Saturday, 16 December 2017

Elves on The Shelf: Days 7 - 12

Day Seven: The Elves seem to be pegging themselves to the washing line along with their washing! Thank goodness they washed though- things were getting a bit smelly around here!

Day Eight: I'm not sure I even want to know what's happening here! It looks like Flora is trying to crochet some Christmas presents and Angus is.... being Angus!

Day Nine: Angus and Flora have joined me at a Winter Wonderland camp with the Guides. I think they are 'helping' to put up the Christmas tree to add to the festive feeling- or they could be pulling it down....

Day Ten: Still at Guide camp, the elves have decided to write a report on all of the Guides to send to Santa in their elf post box. Let's hope the girls are all very well behaved or they will get ticked onto the naughty list!

Day Eleven: Inspired by their trip away with the Guides, Angus and Flora have decided to have a go at making their own felt stockings from the craft leftovers. (Although I think they may have been a little distracted by creating a mess instead!!)

Day Twelve: Poor Angus and Flora are exhausted after a marathon present wrapping session! The only thing for it is to lie down in the middle of all the trappings and recover. Who said Christmas was easy?

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Elves On the Shelf: Days 1 - 6

They are back!! Angus & Flora our cheeky and mischievous Christmas Elves have once more darkened our door step and are creating havoc in their bid to 'prepare' us properly for Christmas - whilst making sure that we are all being good and nice of course. These chaps first came to our home last year (see here) and got up to all sorts of antics. You can see what they did by typing Flora & Angus into the search bar on the right hand side of my page. This year the troublesome twosome are finding even more mad things to do! These images are taken from my Instagram page which has daily updates on them so feel free to follow.

Day One (above): Uh oh, they're back! Naughty elves, Angus and Flora are once more 'helping' us through December and up to Christmas. Let's hope they don't 'help' themselves to the rest of my advent calendar whilst I'm out!

Day Two: Cheeky chappies, Angus & Flora are keen to get the festive decorating going and have been attacking the garden looking for things to decorate the wreath for the front door!

Day Three: There are stamps everywhere as Angus & Flora make their Christmas cards ready to send out. Hopefully they can keep the ink on the paper!

Day Four: Don't try to deny it Angus, it's fairly obvious that you and Flora have eaten the last of the mince pies!!

Day Five: Tissue box tobogganing, goggles and capes... looks like the elves have been having fun in the night!

Day Six: All aboard the shoe train express! First stop, the kitchen. Choo choo!

Monday, 4 December 2017

Winter Project Link Up Party

I fear I am a little late to this party as there have already been two link ups this Winter. I've been so busy with my stitchscapes and moving in to TWA that I didn't get a chance to participate. But, better late than never and I have also picked up my crochet hook again after several months away from the hooky world. I had such a lovely afternoon yesterday catching up on NCIS and managed to work 15 rows! Quite an achievement for a blanket that hasn't progressed forwards since January (another WPLUP post).

This is a simple, near mindless blanket that enables me to engross myself in the exploits of the NCIS team without having to also concentrate on difficult hook sequences. Granny squares are a timeless stitch, and each colour stripe is made of two rows of each colour, with clusters of three treble stitches in each gap. Even the colours have already been set up as I am working the same pattern of colours, separated each time with a cream colour. Light, fresh and should be finished in time for Spring whilst keeping me cosy through these chilly days.

Also keeping me cosy over the weekend is this gorgeous smelling candle from the 'trose, and very festive activities that begin this time of year. So many people have put up their decorations over the last couple of days- it's charming to see the twinkling lights on my bus journey home.
I collected some greenery from the hedgerows around my home and spent a couple of hours putting together a wreath for our front door. There's something really lovely about making your own wreath (although I cheat slightly and use a pre-formed base), and in this case, the smell of Rosemary is intoxicating.

It's the first time I have used holly in my wreath and I think my top tip for next year is to wear gloves to avoid getting prickled! The little red berries, ribbons, cinnamon sticks and small apples have been recycled from last years wreath.

Annoyingly our front door doesn't have a knocker or a hook for the wreath to hang on and every year is a new challenge of how to get the wreath to stay there! It usually involves string attached in creative ways, and last year I managed to make a threaded Christmas tree on the inner side! This year is a little more subdued, although hopefully effective in keeping the wreath welcoming (and prickling) guests through the festive holidays.

Of course, the final part of any comfort weekend is food! And part of my Winter project is to make as many mincemeat (the fruit version) foodstuffs as possible! Actual mince pies are to follow but these all butter puff pastry mince puffs are delicious and take a maximum of 15 minutes to put together. Pre rolled puff pastry split into eight squares. Jarred cranberry mincemeat dolloped at one corner, brush the edges with beaten egg and fold the pastry over. Seal the edges and brush the top with more beaten egg, make a small hole in the top to allow steam to escape. Sprinkle the top with brown sugar and bake in the oven on 200°C (fan assisted) for 10-13 minutes or until golden and puffed! Definitely give it a try.

So, to end this party post I must thank the lovely Jen at ThistleBear for hosting, and I must also encourage you to follow the link (here, or in the right hand side bar) and catch up on other party goer's winter projects! Thanks for joining!

