Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Something for your Christmas wish list...

I love books! Not only do I have several bookcases bursting at the seams, I also have little stacks of them all over the house so I can find them on my travels and stop for a quick browse in search of inspiration. I thought you might like to see one book I've been inspired by recently. It's Scissors, Paper, Craft' by the very brilliant Christine Leech (who also brought us 'Little Sew and Sew', 'Everything Oz' and 'Everything Alice').

There are 30 projects tucked away inside this snazzy book, from folk art wall stars, Japanese bound notebooks and a birdhouse desk tidy, to a birdcage pop-up card, giant gift roses and a very fabulous feather mobile...and what do they all have in common? They're all made from paper! 

I love the styling and photography in this book. It's really fresh, enticing and will have you reaching for your scissors and paper stash before you know it.

What a great way to keep all of your mail and important papery bits and bobs neat and tidy!

Every project has clear, easy-to-follow instructions and lots of step-by-step photos to help you along the way. The combination of written instructions, photos of many of the stages and close-up photos of the finished projects are really helpful (and will stop any mid-project panics when you think you might have gone wrong).

LOVE these notebooks!

Another example of the very fabulous instructions that accompany each of the projects. I can safely say that your finished projects will no doubt have a 100% success rate (although, don't hold me to that if the cat runs off with a piece or sits in the middle of the table where you're working. I'm speaking from experience here!)

How lovely to have a hand-crafted guest book for such a momentous and special occasion. This would make a fabulous gift for a friend...or you could keep it for yourself and use it as a crafty scrapbook to be filled with tales of a special holiday or magazine clippings of inspiration for future projects.

Here comes the very elegant (and long lasting).

Scissors, Paper, Craft is full of elegantly stylish ideas that are great for both beginners and those with a little more crafty experience under their belt.

These giant harebell fairy lights would be fabulous draped over a mirror at home all year round, or used at a special celebration to add that little finishing touch.

 Go star crazy and put strings of these folk art stars all over your house in time for Christmas.

There's a lovely feel to this book. It's like sitting down with an old friend and a cup of tea for an afternoon of crafting indulgence.

This is one of my favourite projects in the book. I love the colours and shapes. It's such a simple idea, but so effective. One of the many things that appeals to me about this book is how many of the projects I look at and find myself thinking, 'I could have a go at that'.


Scissors, Paper, Craft
by Christine Leech
Part of the Simple Makes Series
published by Quadrille

Thursday, 29 August 2013

'Thread and Thrift'

One of the great things about going to shows like The Festival of Quilts is discovering new textile artists whose work you can admire. I 'found' Mandy Pattullo at this year's Festival and I'm so glad I did...her work is so inspiring. Mandy is a textile artist and teacher who bases her work on collage techniques and uses all sorts of vintage loveliness in the pieces she creates.

I loved every piece in Mandy's 'Thread and Thrift' exhibition at this year's Festival of Quilts. Here's a look at some of my favourites...

Mandy uses a lot of vintage quilt pieces in her work, which really appeals to me. There's such a lovely quality to a piece of well-worn and much-loved quilt.

Patch Work 2

Applique, buttons, an old Harris Tweed label...there's so much to look at.

Thinking About the Flowers

Detaching Hexagons

I'd never thought of sewing pieced patchwork on to something so the back is on show (what a great idea). I think it gives it a real sense of how it was made and makes me wonder about the person who created it in the first place. I bet they never thought it would be used in a piece of textile art!

My Deer

I love how Mandy has made a collaged background for her perfectly stitched deer to peep out from.

Mandy's work is so evocative of a time gone by. According to The Festival of Quilts show guide Mandy's work 'relates to the thrift and 'make-do-and-mend' culture of past times, in particular utility patchworks and quilts made by women in domestic settings'.


So much to be inspired by. I'll certainly be keeping my eyes open for more of Mandy's work (she's got a blog too so I can pop in and see what she's working on as well).

[With huge thanks to Mandy for allowing me to write about her and use the photos of her work that I took at The Festival of Quilts] 

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Festival Fun

I had a fabulous day at the Festival of Quilts (at the NEC in Birmingham) last weekend. It's always a great show to go and this year was no exception...hundreds of amazing quilts to admire and lots of stalls selling tempting offerings (I had to ration myself or I'd have come home with a lorry load of fabrics and trimmings!)

One of the highlights of my day was meeting the very lovely Stuart from 'The Great British Sewing Bee'. We chatted about quilting and when I asked him how he was finding things since being on TV, he said he loved being able to talk to so many people about sewing. I think it's great that the the programme has inspired so many people to get stitching.

With so many wonderful quilts and quilt art on display, it was a job picking out which ones to share with you here's a small selection of the pieces I loved the most...

Apple Tree Book
Sandra Fowler

Just to Make You Smile
Gillian Travis

The Mouse and the Cuckoo Clock
Sally Snushall

Lucie Summers and Jenny Spencer

My Family
Stephanie Kirby

Gardener's Journal
Sue Whitby

Tracy's Reel Medallion
Tracy Aplin

Little Stars
Jean Ball

Book at Bedtime (detail)
Kate Crossley

Sorry - Not the Chelsea Flower Show!
Herti Estl

Three Spoons a Day (detail)
Maria Thomas

The Orchard
Jill Pargeter

Once Upon a Spoon (detail)
Sue Bibby

Transported - Full Circle
Terry Donaldson