Saturday, February 23, 2008

Quality time...

If you follow this blog you will gather by now that I am a huge fan of my local branch of the Embroiderers Guild. Not only does if provide a forum for sharing techniques and ideas and the comfortable feeling of being in amongst like minded people but it offers the chance to take part in workshops with very talented people as happend last Saturday but also, as today, affords an opportunity to listen to one of your fine textile artists. Today Carol Naylor talked to us about how she creates her absolutely amazing machine embroideries. When she was asked how much thread she uses, her considered answer was...."a lot" with the same answer for the amount of time put into the pieces. She uses thread to "paint" the pictures for there is no paint in any of her pieces and the sublties of colour come just from the varying threads (colours and weights) in her shuttle and needle. She told us how on one occasion a photographer had photographed the "wrong" side, looking at the work you can't blame the man. Our projector failed (don't you just love machines) so she was unable to show the slides she had intended but she still managed to keep us riveted for over an hour.

Having mentioned last Saturday with Frances Pickering here are some of my favourite pages from the little book I started in her class.

I was on such a high on Sunday I made a couple more, this one is about ATC size and
I have left it blank inside for the moment.

and just to prove that I can do something that isn't green...well not entirely...

Friday, February 22, 2008

An A list celebrity.....

well not quite but for the first time in my life I'm on an A list. The indefatigable Sharon B is producing an alphabetical list of blogs. Apart from being thrilled at being in some very talented company it is also a novelty of be named at the beginning of something. My maiden name began with W so at school I would have to wait while all the other names were read all the time wondering, "have I been picked?" "have I passed?", when I married I moved down the alphabet but only a little add that to being a middle child.....oh the traumas!!!!!!

This is me pretending to be a star in 1966!! Is that my liberty bodice showing through my dress???

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Spectacular day....

in every way. Firstly the glorious weather, this is what winter should be like, cold but sunny and sparkling. This was the Darenth Valley this morning on the way to Ebroiderers Guild.

and here's one you might like to play with, try it in negative image for starters.
In a couple of months this will be reminiscent of Provence, purple with lavender, just hope we have the weather to match.

The spectacular day continued when I arrived at the EG for a workshop with Frances Pickering . As you can see if you visit her site Frances makes the most beautiful books. I have already mentioned her generosity when she visited us a speaker at our AGM. and she shows the same generosity as a teacher. I think I can safely say we all had a wonderful day full of laughter and excitement. Her books are really something and part of her generosity is in allowing any amount of handling of her beautiful books.
As my own measure of appreciation of anything handmade is my desire to handle it you can imagine I was very happy. They all have their own charm but the ones I liked most were the tiny ones and following Frances' suggestion this is what I chose to do,(2.5" by 2.5") meanwhile panicking for a theme, for she encouraged us to think of the completed book before we started and to keep it in mid all the way through.
By co-incidence an EG friend had seen and shared my enthousiasm for the performance of Sondheim's "Into the Woods" so this became my theme. This is my own offering so far.. this is the cover which we had to make first.
Pelmet vilene, gesso, acrylic paint and Treasure Gold and twigs I ran out to pinch from the hedgerow.

and this is where I really became excited, we made the pages for the inside and started decorate them. This is my first combined with the second,

I cut the tree out free hand so I was pretty darned pleased with myself!!
My friend Gudrun gave me the leaf which was just perfect She had been standing at a bus stop and noticed these skeleton leaves and instead of just standing there she had made a collection, aren't artistic people wonderful the way they see the world!!!
I hope one day I will be able to take a workshop with Frances at her studio, I am sure it would be an experience. Can't wait for the morning when I can go and do a little more.

Friday, February 15, 2008

All the Quilters.....

out there are probably going to throw up their hands in horror at my attempt at "log cabin" for the February TIF second offering. This one is using both memories and the colour pallette.

This is my school "satchel". I am left handed and pens never went the way I wanted them too, I suppose the only thing I was fortunate in was, that unlike some of my contemporaries, I was not forced to write with my right hand, thanks to the tiny village school I went to see here. The blue and white gingham is reminiscent of school dresses and the peach colour is not a million miles away from the colour of my school blouse at my first secondary school. The navy blue round the edge is, of course, my gym knickers complete

complete with pocket and clean handky on the back, though I don't think my school handkerchiefs ever had lace on them or stayed clean for long!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

February flys by....

