Sunday 29 November 2020

Too much excitement for one week?

You might be pleased to hear that my dizzy head is almost back to normal and I'm allowed to venture out on my own once more (I'm not sure I was ever not allowed but we were being cautious). I have even taken the dog's lead again, with some trepidation I might add! However there is still a lot of giddiness down to excitement round these parts.

Isobel and I launched the first  episode of our podcast - Izzy and Gina stitches, last Thursday. Lots of informal chat about art, embroidery and life in general... although mostly just introducing ourselves in this first episode.

We were ridiculously excited and nervous about how it might be received but so far we have had lots of lovely feedback and we're busy getting episode 2 ready for release on 10th December. Have you listened yet? I'd love to know what you think... well maybe only if you liked it! We've got a whole episode planned about feedback and receiving validation from others. Izzy and I have both written blogs for quite some time (I think we have a podcast episode planned about blogging too) so we are used to waiting for comments and wondering if anyone is reading, and more importantly enjoying what we are putting out there. I've also had the occasional negative comment too so we think this could be quite a meaty subject.

In fact we have loads of  meaty episodes planned so if you enjoyed the first episode you might like to subscribe in future. It's available via all the usual podcast platforms.

The excitement continued this week as I received my copies of WOWbook 6 on Friday, in which I have an article on how I combine painting with stitch. I wrote the article and went to have my work photographed by the lovely Michael Wicks way back at the beginning of the year before the first lockdown, so after such a long time it was wonderful to actually see it in print.

Photography: Michael Wicks

Photography: Michael Wicks

It's a gorgeous book and full of fabulous articles so it would be a good one to put on the Christmas list if you like creative textiles. It's available from d4daisy books. Or if you fancy winning a free copy, I am planning to give one away next week to newsletter subscribers only. You can find a link to sign up in the side bar.

I've also taken part in a virtual Christmas market in our village this weekend, seeing as any real Christmas markets or craft fairs are not happening. I wasn't really sure what to expect or how it would work but it was actually fantastic! It was all done via a Facebook event and it was hard work keeping track of who wanted what,  and then sending payment instructions as well as arranging collection or delivery, but it all came together and was really successful. There was also a virtual raffle that raised lots of money for charity and I continue to be impressed with the way people are finding ways to work around these difficult times.

My best sellers were these little angels...  I sold out! I spent a ridiculous amount of time making boxes for them and then writing little individual stories for each one that I put into miniature books. Totally bonkers I know, but I think we could all do with a bit more bonkers in our lives don't you?

And if you fancy making you own angels I have a course telling you how right here... and it's totally free!

So after all this excitement the plan is for some down time with some knitting and tea... although I confess the mug of tea has been replaced with a glass of wine!

So what have you been up to this weekend? Listened to any good podcasts?

Thursday 19 November 2020

Pastures New

Thank you for your lovely comments and concern about my head (last post). I've not moved very far from the sofa all week and I'm going a little stir crazy as I still have vertigo, but today the giddiness might just be down to some excitement round these parts!

Anyone who receives my newsletters will have picked my hints that there was an exciting new project I've been working on. And of course if you receive my newsletters you'll already know why I'm excited. It's something that has been on the back burner for a while since the summer when my friend, Isobel Moore and I, first had the same crazy idea. I had just about come to the end of Open Windows and I was wondering what I could launch myself into next, musing over ideas whilst walking the dog. (I know, before anyone else tells me, I should be paying attention when walking the dog as with my track record, the only place I'm likely to launch is in the bushes).

Various crazy ideas popped into my head but one wouldn't go away, so I sent Izzy a message asking had she ever thought about doing a podcast and she responded instantly with a resounding "YES!" (I believe there was some screaming and splurting of coffee too but don't hold me to that!) It turned out that she had been thinking the exact same thing and what is more she also thought it would be fun for us to do it together! We are now ready to let the world (or my limited readership) know what we have been up to, so you might want to see a little taster...

