Saturday, 14 November 2009

Winter Art Market in Bradford

SUNDAY 29th NOVEMBER, Anyone in who can make it into Bradford on the 29th should drop into Manningham Mills for this fabola event of Artists, makers and Wychbury! All the info is right here on the facebook page for the event, created by Andy Mitchell of Custard4gravy who will also be exhibiting at the event. The Art Market is organsised by David Worsley, Luke Owens and Tim Curtis

More links for the other artists taking part will hopefully be added to the FB page over the next few days.

TOMORROW (Sunday) we will be in Haworth, West Yorkshire for a Christmas craft fair to coincide with the annual Scroggling of the Holly which, whether we like it or not, heralds the start of the festive season. Today is Scroggleve in fact!

Paula x

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Poppies Everywhere.

Thank you to Illusio, Wild Woman Jewelry and The Cycling Artist for including our Poppies in their Remembrance Day treasuries today. As it stands the figure on Wychbury's Blue Peter style totaliser for the Poppy appeal is £48 and FIFTY EIGHT poppies, large and small have been sold so far - mainly from our Folksy shop.

This is absolutely phenomenal and we'd like to say a HUGE 'Thank you' to everyone who has helped us to help the appeal so much more than we normally would both by purchasing and promoting our brooches. The tiny poppy pins are almost sold out but there are still a few in our online shops, they will be back on general sale as soon as we get more supplies. The large ones will continue to be sold for as long as people want to buy them and we will continue to make the £1 donation to the Poppy Appeal.
Paula x

Monday, 2 November 2009

Oh Lordy it's all go around here! The Poppy Corsages are selling really well so lots of donations to the Royal British Legion. Many, many thanks to everyone who has bought one so far :)

I have now run out of beads until the postman decides to bring me some so I can pause for a sec to mention this fab treasury we were in that, for the first time this week results in a blog NOT about poppies!! The Medieval collection was put together by Heather at Tatiana Rose. Heather is a UK tatter residing in Kent with some very priddy things indeed! A designer after our own hearts with a real medieval/goth/renaissance vibe to her work.

Call me a purist if you like but it has to be black for me so Heather's 'Christina' pendant is the one floating my gondola! Check it out.
Paula x

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Poppy Treasury

Thank you very much to Alison of Blue Forest Jewellery in the UK for including our Poppy Corsages in her 'Remembrance' treasury - we appreciate it :)

Paula and Lesley x

Monday, 26 October 2009

A Bit About Remembrance

I have never been one for thinking about war, I try to be a big ostrich because I just cannot bear all the awful negative emotions that arise from thought of so much pain and loss. I think maybe I always considered the wearing of red poppy on remembrance sunday to be a too painful reminder of that. However, I am thankful that (I hope) my children will never be in a position where they are not given a choice about whether or not they join the armed forces and end up in a controversial war. I realise that choice has been earned for them by people, our own ancestors, who weren't given a choice but fought their asses off anyway and died somewhere awful. My Great Grandmother recieved the 'Dead Man's Penny' instead of her husband after World War 1, and my young Great Grandfather and his baby son (my lovely Grandad Bob) never met.

I never knew this about him until I researched my family tree and my Dad produced the bronze plaque for me to see. Also called 'the Widow's Penny' it is so heavy and cold that I can't imagine the grief my Great Grandmother must have felt as she held it.

Recently, a few of my Poppy Corsages have been bought by people who wanted to wear them specifically for the run up to Poppy Day and Remembrance Sunday itself on the 8th November. Although I never thought my brooches would be worn for this reason, now I know they are I will always associate them with remembrance and promise to be an ostrich no more!

I figure that since my customers would normally have bought a British Legion poppy pin that their donation will go unmade unless I make it on their behalf when they buy mine instead. That being so I have decided to make two brand new versions of the Poppy corsage, one large and one small and make a donation for each one sold from our online shops. The larger corsages are £8.50 and £1 donation will be made and from the £5 smaller pins I will donate 50p each.

