Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Workshops for the New Year

I have the following workshops planned for January and February:
  • Sunday 10th January 2010 - Metal Embossing III 2.00pm to 4.00pm. We will be putting the finishing touches to our metal, making up the book covers and constructing the book. £30.
  • Saturday 16th January 2010 - Wire Jewellery 10.30am to 12.30pm. Learn the basics of constructing a necklace using wire and beads. £30.
  • Friday 19th February 2010 - Silk Paper 10.30am to 12.30pm. We will use silk with other fibres and mixed media to make wonderful textured surfaces which can be used for stitching, vessels and even jewellery.
  • Friday 26th February 2010 - Tapestry Weaving with Joan Young. Using a simple frame, learn the basic techniques of this centuries old craft. £30.
Later in the year I will be holding some mixed media classes in conjunction with Sharne Gregory - I'm really looking forward to working with Sharne. More details will follow, but they will be held on Saturdays.

To book, just give me a ring on 01268 523780 (see New Year opening hours below) or drop me an email at


Cloth Paper Scissors

The latest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors has arrived, and it has some fascinating articles and projects. For a start, the cover calls to me - all my favourite colours!

There is an article on design by one of my favourite textile artists, Beryl Taylor, painting on paper, wood, canvas, creating a journal, encaustic collage, paper quilting using a colour wheel for inspiration, birds, faces, houses, sculpture and stitch - there's something for nearly everyone!


Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Merry Christmas

I'd like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

I hope you all have a great time, eat plenty and drink much (responsibily of course!) and find some time for stitching and crafting.

I'll be back after Christmas and hope to see you all soon. Don't forget I'm offering double Loyalty Card stamps between Christmas and the New Year and our sale starts on 2nd January.

I'm repeating my Christmas opening times below:

Wednesday 23rd December - 10am to 8pm
Thursday 24th December to Monday 28th December - CLOSED
Tuesday 29th December to Thursday 31st December - 11am to 4pm
Friday 1st January - CLOSED
Saturday 2nd January and Sunday 3rd January - 11am to 4pm
Monday 4th January - CLOSED
Tuesday 5th January onwards - 10am to 5pm

Best wishes,


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Beautiful Bowls

When I visited Basildon Embroiderers' Guild last month, Kath Danswan was the speaker. She showed us the bowls amd creatures she has been making and told us about the processes involved. As she has relatives on Canvey Island, she popped into the studio yesterday with copies of her bood 'Beautiful Bowls and Colourful Creatures' which I now have on sale.

It shows how to make some of the lovely bowls I saw during her talks, as well as her winged creatures.


Friday, 18 December 2009

Winter Wonderland

It really is a Winter Wonderland at Barleylands today. Just in case you were thinking of coming over today, I can tell you that the car park has been cleared of snow and I'm open!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Christmas and New Year Opening Hours

Barleylands has another late night opening until 8pm on Thursday 17th December. On Wednesday 23rd we will also be open until 8pm, there will also be a Farmer's Market and you may even catch a glimpse of Father Christmas!

Our Christmas opening hours are shown below. Please note that from 29th December until 3rd January we will be opening a little later and closing a bit earlier.

Wednesday 23rd December - 10am to 8pm
Thursday 24th December to Monday 28th December - CLOSED
Tuesday 29th December to Thursday 31st December - 11am to 4pm
Friday 1st January - CLOSED
Saturday 2nd January and Sunday 3rd January - 11am to 4pm
Monday 4th January - CLOSED
Tuesday 5th January onwards - 10am to 5pm

Loyalty Card Bonus

For those of you with a Craft Arena Loyalty Card, you can pick up a bonus between Christmas and the New Year. Just spend over £5 between 29th and 31st December and you will receive double stamps on your Loyalty Card. Don’t forget that when you fill a card, you will receive £10 off your next purchase.

Craft Arena Sale

Our sale will start on Saturday 2nd January, so drop by to pick up a bargain. There will be 3 for 2 offers as well as substantial discounts on selected items.


Saturday, 12 December 2009

Metal Magic

I've just got in some wonderful metal paints and patinas. Metal Effects® Reactive Metallic Paints are water based and contain real metal particles. These paints will tarnish naturally over time when exposed to the elements or the process can be speeded up by applying Patina Ageing Solutions & Activators which will speed up the oxidation process to create beautiful, authentic Patina, Baroque and Rusted Iron finishes on any paintable surface including fabric. Reactive Metallic Paints can be applied using a brush, roller or spray equipment and are suitable for interior/exterior surfaces.

