Thursday, 28 April 2011

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen places I'd like to go or visit:

1/ The Norfolks Broads
this is where I spent many, many happy October half terms as a child - on a boat with my ma, pa & bruv and sporting a fabulous, knitted pom pom hat
I did love Potter Heigham and it's funny little bridge
and sailing along the broads looking at the incredible houses with gardens stretching down to the boathouses on the banks

2/ The Maldives
ha - who wouldn't really?
I would love to go whilst they're all still there and would love to take George so he can swim and swim and swim and paddle and dig in the sand....ahhhhh

3/ The Yorkshire Sculpture Park
to see the Jauma Plensa exhibition before it ends in September
(I've been working on the OH and the boy, bigging it up with photos that the lovely Paula took on her recent visit)

4/ New England
in the Fall
mmm clapboard houses, beaches and autumnal leaves

5/ London Town
it's been far too long - so long that I barely remember the visit at all
I'd like to do the galleries and museums, take G to see the dinosaurs, visit the markets and generally mosey about

6/Kinsale (again)
oh how I love it there!
when I first met the OH, he was working over there and I'd (& G sometimes) go over on the plane (just a long enough journey to share a Suchard's hot choc on board), walk along the cliffs, drinks Murphy's & eat Bacon Fries in The Spaniard and listen to the tiddlyitie music or sit in the window of The Bulman with the Sunday papers. Bliss.
on my first visit, I felt like I'd come home

7/ Harewood House
considering how close I live to it, it's pretty embarrassing to admit that I haven't been since I was a child
for any of you with little ones, they're holding a children's festival this coming bank holiday weekend...Mr Tumble anyone?

8/ Northumberland
for a holiday - to walk and play on it's beaches and explore it's castles

9/ Madrid
the OH and I used to be quite keen on our city breaks
then we bought a house and G started school, making paying for them and being free to do them more difficult
we did manage to get to Paris as my 40th birthday treat, which happened to be the weekend of His birthday - it was wonderful
Madrid is one of those pins in the map in my head - somewhere I'd love to go

10/ a Baltic cruise
my friend was lucky enough to do one last year and after looking at her photos I developed a deep yearning to visit the places myself

11/ Chester
I last went there on a friend's hen weekend and I do so love the place
perfect for a mosey, a delicious meal and a stroll along the river

12/ Cornwall
more specifically St. Ives
I've been once and I loved it - such a pretty and creative place - full of inspiration
but it's SUCH a long way to drive

13/ Portugal
I've heard a few people recently, talking of holidays here and it sounds like a jolly lovely place to stay and enjoy the sunshine and their hospitality

where would love to go, right now if you had the power of teleportation
me? Kinsale right now would be pretty glorious


Thursday, 14 April 2011

Thursday Thirteen

...and up

I thought I'd give this a go this week.
Nothing very clever, just a list of thirteen anythings that you fancy...

Thirteen Things on my Mind
1. zips
2. branding
3. Kitty
4. dinner
5. my driving licence
6. Mum
7. the state of my work room
8. day trips :)
9. collaborations
10. car tax :(
11. meta titles
12. sewing
13. no work for 12 days after today!!!!

What's on your mind this thrilling Thursday?


Wednesday, 13 April 2011


Imagine my delight the other day when Lisa of the fabulous Mathilde ♥ Manech blog, tweeted me to let me know she'd given me a Kreativ Blogger award....chuffed to bits I was!

In Lisa's own words, "The Kreativ Blogger award simply encourages bloggers and showcases others".
Oh, I'm encouraged all right!

In fact, at a point where I was at the carry on/stop blogging stage, this couldn't have been more welcome. Especially as I LOVE Lisa's blog! It's just so cheery - it's like sitting down for a chat with a friend over a brew. Just as a blog should be. Easy, fun, entertaining and inspiring. *happy sigh*

Now the idea is, I tell you 10 facts that you probably don't know about me and then pay it forward to ten other bloggers. fab!

I give you, my chosen ten:

Members of the ten ['ahem' eleven (see fact 3 erm)...apparently I can't count and had 11 names on my list. But when copy pasting web addresses, once I'd got ten, I stopped. Missing off the lovely Manda from Tree Fall Design yet still tweeted Manda to tell her I'd included her...oh the shame of my tremendous cock up.] - if you're happy to receive the award & join in, then select ten blogs you love to read and then share ten facts about yourself.

and now, the ten facts:
1) I used to have a pet cockerel as a child (on a very suburban cul-de-sac) called Lucky. As in "he was found in a duck's nest so it's lucky he's not a duck or you wouldn't have him". Mmm. Even at that age the whole duck/chuck thing didn't quite add up.
When Rock Villa, the icecream-van-man used to visit our street, I'd buy a 99 and he'd give me a wafer for Lucky.
As Lucky liked to travel around on my shoulder or head, this invariably ended up with me being pooped on. Ah the perils of cockerel owning. 
Once Lucky was nearing cock-a-doodle-do-peeing-off-the-neighbours age, he went back to the farm and ruled the roost happily for years.
2) I have a deep seated love of Fleetwood Mac & Gerry Rafferty - the soundtrack of my childhood home.
3) My office job is as a Management Accountant
4) My son George is the single best thing I have EVER done (not exactly startling news but it needed saying)
5) I need to be needed
6) I don't really 'do' Summer. Irish genes do not make for a good Summer healthy tan - nope. I'm more about the freckly, burned, pink skinned, 'I want to cover up' discomfort.
7) Autumn is my best friend - I was born to wear scarves & boots and let my hair be whipped about by the wind
8) Actually, my mum is my best friend & inspiration
9) I say "sorry!" FAR too often. I blame Mum's Catholic guilt
10) I can fold my tongue back on itself and make it stick (for a bit)

There you have it

Monday, 11 April 2011

Sunny day trip

So on Saturday we decided to 'head up t'Dale' (to be read in a broad Yorkshire accent) - it was such a gorgeous day made all the more wonderful by the weather being so unexpected!

