Saturday, 2 October 2010

Hello Gorgeous

That's really her name. 

She's the showgirl for  the Decoupatch Place in Witney, Oxfordshire.  Permission was kindly granted for me to snap her and her fabulous feathery batting lashes at the Artisan Show.   Gorgeous has a brother in blue who lives outside the shop with a small elephant, and I understand that there are plans for more fantastical creatures to follow. 

Artisan Show: Warwickshire Exhibition Centre

Friday's Artisan Show was pretty busy, despite torrential rain for most of the day.  I hope most of the exhibitors managed to get set up the day before, or they would have been drenched.  Lots of crafters had brought their own wheelie bags, so I imagine that a great deal of crafty goodness was acquired.  Perhaps I should have done the same, as I had to have assistance to the car with my buyings - thank you Gail! 

Below is a little teaser of my BIG spend.  You can see it in those three boxes to the front of the picture.  More on that in a future post...once I stop wibbling with excitement and actually get on with using it.

This is part of my show stash.  Distress inks, ribbons, pens, embossing powders, alphabet tape, desk calenders to alter, and the strange blob at the back on the right is a mannequin to decoupage.  The little bronze shapes in the bag are all different, and will be added to boxes.  I also finally remembered to buy a heat mat.  Perhaps safety was in my mind, as the kettle had a strange hissy fit before I left the house and started billowing smoke.  It spent the rest of the day cooling its heels in a very rainy garden before I threw it out. 

It occurred to me that in much the same way as there is an international index for the cost of a burger, perhaps we should index the price of distress inks across the stalls at craft fairs.  Although it didn't occur to me to check before I bought (Lesson # 1 for this craft fair novice). I did end up with the second cheapest at the show...

This was a lovely freebie for spending at the stall of Craft Stamper magazine (I bought back issues I had missed out on).  Pliers, some sweet charms, beading threads, a natural and bronze jewellery kit, earring findings and some beautiful aqua beads (one of my favourite colours), plus a soft mat. 

We went for lunch in Leamington Spa after the show so that I could recover from my over-excitement/overspending.  After a long search in the pouring rain, we ended up dripping all over Bar Angeli, where the sweetest waitress from Funchal took great care of us.  Highly recommended, if you are in the area: gorgeous bread and antipasti, and some delectable looking cakes that I was sadly too full to try.

The sun made a brief appearance at about 6.30pm when we set off to collect a coffee table ready for renovation.  This is the rainbow right over Birmingham International Airport.  I do hope that some people got to fly through it; can you imagine how beautiful that would be?

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Unhappy Lappy

Well, the nice techie called this afternoon, and thinks the laptop problem is caused by the security software supplied by my bank.  File under things that make you go hmmm, and not in a good way.  So he has taken the poor laptop away to kill the files that are making it use 100% of its CPU just to change the wallpaper, and then to give it a "stress test".  A joyful reunion is planned for Saturday, the doctor will report on the patient's progress tomorrow, and in the meantime, I have no excuse but to get on with some projects that have been subject to procrastination.

And tomorrow I am off to the Artisan Show at Warwickshire Exhibition Centre, where I plan to increase my stash...wondering if I will bump into some other crafty bloggers there? 

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


Otherwise known as What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday, hosted by Julia Dunnit over at Stamping Ground.  Linky:  (You can really tell I'm new to Blogger, huh?)

I've been enjoying the weekly look at other people's workspaces, and this week you can see mine in all its messy glory. 

First up: a tiny percentage of the pen stash, plus a box of little charms.  There are some little Eiffel Towers, and Arc de Triomphes (Arcs de Triomphe?) which are going onto the ribbon tie of a Paris box file that I'm decoupaging. 

You can also see my enormous and bulging diary, full of thoughts on what to make next, pictures, receipts, and anything else designed to give me a hernia if I have to carry it around.

This is the very messy bit of the desk: lots of scissors, pencil cases, the laptop (of which more later), strawberry flavoured water, and M&S Earl Grey shortbread.  The last two are essential for all crafting. 

Then there's papier mache in progress.  These little bowls will be desk and dressing table tidies, after painting and decoupage has been added.

So this morning I logged on bright and early at 7am GMT hoping to get some blogging and blog visiting done early.  And my inconsiderate laptop has thrown a wobbly, requiring a visit from the tecchie tomorrow afternoon.  I've borrowed my husband's PC to post this (my thumb keeps searching for the non -existent touch pad and the mouse is not wanting to play), and much as I'm appreciating the loan, I do so miss my lappy.  So please may I extend apologies in advance for not visiting other participants yet - hopefully, I'll be up and running soon... 

