Sunday, 22 July 2012

Seaside swap

Recently I posted about my four years of blogging and as is customary I held a giveaway - this time of four little necklaces. I received a comment from Lucy at Attic24. I'm sure you know Lucy - she has the most astonishing crochet and design skills. Her blankets are legendary around blogland. Her use of colour is stunning and brightens even the greyest, rainiest British summer day. Look at this image above. I don't know about you but that gradation of colour in her ripple blanket definitely does something good to my brain. Her blog is a blast of handmade joy.

Lucy didn't win my giveaway but she had been fizzing and brimming over with excitement and enthusiasm about the little silver pebble necklace I had made. I've posted before about how I love handmade exchanges and so I suggested one to Lucy. To my utter delight she said yes.

It was decided. I would make Lucy a necklace and she would crochet me a Lucy bag. Both of us are inspired by and adore the seaside and we decided to channel this into the pieces we made. To describe this correspondence as joyful is an understatement. Excited emails about seaglass, silver pebbles, yarn colours, stripes, stitches, shells and vintage buttons flew frantically back and forth. 

Over several weeks I amassed a tiny collection of treasures. 

It was like beachcombing - I searched my stash, made tiny things in silver clay, contacted the most wonderful Etsy shop selling 100-year-old pebbles of seaworn glass, sourced shells and vintage mother of pearl buttons and arranged and rearranged this tiny collection until I was happy with the design.

The day came last week when our parcels had arrived. We decided to open them around the same time - we were both a little nervous but hugely and giddily excited. 

What can I say about my bag? The yarn colours and the wonderful stripes transport you straight into a sun-soaked deckchair on a stretch of sand. They echo shells and seaside plants, rockpools and blue, blue sky. I swear I can hear seagulls when I put it on my shoulder. I had tentatively requested some little crochet circles to reflect my pebble obsession. There they were with beautiful mother of pearl buttons in their centres. 

Truly this is the most wonderful of bags. To use the word 'thrilled' is insufficient. Lucy has crocheted the seaside for me.

To top it off Lucy sent me some cards with exquisite sea-inspired designs.

Yesterday I took my bag to Southwold. Oh yes. There was a HUGE amount of beach joy (captured on my iPhone). I hear that Lucy has taken her necklace to Dorset with her. It's truly a gorgeous thought that she is wearing by the sea.

This has been such a fabulous creative experience that I have been a little overwhelmed by it. I keep glancing at my beautiful bag and doing a double take, picking it up and admiring it. I'll admit to hyperventilating a little when I see it.Thankyou thankyou thankyou Lucy. 

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Garlic and Sapphire: the Sarah Raven blog

My sister and I digging up potatoes, 1978

I have long been an admirer of Sarah Raven's gardening style, especially the way she has helped to encourage the development of cutting patches round the country, even in the smallest of gardens. 

Imagine how thrilled I was when I received an email recently inviting me to be a writer on the brand new Sarah Raven blog, Garlic and Sapphire! Sarah herself will be contributing to the blog and you can see the rest of the blogging team here, including the lovely Rona and Karen.

My very first post went live yesterday and is an introduction to my own patch and the way in which I made a self-seeded, rather jumbly garden by happy accident. I'll be blogging over at Garlic and Sapphire once a month and hope you might pop over there and have a peep.