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Kindle cover
Sunday, January 8, 2012

Father Christmas bought me a Kindle. I made it a cover - just improvised out of some bits of fabric, felt and a nice leather button for that masculine touch. Tweed Run, anybody?
I did this by myself - having found the confidence to sew over the last couple of years, thanks to lovely Amy Johnson. It's very liberating and gives me loads of pleasure.
Haven't actually read anything on my Kindle yet though .. but I have downloaded a Michael Ondaatje book, which is a start. Waiting for a train ride now (mainly cos I want to show off the cover how shallow, Jo).

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8:00 AM   0 comments

bag lady
Wednesday, August 3, 2011


It's a year since my last post here - but I think this photo of my latest creation shows progression in the sewing stakes. Made from a piece of Otterburn Tweed I found in a charity shop, then various bits and pieces for the lining and applique, all reclaimed. I think it's lovely, even though it's not a posh lady's bag. I have never really got on with posh handbags, always felt insufficiently feminine in that way. Never craved a leather bag, like I never craved an engagement ring or a proper wedding dress. Something fundamental lacking there, Colley.
The sewing thing, the pleasure of it, stunning. All down to the fab Amy Johnson who has taught me everything this past year or two. I am reaping what I sew.

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3:25 AM   0 comments

yoyos for jojo
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

So what has she been up to with those magic fingers? Still covering books - this one embellished with a bit of folded fabric which my ma in law showed me how to do recently. And the yoyos are the new passion so perfect if you have a million bits of material, a monstrous collection of buttons and not much sewing nouse. You can make thousands of them in an evening of pointless pleasure. It kind of makes you tranquil. Must be how heroin feels - just a different use of a needle, I guess.
I have taken my sewing machine to be mended but fear it may be doomed. In which case I would just have to buy another one. This would be my first ever purchase of a sewing machine, as the other two I have are elderly pass ons. If I bought a new one - blimey would that mean I was a real sewist? A bit late in the day, old girl. And is it hand sewing that I like? Slow and repetitive. Instead of whizzing up and down out of control - too much like my real life, pond skater Colley.
9:33 AM   0 comments

Tea cosy
Thursday, May 20, 2010

Who said you can't trust a person who, when left alone in a room with a tea cosy, fails to put it on her head? This one, knitted with a passed on pattern from ma-in-law, is supposed to look like it's got a teacup on its head. I stopped reading the instructions at a crucial point, rebel that I am, so it just looks like a slightly bent over old dear or somebody with a sack on their head. But hell it's my first time! I feel proud and round and stout.

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7:30 AM   0 comments

Deranged doilies
Friday, April 16, 2010

I've been doing more sewing than I've ever done in my life, or maybe since I was 9 or 10 and was obssessed by sewing bits of lace or material onto my clothes. I haven't progressed much skill-wise, but I am really loving it. I made a load of book covers for Christams presents, just with nice pieces of material saved over years, decades even. And now I am experimenting with doilies - another thing I have collected - that lace thing, the intricacy, the HOLES - and sewing them on to random garments like this one. Even wearing them. And now, with the help of lovely Amy, I am attempting a skirt out of a piece of material I bought in a charity shop in Saltburn. Have also been to the Quilt exhibition at the V and A - it's on until July and well worth a visit. Some amazing work there - which doesn't make me think, why bother? you're crap! - which I often get when I read / hear brilliant writing, in terms of my own work. Strange - I just get inspired and ecstatic at the sight of it.

I'm really interested in this. I think it's about expectation and how we judge ourselves, which undoubtedly begins with how we are judged by others. Also the thing about sewing - my generation downgraded it as traditional women's work, stuff we didn't want to do anymore(even though I still got my gran, queen of the treadle, to alter the strange baggy men's trousers I picked up at jumble sales for my chic feminist look). We put it with housework and childcare and we wanted to do other things. Tough to discover in my latter years that earth mother might have been a better option. Ha just kidding! But younger women maybe more able to recognise the creativity in women's work, and not worry if they enjoy doing it.

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1:52 AM   0 comments

Mermaids
Friday, July 31, 2009



My lovely and very talented friend Jill Harbottle has made a beautiful wedding dress from found materials, with the help of a team of elderly people in a day centre. Go and look at it - it's amazing.
Strangely I am also in a mermaid phase only less beautifully - wrote this poem while at the London Poetry School summer course with Jane Draycott.
Still dog rough but here it goes:

Cry me a river

She was working as a mermaid
in a topless bar, down Deptford way.
I watched her buoyant breasts break surface
through the white stream of her hair.
She slipped out of her fish tail
a pearl abandoning an oyster
a sailor’s wet dream.

I took her home, suppressed the urge
to run the bath. Felt her real legs
wrap around me like weeds
believed she would stay,
moored to my delusions.

Today, I’m on the river, taking sounds
plumbing the depths
cold as a fish on a slab.
12:37 PM   0 comments

Mrs Robinson's Dress
Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mrs Robinson’s Dress

Oyster moygashel, silk lined
in palest pink only a pearl
would dare to insert herself

into that world. She projects
her lighthouse beam across
every dollared pageant

of Los Angeles. She’s so tall
in her stilletos she can see
clear across the top of her husband’s

balding head, his thick specs
level with her cone-shaped breasts.
She locks double-lashed eyes

with Benjamin, tender
as a new born rabbit.
He is a snack, a morsel

a between the courses treat.
He’s meat. He cannot speak.
Later, she throws the dress

into the trash. Her maid
retrieves it, gives it closet space
until her oldest son comes out.

His Mrs Robinson act, a revelation
from port to shining port,
gains him access to

the captain’s table, the
first mate’s bed. Until
he jumps ship at Shields

sheds the dress.
His loss, my gain.
So here’s to you, Mrs Robinson.
6:57 AM   0 comments