Frida and me!

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Since watching the 2002 film depicting the life of Frida Kahlo, by the fabulous Salma Hayek, I have been fascinated by the life and the art of this hugely iconic Mexican artist.

Frida Kahlo is a world known iconic brand.  A few months ago, I was searching the web for some Frida fabric and came across this great eye-catching print of Frida’s head on a green background.  I made myself a fabulous cushion and with the left over fabric, I made some purses and wallets to sell on my Etsy shop and I can’t believe how popular they have been!  I’ve had so many sales for the wallet in particular and seem to be making new ones every weekend. These little wallets have made it across the continent and the Pacific Ocean.  As this was so popular, I branched out and made sunglasses cases and a peg bag which proved just as popular. It just shows you that everyone knows Frida’s iconic face.

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Indeed this face is now so well know that you can see it on mugs, plates, cups etc.  Just one search on Amazon for Frida Kahlo gifts includes, socks, paper cups, bags and waterbottles, amongst others.  My personal favourite included the Frida Christmas bauble by Sass & Belle.  It’s still in my Amazon basket and I am not a fan of Christmas at all.  Saying that, I have purchased a Frida planter and a cup/saucer which currently houses a part of my growing succulents collection.

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If you visit my house, which is an eclectic mix of vibrant Mexican colours, vintage finds and generally lots of colourful things that I like to look at, then you will see the Frida Kahlo influence throughout.  There are various posters, including a huge A3 size that dominates the living room that I purchased from the V&A museum when I visited the Frida exhibition, “making herself up”, back in November 2018.  I may well also have purchased a photographic guidebook to the exhibition, plus the odd few postcards.

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Unfortunately, the exhibition was so busy and rammed with visitors, that it was difficult to spend much time reading the notices.  However, I did spend quite a bit of time staring in admiration at the costumes that Frida wore.  They were so interesting and amazingly colourful as you would expect.  I loved looking at the detail of the sewing and the cut of the garments.

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In my living room, greeting you on arrival there is a colourful green original Mexican oilcloth tablecloth from the lovely website, Viva La Frida.  They sell original Mexican oilcloth and have it shipped over.  I’ve bought a few of their patterns and colours over the years.

For Frida fans, there is the excellent Lacuna book by the author, Barbara Kingsolver. This book details some of Frida’s time in Mexico living with Diego Riviera and is a great read.

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I would love to visit the Frida Kahlo museum in Mexico.  It is called the blue house for the cobalt blue walls.  It’s a museum dedicated to the art of Frida and shows the rooms she actually lived in.  Via the Frida Kahlo museum website, you can go on a virtual tour.

i hope you enjoyed this blog. Let me know your favourite Frida things too!


La Seigneurie Gardens, Sark

On our family holiday this year we were lucky enough to visit Jersey for a third time I love this little island, where time stands still and everyone is polite and the traffic filters in turn at roundabouts.

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As we were there for a couple of weeks, we decided the visit Sark, which actually falls under the jurisdiction of Guernsey. I’ve seen holiday programmes on Sark and have always wanted to visit.  The main attraction being the total ban on cars etc.  If you want to get around on Sark you walk, hire a bike or take a horse and wagon tour.

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We caught the boat early one morning and after a horrendous sea crossing where most people were seasick we finally arrived!  After I had a drink of water (a cafe owner suggested I pick some mint from her garden to flavour the water!), we walked around.

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We had planned beforehand to visit La Seigneurie gardens which were absolutely amazing.  Honestly if I lived in Sark I would visit these gardens daily.  These beautiful walled gardens were small but perfectly formed.  Lots of seasonal interest and eye catching plants and beautiful flowers, an obvious micro climate. I loved it and could have stayed all day.

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It was a very peaceful and tranquil. Also the gardens were immaculate and so well maintained. Not a weed in sight! Plus there was a little cafe for a cup of tea after your visit.

