Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Comfort Sewing.

Autumnal poppy fascinator bands., originally uploaded by Wychbury.
My loft studio is often cold in winter and I drive my entire family batty by gradually migrating downstairs through the course of the season! What I have noticed in recent weeks is that my style of working has altered to accomodate this, right down to the type of pieces I am designing and producing. My Remembrance Poppies involve only handstitching and no machine so can be produced curled up on the sofa with a blanket and a cuppa!
The Poppy range went mad this year and all I seemed to do for weeks was to sew black seed beads onto deep red flowers. What was suprising to me was that rather than being bored I was actually rather comforted by continuously repeating the processes of making such a familiar and well loved design.
Designing and making individual pieces, although inspiring is sometimes daunting to me too. What if no one likes it? What was I thinking? That was really hard to make - is it worth it? The poppies though, no such worries. The are beautifully tactile, richly coloured, tried and tested and honestly - a delight to make. I'd already dipped my toe in the idea of producing other versions of the Poppy design through the Ghost Poppy/Grey Lady Fascinator band I made around Halloween time so when Goose and the Moose Gallery at Malton asked for more fascinators in other colours, it seemed a good time to make some more. I love the big faceted bead on the the 2011 Remembrance Poppies so ordered some other colours with a view to making some rich, Autumnal combinations. I've also used bugle beads instead of seed beads on some designs to add to the opulance of the design for the Christmas season.
These fascinators have gone off to Malton now but I feel I have a new reason to stay by the fire and am producing corsages in these designs. These will be available shortly on Folksy and Etsy as well as our fantastic stockists all over Yorkshire.
Keep warm this winter, grab your work box, put the kettle on and get comfy!

Paula x

Friday, 14 October 2011

Autumn Stall

We've got a few events coming up in the next few weeks so I've been messing around with stall design. I always use this gothic mirror on our displays, I have two in my bathroom and if we have a bigger table I use both. I want to make a big feature of our Halloween/ Autumn items so have added this black metal candle stick. To get enough height I've raised the whole thing up on to my vintage filing drawers and combined this autumnal section of our display with both the poppies inside the drawers and my recently adopted old book feature on the top.

The rest of the stall probably has enough autumnal elements to pull it together but to add some coherance to the thing I've added some strings of artificial autumn leaves and places a few of the Halloween themed destash items from our Wychcrafts shop to the bottom of the sewing box display.

You can check up on where we are in the coming weeks by checking our events calendar and following us on facebook but tomorrow we will be in famous Haworth for a craft fair in the Old School Rooms. You can read the details on The Arts Market blog, come and see us if you are in the area!

Paula x

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

'Tis the Season

I've been really busy over the last few months with one thing and another and somehow forgot how easy it is to blog these days! Not just the physical processs of sharing from other media such as flickr as I've done here, but also finding inspiration for something to say.

I mean there's all sorts right here, Halloween for a start! I'm not really in the spirit this year, I'm not childminding any more and the kids are getting bigger and I've been there and done that when it comes to orange and black. Also, my 40th birthday weekend felt more like August in Corfu than October in Yorkshire and Autumn just wasn't happening for me.

BUT - it's Poppy season as well as Halloween and the two came together in this piece. The Grey Lady/Ghost Poppy fascinator band is available on folksy and although I don't want to lead folk too much into thinking this is a straightforward costume piece - I couldn't resist this retro camera shot of me, sans make up! I love retro camera and the effect here has completely lit my pumpkin for All Hallows after all!

I am now roasting root vegetables and chopping logs on a daily basis and am actually quite psyched for Halloween. I even went back to the orange and black to stock our Wychcrafts destash shop with seasonal supplies to ramp up the season of mellow fruitfulness vibe even more!

So I WILL go to the Halloween parties I've been invited to, I WILL be costumed and I WILL enjoy it!

Paula x

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Studio Drawers

Studio Drawers, originally uploaded by Wychbury.
The grand studio reorganisation continues! Just when I thought I couldn't get any more furniture up there, Crossflatts Primary School chucked out THREE sets of trays at the end of term and I had to have them. They are stamped 1974, WRCC. This stands for West Riding County Council which ceased to exist in 1974 so maybe this was when they arrived at the school which was then Ryshworth Middle.

