Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Applique Crazy!

Decided that my sewing skills could do with a kick up the backside, so I've been experimenting with some shapes and styles. These are the latest ones - and I'm ridiculously pleased with them!

I am especially fond of the tartan Skull 'n ' Crossbones (see below) and can see myself doing a lot more of these! Am currently working on a S 'n' C in vintage floral fabric that I think looks kinda cool - girly, with a twist, if you know what I mean.

Anyway will be sewing my wee fingers off to get ready for the Creggans Xmas Cracker - see last post!

Friday, 20 November 2009

A 'Craftacular' Christmas in Cowal

There’s no denying it-Christmas is on it’s way whether you like it or not! So how can you make your gift shopping pleasurable, and dare I say it, fun? Well, on the 5th and 6th of December there are two events that should sort out your gift ideas but in the most relaxed and delicious of surroundings. For two days only you will be able to get your hands on some of the best, most innovative and divine handcrafted goodies in the West of Scotland. We’re going all out for the most ‘Craftacular’ Christmas ever-think innovative, inspiring, unique, fun and all made with care and attention to detail. Think ‘Handmade not High Street”.

Kicking it off in style the delectable Glasgow Craft Mafia pay another visit to the Cowal of on Saturday 5th December. Head down to Inver Cottage for some serious ‘eye candy’-choose from all manner of delights from the following fabulous designers and makers - Covetables, Pumpkinsputnik, Askingfortrouble, Rosies Retro Styling, Girl Industries, Sarey Poppins!

And if that wasn’t enough!! Sunday 6th December sees the 'Creggans Xmas Cracker’! Come to the fabulous Creggans Inn in Strachur, Argyll for delicious Sunday Lunch then stay and browse the stalls at the Indie market which include the rainbow effect, Fresh Berry Designs, Pure Therapy, Carrot Coriander, Bute Crafts, and many, many more!! In addition be soothed by the DGS Heavenly Choir and, if all that wasn’t enough, we’ve even got our own Beauty Angel on call for a bit of pampering (appointments direct, contact Kate - 01369 860160) and a vintage style tea room going on-now what a way to make your shopping a little bit more fun! Food, pampering, stylish gifts by the bucket load-A Merry Christmas indeed and all within a scenic hours drive from Glasgow!! For further info contact 01369 860279.

Friday, 6 November 2009

They came, they saw, they had a great time!

The dust has finally settled, the reports and evaluations are nearly complete and the time has come to now say that this years Cowal Open Studios was a roaring success - in excess of 2000 visitors over the weekend and a total visitor spend of around £18k. The feedback from visitors and participants has been overwhelmingly positive and I think I can safely say that COS 2009 was a fantastic event!

The additional events at the Hall on the Saturday went down really well-the singing workshop was such a hit that the singers have been meeting regularly to exercise their vocal cords-and workshops were well attended. The concert in the evening was a foot stompin' crowd pleaser and the highlight of the weekend!

So onward-the battle for funding starts here. Cowal Open Studios is key in promoting the work of artists in this most beautiful part of Scotland and is a vital and vibrant part of the Cultural Tourism Industry in Argyll and Bute-we just have to get this message over to the Council so that they can start to value the contribution that these businesses make to the local economy. This will be our challenge for 2010!

Watch this space!!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

The Vintage Tearoom Vibe hits Argyll

Blimey-been a while! Thought I'd better get my act together pit together an update on what I've been up to. It looks like 'the rainbow effect' might be taking a different direction and diversifying a wee bit.

So, sewing has been put on hold for the time being as I've been Project Managing 'Cowal Open Studios'. It's been a challenging one this year and not without some emotional bumps and bruises along the way-but, hey, that's what life's all about, isn't it? Anyway, we're approaching the home stretch with the event just around the corner. Should be a really great weekend this year and lots of fun!

Additionally, though, I've been pulling together my facilitation/management skills to put together a delicious little event as part of a programme of extra events at the Cowal Gathering. Collectively known as 'Gathering Around' these are 'add-on' events running on all three days and include a parade and a concert by the Peatbog Faeries.

But on the Sunday as part of the 'Cowal Family Gathering' to be held in Strachur, there will be 'Crafty, Cakes and Crooning' in the Memorial Hall. We will be transforming the New Hall into a 'Vintage Tearoom' paradise with gorgeous tablecloths, bunting, vintage table decorations and delicious, traditional home-baking. To top it all off and add to the enjoyment we're providing loads of Crafty bits'n'bobs for kids (and adults) to do and local musicians will be on hand to add some soothing tunes-bliss! It should be a truly delightful, vintage feast for the eyes, spirit and stomach-you should come, if you can!!

In pulling together the strands that make up the 'Vintage Tearoom' experience an idea has taken fruition. Between four of us local lasses we have a passion for all things vintage, exemplary culinary skills, a huge personal treasure trove of props/dressings/china/napery etc (see pic below-this is merely scratching a very large surface) and the knowledge of where to get more, crafty skills, an idyllic location and excellent management and facilitation skills (this really means some of us are very, very bossy!!).

