Well I am as I’m going to be hanging out with my lovely publisher people at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, North London, stand F26 between 1 and 2pm. I’m making a version of my beautiful Paper Rococo Mirror from my book Scissors, Paper, Craft.


Come and say hi … I’ve got free stickers (if they come in the post in time!)

paper mirror

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Ahhhh look at these two little monkeys, these are my beloved little angels. They don’t technically belong to me but my good friends Matt (author of beautiful blog athousandfragments) and Charlotte. They are awfully useful for cuddling, crafting with and testing out projects on. Here they are modelling two skirts I made using fabrics from Dashwood Studio.

dashwood studios

click on picture to visit site

As you can see Dashwood studio are a UK-based textile design company. They launched earlier this year and very kindly sent me some fabrics to play around with.  I love the patterns in the Petite Street range. It has a cool colour combo and some great geometric shapes going on.

petite street

Petite street: click to buy

I chose three fabrics from this range to make these two Ra-Ra skirts for my little rascals. I made them remotely (I’m based in London and the girls are down in the West Country) so the sizing might not be perfect (but, hey, they can grow into them). I love the way the fabrics go together and the skirts look cute and cool at the same time. The fabric is really good quality and a joy to work with.

Here’s a tutorial on how to make the skirts:

As every little girl is a different shape and size I haven’t really given any measurements here. Basically I used the full width of the fabric and guessed the rest! (the joy of an elastic waistband is not having to be particular about waist sizes as you just take in or let out the elastic as you see fit) What I do know is that the waistband (which gets folded in half) and lower ruffle are the same depth as each other and the top ruffle is 25% smaller than them. If I had had the girls with me when I was making the skirts I would have measured from their waist to the top of their knee then divided that measurement by three. The bottom ruffle and waistband would have been 2/3rds of that measurement and the top ruffle would be 25% smaller. (I’m not sure I’m supposed to mix 3rds and %’s!)

So If the measurement was 12cm*, the waist band and bottom ruffle would be 8cm each and the top ruffle would be 6. I imagine there’s some amazing algebraic equation I could do for this but quite frankly I don’t do math. Sorry.

Ra Ra Skirt instructions-1

click to enlarge

Ra Ra Skirt instructions-2

click to enlarge

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Thanks to Dashwood studio for supplying the fabric and thanks to T & B for the excellent modelling.


*if the measurement was 12cm they would be a very small person

I’m not even going to say how many days there are till Christmas as that is just too depressing BUT if you are looking to start your Christmas shopping or just for something to do on Saturday in the South London area then please do pop your head in at this super cool fete hosted by my friends Emma and Rik raising money for their delicious baby Ted who has CP.

Ted Fete poster

From past experience I know there’ll be some excellent products in the beauty sale, some fantastic prizes in the raffle and everyone I know who’s a good baker is making some sort of edible delight. I’m making some Christmas cards and apparently there’s going to be a human fruit machine and Splat the Rat game (one of my favourite fete games, not my actual favourite which was the race between two teams to see who could demolish an upright piano with a sledge hammer into pieces small enough to post through a car tyre … Ahh Ringmer School fetes. Weird.)

For more info about Super Ted visit treatmentforted.com and hope to see one or two of you at the weekend.

rain. nice.

rain. nice.

1. Don’t go

where I sewed my award winning hankercheif

where I sewed my award winning hankercheif

Just joking! I love Margate with a passion. A distant relative (they lived in the Orkney Islands which is pretty much as far from Margate as you can get without leaving UK soil) used to own two Victorian villas a hop skip and a jump from the beach where we used to spend many many happy holidays. One of the houses is now owned by the proprietor of the Mad Hatters Tea Shop (9 Lombard Street) and he has redecorated the house in his own unique style. So even though it started raining the minute we stepped off the train a little detour to the houses cheered us right up!

2. Play on the arcades

there's a fortune to be won

there’s a fortune to be won

We used to spend hours and and probably about 25p playing in the Half Penny Arcade  situated on the seafront just behind the sea water pool and in front of the seaside shelter where T.S.Elliot wrote The Waste Land (see, culture and everything!) This arcade is long gone but the Flamingo and its neighbours remain on Marine Terrace. The slots have gone up slightly to 2p but there’s still fun to be had on 25p.

