Welcome to the land of Clootielugs where squirrels, rabbits and their like rule the roost. I love to make and sew and find inspiration from many sources although nature in its many forms tends to be the thing that fires my imagination most often!

You can see and purchase many of my creations on Folksy:

Friday, 23 March 2012

If you are all sitting comfortably...

...then I'll begin...

"Once upon a time there was woman who loved rabbits, and toadstools and tall, tall birch trees. She lived in a little house at the top of a steep, steep hill at the edge of a raggedy wood. The woman often walked in the raggedy woods with her faithful, but scruffy, terrier companion and together they would imagine the tales that the tall, tall trees could tell. One day the woman had an idea...perhaps she could use the many fabrics and threads that she had gathered over the years to tell the many stories of the woods. And so 'Clootielugs' was born, and with a lot of luck and plenty of big sticks..the woman and her dog lived happily ever after.
The End."

We all love a good story...and fairy stories are often our earliest experience of narrative. My favourite childhood tales have always been the traditional ones whose roots are steeped in darkly delicious European folktales of old. These tales convey messages which are both pratical and moral, and show the consequences for those who fail to take heed!
This week, having enjoyed another seller's treasury of Red Riding Hood creations, I felt inspired to make this little fabric collectable set. Now for sale in Clootielugs @Folksy it is created from my original drawings of each little character. Each figure is futher embellished with tiny embroidery work and additional clothing where appropriate. I have also made a felt drawstring pouch in which to store this thumb sized heirloom set!

So, now Fairytale obsessed, I then asked on the Folksy forums for sellers to show me their fairy tale inspired creations, and below is the wonderful selection I was shown...

First is this Cinderella themed shadow box art in mixed media. It features, amongst many things a pumpkin, a mouse, a star, and generous lashings of glitter! Find it in the very aptly named Folksy shop, 'The Grimm Exhibition'!

Next I have chosen this fabulous print by very talented Folksy artist,Tamara. Tamara's shop, 'Ink and Stylus' is full of the most detailed, ethereal, charming and colourful prints of her original drawings. In this 'Princess and Pea' inspired picture which Tamara has entitled 'Lazy Girl and the Chili Pepper', there is a tiny hidden chili pepper for you to spot! See if you can!

The next item is a lot of fun! Folksy maker, Heidi Blakesley, has a wonderful range of familiar and not-so-familiar characters created from recycled fabrics (often wool blankets) for sale in her shop, 'FeltFace'. I have selected Goldilocks to show today because I particularly love her porridge bowl! Isn't she great! Please pop over to FeltFace so you may appreciate Heidi's entire range!

Intended for Christmas I think these little hanging hearts have a charming fairytale feel to them. They make me think of Hansel and Gretal and Snow White..what do you think?
Created from felt with decorative buttons and hung on garden twine they are stylish enough for all year round! Folksy maker, 'Welsheggdesigns' has a lovely selection of humourous sock creatures as well as several pretty hanging heart decorations. Why not pop over for a browse?

Now I know that Lewis Carol's 'Alice in Wonderland' is not a traditional European folktale but I hope you will forgive my expansion of this week's theme and allow me to include this Mad Hatter hat by Folksy designer and forum fairy-godmother, Natalie from 'NOfKantsCurios'. Natalie has crocheted this splendid top hat style titfer in red and white yarns and decorated it with colour matched buttons. Natalie confesses this hat was partially inspired by "...my Dad, who used to wear a variety of hats, which I pinched off him whenever I had opportunity" !

My next item from Folksy sellers is this clever book cover bag from 'WhimsyWooDesigns'. I love this Japanese designed fabric! It is made up of images from different tales and has a real fantasy feel to it! This one will fit a book of up to 13 cms wide by 20 cms high and by 3 - 4 cms deep; but is also available in two larger sizes - Size 2 for larger books and Size 3 for thin A4 folders and ring binders. Maker Shirley Woosey also offers custom sized book bags, so if you need one to fit something special why not send her a message?

Lastly I have another artwork inspired by 'The Princess and the Pea'. This one is a little ACEO (Art Cards, Editions and Originals) from Folksy shop 'Artmagic'! Clever artist Polli gives her work a characterful quirky style and charm that makes her art so very distinctive and instantly heartwarming! This original mini work of art has been painted in watercolour paints with additional gold pen detailing. I LOVE the super tall cat with big pink bow!