Anyway, after a right struggle to get them up there, they fit a treat under the eaves of my loft studio. I'm just printing out lots of labels for them for work in progress, completed stock and Wychcrafts stuff - wonderful!

Paula x

Monday, 20 June 2011

Studio re-organisation, episode I

Studio reorganisation, episode I, originally uploaded by Wychbury.
I get the feeling that this is about to turn into another photo diary as the re-organisation of my workroom is a mammoth task!
You may remember some time ago, I shared my joy at finally getting my wish and having my loft converted into a workroom. I blogged it, photographed it and proudly added it to a gazillion flickr groups.

Well, wasteful ingrate that I am, over the last year my poor space has been absolutely trashed to the point where I had no choice but to spread through the house like a virus, invading every surface with brooches, clips, buttons and bits of fabric!
There were several catalysts for this turn of events:

1: The Winter plus the new stove I got in my living room - who wants to be in a cold loft where there are logs crackling?
2: School holidays - there have been loads and I can't stay in the loft when I've got kids in the garden - so I spread more (even into the garden sometimes!).

3: New designs and products - there have been a lot from Wychbury this year. The design process for most makers is a space guzzling one, as you lay all your componants out along with sketches and notes you can't possibly clear away before bed as you might forget what you came up with...anyway, you'd just have to get it all out again wouldn't you?
So the combination of these factors coupled with my extreme wool-headed laziness have led to an overun house with no usuable seating or even a dining table. No dogs or small children can enter as everything is so precarious and my own family have had to adopt a whole new way of life as they search for a space to complete even the simplest of tasks.

It ends here, for a while anyway! I've gone through the place like a hurricane and filled bag after bag with literal garbage and am currently redesigning the layout with my new products and working style in mind. Stay with me lovely family, friends and readers of our blog - it won't be long now and harmony will return!

Paula x

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

New Leeds.

So Wychbury are sneaking into Leeds!  I was 23 when I moved to Yorkshire, already at an age where the time for sitting on steps in the cool part of town and peering at passers-by through layers of eyeliner and clouds of cigarette smoke were left behind me in Birmingham.  However, the area around the Corn Exchange in Leeds has always seemed to me to be the place to hang out, filled with cool shops selling an abundance of all the stuff I just love to spend  frivolous amounts of cash on!

The Corn Exchange itself is Grade 1 listed and underwent an extensive renovation in 2008.  Now nice and shiny and full of great new businesses, the iconic round building is once again the hub of a vibrant and growing community of creative entrepreneurs now thriving even more via the blessing of our time, social networking!

On the relatively tucked away Kirkgate, Bird's Yard stands tall.  Three floors of open plan shops filled with a trove of vintage and handmade treasures from a huge range of artists and curated by a staff of committed, enthusiastic and very friendly people.  Not even a year old yet, Bird's Yard is effortlessly cool in that easy going 'buy a lurex belt on your way for a Saturday latte' kind of a way, everyone fits in, there's no pressure, maximum browsing opportunity and loads of fun! 

Carla DeAzevedo of MausHaus has just opened Nouveau Leeds on the second floor and this is where we come in.  After contacting us via Folksy about stocking our range, I got to know Carla via her participation in the Saltaire Arts Trail in May.  Nouveau Leeds is a bright, airy space with one of the stunning round windows the building boasts and Carla is in the process of filling the space with carefully chosen work from some amazing loacal artists.  We are chuffed to bits to be one of the first ranges to be stocked in the shop and wish Carla every success with her business.  Please check out all the links below for other ranges in Nouveau Leeds and the other units in Bird's Yard and please pop down to Kirkgate, you won't regret it!

Paula x

Indie Cindy
Kitschen Sink
Littlebirdy Designs

Sew You
Life's Big Canvas 
And loads more.....if you are in Birds yard and your link isn't here it's because I couldn't find it!  Please add your links in the comments lovely people! px

Monday, 13 June 2011

Reverting to Type

John Bull Printing Outfit No.12, originally uploaded by Wychbury.
If you read our blog you may be familiar with my growing obsession with all things type, old typewriters and especially vintage John Bull Printing Outfits. Well, I am very excited to report that my latest set arrived today, No.12. this one contains an intact booklet and a long-dehydrated inkpad with the expiry date JUN 1948.

