Monday, 31 December 2007

Happy New Year

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We are about to have friends round for a chinese meal so I'll wish you all a very Happy New Year much health and happiness and a happy creative time in 2008. I wish you everything you wish yourself and every blessing for you and your families. Have fun if you're celebrating tonight! and keep safe.

Saturday, 29 December 2007


If your thoughts are turning to so-called "New Year Resolutions", which I never manage to make or keep, you may be interested in this blog by Christine Kane. I think Christine has a really good idea here and I will be giving my key word(s) for 2008 some thought over the next few days. One or two have leapt out at me - focus, active, fun, freedom, create, joy, jump(?!), grow.......I'll let you know when I've decided on my word(s) for 2008.

I've got my fingers crossed for our coach trip out tomorrow. I have felt quite a bit better today and am eating almost normally again so hopefully that yucky bug has gone.

Since I don't like to post without a pic here's a photo of my mum and her friends enjoying themselves on holiday recently. Go Mum!

Mum is on the right with her trade mark - a hat! 82 and one year on from major major heart surgery. I am very proud of my mum Mwah!

Friday, 28 December 2007

Sky Watch Friday

This beautiful sky was in Waidring in Austria with snow covered mountains in the distance.

Seeding or Seedy

I am feeling sorry for myself today so this post is going to be quick. I was ill during the night of Boxing Day and I'm still feeling under the weather. I just hope it clears up tomorrow as I'm supposed to be taking my mum out on a coach trip on Sunday. Not sure if it's a bug or just my tum being awkward. Either way I feel grotty.

It took me 3 tries to parcel up some ATCs today for a swap on MixedMediaATC_UK. First of all I forgot to put a stamp on the return envelope then I forgot to photograph the ATCs for the blog so I had to undo the envelope again. Anyway, here are the cards. The idea was to use seeding stitch somewhere on the card. I cheated a bit and used some of the lovely blocks that Kate sent me recently for one of the cards and a lovely aboriginal print that I bought at a show.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007


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I am a little hesitant about making this post today as I do not wish to provoke outrage or offence by the subject of photos. Please feel at liberty to scroll down if you are not comfortable with the images above.

As with many places around England, Grantham is a country town with a strong tradition of interest in the local fox hunt. It is a long standing tradition that, on Boxing Day, the local hunt meet in front of the Guildhall to be greeted by the town Mayor and to accept a stirrup cup before setting off on a morning hunt in the surrounding country side. Fox hunting has a long history in England and you can read more about it here. In 2005 the law regarding fox hunting changed after a law was passed banning hunting with dogs. Hunts may now only meet to follow a laid scent trail.

I suppose I sit on the fence here a bit. I love the spectacle of watching the horses and riders gather on Boxing Day but I have never liked the thought of what may happen to the fox. The arguments for and against are legion and I have no wish to provoke any sort of debate here. I hope you will accept the photos as they are presented, a window onto a very ancient tradition.

It was down to my mum that we were down the town watching these events this morning - she was keen to see the gathering. Fortunately it was a dry morning, if a little chilly, and as you'll see in the pix, a large crowd gathered to watch.

The foxhounds were the first to arrive.

This lady was the only person riding side saddle.

Several children accompanied the hunt this morning.

This pony was particularly well turned out

This young horse was being kept out of the fuss and flurry of the crowd until it was time to leave. In the background the hounds are being kept together in the gardens alongside the Guildhall. Heaven nows what state the gardens were in by the time they all left!

Enough of tradition! Did you all have a lovely Christmas? How can it be over so quickly after all the talking, shopping, cooking and preparations? Was Santa good to you? I had lots of lovely presents, not least of all this beautiful bag that my friend Ann has made. It has been knitted and then felted in the washing machine:

My DH and I had agreed not to be extravagant this year as I have just had my embellisher so we bought each other a few little things. I did get the Take That CD "Beautiful World" so I am well happy, as the kids say.

You can tell my DH knows me too well by the bear he bought me! What's he talking about?! I'm a domestic goddess!!!!!!!

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Dotee and Tree

First of all, I couldn't resist photographing my friend Ann's tree when we were round there today and I hope you'll indulge me if I show it here (if not please scroll down to the next bit!)

