Thanks for looking at my blog and all comments are appreciated

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Etsy, Folksy, More Stitching, Visiting Felbrigg Hall and finally I will be able to stitch outside

I have a shopping problem, and I don't mean me spending money for once.  After doing a couple of pop up shops I have decided to bite the bullet and open an online shop either on Etsy or Folksy but am deliberating on whether I should do one, the other or both. I have been trawling the net looking at various forums looking at what other people recommended.  My main quandary is, should I open a shop on both sites or just concentrate on one?   Any suggestions or comments will be appreciated.

At the minute I have been busy cross stitching an order for a teacher cushion and have stitched 'Think Big, Dream Bigger' ready to turn into a cushion for sale with loads more planned.  I am also continuing on Heavy Going Grizzly in between to fill the space on the wall at the top of the stairs.  This week will also see our table and chairs arrive for our garden which is looking a lot better and I have some really lovely material to use to make place-mats, so this week the sewing machine is also going to be busy.

All ready to be transformed into a cushion.
Heavy Going Grizzly
Butterfly material which will become our place-mats.
During the long weekend, we went to Felbrigg Hall here in the East of England and had a great day out.  I loved the tapestries they had on show there.  The work put into them and especially the age of them it was surprising how close I was allowed to go.

The front of Felbrigg Hall built around 1620.
Considering the age, the colours are still vibrant.

Close up of the bottom left hand corner of the dog.

Not able to go too close to this one

Or this one, but it has aged well.
Also amazing was the wallpaper in the Chinese room, hand painted and shipped from China in 1771.  There were 4 panels which were repeated however I was only able to take photos of 3 panels as the other panels were covered with various pieces of furniture.

All the photos were taken on my mobile phone as I had forgotten my camera so I was really pleased with how they came out.

This coming weekend will see us finally getting the table and chairs for the garden and I am looking forward to that as when its sunny stitching outside will be my main objective instead of indoors.  I am really pleased with how it turned out, thanks to Steve's hard work and our planters have arrived and are filled with plants and we have butterfly solar lights on the back fence.  

One Planter sorted out

BBQ Area almost done.  Just need to paint the wall. 
Planter 2 
And the grass is coming really well now.
We can pretty soon all sit outside with the music on and enjoy the fruits of our  Steve's labour.  However, looking back over this blog post, like the plants we now have in our garden cross stitch and tapestry are the fruits of our labour.   We spent time nurturing a stitching passion onto a plain piece of aida or linen and by putting the work into it we gain something well worthwhile at the end.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Creating with Polymer Clay, Best Teacher Cushion and Tackling our Garden Part 1

Crafting is taking over in the Wilson household.  Victoria is starting out with polymer clay to make things to sell to her friends.  Its certainly busy in my kitchen at the minute where she has set up 'base camp' and has been busy making a pen, a rainbow cake, a candy wrapper and small pieces of chocolate that do look edible.  Already she has been taking orders off her friends at school.

I did start last week being able to sit outside in the sunshine and start stitching Teacher Cushions to sell for the end of the school year.  I decided on doing crayons and designed 2 templates.  I tend to use Jane Greenoff's cross stitch designer and find its easy to use once I have drawn a rough piece on graph paper.  It could be seen as long winded but I find using the programme helps me to find the centre for stitching and I can then keep it on my laptop and change things about once I have designed any pictures.  

After a week off and on, hence the late post I finally completed my 'prototype' to advertise for sale along with advertising for cushion orders. I think it's something different from chocolates and flowers etc. 

The main reason this was so long in the making, usually I can get a cushion, even a large one made up within 4 days was that the weather here in Lowestoft has been so lovely and warm I started stitching outside......the same time as my husband started doing a radical garden makeover.  When I say radical.....I mean radical.  He started, I assisted and together we have seen our new garden start to evolve.

This was our garden, however minus the shed which our next door neighbour purchased off us.

Where my husband is standing all the slabs were dug up and a new path laid....on day one and two.

Day 3 and 4 found us purchasing rolls of turf for £0.50 per roll and some great animal stepping stones.

Our animal stepping stones

And lay a new step at the gate and make a little area with some miniature trees with a solar powered water feature.  Our son was roped into tidying up the fence.


Now at the end of the garden
With our solar powered fairy water feature
The garden so far, the grass is beginning to improve and its looking fresher, brighter, larger and a lot better.
Today Steve tackled the new bbq area, and where the slabs are some planters are arriving to add a bit of colour into the garden.  It is beginning to look a lot better but we still have some more bits to do and items to get....but its a BIG improvement.  We've managed to get some bargains and reuse some of the things that were already in the garden. such as the bricks.  But I may be able to get some more stitching done.  

