Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Mosaic musings

Does anyone have any good ideas as to how to stick with one work in progress at a time? Or is it totally acceptable to have several on the go? I've realised that I have several (8!)- cushion fronts waiting to have their backs put on . (Desperately avoiding this as I hate buttonholes and zips but that rather defeats the object of making them in the first place!) I also have two Kaffe Fassett tapestries on the go, a patchwork quilt, a crocheted cushion cover and a mosaic chimney pot. Thats just some of the crafts. Not to mention the decorating, half read books and allotment constantly crying out for attention. I'm not complaining :I love having lots of hobbies and I can honestly say I never ever get bored.My chimney pot was a bit over ambitious. I had a white painted chimney pot which I'd taken a dislike to as I prefer the unpainted terracotta look. I browsed a book on mosaicing and decided to give it a go. Perhaps a small plant pot would have been a better start but I didn't think it could be that difficult! I used lots of broken pots, some little tile pieces and a variety of found objects - dominoes, marbles and old broken necklaces. I'm still happy with the whole idea but it certainly needs a lot more work to get it looking anything like I want it to. I put it in the garage over winter in case it got frost damaged and it was only when I cleared the garage last week with my great friend M that I remembered it was in there. So it is now in the garden daring me to have another go and finish it off. I've realised that the trick is to ensure that all the materials are the same thickness so that some aren't raised more than others to reduce problems with grouting. Why didnt I think of that in the first place? Anyway its great fun actually doing it - I'd saved several bits of broken pots and mentioned to friends that I'd like any broken bits they had and bought a few pieces at the car boot for pennies. Then I had a great time wrapping them in a blanket and smashing them with a hammer before sorting out all the bits and pieces and looking for the pieces I wanted to use. I particularly wanted some of the makers marks from the bottom of the pots and some cup handles to add a bit of interest. It's also great for preserving those bits of broken pots that have some sentimental value. I'm hoping that by showing its half finished state here I will feel obliged to finish it off over the summer. Its a great excuse for being outside. Anyway for those who would like to see work by my favourite mosaic artist google Cleo Mussi who was recently featured in Homes and Antiques . Enjoy!

Love Wend

Friday, 24 April 2009

Tales of the riverbank

Well I can't remember when we last had any rain. I've got droopy lupins already and its only April! Hope the fabulous weather we've been having doesn't mean that the April showers are going to come in May! Priority number 1 (my daughter) and I went to Newark a few days ago and it was lovely to sit and enjoy the sunshine outside while having a coffee in the market place with the antique stalls in the background.

There weren't a lot but what was there was beautifully dressed and full of colour. I particularly liked the one below with the gorgeous box of pink threads. This lady had some lovely 1950s pinnies too. I asked if she minded if I took some photos but she was very suspicious and followed closely behind me so I quickly stopped. I'm not sure what her concern was but I didn't want to cause offence.

We had a stroll over to the river Trent and discovered the tiniest pony I'd ever seen - he was no bigger than a dog and looked decidedly lonely according to my companion who suddenly became an expert in the expressions on ponies faces!

Having made all the right noises, listened to 26 reasons why we should try to adopt this bedraggled soft toy and refuted them all,("no you won't be able to take it to university even if we persuade the owner to sell it" - its nice sometimes when you get a glimpse of your little girl when she tries so hard to be so grown up most of the time!) we wandered further along the riverbank to find another sight I'd never witnessed before (Ok so I'm a townie but I'm convinced I have the country in my genes!). A swan on her nest. She was meticulously reaching over to the side of the nest , picking bits of twig and feathers from the edge and I can only say embellishing her boudoir ready for the patter of tiny feet. Her mate appeared to be on patrol gliding proudly up and down the riverside.

It may be a routine sight to many but for me it was a joy to behold. I shall have to go back to watch the progress. I was quite concerned at the open aspect of this nest - does she sleep with one eye open for fear of foxes or will her partner keep watch as she sleeps? Is she safe? How will she protect her cygnets? If anyone knows please let me know!

Love Wend

Monday, 20 April 2009

Liberty love!

Sunday started very cold and grey but with the promise of "sunshine later" according to the weather men so I donned a big woolly cardi and set off to my car boot. I like to get there by 7, you never know what you might find, but things weren't looking promising. I picked up the odd crocheted doily (what's happening to me?) and a couple of (pre shiny cover) Ladybird books. Then I spotted a lady selling some fabric along with what appeared to be the contents of her garage - old tools, fishing tackle etc. I ambled over - never good to look too keen and immediately recognised Liberty lawn cotton fabrics - I've loved these for the last 30 years so I recognise the designs. "Rose'n'ubble "she said. "£5 I want". "For how much?" I asked (these were decent sized pieces at nearly a metre each retailing in Liberty at £20 per metre.) " All of it". I suppressed a gasp and decided not to be selective and choosy! " They might be that other one" she said. "Liberty?" I ventured . "That's it" she said "I used to be an overlocker - these are off cuts." I handed over the fiver and they were mine, bundled up and stuffed into my bag.

My luck was changing and I wandered on picking up an old mirror, a lovely floral picture, 2 salt and pepper pots - a Hornsea pair - probably seventies and possibly never used and another pair still in their plastic case - 60s?). Then I was called over to the stall of a ceramics/pottery dealer who said he'd got some "linen stuff look at 'cos I know you like making things". He opened a huge laundry bag of old tablecloths, antimacassars, tray cloths etc. A quick rummage and I could see several projects forming in my mind so they were bought (at less than 50 pence each). Then he produced a box of broken china which he has been saving for me since last summer when I bought a chipped plate from him to use on the chimney pot which I'm mosaicing. (More in another post). He'd told me on several occasions that he had it but I thought it was a wind up! He didn't want anything for it - there were saucers which had lost their cups and cups which had lost their handles or their saucers - he just didn't want to throw them away if somebody could use them! I gratefully accepted!

