , so I'm off to relax now.
Happy dreaming.
G x