The sample shown is a piece I worked on using these paints with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden at Ally Pally. I stitched into velvet, adding rolled pieces of felt and stitching, painted with the Bronze Metal Effect paint and used the Blue patina fluid on top. I finished it off with a little Treasure Gold to highlight the contours.

I can't wait to play with the other colours!


Thursday, 3 December 2009

New Quilting Arts

The latest issue of Quilting Arts is once more full of inspiration, with articles on using water-soluble pigments for colouring fabric, to fibre art pillows filled with aromatic herbs. You can also find out how to use stickers as a resist to add text to fabric use needle-felted backgrounds as a foundation for stitch. With many other techniques and articles, this is another jam-packed issue.


Sunday, 29 November 2009

Sari Yarn

Sandy Draper (Chair of Basildon and District Embroiderers' Guild) dropped in this afternoon to show me some of her work. She had been on a workshop with Jill Sweet and learnt a technique using rug canvas using a large needle with a crochet hook at the other end. Sandy decided to try this with the sari yarn she had bought a little while ago, and I think the result is stunning!

If you have a project made with products bought at Craft Arena, do bring them in to show me and I can share them here.


Thursday, 26 November 2009

Late Night Opening

Barleylands is open late tonight (Thursday 26th) and every Thursday until Christmas until 8pm and also on Wednesday 23rd December. Even more opportunities for you to come over and stock up for the work you are going to do during the Christmas break, or buy unusual presents for your friends and family for Christmas and birthdays.

I have made some sketch books, diaries and address books, button necklaces (including a new style knotted button and bead necklace) and also button brooches and hand painted silk brooches.


Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Stitch with the Embroiderers' Guild

I've just received the latest issue of Stitch with the Embroiderers' Guild, and as usual it is packed with brilliant projects and information. From stumpwork sheep, applique using DIY objects, crazy patchwork, plastics. goldwork and even cup cakes, this is a jam-packed issue.


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Christmas at Barleylands

4pm on Friday 20th November is the start of Christmas at Barleylands Craft Village. Father Christmas will be arriving, and our Christmas lights will be switched on by a very special guest. There will be live music and local school choirs will perform. Join us for a glass of mulled wine and mince pies until 8pm to enjoy the atmosphere and start (or finish) your Christmas shopping.

If you can't make Friday, the festivities will continue over the weekend from 10am to 4pm and the Craft Village will be open until 8pm every Thursday from 26th November up to Christmas and on Wednesday 23rd December.

With live demonstrations on Friday, Saturday morning and Sunday, why not drop in and see what is going on?

Hope to see you then,


Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Latest Stock News

I've just got in some feathers - peacock, marabo and pheasant.

Also in:
  • Shisha Mirrors. They are in packs of six and are 1 cm wide. Quite small, but a start. I may be able to get some larger ones in the new year.
  • Small Brass Bells - as featured in this months issue of Stitch with the Embroiderers' Guild
More stock expected soon, so keep popping back!


Saturday, 31 October 2009

Spooky Night

I wanted to be at the Barleylands Spooky Night last night, but unfortunately, the studio was taken over by a mad witch who I understand spent the whole night cackling and scaring both the children and adults who attended. My apologies for this, and I can assure you that normal service has been restored.


Tuesday, 27 October 2009

New Things

I've found some little brass charms with a stitching theme. As you can see, there is a thimble, safety pin, sewing machine, scissors and a reel of thread in each pack.

I've now received my d4daisy delivery and now have all the books in the series. These are:
  • Exploring Colour with Julia Caprara
  • Textile Translations: Mixed Media by Maggie Grey
  • Embellish & Stitch by Maggie Grey and Vall Campbell-Harding
  • Stitches, Straps & Layers by Maggie Grey
  • Stitching the Textured Surface by Lynda Monk and Carol McFee
  • Contrasting Elements by Jae Maries
All great books. If you've not seen them, do come in and take a look. The books are taking over more of the shop, but you can never have enough books.

I've also got Silk Paper by Sarah Lawrence and The Art of Stitching on Metal back in stock. I know some of you have been waiting for these.