You can make an independant donation by buying a poppy from a British Legion Seller or visit their website for other ways to give.

Paula x

Friday, 23 October 2009

Autumn Treasures

We are in no less than THREE treasuries today! All the collections are arranged around colour, magenta, purple and turquoise blue and all feature one of my pansies. Rather than do the usual and post images of the treshes here and thank the people who listed them, I'm just going to post our flickr link so you can see the screen caps. Instead I'd like to feature the fabulous Etsians who chose us for their collections today!

Since we are well and truly into Autumn now and it's a wet day here: shoes, wheels and doormats all have soggy leaves stuck to them. I reckon I need to remind myself of the more glorious side to the season, especially since I am trying to get inspired to finish my own Autumn collection before the winter is upon us!
First up is 우리 Handmade Craft Collections, three cousins from Kuala Lumpur who make the most stunning collection of nature inspired pieces that harmonise beautifully with one another. It was really hard to choose a piece to feature here as their entire shop fits the bill for my post today, but I chose this :

This is one of the Fall in to Autumn pieces from the ladies' Autumn 2009 collection and lots more pieces in this range can be found in their shop including some stunning oak leaf cuff bracelets adorned with bugle beads - gorgeous!

우리 (Uri) means 'Mine' in Korean but there is no possessiveness here, a proportion of the profits from all the ranges in this shop are give to animal charities. This is a subject particularly close to our hearts at the moment as Lesley has been actively and bravely involved in Lush's campaign to have the ban on illegal foxhunting enforced in the UK. (We may well blog about this another time when we've calmed down about it!).

The treasury 'Blue' by the very talented and acclaimed UK bead artist Lynn Davy of Nemeton on Etsy, included my turquoise pansy corsage that, until I saw it in the collection I was going to put into hibernation until next Spring - maybe I won't now! The featured items on the main page of the Nemeton shop right now, also reflect the same deep turquoise blues that the treasury does. In her profile Lynn says that her inspiration comes from the coast and countryside near her home of Bournemouth in the UK and the rockpools she says she likes to stare into are certainly evident here.

So the STUNNING autumnal piece I have chosen from Nemeton is this amazing Forest Collar. The composition of all the garden collars in this collection is just perfect and they are so sumptuous I think if I owned one I would languish around in a diaphanous gown all day gazing at my lovely necklace instead of a rockpool!

Finally, another swell of UK talent from Lorrie Whittington of Illusio Creative. Although Lorrie produces her vibrant art in a variety of mediums (And the 'inspired by the sea' textiles series are my faves!) it is this version of her 'Falling Leaves' design that hit the spot for my Autumn mood today. The colours, the lines, the movement - beautiful :)
Lorrie also donates 15% of the sales from all her Illusio shops to the NSPCC.
Happy soggy Autumn :)
Paula xxx

Monday, 5 October 2009

A little bit of this and a little bit of that!

Our gothic acorn earrings are featured in this lovely treasury:

Big thanksyou's to AREjewellery who has some lovely gems in her shop:

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Necessity is the Mother....

A little more on the idea of lovely creative spaces today. I set about tidying up my loft after a couple of weeks' intensive making and was reminded of a tale my husband told me about a school friend of his who once took two hours to clear up his Lego. Rather than place the bricks straight into the box he had painstakingly built a digger with which to shovel the bricks away!

I always thought that this was fairly typical of the person in question who is known for eccentricity, however, I had a similar moment when tidying up my desk yesterday and it dawned on me with some shame that I do this quite often! I too tidy up by making things and in hindsight always have done. When I was a child I would often dismantle cardboard boxes and remake them in different sizes to fit into specific places, I'd also used yards of sellotape trying to create divisions in things so that I could 'organise' stuff. I have used bricks and planks to make bookshelves in my bedroom and converted things into other things so often that I forget what they were in the first place!