After this big blog showing our hard work so far combining it with stitching, thanks for looking and any comments are really appreciated.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Happy Mother's Day, Decluttering

Happy Mother's Day, although officially over here in England our celebrations were back in March.  Unfortunately, even with loads of hints my family did not take me up on this special day again.  However my daughter wrote me a poem last year and thought I would share it.

So to all you mothers, step-mothers, grandmothers even foster-mothers, Happy Mother's Day you're all great!!!

Since my return from America, the new tax year is upon me and I needed to do a stock take on what materials I had, however being so busy toward the end of the last tax year and then flying out of England I was faced with this at the beginning of the week.

Complete mess
Tidy and hopefully for good.
Where do I start?

The whole process took me a few days and was so tedious but worth it.  I even managed to sort out my cupboard which is full of material.  Like my step-daughter I am always buying new material in the hope that I find something to use it on and then think its too nice to cut up.   Does anybody else think like that?

Finally our anniversary Rhododendron bush has now started to flower, I love the bright colours.  We got it given to us for our first wedding anniversary and this year, in July we will be celebrating our 14th Wedding Anniversary.  For us it finally spring has sprung and whilst I am not a gardener as such, our tubs have been filled with plants, will have to see if my 'gardening' skills are as good as my stitching skills.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Another successful pop up shop and California Dreamin' turned into another reality

Yet again its been ages since I last posted and I have a good excuse I have been busy and away visiting and staying with a good friend in California for the Spring Break, or Easter holidays as we in England call it.  I've also been busy with another pop up shop which was held in time for Mother's Day over here which was in March.

The event was a busy day and culminated in orders which I had to complete in time to go away.  I made a success of £80 on the day which was really good.  One brilliant idea my husband had was to take a portfolio of all the cushions I have done in the past for people to look at which also helped with orders being taken.

As it was coming up to Mother's day I made some cushions that seemed apt for the occasion.

Four orders were taken which gave me 2 weeks to stitch and complete before I went away to California.

Easter break then saw me and my daughter jet over to Sacramento in California for a long overdue visit to stay with a friend who lives there.  Last time we went was summer 2010 and whilst we travelled down to London Heathrow and flew via Calgary in Canada, this time we decided to travel from our local airport at Norwich here in East Anglia and from there it was a transfer at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam for an 11 hour flight to Los Angeles, before transferring to Sacramento for our 3rd and final flight.  It was a long day as we were up and ready to leave Lowestoft at 4 am and we landed in Sacramento at 3.30 pm which was 11.30 pm back here in England.  We certainly don't do anything by halves, but it saved my husband a 6 hour road trip to Heathrow Airport and back home again.

Unlike last time when we visited and were stopped by the Highway Patrol, this time we introduced ourselves over a Mexican and after a long 4 year wait, Victoria was finally able to get her first Frozen Yoghurt which she had been waiting for.

We even had the opportunity to catch up with some old friends.....

And New.....I am Lisa Wilson on the left, and on the right is also Lisa Wilson

Last time, when we went to California we did a road trip with my friend Jackie.  During that time we visited Yosemite National Park and South Lake Tahoe.  This time we decided to travel north up Highway 1 and head for Mendocino County, staying in Mendocino itself.  For those who can remember Angela Lansbury in 'Murder She Wrote'  Mendocino was the setting for the fictional 'Cabot Cove' in the long running series.

Mendocino Hotel but we stayed at the back in their garden suite as we had 2 dogs with us too.  A lovely place to stay.

Blair House....Jessica Fletcher's fictional home

Whilst we were in Mendocino County we also visited Fort Bragg and Glass Beach.  Used previously as a dumping site, it is now a visitor attraction with all the glass that was dumped smoothed out by the sea and mingling with the stones.

I also loved the various colours of the Pacific Ocean which I tried to capture on my camera.

Before leaving California, as California was populated during the Gold Rush Days, we decided to try our hand at Gold Panning.

Victoria trying her hand at panning for gold.
With little success

Our mode of transport. first owned by my friend's dad and we kept getting so many compliments off people when we stopped at traffic lights etc

All in all, we had a great time over in Sacramento and are planning to revisit next year for the Spring break.  A 4 year delay was too long to wait.  It was soon time fly home to England via Portland, Oregan en route to Amsterdam again.  Our return journey was 20 hours long but it was worth it.

And its time to start stitching again!!!!