Sunday, December 30, 2007

Surrounded .......

by sunflowers!!! The Calendar Girls challenge has me seeeing sunflowers everywhere, even in my dreams. You have to understand I am working with some pretty creative and talented people it's a bit scary. But this is how January Mark 1 came about.

This is the picture we are all working from. One of the first things I noticed was the little turned over petal on the big flower in the vase.

This is the same in my sketch book...Van Gogh eat your heart out!

Then this happpened
So I painted some fine cotton

and embellished some blue scrim from Purple Missus to a piece of dark blue felt.

I completely forgot to photograph where I drew the pertals onto the yellow cloth and cut them out but one bonus happened here, I treated the petals with fray stop and they curled so that the whole thing had more volume than before.I also neglected the bit where I added the beads to the brown felt and put wadding underneath it to raise the surface, here we are with the petals half added.

and this is the completed card

Here we go then......

nearly the end of 2007. I'm not a great fan of New Year, yet another one speeding by I suppose but this one has taken my life in a new direction for which I am thankful. There are many people I should thank for making this year as interesting as it has been, particularly to all those who have visited and laughed and cried with me. Thanks to Sharon B for opening up a whole new world as I linked up with the people taking the TAST challenge and I am looking forward to the Take it Further. Thank you to Lynda and all the other girls who invited me into that world with the Calendar Girls Challenge for 2008 and Britt, who sent me a little scissor keeper that boosted my productivity by saving me hours of searching for my scissors!!!! Thanks to friends at the EG who have been such a fun part of my life this year and to my best friend Pam who I don't see often enough but is always there for me.

I wish you all the very best for the New Year hoping that we share many exciting journeys of discovery together.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Secrets are out......

How quickly Christmas goes! After all the secret phone calls, shopping sneaked into the house and general preparation it is over in a twinkling. It was worth though.
My wonderful family bowled me over with a new sewing machine, I am particularly impressed with DH who masterminded and executed the whole thing. It is a Bernina 240 he knew this was the one as he had seen me drooling over it when I bought my embellisher. It amused me that in the manual it is not called a sewing "machine" but a sewing "computer". It has 99 instead of 27 stitches and three alphabets. I have had one little play and we are friends already.

It was my son's 40th Birthday on Boxing Day and I can now reveal what was keeping me quiet in the run up to Christmas. I have wanted to make him something for some time, having made the hussif for my daughter.
He likes things celtic and medieval so I decided on a presentation box and based it on the reliquaries in the V&A

As per usual I forgot to photograph all the stages, these are the embellishments for the lid and the panels which I made on Romeo vanishing fabric.

This is the front of the box

and the back

and the side which are both the same

I completely forgot to photograph it after I had put the feet on it, I'll have to go visit and do it at some later date. The body of the box is made up of a sandwich of velvet(inside), pelmet vilene, cloth which was painted, stitched and foiled, a layer of printed chiffon(of an old skirt) stitched with metallic threads, a layer of black net veiling, and then the stitched panels on top.
I am happy to report that he liked it.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Well here we are then.....

the end to the TAST challenge. I has been a wonderful journey, it has brought me in touch with some interesting and fun people, expanded my horizons and hopefully improved my stitching skills. Over the year I have thanked Sharon but I am going to do it one more time. Thank you Sharon for the time and dedication you have given to this and, of course, for the original idea. I am looking forward with excitement to the Take It Further challenge for next year. So here they are weeks 51 and 52. I could resist keeping the seasonal theme and the last one has beads just for Thomas. (Thanks you for all your kind thoughts, I hope I have managed to thank you personally)

"Paper" Chained Bar and

Spanish Feath Stitch... not sure this one is quite right and you can see the beginning wobble, one for further investigation.

and here is one I made earlier...

to Wish You All a Very Happy Christmas

I came across this interesting looking blog this morningfree craft articles, thanks to
Pat Winter and Pamela Kellogg who laid the trail. I haven't had time to really delve but there seem to be some good articles and free patterns there.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thomas the Great.......

is no more. For some weeks now this once magnificent animal has been losing his weight and his strength, Yesterday his back legs gave way a few times and today a visit to the vet decided that the time had come when it was kinder to have him put to sleep.