Having a space in my house that is all my own as an adult is giving me so much scope to indulge this side of me that I am suprising myself with what I can come up with now I can use a drill! I have had these cheap drawers for ages (I think they were from Focus or B&Q etc) and gradually each drawer has become redundant as I have developed habits of keeping its contents elsewhere.

Previously I had stamped the title of the contents of each drawer on in ink but they have now been changed so often there is just a smudge on each. I had the brainwave of turning the drawers around and using a drawer pull instead of the semicircular cutout there is at the moment. I resisted the temptation to buy knobs on ebay and rooted out some utilarian buttons instead - suspender buttons etc. A quick rub with some danish oil and a few labels and this is the result! I am going to use them to organise my work into our various shops and stockists - when a drawer is empty, make more stuff.
It is prettier than a lego digger I think!
Paula xxx

Monday, 14 September 2009

Saltaire Arts Trail

This weekend Wychbury took part in the fantastic Makers' Fair, part of the Saltaire Arts Trail which takes place during the two week Saltaire Festival. Saltaire is near to where I live in West Yorkshire and is famous for being a model village built by Sir Titus Salt and for housing David Hockney's work in the fabulous Salts Mill

This is our forth year at the Makers Fair and the event gets better and better. As well as making lots of sales, we meet loads of fantastic people - makers and customers and get lots of new opportunities opened up for us in terms of other events, new shops etc. Please visit the artists and makers page on the Arts Trail website as there are just too many lovely people to mention! Congrats to everyone involved on a fantastically successful weekend.

Paula xxx

Friday, 4 September 2009

My Pocket Sewing Box

I love this and felt the need to share! I found it on our local car boot sale last year for the standard 50p and didn't realise that it had sections in it until I got it home. I have no idea how old it is but I'm imagining it was a trinket box in its day, I now use it to carry all my tiny bits of hand-sewing in that I can work on away from the house. I sew at toddler groups, outside school, on the bus/train, in the park, cafes, on the stall at craft fairs - anywhere! This is way more atractive than the plastic bag I used to use and my needles don't poke through it!
Paula x

Monday, 31 August 2009

Counting in Fives.

Just a small post today, to confess a strange obsession I seemed to have developed, more of a compulsion really! A long time ago I was commissioned to make a hair barrette of three Tudor Roses for a customer for her wedding. Before the person decided to not see through her order or indeed contact me ever again, she made a point of saying that as a history student it was very important to her that the roses were realistically accurate.

Although I am nowhere near as bad as that and understand that the Tudor Rose and indeed any Heraldic roses were presented in many different ways throughout history, there is one aspect I can't seem to shake myself free of.....they come in FIVES! Five petals on each layer, five leaves in between - FIVES!

The result of this is that not only will I spend hours on Etsy and Ebay looking for flowers and findings that have five petals and reject any that don't, I will also grab anything that does have five petals regardless of what it is! I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to my friend Rachael for seizing her children's stencil from her kitchen (and as yet not returning it) just because it had a five petalled flower on it! I will even snip out the superfluous petal on six fold findings and close up the gap with pliers - I admit it I need help!

'Irrespective of the subject I will make it apply'- 'Count in Fives' The Horrors.

Paula x

Saturday, 29 August 2009

An Inspirational Workspace

Well this Flickr group has been totally floating my boat this week!

It has got me thinking about the importance of creating a harmonious space in which to work. Before I started demolishing and rebuilding my house from the inside, the only important thing seemed to be space itself, I had been so long without it I just wanted to be able to move. Now I have my wonderful loft and I am settling into the space, adding my treasured possesions, things that look or feel nice, things that evoke my memories and might just come in useful.

It is now very obvious to me that I draw more inspiration from the things within my reach and the space they are in much more than I realised. Yes I look to nature and the wider world for inspiration but it does not belong to me and isn't constant. William Holman Hunt nearly froze himself to death trying to capture the full moon's glow in the desert for 'The Light of The World'. The Pre Raphaelites worship of nature's truth meant also being a slave to it, the light, the weather, the physical limitations of temperature. (Anyone who has ever tried to photograph stuff for sale online in a UK winter will be only too aware of that!).

