Monday, December 27, 2010

Lovely Gifts!

I was very excited to receive the following Christmas gifts from Rob this year and they all come highly recommended!

This lovely stack of reclaimed vintage fabrics from An 8 pack of 12" square pieces costs $6.

This charming soft sculpture "Baby Hare Feldspar" is gazing at the moon. Similar textile ornaments, bags, squirrels and more are available from Dragon House of Yuen.

Wonderful vegan mineral make-up from PinkQuartzMinerals.

Beautifully scented guest/sample-sized soaps from Wild Olive. This botanical collection includes Lemongrass & Chamomile, Patchouli & Sandalwood, Oatmeal & Vanilla and six more. You also get a voucher for a complimentary full-sized bar when you've picked your favourite!

Hope everyone had a happy Christmas... :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christmas Gifts Treasury

Here's a treasury I made for the EtsyVeg Team on Etsy. To find out more about the individual items, click here. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Monty is Pet Of The Week!

Our lovely cockerel, Monty, is 'Pet Of The Week' over on the EtsyVeg Blog! Please drop by to find out more about him.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Button Bargains On Ebay!

I've just listed over thirty lots of buttons on my newest satellite shop, LoveButtonsHQ at Ebay - most starting at just 99p - a couple even lower. Grab yourself a bargain. Postage is just 66p for any item, and free for any subsequent items paid for on the same invoice.





Auctions end on Sunday 7 November at around 7 pm and 9 pm.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

EtsyVeg Spooktacular

Come Haunting with the Etsyveg Team October 27th-November 2nd, 2010! EtsyVeg kicks off the EtsyVeg Spooktacular today, with creepy savings and a frightfully fantastic shopper giveaway!

EtsyVeg's vegan and vegetarian artisans are celebrating Halloween with special treats abound, from discounts to free shipping to free gifts! Shop the participating shops listed below to save big!

* 3 AM Art Productions- BOGO on all art prints/photography

* Au clair de la lune

* Blackbird and Peacock

* Crickets Creations Handknit Scarves- $5 off anything tagged "Halloween"

* Gardenia's Garb- 10% off any item tagged "Halloween"

* Jen O'Connell Paintings and Original Artwork- free shipping

* JFIllustrations- free shipping

* Kimbas Critters

* Lalu Jewelry- 15% off

* Maple Ash and Oak- 15% off

* M's Knits and Things- 15% off all scarves

* Mumbot Shop

* Palafox Studio 23- free shipping

* SilentLotus Creations- 15% off entire shop, plus free shipping over $25 and free gift over $40

* Starfirewire- Free Shipping and Free gift


As part of our ghostly event, EtsyVeg is hosting a giveaway in which lucky shoppers will receive scarily fabulous handmade prizes from our ghostly talented artisans! All shoppers who make purchases from EtsyVeg member shops participating in the Spooktacular (see list above) are invited to comment on the EtsyVeg Blog. Include the link to the item(s) you purchased and your Etsy shop name or email address so we can contact you if you're name is drawn, and you will be entered to win an
incredible prizes ( a random number generator will be used to choose winners). Winners will be announced on November 3rd!

Extra Entries: Earn one entry for every shop from the list above that you purchase from (please comment separately for each shop)!
Throughout the Spooktacular, check the blog daily for updates, featured artisans and their screamingly awesome handmade creations, and more! Please email us with questions at . And Happy Halloween!

The Alnwick Garden

Rob and I visited Alnwick Garden on Monday 25 October. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we stopped to walk Henry next to Hadrian's Wall at Birdoswald in Northumbria.

The car park for the gardens and Alnwick Castle is quite a walk from the attractions, and costs £2. We had forgotten that it was half-term school holidays in England, but we were soon reminded when we had to queue for over half an hour to get tickets for entry to the garden! Adult tickets cost £9.50 each, and you can pay an extra £1 towards The Alnwick Garden Trust, which carries out charitable projects and programmes.

You pass this huge tree house on the way to the main entrance...

Inside the Garden, we went straight to the terrace cafe for lunch. We ate quiche and salad followed by a nut/fruit cake (rather like a Florentine without the chocolate), with tea and a mineral water. The cost was £15.15. The food was tasteless: cold, claggy quiche and undressed lettuce, tomato and cucumber with coleslaw. The cakes tasted mainly of sweet, chopped fruit peel and didn't go down too well, either.
The cafe was in a scenic position, overlooking "The Grand Cascade" (a section of which is shown in the photo below). There is a clear roof over the terrace which lets the sun shine in, and lots of bamboo plants in pots give some privacy, but it was busy and noisy, being bi-sected by the main walk way to the Garden.

