Friday, June 29, 2007

Countdown....Days 4 and 3

Just a quick post tonight as i'm tired and need to get up at 6am bed is calling.
Yesterday was a chill out day. Catching up with household tasks.. like buying food, laundry..etc.. preparing for a week with me working long hours. The kids are excited as with both myself and my 'lovely' man back late they will be playing with friends every day after school and even having a few sleepovers. I also had a very early night, last night.. 9.30.. unheard of for me. I needed it as working a show can be exhausting.. on your feet all day.. long days.. chatting (well we are both very good at that).

Today was filled with final labelling, packaging and paperwork type things. Postcards have arrived and look good and the van is now packed thanks to Alice's 'lovely' man. (yes he really is lovely too). Tomorrow we leave early to go and set up and paint, put up shelves and get the space ready to display our stock.

Thank you everyone who has left supportive comments. I will leave you with some pictures of our fairie doll. We call her Isadora. Her dress is made from floral fabrics, mostly vintage , some retro , all with beautiful vintage lace trims. She has twine hair and and embroidered wings.


Hair and dress detail

Retro, wildflowers Isadora

Isadora Fairie ( late 40's/early 50's floral)

I am away now to dream with the fairies....

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Countdown.. Day 5

Arrived early this morning to the studio before Alice. Her lovely mum had only gone and swept the floor for us! Something we often forget in our haste to leave to go and collect the kids from school. And the table tops were cleared... which was great as we have one last lot of cutting out to do, which is now complete.
The post brought a proof of our new postcard which my lovely man ( he really is lovely... and he makes jam!) and I put together. It looked good so rang and ok ed them to go ahead and print. We had a brochure produced 18 months ago which is now out of date so thought a postcard reminder showing new products with our web address on would be good as brochures are costly to do and are a lot of work. Hopefully people who like our stand will pick one up for future reference.
It's been a finishing off day today really.... which is good ..but we want to make a few extras's best to make as much as we can as you can never have too much stock. From our point of view the joy of what we do is that everything varies... it makes it interesting for us and stretches our creativity. Although at stressful times like this maybe we question why we do it , as working up to a big show hand making all of our products is tough, we do have so much fun and really do love what we do. Our stuff whether you like our style or not really is handmade with love and care. We are always striving to improve and perfect although the fact that we hand make and that we are humans and not machines give rise to gentle variations, textural imperfections... you know what i mean. that handmade quality, which we rather like. It's getting late and I'm rather waffling.. something i could win prizes at...
Sorry no photos today .. I started this post earlier, then bathed and put girls to bed , then supper..... a bit of glueing and sticking ( making my youngest's carnival costume) , taking a few photos.... and now I'm writing this on the laptop.. a very old one acquired from a friend but with no photos stored on it. My 'lovely' man ( must find him a blog name) is on the main computer where all the pictures are and has just informed me that he is killing the old website! ooh... new one not ready but soon.. hopefully....!
I'm off to bed now... night night.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Countdown......Day 6

Hello again..
This countdown may not be a good idea as it is making me rather anxious as i can visibly see the days slipping by. But we do have a saying here at The Flour Loft.....

' We can only do what we can do'.

This i discovered recently is a well know saying from Hazel. (Alice's mum). She has a lot of others too and in a recent debate on what constitutes being a homemaker she shared another one.

'You don't have to be at home all day to be a homemaker'.'s a case of ...'we can only do what we can do'. We all seem to set unrealistic targets for ourselves and then beat ourselves up when we can't attain them...Sorry this wasn't where i was going with today's post.

Well back to Hazel and also Jane's comment here yesterday.

' What would we do without mothers eh?

Hazel as i have said is Alice's mum. To call her eccentric is an understatement. She is outspoken, lovable, warm and kind. (a bit like her daughter!) I'm the quiet one.. hadn't you guessed?
She has been with us in the studio today carefully putting raffia in to our specially made boxes for our collectable dolls. It's been great fun to have her around and she really has displayed them beautifully. We are very fortunate to have really supportive families who help out by giving their time either by looking after the children or with little jobs now and then. Thanks folks. x

We have finally agreed on a name for our traditional style rag doll. After lovely suggestions and comments (i did rather liked Esme), we have decided not to individually name her but like all our other dolls give her a generic name . We are calling her Matilda.

This was one of lovely Tracy's suggestions , so Tracy if you are reading this please email us with your postal address and favourite colour and we would like to send you one of our flower brooches as a thank you.
Here are a few of the new Matilda dolls we will be taking to the show.

Matilda Rose with vintage box pleat skirt, suede jacket with delicate vintage rose trim.

Matilda gold's skirt is made from a beautiful vintage brocade and the jacket is linen with ric rac trim.

Matilda Oilily has an 80's Oilily fabric skirt, bright pink silk jacket and green hair ribbon.

