Tuesday 28 April 2009

Derbyshire Dales

Indulge me while I bore you with some of my holiday snaps... we've had three glorious days walking in the Derbyshire Dales.

It was perfect walking weather, no rain but not too hot. And there was plenty to see from flora...

To fauna....

Just occasionally it felt like one stile too many and it required a sit down half way over the wall... although a good excuse to consult the map.

As you can see.. some of us were good at reading maps

While others were very good at carrying things!

I would like to think three days walking in all that fresh air did us both a lot of good. But then I think a few too many of these...

and a slice too many of tradional Bakewell tart may have offset the healthy benefits of our mini break.

But we did have fun! Thank you to everyone who left comments on the last post. I know I won't have time to reply as I really do have to get my essay finished this week. And special thanks to Julie who recommended the lovely cottage where we stayed in Taddington. We'll be going back!

Thursday 23 April 2009

Calorie Free

What a fun day yesterday... I went to Peterborough with my friend Jane to a workshop at Angela's shop Art and Stitch, where we made "chocolates" from felt with Linda Beer (who just happens to be Gill's little sister). It was a lovely stress free, no pressure sort of day and I ended up with a box of calorie free chocolates! My sons were not impressed... they prefer the sort you can eat!

Linda even gave us these little labels to go in the box.

And these are everyone elses chocolates... although it does look as though someone has eaten a couple in the middle!

Continuing with my new stress free lifestyle.... I'm going to be gone for a for a few days. See you next week!

Friday 17 April 2009

Thank you Ginger

It was a perfect breakfast!

Thursday 16 April 2009

We've had a party!

A Cupcake....

and Crochet Party!

Today Celia, Val, Emma and the little Cookies and Pebbles all joined me for lunch. Everyone brought food! Delicious egg themed cupcakes from Celia....

Scrumptious carrot and orange muffins from Emma....

and some very moreish dotty cookies from Val.

After we had eaten so much that we couldn't move (even Monkey seems to have passed out on the table)...

We found a box big enough to put the children in....

and we had some crochet lessons with another cup of tea.

There wasn't too much crochet done as a very tiny little Pebble was quite determined she was not going to go to sleep and miss the fun! But that's okay because it means we've got a good excuse to do it all again... and "Cupcakes and Crochet" makes the best sort of party!

Special thanks must go to the "Spice Girls"... not only did Celia bring some lovely seeds and plants to go in my soon to be dug vegetable patch, she also brought some eggs from Ginger, Saffron and Nutmeg.

The most beautiful pale blue eggs you could imagine. I'm thinking cake... or perhaps boiled with soldiers?

Tuesday 14 April 2009

Just What the Doctor Ordered..

A restful and recuperative weekend with no thoughts of work or studying. There has been chocolate (most of which has been eaten!)

And some beautiful Spring flowers to cheer the house up.

A chance to play in the kitchen where I made soup from these... nettles foraged from my garden the wild.

Which really did make the most fabulous soup... delicious with a swirl of creme fraiche. Thank you Diana for the inspiration. And still plenty more nettles where they came from!

We had the soup with some home made bread - sun dried tomato focaccia.

Saturday was a lovely day with all the family at home, lots of leisurely eating and drinking oblivious to the grey drizzle outside. On Sunday we had planned a day at the Norfolk coast but the weather forecast did not seem very encouraging and so we stayed closer to home and visited Hatfield House instead. Despite being on our doorstep neither of us had been to the house before and it was a real treat. A fabulous Jacobean house with a wonderful collection of paintings and tapestries.

One of my favourite paintings is this one of Elizabeth I, especially as I've been studying Elizabethan embroidery.

And finally I've had time for some more recreational sewing... another bag. Jacob has wanted a new bag for school for quite a while but I was appalled at the price of type of messenger bag he wanted, so after a trip to Cambridge last week I declared I would make him one. We found a pattern and the obligatory black fabric and after several hours... he has a bag. Of course if I add up all the hours it has taken to make the bag it would have been far cheaper to buy one but not as much fun.

Especially with this surprise lining which he chose from my stash!

He didn't think it would be very "cool" to admit his mum had made the bag but decided he would like one of my labels inside so he could pretend it was a designer bag made just for him.

Knowing how teenagers treat their bags it probably won't last that long but it was fun to be able to make something for him. It's been a long time since any of the boys have worn or used anything I've sewn or knitted!
This week there is more R & R planned... this time Reading and Research for my next assignment looking at 21st century embroidery.

Thursday 9 April 2009

Mighty Fine Buns!

Feeling a little sad at missing the wonderful bloggy picnic, I felt the need for some restorative baking this morning.

This also required some pretty serious restorative scoffing!

Wishing you all a restful and happy Easter.

Tuesday 7 April 2009

Bags of Fun

In my effort to catch up with things around the house and garden I have been tidying up and clearing out the junk from my workroom. I am embarassed to admit to the huge number of unfinished projects (some dating back years) and kits (some I've not even opened) that I have managed to unearth... most of them long forgetten! One such item was this kit for a bag in lovely Japanese fabrics bought at a quilt show several years ago.

So today, instead of finishing my tidying, or getting back out into the garden, I've been making a bag. And now that it's finished I'm not even sure that I like it!

Tomorrow I'm supposed to be going on a picnic, so I guess there won't be any tidying up or gardening done then either! Let's hope the sun shines.

I'm not feeling 100% - very tired and have an eye infection that's not clearing up so have decided it won't be sensible to drive almost 100 miles to the picnic tomorrow. I'm really disappointed but hope everyone who is going has a brilliant time.

Sunday 5 April 2009

A Challenge and Chocolate

It was a lovely day at the ERTF conference yesterday and a great opportunity to meet and chat with lots of like minded people. I was particularly excited because I won a prize! There had been a members challenge to make a piece of textile work inspired by an image of a printed fabric taken from the Warner Textile Archive. I had done this and sent it off weeks ago so had pretty much forgotten about it. I haven't got the original image used for inspiration but this was the resulting embroidery.

It was a low relief 3-D piece worked on felt using the embellisher machine and then stiched into quite heavily with free machining which caused the surface to distort. I have to confess that it wasn't that well planned but I needed to get it done in a hurry before I went to Jersey. So imagine my excitement to find I was one of the prize winners especially as I've never won anything like this before. Part of my prize was a set of postcards. These have been made to go on sale at an exhibition of the work later this year.

And the other part of my prize was these....

Which seem to be disappearing fast!

I think I'm going to make the most of the sunshine and work off all those extra calories in the garden this afternoon. And although I'm sure you won't be the least bit interested, I'll leave you with a picture of me working at Art Van Go on Friday, taken by Mavis. I do enjoy my work but it's good to have some time off too!

Friday 3 April 2009

And then there were more

It's been a lovely day at Art Van Go today - it's always a pleasure to teach there as everyone is so friendly. Some excellent work from some super students too, which of course I have to share. This was by Katie - I love those strong mountain shapes.

This is by Joan which I think has a wonderful moonlit quality.

Lana's landscape is in the most beautiful atmospheric colours which I seem to have totally failed to capture... sorry Lana... I think it was stunning!

This beautiful textural piece was by Helen - the grass is amazing.

And last but not least another fabulous mountain landscape by Mavis.

Brilliant work ladies and it's been a lovely day, thank you. I'm running a similar class on Saturday 13th June if anyone fancies coming out for a fun day playing on the sewing machine... still some place left. Tomorrow I'm off to the Eastern Region Textile Forum AGM near Ipswich followed by a couple of weeks off from work. Then it's just my neglected house, garden and degree work to tend too.