Friday, 30 November 2007

Sky Watch Friday

I'm nearly too late for Friday but just scraping in with this picture of the sky in York this morning. As you can see it started out a beautiful morning (this pic was taken just before 11.30 GMT). The Minster looked beautiful bathed in late Autumn sunshine. If you enlarge the photo you will see some people enjoying the view from on high.
I went up to York with a local coach company to meet up with Denise who I had met on the internet through blogging. We had an amzing day, lots of chat and lots of laughs (Oh,and a little shopping!). Thank you Denise, it was lovely to meet you and I'll see you again before too long. I'll tell you all about it (with pics) tomorrow as it's nearly time for bed.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Busy Busy Busy

Lynda's comment yesterday was about right. I have been having a play with my new toy and am finding it addictive already. I may even tackle Free Machine Embroidery with my new found confidence of moving fabric freely under the needles! Let's hope the method transfers!

Contrary to expectations, I haven't spent all day playing - I had to tackle the dreaded HW first. Anyway, that done, I had a look at the DVD that came with the machine and then took the plunge!

I started with a piece of charcoal kunin felt and felted some scrim to it. I then attached organza and another piece of (orange) scrim. The patch at the top is the inked "cobweb" that I used recently which has given quite a nice soft effect. The pink stripe is a scrap of felt and the yellowy piece below is inked mulberry bark. The bottom piece is a multi-coloured yarn and down the side I've used a fringed yarn. I like the way this has been pulled in and softened by the embellisher with wisps left loose.

Do you remember the foiled velvet I made here? I've had a go at embellishing and distressing that, being careful as it became thick where the organza ruched up.

You may be able to see here that I have been left with some lumpy areas in the first area I started with as I cut the organza to release the tension on it, for fear that the material would be too thick for the needles. I will probably needle some organza over these areas to blend them in.

I managed to needle this more evenly by moving the needles in small circles.

This is the area that has yet to be embellished. I've had to stop to blog!!!! I'm now covered in tiny specks of gold foil. Hope the laptop doesn't mind!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Look Look Look!

I can't believe it! My new toy-cum-early Christmas present, arrived this afternoon! How is that for service? I can certainly recommend White Rose Sewing and Craft Centre of Castleford for their prompt service. Yesterday would have been their first day back at work after the Harrogate Show and they despatched my embellisher straight away! Of course, you're going to have to have a photo:

Excuse the mess! I shall shortly be adding to it with lots of fibre!

Here's the photo that I wanted to post last night but I needed to go to bed:

This is Grace bowling at our local bowling alley. She was 84 at the time. I have to say that we did stop taking her shortly after this photo was taken as she slipped and sat down on the lane! Fortunately she didn't hurt herself and was quite happy to carry on but my nerves wouldn't take it so we conveniently didn't go much after that. I still have Grace's bowling ball in the garden as a garden feature!

It's a mixed bag tonight. I don't have any work to show you as I've been putting my stuff back in the studio (notice that now it's warm in there it's no longer 'the shed') but my DH had a pomegranate last night and I managed to get a pic of the fruit before he demolished it.

I love the colours and the patterns in this fruit. Next time he cuts one I shall have to draw it before he eats it.
On the subject of the studio you should have heard DH and I trying to put a flourescent tube up this afternoon. Or maybe you shouldn't! LOL Have you ever tried putting these tricky so-and-so's up? I haven't a clue but I was giving DH instructions as to which way round the prongs should go and we were up and down two sets of steps swapping ends while DH tried to locate the pins in the relevant holes, bearing in mind that he doesn't see very well, especially when there's little light to see by. Eventually, and all of a sudden, the prongs decided to lock in place, well, I say lock, but it's more like barely resting, and DH and I made a wary retreat. I can laugh now but we nearly sent for the cavalry (aka DH's best mate Richard who put the thing up in the first place).

Monday, 26 November 2007

Gifts from Grace

I have a very dear friend called Grace who is 96 years old and still lives in her own home and looks after herself totally. She is a wonderful lady, very down to earth and very determined. I have known her for the last 24 years since I met my late husband who was her neighbour. This lady was happy to go Ten Pin Bowling at the age of 84! and I mean, join in and play! (Just to avoid confusion this is not the same lady who lives next door to us). Up until only 3 years ago Grace was still working her own allotment and she grows her own vegetables in her little back garden. I admire Grace so much for her strength of spirit and independence and do what I can to help out when she'll let me. Anyway, I went to see her today to give her a hand with something and she had looked out a load of lace for me!