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All in all, despite the sea sickness I absolute loved Sark and La Seigneurie was the main highlight of the day

If you are lucky enough to visit the beautiful Channel Islands, then please visit!


Samares Manor, Jersey

This was my second visit to the lovely Samares Manor botanical gardens in Jersey.  Last year we visited on the last day of our holiday and I found out that you can have a free return visit within 2 weeks so I didn’t make that mistake again and we went early in our holiday!

Samares Manor is small but so tranquil and lovely.  There’s lots of different garden areas for interest, including a Japanese garden, a herb garden and a particular favourite of my son’s: a shade and damp area with lots of stepping stones and ducks!

My favourite area of these gardens however is the walled garden. I have always wanted a walled garden. This one at Samares Manor doesn’t disappoint with lots of cottage style planting which I love. Beautiful rudbeckias, verbena and dahlias come to mind.   There are also lovely espaliers of pear trees that greet you as you meander through the garden.

Whilst visiting Samares Manor, don’t forget to visit their cafe. The Herb Garden cafe is a fabulous outdoor tearoom serving the most delicious and largest piece of lemon drizzle cake I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat! I would be sampling my way through the menu if I lived there. When we visited they were advertising a special lunch menu which was a delicious sounding fig and feta cheese pizza. All cooked on their outdoor pizza oven.  Unfortunately I was too full of cake to take advantage!

You could spend an hour plus here, it’s not that large, but it is so pleasant and definitely visit the cafe. It’s well worth it, especially if like us you are on holiday and get a free return visit! It’s just so nice to have a stroll around in pleasant conditions.

Overall even though it’s not that big, there is quite a lot of interesting areas to explore. The shop sells a nice array of local crafts and although I couldn’t bring back any plants on my flight, the garden centre plants looked in great condition and were reasonably priced.

I’m already looking forward to visiting the gardens again soon


Bags of Star Wars!

Gosh, did I have fun this week with my Star Wars fabric quarters.  I had been keeping them for a while as I was undecided what to make with them.  Any fabric like this normally gets turned into a PE/kit bag!

Then last week I decided upon turning them into carrier bag holders (so useful in storing plastic bags from the supermarket). Plus storing your plastic bags in this way is much neater and organised than shoving them in a kitchen drawer, like I used to do!

I have made countless of these bag holders and they have always sold out on my Etsy shop.  It’s a great opportunity to be creative with your pattern and fabrics and to also add touches like fun ribbons etc.  Plus, of course, the bag holders are also very practical indeed.

I had three different types of Star Wars fabric quarters so I decided to make three different bags.  All individual and striking in their own way.

 

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All are available to buy on my Etsy shop (see link above).  I can also custom make bag holders of your choice.  Just message me on Etsy.

Thanks for reading!


RHS Malvern Spring festival

69a4c9fc-71f2-42fc-bc36-7ce9cfaf3465I’ve always wanted to visit the RHS Malvern Spring show and this year I actually remembered to book tickets and off we went a couple of weeks ago on a sunny Saturday!

I watched Gardeners World the Friday beforehand as I thought they would be filming there and I was not disappointed.  I loved the look of the show gardens and the floral marquee and couldn’t wait to visit the Three Counties Showground in Malvern the next day. I was crossing my fingers that the weather would improve too after a deluge of rain a few days before.

The big day arrived and the sun came out. We arrived mid morning, along with thousands of other people too!  First stop coffee and a 10 minute wait for the ladies’ loo’s!  (Generally speaking there are more women at shows like this so why not provide extra toilets?!).

cf338afb-9e7f-41bb-94b4-2a116f37bb59Second stop was the show gardens. Unfortunately due to the previous days rain, these were in a muddy field! From watching GW I was really looking forward to seeing the show gardens and they didn’t disappoint.  On the down side, it was so busy you had to queue In order to get a look in. It’s always disappointing at these things as there are so many people like me wanting to get a look. On TV they obviously film when no ones around. A false sense of reality!

c9f6a9f9-1c74-41d4-8593-19ad2ec5df39Anyway after I managed a quick peak, I really liked this garden. It was so bright and colourful. Lots of fun in the garden.  It really appealed to me as my garden is also full of bright, fun colours and eye catching planting.

