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Back in August while I was on holiday in Wales, I began this hand-made Christmas gift.
I’ve done a basic crochet course and made granny’s squares but I was keen to try and master something else, so armed with tutorials on the iPad and a week with little else to do, I set about crochet and un-crocheting until I had mastered this puff flower.
It did take me a while to understand it but then it became as easy as pie and I was hooking it up without too many mistakes!
It became really puffy and super soft and once it was big enough and sewn onto a cushion cover it became very tactile and was loved and hugged by the recipient on first sight. It’s always satisfying to challenge your skills and try something new but even better to hand make a gift that is received so well – win, win
I feel like I have been very distracted from here of late – good and bad distractions.
The best and happiest of these was the beginning of The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design course, which began last Monday. I’ve done a few online classes in the last year and this is THE BEST! It’s really beautifully and thoughtfully designed and delivered (we even got sent these postcards as a welcome before class began) and I am having A BALL I tell you. But I’ll show you more later in the week, promise.
Yesterday I amazed myself by not just being out of bed in time to visit a local craft fair but in purchasing nearly all our Christmas presents for family whilst there :0 Shocking I know. Shocking because it’s still November. Shocking because I wasn’t expecting it to happen that way. Shocking because I unexpectedly got ahead of the Christmas game. Shocking because we then went onto a second fair and did the same again.
But what a great way to shop. We got some lovely items but the best part was supporting local craft people. It felt so good to hand over cash to a Designer Maker rather than to a corporation. I may be a changed woman.
A few months ago my Aunty gave me this book on knitted flowers. Some craft books are so seductively photographed that everything in it looks gorgeous and it’s hard to choose where to start. This book has more of the plain cousin about it, but don’t be deceived because the flowers in it are lovely (even if not brilliantly set up for cool photo’s) and what’s more the patterns are easy to read and attainable. So far I have knitted two anemones, another hybrid anemone and two (almost correct) chrysthanthemums. Watch out everyone it’s C’mas soon!
This fresh faced beautiful/handsome pair are my Mum and Dad who married in August 1961.
So today we celebrated their 50th Golden Wedding anniversary with them. Quite a feat is 50 years and something to be truly celebrated. I got my hands on their wedding album and scanned some prints to make doily decorations with.
And spent some time happily learning how to make tissue paper pompoms (here, if you want to have a go.)
Congratulations Mum and Dad and here’s to many more years.
I have saved the best for last – all the crafty holiday photo’s.
In the North of the island we found by chance a sleepy little village called Volimes which was lined each side of its one main road with crochet stall, after crockery stall, after crochet stall.
My favourite one was run by this lovely lady who was crocheting as we browsed and in broken English she explained how she had made all the pieces, pulling them out to show (sell to) me. I in turn used my broken Greek (sign language and smiling) to show that I too could crochet and so we crossed the language divide and settled happily on common craft ground.
I bought this table runner because I fell in love with The Lovely Crochet Lady and because it is supporting a handmade livelihood and because at 15 Euro’s it was cheap for all the work that had gone into it and because the pattern seemed quite modern and reminded me of red and white swirly sweets.
Oh and because I fell in love with The Lovely Crochet Lady!
She was making an edging whilst we were there. She could crochet one meter in two hours and sell it for 10 Euro’s. Thought provoking… it reminded me of this little film found here which is worth a watch.
And it seems only fitting while I’m musing on the necessity of passing down craft skills to the younger generation, to tell you that Lu had her most successful knitting lesson while we were away. She is a natural at increasing stitches!
And to finish up, a little water-colour sketch of the view from our veranda. Hope you enjoyed our holiday too and it wasn’t like having to sit through some boring relative’s slide show! Happy Bank Holiday.
Last week I achieved a long-wished for visit to this amazing house in Norfolk. Voewood is an Art’s and Craft’s house which has been brought back to life by the current owner in the most artistic, eclectic, vintage styled manner thinkable. Every square inch is gorgeous and inspiring and I have a lot of photo’s to share with you!
I’ve been umm’ing and ahh’ing abut whether to split all the photo’s I took (210!) into two posts or not but have decided to bombard you with them all at once so that you get the full feeling of the house in one go. If you like china, vintage thrift’s, hand painted decoration etc then I think you’ll be as excited as I was!
All good house tours should start in the kitchen me thinks…so here we are.
One of the characteristics of the decor was little groupings of objects everywhere, be it colour grouped china on shelves or themed objects on window sills. There was a still life to be painted where ever I looked.
The Music Room had an exotic, hot country feel to it – lots of fur, Ikat fabric and objects from foreign travels in places such as Africa. There was a lot of texture and attention to pattern through ordinary, natural objects.
The owner put to work the talents of his friend, the artist Annabel Grey who has had a hand in other rooms too. These are her screen printed curtains but have a look here to see just how wonderful the design is spread out over a large area.
The Games Room (above) is a real boys den but look at that fabulous butterfly collection. I wished I’d been carrying a bag big enough..
The Dining Room boasts these awesome hand appliqued curtains by Annabel Grey and Kirsten Hecktermann. How long these took to make is anyone’s guess but these were only two of several more curtains. It was these artistic labours of love that were so inspiring.
The Conservatory had this beautiful mosaic floor where tea and cakes were served following the house tour.
On the first floor was our favourite area. This little landing looked like the perfect, tranquil place to sit and read a book. The whole corner was themed a greeny, peachy, taupe from the stripes painted on the wall to the vintage artefacts on the window sill.
There are enough bathrooms for you to use a different one everyday. Simon Finch, the owner, deals in antique books and obviously loves to collect other treasures from the past such as these trays of labelled shells and tiny bugs.
These photo’s don’t do this room justice. It is hand-painted in vivid green with birds and flowers swirled everywhere like a meadow scene – you feel like you’re in an Impressionist painting. Then to make the whole scheme sing, the bed is topped with a bright pink embroidered bedspread.
But this had to be the best most impressive bedroom because of the scale and ambition. This took Annabel four months to hand-paint in a patchwork style.
Then it’s been thoughtfully furnished to pick out the colour’s of the walls including the gold leaf that was used.
It made me wonder, having just paid for wallpaper, what stops me from doing similarly.
For every room that is chock full and all-singing, all-dancing, there are quiet peaceful places. This room was simply grey and white but still full of charming embroidered hangings from India and little vignettes of re-found objects and antiques. I loved these simple box frames with rows of buttons glued into them. Just a simple idea showing off the lovely colours and patterns of the buttons.
We absolutely loved these mosaic flowers by Annabel, and as our own family bathroom is next on the list for decorating, this room gave us pause for thought. We were all ready to pull it all out and buy new but this has given us another idea.
It really was such an inspiring place.
Inspiring me to use my creative talents to make our home a little bit more individual.
I think in all there are seventeen bedrooms and some have more than one or two beds in them. But all the rooms are chock full of lovely art and textiles.
The owner has such an eye for colour and the photo below really illustrates this.
Finally, back downstairs, is the room that will probably have the most impact on us. On the left it is bright white and showcases china. On the right it is more masculine with an old typewriter and leather chair. Very Mr and Mrs L. So I think that the old table I bought recently on a junk shop whim will be coming in very handy.
If you ever get the chance to go (book ahead) it really is the most inspiring place and you get home-made cake. What else could you want? And if my rather dark photo’s aren’t enough, have a watch of these…enjoy