Friday, September 30

Splashing the colour around!

Firstly, I never want to re-fit a kitchen again! At 5' 3" managing large sheets of plasterboard is not funny, especially when trapped under one - however much you try to convince yourself otherwise Mr B! One thing I was determined to do was add colour into the space, I love cooking and being in the kitchen as it's straight out onto the yard with all the herb pots so the space is forever linked to the outside. With that in mind we got out the pencil crayons and designed something unique for the space. The colours had to complement what was around it, and also create a welcoming focal point for the kitchen. It's only a small galley kitchen but glass has a reflective quality that helps the space feel bigger and more open which it's certainly done. So the tick list was:

1. something original designed around us
2. a sense of colour and fun
3. a focal point for the kitchen

and yay! we got all three, and loads of lovely compliments off everyone that visits.

Just to give a context of the kitchen, this is the window it backs onto!

The kitchen window is full of butterflies done in glass clings - every child that's every stayed or visited has to do one for me! And because the adults get miffed they're allowed to play too.

Angie xx 

Friday, September 23

In every stitch a memory

Just wanted to share this with you. I've been working on this for years now - probably be retired by the time it's finished! But, and this is my favourite part of this quilt - every piece of material has a mini history attached to it.

Each piece that has gone into the quilt has either been given to me by a family member or the fabric used from something that had a previous life of use. I love looking over the quilt and seeing my Mother's favourite dress fabric, or my favourite party dress when I was little.

In this close up I can see my Grandmother's apron and as I look at it can hear her giggling at being found out for cheating at cards round the dining room table while waiting for the chocolate cake to cook. She was a wonderful baker but a terrible card player and so naughty! She didn't make a sound when she had a fit of the giggles, just rocked on the chair while the eyes sparkled with mischief as the wrinkles told a whole lifetime of making stories. Also in this close up is the fabric from curtains I had in my first flat in Brighton. Again, so many stories that go with that place and all preseved in a simple hexagon of fabric. What's also fascinating is seeing the changes in fashion over the years as the colours and patterns of clothes change, clearly there was very little fashion sense happening in the 80's judging by some of the pieces! I will leave you to spot those pieces.

Having no idea of the history of patchwork it was a few years ago while talking to someone that was knowledgable who told me this is called a memory quilt because all the fabric pieces are off cuts or remnants rather than bought for the purpose of making the quilt. I love the technique and the calmness of the stitching but the impatience in me is growing steadily - it's so nearly finished and yet so much more to do. However, it looks so beautiful that I can't wait to get it done now and be surrounded by all these gorgeous memories and be able to wake up hearing the voices that go with them all - especially of those no longer with us.

Friday, September 16

eek the boy's off to uni, nooo he's still 12 surely??

What a strange couple of weeks, back to school (urrgh - but love it once back in the swing of it) and preparing the boy for university - eek how old is he?? Really should stop calling him the boy as he is now 18, but suppose it's just stuck now and will probably still call him the boy at 30 - poor lad! He has done so fantastically well - got an unconditional offer of a place based on his portfolio work. He's going to be studying post production and editing in London, really excited to see where his work goes and how he develops. For those of you that would like to follow his journey too this is his youtube channel, and this is one of my favourites from him:


He doesn't like it much anymore because it took him hours to sync all the graphics!

There will probably be teary photos on Saturday when we leave him in the big city - but what an adventure to be having! And love the fact that because of youtube we get to see the mad randomness that has leaked from his brain into a 'hey, I wonder if that could happen ...?' and off he trundles to try it and then we get to spend hours howling with him at the result. Joe - be most excellent to yourself! x

We have also been trying to re-organise stuff so that it's easier to work on projects, well that was an epic fail (as my friend Rachael would say). The level of organisation resulted in dismantling furniture, shoving loads of stuff into the loft and then oh yes just closing the door and expecting the fairies to do the rest. Hmm, clearly more work needed then. These pictures are deliberately shown in an attempt to shame me into getting it sorted:

However, once the boy is settled in London we shall return to the errant boxes, set up work benches and become more organised. I am still working on the old principle of as it's a new term at school as long as you have new pencils that match you will be able to get A's in class just because you were organised in a pretty way. And yes, to those of you quietly chuckling at this - you know who you are - there will be a very real need for pretty storage boxes and magazine files on shelves because clearly you can't work effectively unless this is done! Boys, you have so much to learn. I will return later with the ahem tidy space - or just hope the fairies turn up in the night!

Angie xx

Monday, September 12

Is it art or craft?

Apologies if this falls outside of the normal 'fluffy' ramblings of the Hippo brain, but lately there's been a raging debate about Folksy which I've mainly seen through tweets of friends - real and virtual. On a personal level we have not been affected as we don't sell through Folksy, but know many that have been. A friend we recently made at a craft meet up has been told her jewellery is not appropriate under their new rules. Basically the rules are now in place so that if you 'assemble' items rather than making every piece from scratch then you are not considered hand made. Apologies if I've over simplified, or misunderstood but that appears to be the gist of it. So it got me thinking - what is craft? what constitutes hand made? and how far do we need to take the definition?

I looked on the V&A museum website as a starting point and got this:

Caroline Broadhead

'What craft means to me is the making part, the how you make, and this is an exchange with materials - what you give to a material, and what it gives back. This exchange can be awkward, it can be a struggle, or one party can dominate, but if it is a productive exchange, then that's when it's worth looking at. But ultimately, it is the extra something that makes it special.'

So, with that in mind, does the jeweller assembling items not need skill and, as Caroline Broadhead says, add that something extra to make it special? I do, however, accept that there are different levels to this debate - otherwise this site would not have acted as they have. There will always be purists that say unless you have made every item yourself it is not truly handmade and there is some merit in that line of argument. For instance the crafter that buys items in and just paints one heart or similar and trys to claim a hand made piece. But, and this for me is the critical part, who decides? Where do we draw the line as to craft, hand made or assembled?

I suspect this debate will continue for some time, with no real satisfactory answer - but, in the meantime we would like to show our support for hand made by adding this to our site:

Support handmade, however it's made
here for the originator of this badge, and where we first came across the debate - Diddy Bears

For those of you that are affected, I hope you get a satisfactory outcome quickly and that it doesn't affect business too greatly.

Angie xx