Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The last craft fair of the year has come to an end. I've been so pleased with the positive way in which my things have been received. It'll be so great on Christmas Day to imagine people opening things that I've made. I have a heap of 'inspirations' books and my notebook, ready to record new ideas for next year. I wish all those who have purchased items from me this year and all those who have supported the start of Betty's Bubble this year a very Happy Christmas.

Monday, 15 December 2014

The Donkey Sanctuary Craft Fair

I spent a lovely day at the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary Craft Fair at the end of November. Driving to the Sanctuary as the sun came up and then walking in past the donkeys was very special. It's a place where I remember Mum and so I was very pleased to be there. It was great to meet new people too.

Cowslip Christmas Fair

I was so very pleased to be part of the Cowslip Christmas Fair in November. Despite the weather, it was a great weekend. I'm thrilled that some of my handmade items will be opened in Australia and in America this Christmas!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Friday, 31 October 2014

Limited Edition Vintage Patchwork Books

I've completed a very limited edition of six memory pocket books using vintage patchwork that I brought back from Sedona, USA, earlier this month. They'll be available first at the Cotehele Christmas Craft Trail on 8th and 9th November.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Christmas Pocket Books

Christmas versions of my pocket books are now available. Use to store gift tags and ribbons or to keep precious Christmas photographs and memories safe. Also available in kit form.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

'Tape Measure' Cuff

Today in The Bubble, I've been making fabric cuffs in readiness for the Cotehele and Cowslip Christmas fairs. The fabric print is inspired by vintage tape measures and rulers. A limited number will be available for sale.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Inspiration from a trip to America

I'm now back from a trip to America. I travelled around the South West and visited National Parks and areas that told the story of time from the very beginning. I heard and read about Native Americans and the lands and stories that are sacred and meaningful for them. The landscapes were huge and fantastic; I particularly loved Bryce Canyon and Monument Valley, both of which were beautiful in different ways. The sheer enormity of the sky was amazing and the contrasts in light and weather gave different moods and atmospheres. I was struck by the importance of story telling and the memories and wisdom passed down through generations - this resonated with me and gave me a great deal to think about in terms of my own story telling in the things I create. I heard about Medicine bags and realised that the idea behind them is quite similar to my pocket brooches and memory pocket books. Native American people used these bags to hold special stones, skins, feathers and other small objects that were special to them. The bags were used as a medicine shield. It was not only a protection in life but a preparation to take the owner into later life. I saw that the idea of keeping special things close was so important to them and also to me, alongside the idea that these things could remind the holder of memories that would then stay with them throughout their life, to the very end. On a visit to Sedona, I was so pleased to find a piece of vintage patchwork which I bought and brought home with me. I plan to use it to create a special limited edition of my memory pocket books - there will only be six of these created. They'll be available at the Christmas Craft Fairs I'm doing, alongside all my other items (many of which are not available on the website). The first of these is at Cotehele (National Trust - St. Dominick, Saltash PL12 6TA) on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th November) with Cowslip (St. Stephens, Launceston PL15 8JX) on Friday 14th, Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th November). Please do come and enjoy these days. 
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Sunday, 21 September 2014

Washed alpaca fibre and fleece

It took me a while to wash all that I'd spun, partly because the weather has been so lovely that I've been outside doing gardening and more spinning, and partly because it was a challenge to find washing liquid gentle enough to do the job. The brands I remember my mum using for washing fleece when I was a child don't seem to be available these days - mind you, that was a good few years ago...! So I used some liquid that was for hand washing woollens and silk. I soaked it for several hours, changing the water a few times. The amount of dirt that came out was significantly more from the alpaca fibre. I took care not to move the hanks of wool around too much as there would have been a risk of felting, but I did move it a bit so enable the dirt to come out into the water. At the end of all that, I've found that there's a great difference in the feel of the two threads; the alpaca fibre, although quite firm when spun, has changed to be incredibly soft in comparison to the fleece. I do like it, but I'll always be a fleece girl at heart. I suppose that's partly to do with the fact that I grew up with sheep, wool and the processes of change that it goes through, partly to do with the fact that I've not worked with alpaca before and partly to do with the fact that I personally just like things to be a little less fluffy! So, what next? I've found a pattern for a knitted collar so I'm going to try that and see how the two different fibres knit up into an item. I'm also hoping to have some of the fibre available to purchase at the craft fairs I'm doing in the autumn.
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Sunday, 7 September 2014

Spinning fleece and alpaca fibre on my Ashford wheel.

I've been doing lots of hand spinning lately which has been just lovely - especially sitting outside in the sunshine. A friend kindly gave me some alpaca fibre so I've been having a go at spinning that for the first time. I was also lucky in sourcing some washed and machine carded fleece this weekend and so it was great to compare three things - alpaca fibre, washed and machine carded fleece, and my usual unwashed and hastily carded fleece (because I can't wait to get spinning!). It was also great to really get stuck in with my new wheel - a birthday present this summer. It's an Ashford Kiwi and I'm loving it! I find it easier because the flyer and bobbin are directly in front of me on this wheel rather than over to the left - not as much strain on my back. There are also two treadles so both feet can be used - lovely. My verdict so far is that the washed and machine carded fleece is from spinning heaven! It's been a real revelation and makes life so very easy - there's also no waste. I struggled with the alpaca fibre - it feels dry and hasn't got as much'give' as fleece. It feels a strong fibre and softer when spun but it takes much more concentration and effort. My next trial will be washing the spun threads and seeing how differently they behave during that process. I've found 'The Ashford Book Of Spinning' by Anne Field a great help - first published in 1986 but still relevant and helpful. 
The pocket memory book kits are ready to go and I'm really pleased with how they've developed.
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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Memory Pocket Books

I've been working on these Memory Pocket Books. I've made a selection and have developed a kit so that you can make your own, too. These are available now - contact me by email or buy direct from me at craft fairs in the autumn. I've spent time by the sea and with friends this month which has been lovely - more memories and stories created!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Stitched Vintage Dresses

Everything is gradually coming together. The website is almost finished now and hopefully the teething troubles are ironing out - thanks to David for all that he's done to create it.
I've been making cards using pages from vintage books and I've also been working on this dress. It's a vintage baby's gown and I've hand stitched quotes from mum's diary in the summer I was born and the few years afterwards. I'm hoping that I'll be able to make them for christening presents (or presents at any other time) with wishes from friends and relatives, quotations and memories. I'm also working on 'pocket books' and I'm hoping to create a kit version for those who like to make their own things. Meanwhile, the mornings are just beginning to feel full of autumnal dew and hedgerows are holding the promise of blackberries; I love the changing seasons and the variety and inspiration they bring.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Betty's Bubble

The launch of Betty's Bubble happened at Cowslip Summer Craft Fair in Launceston. I was really pleased to be there and it was great to meet other stall holders and also buyers who said lots of lovely things about the items I'm making. I sell unusual, personalised jewellery, accessories and objects with a story, often using vintage fabrics and special things to bring back memories. I use hand spun, naturally dyed wool and hand-stitching. I have a new website - which I'm really happy about. I've never done a blog before but I'm going to add things about what I'm making and life in rural Cornwall. I'm hoping to do more craft fairs in Devon and Cornwall in the future. It's a very exciting time and the start of a new journey...