Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Links to good things


Last week, in the midst of painting the hall, stairs and landing, I also filled in a small chunk of missing plaster that was knocked out when we had a new kitchen installed about six years ago. The hole was about two inches square, half an inch deep and sat just above the wooden worktop upstand. Sometimes I would put things in front of it, so that I could pretend it wasn't there, but mostly those things got moved by my family, not realising that the recycling pot had been strategically placed, and so most days when I cooked, I noticed it and minded about it. At first, when I was happily pottering around in a new kitchen, my thought was optimistically always, I must fill in that hole tomorrow…but gradually, over six years, that thought turned to wondering what would propel me into action to fill it and whether it would always be like that, until perhaps we were struck by a mad flurry of efficiency if we came to sell the house. I felt slightly envious of the people who would live here next who would never have to see the bit of missing plaster. It's odd how these things which would take five minutes to fix, can sit there for years, making you feel guilty and slightly exhausted on a low-level each time you catch sight of them. Anyway, now that it's finally done, I can report that there are seemingly few things that could make you feel quite so victorious and jubilant than checking something off a mental To Do list that's been nagging at you each time you've caught sight of it for over half a decade…I'm not sure quite why I'm sharing this with you, other than to say that if you have your own metaphorical missing chunk of plaster that will take five minutes to put right, I'd implore you to stop reading and go and tend to it (and then report back once it's done - I'd love to hear what yours was. Next on my own list of 'Things that I am Really Going to Do this Week!' is gluing the small air vent grill, that sits at the bottom of our chimney breast, onto the wall, so that it doesn't fall out every time we open or close our bedroom door!)

Anyway, I thought you might enjoy a bullet-pointed list of interesting things from around the internet. Bullet-pointed, because that seems an appropriate medium of conveying information for someone who is so ultra efficient…or at least the best course of action for one who still has slightly painty fingers and needs to go and declog them at the earliest opportunity, rather than think about breaking up paragraphs nicely.


  • I've been meaning to tell you about Lysa Flower since May, so the fact that she's appearing in this blog post now, whilst belated, at least means that I can say that I'm sharing her work quicker than I can fill a hole in the kitchen wall. If you haven't discovered Lysa Flower's work yourself already, I think you'll love it. Lysa creates beautiful drawings of people's fabric stashes or favourite pieces of haberdashery. Rendered in coloured pencil on a plywood base, there's something I find just incredibly lovely about Lysa's drawings.


    When I asked Lysa why she first decided to draw on wood, here's what she said: Hmm, why did I settle on wood? All this started with drawing dresses but they were on paper. It seemed no matter how I framed them they wouldn't lay flat. I had seen these wood canvases at the art supply store and thought I'd give it a go. I was really happy with the results and felt it kept everything fresh and clean looking. However my main goal was for it to look modern. Lysa is happy to take on commissions, so do get in touch if you fancy having a part of your own stash captured on wood before you cut into it. Lysa also collaborates with Warp and Weft, where she's been sharing a free downloadable calendar image for each month this year. I adore October, featuring Elizabeth Olwen's Wild Wood line for Cloud9.
  • Co-incidentally, fabric distributors, Hantex, sent a delicious bundle of Wild Wood to me recently, which was very lovely as it's been one of the collections that I've been most excited about this year - you can find their list of UK stockists for this line here and scroll up and down admiring the real fabric and the Lysa's drawing of the real fabric as many times as you'd like (that's exactly what I've been doing while writing this post, anyway).
  • I have no idea what the recipe details are, as they're in Japanese, but I've fallen in love with these adorable biscuits and the step photos look easy enough to follow to achieve the same thing with your own recipe. 
  • If you love seeing all the photos from Quilt Market where designers unveil their much anticipated new fabric collections to the industry and retailers, Abby Glassenberg has written a well-researched and eye-opening article about how this works from a designer's point of view and just how little money, and quite how much hard work, can be involved in the process. It's a really interesting post and the comments are well worth reading too. 
  • One of my lovely sponsors, Elephant in my Handbag, is offering a 10% discount on your first order with them, using the code 'Flossie' at the checkout. You can find the code on their button in my right hand sidebar too, if you ever want to click directly through. 
  • Have you watched this wonderful three-minute video about how the thousands of ceramic poppies were made which have been placed around the Tower of London to remember each soldier who died? It's really worth watching. 
  • I've really enjoyed reading the Motherhood Around the World series on the Cup of Jo blog. Each post featured an in-depth interview with an American mother who had emigrated to a different country and shared her thoughts on the cultural differences that exist in raising children in her new home. In the final post, the tables were turned and Joanna interviewed nine mums who'd moved to the States from elsewhere to hear what their take on the differences were too. The interviews are fascinating reading - I loved every single one of them. 
As always, if you have any interesting links of your own, please do share them in the comments. And thanks to my sister, Laura, who prompted this post - after an unplanned three week hiatus - with the text: When the devil are you going to blog again? I miss you! xxx. (We had actually been speaking on the phone, texting and even seen each other in person the week before, so it was a doubly sweet text).

Florence x

15 comments:

  1. The reason why fixing the wall made you feel so good is because when you put off a chore it steals your energy. Every time you are reminded of it, a bit more energy seeps away. When you finally take care of business, all that lost energy comes rushing back to you.

