Thursday, 30 June 2011

Been 'n gone 'n Back Again!

Where does the time go?  I just cannot find enough hours in the day at the moment and it's not going to get any better any time soon.  But I'm not complaining.  Happily good things are happening at the moment.

Last week we had a lovely break away on the Isle of Wight, just off the south coast of England.  We went away with our local coach company so there was no driving to worry about and we could relax from the off.  And boy, did we need it.  Despite our earlier holiday in St Ives we both needed a good rest.  We stayed at the Melbourne Ardenlea Hotel and enjoyed using its pool which we had to ourselves each time we went in.  Very decadent!

We had a very leisurely week, which was just what I needed, but we did get out and about and of course, there were photo opportunities.

First port of call was Osborne House which was the favourite holiday home of Queen Victoria.  While our friends toured the house DH and I spent time in the gardens looking for patterns and textures. 

I think these dragons were friendly!

All around the terrace gardens were these beautiful ornate stands of  magnolia.

 Inspiration for quilting patterns?

I do like views through interesting shaped windows.  This was in the Swiss Cottage in the grounds of Osborne House.  The house was built for the children of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert but was  used by all the family.

Not wonderfully exciting but I have plans for this textured planking in Photoshop.

Equally this fern design on a garden bench is due for some playtime.

This beautiful beach in Shanklin was the scene of a pleasant couple of hours of beachcombing .  There had been many falls of the cliff face and as a result there are lots of different types of stone on the beach.

There is potential in these pics for some design work.

Not quite up to the standard of Alum Bay, the cliffs at Shanklin have distinctive layers of colour. 

Speaking of colour, how about this gorgeous stone? 

This beautiful shell is embedded in a large rock and it was about10" (25cms) across.  How many years had that been held unseen until the stone fell and shattered on the beach?

The highlight of the week, apart from having a lovely swimming pool to ourselves, was a reunion with my best friend from school!  I had not seen L since 1974!  Can you believe it?  We had kept in touch loosely for a while after I left school to come to college in Lincolnshire but life pulled us in different directions and although we each knew where the other was we never got round to meeting up until now when I decided to contact L as she lives near the Isle of Wight.

It was amazing to catch up and spend a delightful couple of hours over tea and cakes (and a beer for the men!) in a lovely cafe/pub.  The years fell away and we just picked up where we left off.  We both hope that it will not be another 37 years before we meet up again!  (don't think we've got that many years left!)

And finally, I am beside myself with excitement!!! Tomorrow I am off to Belstead House near Ipswich for a weekend in the company of very talented ladies and the most amazing tutor!  I am going to Contemporary Quilt Group Summer School and my classes are with Jo Budd who I have spoken about before.  Her colours are wonderfully subtle and she creates wonderful textures with her use of dyes and stitch:

 I wrote this about her exhibition at Festival of Quilts in 2007: 

"An artist called Jo Budd had an exhibition of large textiles which you can see in the background of this photo:
Her work is beautiful. I think work spanning different periods were on display here. The piece you can see here looked like very fine materials which had been dyed and had been stitched by hand to provide surface texture. The edges of the fabrics were frayed where they overlapped. I thought her work was inspirational with great textures and I will be looking into her work some more."  

It has taken me 4 years to get the chance to work with her and I am so looking forward to the weekend.  Mind you, I will probably be totally horizontal by the time I get back on Sunday evening.  Our schedule shows that the evening work session goes on till 21.45!  Eeeek!  Someone has mentioned wine though so there is some hope!  ;-)   I'll be back some time next week to show you what we get up to.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Yvonne Brown

Today I've had some time out and spent a very rewarding day in a workshop led by Yvonne Brown at Long Bennington, a village not far from my home town.  I was offered the place at the last minute and I'm really pleased I accepted it as Yvonne had lots of ideas and has sparked my creativity again.  

Our task for the day was to decorate fabric paper to make a book cover and Yvonne had generously prepared all the fabric paper for us in glorious jewel colours.  As ever I found it a bit daunting at first to start designing and working on my piece but with one or two tips from Yvonne I got cracking and was soon lost in combining stitch and beads.

 First of all, the books above are Yvonne's to give us some ideas.

It's very difficult to photograph metallic and irridescent colours but you can see here the wide array of covers made and in the process of being made by the ladies today. 

True to my usual form of working slowly I didn't get mine finished but you can see how far I got above.  It will come as no surprise to see that I kept well within my comfort zone and worked on a gold base with turquoise and orange!  I still have to add another row of beads and sequins on the front (to the right) and I intend to add 2 more rows of blue themed beads to the spine.  The back is decorated with a piece of pale blue metal shim that Carolyn gave me earlier this year with a small rectangle of painted lutradur and another of fused angelina on top.  I had fun using some of the decorative stitches on my machine that I haven't tried before.  You will be able to see from some of the following photographs that several of the ladies managed to finish their bookcovers.

