Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Summer time.....

Happy Summer sunshine to you. It has been glorious here in the South of England.. I hope it has been good wherever you are. A bit of sunshine is so good for the soul. I just adore closing my eyes and feeling the sun's warmth on my face. It makes me feel so alive .. it's like the sun re energises me. As promised i will show you some of the things we have made recently. These little pretties are our Summer bags made from linen combined with recycled fabrics and buttons. We made these for Hampton Court but due to the bad weather (rain, rain and more rain) we only sold a small amount of them. Now the sun is out again they kind of make sense and we are putting them into our Summer sale as we would like them to go to new owners before the weather goes pear shaped again. No... i am actually optimistic that this warmth will be here for a while especially as we're off camping soon!

This is a pretty rose floral which had originally been a skirt and jacket set brought whilst a thrifting. We have used the same fabric for a beautiful Isadora doll which was bought as a christening gift at HC. I so love the button on this one as it picks up the pale gold in the print.

This pretty floral fabric is another Liberty tana lawn. I just adore this print. We have a flower peg bag in the same fabric which i am secretly coveting ( not told Alice yet).

Oh i do have fun.. these photos were done with the self timer (hence slight blurriness as i wasn't there to focus on..if you know what i mean).. i think my neighbours must think i'm mad.. or just plain vain photographing myself all the time, as that's what it must look like from over the fence. I am actually trying to photograph the bags .. really.. ( which 'bag' as my husband delights in saying)! This cherry bag is really sweet. The fabric is a tana lawn. I love the richness of colours in this print and i often use it for the flower brooches as it combines so well with a variety of colours and textures.

This little strawberry is fun. It's a red, and white floral sprig and has a tiny bit of black in too. The button is an unusual black vintage one. These bags are lined with calico and have pockets on each side .. one large enough for a phone and two smaller ones for essential lipstick and hankerchief. The bag dimensions are approx 34cms across and depth (excluding straps) is about 24cms. We designed them for adults and had a bit of fun with the fruity applique motifs but they seem to be appreciated by any girl from about 10 and are great for teenagers. My two both want one ... probably as mum made them, although my 9 is getting more particular and the fact that she likes them is compliment indeed. Here she is modelling an apple one.

We have had lunch out today at the park.. lots of time playing and a girls shopping trip to buy a few new summer clothes for our hols. Always feel i should make them but never quite get around to it.. most of the items we bought were in the sales so i didn't feel quite so bad. I really only try to buy what we need although sometimes it's fun to have a treat. Also today my faith in human nature was restored. My parking had run over by 20 or so minutes... As we approached the car (panting... ) the parking attendent was just issuing a ticket.. I was prepared to pay as i knew i was late ( a hold up at the checkout).. but the lovely lovely man .. took pity on me and said if he could reverse it he would. He could and he did. I was astonished and very grateful. The girls and i then had a discussion about good karma and decided that when he got home that night his wife would have made him his favourite meal and pudding!
The 'Summer' bags are on our website although not put in the sale yet.. need hubby to update for me . They will be sold at £20 if anyone is interested just drop me an email.

Well done if you made it down to this bit.. i know i always make my posts too long.. can't seem to help it... am a bit of a rambler in real life too. Anyway....
Here's to another day when we have to wear our sunhats!

Saturday, July 28, 2007


I have been awarded a blogger Reflection award by Ally, a mother and great face painter from Canada. Thanks Ally... I'm not sure if i deserve it but i am touched and very grateful. Check out her blog
Simply Nice
, when you get a chance.
I am now to choose 6 blogs for the same Reflection award and then contact them letting them know. I understand that i need to pick blogs which have touched me or inspired me in some way. It is hard to choose as i enjoy reading so many blogs for a variety of different reasons.

The blog which has inspired me the most is

It is because of her that i have been reading 'Timeless Simplicity' by John Lane and that my husband made vanilla ice cream ... delicious. What i love about Willows's blog is that she shares with us her journey in low impact and simple living.


