Thursday, 17 November 2011

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas!

Yers, I know it's still November but the Christmas shopping is in full swing, not just onboard Zulu but the floaty folks over on facebook are definately hard at it! It's been really exciting to be part of that and know that you gorgeous floaty people love what I'm doing enough to want to watch someone open a parcel containing something I made on Christmas morning. Wow. That just takes my breath away!  My new "liquor cabinet" charm bracelets have been a hit, and I know some my handprinted textiles and other jewellery are being wrapped and sent off to the North pole to go in the Christmas delivery!

You see, for me, Christmas isn't about what I want, what I might get, and about spending loads of money. It's about being able to show someone that I really really thought about them, that I know them, that I care, and that I could find or make something that would let them know all of that without a shadow of a doubt when they tear back the paper.  Watching the family open their presents is my absolute favourite bit!

Maybe that sounds really hard but if you think about the things that make your loved one chuckle, or the stuff they share with you throughout the year there should be a glimmer of something there for you to work from.  Even something silly could mean a lot! It shouldn't be about the money. Some things might take time but cost virtually nothing so try and think outside of the box.

Example: my first real present for Mr LFCC was a framed autographed photo of his favourite rugby player.  I looked up the person who looked after marketing at the club, and wrote her a letter telling her how wonderful Mr LFCC is and how he was always the one looking after people, and how much he loves his team, and she was kind enough to get the player in question to autograph a picture and she popped it right in the post! It cost very little to get it put in a nice frame! All these years on he still keeps it on his office desk!
I got one from his fave footballer before our wedding too!

I did something similar when my daddy was very sick; he had a huge seriously old tatty poster of Kate Bush in a frame in his office and when it became apparant that he wasn't going to get back in his office I didn't want to draw attention to it and bring his poster home but I found the photographer who did all Kate's recent publicity shots and sent him an email explaining that I loved his photos and would dearly like to buy one (I did explain the circumstances) and he immediately emailed back saying he'd see what he could do. Two days later I received a letter from Kate Bush for my dad and a beautiful photo with an enscription just for him. It was amazing.  His favourite group, The Moody Blues, were kind enough to do somethingn similar thanks to another PR person over at their agency who sorted it out even though they were currently touring the US.
People like to help if you give them a chance.

So anyways I digress rather... What I love about handmade is that you can give a person something completely unique. It's gutting to spend ages picking something gorgeous out that you really consider carefully, know the recipient will love, and then see that someone else thought exactly the same thing so the lucky person gets two! I get kind of jealous too when I see someone else with the thing I bought for my friend as well! lol!

There's the other side of the coin though - not everyone is into handmade, and I know this.  I also worry about "inflicting" my creations on to people who might actually prefer something bought from a recognised label... I hate to presume they would want MY creations over those. I love to give my creations to people I really believe genuinly want them though! If you know the person you'll know which way to go! So this years pressies are a mix but I haven't gone to the high street for any of them! I've imported from small overseas shops via their websites, I've had things made by other people, and I've searched small local independant shops.  Everyone will be getting something different that I doubt they'll get duplicates of but that I really believe they'll love!  I wish I could share with you what I've chosen for who but I've passed everything on to Father Christmas for delivery around midnight on December 24th! ;o)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

National pudding day so the cake's NOT my fault!

I was reliably informed that it's national pudding day so I felt morally obliged to provide something nice for Mr LFCC - it would have been for the teenager too but she went out so missed out and I baked something she wouldn't like! How mean?! She'll sulk about that later!!

So I set to work in the kitchen... want the low down on my gorgeous fruity cake?

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 150g sifted self raising flour
  • 1 level teaspoon baking powder
  • 400g sultanas (you can soak these in booze first if you want!)
  • 50g glace cherries (the natural coloured ones, not the nasty articifical ones!)
  • half a teaspoon gravy browning (yes, really!)
  • half a teaspoon mixed spice (if you fancy it!)

  1. Grease and line a round 6" deep baking tin and preheat the oven to gas mark 5.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars together well in a large bow. Beat them until they get paler in colour and are really soft and smooth. Add the gravey browning and mix in.
  3. Add the eggs (crack from the shells into a separate bowl in case there's an iffy one!) and beat them really well until everything is all light and gorgeous and if you trail the beaters over the liquid you can see a ribbon of mix slowly melting into the surface.
  4. Gently sieve the flour and baking powder into the bowl having dusted your dried fruit in it first.
  5. Fold the flour and fruit in gently.
  6. Turn out into the tin and place in the oven for approximately one hour but keep an eye on it for the last fifteen minutes or so... Prod with a piece of dry spaghetti and if it comes out clean your cakes good to be omnommed!

