Tuesday, 10 November 2015


Birds have been hatching in October.
I've been thinking about making them for years and at last got round to it.
This was the first one.

I made it into a brooch and sold it immediately.

Suddenly I got into gear and continued to make them.
Each one is started with a machined outline on felt. I make a pile of them.

Next a pretty velvet wing is added.
And a new pile is made.

Then some nice tail feathers are machined and a beak and some feet. 
(Sometimes one, sometimes two. Just depends how I feel.)
And I make the pile again.

 Then I put the pile in a box and take them downstairs, with all my yummy hand threads, and sit and stitch little patterns on each them using French knots and lazy daisy and running stitch.

I get ridiculously involved in minute detail and very excited by things such as these little black stars with shiny white centres.

Then I take them back upstairs and machine a stiff piece of Vilene on to stiffen it, and start another pile.
Then I trim the Vilene down to the outline.

                       I go through the pile again, ironing a backing of Liberty lawn floral fabric on .

 Then I trim the excess felt and fabric away.
Some are going to be brooches and some have ribbons.

 I did that just before I wrote this post but it's too dark to photograph them.

 I used lovely shades of Organza ribbon .
 I ordered some from a company called Stylish and stunning. The order was wrong and no amount of emailing, phoning, and even returning the order has elicited a response from them. So avoid Stylish and stunning at all costs and use instead Printfare who sent me a perfect order within about three days, all correct.

I'm making more soon. 
I will be putting some in my shop eventually.
But don't know when.
They will be the same price as the brooches.

Here are the finished birds. Photographed this morning.

Monday, 28 September 2015


Yarndale at the weekend was excellent and a lady tapped me on the shoulder and said 'you don't blog enough'. So here I am at last in the nick of time for September.

Its been a hectic month. We started with a holiday to Symi. Greece (search my blog for posts about Symi and you'll see it was our sixth visit!) We enjoyed it very much but I think perhaps we've been too often. Mind you, we say that every year and then we get lured back by its blue charms. We usually go around mid september when its a bit cooler, but this year, as I had a prior commitment, we went early in the month and happened to be there for the hottest day they'd had all year. If anyone had told me I'd be there in 40 degrees of heat I don't think I would have gone, but we actually coped. We actually walked about a mile on said hottest day and I didn't collapse.
I am extremely conscious of my less than perfect 'beach body' but this year I decided to not give a tuppeny about my physique, and wear what was comfortable, even if it was shorts. Thus I had a happy time.
Anyway here are some lovely Symi photographs.
Old Rhodes town

New Rhodes..you can rent this yacht with 24 crew and a helicopter for  750.000 euros a week excluding 'expenses'

Two semi feral kittens resident around the Olive Tree Cafe, Symi.

Plant life in The Windmill Restaurant Symi.


A sort of turret in the city walls overlooking the port of Rhodes.

Tholi , Symi.

Husband on holiday, Dafne's Taverna , Tholi, Symi.

There;s a tiny dot to the left and further away than the boat. Its a buoy and we swam out to it. It was quite rough water. Tholi

This is the shadow of how you get to Tholi..in the back of a pick up truck. If you're lucky to get to sit inside, which I did on this occasion.

The road is a bit hair raising.

You get a superb view of the harbour from up here.

On another trip we stopped at this little rest point .

A road trip to Panormitis Monastery. 

Old and new at Panormitis.

The tower at Panormitis.

This makes a change..not cat paws in the concrete, but goat's feet.

No caption needed.

Inviting sea.
Poseidon at rest at St Emillianos. Compulsory swimming. Absolute bliss.

St Emilianos Monastery, empty and hot and beautiful. They set up the long table full of food here.

The chicken on the bbq

 One of the passengers dived for these and said 'help yourself'

So here they are now, on my kitchen work top!

It was a good holiday.
Then I kept my promise to do the church flowers for a wedding in our parish.

I enjoyed it so much. I did them in the kitchen and took them to church where I added a couple of extra snapdragons top and bottom. They're so fragile they might have snapped.