Now children...time for bed...and remember, don't stray from the path.....

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Everything Stops for Tea...

..or it least it ought to!

I LOVE TEA! There, I've said, it's out there, and there's no denying it! I'm not even that fussy; strong as you like builder's, pale and delicate Earl Grey, fragrant jasime, watery first cup, stand your spoon in it last cup, even mint, ginger, lemon or raspberry....really, I'll drink it all, happy, gratefully and come back for a second cup!
In honour of our great British tea drinking tradition I have decided to feature some fab tea related goodies that I have found for sale on Folksy this week.
Despite my love of tea I am ashamed to admit to currently having no teatime treats in my shop - shocking I know, and a situation I must rectify. Meantime, here's a gratuitous picture of a very grumpy blue-tit egg cosy instead......followed by a glorious selection of tea-ware!

Well, for a top brew the first thing I am going to need, after locating my tea-leaves/bags is a tea-pot, and this stoneware one is lush! Handthrown by Dave Green Ceramics it has a gloriously beautiful flecked celadon glaze finish! It can even go in the dishwasher, which is a great bonus, 'cause this pot is going to get a lot of use!

Next I shall require some teabags (I'm a simple girl at heart!) and the fact these ones contain lavender matters to me not a jot! Each one of these unusual lavender bags is so pretty and fun! You get three randomly selected bags for the price. The aptly named maker of these scented treats, Lucy Teacup, calls it a teabag lucky dip! Each bag is made from different scraps of vintage and new fabrics and each one is different! I think this adds to their already immense charm!

Now, I must confess to sometimes making what my husband refers to as 'gypsy' tea! Regular readers of my blog will know that for me this is a positive thing and not, as some might suppost, a chiding comment. Gypsy tea involves simply submerging a teabag in a mug of boiled water and swirling it around a lot. Very technical and I advise that you seek an adult to help with this. A drawback of this method is the problem of where to put the soggy teabag once the swirling is over. Well, Folksy seller Cecily Vessey has the very thing! A 'Big Ben' illustrated teabag tidy! This iconic clock tower tidy can not only withstand the piping hot and soggy bag but will also happily wash in your dishwasher, along with the teapot perhaps! So both gorgeous and practical...I like to think a bit like myself. What? sorry..can't hear you...

Now, a slight detour from my tea making guide. I have already admitted my non-fussy approach to tea drinking, but I have several friends who are not so....adaptable. They insist upon carrying a few bags of their favourite daytime tipple in their handbag at all times so that they need never do without. I don't know about you, but my handbag is not a place I would like to store edibles...intentionally at any rate! So, on behalf of these friends I was delighted to spy this fab idea amongst Folkys folks tea wares. Crafty folkster Claire Mackaness makes teabag holders! She has several for sale in her Folksy store, Beautiful Things, I have chosen to show this one which is made from a retro cupcake cotton and features a funky teapot button! What a great idea!

So, back to my now made pot of tea. It must be kept cosy at all costs! I have frequently drunk cold tea in my life, but usually out of desperation rather than choice and there is no doubt a nice hot cuppa is best!
I have fallen in love with this amazing tea-cosy from talented designer Mary Tanner and her luscious Folksy shop, The Linen Tree. It is absolutely stunning, so colourful, bright and beautifully made, it's my foot stamping, jumping up and down, head-banging "I want" item! Have I made myself clear?

But how will I drink this perfect cuppa? Through a straw? Don't be daft! I'm off to find a cup. I have decided that only a proper tea-cup and saucer are worthy of this special brew, and look what I have found! Perfect for Mother's Day (Mothering Sunday) this weekend but to be honest, perfect for mum any day! Sooo adorable, I bet even cold tea tastes great in this! Folksy designer Emmy Lou calls this little feathered chap one their 'marching birds' which I think is a really cute description! Please stop by Emmy's lovely shop, It was Meant to Bee, to see her other teacup creations and textile makes.

Just to make this tea drinking experience complete, I need one more thing. Is it milk? No, as I've said I'm not fussy. Sugar? Nope again. Cake? Ah, Now you're talking...can you get some for me please?