art, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing, Uncategorized, vintage, yarn

Selling Vintage and Craft Goods

I like to joke that I have enough patterns and ideas (not to mention stash) to retire now and be able to do at least 5 years worth of full-time crafting!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working out¬†how best to¬†tinker with¬†all of the crafts that I enjoy, sort out my stash¬†and have come up with a few options…

I’m going to streamline my Etsy shop and focus on accessories – bags, scarves, wraps, gloves and maybe the occasional hat.

Surprisingly, I have missed doing¬†Craft Fairs, I enjoy talking to people, once I get over my initial shyness! ¬†However, I find that the number of people attending, and¬†the current financial situation, for most of us, can mean that there isn’t¬†much profit in it.

I have¬†been looking into some local fairs, where you can sell your goods and clear your stash by selling trimmings, notions, wool and fabric. ¬†Sounds like the perfect fit for me…

This morning I was at my beloved Car Boot Sale (surprise…) and found another stash of vintage magazines. ¬†My friend Anna and I had great fun making up names and stories for each of the slightly cheesy models. ¬†My particular favourite is the ‘hello sailor’ one!

The interesting thing about the 1960s patterns in the below are that the majority of the women’s designs are still very wearable – there are some gorgeous knitted dresses and coats. ¬†Most of the male patterns are not quite so classic and wearable though…

I also found a few 1970s/1980s Vogue and Good Housekeeping materials and a great book on knitting design, which I may have to keep to refer to…

There is also a Vintage Market where I may sell some of my vintage finds and I will just have to shut my eyes and avoid looking at the other stalls (like that is going to happen!)

 

 

 

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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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travel, Uncategorized, yarn

Renewed and reinvigorated

Two colds and a hefty dose of Flu have reduced my capacity to be able to post for a while.  Thankfully all better now!

I have just had a lovely holiday in Marbella (again!) with Mum, where I managed to buy up most of the two haberdashery / wool shops… ¬†Methinks that deserves another whole post to itself…

For now you will have to content yourself with some beautiful pictures of Marbella, including an Andy Warhol piece entitled “Yarn Painting” which of course was my favourite piece in the Picasso Museum in Malaga.

It’s good to be back (oh, except for the weather… and the lifestyle… the culture… and the handsome Latino men…)

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cats, craft, crochet, knitting, music, Uncategorized, yarn

Top Ten Review of the Year

Well, another prolonged absence due to work – I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions, but next year I will make more time to post on my blog as I have missed not being able to post so regularly.¬† Getting organised is half the battle I think…

This year has been an interesting one (in all senses of the word!) – a new addition to my family (OK, so he’s a kitten) and a rebranding of my blog and business as well as opening my Etsy Shop.

Add to that the most manic year of my (full-time) working life and major changes within my working structure – which are all still in a state of flux!

But in many ways a fantastic year, much love and laughter with friends and family, and finding a kindred spirit in crafting in my friend Anna (and her five-year-old Mikey who’s favourite phrase is now “let’s get crafting!”)

So here is my Top Ten Review of the Year on looking back through my blog, I do hope you enjoy it!

One – The arrival of Sir Patrick of Naughtiness

As an Astronomy geek, I managed to persuade Anna and Mikey to name their rescued kitten Professor Brian (Cox) after everyone’s favourite physicist and ex-popstar.¬† I was amazed they went with it…

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I was even more amazed that I ended up rescuing his brother, whom I named Sir Patrick (Moore) after the famous and much beloved Astronomer and BBC Presenter (RIP).¬† It particularly helped that he had a squinty eye in which I could imagine the real Sir¬† Patrick’s monocle.¬† I met the real Sir Patrick¬†once, he was absolutely delightful, and was very kind to me when another celebrity was very rude to me (you know who you are, Michael Fish!).

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Two РOpening my Etsy Shop

This was a long-term aim over the year and was delayed many times due to factors outside of my control!  In the end it was opened in October and I had my first sale within 24 hours.

I haven’t quite had the time since then to promote it as much as I would like, and I have exciting plans for my Etsy shop¬†for 2016, so my upcoming week off in February will be spent at home getting things sorted…

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Three – Vintage Shopping at the Car Booty

Regular readers will know that I love a bargain.¬† Most Sundays I can be found at Frome Car Boot Sale, rummaging around in other people’s junk.¬† For several months this year I had an amazing run on vintage notions and patterns and went a bit overboard buying them.

I have now decided to offload some of them in 2016 when I take part in a Craft Fair which also lets you sell related goods.  Some, though, I cannot bear to part with!

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Four РYarn, lovely Yarn

I wrote about my yarn addiction on several occasions, it has perhaps got a little out of hand, especially after I visited the Kensington Olympia Knitting and Stitching show in March – but I did get some beautiful yarns, including the cashmere / cotton blend to make this lovely shawl on my Etsy Shop.

