Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year for 2010

To all bloggers everywhere
Happy New Year
Thanks for reading this blog
and hopefully it will be full of creative dabblings in 2010
Best wishes to you all

Tuesday, 29 December 2009


It never happens at any other time of the year but these few days between Christmas and New Year seem to sap the energy and enthusiasm like no other.

Technically a working day, but I can't seem to get going.

As usual the work room floor needs finding, so clear the room/clear the head!

Lists are always being created and best of Year/Decade articles are in the newspapers, TV and Radio. I am tempted to create my own, but you will be pleased to know I will be strong and avoid adding to the rest!

Planning is what I need to do and I shall be writing some lists privately as I have quite abit I'd like to achieve this new year.

So no time like the present, will go and clear the mental cobwebs and start as I mean to continue...

Sunday, 27 December 2009

The Most Relaxing Christmas Ever...

I doubt I have ever been so chilled!
It's amazing how having family to stay can be so hectic.
It's getting the house prestine, moving everyone around to accomodate the sleeping arrangements, shopping in bulk to feed them and then having to cook it all at regular intervals because that's when they usually eat! I enjoy cooking, but some members of my family like to have breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper whereas I like to eat when hungry! I hardly leave the kitchen
This year we all slept in our own beds, got up when we wanted - the latest ever Christmas lie in, I suppose that's what happens when the Darlings become teenagers - and a day spent eating whenever and just chilling with our gifts.
It was unusual in the fact Daugther spent the day lying down on her day bed as she couldn't sit at the table with us to eat her lunch - still recuperating from the op.- but she pulled her cracker and wore her hat!

Christmas Makes

I just found time to complete the Christmas Oranges
Here they are after being rescued from the airing cupboard

And here they are once beribboned and beads sewn on to represent the berries

And in their place on the mantlepiece with the lemons and cinnamon sticks

This is the gift for my Parent-in-Laws, one of a pair. This one was completed in time to make the last Special Delivery before Christmas. It has been gratefully received and it's partner will be completed in time to send to their home when they return from the Sister-in-Laws! Bearing in mind that they were suppose to be ready for last Christmas to have the second quilt by New Year will be good going!
So here's hoping you too had a Peaceful and relaxing Christmas and wishing you all a Happy and Fulfilling New Year

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The Lady and the Lamp

I haven't blogged for ages, nothing to show, nothing to tell.
Working and being Mum.
I've just returned home from 36 hours at the hospital after Darling Daughter has had an operation, nothing too serious and it was planned so that she has the Christmas holidays to recouperate and doesn't miss too much of her schooling during her exam year.
So we had an early Christmas lunch with all the trimmings at the beginning of the month while Grandparents were visiting to do the North/South present swap and see the Darlings in their pantomime. Boy have I been organised this year! Most of everything has been done before the hospital visit as I did not know how much time there would be afterwards.
Now donning Florence Nightingale costume to tend to Daughter, this is only the second Christmas without the whole family in 20 years so it will be quiet!
If I can create anything this side of Christmas, while nursing my First Born, you'll be one of the first to know!
Best wishes

Thursday, 19 November 2009

I did say wait...

but I was curious!

I know, do as I say and not as I do , just checking the oranges in the airing cupboard.
The smell is delicious!
As you can see this one's skin is still orange so it needs a few more weeks of drying out.
four - five weeks to go...

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Contribution to the Ladies Working Party

Now I know that sound abit odd, maybe abit old fashioned, surely organisations like this ended when the Berlin Wall fell? No, this isn't a party political broadcast for a communist run group, this is a group of elderly Ladies and me! We make things to sell at the Church fairs and here is my contribution to the stall at the bazaar.
This quilt has been two years in the making and should have been raffled at last year's bazaar but I didn't quilt and bind it in time! So it's now ready for this year.
The design inspiration comes from Helen Conway
It's a snuggle quilt with faeries , just right for a little girl.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

How to Assuage Guilt...

It's the annual - 5th year - girlie weekend to Centre Parcs from Friday evening.

Child free, husband free, carefree weekend.

We always plan for the weekend after Rememberance Sunday, but this year it was early as the 11th day of the 11th month fell on a Wednesday. Not a problem...

BUT then the powers that be decided very late in the day that the Church Bazaar would also be on this weekend!

So how GUILTY do I feel?
Pretty bad actually as I usually do quite a bit. Everyone seems to be bemoaning the fact that the theme - not my idea! - is making it difficult to decorate the stalls. So when the Mothers' Union members said that they didn't have any suitable headresses that went with this years theme - Tudor - I rustled up five Tudor style hats for them to wear while they serve on the cake stall.