Typically, I forgot my camera so had to make do with my trusty phone but still managed to capture the essence of the day.

First stop, Yockenthwaite for paddling & splashing and general high jinx!

Followed by a hunt for a pub that was still serving food (we were late due to the aforementioned fun - a good reason to be late in my book) - this took us to the White Lion at Cray which, sadly, wasn't doing food but did do a fine pint of Golden Pippin :)
NB the menu on the chalk board looked delicious - gutted we missed the serving time!

So after a quick pint here and another paddle for George and some very picturesque stepping stones, it was back down the Dale to Kettlewell where food (& more Golden Pippin & the Grand National on the box) was sought, and found.
But not after stopping for traffic...haha!

and admiring a rather fabulous, hillside procession of sheep

All in all, a very pleasant way to spend a sunny, Sunday in April

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Speedy Bird

Hello and welcome to sunny Sunday's quick post!

I found a quicker way of doing my Teapot Brooches the other night whilst working on this giveaway prize for Nina...

I decided, that whist I was doing one red & white brooch, then why not do another...

and perhaps a little green & white pot...

So I did! Rather than doing one at a time (as is my usual way) I stuck some white felt in a hoop, drew the three teapots (in fadeaway pen) and set to. As a result, my 'making' time was markedly reduced and, as a result, I'm delighted to say that my Teapot Brooch prices have been reduced!!!

You can now find a multitude of different coloured, hand beaded and hand stitched little beauties over here for a mere £15 including P&P.

Oh happy little discovery :)

Friday, 8 April 2011

Oodles of doodles

Well hello my lovelies and how is life treating you, now that Spring has well and truly Sprung?

All is well in the Ditsy Bird nest, I'm pleased to say - I'm looking out at the lambs in the field opposite, and at the daffs in the garden as I write this, as well as the clear blue, sunshine-filled sky. Bliss indeed!

So what's new here at feathery towers I hear you ask? Doodles, I reply! Oodles of delicious doodles.

I've had a bit of a revelation and a change of direction since I hit the big Four-Oh on 13th March.

Not sure where it came from really - out of left field if I'm honest - but it is most welcome and has been invited to stay.

What's the revelation??? Machine sewing! I can do it! Well, erm, I have to qualify that statement a little by saying that I can do my kind of sewing but I've not yet tackled the sensible, useful, sewing that most folk do i.e.seams & practical items and garments. Ahem. Though, tackle it I will, over the coming weeks.

I booked myself on an amazing (& more amazing as it was free!!!) workshop with an incredible artist called Naseem Darbey - you can see her work here...prepare to be dazzled. - to do freehand machine embroidery. Now confession time: I had been hankering after having a crack at this for many, many moons. But, you know when there's something that you just absolutely want to be good at? Yup, that. So I hadn't tried it. At all. [stupid I know and for anyone reading as I say, not as I do and JUST DO IT. Go on! It'll feel amazing and if it turns out to be not quite your thing then, hey ho, at least you gave it a bash instead of sitting and a-wondering].

{Right, where was I? mmmmmmmmmm oh yeah}

So, in an effort not to look like a total loser on the day, I took out my trusty Minimatic* and had a bash. Dropping the feed dog is not nearly as scary or as exciting as it sounds! Which, it turns out, is a good thing or I probably wouldn't be writing this now :)

My first attempt was a blast! It felt like I'd come home! My mum gave me my *Bernina, which had previously been her Bernina for many a year before that, possibly 20 years ago (ARGH!) and I have to say that it has never been true love {to the extent that I collected a vintage Jones machine recently from a fellow Freegler in the hope that I would find sewing machine love there - oh the betrayal to poor Mini} but this is mainly down to my lack of love for the afore-mentioned seams and sensible sewing. But now I can confirm that I am truly, madly and oh so deeply in love with my darling Mini. And the reason? Because I can doodle with it! The joy. The free, hurtling-needle joy of just whooshing around the fabric, willy-nilly, to my heart's content, creating patterns and pictures as I go. I cannot express how happy this has made me.

I have tried many crafting techniques and mediums over the years and many have hummed to me & I've hummed along with them, but none have sung to me the way this does.

You see I am a born doodler. All my makes start off as a doodle - either in a designated sketch book or, more often than not, on a scrap piece of paper whilst my brain is supposed to be working on something else.

When I've translated these doodles into work before, into cards, onto canvases or via hand embroidering, they've always seemed to have lost a bit of their life and character. Does that make sense at all? But using the sewing machine, the doodles retain the same energy as they have on the scrap of paper they were inspired by. And that makes me a happy bird.

So there we have it, The Revelation. The Change of Direction follows thus - I am now using my doodles to make things and first up are my Doodle Brooches. My current designs have a hint of nostalgia about them...

childhood trips to Joyce's the sweet shop up the lane

family holidays at the coast

Rock Villa the ice-cream van man whose tinkly music marked the start of Summer on our cul-de-sac

countryside walks surrounded by flowers, insects and the beautiful North Yorkshire scenery

you get the picture...happy memories :)

This is the first time I think of my work as My Work and not having the urge to belittle it with 'oh just brooches and stuff'. I'm proud of it! and I'm happy enough with it to say that 'out loud' on here. I have big plans too - as in 'big' plans. The ideas are kind of floating around in my head and I'm just waiting for them to fully form and take shape.

Now for the sensible seam tackling - I'm hoping to take this a bit further by doodling on purses, pouches, bags and the like. But first I need to get myself some zips and attempt a straight line ;)

Thanks for popping by & happy Friday