Sunday, 27 January 2013

This week: A new Tattoo and lots of snow!

This week I got a new tattoo! Yippee :)
Its just a little space filler on my upper arm, and is my homage to my home city of Manchester aka: The Rainy City!
Designed by me, and inked by my lovely tattooist, Beany.
Beany said that one of her customers calls our constant rain "Liquid Sunshine"!
On Friday, I went to London for the day to visit a trade show, and meet with a client. The weather was cold, but dry and bright all day.....until I was on my way home and things took a random turn for the worst with 8 inches of snow falling back at home in just a few hours! Eek!
This is the lake at the end of my street. It looks like Lapland! 
It was all very pretty, but unfortunately stopped friends from coming to visit us this weekend, boo :(
And the next day when it had thawed out a bit! Note I'm wearing my very rockabilly hiking boots! ;)
Maybe I need a snowman on my sleeve next?! 
Hope you all had a nice weekend x

Sunday, 20 January 2013

House renovation - Part 1 - The Dolly Cool Studio

When we moved into our new house (a 60's bungalow) at the end of November, out first priority was to get my studio decorated and up and running as soon as possible!
We were quite lucky that although our house is dated/old fashioned - it is in the main, purely cosmetic, and can be fairly easily fixed with some paint, new carpets and curtains. This is exactly what we did in my studio.
Here is a "delightful" BEFORE shot of the room...I took this when we first went to view the house.
Decades old carpet, curtains, bed and 70s (not in a good way!) fully fitted wardrobes down one side. And all in brown! Lovely. I could tell the room was a good size, but it felt cramped with all this stuff in it!
Luckily, the guy selling the house was very personable, and removed all the furniture and the fitted wardrobes for us before we moved in.
And how it is now...
Jewellery making area, and storage! The fab spotty boxes are from Ikea.The wooden shelving was re-purposed from old storage in my last house.
 A Papel Picado banner hangs along the wall (gift from a friend bought at Mexican Market in San Diego). Regular readers will recognise the 60's pop flower table that used to be our dining table....its now my jewellery making table! (This is all on the side where the wardrobes were)
Close up of the making area with my tools and components etc.
I love pattern and colour! Can you tell?!
The wall in front of my making area. I covered an old pin board in pink atomic fabric, and stuck some awesome retro Pennychoo cards on my wall to brighten it up!
On the other side of the room is my sewing area! This is pretty much as it was set up in the old box room, but I now have much more space! 
50's Formica table (£15, junk shop), 60s chair (£3 boot sale), 80's sewing machine (under spotty cloth) - free from my mum! :)
Tiki mugs act as pen pots and sewing supplies storage. 50's sewing box was about £1 from a boot sale a few years ago. Cupcake pin cushion was a gift from my sister, Jan.
Ipod dock - essential for playing music while working!

Side view

And again, more wall decoration! From left to right:
Catalina Mexican Foil Picado - from the Day of the Dead exhibition I went to in Lancaster.
'Ahoy' Tattooed Mirror - Gift from my Friend Kate (who makes awesome tattooed wood things under the name Clumsy)
Various retro postcards, and art cards by Tattoo artists Dawnii, and Amy Williams (who did my teacup tattoo). 
AMAZING Sugar Skull cross stitch (in frame), Christmas gift from my friend Jo :)
And next to the sewing area, is my embroidery and packing area!
We bought this fantastic 50s dresser unit off Ebay last summer for £50. It had to go into storage for a little while until we moved,  but I'm so glad that we bought it as it is so perfect for the studio!
Lots of storage, and a pull out table for me to cut fabric on and pack up parcels.
And with this lovely geometric patterned formica top, and sides!
And last, but not least - my Tomado shelves! Bought off Ebay for £20 from Holland. A bargain considering what they usually go for!
Filled with my nik naks, including Patty (my trusty hair tie model head!), a silver glitter flamingo, tiki shot glasses, vintage poodle/cat print in frame, vintage tin and apple ice bucket, and sugar skulls and Moomins on the bottom shelf!
I hope you like my work studio. It is just so nice to have somewhere to work, where everything is in the same room at last, instead of dotted all over the house :)
Next room for renovation is the lounge....currently in progress!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Exciting Fabric Archive Trip!

Hello and a belated Happy New Year!

Today, I had the privilege of going to have a nosey at a rather exciting fabric archive!

In brief; Last year, Cheryl, a friend from the local creative group I go to, inherited a fabric archive from New York. It was where she had completed a years work placement years ago as a student, and when the owner retired from her position last year, she remembered Cheryl's enthusiasm for the collection and said that she would like her to have it. Wow! 
After a very long process to ship the archive over here, and the last 3 months sorting it out into a workable order, we were invited to visit to have a look at the treasure. I have been really excited about going to see it, as a pattern designer - this kind of thing really is a rare opportunity!
And so to the photos....
The sight that greeted us in the studio......
Before starting to have a look at all the gorgeous samples and swatches, we had a coffee and a slice of freshly made apple cake - yum!
And so to the exciting part! Here are some of the other creative ladies having a look through the collection
Proud owner of this amazing archive, Cheryl
A selection of 40s and 50s kitchen inspired fabrics - eeek!
Piles of 50s Barkcloth!! *takes sharp intake of breath*
More lovely barkcloth!
And some novelty prints

Not only is there heaps of fabric, but also wallpaper and swatch books too!
I loved this cover and Typography on this 50s wallpaper book
And in some of the swatch books, the samples are dated - this one was 1893!
And a wallpaper sample book from 1924

You will notice that there are no photos directly of any of the fabrics, papers or swatches. This is because of the end use of the archive, which is currently being catalogued and will be hired and sold to designers to use as inspirations for future projects and collections. As much of the archive falls out of the copyright laws - a great deal of it can be replicated and reproduced for things such as fashion prints, packaging and wallpapers.

I was greatly inspired by what I saw today, and although Cheryl has a mammoth task ahead of her to catalogue it all, I know that it will be so well received - and used - by the design community.

I was really inspired and saw so many new things just in the few hours we were there. I was amazed at how fresh and bright so many of the fabrics and wallpapers were - putting the myth to bed that turn of the 20th Century was muted and drab. Really anything but!

Although not up and running yet, the website for the archive is:
I suggest you log on in a few months time when it will hopefully be filled with prints and patterns!