Thursday, November 23, 2017


........where was I?  I have just spent a lovely long weekend with my sister-in-law.

We took a trip to the ICHF supposed Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycraft show at Excel.  Never again. The "free" Christmas show consisted of a woman demonstrating a £400 exercise board and some very dubious foods. The rest was mediocre to say the least.

Monday we went up to town to "see the lights", on the whole the Christmas windows lacked imagination. These were probably the best at Ralph Lauren in New Bond Street.

Am I wrong or were the Christmas shop windows designed to delight children(eg ME) as well as sell.
We had a little adventure when we were invited into Southeby's to look at Winston Churchill's last painting and four Lowries which are about to go on sale.  I explained to the charming doorman that I didn't have Southerby's kind of money but he explained that these exhibitions are open to all  Who knew?

My next journal is nearing completion, pictures soon and I have started my "Book of Trees" workshop with Roxanne Evans Stout here

So far I have only had time to prepare my pages.
 but I am looking forward to filling them.  I love trees (the only thing I can draw) and this time of year makes them even more appealing with the colours and the falling leaves.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Annual pilgrimage........ the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally. There was a time when we used to spring lightly up the hill and steps, now we take the courtesy bus and I imagine one day we will crawl up the steps  on our knees.
I enjoyed the show this year, bumped into a couple of friends and was delighted to see Lynda Monk, she has a new book out which to her surprise is proving popular with the cos play generation,
Two of the exhibition we particularly liked were Haf Weighton

 and Ann Small                                            

 On the home front I have finished another journal which I am calling Aux Plaisirs des Dames as the inspiration was Au Bonheur Des Dames by Emile Zola which was  also the  inspiration for the TV series The Paradise .
It is quite chunky so I won't bore you with every page.

Now I have 4 projects in mind and a few hundred other things I would like to try. I love it when there are things to learn. Have a good week.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

I didn't realise........

.......this afternoon I treated myself by downloading the "It's better with a band" album by Barbara Cook and that reminded me of perhaps my favourite Barbara Cook song "Ice Cream" from "She Loves Me" and I while I was searching I was sad to find that Barbara died in August this year.
I was fortunate to see her and her pianist present an evening of songs to a packed Barbican Theatre. I was in the front row and I'll swear the woman never breathed. Song after song, apparently effortless singing
.  It was a wonderful and memorable evening and then a little while later I was even more fortunate to attend a Masterclass she gave, again completely memorable. I am sad but I am happy that I was given these opportunities to see and meet this wonderful artist in person.

Ladies and gentlemen. I give you Barbara Cook.

There's always something..... haven't seen before.  As you may know I am a huge fan of the Australian Masterchef Series. 
 (I had to get this link almost without looking as I don't want to know the result of this years competition.) For me, it is much more entertaining than the English Version and it always have a section where they travel.  In the episodes I watched this week Heston Blumenthal was the guest chef they went on a road trip through Victoria and visited one of these amazing works of art on the Silo Trail
This is the one the visited.
Brim Silo Art, Grampians, Victoria, Australia If you have ever seen a grain silo you will appreciate the size of these wonderful portraits who are all people who live and work in this area. Amazing.

I have finished/not finished the book I started in Seth's workshops. Not finished because I may add more to it in the future but finished for now as I would be forcing it if I tried to just fill the pages.  As it is it turned about a bit more scrap booky than I would have liked.  No disrespect to scapbooks but I would like to get my collages to look as though they have grown out of the page instead of having things stuck on. Because I had made a page with Me
and my mama

at the workshop I/it decided to add my father

 and my siblings.
My sister
and my brother
This is the first page
and the cover, burnished up a bit.
It was fun and now a permanent memory of a very good day.

Great finish to a good week watching my old AmDram society's excellent production of Singin' in the Rain.  Lovely to see it flourishing.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Just saying.......

...........I don't want to get into a list of superlatives but if you ever get even half a chance to take a workshop with Seth Apter.....grab it.

