Friday, 30 November 2007

The Splatt Family

It's been a day of finishing things off today... most importantly another couple of members of the Splatt family who are about to go and live in new homes. Here is Cedric Splatt, superhero extraordinaire, off to find his way into the Christmas stocking of a little boy you may have read about here. That is as long as the said little boy gets up, has breakfast, cleans his teeth, gets dressed and gets his shoes on by 8.30 am every morning for the next three weeks and doesn't give his mother any grief!

Talking procrastination and prevarication (well some of us have been this week)... you would not believe how long I spent fiddling about getting this shot just right! But oh, how it amused me!!!

The other member of the Splatt family is about to travel much further to a lovely lady you will find here. Sally is a bit nervous about travelling so far... she's just checking to see where it is she's going.

Another job achieved today was digging out the advent calendar and filling the little bags with chocolate. I made this at least 10 years ago when the boys were much smaller and you would think they might have grown out of it by now... but they seem to regress back to 7 year olds when it comes to chocolate every day! It also means I can't pretend Christmas is ages away any more and will have to start thinking about it soon... but not until next week!

I've got my Christmas Open Studio to think about first. This is something I've done for a few years now and as a result friends get to expect it at this time of year... really just a craft stall at home. However I rather rashly advertised it as "Come and browse, buy, or just join us for a mince pie and glass of mulled wine" So guess what I'm doing this evening... here's a clue...

If you are in the area and know where I am, I'm open from 11 until 4 both Saturday and Sunday. Thank you as always for calling by my blog and leaving comments... it is always very much appreciated. Have a wonderful weekend, Gina x

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Zigzag... and the adventures of Claude!

We had a lovely day at Zigzag yesterday looking at stitching with metals which has completed our theme of "Rust and Gold." The photo above is a postcard size sample using silver metal threads from Joan, which should appear further down but blogger won't let me move it! The challenge set from last month was "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" - to create a sample to incorporate the theme of diamonds in any way we liked. There was a wonderful variety from postcard and ATC size to three dimensional objects, most also incorporating the theme of rusted fabrics and metal thread embroidery. The following are a selection from the Diamond challenge:

There were also some fabulous metal thread and rust samples. The amazing casket below was actually the final assessment piece for Lynda's City and Guilds Certificate, for which I've now signed her off so she has completed! Well done Lynda! But it also fitted in perfectly with our theme.

And just look at this amazing rust and metal thread pumpkin below, from Judith.

And some lovely ATCs from Joan.

Lesley also brought in her beautiful handmade book with a rusty cover which you can read more about on her blog, Blue is my Favourite Colour.

And last but not least Joan has made this fabulous book full of rust inspired samples. The creative talent of all these ladies - Joan, Judith, Lynda, Lesley, Sandy, Bernice, Lynn, Ann and Pat is amazing and it is a pleasure to work with you all... I just hope some of it rubs off on me! I apologize for any pictures I left out but some photos weren't very good... operator error!!

And now pictures from Brazil... I'm sure you will all be delighted to read that Claude is enjoying his time in Brazil and has made a new friend... Toni. Looks like love at first sight... either that or he is sizing up the opposition?

No, it must be love... here they are climbing trees together in the jungle (this must be the day they got lost!)

Joe and Jack getting wet... they obviously found the waterfall!

And Joe getting into Brazilian Carnival mode... nice hat!

Well, I'm procrastinating again... long list of things I want to finish today instead of which I'm blogging. What's new!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

It seems like yesterday

I've had another lovely day in London today, despite the grey drizzly weather, meeting an old friend (Not old like that... she's the same age as me!) Hilary and I were at University together almost 30 years ago (okay... so maybe we are old!) Here we are on our graduation day - 6th July 1978 - I remember because it was also my 21st birthday. Sorry about the fuzzy picture - a pre digital Kodak instamatic I believe!

Later that summer we spent time together at Hilary's home on the south coast of England before she jetted off to Los Angeles to to do a post graduate course. It was the sort of summer that we all remember - long and hot with the lightness of heart that comes with being young and carefree.

Yes... this is actually England!

And this was our friend Clive... wonder where he is now?

Hilary stayed in LA where she met her husband and has raised her family, but we've always stayed in touch and have managed occasional visits over the years as well as phone calls, emails and the usual Christmas cards. So it was wonderful to meet up for lunch today while she's in London on business. We think it must be at least 14 years since we last actually met but if felt like yesterday. And that wondeful summer of ' 78... that feels like yesterday too. We both agreed we feel the same age in our heads... and of course... we haven't changed a bit!

Just in case you thought I was making a habit of this and turning into "A Lady who Lunches" I did a bit of artistic research too and saw the Louise Bourgeois exhibition at the Tate Modern. I found much of it very disturbing but quite thought provoking too. This is her fabulous Spider sculpture outside... for someone who hates spiders as much as me this was very scarey!

Better go now... more preparation and packing up for Zigzag tomorrow. I expect there will be lots of lovely photos to share (note to self... remember to pack camera!)

Monday, 26 November 2007


I feel like I've not blogged for ages (only actually five days but it feels like ages) but I'm ridiculously busy. I've a Christmas Open Studio next weekend, the November meeting of Zigzag on Wednesday, several commissions to get finished (by Christmas... how many weeks... ONLY 4!!!!), my first Opus module to finish by 21st Dec... and that's just the things I can remember! And have I started my Christmas shopping? No, don't be silly! Stewart did say yesterday he might make the Christmas cake... which will be interesting because this man, although nifty with an iron, does NOT cook!

Anyway, thought I'd better replenish stock before the Open weekend and have made a start on some more sock creatures... here's Archie... who is actually quite sparkly with a bit of a lurex stripe.

I have also done some preparation for Zigzag - we're looking at stitching with metals this week so I've made the following sample....

