Friday, June 29

parting is such sweet sorrow...(courtesy of Mr W. Shakespeare)

the CLOSED sign hangs in my little shop window and the last of the custom slips are drying in the laundry room...and you find Tif at her little blue desk feeling a wee bit i look back over the past few months (thanking the man who invented archives on blog spot) i see we have come a long way together...

amongst the many laughs and tears we've shared we have...
1. mastered crock pot cooking (that is a bit debateable)
2. thrifted our hearts out
3. crafted till our fingers nearly bled
4. featured in the newspaper
5. went shopping in France
6. fought the dark side

7. avoided a whole load of things
8. found a multitude of 'angels in disguise' (there are so many more i haven't mentioned yet)
9. reached a hundred sales on Etsy
10. discovered that Chocolate Spread is far superior to Nutella (oh yes it is)
11. found out you require a zimmer frame when purchasing wedges
12. fake tanning lotion and hotel conditioners are not for the faint hearted
13. named a pretty sweet door Miss Josephina Lola
14. learnt that fairy tales can come true...

so as i pack up my bags and head across the pond it leaves me to tell you that i will miss our daily chats over the next few have become a part of my life that i really enjoy. i'm not sure what i have given you, but you have all helped me find something that i lost a long time ago (and we are not talking cutting tools here...) it's a thing called CONFIDENCE and you have helped me start to believe in myself and my abilities again and for that i thank you kindly..

i shall not be too far away. if and when i get near internet access you can be sure i will be lurking on your blogs or checking emails...i will miss you all and if you miss me enough to wait for me, i'll be back at my little blue desk, blogging my heart out with a journal full of events from bonny England on

wishing you hot summer days in the park or warm winter nights by the fire depending on where you live on our lovely planet ~ Tif

Thursday, June 28

me, my natty little basket and the world...

dear readers i am typing this post while in a state of upset (probably not a clever thing to do)...i should have something stronger than a cup of tea by my side but alas we all know what that can lead to. so i shall take you back a few hours so you may see why my little body is in a crumpled heap and i am near exhaustion...

i foolishly (you always know when Tif starts with that word that things are not going to go as planned) woke this morning thinking it would be a wonderful carefree bonding day with my children. i dressed appropriately for the day i had in mind...very Boden i feel. my plan was to get tidied up around the house (which really meant shoving things in cupboards and drawers very quickly) and then we would head out for our 'pre vacation shop'...i had a very long list of things, like socks, flip flops for the boys, our #2 wanted skinny jeans (that alone was going to be torture in it's self) and the list goes on...i took along with me, my four kids, a boyfriend (sadly not mine but belonging to our #1) and the natty little basket...

in hindsight i feel the day would have started off on a better foot if i had left my natty little basket at home...the horror on their faces as i loaded it into the trunk of the car should have been enough of a hint of things to come...
when we got to the first port of call, i physically had to remove my children out of the way so i could retrieve my basket from the we walked towards the mall my children and a boyfriend stayed way behind...i must admit when our#3 test drove the basket at the store i didn't realize quite what a noise the little wooden wheels would make, so it is true to say people do NOTICE you when wheeling this thing. i held my head up high (thinking of all your lovely comments) and carried every shop i would announce "oh no thank you i do not need a bag i have my basket" and the cashiers would look at me with one of those smiles that means "she's a nutter"...

after a while, we hopped back in the car to drive to the next town..( i can never seem to get everything i need in one place, i am still trying to get use to it after seven years). the next place we stopped was worse, as we were nearer home territory and so very likely to meet "friends", god forbid my girls be seen with me and my basket!
after four hours of being stared at and having the kids commenting about it, not to mention the general bickering that always goes on, it started to rain, i gave up and returned home with the shopping list uncompleted.
i was beaten dear readers, i was left undone with the upset of knowing that i have brought kids up to actually care what people think of us and how we look ( is this a generation thing and do you think it is much worse in certain places? it is a struggle for me here and it does seem ridiclous that a little basket causes so much attention) i have plonked myself on a piece of the planet that really doesn't quite have a whole lot of 'flair' or 'individuality' for want of better words...and i apologize if a 'local' is reading this ( i'm not talking the city, but the suburbs i live in) but it's the truth...gosh i don't think i have ever been opinionated on my blog before, i promise to not to do it again...i don't want you to think my kids are not nice and they are certainly not unkind, they just don't like that feeling of not fitting in...and i guess that is true of a lot of us.

