Friday, 30 October 2009

Halloween Treats...It's Giveaway Time!

It's my birthday tomorrow...yep, I'm a Halloween baby. Thank goodness my parents didn't call me Pumpkin (it's so much easier with names if you're born at Christmas)!

I'm having a bit of a do to celebrate - hoorah for birthdays! I'm so excited about wearing these shoes (bought from Donna as her last Open House Sale). Can you guess what the theme of the party is?

As if having a birthday wasn't excitement enough, these fabulous new Amy Butler patterns dropped on to our doormat the other day!

The "Liverpool" (inspired by Amy's trips to our little island) can be a shirt, tunic, short or long dress...there are 4 hem lengths, 4 sleeve lengths and a belt, all in this one pattern. I love the design of this one - perfect for autumn.

The Sweet Harmony handbag and tote looks like a great design for fitting all of life's little essentials in. There are lots of pockets, which is great for someone like me, who can never find a thing in her handbag and ends up tipping everything on the floor to get to things!

The instructions in Amy's patterns are always really good and if the end results on the pattern packets are anything to go by, these designs are well worth spending time at the sewing machine to create.

The fabric on the front of these patterns are from Amy's new range, called LOVE...can't wait to see it up close. I'm such a fan of Amy's fabrics. I buy them and then can't bring myself to cut into them...I must be brave one day!

The lovely people at Amy Butler Design have sent me some extra patterns so....(drum roll please)'s time for a giveaway! Hooray!

So, if you'd like to be entered into the giveaway, all you need to do is leave me a comment. Easy as that!

I'm going to pick two for the "Liverpool" and Birdie Sling patterns and the other for the Sweet Harmony handbag and tote and the Stash and Dash bags patterns. Just leave a comment by 9th November!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Cosy Nights In

There's nothing I like more when the nights start to draw in, than to cosy up with a big mug of hot chocolate and a good book! As much as I enjoy reading novels, there are times when I prefer perusing textiles books in search of inspiration. I've found a few good ones recently and thought I'd share them with you here (they're all published by Potter Craft and distributed in the UK by GMC publications)...

"A sewing book with a sense of humour and a sense of style". This is how Amy Karol's book is described on its back cover and on closer inspection of the glossy, colourful inside pages it's easy to see why. There are lots of whimsical projects in this book, with plenty of hints, tips and techniques to help you make them. It's like having your own tutor working alongside you with a guiding hand!

The book's divided into 6 sections, the first 3 being about bending the rules in sewing and basic sewing info', from the sewing machine, tools and notions, to sewing vocab' and handy sewing techniques. There are some great things to make for children, the Woodland Elf Hat being my absolute favourite!

The photos in this book are colourful and cheery and let you see the end results in good detail. I thought the introductory chapters were really interesting and great for beginners as well as more experienced sewers who want a recap or learn something new.

There's all sorts to make, from handbags and aprons, to dog collars and a puppet theatre. All the instructions are easy to follow and many have tips to help you avoid making mistakes. There are diagrams throughout too and even interesting introductions to each project to help you choose which ones to tackle first.

Now, I love vintage and I'm all for turning old clothes into something new and fabulous to give them a new lease of life, so this book looked like it was going to be rather a good read. I must admit, when I first flicked through this one, I did look at some of the projects and think, "why would you want to do that to a perfectly decent dress/jumper/jacket?" However, on closer inspection I found that the general ideas were really good. I loved seeing the before and after photos too. My favourite project was the ribbed sweater and top combo ingeniously reinvented as a high waisted skirt - clever! The instructions are pretty good too, with plenty of tips and vintage twist ideas along the way.

The book, which is divided into seasons, encourages creativity and uniqueness. Hoorah for inventiveness!

Now you know what to do with that spare crocheted blanket you have at home!

There are interesting sections on vintage patterns and reproduction fabrics as well as vintage fabrics, plus tips on where to buy vintage and whether a piece should be kept or cut up. There's an extensive list of vintage outfitters and helpful resources. However, these resources and all of the other sections listed above are all geared to the USA...but don't let this put you of is you don't live Stateside - it's an inspiring book whichever side of the Pond you live on.

This is definitely my favourite book of the moment. The front cover had me hooked even before I'd open the pages!

There are over 50 gorgeous projects in this book (by Celine Dupuy) and as the book's description says, "...each with a touch of something wonderfully, whimsically French." Although some of the photos look a little out of focus (just my copy or is this some sort of arty photography?) it's still an absolute delight to flick through the inspiration-filled pages. I defy anyone not to fall in love with this book!

There are lots of tempting photos of all the things you can make and the instructions are really clear (great for both beginners and those with more experience). Projects include a quilt, hammock, chemise and French chef's apron, as well as bags, cushions, drapes, cafe blinds and even an ottoman.

As well as the easy-to-read and follow instructions, there are also lots of diagrams too, which I think are really helpful. Now all I have to do is decide which project to make the meantime, it'll look fabulous on our coffee table!

If there's one thing I love in the world of fashion above anything else, it's bags! They can completely change the look of an outfit in one easy move, you don't have to try them on in the shop (as they always fit!) and, in my opinion, you can never have too many! Jodi Kahn's book is full of 30 gorgeous designs, which all need little or no sewing...perfect for beginners or those wanting a day off from the sewing machine.

This picnic bag made from astroturf made me smile! Other materials used for the bags in this book include printed packing tape, sweet wrappers, Monopoly money, shower curtain fabric, an old t-shirt and placemats...perfect for the make do and mend/recycling ethos that so many of us are getting tuned into these days.

The instructions are clear and well laid out, with plenty of diagrams to help along the way. Too many bags to choose from and so little time...which one to pick first?!