So, I'm thinking of rallying the lasses and putting together a 'Vintage Party' package for all sorts of events from the personal-birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, hen parties-to smaller corporate do's! This, I know has been tremendously successful 'darn sarf' and there are some fantastic organisations in Glasgow who are at the forefront of the Vintage thang, most notably the fabulous 'Made in The Shade'. But we want to 'spread the Vintage Gospel' further afield and we are lucky enough to live in an area that has stunning, traditional Village Halls and great places to stay-so a little bit of that Vintage nostalgia and glamour could add that exceptional and unusual extra cachet, that 'wow' factor to an event. It also is a fabulous way to recycle the past-I think I personally have kept the local charity shops going by my constant rootling around!!-and justifies the enormous amount of hoarding myself and girlfriend Penny have been doing (forever, it seems). A case of all the gear, big idea and the transport to cart it around in!! Whoo-hoo!!!! A meeting of minds is planned around a bottle of red wine, so we shall see.

Will post some pics of the 'innaugral' Tearoom Event-and if you're free, come along and enjoy a bit of traditional Argyll hospitality and some tremendous home-baking!!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Mono Market!

GCM March schedule

Come along to Mono (12 Kings Court, Glasgow, G1 5RB) this coming Sunday (29th) to see a host of handcrafted goodies made and sold by some of Glasgow's finest designers and crafters! I'll be there, too, between 1-6pm with my treasure trove of delightful kids and adult appliqued and tie-dyed tee-shirts, vintage and recycled fabric hotties, bags, blankets, boudoir sets. Mono is a great place to also have Sunday Lunch or stop for a refreshment break - be there or be square!!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Red Nose Fun!!

Especially for Red Nose Day! I did a tie-dye workshop with the Strachur Playgroup Pre-Schoolers, which was lots of fun. They especially enjoyed dunking the tee shirts and then stirring them round in a big bucket of Poppy Red dye (sadly now defunct, thanks, Dylon!! Glad I stockpiled when I did).

I took the tees home and rinsed them in the washing machine and brought the damp, tied tee shirts back the next morning. It was really cool seeing the excitement on their wee faces when they took the bands off and saw the patterns they had made. They were very chuffed by the finished articles and will be showing them off on Monday 16th-a tad late for RND, but they don't open on a Friday! Better late than never, they will be showing off their finery, then.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Nice One!

Thanks to Lynne from Autonomous Artisans for the lovely piece about my up-cycled hotties made from vintage blankets and fabric. There are lots of lovely things on their blog to-day and the common thread is the Autonomous Artisans Flickr Pool-go and have a look-choc full of marvellous, handcrafted treasures!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Sew Good!

Had a blissful drive down the side of Loch Eck to get some supplies. I tell you, it might rain here a lot but my god it makes for some breathtaking sights. It was very misty and with snow still capping the hills and the loch glassine, I was glad I'd commandeered the camera.
In not so picturesque Dunoon, my favourite shop on the whole of the Cowal Peninsula has moved! And not any old move-the Sewing Bee has relocated several shops up the same street and now shares premises with Argyll Vintners - sewing, craft supplies and alcohol all in the same shop-GENIUS! They have also expanded their range of gorgeous fabrics and have some v-e-r-y pretty pink and aqua fabrics very similar to the 'Amy Butler' range, slightly less expensive but still great quality cotton.
Anyway, had to get some batting and fabric to make up a blanket that's been commissioned. The front of the blanket will be vintage Beatrix Potter fabric, so I thought the blue stars would be a nice contrast on the back. Also took the opportunity to have lunch with my Mother (the best stew in the world, ta mammy!) and have a shufty through the Charity shops. Then home! So, back to the sewing tomorrow-blanket first, more hottie, bags and so on later. Fingers crossed for a bit more of a productive day, though the misty drive and the delicious lunch were worth losing a few hours of work for!

Monday, 26 January 2009

Go Wild in the Country!

Had an very interesting day at a networking day for women running small rural arts and crafts businesses and organisations. Yes, I know, it all sounds 'terribly' worthy, but it was very interesting and well worth driving across half of Argyll and Stirlingshire for.

The venue was West Moss-side which is not only an organic farm but a fantastic venue for craft workshops meeting etc. Set in the most beautiful countryside, I had the most stunning drive down through Loch Lomondside and up into the Carse of Stirling. Obviously, I forgot to take my camera-typical!
Had a great session with Jane Lindsey of Snapdragon Garden who discussed and explored the wonders of marketing yourself through your blog and how relatively simple this was to do-she has a great blog which is well worth a look. Which, of course, sent me scurrying home, resolving to blog more often-fingers crossed.