There aren't many letters but to my joy they are a different font to my previous set No.18. This discovery may herald the beginning of a collecting habit! I already knew from my Ebay sessions that many of the John Bull Outfits had image stamps included and the booklet in my new set seems to be implying that sets No. 33 and 115 contain small image stamps including floral designs. Oh yes - a pansy and an English 'Tudor' style rose - the quest begins!

Paula x

Thursday, 26 May 2011


Typing, originally uploaded by Wychbury.
I - am typing! That's about it really - cards for my vintage silk and button hair clips. I stitched some of them in bed last night whilst watching 'Underworld, Rise of the Lycans'. The film's not bad - Vincent is nowhere near as terrifying as Bill Nighy himself I can tell you!....Should I be this laid back when I only have about NINE hours of making and prep left? I really couldn't say - if you are in West Yorkshire this weekend come and see for yourself. If I am under an empty table rocking then I badly need to adjust my sense of urgency!

Paula x

PS Visit our Flickr page where you can see more of our diary pics.


Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Saltaire Arts Trail Preparation Diary : Last but one day of making.

So the Saltaire Arts Trail kicks off on Friday night with the launch party at Salts Mill. This means that with Friday being mainly set aside for last minute organisation, that I only have two days of making left. Lesley's parcel has arrived and she is hoping to send me even more from her cottage in Wales, I'm pulling our display together and finishing everything off.

The rest of our diary will most likely come in mini-photoblog format as we snap'n'share what we're doing for the next two days. See you on the other side!
Paula x


Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Nearly There!

So we've not blogged for a few days, mainly because things just got too hectic on the organising side of things that making had to take a back seat.  The final meeting of the organising committee before the event, took place last night and everything seems to be coming together - in fact the Makers' Fair seems to be the are that is the least plagued by disaster!  The catering issue was quickly solved and the only other thing that's gone wrong is that the floor in Victoria Hall is being done and the whole place smells like solvent!

So today I have managed to get stuck into making and the first installment of Lesley's jewellery has arrived so I've started thinking about how I'll present everything.  Our stall recently has been taking the direction of a victorian dressing table.  Much of our range is reminiscent of a bygone era, my fabric florals have a feel of the faded velvet violets on antique hats, Lesley's elegant herb garden earrings have that Victorian beauty that's both rich and understated at the same time, we use buttons and fabric that take us back to our grandmothers' heirloom sewing boxes.  It seems only natural that vanity sets, glass trinket trays and old jewellery boxes have been finding their way onto our table adoorned with our work. 

In Lesley's parcel today were some of the much coveted Thorn necklaces, reputed to contain the blood of Eric Northman and the thorns from the briars that strangled Sleeping Beauty's castle.  I also have some coach necklaces belonging to Cinderella and a pair of scissors that I'm fairly sure chopped off Rapunzel's locks!  I've decided to place a few old books onto our Victorian lady's dresser display and add in a Sweet Briar pincushion ring for the pricking of one's finger.  Should fit in like Cinderella's foot!

Also I have a nice new item in my Pansy range to introduce at the Makers' Fair.  These are tiny pansy and viola flowers placed onto clips and sold in pairs.  Similar to the Red Heartsease clips in size but really teeny, machine stitch free versions of the single pansy. 

So it's now Four days until we kick off, the red bunting will be swathing the village by the time we get to the launch party at Salts Mill at 6.30 on Friday evening and everyone will be raring to go.....or hiding under a table!

Paula xxx


Friday, 20 May 2011

Saltaire Arts Trail 2011 Preparation Diary, 8 days left.

Well it's been a mad couple of days on the organising side of things. A last minute panic over replacement catering reassured me that I am able to take a lot more in my stride than I gave myself credit for. I've also expanded the scope of the Makers' Fair a little to include more demonstrations and the fantastic artists involved have been really enthusiastic about sharing their skills with visitors.

With all this going on it was quite late before I picked up a needle this evening and I find myself feeling the need to tie up loose ends. It may be a result of the chaotic dream of Makers' Fair mayhem I had last night but I'm currently working methodically through a tupperware box of unfinished things. They are laid out on my sofa all grouped in stages and the mental effect as I finish them is similar to ticking a to-do list.

Hopefully I will sleep a little better tonight, safe in the knowledge that my catering is sorted and I got my beads sewn on!