... which has been unashamedly copied from inspired by this lovely book that I bought from Art Van Go last week. I haven't time to be original at the moment!

Of course, what else do I do when I'm so busy that I don't know where to start... I spend Sunday morning baking. And these are the results... a dozen blueberry muffins

and some scrumptious ginger cake (Delia recipe)... I really am the master of procrastination! They got to the cake before I got my camera out! (and before the icing had set)

News from Brazil this week... Joe and friends have been staying on "some island" (his words not mine), they've been lost in the jungle, hired a jeep to go and find a waterfall, eaten strange things in restarants because no-one speaks English and they don't speak Portuguese but over all seem to be having a brilliant time. No photos yet though.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

A day in London

Today I've been in London to meet up with my friend Jude (of Mr Sock Fame). We went to the V & A Museum where we saw this fabulous exhibition of the most amazing dresses and gowns from people like Dior and Balenciaga... Stunning! Dresses from the days when ladies wore glamourous frocks... and hideous corsets!

Jude and I are veterans of these V & A special exhibitions and there is nothing we love more than the themed shop that you have to walk through before you can exit and we usually never leave without at least one or two tacky purchases. But today we were both very restrained and I left with only a couple of packs of sequins and a set of postcards. You should have seen us after the Versace exhibition... we were laden with bling!

We then ventured over the road for a fabulous lunch at Carluccio's were we had a tasty mushroom risotto and a glass of chilled pink wine. Then it was back to the V & A to see this exhibition: "Out of the Ordinary: Spectacular Craft" which was brilliant. There were some really interesting and wacky things on display... well worth a visit. I especially liked the work of Anne Wilson. I was also amused by this quote from Catherine Bertola (You'll like this one Lesley): "I use dust as a mechanism for story telling - dust is often described as being the matter of history, a residue or fragment that enables you to reflect on the past." I KNEW there was a reason for not dusting!!!!

Then it was back home to walk the dog in the dark (NOT fun). Consolation when I got in... there were still some date and oatmeal cookies left from yesterday to have with my cuppa... no, I didn't eat them all... only one!

... a lovely day. Thank you Jude... hope Mr Sock didn't miss you too much!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Sock sales!

The Art and Craft Fair in Reach on Saturday went really well... a steady stream of visitors willing to part with their cash! As a result I sold 11 of my sock creatures, which I could scarcely believe. These were the last two that I finished off on Friday evening... Humphrey and Abe. Abe was sold and was last seen flying through the air outside the Reach Village Hall, having been launched by his new young owner... no wonder his eyes look like that! Despite lots of interest Humphrey is still with me.

One of the first visitors to the fair was Angela, who has been to some of my classes in the past and frequently comments on my blog and she handed me this lovely parcel...

Inside which were all these fabulous goodies... feathers, buttons, beads and a gorgeous ATC.

The ATC is beautiful and has a message, partly in mirror writing, that says "Stitch Therapy" to remind me when I have stressful weeks like the last one that stitching is a therapy... so true. Thank you Angela it is lovely... and I'm especially honoured as this is the first ATC Angela has ever made.

Almost forgot, but the parcel also contained this special Tea bag which reads :

"I cannot sit and chat with you

The way I'd like to do

So brew yourself a cup of tea,

I'll think of you - you think of me"

I can't put that in a cup of hot water... far too special. Thank you again Angela.

At the fair I bought some lovely cards and other bits and pieces from another stallholder, Celia Hart (forgot to take a photograph of my purchases) whose work you can see on her blog "Purple Podded Peas". Do take a look... she makes beautiful prints.

I've been spending yesterday and today catching up with the degree which has included parcelling up work to send to my tutor. I finally put the stitched portraits that I made ages ago into a book. At the time I blogged about them and said I intended to make a book but did nothing about it... nothing like a deadline to spur me into action! And this is the result.

I can see this as a theme I will return to, perhaps on a larger scale... but for now I'm back to a project called "Metamorphosis".

Day out in London tomorrow so back on Thursday with a full report!

Friday, 16 November 2007


It was the most glorious frosty morning today where everything looked as though it had been dipped in icing sugar! Clean dog weather... but boy, was it cold! But so beautiful.

To combat my blue mood of yesterday I've indulged in a frenzy of activity for the craft fair tomorrow and have completed yet another sock creature... Syd Splatt. Not sure about his forked toes! Look a bit crab like... or worse still, a scorpion!

I've made a whole basket of lavender bags,

completed a machine embroidered pendant to go with some others I had in stock,

and finished off a book jacket that I'd been commissioned to make as a Christmas present. All this whilst listening to the Music Marathon on radio 2 for Children in Need. I phoned in with a pledge but they didn't read out my message... unless it was whilst I was walking the dog. Probably donated my entire profit from tomorrow but it's a good cause. And as a result I'm feeling much chirpier today!

News from the Boys in Brazil... arrived safely!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Bon Voyage

Well here they are... Joe, Jack and Nick... oh and Claude... at Heathrow at 8.00 am this morning en route to San Paulo. Have to say it was really hard to say goodbye knowing I won't see Joe until next August but I was very brave until I got in the car... then I drove home through a mist of tears. Makes the M25 quite interesting!

One day they are babies... (he'll thank me for this!)

... then they are all grown up and travelling around the world on their own. I'll miss you Joe... but I won't miss being woken up at 3 am! Which funnily enough they do when they are babies and then again when they are 18! I'm sure they are going to have a fantastic time... in fact they are due to be taking off as I type! Bon Voyage!
As a distraction I stopped off at Art Van Go on the way home (well, I was passing) intending to buy some paint. I did buy paint but also picked up some reading matter... like I haven't got enough to do!

At least this will keep my mind off the empty room upstairs. (empty that is apart from all the junk on the floor...)