Here's what I did in pictures

Materials: Pelmet vilene, string and poly cotton

After measuring length of vilene on friend's head five pieces were cut and folded in half and a doubled up piece of string was positioned in the fold and then I machine stitched down next to the string

Finding the centre of this strip I folded it in half and then secured it with machine stitches

So that it had a point

I did it twice more so that it stood up like this and would frame the face.

Just like this!
Then my friend cut out these not quite semi-circles

We hand sewed running stitches so the fabric could be gathered up

Which were then pinned to the vilene

And a tuck to gather up the excess lower edge

So there you have it
A Tudor Style Headress in two hours - well five headresses actually
Now I'm off to bind the quilt I made for the Ladies Working Party Raffle!
Guilt Assuaged?
Maybe while I'll having my Spa treatments on Saturday I might feel abit better!

Monday, 9 November 2009

It' oh so quiet...'s oh so still!

Darlings returned to school this morning after the Swine Flu and Tonsilitus.

It was such a shock to have them both so poorly at the same time. Since the Chicken Pox as toddlers they are usually in the best of health and don't normally fall to the viruses and sneezes.

So back to normal, back to work and back to studying.

Will post some work soon!

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Happy Halloween

Three hand carved and three pottery pumpkins on my door step

It is said that the Devil manifests himself as a Pig and he hasn't failed us. The evil spirits are around us in the form of Swine Flu. Yes, dear Daughter has fallen to it's nasty virus. Luckally I have the magic Tamiflu potion - well pills actually - to help her get better . It took a visit to three chemists before I could get my hands on some and that was after receiving the magic code via the internet and carrying two passports for id! Might have been quicker to go to a witch doctor!

Happy trick or treating!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Spiced Orange Decorations

One thing I like about the Christmas Festivities is the aroma. My favourites are cinnamon and cloves and these smell even better when mixed with orange. Each year I unwrap my dried oranges and place on the mantelpiece, but as these are now approximately five years old I thought it best I made some fresher ones. I always say I will make some more as I get out the decorations each year, but as they take a good few weeks to dry I always forget to prepare them in time. Well this year I have been organised (!) and my new oranges are drying nicely in the airing cupboard. So here are the instructions on how to make yours, be quick now you really should prepare your oranges in October for them to be ready for the festivities!
Only a few days left...
You will need: Oranges, masking tape, cloves and ground cinnamon and for later pretty festive ribbons for hanging your oranges around your home.


Orange segmented into quarters by the masking tape

Using a pin, stilletto - or as I did , as I was to lazy to go upstairs to get either of mine, use a plastic propelling pencil nib! - to make holes to help the cloves pierce the orange skin. Place them as close together as possible. Be gentle with the cloves as you can crush the little buds - note the missing ones on mine!

As with all good displays keep to odd numbers. Here are three completed oranges, I went onto make five.

Liberally dust with ground cinnamon

Wrap in baking parchment to keep the cinnamon around the orange so all the spice's aromas can seep into the orange as it dries

My five oranges are now inside this string bag and have been placed in the airing cupboard not to be disturbed until the beginning of December - believe me it is difficult not to look but the wait is worth it. The oranges will have shrunk slightly and turned a golden brown. The masking tape will be lifting from the orange and if you thought that the space originally made by the tape was too wide this too will be narrower due to the shrinkage. Lightly shake off the excess cinnamon and them decorate by wrapping ribbon in the space left by the tape.

I'll show you mine once they are completed.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Ally Pally

Well it starts again tomorrow and my tickets for Saturday are on the shelf
Daughter and I will be off on our annual trip with an evening in London and a visit to Yo Sushi. Yum!

Any one else planning their annual big spender/idea gathering day out?

Main attraction for me is a visit to Maggie Grey's area and a possible book purchase!

What I like about the show are the three areas: Big shopping area, the exhibition area and the Guilds and Specialists area. Oh, it's like opening a big box of chocolates and trying to decide which one to choose!