The Garden was a lot smaller than we had imagined. It was divided into areas, such as The Serpent Garden - a sort of maze with water features; The Rose Garden; The Ornamental Garden (bordered throughout with huge, trained crab apple trees, which looked very impressive with masses of red fruits at this time of year.) Training trees over structures seems to be the Head Gardener's speciality. Here is an example of a covered walkway below.

You can visit the market town of Alnwick easily, with a ten minute walk. We did that, stopping off at the 'Roots and Shoots Garden', which is situated separately from the main area. It is a small vegetable garden, still with an impressive quantity of herbs and vegetables for this time of year. In the centre is a pyramidal structure planted with rows of herbs going up the sides. There were flat beds and raised beds - still with chard, sorrel, beetroots, kale, Brussel spouts etc, all looking very healthy and tempting. Local schools have beds of seedlings, each with the sort of scarecrow that you would not like to come across alone at night.

After a look round the town, we made our way back to the Alnwick Garden gift shop and plant centre. There were lots of plants on offer at the end of the season, and 90 rose varieties available.

The tree house is the grand finale. Again it was very busy, and the cafe and restaurant situated inside the main building would probably need to be booked in advance to be sure of a seat. There is a short tree top walk including two wood and rope bridges. The children were having a high old time jumping up and down and getting the whole structure to sway like a giant swing, so we staggered around the walk like drunken sailors.

I think Alnwick garden would certainly appeal to families with young children (who may also like to visit nearby Alnwick Castle - where part of the Harry Potter films was shot). I enjoyed seeing the vegetable garden and the tree house, but would have liked to see a greater variety of plants, and styles of planting. My main tips would be to avoid busy times of year and to take a packed lunch!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wooden Buttons

I imported some wooden buttons from India - a complicated process with money transfers through 3 banks - 35 emails and a wait of 8 weeks - but here they are and I'm really pleased with them.

The buttons pictured above, together with coconut buttons and painted wood buttons are priced at £0.45 - £1.40 each and can be found on Love Buttons HQ.

These would make perfect bag closures, or decorative accents for quilts, wall hangings or chunky knitwear.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Autumn Colours Treasury On Etsy

I made a treasury for the EtsyVeg Team on Etsy. Hope you like it! Click here to find out more about the featured artists and makers.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Workspace

I am delighted to have my workspace featured on the UK Handmade blog today. There are some photos and a short interview. Please drop by and say hello!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Button Bonanza at MISI

After two years of buying, collecting and selling buttons, I was prompted to go through my entire stock of single buttons and small sets to come up with these sumptuous packs. I doubt that I will ever be able to repeat these packs as they took a long time to accumulate.

The packs contain a mixture of new, second-hand and vintage buttons.

Hope you like the results - these packs (and a few others) are available to buy from my MISI shop.

Love Buttons on MISI.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Upcycled Button Jewellery

Here are some colourful and fun necklaces and bracelets from MISI seller Cillabub. This stunning necklace featuring 'upcycled' vintage buttons is £15.

Cilla's shop has all sorts of styles of contemporary earrings, chokers, necklaces and bracelets. Why not brighten up your autumn and winter wardrobe with a lovely handmade piece of jewellery?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Holiday In Fife: Crail

Crail is a small town in the East Neuk of Fife. It is situated south of St Andrews on the east coast of Scotland. We had a lovely time here, exploring the harbour, pottery, and shops, eating ice cream, and just wandering around taking in the scenery and pretty cottages and houses in the town.

Crail Pottery is well worth a visit if you like handmade ceramics, earthenware and pottery. It is run by, and features the work of, the Grieve family. There were a number of styles, from terracotta herb planters to ornamental pieces featuring decorative patterns and glazes, to plain, but beautiful, everyday pieces.

Rob chose this cup and saucer.

And I picked this one. Ideal for morning coffee!
They cost £12.50 each.

Here is part of the interior of the shop. There is quite a lot more to see inside, plus an outside area.

Here is Crail Harbour.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Holiday in Fife

Rob, Henry and I have been back about a week after our holiday to Fife in Scotland. We stayed at Keystone Cottage in Freuchie, a small village about 10 miles from St Andrews.

Here are some interior shots of the cottage. Taken a day or so after we arrived, you may observe the unmade beds, chaos and detritus that we have introduced in such a short time.

The white square was Rob, who is too shy to appear in public!

We paid £335.00 (including £15 for one dog) for the week commencing 4 Sept 2010. The cottage sleeps two and has a small kitchen area, open plan dining/sitting room, small bath/shower room and twin bedded room. (We had to push those together in the end, as we couldn't get used to not sleeping in a double bed!).

There is a village shop and post office nearby, a pub and hotel in the village. The cottage has a TV and DVD, plus books and games. The beds and sofa were comfortable and the decor was quite nice, with the owner's overspill collection of chicken and animal ornaments on a high shelf in the main room. The kitchen has plenty of equipment and crockery, a fridge/freezer, cooker, microwave and washing machine.

