Well, after a busy and topsy week of boat painting and corsetmaking, things are now somewhat back to normal!

Yesterday, we went out to Halesowen to slip the boat back into the water before journeying the 12 miles home. It was cold but didn’t rain, which was a mercy. We were late setting off and so I didn’t make it to the studio before 3.30pm, but it was okay. We still had enough time to finish the showroom, though I sadly didn’t have enough time to get one of our sample designs finished… This one is testing a new, sleek, pattern and is in black duchess with foxglove purple interior, and purple and black layered laces. Super pretty. Though, dark and quite plain… That’s not like me at all! But even so, I find myself liking this one a lot, it’s slender line is more “fashion” seeming to me, less like a dedicated corset that you have to be in the mood for. So I’d like to develop this pattern a bit further, see where it goes.  

We then had our Sparklewren Winter Party last night, which was lovely! I think the weather kept some people away, but thank you to all who came, even if only for a short visit. It was a treat. 

Highlights included… 

Karolina (Laskowska, lingerie designer for those in the know) dropping in early to show me her current new designs, briefly reunite me with Strawberry Leopard, and run off with a new piece for her corset collection. 

Karolina in a silk duchess longline waspie, with pink blossoms trickling down from the top. 
Karolina in a silk duchess longline waspie, with pink blossoms trickling down from the top. 

Meeting lovely Bryony and Leanne, thank you for making the effort to come 😀 

Correctly guessing which of our lace goody bags corset designer Angela Stringer would like best (hydrangea inspired tones of blue and pink, for those curious). 

Seeing and cuddling many of my favs, including Rosie Red, InaGlo, Emiah Couture, Cathy Hay, and others 💗  

Dressing the showroom beforehand (many thanks to Holly for being a gem all week, especially with getting things ready yesterday!). We made it all twinkly and I set out a couple of new displays. I had a couple of client pieces that I wanted people to see before posting them, but I of course wanted to keep them safe. So the answer was simply to put them out of reach! 

Obviously not the best photo in the world, but we had a vaguely be achy display for the delicious Seaglass corset, made bespoke for a lady inspired by the coast. Those pallets are technically my kindling for the narrowboat stove, but they make a pretty good display too. 
Obviously not the best photo in the world, but we had a vaguely be achy display for the delicious Seaglass corset, made bespoke for a lady inspired by the coast. Those pallets are technically my kindling for the narrowboat stove, but they make a pretty good display too. 
Bloom was hidden behind a gilded picture frame, with lace bags in front, and information on the Falling Blossoms project set out alongside. I got to make use of my digital photo frame once again too, deleting old images and filling it purely with Falling Blossoms pictures. That was gratifying. Though it was a rather cheap digital frame, even when I bought it three years ago, so I had to manually delete about 70 photos individually. Tedious. Worth it though. 
Bloom was hidden behind a gilded picture frame, with lace bags in front, and information on the Falling Blossoms project set out alongside. I got to make use of my digital photo frame once again too, deleting old images and filling it purely with Falling Blossoms pictures. That was gratifying. Though it was a rather cheap digital frame, even when I bought it three years ago, so I had to manually delete about 70 photos individually. Tedious. Worth it though. 

Plus, trying shiny things on various lovely people! Sarah, a gorgeous model and talented hair accessories designer (search for Eva Marie on Instagram) popped in with an equally gorgeous friend, and delightful new model Amy (who has recently modelled for Rosie Red and is a great friend of hers) was also there, so shinies were worn and snaps taken. 

We also revealed first look at next year’s Curated Collection. This is to be launched in the New Year, so whilst you’re taking time off to relax do keep your eyes peeled on your inboxes for a daily dose of deliciousness, pretty much from Christmas onwards.  

Anyway, the best part about revealing the new Curated Collection aesthetic last night was that the key inspiration design is one that I have now gifted to my friend Glo (InaGlo Photography), as a thank you for all her stunning work over the years. Worn with skinny jeans, stiletto heels, big hair, and red talons, this corset (and Glo!) looked absolutely stunning. I was so pleased to see it being worn as it should be, with a certain breezy nonchalance, and was super happy at Glo’s thrilled little face!  

So, I got to sleep last night with a champagne headache but also a sense of achievement. Party done, boat’s hull blacked, mission accomplished! Today was then my usual Saturday at Summerfield Stables (always on the look out for adult volunteers, should anyone local to Birmingham want to lend a hand occasionally), and I was cream-crackered even upon waking at my 6am alarm (not a great morning person). It was drizzling and still near pitch black when I arrived (less than two weeks before the days begin getting longer again!), but I was first there. And I kind of love it when that happens, as you get to do one of the very first jobs of tying a few of the horses up so that their stables can be mucked out. It’s nice to have those brief one-on-one moments, even with grumpy “oi, where’s my breakfast?” neddies. Rained lightly all day, but the people and animals were wonderful as usual.

Those who have scanned through my blog may have seen that earlier this year I was wondering whether I could get back into ponies, how I could resume that passion… Well, here is the answer for now! Helping out at the stables is a joy, even when you wake up thinking it perhaps won’t be. Too cold, you’ll warm up once you get working. Too tired, you’ll wake up once you’ve a task to focus on. Today for instance, I felt like I would be tired and useless following an intense couple of weeks at work and at home, but no, wasn’t too bad really. Had a thoroughly good day and though I didn’t take part in the proper class (I think perhaps a full hour would indeed have finished me off!) I instead got a little alone time to ride gorgeous HighlandX “Buster” in the manège afterwards. Which was lovely, he was alert and on good form. I love when he’s all alert! He’s never super-fizzy, but for a big horse he’s nice, energetic, and sensitive in his way, which is good for an “improver” like me, means I can get a sense of what I’m doing well and what I’m doing badly since he will actually respond in a way that teaches you. Today I noticed that our lateral has definitely improved. First time I tried leg-yield not a lot happened. I think we still need to get those legs crossing rather than just taking a diagonal(!), but he’s certainly more ready to move away from the leg than when I began lateral. And in terms of going up a gear, on a good day you barely even need to twitch your calves for him to respond. Such sensitive sides and a willingness to work. 

Here's gorgeous and cuddly Buster. 
Here’s gorgeous and cuddly Buster. 
And for good measure, here's beautiful and sensitive Mona in the stable next door. 
And for good measure, here’s beautiful and sensitive Mona in the stable next door. 

If that’s all Greek to you I apologise! But it’s a joy to me. You know that I love to learn, like to always be studying something, and since I now feel quite established in corsetmaking it is a treat to be able to turn some of my attentions back to horses after about a decade away from them. I am a very lucky wren indeed. 

Tomorrow, haha, well I will probably do a lot of resting. A duvet day, perhaps. Then Monday on boat stuffs. Back to it in the studio on Tuesday! 

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