Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Gorgeous new 'Blingy Bitz' from Craftynotions.

That's enough about the weather. I know it is blowing a hooley out there but at some stage we all need a bit of colour and sparkle.

I have been bullying poor David at Craftynotions.com to come up with a name for the gorgeous little colourful squares I have been playing with on my latest workshops; occasionally allowing my students to use them, but only if they are VERY good. Think of a square sequin without a hole in and you will know what I mean. I took these images with my phone and they aren't the best.

'Blingy Bitz' will be available from the end of next month in eight to ten colours yet to be decided. I couldn't wait until then to tell you about them.
They put a fabulous sparkle onto your work. I iron them onto painted Bondaweb. Yep! I appreciate that will come as a great surprise.

Not only but also - (Yes! I have had a glass of wine). There will also be the new 'Blingy Glitz' - big glitter in the same colours. I say 'big' glitter as some of you will be used to using 'micro' glitter. This glitter is soft and very shiny, not to be confused with the horrible gravel like stuff you get in the one pound shop and supermarkets.

 Blingy Glitz!

 Something you can buy now from Craftynotions.com is the new 'Pirate Treasure' Gilding Flake. It is a new colourway and seems to have every colour you could ever want in there - and Yes! I iron this onto painted Bondaweb too!

Pirate Treasure Gilding flake.

I love playing with new products and as you know I love anything sparkly. Check out www.craftynotions.com next month and see if the new 'Blingy' range is available.
Art Van Go www.artvango.co.uk already sell the gilding flake, dot jewels and mica flakes, I'm sure I can persuade them to carry some of the 'Blingy' range. Art Van Go will be at all the big shows this year - so as well as all their arty stuff - check out their sparkly stuff too. . . .


I'm off to have all my foiled interfacing samples engraved on a laser cutter tomorrow - I am SO excited. I will let you know how I get on.


This time next week Jill - Ha Ha - be VERY afraid!!

Friday, 25 January 2013

A little chilly . . .

Even my fish sculpture is covered in snow.

It started snowing last Friday at about 8am, by 9am I was in my local Asda supermarket, not so much panic buying as 'I'm going to be stuck in the house for a while' buying. I have lived in Brighton for thirty odd years now, and only in the last three winters have we had so much snow. It was unusual as we are close to the sea and apparently the salt in the air stops the snow - not any more.
We had about five inches the first day and then three more inches the next day. Living on top of hill I get trapped as soon as the buses stop running up our roadHaving been caught out with very little food last year, as soon as it started to snow, I was off to do 'the big shop'.
I was not alone - by 9.30am the queues were six people deep. It was like Christmas all over again. Everyone else obviously got stuck in their houses as well last year.

We still have loads of snow but most of us in Brighton can get out and about now, some of the side roads are still treacherous and as for the pavements . . . . I know many of you further up country are suffering great hardship and I can only hope you are coping with what the weather has thrown at you. Whilst the snow is very beautiful it can be so dangerous.

 More brooches that will eventually find their way onto Etsy.

My time being stuck at home has not been wasted. I have been making more jewellery and I have finally finished the manuscript for my fourth book. I have also had time to do something I have been meaning to do for two years. Clear out my cutting room and sort out all my scraps, both from my teaching and nid-noi.com. So - I will have 'scrap packs' at all the shows as long as stocks last.
The shows start in Manchester at Event City 7th - 9th February. This is a new show and will be very exciting. I will be giving a lecture every day at 11.30am about my new newspaper workshop.

 Hot Spots! cut to a gekko shape, ironed onto black cotton and then decorated with heat transfer foil and sequins.

Two products have been flying out (when I can get to the post office) of www.nid-noi.com since the beginning of the year. I can't work out why these two in particular, I am not aware of any articles in any magazines. I have had to order more Hot Spots in from Germany. I thought I had enough to last until the end of the shows in April, but no. A good problem to have but I have to order 100m at a time - gulp! 
I can understand the Hot Spots! being popular over Christmas because of the sparkly nature of the foil used to decorate them, but now? Admittedly a few schools have ordered ready for the beginning of term, but I am still surprised.

The other product that has been flying out is Solufleece. I can only think that by stocking the new Solufix it has reminded everyone about the Solufleece.
Luckily I have plenty of stock as my deliveries have been managing to get through this week. No one has had to wait toooo long for their order.
Newspaper, layered and stitched with Solufleece and Bondaweb (off the backing paper) and then steamed to create this fabulous effect.

January is my time for planning the whole year and checking I have all the booking forms for Guild workshops. I also have most of 2014 in place as I have some long haul trips planned next year so am also starting to plan these. It is amazing how far in advance it is necessary to plan.

I still have a lot of organising and making up of samples for the Vilene retailer workshops at the trade show Craft, Hobby and Stitch International next month and the workshops for the Vilene Workshop at Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch in March. At the end of April I will be off to Germany to teach at Nadelwelt Karlsruhe - A quilt show!!! I'm not going to be bored am I?

