Heavenly Cowslip

I've been a bit quiet on the Blog over the past month - it's been a month of Making and little else, primarily in preparation for the Summer Fair at the beautiful Cowslip Workshops in Launceston, Cornwall over the weekend of 24th-25th July.   

I wrote about my previous visit to Cowslip in an earlier Blog Post - if you can, you must visit, as words cannot quite describe what an absolute pleasure Cowslip is.  Set in beautiful Cornish countryside, just on the edge of Launceston, Cowslip Workshops was founded by current owner and Quilter Jo Colwill. There is a beautiful and very well stocked fabric shop, with everything you could possibly need to make a quilt or endless craft projects, together with handpicked local crafts on sale.  The cafe serves delicious home cooked food and is always bustling with the happy hum of visitors and locals alike.  

Cowslip Workshops Summer Fair

I was so excited to be invited to have a stall at the Fair.  I had heard wonderful whisperings about the quality, atmosphere and footfall of Cowslip's Summer and Christmas Fairs, which coupled with my love of this beautiful place, made it a simple 'ooh, yes please!' without a moment's hesitation.

I set off in the torrential rain and braced myself for a hairy journey down the motorway.  When I arrived at Cowslip, I was greeted by Jo and my 'frazzlement' (a new word) melted away.  As I found my way into the 'Cowshed' where the Fair was to be held, it was like being welcomed with open arms into a lovely warm, quilted corner of heaven.  I had arrived and everything was going to be okay.  In fact, everything was just wonderful.

The 'Cowshed' is a beautifully simple but vast whitewashed, light-filled open space.  It has a tin roof and overhead a dotting of rudimentary skylights cast beautiful pools of light onto the concrete floor.  The simple agricultural shape of the former cowshed was transformed by layers of beautiful Quilts, seemingly suspended in thin air - despite stepping into this wide open space I had the sense of being cushioned in a sea of glorious colour and pattern.  It was quite magical.  

Slowly as I rummaged through my own boxes, the tables and spaces began to fill up.  The air was filled with the familiar gentle hubbub of quiet contemplation and earnest concentration as beautiful textiles, ceramics and artwork were carefully taken out of their tissue paper and bubble wrap, then arranged (and re-arranged) in place.  

Speaking with the people around me, I learnt that the majority of the stallholders lived in Devon or Cornwall and many had been attending the Fair for many years.  I felt very privileged to have the opportunity to take part and everyone was incredibly welcoming and friendly.  I really felt at home.

A Sense of Belonging

Over the last few months I have started to think about where my 'work' belongs - where it fits in the vast sphere of 'Contemporary Craft'.  At many of the Fairs I have been to, there has been an abundance of Illustration work and beautifully conceived contemporary designs - sold as prints, ceramics, tea towels, t-shirts and tote bags.  By contrast, I have worried that my work, with its abundance of floral prints (albeit in the form of simple shapes and clean lines) might be perceived as twee, old-fashioned or just too pretty.  

I found it interesting that at Cowslip, in contrast to the urban and often minimalist feel of many 'City' Handmade Fairs I have been to, there was a notable emphasis on textiles, vintage (haberdashery/fabric/clothing and homewares), glass and ceramics. I wonder if this 'modern rustic' vibe is typical of more rural Handmade Fairs in Devon and Cornwall or a very special quality of Cowslip?

It was quite awe-inspiring to exhibit alongside such an array of incredibly talented Textile Artists such as Sarah J Perry Designs and Betty's Bubble, let alone the other wonderful Makers and Artists - each working with fabric, textiles, wool, ceramics, paint and glass in their own unique way.

I know that it is *because* of the sheer abundance of individual styles, tastes and skills that fall under the umbrella of 'Handmade/Contemporary Craft/Artisan'  that it is such an exciting, inspirational and at times, (for me personally) challenging creative world to be part of.  I guess what I am trying to say is that I had a 'sense of belonging' at Cowslip - people 'got' my work (no mumbled self-depracation needed), and that in itself was incredibly rewarding.  

After a wonderful 2 1/2 days in Cornwall, I set off homeward-bound with a beating, giddy heart and a skip in my step.  Inspired, enthralled and quite frankly buzzing with the excitement of such a brilliant weekend.