Knowing me, I'll scoff the lot and leave feeling a bit green around the gills!
But it usually is worth it - I trust I won't be disappointed.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Helen Conway

If you don't already follow Helen's blog - From Down The Well - or you read the blog via my blog list, I thought you would like to know (if you don't already!!! Obviously you will if you read her blog- Dher!) that Helen now has a website . It looks like it has great potential and ,if her blog is anything to go by, will be witty, informative and full of ideas for the rest of us creatives. Give it a go - you know it makes sence!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Fabricate Friday

(Apologies to John Lennon)
And so this is Friday
And what have you done?
Another week over
And a new one soon begun
And so this is Friday
I hope you had fun
The coursework and creating
Ideas, new and old...
So my week has been spent making a new banner for a Mothers' Union branch
The lettering on the left has yet to be sewn down
and will need to moved down slightly to line up with the right!
I had hoped to be further on with this but I lost 1 and a half days as the School decided that as it had an open evening Wednesday all the children would leave early on Wednesday and have Thursday off to put the class rooms back to normal and allow the Teachers time off as they were working late.
No photos I'm afraid, but papers are now dry and in piles awaiting embroidery
There maybe a "fabricate at the week-end" blog if the papers and I get to see the threads and needle without interuption!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Fabricate Friday

Course work

Paper pulp coloured with silk paint

Must make some paper with this!

Update: Later this evening whilst Daughter was helping at Brownies and Son was having his "Friday Down Time" - his words not mine! I was in the garage, listening to the Robin mark out his territory and used the pulp to create some interesting papers to use later.

I also made some brown paper pulp and white napkin pulp paper to use in the edging section.

I used some interesting grid material purchased at Ally Pally last year to work into with hand and machine stitch later once the pulp has dried.

Using silk paper string I have made a grid which will have pulp added in the morning and then embroidery embellishment.

Also today:-

Apron made for Local "Friends of Guiding" Group

- another 9 to go!

Edible Fabrications

This was made on Wednesday, but still, as Daughter made it all by herself with her Mother hovering in anticipation of licking the bowl, I just wanted to add it.

Mars bars, cheerios and white chocolate - yum!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

So you think YOUR house is full of "stuff"?

If any of you are thinking "Where has all this stuff come from" while wandering around your homes spare a thought for the woman who lived in this building - in the middle of the photo - and the stuff spread out around it was once inside it!!!!

If you are able click on this photo to enlarge and see how much stuff you can identify!!!
Sadly the photo doesn't do it justice as there probably a further 2cm of photo each side of this one just covered with plastic bags, clothes, suitcases, posh shop shopping bags, best china, empty food pots (clean fortunately) - you name it and it was probably there. Now I'm not the most tidiest of women - confession time - but even I wished I could gather up the stuff and put it in the nearest skip! Sadly it was part of an exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. So I tried my best to curb my urges and appreciate it as a piece of art. If only I could take the feelings the exhibition created and use them around my home - now where's that telephone number of the local skip company?

Friday, 18 September 2009

Fabricate Friday and a trip to Sandown Park

I have been collecting the scraps of fabric and threads whilst working - waste not want not - and putting them in a plastic wallet knowing I would do something with them later. I then thought it might be fun to sew a grid over the the wallet to keep the scraps in place and then - in a ventilated room - heated it with a heat gun to see what happened

The Result

More detailed photo

I think it needs more heat to create more holes and then I will try to trap the paper pulp on it too! I'll try this sometime later this evening in between being Taxi Mum for Brownies and choir!

I visited Sandown Park today for the Craft show - what a disappointment! Not so much the quality, I was able to spend enough money at the favourite stalls that were there, but the question was... Where was everybody else? I have been going to Sandown for a many a year and in the early days all three floors were in use and it was very busy. This year only the main area was in use. Credit Crunch, Greedy Promoters charging too much, or has the bubble bust in the Hobby Craft business? Your opinions welcome...

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Window Treatment!

Beats swags and pellets

Wanted to share these two photos taken at St. Paul's, a village dating back to Medieval times, near to Nice. I just love the patterns on the jugs and kettle. By looking at the ceramic tile it is a promotional display of Liz Ellard's work. The whole village is devoted to arts and crafts.

Friday, 11 September 2009

The Inaugural Fabricate Friday!

Yes, as promised I will be posting C & G coursework later on today.

New term, new outlook!

BUT first - To throw or not to throw?

I was hoping for a few more suggestions, but I need to make a decision!
So it's up in the loft until - in a Maggie Grey way - they can be untilised into something else. Time needs to separate me from how I feel about what I created and their usefulness as a creative piece.

Posting more later...

Spent the afternoon updating the Module Four blog which took an age to upload the photos. Chapters One, Two and Three now done.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

To throw away or not to throw...

Yes that is the question!

You have attended a workshop, and although very useful at the time of doing it, you find the pieces you return home with are not inspirational.

