I Have Become Comfortably Numb!

I hope you understand that the body of this blog was written before the events in London and it is humorous in tone, therefore I have inserted my thoughts on those events  above it.

Here we are again, back in the middle of a senseless act of terrorism. This time on the streets of the city that I worked in for many years and still like to visit. I had to contact my husband who frequently works near by to seek reassurance that he and his colleagues were safe.

I have no words that will make any sense of the murder of both civilians and one brave police officer that literally stood in the path of a mad man.

What can we do? nothing except carry on and refuse to let those that are filled with hate change our minds on anything.

We must support our police officers and those of the ambulance and fire service who have to walk into scenes such as those.

We must continue to demonstrate that only love wins.

Morning my little pains au chocolat! it has been a bit of a week here at WDS towers, I have had two visits to  the medical profession in the last two weeks and they were equally challenging! Visit one confirmed that the numbness that I have been experiencing is as a result of damage in my neck and has limited treatment options…….

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Visit two confirmed a laundry list of diagnoses also with- yes you’ve guessed it – limited treatment options….

So whats a girl to do? I tell you what girls do – we go and run the world thats what! or if you are me you did this…….

I ate a considerable amount of chocolate……

I designed and made this…..

I have a craft fair booked with the amazing Paper Daisy Events who do marvellous publicity for their artists , so I went and looked at my entry……

I walked these morons…….

They really are morons Milo won’t climb the stairs at my mums and uses the stair lift!

( check out my Facebook page for the video)

And I did all the grown up things like taxing the car and networking and just flipping got on with it because thats what girls do!

Kisses

Karen

xxx

Dreary,Disinterested and Dim!

Morning treacles! Mr Darcey Sleeps had a birthday this week, this automatically means a trip to London in our house, he got to choose the activity and took us off to see the exhibition of Elton Johns photography exhibition – The radical eye.

Off to the Tate Modern we went, situated on the south bank of the Thames, which was not looking its best due to some impressively dreary weather……


the Tate Modern is an old power station, and is really imposing especially when you get up close…….


Once inside you find yourself in the Turbine hall, this house quite spectacular works on a mammoth scale, this one (which was being repaired at the time) was a giants version of the old magnetic fishing game………

Once we had oohed and aahed over the turbine exhibit it was off to the exhibition. Elton  John has an extensive photography collection including this iconic image by Man Ray…….

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I think we can all agree that this is a cracking image, the composition and subject matter meeting in the most spectacular way.

However this is where me and the exhibition stopped seeing eye to eye, me the person who lives a completely visual life was…….bored! I don’t really know why, I could understand why the pictures were significant and why you would collect them but they didn’t light my fire. Maybe it was because they were all in black and white I just don’t know.

Feeling a little deflated we took a walk over the millennium bridge and took photos of the stunning views, including the new Globe theatre………


And St Pauls cathedral perfectly framed at the other end of the bridge……

 

A ride in a black cab with a fairly homocidal driver (we gently hit a Deliveroo driver and then cut in front of another cab which descended into a brisk argument with a barely veiled threat of violence) took us to Chinatown which was still wearing its `New Year finery……….


The birthday boy was in the mood for Dim Sum, all those tasty rolls, packages and dumplings! we had a fab meal here…….


As always we concluded with a bit of shopping in the chinese supermarkets and also the Japan Centre just round the corner in Shaftesbury Avenue.

I bought a fab book called Hello  Tokyo………..


Its full of cute ideas for the home and every other aspect of your life, expect to see some makes soon.

so it only remains to say what I should’ve said last week…

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Kisses

Karen xxx

 

Faux fur, Faux leather And A Genuine Hot Dog

Hello loves! well, the darling husband has a birthday this weekend so we took ourselves off to London so that he could visit his favourite comic shop which is handily in Berwick street, home to all the best fabric shops!it was a perfect opportunity to buy some fabric for a Mollie Makes project (more later).

As we were strolling down I spyed this……

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Yes a wildly gyrating Queenie, i’d love to know what she thought!

Into the fantastic Berwick Street cloth shop, I think the windows give you an idea of what is to be found in this stuffed to the brim gem of a shop……

I found these two to make this project……

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

The good news is I have enough fabric to make a couple, so they will eventually be in the Etsy shop and the icing on the cake was meeting a lovely man called Vasilis who teaches at the London College of Art! He showed me some gorgeous gowns his students had made, he will be emailing these too me but is leaving soon for India- when I have them I will give you a bonus post!

A quick pop in the art shop and then to Gosh comics for the birthday boy, something awful happened inside dear reader, I bought stuff!…………

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I am obsessed with Harley Quin and the Suicide Squad characters and will be pimping my car out in her colours. I have no reasonable explanation for the manga book..

