Wednesday 30 June 2010

The End of an Era

Today was the last session of my City & Guilds Certificate in Machine Embroidery Class. The work has been completed and the ladies have passed with flying colours. The following is a small sample of the work they have produced over the past two years.

Wall Hangings



Containers and vessels

Accessories, more pictures and boxes

An accessories case, a gauntlet and a fire screen

bags and bracelets

I'm sure you will agree that the range, diversity and quality of the work they have produced is amazing. They have been a brilliant class, there have been plenty of laughs and considerable amounts of cake over the two years so I would like to say a huge thank you to Gill, Sheila, Pam. Linda W, Linda C-H, Angela, Janet and Jann. Pam was so pleased at having "graduated" she dressed up for the occasion. (She works in a charity shop so is always coming up with goodies!)

And although it may be the end of an era, it is not the end as they are sticking together as an exhibiting group and have kindly asked me to tutor them next year (I thought they would have had enough of me by now!!!) ... so watch this space

Tuesday 29 June 2010

The Cherry Orchard

The recreation ground and conservation area behind our house is lined with cherry trees.

Most of them produce small, hard, bitter fruit but there is one special tree that not many people know about.

The cherries are large, juicy and sweet. Some years the birds strip the lot before we get a chance to pick them but this year there are plenty for us all to share.

And they are excellent with ice cream (Partially defrosted Haagan Dazs of course)

Sod's Law?

Do you recall that in what was probably the coldest week of the winter our boiler broke and we had no heating? Now, in what has probably been the hottest week of the summer our fridge freezer has packed up...

Such a shame as it meant I had to eat this before it completely melted.

Monday 28 June 2010


I stitched all day yesterday... all through The Archers omnibus... all through Desert Island Discs...

even all through that football match...and the final stitch went in at 10.52 pm. Four dresses finished with still two weeks to go. Four satin dresses... it slips, it frays and it marks but I've done it.

Two dresses that fit beautifully and two that have never been near their recipients! But I don't care because I've finished and at the moment I don't think I ever want to make another dress... ever! Now I'm going to clean up my house ready for Open Studios at the weekend... details can be found on
Unrelated but thought I would mention it (even though this means more people will enter reducing my chance of winning!) is Silverpebble's next Pass the Book giveaway... do go and take a look.

Sunday 27 June 2010

Those Frustrations Melt Away...

This is actually one of Stewart's birthday presents...

Well, no... not actually me getting a massage (I was a lot more relaxed than I look... he was very good)... but an evening out away from the messy house and the bridesmaids dresses.

There was Pimms

See... I'm not the only one enjoying myself.

There were free samples
(wine, coffee, chilli sauces and ice lollies!!!)

Because we were here on Hampstead Heath at Kenwood House...

to see...


We are both fans from way back in 1975
and we weren't disappointed.
They were fantastic!

And although Debbie Harry might not be as sprightly as she once was, she was still pretty amazing! I hope I look that good when I'm 65!

And so now I'm feeling refreshed and ready to tackle another day of satin.
I'm determined they will be finished tonight.

Friday 25 June 2010

Fed up and frustrated!

For various reasons I'm feeling fed up and frustrated. I'm fed up that my house is a mess and my garden is over grown and I'm frustrated that there never seems to be enough time to make my own work... I have plenty of ideas that never seem to come to fruition because there is always something else that needs seeing to. Totally overshadowing everything at the moment is the saga of "The Bridesmaid Dresses".

Far too long a story to go into here but if I say it has been a catalogue of postponed wedding, unanswered calls and ultimately two out of the four girls refusing to come for fittings because they are too busy I think you begin to get the picture! As a result when I should have been making work for my Open Studio everything has been delayed and I've been struggling with satin instead!

I did manage a day off yesterday when I went into London with some friends to see the Julia Caprara School of Textile Art degree show. Some lovely thought provoking work but a little scary to think that is what I've got to do in three years time (will you all come to my degree show?)

No photos allowed but these are a selection of postcards showing the work. After a delightful lunch (it was in a restaurant with some famous TV chef but I didn't have a clue who he was... the man from masterchef possibly?) I then left the others and went to see an exhibition of Marc Quinn's work at the White Cube gallery which I found quite disturbing but I think it will feed in nicely to my essay which is comparing artists who use the body in their work.
And talking of bodies... these four are still having a good time by the look of things...

