branding, craft, crochet, knitting, marketing, photography, sewing, Uncategorized, vintage, work

Further New Beginnings!

Wow – so much has changed since my last blog…

Not only am I refocusing and rebranding my brand, but I also now have a new job, which I am starting in July, I am going back to working in the NHS after 5 years in the private sector.  So much positive change ahead!

I therefore haven’t had as much time as expected to plan out my new brand. ¬†So today is my first day back on my schedule for planning ahead.

One or two things I have, however, managed to organise will make a big difference. ¬†In the mean time, here are a¬†few bits and pieces which I couldn’t resist…

Last month I went to the Craft 4 Crafters Show at the Bath and West Showground in Shepton Mallet.  These ribbons were just so cute that I had to get them!  I love the buttons ribbon РI could just see this as an edging on a bag.  The leaf ribbons are so unusual, and the heart ribbons are so dainty and cute.

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I also decided that I would try making some purses in the near future, so bought a small sew-in purse frame to test it out.  I have been given some advice on how to make them from my favourite haberdashery, Millie Moon in Frome.  I also bought a glue-in purse frame from them to see which I prefer!

The beads were also from the Craft 4 Crafters show, from a wonderful bead shop in Southampton. ¬†They are inset with rhinestones and so gorgeous – the picture doesn’t do them justice. ¬†I decided on the silver and rose gold varieties and can imagine these decorating a beautiful handbag.

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At the fantastic Vintage Bazaar, at the Cheese and Grain in Frome, I found a stall selling vintage pearls and pearl/mother-of-pearl buttons, these are so stunning, I could just spend hours looking at them.  But they fit in beautifully with my branding plans, so at some point I am going to have to use them!

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One thing I have managed to organise is finding a photographer that I like. ¬†Holly Booth¬†creates¬†the style and image that I am looking for, I would love¬†to work with her. ¬†As she is based in Derby and I am in Wiltshire I thought that may be an issue, but thankfully she does a postal service, so I can send some of my creations and she can work her wonders without me needing to be there…

I have also found a graphic designer that I want to work with – this was a bit of a no-brainer. ¬†Ryan used to work with me at Cats Protection (back in my pre-nursing days) and has a successful business now – RhinoBytes¬†– and we’ve had a quick discussion but I need to get my branding requirements to him.

So, I have plenty to be getting on with and the next stage will be to prepare my brief for Ryan and delve more deeply into what I want my brand to look like.

Here’s to exciting times!

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art, craft, crochet, garden, knitting, nature, photography, sewing, summer, travel, yarn

End of a Lovely Crafty Week

This week I’ve been off work – holidaying at home – with some lovely days down on the South Coast with Mum and Dad and then back home via a day-trip to London.

It’s been super-busy but then again the time has flown by – can’t quite believe I’m back to work on Monday…

The start of my week was with Mum – I wasn’t feeling great so we did a bit less shopping / visiting and a bit more crafting which was¬†fine by me. ¬†I started on a crochet shopping bag and Mum showed me these clever little pouches which hang on a door handle and can be filled with anything you don’t want to lose – i.e. keys, crochet hooks, cat biscuits, or whatever!

I then travelled back to Wiltshire and had a day trip to London (about 2 1/2 to 3 hours on the train) to see my cousin Cathy and visit the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.  As a keen amateur astronomer, I was desperate to see the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition Рhaving meant to go every year for the last few years.  This view is from the steep climb up Greenwich Park to the Observatory.  In the distance is Canary Wharf and the edge of the City of London.

The rather unimportant-looking line below is the Greenwich Meridian Рfrom which all time zones are measured here on planet Earth!  This is the home of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), although technically we are now on BST (British Summer Time) which is +1 hour and will revert to GMT in October for the winter months.

Greenwich is a lovely part of South London – very near where I used to live, but as often happens, I only visited it once in the 9 years I lived there! ¬†There are lots of cafes and meeting places and the park was spectacular. ¬†Nearby is also the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark (the only surviving 19th century tea clipper) but we didn’t have the time or energy to visit this (it was a really warm day!)

Finally I was back to Wiltshire with some crafting and catching up with friends. ¬†I went to Frome with my friend Anna and bought this cute bunny pencil sharpener (I won’t reveal where the hole for the pencil is!) ¬†We had breakfast in the Garden Cafe and these gorgeous ferns appeared to be creeping up the wall as if to make their getaway…

I bought these glow-in-the-dark Toadstool lights for the garden in Worthing and can’t wait to try them out (the garden needs a bit of work first!)

I couldn’t get away without doing some yarn shopping – in Frome I happened to ‘pop in’ to Marmalade Yarns and buy these gorgeous fibres… ¬†Firstly some Autumnal shades – Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply silk/merino mix in a shade called Burnt Orange but that I would describe as more of a conker / nutmeg mix – and secondly Skein Queen 4ply merino in Squash which is a slightly more red / orange – both delicious and perfect for a delicate shawl / wrap or scarf.