Thursday, 19 May 2011

Saltaire Arts Trail 2011 Preparation Diary 9 days Left - Packaging

No time for me to blog today, but a few photos of the finished Fairy Tale bottle necklaces and packaging. An old Wychbury design, revamped. Contains brambles from my garden and the blood of Eric Northman :)

Also a few Herb Garden Earrings displayed on my old Welsh hymn board, ready to be sent up to Paula for the Arts trail. And yup, that is David Tennant, he sometimes holds my Joss sticks for me! L. xXX

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Saltaire Arts Trail 2011 Preparation Diary, 10 days left.

It's been an odd one today. Lots of things that I really felt should have been finished by now in terms of the Makers' Fair organsisation are still in the wind. I am getting there but some of the hurdles and obstacles that are springing up are distracting me from my Wychbury work.

I've listed a couple of the pincushion rings I've been making in our online shops today which has made the fact that I have actually completed some stock a little more believable to me but time seems all wrong at the moment. Everything is stretching out a bit too far for my liking and it's really only the writing of this diary that's allowing me to keep track of how long there is left before we launch.

So I've not done much actual making today apart from at my kids' dance class. I sew things there every week and the other mums are always interested in what I'm up to. Most know about my involvement in the arts trail so I had another opportunity to check in with my brain and tell them how things were going.

Better luck on Thursday I hope.
Paula x


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Saltaire Arts Trail 2011 Preparation Diary, 11 days left.

I'm thinking about display a bit today. We have twelve feet of table to play with at the Makers' Fair so will have plenty of space. A few of the makers I admire the most like Leigh Shepherd and Kirsten Miller of Quernus Crafts make gorgeous table top arrangements with their pieces laid out in pleasing patterns. I have plenty of pincushion rings and am applying this technique which I hope will give them more prominance on the stall.

Most of my other textile products are usually displayed fairly haphazardly in bowls or baskets or on trays, this allows me to set up and pack up quickly. A quick set up time is a must for me since I nearly always have my children with me and on this occasion will be organising as well. Laying items out in this way is more time consuming than I am used to but I am inclined to think it may be worth it.

Other news today is that I have found the 'Y' that was lost from my handmade John Bull 'WYCHBURY ...England...' stamp and can now print some cards!

Paula x

Monday, 16 May 2011

Saltaire Arts Trail 2011 Preparation Diary, 12 days left - 2

I always feel pretty guilty that I’m the silent Wychbury girl whilst Paula is out there promoting and selling our wares, unfortunately for quite a while now Wychbury has been slotted into a very small space in my hectic life. I’ve literally been spending one day a week frantically making regular good sellers to send to our suppliers in Yorkshire and Birmingham. Pretty frustrating also as I have a lot of ideas floating about in my head but not enough time to sit and try them out!
Ever get the feeling you have bitten off more than you can chew? I’m at that stage right now! I’ve had a pretty hectic couple of weeks, for some reason I agreed to start a retail college course suggested by my place of work (The glorious Lush Cosmetics), with the London College of Beauty Therapy. No problem I thought, I can do most of it while at work, not giving a thought to how much time it would take up at home. I’ve also been involved in promoting/painting/cleaning) a new alternative nightclub in Birmingham, the amazing Vudu Club and have been working shifts there, then running back and working a shift at Lush then hotfooting it back to Vudu. Of course then I have to stay at the club and have a bit of a dance, try the cocktails and end up stumbling in at 4am. A teenager I am not anymore, and boy does my body know about it!

Today, I’m having a day off and I’m about to tea-stain a load of Wychbury cards ready for a bunch of earrings I managed to put together last week. I’m also stamping a few boxes and considering selling the Fairy Tale bottle necklaces packaged in those. Hopefully I will get a chance to photograph those properly later and share them on here later in the week! Lesley. xXx

Saltaire Arts Trail 2011 Preparation Diary, 12 days left.

Ok, so what's happening so far this morning is that I am drinking tea in a very contrived way, partly for the purposes of this diary and partly because it's all gone a bit wrong this morning and I need to take a breather!