Do you:

A) Keep them in a box under the workbench? - you'll open the box now and again when you stub your toe and then close the box in disapointment

B) Put the box in the loft! - to be found during a fit of guilt after watching "How Clean is Your Hoarded Rubbish" or some other guilt inducing programme.


C) Realise life is too short so move on there's plenty more ideas waiting to be made and loving stored in the box!

Your thoughts welcome.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Like new fallen snow...

It's the last friday of the holidays
School has been visited for approx. an hour while both Darlings met their Form Tutor and set their targets for the year. Then we hit Kingston - sadly not Jamaica, but Kingston upon Thames where I bought about three items in each shop -M & S, East, Fat Face - well, I would have done but the wallet wouldn't allow! Isn't it always the same? - when I have the birthday/Xmas cash at hand there's nothing I like. Son complained as usual, even when we explained we were only there to buy new school trousers and school bag for him! New bus passes have arrived so we are on track for Monday.

So why "new fallen snow"?

That's how I see Monday and the new term ahead, clean and white with no foot prints. I'm trying not to think how long it will take before it turns to slush! I spent yesterday filling in the calendar with all the family/school/and other organisations committments upto the end of the year. Now I am going to blank out my C & G coursework time and hopefully keep the snow "crisp and even" and keep to the plan.

Next Friday will be "Fabricate Friday" . Funnily enough although this stands for "construct, create and make" - it also means "fake, falsify and trump up" so I'm covered for all eventuallities!!

Off to organise the Darlings to get the bags packed and tidy the work room ready for our new terms.

I'll leave you with this view of the beach from what became our favourite Restaurant, taken on the last evening in Antibes. The food and wine were delicious, my DH of 20 years charming and attentive as always, and the waiters - Oh, such beautiful French men ( makes a change for the ladies to have the chance to oggle while perusing the menu!)

But all I could think of was how I could capture this image in fabric and threads - or any other stuff lying around long enough to be incorporated in it - angelina fibres, foils, sequins...

... another thing to add to the Creative To Do List!

Friday, 21 August 2009

Just like buses...

I don't go abroad for ages, so long ago the passport gathers dust, then two trips come along.

Having had a week to get over the jet lag of New York, I've just returned from Antibes, where DH and I had an anniversary break sans offspring!

This was the first break by ourselves in fifteen years, the darlings were with their Grandparents - they are fortunate to have a full set and I believe - having chatted to the Darlings and Parents on arriving back in the UK - they have had a great time and everyone is now exhausted.

Will share the interesting creative photos of thebuildings of Antibes at some point - the ones of me on the beach stay hidden in a locked box!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Boss of the Camera!

It's only when you get home and download the photos do you realise that you've been attached to the camera for most of the time and sadly hardly in any of them - then you give a sigh of relief after seeing the odd ones you are in and vow to go on the diet once the holidays are over - four more weeks to go!

There's no point starting sooner as there are too many ice creams to lick before the Summer's through!
So some of my favourite photo's I 'd like to share

5th Avenue window treatment

Lots of expensive bags, but have you seen the grill along the bottom of the window?

Great border pattern, maybe?

Sometimes you forget where you are

At one point I thought I was in Paris as this guy kept playing all the pieces of music you would expect to hear in a black and white moody film with sub-titles going on underneath

As it were we where in Central Park enjoying the sunshine

I like to take obscure photos that I hope will bring inspiration once home.

The best bit about New York skyscrapers is the reflections on the mirror windows

And views from the Empire State Building can give interesting images for quilting

Thinking of "photo shopping" this

I can see Mondrian-esque images here

Lots of vertical and horizontal lines to play with here

and a view of my all time favourite building -

The Chrysler Building

And this window in the Empire State Building entrance hall has given me plenty of food for thought.

I like the geometric art deco pattern which could end up as a quilt or maybe something else...

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Paying Respects...

A trip to New York would be disrepectful if you didn't pay your respects to Ground Zero.

The memorial that has been created in a building next to the site of the Twin Towers is very powerful and emotional place, even this far on.
We can all place our selves on the date it happened and remember the terrifying images on the TV, but to see the personal effects that were found in the debris and hear the stories of the people who worked there is truely heartbreaking.

Garlands of origami paper cranes sent by Japanese children

A scene of regeneration.

I do hope this area will be completed as the fountains planned for the two sites of the buildings will be a fitting memorial to the loss this city had in 2001

And at the end of the day what life should be about - Liberty and Freedom

After such a thought provoking morning we spent the rest of the day with the Statue of Liberty, such a lovely lady!