There is so much variety in these covers and the green and gold cover on the right above is really beautiful, having a look of Tudor England about it. 

These two covers are still in their early stages.

As is this one.  The flowers are made by machining small snippets of silk velvet and will eventually have beads added as will the letter 'M'.

More beautiful work and a look at the spine of the Tudor piece at the top of the photo above.

There is no mistaking the work of Tina in the piece at the top above.  You can never have too much colour, or bling!  The cover underneath Tina's is Joan's work and she was infected by Tina's bead enthusiasm (I hope I've attributed that correctly!).  I was delighted to meet Joan as she has been a Follower of this blog for 2 years!  It's lovely to know you're not burbling away to yourself all the time ;-)  Hello Joan!  It was lovely to meet you today and we're sure to meet up before too long at a Guild day.  Joan, if I've put your name to the wrong cover please leave me a quick comment, or a sharp kick! ;-)

This is a quick view of our industrious corner of the room, all hard at work with a cup of tea not far away.  Well, you have to have a cuppa, don't you?  The chocolate biscuits were good too!

We're rapidly getting to the close of voting for the 'Unfolding The Quilts' project which could mean that the Quilt Museum in York will go through to the finals of the National Lottery Awards and at least earn some much deserved publicity if not funding.  If you have already clicked on the link in my side-bar, thank you very much.  If you haven't had chance to vote yet please do click the big blue box on the right and you will be taken to the relevant site to cast your vote.  Or you can click here.  Voting closes at noon on Monday 20 June.  That's the day after tomorrow!

Last but not least, I couldn't resist snapping these little shoppers at the supermarket in the week

Duck a l'orange? ;-))

Have a good week everyone!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Catching up Again

I seem to be doing this a lot lately, cramming everything from the last couple of weeks into one post.  To be honest I'm finding it hard to get round to blogging.  Don't get me wrong, I'm spending loads of time on the computer (too much!) and keeping up with all the blogs I follow but I can't seem to find the interest to blog myself.  I shall have to get a grip!

Well, what can I tell you?  Last Saturday was Region 10 of the Quilter's Guild Area Day which involved a bit of a journey up to Ludford in the north of Lincolnshire.  Sadly (and probably an indicator of my current state of mind) I didn't take any photos but it was an excellent meeting.  The guest speaker, who also held a workshop on the Sunday, was Gail Lawther who was talking about the inspiration behind the 35 quilts she has completed after spending time in New Zealand.  

I treated myself to Gail's book which features all the quilts she talked about and also instructions for making your own version of some of them.  I was amazed that this beautiful book was only £10!

Happily Lis, who blogs as Piece n Peace, has blogged about the day here and it was lovely to meet up with her on the day.  We have only been cyber friends before.   Lis had the forethought to get a photo of both of us together unlike me!  Lis also attended the workshop on the Sunday and has blogged about it here.  Gail was a very enthusiastic speaker and kept us all entertained and I know her workshop was excellent on the Sunday.  I have a Practical Project booked with Gail at the Festival of Quilts in August so I will get my chance to experience her teaching expertise then.  Keep your fingers crossed that nothing crops up this year to stop me going.

What else can I share with you?  On Sunday we had a lovely day with my Mum.  5, yes5, of her friends, all of whom are over 70, travelled up from Essex to see her and what a party we had! 

Doesn't my Mum look happy?

These are my Mum's special friends and I am so grateful to them for making the journey on a terrible rainy day.  We had an afternoon of laughter, 8 of us squashed into our tiny lounge but it was a fantastic uplifting afternoon all topped off by a cream tea and strawberries and cream :-)   Mum is thinking quite clearly at the moment so we have been able to have some proper conversation which is lovely.  Everyone commented on how much better she is looking, that vague look is not there so much.

While I haven't been doing much practical stitching I have been working on my quilt for Festival of Quilts and have been preparing some digital images. 

 This is a blend of a road map of West Penwith and a previously altered image of St Ives harbour beach.

I really like this, if I do say so myself!  I layered an image of a flooded dinghy over a manipulated photo of The Sloop pub in St Ives.

I think I applied an 'ink outlines' filter to this image of seaweed.

This image combines a photo of the Island in St Ives with an image captured of text on panelling at the Eden Project on our recent visit.  It is quite a simple manipulation but I really like it.

I don't think I've shown here the start point for my entry to Festival.  I actually started this quilt last year but didn't finish it as I had other inspiration and abandoned it.  I have committed myself to working with the blocks I made at that time and have to work to a finished size of 45x45cms!  Gulp!  That's huge!  What possessed me?!   (Amendment added Friday 17 June: I meant 45 inches!!! Help!)

