a few early snowflakes

These little snowflake decorations are made from cardboard and gesso, given two coats of Farrow and Ball emulsion from my stash of tester pots and then handpainted. They will eventually have silvery gold thread but I wanted to share the colours I have chosen this year, although it is difficult to represent these accurately.

I have spent a lot of time this month refining ideas and introducing a more delicate feel and subtle palette, which is what I felt was lacking from several of the items I produced a couple of years ago. I have enjoyed the sense of creating a collection which looks good as a whole and in which the different products complement one another, as well as being attractive individually.

All of these will be on sale at the winter craft markets I plan to do in the next couple of months, and many will be available in the online shop as a one-off, seasonal event. This is something I may revisit in future years as I like the idea of a winter shop window which then allows me to involve myself in other artistic pursuits over the rest of the year.

This is a close-up of my poetry snowflake garlands which have been fun to make and look gorgeous catching the evening sun. All of these early snow flutters are making me expectant for winter and Christmas!

little silvery mysteries

This mysterious little signpost reminded me of something the Famous Five might have come across on one of their Cornish adventures (the proper, line-drawn, hardback Famous Five that is, not modern TV parodies or any of their horrible politically correct manifestations).

We found it yesterday on one of the nicest walks ever, in one of our favourite places ever, a beautiful, perfect little corner of England that must have every geographical feature on the map: coast, coves, cliffs, marshes, lakes, little woods and fields, churches, pubs, shops, gorgeous gorgeous houses, and nearly every bird and mammal in the book too. It's exactly an hour away in the car (if I am the passenger rather than the driver) and sooooo good for the soul.

The Famous Five would have been useful to help solve the puzzle of this little ticket which we found on the floor of the tearoom where we enjoyed a pot of reviving tea... perhaps dropped by Runner Number Six him-or-herself. But with no other clues to be seen, we couldn't guess where, how or when he or she might have been racing...

I wish I could have shown you a photograph of the huge silvery moon that rose above the horizon on the journey home like a big old coin in the hand of a kindly grandparent. Its magic was palpable.

taking liberties

A productive morning today, and a little break now for a much needed cuppa and a think. I have taken a day off work this week to give me a run of four days to work on new things for the winter craft markets I am hoping to do, although watch this space for a post on why I am never going to do this again!

This little paisley design is for a new version of the heavy cotton 'everyday' bags that sold so well two years ago. Last time they had a lot of hand embroidery which isn't practical for me to finish in the time I have available this year, and of course it is difficult to charge what the item is worth in terms of labour - a perennial problem for all makers of handmade things. So I've cut a design from a scrap of Liberty fabric backed with fusible webbing (which I still call Bondina) and added a few stitches on top. I'm not quite happy with the handstitch, so this afternoon I plan to play with a little machine stitch and see what happens.

do you see what I see?

Well yes, you do, because this is exactly what I saw this morning, as I sat at my kitchen table drinking a mug of tea. One of those little moments during a sunny golden day in the middle of October when everything is quiet and nothing moves except for the chirrup of birds outside in the trees and the occasional leaf meandering down to the ground. A moment of nothing much, yet contained within that moment is everything that is good and happy.

Recently my head has been strangely empty, as if its contents had been siphoned out and swished around a bit. That's ok. Sometimes when days are full of busyness there isn't much time for thinking. Despite this, I sense a sort of shape-shifting activity, as if when my thoughts find form again, they will reflect a different perspective. I hope so.

woven scraps

I found this amazingly beautiful piece of Chinese woven paper at work today. It is pasted into a scrapbook of notes and sketches by Thomas Barritt (1743-1820) who worked as a saddlemaker and was also a hugely keen local historian, collecting thousands of objects and manuscripts and making volumes of notes over his lifetime. I love this little scrap, which must almost certainly date from before 1800. If you click on the image, and then click again, you can see the lovely handcoloured paper and the incredible amount of work which has gone into creating the image. Whether it is a part of some larger design I cannot say, but would love to know.

Here in Manchester it is another wet, wet day. The rain is bouncing down and the skies are grey. We have had one or two golden, sunny days this week but otherwise this has been our weather for quite some time now. It is not good for the spirits, but other things are: I have been making - and eating - the famous chilli jam that everyone's been talking about, enjoying the first fires of autumn and ordering - and impatiently waiting for - this beautiful book that was reviewed in the Guardian at the weekend. I'm looking forward to enjoying all three this coming weekend.