Tuesday, 27 November 2012


Sometimes life seems a little too full and there hardly seems time to grab a snack or even to gather a few thoughts together. There has been a good deal of that frenetic feeling here in recent weeks. It doesn't sit comfortably with me but needs must - I'm torn between birthday preparations, eyeing that date that's about a month away, completing commissions, and the more mundane business of household chores. At the same time there is someone in the family who isn't well, about whom we think a good deal and who needs our time and company. It has meant that blogging has been relegated many times- there was always something more important to do.

Twitter is immediate, rapid and it's a fabulous, if rather baffling place sometimes. When I have 10 or 15 minutes to spare it doesn't feel like enough time to write a blogpost. I'll tweet a picture or two of a craft project completed by the little ones or a commission about to be sent to its new owner. The pace is different. It's a 60 second society over there. A few minutes after a picture is posted it's already old news. That said , Twitter can be like a wonderful chat room and at times there are so many good friends, including bloggers, in a conversation about cake or knitting or Cadbury's minirolls (you know who you are) that there's hardly room for any words.

In contrast I feel that blogging is like the slow food movement. When I read blogs it is far more leisurely, like dipping into a favourite magazine. I'm sure I'm not the only one who'll make a cup of tea and relish browsing through my favourites. I am full of praise for Twitter, despite the alarming news stories, but I do find blogging slightly more personal and I prefer the slower pace and the chance to enjoy beautiful photographs in a larger format and thoughts that aren't crowbarred into 140 characters.

There's no doubt that life has had a Twitter-ish feel about it recently. I sometimes feel as though I need, dare I say it, Gina Ford, to come and help me out with a daily routine to prevent me from tearing about and feeling as though I shouldn't slow down to stop and stare for a moment. Knitting for the Scarf Swap has been a very good thing in recent weeks. I have had to sit and knit a few soothing rows now and again because there are six sections to complete by Christmas. I have also been peering at knitting tutorials on Youtube. This is Irish mesh stitch. I do love the lacy holes (they're not made by moths, honestly).

I so want to fit in a regular blogpost each week and I'm determined to do it, even if it's a single image and a few sentences. I do miss this place.

Apart from the knitting the images are from my archive.

Note: I was due to be holding a winter Open Studios event this coming weekend but we may be travelling to see the family member who is unwell. Huge apologies to anyone who had planned to come along. I have been listing some of my newer pieces in my Etsy shop instead. If you'd like 10% off then type in coupon code CYBERMSP1.  

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Making to order

An increasing number of my making hours have been taken up with commissions in recent months. I love the sheer variety of the silvery requests that appear in my inbox. A silver wren, a Rowan tree-themed disc to go with a silver fingerprint, a miniature apple, a cluster of little enamelled bluebells, a tiny silver hazelnut. Many of them are nature inspired, and, of course, this makes me very happy.

Another lovely element of making to order is the creative process of finalising the design. Emails fly back and forth, sometimes with sketches or images of works in progress in them. I especially relish receiving pictures of gardens, flowers, treasured items or even people who have inspired the idea or for whom the piece is to be made. Sometimes I am making something to cheer someone who is ill, sometimes as a surprise or simply as a gift to themselves. Whatever has driven the person to contact me the story behind the commission is one of the elements that makes the process such a joy.

Sometimes I am asked to seek out a tiny vintage treasure like the one shown above, and make and source a collection of treasures to go with it. I couldn't believe my luck when I saw the little curlicues and decorations on this tiny 1940s sewing machine. 

The three dimensional enamelled bluebells mentioned above are today's challenge. First I have to get the design of the flower itself right before I add the colour. Aswell as being slightly unseasonal they're also tricky little so-and-so's (I'm really not sure whether to put an apostrophe there or not. Apologies if it doesn't belong). Their petals are causing one or two explitives but I think I'm getting there. 

Whatever the design or the story behind it I'm always honoured to be asked for a commission. I think it's my favourite part of this whole making lark.

It's always tricky to know when to stop taking Christmas commissions but this year I'll be closing my festive order book around 1st December to allow me to get everything finished in time. 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Bright Lights of Autumn

I've written a new post on Sarah Raven's blog about Autumn colour. If you fancy popping over for a peep it's here.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Handmade Living & the Great Twitknit Scarf Swap

I'm very excited to see that there's a gorgeous feature on my blog and the inspiration behind my work in this month's Handmade Living Magazine (p98). This is such a lovely publication and this is the Christmas edition (!), with truly gorgeous seasonal projects and ideas. I'm especially taken with this handmade bauble tutorial using vintage books:

There are also features on gorgeous Jane at Teawagon Tales and on Debbie Bliss herself in this edition! Seriously good company.

Speaking of Debbie Bliss (woolly segue alert) I just stocked up on some beautiful blue shades of her softest cashmerino aran. This is seriously unusual for me. I've blogged before about my distinct lack of knitting expertise. I'm hoping to remedy this situation though as I signed up for The Great TwitKnit Christmas Scarf Swap. No less than SEVENTY Twitter knitters have signed up for this woolly endeavour and it has been organised by the seventeen-year-old Scarlett of Teenage Granny.

Within our teams we knit one scarf section for each of our fellow team members. Then we send them off, sew up our woolly rectangles and are seen on the catwalks sporting our stunning handmade scarves. It's like a scarf knitting bee, only online. It's truly ace. I'm THRILLED that Tracy from Dragonfly is on my team (team Father Christmas) and that Val of Dottycookie is on Team Snow. There may be some knitty huddles in the coming weeks (possibly with wine and definitely with cake)

So far I have knitted one section (stripes of garter and double moss stitch) and *GASP* I have managed to knit a little woolly leaf motif swatch as practice for another rectangle. This is a crafty miracle - I've wanted to be able to knit leaves for ever so long. I needed a lie down afterwards as I felt as though I'd tried to master quantum mechanics using a couple of wooden sticks and a bit of wool.

In other news I have one space left on my beginners' silver clay workshop on 8th December. Find out more here.