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Another year has arrived

Gina's first temariHappy new year everyone! The wind is howling away out there, though we are lucky that we are on a hill as it has at least meant that some of the excess rain has drained away. I'm shocked how water-loggged everything is though. I hope that any of you who has been affected by the floods (and equally harse weather in other countries) are all ok.

January is perhaps my most hated month. I've said it plenty of times before, and yet I am still not sure why. This year, it is a busy one, so perhaps it won't be as bad! We are working flat out to launch new products and a whole new range (I'll be filling you in on little bits about that over the next few weeks....). So, it is literally nose to the grindstone lately.

Add that and some very interesting orders - 100s of gold and silver buttons for a museum exhibit. tassels, girdles, I expect that by my brithday I'll be exhausted ;)

But, at least the holidays for me were relaxing. It is my tradtion to get something 'crafty' - materials, a book, whatever, to try a new skill during the time off work (which is why my room if full to the brim!). This year, I was able to take some time out to learn a little bit about temari - decorated Japanese handballs. I have always thought that they seemed very similar to button making, and I was glad to find that was the case. Of course, I couldn't resist taking that a little further and worked some button needlework flowers - totally untraditional for temari - onto one. Which of couurse gave me loads of other ideas..... Getting the ball a nice shape was hard, but quite satisfying.  I spent Christmas and Boxing day making them, (the picture shows the four I was able to work with the materials to hand) and have had to put them aside now, but have already got plans for the ones I will make for gifts! I did learn though that a tightly twisted silk thread isn't the best for the decoration, so I am looking forward to trying some nice floss in the future. 

Well, onward and upward - I hope that you all have a wonderful 2014 - happy, healthy and lucky.

Since I last posted...

Gina-B Journal needlelace detailLooks like autumn is finally here. And yesterday's rain certainly meant with a vengence I think! For many people, this time of year really is a quiet one, not wanting to quite think about that big celebration in a couple of months, but knowing it is looming. And alas, having an online shop, I have start thinking about things like last posting dates. I'll be adding them to the site info very soon.

Read more: Since I last posted...

Samples and samplers

I keep things. Thankfully, not loads of rubbish or anything like that (though I do have an awful lot of books!) but I do keep bits of textiles that I make. Of course, that is fine - we all keep projects we have worked on. But I often keep practice pieces. I keep snippets of fabric a designer has sent for me to match a trim to; I almost always weave more than I need and keep a small length of ribbon or fringe; I will keep a button that didn't quite work but is rather interesting; I will keep the first braid or lace or attempt at a technique, a snippet of hand dyed cloth, you get the picture - all with the intention that these will be a record. 

Read more: Samples and samplers

Reasons to be cheerful

Main reason: It is summer!

Despite being really busy, the recent good weather has meant we've been able to take some lovely long walks, enjoying not only the glorious sunshine and lovely countryside, but also some of the smaller parts of nature - plants and insects and seeds! I've been quite inspired for a pretty major project and have been collecting pictures, leaves and all-sorts. If the ideas swimming around in my head work, that will be another reason ;)

The book has so far been doing very well - Thank you all! - and you know, it is even now available to order from most UK book stores, including Amazon - a feat in itself, believe me!

And thanks again to you all, the most recent DVD and product launches have gone really well. I always have a fun show with Martyn so the launch show was a laugh from my point of view! I have to say that I am quite thrilled that so many people are 'finding' needlework and passementerie.

I recently became the subject of a few snarky comments with regards to my 'commercial' website and products. It seems that there are those in the costume world who see my sharing my 'trade secrets' as selling out. (That and the use of modern materials - a whole other story!) Ah well. It was a little disconcerting at first, and I suppose this means I have crossed a threshold now, but these skills will die if we do not encourage others - and this does mean to bring it forward too. 

And to this end - well, my other recent reasons to be cheerful - my wonderful Create & Craft design team.

Gillian and Christine  are frankly inspiring. These two talented women continually surprise me with the unique ways in which they use passementerie in their work.

I will be the first to admit that on the whole, I am pretty predictable and I do tend to remain traditional, so I am always thrilled when a new pack of goodies arrives in the post.


I'm not always able to give them the praise that they deserve when I'm on tv - but the samples that they create and allow me to show on air are really wonderful- so do please, go and have a look through the design team gallery and enjoy!

Click > Design Team Projects to visit the gallery

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