Finally, some Debbie Bliss Angel Prints laceweight in a blue/green/red/grey-brown mix Рthis is for Mum to make another gorgeous knitted scarf Рwe saw a technique at John Lewis in London last December Рusing a large and a small needle to produce a really beautiful finish Рdelicate but effective.

I bought myself some Angel Prints in December, but never got started on it.  Perhaps this weekend will be my time to get another knitting project on the go!

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craft, crochet, knitting, nature, photography, travel, Uncategorized

New Discoveries

Do you sometimes feel like you are getting stuck in a rut and do the same old things every weekend?  Working full-time, my leisure time is very precious to me.

This Bank Holiday weekend I formulated a plan with my friend and neighbour, Anna. We decided that we would try to visit somewhere new at least once a month and started this month with Shaftesbury in Dorset.

We did have a teensy¬†ulterior motive, in that¬†Hanson’s Fabrics and Crafts, a massive craft warehouse, is a few miles¬†south of Shaftesbury…

I even managed to persuade¬†Anna’s son¬†Mikey that buttons are magical… (have you ever seen a cheesier face?)

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After buying a few bits and bobs there we moved on to Shaftesbury.  It was a beautiful day but I needed to get some shelter from the sun as I am photosensitive due to my Lupus.  We stopped at the Ugly Duckling cafe and what do I spy next door, Knitting Well, a yarn shop!!  Both places gave us such a warm welcome, so I think a return journey will be on the cards.

We then headed off to the High Street, with lots of quirky little shops, I can heartily recommend a visit here.

Finally we found, almost by accident, Gold Hill which is the site of the Hovis ad from the 1970s which ran for many years and was directed by Ridley Scott (no aliens around¬†thankfully). ¬†It also featured in the 1960s adaptation of Far From the Madding Crowd and is your archetypal ‘chocolate box’ scenery…

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It was such a lovely day but by this time I was quite exhausted, so I didn’t get to walk down Gold Hill but I will save that up for another visit. ¬†Now we just have to plan where our next trip¬†is going to take us…

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Andalusia, architecture, art, photography, Spain, spring, travel

Andalusian Art and Culture

Having been to Andalusia a few times now, I have a real appreciation of the lifestyle and culture, the laid-back attitude and, of course, the need for a siesta in the middle of the day…

Marbella is a lovely resort which has been revived and refreshed to something more like its 1960s heyday (although, thankfully you don’t need to be a millionaire to go there now!

Apart from the miles of golden beaches, the main draw of Marbella, for me, has to be the Old Town.

The Old Town is a winding maze of cobbled streets, cafes, restaurants and shops, selling everything from linen and cotton clothes and home furnishings, to local artisan shops and designer handbags, with wisteria, bougainvillea and hibiscus spilling over you from the balconies above.

Only 45 minutes away by a very reasonably priced direct bus, is Malaga, birthplace to the artist Pablo Ruiz y Picasso.  A beautiful city with architecture old and ancient a-plenty to feast your eyes upon, including this beautiful former Hospital and the Roman Amphitheatre ruins.

As Picasso’s home town, there are a number of Museums / Art Galleries – we decided to go to the Museo Picasso Malaga – which appeared to be the largest, but also had an additional exhibition on which we wanted to visit.

I must admit to never having been a big fan of Picasso, from the few pieces that I have seen, but my view has definitely shifted now, having seen the range of oeuvres including sculpture, ceramics, print-making and his early, more naturalistic paintings.

The additional exhibition was a touring exhibition called Energy Made Visible, focusing mainly on Jackson Pollock’s Mural which was commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim for her New York abode.

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Although I love¬†Pollock’s drip painting, it was one of the rare occasions when the other exhibits¬†–¬†including those who both inspired and were inspired by Pollock – were more interesting than the main feature.

There were works from artists and photographers that I did not recognise, such as Barbara Morgan, Herbert Matter and this painting by Antonio Saura – La Grande Foule (the Great Crowd) which made more of an impression on me than Pollock’s work.

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Initially this looks a bit bleak, but in reality the faces vary from comical to the downright scary. ¬†Being a complete geek, I couldn’t help but see a misshapen Darth Vader in the figure on the bottom row, just before the half-way mark. ¬†Can you spot him?

My final surprise was to see a work by Andy Warhol, another artist who I have always thought was over-rated.  This work, entitled Yarn Painting was so eye-catching and bold.  Regular readers will know why I laughed when I found out the name of the work Рas a mad-keen crafter, I spend half of my time looking at or working with fibres and yarns!

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This exhibition is on in Malaga until 11 September so, if you get a chance, take some time out and enjoy Andalucia!

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