Unlike our artificial offering this is a genuine tree with real needles. Ann has some beautiful decorations which have been gathered over the years by herself and her parents and parents in law. I particularly liked this little bell

I love the little garland of coloured balls draped behind the bell, which were a new addition last year.

I have been waiting for a piece that I made for Anna to reach her before showing you it here and her blog shows that she has now received it so it's safe for me to post it here at last

Anna had been sending out pieces of her rust dyed fabric as a challenge to people to produce something from it to send back to her (while retaining part of the fabric for their own use). I decided to make a dotee doll as I enjoy making them. It's strange how these things speak to you isn't it? I felt this dotee wanted long hair and the only way I could think of to make it was with various fancy yarns which I doubled and secured into the seam at the top of the head. I then proceeded to tie myself in several knots while sewing on the beads! (I always apologise to my dotees while I'm stitching them up and sewing the beads on. I tell them that it will only hurt for a little while. I hope they forgive me!) I have left it up to Anna to decide whether she leaves the hair long or gives it a trim!

Friday, 21 December 2007


I meant to show you these two little tree decorations when I posted the pic of our tree. I have a couple of beaded ornaments, a tree and this lovely Santa that has a sweet face. I didn't bead them myself, I bought them locally last year. Most years I try and buy something new for the tree. This year, though, I have a gift from a friend -

As you can see Gina's angel is now in its rightful place on the Christmas tree instead of on the drinks cabinet! You can see her lovely golden wings now.

I think I am about ready for whatever the festive week is about to throw at me. DH has been delivered to the pub for his Friday night social with his mate and mate's daughter. She doesn't normally come out with them but I think she's come out tonight cos it's Christmas. I managed to make the house look vaguely presentable and at least everyone has a seat they can sit on without finding a pin or needle or getting covered in fibres! Having said that, both seats either side of me on the settee have stuff on them already!

My Mum has arrived to stay until New Year's Day when she will go to my brother's. She is a very light traveller (not) and is helping me fill the house to capacity. (She is currently snoozing in the armchair). Bless her, she's even brought a Christmas cake for us - home-made of course!

I think the Santa on the sleigh suffered a bit in the journey, either that or he's had a small sherry! The reindeer doesn't look too upright either! It will taste great though!

I've received some ATCs today from a swap at MixedMediaATC_UK Yahoo group. The theme was weaving.

This lovely card with woven yarns and button embellishments is from Linda.

Marina (what a lovely name!) has woven wool, thread and braid through sequin waste which catches the light beautifully.

Finally, Ula has woven recycled Sari silk through a plastic mesh. This must have taken ages to do! Unfortunately my photo is blurred and the colour is not accurate. I will take another pic tomorrow in daylight.

BTW do you remember me telling you that we couldn't open the patio door from the lounge to the conservatory because we had lost the key (and Mum pushed the bolt in on her last visit!)? I had made a feeble attempt at ordering another from the supplier but 'said' replacement hadn't arrived. Well, I tend to have this "laissez faire" attitude to some things and they seem to work out.'ll never guess...........DH went up into the loft and fetched down the Christmas Tree decs the other day and what did he find in the bottom of the box!!! Yes!!!! The key to the bolt on the patio door!!!!!! Clever DH! How on earth did that get in there anyway??!! I have a theory that DH was stripping the tree last year, which we have in the conservatory, and didn't notice that he'd knocked the key down into the storage box! Well, it has to be his fault doesn't it? That's what hubby's are for! *lol** Hehehe! Needless to say we have now put the key's onto separate key rings. (Oh yes, there are 2 of them. Why didn't we do that originally?!) Oh no, that would have been much too easy!!!

I expect that some of you will be going away this weekend or may be too busy to be blogging so may I wish everyone a warm and happy time with your friends, family or however you are spending this time. I look forward to sharing our creative experiences throughout the coming year. Thank you to everyone who takes the time to look in here at my inane ramblings and thank you too for taking the trouble to leave me your comments. I really do appreciate all the comments I receive and I hope I have not left anyone out when I have been replying. I have had a wonderful time since I joined this amazing community this summer! Oooh! And I must thank all the wonderful people whose blogs I have enjoyed so much and who have cheered me up with their amazing friends, whether sock creatures, monkeys or bears! Not forgetting all those expert ladies who have so generously shared their techniques and ideas - thank you ladies!

