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The quirky likes, life and other doings of a textile artist....a nutty terrier...the lady garden and plenty of scrummy textile stuff! 

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  1. Hello March, goodbye February....and how are you all?

    Firstly apologies for this blog being a little delayed....I've been trying to complete my latest work to show you and have also been a little sidetracked from that by keeping up with things at the allotment, ready for the growing season.

    To be honest if I were punctual and organised, well, it just wouldn't be me.  It used to be my new years resolution....I'd roll it out every year..."this year I will be more organised"...and every year I'd fail at this.  To try and cut myself a bit of slack and take the pressure off being this new organised superwoman I now just try and accept myself as I am (this doesn't always work I might add).  And so here it is...the 'February' blog, a couple of weeks later than planned but better late than never, as they say.

    I hope you are all as well as can be, my thoughts recently have been with friends who have lost loved ones and also those who have been very unwell - both physically and mentally.  It's been a horrible time for many and I hope we can all look out for each other and hold onto the thought that things will eventually get better, that we can see a light at the end of this tunnel.  I struggle with anxiety and depression myself, have done since as far back as I can remember, some days good, some bad but always trying to hang onto the things that save my sanity such as being outdoors, nature, the allotment and my creativity.  I can empathise with anyone who has mental health issues, it's never easy and to non sufferers it's hard to understand.  So I'm sending you all a bloody big hug, hang in there and I'm so looking forward to seeing some of you this summer, fingers crossed.  We'll eat cake, drink tea (wine) and put the world to rights!

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    Allotment days......

    So....what's the latest at The Lady Garden...erm...the allotment, that is.  Well, we've had some pretty extreme weather here and on one of the coldest days we had three tons of cow manure delivered, which also happened to be Valentines Day.  Nice!  Who says romance is dead?! Myself and Mr C spent a lovely few hours shovelling it into wheelbarrows and taking it onto the plot.....happy days!  There's just something about coffee out of a flask...I'm just not sure what ;-)

     

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    Since that freezing cold and rather pungent day it's become milder and given me chance to start working said cow poop into the soil and also to sow the first of this years seeds, with the help (questionable) of my trusty sidekick the nutty terrier - aka fierce guard-pup, scrounger and persistent whinger - Milly.  

    Broad beans, plus some of my favourite herbs and Cavalo Nero kale all sown and the kale is already up!  I always feel a buzz of excitement at this time of year for all the plants that are already growing, will grow and for the onset of spring, new life, hope and the return of the light and colour that comes with it.  After the past twelve months I'm sure this is something we are all looking forward to.

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    Spindly Toadstools and my inspiration.....

    Onto some textile talk now and something I've been working on the last few weeks and have been so looking forward to showing you.  This is something that had been buzzing around in my head for quite some time and was inspired by the tall spindly toadstools I find growing on my forays into nature.  They are also inspired by my love of and interest in fairytale and folklore.  It's hard to put it into words but when I find a patch of these little shrooms I'm overcome by this feeling that they are magical and wonderous.  I take numerous photos...often getting down to ground level, then I walk away but have to double back to have another look as if trying to lose myself in this tiny perfect world for a moment and what must be a mighty forest to the tiny folk and creatures that live amongst them.

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    I always marvel at those long spindly stalks and how fragile they seem but strong they must be to hold the weight of those perfect caps.  It's as if they have been draw up to this length searching for the light.  Call me bonkers but I find them just so magical and beautiful yet also a little sinister as many of them hold the danger of being poisonous and deadly.  I'm drawn to admire but respect the toadstool.  I wish I could put just how they make me feel and inspire me a little better in words but then I'd probably be a writer not a maker if I had such skills.....so I'll just waffle on and you'll hopefully get my drift.

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    So inspiration found and materials already sought - in this case a vintage cotton sheet from my extensive stash, I set about creating what was in my head and what these real life shrooms made me feel.   The vintage sheet is an important factor here, to reuse and repurpose a preloved item is deeply embeded in my values and the quality and thickness of this cotton is perfect and hard to find in a modern fabric.   After a little experimentation and a large helping of whimsy I created what I could see in my minds eye....I didn't want to create a replica of the real thing, these needed to conjour up the fairytale stories and feelings from childhood...and beyond.  Just like my velvet shrooms these are quirky and whimsical and have allowed me to dabble in some mixed media, which I love doing.

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    I also delve into a favourite book or two sometimes to get myself into the mindset and feeling of making something magical, or if my inspiration wanes a little.  They're always something faery or folklore related...but not the sweet sugar plum fairy style of thing.....I like my fairytales to be a bit edgy like the Brothers Grimm style fairytales I used to read as a child.  Maybe this is where my fascination of the darker side of toadstools stems from too.