Enjoy national pudding day! xxx

Sunday, 23 October 2011

He aint' heavy, he's my brother....

I just had to share something with you that happened this morning.... It really made me stop in my tracks!

We were taking our Joseph Poopy out for a walk and stopped while we were still in the marina to talk to a new neighbour. I hadn't noticed his little terrier running around and was really startled when our kitten, Neville (pronounced N'Evil...) suddenly appeared from the bushes and the terrier started after him.  He didn't get very far though as Poopy instantly turned and snarled and kind of splatted him with one paw momentarily and then let him go.  "Don't mess with my little brother" was obviously the warning...

Joseph Poopy


So the little terrier is running back to his boat when we're again taken by surprise; this time by our eldest cat, Kevin, who also sprang out of the bushes and seriously attacked him!  Our Kevin is quite unusual in that he will play with dogs but will also attack them, seemingly without provocation.  This time he obviously figured that Poopy's warning hadn't been strong enough.  He has a strong character and is loved by everyone who knows him, but he doesn't take prisoners!

Kevin (AKA Monster)

It's laughable in that they all play fight and savage each other quite badly on occassion but in the same way that human families tear each other apart verbally (and sometimes physically), heaven help the outsider who says a bad word about them.  My relationship with my older brother was like this for many years and was so volatile that at one point people didn't like us being in the same room together for fear of bloodshed, but there were many times at school when I would be drawn in and wreak vengeance on someone who'd hurt him, and he would do the same for me.  We get along far better these days but people still get nervous around us as our trademark biting wit does still occassionaly turn to plain biting.  It's awful, and childish, but we somehow regress to being 6 and 9 and mortal enemies.  But if someone interups our "discussion" we turn together!  It's a strong family trait (I guess in most families) that we will go all out to protect our own.  We're pack animals after all. 

Bad photo, but look at the adoration? This was the day that N'Evil came out in the campervan for a kebab too.... lol!

One thing my dad focussed on in his last few weeks was how in realising how little time HE had, the people around him were appreciating each other more.  I try to take every day with that mentality as you never know what tomorrow may bring. We can only hope it brings more sunshine and goodness but sometimes the crap has to hit the fan and when it does, I know that I'll have said thankyou, I appreciate you and all you do and I love you to my husband recently, told my mum, brothers (and sisters) how much I care, and the teenager that I love her like she was my own.  If only I had the opportunity to tell her brother too I'd be a happy bunny. If everything was perfect though, we'd have nothing to strive for.

So, keep an eye on the little ones who creep up on you as you never know if they've got a big dog coming up behind them to keep you in check.  Play nice and it won't matter!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Folksy Friday - Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree!

Well it's Friday - at last and I'm feeling a bit Christmassy (yes, I know, it's only October!) so this weeks Friday blog is dedicated to the Christmas tree! I absolutely adore decorating our tree and there are some beautiful decorations to be found from the fabulous creators lurking on Folksy and that way you get something unique that your neighbour won't have, and probably get it at a far better price than the much duplicated goodies on the high street! Go share some love with these creative souls - or have a go at making your own if you're feeling inspired?

Happy Friday! xxx

Monday, 3 October 2011

Family traditions and the ghost of Christmas past

My facebook crowd (hi!!) have been asking for Christmas cards since the beginning of August but I didn't want to dive headlong into those designs until I'd been to a big stamper exhibition at Alexandra Palace in London which was last weekend.  I have very definate leanings towards the whole Victoria  traditional Christmas look but anyone know knows my work will know that I don't like my goodies looking shiny and new; I like them to look like I've found them in an antique shop, or an elderly relatives attic, and they've been loved for a generation or two already.  I love the feeling of something that's treasured and worn through use and spend hours going through all the cases in my local antique place which, luckily for me, is pretty huge! Mr LFCC isn't quite so keen so I make full use of his Saturday afternoons playing rugby!  And with all that effort on what I'm wrapping, special gift wrappings and beautiful things make the difference on a little gesture - so why not? I love that it makes the recipient feel treasured before they even know what their gift is!

