Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Mrs McGregor

I've been digging and thinking.
This spring we planted vegetables.  Finally.  Just a few. And today, after only a few short weeks, my daughter and I brought salad to the table.  From our garden. It felt miraculous. LOOK at those lettuce. Just call me Mrs McGregor.

Everything is so willing to grow with just a little attention. It made me think about how living creatively is easier than we imagine - a packet of seeds or a bit of wool, a hook and a few stolen minutes here and there makes all the difference.
Lou x

Monday, 27 June 2011


We are about to start another set of monthly craft evenings at Wickle and this is our first one, which I think is a cracker. Bunting is the perfect thing to make when you are learning to crochet, it's easy, quick and so darn tasty. Lou and I did lots of research into crocheting bunting and in the end it was my neighbour who showed me how she makes it. She seems to be a natural at making stuff and she learnt how to crochet off the internet. The internet teacher failed to tell her that you have to work a chain at the end of each row to allow for the height of the stitch. She soon discovered that if you don't do this the sides gradually taper inwards and lo, her bunting pattern was born. So thank you Anna. You can find details of our class here.

Along the way we discovered this wonderful pirate bunting made by a crochet genius and posted on her blog Stitch and Steel. She is very generous and shares her patterns. I sent it to Lou because she's a skull fan and it was a race to see who could make one first! 

I sewed one on my boy's blanket before he went to camp.

What is even more exciting is that the crochet genius lives just down the coast from us and we're going to hook up (!!) and do something together. Exciting.

Emma x (I think Lou might want to talk about the bunting too)

Make a Skirt Workshop

We are delighted that our friend Diana Uprichard will be holding a Make a Skirt Workshop at the Patchwork Dog and Basket in Lewes. It will be held in two sessions on Tuesday 5th July 6-8pm and Tuesday 12th July 6-8pm. 

So if you need a new skirt or just need to brush up on your sewing skills then come along to this 'Make a Skirt' workshop. During the classes you can make an 'A' line skirt whilst learning some sewing basics including:

-working with a simple dress pattern
-using your sewing machine
-making a simple skirt with a zip and even customising it to your own personal delight.

The cost will be £30 for the 2 sessions 
Class size limited to 4 with one tutor or 8 with 2 tutors.

To book a place you can reach Diana here.

Look at her lovely logo.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Much Ado About Books

On Saturday I had a dream day. Kate and Nash at Much Ado Books in Alfriston (a beautiful village near here) asked me to come and sit in their bookshop and, using old books that would otherwise been shredded, make things from a wonderful book that they stock called Playing With Books by Jason Thompson who runs the Rag and Bone Boutique with his partner Ilira Steinman (they have a lovely on-line store and really inspiring blog).

I sat at a table upstairs and a stream of Alfriston's finest women joined me and helped me eat the fantastic chocolate bread that Kate fuelled me with. We made origami flowers, stars, bracelets and book sculptures. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it and loved meeting everyone. It is fascinating how when our hands are busy what conversations arise. I hope they invite me back.

Hmm. Not much bread left.

Friday, 17 June 2011

The Handmade Pledge...

The other day I came across The Handmade Pledge and took the plunge and made the pledge. I often do give handmade presents  but perhaps not consciously. I have given one present since I made the pledge, a lavender bag made by Sam Stas who lives in Lewes and makes all sorts of nostalgic and witty household items and accessories. She is incredibly chic and smiley and brightens my day when I bump into her in town. Here it is:

It's lovely isn't it? You can have one too. Sam sells them at Not On The High Street.

This has got me thinking. I have decided to make another pledge. I am going to make ALL my Christmas presents (sorry, dear family and friends). I will share with you the trials and tribulations along the way, along with the inspiration and patterns that I find. I am very lucky because I live near my dear friend Diana (who often helps out at Make Believe Café), we were at college together and spent most of our time there making our own clothes or butchering perfectly good clothes and shoes to great, and not so great effect. She has agreed to join me in my quest. Watch this space!

Emma x

Monday, 13 June 2011


For the past ten years all the children who live in Lewes (and thereabouts) that are moving on from primary to secondary school take part in a ceremony called the Patina Moving On ParadeAll the children parade through the streets of Lewes wearing the most fantastic costumes made from withies (sticks of willow) bent into shapes, covered with tissue paper, to form animals, flowers, anything. Last year’s theme was the jungle and the streets were crowded with exotic plants, crazy insects and frightening beasts. As well as being a spectacle, it is also extremely moving. 

I have always wanted to know how to make these structures and this weekend I 'volunteered' to learn how to do it so that I could help the children in our school prepare for the parade. The theme this year is Dance and our school are going as characters from Grease. In the end I didn't end up making a structure from withies, although I did learn how. Instead, with the help of Nicky, our allotted artist and genius withie-smith, I made a gigantic quiff out of newspaper. It's not finished yet but when it is I know it will be the favourite costume accessory in my family for years to come.