Shipton & Cowslip Quilters

I can not finish this post without proper tribute to the gorgeous Handmade Quilts that provided our backdrop all weekend.  The Quilts were part of an exhibition by the Shipton Quilters together with students from Cowslip Workshops.  I wish I'd had more time to look at each of them in detail - they were all so unique and I was in awe of the hours, and hours that had been devoted to creating each one.  I'm not sure I would have the patience - let alone enough clear floorspace or work surface to make a quilt half the size!  

The Fair also celebrated the launch of Jo Colwill's beautiful new book 'Patchwork Quilts and Gifts'.  With 20 patchwork projects for beginner and experienced sewers alike and inspired by Jo's most popular Workshops at Cowslip, this book is a wonderful opportunity to try Patchwork for the first time, or to find inspiration for new projects if you're an experienced quilter.

Christmas at Cowslip

I am absolutely delighted to be returning to Cowslip for the Christmas Fair from 20th-22nd November - surely a date for your diaries!  I know I can't wait.

Look forward to catching up soon - I always love to hear from you soon so please feel free to comment or get in touch.


Charlie x


Yours Riley x

Mr D just alluded (briefly I hasten to add - I gave him short thrift) of me 'living the life of Riley'...

With special thanks to Wikipedia "The expression, 'Living the life of Riley', suggests an ideal contented life, possibly living on someone else's money, time or work. Rather than a negative freeloading or golddigging aspect, it implies that someone is kept or advantaged."

Short thrift aside. He's probably right. I am content and...whilst I note (and am grateful, in my moment of need) Wiki's clarification re 'negative freeloading' (and golddigging), it is absolutely true, I couldn't do what I do without his support and sacrifice. 

So...thank you Chris (he'll never read this, he's not on FB so I will tell him (again) in person) for supporting me whilst I pursue my errant creative path to happiness & fulfillment. You really are my guardian angel (even if you have NO idea how much cleaning, caring, multi-tasking I do each and every day to keep our little family on track).

Yours Riley x

And the winner is....

Thank you to everyone who liked, commented on and shared my Liberty Lavender Lovebirds giveaway this week.  Well, drum roll please...the time has come to announce the lucky winner of two beautiful Lovebirds crafted from gorgeous Liberty prints and filled to bursting with scrummy organic Provence Lavender.  

There is also a second winner, such was the overwhelming response...one lucky person has also won one of my Liberty and pure wool felt Bird Brooches...he he...I wonder who it is?

Watch this little video to find out xx

A little chuckle

If you follow me on Facebook, you'll have heard this little ditty earlier this week.  I'm sharing it again as it's such a sweet, funny moment that sparked a wonderful association for me that makes me smile every time.  You'll never look at your lavender bags in the same way again...

When I was at the Made In Bristol Fair over Christmas just gone, a (pensioner +) lady came up to my stall with her friend and said how much she loved my Liberty Lavender Pillow Stacks. She was chatting about where she could put them and I said that she could pop one in her drawers (the wooden kind).   She said 'ooh yes, that's a lovely idea, I love things in my knickers!!'.

I laughed - but shouldn't have...she was mortified!

And so we quickly moved on...

Lavender in your drawers

If you fancy popping  a Liberty Lavender Pillow in with your drawers ; ), pop along to my Etsy Shop to pick up your own little stack, while stocks last!  They make a beautiful gift for Mother's Day and are plumped to bursting with gorgeous organic Provence lavender so that they smell as heavenly as they look.

I'd love to hear from you

Do you have any funny Craft Fair anecdotes? Perhaps we can create a little compilation of craft fair moments that have made us chuckle (or cringe)!  I'd love to hear from you if you do...

Have a lovely day and catch up soon,

Charlie x

Creative, not untidy!

My husband has a longstanding misunderstanding about me.  He thinks I'm untidy, disorganised and clumsy.  I, on the other hand, know that I am creative, spirited and well, easily distracted!

My apparent need to take over huge swathes of the dining table, ironing board and front room with piles of fabric, reels of ribbon and other such crafty gorgeousness does little to counterbalance his assertions and, after some reflection, I have decided to make a (very) conscious effort to rein my 'enthusiasm' in a little and 'try' to well, be a bit tidier.

I am very lucky to have a small but perfectly functional craft room all of my own.  It's a tiny box room at the front of the house, with a lovely big window and room for a desk, good storage and a bit of carpet space for cutting out.  However, over time and due to bad habits, it has become a bit of a cupboard, rather than a room in its own right - a room with a purpose. 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying

In her book 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying' (kindly gifted to me at Christmas by my dear husband...hmm!), Marie Kondo says that:

'anything that doesn’t make you happy or isn’t absolutely necessary should be touched, thanked and sent on its way'

I don't know about you, but I have bags and bags of fabric scraps, jars of buttons, bits of lace...remnants of wool.  Things I may 'need' , things that could be loved (if put to good use) and therefore that I feel I can't throw away. 

