Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas

Thought I'd better post a message before the last post becomes up to date!

Have a great day and hopefully I shall find some time over the festive season to let you know what I have been up to...

best wishes

Friday, 3 September 2010

Happy New Year...

If you have children in education then this is your new year!
New start, clean slate, a whole diary awaiting to be filled.
Unfortunately September seems totally used up before I've even started, I will need to keep an eye on ever minute to get everything goes!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

I started, so I've finished...

...Part One.

The number of UFO's around the workroom are causing a hazard so I am trying to get them completed and a new home found for them somewhere else in the house.

This is a recently started piece. Isabel at the Quilting Group did a demo in February of Folded Hexagon Patchwork after she found the technique in
Japanese Folded Patchwork by Mary Clare Clark.



This will be going in the lounge once the redecorating has been done later in the year.

I joined the hexagon s using beads and ladder stitch.

The following quilt top has been in the "making" for approx. five years! I began it while in the black and white module two of the Distant Stitch Course. I needed to learn quilting techniques and as usual jumped in the deep-end by choosing this quilt designed by Paula Doyle of Paula once had a shop where I used to buy my quilting fabrics and equipment and how I got involved in the local quilting group. I took this along to my first meeting hoping to see Paula for advice. It sat in the first black border state for some time and I did give up a saturday a couple of years ago to make the flying geese parts. So what do you do when you need to pack for a holiday? Yes, you sew together the flying geese border then join it onto the main section! So the top in now complete and it stands at 60" x 80". I intend to take it to Isabel of Crompton Quilting as the thought of machine quilting a quilt this size does not appeal to me. I could make tops until I have a roomful, but I am not so keen on the quilting on such large pieces. I shall stick to small quilts in future

Seminole Quilt designed by Paula Doyle

Top finally completed by me!

More completed UFO's to follow...

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Back from the North

Four loads of washing later, a food shopping list to replenish the fridge and cupboards ready, most of the car contents back where it came from two weeks ago and I've only been in the house since 6pm -I could do with a holiday!!!!
So we bit the bullet and took the Teenage Darlings to Center Parcs.
I usually go to Longlet with my girlfriends during November, which during the off peak season shared between 8 of us is reasonable for a weekend away. We went to Whinfell, near Penrith, as we could call in at the Parents (both sets in same village) on route and at the end of the break returning South.
It was great to see Dad, who is half way through his chemo and coping very well under the circumstances, he looked very different without his beard which he has sported for atleast all of my memory, although there are photos of us together without the beard!
I had a great time relaxing. I made a point of not doing any embroidery during the time there - as I sew daily with my job I thought I deserved a break - took plenty of photos and made notes of ideas which sprang to mind though.
The DH and the Darlings had a great time too and hope to return, maybe to a closer Parc next time, they said!
The second week was spent at a cottage on the edge of the Lake District and we visited all our favourite towns and recharged our inner batteries with beautiful scenery of mountains and lakes.
I needed some new reference of black headed sheep for updating a design I have, so I was really pleased when this sheep obliged with a bit of modelling

Loving the pose! It's back legs are just how I needed them positioned!

I finally found the way of changing the exposure on my digital camera while journeying back to base from Keswick one evening. The fact I have had this camera over three years makes me feel a little foolish. I should go on a course on how to get the most from your digital camera!

I was able to create this wonderful photo

Looks like its been through photoshop already!

Now off to sleep in my own bed...

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Living with two teenagers in the house!

He may looks devilish but he has the voice of an angel
Today is Darling Son's birthday

13 years old and I am waiting for "Kevin" to appear!
I have had a house full of boys with various deepnesses of voice, which reminds me that my own little choir boy will be up with the bass section all to soon...

Monday, 19 July 2010

It's Only Rock and Roll...

...but it's

Sunday spent at Guilfest, watching amongst others
The Blockheads, 10cc, Level 42 and the Mighty Status Quo

Blue sky, sun and silly festival hats

Mark King - the Slap Bass King

DH watched most of Level 42's set through his binoculars, Mark is one of his Bass Heros and would love to play slap bass like him - sore finger allowing!

More silly festival hats as worn by the Darlings

The Quo

Rocking all over Guildford!

This is the second time we saw Status Quo at Guilfest - this was the best!

BUT the real reason for going to Guilfest had to be the

The Fabulous FEZHEADS

Visit for more details about the chaps who are totally mad

Chopping a Fezhead in two

Good Old Music Hall magic tricks, Sand Dances and Comical Music


When DH grows up he wants to be a Fezhead!

Should they ever need a three fingered bass player he's their man!

For Meg...

This event starts on Friday afternoon and goes on until Sunday evening, camping is available - tent or camper van, but we usually choose the best running list for either Saturday or Sunday and then book a day ticket. Would have liked to see the Human League on Saturday night, but just couldn't face NDubz. We decided the Sunday was more our style of music!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Memory jog required...

