Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Handmade exchange

When I started having stalls at craft fairs around ten years ago I began to realise that the other stallholders were up to something. Alongside the chatting, cake-eating and tea-drinking behind the tables, mysterious paper bags and packages were being passed to and fro.There was a gleeful feel to these exchanges and I was keen to find out what they were up to. 

They were craft swapping, of course, something that has been going on in the land of handmade blog since the days of yore ( well, around 2005 anyway) and in the real life world for a very long time indeed. There's such a satisfying feeling about it. It's not just that no pennies change hands, it is the exchange of two really wonderful presents.

When I spotted the little prairie dresses that Lola Nova made recently I realised that I knew someone who would absolutely adore one (a pinkish one). The combination of vintage florals, (some from Lola's very own Granny) and doilies had me smitten and I immediately emailed her to suggest one of those gleeful swaps I love so much. Joyfully she agreed, so we both got to work. 

Her request was for a little silver pail for wearing tiny flowers around her neck. It's one of my favourite things to make and takes me right back to my ceramics evening classes when I used to hand build pots in clay. It's the same process only in teeny tiny miniature. I was determined that her tiny pail would hold a spot of oasis and water so I was completely delighted when I saw this picture in Lola's lovely blogpost about our swap:

I can safely say that the other swap recipient is in seventh dress heaven. An awful lot of scooting, petal-gathering, woodland adventuring and daisychain-making goes on around here. This dress is PERFECT for all these things and eldest and I have delighted in the detail on her prairie dress. Vintage buttons, pink florals, lace, doilies and appliqued ribbon are the stuff that dress dreams are made of. Frankly I wish I were six-and-a-half. Secretly I want this dress.

This has confirmed that swapping is one of the very best things to do. Thankyou so so much Lola. If you haven't popped over to her blog before then I highly recommend it. This beautiful dress is enough reason to visit but Lola has also written very own actual sewing book and several of her stitchy creations have been featured in the wonderful Mollie Makes Magazine

Friday, 22 June 2012

Open Studios 2012

I will be opening my garden and studio for two weekends in July: 14th/15th and 28th/29th.

This is part of the wonderful Cambridge Open Studios annual event during which over 200 artists and craftspeople open their studios, workrooms and special sheds and invite the public to see how they make their work.

You are welcome to come and spend time in the garden, sit in the studio for a while, ask questions, see me making new pieces and browse my current collection. The kettle will be on.

If you would like to come along then click here for more details. It would be great to see you there!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Winners (& wings)

Goodness, thankyou so much for all the lovely encouraging comments about my Country Living feature. It's been such an exciting and busy few weeks that it seems like a bit of a blur. 

Amongst the jewellery-related business there was a much-anticipated visit from a faraway blogging friend. Whilst she was here we visited the Fairyland Fair in Norfolk. It was a very very wet day but once we'd made our carefully planned Important Fairywing Purchase it didn't actually matter too much. 

The rain stopped for a little while and we actually had a picnic, but later we were glad of the fairy post office where we coloured in our enchanted missives and bunged them in the post box. They were sent to who-knows-where.

For days after this trip out there was glitter all over the house. Many thanks to Lynn for the photo above. Yes, I bought wings. I recommend wearing them whilst doing housework on a rainy day. They're very cheering.

There were two other events in the last two weeks. As I say, it's been busy.

There's been so much going on here that it's taken me aaages to get around to the draw for my four year bloggiversary. 

I'm so sorry for the delay - thanks for being so patient. The random number generator chose the following winners this morning:

Green Rabbit Designs
By Teresa
Menopausal Musing   and

Hugest silvery congratulations! Please email me your addresses and I'll send your respective necklaces through to you.

I'm actually having a bit of a morning off. The pliers and silver clay have been put aside. I am actually reading blogs! (and eating rhubarb polenta cake) .Gasp!

P.S. You may have noticed some new links to new pages up there at the top of my blog, including a page about my studio and garden, a gallery of recent work and one about my silver clay workshops.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Country Living Magazine

There are so many good things going on over the next few days: my e-penpal and bloggy friend of three years is here from the US and is staying in the next village, we are all going here (fairy wings are at the ready), there are Jubilee celebrations in our village (I have blueberry-and-strawberry-Union-Jack-cake plans), and last week I received an email inviting me to be part of the upcoming Here Comes the Sun virtual handmade market over on the rather wonderful Poppytalk Handmade (it begins tomorrow). 

That list is more than enough excitement as it is, but my copy of Country Living magazine's July edition came through the letterbox yesterday. It is rather a special edition for me as there is a feature on my garden studio and my jewellery-making. I can hardly express how joyful this makes me. Country Living has long been, as Lola would say, 'my favourite and my best.' Its mix of interiors, craft, recipes, gardening and exquisite styling is...well, you hardly need me to write it - I know that many many craft bloggers share my feelings on it. Country Living now has its own blog too. See?- that proves that it is completely ace banana.

I received an email from the Country Living team last Spring about a possible feature. At first I didn't believe it was a real email. When I realised it was I nearly fell off my computer chair. The feature is second in a series called 'Women and Their Sheds.' Alun Callender came to photograph the beach hut and garden last July - I blogged about it here. It was such an exciting day. During the photoshoot I was enamelling this necklace (see below). In March the lovely Cate Butler (who writes My Country Memories inside the back page) interviewed me in the studio. I mention it here. We ate Rebecca's/Lydia's apple cake. She loved it so much that she asked for the recipe! Rebecca - I've been bursting to tell you.

That's not the only link from the feature to fellow craft bloggers though. If you have a copy then eagle eyes will spot...

 crocheted stones by Val, a little jar pincushion by Gina, a paper garland by Sue, a vintage embroidered tablecloth gifted to me by Steph, mention of patchwork curtains and quilts made by Thriftyhousehold, a mug by Melissa and behind me there is a crochet penny garland by Monica, hanging in the garden. I didn't get these beautiful handmade objects out especially - they're always there. You may also be able to spot another favourite item - my little South American folk chickens - there behind my pots of enamel. They're always in a hurry and one of them secretly wants to be a robin.

I've been so excited that I can hardly sleep. Truly, I've been up at silly o'clock writing this. My studio and garden and the objects and plants in them are so familiar to me - they're such an important part of my making - that it's rather mind-blowing to see them in a magazine- especially this one. I'm hoping I get back to sleep!

Hugest and most enormous thanks for each lovely comment left here. I will draw the winners of my four year anniversary giveaway next time xx