Izzy & Gina... in Stitches

Isobel and I have known each other for about ten years. We are similar in many ways: we both took our City & Guilds Diploma in machine embroidery at Missenden Abbey with the same tutor, albeit at different times, we're at exactly the same stage in taking our teaching online, and we are both dog owners - but our backgrounds, interests and personalities are definitely different! Hopefully this will allow for some lively discussions and debates on the pros and cons of being a textile artist, teaching and running a creative business…  but our main aim is to have FUN!

We'd both be absolutely thrilled if you would join us on this adventure. You can find our new podcast here, with links how to listen on the usual podcast platforms (if we’ve done it right - this is a very steep learning curve for both of us!) We're aiming to release an episode every other week, with the first one a week from today on Thursday 26th. We finished recording our first episode this morning and it was absolutely nerve wracking even though we were only chatting to each other, but we did laugh... and it was fun for us, at least.

I'd love you to leave me a comment to tell us what you think of our mad, crazy idea, and especially if you have any questions you would like us to discuss or if there's anything you'd like us to talk about! It's terrifying and exciting in equal measure - neither of us has done anything remotely like this before - so be gentle with us! And wish us luck.

Sunday 15 November 2020

November Days


Despite another Lockdown here in England and the ever shortening days, life had started to get into a pleasant rhythm of daily dog walks and beautiful sunrises at the beginning of this month. I'm trying not to sound like a cliche but finding the simple pleasures in life seems more important than ever right now, and getting outside and appreciating our surroundings is one of those pleasures.

I  launched my final online class of the current series of three this month and although I am working on a short free class to launch next month I had decided to take a little break from creating new classes

Instead I thought I would try to get back to some painting. I've not picked up a paintbrush since before breaking my hand in the summer so I have been easing myself back by working in a sketchbook and following Laura Kemshall's sketchbook challenge to fill a sketchbook in November. It is a series of eight classes, two per week, just colouring pages, stencilling, printing etc, all very relaxed and informal... and excellent value. It was all going so well...

Then out walking with the dog on Friday afternoon, on our way home, literally ten yards from our back gate, Hector spotted another dog and lurched to say hello. I was completely off guard, so the lead whipped around my legs pulling me with it and the next thing I knew my head was smacked against the road. I thought that 'seeing stars' was something that only happened in Beano cartoons but it happens! I've never known my head hit anything so hard. What followed was a blur of trying to sit up (I couldn't), being moved to the pavement (I was in the middle of the road), hearing someone say there was blood and Stewart calling an ambulance. Neighbours came out with blankets and a hot water bottle and all I could think was that I couldn't possibly die as I hadn't finished sewing our grandson's advent calendar and there was no way Stewart would know what to do!

I was taken by ambulance to hospital and it was scary for a few hours - I've heard way too many horror stories of brain damage and worse after head injuries - but although it wasn't really what I had planned for a Friday night, I cannot fault the hospital staff who ran just about every test possible. A ct scan showed I was lucky, my head was just bruised so besides concussion, vertigo, some minor cuts and a headache I was fine. In fact, more than fine... blood pressure, heart and lung function and everything else was absolutely tip top! They let me go home at midnight.

Saturday morning the dog wouldn't leave my side... you might be fooled into thinking those doleful eyes are saying sorry, but I'm not. He's a hooligan and would do it all over again if another attractive pooch were to wander past. I do wonder what we achieved with all those months of puppy training.

Meanwhile I'm confined to the sofa. My headache has eased but the vertigo not so much. When I get up and walk I feel like I'm on a boat. It's very strange and quite disorientating. Fortunately, if I don't move my head too much I can still read, type and knit so there has been a lot of progress.  The painting and other activities will have to wait again until I can safely get out to my studio. You can find details of these hats on Ravelry. I've been on Ravelry for years but only recently started to figure out how it works! Well, how some of it works at least.

And I'm still counting my blessings and appreciating the simple things in life because to be honest, I was grateful to wake up on Saturday morning (even if it was at 4 am with a stonking headache).
I hope you are all keeping safe and well.