It's been a busy couple of weeks, getting all my projects finished ready to go on holiday leaving my studio nice and tidy.
At Christmas we treated ourselves to a couple of special bottles of whisky and I made sure we chose ones that came in those smart cardboard tubes. There were two sizes and I cut each of them into 2 pieces of 10 cms to make into pen pots. I cut out some scraps of fabric to fit and stitched a seam so that they fitted the tube perfectly with a turning at the top.
I stuck the lids on to the tubes for the bases and spread a bit of glue around the lower part to help anchor the fabric before I turned the tops in and glued them to the inside. I found I had to make slits in the turnings so that they fitted neatly on to the inner surface of the tub. I lined the inside with sticky back plastic to hide the cut edges and decorated the base with a length of narrow ribbon. I hope these will sell but if they don't I've got plenty of pens and pencils to fill them with!
I made another 8 A5 sketchbooks in the double pamphlet style and 14 A6, all covered in assorted fabrics and craft papers and I also printed off a lot of my paintings and drawings to make into cards.
Why am I going to all this trouble you may ask? Well, it's all in a good cause, my daughter Justine holds a charity garden party every year in aid of her local hospice. Last year I made a lot of hand bound sketchbooks and did very well selling them as well as cards and gift bags.
We've already booked the ferry for a trip to England for this year's party and I'm really looking forward to it as I get to see all my family who come to support us and eat the delicious cakes made by my clever granddaughters.
Last year we had a dry day and were able to sit outside to enjoy the goodies, you can see Justine's pool house in the reflection in the window where all the teas and cakes were served. In the morning I picked a huge bunch of bluebells from the copse outside her garden gates and made these lovely table decorations which co-ordinated beautifully with the garden furniture.
Here I am with my table of wares in Justine's 'beading shed'. I was also in charge of selling her beautiful hand made jewellery and hardly had a moment to sit down as lots of friends and neighbours all turned out to support our good cause.
This is the beading shed looking lovely with it's pansy window boxes. Justine loves gardening and had produced a lot of seedlings and cuttings for sale all of which sold out. At the end of the day we had made over £500 for Woking Hospice.
Last job of the week was to prepare for the holiday by getting my sketching kit together. I made a pencil case last year from some odds and ends of fabric which holds all my museum pencils as well as a handful of pens and waterbrushes and a pencil sharpener. I'll take a couple of sketchbooks, the new one covered in the embroidered fabric and a smaller one that I keep in my handbag for on the spot sketching.
All that remains is to pack my case and catch the plane on Saturday afternoon so I'll say "au revoir et à bientot!"