By this time we were famished and as my husband and by default daughter are partially german we went to Herman Ze German, that is not an awful stereotypical faux pas on my part, its called that! these hot dogs are the real Mccoy imported from the black forest. I have no idea why, but I took no photos of the food, instead here’s the lovely interior…

I had a veggie wurst and sauerkraut which is a superfood according to the Hemsley sisters, not sure how they would feel about the cheesy chips..

Finally, a tired walk down to chinatown, we popped into M and M world but I can’t show you what I bought as its a birthday present for my little bro’.

we popped to our favourite supermarket, for the essentials……………

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

And a peek at the brand new gate, how gorgeous is this……

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

If you fancy any of these delights heres your links:

theberwickstreetclothshop.com

goshlondon.com

hermanzegerman.com

chinatownlondon.org

Have a lovely week.

kisses

 

Karen

 

Are You A Country Mouse Or A Town Mouse?

l live in a lovely town in mid Sussex, we are on a direct route to London and Brighton, and life is good, low crime, good schools and hospitals. So far, so smug, except times are changing, building is happening everywhere to house people like me who have fled the overheated property market that is London.

You all know how much I love my local wood, here is a view…….

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And here is another one taken from the same spot, just facing the other way……

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As you can imagine local opinion is very much that where we live has been ruined and indeed neighbours of mine fled to the Isle of Wight, citing the building as one of their reasons.

As an ex Londoner I love where we live, and took the following pictures of wildflowers in a single walk…..

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This is my reality every morning, and I accept things have changed, even in the years I have been here, but the wood we have remaining ( and it is one of many in the town) still feels like a privilege, a great gift we have at our disposal.

So what kind of mouse am I? I’m a Mid Sussex mouse, who lives in the semi country but can get to London in 45 minutes and Brighton in 25, I have found my natural habitat and I love it!

Which kind of mouse are you?

Kisses

Karen

McQueen For A Day

I love Alexander McQueen, I will never be able to afford anything from their shop but I love the label. When McQueen was alive I loved it more, I loved his sense of theatre, of traditional tailoring skills, of embellishment and embroidery.

I was devastated when the retrospective of his work was shown at The Met in New York, convinced I would never see his work in person. However, I signed the petition, waited 7 months and here I am in the presence of the great man himself.

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Photography was forbidden within the collection and though many others were snapping away it felt inappropriate, so from now on its second-hand photos from my books and postcards.

Lee McQueen was a Savile Row tailors apprentice when he left school and his ability to cut and tailor shines through the collection but especially the early pieces……

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This piece highlights his tailoring abilities with his twist of deconstruction, as I walked round I was reminded of this quote…

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Lee himself said “You’ve got to know the rules to break them. Thats what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but keep the tradition”.

From the tailored pieces we were taken to a gothic, romantic room with faded, gilded mirrors, many of the pieces were very Victorian , jet beading and heavy black lace so the models looked like that were in mourning. It was also where one of his most iconic pieces was given pride of place………

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Lee was very interested in ornithology and feathers played a large part in his collections, he said this about this collection “It is important to look at death because it is a part of life. It is a sad thing, melancholic but romantic at the same time”.

The next room featured his controversially named “Highland Rape” collection, heavily referencing tartan and ruffled lace…..

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Next to a room lined with bones, for dresses inspired by the Thompsons gazelle and its habitat, this room contained some surprisingly wearable pieces, this was my favourite……

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Its skirt is more purple in reality and the contrast with the lime top is utterly gorgeous.

The next room was an absolute assault on the senses, the walls were lined with bookcases and each square was filled with shoes, hats, bodices and whole looks reclined along a shelf. Centre stage was this dress…

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The dress had been sprayed by two robotic arms, live on the catwalk.

The next room was in complete darkness to show this dress in the form of a hologram…

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I am afraid that I can’t adequately explain how beautiful this was, to see Kate Moss captured in a glass pyramid slowly gyrating so that all the ruffles of this exquisite dress took flight. She was part ghost, part fairy, a man behind me said she looked like Tinkerbell!

Next to a room with a lot of cultural references, Lee said this ” Fashion can be really racist, looking at the clothes of other cultures as costumes”, this is my favourite piece…..

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The colours were very vibrant in reality, and the heavy embroidery was breathtaking.

The next part was not a room at all but a glass box with several dresses and a screen inside which showed the original catwalk. the box was dimmed and then lights flashed on so that we could see the contents…..

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and just as suddenly the walls of the box turned to mirrors, Lee’s intention was this “the idea was to turn people’s faces on themselves. I wanted to turn it around and make them think, am I actually as good as what I am looking at?”

