Saturday, 9 April 2011

egg-stremely fascinating

Phew, we have reached the Easter Holidays. As always the final week of term was chaos with our normal hectic lifestyle being exacerbated by the need to create Easter Gardens, Easter Cakes, Easter jars filled with sweets and, of course, Easter Bonnets.

I'm afraid I tend to err away from the traditional bonnet covered with tissue paper flowers and eggs. I have to blame my mother for this. I remember the 'bonnets' she created for us as children. The Easter Bonnet parade at school was a big thing. It happened in the Town Hall and we had to walk down a cat walk one by one, like supermodels! Mum's ideas were extraordinary. There was scrambled egg on toast made out of an enormous piece of sponge painted brown, with smaller chunks of foam piled on top and painted yellow. As you walked along the toast boinged up and down. There was Humpty-Dumpty-sat-on-his-wall, that kept sliding off the head, wall and all! The enormous boiled egg, made the year my sister was born. Mum gave the job of bonnet making to our Nanny who had never used paper mache before. She covered the balloon so thickly in newspaper and floury glue that mum confesses she was rather worried I wouldn't survive as my head wobbled under the weight. And the infamous (in our family) fried egg - akin to Little Miss Splendid's hat in white and yellow. Despite Mum's originality she complained we never won, apparently it was always the Bank Manager's daughter with the traditional bonnet.

I've convinced my children it's not the winning that matters, but the taking part and they are happy to sport their own variations. Inspired by the fried egg of yesteryear our Little Girl made a dainty Fried Egg Fascinator on a paper plate (using an old fruit bag as some chic netting) and Boy took a leaf out of Mr McGregor's garden and had Peter Rabbit on a cabbage on the top of his head. They may not have won, but they were certainly easy to pick out during the Parade.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

heirloom treasures

i don't know why I find embroidery a guilty pleasure, i think it is because of its time consuming nature and possibly because i was teased mercilessly by  my then boyfriend (now husband) at university for doing a degree in it! Anyway these days I rarely have time for starting a large piece, however when i think about it huge statement pieces were never really my thing, I have always loved little fragments and funny shaped things. One of my all time favourite things i have made was this luggage label piece commissioned by Jo's husband for her birthday, it has the words from one of the readings at their wedding from 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin'. Anyway I thought I would show it to you as someone was asking me the other day what we do in our Heirloom Treasures workshop, and this is the kind of thing we do. We are running a weekday one and a saturday one this time round because we had lots of requests for a weekend workshop this time, and there are a few places left on both - thursday 16th June and saturday 18th June, each day costs £50 from 10-4 and includes all materials, lovely lunch and lots of tea, coffee and homemade cakes! You will learn hand and machine techniques and take away your own heirloom treasure at the end of the day. An heirloom treasure makes a fabulous gift for a special occasion such as a wedding or a  birth, so if you have a special event coming up which you would like to mark, book a place and Jo and I will help you create something beautiful.
if you would like to see the labels close up they are on flickr here.

Monday, 4 April 2011

row, row, row your boat

Like many men my brother is impossible to buy presents for. I've generally given up opting to give him 'experiences' rather than gifts. Thus as his latest present I have organised hiring a little wooden boat (like Ratty's) for him to row along the River Avon from Bath, with his girlfriend, until he reaches a particular point, at which I shall have a traditional picnic hamper stuffed with goodies waiting for him.
But for me it is not enough just to organise these things. If you are receiving a present I think it is always nice to have something to open, and hopefully something a bit more than just an envelope with a voucher in it. Thanks to Martha Stewart and a slight bit of artistic license I came up with this paper boat. I know its a sailing boat and doesn't have oars that's the artistic license bit!

It was squished into an envelope made of the sea part of an old map and when it was VERY GENTLY (as I bossed my brother) pulled out of the envelope it popped open and in the hull lay a bottle with a message in it. My message, which was an adaptation of Row, Row, Row your Boat, explaining what the gift actually was.