Also in:
  • 100% cotton fabric
  • felt that melts (I hope!)
  • Fabric Master heat tools for melting the felt (and other fabric)
  • A special publication from Quilting Arts called International Quilt Festival: Quilt Scene. This has projects and articles mainly about quilting, but as usual with these magazines, the techniques can be used for all types of media. I particularly like the fabric fortune cookies!


This is what I made at the Artsy Crafty weekend. I'm quite pleased with the results.

The clock was the most challenging; we painted and stamped and painted some more, and used metal embossing techniques to embellish all the pieces. I used some techniques I'd not tried before, and some of these will be creeping into my workshops over the next few months.

If you get the chance to attend one of Linda and Leandra's workshops, do go. It was well organised and we had just the right amount of time to complete projects. It was a brilliant weekend.


Saturday, 24 October 2009

Weekend Off (or not!)

I'm spending the weekend in Newport Pagnell at the ArtsyCrafty workshop run by Linda of LB Crafts and Leandra of PaperArtsy.

We are having a great time playing with paints and sprays and stamps and clocks (yes, clocks), and have already achieved a great deal. I'll post photos when I get back, but in the meantime take a look at Linda's blog for a sneak preview.


Friday, 23 October 2009

New Stock

Just arrived:
  • The Flower Stitcher. As used by Maggie Grey, this fits onto your sewing machine and enables you to stitch circles onto felt or dissolvable film which can be applied to your work. If you have not seen it used before, I have some samples.
  • The entire d4daisy catalogue of books, including Maggie Grey's latest plus those by Lynda Monk and Carol McFee, Julia Caprara and Jae Maries.
  • Four new Karantha moulds from Craftynotions. These can be used for stamping, and with various media to create texture in your work. They are: Seeds & Flowers, Pods, Leafy and Roses.
  • More Sari Ribbon has arrived - this sold out very quickly last time they came in.
I'm away for a weekend of crafting with Linda and Leandra - Eileen is looking after things whilst I'm away. See you all soon.


Tuesday, 20 October 2009

New Books

Two new books have just arrived. For the traditional embroiderer, Embroidered Pansies by Diana Lampe gives step by step instructions, diagrames and pictures for stitching loads of pretty pansies.

For those of you for whom ATC's or postcards are too big, why not try Inchies? This new book from Search Press has loads of ideas for making and using miniature works of art using textiles and mixed media techniques.


Tuesday, 13 October 2009

New arrivals

Three new books arrived today; Transparency in Textiles by Dawn Thorne, Connecting Art to Stitch by Sandra Meech and Experimental Textiles by Kim Thittichai.

Experimental Textiles is a 'back to basics' book, based on Kim's own textile courses, and is divided into two parts, the first features plenty of design processes and ideas for formulating projects and the second showcases the work of textile artists.

Connecting Art to Stitch has a series of exercises on creating source material with pencil, paint and use of colour, then transferring your designs to fabric.

Transparancy in Textiles explores traditional and innovative transparent techniques, with plenty of examples of work by Dawn and other textile artists.


Friday, 9 October 2009

Ally Pally

I'm back from my annual pilgrimage to the Knitting and Stitching Show where I had a great time! During the morning I took in a demonstration by Jan Beaney on dissolvable film - quite serendipitous as I'd been playing about with some on Thursday evening at my Workout Club. Luckily, most of the samples she talked about I stock in the studio, so no need for me to wait to play!

Keeping on the dissolvable film theme, I also stopped by Diane Bates' stand and saw her latest work. She has moved away from those wonderful textured bodices has just finished a wonderful piece made using dissolvable film, wire and thread. She told me that she started it as she wanted to do something quicker than the clothing she is renowned for, but the panels she created took even longer! To counterbalance that, she is also showing some stitched portraits which are brilliant!

After a little more retail therapy, I did a workshop with Alysn Midgelow Marsden, one of my favourite textile artists. We played with 'tarnished surfaces' and once my sample is dry, I'll post a picture. I also saw several things I'd love to stock in the studio, and will keep you posted as I get them in. I can say that I've bought back samples of some brilliant new stencils and stamping mats from Craftynotions, and hope soon to have some silk perle which sews beautifully - wonderful for Hardanger! I'll also be getting in some new experimental packs from Oliver Twists - just wait until you see the colours!

