Here Comes the Bride…

No, not me, in case you were wondering! 😀

In November 2010 (which seems a hundred years ago now), I was approached by an American magazine ~ Her Nashville ~ to create a cover for their bridal edition…and here follows a story full of twists and turns and angst and upset and frustration and finally, a Happy Ending.

The art director of the magazine had seen some images of my textile work somewhere online, and liked the style.

I think it was this kind of thing that she had seen…

So I got busy sketching brides…
…and sent in some samples for her to see.  She really liked the second one so I got to work with their colour scheme, choosing fabric and embellishments like tiny pearls and vintage buttons.  It felt like quite a challenge to be commissioned to do something like this, as my usual commission work involves paint and canvas!  Still, I love a good challenge, love stepping out of my comfort zone to explore new ground and all that so it was full steam ahead!
The first job involved making templates, cutting out the figure and laying it all out, then I began to freestyle embroider the first pieces with my sewing machine…
It was quite a project, and I found I was thoroughly enjoying myself.  I had to get the piece ready for dispatch shortly after Christmas (2010) so that it would arrive in plenty of time for their January deadline.
Details were added when the Little Person was tucked up in bed asleep…
…little buttons and hand sewn pearls…

You’ll be pleased to know I trimmed her hairy arms before she was sent out!  Anyway, the bride was soon finished and ready to be packaged carefully up for posting.

And that’s when the trouble began.  

The bride was taken to a small village post office on our way out to somewhere else right after Christmas.  It was quiet, there was hardly a soul about and I remember feeling under par, that feeling you get when you think you’re coming in for a cold and your head’s a bit fuzzy and you’re not quite with it.  So the parcel was dispatched and off we went for a pub lunch or something like that and I felt delighted to think of it finally winging its way across the Atlantic to the magazine offices.

It must have been a few days later I was tracking its progress online…only to find there was no progress.  There was no news about my bride at all.  

And suddenly it dawned on me.

There hadn’t been a customs label attached to the parcel!!!!!!

Have you ever had that dreadful sinking feeling in your belly, like a ten tonne stone has just settled there and a doom laden feeling clouds your head? 

What should have been roughly a five day service to the States turned out to take four weeks.  There were strong restrictions in force at all US customs offices back then and things were being delayed by days if not years.  What chance did my parcel stand without that Very Important Label?  I felt so annoyed at the Post Office woman, she ought to have known an overseas parcel needed one of those, but at the same time I felt annoyed with myself – I knew from previous experience that international parcels needed that label but feeling under par had entirely overlooked it.  Perhaps otherwise I may have had the forsight to mention it…but c’est la vie!

The parcel arrived at the latter end of January and missed the deadline for the February edition.  I was gutted.

However, all the way through this awful problem I had a great communication with the Art Director.  Between us we contacted US customs, the American postal service and Royal Mail with umpteen phone calls and emails to try and find the AWOL package

It finally arrived, and although it was late, they decided it was better late than never and decided to save it for THIS years bridal edition!!  Hurrah!!!  But oh what a wait!

You are welcome to take a look at their digital edition here.

So there we have it!  I’m proud as punch to have my textile art on the front of a mag, and it’s one of those moments that’s up there with the time my ‘Harbour’ painting was featured here.  I am forever in awe at the way the internet can bring the world into your living room, how it opens up opportunities and doors that may otherwise never open.  I am eternally grateful to it and feel quite blessed sometimes by the things I’ve been asked to do or be involved with.

Talking of bridal related things makes me think of Valentines day which is creeping ever closer.  I’m contemplating a design for a card and hoping I have the time to do it!  One thing I’ve discovered since my little girl went to school is that despite her been gone until 3:15pm, there doesn’t actually seem to be any extra time to do things…this baffles me slightly, but on I trot, making art as and when I can…and I recently made this which I hope you’ll like.  It’s something new, a bit different…

It’s called ‘Three Little Words’ and I imagine it would make a lovely romantic gift for someone.  I have plans for a sea themed one next and am enjoying working on these little mixed media art boxes enormously!

You can find out more about my new work here.

Well I think I’ve waffled on long enough! What a lengthy post it turned out to be!  Are you still with me??!!

Thanks for reading and visiting, I feel a BIG cup of tea coming on…

See you soon,
Love Julia x x x


At last I have found five minutes to do a long awaited blog post! I dont know where the last few weeks have gone, except they have passed in a blur of heavy duty hard work and graft as we attacked our little house with gusto, long awaited renovation work finally underway! However, we managed to sneak in some nice interludes, like trips to the coast and arty crafty things here and there…

Amidst all the building work and heartily in need of a break, we took off to Whitby for the day – it was Regatta weekend and there was cheery bunting everywhere, rescue helicopter & lifeboat displays etc. The sun shone and there was a delicious saltwater breeze blowing in off the water. A lazy afternoon was spent upon the sands, in and out of the sea as Little Daughter finally braved the waves and went in above her knees. Very deep indeed she thought, and laughed wickedly as she soaked all her clothes! What a tonic to be by the sea, and to end a magnificent time of it sitting on the pier eating fish and chips from the Magpie Cafe…oh heaven, the simple things are often all you need….

