Monday, 16 October 2017

I Made the K&S This Year!

After last year's trauma of being really ill and then deciding to take myself off to Harrogate to catch up with the K&S in November, it was a relief to make it through to the day without cough, cold or anything else for that matter!  Maggie, Fiona and I picked up our press passes, which we were very grateful for as the bag checks and security meant the queues were right back to the coach park.  I know it was for the right reasons but you would have thought they would know that only 3 people on the door would struggle if you know how many hundreds of tickets you have sold. 

As always I took myself off, with instructions to scout for the WoW mag of course, and made all my purchases first.  I like getting that out of the way before settling back to enjoy the galleries and demos.  It seems a lot of the photos I thought I had taken didn't actually make it to my phone, probably my stupidity or iOS 11.  

I did find this lady, Yoko Hagen, and all her lovely Temari balls and as I have a basket of prepared balls waiting to stitch perhaps I should dig them out and get on with a few!! 
They looked smashing on her tree too. 

I caught up with Marian Hall of Textile Snippets.  Her three Xenotopia pieces were amazing to see for real.  Larger than I thought they would be and you certainly have a perspective in them that you don't quite see on the screen. 

I loved the EG Page 17 display.  I think it could have been in a much larger space to be honest! 

A nice piece from Jean Littlejohn.

And Jan Messent. (Love her work)

This Game of Thrones piece by Lise Leigh caught my eye, it was beautifully stitched. 

And these cute chickens by my near stitchy neighbour Rosemary Jarvis. 


There didn't seem to be as many galleries this year, or perhaps I just was in zombie land.  I did find the day tiring even though I'd taken extra iron and because of the match at Wembley the coach wasn't going to leave until 5pm.  A lot of us were ready to leave by 3.30 really.  It's still nice to spend the day with creative friends though. 

Even Maggie managed a demo stint on the Art Van Go stand.  

Back home now and nothing too exciting in the purchases, nothing to show really, and I can make a start on a few pieces that have been waiting until after the show. 

We have a huge, multi stemmed Hawthorn partway up the back garden.  Sadly two of the trunks decided to start to collapse recently.  With some careful planning and cuts with the chainsaw John managed to direct the falls to miss the topiary trains.  We now have a much smaller, safer Hawthorn and the trains are intact too.  I dont think they would have survived the big blow that is currently trying to strip the trees of leaves at the moment!


The much thinner tree is on the left and there has been an awful lot of branches to dispose of which John has been gradually dealing with.  Thankfully a lot will be seasoned for the log burners. 

Stay safe in the storm which is the end of hurricane Ophelia! 

Monday, 9 October 2017

Garland Finish and Walkies!

I started a pick up and go project HERE back in June and I've just made a last dash to finish it.  


Of course I adapted some of the patterns suggested at Shiny Happy World and included some beads and sequins.  I made double the amount to give a set to Elsa too.  Quite pleased with it but I'm now short of a pick up and go!! I'm sure I'll think of something in no time! 

While in Ireland I actually bought myself something. 



Not just an enormous cotton reel but actually....

The amount of times we go away and I come back with the same money in my purse as I don't seen anything worth buying.  I'm a terrible shopper at the best of times and being confronted with often unnecessary, imported tourist stuff turns my blood cold, but this I quite liked. Kitchen roll is so you see the size better.

Yesterday was the day of our sponsored walk for GSP Rescue UK.   Please note the fantastic patches on the backs of the dog coats made by the lovely Benta at Slikstitches!! 

It was perfect weather especially as we took the dogs too.  

They looked very smart in their jackets but it was soon quite warm and they were stripped off so they could have a bit of a run too.  

Our local newsreader, Sally Taylor MBE, was there walking with another group and she came over and made a great fuss of the dogs as she owns a GSP too! We finished 12 miles in just over 4 hours which was good going as it included a few pup stops as well.  



My hips and knee are protesting quite a bit today but the toenails seem ok this time! 



We have raised a fantastic amount for the charity, thank you if you have given. The Rotary Club have 20% but they put on a superb walk, well stewarded and catered for and deserve it.  The 80% goes to our dogs.  There have been 30 helped this year so every penny counts! Just Giving page HERE.

Now to clear away the felt bits and start something new and not get too excited about Ally Pally at the end of the week! 

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Sorry, Been Having Fun!

We went back to Ireland last week.  

The same amazing place we went to in 2014.

Which has its own beach.

Willow still can't swim well, but she's improving!

Seaweed has to be rescued, you know.

Loads of day trips to other beaches.

It is their Dogliday after all.

Plenty of fun was had.  The only thing I made was happy memories.

Plenty to be getting on with here now though, I haven't stopped since we arrived home! 