It has become all too clear that I am spending way too much time cooped up working in the house and that cabin fever has set in. An explosive row demonstrated that I needed some fresh air and my husband drove me up on to the moors and chucked me out - at my request of course! I would like to reassure anyone who drove past me at Keighley Gate this morning that I am NOT mental or the victim of a hen night prank but simply blowing off steam (despite what the stripy socks, bunch of wild flowers and lack of make up might imply!).

So now my lungs are full of fresh air, my flowers are in a vase, my tea is in the pot, my vintage turquoise is out and I may shortly be fit to thread a needle and make some pincushions for the Makers' Fair!

Paula x

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Saltaire Arts Trail 2011 Preparation Diary, 13 days left.

Poppies, Pincushions and Purchases.

As well as the fair itself, two of our retailers are selling at the event too and we are being visited by a third. therefore I will be trying my best to produce enough work to send these ladies with some new stock for their shops.

Today I've started a batch of new pincushion rings with some new fabrics including a William Morris print in the perfect size for the pieces. I've also been working on some poppies both for the fair and for two November Wedding orders.

I've ordered a batch of 30mm ring bases from China, 200 leafy bead caps for Tudor clips from the USA and I've chased up my velvet leaf supplier in the UK!

Paula x

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Saltaire Arts Trail 2011 Preparation Diary, 14 days to go!

Saltaire Arts Trail 2011 Preparation Diary, 14 days to go!, originally uploaded by Wychbury.

So today I have worked on some handmade packaging for the hopefully very busy weekend. Our fabric bags are calico and we use them mainly for jewellery purchases. The paper bags are made from that perforated brown paper that comes screwed up in cardboard boxes as padding. Both are stamped with my John Bull set and a wee squiggly stamp. I'm envisaging needing a lot more than this though - I hope so. My 1000 business cards have arrived to so I am good to go.

It's pretty late now and I've been working on a lot of other stuff today but I'm going to stitch some beads on to some stock Poppy Corsages before bed, ready for the bulk velvet leaf order I'm waiting for.

Paula x

Countdown to Saltaire Arts Trail 2011

The Saltaire Arts Trail is now 14 days away! Preparations are in frantic full swing as far as my involvement in the organising committee is concerned but when it comes to Wychbury's involvement as an exhibitor at The Makers' Fair I have been as laid back as ever.

We've been selling at events for a number of years now and often treat it as a matter of routine, 'This is our job and we know what we're doing' sort of thing. The fact is though, The SAT Makers' Fair is not just another fair, it's the highlight of our calendar. Wychbury's five year commitment to promoting, volunteering and selling at the event has led to the situation I now find myself in. I am now proudly responsible for the Makers' Fair itself and May 2011 marks SAT's debut as a stand-alone event, its coming of age party and the first time our Makers' Fair and me are being allowed out on our own!

So, what about Wychbury? Well to make sure that my eldest child doesn't feel left out at the party, I've decided to countdown to the 28th with a daily diary of what WYCHBURY is doing to prepare to sell and make our mark at the event. Lesley and I will be snapping, posting, updating and tweeting every day for the next 14 days to record all our preparations and I will post a diary entry style blog at the end of every day.

Please follow us AND the
SAT blog and keep a blogger tab open to get all our updates as we count down. Please comment if you are also involved in any way and we can link back and forth to us with your own preparations.

More about today's' preparations later on!

Paula x

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Saltaire Arts Trail

For several years now, Wychbury have been exhibiting at the Saltaire Arts Trail Makers' Fair. For us and many other artists and makers, this prestigious event is the highlight of our selling calendar. This year I am proud to have stepped up my volunteer role to become the Makers' Fair lead on the organising committee. This is an amazing project to be involved in, meeting so many talented artists and getting to know about their work and how it can be showcased in such a large scale event is a fantastic experience.

Traditionally the Arts Trail has taken place as a partner event to the Saltaire Festival, a two week long festival of food, arts, music and family activities held all over the famous World Heritage site of Saltaire, built by Sir Titus Salt. The festival is now in it's ninth year and is held in the middle two weeks of September. The partnership between Arts Trail organisors Saltaire Inspired and the Saltaire Festival has always been a successful one and one which we hope will long continue. However, this year The Saltaire Arts Trail is being brave, coming of age and stepping out on its own. Although the Makers' Fair will still take place in September, the Bank Holiday weekend of the 28th, 29th and 30th May will see the very first stand-alone Saltaire Arts Trail.