so as i sit in my crumpled heap wondering what it's all about, i must tell you i had set out to do a post on bias binding..if i continue it will make for a long old read, but i think you would like to know if i managed to make some with the little tool i let's sum it up...

i read the instructions very briefly, ie. scanned over them fleetingly.
i learnt that cheap fabric might not give the best results.
i worked out after re reading the instructions when patching fabrics together, there is a right and wrong way to do it.
i would definitely next time make it much wider.
i do not need the tool especially if making wider bias binding...
however when all said and done, it looks pretty in a glass jar even if it's not good enough for general use.
i would definitely buy it, if i could, rather than make it...i don't do well with fiddle things
and lastly, i have a whole lot of respect for bias binding makers everywhere...

and just as i was at my all time low for the day while typing this, the mail man paid a visit and my whole day felt a little brighter because my 'invisible' friend Francesca thought of me when out and about in Brighton and sent me a little care package...perfect timing Francesca, thank you. you will never know how much this has helped me feel better about myself ~ Tif

as a footnote : i promise to be brighter tomorrow, my blog is supposed to be light reading not heavy...forgive me :)

Wednesday, June 27

'show and tell'...

as our #3 and i were amongst the pretty glass jars, tea bags and choccy biscuits on Saturday, we rounded the aisle and came across this natty little number.

"i have been looking for one of these all my life" i exclaimed "i just didn't know it until this fateful moment", our #3 looked at me for a few seconds with his mouth dropping a jar..."you are not serious are you, you'll look like a grandma". we then proceeded to have a small conversation on how i could in fact be a grandma in a few years...just the thought made me feel quite faint and so we decided to focus on the wheelie basket in front of us.

there were six available, our #3 test drove them around the store to find the one without a wobbly wheel and also when standing did not appear to have a tilt. out of the six we found one. "that's the one" i said
"why do we actually need this" he asked...i then spent at least a minute mumbling things like "let's save our planet from plastic bags", "great for the beach", "perfect to coordinate with my 'french market summer sac' when i am in France"...he then told me it was true to say he would be mildly embarrassed when seen with me and the trolley...

when i returned home i went through the same conversation with my man.
our #1 just rolled her eyes and said "yet another thing to help us stick out like a sore thumb in public" was quite obvious dear readers, that my family did not share my vision for this little basket on rickety wooden wheels...

and so the transformation began with some of this (hardly saving the planet, in fact i am ashamed to confess, as my original reason for buying the basket was to help the enviroment, which has now been completely cancelled out by me using spray paint). when finished painting i could not leave it at this, i decided to fashion a sweet little liner out of an old vintage tablecloth and so for 'show and tell' i give you my new "perfect for the farmer's market or when in France with Mr Depp on my arm" wheelie basket...

i must admit it's looking very Cath Kidston, i think it is the colors, but that's if you happen upon a woman in a slip, out shopping on her own with her natty little basket this summer you will know it's me and if you look far behind her, there will be a man and four kids trying to look invisible...

and as i had the paint out, i jazzed up a few tired things, so my studio chair and this little table now reside next to my tatty old sofa on my newly spruced up porch..

working out how she can get her natty little basket on the plane as hand luggage...
while hoping that blonde streaks and blue nostril hairs come into fashion for summer ~ Tif

edited: dear readers, if like me you need a natty little basket on wobbly wheels and you are stateside...i bought my new found friend at World Market :)

Tuesday, June 26

the little boy and the beanstalk...

if you are sitting comfortably then i shall begin...
ONCE upon a time in a far off land there lived a little boy who had been sick for over a week. the little boy lived with his 'beautiful YOUNG stylish creative' mother and his three siblings...somewhere in the background was his 'handsome OLDER' father.
one sunny hot day the little boy's mother called him to her side

"dearest child you have been sick for over a week, i am weak with lack of sleep and i can no longer care for my garden. take this money and go to the market and bring me back some pretty plants"
"but mummy dearest, can i buy some beans?"
"dearest child, we can not decorate the garden with beans alone, now run along and do not disappoint your YOUNG mother"
"yes mummy dearest"...
and so the little boy popped his twenty dollar bill safely in his pocket and headed out to buy some plants, when he reached the market he wandered around looking for just the right ones...he kept coming back to the orange flowers because he liked the pom pom heads. he then added a large red flower with some ivy and paid his money.