I have managed to complete my Calendar Girls challenge for February. I couldn't help noticing that the petals on the main flower had a heart shape. To see this months picture (and all the other wonderful interpretations follow the CG link)
I made some material by melting a plastic bag and Angelina and then cut them into heart shapes and put them between irridescent film.
I represented the vase by painting blue material with white acrylic dots.
I stitched the "petals" to the background this is the completed card.
My second attempt was the one I have sent to Joanna

The background is a piece of old music I then made the vase and the flower on the embellisher and added them to the card,I was particularly pleased with the white dots. I covered the whole with a pink chiffon and resisted the temptation to zap it as I was afaid of taking it too far.
This is a paper card I made with dried flowers.
The white spots on the background are done with bleach. I made a mess of the s of "friends".

Good felt tutorials at Living Felt and felting with children at Deeply Felt Studios More interesting memories by Fiona at love Fibre
href="">Balloon Fashion

Friday, February 08, 2008

Great weekend...

Apart from the wonderful sunshine which always make you feel good I have two great theatre trips this weekend. Saturday night I went to the Greenwich Theatre to see a performance of Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods" by students from the Rose Bruford College. I love this piece and was looking forward to seeing a competent student performance. What I was treated to was far above this. These talented young people interpreted the piece in a way that had me in tears of involvement with the piece and appreciation of the production. I only wish I had been earlier in the week because I know many friends who would have loved this. Stunning.
From young people at the beginning of the year Sunday night was a treat of a very different kind. A 75 year old Chita Rivera held the audience at the Shaw theatre in the palm of her hand.

Her first song was "I won't Dance" but renowned for her portrayal of Anita in West Side Story and as Velma in Chicago she couldn't resist in the small confines of the stage. her movement is still wonderful to watch. Her voice is obviously not as stong as it was but she has not lost any ability to act and interpret a song. She teased the audience all the way through with the into to "all that Jazz" and had the whole theatre on their feet when she finally performmed it. A memorable night.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


for all those people who have been affected by the terrible tornadoes in the USA. We have just watched the pictures of the devastation. When nature is unleashed it puts mans petty differences in perspective.

So much going on...

did I say, already, that someone asked me if it was difficult to fill you days when you retire???

I said there were two things for the TIF memories that I was going to work on. The first one is the Liberty Bodice, this image is from the V&A Museum of Childhood.
This unlovely garment was invented to make sure your wool vest itched to it's maximum potential. Well no, it just seemed like that, it was designed to keep you warm, the thing I remember most about it is the rubber buttons which started to crumble as they perished. This is a bit of a cheat as it is actually made from bits of the January piece and is therefore in January's colours. I couldn't find rubber buttons in my stash but these I thought filled the bill,the felt backing represent the itchy vest and the lace represents my remembered longing to have a dress like the Cinderella in my Ladybird book.

And then there were the navy blue gym bloomers with the pocket for your handky, but that's for another day..

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

If you have five minutes.....

The Altered Page last week had a survey of artists which produced some interesting answers and links to artists I had not heard of and also to some interesting blogs.

More TIF memories Ati on the Crazy Road remembered knitted bathing costume, it appears hers, like mine, stretched when it was wet.Priceless stuff

I went up to London today to the Opus Exhibition.
There were quite a few pieces I liked but no one piece that I wanted to run away with. They have a good thing this year you can buy a cd of all the exhibits. I shall look forward to it coming so that I can study my favourite pieces in detail.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Memory Game.......

it is going to be really interesting reading people memories as they start the TIF challenge. Two I have seen so far are Julie of Mixed Media and Carol-Anne of Threads Across The Web. Carol-Anne left a comment which brought two more memories back to me, my imaginary friend Millie Belter and the triple mirrors on my mothers dressing table which gave you unlimited people to play with if you angled them just right. It seems I have not quite outgrown this fascination as this is a photograph I had a friend take for me in the ladies of a cafe! Sad!!!

and then there was my doll Poppy..........Stop already!!!!