A galleried area upstairs was locked up, but visible from below, which was a bit creepy. Rob put four large house spiders out of the door in seven days - unnerving if, like me, you are not keen on arachnids the size of a child's hand. (Might have been the same one getting back in!). Henry had quite a walk to get to the nearest grassed areas, but he did like seeing the neighbour's dog, Keira. She, however, was not so keen on Henry and growled at him every time they met.

All in all, though, it was a comfortable cottage, and a good centre for visiting Dundee, Edinburgh, Fife and the East Neuk coast. The Pillars of Hercules organic cafe and shop, with forest walk nearby, was close enough to go for a great veggie breakfast.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Jewellery By Little Barb

Here are some gorgeous necklaces made using vintage buttons by talented jewellery maker Barbara, known as Little Barb on Folksy.

Barbara's combinations of layers, textures and her subtle colour palette make for a beautiful end result. Prices are very reasonable too, with brooches starting at £5.00 and necklaces at £20.00, these would make the perfect gift. Visit Little Barb's shop here.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Potfest in the Park 2010

We're just back from a fun-filled morning at Potfest. It is held at Hutton-in-the-Forest (pictured below). It costs £5 per adult to get in, and that includes parking and access to the gardens as well as to the 150 ceramics exhibitors.
The exhibitors have stands set up in marquees. The photo below shows one of our favourites: Charlotte and Sigerd Bohmer of Germany. We bought these lovely plates from them.

We were very taken with these adorable figures by Chiu-I Wu of Yorkshire.

This beautiful hare is by Nichola Theakston of Lincolnshire.

I bought these dramatic earrings from Steve Woodhead Studio Ceramics.

The event is well worth a visit. Lunches, teas, cakes, ice creams and other refreshments are served in the main house and in several other places,while a brass trio plays music in the background.

Each year a competition for the ceramicists is set. This year the theme was "Altars, Shrines and Markers". The exhibits are all set out on the lawn and visitors can vote on their top three favourites. Both Rob and I picked a beautiful and funny entry by Christine Hester Smith showing a queue of tiny penguins making offerings of fish to the God of Flight - a huge stylized eagle. Our photo sadly didn't do it justice, but click on the link to see examples of her work.

Finish up with a walk around the beautiful grounds and walled garden - the latter is full of flowers, fruit and bumble bees at this time of year. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hand Painted Silk Cushion Cover

My latest purchase, from Etsy seller Rosemary of Derwent Textiles.
This beautiful cushion cover is made from hand painted silk. Rosemary also makes "wearable art" scarves and accessories and knitted items. Her shop also stocks buttons, photographs and special items sold for charity: well worth a visit!

If you would like a custom designed item for yourself, your home or as a gift, visit Rosemary's own website.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Damascus Drum Cafe, Hawick

Whenever we are in Hawick, (Scottish Borders), Rob and I always visit the Damascus Drum Cafe. It is situated up a quiet side road and serves great food and coffee.

The interior is converted from an old boot makers shop and still retains some original features from that time, such as the wood panelling and interior windows. There is also a small range of interesting second hand books to browse through and buy, plus some wonderful handmade rugs.

There are lots of options for vegetarians on the menu, such as the mezes. You can pick three for £4.95. I chose hummus, roast tomatoes and baba ganoush with pitta bread. Other possible choices include pasta arrabiata, vegetarian burger, filled bagels and soup. The homemade cakes are irresistible and the coffee is excellent. A good lunch with coffee and cake cost us under £18. Highly recommended!

Afterwards, you can enjoy a stroll in the award winning Wilton Lodge Park, a visit to the local museum and art gallery and a rootle round the shops.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Shambellie House Museum of Costume

Rob and I went to the Shambellie House Museum of Costume a few weeks back. It is near New Abbey in Dumfries & Galloway, and well worth a few hours exploration. There is a walled garden you can also visit nearby, plus Sweetheart Abbey and several other attractions in the area.

Here I am in the gardens, admiring a living willow sculpture.

As well as the permanent exhibition showing fashion through the ages in a series of dioramas, there was a special exhibition called 'Marriage In The Movies'. This shows a room full of beautiful period-style wedding dresses that have been used in films and tv series. My favourite one, above, was worn by Helena Bonham Carter in the film 'Frankenstein' from 1994.

Another beautiful dress was the one above, centre, worn by Nastassja Kinski as 'Tess' in Roman Polanski's production of that name from 1980.

This beaded hand bag is one of a number of delectable accessories, including fans, displayed in the Museum.

The wedding dresses will be on display until the end of October 2010.

After enjoying the exhibition, you can stop for tea and cakes in the Museum's tea room, and buy souvenirs in the gift shop. I managed to get another book about buttons to add to my collection ;o)


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