2. is the amazing Tash at Vintage Pretty

Her blog is inspirational. Not only are her photographs of flowers,veg and wildlife stunning but she raises many questions and debates on ethical issues.. from seasonal food, food production methods, to toxins present in everday products and other enviromental issues. A blog to make you think with photographs to make you dream.

Dad's Dahlias

3. is Jane from
Snapdragon's Garden

Her passion and love of her small business growing cut flowers is inspiring.She writes most days and is often the first blog i read in the morning. As i know Alice does too. She likes a good debate and i love reading her comments. Direct and to the point , just like Alice. Jane also makes textile crafts which she sells through her website.

Posy of Dahlias

4.Tracy from 'Cupcakes at Home'

A blog full of beautiful creations and many photographs of her 'girls'. Tracy is off to live the life in Scotland starting with building a home with her partner Stephen. I am so excited for her and look forward to joining her as she writes about this new journey on her blog. Since starting the Flour loft, she has been really supportive and left lovely comments. I have also ordered a special something from her for my daughter's birthday. Will reveal soon.


5. is Marie Chantel at
Wild Rose

Marie is from Toronto and has a natural skin care range. Her blog is really informative and of particular interest to me as i am passionate about growing herbs. She seems like a lovely sweet soul and i find her blog warm and friendly.

Sweet Myrtle
6. Emma at Sew Recycled

I have only recently found Emma and have been reading back in her archives. She is a fellow textile artist also using recycled fabrics. She has 2 young children and I instantly liked her when she said she loved Charlie and Lola as i love them too! A recent post showed her boys enjoying a magical place
which thanks to her link we are set to check out this Summer.

Geranium in bud

Well i hope if you don't already know the 6 i have highlighted that you will go and have a look at their blogs. I have been taking photos of the garden again today as you can see (the geranium bud was taken a few weeks ago). I may get around to showing some creative stuff soon too and to talking about the business which is ticking over, but is in need a few more web updates. A big new project is now underway which i will talk more of in the weeks ahead.
Thank you to all who stop by, i really enjoy linking up with you all and hearing your comments. Happy Sunday.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Friends,Hollyhocks and Cake...

Hello there....Yes i am still on the Hampton Court aftermath.. This time i would like to share with you some of the friends.. some new and some old we have met at the show and link to their websites. I was hoping to take photos of their stands but i didn't quite get it together.

Jane (and Jane)...started in business around the same time as us designing and producing in the uk, beautiful garments for women and girls in the softest jersey pointelles, all hand dyed in beautiful soft colours using non toxic dyes.
Check them out as they are exceptional quality and so easy to wear. Lovely women too.

We met Bev and her husband Steve for the first time at the show. They are a friendly kind couple, who minded our stand on the first morning when we got caught in traffic (us and loads of other exhibitors.. static for 40mins and only 5 mins drive away.. i walked 3 miles although it felt like 20 and then Alice caught me up in the car arghh.. hot , sweaty and not too chirpy.... thankfully most exhibitors are a good bunch and are always on the look out for each other and Bev and Steve were just like this.) Bev worked for Royal Daulton for many years and has now branched out on her own. They have a studio in the Staffordshire potteries and create all their own shapes which are then decorated with Bev's designs. Alice brought her individual teapot/mugs as thank yous for her mother and mother in law who had been taking care of the boys.

A lovely woman who along with her business partner Angela makes beautiful classic yet funky wool handbags. We shared the tea runs with her during the week. Danny also has her own fashion range and we hope to pop down to Bristol to visit her new store sometime.

This was the stand next to us. They sold organic linens which were block printed in India by a small workshop set up by owner Hilary. She has been passionate about organic, fair trade, and local produce for many years. Check out her website as she runs a farm, shop, cafe, holds courses, and rents out yurts. The farm is in Cirencester and looks well worth a visit.

