Wednesday 20 June 2018

It started with just a little thread...

Morning lovelies!
What a gem of a morning...
The birds are nattering while the bees are meandering.
A delightful day if ever there was one!

It seemed like the perfect time to share the news with you all
that soon my book Stitched Memories will be available to purchase.
I am beyond delighted to say the least.

Never in a million month of Sundays did I think that this little 'ol Fen bird who
is as as odd as the most quirkiest being about, 
would be lucky enough to write a book...

You see....coming from the Fens...well it's not something you usually do is it?
Now if you had said when I was growing up that
I would be the owner of a potato picking firm or 
a tractor driver, well you'd probably be much nearer the mark!

But as I've already mentioned I'm an odd bod.
I like to look for the unusual in the ordinary.
Someone who loves to capture those everyday stories and turn them into a treasured
marriage of cloth and thread...

So how did I get to write a book?
You may well ask...
Like everything in life, it's simply the luckiest thing of
being in the right place, at the right time,
talking to the right person indeed.

I've dreamed of writing a book since I could read and write
but this frizzy haired wild bird was rubbish at school. I got bored easily.
Science and Maths dumbfounded me and still do at times. And yet they totally fascinate me.
The only subjects that grabbed my attention were Needlework, Art and English, oh and Cooking (to which my waistline showcases very well!)
But you see, those subjects have done me proud...

As many of you know, my background was in Education.
I am a trained Visual Impairment Advisor, specialising in Early Years.
Over the years, I have been privileged to help support and teach many
beautiful children and young adults with additional needs and disabilities.
Knowing my own struggles has helped me really sympathise in understanding how a One Size Box does NOT fit all sizes.

 Alongside my teaching days, I always crafted.
It was a passion of mine from an early age
and eventually it has ended up that I am now teaching the joy of being creative through stitching full time.

What's the secret to inspire others?
It's easy....

Simply show the beauty and wonder of the world that surrounds us in every minute of every day and help others to see it's Ok to not be perfect.
Not to be precise is considered a No No in sewing and yet...
Our Mums and Grannies often didn't look at things that way.
Sewing was more often than not a necessity and so with it came the responsibility
of making things work with warped cloth, using not so perfect thread, piecing together scraps to create a whole.
I'm afraid, for me that is what sewing really entails....

When it was suggested a couple of years ago by Search Press, (the world's finest art and craft book publisher I might add) that I write down my ramblings to help inspire others in the form of a craft book, I jumped at the chance.
I was totally blown away.
The fact that someone thought I was capable of writing a book...

As I've got older and wiser, I truly believe that everyone has a gift in some way or another.
Mine is simply to share my love of cloth and thread and use my skills as a tutor
to inspire and guide you...

And so through many many stressful hours of writing, a book evolved.
Two thirds of it was left on the cutting room floor because I had written too much information due to space constraints...something that took a while getting my head around to be honest
but now I've seen the final copy I totally forgive my editor!
I've decided to write those snippets here on my blog so you don't miss out...

So, where to get hold of my book?
Well there are a variety of ways...

I shall be doing lots of book signings with Search Press at some of the big
Needlework Shows this year as well as some smaller events at some of my favourite
workshop venues which will include some scrumptious vintage tea parties...
You can find details here on my website

I will also be offering the chance to get a signed copy of the book on my website with a little extra surprise gift as well
as appearing on the Sewing Quarter Channel with a Book Launch on 30th July.

Lots going on!

I will of course be shouting from the rooftops on my Facebook page also.

So for now I will simply leave you counting down the days to Mr Postie arriving....

Thanks for dropping by and saying hello!

Friday 8 June 2018

A Beautiful Love Story...

Hello lovelies...
How are you all?

Do you ever have those moments in life where you question why? what? when?
I'm a curious bod, always have been and guess I always will be.
Since a young child I've always questioned everything!

At times, especially during my school years it has landed me in deep water...
...and yet at the grand 'old age of 50 something I'm still curious and still asking 'but why?'

In everything I do and see I try to see past the obvious.

I believe things are often laid down in front of us for a reason, 
sometimes unbeknown to us as to why at the time...
And yet I still question 'why?'
I love relaying stories, finding out a past history and creating new tales.
If you never ask 'why' how do you ever find out the beautiful information?

So why am I saying all this?
well I want to share a beautiful tale with you all that I discovered on my holiday in Cornwall recently....
I've already posted snippets on my Instagram and Facebook pages and received such an enormous support to continue to look further that I have decided to share it all with you lovelies.
(The details I have discovered below are all online so I hope that I
 have made the right connections)

Vera & Charlie...

After arriving at our little cottage in Cornwall we were very keen to explore our new little Cornish home so started out on a little car trip of our area and discovered Penzance.
This really where my story begins...