Marie Kondo's methodical approach to tidying and her philosophy of discarding first, sorting and putting everything away (in its proper place) later, gave me the  'permission' I needed to let go of all those bags.  Some went to the charity shop, others in the recycling, but boy it felt good to be free of them! I no longer feel burdened by a (g)rumbling obligation to do something with them - which is perfect as now I've got lots more room (in my head and my craft room) for all the fabric, buttons and lace I do love.

It's a great little book (I accepted it in the good-natured spirit with which it was given to me...just) and I would definitely recommend it.  I suppose I should tackle the rest of the house at some point...

Love your Creative Space

Now, I suppose I'm beginning to sound a little daft, and dare I say it sentimental - but, I can't remember the last time I had a room of my own.  I have realised that it's something to be treasured - especially as I could all too easily be usurped out of my kingdom and have my dear little room bestowed upon someone (small) who is far more worthy of its four walls than I.  

Whether you have your own four walls, the corner of the dining table or a beautiful garden studio to work from - love and look after your creative space, it's there to be treasured and most of all enjoyed.

I'd love to hear how you keep on top of your crafty mayhem.  Any top tips you can share to keep me on track?

Hope to hear from you soon,

Charlie x



and breathe....

Hello again! I hope you've had a good week and have something lovely planned for the weekend.  I must firstly apologise as I'm in full wittering mode...it's a nervous thing really - it's suddenly dawned me how daunting it is to write a blog post! It's like sitting in front of a huge blank canvas and not knowing what to paint.  My mind whirrs constantly with ideas, images and notions of what I might make next; a fair amount of internal chatter keeps good company with the pretty ideas but writing something cohesive (and interesting to others) is well, daunting!

So anyway, I would be most grateful if you would please bear (or is it bare?) with me as I find my writing mojo.  Over the coming weeks, I can promise you lots of beautiful photos, gorgeous art work (mine and that of the makers I love and admire) and a little glimpse into my life and the things that make me tick.

Feeling brave

This week has been a good week.  My website is live which is really, very exciting (for me!), I love it and it's wonderful to finally  have one place to share photographs of my work and hopefully provide a context for my designs and inspiration.   The response has been wonderful, everyone has been incredibly kind and supportive and I'm very grateful for this, so thank you.

I have been brave this week too.  Creating a website was top of my 'bucket list' for Handmade, so this week I've taken positive steps towards ticking off number 2 on my list (fingers crossed)...hopefully more to tell soon!

Yesterday was spent working in the beautiful 19 Alexandra Road in Clevedon, a little piece of heaven.

Love is in the air

Orders for Valentine's Day are flurrying in...it's so lovely to see you're such a romantic lot at heart!

I have sewn up dozens of lovely Jane Austen Heart Garlands this week (more again tonight), I think they are one of the first designs I came up with and they're still a favourite.  Thankfully my lovely friend Mel has helped me by cutting out the hearts as I find they can soon lose their 'making' appeal if I'm both cutting and sewing them up!

If you need to give a certain someone a little nudge in the right direction...my Jane Austen Garlands are available to buy from my Etsy Shop alongside some beautiful Handmade Valentine's Day cards. 

Cheerio for time

Well, that's me for now.  I hope you have a super weekend and look forward to hearing what you're up to! I need to get changed out of my running stuff and wade through the mountain of Lego that seems to have engulfed the house.  Then, it's an afternoon of cooking...I have just bought the new Deliciously Ella cookbook.  Have you seen it? It's gorgeous - even just to look at! 

Have fun and happy making,

Charlie x



Source: andbreathe


Well, the time has finally come for me to launch my very own Website!  I am a little nervous but very excited and hope that you will enjoy your first visit and want to come back again and again. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my wonderful brother Joe for creating my beautiful website, especially for his patience, time and unerring attention to detail. 

I also want to thank my followers on Facebook and Instagram, my friends and family who put up with my endless stream of photos, and constant chatter of making and creating.  Last but not least my lovely stockists for supporting me and giving me the opportunity to sell my work through them.

I am delighted (big smile) to declare the Handmade by Charlie Deighton officially OPEN!

Thank you for popping by and I hope you'll enjoy your visit!