So despite my misgivings last night, about a long drive and sorting out childcare, cost of fuel etc, etc, it was a great day and I made several interesting contacts for my other venture (Cowal Open Studios), had a very delicious lunch, met some friends from back on the Cowal and had someone who wants some of my stuff for her shop! And back in time to spend some quality time with the kids and blog! Result!!

The Great Blanket Project Begins.....

After a lot of thought and contemplation over many cups of tea, I finally started to make in-roads into my stock of vintage woollen blankets. To my delight and surprise they have been easier to work with than I had envisaged and the finished product looks great!
A you can see from above, I've started on Hot Water Bottle covers, each one decorated with a cute vintage fabric pocket on the front into which one slips a matching Lavender Bag-mmmm, warm and soothing, always a good combination, especially in light of the rubbish summers we're having!
I kept the original label (see top of post!) and took some photos which I'll use for labeling them up-hopefully nice it a nice, interesting retro feel. Next on the agenda, baby sized, fabric trimmed blankets, totes and cushions!

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Charity Shop Booty!

I always try and sneak a quick trip to the charity shops in the local 'Hub' - Dunoon, bless it's heart it's so not a hub! I've found some brilliant stuff in the past-vintage American floral sprigged cotton sheeting and pillowcases (such great quality cotton), which I used to trim and decorate all sorts of stuff, beautiful vintage plates which are perfect for serving cupcakes and dainty sarnie, interesting old suitcases, vintage pinnies, baby clothes and blankets perfect for dyeing and appliqueing.

So, had a quick trip to Oxfam and came up with some very good swag!

This plate is very similar in style to a vase I've had for years and which I love-I do like a good ceramic seashell or two!

Kitschy, slightly strange looking pinny-and I don't normally like pink, but I do like the pockets.

And lastly, a very sweet little old fashioned picnic hamper-I think it may once have housed a dolls tea service, so I may give it to Effie for her 'dinner service'-a rather hideous pink and purple plastic affair, with Barbie all over it, she loves it, I hate it, a sign of things to come perhaps?

So, finally, more up-to-date! Now just got to tackle the Overlocker-watch this space!!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Here we go! Part 2

So, where were we....

2009-looking forward to making some in-roads into my stock of vintage fabric. I was lucky enough to score a vast amount of vintage woollen blankets (see pic below-that's only about a third of the total haul) when a local fishing lodge changed hands and the family were clearing out the house and garages. Lots in a pretty poor state, but lots in good repair. So, they have now been sorted out, professionally laundered and are ready to be cut, trimmed, appliqued etc, etc.
So, over the next few weeks I will be transforming my 'stash' into hot water bottle covers, bags, cushion covers, all enhanced with vintage fabric applique detail plus baby/adult blankets with fabric trims!!

And to help me do this, my lovely family, spurred on my most excellent mother, bought me an Overlocker for Christmas-how exciting, until I opened the box and looked at the instruction leaflet! Aghast and more than a wee bit frightened by what I saw, I packed it all away again. I keep peering at it nervously, as it sits, accusingly, under the kitchen table. I will be steeling myself this weekend to have another go-the alternative, of course, is to bribe my Aunt Moira (dressmaker, seamstress and soft furnishings guru par excellence) to come up for a couple of days and give me a crash course in Overlocking!

Watch this space or visit my shop at to catch up with whats new from rainbow world.

Next-What Jean Found in The Charity Shop!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

2009! Here We Go!!

Blimey-been a while since my last blog! So I'm going to do it in two parts -
here goes.....

Part 1
2008 was a busy year-the 'rainbow effect' range expanded to include vintage inspired and trimmed blankets, hats, onesies, tee-shirts, bibs and bags! I used a couple of different methods-firstly, transfers, heat-pressed on to garments, using a variety of different, vintage images-Dick and Dora, vintage Russian children's illustrations, 50's sci-fi. Secondly, I rediscovered my passion, dormant for a few years, for vintage fabrics and clothing and began to stockpile some fab vintage fabrics to applique on to garments or trim blankets with!

I was lucky enough to be gifted a sewing machine from my Mother-in-law, old, but trustworthy and in great working order. Now, not having sewed since Domestic Science (remember that?) at school it took me a few days of poking at it, plugging it in and generally being a big wuss, before I bit the bullet and actually tried sewing something. Hurrah! It all came flooding back and I went 'sewing crazy'. You can see some of the results at

And so some of my ideas came to fruition and I was very pleased with the results!

In October 2008 I was delighted to be accepted as a member of the Glasgow Craft Mafia-a fine and upstanding organisation promoting contemporary crafting in and around the fair and funky city of Glasgow. They have a great site, with lots of fab crafters/makers/artists on show, well worth a visit - Additionally, I joined the Creative Entrepreneurs Club at the Lighthouse in Glasgow and did some groovy indie markets there in October and December.

A busy 2008 - so what's coming up for 2009? Well, I just go and have a cuppa and get back to you (very) shortly with Part 2! Until then......

Argyll, photography, words