Thursday, 26 April 2012

Injabulo means happiness

I'm in the final stages of my preparation for my first fair of the year at Wisley Gardens in Surrey organised by the excellent Craft in Focus (www.craftinfocus.com).  Although it's been tipping it down all week I'm hoping the deluge will give way to sunshine, particularly next Wednesday when we'll be setting up.  Even if it does rain come along because we'll all be dry and cosy in lovely carpeted marquees, just a quick dash from the restaurant with its great food.

This week I've been using some hand-painted buttons to make little pictures to sell at the fair so, in my last blog before it starts, I thought I'd share the results with you.

I first came across Injabulo a couple of years ago when I met the lovely Chrissie at an unravel (knitting) fair at Farnham Maltings.  I was bowled over by the attention to detail on the Incomparable buttons and bought quite a stash to use in my knitted corsages which have been a great talking point and very popular with customers.  A while ago a range of teeny tiny buttons was added to the collection.  Loving miniature things I had to have some but couldn't quite decide how best to use them.  I've been making textile greetings cards for a while now selling them under the brand name GoodEnoughToFrame.  A company in the Midlands makes custom frames for me which fit the cards I use and enable them to be displayed as pictures.  This seemed the perfect solution for these little beauties.

So here's a selection.

Each button has been used as the central character in a hand-embroidered scene.  Stitched on high quality linen each embroidery is then mounted onto cotton fabric and then onto card.  The pictures will then be displayed in light beech frames before going on sale next week at Wisley.


 












The buttons themselves are made by women artists in South Africa working to empower themselves and provide a living for their families, often under very difficult conditions.  They earn a wage far above the minimum which means that they can buy good nourishing food, pay for education for their children but most importantly hold their heads high and live with dignity.  Injabulo is a Zulu word for happiness - look at the little faces on the sheep and you'll see great big smiles.  I hope the ladies who paint them would like how I've used them.  If you love them too or want to see the other goodies Chrissie has to offer have a look at the website - www.injabulo.com.

Lots of love
Alison

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Cream tea and patchwork

It's been a while since I blogged (again) which is entirely down to non-stop making and planning for my first fair of the year at RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey organised by Craft in Focus (www.craftinfocus.com).  Needing a little relaxation ahead of this we've decamped to sunny Somerset for a few days TLC, long walks and great food and drink interspersed with sewing - of course!

When we came last year I discovered a gem of a fabric shop almost on our doorstep at Barrington Court, a National Trust property on the Somerset Levels.  Well worth a visit in its own right it has hidden round the back three lovely shops selling pottery, woodwork and - patchwork.

Run by Janet, Barrington Patchwork (http://www.barrington-patchwork.co.uk) is a treasure trove of gorgeous fabric.  Like me, Janet is keen on florals so these are in abundance along with matching plains, spots and stripes in a huge array of colours, children's fabrics, charm packs and layer cakes from some of the best brands available.  I defy you not to find something you fall in love with.


This week I was looking for more fabric for the sunhats I'm making for the Wisley fair.  Each one is unique having two coordinating fabrics and finished with three hand-knitted roses in harmonising colours.  This is the selection I made.


Most crafters I know do not limit themselves to one craft and Janet is no exception.  I happened to mention I like using handmade ceramic buttons in my greetings cards and corsages and lo and behold she produced some of her own work - I just had to have some of these too.



All this shopping makes you hungry so next stop - cream tea!
Lots of love
Alison