Things [ Hand Made ]


My chance to wonder about hand made things and tell the world about those I make, love and cherish!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Making a rag rug.

I have made a new rug for the back door. Every so often life gets such that I need a craft that doesn't require much thought.

It got a bit like that in January so out comes a piece of hessian and my favourite hook. We always have old t shirts around the house that no one quite wants or needs so it's easy to source the colour to fill the spaces I draw on the hessian.

I measured out the hessian against the spot by the back door, drew a simple design made up of geometric shapes and pin wheels, loosely based on some lovely thing I had seen at the Kaffe Fasset exhibition in Bath.


Slowly it grows, with colours chosen entirely by what is in the rag rug, no planning, very little thought, just trying to put pattern next to plain.
After all, it's just a back door mat, it will be filthy with the mud it's meant to catch.
Of course I could just go done to a shop and buy a new back door mat for very little, it's just a mat for the back door but it feels better to make my own, almost comforting and I will smile at the colours and the shapes whenever it catches my eye.
This tradition comes from needing to make something, to avoid expense. It recalls those hardworking families that had little and had to make the most of it.
I am not driven by cost issues but I am driven to make for its own enjoyment, the desire to make something that has cost me nothing but time.
It's hard to express.
But just at the moment my little rug expresses it perfectly.


Monday, 26 January 2015

A sampler for 2015

A new year and chance to finish of all of last years projects!
One of the one I wanted to do was a sampler.
In France last year I saw the lovely subtle colours that they use and I bought some ribbons and braids to make my own version.
It's not that I don't make things it's just that it's takes a long time to get it started. I have ideas pouring through my head everyday.
Once i start I soon work through it.
It's a bit of a metaphor for this blog really.
When I first started writing in this space I needed to define myself as a creative person. I was home with children, with friends who didn't quite understand how important creativity was to me.
Partly because I didn't show it, I didn't share it.
Writing a blog was just taking it one day at a time. Allowing myself to grow into my role that I wanted. One where I was known for my creativity, where I believe in my own creativity.
It gave me courage when people responded with comments and emails. It gave me courage to try out new things. It gave me opportunities and reasons to try new things.
I had chance to try writing about craft but I am not really a writer.
I had chance to exhibit my work at a national exhibition and I found myself expliaining how to make similar work
I had chance to write patterns but missed the contact with other creative people.
I wrote a book with a friend and enjoyed the process of creating instructions
I made and sold items but found myself wondering why people would buy for me and not just make something themselves.
I realised that it was all trying to tell me something.
Now I teach a wide variety of people all sorts of arts and crafts and I love it.
I meet so many people and enjoy the inspiration I get from them, the ideas and the friendship.
It gives me time to make my own things without the pressure of declines and origianl ideas.
.....and oh boy, my creativity is greater than ever!
It all started with this blog, a toe in the water but now I swim in it daily I don't need this space, this training ground.
That's not to say I won't be posting here but it's just to say thanks, for reading, for responding for holding my hand through the last few years.

The finished picture.

P.S just to say this isn't a good aye to this space but it's just exhaling to the last few people why it's a lot quiet around these parts.

I am still just as creative, I just don't need to say it in the same way.

P.P.S I don't do the Facebook thing but I often snap away for Instagram as Thingshandmade

Come and say hello and see what I am up to!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

A Christmas wreath or 3

2 poorly children and a beautiful sunny day.
Not really poorly just full of colds and needed a restful day.
Once the frost had cleared we went for walk with a pair of secateurs
We breathed in the air, looked at the blue sky and just allowed ourselves to be.
Finding ivy and berries we twisted wreaths and bought them home.
One for the door, one for the table and one by the fireplace.

We all feel a lot better now.

I wouldn't have let myself do that on my own, I would have found other things that needed doing.......and it was nicer doing it with other people.

Only thing to do now is settle down to watch Arthur Christmas! I have an excuse, 2 poorly children aged 8 and 10. It seems a fine plan.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Weaving the river


A meeting I was supposed to be attending today has been cancelled and I am using the time to finish a piece of weaving I started last week. It's only on a small scale but it reflects the river that runs through the town where we live.

