Monday, 20 November 2017

Hares, Hearts and Hexies

The wonderful Autumn weather brings with it the most vibrant colours and those cool, blue, crisp days. It's at this time of year that I start to retreat into the sewing room and rediscover textile projects, some long forgotton, that need a little tweeking or finishing.

My latest thing is mounting work in anticipation of new hanging space in my home, and a fast approaching deadline for a local quilt show,
Some pieces have been moved around my sewing room for so long, the thought of having to frame them has made me really focus on 'how to finish' the piece. I've sourced some fabulous white frames and I'm now on a roll.

The lovely Mr Hare and Mr Fox, both made on a Katie Essam workshop, have been sitting in a 'to-do' pile since last year. They're now ready for exhibiting at my local Quilting Group's November Show.

This  six inch square, hand stitched heart, made in Irish Linen and vintage papers, was started on a Jessie Chorley workshop in 2013. It's sat on my shelf since then waiting for the finishing touches. I've really been stumped about the mounting of it. Then.... last year I was given the most wonderful boxes of textiles from a dear friend whose mother had been a dressmaker all her life. In the box was a handmade, fine wool blouse (the garment was too thread-bear to be worn), but the cloth itself  had lots of life in it. After a little unpicking, I used a section of it to mount the heart. The red cross stitch covers the unpicked area where a dart had once been (i love it when a piece of cloth carries on its memories).

This final piece 'Simply Hexagons' was made this year (also a submission to my local Quilt Show).
All summer I've been experimenting and gradually building up a stash of  cloth and yarn coloured with natural dyes. By the end of August I'd a wonderful collection of silk cloth that lent itself perfectly to a new slow-stitching project. Once made, I was a bit stumped on how to mount it. An afternoon of my favourite gluing and sticking soon solved the problem.
I must say, having to produce work for a deadline has definitely made me focus and think about my work in a different way.
Let me know if I've inspired you to finish and frame some of your wonderful Stitchery beauties.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

What's on my Work Desk Wednesday - I love a big of gluing and sticking

It's been a busy week here at Arnold's Attic.
I had a brilliant road trip to Luton with my chum, checking out the textiles shops in Bury Park and discovered some amazing hat-haberdashery suppliers near Wardown Park.  
Over the weekend, I couldn't resist taking advantage of the the beautiful sunny weather - it's perfect for drying out some of my gluing and sticking projects. 
I made up a batch of glue, collected together some scrummy papers and got to work! 

Glueing and sticking makes me so happy!

Finally I replace the screws and washers.
I'm so thrilled with the final result. 

Check out the other busy crafters on WOYWW

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Tatty Devine finds a new home

I've finally found a home for my lovely Tatty Devine treasures!
Earlier this year I spotted this clever little display box in IKE, bought it and had a think about giving it a little makeover.
I rummaged in my stash and out came the vintage blankets.
Ironed the back of the blanket.

I cut a piece of cardboard to fit the back of the box and sprayed it with glue.
Stuck it to the back of the ironed blanket and pressed firmly.
Trimmed the blanket and tried it for size in the box frame.
When I was happy with the fit, I spray glued the back of the cardboard and put it into place in the box. 
The best bit was unboxing my treasures and putting them in their new home.   

This beauty has pride of place in my bedroom.
Now I get to see these treasures everyday. Happy, happy me!
This is me signing off for this What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday.

Hop along to see what everyone else is up to on WOYWW

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

What's on my work desk today!

Time for a makeover!
Thought I'd join in the WOYWW gang today, for 'What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday'.
This yummy, vintage sewingbox has been languishing under my sewing table for some time, feeling a bit neglected and waiting for a little TLC. The legs are wonkey, screws are missing and this Little Lady needs a bit of spit and polish. 
Our journey together started when I visited a local charity warehouse for my weekly rummage. 
I discovered the adjoining unit had been taken over by a house clearance company who'd piled lots of rubbish outside just waiting for a skip - or me!  
I couldn't resist a look. I spotted the handle of a sewing box!  I popped inside and asked if I could have it - "yes, it's waiting to be skipped". I picked it up. My heart was racing because it was so heavy - always a good sign of treasure.  When I got home, the bottom tray was full of vintage knitting needles and the rest were lined with buttons! Happy me.
 Since then, the sewingbox has been waiting for a makeover, so I took out my trusty screwdriver. 
Unscrewed. Dismantled and piled up all the parts. 
This little Lady was filthy. 
Out of the kitchen came the microfibre cloths and anti-bacterial cleaner and I started scrubbing. 
So much dirt!
That little bit of elbow grease has made such a difference!
I'm so happy. My postman delivered the replacement screws today. 
No more wonkey legs for this Lady. 
As of this morning, this is what's on my workbench.
The sun is out and I'm pondering the next stage before I reassemble. 
Watch this space. 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Cotton Mills by the Irwell

Even though I've been wet-felting for years, it still amazes me what can be created with some wool roving and a bit of soapy water.
At the weekend I had another brilliant day with the Feltmakers, this time with the very talented Valerie Wartelle. Her landscape work is stunning. 
I started with a blank piece of pre-felt and started imagining a landscape of my own. 
Slowly the picture developed. 
A bit of rolling later.

And a bit of fulling and rinsing later.
The felt was drying. 
My Cotton Mills by the Irwell. 
It needs a good press, a little bit of embroidery and then framing. 
I'm chuffed to bits with it.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Corsets, Bustles and Lace - Vintage Fashion in Bath

Whatever the weather, there's plenty to do in Bath.