Isn't it lovely and aren't I a lucky girl?! She thinks she's got some more somewhere!

While we were talking she said she was going to recycle some old dressmaking patterns so she recycled those to me too!

Unfortunately Grace's sight is not all it should be as she has cateracts and one op has already gone wrong for her, but she loves me to take my projects round to show her and doesn't think I'm at all mad when I gleefully accept dress patterns and lace and tell her I will be daubing paint on them! She now tells me she has 2 suitcases of material that I might be interested in! Ooh! Yes please!
I have to tell you, this indomitable lady repelled a possible intrusion by 2 distraction merchants a couple of months ago. She came into her kitchen to find a man in there heading for her downstairs bathroom and muttering "water". Without a thought to her safety she demanded he leave and followed him outside to find an associate was loitering in her back garden. She promptly told them both to leave which fortunately they did! I don't think she was at all worried till she told her neighbour who phoned the Police. She now has to keep her back gate locked. What a world we live in!
Anyway, I don't want to end on a negative note with Grace. Earlier this year Grace was feeling a bit wobbly on her legs and was losing a bit of confidence when she was out in the town. She kept saying that she could walk perfectly well when pushing a supermarket trolley so eventually we decided it would be a good idea to try having a pushalong shopping trolley. She was able to buy a Sholley on the local market and my DH and I went along to help her. She had no sooner paid over her money and given the trolley a test jiggle than she was off! Didn't want us to go with her while she got used to it. No, she was off with a new lease of life! This lady was now delighted to find that she could now walk all along the street market and get to shops that she hadn't dared to walk to for some time. All this at 95 years of age! Grace, I salute you!


I've finally managed to catch up with (the bulk of) my outstanding swaps so I can now post the pics for you:

I have woven and painted watercolour paper in a dark maroon colour and then brushed on gold, silver and copper markal oil sticks (Shiva). After that I dropped in magenta and indigo airbrush paints (inks) and finally finger-brushed on a small amount ot Treasure Gold to add highlights.

This weaving is made from various fibres, painted hessian, fruit netting, metallic effect material, paper ribbon, silk paper,tyvek, a label which had pulled fleece on it, painted nappy liner and braid. The fruit netting bag melted when I bonded the piece onto vilene to hold it all together. Finally I randomly stitched on beads to secure any loose pieces.

I cheated a bit with this one! I had painted this watercolour of a tropical fish sometime ago and never finished it so I chose the most finished area and cut it horizontally. I then cut the vertical strips from the background and wove them thro. His eyes a bit fearsome but I quite like this one.

I have received another pincushion today from the Fibre Art Traders swap.

This pretty pincushion is from Deb at Fibre Art Traders. I love the beading on it and the turquoise and orange work so well together. Just as an aside, when I was painting in watercolour I often used (pale) orange and blue when painting tree trunks as these two colours are complimentaries and work well together. I'll try and find an example in my sketchbooks and post it tomorrow.
My dear DH has finished painting my studio ceiling so tomorrow is the grand move back in and re-organise! Sheeeeesh! Thank goodness DH has taken a couple of days off work to help me with all this. He's a treasure!

I've just got one more trade to finish off but I can't show you that till the recipient has received it.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Christmas Parade

It's been a quiet day chez nous today but we did pop into town this afternoon for the start of the town's Christmas celebrations. Unfortunately we were a bit late going down and so my few photos are rather haphazard. Even being married to an ace photographer doesn't mean our sorties are always successful! Lol! We had a very pleasant wander through the market and small funfair and I was sorely tempted by the hot chocolate with brandy stall! Sadly I was driving (yes, I know we should have walked down!) so I contented myself with a plain hot chocolate. It was delicious tho!

We were just in time to catch the (small) parade which went thro town led by a Band of Pipers and the Bourne Borderers Morris Dancers.

Our Mayor and his Lady riding in the Land Train in the parade.