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Five – Devon knows how they make it so lovely

Through my lovely friend Anna, I’ve had the chance to visit Chagford, in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor, twice this year for Craft Fairs.¬† Such a beautiful place and the people are so friendly and welcoming, it’s a real treat to visit there. ¬†Bonus treat – the tiny ponies and other cute critters at the Miniature Pony Centre nearby.

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Six – Holidays-a-go-go!

I’ve been extremely lucky this year with holidays – having a gorgeous week in Marbella in March, with Mum, and then again in Bayeux in June with Mum, Dad and my brother.¬† The first time we’d all been away together for several years.¬† Both were fabulous holidays, much needed and much enjoyed, and allowed me to expand my stash even more with some really lovely yarns and notions (as well as some cheeky¬†goats producing the softest mohair)

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Seven – My first giveaway of Crochet Patterns

In October I gave away the pattern for my first designed project, some mini Halloween Treat Baskets – to fill with yummy chocolates.¬† I had great fun designing the different faces and putting together a beginner’s project which I was happy to share for free.¬† Although a simple design, it has given me a taste for more!

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Eight – Geek Loveliness

A fabulous year of nerd-dom¬†has been bookended by Star Wars. ¬†In May I posted about my trip to Marbella and the surprise of hearing a youth orchestra starting up with the Star Wars¬†soundtrack – I have never departed¬†a cafe in such a hasty fashion¬†before… ¬†In May I also posted a cheeky geeky guide and then followed up with a visit¬†to the Doctor Who Exhibition in September with my family. ¬†There is an adventure to go through which is rather interactive – I was more scared than the kids!

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Nine – Animals A-Plenty

It never surprises me that my most popular posts tend to be around my two black cats, Ella and Sir Patrick.  After all, they are endless sources of amusement to me!

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Ten – Art and Crafts

And back to my main loves Рart and crafts.  In April I visited Standen, a home filled with delights from the Arts and Craft movement which I so admire.  Moving on to June I waxed lyrical about Salvator Rosa, one of my favourite artists, and in July I wrote about the beautiful lace that I encountered on my goaty adventures in Bayeux (and of course the famous Tapestry).

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And finally, throughout the year I have been extolling the virtues of crafting,¬†thank you for joining me on my journey this year, and here’s to 2016!

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The naughty Neapolitan Salvator Rosa

Ever since I was a wee nipper (well since I lived in London in my 20s) I have been rather intrigued by the Italian painter, poet and philosopher (can I have a ‚ÄėP‚Äô please Bob?) Salvator Rosa.¬† I first met him – well, his oeuvre, since he‚Äôs been dead over 300 years ‚Äď in the National Gallery with the brooding, enigmatic self-portrait Philosophy‚Ķ

 

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Always having been a big fan of the dark, passionate type, I find his enigmatically grumpy face quite alluring ‚Äď especially teemed with the inscription which loosely translates as ‚Äúbe silent unless what you have to say is better than silence‚ÄĚ.¬† How true, I tell myself!

So, having again visited him recently, why do I like Rosa?

  1. He was mega talented.
  2. In his time he was incredibly popular and famous, yet no-one knows who he is ‚Äď don‚Äôt we all enjoy having something secret that we don‚Äôt share with anyone ‚Äď oh bugger, you all know now‚Ķ
  3. His life (and paintings) are dark, brooding, mysterious ‚Äď I like!
  4. He eschewed dull biblical paintings ‚Äď on the whole ‚Äď in favour of bandits, creatures of the dark, mythology and witches.
  5. Rosa was a rebel and refused to conform to popularity, causing arguments and localised stomping off and slamming of doors etc.
  6. Amazingly he was also an accomplished poet, philosopher, actor and musician.
  7. He scares schoolchildren (see below!)

In my latest visit I vox-popped (oo-er) the public and the guard on duty told me that schoolchildren are either terrified of, or intrigued by probably his most famous painting ‚Äď Witches at their Incantations‚Ķ

 

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This painting does really need to be seen in the flesh, as a rather lovely beardy Frenchman told me ‚Äútr√®s creepy‚ÄĚ ‚Äď well actually that‚Äôs not what he said ‚Äď rather ‚Äúdark, interesting and creepy‚ÄĚ.¬† Just like me, I wanted to add whilst gently stroking his beard (but I didn‚Äôt).¬† He then proceeded to gesticulate (in a Marcel Marceau-style mime) what I could only describe back to him as ‚Äúdroopy witches boobs‚ÄĚ.¬† How disappointing‚Ķ

Some other hippy-dippy folk thought it was ‚Äúa conversation piece‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúnice to see something dark and disturbing for a change‚ÄĚ ‚Äď other than The Levellers perhaps?

The Dutch chap I spoke to was tremendously knowledgeable about the use of light as a positive juxtaposition of the dark subject matter.  I just stared and nodded as if I understood him.  I didn’t feel able to share with him my favourite part of the painting, the hideous frog-like apparition in the bottom right hand corner, who bears more than a scary likeness to Steven Tyler from Aerosmith.