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Shop Updates

It's been another week of all go and I'm grateful for the leisurely weekend. We have nothing planned. Nothing. At. All.
I was sent one of the photos taken of me and my space from last weekend's open day which I rather like, but since then the space has changed yet again! On Thursday we were back there in the dark installing a fabulous ladder bookcase I ordered. I have filled the shelves with baskets of prints, kits and cards which I hope will do well. It has also been festive-afied with my sprigs of faux holly, all ready for the German style Christmas market TWA is holding on the 9th December (11am - 4pm). I can't be there as I'm being festive with a group of Guides at a Winter Wonderland indoor camp, but please do go along and tell me all about it.

This morning I had cause to grab my camera and 'the big zoom' lens as there was a little flock of chirpy finches (Gold finches maybe?) attacking the seeds inside some dried flower heads. They were absolutely loving it! I love the colours they have, with the bright gold on their wings and red eyebrows.

In the studio I tuned in to Graham Norton and framed this little one-off mini, stretched and mounted a little commission along similar colour lines, and stretched my other commission- the wreath below. I am really pleased with how it has turned out, I think it looks really pretty and I hope that both my client and the couple this is going to be a gift for love it. I am just waiting for the frames for both commissions to arrive and then they will all be finished!

Whilst in the studio I also took the opportunity to photograph my Summer Sweet embroidery kit, which is now listed in E.t.s.y L.a.n.d should you wish to purchase one as a fabulous and unique Christmas present which will be loved and heralded as a fabulous idea!! ......................

I have also recently received six new postcard designs which are rather cool. This time round I've tested a portrait direction- what do you think?
These have now been muddled up and put into sets of six postcards which are also now listed in Etsy. See where I'm going with this? The idea behind the postcard packs is that you won't know which designs you are going to receive, each pack is different with an element of pot luck.

So, both of my shops are stocked and ready to go. Tunbridge Wells Artisans, and Etsy! I hope that you pop along to one or other of them, and maybe make a sneaky purchase?

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Tunbridge Wells Artisans

We are OPEN!!!!

It's been very exciting. We've had the first initial quiet opening to allow time to iron out the crinkles and get a routine going, then the official opening on Saturday where we got to meet all of the other artists for the first time. The place looks utterly amazing- although a little deceptive and quiet from the front maybe. The building is set back off the main road slightly so we really need to make the most of the front of the building to draw in the crowds. Inside is a little haven, crammed full of all kinds of amazing artwork and handmade s.t.u.f.f- I recommend you all come and have a look, there is too much in there to show you on this blog!

This was my little space during the opening day. It was nice to see my originals hanging individually- a lot of the older ones sort of get buried underneath the stacks of the new ones as they build up on my studio shelves. Always good to give them an airing, and re-inspire new projects!

I am sharing my space with the lovely ladies at Snobb Ltd, who make a whole range of handmade items, from jewellery to bags, cushions, machine embroidered purses, table stands, glasses cases..... the list goes on and they are always coming up with new products. They also work very hard at the craft fair circuit, as well as selling on Etsy and in The Silver Sheep. There's still time for you to purchase those last little stocking fillers!

Opposite us in our alcove are two more amazing artisans. These very sweet dolls are by Dollie Day Dreams who has a Facebook page you can follow (yippee!). I really love the dyed orange and red curls in the dolls above, and they all have the most amazing outfits!

Tucked away under the eaves are the very bold prints of Sarah Abercrombie Jones. Although I really like her artwork, I have serious crate envy. Do you think she'd notice if I swapped her lovely printed, be-legged crates for my lined Hobbycraft ones? Even Dad comments on these crates every time he pops round to TWA. I wonder if she made them herself? Perhaps I could have a go at creating similar ones- it can't be that hard, surely?

I haven't photographed the work of all of the artists at TWA (there are 32 of us in total, all varying completely in style and type- which I hope you can get a glimmer of from these images), but on the other side of our mesh wall are Molly Williams with her amazing felt figures and printed textiles (and her own kits!)....

...and The Driftwood Shack. I really love the candle bases in the lengths of driftwood. If only I had the space to have them sprawling across a mantelpiece or adorning a large dining table. Someone will have the space for these lovely pieces- perhaps it is you?

Right down the other end of the upper floor are a couple more artists, one of them being Violet Elizabeth who doesn't appear to have a social media I can find, but she does a lot of work with saris so everything is beautiful and silky and golden! I really love her sari lampshades- such a cool idea!

I will probably blog a lot more about this space as it develops. Things are already changing around as people think more about how they want their space to work, and Snobb and I have been doing lots of thinking and reshuffling around to see what works best. We will get there in the end, but it keeps things fresh if we move furniture and focus on some products one week and different ones the next. Hopefully business will pick up- especially as there is a German style Christmas market planned for the 9th December. We have Christmas trees, workshops, choirs, German street food, mulled everything, twinkly lights- it's all going on and should not be missed! Find more details, and details of our mailing list and anything else you want to know on the website- Tunbridge Wells Artisans (TWA for short).