The children who brought up the rear of the parade were taking their duties very seriously - bless! The parade culminated in a short service when the lights and festivities were blessed and the main Christmas lights were turned on by a local child and the Town Mayor.

This is our Guildhall and also houses the theatre where we went to see Battlefield Band last night.

Of course no Christmas parade would be complete without Father Christmas!

My DH has done stirling work today painting the ceiling of my studio. Unfortunately, while I was out, he made himself giddy bending down and up again and had a bit of a funny turn so I stopped him when I got back from shopping. Poor owd thing! He's ok now, nothing can keep him from his blogging!

Post and Battlefield Band

It's late and I should be in bed so just a quick post to show you the lovely Feather Stitch ATCs I received today from MixedMediaATC_UK group

This lovely card is from Helen

I love Amanda's use of hessian in this inventive card

This beautifully handstitched ATC came from Ula

I spent part of today in my lovely warm! studio (Hurray, the insulation is working!) but didn't get anything to a finish to show you. Tomorrow my dear DH is hopefully going to emulsion the ceiling and then I can put all my stuff back in. I'm really thrilled that I can now go out there and work without getting frozen to death or putting 15 layers on! It might cost a bit less on the leccy bill too :)

This evening we have been out to our local Arts Centre to see the
Battlefield Band who hail from Scotland and who raised the roof! We were the final gig on their 2007 tour so I think they were feeling quite relaxed. It was a great night out! You can catch them here on Youtube. (Sorry I'm too tired to work out how to get the little screen on here)

Friday, 23 November 2007

Great Day Out

You may wish to jump this first paragraph as I'm about to whinge on a bit........ I had a great day out yesterday at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate (more of that in a minute) But, boy, am I tired today! I cannot believe how awful I feel. I thought my energy levels were picking up with the improved levels in my blood but I am crawling around almost on my knees today. Aaaargh! I hate feeling like this! I've done a little bit of sorting out this morning to a chest of drawers in my bedroom and that's it! Pooped! Knackered! Stuffed! Phew! OK I feel a bit better for getting that off my chest.

Ok. No more moans (today anyway) I promise. Yesterday was a "Grand Day Out"! I met up with my friend June in good time to be picked up by the coach and we had a really good trip up to Harrogate with very little delay. On the way I was thrilled to get a good view of a Red Kite which flew down quite close to the coach just as we were approaching Wetherby. I love Red Kites, they are such majestic birds and have such a distinctive shape with their forked tails. They have been brought back from the edge of extinction in this country and their range is increasing after introductions from the continent.

The Show was great and much larger than I expected. It was pretty busy too, being the first day, and there were a lot of young students looking around. In terms of the exhibition the students work was very varied and exciting. The Embroiderers Guild Graduate Showcase had some interesting work, which I wish I had photographed! Doh!

These two pics are of the FLEWS Group stand. Apart from all the lovely colours I was attracted by these driftwood mobiles.
These knitted tyres were on the Knitted Textile Student Awards stand.

The first stand you were greeted with on entering the Exhibition, just inside the doors, was Maggie Grey and Jane Lemon's Celebration of the work of Valerie Campbell-Harding. I'm not sure if the custodians of the stand were suffering from the cold as I didn't get to speak to them but hopefully they were not too uncomfortable. The displays were very impressive and I managed to get a few pics:

The other display I really loved was an exhibition by Studio21 which is a group of textile artists which includes the published quilt artist Sandra Meech.

The two central images in this pic are by Linda Gleave and were beautiful. The surface had watercolour qualities about it and it was stitched with irridescent or metallic threads which you should be able to see if you enlarge the photo.

These ethereal dress forms were by Marion Glover and the hanging birds were "fairy wrens" (if my memory serves me right).

This photo does not do justice to this wonderfully textured work which reminded me of ageing buildings and rusty wrought iron - gorgeous!

This is just a section of a piece by Sandra Meech and is rich in texture. You may be able to see metallics if you enlarge.

I particularly liked this piece on the back wall which looked deceptively simple in its construction. It is mounted on hessian and the large circle in the centre is knitted. It is a collage of knitting, felt and other materials enriched with stitch.

Well, I suppose I had better own up to some shopping...... You may see a clue to something which will be arriving next week!