One of the great things about travelling around the country is being able to catch up friends I don't see often enough. Dionne Swift is such a friend, our stands are next door but one to each other at the Manchester show, the last time we saw each other was in Australia last April - crazy isn't it?


I will post again next week when I have my play on a laser cutter - I can't wait!

Keep warm.

Hi Jill, eleven sleeps to go till I stay with you and your poor husband. The poor man won't know what's hit him! Yeeha! I can't wait to see you.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

A great - and colourful, weekend!

Claire's wonderful zingy ginger cookies.

 The weekend was fast and furious and started on Friday night with The Old Needle Works Christmas/New Year party. It was great to see everyone again - it had been quite a while since we had all been together. There was lots of excited chat and of course fabulous food created by The Crafty Cafe.

Our wonderful leader - my dear friend Brenda Killigrew.
 The wonderful Linda Lavin who does her best to keep the office (and Brenda) under control.
 The seemingly inexhaustible Sharon of The Crafty Cafe,

  . . .  and the lovely Joan who does more than anyone realises for everyone else - she is a STAR!!!

 The party finished at a reasonably sensible time as we all had a busy weekend ahead with several classes due in. The Old Needle Works like many thousands of businesses was flooded not once but twice - the second time just after the the floors had been made good from the first flood. This has been a nightmare, luckily there is a spare teaching studio that 2 classes can share. As I was was also due in to teach my ExTex group that made THREE classes.

As luck would have it, one of my ExTex students has a studio of her own at The Old Needle Works and VERY kindly said we could work in there at the weekend. She knew how messy we would be and she STILL offered!
 The group working hard in Heidi's studio.

This being the eighth weekend of a nine weekend course, the nerves are starting to set in. The group are highly aware that their End of Year Show is at the end of March at the Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch Show at the NEC (so no pressure).
Experimental Textiles is not an accredited course so the only pressure put on the group is their own. The point of the course is to help develop confidence in the students practise. Whilst I encourage the group to keep folders and up to date with course work, that is all I can do as there is no pass or fail.
Even with the absence of the qualification 'stick', the group have produced some amazing work and fabulous folders. I am very much looking forward to showing them off - I am very proud of them. Most of the group work full time
and/or have other commitments so they are hard pushed to keep up with the course.

Heidi has a very tidy studio so we could just move in right away.

The 'taught' weekends have finished and the group are now working on their own projects - self directed study with me ready to leap to the rescue should I be required. I usually make a cake to take in but Claire had said she would bake one. ONE - she made a batch of gorgeous ginger cookies, a tin of flapjacks and these heavenly lemon and lime drizzle cakes.

 Claire's lemon and lime drizzle cup cakes.

So - to the work produced over the weekend. I don't really want to show you any finished work from now on as it will spoil the surprise of the show. I will be showing you work in progress - 

 Sally had a great time at the weekend working with the bright colours of transfer paints, here she is cutting out the negative spaces of a design with a scalpel.
 Lots of colourful fun was had.

 This was my favourite sample.

Tracey tends to work in chaos - like many of us she believes 'from chaos comes creativiy'!!!!

A pile of Tracey's machine stitched paper samples.

 More samples  . . .
 Transfer printing onto Vilene spunbond that has been machine stitched, cut with a soldering iron and foiled.

Sharing space with other classes can be very inspiring. Louise Pocock was teaching millinery in the next door studio and helped Tracey with some 3D ideas for one of her samples.

 Heidi had a good time painting newspapers and novels and creating some gorgeous surfaces with painted Bondaweb and all manner of sparkly things.

Shaun spent a lot of the weekend drawing and developing designs for some new printing blocks.

Jo spent some time working on the design for her finished project and then spent the last afternoon stitching colour samples.

Jo is a very tidy worker and her threads are beautifully sorted and in order.

Claire spent the whole weekend delighting in some transfer paper that was used to pack the handbag that was her daughters birthday present. there were several metres of great 'transfer' paper. Claire has been developing some ideas using various layers of polyester organza.

The weekend was very fast moving and we all missed Emma who couldn't make it as she is struggling with the beginning of term and reports. It is very tough trying to juggle your working life and further education. We are all looking forward to seeing her next month.


I am thinking up new packs for nid-noi.com - if any of you have any ideas do drop me a line info@kimthittichai.com

Keep Warm!!!!!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Oysters, a wall of chocolate and chandeliers!!!

A mountain of brightly coloured macaroons.