Me and my chum had been planning a day out in Bath for ages and we'd hoped for some glorious sunshine. On the day we visited it was cold and raining, but that didn't curb our enthusiasm for a fabulous day out. After lunch in Cafe Lucca we went rummaging around the streets looking some for vintage shops and found the most wonderful Vintage to Vogue, tucked away down an alley, and very close to the Fashion Museum
After another cup of tea (we like our tea), we popped into the Fashion Museum for some more vintage treats. Lucky us! There were two exhibitions on - the History of Fashion in 100 
Objects and Lace in Fashion. Here's a browse through some of the treats we spotted on our visit. 

Gorgeous garments dating from the early 1600's onwards.
All hand embroidered and hand stitched.  The workmanship's breathtaking. 

Dresses from the Georgia Period in the 1700's.

These Muslin dresses of the 1800's.

A beautiful printed cotton day dress dated around 1860.
An embroidered Dolman - part coat, part cape, dated 1870.
A gorgeous, embroidered silk bodice and skirt dated 1865. 
Fabulous vintage 'fashion on a ration' 1940's pieces.

The Lace exhibition was a smaller curated selection of the most exquisite pieces, ranging from historical to contemporary catwalk couture. 
Examples of bobbin lace, tatting, crochet and many other forms of lace are on display. 
I never knew there was so many forms of it!
  And to finish. 
I fell in love with this little number from Alexandra McQueen.
 If you've enjoyed my edited highlights, then pop along to see the other beauties on offer - vintage embroidered gloves, tiny shoes and there's also some lovely outfits you can dress up in too!

Monday, 15 May 2017

A Whistle Stop Visit to Brussels - Beer, Chocolate and of course Shopping

What a wonderful visit to Brussels! - something to tick off my bucket list.
I love a good city break. Each place I visit I like to do some of the usual touristy things, then go hunting for something that's a little bit off the beaten track that makes the trip my own.  My Brussels' highlights included chocolate, beer, an Orange Tour and of course some textiles shopping. Here's a few things I can recommend.

Starting with a little bit of shopping.  I found some scrummy vintage textiles sold by the kilo at Melting Pot Kilo - including baskets and baskets of vintage embroidered linens. Make your selection from all kinds of vintage goodies - clothes, shoes, handbags, coats, and textiles. It's an Aladdin's cave of treasure.
On Rue Blaes - on the way to the famous Marolles flea market - there's a yummy Mid-Century furniture shop and several eclectic, vintage clothing stores. I loved the curated collections of pieces in these shops - lots of inspiration, nice pieces and nice prices. It was such a contrast to the jumbled chaos waiting for me, at the flea market just meters down the road.
Marolles Flea Market at La Place du Jeu Balle is on everyday 5am-2pm. I arrived at 8.30am and spent a good 2-3 hours rummaging - there's treasure to be found, but it takes time, patience and lots of haggling. There's plenty of cafes in the square, so you can take a break and rest your legs before returning to the rummaging. Lots more about my visit here on my previous blog post
When I'm not rummaging, I like to look around for inspiration. Around every corner there's a new surprise. These stunning carved biscuit moulds were on display in the fabulous Maison Dandoy
Fabulous, colourful yarn bombing - the crochet was weathered and rather wonderful. 
Every now and then I find a food place that really stands out. On this visit it was Mer du Nord in Place Saint Catherine with their alfresco tapas style seafood lunch - I had calamari and oysters - all prepared fresh to order.  Give them your name & order and find a table -  they call out your name when the food's ready. The place was very busy and had a real buzz. 
I then popped around the corner to Gaston for a sit in the sunshine with an ice cream 
- the deck chair and view were free. 
There are plenty of galleries in Brussels, but for me the Rene Magritte Museum is a must, especially for all the Surrealists out there. I'd seen postcards of his work before, but to see his life and paintings curated in such a beautiful way was a real treat.

Finally beer - it's everywhere.  I can heartily recommend a visit to the Delirium Cafe, (very close to the Jeanneke Pis). With over 3,000 beers in stock you can definitely find a beer to suit your taste buds. My favourite Trappist beer was the Westmalle Triple.
The bartenders here, know everything about everything when it comes to beer. I asked them for two very chocolatey beers - Oh Wow! Barista Chocolate Quad was like very dark chocolate and Pannepot (mine was a 2010 vintage) was like treacle toffee. Delicious and very easy to drink.  
I hope you've enjoyed sharing some of my city highlights.
I can heartily recommend Brussels,  it's a very special city and I'm sure I'll be back again soon.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Flea Market Shopping in Brussels

Morelles Market at La Place du Feu de Balle is open everyday 5am-2pm and well worth a visit.
It's a good old fashioned flea market selling bits and bobs from house clearances.
It takes a keen rummager to find the treasure so allow yourself a good few hours to browse.
As for prices, I love a good haggle - I managed to haggle down to around half of the original price, only paying what I felt it was worth.  
There's everything from furniture, ceramics, jewellery, paper ephemera and of course textiles.
Two stalls had boxes of chandelier crystals.
A receipt for macaroons dated 1938
These goodies came home with me.
This book is full of vintage wooden matchbox covers.
The tiny piece of film - the kiss.
I ran out of small bank notes early on and had to buy a coffee at Pin Pon (fabulous bar decor!) to break into another large bank note - note to self: take plenty of change and small notes next time. 
I arrived at 8.30am and by 11am some of the stall holders were offering 'anything for a Euro'.
It's a brilliant place with plenty of cafes dotted all around the square. Good food at good prices so you can rest your feet if it all gets too much.  
It's a traditional Belgian Flea Market with an absolutely, fabulous atmosphere. 
I'll be returning on my next visit to Brussels with a much larger suitcase
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