I put some inside and some outside.
 The bride's flowers were lovely, and my church flowers went very well with them, even though I hadn't seen them.
The very happy couple. It was an exciting day for the parish. They had both been widowed years ago so its a lovely outcome.

The happy bride, with her mother.

Then it was Yarndale. I had a ball meeting lovely people, some I knew, some I didn't . But I was so busy I didn't take any photographs!

Ah well.

Bye for now.
Thanks you for all the comments last time.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Long time no blog.

Its been aaaages.
Firstly a big thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. I got a bit muddled trying to reply, so sorry I didn't get back to everyone.

I think it was June when I last posted or maybe the beginning of July. July was blessed with this beautiful display from my long awaited 'Paul's Himalayan Musk' rose. It only flowers once a year and its the first time its been so spectacular. The scent is incredible. I don't think the neighbours are too enamoured of it a it grows through the hedge and chances its arm by poking out of the other side. There have been 'tuttings'. Its a problem when we live in an individual sort of a house which shares a boundary with a modern estate, some the residents of which have generally a completely different idea of gardening and want to be neat with lawns like bowling greens and many fences. (Not all like that I have to say.)

My sewing room has been causing me some concern lately and I got really fed up of the chaos I created whenever I made a piece of felt. There was wool all over the floor and I got to the point where I didn't want to go in.

So I thought I'd try a different method of storing my wool. First I decided to collect some plastic bottles and cut them in half, then cut the top off. It looked good but I suddenly realised I couldn't store 60 plus round bottles easily.

So after a bit of research and some conversations with James from 'Box Express' I discovered some two-tiered boxes made for glasses which I cut in half and stacked on their sides and voila!

My wall of wool.
It works. Tidy tidy tidy.
So I could get on with much felt and many brooches.

So..the main reason I haven't posted is a sad one.
On 17th July there was a knock on the door.
It was a lovely neighbour from aforementioned 'estate' asking if we had a black and white cat. Her 20 year old son had been walking home from the pub the night before and had found one dead on the road.
He'd taken it to their house and was very upset bless him, saying 'Mum I couldn't leave him'.
Of course it was our Jools, and Linda knew, and was so lovely in breaking the news to me. 

He'd been hit by a car. I find it amazing after 15 years of him crossing that road. 
I'd just been talking to the vet about him because he was becoming ravenous and very difficult because of it. I couldn't leave any food out anywhere, couldn't even turn my back on him when coking. 
He had become difficult with food and generally life was troublesome with him. 
So although I'm sad for the lovely boy he was, I wasn't devastated by his death and at 15 I suppose he could have become ill and we might have seen him suffer. It looks as though he was hit and died quickly. 
The only thing that bothers me is that that very night I'd been in the garden with Hetty and she'd found a hedgehog. I was taking photographs and I just hope Jools didn't come running across the road because he heard us in the garden. It was just at that time he was found.

I didn't blog because I wanted to write a tribute to him, but didn't have time. I'll eventually write one on the 'Tales from the home of Willow and Jools' blog. A real obituary. I loved him how he used to be, the best cat ever.

Two days later it was my birthday and we went to The Drunken Duck near Ambleside. We had a fabulous meal and the dessert was gorgeous. Eccles cake with gooseberry curd, gooseberries and clotted cream ice cream. It was so good.We had a walk around Tarn Hows afterwards.

My real Birthday treat came a few weeks later when we all went to Chester Zoo  for the day. We were so lucky seeing the new born baby elephant on her first outing. She was so cute. The whole day was brilliant but extremely tiring, not only for the baby elephant but for me too!

Quite funny when my sons beat off a load of Souse toddlers to get into the viewing domes for some rodents that weren't there. Even funnier when I posted the picture on Facebook and my friends thought it was me. My younger son is a lookalikey.

Soon it will be Yarndale so I've been sewing brooches like mad.

 even had to Dye some velvet and you all know how much I hate that.

We're off to Greece soon for a week. I have a dreadful cold but as its 32 degrees in Symi I think I might snap out of it!

st of my pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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