Sunday 27 April 2008

Good Idea?

Well it seemed like a good idea at the time....

... several hours stitching later and still not even half way through... now I'm not so sure! Watch this space.

P.S. I sold four sock creatures on Friday... but not Lulu so guess where she is.

Friday 25 April 2008

Socks and Swaps

Finally finished of the latest pair of socks which were very quickly claimed by Stewart who proceeded to model them for me... think he was practising his ballet moves.

mmm... possibly not

Not sure what he was doing really!

It was a Kaffe Fassett yarn for Regia but I can't remember the colour!
Talking colour... Lulu is a colourful character.

Finished just in time for my Craft Stall this evening.
If she doesn't sell she might just appear in the shop.

This morning I popped to the local garden centre - first of all for a quick cuppa and catch up with Dotty Cookie and Tiny Small. Then we had a wander around the garden centre and I bought this beautiful Clematis Cartmanii "Avalanche".

It has an abundance of the most beautiful delicate flowers. I'd like to keep it but it is a present for our neighbours who celebrate their Golden Wedding this weekend. They are very keen gardeners so hope they will like it as much as I do... and maybe plant it against our adjoining fence!

When I got home I was disappointed to find I had missed the postman who had a Special Delivery parcel for me. Suspecting it might be something nice I went back out to the sorting office to collect it and I was very excited when I opened it because inside was this...

... beautiful mini quilt from Katy!

I think it is lovely Katy so thank you very much - it will be treasured and I can't believe you made it so quickly. I have to confess I haven't even started mine yet but it will be on its way soon - I promise! Katy also sent these fabulous fabrics which I know I will put to good use.

I'd like to say I'll be working on mini quilts this weekend but think I'm going to be stitching plastic bags! Have a lovely weekend whatever you may be doing. Hope the sun shines : )

Thursday 24 April 2008

Bag Lady

Encouraged by the comments on my last post (and despite Jude's warnings) I've decided to go ahead with the idea of a honeycomb structured dress made from plastic bags. After a quick review of available colours and styles I decided bold and brash is the only way to go and Sainsbury's orange it has to be. Popping into my local store for a jar of pesto and a packet of digestives (strange combination but I always was an adventerous cook) I grabbed a handful of said bags for my project only to be told off by the cashier...

"You have to bring in your old bags!"
"Yes I know... I do... but I need these bags."
"But you must recycle your old bags"
"I do... honestly... But I need these."
"I'll give you a sticker"

I gave in and took the bags and my sticker having decided it wasn't worth trying to explain... but I need more bags and I'm not sure I can face going back. I'll keep you posted!

As well as projects involving plastic bags I've also had to face the reality of going back to work next week. I put a lot of things on hold when Jacob was diagnosed and it has been almost three months since I've taught any classes. But next week we've got a Zigzag meeting and then I've got a weekend teaching at Missenden Abbey so I really had to get some preparation done this week. At Zigzag we're looking at ways of combining hand and machine stitch and today I've made these two tiny samples that will go on the front of cards.

They are not as dark as they appear on the photos.

Finally, I must mention the Arte Y Pico award given for creativity, interesting material and contribution to blogging. I'm honoured to have been given this award by three bloggers whom I admire greatly, who all have very different blogs that I find interesting and inspiring in numerous different ways. Kitty, Mags and Celia... THANK YOU!

As always there are rules and I have to pick five blogs that I admire and feel deserve this award . I have agonised over this and even worried about it but I can't do it - I'm finding it impossible to pick five out of the many I read - all who bring something unique to the blogging world. For I start I would want to nominate the three bloggers who nominated me! So I'm sorry but I'm breaking the rules and I'm not passing this on... Always was a bit of a rebel!

Monday 21 April 2008

Feeling better.

Thank you all for you kind "get well soon" messages. I'm starting to feel a lot better and in fact didn't mooch around all weekend as planned. On Saturday, suitably dosed with Lemsip, I went with a couple of friends to the launch of the Eastern Region Textile Forum which was held in Chelmsford. It was a buzzing lively event and there were plenty of good ideas for promoting textile art withinin the East of England. In the afternoon we were treated to a very inspirational and entertaining talk by the lovely James Hunting. He kindly brought along examples of his exquisitly stitched work which we got to handle and see up close. And as an added bonus I got to meet Purple Misses... another blogger I've known since I started blogging who was just a lovely in the flesh as she is in cyberspace! Really good to meet you Lynda.

I've not spent the entire week feeling sorry for myself either and there has been some work for the degree. I finished making my final piece of cloth - a crazy patchwork of metal scraps, made from wire mesh, tomato puree tubes and beer cans (there are advantages to living with all these men!) stitched together on the machine.

And I've moved away from the assignment on Making a Cloth and I'm now looking at Dress as a Sculptural Form in greater detail. I've become fascinated by the Japanese designers of Comme des Garcon, in particular with Junya Watanabe and his surreal honeycomb structures.

And as a result I've been exploring my own honeycomb structures - this first was made from kite fabric. It taught me a lot about the actual construction but I'm not that keen on the Christmas decoration I produced!

The next one was made from silk organdie, which is much nicer but very small due to the fabric used! This technique uses masses of fabric so given that I wasn't going to make a garment sized piece from silk organdie I investigated some other materials...

And discovered that plastic bags, although a nightmare to stitch because of the static electricity (they stick to everything!) give a very pleasing delicate result. So that is where I'm going with this assignment... dresses from plastic bags! I think my family will finally disown me!

Friday 18 April 2008

A Bit Under The Weather

It wasn't flu but I've not been right all week... unbelievably tired and run down and today I'm finally streaming with cold! However my early night on Monday plus liberal doses of drugs, meant I escaped for a couple of days to do a fantastic book making class with Frances Pickering at Art Van Go. Frances makes the most exquisite books filled with beautiful drawings, stitch and words. Not only that she is a lovely, warm, funny and generous tutor so it has been a wonderful couple of days. These are some examples of her books.