At one of the many scumptious meal times during our visit to Urchfont,
one of you Distant Stitchers was commenting on the buttons I used in Module 2.
Please could you remind me who it was?

The things I have to do some times...

...Finger Guards

My DH has a nasty accident while gardening some weeks ago, resulting in a very tender tip to his fore finger on his left hand. Although right handed this is a major problem as he plays bass guitar in a band. He is currently playing with three fingers, but sometimes forgets which causes no end of discomfort. So to protect the tip I made him this cover which allows him to touch the strings without catching anything else! He is gigging tonight so will test whether it works.
I would say break a leg,
but after the trauma of the finger he couldn't face any more time in A & E!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Prom Night

My little girl is currently at her Prom - I finally felt my age today.

Where did the little baby scowling from the incubator go...

and where did the beautiful young lady come from?

She has made me very proud
My Princess

White to Black to Explosion of Colour

Below is an overview of what I did at Urchfont.

There are no methods or explanations of how they were created - my fellow Distant Stitchers know how I created the fabrics and in respect for Ruth Issett I won't be telling you, go do your own Ruth Issett Workshop you'll thank me for suggesting it!

It started with a pebble...

Sketching lines and making marks

Making marks and lines with white

Making marks and lines with black

Whoops, when recording your work as you go along,
don't forget to photograph your own work at the same time as looking at other students!!!
Some of the black marks can still be seen in the coloured fabrics below

Adding Colour!

A Cuff

Creating something with the fabric you have manipulated.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

On the Seventh day...

I can't remember the last time I crammed so much into six consecutive days.

Last Friday, after packing the case and collecting my C & G coursework together I took my Darling Daughter to see the Twilight Saga mega viewing at the local cinema - back to back films one and two, Twilight and New Moon, and then at midnight -Eclipse.
We arrived home at 2.30am!

Saturday I travelled into London to visit the V & A. It was my last chance to see the Quilt Show, which was very interesting. I also had time to look around at the other exhibits and then wander around Knightsbridge and Regents Street. Missed the Parade by minutes, but saw the aftermath of rubbish strewn around. I found Liberty's and wandered around the Haberdashery and Fabric sections. I love this building, especially the central stairs and walkway. Found a scarf reduced by silly amounts, so I bought it. It looks good to wear and when I'm bored with it it can become something else!

Sunday/Monday/Tuesday and Wednesday was spent at Urchfont College with my Distant Stitch course where the guest tutor was Ruth Issett. Lucky Us! I don't think I have every felt so mentally exhausted at the end of each evening for some time. It was great, I have learnt so much in such a short period of time. Big thank you to Sian for organising the Summer School and a big thank you to Ruth for giving such a great workshop.

As an icebreaker Hazel suggested we make ATCs, place them in a coded envelope and then we chose a different envelope and spent time finding out who had made which one from the clues on the envelope and what we might have been wearing.

Above are all the different styles of cards created.

So tomorrow...a day of rest?

Darling Husband celebrates his birthday and

Darling Daughter has her prom, so probably not!

Safely Home

Back home after a fantastic few days at Urchfont.
Ruth Issett was brilliant
Off for a lie down in a dark room to recharge the batteries

It was great to meet up with old friends and meet new ones
Thanks for making this year fun, as always

Blogging soon with photos...

Monday, 28 June 2010

Hands up if you're off to Urchfont!

and have you made your ATC yet?

For the first time I will be staying in Seymore House.
Even though I rang to book as soon as the date of the Summer School was available all the other rooms were booked!

I double checked with the office - "That's not the thatched one, is it?"

Now I like a thatched cottage like the next woman - who wouldn't - but this particular one looks, well,... abit scary. Maybe it's the fact it's the furthest from the Manor House and you have to walk through the garden - in the dark! - to reach it may be a factor. Now as Seymore House is just slightly closer to the Manor House and you still have walk through the "Secret Garden" to reach it I will be packing my Son's wind up torch. Yes, the one I bought as a gift from the lovely famer's fayre/craft shop down the road from Urchfont. I knew there was a reason for getting it! I doubt he has used it for the last 12 months, so that now means it's mine!!! So next week-end as you tuck yourselves up in the Manor House and you hear an unusual "sawing " sound that will be me winding up the torch as I sprint through the dark to bed.

(Just checked on the Urchfont Website and the paths to the outer gardens
and the houses are lit! - but it's still dark near the vegetable patch!)

Who ever had the wonderful idea of having us make ATC's for the first evening "Icebreaker" deserves a pat on the back. I am busy making mine and I hope nobody forgets. I love the idea of the secret codes and things on the ATC to identify the maker. It will be such fun.

I am so looking forward to seeing you all again and to meet the first timers.

See you on Sunday...

Friday, 11 June 2010

Sister Hannah with the Banner!