Nature's free will is the obvious attraction for artists - to capture the moments, but for those of us who can't always pick our moments it is nice to have things stay where they were left until we need them! I have a bad memory and a cluttered life and an uncluttered space in at least one area of my home means that I can place a button on top of a piece of fabric that occurred to me would be a nice combination, and know it will still be there to remind me when I next get back to work.

The spaces presented in this flickr group and others like it take the idea to it's logical conclusion. Many makers show in their pictures that they are inspired, not just by their materials but by their storage ideas, their furniture, the colours they choose for their decor. Why use a cardboard box or plastic bag when a pretty glass bowl sets those buttons off so much better!? The philosophy seems sound, create a sense of self in all things that surround you and your work and it is impossible to create anything that isn't loved, personal, handmade. This is the business we are in after all- do you think a vintage letterpress tray is tax deductable? :)

You can see the rest of the pics I've uploaded on our flickr page.
Paula x

Sunday, 23 August 2009

More Tudors.

Well we don't blog very often do we? And when we do it's Tudors again! Following on from the swashing buckles post we have been included in a sumptuous Tudor treasury on Etsy. Brisingr from Norway has included my new many metalled Tudor Clips in their collection so thank you very much to them.
Also the new series of The Tudors from showtime started in the UK yesterday to continue the theme yet futher!

Paula x

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Swashing Buckles and the like!

Draw, Benvolio; beat down their weapons.
Gentlemen, for shame, forbear this outrage!
Tybalt, Mercutio, the prince expressly hath
Forbidden bandying in Verona streets:
Hold, Tybalt! good Mercutio!

Oooh but bandying there was - at The Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds. We certainly arrived on the right day as it was Tudors all the way! First a display of falconry (Where fans of the League of Gentlemen will have smirked that the Kestrel was named Mr Chinery!), then a demonstration of Tudor horsemanship - all thundering hooves and lances held aloft (enough to set women fanning themselves!) Then - as if that wasn't enough, two sauve guys in big open necked shirts and thigh high boots swashed it out with swords whilst reenacting the fight scenes from Romeo and Juliet! *Thud* Beshrew me my Lord, I hath fallen into a swoon!

Paula x

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Mmmmm Muffins

The outcome of yesterday's bilberry picking - I had to share. OK this is the worst photo ever but I didn't know that until I uploaded it and I've eaten all the muffins now! At least you can see my 'new' Hornsea Tea/Coffee/Sugar jars in the background! (I'm pleased with those too!)
There are still bilberries left for pancakes too! eeeeeeeh!


Saturday, 25 July 2009

Vintage Goodness, Inspiration and Lots of Free Stuff!

Ok, so we haven't blogged for a loooong time! The stress of remodelling my house took its toll and I have been in a bit of a creative slump for a couple of months. Today I have had such a fabulous day I just can't keep it in so it seemed like a good time to come back! Today I went to a vintage bazaar in Ilkley to see the lovely Emma of Cakewalk, drop off some work for her shop and have a browse around.

I met lots of stallholders that I had seen at the last vintage event organised by The House of Rose and Brown and lots of pieces on their stalls I had coveted on that occasion and didn't buy. However, on that day I did buy some cute J&G Meakin cups and a jug to match a teapot I have. I saw the same stall today and the lovely lady running it was delighted to tell me that she had found some saucers to match the cups at a carboot and had saved two for me as a gift! This is my very pleasing little tea-for-two set all united!

Acts of random kindness always set you up for the day but it just kept getting better. On the same stall I found a thing, a curious thing that I was fairly sure that I recognised as a homemade device for making Tenerife lace. It is basically a cardboard or wooden circle covered in cloth and with evenly spaced pins all around it's edge. I recognised it because in my long absence from doing anything really constructive I have been investigating using flowers made on vintage flower looms in my corsages. knittingand on flickr is an avid collector of these things and has a fantastic collection of photos of them and all her other sewing and knitting gadgets.