Do let me know if you know of any other good books...

Happy reading!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The Wonderful World of Blogging

When I started blogging, I wasn't quite sure what would happen. Would I be able to find things to write about? Would anyone actually read what I wrote?! I'm relieved to say that neither of these fears came true! I've met some fabulous bloggers (both in Blogland and face-to-face) and I'm always thrilled when I find messages about my musings. I'm genuinely touched that you all take the time to stop by!

As you know, I write articles for various magazines, so I jumped at the chance to write all about some of the sewing-related blogs that I love to read. The article's just been published in the November issue of Sewing World and features this very talented trio: Nicky over at The Vintage Magpie, Viv of Hen's Teeth and Manda from Treefall Design.

Here's a sneaky peek...

And talking of bloggers...I couldn't resist suggesting a little detour to Chudleigh on our way home from our recent foray to Devon. I'd been reading all about Nicky's new studio and I let out a little whoop of delight when we found it!

All The Vintage Magpie loveliness just waiting to be discovered. Nicky gave us a very warm welcome!

Cards, prints, much to look at!

Even Nicky's work table has a lovely vintageness about it. She was making Halloween cats when we popped in!

Happy blogging everyone!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Burgh Island and All That Jazz

As promised, here's a post all about our recent trip to our favourite getaway spot - Burgh Island. I'm going to take you on a little tour, so grab a Singapore Sling, put some jazz on the record player and follow me...

First things first. Leave the car on the mainland and, if the tide's out, hop into the Land Rover, dresses and tuxes in tow. (If the tide's in, there's the added adventure of going to the island on the sea tractor).

Once you enter these gates, the stresses of modern day life are left behind.

In through the doors...

...and check in at reception.

Then it's off to your room to see what fabulous decor awaits. We stayed in 'Christie' this time. Each room is unique, so it's the perfect excuse to stay lots of times and try them all out (this was stay number three for us)! Our bathroom was bigger than the bedroom, complete with roll top bath, Lloyd Loom chair and a wall of mirrors.

This was the view from our balcony. You can just see the sea tractor (bottom right).

You have to ring someone just for the novelty of using a Bakelite phone, complete with the lovely clunk noise it makes every time you turn the dial!

All of the furniture in the hotel is authentic. Every way you turn there's more Art Deco loveliness.

There are plenty of little touches for guests...from fruit, chocolates and sumptuous smellies, to board games, a billiards room and a croquet lawn.

If you walk back through the hotel's entrance hall...'ll find yourself in the magnificent Peacock Bar. The original dome was pretty much all but lost, but has been lovingly restored to its former glory. It's the best place to enjoy...

...afternoon tea! There was tea and scones aplenty too.

Take some time out to relax in the study...write some letters, go green with envy over the collection of gorgeous Art Deco ceramics, or even watch a spot of TV (films can be borrowed from reception!)

The collection of Penguin classics on offer give bookworms something to peruse.

Take a walk around the island...

...and stop off for refreshments at Burgh Island's own pub.

The Ganges room is actually part of an old ship. It's easy to feel like you're sailing to foreign shores when you sit in here!

There are nods to past guests all over the hotel, such as on this sheet of paper in the typewriter on the second floor. It says, "Please don't touch me! I don't really like it. In fact, I haven't been the same since Noel last used me in the thirties and then forgot all about me..."

Noel Coward, Agatha Christie and even the Duke and Duchess of Windsor have stayed here. Oh, the stories the hotel could tell if only it could speak!

Cocktails are a must when you stay at Burgh Island. Ask "McBar" to mix you a Shooting Tsar or Burgh Bramble. The black tie dinners are an occasion in themselves. Just don't eat too much the day before!

Burgh Island is such a magical place. If you're looking for a perfect getaway with a touch of decadence, then this is definitely the place for you!

Pip pip!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

A Weekend Adventure

Mr Treasure and I have just returned from a much needed, relaxing break in one of our favourite counties...Devon. Life has been so hectic recently that we decided to pack our bags and head to the coast for a few days of R 'n' R.

It was most fortuitous that we were in Devon for one of my favourite events of the year...Donna's Autumn Open House Sale. With the promise of a visit to the sale, it was all I could do to sleep the night before!

There was vintage loveliness aplenty. With so much to look at and rummage through I didn't know where to start!

A set of Sylko drawers has been on my wish list for rather a while, so I decided to give in to temptation! I'm now the very proud owner of a set just like the ones on the right at the bottom (Mum and Dad have said I can have them for my birthday - woo hoo!)

I love the pretty florals on these eiderdowns. How lovely to wake up snuggled underneath one of these every morning!

Donna's sales are such fun. Not only is there so much to look at, they're also a great place to meet fellow textiles enthusiasts and bloggers. I was thrilled to meet Lizzie (aka The Washerwoman).

I love buttons...I just can't get enough of them! Amongst the stash of treasures I brought home is a vintage glass sweetie jar stuffed full of buttons. I can't wait to tip them all out and have a good look at them all!

Very patriotic!

Donna has a dazzling array of fabrics to choose from. After much deliberation I came home with some glorious 1940s pieces.

You name it, it was there. From old suitcases, to pretty Cath Kidston tea dresses.

Scrap bags, fat quarters, scarves, hankerchiefs, curtains, clothes...

I'm always envious of these vintage shop drawers that Donna has! It was a real treat to be able to rummage through some of them in search of glorious vintage fabrics.

We had a great afternoon in Abbotsham. It was lovely to catch up with Donna and her family and the tea and cake was, as ever, completely yummy! I already can't wait for the next sale!

Tune in next time for our stay on Burgh Island...