26 September 2011

What do you do...?

My friends got married on Thursday. Such a perfect day... the people, the setting... (in the beautiful green rolling hills of Devon, so close to my heart).
Sometimes these occasions throw a little surprise into the mix too, when you meet really interesting people. There were these 'shoats' (are they sheep, are they goats?) in the field in front of the country house... no, that's not it. I met someone who must also have difficulty filling in the field 'occupation' in insurance quotes, product designer, writer and lecturer at Chicago's School of the Art Institute, Tim Parsons. Of course there is never enough time between drinks, boogying, bouncing (reluctantly I might add, due to attire and picture snappers, hmm...) on space hoppers, and all that malarkey, to find out more which is why I am very glad he gave me his card.

What an interesting life he must lead! After a little peek through his website pages, his last installation is what caught my eye: Adhocism (with Jess Charlesworth, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago - sadly ended in the Summer). It looked at using an ad hoc approach to product design.
As I started reading it dawned on me, I am an adhocist *pause for effect* (do you think I can use that in my insurance quotes?), most of us are, or at least were, as kids. I always thought of it as fudging, but fudger, or even fudgist, and fudgism not only don't sound half as good, they are quite inaccurate. My lovely made up tables and shelves are no slapdash job, they are a thing of beauty :)
Adhocism fits right in with our beloved 'mend and make do', reuse and recycle...

The term comes from Charles Jencks and Nathan Silver's 1972 book "Adhocism: The Case for Improvisation".
Before I ruin it with my fudgisms, here is a quote which sums it all:

"Adhocism is the art of living and doing things ad hoc - tackling problems at once, using materials at hand, rather than waiting for the perfect moment or "proper" approach."
Charles Jencks

I see you nodding knowingly :)

So next time Ade disses my inspired ideas using whatever I find lying around, and says "let's do it properly", I can call on the adhocism principles!

Annabelle x

PS: I can't leave you without any photos so here is a little hoop line up and my latest embroidery designs - a little bigger that usual in 10" hoops. (in the shops, as usual!)

Hoop line up... embroidery hoop art by Three Red Apples

embroidery hoop art by Three Red Apples

Let's go! embroidery hoop art by Three Red Apples

06 September 2011

Happy rain commission

Commission work...

One of the things I enjoy the most is making commission work. It gets me all nervous and excited at the same time. So far I have been given fairly loose briefs and left to run with it. Amazing! How do these people trust me with their budget?! Oh the pressure... I would be devastated if they hated it.

So, after a lot of hmm'ing and ha'ing I came up with this canvas. The brief: have the words "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain" and for it not to be too girly as it was a wedding present.

Commission back...

A little detail on the back with their wedding date.

03 September 2011

Crochet effort & Renault 4 Quatrelles...

If you are anything like me, you will know all about those projects that seem to stay forever in progress. Most annoying... Especially as by the time I finish them, I have often changed my mind/don't like anymore/lost interest and moved onto something else.

A few weeks back however, I went back to Brittany to spend a few relaxing days with my Mum and Dad. Perfect time to pick up my crochet hook & this little cushion, and finally finish it.

Crocheted cushion...

Crocheted cushion...

Crocheted cushion...

It's a bit rough around the edges (using different types of yarn probably didn't help), but I was pretty pleased with my first effort. Epic!
Although I find the colours a little bright now (see, I left it too long to finish :), it goes well with this little pillow case I found thrifting whilst I was over there.

On the same day, we went for a little walk and came across this beauty!


Glorious, isn't she? How I remember bouncing on the hard and squeaky back seat of my grandparent's, whizzing around the country lanes. I got chatting with the owner who, to my delight, was more than happy to tell me all about it :)

So... It was only a matter of time before I made a Renault 4 Quatrelle version of my 2CV hoop :)

Renault 4 Quatrelle...
(Now on my little shop's shelves)

Thank you so much for all you lovely comments about my glossy features (I missed one too in CrossStitcher magazine. How lucky was I? Three in a month!), I am really touched...

Mwaaah to you all!

Annabelle x

05 August 2011

Bit of limelight...

My, my, my...!

Feeling pretty lucky and excited with not one - no siree, but two features in print this month!

Both beautiful mags to the touch & eye...

Mollie Makes...
Mollie Makes

"Living and loving handmade" makes it right up my street, add to that "making, collecting, thrifting, crafting" and I'm hooked. If you're on Twitter, Facebook or follow blogs the chances are you will have heard of it!