I'm not sure who "Sister Hannah" is- I'm sure someone out there can answer that - but when ever the banner is paraded the cry "Who's Sister Hannah this time?" can be heard. I was banner bearer on Tuesday and was even more fortunate to follow the Northwood banner I had made!

There is something very special about St. Paul's. We sit under the dome and gaze at the beautiful mosaics and paintings above us. The colours are amazing and I keep promising myself a daytime visit with the sketchbook. Sadly photos aren't allowed in the main part of the church but they allow us to photograph the banners - fortunately my Son was able to snap away and got a good selection of the different designs.

After we have walked down the nave the banners are displayed around the font so that the congregation can view the many different designs as they leave. The lovely ladies of Northwood MU came to view their new banner and their banner bearer Graham was quick to tell them I was the one who had made it. It was quite difficult to hug all the ladies whilst holding my own banner aloft, but I managed!

A selection of the many banners on display

This final one is one of my favourites and I always look out for it.

The Madonna is so unusual.

Coursework update

I have been working on Chapter 10, making lots of little books and a bigger book to hold them in!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Training Days

So the job sheet is clear at the moment.
Being self employed this can be worrying, but I have decided that I am using this quiet time to focus on the City and Guild coursework, especially as the Summer school is iminent!
I've allocated my time as to what I am going to do so I intend to post each day what has been acheived - hopefully!

Letting it go...

Please bear with me re. the photos. No matter what I do I can't get the amended "moved" photos on my computer to stay the right way up when transfered to the blog, so I hope you don't get neck strain whilst looking at them!

How do you feel when you have completed a piece of work? Especially if you have spent sometime creating it and off it goes to the client? Is it right to feel something similar to sadness about an inanimate object?
I am having mixed feelings - it's great I now have time to move onto something else and also missing it as I had so much fun and satisfaction working on it. I'm also excited about seeing it again, when it is paraded down the naive of St. Paul's on Tuesday evening.

I was commissioned to recreate a Mothers' Union banner which was seeing better days, I have posted the odd photo, but here are the old and new - before and after - photos. I handed the banner over on Saturday

Here are photos of the original:

The leather work was crumbling

The silk fabric was fraying

The goldwork was coming undone
The Other Side

Here are photos of the new banner:

New bright leather on new silk background

Close up on the centre design

But for the machine stitching on the blue fabric to create the waves all of the banner was hand sewn

The Other Side

Understandably the goldwork is slightly different as finding exact materials was difficult due to the length of time since it was made. Also some colour matching was made difficult due to fading. I hope I did my best to recreate a new version that will last for time to come.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Sometimes life takes over...

and the things that make you happy, that take your mind off the tough stuff of life, take a back seat.

As I work for myself I can work the hours I like and as my job is something I like doing it's not so arduous to be sat at 10pm of an evening, (plus some!) sewing. I'll be the first to admit I do too much, socially and craft wise. There are never enough hours in the day to fit it all in and then when the Darlings make a demand of my time I will always drop what I am doing for them and then when Family fall ill we all stop to do what we can don't we? Unfortunately C & G coursework is the first thing to go on the back burners, so I was pleased to find some of that precious thing called "time" to give to the coursework this week. No photos yet but will post on the Coursework blog very soon.
Current work, which now has a very close deadline looming, is a banner for a Mothers' Union branch. Their current one is very old and becoming frayed and sad. This is a close up of the centre design.

I will be very glad to see this banner paraded through St. Paul's Cathedral very soon.

Other Creative Stuff includes:
Last Saturday was spent with my quilting group making these wonderful bags. Mine is the one on the far right. Amazingly most of the members came with Japanese themed fabrics in lots of rich colour schemes. There were about 12 bags finished by the end of the workshop.

12" x 12" Wonky Log Cabin in Scraps made for a swap

with a Quilting Group in Houston

It's in homage to the South African based Football World Cup beginning soon

We all had to incorporate a piece of dotty fabric - mine became footballs!

Darling Daughter's Sewing Box made for her Resistant Materials GCSE
Didn't she do well?

Should be bringing it home this afternoon.

Thou shalt not covet - but it will probably be mine until she leaves home!

Dad Update

I suppose I haven't blogged recently as I had no news regarding Dad and we were waiting with bated breath to see what the results were after all the extensive tests. I can only sing the praises of the NHS as Dad has been seen and operated on asap after finding his lump. So last night Mum was able to tell me that the cancer has not spread from the lymph nodes, which is such a relief. The sence of a great burden being lifted was incredable. They can now have their short break away at the seaside before Dad begins courses of chemo and radiotherapy. Dad's upset that he will be losing his beard - something he has cultivated for over forty years - I asked whether a false one is available as the hospital had offered a wig for when his hair falls out! Bad humour is a great remedy to the Big C. Got to keep laughing...

Best wishes