Sunday, 29 April 2012


I had intended to update my blog at least once a week, but as usual real life intervened. We unfortunately had a family bereavement. Then I had an arthritis flare-up, possibly as a reaction to stress. So a few weeks have passed since my last post. I haven't done much sewing, knitting or beading, as the pain has made it difficult to sit for any length of time. However I have been gathering ideas and planning projects.

This Saturday we took a drive into the New Forest. Every April the New Forest Needlework Fiesta is held in Brockenhurst in the New Forest National Park. I haven't been to it for three years so OH kindly offered to take me to Brockenhurst, despite heavy rain and gale force winds.

The show is mainly aimed at embroiderers, which I am not, but it usually has at least one bead supplier exhibiting. We got to Brockenhusrt Village Hall around midday. It was busy but thankfully not too crowded.

There were lots of threads and fabric paints for sale. The clours were stunning.

And of course there was a bead stall. The lovely Fran from Crumpets Farm was selling gorgeous seed beads and Swarovski crystals.

I bought some ribbons and threads and one pack of beads. I will explain more about my plans for using them in my next blog entry.

Horses and cattle roam freely in the New Forest and OH spotted these cattle going for a stroll through the centre of Brockenhurst. Many people have installed cattle grids at the entrance to their driveways in a bid to protect their gardens.

We had a good day despite the appalling weather. I am hoping that I will be able to create some jewellery with my purchases. More details in my next post.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Devon, Glorious Devon!

I haven't had a chance to do any sewing or beading today as we went to Devon to see my family. We met up with my Mum and Brother in Topsham, just outside of Exeter. Both of us were born in Devon and we lived in Exeter for 13 years, so in a strange way it felt a little bit like coming home.

We had lunch in the Lighter Inn, one of our favourite haunts when we lived in Exeter. Then had a walk around. So little has changed since we moved away nearly ten years ago.

This sign has always amused me. The streets are so narrow only a lunatic would try to drive a car up here never mind a LGV!!

It was a beautiful day, if a little blustery and chilly. The scenery is stunning wherever you go in Topsham.

After a few pleasant hours in Topsham we went to Exmouth to visit 'A la Ronde', a stunning sixteen sided house, owned by the national Trust. We met a small furry friend near the entrance, who was basking in the sun.

The house was built for two cousins in 1790 to house the large number of items they brought back from a 'Grand Tour'. It has sixteen sides to make the most of natural light. Both cousins were prolific and skilled needlewomen (the house is full of their beautiful work). They would move from room to room as the day progressed, in order to make the most of every bit of precious daylight.

They were highly unusual for women of their time in that they were totally independent. When they died they stipulated in their will that the house should only be passed down though the female family line rather than the male. It is full of lots of beautiful and unusual things collected on their travels. The most famous of which is the 'Shell Gallery' which runs around the top of the house. Unfortunately it is so fragile that visitors are no longer allowed to enter it. You have to view it via remote cameras and computer screens. You can move around and zoom in from all angles.

If you are ever in the Exeter or Exmouth area I would highly recommend a visit.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


One of the joys of living by the sea is seeing it out of season. I particularly like going for a walk along the seafront on a cool blustery day!

As discussed in my other blog 'Arthropy' I have got into a bit of a rut, clothes wise recently. To try to boost my confidence I have been doing some sewing. I have found it almost impossible to find anything that I like (and can afford) in the shops. So as I have over 40 years of sewing experience it seems the obvious answer.

Encouraged by OH and two lovely friends I have dusted off my sewing machine. I have had the following pattern in my stash for quite a few years. I have looked it up on Pattern Review and it gets some good reviews.

I am an hourglass shape so Full Bust Adjustments are normally a necessity. I have never done an FBA on a princess seam garment before, so this has been a learning curve. I found a really good tutorial online at Sew, Mama, Sew!

I am going to make a muslin from some dark blue polycotton from my very small fabric stash. I will let you know how it turns out.

Thursday, 5 April 2012


The weekend before last we took a walk from where we live in Westbourne down through Bournemouth Gardens to the town centre. It was beautiful day, very warm and the birds were singing.

We walked past the rather melancholy lions standing guard over the War Memorial.

Past the beautiful Redwood trees with their wonderful bark.

And past the ornate Victorian water tower.

It was a day which made you feel glad to be alive! I have been struggling a bit with my illness recently so the tranquil walk was soothing.

Surrounded by new shoots and blossom helped me to feel better.

I am really undecided about the future of this blog. I haven't posted for quite a while as I lost the enthusiasm to do so. I will write more about this in my other blog 'Arthropy'.

I have still been creating things and that has helped a lot. A colleague at work asked me to make her some earrings to wear to her daughter's wedding this Saturday. She had already purchased a necklace and I used that as my inspiration. It consisted of a series of cabochons in various shades of red, linked by gold metal daisy shaped flowers.

Taking the flower motif from the necklace I used the Seed Bead Flowers tutorial from Preserve Jewelry Designs as a starting point and added my own spin on it. The earrings were then glued onto gold clip-on earring pads. I also added some 6x14 mm Swarovski briolette drops in Light Siam. Unfortunately I forgot to photography the finished earrings but the above photograph gives you a fair idea of how they turned out.

I created a number of samples to show her before she chose the Seed Bead Flowers. I will probably use the samples to develop more ideas. they will go into my 'work in progress' box for now.

I now have a week off from work. During that time I will try to relax and get my creative juices flowing again. Hopefully that will help me get back on track.