Thursday, 9 October 2014


A tale of two parts.

Part two first.
We were working on a costume, the bodice was covered in braid.
The braid was beautiful, old and slightly crumbling round the edges.
The edges were covered in a row of tiny jet beads.
"What do you want me to do?" the current glamorous assistant asked, "if only we had some real jet."
Whirr, crunch the cogs started turning.
Something was niggling the back of the mind.
Rewind many many years, 1991? 92? 93? 
Some time around then.

My kaftan wearing ex (ish) hippy mother, was somewhere following the scent of a ley line like a bloodhound after its prey.
She came across a little studio with a jeweller residing with in.
She bought some beautiful amber beads on a little leather thong 
(yes I know, leather thong, well it was the 90's)
One for me and one for her and some amethyst for the junior brother.
If memory serves he wasn't as enamoured by his gift as I was.
In fact I still have mine, somewhere, I wore it until the leather thong wore out.

As kaftan wearing ex (ish) hippy mothers are wont to do she engaged the said jeweller in conversation, it would appear mainly about moi.
"Ooh my daughter would love your studio.... She's just finished studying at London College of Fashion.... She makes costumes.... She has done some amazing (it wasn't) beading at college." 
etc etc etc
You know that thing that mothers do. 
I take pleasure in the fact that one day my boys will cringe in exactly the same way as I used to do when I tell perfect strangers just how wonderful they are.
Any way to cut a long story sideways, the jeweller, possibly just to shut the mad old woman up and get on with stringing beads on to leather thongs said
 "ooh I have something your daughter would love then"
And presented Mum with and old box full of jet beads from old broken Victorian mourning jewellery.

Fast forward 20+ odd years and after a mild bit of swearing and rummaging I emerged triumphantly from the dustier regions of the workroom with exactly what the current Glamorous Assistant needed to repair the crumbly braid and thus finish the costume.
And the moral of this story is boys and girls...
Hoarding does pay its way.
Love Nora xxxx

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


My lovely old Unc has had a very significant birthday.
I wanted to make him a little something.

I've been seeing french knot projects like this about for a while, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try it out.

It was a great party with lots of singing, cake, singing and more singing.
Here is the silly old bugger with two more of my favourite people in the world, 
his little brother (my old Dad) and his youngest son (my favourite cousin Ed).

Happy days.
Love Nora xxx

Sunday, 28 September 2014


For Christmas last year I bought the Hippy a cider press.

We have a fantastic apple tree in our garden that last year was laden with fruit. The apples are a little tart so the boys won't eat them.

Perfect lets turn it all in to cider I thought.
This year we have one wizened apple on it.
Thankfully friends came to our rescue and donated two trees worth to the cause.

We have a lovely friend, The Mad Old Cat Lady, who is having a bad old time of it at the moment.
We are all looking forward to having her home again and in one piece soon.
She doesn't like cider.
But she does love cidre.
So in her honour we all dressed up en Francais.

Some of us seemed to enjoy it a little too much.

And some of us found a raspberry beret.

But it should all bring a smile to our lovely friends face and remind her that we are thinking of her.
And the bonus is that in a month or so we will all be gathering again to drink the fruits of our labour that time with Caroline in our midst.
Love Nora xxx

Saturday, 27 September 2014


Recently I have been pondering and musing upon perceptions of truth and reality. All a bit deep I know its mainly been sparked by reading "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt, a truly epic book I loved so much I have recently finished a second read of it. Which even by my standards is quite extreme, twice in the space of 6 months, and believe you me it's no light read, having the weight and heft of your standard house brick.
I have been wondering about back stories, wondering what is going on behind the image we are presented with. 

Thinking about other spaces with in a picture. Am I looking at the boys, or am I looking at the wave?
Am I looking at what the boys are doing or the excitement their action is causing them? 
Closer study of the image reveals touching little details. They are all in their school uniforms, shorts on a cold stormy day, school caps on their heads, shiny wellington boots, grubby knees, one boy has lost a mitten.
The energy is amazing but what has more, the wave or the boys sprinting away from it?
Who is the adult on the right and who is she sheltering in her arm? 
A younger afraid sibling? Or maybe one who wasn't quite as lucky with the last wave.

In this piece I have created some little portals, or may be portholes, in to a different time.

Looking back through time to catch a tiny glimpse of a perception of reality.
Most moving is that as this photo was taken some time in the 1930s on Hastings seafront these joyous little boys will be in their late 80's or early 90's.
Are they still with us and what did their lives become?
I found the picture on this facebook site.
Joining up with Lola Nova's stitched journal project, please pop over and see what every one else is up to here.
Love Nora xxx

Thursday, 25 September 2014


It's exciting times here in Hastings as the restoration of the beloved pier moves to the next phase.

The demolition of the old burnt out ballroom before the new structure can be built.
This can only be done from the sea and involves a crane on a J.U.B
Or jack up barge, which was towed by tug boat from Rye harbour before lowering its legs to the sea floor and starting work.
Last week after the boys finished school we dashed down to the seafront to have a look.
Even the high levels of excitement emanating not only from our little party but the dozens of other observers on the sea front,could not stop the sea mist from rolling in.

Much of the time the crane wasn't even visible.

The light shining through the mist was beautiful.

Much Love Nora xxx

Sunday, 21 September 2014


It was with a gasp I read during the week that today was to be the last car boot sale of the season at our local big car boot. It made me realise I haven't been to a single car boot sale this year!
Something that I'm not sure has ever happened before. 
How time flies.
I was not disappointed.

Tea, Coffee and Sugar caddies, old plate and distressed old pudding bowl.

Deliciously rusted old tins.

Inside of the old Dutch cigarette tin.



Old table cloth and a handful of doilies.

Huge cops of slightly grubby buttonhole thread, if you take the lot (12) you can have them for £4.
Now I do use a lot of this stuff in the day job, but not that much. But how could I resist? I shall find a use for them, the cogs are already whirring.

I was joined and assisted on this adventure by not one, not the usual two, but three little Herberts. Yes, I picked up a stray en route. They all came home with bags of old tut and pockets much the lighter. But by the time the mystery of the disappearing camera was solved (it was found exactly where I had left it) the treasure had all dissipated. Stored away in those places little boys store away their treasure.
We did however find a very old edition of one of the Ginger Ones favourite books.

I loved this illustration and the story attached.
I do hope your weekends have all been as treasure filled as mine has been.
Much Love Nora xxx

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


I love and adore the work of Kate MccGwire. Ever since a friend and I went to see her exhibition at a gallery in Kings Cross a couple of years ago I have been haunted by her work. Using it constantly as a reference in my teaching and pondering upon it often the rest of the time.
So you can imagine the excitement when it was revealed she would be part of the Costal Currents art festival here at the sunny seaside.
The crypt of St Mary in the Castle is an amazing venue and did not disappoint.

Secrete. Mixed media with magpie feathers.

 Purge. Mixed media with pigeon feathers.

"These instillations appear animated yet still. The feathers which once enabled flight, have been repurposed: once a weightless bird, now a heavy, swollen mass.
There is something undeniably otherworldly and primal about the works bulging forms, which capture the movement of water, referring in part to the natural spring that feeds the front of St Mary in the Castle."
(words from exhibition display)

Hurrah for inspiring art work.
Love Nora xxx