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Inspiration for a grey day

Things that make me go mmmmmmmmmmmmmm...  And they're all on the water. 

Firstly, the signpost for the coastal path just above Lynmouth in Devon.  I love the big sky in this. 

The bridge over the river at Lisbon.  It makes the strangest noise as the traffic passes over, somewhere between a rattle and a gong.  We'll be back next year.

Outside the Waterhuis an de Bierkant (the Waterhouse on the Beer Canal) in Ghent.  Ghent is possibly my favourite place in the whole world, and we'll be there again soon.  Don't worry - we have housesitters, so there's no harm in saying we're away.  Beautiful architecture, friendly people, cherry beer, chocolate, canals, rivers and coastline. 

The bridge over the ford at Barston, setting for many picnics, big discussions, Sunday paper reading and other such delights.  It's great to escape from the city and listen to the sheep, watch happy dogs bounding along the footpath, and spot the occasional and unexpected bit of resident wildlife.  At the next ford upstream, we've seen kingfishers and badgers.

Our back door.  The ship was a present from my previous neighbours, and I absolutely love it.

Artisan Show

I'm looking forward to the Artisan Show, which is taking place at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre this Friday and Saturday.  The show is focused on jewellery making and rubber stamping.  In addition to the exhibition, there are over 60 stalls, workshops, make and takes and ATC swaps.  Drool...can't wait.  And as Friday is October 1st, it is the start of the new month's spending budget.   I will try very hard not to spend it all at once. 

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Selections from previous treasure hunts

First: meet Hermione.

I have no idea who she is really, but my mum started calling her Hermione, and the name has stuck.  She's close to lifesize, and has a plinth that stands a little over waist height.  I was tempted to age and weather her, but she's attractive and very serene in her plaster purity.

Then there's my little china stash.  I started picking out bone china cups and saucers to turn into teacup candles.  These ones are telling me that they'd like to be freesia scented.

While these are clearly destined to be lavender.  I really do love the signs of wear on the cups, as though they have graced many afternoon tea parties and shared many little scandals.  The varied shades of lilac are so pretty.

The lovely round pot to the right here is very capacious and is covered inside and out with a dusting of freckles.  I think this one will stay as it is.  The jug, which you can't see too well thanks to the use of my phone camera (sorry), is etched with deer and trees.  I think this would be perfect for a Christmas table, possibly full of twigs and pine cones.

Finally, this is part of a massive haul of silver plated items.  My husband went to collect them for me, and came back with a large bag out of which the treasures kept coming.  In total there were 28 items, including a large number of goblets and egg cups, all of which are destined for candles of varying size.  There are also some small bowls, which will be filled with stuffed velvet to make pincushions.  A child's carousel moneybox which plays the "Teddy Bears' Picnic" will stay as it is and there are six small frames which I will add to journals and storage boxes.  There is a tiny silver clock, which is currently sitting on my desk. 

 In the picture below, you can see a larger bowl  and also the beautiful collection of birds that were tucked down a the very bottom of the bag.  There is a heron, a pair of peacocks, lovebirds and some beautiful little songbirds that may be difficult to resist keeping.

You can see the small birds better here; they are about 3 inches tall and gorgeous.

Now, just the small matter of brewing up some candles to deal with the goblets and eggcups.

I promised you treasures...

Welcome to this weekend's haul.

First up, a bear with a very large appetite...for small change.  He's wooden and very cute.  I haven't dared to try and open his back in case I can't get the coin compartment closed again.  I suspect that with encouragement and a nail file he could be persuaded to give up his cash from the front.  Plans: to leave him exactly as he is.

Two silver plate goblets.  Plans: to make into scented candles for a very Gothic table.

Cute/overly sweet hearts depending on your perspective.  Plans: decoupage in a dark, shady, possibly Steampunk manner.  And make a letter tray out of the box they came in.  Stamps, scraps and inks to the ready. 

A bathroom cabinet, ready for a shabby chic makeover in cream, and possibly a little silver or pewter rubbed at the edges.  This is a classic "good bones" item in slightly battered wood.  In front, there is one of a pair of white glass candleholders, which will be going white and silver for a Christmas table.  Behind this you can see a chunky glass vase which has a slight green tinge.  Plans for this one still to be identified.

It was very, very chilly out at the car boot sale this weekend.  So cold, in fact, that I came home and made porridge.  One stallholder looked at my (totally inappropriate) clothing and called me brave.  The word that came into my head was foolish.  There's just a month to go before this particular car boot shuts down for the winter.  At that stage, I can either choose to a) lie in a warm snuggly bed on a winter's morning or b) go to the very big and far less charming car boot sale an hour's drive away.  It's going to be a tough call.