Then to some pieces inspired by nature, this next piece was originally made with fresh flowers because ” Things rot…..I used flowers because they die. my mood was darkly romantic st the time”.

 

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Even in silk flowers it was beyond beautiful.

On to the collection called Plato’s Atlantis and I have my illustration of my favourite piece…

 

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My drawing cannot capture the iridescent gold/purple of the embellishments on this piece. The proportion of the shoes has to be seen to be believed and are way more graceful than they look.

Then…..it was over, we were left filing out into the shop which normally fills me glee. How did I feel? I felt a sense of loss, not that I knew him, but a sense that we would never see that combination of expert tailoring and genius imagination ever again, and that thought made my heart crack a little.

I took a creative writing course before starting this blog and love this quote by Dani Shapiro “fill your ears with the music of good sentences and when you approach the page yourself, that music will carry you” and now as my work is almost completely visual based, I feel the need to “fill my eyes with the music of good design“, and even though they were slightly tear filled, they were definitely full of music.

So my lovelies, who fills your eyes and ears?

 

Kisses

 

Karen

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Deery Me!!

Well, my planned trip to London got off to a very scary start! We take our dog to a day care facility when we are out all day, and during our journey there, we hit a deer! There was no chance of avoiding it, the poor deer managed to run away, I hope it’s OK.

When we got to London feeling very shaken, the whole event was put into perspective by the tragic death of a cyclist that had happened just as we arrived at Victoria Station. If any of you cycle on the roads, please,  from the bottom of my heart be very careful.

On to happier matters, we made our way from the lovely Liberty,

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to the streets of Soho, and the original Yo Sushi in Poland Street, sadly without its beer serving robot!

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A trip to Yo set us up for a walk down the road to Berwick Street and our first stop….

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The embellishments were out of this world…

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And the silks and satins were amongst the best I have ever seen…

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And how about this fabric, embellished with giant pailletes…

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We bought this stunning embellishment for my daughters prom dress…

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Find them online at http://www.silksociety.com.

With our purchase in hand we visited both of the Berwick Street Cloth House stores. The first carries beautiful cottons and linens and huge range of trims etc, the following pictures are from the second store which is beautiful inside,

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and carries more luxurious fabrics, look at these velvets,

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They also stock really unusual trims and vintage buttons

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And as we all can’t get there when we want something, the good news is , they are online at http://www.clothhouse.com.

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From there, we went to look for trimmings,  we found New Trimmings Ltd, this my darlings is heaven!! It is about the size of my front room, but has EVERY type of ribbon, trim,button,bead and sequin you can imagine!! Have a look at just the pink and purple sequins..

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Maribou trim to die for…

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Here is just a small selection of the beads…

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And finally a tiny view of the ribbons…

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They told me that they have a bigger store around the corner, but by that time I was so overwhelmed by choice I think my head would have exploded! Again you can find them online at newtrimmings.co.uk.

At this point it started to snow and we called off our visit to Kleins and headed home. My view of the day? this is where you head for serious fabric, for that special project when you need the very best. I’d like to thank all the stores for being so welcoming and giving permission for these photos.

Have you got a favourite fabric shop? Would you like to see all my purchases? How about a fringed clutch tutorial?

Be careful out there,

Kisses

Karen

 

I said whoooooo do you think you are!

I am afraid that headline is only funny if you are a fan of the Spice Girls! So, on a beautifully crisp, cold,December morning we went to the National Portrait Gallery in London, to see the Who Are You  exhibition by Grayson Perry.

It was one of those delightfully bonkers days that only seem to happen in big cities.

There were reindeers at the station

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There were Santas in a mass cycle maybe for charity or maybe just because they could!

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If you are not familiar with Grayson Perry, he is a multi media artist who is also a transvestite. He has an outstanding ability to speak and understand anyone from the Duchess of Cambridge to those struggling with everyday life, maybe because he does not fulfil a “normal” role within our society.

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Recently, he made a series for Channel 4 exploring the nature of identity and making art works to reflect each individual’s story.

He explored diverse issues that affect our society, from a white, single mum who converted to Islam to a man suffering from Alzheimer’s who was slowly losing all sense of who he was.

The artworks were stunning, for the two examples  I mentioned he made a Hijab ( headscarf) charting the woman’s journey from troubled teen to devout Muslim and a jar covered with pictures of his life and dark areas of dead brain for the Alzheimer’s sufferer.

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I bought this bag which represents a small, part of a huge tapestry called Comfort Blanket  which defined what it was to be British. I love the way he has made the Queen look like everybodys  Nan!

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So inevitably this subject makes you think about your own identity, here are a few pictures that define my own identity.

 

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So, who are you? Send me a photo that sums you up!

Kisses

Karen xxx