on returning the little boy set to work in the hot midday sun. he dug and he toiled and then he started planting his new flowers...and when all was done he called for his YOUNG mother

"mummy dearest, please come quick so you may see your lovely plants on the porch"

" why dearest child, what a joy you are, you have made our house look respectable again"

then the little boy took his YOUNG mother by the hand and showed her a 'magic' plant he had grown in the back yard

"why dearest child where did that come from?"

"mummy dearest, i took the change from the dollar bill and bought one 'bean' on the way home, i planted it and it grew this big in one afternoon, by tomorrow it will reach the sky and i will climb my 'magic' plant, find a giant, steal his goose that lays golden eggs and you will never have to do the laundry and cook again and we can live happily ever after"

and they both sat on the porch with a cold glass of orange squash admiring the flowers and dreaming of a goose that lays golden happily ever after


thanking you for all the studio love ~ Tif

Monday, June 25

me and my 'pretty sweet' studio...

on Saturday evening, i went out with our #2 our #3 (it is not unusual for me to muddle them up) to purchase pretty glass jars to house my new labels, old buttons, trimmings etc, in the hope of making my studio feel aesthetically pleasing and pretty and also encourage me to get on with the job...
i then came home and continued with tackling the mountain of awfulness...
and so i have primmed and preened my studio to with in an inch of it's life.

we have organization, we have color coordination and we no longer have devastation. (yep, i was pretty pleased with that last sentence too)

with the help of our #1, i wrapped trimmings and lace around a ton of little pieces of card.
i have not however succeeded in making it look like a 'japanese craft book' studio...i fear this will never happen and i have accepted my fate. you see as i was beavering away over the weekend, discovering many a lost treasure amongst the mess (not i might add my cutting tool, it is still a mystery)...i realized i have way to many colorful fabrics and notions to make it look serene and calm...but that's okay with me, i like all the 'bits' with the 'bobs' and the mix of colors with the lace and the linen...

so without further a do (that is so my favorite way to announce something i have decided) i give you some pictures of my cleaned up, turned out, looking pretty spiffy studio..(i can't get a single photo of me anymore without a piece of thread stuck to me...i like to think it is the sign of a serious crafter!)

for a few big piccies you can take a look here and there, because if you're like me, you just need to see the big picture...i am so happy with my little space..i know eventually over time it will end up just like before, but that's okay, it's a work space not a magazine page.
as i wing my way over the pond next week, i will be able to really enjoy my time away knowing that my studio is waiting tidy and clean ready for my return...
and just a little extra for you 'cause i like you lots, dear readers...we have Mabel in her latest attire...a little lacey number courtesy of the lovely Rosaleen and the little flower came from the wonderful Kate who very sweetly sent me this box of goodies last week...all now lovingly wrapped onto card and put in my stash...many a "thank you" to you both.

sighing a deep satisfied sigh, while also realizing she has a new found respect for bias binding makers across the globe ~ Tif

Sunday, June 24

wishing she owned a magic wand...

dear readers, i have spent the best part of the last forty eight hours holed up in my studio trying to sort the chaos. the little picture i showed you last week of the mess was actually taken on Tuesday, so by Friday it was beyond belief. now i realize that we do not live like the pictures in the magazines that we read (at least that is what i tell myself) however eventually you get to a point where you haven't a hope of creating anything because you physically can not move round your little space without fear of causing yourself an terrible injury...

i have achieved the results i was hoping for but it had to get a lot worse before i started to see improvement...tomorrow i will show my labor of love and in the meantime we will have a little looky at some fabrics etc that i picked up on Friday...

my intention on Friday, if you recall was to have a leisurely day out with my 'pretty sweet' has become increasingly obvious to me in recent months that there are not enough hours in the day to include 'leisurely' instead of enjoying browsing the fabric store and thrift place i was in a constant state of clock watching. but none the less i did come back with some rather lovely things..our local fabric store was having a sale (that really isn't anything new as they seem to be permanently celebrating something like 'John Smith Day', that will involve them declaring a 50% off sale...)