Matilda flowers with box pleated skirt made from a vintage floral fabric (we believe late 40's or early 50's ) , needle cord jacket with lace detail and lilac hair ribbon.

I think my favourite is Miss Oilily. I think she looks rather well groomed and sweet. (not at all like me at this precise moment.. wonder if i can fit a hair cut in before the show? )

Till tomorrow...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Countdown.....Day 7

Hello, it's Day 7 in my countdown. It is exactly one week before the Gala Preview at Hampton Court Flower Show. Can't get off that rollercoaster now!
It does seem strange to be writing again so soon, so will just fill you in about progress today.

Picked up some knitted teacosies first thing from a lovely lady who lives in our village who has been kindly making some up for us. Then on to my mums who after a quick call to this morning said she would look after my 6 year old small person who threw up all over the landing last night! Poor little love. She woke up this morning full of beans as if nothing had happenened, but could obviously not go to school (just in case). She packed her colouring things, glue and scissors and was delighted to have nanny all to herself. I then went on to the studio.

Today i wanted to sew up some more flower brooches, many of which i had prepared some time ago. They are all different and each one is individually designed, from fabric combination to thread stitch colour through to final button finishing touch.

Threads chosen and ready to sew

I try and vary them as much as possible so most people can find a colour combination they like. So some are wacky and retro, some pretty and tonal and some simple and natural... and lots more in between.

A finished flower

Me and my summer brooch. I have 3 in different colours.

Alice has been finishing handbags today made by recycling various collected fabrics and giving them an Alice twist. Will try and photograph for you to see before the end of the week. We will only have a few but they really are special and we feel very original. A case of the fabric leading the design.

Our young friend A popped in today too and helped me prep some more flower cards.

A was one of our work experience students from a local secondary school last Summer. She is extremely talented and has a fantastic confidence with colour. She has just left school and is awaiting her results. We work with a scheme called Trident who organise work experience placements for year 10 pupils. We had 2 girls last year and are due another mid July. A very worthwhile thing to do and our way of giving something back to our local community.

See you on day 6.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Going slightly mad...

Well i really must confess i am already slightly mad but this week is just pushing me further into that crazy world of stress and tiredness.. a great combination. Alice said i should post a photo of myself. (as i have already put one of her up). Well i really don't ever look good in a husband always says i look better in real life as i have a very animated face.. maybe he is being kind. The ones Alice took yesterday do portray a kind of craziness and are also a little blurry ( a blessing maybe ). Well here goes....

Sewing on Alice's trusty Bernina. They are great old machines. I have one too from the 1970's . It was my mother in laws but i inherited it about 5 years ago. They really are fantastic.

We have finished our new shoppers and i can reveal some of our other designs...

My favourite are the peas

and the onions.

And here are the cherries.

We also have strawberries and carrots as well as the apples.
You can tell i have been inspired by my veg growing this year. We have had a lot of rocket and lettuce so far, along with the raspberries but are now waiting for the potatoes, carrots and onions. The dwarf beans are coming on well too thanks to the rain. And this is an exciting sight... the cherries ripening....

Just one week now to Hampton Court so if i can get on the computer (my man is doing our website most evenings) then i will do a kind of countdown.
So today, Sunday is day 8. and i will count down to day 0 ( lift off!) which is Monday 2nd July... our final dressing of the stand and then the Gala evening from 6pm.

Yesterday we brought the paint, some high visibility vests for the get in (very sexy) and sourced some shelving. Today we have been making more stock and i have put together a press release (awaiting Alice's approval).
Tommorrow,.. well tomorrow is another day with lots more to do!
until then...
ginny x

Friday, June 15, 2007

day off?

Today is Friday my day off. No yoga today as the class has stopped till September. There are classes on other mornings when it's not possible for me to go. I shall have to remember to stretch when i can.. between the sewing machine and the ironing board i expect!.
I have done some useful things today. No .. not tidied up (although my brother in law and girlfriend are coming down from Leeds to stay tomorrow) . I really am good at putting that housework off till the last minute. No, I have actually washed and line dried some base cloth (a sustainable cotton/ hemp mix ) for our new shopper bags. Then the rain came. Just managed to get the first lot in and then rigged up this indoor line..

Did the trick and fabric is all pre shrunk and pressed. Lovely. Just need to applique them now... oh and sew them up. All the motifs and straps have been designed weeks ago, fabrics carefully selected and prepped ready to be applied. Here is my sample one which i am happily using.