Whatever your beliefs or you God I wish you a peaceful and happy holiday. XxxXoooXxxX

Sky Watch Friday

This was taken in Hunstanton last winter on a short break away. A little serenity before the mayhem starts!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Hopeless and Helpers!

My DH would say that I am rapidly approaching melt down in the Christmas preparations stakes! I have been trying not to get het up but gradually things are conspiring against me. Grrrrr! Today it was the Christmas tree lights! We have got a super duper multi-function set of lights which DH dutifully plugged in and tested before decking out the tree in them. Stand by for the dramatic plug in! Yes , you're there before me - nothing! No amount of fuse changing, bulb tightening or "Dammit"ing would help, they remained stubbornly dead! So today I trailed into town to post yet more parcels and buy some lights. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised, town wasn't as busy as I expected. Mind you, we've got so many roadworks I think everyone's going to London or Edinburgh to shop! It's easier than trying to negotiate our home town!

You'll be pleased to hear, and not unsurprised, that I had some help with decorating the tree when I got home.....

I think Maud was a bit worried about Mungo climbing the tree to hang the baubles!

Maud was much happier when Mungo climbed down again.

"What do you think of the tree, Bertie?" said Mungo. "Wow", said Bertie "It's great but, did you know there's a cow in your tree?"

While we're catching up with Mungo and Maud I have to say they have been extra helpful today....

Is there no end to their talents?
Enough of this insanity! I have actually managed something a bit more creative than decorating the tree. Goodness knows why in this hectic week, but I decided I wanted to make something on the embellisher so I have been playing with embellishing wool tops, chiffon, organza, scrim and anything else I could find in my bit box onto felt. I then backed it onto black felt and edged it with blanket stitch to make a small pouch which should just hold a camera.

I hope it doesn't look too amateurish. I'm hoping my technique will improve as I get more used to working with fibre and textiles. Hopefully my DD will like it as it's on its way to her in Hampshire.

I'll leave you with a pic of our tree. It's not very colour co-ordinated but I like a bit of colour at Christmas.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Festive Neighbours

I nipped out tonight to photograph our neighbours lovely Christmas lights. I took the pic without a tripod or flash so please excuse a bit of blur.

I wish I could say I'd been busily creative today but I've been busily queuing in shops and Post Office and walking my little friend so no art again today! I will however show you an ATC I have made as part of Anna's challenge as I'm going to post it off tomorrow (that's if Anna sends me her address again as my computer seems to have eaten it!).

As you can probably guess, it's been done on the embellisher. The curls of metal were made by Anna from aluminium cans I think. The photo doesn't show it but I have used metallic thread to blanket stitch the edge and to add some seeding stitches. You will have to wait to see the main part of the challenge as I want Anna to have a bit of a surprise in the post!

PS Going back to the lights above, don't you thing the figure in the balloon looks like Snoopy?!!! I have to keep doing a double take.............sorry, it must be my mind! *LOL*

Saturday, 15 December 2007

The Best Laid Plans

of mice and men- as they say! Did I say I was doing a workshop today? Wrong! Unfortunately it turned out that, because of illness, bereavement, house moving and Christmas holiday plans there were only 2 of us available to do the workshop (and the other girl really would have preferred not to be doing it!). So, after a phone call to the organiser, it was agreed to cancel it. :((
That's ok I thought. I'll just work at home on my embellisher! :)) Wrong! My dear friend Ann, who is struggling with a flare up of her ME, needed some help as her husband had to go into hospital today to get a repair done to his shoulder ligament (they only offered the date for the op on Monday). The help she needed was a little shopping and some baby sitting:-

Well, dog-sitting actually. May I present Floss! She's a cute little dog and was obviously keeping her beady eye on me!

Floss was busy watching me photograph the great post I received today.

First of all, a parcel from Lesley, otherwise known as Moogsmum. I ordered one of her Dammit Dolls to give to one of my friends for Christmas (the same friend who has PG monkey and Benji the confused bear). If you enlarge the pic you should be able to read the poem that goes with him and which still cracks me up when I read it.

Also in the parcel this delightful corsage (plus another which I can't show, in case......)