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Quick Catch Up

Well, whether I'm nattering to myself, some peekers you other lovely people, here's a brief of what else I've been up to. 

I managed to collect some lovely bits in Devon when we took the girls there for our anniversary last month.  I've been trying to not go overboard on just shells, I have hundreds already, but try to find the more unusual.  I picked up some nice water worn wood, a lovely cluster of big barnacles and a fab bottle neck with cork still in it.  The cork shrank as it dried but I glued it back in before mounting them all in a deep box for one of the bathrooms.  


I think this is a lovely way of keeping memories from beachcombing and I have quite a few now.  

I really, really got fed up with waiting for the finishing instructions for the bead-a-long I took part in which started on 1st August for National Beading WEEK! Despite having several messages on her FB page from several ladies she was always doing other things. Why start something if you can't finish it? I would be devastated if I did that to others.  Anyway, I had to clear the space on my desk so strung everything together in what i thought was a pleasing way and it's finished.  

I have space on my desk!  Only a little mind and I have a commission to be doing.  Maybe I should try clearing some more first.  

I never seem to show the continuous stream of knits I do for the grandchildren any more but this little waistcoat is the latest.  Olivia doesnt seem to like sleeves, well I always seem to be knitting short sleeves for her anyway.  This is such a quick and easy pattern and I loved the repeat in the wool, quite short which is important when doing small garments or you end up with huge blotches of colour and it just looks wrong. I hope she likes it anyway 



My list for the K&S at Ally Pally is starting to grow and the next load of yarns is part of it.  There was also a fabulous button lady at Westpoint, I wonder if she will be there too?  I will have to check! 

And our wonderful Facebook Pointer dog group had another local get together when some of the northern members were down, two from the very top of Scotland and one from Yorkshire.  John calls the gatherings a stand arounds as 'walk' is a bit of a misnomer.  There is always a lot of chatter!! He didn't mind the coffee and donuts afterwards though.  The dogs love it and they really are a lovely bunch of people so worth going to. 



I have a West Country Embroiderers meeting with Fay Maxwell now so I will let you know how that goes later.



Sunday, 17 September 2017

Plein Air Stitching

Last Saturday, 9th September, I went to Sculpture by the Lakes, the rather lovely gardens of friends Simon and Monique Gudgeon, to take part in the Plein Air day.  

My view for the day.

Of course I wasn't going to do the usual painting thing!  So I loaded up the sack trucks with a yellow box of stuff, including beach shelter, table and chair, quite a few threads and some silk cotton mix fabric.  



The weather was forecast to be changeable with thunderstorms and it was!  Very!! I even took a quilt to wrap up in as, after spending many years lurking near water in it's various forms, I know how cold it can get.  If you are with me on Facebook or Instagram you may have seen the video of one of the downpours we had.  I was so relieved I had shelter!  The thunder and lightening was a little scarey especially with carbon fibre rods holding the shelter up but John mentioned that any strike would probably go to the pylons in the next field first.  I just trusted his judgement!! 

Anyway there was about 25 artists in all and the majority survived to the BBQ at the end of the day when the sun came out and everything was lit beautifully.  





Some are so well equipped they bring frames to pop their creations in! 

Just to the side of where I sat was a little inlet full of lilies that slowly opened through the day.  Had the sun been out they would have done it rather faster no doubt.  

I had finished my first piece and still had about an hour to go so did a quick stitch of that view too.  These are the results, mounted and ready for framing.  



You can also see them in the picture above next to the five little black framed pieces by Stephen Bithell. 

I was really rather proud that I could actually Plein Air stitch and I had lots of wonderful comments through the day. The best was a nice gentleman who came back and said I had inspired him to try something different.  

If I am invited again I would most certainly do it.  I may even try something completely different!! But still stitchy of course.  

I've noticed more and more there is a huge drop off of people commenting on blogs.  Not just mine either. I do wonder sometimes whether this is down to other social media taking over (see above comment about FB and Insta!!), content of blogs or the way they are now presented.  It's so easy to just read the headlines and not bother interacting now! Anyway, I did have a conversation with myself about carrying on but I've come to the conclusion that I mostly do this for me, like a diary, and sometimes being able to refer back to a post has been quite useful especially as I'm not a diary keeper.  I will keep nattering to myself for a little while longer anyway.  

Friday, 8 September 2017

Making Mess

I have spent years collecting Junk for doing something arty with.  I always knew I wanted to do something with it but hadn't found the what yet.  Recently I've started junk journalling.  

I stained up some papers, with able assistance dog.  

This is about half the pile left. 


