a day to myself

modflowers: jessie chorley frockAt long last, it’s the school holidays.

Whilst not getting many days to myself whilst the holidays are here, I always anticipate the time they will afford for fun and frolics…

On Saturday, we frolicked down to London to meet up with my partner’s family for the weekend.

Whilst the rest of the gang went off to the Olympic stadium, I, not being a fan of athletics (in fact, it is second only to football in my league table of sporty dislikes) got to spend the whole day in the capital pleasing myself instead. Bliss!

Having done my research (i.e. asked Facebook friends where would be a good area to wander) I headed for Columbia Road.

I’d never been there before. But well, with a shop called Vintage Heaven as first stop, how could I resist?

modflowers: vintage heavenVintage Heaven was indeed most heavenly.

modflowers: vintage heavenA shop poised perfectly on the brink between well-stocked and obsessive-compulsive, it had everything that could be wished for in the way of vintage china, framed embroideries, kitchenware, and – yes – fabric!

I was quite tempted by this Market Day vintage curtain with it’s cast of characters…

modflowers: vintage heaven fabricBut London prices meant that I would’ve been more than spent up having only just started my day’s wanderings.

So I was very good and restricted myself to just a cuppa at the rear of the shop, in lovely café Cake Hole.

modflowers: cake hole cafeColumbia Road is famous for it’s flower market, held every Sunday.

Being Saturday, the street had a more laid-back atmosphere.

Some shops were closed. But I popped into Choosing Keeping, a posh stationers selling handmade papers, carefully chosen books and beautiful writing implements.

I bought a lovely embossed card as a gift…

modflowers: choosing keeping cardThen it was on to Ryantown…

modflowers: RyantownI’ve been a fan of Rob Ryan’s work for donkey’s years. As the original source of the current paper cutting craze, he has inspired a thousand imitators.

His work, some of which is now sold as laser-cuts or screen prints as well as original hand-cut art, is still, in my opinion, the most stunningly beautiful thing to grace a wall.

modflowers: paper cut by Rob RyanBut alas, I was too intimidated by the shop’s hushed atmosphere to ask if I could take pictures inside (silly perhaps, but true – I am easily intimidated).

Capturing the beauty of how the papercuts, suspended unframed from near-invisible threads, cast their delicate designs as shadows on the wall behind, I think would also have been beyond my camera and photographic skills.

You’ll just have to take my word for how nice it all was - and enjoy browsing Rob’s website instead, whence these pictures came.

modflowers: commission by Rob Ryan for in-styleYou might think that the rest of Columbia Road could be a bit of an anticlimax after that, but there were still plenty more delights.

I was exceedingly fond of Milagros, which was not at all intimidating, and full of treasures from Mexico including tiles, shrines, statues, mirrors, glassware and textiles…

modflowers: MilagrosThe ceiling was strung with a different sort of papercut – papel picado…

modflowers: Milagrosmodflowers: papel picado at MilagrosI couldn’t resist a few little souvenirs…

modflowers: milagrosThese little silver-coloured charms are called milagros, after which the shop is named. They are religious folk charms, traditionally used for healing purposes and as votive offerings to attract good fortune.

I also bought a tiny tile – well, at just 44p it seemed rude not to…

modflowers: milagros tileAfter scoffing a bagel for sustenance, eaten whilst seated in the sunshine in the lovely little courtyard at the back of Café Columbia, it was time to wander on.

modflowers: mason and painterThere are quite a lot of shops combining vintage with new nowadays.

But hardly any of the ones I’ve been to do it quite so well as Mason and Painter.

modflowers: mason & painterHaving oohed and aahed my way around the shop for a bit, I chatted with the lady at the counter, who mentioned that she happened to have designed all the lovely tea towels and cushions I had just been admiring.

Amazingly, to me at least, this lady turned out to be Michelle Mason, whose rugs and cushion designs I had coveted for my house before I even owned a house!

That’s one difference about London – famous designer people seem to pop out from every nook and cranny.

You just don’t really get that in Nottingham.

modflowers: mason & painter After more wandering and browsing my final stop was J&B – The Shop.