I just love the part where you get home and spread out all your purchases and have a proper look, washing these unwanted treasures and finding places around your home to incorporate them and make them look as if they've always been there. Not to mention the pleasure of several hand embroidered table cloths hanging on the line! Now just have to go and iron them all...

Friday, 17 April 2009

"Believe to be beautiful"

I want to share one of my favourite things with you. I discovered "Harriet" at a Craft Market last Christmas. She was being made by Gillian and I promptly fell in love with her - (art-doll not Gillian!). I was with my daughter who immediately described the doll as weird. I didn't buy her then but she preyed on my mind for the whole of that week so the following Saturday I had to go and find Gillian at another event. The doll hadn't been sold and didn't have a name at that point. Gillian always builds stories around her doll creations and the one she had started to write for this doll put me in mind of my great, great, great-grandmother who grew up in the countryside not far away two hundred years ago. I decided to buy her and asked Gillian whether she would name her Harriet in my GGG grandmother's honour. She's beautifully made with a wonderful wistful expression and wide eyes. Her skirt has delicate wild flowers embroidered over it. I keep her sitting under a sampler stitched in 1829 by my GGG grandmother in 1829 aged 11. I've moved her to take a better photograph. Gillian has pictures some of her other dolls over on her blog. http://www.gilflingsdesigns.typepad.com/

I never played with dolls as a child (and actually never understood those who did)so I was amazed to find myself inextricably drawn to this one. Why, I can't say but she is absolutely one of the top 10 things I would take with me to a desert island. Ok, so its normally discs but this is my island so I get to choose! Does she fit in with William Morris's adage "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful"? Well useful she's not but beautiful - definitely.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Tea for Two?

So, after a lovely weekend with lots of digging, hoeing, vegetable planting and leek pulling at the allotment and a great antiques fair on Sunday, I remembered when I got to work yesterday that I hadn't checked to see whether I had won something that I'd bid on at the local auction over the weekend. I was amazed to find that I had won these lovely boxes of cups, saucers and trios!

Aren't they gorgeous! Actually there were two more, but I gave those away. There were 6 cup, saucer and plate trios and 9 more cup and saucer sets.

The dinky pink coffee can at the back has a label attached stating that it's from 1881, so I was thrilled. Slightly less thrilled when I found that another was held together with blu-tack! But hey - they're the loveliest things I've seen on my desk for ages! Can't wait to research some of the others. Just have to find good out of the way places to display them now.

Darling Daughter returned from the US yesterday, bringing with her the latest "Cloth, Paper, Scissors" magazine to inspire me, along with lots and lots of fabulous photographs of the amazing architecture and pictures from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. (Amazingly, you can take photos in there!) Its great to have her back home - now we just need to take some time so that she can tell me about all her adventures.
Back soon.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Magnificent magnolias

So what do I do when chief computer engineer (DD) has taken an easter break abroad and despite leaving me an idiot's guide to getting pictures onto the blog I still mess it up! I'd taken some pictures of a delightful magnolia tree in full bloom that I wanted to share. This year's been fabulous for magnolias as we don't seem to have had the frosts that brown the flowers. This year I've watched and marvelled at the opening of the flowers into the current frothiness that they are displaying - like huge marshmallow trees and I could probably plot the best 2 dozen in my area on a map : I've watched them for so many years!

So, a lovely long weekend ahead to sew, plant vegetables , crochet, pick flowers and generally potter around making the most of some of the lovely bits I have squirrelled away until I have time to make them look beautiful. It's amazing how long you can spend doing that isn't it?Add Image
Not to mention the mandatory Easter weekend antiques fair and Sunday's car boot. And yes - I find its like a drug and if I dont get my fix I'm not good to be around. I don't need to spend a lot but I do love finding something to add to one of my collections but they will be the subject of another post. Incidentally, how many items does it take to make a collection?

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Something old, something new


It's no good - I have to finally join this fabulous blogging community! I've sat like a wallflower at a party, watching you all having great fun while I tried to work out if anyone could join in! Recently I've entered a couple of giveaways and won both of them. I was so thrilled - I felt I'd been asked to join the fun - thank you so much to Lucy of Attic 24 (http://attic24.typepad.com/) who has inspired me to start crocheting and Sue at Vintage to Victorian (http://vintagetovictorian.blogspot.com/).

My blog will be a reflection of the things I love - "something old" being the vintagey thrifted bits and pieces I pick up and "something new" being the things I make from them and will share with you. I'm looking forward to sharing my favourite finds and even some of the disasters - I'm quite happy to have a laugh at my own expense! "Ticking Stripes" comes from my love of vintage fabrics and their quiet understated elegance despite them having started their days as humble mattress cover fabric. I'm sure it will evolve to incorporate much more!

I must introduce you to Alfie (my Sylvac dog) whom I spotted at a car boot at the weekend. He looked so cute I had to bring him home and although my teenage daughter was horrified initially she has already grown to love him! I think he looks rather lovely perched amongst my auriculas. I just love them!

This is going to be such fun! Hope you will enjoy sharing this adventure with me.

Wend x