I think part of this stems from the habits of my mum and dad who were always creating, and my mum in particular who would re-invent things and create something new and stunning that had real character (Dad mostly wrote and painted as aposed to working with textiles etc!).  She could make anything from anything!
So when I started stitching my lavender bags or needlebooks, it actually annoyed me how new they looked! I had to "vintage" them up!  Thankfully my experiments with distressing the finished pieces in much the same way I distress my card creations were successful and I was really pleased with the finished effects.  There's a definate feel to all my creations that now flows through the textiles too! Happy floaty person!

So anyways, I've digressed. Christmas. I found some beautiful stamps that fit with my idea of Christmas and started making  - I was thinking months ago of a project that I hope would catch the LFCC fans imagination and perhaps start something of a tradition.  We have lots of little ways in our family, about silly presents you must always have in a Christmas stocking - no matter the age of the recipient (a wind up toy, a car you can pull back and race, a sugar mouse, a chocolate orange, some bubble mixture....) and when I inherited the kids they looked at me like a was a total freak, but now they expect these things and I actually got informed that they know their rights, and this things MUST be included, and about foods you have to have, and how important sitting down to Christmas dinner is as a family.  We were big on Father Christmas too and I love that no matter how modern kids are now, with their computers and desire for designer trainers, they still hang on to that little bit of vintage passion but in many modern homes with modern heating systems and high tech structures there is no chimney for him to climb down.  A passing comment about Santa burning his bum in a hot grate stuck with me too!  I wonder if perhaps I've seen these somewhere before and forgotten, but I knew that we needed some magic for Santa!  A beautiful but very old key that would work for no one but him on no time other than Christmas Eve was just what we needed to bridge the gap between the old homes where every room had a chimney, and our new modern streamlined homes. 

They do seem to have struck a cord, and captured the imagination of many, and I'm just absolutely overwhelmed with the idea that they're going to become a little tradition for someone elses family.  We need to embrace our inner child at Christmas, and we need to keep the belief in magic alive.  Keep the fairy lights, keep the ancient baubles that don't work as a themed look but you've always had them, keep the decorations your kids made that melt your heart when you look at them.  I just wish I had the egg box and matchstick bells that I remember making with my mum and big brother when I was five!

We go all out on gift wrapping in  our family - people get upset about unwrapping things! lol! Festoons of mini baubles perhaps, or butterflies suspended on wire... anything goes! I wanted to share a little of this but wasn't sure how it would be received so I did just one set of special Christmas tags with a similar design to those made for the Magic Christmas Keys, with matching ribbon to tie everything up beautifully - and you'd only need brown paper to actually wrap the present (I LOVE brown paper and string!!).  I only did the one set anyway and thought I'd guage the reactions before I made more.  One lovely person bought them almost instantly and I definately will be making more! lol!  They got a great reaction which pleased me immensley - not because of the sale although of course that was lovely - but because it means my floaty people totally get me. They know my style and it works for them too.  Its vintage but not fuddy duddy, it's distressed but not scruffy....

I'm getting quite excited about Christmas and determined to really go to town on everything this year.  With ill health getting quite determined to ruin it last year, I'm letting nothing stand in my way for Christmas 2011!  The presents will be beautiful, dinner will be big enough to feed anyone who stops by, and most of all, I'm determined that those people in my life who I'm lucky to have will know that they feel appreciated.

Here's to the magic! xxx

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Um... what season is it please??

I'd given up lamenting summer and started rejoicing in the change in colours that Autumn brings as the trees are already changing and shedding, and the sky seems moodier. But today I wake up and the sun's shining brightly, the grass seems greener again, and that dastardly wind has dropped that has brought down so many trees in our neck of the woods and just generally wreaked havoc!

I'm not SORRY it's a nice day but it's interupted my flow of autumnal (and Christmas!) inspiration and made me think all light and airy again!  For those fellow crafty types reading, does this kind of thing affect your work too?  I'm curious to see if those who aren't in such an "outside-ie" environment as as constantly affected by the environment? Would love to know your thoughts?


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Pay it forward, floaty style!

I'm thinking about Christmas (I know, it's only September - but to be fair, you lot started it! I had all these emails about had I done my Christmas cards yet - in AUGUST! lol!) and thinking about how the best bit is watching someone open a pressie you carefully pick for them and KNOW that you got it right.
I'm very lucky in that I have so much love in my life, from my wonderful family who take such good care of me and extend such generosity, and from my friends who put up with me being unable to commit to anything until the last minute in case I'm not well enough to travel (or sit up) or cancel things at the last minute because of the same reasons.  But recently I discovered a new source of love; my fabulous floaty folks who come and keep me company on our facebook page at and are so thoughtful and caring even though most have never met me.  It's amazing.  I now have extra friends all over the world and they are real and honest and true and I can tell them when I feel bad, but more importantly THEY can tell ME when they're feeling bad too. I never would have expected that in a million years when I set up this little page at the beginning of the year.
I never thought I would cope with sharing my work with people either - that I would get excited even about doing that!  But there we are!

