Friday, 30 August 2013

Postcards from Connemara

A few weeks ago I drove my daughter Tess and our spaniel Purdy all the way to 
Connemara on the West Coast of Ireland.

It was a long drive and a rough ferry crossing - we're not the best of sea travellers -
but we arrived safely, after midnight, to this lovely cottage in a little village called Ballyconneely
Owned by a friend it offered all the comforts of home
and fabulous views.
 We woke late the morning after our arrival to see this from our bedroom windows.
...... and this from the kitchen.
It is Bunowen Castle - now derelict and in ruins. 
We had planned to take a walk up there, but ran out of time, sadly.
We took a drive to Clifden, the major town of Connemara
with it's many bars and pretty painted shops.
 Then walked down to the Harbour.
Lovely views and beaches - the sand was covered in jellyfish, left by the receding tide.
The following day, which was a bit drizzly, we drove towards
Roundstone, stopping off on the way at
Dog's Bay.
We had the long sandy beach to ourselves and Purdy was beside herself!
She just loved running in the sea, all along the shore-line, rolling in the sand to dry herself.

I'm not sure what she was digging for, but she made a big hole in the sand!

We drove on down to Roundstone and discovered a fabulous
shop full of vintage clothing. The proprieter was an American gent, who 
sourced all the clothing in Florida and Las Vegas!
Sadly neither of us took any photos of the shop.
Below is the little harbour at Roundhouse and the pretty painted houses
that are so typical of the area.
On the next day, which was a bit brighter, I drove along 
The Sky Road, out of Clifden.
As the name suggests we were pretty high up but the views were amazing.
Not far from our accommodation and within walking distance 
was the fabulous beach at Dunloghan. Again, we had the place to ourselves.
A short walk across the dunes was yet another expanse of empty sandy beach.
We sat on the dunes and watched the tide come in and the waves splashing up over the rocks.
Empty beaches
We took some long drives the next day, to take in more scenery, 
eventually heading to the mountains and Connemara National Park.
The picture below shows Clifden in the distance.
A pretty view across a lough.
Crocosmia and Fushias grew wild along the dry walls either side of the narrow roads.
The drive into the mountains was stunning.
Can you imagine living in such splendid isolation?

Kylemore Abbey and gardens - home to Benedictine Nuns, but also open to the public.
We didn't visit the Abbey, but had this splendid view from across the lough.
Connemara National Park
A beautiful view from one of the walks around the National Park
and another...
Tess and I decided to use our week away to eat healthily, and cooked at the cottage 
every evening. We didn't eat any meat for the whole week and enjoyed lovely veggie meals like the roasted veg and couscous below.....yum..
We had a fabulous week, both of us enjoying the well earned break.

Back to work now......

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Bunting Class

On Saturday 1st June I worked with four lovely ladies at the 
on the  'Design and Make Your Own Bunting' day course.
 Sue, front left, had some sewing experience, and embarked upon an
epic run of 19 flags with Happy Birthday appliquéd on them.

Here she is below, with some of her appliquéd flags.
As she can sew, she'll finish the run of bunting at home ready for her 
special birthday.

Friends, Rachel and Rachel (yes, that's right),
made their first bunting, also choosing to appliqué letters on the flags.
Rachel, left, used red felt to apply Maxwell to her flags. 
She has had a little experience of sewing and was familiar with her own machine,
but Rachel, right, is new to sewing and to using a machine!
She chose to make her flags lozenge shaped 
and applied 'Welcome' to hers.

They both did a great job and were really pleased with their results.

Pulane was thrilled with her bunting. 
She had her own machine, bought six years ago, but has never used it and 
wanted to get to grips with it. 
She made her bunting for her little boy, with his name applied on the flags.
She did a fantastic job for a beginner and is going to have a go 
at making some at home for her baby girl.

We had a lovely day, they were very enthusiastic and all did a fantastic job
- it was lovely to teach them.
  I hope to see some of the ladies again in September
when my new Sewing for Fun classes start.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

A catch up.....

................well it has been such a long time since I have written a post. 
I have been very busy, so the time has just flown by. 
I can't believe we are almost through half the year already!

My Adult Education classes are in full swing at The Cube, in Folkestone, 
where I teach all day on Mondays, and at Homewood School in Tenterden, on Wednesday morning and evening. My students have produced some wonderful things: curtains and blinds;
bed covers and upholstered footstools; patchwork trims for 
blinds; cushions and loose covers.
My teaching room at The Cube is lovely and light.
 I'm so lucky to be able to work at something I really enjoy.
The students are so lovely, fun and enthusiastic. 
I love their ideas for projects, the fabrics they use and 
watching them progress and acquire new skills.
It really doesn't feel like work!

When I'm not teaching I'm busy at home in my workroom, sewing hard and completing
soft furnishing commissions for clients.

I have been making curtains and blinds:

and loads of loose covers:
One very happy client above.
These sofas are covered with a Clarke and Clarke fabric.

A make over for a very sad sofa!
This was covered in a Nina Campbell fabric.

My latest commission was loose covers for three pieces of furniture for 
a client who had a big makeover in their sitting room.                                                         
 They chose a soft, floppy linen, in white, to recover their sofa.
The linen was lovely to work with and results in a soft, relaxed look.
I replaced the old feather seat cushions with new foam and feather wrap ones.
No more plumping up!

The big squishy armchair is transformed and has a new seat cushion too.
Separate arm covers prolong the life of loose covers and are relatively
indistinguishable if they are fitted well. 
The wing back chair is waiting for a new seat cushion, 
and needs a press to remove the crease down the centre back.
I'll do this when I deliver the cushion!
Another set of covers - easy chair, footstool and arm covers - are ready for delivery to another client tomorrow. Pictures to follow!

I have plans to make covers for my sofa and a wing back chair 
but all the while the commissions keep coming in they will have to wait!!

Friday, 1 February 2013

A bit of wood work

I had to buy a new car last summer and it's a bit smaller than the old one.
 My new car 

The old car - and the reason why I had to get a new one - 
some kind lady in her Landrover Defender 
ran into the back of me as I was waiting to turn into my drive!
It was written off by the insurance company.


The display stand for my Pretty Goods craft stall wouldn't fit in the new car 
so I had to have a think about designing and making a new one.
 The old stand had two heavy 6ft+ high uprights, that
stood either side of the table and supported the two 
display bars across the top.

It had to be tied to the table to stop it falling over,
(it never did and was very secure).

The uprights had hooks all the way up to hang bags 
and other Pretty Goodies on.

I needed something that was lighter and more manageable
and able to fit in the car.
So I set to work with some 1 x 2 and 1x1 pine wood battening.

 All pieces measured and cut to size; sanded and drilled 
ready for screwing together

I am a dab hand with the drill, having put up many a curtain rail
or pole for my Soft Furnishing commissions.

One side frame almost finished - a few more cross bars to 
screw on.

 The frame will be clamped securely to my craft fair table and covered with
cloths and baskets of goodies.

 Time to paint the display.
A nice blue green from Farrow and Ball

 The display bars that will be attached to the uprights
are also painted and have decorative hooks added to them to hang
my lavender sachets and the Pretty Goods bunting.

It's a much more convenient display to transport now, 
lighter and easier to carry from car to hall too.

My Stall now - you can just about see the new upright.

I haven't got one of the whole stall though - something I must do at the next

Kitsch and Stitch
Vintage and Makers'

 Will you be there?
Come and say hello!