Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Greenhouse

To some extent, it is where I've been living the past week or so, as everything has ripened, all at once, and demanded attention.

But it is, also, however the name of my new Etsy shop, GreenHouse Bazaar. I struggled a little for a name as all the ones I wanted were taken, but in the end, the idea of Green, Home and the fact I live in a mishmash of styles on a smallholding, all came together.

Some new pieces are listed already, others will be moving over from my original textiles shop, and more are in progress.

I have a head full of ideas, shelves full of fabrics, some incredible samples of organic and fairtrade textiles, so do please come by and visit!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Sneak Peek

I have been cutting. And stitching. And, as I once wrote as a job description"I take big pieces of fabric and cut them into small pieces. Then I sew them back into big pieces"

This is the unfinished top for '3 shirts to the wind'

The lines and stripes are staggering drunkenly all over and it was made from, well, 3 shirts of mine. Couldn't really call it anything else!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

An apple a day...

...keeps the Dr away

if this is true, we shan't be visiting him any time soon. Not that we ever actually do, but that's another matter.

September is here and whilst trying not to fall into a mire of cliche about mellow fruitfulness, the garden really has surpassed itself this year.

Remember this?

today it looked like this:

The fruit trees have done well this year (cue gratuitous pic of pretty apples) after being transplanted, we have nearly recovered from shifting 20 tonnes of brick rubble and top soil and all in all we are quite pleased with life at the moment.

What I am slightly less pleased about is the prospect of finding homes for these

Anyone for pie?

Rags to Riches

Well, that is the idea!

A long time ago (though not very far away)I started my first business, making quilts, bags and generally anything that could be made out of patches. I loved it, it was fun and I used almost exclusively remnants and roll-ends of fabrics.

I loved the recyclingness (grammar police? shush!) of it and I loved the unexpectedness of creating. What I made came from what I had, what I could find. Nothing was really planned and a huge element of luck and chance influenced the final results.

For some reason, I downplayed this aspect and even deliberately tried to move away from it. Instead, I chose fabrics and colours simply for what they were rather than what they could be.

Looking back, a mistake. I lost the fun and I lost the excuse to hoard scraps and pieces "just in case". Life was a little more organised, but ever so slightly more sterile. A number of other things got in the way - losing my studio space, a prolonged renovation of a new house, Little Button* - and a pressing need to have the haberdashery business in a state where bills could be paid.

*I love her to bits, but toddler + pins + shears is never going to end well.

But this past week, a visit from the incomparable Ali made me rethink. And so it is back to basics - a new look, a new online store and a new range of bags, quilts, throws - anything I can make out of patches - from recycled, upcycled, (bicycled?) or eco/organic/fairtrade fabrics.
There will be handmade haberdashery along the same lines, a revamp of boutonnerie, a changing focus at Overspill and all in all, a quiet revolution in where I am going and what I am doing.

I doubt it is the easiest decision I've ever made, but I do hope it will be one of the best ones.

Of course, if it isn't, I shall just blame Ali!

Friday, 11 February 2011


Bit of a new one for me, I'm usually suffering from the opposite!
Whether it is spring, the gentle discipline of 101 in 1001 or the sudden realisation that if I don't get a move on, we're never going to move house, all sorts of things have started to come together.

Making a book has been at the back of my mind for a long time. There have been some tentative forays with scrap fabrics and spare paper

but with 101/1001 I realised I wanted something big enough to write in and to stick things in.

As I'm clearing out, it all had to be made from things to hand. So, 1 stray bamboo placemat, some pieces of faux suede from the fabric mountain, printer paper and linen thread hanging around from windchime experiments:

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Happy New Year

Really? Yes, really! I've never been terribly good with dates, deadlines, diaries or calenders so for me, given that I am 9 months out of 12 up to my elbows in compost, the idea of a new year being right in the middle of winter is a little odd.

But today? yes. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the soil is no longer doing it's permafrost impression and things are starting to grow.

A couple of days ago Little Button and I sowed the first seeds. Well, she did really, I just passed tools and tried to keep things contained. Lot of fun, lot of mess and she is now devastatingly proud of her seeds in the "warm seed house", 'propagator' being a bit of a linguistic challenge when you are only 3.

It was, I think, the same day that I came across the idea of 101 in 1001 - a list of 101 things that you want to achieve in the next 1001 days. Despite my dislike of organisation, this one grabbed me. Possibly because it is less structured than a to-do list and possibly because it starts today (my own new year) and ends, 2 years, 9 months down the line, shortly before I turn 40. erk.

I'm not posting my own list here, so mch of it is so odd, so personal or so boring that by the time I'd edited them out, all that would be left would be Work Harder, Grow More, Stop Faffing. But a great set of coincidences (including good weather. Good weather always helps) has got me out of winter sluggishness and finally inspired to do all the things I keep putting off, be they work or play.

So, to all of you, happy new year. Let there be growth!