As you see I will miss him. He loved to sit on my knee when I was stitching and was a great scatterer of beads!! The other thing he liked, apart from food, was a sunbeam, He would adjust his position to stay in one until it disappeard.
He first arrived amongst us about 17 years ago by dint of whipping in through the cat flap and finishing off whatever food our then cats had left. He was almost feral, a large cat with a big barrel chest. cock of the walk and probably father to hundreds of kittens!! One day he came in and I noticed that his neck was in a terrible state, almost open to the bone. He was too wild to catch so we hired a trapping cage and warned the vet how wild he was. When I collected him the vet said "Can you put the cream on his neck" I don't think so. So he gave me tablets which I wrapped in chicken and gradually Thomas started to take it out of my hands. Little by little I was able to touch him and then to stoke him, one finger only. By the time his neck was better he had decided that he had found a pretty reasonable billet and so he stayed with us. A great character and companion.
Rest well dear litle friend I hope you find an everlasting sunbeam.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tis the season....

Overheard in Sainsbury's(supermarket) this afternoon.......
About 8 year old boy to his mother....."You said you weren't going to over do it...and I think you're overdoing it"
Wonderful... out of the mouths etc...

I came across this this morning, a bit late for this year but a great idea for next from Happy Mundane how to theme all those old decorations.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Well I know the challenge isn't supposed to start until January and I know I should be doing things domestic for Christmas but my little brain has been working overtime on the January picture for the Calendar Girls 2008 challenge. This will be Mark 1, I tell myself this so that if it goes pear shaped I can just day "Oh, no problem that was just Mark 1"!!
This is the first element of Mark 1

and this is the second,

The beautiful blue is some embellished scrim from Purple Missus. Just check out these gorgeous colours!! This is from the blues pack.
At the moment I think I know what I am doing with this, we shall see.

Friday, December 14, 2007


I actually found the missing page of my little Somerset trip book, I have to say it was in a very safe place. Right in front of my eyes. I am actually not too thrilled with the pages now. I think I rushed them a bit but I love the way the covers turned out.
So here they are with the lost page. The title is sliver off a piece of slate we pinched out of a skip in Wells.(Wish I'd had a bigger bag with me!)

If you like fabric books Ruth Rae fabric book has a beauty and decribes how she put it together.

And Beate works a little bit of magic with some scraps on Beate's Fabric Art

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tis the season 2.....

As you will have noticed my last couple of TAST sample seemed to be determined to be seasonal, it seems to have caught Sharon as well because lo and behold this weeks stitch (Week 50 my goodness) was Berry Stitch a double detatched chain. Ho,ho,ho thought I!!!! So I decided to make a simple Holly spray with beautiful red berries and look what happened..............

Tis the season.......

when all kinds of exciting things happen. Who would think that I my time of life I would become a Calendar's true. Those who know me personally can relax there will be not revealing pictures....I am honoured to have been invited to join a group of very talented people to take part in a swap for next year based on pictures in a calendar. You can follow what happens on the new blog, Calendar Girls 2008, I have put in a link. It should have a pretty picture something like this but my blogger wouldn't play.

Friday, December 07, 2007

fun and games....and a few snowflakes

It's a bit late in the day for this Christmas but I am certainly going to keep some of these techniques for next year. Demonstrations of Christmas Tags by Tim Holtz. Thanks to Dapple Designs for the link.

and this was sent to me by a friend who warned me not to have a drink in my hand when I watched it!!!

And this weeks TAST,pistil atitch. Is it my imagination or are the stitches at the moment lending themselves to all things Christmassy? Stars or snowflakes, take your pick.

Lynda thank you for your help with adding videos and yes as far as I know this is Babara Cook at 80,I think it was in Melbourne this year.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

An amazing lady....

No copyright breach intended

Yesterday evening I was lucky enough to go and see Barbara Cook in a concert to celebrate her eightieth birthday. For many years she has been one of my favourite singers, her distinctive voice and wonderfully clear diction make her a joy to listen to. Last night was no exception. The closing number when she sang without a microphone was a memory to treasure. You can see her here singing one of my favourites.

And now for something completely different...

Ever wondered what to do with your old buttons? Craft magazine has a suggestion.Marvellous!!