It's a UK mag but available overseas too. It can be hard to get hold of outside old Blighty, but fear not, for they sell the digital version online.

Oh, and you've got to check out this cute video they made.

Artful Blogging...

Artful Blogging...
Artful Blogging

I have to say I didn't know about Artful Blogging before this feature, but what a beautiful magazine!
There are no ads so you get well over a hundred pages of great content, as the title suggests, all about inspiring blogs. This issue also features Holly from Decor8 no less, and many, many other talented people.

I'm still pinching myself, I can't quite believe how it's happened but it's bloody awesome! How many pages all to myself?? :))

This one is a US mag, but you can also get hold of it in other countries, try here to get your hands on a copy.

A huuuge thank you to both magazines for featuring lil' ol' me.

Well, I think I need a cuppa after all this excitement.


01 August 2011

Little things that make me happy: la vaisselle

In the last few months, I have been on a mission to replace our starter home crockery, and about time too! Not only there are chips here and there, but it is all rather plain and boring.

'Course I wasn't about to go into a shop, choose, buy and job done. What's the fun in that? Oh no... it has to be thrifted and pre-loved. I have had to be very patient (hmm... does me good I suppose) for the perfect pieces to find me (fussy moi?), but my little collection is now steadily growing :)

My current obsession is with 3 designs from 3 countries: US, UK and France. *Tries to get silly joke format out of mind, "There an American, an Englishman and a Frenchman in a bar..." nooo... *


I found this set (sadly incomplete) of Corelle by Corning in Spring Blossom / Crazy Daisy pattern, plates, bowls, cups & saucers. I am a total newbie when it comes to vintage kitchenware, so I bought it and then found out more about it. It made the whole process even more exciting!! (license to snigger granted).


While it is quite easy to find in the US where it comes from, it's much harder to find here. That will make the task of completing the set that bit harder, especially when a quick search on Etsy brings up so many of the pieces I need, if only the postage cost wasn't so high *sigh*.
Still, I'm sure something will turn up somehow. I already spied a little set in one of my fav vintage shop (Glagow based), Peony and Thistle, shame it's not the pieces I am after.

Corelle | Arcopal | JAJ

Then came along the French Arcopal cups (middle). I found these last week in Emmaus on my trip back to Brittany to visit my Mum & Dad, quite easy to find over there. I almost bought some plates and bowls but sadly ran out of time :(
There were still boxes and boxes of crockery to look through but they were closing. The ones I found weren't in tip top shape so I left them (unlike Corelle, Arcopal patterns can deteriorate). Another time...
I first saw this pattern called Scania (thank you Nana Odile for the pattern name. You must check her flickr photostream, it's full of gorgeous vintage goodness!), when the lovely Emma Lamb found her fab Arcopal jug. Love at first sight! I have grown up eating out of Arcopal dishes
but didn't know this pattern. Love the colour, and they go so perfectly with my green Corelle cups.

And then there's British made JAJ Cottage Rose. I have only got one little bowl (on the right), there will be more I am sure, too pretty :)

Annabelle x

PS: Phew! I managed to keep 3 man joke references at bay. Just as well because a) there're always rubbish jokes & b) I'm hopeless at telling jokes. Either I'm giggling and unable to finish or I spoil it by telling it wrongly.

PPS: Obsession #4 is Pyrex

12 July 2011

Commission work

Gosh, the summer is whizzing past, many things to share with you, gathering photos, why does this sound like a telegram -(stop)-

I hope you are all well -(stop)- thank you for your kind messages -(stop)- now I have started telegram speak I can't stop -(stop)- could be worse -(stop)- could have been lol speak -(stop)- dat lukey u noes :)

In the meantime, here are a few shots of a commission I did last month.
I must admit, I struggled a little with the religious side of the poem, but I am pleased with the result, and more importantly the lady who commissioned it loved it. She took it to the framers the day it arrived, super efficient!

Poem commission

Poem commission

Poem commission

Poem commission

PS: I'll be back with my latest thrifted finds, some crocheted goodness and studio reshuffle... birthday tripod is seeing much action :)

18 June 2011

Easy like a birthday morning

Easy like a birthday morning...

Singing along to Adele, tunes...

Spending a little time on me, doing eye make-up, rare...

Trying my new tripod, with smiley eyes and head rocking, bliss...

Easy like a birthday morning...

A perfect birthday morning thanks to my man.
The tripod and Adele albums (not one but two :), his gift to me *smiles*

I also worked out it was my 11680th hot chocolate and toast breakfast. If it ain't chocolate, it ain't breakfast!