Tenerife lace, or calado canario in Spanish is needlewoven lace made by inserting the pins into wood in various patterns (sometimes using a paper template) - especially circular ones, winding threads around them to make the spokes of a wheel and then weaving various designs into the spokes with a needle. I have a bag of vintage silk threads that Lesley bought me from Birmingham's market a while ago that I can't wait to try out on it. For now though, this is the piece of work that is on the thing right now along with a finished one that came with it - all for 50p!

My brilliant day still not over, I spent a gorgeous hour picking bilberries in the sun on Ilkley Moor on the way home (which I fully intend to tranform into muffins for breakfast tomorrow!) and then got home and acquired a bag of free fabric pieces from a freecycler.

So I end my day not entirely suprised that it is Lou Reed and NOT Simon Le Bon singing 'Perfect Day' in my head tonight - may there be many more like it!

Paula x

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Declared Open!

Ooooh my goodness it's been a slog but my fabulous new workspace is up and running!

I have no shelves as yet and everything is just bunged in the eaves, the place is also now half full of all the evacuated kitchen stuff. However, I have a desk, a chair, an Ikea futon (which I totally assembled myself!), some very obvious Ikea cushions with buttons printed all over them - I know, I know - buttons, in a sewing room!

I have also been able to dust off some of my old inherited furniture which has been living in the loft in the dark for years and am using my grandparents' old 1950s one bar fire to keep warm right now!

I have been working in there for three days and could not be happier! Hurray for the loft!


Thursday, 2 April 2009


My loft is finished!!! I have been too exhausted to move anything up there as yet so here it is in all its emptiness :) I just need a cover for the hatch so I don't fall down it when I am zipping round in a flurry of activity!
Paula x

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Spring Goodies from Wild Woman Jewelry.

Given that I am up to my armpits in my house renovations at the moment I haven't had much to say. However, I really wanted to find time today to feature the fantastic Karon Dean of WildWomanJewelry . Her shop is so fresh, bright and gorgeous that I couldn't pick a favourite piece to put a picture of here no matter how hard I tried! So here are Karon's own featured items from her shop - go looky!
Oh, and MASSIVE thanks to Karon for including us in another one of her beautiful treasuries!

Paula x

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

First Light.

This is it - the first ray of light to be allowed into my roof space since it was built in 1935. This the momentous first velux window to be put into the roof of my house and the first step towards turning my dusty old loft into a useable work space!

Last night, I sat on the boards in the dust and the yellow light and looked around the space that I have only been able to plan in my head until now. The suprise is that the room isn't at all like I imagined and has a lot more aspects to be taken ito account that you might think. I have learned that the 'purlins' are the horizontal beams that hold up the roof and that the one at the front is placed lower than the one at the back. I have less headroom than I imagined but more floor space and the hatch is exactly in the middle of the house.

Now I can see exactly what I have to work with I can start to see that this really does mark the beginning of the end of the nightmare my chosen vocation has forced on my family for the last few years!

It has begun! Wheeeeee!

Paula x

Sunday, 8 March 2009

In Hell.

Well the money from our remortgage to sort out our very overcrowded house had finally landed. The main implication this has for my end of Wychbury is that I will finally have a place to work as I am having my loft converted. There is no scope for a staircase in my house so I will have a space that is only accessible via a ladder and therefore should be child-free!

This cannot happen soon enough. In recent weeks I have been working on lots of stuff in preparation for Spring. I had hoped to have had the loft done in time for me to start making again in February but alas it has not come to pass!