Anyway, while we have been renovating our home, we decamped to my parents house, ours was swiftly turned into a building site and no place for a little girl. I went armed to the gills with plenty of wool and crochet hooks and finished the cushion I blogged about in my last post…here it is:

Since then, I have begun a scarf for myself – last year my sister, Mum and Little Daughter all received one and I decided amongst blankets and throws that Im still on with, it would be nice to make myself something to keep warm with, so Im getting on with the intention to have it ready before the cold weather sets in…I’ll post pics of that soon!

Ive also got another textile picture to show you:

(Sailing Day – available at Little Blue Bird)
Right. Its about time I shared some pictures of the renovation work Ive been banging on about isnt it? Before I do, let me tell you a little bit about this house of ours. It is very old, built in the late 1800’s and full of quirky corners and the like. When we took it on, it was just the two of us, and we took it on with every intention of knuckling down to some hard graft and transforming a time weary and sad little place into something cheery and welcoming.

And then our little girl came along. And everything stopped. And for a long time we had to live in this awfully decorated room, where someone with a passion for artex had at some point in time, had a total love affair and gone wild with the stuff! I hated it, and I cant tell you how wonderful it was to start work with a sledge hammer!! ha!

Below is a picture of how it looked before (shudder) I actually feel a little embarressed to show you this as it really is so very, very bad.

Can you see that awful triangle shaped thingy in the middle of the room? Someone had moved the fireplace to the centre, away from the original chimney breasts and that vile object housed the flue. It was constructed of solid brick, the whole way through – as well as metal girders to support the weight.

We filled a 3 tonne skip in a day. Behind all the wooden panels we discovered a stone wall with alcoves. Behind the artex on the walls, were tongue and groove panels, and behind that was chipboard paper stuck to polystyrene stuck to more woodchip…

(finally getting it all down!)

Eventually, our lovely plasterer Danny arrived, and suddenley things started to look interesting…the vision Id had in my mind for so long was starting to take shape!

(the Lounge end, all plastered and Smoooooooooooth!)

In the weeks that followed, we tackled all manner of jobs that present themselves when you take a house back to its bare bones. Electricity and plumbing problems – flooring that needed relaying about six times etc, but finally came the day that we could move back in! We still need to get the pictures up, the bits and bobs out of their boxes and the bookcase and the books back in, but all in good time, and for now, we are sitting back and enjoying our new space.

(Dining Room end)

(Lounge End)
Phew! Im glad we’ve done it. And now Im ready for a little break away…it just so happens it’s my future-in-laws anniversary this weekend, so we are going to be celebrating and relaxing with them. A trip to the coast may be on the cards too, a perfect wind down and much needed time to crack on with that new scarf!

Sending love to you all, I’ll endeavour to catch up with you and your blogs now, as things are back to normal – Ive only had stolen minutes to quickly glance at a few here and there so Im looking forward to a nice hour of browsing!

See you again soon,

Julia x

Just for fun today…

Hello dear souls, hope your week is flowing in a lovely and sunny way – the weather has been glorious here, we are in t-shirts and slathering on the suncream, eating al-fresco and contemplating summer holidays!
As you can see, Ive been busy today on some new textile art – its a little beach scene that Ive done onto felt backing with a mixture of fabric remnants I have in my sewing box, although its not quite finished yet – Ive still got a fair bit of hand embellishment to do, such as adding sparkly fish and some embroidered text.
I wonder if you can see the lovely stuff that the little boat is sewn on to? Its a glorious product that no doubt many of you might have heard of, called Angelina Fibres which is the most magical and amazing thing Ive been playing about with today! For those of you who are shaking your head and thinking, ‘haven’t got a clue what you’re on about’ I’ll explain 🙂
Angelina Fibres are lovely shimmery strands that look like angel hair, they are mostly irredescent and when they catch the light they glow like the wings of damsel flies in the sun. You lay down your choice of fibres (you can mingle in various other colours, you dont have to stick to one shade) onto a piece of baking parchment, and then when you are satisfied with your design, you lay another piece of parchment over the top and with a medium heated iron, just glide over the top a few times to bind the fibres…here’s the best bit…when you peel away the top parchment, you have a piece of shimmery fabric!! The possibilities for this beautiful stuff are endless – oh, and you can also add in threads, feathers and the like for extra texture!
I thought this would be a great way to get the effect of a shimmery sea without it being too over the top. Im just beginning to hand embroider my little glittery fish onto it, Im after a shoal in front of the boat but my fingers are worn out today so Im going to pick it up again tomorrow.
Im now debating whether it would be fun to enter this for the art show…musing on it at the moment but I think I’ll get the feeling whether or not its the right thing to do when its finished.
Indecisive as ever eh?!!
Onto other things now, the crochet cushion front is now complete (hurrah!!) and Im now on the lookout for a suitable backing, perhaps later in the week, the little one and I will pootle over to Ecclesall Road at the other side of the city to browse the charity shops (alot of them on there) and will hopefully strike lucky! I can’t wait to have it finished and plonked on the bed 🙂 …Ive already got another cushion pad at the ready, so taken am I with this ripply style that Im planning another one in contrasting shades! Do I ever stop?? No.
Well, as usual there are too many things I want to be doing and not enough hours in the day to do them all, so I think its time to take a break – get the kettle on and make a nice cuppa to go with those scrumptious chocolate cookies Mr Tesco just brought! 😀
Have a lovely week, sending joy~full surprises and sunshine to you
J x