So what my rambling boils down to, is I want to say thank you, but I hope that I can help YOU say thank you to someone too. 

Once we get to 1500 lovely floaty likes on the facebook page I'm going to ask you to add a comment to this blog (can't do it on FB - against the rules - sorry peeps, I know it'd be easier...) about who you'd like to say thank you to (you don't need to tell me why, some things are personal and if they're worthy to you then they're worthy to me) and what kind of pressie you think they'd like from the following options:  a needlebook, a makeup bag, a collection of cards, a jewellery set. And any fave colours/styles that person would like. 

After one week (I will let you know cut off dates/times on the page) I will use a random selector online to pick one name from the list and get in touch with the nominator to sort out sending the pressie. It can be an annonymous gift, or I can explain that they were nominated by you (but none of their personal details shared!). If you want to shout about something fab that someone's done for you though that's absolutely dandy too! I don't want to pry though!  It could be something like someone makes you a cuppa without being asked, someone did something special for someone else you love, or just someone who's friendship or love means the world to you! It's completly up to you!

Now lets see how soon we can get to 1500 likes and get the ball rolling! ;o)
Lots of floaty love!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Custard. And I don't care!

Hello my lovelies!! It's been the usual kind of week onboard Zulu - I've been ill (as usual) but at work every day, Mr LFCC has been up to his eyeballs (as usual) and the teenager has been making a mess (as usual) so there's been very little creativity actually physically happening which makes me sad.

I have however decided on the name for the new jewellery collection - not that I'm going to tell you what it is yet! lol! I will start making the designs up this weekend, plucking the images at random from my head where they've been fermenting and spreading their little tentacles for the last month or so.  I feel confident that they will be beautiful and can't wait to share them but I have ideas for the backing cards too and am determined to block my usual "squeal!! I have to share!!!" mentality until I can present them a fait a complit (no French people tell me off about missing accents, please!) as I feel that my little backing cards make a real difference to the feel of my jewellery.  I think they give you more of a clue of how they were conceived and the train of thought behind them almost.
I really hope that once I show you you think they're worth the wait!
There's been quite a few "when are you having your Christmas cards" emails over the last couple of weeks so I've also been thinking about them.  To cover all budgets and all levels of love (we don't all want to send lush crafted cards to someone we're obliged to send a card to, but we'll gladly send a gorgeous printed card if the price is right) I will be doing individual cards - crafted, and printed from my original artwork, and packs of both kinds too.  Watch this space. 
I can also custom make any item you see on the page to your colour/pattern requirements so if you're thinking of an LFCC textile goodies for someone special this Christmas let me know and I can personalise it to your hearts content! As I tranfser my own photographic and text images to fabric I really can make something exactly as you want it so have a ponder! ;o)
Right - enough - time for my instant custard. I don't care that it's not a proper lunch. I want it. It's Friday. I'm having it. Ner. (not sharing either!! mwah!!)
Lots of floaty love!

Monday, 15 August 2011

The cost of the real good stuff....