Having never really known what was there we were surprised to find a good old fashioned promenade, you know the sort..... iron railings all along the shoreline coupled with benches at prestigious gaps to rest those weary bones; 
to take five mins to sit and take in the air as you reflect as you gaze out to sea.

So, of course strolling along the prom, as you do, Mr T and I thought it would be rude not to partake in choosing a seat to take in the view, as our Edwardian ancestors would have done all those years ago...

A wooden bench greeted us with the most beautiful view overlooking the bay towards St Michael's Mount.
It was still quite early for a holiday resort to be alive so there very few people about.
The sea was smiling as she glistened in the morning mists.

As we sat there Mr T and I felt a real serene calmness.
It was the start of our two weeks in Cornwall
and all was well with the world.

We watched Penzance slowly awake as people walked or rode bikes along the prom. 
Pushchairs bustled while babies slept.
Joggers perspired taking in the morning heat.

And dogs walked their daily strolls.
And all the time Mr T and I 'took in the view'.

After what seemed like an absolute age we decided we really should make a move and on leaving our spot I noticed there was a small plaque on the back of the bench where
we had been sitting...

So of course.... you know what I'm going to say...
I was inquisitive straight away.
Who was Vera, our land army girl?
Where did they live etc etc...

My first task was simple...
Could I find any records of Vera and Charlie?

I was so pleased to find the following printed in 2014 -

James Charlie and Vera Platinum Wedding Anniversary
Happy 70th Anniversary December 16th 1944-2014
Have a lovely day together
Many years of hard work, love and devotion to each other and your family.
Loving you always Mum and Dad
Nanna and Grandad
Caroline, Tim, Cora and Joe

The next piece of the jigsaw was to find a little more about them both...
Sadly I found the following -

James Charlie
On Thurs 23rd June 2016
William Frederick Charles, aged 92 yrs,
passed peacefully at home.
Formerly of Bodrifty Farm, Newmill and Penzance.

Dearly beloved husband of the Late Vera James 
and a much loved dad and grandad.
Funeral service to be held at Gulval Parish Church
on Mon 11th July at 11am.
Followed by cremation at Treswithian Downs Crematorium,
Cambourne at 3pm.
Family flowers only please; but donations if so desired
for Oxfam and R.N.L.I.

And so the next corner to turn was to find out a little more about Vera
if I could.

How easy would that be?
I so wanted to know more...
I was so over the moon to have found the next jigsaw puzzle piece.

I found a snippet via a google search  in a book written by
Julia Summers.

I really hoped I had the right lady...

Here is some of the text for you to read:

Vita Sackville-West felt sorry for the Land Girls:
"their uniform seems to suggest a bashful camouflage of
green and fawn to be lost against the grass or stubble.

She knew that many of them had worked in towns and cities
before the war and had worn silk stockings and jaunty hats,
but now were consigned to corduroy and clumping boots.
Vera James was just one such young woman.

Before the war she had worked as a court dressmaker in London
making ball gowns and coming-out gowns for royalty
as well as the Queen of Yugoslavia, who spent the war
in London.
Vera James joined the Land Army for a change in scene.
And a change it certainly was:
the first message given to girls who arrived at
the Duchy of Cornwall Farm at Stoke Climsland after joining up was
'cut', 'cut', 'cut'.
Nails had to be short, especially for milking cows.
Despite this, Vera came to love life in the country and she never did
return to dressmaking in London.
She married a Cornish farmer even though, she admitted
"I could not understand what he said a lot of the time".

Can you imagine what I thought as I read that?
Not only had I found out a little about Vera...
she was a dressmaker!
My little heart was singing....
I wanted to speak to her so much.

Of course, I could have mixed up the wrong Vera with the wrong Charlie
but for me it felt right.
It felt Vera had let me know it was the right story when we had actually sat on her bench.

How many times had her and Charlie sat and 
watched the tide change?
In all of their troubled times,
how many times had they been calmed by the gentleness of a shimmering sea?
Hoping beyond all doubt that a new horizon would bring peace and happiness to the 
troubled world about them.

How many sunsets had they seen?
What sadness or happiness had they shared?
I so wanted to know more...

As hubby and I often sat and looked out to sea during our two weeks holiday 
I really wanted to believe in my heart that Vera and Charlie were a happy story.
That they shared a lifetime of smiles
 despite the hardship they had obviously endured during the war.
To ask her what life was like as a court dressmaker?
How different was wading in wellies, milking cows!

I have a feeling we could've whiled away a few hours over a cup of tea and 
slice of homemade cake with many a tale...

You never know with the power of the internet 
I might come across some more gems of their lovely story 
but for now I am happy to leave their romance 
safely tucked away in the moorlands of Cornwall.
I will of course keep researching as and when as I'm a little hooked on a little romance being the old romantic that I am....

Much love
x x x