Yesterday was such a treat. The workshop was called A Book of Moments and it was organised by The Birds in the Barn, near Colchester Essex. .It was one of the most well organised workshops I have ever attended. The attention to detail was faultless. Every table was covered and had a waste bag attached, on the table were baby wipes, kitchen towel, a box of things that might come in handy and at each place a gift or cards and a goody bag.
Another table was full of items that might be useful; during the day, collage papers, brads, string, everything you can think of.
So generous, there was even a box of old books. There was a pop up shop of very tempting supplies, tea and coffee available all day and lunch was delish as was the lemon drizzle cake which appeared in the afternoon.
There were a lot of us too,  so it must have taken a lot of hard work to organise. 
Seth taught how to deconstruct a book so that you can use the covers and then how to build a new, different kind of spine to hold the pages. My book was already in pieces
A Rochester junk shop find from a while ago.
When the spine was in we started on the pages and Seth told us he thinks there are two kinds of people who collage, the Auditioner and the Committer and urged us to try identify which one we are and try the opposite.He is a Committer,  I am definitely an Auditioner, freeing up is hard. 
Seth in demo mode.

The time went so fast but this is what I had at the end of the day.
 The cover, not quite finished

The pages are not attached yet as I will complete all and arrange at the end. The background on this one ancient gelli plate papers

The background on the right is an Citrasolve experiment 

 This background is town paper collage
The photograph  is the one of me the family call Keep Death of the Road.

And finally, my present to me my own tiny piece of original Seth Apter. It is called September. Scan doesn't do it justice.


A superlative day.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Where am I????????????

??? ...was my thought as I emerged from  Victoria Underground Station.
This is an area of London that I is not very familiar to me and the last time I was here, this wasn't.  They are upgrading the Underground station and the whole area has been transformed.  The old Victoria Palace Theatre looks as though it is being completely rebuilt to house "Hamilton" late this year, very late by the look of it as the moment.
The theatre was in need of a re-vamp I saw the Crazy Gang there in about 1956 and it was dingy then. When I had orientated myself I found my way to Shepherd's Bookbinders which used to be Falkiners and near the British Museum and much easier to find and with a lot more character.  There was a group of ladies waiting for a class on coptic binding which I heard one of them announce was the "in Thing", that's me out of it then. The tutor was late presumable still orientating herself.
I bought some hideously expensive linen tape and a few nice pieces of paper.
then it was off to this
Which was fun. My day was made when Osi Umenyiora
and Jason Bell
appeared on stage. The NFL show on the BBC is one of the highlights of my week, along with Mark Chapman they present a funny and informative programme.  Osi and Jason didn't disappoint yesterday.
Look who stood next to me. They were tall.

As I said a lot of fun, as was this.

Flag football is a way of interesting young people in the sport. These guys were really little but enjoying it so.
 the young man in the "hoodie" was enjoying it so he kept taking turns in both lines and he was really good, I may have seen a future star.
I took my "proper" camera yesterday, I haven't used it in a while and I am seriously out of practice but two photographs I liked, the first I am calling  "Conversation piece".
 and this was while strolling through Green Park
Remarkable because there were so many tourists around outside Buckingham Palace a few yards away that  I thought something was happening.
A good day.

The end......

....of the ITAC 17 challenge. Just slid in under the wire.

The last part was of course "The World". I decided to use a box to hold each of the little "continent" books I made for the rest of the challenge.
It says "We are the Guardians" It is decorated round the edge with little tags which have the word Peace in lots of different languages.
The books just fit inside.

Not quite as polished as I would have liked but it was a pretty full week.  In fact the next fortnight looks as though it is going to keep me on my toes.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Busy, busy.... birthday week. We went to see our daughter in her last week in Matilda in the West End. I couldn't resist a "Matilda pose".
Sometimes you have to be a little bit silly.

For my entry of the ITAC 17 challenge which was on the theme of Africa,I made a piano hinge book with some gelli print and joy of joys some pencils I have been hoarding for at least ten years.

 You know how I love serendipity, well I have a box of cigarette cards and I knocked it on the floor.  I thought I had picked them all up and then as I was finishing the book I looked down and there was the lion card.  Love it.
The next challenge is the Americas and I don't have an idea in my head which is encouraging as the deadline approaches.

Absolutely delighted that Chris Froome has won the Vuelta, such a gentle man. Amazing teamwork helped an individual succeed. Wonderful.
 Froome celebrates his Vuelta victory
There was somewas some amazing scenery on the tour of Spain, places that are off the usual sun & sand image of Spain.  It was a treat and is part of the joy of watching these grand tour cycle races, bit like a nice comfy car ride but with spectacular aerial shots as well. It was only marred by the dreadful commentators, obviously given explanations of points of interest that would be highlighted they, for ther most part, chose to ignore these and continued with their endless speculative repitition or made facetious and feeble jokes.  Worst commentators ever Eurosport. Thank goodness for the ipad. Rant over.