Well, I am now back home, had the parents and my gorgeous sister over for tea and it's time to start revving myself up for a busy week. I wanted to show you some more of my time in France with my good friends Sue and John Culligan.
Sue and John live in an old stone farmhouse in the heart of the Charente-Maritime in the tiny hamlet of Le Verderie, close to Brizambourg. It's all very rural and lovely. A great place to rest and also to have a great time. Sue and I went to college together many moons ago, so we know each other VERY well. Sue and John run a chambre d'hotes and Sue is the owner of Knitting Holidays in France www.knittingholidaysinfrance.com and is the pattern editor of Knitting Magazine. She is also the author of several books. I have such clever friends.

After several days of dog walks and fantastic food (and much lounging about) we all spent the last day in Bordeaux, about two hours South from Le Verderie. We were flying from Bordeaux so it all worked well. Bordeaux is a very beautiful city with far too much to see in just a few hours.

 Six oysters with shallot vinaigrette.
After wandering around for a while we decided on a place for lunch. As it was my last day I had to have oysters as a starter. I LOVE them! I then had a gorgeous seafood paella, and then I just had to try the Cafe Gormandise - coffee with a selection of small puddings - Oh Bliss . . .

Cafe Gormandise.

Beautiful streets of Bordeaux.

The buildings are so beautiful, the main streets are wide and full of fascinating shops and the shoppers are so smart. There were several buskers entertaining the crowds but this 'statue' caught my eye. His costume was brilliant, very textured. How he manages to stand so still for so long is a small miracle.

Very textured decoration on his costume, lots of old lace machine stitched and spray painted.
Gorgeous blue tiles outside a children's shoe store . . . 

. . . and a brilliant blue door further down the street.

Christmas decorations are usually fabulous in any major city across Europe and Bordeaux is no different.

 Stunning decorations can be seen in most shops across the city.

 Of course there is one type of shop that always draws me in - anything to do with chocolate!!! This shop had a wall of chocolate - heaven, they kindly let me in just to take photos - I was very good and didn't buy any - shock, horror!

 Slabs of chocolate - mmmmmmm!

 The slabs have different 'fillings' from all kinds of nuts to all kinds of fruit and any mixture in between. Scrumptious!

 The boxes of chocolates in the window were exquisite - wonderful repeat shapes . . .

 More repeat shapes . . .

 After lunch we had a mooch about and on the way back to the car we passed a rather lovely coffee house and as we had time we ventured in - for a coffee. The place was stunning with huge chandeliers and beautiful mirrors - very Belle Epoque.

 Out came the cameras, Sue and I took shots under, around and to the side of the chandeliers. Goodness knows what the staff thought - we had a great time trying to outdo each other.

A very rare photograph of Sue Culligan - she - like me, hates her photograph being taken.

I was pleased with this image of the reflection of a chandelier in one of the engraved mirrors.

I had a wondeful time with Sue and John, I try to see them at least once a year whether in the U.K. or in France. They are great hosts, nothing is too much trouble.


So it's back to work, as with most of you. I need to create a slide show for my ExTex girls for next weekend. I am looking forward to hearing their ideas for their end of year projects. It will be good to see them all again.

My diary for the next two years is almost up to date, it just needs a few tweaks. I had no idea how complicated it would be or how much admin time would be required when I made the decision to go freelance.

January is the month for making new decisions and developing ideas - how much fun can a girl have?????

Hope your week goes well.

x x x

Friday, 4 January 2013

A few days away . .

The Abbaye at St-Jean D'angely

Happy New New to you all, I hope you had a relaxing time over the Festive Season??? I expect a lot of you will be returning to work for a rest!

I am in the  middle of my annual New Year trip away to visit friends either France or Spain. This year it is France.
We arrived in France at Bordeaux airport on New Years Eve and had to wait for a couple of hours for my friends to collect us so we took a train into Bordeaux for a poodle about. We didn't see a lot of the city but what we did see was very beautiful. There were several Art Deco buildings in the street next to the station. The Cafe Du Levant had a very splendid frontage with lots of gold tile work and Art Deco statuary.

   A beautiful Art Deco building.

We had flown quite early and were getting hungry so we succumbed to an early lunch of Moules et Fritte. Heaven!

 Heaven on a dish.

 We had a reasonably riotous News Year Eve with my friend John playing in a local band at a local bar - it was great fun. Needless to say the next day was very quiet . .!
A trip into St-Jean D'angley gave me a chance to have a good look around and take some photos. My friends Sue and John live in the tiny hamlet of La Verderie and St-Jean D'angely is a town quite close by.
The Abbaye there is very beautiful with many arches and gorgeous views.
 Looking through an arch - at more arches.

 I love the peeling paint of the wooden shutters next to the grey stonework of the buildings of this area. Very subtle but beautiful colour combinations.
 A Fab door within a door.

 Of course no trip to France is complete with out a visit to a patisserie. Just the way they package your purchases makes the visit worthwhile.

 What's in the box?


This is just a short post - I will tell you more when I get home at the weekend, we are off out to lunch shortly so will have to dash off.

More soon . . .