i managed to pick up some pretty cottons that required laundering and then a great deal of ironing, which is something i am very good at avoiding but as i was making my studio resemble a 'japanese craft' book i was required to do some, plus all the other linens i had neglected over the past few months...after four hours of straight ironing i declared to my man that a lump had appeared on the side of my lower right rib cage..."i think i have fractured a rib from ironing" i told him, so he had a little feel and then tells me "that's just your lower rib, it moves around"..."what" says i, "yes" says he "your lower ribs move they are not completely attached" i can only imagine the day they taught that in school i must have fallen asleep because it was news to me...

once again i have digressed. at the thrift store i found some bedsheets and pillowcases along with a lovely collection of really was a lucky score as they were totally vintage, i'll show you those later in the week..

now this little pile of fabrics i bought along with this tool for a reason, they were on clearance for a $1 a yard and i knew exactly what they would turn into...

some pages in my craft book showed me how to make bias binding, which i know a lot of people have been doing for ever and a day, but what i liked was it shows how to make patchwork bias binding...i immediately knew i wanted to own that bias binding. for what i had no idea i just knew it must be mine...

i'm not quite sure how i will fit this into my 'lack of hours' in a day this week, but i hope to attempt it before i leave for bonny England and show you the results (please note, you will hear a lot of "i'll show you later due to 'lack of hours' in the day this week")..."okay Tif, we get it"...

with her children hanging off her apron strings twenty four hours a day for the next ten weeks ~ Tif

Friday, June 22

eye candy ~ part five...and the RESULTS!

my pretty sweet wedges only got a ride in the car today, i was sooo running behind time with everything that i had to wear my flip flops...i took them in the car with me so at least they felt like they got a trip out...i picked up some lovely fabrics and some super thrifty finds that i will share with you next week. after all you are here for one thing and one thing only...

before we get on with the excitement of the 'prize draw' i must tell you dear readers, that i was over joyed with every name that was put forth...i think what made me so happy was the thought that went into each and every one. and even more than that, you really seem to 'get me', you know me well and that makes me smile... so for your final 'eye candy' this week i give you not pictures but a list of all the names (in no particular order) so you can enjoy them along with me...

miss fortune
dora flora
ophelia's display
stanley (the cross dresser)
eliza d
miss devine
dearest calamity
zuzu petals
miss laura elizabeth
carolina blue
beatrice rose
lady hangalot
maggie the cat
flora dora
uncle charlie (another cross dresser, probably a friend of Stanley's)

each one of these names would have done my little door proud, but alas there can only be one winner and so to the results...unfortunately our #4 was not available (his fee was too high) so i roped in our #3 who required no payment other than to be fed some dinner, so i will let the pictures do the talking...

and the winner is...


congratulations to 'cubicle' girl...the little cuff will be winging it's way to you next week...but before i sign off for the weekend and leave you all in peace, i must just let Lori know that i loved her name and the reason for it. in fact i loved it so much i have tagged it onto Lori drop me a line to my email address and a few little goodies will wing their way to you too...

and one final word (i promise i'm going, this is like an oscar speech)...a lot of these names are so wonderful they will be making appearances as slips, bags and cushions. so thank you dear readers for your lovely choices...

it just leaves me to bid you all a happy, sunny weekend and i shall leave you with Lori's reason for 'Lola'...

"I like Lola. In fact, I hope to have a daughter someday to be named Lola. I think your door should be named Lola because I have the classiest old grandmother named Lola. And... as classy as she is, her slip hem is always hanging out the bottom of her dress. So, it seems only appropriate because of your slips hanging on the door lola, and granny's slips hanging out of her sweet skirts."

calling her "can't live without you" door 'Miss Josephina Lola' ~ Tif
you know it's friday 'cause those damn pesky lines are back...