The result of this has been a complete meltdown of all order in our home. Nothing has a place, there are heaps and piles on every surface, tiny bits of shrapnel and detritus lie everywhere from each job that I have attempted to complete in some random and innappropriate location! My memory banks are now totally full and I cannot remember where a single thing is. Yesterday I had to retrace my steps three times to remember where I had seen the hair slide I had seen, mentally noted to put in my daughter's hair and then totally forgot where it was! Making a coffee has become a major operation as things have to be moved and piled on top of one another just to make space for the kettle.

Hopefully I will have lots of optimistic things to say as the build unfolds in the coming weeks and have lots of photos of the new Wychbury Studio as it takes shape. For now though, I am fairly sure that this is what purgatory feels like.

Paula x

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Peacocks Everywhere!

I am having one of those themed days today, you know - where you see loads of connected stuff all day. First thing this morning my online window shopping for all things pretty, took me on a very peacock related path! I found this stunning tea-cosy which I am praying I will win so I can try and turn it into a bag - (now I am trusting you all not to try and outbid me, regardless of the beauty!)

Then later on I took the kids to a farm park where a very magnificent peacock was strutting around the place. After that a craft fair in local Baildon where I found lots of peacock related goodies, then finally an Etsy conversation telling us that my new turquoise pansy bobby pin is included in this fab blue treasury by chantylace.

To tie it all in I have been wearing a peacock blue rosette hair clip and carrying my vintage bag to match all day - divine synchronicity or what? :)

Paula x

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Mother's Day Event

With Spring rapidly approaching, I have been busy trying to get all fresh and bright with some new colours - not usually in my nature I know! Hopefully I will have brightened up enough by the time Mother's Day arrives as Wychbury will be having a stall at this event in Saltaire :
It's at our favourite venue so it's a good one to start the season with. We will also be at East Morton Institute in West Yorkshire on 28th March (times to be confirmed) for an event organised by Rhona of Green Lane Arts with lots of lovely local artists and crafters. Come along if you are local!
Paula xxx

Thursday, 5 February 2009


Since I will most likely not be able to get my kids to sit through Coraline without being terrified when it comes out, I have become rather obsessed with the website

Having buttoned my eyes, explored the house and created a 'Wychwort' flower in the garden I found a movie for the incredible woman who actually knitted - on tiny needles no less - Coraline's sweater and gloves for the movie!

Althea Crome at Bugknits - oh my goodness! check it out -

The other Paula xxx

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Bargainous Flowers!

Ooooh I love an unexpected bargain right next to the checkout I do! I went to the floristry wholesalers today to stock up on flowers to demolish for brooches and bobby pins and on the way out I spotted vases marked 20p each being filled with some massive, richly coloured flowers by an assistant. She asked me what I was looking for and I told her velvets.

She said, if I price this box here at £2.50 (that's about $3.70 at the moment) would I take it and save her unpacking it? Ooooh, let me think.........

Goodness knows what I will do with them all but it would have been rude to say 'no' don't you think?


Thursday, 15 January 2009

Old Ink and Paper

In the process of trying out various branding for Wychbury, I have become a huge fan of hand stamping. Not the perfect, embossed, multicoloured kind you see on done so expertly on greetings cards: but rough, black, half-stamped and smudged. I discovered that making display cards by hand took a similar amount of time to creating a template on the computer and faffing about with spacing until my eyes were popping out of my head. The handmade results were so much more pleasing, showed off both mine and Lesley's pieces way better than before and often offered the chance to recycle card as well!

The first batch of handmade backing cards I produced were made from an old poster book of Toulouse Lautrec, made of thick, rough paper aged with a lovely yellow tinge. I kept all the glossy prints from the the pages but scrunched up the paper itself, soaked it in tea, ironed it, burned it and then did it all again until I was left with a gorgeous absorbent surface just gagging to soak up some black ink! I used some long forgotten rubber stamps that had gone all dry at the corners and used the bottom bit of our logo stamp with the tree covered up for the lettering. A bog standard blacker-than-black ink stamp from the stationers and a beautiful little tin of sticky red ink I had been given with a soapstone stamp (of a pig - my year!) from Hong Kong. The whole effect was rough, random, even sloppy but somehow when our work was pinned to the cards the pieces had a warmth to them that hadn't been there before. Now Lesley and I both make our own versions with our own card and stamps and it all comes together.

