Butterflies and Beetles

This afternoon I'm going to my daughter's school to play ukulele and sing songs at the Ugly Bug Ball for the grand finale of their term-long topic studying insects. Naturally I'll be taking my Flea.
     The project gave us the chance to rediscover a family heirloom - a 1964 edition of A Book Of Beetles by Dr. Josef R. Winkler (published by Spring Books). We spent several afternoons poring over the descriptions in the book together and looking at Vladimir Bohac's beautiful illustrations, then used a tape measure to work out how big the beetles actually are in real life.
The children have been asked to dress up as an insect of their choice for this afternoon's event, so I was pestered to make a Monarch butterfly costume for her to wear. The materials used (satin, netting, elastic) cost a grand total of £2.57 and were bought from Brighton's amazing Fabric Land emporium. The wings are customised from a pink fairy costume she'd grown out of.
     I'm looking forward to introducing Year 2 to the delights of Ivor Cutler's I Believe in Bugs on ukulele later...
Illustrations from A Book Of Beetles

1920s seed packet lavender bags for the Spring Equinox

On the eve of the Spring Equinox, here's the new Ivy Arch range of lavender bags. They're cut from a piece of cotton printed with 1920s seed packets from the Card Seed Co. of Fredonia NY. This beautiful fabric was designed by Holly Holderman for Lakehouse Dry Goods. I've backed the pouches with olive green polka dot cotton and filled them with French lavender.
     Some of them are on sale now in my Etsy shop and I'll be adding more seed varieties in the next couple of weeks.

Abstract Expressionist book bags in the Ivy Arch shop

This week I finished making four new book bags (tote bags). These two are made using abstract expressionist inspired 1960s furnishing fabric with a Jackson Pollock-esque 'action painting' style print. The fabrics look like they have been designed to go together and compliment each other perfectly. 
     Both are listed in my shop - the fiery red bag, and the elegant white/grey. You can see all of this week's new bags here.

All at sea with oranges and lemons

Yesterday I joined 100 people on the beach in cold rain for Worthing's annual ceremony of throwing citrus fruit into the sea.
    The Oranges and Lemons Flingathon marks the sinking of the fruit-laded SS Indiana in 1901, when thousands of oranges and lemons were washed up on our shore. The event is masterminded by Paul Holden, editor of The Worthing Journal and it's now in its tenth year. Proceeds from the fundraiser go to local Paralympic athlete Lauren Jones, 16, who aims to join the British Wheelchair Tennis team and compete in the 2012 Paralympics.
    With a Morris Dance troupe, the Mayor and an MP in attendance it was an idiosyncratically British event. The part I liked best was the moment when the crowd - already soaked to the skin - ran together to the sea.