Sunday 28 September 2008

We have a winner...

Thank you for such an overwhelming response to my 200th post giveaway... all names were written out onto slips of paper...

Folded up and put into a bowl.

I was then helped by my able assistant (aka Stewart)

Who picked out Sarah's name.
Well done Sarah - your prize will be in the post this week

That's all for today. I'm still feeling really grotty and I've got to teach tomorrow (a school near Southend), on Tuesday (machine embroidery in Letchworth) and on Wednesday (City & Guilds in Baldock) on top of which it's Jacob's bithday on Friday and we've got the pink pants event on Saturday. But for now I'm going to curl up under a duvet with a Lemsip. Normal service will be resumed soon!

Saturday 27 September 2008

What's on your washing line today?

I've been dying several pairs of boxer shorts a lurid shade of pink (flamingo apparently). Why... all will be revealed (and more!) next weekend...

I wasn't meant to be dying pink pants today. I should have been in London taking my piece of work in for selection day for Prism but I woke this morning with a streaming nose, achy limbs and a pounding head... a sure sign that I'm doing too much! Stewart came to the rescue and has been to London with my work. Not sure how much I'm supposed to say at this stage but there is good news which I hope I can share soon which makes all the tears, tantrums and staying up half the night on Thursday all seem rather silly now! As Stewart says... I'm a wally!

Moving swiftly on...
the box!

I managed to hack my way in and have removed three items, replaced three items and as of yesterday the box is on its travels again... will you be next?

I think I'm allowed to show you what I've taken out. First of all a lace collar because I love old bits of needlework. Then there were some rather lovely buttons. I can see a sock creature called "square eyes" in that lot!

And last but not least, I wanted to take out some rather gorgeous fabric but I was out voted by other family members and instead I got this chocolate fudge... which of course I had to sample. It is truely scrumptious so I have to conceed it was a good choice. Given the lack of dinner here tonight it is probably just as well we have something to sustain us!

I don't understand the label though.... "Keeps for a few months. Can be frozen." Why would you want to do that???

Come back tomorrow to see who has won the giveaway. Still time to leave a comment if you wish to be included.

Wednesday 24 September 2008

Another Zigzag

A wonderful day today spent with my Zigzag group after a summer break of a couple of months. Our challenge for the summer was to produce a postcard sized piece of textile art based on either something we experienced or somewhere we visited over the summer. I decided to use my painting of grapes made in Tuscany as inspiration.

And as our our theme today was transfer dyes, I dyed some fabrics and stitched these to make my postcard which I'm not that happy with. Rushed it at the last minute unfortunately.

However the postcards from everyone else are fabulous and so varied in style and technique. This is Sandy's based on the tulip staircase at the Queen's house in Greenwich.

Lynne's is inspired by a statue by a French motorway.

Lynda went to Latvia.

Joan stayed at home but was inspired by an image in a book.

Bernice went on a course with Ruth Issett and made some printed and dyed fabrics which she used.

But she also went to Japan!

And Ann was inspired by French Sunflowers.

Joan also completed a stunning piece of work which she has been planning and working on for most of last year. She started with some extensive research on celtic designs, did lots of samples, tried different techniques and all her hard work has paid off with this beautiful piece of embroidery. The photograph does not do it justice.

The day was spent painting papers with transfer dyes and ironing them onto different fabrics . The collage below is just a small sample of the beautiful work done during the day.

I always enjoy working with this group... especially as we had cake today for Bernice's birthday!

Tuesday 23 September 2008

It is a good friend

who can turn up with a bunch of seed heads and say "I thought you would like these"

It is a good friend who can turn up and say "There were some still in flower but I thought you would prefer the dying ones."

She is a good friend because she was right... I think they are beautiful! Thank you Patsy!
The other thing to turn up today was... THE BOX!!!! Not easy to get into and I haven't decided what I'm going to take out yet but I'll keep you posted.

And I think it is a good friend who can send me a note in the box with a donkey dressed in a Sainsbury's dress on the envelope! (Even if I haven't even met her yet!) Good friends know what you like and how to make you laugh!

Still lots of time to leave a comment on my last post... go on... you might win!

Sunday 21 September 2008

Two Hundred!

As predicted it has been a busy week. Reading and planning for my Opus module "Cultural Stitch" as well as working on my piece of work to take to Prism selection day next week. In addition I've started teaching a new City & Guilds class - nine lovely ladies two of whom have blogs - Vintage Rock Chick and Textile Groupie. I'd better be careful not to give them too hard a time or I suspect you might be reading all about it. Pop in and tell them I sent you!

Apart from that I've been knitting some little hats as it's that time of year when Innocent Smoothies need hats to keep them warm. I did it last year and they really don't take that long so although I don't think I'll manage quite as many as Michaela I hope to get a few done before the deadline. Visit Innocent Smoothies to find out more!

Yesterday I was in London all day for the Opus BA Induction Day and today I've just cooked Sunday lunch for eleven. Ben was home for the weekend and Mum and Dad were here as it's Mum's birthday on Tuesday... the perfect excuse to use this fabulous little cupcake set that I bought from Momiji. It was a silly price for 100 cupcake cases but I couldn't resist the cute little tin and the little flags!

Which made wonderful birthday cupcakes!

I made a grown up cake too!
Coffee and walnut.
Not much left of that now.

And if that wasn't enough there is the little matter of my 200th blogpost which of course couldn't pass without celebrating with a traditional giveaway. I did think about offering a cupcake but not sure it would survive the postal system so instead a pear...