These are the material things as per the challenge,
going to bed by candle light and brass oil lamps which had to be polished, we didn't get electriity until after the war when we had our own generator.
Flat irons,Carol made a clever replica of one,
blue bags for whitening in the wash(a post for another day),
Clothes airing on a rack on the ceiling and on clothes "horses"
bread rising in a huge brown bowl on the Aga,
triangular bags of sweets which held the 2ounces from your sweet ration and ration books.
Stone hot water bottles like this one
photo from Virtual Victorians,
washbasins and jugs (with matching coap dish),I cry now when I look in antique shops!
Blackleaded fireplaces, and much later our first television with a 9 inch screen!!! There are two others that I think I am going to use for the challenge,more about them later.

Now to the present, later today I shall be slipping into my nightie and getting out a blanket so I can snuggle up with these two young men

and watch the Super Bowl. Everyone seems to think that Brady and the Patriots will walk it but I'm not so sure, Eli has a lot to play for. I love 'em both just hope it's a close game.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Open the floodgates...........

Sharon posted the new TIF challenge for February. The colour scheme is an interesting one

but the concept "What are you old enough to remember?" occupied my mind for most of yesterday evening.This may be, of course that at my age there is quite a bit to go on.

I realised that what Sharon was talking about were things that have been superseded by technological advances, or objects that have disappeared all together but first I sat and tried to think of my earliest memory and that was when I disappeared into the past for hours.

I was born in 1941 in Barrow in Furness which at that time was in Lancashire. My earliest datable memory was the birth of my brother in November 1945.but some of these memories may date from before that. When I was about two we moved to Ulpha in the Duddon Valley where my mother ran the Travellers Rest while my father was a mechanic in the RAF. All my earliest memories therefore belong to Ulpha. I will list them just as they came to me.

Sunshine and male voices singing, I have always thought they were Polish soldiers who were billeted in the hall further down the hill,as that is what I remember being told. They may well have been detainees.

The hill, still known as Travellers Rest Hill though the TR is now appartments I believe. You can see from this photgraph how steep it is and on more that one occasion I can remember a lorry in the yard.

I remember the swing fixed on the branch of a tree, a pet lamb we had, called Larry of course, listening to Listen with Mother on the radio and another programme which was called "Music and Movement" I think, "Find a space and we'll begin". As well as the lamb there were bantam hens and pigs, a horrid memory this, of pigs squealing at slaughter time. There was the snow house we had, must have been the winter of 1947, we had an old piece of carpet to sit on so our bottoms wouldn't get cold. I broke my sisters tooth when she was teaching me to skim stones and there was the monkey puzzle tree which we used to hide under, I visited a few years back and it was still there.

There was old Joe Yoodle (yes that is a real name) who wore corduroy trousers and big boots which I would stand on and he would hold my hands and walk me round the back bar room.
I went to the tiny school, only 15 children in the whole school and when I was the youngest they used to turn my table upside down so that I could have a rest in the afternoon, the teachers voice would lull me to sleep.(Used to affect me later in life in things like Maths and Physics!!!)
This is the school building (with ugly addition) it is now a house.

But the best memory of all was my "house". At the bottom of the hill there is a field which leads down to the River Duddon, over a dry stone wall like this

, these wall are wonderful and many have little gardens growing on them like this

and in the middle of the field is my "house" where I played, by myself, for hours, and hours.

What do you mean it's a pile of rocks!
This is what I saw.

Thank you Sharon for giving me such a wonderful evening. I have a list of objects too but that is for another day.

Cyber Fyber

This is a very exciting happening. Susan Lenz of Art in Stitches has today announced the most exciting event. The Cyber Fyber Exhibition will be held in Columbia, South Carolina next January. I urge you to look at the links because the scale of it is mind boggling and the amount of work she must have put in already make you want to lie down. She has made over 100 of each of fibre(fiber) ATCs and Postcards which she would like to trade. The ones she receives will go into the exhibition, there is also an opportunity for a random trade. I am thrilled to have had a trade accepted.