I realise it’s been a while since I’ve blogged but sometimes life gets in the way. That’s how I think of it.  It occurs to me though that saying that life gets in the way might be a really shortsighted way of looking at how we move through our time on this rock.  The last few weeks have involved lots of time in hospital for me, quite a lot of pain and discomfort, and not being at work which I hate as it means I’m letting people down.  However, it’s also involved meeting some really lovely people in the care professions, catching up with the lovely nursing staff on the clinical decisions unit at my local hospital, and seeing how fabulously well the lady who brings the drinks and meals has done at her slimming club since I last ended up on the ward.  How can I complain about that? Surely if I can change my perspective it can only help me feel happier? Accepting what has happened and being grateful for the good stuff has to help me. I’m not saying that I’m happy about feeling shitty (I’m sooo not) but there’s a balance to be found.
I’d be the first to admit that I’m not the best at keeping in touch with my friends – I think when you’re not able to dash around much and have limited stamina you can get very hesitant about committing to any appointments so you don’t let people down, and then you end up not seeing anyone.  When friends have busy lives too it gets doubly quiet! Having my little floating crafty life gives me the opportunity to “meet” people I might have otherwise missed out on, and a chance to feel like a regular person.  I love the way that we can share our love of all things crafty or all things floaty, and just accept each other for how we present ourselves online and be supportive without making demands on each other.  I wonder if there’s a way of bringing this kind of ethos into the real world? I think my husband’s already there though… He never expects anything of anyone but will still go out of his way to help.  It boils down to the “pay it forward” mentality which I love.  It can take little or no effort to make a huge difference.  The lady on the ward who remembers that I don’t take sugar in my tea made me feel like a special person, remembered from all the hundreds of people who pass through there.  And now I know her name and I can greet her with it next time I’m there and she’ll know that she was important enough to me that I remembered her.  It’s cost neither of us anything but it makes a difference.
While I was in hospital I had an email from a wonderful lady who had fallen in love with some of my jewellery creations.  She chatted and even sent me some lovely photos and although it took over an hour to use the new hospital touch screen system it made my day to read her email even if I couldn’t respond at that time.  Do you know for sure the circumstances of the people you communicate with regularly? Are they lonely? Are your chatty little notes that you think nothing of something that makes their day tolerable? Try and be aware of your impact. If you think “that was really nice of them” or “they did that really well” then SAY something.  Everyone wants to shout when they’re not happy but how many take the time to say thanks if everything was how they wanted it to be?
I came home and sent little emails to the lady who went out of her way at the restaurant I had lunch with Mr LFCC at on Sunday before  everything went pear-shaped as she’d gone out of her way to make sure there would be nothing in my lunch that I reacted to, the lady in the bead shop I go in to thank her for her support and advice leading up to my first craft fair a couple of weeks ago,  and posted  a little pressie to someone else.  It made me feel better and involved no drugs or therapy, and cost nothing. I think that’s a bit of a bargain!!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

If you can't do anything differently, why worry?

This is something my husband tells me.  When I'm fretting over something he asks me, did you do the best you can do? Is there anything at all that you can change? No? Then why worry?
As a man that has seen active service (that's putting it mildly...) during his time as a Royal Engineer he has a different perspective than I do. Things that seem like a huge deal to me are really trivial in the grand scheme of things. He doesn't belittle the things I worry about, but he shows me how the things that DO matter compare.  So when the colour on a finished piece isn't exactly where I was aiming, or my hair just won't go right, I try and remember how he can identify a particular sound a certain gun makes when it's fired towards you, what it's like to lose friends in combat... I have NOTHING to worry about.
So, relax. Enjoy your day, ring your friend and your mum, and maybe have a biscuit! Make the most of the day! Sending floaty love xxx

Sunday, 17 July 2011

More distress! So happy!

I was so pleased with my first needlebook made in the style of my vintage distressed cards that I spent yesterday sewing and made some more!

This one is listed on Folksy now!

I think this style will work really well as makeup bags, and one lovely facebook lady said that she fancied a knitting needle case in this style!

Watch this space!


Friday, 15 July 2011

Distressed? I hope so!!

I really love my distressed vintage style cardcrafts and wanted to transfer that kind of imagery on to the fabric I am working with.  I like to look around my local waterfront antique shop and find things that still work perfectly for their intended use, but you KNOW that they've had a life, that they've been loved. So, to give my handstitched work that kind of feel I had a bit of a play, and I am so pleased with the finished product.

This gorgeous little needlebook is very simple at first glance but contains different layers, handprinted fabric both inside and out, with gentle distressing on the edges, and gorgeous hand printed pages to store the needles, and a handmade crystal tag on the spine.

There will definately be more to follow in this style - some darker, some romantic and whimsical like this one. I will also be including my own photographic images transfered to fabric as I have with other pieces so watch out for those!

You can find this little gem in my folksy shop here:

Hope you like my little creation!


Share the floaty love!

So Friday finally came around and it's a gorgeous day! I know tomorrow is supposed to be sucky weather but let's take it where we can get it, right? And it gives us Brits our main conversation topic!

So in the spirit of embracing the sun I thought it was time I shared some love.  My facebook page is rapidly approaching 1000 fabulous floaty likers ( and another giveaway but there are some awesome creators at work out there that I want to holler about, so here goes:
For those knitters - these patterns are BEYOND cute!
Dolls clothes - beautifully made, but I love this handstitched satchell!
How amazing does this sound? And how cool a pressie?
Truly original and funkyness in abundance!
Beautiful - just beautiful!

Go see these fabulous Folksy shops and I just know you'll find something to make your jaw drop!

Lots of floaty love