A good cuppa

Having almost run out, I was very relieved when the postman delivered my recent order of my favourite Devon blended loose tea. Having originally discovered this perfect cuppa at Route 2 cafe in Topsham, I had been delighted to find it online at  (http://www.teasme.co.uk/about).  Now I can’t be without it!

IMG_0795Of course, the perfect tea requires the perfect accessories – china cups; pretty pottery teapot; and ginger biccies from a Sadler china biscuit barrel.

Time to settle down then, with a nice cuppa and plan my next design. I’m working on ‘redshanks’ at the moment and will let you know how I get on.

Dashing through the snow

This year we have added a new limited edition’Coastal Christmas‘ range to our homeware and have been busy getting it ready for the website.  The central motif is this gorgeous reindeer (above), inspired by the swooping swirling lines of early folk art.

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Wassily Kandinsky

We’ve taken this central design and adapted it for a new line of Christmas cards, festive stickers, and napkins (coming soon).

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Reindeer Christmas Card

I always love this time of year, and have often thought I would be quite happy running my own all-year-round Christmas shop 🙂 It’s not so much because I love Christmas Day itself…. it’s because I love Christmas time, and most especially Advent (which I will say more about when it’s here). For me, it’s all about the preparation…..cosying up the house for the longer darker days. Lighting the candles. Snuggling under the blankets. Choosing a new decoration for the tree.  I love the deep warm reds and the soft russets and burnished golds that bring the autumnal colours of the outdoors inside.

My guilty secret at this time of year?…..ssh……feel good movies on ‘Christmas 24‘…….but don’t tell………

Sunday morning in Topsham

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning in Topsham, Devon. The November sun is soft and low and the estuary is calm and still – disturbed only by the movement of a small boat and the gentle splashing of the resident ducks. 

I’m sitting by the window of the popular Route 2 cafe enjoying breakfast and planning a day of sewing. I’m in the middle of making a batch of Reindeer cushions and looking forward to launching them at the Arty Craft Christmas Fair next month. I’ve had great fun with their antlers, using a lovely silky embroidery thread to create long sweeping lines and plenty of swirls. I love the design so much that I’ve used it as the basis for my Christmas cards and seasonal packaging stickers. 

         
I’ll post photos of the cushions when they’re ready. No doubt I will spend the evening sewing on buttons on the back 🙂

Making a Video

In an attempt to have more ‘sticky’ content on my website (see previous post), I decided to set about making my first video. The recording part was fairly easy. I simply rested my iPad on the lid of my open sewing box which gave me just the right height for a close up of me (or rather my battered dish-washing hands) sewing, and pressed the red button.

images_take-2Nevertheless, the whole process did not turn out to be straightforward. I was too aware that I was being recorded and so I made mistakes! I forgot to breathe when stitching the lines of the Curlew’s beak – disaster! I decided to ditch my first attempt, start again, and forget about the fact that I was making a video. Success 🙂

Next came the editing. And that took ages! It was my first attempt at using iMovie and it didn’t go well. I couldn’t work out how to cut out sections of the 8 minute long video. And so I found myself searching for alternatives. Eventually I stumbled upon Movavi Editor 3 which was just right for my skill level. The editing tools were more intuitive and in no time at all I had a video of just over 3.5 minutes long……with transitions……and text 🙂

Adding music however was a little more difficult as none of the sample tracks available was appropriate. The link provided to download others was an expensive option, so once again I found myself searching for alternatives. I discovered Audio Network which allowed me to purchase just one track rather than take out a monthly/yearly subscription which I didn’t want or need. So, music chosen, downloaded and imported and I was good to go.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. Have a look and let me know what you think.

How to do free motion stitching

 

Putting my stamp on it

“Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there”

Josh Billings

I was very excited to receive my first logo stamp in the post this week – handmade by the very talented people behind ‘Wood n Stuff Rustic’ (http://woodnstuffrustic.co.uk). I love the feel of the solid wood in my hand and the beautifully carved logo in rubber on the reverse. I ordered the larger size with the idea of sprucing up plain paper bags and simple product packaging but am now very tempted to get the smaller size as well…..just because….

Having a logo stamp tells me that I am a little further along in my journey of developing a brand identity. I am sticking at something….a look…..a motif…..something identifiable and consistent.

 

Now all I have to do is get a nice blue ink pad!

Playing with ‘straplines’

ETSY has been busy re-designing shop-fronts. I have used that as an opportunity to re-think how I describe what it is that I do. I seem to have outgrown my first strapline, ‘Coast and Country Textiles’: firstly because with the advent of my greeting cards range, I no longer offer textile products alone; and secondly because my work has naturally graduated towards the coast rather than the country. Time for a re-think.

Playing with straplines is an interesting  activity. It has forced me to take a step back and look at my work from the outside. I have had all kinds of conversations with myself as part of the process and in the end I have decided to go with ‘Contemporary Coastal Style’. I will live with that one for a while and see how it feels.