Flamingo arcade

I like the way my shoes and trousers match the carpet

As an end of holiday treat we used to visit Dreamland the amusement park. Riding on a giant caterpillar through half eaten apples (my sister thinks it was toadstools) was about as thrilling as it got for us. Though Dreamland is all but derelict now, the sign remains and the brilliant Wayne Hemmingway has got his mitts on it and is working hard to restore it to it’s former glory. Which. Will. Be. Amazing.

one day it will rise again

one day it will rise again

3. Go to Primark

one of the nicer views from a Primark window

one of the nicer views from a Primark window

I’m not sure what the Primark building was in a former life but the upstairs homeware department has one of the best views over the beach and you can buy a cheap hat, scarf and umbrella to protect you from the downpour happening outside.

4. Visit Forts (but not weekdays after August)

on the outside looking in

on the outside looking in

We had been told about Fort’s (8 Cliff Terrace) by a friend who said they’d had ‘the best chips they’d ever tasted’ there and who is to argue with that? We made our way up the hill dreaming of warmth, dryness and vinegar but were sadly met with our first closed sign of the day. Damn.

5. Drink hot chocolate

hot choc number 2

I had two hot chocolates in our 7 hours in town (needs must). The first was in Lilly’s by the Sea (92 The Highstreet) – not technically ‘by the sea’  but Lilly’s on the Highstreet doesn’t sound quite as good – super friendly staff and super cheap ham eggs and chips. Yum. 4 hours later we were in need of another pick me up (and somewhere for us to dry our sodden toes). Hot Chocolate number two from the cute The Cupcake Cafe (4/5 Market Place) came with all the trimmings and sorted me right out.

6. Visit Scotts and Junk Deluxe

poor picture, amazing store

poor picture, amazing store

Junk Deluxe was our main goal for the day, situated in the basement of R.G.Scotts (9 Bath Place). It is a treasure trove of 1930’s-1980’s furniture, lighting, ornaments, plastic hands, wire baskets, old museum signs, and many more things of brilliance. They’re open Thursday, Friday and Saturday but the super friendly staff will open by appointment if you phone ahead which we did. We were met by Andrew and had a pretty much private tour of the shop and warehouse. Andrew was also super patient and helpful when I bombarded him with questions about restoring my own skip and charity shop finds. Having spent a nice hour drying off downstairs we spent another poking through the multitude of knick-knackery that Scotts three floors had to offer. From the tinniest hinges to the most massive of armoires it’d be hard to leave without buying something. Both Scotts and Junk Deluxe sell their wares online so if you can’t make it down south all is not lost…

7. Shop in the old town

not my  picture taken from maxinesutton.com

not my picture taken from maxinesutton.com

Set just back from the seafront this little higgledy piggley set of streets has a number of independent boutiques and cafes, King Street is full of retro, vintage and second hand shops and the Market Place is a lovely little square surrounded by cafes and galleries. Though we were greeted with the dreaded closed sign at a few a note on the door of Maxine Sutton’s (2 Market Place) gallery invited us to knock as she was just working upstairs. This we duly did and gained entry to a lovely little gallery and shop full of screen prints and homeware goodies.

8. Visit the Turner (but not on a Monday)

Apparently closed on Monday’s so not much more to say about that. It looked good from the outside (I was too wet to take a photo).

9. Wait till 5 minutes before it’s time to get the train home and see the sun finally come out and prepare itself for an amazing sunset.

can you spot a wind farm? or the sun?

can you spot a wind farm? or the sun?

Great. Walking away from the seafront back to the station we could see the clouds breaking and the silver linings appearing. We managed to catch a glimpse of the majestic wind farms that had been hidden from us all day by cloud. They always make me smile. Saw a pretty rainbow from the train though.

10. Plan your next trip as it’s brilliant

Never rely on the British weather blah blah blah but I reckon rain or shine Margate will make you smile. For more information click the links above or visit www.margateoldtown.co.uk