The schools gardens were excellent too.  Lots of hard work went into them and I loved the bright happy colours and the planting.

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My absolute favourite garden was “the bra garden” though!  I saw Carol Klein talking about the bras and couldn’t find a record of it anywhere in the programme. My husband came up with the idea of re running the GW episode to find out what the garden was called  I was getting obsessed with finding this garden at one point.  We managed to locate the garden due to the placement of some giant tepees in the end! It was great fun and unbeknown to me it was made by a local school in Birmingham.

49ff6d4d-c3d0-4e43-93eb-7ef55ace8165All in all, a good day out was had by everyone. My husband and son enjoyed their burger and pizza respectively and I enjoyed looking around the gardens, actually in the sunshine!

Im thinking about a return visit to BBC Gardeners World Live next month, but I may be going on a solo trip, unless there is some street food there to tempt the family!


Simply Sewing Christmas!

Hi, I’ve been really busy with the lead up to Christmas this year.  I’ve exhibited at a local Christmas craft fayre and am working my way through Christmas orders.  So far, my farthest order has been a retro pink heart decoration to a lovely woman in Texas!

Plus, I finally achieved 100 sales with Etsy!  Yahoo!  It’s taken awhile but I’ve got there in the end.

Also Simply Sewing magazine contacted me with a view to a Christmas advert in their magazine.  It was bad enough trying to put together a half decent photo of my Christmas crafts, let alone writing a maximum of 20 words about what I do and who I am! Still, here is the finished proof.  The publication was out a few days ago….

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In the meantime, Happy Christmas to everyone and may you all have a peaceful and prosperous New Year!


Happy Retro Christmas!

As my followers will know I specialise in making crafty products from retro fabrics or anything just that little bit different!

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I started on my Christmas shop early October after having sourced some lovely retro Father Christmas fabric from Doughtys in Hereford. Last year I used a similar fabric and could have sold many of the items ten times over, they were that popular. I think it’s the fact that the items I make are distinctive. I mean who wouldn’t want a pink heart shaped retro Christmas decoration on their tree!

Last year I sourced some great fabric from Hobbycraft in the form of fat quarters a lovely pink and blue retro reindeer print especially sold well.  Sadly I can’t seem to find that lovely fabric  I had so many queries asking me where I sourced it from!  I can’t find it anywhere online either!

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This year I’ve concentrated on making Santa bags, albeit quite large ones ranging to small ones for little gifts!  I’ve also been making lots of pretty bunting as well as the retro Christmas tree decorations

 

I do admit to quite liking making bunting  its methodical and you get a quick return for your work  it’s a good choice to channel your inner creativity too!

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I hope you like all these handcrafted items and when you want a present that’s a bit quirky or different, please bear me in mind! If there’s a certain fabric or item you like then I can always custom make you something too

You will find these items plus many others in my Etsy shop. Just follow the link at the  top of the page.


Dr Who and film fabric!

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I saw this great fabric in my local fabric store, Cottonpatch in Birmingham. As an ardent Dr Who fan since a little girl, I just couldn’t resist! It’s bang on trend too for the new female Doctor on BBC although I believe there will be no more Daleks present in the new series

The fabric features the Doctor’s arch enemy, the Daleks!  I had a list of things in my head that I wanted to use this delightful fabric for and in the end I decided on a drawstring bag and a document wallet. It was such fun sewing with this fabric.  I loved it!

 

 

There seems to be a rise in popularity in film or tv fabrics. I recently purchased some fat quarters from Hobbycraft, themed with both Jungle Book and Toy Story. I have used the Jungle Book fabric to make some bunting, which sold a few days later. The Toy Story fabric is currently in the process of being made into bunting again!