Gathered stuff, i.e. trashed my studio.

and joined in Nik the Booksmith on her course to make some.  She has and interesting and almost traditional technique which I have enjoyed doing.  

First one is now bound too. 

I'm just beginning to stuff with the Junk. 

In case you are wondering they are to be used as notebooks or diaries but are already filled with lots of ephemera to make them a little more exciting to use.  At least the stuff I have is finding a home at last!! 

I also spent an enjoyable day making beads and dangles to add to the Journals.  


I also listened to a big chunk of audio book too and felt totally great at the end of the day!! 

This Saturday I have been invited to take part in a Plein Air painting festival at Sculpture by the Lakes owned by friend and sculptor Simon Gudgeon.  I will be attempting to paint with thread of course and feel honoured to be asked even though I don't actually wield a paintbrush.  We will see how it goes!! 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Stitch, Paint, Stitch

In the last post I mentioned a charity dog quilt I made.  Well I've had the photos back.  This is the lovely English Pointer Bruc snuggled up in his new home in Scotland with it and teddy.   


The request came at very short notice and with a lot of tooing and froing of messages.  We decided on a nice blue colour for him and to just keep it simple.  The Foster carers wanted a couple of days to have the blanket with them to make it smelly so he wouldn't be leaving them without something he knew.  

Couldn't have been a simpler design but i did manage to quilt his name into it.  

Summer returned very briefly at the end of August and it was lovely.  We had a good walk with friends and the lunch afterwards was rather nice too even if there was the most enormous thunderstorm.  Luckily it didn't come over while we were all out in the middle of nowhere! 

Did I show a pastel painting I did of Ruby?  I don't think so.  She's a Griffon and a mischievous minx.  Her mum says I caught that look in her eyes.  Bless her.  

I was recently given a box with some old and very, very decrepit bibles.  They are truly in a right mess.  Totally foxed, old damp and falling to pieces from what bindings they have.  I was given them with the reasoning that I make books and could probably use them in my art.  I was sad to see them in such a state and, as thier future wasn't looking too bright, I brought them home.  Now I'm not religious but I do have respect for a Bible and what it stands for.  I was in a bit of a dilemma over what to do with them.  In the end I asked the opinion of a group of bookmakers I am in and in the end the overwhelming consensus was to use them as they were only good for the bin, the words in them should already be in the heart of those to whom it matters and surely it's better to keep them alive in some small way anyway.  As so many of the replies were from practising Christians I felt better about that.  

I still only started with a hand sized New Testament, still dated 1880 mind, and looked up online verses which were classed as favorites.  I took the plunge and cut the verses from the book, mounted onto linen and then into a scroll book.  

I'd like to think I have made something good out of a bad thing. I won't feel so guilty over using the rest of the little book now but it is only 6x4 inchs.  Still not sure what to do with the others which are enormous tombs but maybe the fact that they're not in a tip or burnt is enough for now.  Am I being daft?? Who knows.  

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

A Bit of Out and About

John and I have just been away for a few days to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.  We went back to Lewtrenchard on the edge of Dartmoor and took the girls with us while the other two stayed at home. 

There was some of this 

More than a few miles of beach

A bit of being real fire dogs

And, of course, lots and lots of very noisy....... 
I think they enjoyed themselves! 

Back home I have been having the itch to decorate so we are starting to make a few in roads to that.  Creatively I've finished off a few silly bits, you've either seen or it's knitting crochet type like this bag.


I saw the crochet basket weave stitch for doing a blanket and loved it.  It's also a great scrap buster as you use three strands of yarn so my bulging yarn bag is now a little less fat.   There was also another charity dog quilt which I forgot to photograph before wrapping it for posting!  I will ask the recipient to send me one when she receives it.

On Monday I took myself off to Salisbury to finally see the Ancient Landscapes exhibition in the Salisbury Museum.  


Well there were some Turners, Ravilious and Constables, several Henry Moore sketches (above) and a Barbara Hepworth sculpture (below) all playing on the theme of our amazing and beautiful local landscape which, of course, includes many, many barrows and Stonehenge.  


I love the history of where I live and can spend ages sitting on barrows where I walk the dogs along the Ackling Dyke and Dorset Cursus just absorbing it all. 

Also at the museum, which has some very fine artefacts, was a small textile exhibition History Through the Eye of a Needle by the Machine Embroidery Group.  A book by someone it seems I didn't take a photo of their name and vessel by Adrianne Woodfine caught my eye.



Village meeting tonight and the pub AGM and I'm trying to write a bit up for the Workshop on the Web new bookazine which will be coming out in December.  I'm back to making lists to try and keep on top of myself as there is also a commission to do, a couple more bits for the November exhibition and life in general to live with four looney dogs. I need a coffee!