Easy like a birthday morning...

Now if it could only stop raining so I can ruin my lovely eye make-up to go camping wild on the moors...

Wishing you a morning as lovely as mine.

Annabelle x

10 June 2011

A source of much silliness...

I have had the most quiet of mornings, yawn, oh I did receive this in the post... No big deal really. Ade, as my witness, will tell you I did not clap my hands like a primary school kiddy, or do a ridiculous knees up dance, nor did my voice go up several pitches... no, no, no. It was quite a sedate affair.

First glossy mag feature!!!

LOOOK!!!!!! That's me, right there in a glossy magazine! And a GREAT one at that!
(I must add that Ade was just as frantically flicking through the pages, which made me even happier!).

There's a little feature on me in Fresh Style, a special publication by the publishers of Southern Lady Magazine from across the pond, AND editor Andrea Fanning used some of my hoops in her styling of a bedroom makeover!!

Oh my little heart...!

I had seen pdfs of the feature and bedroom makeover, but there's nothing like holding the magazine in your hands to make it real.

From being contacted a few months ago by editorial assistant Becky, to this is quite surreal! (Thanks Becky!)

First glossy mag feature!!!

The magazine is a great read from start to finish: features on some mighty ladies: Amy Butler, Ashley Ann Campbell and Heather Bailey, fabby projects for us DIYers, and much, much eye candy.
If you fancy getting your hands on a copy, you can order it here


24 May 2011

Little things that make me happy...

Laundry of the best kind :)

My kind of laundry... :)

Another fab charity shop find. I never tire of yellow.

I have more thrifted goodness to show you, news to share, work to show you... soon I promise!


Annabelle x

20 April 2011

Et bah dis donc...!

My sisters spoiled me rotten!!

Look at what they found for me in France on their thrifty adventures. Ah... they know me so well...
And to top it all, my sweet little 3 year old nephew wanted to give me my presents on their way back home from France to the UK, even though they were all shattered from traveling, so I got to see my twin nephews as well.

They witnessed a very giddy "tatie" to say the least!! (that's a "tata" mixed with an "auntie", not to be confused with tatty :)

Vintage fabrics...

Vintage fabrics...

Vintage fabrics...

Vintage fabrics.

Vintage plates...

Vintage plates...

Vintage plates...

Two new dessert plates which go perfectly with my Grandma's plates.

Vintage wallpaper...

Vintage wallpaper...

Vintage wallpaper...

Vintage wallpaper...

The most gorgeous vintage wallpaper.


Last, but not least :))

And that, my friends, is sisterly love!

Annabelle x

18 April 2011

Vintage suitcase

vintage suitcase
vintage suitcase, originally uploaded by Three Red Apples.

Car boot weekend find...

Perfect for storing fabric, and all for the grand sum of £1.50. Ridiculously happy.

A little bird told me, my sister is coming back from visiting my other sis in France with a few rolls of vintage wallpaper (always, always on the look out for lovely wallpaper to wrap orders with) and plates for me. Ridiculously excited.

I tried very hard not to plaster this post with exclamation marks, but eeeeek!!!!

Did you come back with armfuls of treasures too this weekend? Oh, the thrill of it...!

Annabelle x

16 April 2011

Il jouait du piano debout...

He played piano standing...

An 80s song just popped back into my head. Funny...

That was me last night, rock n' roll, only with my sewing machine, and some loud music (although not French 80s on a cassette tape player). There was some dodgy dancing (I swear my dancing is morphing into my Mum's dancing, every year it gets worst).
Glad no one saw :)

More experiments...

I thought I'd try a different sewing set up to ease things on my back. I balanced my machine on a pile of boxes (a common 'technique' at the moment, also used for makeshift tripods). It's really dynamic and you can do a little more than bum shuffling (although proven not to be always a good thing). The result took me a little by surprise.

I'd like my sewing machine almost chest height on an old school desk, you know the type, the ones at an angle like music stands, so my back isn't all hunched up and I can see the needle better. In fact, I'd like it to be sunk in too, to make a bigger flat work area...

Time needed for some building and studio reshuffling please? hmm... this may have to wait a wee while.

Annabelle x

29 March 2011

On a whim...

So, it starts with a crack in the wall in our bedroom, which has been there the whole time we've been living here...


There are a million jobs that need doing, but for some unknown reason, Ade decided he fancied doing a little plastering and fixing that crack.
I should point out that although he is perfectly capable of doing pretty much any DIY jobs, he normally actively avoids it, and is really quite happy to leave it all to me (although I haven't dared try plastering yet). There is no nagging from me, for it gives me carte blanche to decorate as I wish!

