Sunday, 26 April 2009

Hats and Homemade Homes

There's so much I could write, I just don't know where to start! Let's begin with yesterday's adventure. The husband - Mr Treasure (as he shall now be called) - and I decided to take off to the Big Smoke to see the sights and blow away the cobwebs. I've been itching to see the latest exhibition at the V&A - 'Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones', so off we went. The exhibition was fabulous, with all its vintage-inspired cases jam packed with the most wonderful head gear. The one I loved the most was Stephen Jones's 'Tube Hat'...quirky, yet somehow very wearable, I thought! It was glorious to see hats by designers I've read so much about and admire too - Chanel, Patou, Paquin, Balenciaga. Unfortunately, I couldn't take any photos, so you'll have to go and see them for yourself! I did put together this little collection, made up of some postcards of hats that were on display and the exhibition catalogue and leaflet (a credit to V&A Publishing and Stephen Jones should probably be mentioned here!)

I love going the V&A. There's so much to see and although I've never been 'round it all, I find myself going back to the bits I have seen and like the most - the new jewellery gallery and the fashion section. Despite all the weather reports saying it was going to rain yesterday, it was dry and sunny in London! We went for a stroll around one of Mr Treasure's favourite bits of London - Borough Market. So much lovely food all in one place! Whilst we were choosing olives and wondering which cheese to buy, Mr Treasure spotted Gok Wan! I'm such a HUGE fan. Gok's a chap who inspires confidence in women, tells us how to make the most of our figures, bumps and all and with a few embellishments here and there, makes drab clothes look like something form the catwalk - Gok Wan, I salute you! Needless to say, I pretended to act very cool...and then rushed off to text my Mum (who is also a fan of Wan)! 

Is anyone else out there totally hooked on 'Kirstie's Homemade Home'? Craft, interiors, tips, techniques and rummaging for treasures - how could there possibly be all this in just one t.v. programme? It's making me want to rush out, learn a whole host of new skills and make a 'nest' that's full of my own homemade loveliness! Inspired by Kirstie, I thought I'd show you some of the homemade treasures we've collected and have dotted about our house, starting with the dining room and downstairs loo...

Our reclaimed wood mantelpiece in the dining room is the perfect place for putting all sorts of bits and bobs. We bought the lanterns as decorations for our wedding reception and now they sit here, with pieces of French-inspired linen ribbon tied on to their tops.

Mr Treasure bought me this fabulous Poppy Treffry tea cosy last time we were in Marazion (in Cornwall). I love it so much I haven't been able to use it yet in case it gets any tea drips on it! 

A Samantha Stas egg cosy...tres chic! I bought it from 'Made in Hastings', which is a glorious shop in Hastings (Old Town) that's packed with all sorts of stylish handmade goodies. 

We have Cath Kidston bags on the back of all of our bathroom doors. What do they hold? Toilet rolls!

With a dreamy lavender smell, this little fabric boat (by Sarah Stone) is another find from Cornwall and a great addition to our downstairs loo! 

I will introduce you to other homemade treasures each week, in sync with Kirsty Allsopp, as she moves around her Devon house, doing it up! I don't get much time to create homemade handicrafts myself (something I'm hoping will change), so I'm always inspired by things that other people make...and love giving them a home!

WARNING...shameless plug coming up! If you fancy trying your hand at free machine embroidery and don't know how to start (or need a refresher), I've written (under my maiden name!) a beginner's guide to this technique for iSew. Head on over to iSew, for instructions, tips and the odd picture or two.

Friday, 17 April 2009

The Joy of Blogging

I've been given an award! Very exciting. The lovely Isabelle at Suzy's Vintage Attic has given me a Renee Award and I feel very honoured indeed. Thank you Isabelle! I love writing my posts...and it's wonderful to know that other people like them too! I have 'met' lovely people through blogging and their kindness and comments are always a joy, so thank you one and all!

Monday, 13 April 2009

Time for Sewing...

Yesterday was such a lovely day...we spent time with family, went for walk around a local National Trust property and were treated to all sorts of lovely food. I felt all spring-like and wore a flowery skirt!

With all the indulgences (I rather over indulged in chocolate and sweet treats!), I spent this morning out in our garden soaking up the glorious sunshine...planting sweet peas, weeding flower beds and eagerly peering into our little greenhouse to see what's starting to grow (broccoli and french beans at the moment). The fresh air obviously went to my head as I felt the urge to spend the afternoon being creative indoors. The result....(little fanfare please!)....

....this embellished t-shirt! Over the past year, I've been designing and making projects for young stitchers for Sewing World magazine. My aim has been to introduce kids to new sewing techniques and encourage them to be creative. It's been great fun. Cushions, bags, fabric bowls, soft toys and restyling old jeans into a skirt and bag...I've done them all! My last two projects have been to embellish t-shirts. My first was a story time design all about fairies at the bottom of the garden and the second one (due to be in the July issue of the magazine) is above, which I've been working on today. I call it "No. 1 animal lover's t-shirt"! I used Amy Butler fabrics for the rosette and iron-on motifs to decorate too. Even if only one person reads my projects and feels encouraged to try designing or sewing for themselves, the last year of making and creating will have been worth it!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Spring is in the air

Spring is definitely afoot...there are bunnies everywhere!

Happy Easter!

Monday, 6 April 2009

A Few of My Favourite Things

I always find that I'm more inspired and happy working away when I have my favourite things around me. OK, so it's not always possible to have everything in the same room at once, but even having just a few things around you that make you smile can do wonders for the soul (and work output!) I thought I'd share a few of my favourite things from my workspace/studio/the spare bedroom (it has all sorts of names - I'd like to call it my studio, but somehow that makes it sound much grander than it is!) 


My books (so many books, so little time!) and Charlie Mouse (remember Bagpuss?). He even sings "We will fix it" when you squeeze his always makes me laugh out loud! My husband bought him for me some years ago now when we were travelling home to see our folks one weekend. 

This rather fluffy moggie is one of our purry friends who moved in with us last year. Her name is Phoebe. I love it when the cats come and sit with me whilst I'm working...although they regularly prefer to sit on whatever I'm working on, which can slow things down a little!

My collection of quirky pin cushions and tape measures...yes, the swiss roll is a tape measure! I found the one with Queen Victoria in a fabulous vintage shop...I love the fabric and trimmings that have been used.

These are my bunnies, made by the very talented Nicky at The Vintage Magpie. From left to right they are Mabel, Maggie and Prue. I absolutely love them! They make me smile whenever I see them. I bought my first bunny, Prue, after a long winter's was a case of "I saw her and just had to buy her"! There are still some Vintage Magpie bunnies that I've yet to give a home to, so I'm sure my bunny family will grow.

So, as you can see, I have all sorts of things around me to make me smile and keep me inspired...and I'm sure the collection will grow and there'll be nothing for it than to move to a bigger house where I really can have a studio!