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    1. Exactly that - it's such a stealer of energy, isn't it.

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  2. Lysa & I are in a bee together and she made me the most awesome blocks and sent me some of her crds over too - she is very talented. You have prompted me into action to replace all the lightbulbs in various room sin my house which had blown and have needed changing for ages! Thank you :)

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    1. Lucky you! I really admire Lysa's artwork.

      We seem to have lightbulbs that blow constantly…they claim that they'll last for 2 years on the box, but they rarely seem to make it past 2 months…I think it may be the vibrations from children's feet leaping around in the rooms above !

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  3. Funnily enough, we had a similar chunk of plaster missing from the wall that faced us as we came down the stairs. It was there for about 6 or 7 years and then we decided to sell up as we'd found our dream house. It took approximately 10 minutes to complete (not including having to wait for the Polyfilla to dry). We have no idea why it took us so long! We managed to complete so many things during those hectic weeks before putting the house on the market - quite miraculous when you consider I'd also only given birth to our first child just three weeks previously!!

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    1. I love that you have this too - it's completely illogical, isn't it. Does your dream house have these things too, or is it partly dreamy because someone else went around with a tub of polyfilla before you moved in? x

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    2. Uh...no. Sadly, it required rewiring, re-roofing, re-carpeting, re-modelling, water laid to it...etc etc. Nearly 7 years later we are still renovating and there are cracks everywhere that need refilling! Still, we have some lovely views and loads more space! ;)

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    3. Having space is an incredibly lovely thing, isn't!

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  4. Our whole house is like that hole in the wall... slow and steady. Thanks for sharing Lysa's work - it's amazing!

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    1. I feel like that at times too! And yes, her work is wonderful, isn't it - it feels so peaceful because of the muting effect the wood seems to have on the pencils.

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  5. I have no idea what 'looking modern' is. It's certainly a phrase I hear but why is it modern to draw on wood? What makes crochet modern when to the eye it looks as crochet might be expected to look. Why is modern good? Why is un-modern presumably not good.

    This is what keeps me awake at night. It is a perplexing first world problem. I have only the question but no answer.

    Lysa's work is beautiful and I l do love it. However, the wood reminds of old school pencil cases.

    I concur with gnomeangel. My house is a work in non progress.

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  6. I can completely understand why you might struggle with the word 'modern' as it often feels a divisive term, particularly - if looking to sewing for reference - in terms of the idea of there being 'traditional' and 'modern' quilters. However, I don't think the word 'modern' is an incomprehensible word in itself and I don't think that its use always has to be viewed as a put-down of what has gone before it - it really depends on the context of what's being said as to whether it's an offensive term and I think Lysa may have been using the word as a general euphemism for something feeling stylistically clean, crisp and simple in her eyes.

    Although, I don't necessarily place a value on something being 'modern' - I tend to prefer something being timeless and classic, to being overtly fashionable - I do know what Lysa means in this context. I think that Lysa's drawings have a wonderfully nostalgic feel to them, but captured on wood they suddenly also look very fresh (at least to me) and I can see why she might want to strive toward that look with her work as I think every generation likes to reinterpret what's gone before and place a slight twist upon it and make it feel their own, but I don't think this always goes hand-in-hand with a disregard for what came before. I think in every decade, if not year, there's a subtle shift in what looks 'current' to our eyes, even though it may invariably have its roots in what's gone before - just look at Orla Kiely's incredibly popular 'modern' designs which clearly have their roots in 1950s, '60s and '70s design. I've discussed this with my mother before and we came to the conclusion that something can only truly look 'modern' to you, if it's something that you didn't experience the first time around. So to her, Orla Kiely's designs just remind her of her own childhood and she finds it slightly baffling as to why they would be so sought after, whereas to me, they do look overtly retro, but also very modern (as in, currently fashionable), because I didn't experience them the first time around.

    Does that makes sense or am I waffling? Almost certainly yes, but as you can see, I think the concept of modernity is something that I struggle to fully comprehend or define too - but I do think that although it can be used to imply inferiority of that which is not modern, this isn't always the case. x

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  7. What I find interesting is how quickly we learn to live with and stop seeing things that need doing. We learn to lift the door a bit when we close it, fling a hand out to catch something that always falls when we open something else, or just (in our case) stop using the cold tap in the downstairs loo altogether because it always drips otherwise! I haven't commented before, not sure why, but I'm a big fan of your blog and your work Flossie. You are a very talented lady! Lil x

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  8. P.s. I love Lysa's work - what a unique idea!

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  9. Thank you so much for posting about my work. How very generous of you, I really appreciate it.

    I adore your explanation of odd jobs hanging about, you nailed the process right on the head (having such experiences myself.)

    Such a great question of what does "modern looking mean?". I think is something we all ask ourselves when we use that word. I've always found it interesting watching period piece movies when they use the word "Modern". Perhaps a better word would be reinvention. Not to be remade better but inspired by, to make ones own. My work is heavily influenced by the Modern Quilting Movement, in which they often use negative space. It's this compositional technique of negative space I love to play with in my drawings, hence my wording of modern. Such great food for thought.

    Again thanks so much Florence for sharing my work!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x

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