Thursday, June 21

'eye candy' ~ part five...

dear readers, i must inform you, my man has lurked upon my blog (gasp, shock and a little bit of horror) he said "it's all just madness, Tif " to which i replied "oh thank you, that is just what i'm aiming for"...then he proceeded to talk about capital letters and 'dot dot dots' by which time i had zoned out...yawning

we have a new addition to the 'dottie angel' family for your 'eye candy' pleasure today...
it became clear before Miss S. Machine had her 'turn for the worst' that she longed to foster a little machine, so after she became very very sick i decided to see what i could do to make her dream come true.
on sunday i went shopping on EBay, i rarely head over there now as it can be rather fatal for my i found this little machine, all on her own, looking for a home. i watched and i waited just like i have learnt to the last minute i placed my bid and she was mine!
i love it when no one else wants the treasure you have found, of course i always have a nagging thought in the back of my head ("why does no one else want that treasure, Tif") we welcomed Little Missy into our home yesterday, my man laughed out loud when he saw her and exclaimed "i bet that seller couldn't believe their luck when you came along" and then he tipped her upside down to look at all her bits... i can just imagine the kind of kid he was at school...

sadly, Miss S. Machine isn't able to enjoy her little girl. but standing over her, taking good care of her, until Miss S. Machine (gosh, i do get weary of typing her name) is able to take over, is the proud Mr S. Machine...

as if that wasn't enough 'eye candy' for one day let alone the whole week, i just want to show you my new tags that came back from the printers yesterday..the lovely Hope designed them for me and although i loved my old tags, it will certainly make life a lot easier around here, plus i feel most grown up with these professional items surrounding me...and there's more ("just stop Tif, it's all too much") my fabric labels turned up today thank goodness...i had completely run out and was having to delve into my 'winter' ones (dark colors) all round i am a very happy bunny today..(actually i look more like a deranged bunny in that pic, hey ho)

front and back, plus washing instructions (if you need a close up read)

business cards, sadly missing my shop address..but remember i am not thinking about that detail less i break down and cry..

postcards for all my lovely customers and any strangers who happen to pass by my door

out for the day tomorrow with her 'pretty sweet' wedges, band aids and not forgetting the zimmer frame ~ Tif

oooh! and the competition results coming up tomorrow...

Wednesday, June 20

'eye candy' ~ part four with 'show and tell'...

on Tuesday night i couldn't sleep for worrying.
you see dear readers, i had suddenly realized that if i found myself in the South of France, out in the countryside going to a market to buy my fresh fruit, what would i carry it in...i have my trusty friend who has done me well over the past eight years, but i was needing a certain "je nais se quoi". after all i would be wearing a pretty headscarf, a vintage slip with i imagine a floaty peasanty linen dress over the top...on my feet my flip flops and by my side, the lovely Noa...i feel that my skin would look sunkissed and not resemble a tan from a children would skip along by my side as i peddled ever so gently towards the town square..however none of this would look perfect if i didn't have the right bag, so late at night i crept back into the studio and started to get to work on my 'shopper', or as my man said later "le summer sac"...

i pulled out some old linen tablecloths (from generations ago, others acquired along the way), thrift store bedsheets and pillowcases, beautiful bits of old lace and doilies and set to work with the help of Miss Margery...i added little labels and details where i felt necessary and lined them with linen...the back of the bags are all made with contrasting fabrics. i think what i like most about this whole idea is, apart from the linen inside the bag, recycling old fabrics and notions...(very important for our little planet..)
the bags have turned out so big, that you could fit in your 'pain francais', your 'onions', your 'fresh fruit' and still leave room to carry your youngest child home or possibly a smallish dog, if they are weary from market shopping..

i feel much happier and can now sleep at night knowing that if i found myself ad mist the beautiful countryside of France, i would be prepared for some serious market shopping...
until then i will fill my "grande sac" with library books, farmer's market produce, beach gear and possibly a small weary child if i am feeling kind hearted...i am test driving one this saturday at our local market and am hoping that someone says "bonjour, une summer magnicenco" (do you believe me now, when i tell you i don't speak a foreign language and definitely cannot spell one)
so for 'show and tell' and today's 'eye candy', i give you "le french market summer sacs", they will be making an appearance here along with full and half slips plus camisoles tomorrow, (which really means nothing to anyone as we all live on different days and times).
this will be my final shop update before i head over the pond to live in a trailer with my kiddies for the month of July, with my 'french summer sac'...

and just incase you would care to see them closer up, plus an idea of size you can check here and here...

wishing her studio looked like this, instead of this, sigh ~ Tif

as a little foot note: i wished i owned a 'pain francais' for my little photo shoot and VOILA! there was one, rock hard and a whole week old in the bread's that for a bit of 'Miss Lady Luck' shining down on me...