Linda handmakes fantastic soaps which Alice always buys when we see her at shows . I brought some from her too this year as thank yous for all my friends who had been taking care of my girls after school. My favourite is 'cottage rose', a soft fragrance with geranium and palmerosa oils...divine.

We love Jane and Edward and have been opposite them at Country Living Christmas for the last few years... it was through them that we met lovely Sally ( on my side bar).. an amazing photographer and beautiful person.. Her book is delightful. Janes's ceramics are beautiful too and the smell of her scented candles is pure heaven.. i have many! They were exhibiting large sculptures mainly and had a pitch outside braving the elements.. luckily the weather broke and the second half of the week was warm and dry.

This week i have been having fun with my girls, and with my cooking companion.....

The River cottage Family cookbook
by Hugh Fernley Whittingstall and Fizz Carr

we made this very yummy Victoria sponge after school on Tuesday...

I think Hugh is fab and i brought this book for the family at Christmas.. it really is so brilliantly written, he works through each basic ingredient, giving background info for greater understanding and showing how to use them in different receipes.( the choc chip cookies are to die for).
This cake was a team effort with my girls... it took a while to put together (as these things do when juggling each task between us and keeping it fair).. and whisking the double cream by hand was a little like torture but we got there in the end. I do not profess to being a great cook and i often lack inspiration and confidence, but i do enjoy the creativity of cooking and really try and inspire my girls to feel excited about it too. We were very proud of our cake and all had a piece for tea.. it really was quite scrumptious!

Hope you are all keeping safe from the rain..... we have our sandbags out just in case..

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Darling buds

Here are some more photos of the Daily Mail's Darling buds of May feature garden;

Cottage garden.

Pig shed in the background.. complete with mum and piglets......

hungry piglets.

Traditional compost heap
( see side bar link for info on composting )

Lovely old morris van filled with produce from the veg plot.

Dahlias and lilies

the cutting garden.

Scene complete with garage and old Esso petrol pump..

and village shop with more overflowing flower beds.

I have still have some photos to share of other things from the show but will save them for now and let you enjoy the nostalgia.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Inspiring gardens

Hampton Court Palace taken from a bridge over the Long Water

I have finally come back to earth after last week and have rested and taken some time out. The show was great for us and we were really pleased with how it all went. It is a lot of work putting together a stand at one of these larger shows but it is well worth the extra effort. It all came together just as we had planned and the new range with all the fruit and veg fitted perfectly... We also received lots of lovely comments on the overall look of the stand too.

Apart from the very muddy, rainy start to the week and a drip on our stall (at least we were inside!), the remainder of the week was lovely and sunny. We also got a chance to look around and I
thought i would share with you some of the gardens that caught my eye.

This is the small garden fom Alton Infants School , which is in the town where our studio is.

The garden represents a microcosm of the school grounds and has been designed for education and fun. As the Chinese proverb says, 'I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand'. The garden teaches the children conservation, recycling, organic gardening, plant and animal life cycles and caring for the world.
They won best small garden and a gold medal. They did have a chicken too but apparently only there for 'press day'.

Another beautiful small garden was 'Selborniensis', I was drawn to this garden not realising it was created by two women from our locality. It is inspired by the work of naturalist Gilbert White.
I love the use of the apple as a screen, the relaxed naturalistic planting and the clay sculptures.

Best in Show was this fantastic garden;
The Growing Schools Garden - learning outside the classroom

designed by the lovely Chris Beardshaw. It illustrates how teaching and learning can take place outside the classroom and has been created with participation from children of all ages from more than 30 schools. This spider and web is fantastic and i expect we will be seeing them pop up in schools throught the uk!

The Daily Mail had a large feature garden 'The Darling Buds of May', and as you can imagine it was full of nostalgia and extremely popular. They even had a Pig with her piglets who liked to sleep in a row in the sun. Very cute!

And my favourite view was of the lovely lovely veg!