And this was my rather meagre first attempt!

I started to fill the inside but didn't get very far.

Because I decided to make another one which I could fill with memorabilia and photos from our holiday in Cuba- which seems like a long and distant memory.

I made the book and started to fill the pages but most of the photos I had with me were very tiny - just contact sheet size and looked out of proportion so Frances suggested I made another smaller book (the original one was only 4 inches square) that could hang as a little bookmark...

And so that is what I did!

To give an idea of scale, these are french knots in the middle!
It measures about 1.5" x 1.75"

And I've finished filling this one!

The book below was made by my lovely friend Joan. Beautiful!
And you can see another one on Dorothy's blog

I'm now going back to feeling sorry for myself and to nurse my cold. Stewart has deserted me for a couple of days (gone to see his parents in Dundee) so I can stay in my pyjamas and wallow in self pity all weekend!

Monday 14 April 2008


On Saturday Stewart and I went to Thriplow for their 40th "Daffodil Weekend." Although I have lived here for 18 years this was the first time we'd been despite it only being about 12 miles away. I was prompted this year by Julie, who contacted me to say she would be coming down to Thriplow on a coach trip. Julie and I started blogging at about the same time and she was one of the first people to "discover" my blog. Fairly soon after that we both realised we would be at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC on the same day so we met up for a cuppa. So it was super to be able to meet up again... and as a bonus we had a lovely day in Thriplow!

Where there was plenty to see (although I didn't take many pics!)

It was a bit chilly, but we managed to avoid the rain!

There was a flower festival in the church, which also had some beautiful stained glass

And to make the day even better, as we were walking along the road we bumped into Val and her family out for the day! Julie also gave me a lovely gift - this pretty case made on the embellisher.

Which is the perfect size for my glasses...

or maybe my phone...

But I think I prefer what Julie put in it!

She also gave me some pretty bits of lace and trims and fabric which I'm sure I will put to good use!
Thank you Julie!

I'm now off to my bed because I'm come over all flu-like and achy which is not good news because I've got too much to do! At least Ben has said he will make the dinner!

Saturday 12 April 2008

A Brick

Stewart came home from work last night - " I've got you a surprise" he said and presented me with a rather heavy wrapped parcel. Hardly containing my excitment I ripped the wrapping off to find... a brick!

Now I know my reaction should have been "Oh darling, how lovely! It's a brick...I've always wanted one."

But instead what came out of my mouth was "It's a brick... hope you didn't pay for that!"

Very indigant he walked out muttering "It's Art - and it's not just any brick, it's sprayed silver"


The he came back in with another parcel and inside this were these three adorable little ceramic women, sitting chattering! They had been displayed on the brick in the shop and he persuaded the shop keeper to let him have the brick too!

It's the nicest brick I've ever had and it reminds me why I love him!

Friday 11 April 2008

Blues, pinks and crazy chickens.

Today I can show you the sewing that I couldn't show yesterday! Some of you will know that Lesley's daughter Minx has sent me some beautiful drawings over the past few months including this fabulous crazy chicken which she sent to cheer us up after Jacob was in hospital.

I finally got around to turning it into a machine appliqued picture.

And as it was Minxie's birthday yesterday I turned it into this little bag as a birthday present and a thank you for sending me such lovely drawings.

I've also overcome my technical hitch with the ponytail bands and have gone into mass production. I've been asked to have a stall at Jacob's school for a "Ladies Pamper Evening" in a couple of weeks time so I thought they might make good sale items.

I'm toying with the idea of adding leaves but I'm not sure yet? Any suggestions?

I thought they matched my new purchase rather well - I got this bumper pack of Alcazar machine embroidery threads in ten different shades of blue at almost half price, from Barnyarns where they are having a clear out sale. Might have to go back and get some other colours!

Perhaps some pinks to match the pink ponytail bands?

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Thursday 10 April 2008

A Recommendation

A few weeks ago, my friend Jude sent me this book to read and the accompanying note said " I had not considered pre-internet blogging but according to this it was alive and well from the mid 1930s." I have just finished it and I cannot recommend it enough.

It is a true account - in 1935 a young mother wrote to a magazine asking readers for help. She was lonely and frustrated and her letter struck a chord with several other women around the country (UK) and they set up a magazine called The Cooperative Correspondence Club (CCC) The magazine circulated among its members and the women wrote of their daily lives - about their children, their marriages, their hopes and their fears- ordinary women with ordinary lives yet so extraordinary and remarkable in many ways. They gave each other support and encouragement and formed friendships that lasted their life times. Many of them also met. Doesn't it sound very familiar? It is one of the most moving books I've read as well as being a wonderful piece of social history and if you can get your hands on a copy - do read it! I would love to know what the rest of you think.

There has been more degree work this week but not much to show for it yet, and some secret sewing that I can't show you yet either, but I have also been working on a request for some ponytail bands similar to my raggy corsages. This one is a protype but I had a bit of trouble with the actual band so it's back to the drawing board. But if I can get them to work they could be appearing in the shop very soon!

Finally some Springtime pictures. This week we have gone from snow to sunshine but I know Spring is here by the beautiful show of cowslips on our village conservation area. We are so lucky to have this area which is behind our house and every year I look forward to the cowslips - which are then followed by large daisies and heavily laden cherry trees in the summer!

PS I forgot to mention I've joined Lucy Locket's mini quilt swap (I'll put a link up when I can get my computer to let me cut and paste the code!) My partner is Katy and I'm really looking forward to this swap - a bit of a challenge for me as I don't "do" quilts!