Over the three days, twelve homes in the village will open their doors to the public. Inside, visitors can discover not only what the residents of this historic village have got on their shelves but also the unique and diverse artwork of over 50 Yorkshire-based artists. Family activities with a strong message of sustanability including Teepee Building, Children's mini-trail, Dens and Mazes and our famous Garden of Easels will be based at Shipley College and on the lawn outside Victoria Hall. The spectacularly grand Victoria Hall itself will house the Makers' Fair, 48 designer-makers and artists will be selling their wares and demonstrating their practices.

You will definitely have no problem filling all three days as even more exhibitions are dotted around the village, often in places where you can get food and coffee! These include the World's smallest cinema showing the 'Wondermental' films of Cherry Kino in Super8 format screening daily, also Out There, a project investigating sustainable art practices inspired and sourced from the environment, initiated and run by Kirkgate studios and Workshops and Textile Artist, Claire Wellesley-Smith. Shipley College exhibits work by its students and other spaces will be occupied with larger projects and installations by comtemporary artists.

Please visit www.saltaireartstrail.co.uk where you can download the brochure, follow our blog, facebook and twitter and browse the galleries and artists' links. Home to Salts Mill (which has the most mesmorising website ever and houses a permanant David Hockney exhibition) Saltaire's unique architecture, history, arts and culture attract visitors from all over the world and The Saltaire Arts Trail should not be missed.

Paula x

Thursday, 21 April 2011

The Stalls

This is a quick post to introduce one of our fabulous stockists, 'The Stalls' of Harrogate. Run by Natasha Harris, MD of arts and crafts social enterprise OOBBAA, The Stalls is a bright, inspiring space carefully stocked with an eclectic mix of work from talented artists across Yorkshire.

Natasha is a talented designer/maker herself making retro inspired bags and jewellery. Her creativity and attention to detail are clearly evident in the shop itself as she creates thoughtfully individual displays for each artist's work. Cube shelving and glass cabinets compartmentalise contrasting styles but clever placement of large textiles and furniture as well as the 'racetrack' layout, create a flow that brings everything together and gives the shop it's signature feel. The large table and seating at the rear of the shop allow artists and customers to linger and chat whilst getting a tempting view of every item on sale.

The Stalls also hosts regular successful workshops in-house as well as a popular run of craft fairs. You can follow Natasha's blog and facebook page to keep yourself updated with what she is up to. To visit The Stalls use the Victoria multi storey carpark in the centre of Harrogate and take the 'One Arch' exit. The shop is on your immediate right as you exit and has a gorgeous sandwich shop next door.

Wychbury are delighted and proud to be associated with The Stalls and hope our relationship will long continue, happy shopping!

Paula x

Thursday, 10 February 2011


I don't think I've written anything about pincushions before. This is odd since I love them - pincushions and needlebooks. I have a belief that the first thing anyone should make when learning to sew is a pincushion or a needlebook and that everyone should keep AND use the first ones they make forever. This doesn't always work out I realise, things get lost - I myself have lost a gorgeous needlebook made by the lovely Claire at Clarabella - it's here somewhere, I just don't know where. Neither do I know the whereabouts of the pincushion I made at school that the teacher took home to finish off after we stuffed them with tights!

However, I do have the one I made when I got my last sewing machine, a piece of canvas with a sample of all the stitches running across it, I also have a pincushion I made from tiny hexagonal patchwork that spent at least some of it's life stuck in an old, glass ashtray to stop it sliding off the table! My mom uses a needlebook that she actually made but the front of it is a tapestry of a horse's head that I worked from a kit when I was about eight.

Anyway, I've been a bit fascinated with wearable pincushions since the whole Alice/Mad Hatter thing and have been mulling over designs for pincushion rings. There are loads of amazing tutorials online for making rings from old bottle caps and elastic and a few designers making gorgeous versions - time for a Wychbury one!