Here's a look at the raw material

This is the top laid out on the bed.  My plan is to include digital images from my photos printed on   Extravorganza and possible other fabrics and then somehow to unite the whole thing with stitch and maybe embellishment.  The whole thing has to be with the organisers by the end of July and I'm away for a week before then and I've got a weekend at Contemporary Quilt Group Summer School which I am very excited about but which will probably lay me low for a week getting over it!  Either that or I'll come home with a completely different idea for my entry ;-)

Well, I'm really tired so it's time I went.  I'm rapidly approaching my 4th blogging anniversary, where did the time go?  The tradition is to have a giveaway so I will have to get my thinking cap on as I don't have a stock of anything.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

This is my Cornwall

Well, it would be if I could only make the move!  However, my heart definitely lies in Cornwall as you probably already know and this morning the postman brought me a wonderful book written by a true Cornishman who knows the area of Penwith like the back of his hand.

The book features Harry's intimate knowledge of the area where he was born, knowledge that he has delighted in sharing with locals and visitors alike on his minibus tours.  My DH and I took one such tour in 2006 on a very misty, mizzly day in June and were introduced to the hidden secrets of the land around St Ives. 

Harry's book is illustrated with photographs and fine drawings and paintings by his wife, Ann.
Sadly Harry has had to undergo surgery which now prevents him from leading his tour groups but his place has been taken by Russell Peake.  A man of many talents, Harry has also written many songs celebrating this beautiful county and you can click on the link below to enjoy just one of his tunes. 

I can't resist showing you just a few of the images from our day out with Harry.  I can't believe it was 5 years ago!
DH practising devining in Towednack Church.

Harry telling us all about the history of the Iron Age settlement at Bodrifty in a very murky setting.

Also at Bodrifty a beautiful twisted thorn tree (could it be blackthorn?).  As we left this atmospheric site my DH managed to slip over into a very soggy patch of ground and spent the rest of the day with a wet btm!

This barn is actually the remnant of a Norman Long House.

.The barn in the previous photograph was down a long track which took us to this arrangement of stones known as Men an Tol.

Finally, this is Lanyon Quoit, the remains of a long barrow. 

If you want to know more about all these locations contact Harry and order his very informative book.  (I don't have any affiliation with Harry other than having enjoyed hearing his stories and his music).

I have a lot of catching up to do here on the blog and have missed sharing several things with you so I'll try and have a catch up soon.  We have just got back from making the final clearance of Mum's house so while I am worn out again at least we won't be travelling back and forth to Essex or have the stress of dismantling Mum's life.  Please keep your fingers crossed for us that the house will sell quickly so that we can secure Mum's care.

PS  Thank you to everyone who has voted for 'Unfolding the Quilts'.  If you haven't voted yet there's still time, just click the link in my side bar.  Many thanks :-D

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Please help!

The Quilt Museum in York, UK, is hoping to benefit from Lottery funding and has been short-listed to the semi-final of the National Lottery Awards.  You can help by voting and getting The Quilt Museum through to the final of the Lottery Awards with exposure on national TV.  The Quilt Museum have explained it so much better than I can so I'll let you read what they have to say:

"Our project “Unfolding the Quilts”, based at the Quilt Museum and Gallery, has reached the semi-finals of the National Lottery Awards, the annual search to find Britain’s favourite Lottery-funded projects.

The Heritage Lottery grant supports our work with volunteers and in education and outreach. The grant has enabled The Quilters’ Guild to open the Quilt Museum and Gallery, creating wider public access to our collection of over 800 historic and contemporary quilts. 

Over 30,000 people have visited the Quilt Museum and Gallery since opening in 2008 and this would not have been possible without the support of volunteers stewarding the exhibitions, helping with education events and working behind the scenes. Volunteers have been able to learn about the Collection and learn new skills. Others have practiced their own sewing skills making items in support of exhibitions. 

The Museum and Gallery’s education programme has enabled over 7000 adults and children to learn and develop practical sewing skills and to learn about the history, art and craft of patchwork and quilting. We have worked with a wide variety of people including school groups, children and young people, young mothers, people in hospital, elderly people in care homes and others from across the community.
We are competing against nine other projects to be voted the
‘Best Heritage Project’ and if we reach the final, our project,
- and the Quilt Museum and Gallery – will be featured on BBC 1. 

This would be tremendous publicity for quilting and for the Quilt Museum and Gallery. "
So please, click on the button in my side-bar or here and make your vote and get all your friends to vote too.  We're all being encouraged to get back to traditional skills including 'Make do and Mend' and if you have any interest in anything remotely connected to stitching, textile arts or quilting the Quilt Museum needs your vote!  Voting is open until midday 20 June but don't wait, vote now!  Thank you :-)