Monthly Archives: February 2012

Jaunty Jim Caps

My Jaunty Jim caps are quite a new venture for me, something I began last November when I was asked by one of my stockists to make some gifts suitable for a man. I really enjoy doing them as they prove quite a contrast to my Agnes and Cora accessories- a much more rugged and robust style of sewing!

I like contrasting neatly hand-appliqued panels with raggedy `patches` made from layers of rough edged toning fabrics with lots of scribbly machine stitching visible.

The fabric is 100% recycled, using scraps of tartans and tweeds and pieces from old ties.

For Spring, I have also been using linens and toiles from furnishing fabric samples. Some caps are also finished with a scattering of vintage buttons.

A new selection of Jaunty Jim caps will soon be winging their way to Verve in Rose Street, Edinburgh and Flux in Leith.

They are perfect gifts for that special man as each cap is unique. I may be biased, but I think every guy looks good in a cap!

Jim (Jimmy) was my grandad`s name (husband to Agnes!). He wore a jaunty cap every day so I thought it was fitting that I called my label after him!


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Spring Fever!

The days are getting longer, the air is getting warmer, Spring flowers are peeping their heads above ground and I seem to have gone into creative overdrive! Too many new ideas to keep up with. If only there were more hours in the day!

This week I have been busy developing my decoupage work, working on a Spring collection for my Jaunty Jim caps and making more mini embroidered brooches.

I`m very excited about my decoupage ideas. Decoupage has got a bit of a tacky reputation these days as it has come to mean sticking layers of naff cartoon teddy bears on top of each other  to make 3D cards, and things of that ilk. Well each to their own I say, and there is a place for everything, but I`ve been looking back to the Victorian fashion for decoupage. This was a way of decoratively covering everything from little boxes to firescreens with images cut (coup) from various papers, using mementos to create a new treasure.

I remember as a child visiting some friends` grandparents who had a Victorian room screen which was covered in decoupage. It was truly magical, three hinged panels about 5 foot high totally covered in layers of lovely images. I was fascinated by it, everytime I looked at it I could find something new.

Yesterday I finished off my first batch of decoupage beads. My boyfriend has made me a handy rack to dry them on!

Then, after finishing off a Jaunty Jim cap, I got stuck into making my first two decoupage wall plaques.

I`m really pleased with them and there hardly seemed to be a transition from layering eclectic fabrics to adorns men`s caps to layering lots of papers to make the wall plaques. I love the way you can play around and layer contrasting styles of illustration, colours and textures to make a harmonious  whole.

I can see that I`m going to get a bit obsessed with decoupage from now on! My new collection of papers is steadily growing. I`ll try to use mainly recycled papers, using cuttings from magazines, old books and giftwrap, and incorporating stamps and vintage-style scraps of butterflies and flowers.

Using scraps is very nostalgic for me as I used to collect and swap them as a wee girl. I never thought I would be playing with them again after all these years!

What next in my decoupage adventure? I`m thinking wall plaques in various sizes, photo-frames, necklaces and lots more brooches!

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Embroidered Brooches

Here are some new mini embroidered brooches that I`ve been making for my stockists for this Spring.

I`ve done versions of the larger size for the last couple of years and they have been very popular, as well as being my favourite of my brooches to wear myself, but the new wee ones are even sweeter! I love making them, they`re just so cute! They are just 3.5cm in diameter and are hand embroidered and beaded onto vintage printed linens. Even the backs are sweet with the pin stitched onto a toning printed cotton (I always put thought into the backs of my round brooches!) They would look nice on a favourite cardi, perhaps pinned in groups of two or three…

The mini brooches are definately going to be joining their big `sisters` as a permanent part of my collection!



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Decoupage Brooches

These decoupage brooches are new to my range and I`ve really enjoyed making them.

I used to make papier mache vases and bowls many moons ago and it`s great to be playing around with papers again, though on a much tinier scale. I`m starting a new collection of papers, keeping interesting scraps of colours and patterns from magazines and gift wrap. I already have a folder full!

I`m really pleased with the way the brooches have turned out, the gloss varnish has transformed them into shiny, bright little pebbles. I`ve already started on a second batch and have been experimenting with making decoupage beads in the same style. It`s so much fun starting a new project! My first batch of butterfly brooches are already available in all my stockists.

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Owl Brooches

Here are this week`s owls. I thought they looked quite sweet perched in my apple tree.

They are made from recycled tweed with felt wings and blanket- stitched feathers. I love embroidering their beaks and little claws. Their shell button eyes are also recycled from some button-covered cushions; a lucky find in my favourite charity shop!

My little owls are probably still my favourite brooches to make- no two are alike and I`m never quite sure how they`re going to turn out. They seem to take on their own wee personalities as they are being made.

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Thrift and recycling

What treasure! Here are some of my charity shop finds this week. I really love the gorgeous turquoise wool tweed, almost a two metre length.

I love a bargain and so it has always been natural to me to hunt for fabric in charity shops and jumble sales and recycle old clothes rather than buy new fabric off the roll. Nothing beats a good old rummage and unearthing an old jacket or skirt in gorgeous fabric.The jackpot for me at the moment is finding a 1970`s tweed or tartan maxi skirt, preferably in the largest size possible (more fabric!). I`m also using old ties in my work a lot just now. 1970`s kipper ties are best (again, more fabric) especially paisley patterns. Even quite psycadelic colour combinations can look great as a little covered button on a tweed brooch or fascinator.

I also love finding scraps of old crocheted lace or embroidered tray cloths. If they are a bit stained I don`t feel too bad about cutting them up and reusing them!

Absolutely nothing gets wasted in my workroom. I keep every scrap of fabric; even the tiniest piece of tweed can be used to cover a button or perhaps make a quilted leaf for a corsage.

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Heart Brooches

These sweet little heart brooches are new to my collection. They are made from recycled tweed and scraps of fabric from old ties and embroidered tray cloths, then embellished with vintage buttons and tiny sead beads.
They are currently available in Miss Katie Cupcake and Flux, and I hope to have a small selection in all my stockists in time for Valentine`s day.

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I`m finally getting around to having an online presence for my work after being in business for over three years…
I design and make a range of accessories using mostly recycled and vintage materials. I hand make everything at home in my tiny cottage in Fife, Scotland.

If you`re wondering about the name of my label, Agnes and Cora were the names of my grandmothers.
Agnes was my Scottish Granny. She was a no-nonsense kind of lady, very down to earth, but also kind and loving and had a wicked sense of humour. She was very thrifty and loved a bargain. Nothing was ever wasted in Granny and Grandad`s house. Granny also loved to embroider and taught me embroidery stitches and how to knit and crochet.

Cora was my English Nana. I remember her as a very stylish lady, always well coordinated! Old photos confirm this- although she was never well off she was always beautifully turned out. I remember she had matching handbags and shoes! Cora and her sister were famous local beauties in their youth.

So when I was searching for a name for my label, the names of my grandmothers came quite quickly to mind.
They seemed to work perfectly with my work; Agnes reflecting the Scottish fabrics, the thrifty aspect of recycling and the love of hand sewing; while Cora reflects the joy of dressing up and adding a well-chosen accessory to an outfit.

My grandmothers are even reflected in the fabrics I use; the combination of the sturdy Scottish tweeds and tartans contrasted with English chintzes and vintage lace, scarves, buttons and beads. Also every time I attach my label to something I`ve made, those two wonderful ladies are in my thoughts!


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