Lettering is always an issue with rubber stamping. We both own several of the gorgeous little sets of peg stamps in various fonts and they are great fun to use - especially since words are never properly spaced or in-line - a look we have come to embrace! But the only real way of repeating words like 'Tudor Bobby Pins' with any speed is to get two sets of stamps and sellotape the things together in blocks! This process has always sparked a distant memory for me.

When I was a child in the 1970s, I remembered owning and loving a simple little printing set. It had tiny, blue, rubber characters that you placed into a red plastic frame with fiddly tweezers to spell out whatever you liked (the most I ever had the patience for was my name and that was about it!) and make your own rubber stamp. The ink was a gorgeous purpley blue colour that wouldn't wash off my hands for days! I mentioned it to my husband and he said he also owned one but neither of us could remember what it was called. We googled and googled but to no avail and we started to think we had dreamt it!

Until a stroke of Ebay-related luck many months later. I am after some vintage printers trays to store stuff in when I get my long awaited loft conversion (I'll be blogging like a maniac as that unfolds!) and the search term 'vintage print tray' brought up, joy of joys: 'VINTAGE JOHN BULL PRINTING OUTFIT No.18' to which my husband and I both exclaimed 'That was it!'.

This one was a beautiful version from the toy's heyday in the 1950s and internet research and a call to my mom revealed that it was THE toy to have if you were 7-11 years old in post-war Britain! It had wooden trays instead of plastic and the letters were black rubber and when I won it and it arrived I discovered with glee that most of the letters were still in one strip and it had hardly been used. The ink tins were dried up but the residual powder was unmistakably the purpley blue still around in the 1970s when I owned my set. The tweezers were made of pliable tin and the previous owners' name and address were carefully printed - in purpley blue ink - inside the lid of the immaculate box.

Since the rubber has hardened a little with age I have had to be very careful separating the letters and placing them in the block but that has proved to be half the delight of the thing. Taking and examining each tiny character and treating them with the reverence and care a 55 year old toy deserves. The same way that I tried to keep the dust jackets on my mom’s original hardback Famous Five books, or took care with her little tin toy sewing machine when I was a child.

If I owned a brand new John Bull Printing Outfit, if such a thing existed, I know I would be my usual slapdash self and all the letters would be lost in days because I didn’t take the time to put them away. Always one to leave a huge gap in a used car’s previously immaculate service history, I hope I am worthy of my new treasure and keep it as intact as the previous owner did for many years. I still had a go with it though – it is a toy after all!


Monday, 12 January 2009


Well despite the hideous weather here in Yorkshire, there are signs that spring is on the way. My 4 year old son came charging in from the garden the other day, very intrigued by the green spikes sticking out of the ground. Yay! the snowdrops are on their way in a multitude that will have no doubt doubled again from last year!

So, forcing myself out of the January doldrums, I started work on some snowdrop hair clips. I found these beautiful pictures on flickr and loved how the petals curved.

First I had to find some white flowers so I unceremoniously destroyed some velvet roses to see what they were made of. They had a nice threefold petal in already so I just had to construct the centre.

I started with machine stitch like my pansies but the effect was way too heavy for what I had in mind. I also tried several versions with multiple beads in the middle but that didn't do it for me either. So less seems to be more and I've gone for a single, seed bead on a hand embroidered centre.

I'm getting a bridal vibe for these!

Paula x

Friday, 9 January 2009

500 Hearts!

Our Etsy shop got its 500th heart today! This may seem a mad thing to get excited about since it doesn't actually equate to any sales but it makes us feel loved!
Valentine's day is approaching and hearts are good!
P & L xxxx