I'm not too fussed about the crack, it goes with old houses. I'd much rather he got ride of the ugly mess that is the fuse box by the front door, or even just a quick job (for him) like fit our vintage rise and fall light that my sister got us for Christmas - I swear I'll do it myself if he won't! Easy job. Who needs three wires anyway?? Do it the French way)

He did a grand job, and without too much mess. Lovely jubbly!
However, this is the point where these things can turn into another one of those unfinished projects - like our garden fence which is going at a rate of one new panel every couple of months. That bare plaster that stays bare for yonks.

Thankfully, I got on the case before getting used to it. Ade went away for a few days, perfect time to paint it, oh... what the hell, let's do the whole room (including the ceiling, hate doing ceilings). I like making changes while he's away, I get a little giddy about it. "Oh it's all changed" is a familiar sound. Plus it gives me the chance to make my mind up whether I like it or not before I have to 'sell' it to him.

On a whim...

On a whim...

He knew I wanted white walls, but he didn't know I was planning on painting the fire surround too. I eagerly waited for him to notice, although in fairness, I was so pleased with the result that I don't think a negative reaction would have dampened my enthusiasm!

On a whim...

Right after finishing the paint job, I got a stomach bug which got in the way of my work plans, bloody nuisance... But it did allow me to get down to some more crocheting with little garland. I thought I was being quite clever making up a flower shape which is smaller than the ones I had previously tried following Michele's fabby 'Grandma twinkle' tutorial over on the Royal Sisters blog. Oh yeah, I can totally do this, mixing my double crochets with my singles. Get me, I'm making it all up.

On a whim...

Hmmm... the result looks rather like a bastardized version of Emma's lovely petite flower garlands... Sorry Emma, didn't mean to copy...

On a whim...

Next on my to do list, curtains, most likely more painting - furniture, I have my eye on you, and a seedling of an idea...

Ta ta for now, Annabelle x

23 March 2011

The treehouse

This when I go "tada..."

The treehouse...

Here's the "little something" I mentioned last week. My little treehouse (also known as the gardener and owl).


A mix of freehand embroidery, appliqué and paint.
For all those summers spent (more or less successfully) hacking plans to make a treehouse.


I don't know about you, but I'm still struggling a little with the content of the news. I guess we all deal with it in our own different ways. Quite interesting how we do...

I've been covered in white paint for the last four days, busy painting our bedroom after Ade decided to do a spot of plaster work. Of course there's no such thing as a spot of DIY :)
The room is looking lovely and bright, with the sunshine streaming through the window. A good excuse to make new curtains in some of my favourite vintage fabric. I've pegged three of them to the existing curtains (which I now look at with a 'what was I thinking' face ;). I, and surprisingly Ade, love them all. I may have to combine them somehow.
I also have turquoise painted furniture on my mind, but shh... I haven't told him yet. Like I didn't tell him I was going to paint the fire surround. Well... :)

Happy finds

I leave you with more happy finds from my favourite charity shop.

Annabelle x

15 March 2011

Crochet and French classics...


This time last year I got myself a hook and decided to learn how to crochet.

And... quickly gave up. I blame it on a short attention span and the inability to follow instructions :)

I couldn't deal with all the fiddly stuff, and thought there must have been a reason my grandma gave up teaching me how to knit.
Looking back, it could have been a game of belote that distracted her, a VERY competitive French card game, which 'les grands' would play after each family meal at my grandparents', while we, the kids, would go and play in the straw and hay pile.
Nothing could illustrate how competitive the game gets better than the line "Tu me fends le coeur..." *said in a southern accent*, from a classic Marcel Pagnol book & film, where the characters play (insert 'cheat') a game of belote. It's hilarious! Have a little look if you have a spare minute.

Anyway, back to the crocheting, I picked it up again when Christmas came around to make a couple of garlands for my sisters. I finally seem to be getting the hang of it, and I'm loving it!

After the cushions I made myself last month, I thought a little crocheted cushion would feel right at home next to them. I also had a go at crocheted hangers following (in the loosest kind of way) Dottie Angel's tutorial.

Crocheted hangers

Of course, each hanger is made slightly differently :)
It took the first one to realised what 'worsted' weight yarn is, then I messed up, then tried something else, and finally settled for double knit and triple crochet instead...

I love that about crochet, you can make it up as you go, perfectly perfect for me and my short attention span.

Annabelle x