This beautiful carded wool from Shetland was the first thing I bought, hotly followed by sumptuous merino and alpaca tops. Hmmmm! Now what could I be needing those for??

25 squares of Japanese print, mulberry bark, embroidery hoops and thread.

This lovely lace only cost £1.50 for 1.5 metres from St Michael's Hospice stall.
Did you spot the clues????:o)) If you recognise the book cover the lace is resting on you may already know!

Sky Watch Friday

This was the sky above our garden this morning. It is a lovely, bright but chilly day today and the sun is casting beautiful light through the trees at the bottom of our garden.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Post and warmth

Yippee! I got my first ever trade from a swap partner in America today! I am trading three bottlecap pincushions with three ladies in America and will receive three back (pincushions, not ladies!).
This pretty pink cushion wrapped in a piece of what I think is a vintage print material, is from Gail who lives in New Jersey. This parcel came all the way from America in less time than it took for Gina's parcel to travel about 70 miles in this country!
My studio is now looking rather different with its insulated ceiling. The builders finished tonight and I now need to emulsion the plasterboard before I put all my "junk" back in. My DH has offered to do it for me at the weekend. Hmmmm! Tempting offer! We shall see........I could do with getting it done so that I can sort myself out but I'm not sure if my joints will stand up to it. I suggested (jokingly) to the builder that I would throw some paint up. That gave rise to all sorts of mental images of the possible finished effect. It wouldn't be out of place in an art room, after all, would it?. Just a shame it would go all over my books and equipment. Oh well, bring on the paint roller and a step ladder! (Good excuse for a trip to B&Q, anyway. I love looking for art possibilities in that store).

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Angels and cakes

My new little angel has been talking to me all day and telling me to put a clearer picture of her up for you to see Gina's lovely work, so here she is together with the lovely iced fairy pincushion that Gina sent me. You can see both on Gina's blog here and here. Hopefully, you won't notice that she is currently hanging on the door to the drinks cupboard waiting for the Christmas tree to appear. Hope she doesn't get into any bad habits!

Oops this pic isn't any clearer as I took it without flash and forgot to not breathe! Sorry!

Saturday continued

I don't know what happened to my post from yesterday. I didn't post it last night and have only just put it up this morning (Sunday) but Blogger, bless it, is showing it as Saturday's post anyway! Very confusing.

Anyway, Saturday continued.......(I think I've lost my thread now as I couldn't blog everything that was in my mind yesterday lol)

I am quite pleased with some purchases I've made this week. The hearts were bought from Au Naturale in town and cost £1 each effectively (a BOGOFF offer). I thought that I would decorate/embellish them with buttons and beads. At £1 each it doesn't seem a lot to pay for a ready made base, although I suppose it is a bit pricey if you're used to making them yourself. The ribbon and the small piece of fabric, which is a lovely crinkly texture and a bit reflective on one side, cost me 10p each from the market. Bargain!
Perversely, I have been working on some ATCs that are due for a swap in December. Have I worked on the swaps that are due on Tuesday and by the end of this month? Of course not!!! lol I was really attracted by the theme of the December swap so did those first. Logical!

I'm sure you've guessed by now. The theme is Frost, ice, snow. I have used texture paste as a base and the leaf is a real leaf which I have painted with copper acrylic paint. I have then collaged a piece of silvered mesh, the leaf , babies breath and grasses and then sponge painted it all. Finally I've touched on some gold acrylic paint to highlight some areas. I really enjoyed making these little cards.

We had a busy start to the day (when we eventually woke up at 10 o'clock!). I've had to move all the loose stuff in my studio as I am having some insulation fitted to the ceiling tomorrow. Look at the chaos out there

How many brushes does a girl need?!! We've moved everything out except for the main furniture and the stuff on the lower bookshelves. Actually, I was surprised that it only took DH and I an hour to move it all into the conservatory, which now looks like a bomb has hit it! I am going to have to have a proper sort out when I put it all back. In the course of moving everything I have found a leak through the walls so it's probably just as well that we have had to move everything. Hmmmm! The question is, how do we stop the water which seems to be seeping thro knots in the wood?

PS I am so pleased that, at last, blogger is enlarging my pics!