Like many people I adore the sea. It was instilled in my by grandparents who lived on a beautiful stretch of Yorkshire coastline. It's one of the few places I have connection to. A deep grounded connection. I don't have it to the places I grew up in. The place where my grandparents lived was a constant in my childhood and still calls me back.

We now live in land and often I yearn to see the sea. Like many people do. We don't live close to the sea and the closest coast line is uninspiring and very developed. A proper trip to the sea is an hour and half away. Doable but only with planning and preparation.

We do live with a river. We don't live by a river, we don't live near a river, we live with a river. It's a living thing that ebbs and flows with the seasons. Notably flooding the town and regularly interrupting our lives with footpaths and roads closed. We live in a town that accepts the river as a character within the town and we watch and try to predict it's ways.

As a family we have walked different stretches around the town. It has crept into me in the way it creeps higher into the town as the waters rise. I now watch the river, feel the river, crave the open space it provides, the bank on the other side. I plan to walk it's whole length one day. From source to sea.

The threads picked up from an exhibition by Sarah Beadsmore flowed through my fingers and grew slowly like a river rising.

It's almost finished, it's not that I never finish anything, I just find it hard to show you finished things. I guess that's another post altogether!

Monday, 20 October 2014

An embroidered sunflower patch

While we were on holiday this year I was bowled over by the beauty of the sunflowers. Field after field of glororius sunflowers.
It got me started on a couple of sunflower projects to hold onto them a little longer. The first was my skirt and t he second was a small pouch.
Originally planned to be attached to the skirt but they went separate ways in the design process and would now look awful together.
Both of these projects have been made in quite a spontaneous way.
I ten not to overplan work anyway but this idea for a punch was inspired by a beautiful rainbow range of coloured napkins I saw in a french sewing shop in Bergerac.
Knowing that it would be a little ridiculous to buy one of each colour I resisted and went for one green, a beautiful spring green that I am really drawn to at the moment. Picked up a few threads and streets it on holiday.
What do you take on holiday? I wouldn't dream of going without a small embroidery hoop, scissors and needles for just such an event of inspiration.
Anyway, some doodle later and a lot of bullion stitche later I have an origami pouch doodled with sunflowers.
It's stitched both sides in heavy embroidery and has 3 pockets.

Not quite sure what I will do with it but it has helped to work out a bit of sunflower addiction.


Friday, 10 October 2014

A "new" dress


I have a new system for getting things done, it's nothing new or exciting juts a list that I stick to, where things cannot be added until things are done.

I know, there is a pending list where things wait to get on the list but I just ignore that.

This is a vintage dress that I found for £15.

Yes, £15

It has sat waiting to have a simple alteration to the neckline and then today seemed to be the day to do it.

Just like that, job done.

Another ticked off the list.

Now something can move on.

.........and I have something " new " to wear.

Off to the Ashmolean in Oxford to see the embroidery exhibition. I think this dress might just say arty traditional in just the right way.


Friday, 26 September 2014

A sunflower skirt

A project finished.
I have been mulling this one over for most of the year. It probably started seeing 2 of Van Gogh sunflower paintings in London back in Februaury. It has started a bit of year of sunflowers.

Followed by reading the blog by one of my design heros Sarah Campbell

Then a great summer trip to France and Spain, seeing fields of ripe sunflowers.

Then finding a lovely cotton sheet for £3 at a flea market.

I know, I wish I had bought the other one now

Painting the cloth with lovely big blousy sort of sunflowers.

Had to be in the garden as the kitchen table had been taken over by a variety of other projects.

Finding time to paint the second piece.
GettIng excited to see it washed and pressed, sitting on the shelf earlier this week.

Then a frustrating couple of days teaching with fingers itching to get it started.

I know, I am always telling the learners that life shouldn't get in the way of making things.

Finally this morning getting round to cutting into it using my trusty a line pattern

and Ta Dah........a new sunflower skirt.

Not bad, from February to September.

I'm off to wander through fields wearing it trying to look like something from the Boden catalogue.

Well, when I say fields, I mean the bit where everyone walks their dogs.