A pear pincushion made from a Heather Bailey pattern which I will send to the winner of my 200th blog giveaway along with a brand new copy of the pattern because being rather silly I ordered two by mistake! The pattern has instructions for the pear, an apple, a strawberry and a tomato pincushion too. Might be some other bits and bobs too if I'm feeling generous!

All you have to do is leave me a comment on this post this week and then next Sunday I will pick a winner - old fashioned names in a hat - because with another busy week ahead I suspect I won't be around much this week either!

Monday 15 September 2008

I know I said I wouldn't be around much this week

but when a parcel full of these arrived from Moogsmum today, I was so excited I had to share it with you!

Each packet was beautifully wrapped in this lovely printed tissue paper which I carefully folded and kept!

The whole parcel smelt of lavender due to this pear made from some fabulous fabric printed with foxgloves.

I also got some machine threads (I can never have enough machine threads!) and this beautiful glass bead.

A fabulous Moogsmum fabric basket lined with more of that fabric - I already have one of these which is in constant use so know I will use this too! And look at the lovely embroidery.

A couple of Moogschickens I think!

And if that wasn't enough some super fabrics and these little buckles!

What a wonderful surprise to win all this in a 200th post giveaway! And as this is my 199th post there could be a giveaway here soon too!

Saturday 13 September 2008

A Flock of Crows

Despite your obvious enthusiasm I'm not going to be knitting a flock of sheep, however there does seem to be a flock of crows descending on the Fan My Flame household. When I first saw one of these crazy crows on Julie's blog a few weeks ago I was certain they would make a great project for our Young Embroiderers Group and as I've just taken over as leader I'm in need of a few great projects! So I set to work on a couple of samples....

First of all there was Russell....

And then his special friend Sheryl...

So today I took Russell and Sheryl along to my first meeting with the Young Embroiderers and these are the fantastic results. Not all of them are finished yet but they are all looking good.

As for Russell and Sheryl... I turned my back for two minutes and this is what happened...

A Baby Crow!

On Thursday I had a trip up to the Knitting and Stitching show at the NEC. I was a bit disappointed with the show, only a few of the really good traders were there although there were some amazing exhibitions - do check out the work of Embroiderer's Guild scholar Linda Marie Young if you get a chance - exquisite work! However I did get to meet a couple of lovely bloggers - Kayla Coo and Charlotte of Fancy Picnic. I did take photographs of the amazing brooches they were both wearing but the pictures were fuzzy and awful (operator error) so you'll just have to visit their blogs to see their lovely work.

My new module for Opus starts on Monday and several teaching commitments start next week so I might not be around a lot for a while - but I am coming up to 200 posts soon so don't go away!

Wednesday 10 September 2008

Baa Baa Fat Sheep!

This strange and curious creature is the result of many hours of frustration and unravelling! I have nothing but admiration for those of you make woolly monkees, rabbits and pigeons etc. This is the first and last time I make a knitted sheep! I really can't be doing with all those little shaped pieces.

Every Christmas (I said that word again... sorry) Eve at the Carol Concert in our village church all the little children take a toy sheep and place it in the stable of the nativity tableau. Last year a friend asked if I could make a sheep for her daughter in time for this year.

I knew it wouldn't be easy so I started early...

Unfortunately it has turned out considerably bigger than I expected and will probably look more like a woolly mammoth than a little sheep when placed next to all the others!

I really hope I don't have to make another one!

Tuesday 9 September 2008


A HUGE thank you to everyone who left me a comment on my last post. I've not got around to replying to everyone as work deadlines etc are looming and making demands on my time but you all said such lovely things that made me feel better so THANK YOU! And that got me thinking, that although I felt sad about Ben going on Sunday and I know I will miss him I didn't stay sad for long because that's not what I'm like (and of course there is the realisation that it's a lot less laundry.) On the whole I'm lucky that I'm quite an upbeat and optimistic person... probably irritatingly so! Lots of things make me happy and I never stay down for long, so when Julia sent me this tree of happiness a while ago I pondered long and hard about what "six things that make me happy" to choose.

There all the big things like my family and my home, all the good friends I have - of course all these make me happy. But it's finding pleasure in all the small things in life that makes me happy too... so these are six things from a long list.

1. Being able to walk with my dog every morning makes me happy. I don't even mind if it is wet and cold, I love getting up and starting every day with a walk.

2. At the end of a long day, there's nothing better than a hot bubbly bath, preferably with a glass of wine and a good book, to soak one's troubles away!

3. Talking of good books... books make me happy too and I love losing myself in a good novel. This is what I'm currently reading and I'm loving it... all the magic and the mystery and of course chocolate!

4. Okay - this one is really shallow but new shoes make me happy! Especially my very own lollipop shoes. Haven't worn these yet but I keep taking them out of the box just to look at them!

5. You might have guessed this one but cooking and baking make me happy, especially if it means the sharing of food with family and friends which I think is one of life's greatest pleasures. I'm home on my own today so no food to share in pictures!

6. Blogging makes me happy because I've discovered a new world of friendship and support. There are times when I wonder if it takes up too much time or is becoming too repetitive - Ali wrote a post about this recently - and sometimes I stay away for a few days, but then I read a post that makes me laugh out loud, or makes me think about something new or sometimes even cry and than I remember why I love blogging. I'm sure it will run its course as most things in life but I'm certain the friendships made will remain.

So these are just six of my favourite things - things that make me happy. Of course there are many others like getting mail (not bills and junk mail), sleeping in a freshly made bed, the smell of laundry fresh from the line, learning something new, teaching, chocolate... I could go on!

I'm probably supposed to pass this on and probably to six bloggers who make me happy but I won't! If you're reading this and have got this far (lots of words for me!) than take the tree of happiness and let us know what makes you happy!