Tuesday, June 19

'eye candy' ~ part three...

i am most happy that you liked yesterday's eye candy, i am particularly fond of comment number 17...

so let us once again dive into a jammy packed post full of lovely things. i started the day wearing my apron skirt. i have discovered a flaw in my design (Laura, pay attention here), as you feel like you are wearing an apron, you wipe your hands continuously on your is the bizarres thing, try as i may i can't help myself...anyhow i have spent my day beavering away in the usual manner, surrounded by piles of linens, bedsheets and pillowcases, my studio has lost it's carpet and i have got to the point where i can not find anything that i put down five minutes before...still i have succeeded in making some new treats for 'show and tell' tomorrow, but that must wait...
so to our daily dose of 'eye candy'.

for you dear readers, no expense has been spared, my lovely guest has been flown in, all the way from the UK. before i introduce her, i must tell you why this creative soul has caught my once again if you are ready, a tale must be told.
at the age of seventeen (isn't that a song..i'm sure that sounds familiar, okay now i must continue my tale in a very husky voice, like the singer of that song..) i had to go back to school for retakes, i stayed for six months and then that was the end of my school career. in amongst the retakes, i had a spare 'block' in my daily grind, i filled it with 'embroidery AO level' and the very first day, i knew i had found my 'eye candy' became the only lesson that i paid attention in and actually achieved some results...i soon realized what i liked about embroidery was the detail involved, the little extras, basically the icing on the cake with a little cherry on top.
as i have gone out into the big world and grown up i still look for and crave those details.

i hope that i manage it in my own creations and i certainly appreciate it in others and their works...and so we come to Petalsoft, i don't honestly know how i found Christine, it is all a bit of a blur...all i know is she appeared from somewhere and i couldn't get over her work and how much detail goes into it just leaves me to introduce some seriously good 'eye candy' for your pleasure, courtesy of Christine...

leaving you with a little bit of 'candy' from my studio ~ Tif

Monday, June 18

'eye candy' ~ part two...

Miss S. Machine goes in for surgery later this week, i wish i could tell you she was being seen by a top Harley Street specialist, but no, she is being operated upon by a Quack that doesn't even own a fake ID...he trys to assure me with lines such as "it's okay, i'm a professional" and "don't worry, i know what i am doing"...but i am still not convinced. on the up side of all this is the thought that lurks in the back of my head, if she doesn't pull through the operation then i will sue the Quack, for $2000 so i can buy a Bernina...clever eh! i'm not just a pretty face (actually i'm a sith lord, who is showing a none caring side to her little machine who has served her so well...obviously i am turning into a hardened business woman)
to sooth our souls and calm our nerves after worrying about Miss S. Machine's fate, i have a little bit of 'eye candy' lined up...i did spend most of my day trying to catch up on some of these, which was made easier by the lovely Rosaleen (a reader of my blog), who sent me a wonderful parcel full of lace. i also put myself through an hour of 'pain' (for 'pain' read 'yoga') which i then rewarded myself with one of these, that our #2 had made for her dad (hurrah, we own some cupcakes).

in between, i flitted around looking for a few things that might be nice to put up as 'eye candy' for thinking about 'eye candy' i realized that like most arty things, what i think is lovely and i can't live without, the next person might exclaim a dislike to...a bit like gigibird and her experiences with chocolate i totally understand if after looking at a few of my treasures you don't particularly think them anything special. i will not go off and weep, i will hold my head proud and repeat "each to their own" until i feel better...

first we have cushions i made for our #1 and #2's beds, so they don't forget their roots

then we have a tea cosy fashioned out of a thrift store hat that i stuck in Miss W. Machine to felt it up a bit and added shell buttons...

this little 'freaky friend' is our #1's version of an ugly doll, i just love the fabric she used, and once again i find myself regretting the fact that i didn't buy the whole roll...

aprons i have hanging around that make me look like i can cook even though i can't

knitted cuffs i fashioned for my favorite candle holders which look like they belong in a mid century modern house, but came from the one and only Target..

more cushions i made, this time for our couch

and lastly some little bag charms that i made a few months back that hang on my wall

sorry if it's not your kind of 'eye candy', but i like to look at it and it definitely brightens up our space

a little bit of this and a little bit of that, to brighten your day ~ Tif