Other inspiring favourites were
The Torres Tapas Garden
The Giving Garden
The Smile Garden
The 'Chase' Secret Garden
Wildlife Garden in a Skip

After all the rain we've had my garden is in need of lots of attention.. and now i have a few new ideas...i wonder if the kids would like to make a giant spider?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Show week

Hi again...
I am shattered tonight (thurs) so will just keep it brief ( if i can)and post some stand photos.

Shed door with handmade handbag, garland and applique apple curtains.

Flora ( gardener) dolls in presentation boxes.

Handbags and cushions

Apple and strawberry t shirts

Lemon drizzle cake and wellies (ours as it has been so muddy).

Alice and me (i) on Wednesday ( Alice's birthday).
Happy Birthday Al!

Today (thursday) has been a great day and everyone who came on the stand was lovely. The weather was so much better which i feel put everyone in a more cheerful mood... that and lots of Pimms! My sister and aunt came on a coach trip from Alton (where our studio is) to the show today. It has been great for Alton as a local infant school won a prize for the best small garden. There is also a Hampshire garden 'Selbourneiseis' which was designed bya local woman... i loved it. Selbourne is a pretty village just outside Alton where naturalist Gilbert White lived.
I have taken some photos and will post them soon.
Off to bed early tonight. The show is open 10 till 7.30 so its a long old day..i need rest.
Thanks again for all the supportive comments. Much appreciated. I will spend next week catching up on all your lovely blogs.

Countdown ....Day 0

Monday .. day 0 in the countdown.
On Monday .. off to the Palace again. This time to put all the stock out.
Our stand design was inspired by our recent fruit and veg appliques and we wanted to create a potting shed feel. We used an old door stained up , old roofing boards, victorian clay plant pots (some i had , others sourced from my local recycling centre) and an earthy wash for the walls .

Painted and ready for the stock to go in.

A quick preview of the finished stand.

The galvanised watering can for our flowers is borrowed from my mum ... it was originally my Grandads ( my earliest memories of gardening were with my Grandad ).
Will put up some more detailed shots tomorrow but i need to sleep now.. it's been a long day.
All is going well at the show. We have had great feedback about our new products and have sold lots of stuff. Tuesday was a great day, despite the bad weather.
Thanks for comments about the website .. my mr ' lovely' is pleased that you have found it's easy to use and that the feed back has been positive. Once the show is over we will add more bits and tweak it and hopefully do the online 'buy now ' thing too.
Night night blog friends.
G and A

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Countdown ....days 2 and 1

Saturday.....Day 2 in the countdown
Van all packed and ready to go ....off to the Palace!
Hampton Court Palace

Took wrong turning and ended up going in the main gate.... good photo opportunity though, before we turned the van around.

Finally found our stand space in the Country Living Pavillion. All stands are painted magnolia... but Alice seems to have found a mark on ours...
...so we'll have to paint it! That's Alice's lovely man there doing a spot of painting.

There's me doing a spot of drilling ( which i rather enjoyed)

Closing up for the night.

Shelves put up ( old roofing boards from our local reclaimation yard),
Stand painted ( we had always intended to do this), and stock ready to put up on Day 0 (Monday). Don't you love our high visibility vests.. rather fetching we thought.

Driving out through the palace grounds deer park... we saw lots of deer with their young.

Arrived home at 5.30 ready to go to our local carnival. Alice and her man were in it with their boys school. My little one was in it ... complete with zebra costume. It was a very wet one but come rain or shine we brits just get on with it.. great fun.

Sunday.. day 1 A family day, with last minute bits and bobs to finish.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Just a quickie...

Hi .. We are there! Will update with photos and final countdown tonight. Just to let you know our new website is up.. any feed back, spell checking etc would be greatly received. It won't be ready to buy online for another week. phew, i'm amazed we have managed to put it up. My extremely lovely man has been working so hard on this in his spare time. He has really earn't his 'lovely' title.
Well i'm off for the first day of the show now... thanks again for all your friendly and supportive comments.
here's to a busy day.