 

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So if you are in Londinium pop into Room 32 of the National Gallery and have a look at these two paintings (not Steven Tyler though, but if he’s there see if he can spot the family resemblance).  At this time there are two other Rosa paintings there, so you will be spoilt for choice!

Happy art and crafting!

 

Lou

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Standen delivers…

I have had a really busy couple of weeks, planning for a Craft Fair I will be doing in Devon on Saturday.

It involves a long drive and a very early start, but hopefully then an evening in a nice Devon pub and a glass or two of tipple to warm me ol’ cockles!

In the meantime I spent a lovely weekend with Mum and Dad over Easter, we had lots of fun and I was thrilled to see Mum knitting, she has developed quite a taste for it! ¬†We are going to Spain again soon so hopefully will take some projects with us…

We visited a¬†National Trust property –¬†Standen – which is absolutely wonderful, and well worth a visit. ¬†Sadly I hadn’t charged my camera so I couldn’t get any pictures. ¬†Standen is a beautiful arts and crafts house, built in the 1890s and is filled to the brim with the most wonderful arts and crafts architecture, furnishings and art.

 

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Most of the textile furnishings are from the unspeakably talented William Morris & Co, which are still running today, now owned by Sanderson.  Some of their wallpapers on sale today bear the name Standen.  The rich greens, russets and golds are a joy to behold.

William Morris was a designer, artist, writer and activist and was a dominant force in the Arts & Crafts movement Рclosely linked to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood Рwhose works are also dotted around the house.

Both groups had a huge social conscience and were concerned¬†about the rise of industrialism and wanted beauty and purpose from items, reflecting a return to the handiwork of previous ages. ¬†There is a very famous quote attributed to William Morris – “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

How true that is, this is something that has always inspired me – I am yet to fully achieve it I think, but this is certainly the dream for most of us!

Some of the textiles at Standen were made as kits by William Morgan and the family themselves (well, I am rather assuming, the ladies of the family) completed them.  The design was pressed onto the fabric almost like painting by numbers, not dissimilar from the tapestry kits you can buy today in any haberdashery!  You can see the differences in the quality and individuality of the work between different family members and some pieces must have taken several people many months or perhaps years to complete.

Another artist and prolific ceramics¬†maker was William de Morgan, who became friendly with William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. ¬†His name was not so well known to me, but his tiles, vases and other ceramics were so beautiful and evocative of the Persian style and colour palette which he loved¬†so well. ¬†This is one from the de Morgan collection, but there were many similar at Standen. ¬†Rich opulent colours which always hold me in rapture…

 

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There is much further evidence of these two social / art movements in William Morris’s house – the¬†Red House¬†in Bexleyheath – on the South London / Kent borders, again an inspirational National Trust property well worth a visit.

My favourite of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood is Dante Gabriel Rossetti – mainly because of his work, but also the rich stories you hear of his excesses, including a love of exotic animals, which he rather took to the extreme by having a Toucan riding a Llama around his dining room as a party trick. ¬†This is one of his most famous paintings, ‘The Day Dream’. ¬†And who was the¬†muse and lover employed here¬†as a model? ¬†None other than¬†William Morris’s wife, Jane.

 

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And if you fancy delving more into their stories, albeit slightly embellished, the BBC series Desperate Romantics, with the gorgeous (and now rather¬†famous) Aidan Turner¬†plays¬†the dashing and delicious Dante…

 

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Happy (arts and) crafting!

 

Lou

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Busy Weekend Ahead!

Some weekends are just made for crafting Рespecially at the moment in the UK with our rainy days and cold weather.  I can quite happily pass the time snuggled under the small hand-pieced and sewn quilt my Mum made for me ten years ago when I moved into my first (proper) home.

However, this weekend I will be venturing out, in the name of crafting!

On Saturday I will be scouring¬†the Vintage¬†Bazaar¬†in Devizes Corn Exchange, hoping to find some lovely vintage fabric and trimmings! ¬†Particularly looking forward to meeting Sue from Vintage to Victorian¬†whose lovely textiles I have been coveting for some time…

Sunday is going to be a pilgrimage of epic proportions Рbright and early in the morning I will be travelling to Bath to catch a coach to Olympia in London (one of the biggest exhibition centres in the UK) for the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show РI cannot wait!

This cornucopia of textile loveliness includes workshops – I am hoping to book a space on one or two of these – I have my eyes on Arm Knitting and Needle Felting…

Other highlights include installations from a crocheted jungle to some of the exhibits from the Fashion and Textiles Museum. ¬†I think I’m going to have to make a wishlist of what I would like to see in order to make sure I make the best of it.

Above all, there will be lost of delicious stalls selling fabric, trimmings, notions and above all – wool and yarn! ¬†I am particularly looking forward to¬†this part of the weekend (no surprise there then – I think my stash may grow just a little…)

I’ll update early next week with hopefully some photographic evidence of this wonderful weekend!

Happy crafting…

Lou x

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