Joe and his friends in a lake in Kashmir... that's the life eh?

Ah well... one more dress to finish (not to mention the essay) so I'm not sure what I'm doing having a moan on here... better go! Have a good weekend!

Monday 21 June 2010

Just popped by... tell you about my discovery in Portscatho... the most delightful shop ever, the sort of shop I would like to own (although I wouldn't want to sell anything and I would want to keep it all for me)... "The Sea Garden", full of decorative antiques, contemporary crafts, hand made accessories and lots of lovely little textiley bits and pieces. I could have spent a small fortune but I was very restrained.

Then of course, when I got home and was catching up with blogs I was reading about the next Homespun Fair and put two and two together and discovered that Christine who owns The Sea Garden, is one of the organisers of the Fair and whatsmore she has a blog called The Mermaid's Tale... so you can all go and see inside her beautiful shop.

But I rather have the sneaky feeling that you probably all knew that already and I was the only one who didn't!

Sunday 20 June 2010

A Good Week!

You just know that when you arrive at your holiday cottage and are greeted by flowers on the table it has to be a good sign...

And when just five minutes walk away you are greeted by this spectacular view you just know it's going to be a good week.

And it has been a brilliant week spent in Portscatho, Cornwall. We've relaxed, walked, read, eaten and drunk far too much... and even paddled on this beautiful deserted beach. The weather has been so good that one day we even swam (I'd forgotten just how cold British coastal waters are!)

The reason we were away was that someone had a special birthday last week. He didn't want a fuss and thought by going away he could avoid it. Instead we made a fuss away from home...

With balloons, 50 parcels to open, champagne...

... and of course... there had to be cake! Happy Birthday Stewart!

Now if you'll excuse me there is laundry to clear, work to catch up with... and I've got Open Studios in two weeks time Could be gone for a while again!

Thursday 10 June 2010

Bobbles and Cables

Many years ago when I was in my late teens/early twenties (yes, many, many years ago) while I was still living at home, I knitted myself an aran sweater.

All those cables and bobbles took forever but such garments were very fashionable in the late 1970s so it was worth all the effort. In addition of course, it was very cosy and warm.

There were so many hours invested in the making of this sweater I could never quite bring myself to get rid of it... so when I was feeling a little chilly this morning (too much sitting about reading text books) I rummaged in my wardrobe for some instant warmth... and there it was!

Just as warm and cosy as ever... and I'm well past caring if it is fashionable or not.

Anyone else keep clothes for over thirty years or is it just me?

Sunday 6 June 2010

Going Bananas!

I think it is going to take me a while to become accustomed to shopping and cooking for four rather than five... I've only just got my head around the fact there are no longer six of us living here. Joe's absence has created a glut of bananas and eggs this week and so there was only one solution...

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's banana bread... lovely when still warm!

Ah well... after that little interlude it is back to the text books... Freud and Art History... it's enough to drive anyone bananas!

Friday 4 June 2010

Spot the Difference

This is my work hanging at PRISM on Tuesday....

And this is my work hanging at PRISM on Thursday...

Did you spot the difference? I know one picture is wonky and out of focus... but did you spy those little red dots? I sold all three of my dancers!!!!! I was very excited indeed when I arrived yesterday morning let me tell you! The exhibition looks really good and there is still time to see it. It's open today and tomorrow until 4 pm.

And not only did I sell some work but I was also interviewed for an internet TV programme yesterday which can be viewed here: . A very exciting day all round!

Totally unrelated, except that I have walked past it so many times this week, is Yinka Shonibare's Ship in a Bottle on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. It is scale model of Nelson's HMS Victory but with wonderful brightly coloured sails made from the Dutch wax fabric that is Shonibare's trademark. I think it's fabulous!

p.s. Joe has arrived safely, spent two nights in Delhi and is now trekking in Northern India. I wasn't terribly reassured by his comment "We've eaten the meat and drunk the water...."!

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Bon Voyage

Thank you for all the lovely messages and comments on my post yesterday. Not sure I'm up to replying at the moment... feeling just a bit emotional! Been up since 4am to see these four lads off from Heathrow this morning.

They all had their heads shaved this weekend... travelling in solidarity! I'm off to London now for a day of stewarding!