    Whimsical, quirky or even sinister I hope my new spindly shrooms, grown tall as they reach for the light, will bring a bit of fairytale and escapism into your world too.   They are also a pop of colour in the traditional Fly Agaric colours or muted and mystical in soft pinks.  All are created from that beautiful vintage cotton sheet and have tea dyed slightly grungy stalks....they have been plucked off the forest floor after all!

     

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    The Primrose is a flower steeped in folklore although stories vary and different regions have different beliefs.  It is thought they show the gateway to the faery kingdom and a primrose at the doorway encourages faeries to come in.  Other stories say it protects you from the faeries and from bad luck brought about by such....as they are not all good and can be mischievous or even dangerous.  As the faery kingdom also includes goblins and elves amongst others then maybe it filters out the bad spirits.  I like to see it this way.

     

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    .....and a few with vintage and antique lace.....

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    Feedback and comments about my work and blog are always welcome...as I'm a blogging novice and seem to follow my own rules it's always good to know if I'm on the right track ;-)

    I'd love to know what you've been up to this past month, your ways of coping with whatever challenges you face and your loves and inspirations too.  

    Love, hugs and magical wishes, Suzanne x

  2. Helloooooo!!  I have to confess I'm new to blogging....to be honest this is my first one and I'm not sure quite how to go about it.  So go easy on me!

    Firstly a Happy New Year to you all....a month in already and a weird month in to be sure.  I hope you are staying safe and well and that soon we will see a light at the end of this tunnel and I will be able to get together with some of you at groups, workshops and events again.

    AF7ECB9F-CA35-447F-ABD3-44DE57F99658   The shroomy Yule cake.

     

    Yule came and went in what seemed like the blink of an eye...new years day was spent at our allotment (The Lady Garden) clearing it ready for new planting in the spring.  We huddled by the fire and ate smoked salmon sandwiches and toasted the new year with a glass of fizz.  Never has the allotment seen such decadence....we know how to party...in a can't really go anywhere else lockdown sort of style!  

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    ......smoked salmon sandwiches are irresistible to a nutty Jack Russel terrier!

    We've also had a couple of nice coverings of snow this month and it's felt like a proper winter here.  I have to confess I do love the snow, it makes everything look magical.  There nothing quite like the crunch of snow underfoot on a winter walk.

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    On to the business of textiles and the last few weeks have been spent in my cabin workshop, woodburner on,  preparing and curating some really scrummy DIY slow stitch packs for you to do yourselves at home.  The idea behind the packs is so that you can immerse yourself in a slow and gentle spot of mindful and theraputic sewing and become so absorbed in it that you can forget for a time what is going on outside in the world.....at least that's the plan. 

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    I have a choice of DIY projects for you, which can currently be found in the shop, from a small slow stitch cuff bracelet pack to a slow stitch book pack which is a much lengthier project and one that you can dip into and add to over many hours, days and weeks.They are not so much a sewing kit or craft kit but an inspiration pack to bring out your own ideas and style for embellishing the textile base.  I have shared some of my favourite vintage and antique textiles in some of the packs, from delicious fragments of antique lace to very fragile pieces of Edwardian quilt.  I am very much into reusing and recycling and imagine the stories these reclaimed textiles could tell, I love the fact that a little bit of history lives on in the projects I make and will do the same in your slow stitch work.  

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    The Slow Stitch Book Pack - lots of delicious antique and vintage textiles & a French linen book base.

     

    My own example of the Slow Stitch Book is still very much a work in progress.  It's something that I'm enjoying picking up in the evenings and adding little bits to.....my favourite detective drama on TV, blanket over my knees and hot milky drink (or wine occasionally)....you get the picture.   I've spent many a mindful hour arranging the little pieces of textile in it until I'm happy with where they are and then sewing them on.

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    Here are a few more examples of the cuff bracelet and needle books...

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    I really hope you enjoy your slow stitch project pack if you buy one and please get in touch should you like any help and advice.  I'd love to see your work should you wish to show it....I'm always blown away by my workshop and group attendees finished pieces as its so nice to see other styles and interpretations on a theme.

     

    ....and finally...... I only went and dragged myself into the 21st century and had my first Zoom meeting this week!  It's clear I still have a few things to learn about it but watch this space, I may get really smart and be able to hook up with some of you for some online stitchyness soon ;-) 

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    I'd love to hear from you and how I did on my first blog,

     

    love, hugs and magical wishes, Suzanne xx