And finally, this lovely extra which I was not expecting! This is a coffee cup ring/cuff so you don't burn your fingers on your takeaway cuppa! Oh and not forgetting, chocolates! And my favourite maltesers too! Thank you Lesley, you are too kind! and very generous!

The next parcel came from Kate and was some beautiful blocks that she had offered to send me.

Aren't they beautiful? There are some lovely prints and batiks in these pieces. Kate is offering more of these on her blog as a giveaway (you need to pop over there quickly if you're interested). As I don't know much about quilting, and as I don't quilt myself, I cheekily said I wouldn't mind just one or two to give me a head start on some crazy quilting, well, crazy embroidery really. Kate very kindly sent me these. Not only that, but she followed it up with a quick tutorial by email! Thank you Kate! (She's probably fed up of me by now! LOL) These 4 blocks should keep me quiet for a while as I will use them for postcards and ATCs most probably.

I don't have any art from this week to show you so I thought I would pop up this watercolour I did a while ago of a ruined cottage near Roundstone in Ireland. (This is supposed to be an art blog, after all!) :))
Now, where did I put those chocolates??

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Busy busy busy

Our tree is still in the loft but this tree from the church festival is decorated with eggboxes and paper stars! Ingenious!
I have had a busy day but don't have anything impressive to show. I did make a notebook cover this morning but I forgot to photograph it so I'll try and remember tomorrow. I had a play on the embellisher (with its broken needle) as I had a small project in mind and I'm quite pleased with the piece I've made.

This doesn't look much but the piece on the right is the start of embellishing the shetland carded wool I bought at Harrogate onto wool batting. There are 3 colours here. I think the other material is a silk or maybe taffetta that I decided to distress to see what would happen. It distressed very easily and has a lovely loopy texture. I shall play with this again.

This is the embellished wool sample with additions made. I added scrim in several colours, organza, dyed cotton (which disintegrated beautifully) and chiffon and have now cut this up to make ATCs which will have handstitching and beading added.
For some reason I felt impelled to get some of the Christmas food shopping in today. I couldn't face the thought of probably panicking next week so our turkey crown and trimmings are now safely in the freezer and I feel I've taken some of the pressure off myself. I've made a token gesture towards getting the housework done ready for Mum coming - I've cleared my sewing stuff off her chair so she can sit down! All I have to do now is clear all my sewing gear out of the back room and put Mum's bed up then clean through, finish buying presents, deliver said presents and cards, put up the tree, go to an art workshop on Saturday (Yay!), go food shopping again, make 3 ATCs for a swap due this month and 3 postcards for a swap due next month, finish the project I started today and keep blogging! Hmmmm! Plenty of time yet! *LOL

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

New Arrivals

Yippee! They're here! Look who arrived today!

May I introduce to you, Mungo and Maud. They have come all the way from Cambridgeshire where they were created by Gina . They were rather worried on Sunday as it was raining and they were faced with leaving the warmth of their fireside for a journey into the unknown! But they were very brave and faced 3 days locked in a jiffy bag in the dark, a journey on a train, hours in sorting offices and vans, being thrown about until a kind postman handed them to my DH.

It was all a bit confusing, there were so many new friends to meet

Then Bertie decided he wanted a personal photo call to welcome two new friends to keep him company

Bertie hoped noone would notice that he had snaffled the chocolate buttons Gina had sent - (Grumbles Bertie -"there's been a distinct lack of liquorice allsorts in this house!")

Mungo and Maud very quickly found the sewing machine! They'd seen something like this before, when they were born!

They were beginning to feel at home now and thought they'd watch a bit of telly-

"Phew" said Mungo "I'm feeling a bit weary. I think I could do with a lie down. It's been a long few days."

"I think that's a good idea" agreed Maud

"Mungo, at least it's not raining in Lincolnshire today"

"Very true, Maud. Maybe we'll stay, then"

"Maybe we will." :))


Gina very kindly also sent me

I shall put the heart on the Christmas tree when it goes up and as you have already seen the buttons have been purloined by Bertie.
Gina, thank you so much for my wonderful new friends and the beautiful brooch and heart. And as for chocolate buttons! I know a little bear who is going to be getting a little chat about sharing! :) Hehehe!