If you are going to Ally Pally this weekend, have a wonderful time. There is so much to see, especially the textile exhibitions, graduate students work and Art of Stitch. And don't forget to visit the EAST display; some of our local talent showing their work with, and inspired by, the Warner Textile Archive.


Tuesday, 6 October 2009

New Books Available

A couple of new books in: Embroidered Jewellery by Shirley Anne Sherris and Embroidered Books by Isobel Hall. Both full of wonderful items to make, and both are now sitting on my bookshelf! I only ordered a couple of each, so first come first served for those left!!!


Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Scrummy Yummy!

Just had in the sari yarn I ordered from Craftynotions. Say no more!

I have also been playing with one of the techniques featured in Issue 40 of Quilting Arts. This featured gelatine as a base for printing onto fabric. It involved dissolving gelatine powder and setting it before adding paint. Of course I couldn't be bothered with all that, so last night I tried using a block of Sainsbury's economy strawberry jelly! Worked out quite well. I tried several different textile paints and had most success with Lumiere but also used Pumpkin Palace paints and a few odds and ends I had left. So, here are some of the results of my 'jelly printing':

The first used three colours of Lumiere, fairly thickly applied, adding more paint after each print.The second used the ends of various old paint and cannot be repeated as I used them up! Again, thickly applied and each print overlapped the last block.

With the next , I didn't add any more paint between prints, and created a 'ghosting' effect.

And finally, I used the reverse of the jelly to print this:The only problem now, is to work out what I'm going to do with them!


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Quilting Arts 41 and Stitch 61

The new issue of Quilting Arts has just arrived. I'm looking through it as I type this, and it is another great issue.

There are articles on Rusting, monoprinting and, would you believe it, SNOW-RESIST DYEING! This uses Procion MX dye and mixes it with snow which gradually melts onto the fabric introducing the dye. Roll on winter!! With lots of other ideas for stitching and painting onto fabric, as well as artist profiles, this is an excellent issue. The last issue sold out, so don't leave it to long to get yours.

No sooner had I posted about Quilting Arts than Sittch with the Embroiderers' Guild arrived. This has some wonderful projects including a crazy patchwork heart encrusted with hand stitching and a textured landscape by Jean Draper stitching on scrim - this is now on my To Do list as I have some lovely scrim in the studio. There are also cards made using sequin waste (I have some of that too!), needlefelting, drawn thread work and mixed media techniques using Evolon fabric, textile postcards plus much more.



Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Just In

These fun pumps are great for using with water based paints and dye, such as Dye na Flow fabric paints or even left over Procion Dye, to spray fabric and paper. They are hand-primed aerosol bottles which hold approx 125 ml and come with a spare nozzle.

For the jewellery makers among you, I have also found some rather pretty copper head pins, copper lobster clasps and will be stocking more copper findings soon.

Further supplies of Pre-Felt are in, together with some rather nice silk noil - a finer quality to the noil I have stocked in the past, this is great for dying or stitching on just as it is.


Thursday, 10 September 2009

Essex Country Show

This weekend, Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th September, is the Barleylands Essex Country Show. This is the only weekend of the year when entry to the Craft Village is restricted and will cost you to come in. The bonus is that the Country Show is a wonderful day out with loads to see and do. For more information visit the Essex Country Show website.

Unfortunately Craft Arena will be closed on Sunday 13th, although Jayne at Well Suited, Studio 50, will have the key and will be pleased to let you in to have a look around. I'll be back to normal on Tuesday 15th September.


Thursday, 3 September 2009


I have a customer who buys lots of T-Juice fineliner fabric pens, and I have finally found out why! She bought some of her work in to show me yesterday when she came in for more and I thought you would like to see them.

Aren't they great? Mrs Graham also incorporates Lumiere Paint in her work.


Wednesday, 2 September 2009

New In

Just a quick one, as I'm still trying to catch up with having a day off yesterday - that'll teach me!

Sarah Lawrence has two new booklets out; It's Just...Puff Paint and It's Just...Rusty Stuff. Both are creative guides to techniques about which I get frequently asked and are full of ideas for using these media.

I've also had some lovely cross stitch kits in for Christmas - more later.


Monday, 31 August 2009

Day Off!