It’s a place I have wanted to visit ever since reading about it’s co-proprietor Jessie Chorley via Hope and Elvis, for whom Jessie teaches occasional workshops.

The shop is not an easy place to photograph, as it’s like a dark little cave of wonders…

modflowers: J&B the shopJessie makes, adapts and embellishes all kinds of textile things, whilst co-conspirator Buddug, to whom I chatted at the counter, creates delicate jewellery and art from metal and enamel.

I have mentioned Buddug’s lovely plates before.

modflowers: plate by buddugI then spent quite a lot of time extracting lovely garments from an almost-hidden rail at the back of the shop, and attempting to shimmy into them in the cupboard-sized kitchen that serves as changing room.

It was by no means an easy task, being clumsy and taking up 90% of the available space, but was so worth it.

I came away with a handmade frock by Jessie which, although somewhat nightie-ish on me, is perhaps the most comfortably pretty thing I have ever worn…

modflowers: jessie chorley frockBut time seems to slip away like water through your fingers.

And so a day to myself in London had slipped past, with the rest of it spent failing to spend my gift voucher in Heals (again) and negotiating maps and tubes to keep a post-athletics rendezvous with the family.

Days out in London are always over before you know it. Like the summer holidays.

Hence it has taken several days longer than usual to write this post, what with lad around to entertain and routines abandoned.

Alas, the days of simple trips to the park being the epitome of holiday happiness are, it seems, sadly over. Now that lad is on the brink of twelve, most of my holiday activity suggestions are met with deep sighs and rolls of the eyes, fun requiring instead much motherly patience, cash and catering skills.

So I shall cherish the memory of a day to myself in London. And I shall enjoy wearing my nightie-frock whenever I can.

Whether that embarrasses lad or not. ♥


the joy of mistakes

 modflowers: rabbit with mistakes

It’s funny isn’t it, the way that sometimes the things that happen just by chance (otherwise know as mistakes) turn out to be better than the things that go just as planned.

Yesterday’s Dobbit was a perfect example of this.

modflowers: dobbit - a happy mistakeIf I hadn’t accidentally caught the end of Dobbit’s ear in the side seam when stitching up on the machine, and then been too lazy to unpick and re-do the mistake, the flopped-over ear thing would not have come into being.

Today, having decided that I would make another rabbity being but not attempt to replicate Dobbit-mark-one too closely, whilst hoping for something dobbit-y, I have ended up with something more rabbity.

modflowers: raggit dollBut again, if I hadn’t accidentally made the head a bit of a funny shape, and consequently had to rearrange the ears to cover that mistake up, I don’t think it would have turned out quite so appealing.

I went bigger on the ears this time, because I was using remnants of fabric from a thick calico-canvas duffle bag (the logo-printed promotional sort you pick up free at events).

The bag itself was knackered, but the stuff it was made from seemed too good and sturdy to throw away, so I stashed it.

Too thick for making into little ears, that stuff also played it’s part in how things turned out…

modflowers: raggit dollAnd so, all my happy mistakes notwithstanding, this one, I think, has definitely turned out more of a Raggit than a Dobbit.

Thank heavens for the creative possibilities of errors.

I wonder what the next one will be? ♥



modflowers: dobbit dollYesterday was the last full day of school before the holidays.

I’ve been feeling a bit under par this week, just exhausted and probably fighting off a cold or some other minor ailment, so I haven’t actually done much making for a few days.

But I thought I really should make the most of having the quiet time needed for a bit of sewing experimentation, whilst I still could.

So I got a few fabrics out and set to…

modflowers: dobbitI thought I’d try a doll using different fabrics in the body, and adding separate ears. I had in mind rabbity ones, possibly floppy, possibly not.

But these things, as they tend to, like to go their own sweet way.

And I’m not sure that what I made turned out quite 100% rabbity.

modflowers: dobbitIn fact what resulted from my endeavours came out somewhere, I think, in the no-man’s-land between rabbit and dog.

modflowers: dobbitSo I named it Dobbit.

Or should that be Raggit? ♥