I wanted something with a bit of Hatter-gothic appeal but still usable so I've opted for an adjustable ring base in our typical antique bronze rather than elastic. I've shortened the depth of the base a bit from the bottle cap designs so I had room to get a nice aesthetic dome into the shape without it being too high on the hand. I also wanted to achieve the crown effect from old velvet and silver pincushions so I've added vintage lace and a button to finish them off. I've also customised the pins they are shown with to resemble tiny hatpins and will be selling them with the pins included.
The first three designs are now available for listing and will be up shortly - I hope they go down well as I'm looking forward to showing them off at 'Treasure' in a couple of weeks. Here's a preview!
Here are a few links to the queens of the handcrafted pincushion and their beautiful creations as well as a couple of fab tutorials - enjoy!


Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Stitching Together.

My little girl is called Dara, she is four years old. This Christmas she has some spending money and to my absolute delight she wanted to buy a toy sewing machine she had seen in The Works in Harrogate. The whole family had gone up there to take some Wychbury work to The Stalls, the fab shop run by Natasha Harris. Natasha stocks amazing work including many of our fave Yorkshire Artists and we were thrilled when she also agreed to stock us.

Dara discovered the sewing machine while we were rooting around in the Dr Who annuals for Aidan, my six year old and was immediately taken with the fact that it is like mummy's but PINK! So, shaky though my faith the quality of a toy that costs £6.99 was, I liked her style and went with the purchase. From what I gather, all toy sewing machines are without a bottom thread and sew in a chain stitch. If they work and you secure the thread at either end it is perfectly possible to sew small items together and certainly embroider patterns. My mum had a gorgeous red Vulcan sewing machine that she passed on to me and I have had it, unused on display in my various houses for as long as I can remember. If distant memory serves, the Vulcan sewed in a neat chain that automatically pulled the fabric round so that you could do little to resist sewing in a very pleasing spiral!

Anyway, back to the charming pink plastic machine. I inserted the 4xAA batteries as instructed and was (perhaps predictably) disappointed that they didn't in fact power the tiny pedal OR any motor that may have existed, but instead poured all their 4xAA energy into playing 'Twinkle Twinkle' very slowly and very endlessly! Never mind I think, I'm sure it will work manually - alas, the chain stitch wouldn't catch and unravelled every time.

I must admit I wasn't entirely devastated by this discovery as I had been secretly hoping for an excuse to clean up my Mum's old machine and see if I could get it to work. A load of WD40 and a new clamp from ebay, painstakingly filed down to fit and it works! Dara is thrilled to bits to be using her Nanny's toy sewing machine and so am I. I still use an electric Singer sewing machine that belonged to my Grandmother from time to time and the thought of the endless stitching running from one generation of my family to the next is nothing but wonderful to me!

It is nearly time for me to buy a new machine and I am a little sad to think that anything I will choose to buy nowadays will almost certainly not stand the test of time like the ones our ancestors used. Fellow stitchers will no doubt all agree that sewing machines are like pets, they either become one of the family - or they don't. Some we bond enough with to forgive any malfunction, oil regularly and get repaired when they break, other we smack with our hands, swear at them and grumble at the endless torment they put us through until we can afford to replace them!

What I will remember when I buy my new machine is that it doesn't matter if a sewing machine plays 'Twinkle Twinkle' or can make a stitch in the shape of an chain of crocodiles. If it makes your shoulders tense up the minute you sit down in front of it and there's no way you would ever pass it on to your daughter then it's not worth knowing!

Paula x

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Craft Soup!

So here I am again with one of my sporadic bursts of networking energy! This is a short, but very nourishing and tasty post about a group of fantastic Yorkshire ladies, some cake and a hashtag!
Once upon a time, there were some ladies who were very fond of making things, eating cake, using twitter and chatting. One day, the crafty ladies decided to venture out into the world and meet each other for real and the #saltstweetup was born.

Exploring the power of social networking and in particular Twitter, we have linked up using the #saltstweetup hashtag and in every way we can think of to skill share, swap materials, organise events, promote each other and share cake, coffee and crafty chat. Our meetings are currently taking place at the lovely Salts Diner in Salts Mill and our group is rapidly growing into the Aire Valley's premier craft mafia!

To make things even cosier I have created a facebook group for us all to bond in, the ladies voted on a name and I am very pleased to present CRAFT SOUP! This is a closed group but if you live vaguely in the vicinity of West Yorkshire and would like to meet us and join our merry band then please request to join!

If you are a member of Craft Soup then please post your business link in the comments section so everyone can a have a dunk! See you all on Saturday :-)

Paula x