They are a kind of anything bag. Our version of a nip to the veg shop bag, library bag or just fun shoulder bag to chuck everything in for a day out. They have an outside pocket for your purse so no rummaging deep and an inside key loop. We are gradually moving over to sustainable or organic base cloths wherever possible. This fits well with our recycled fabrics and ethos and just feels the right thing to do. We have wanted to do this for a while but for a small company like ourselves pricing has been and still is a consideration. Will post some others soon when they are completed. They are all different. We always individually design each item and use many varying fabrics. We usually do a limited number using the same fabric. In using recycled fabrics once a piece runs out then it's gone thus keeping products varied and we feel, more interesting. We have 6 motif designs.. won't spoil it but suffice to say i am still feeling fruity!

apple shopper

I have also spent lots of time reading and commenting on many blogs... well it is my day off ( not that i should have one as i've far too much to do ). Am over at the studio tomorrow so i don't feel guilty. I wanted also to say thank you to everyone who leaves comments here. We really appreciate them. There are a lots of questions out there on the ether at the moment that i have been enjoying today:
When does something become vintage?, questions about buying handmade or mass produced and what constitutes originality? Lots of food for thought. If you are interested in reading more the blogs are raindrops, snapdragon and gigibird.
Unfortunately i probably won't have much time to blog over the next few weeks in the build up to the Hampton Court Flower Show ( 2nd till the 8th July) . I will hopefully post some of our new stock for you to see though and also will take lots of photos of our stand etc to show on our return. Wish us luck.. this is a very big show for us and we are very nervous about it.
We are also busy redesigning the folkydokee website which needs to be up in early July to coincide with the show.. not sure if we are going to make that. We can but hope. I'm still photographing products each evening against a piece of painted shiplap propped up on my birthday present easel. Won it on ebay 18 months ago with the intention of doing some painting but haven't quite got around to it. Still it has been useful for the photos!
Have a great weekend.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Feeling fruity

I love being in the garden at this time of the year as there are many treats to be found. I have been snap happy these last few days finding lots of lovely plants to photograph. Here are a few of the fruity pics.
We have alpine strawberries everywhere and my smallest one collected this whole little tubful today.

They are very sweet with full flavoured strawberryness. All have been eaten.. well we couldn't possibly waste them could we ?

We also had the first few raspberries today. These are newish plants ( only 4 of them ) but are full of slowly ripening berries. The girls couldn't wait to try them...

We only had a few but savoured every moment.

I also have a gooseberry bush, brought for me as a gift for making my sister in laws wedding dress some 8 years ago. The bush is still going strong unlike sadly the marriage which has not lasted. It is a very spiky bush so it's a mama job to pick the berries and not for the small ones.

I picked a little punnets worth, just enough to make into a goosberry crumble.. Not quite enough to make jam yet , so maybe i'll get another bush ready for next year.

We also have a little morello cherry tree which has lots of, as yet, unripe cherries on it.. just hope we get to them before the birds!

It gives me so much pleasure to grow just a few things in our garden to eat and for the family to to have that real connection with our food. I have secretly always wanted to be Barbara from The Good Life and as my husband is getting into the veg gardening this year, i have taken to calling him Tom. We have as yet have no hens, pigs or goats... but maybe one day? !
I am rested thanks to my day in the garden with the girls , so hopefully am all ready for another full on week of sewing. Stock levels are rising thankfully as only a few weeks till Hampton Court now. Those sewing machines are going to be steaming.
Have a good week. G x

Monday, June 04, 2007

New dolls...

Introducing our new traditional rag doll.....

A sweet doll with stripey or spotty tights, little suede shoes, a swing jacket with outsize buttons and coordinating skirt ( either kilt style or gathered ). She has an embroidered face , jute locks and pretty hair ribbon. She does not (as yet) have a name.......

We have loved designing and making her and her friends. There are about 12 more finished and ready to photograph in a variety of different fabrics and colours.( will post these soon ).
These dolls have been individually designed and many of the fabrics and trims used are vintage and precious. They are designed as decorative dolls for adults and older children and their clothes are sewn fixed. So not really for young children unless used as an ornament and put out of reach of little hands until a bit older. ( not for under 3 years due to buttons and twine hair ).

We have not been able to agree on a name for her and welcome your comments and suggestions... please....

All our other dolls have a generic name, eg our fairy dolls are all called Isadora and our gardener dolls are all called Flora. These rag dolls are so individual that we can't decide if we should name them all individually or give them an overall generic name. Maybe their new families would prefer to choose the name ?

Here is another doll who we thinks looks very French ....maybe she should have a French name?

The kilt style skirt is a needlecord with a bold floral print and i love the jacket with the ric rac trim and retro buttons. Very stylish.

Other news.
My daughter had a lovely extended birthday this year... Family party on Thursday, Pirates of the Carribben birthday treat with her friends on Friday and the first b.b.q of the year spent with family friends on Saturday. We have all had some late nights this half term and the girls went back to school with hollow eyes this morning .. still they have had fun! So it is once again back to the normal routine of work during the school day and as we have less than 4 weeks to Hampton Court , work at any other time possible!
Have a good week.
G x