Craft Arena will be closed on Tuesday 1st September. If you need supplies, Jayne from Well Suited, Studio 50, will be pleased to help. We will be back to normal on Wednesday 2nd September.

It's my birthday, and I'm collecting my new car!

See you soon,


Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Ideas a Plenty!

The latest Cloth Paper Scissors has just arrived. This issue has lots of ideas including making rolling stamps, art dolls, ideas for halloween, using masking paper and fluid (called frisket in the US), and some great brooches. As I'm labeled 'brooch woman' by my kids, this is the first article I turned to. Expect to see me wearing one soon! This is a great issue with lots of inspirational articles.

Also in is the 2009 issue of Quilting Arts Gifts which is packed with 20 projects for Christmas and beyond. It has loads of ideas for painting, quilting, mixed media work and stitching including the lowest calorie biscuits I've ever seen! This is more like a book than a magazine and will give you a profusion of projects to work on for the next year and beyond.


Wednesday, 19 August 2009

More New Things

Why does a big order have to arrive on the hottest day of the year so far? At least it feels like the hottest!

I've just put 129 little pots of 43 colours into racks. The Jacquard Procion MX Dyes are in!

I've also got Acrylic Matte Medium and Acrylic Wax, plus some Walnut Ink granules to play with - when I get a chance!!!
Now I have to get back to finding somewhere to put all the stuff I've moved to get the Dyes in.

See you soon,


Friday, 14 August 2009

Latest Stock News

Just in:
  • Rusting powder - Great to use for getting rusting effects on fabric
  • A new Colour Spray - Mintyliscious which is a vibrant green, and restocks of Lippyluscious and Kingfisherliscious which sold out very quickly.
  • More stock of the fabulous Craftynotions stamps (used in the rusting sample)
  • Some great new little jars of mica flakes in gold and silver, which can be added to silk paper, felt, paint and lots of other media for a bit of extra bling.
  • Buttons, buttons, buttons - some of my favourite button colours are back in stock. Use them for making necklaces & brooches, enhancing scrapbook pages, textile postcards and textile pictures or even just to play with; it's very theraputic to run your hands through a pile of buttons!
If you are on my mailing list, you should have received my latest newsletter by now. If not, let me know and I'll send you one, or read it online here.

More soon,


Wednesday, 12 August 2009


I've created a Facebook page which you can access here. You will need a Facebook account to view my page. Let me know what you think. The image I've used is my new postcard.


Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Texture Magic Samples

Texture Magic fabric stitched onto fabric in one inch squares then zapped with a steam iron:

Half inch squares:

Wavy lines:

Vermicelli stitching:

In all samples, I've used white thread and cotton fabric so you can see the stitching more easily. It's a bit like shirring without elastic and would be great for manipulating all types of fabric. It will be interesting to see the results on scrim or muslin!


Texture Magic

I've just had a supply of Texture Magic. This is a fabric which shrinks up to 30%. The idea is that you stitch it to your base fabric, blast it with your steam iron and watch the fabric shrink! It's a bit like shirring without elastic. I've been doing some samples and will hopefully have time to get pictures of them onto the blog this afternoon. I've also taken delivery of cold water dissolvable fabric, which some people prefer to film.


Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Quilting Arts

The latest issue of Quilting Arts has arrived. Articles include:

“Flight of Fantasy”
Frances Holliday Alford
A gelatin monoprint process

Ethically Ethnic Cuffs
Jill Amanda Kennedy
Asian-inspired, richly embroidered accessories that won’t cost the earth

Stitchable Surfaces
Carol Shinn


Artist Profile: Ludmila Aristova
Susie Monday

Creating with Silk
Betty Busby
Painted & beaded trees

Deconstructed Engravings
Linda Colsh
Printing with incised rubbing plates
& non-toxic materials

The Whisper Quilt Challenge
Kris Sazaki and Deb Cashatt
A new take on an old game


Sunday, 26 July 2009

I've just finished taking a Metal Embossing workshop and thought you might like to see the results.

These were done by Val, Sue, Madeline and Christine and as none of them had done any embossing before, I think they did brilliantly! The cards are made using Metal Tape and the panels are for the front of a book; we will be embossing the back cover at the next class, and then making it up at the last class in the series. If you are interested in learning the simple techniques involved in this fascinating craft, get in touch or visit the workshop page of my website.