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Mickey Mouse and friends have also featured in my Etsy shop  I’ve had great fun making purses, wallets and bunting from a great array of fabric.

 

 

 

Just last week, I saw a fabulous Tom and Jerry fabric too. It’s on my radar to buy although I have so many fabrics! It’s just hard to resist. Watch this space!

For all the latest makes and designs, click on my Etsy shop button!


My Cath Kidston fabric!

I saw this lovely fabric from Cath Kidston and fell in love with it!  To the extent that I’ve gone mad making things to sell on my Etsy shop with it!

I ordered the pale blue smudge spot and also the London toile. So far, the order of blue spot fabric has been diminishing by the day!  I’m literally seeing spots!

The London toile feels a more elegant fabric, as if I should be making a nice skirt out of it and not cutting it up at all!  I’ve only made a practical pinboard so far – it does look striking though!

IMG_1225I started making a set of triangular sewing pattern weights for use in dressmaking.  These pattern weights are really useful when cutting out paper patterns as they hold the pattern still so you can pin and cut.  Plus they look nice too.  I’ve made a few of these over the past couple of years and they are fun to make!

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Then, I started on a large sewing organiser.  I’ve made pocket sewing tidys and have had a few orders for a custom made A4 design.  I sell a popular organiser which is made from a delightful retro sewing notions fabric by Makower.  Unfortunately, its a hard fabric to find as they don’t obviously make it anymore.  The large sewing organiser is A4 size and features a zipped pocket and an inside pouch pocket.  Lots of room to store all your sewing knick-knacks. Plus its so handy you can take it on holiday with you or away babysitting for the night in my case!

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Next, I made a pinboard/memoboard/noticeboard – lots of people call them different things!  I love making these pinboards as you can really be imaginative with contrasting ribbons and trimmings.  For the blue smudge spot board, I opted for a “happily ever after” ribbon that I had stored in my ribbon box.  ( I love going to different places and buying different ribbons – I’ve had some great ones from Spain, in particular)!

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Finally, inspiration came in form of a handy credit card wallet/purse.  These are great to make with fabric scraps and again are fun to do as you can be imaginative with contrasting linings and colourful snap fastenings.  In this case, I opeted for a red spotty lining with a matching red fastener.  I’ve made quite a few of these little (and larger) wallets and they always go down well at craft fairs.

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What next then?  I think I may give this fabric a rest for a while until inspiration strikes again.  I’ve a lovely floral fabric next up!

All these products are available on my shop or will be very soon!


Flower pot madness!

We had planned a warm Easter school holiday trip to Estepona, south of Malaga, Spain. In reality we were rained in, cold and were grateful of the heated seats in the hire car!  It took us 3 days to finally visit the lovely town of Estepona in all it’s sunny glory. It was worth it.

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From what I had read, I pictured an idyllic Spanish local town, generally off the tourist trail where Spanish friends and family met on Saturday mornings in their favourite cafe over a Cortado. I wasn’t disappointed. We were the only foreigners there!  Lots of locals doing their Saturday morning shopping.  And the shoe shops were to die for!!! 3 pairs of lovely sandals made it back into my case!

Anyway, to bring me to the point of this blog. What I hadn’t realised was that Estepona is famous for its flower pot trail!  The guidebook said, go into the tourist office and ask for a trail map. We duly did and began to walk street after street of beautiful, colourful flower pots full of red geraniums which were attached to the street walls. Apparently each street has a themed flower pot colour too!  I have to say my favourites were the pink spotty ones and was quite disappointed that I couldn’t bring one back in my suitcase!

The trail went on for lovely street after street until my 9 year old had decided enough was enough and he wanted an ice cream! I took so many photos, that here is only a small selection.

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So if you are a fan of flowers, gardening and spotty plant pots, you will love it here!

Lovely Estepona, I can’t wait to go back.