Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Golden Gifts is Done

I've been managing to sit in the studio quite well for the past couple of days.  By the end of the afternoon I can be a little sore though so trying not to over do it.  Thank you for all the messages, they are much appreciated. 

I turned the pages in the previous post into a book.  

I've decided to put more into books for an Exhibition in November again in Shaftesbury.  I will be doing other pieces too but want to mainly have the 3D of the books at this one.  

As always the photos are terrible and at the moment I really dont have the patience to faff about with it.  I will set it all up properly before the show and hopefully take some then.  

The covers are really quite shiny though so they are not liking the light very much.  They are also a little on the soft side so I have been thinking of a stand I can make to display it better.  

This week we also noticed that Ellie had a bit of a swollen face so yesterday she had to have a tooth out.  One of the big ones at the back was split vertically and she also had a baby tooth still which has now gone.

She's been feeling very sorry for herself and taken to holding on to a aerosol top.  Even putting her in har jimjams didn't mean she let it go!! 

We are sharing the sickie flag this week.  

Thursday, 11 May 2017

OK, Well That was a Bit of a Non Starter

On the 25th April I started a project which will be going towards an exhibition in November.  I've decided I'm going to do more mixed media for this one, with a bit of stitch I'm sure, and focus in the majority on books.  I hope it works out that way anyway.  

I made some pages up and I'm really pleased with them. 

I've also dyed the cover.  just some layers to add and some fiddling and that will be one down. 

I also actually started Super Nova.  I went and bought all the beads for this just after the Art Weeks last year so it's been hanging around for just under a year.  About time I got started with it me thinks!! 

On Friday 28th April we set off for our lovely weeks Dogliday in South Devon.  We soon discovered the beach for swimming just down the road. 

And Saturday was so warm and sunny there was lots of sunbathing in the lovely courtyard of the cottage. 

Sunday, however, went a bit squiffy when I developed excruciating stomach pains under my ribs.  Thinking it may pass we stayed in at the cottage where I spent most of the time looking down a loo bowl.  Monday John said he was taking me home.  He didn't want me in a hospital far from home if it came to it so we packed up and, even though it was a Bank Holiday monday, made it home in very good time.  

When we walked in the door I couldn't keep the pain from John anymore and we had to call an ambulance.  Anyway lots of blood tests, ultrasounds, MRI scan etc and the fact that I was bright yellow showed that a gallstone had moved into my pancreatic duct. I had jaundice and acute pancreatitis. All this past 9 days I have been on continuous drips, antibiotics and painkillers and had my gallbladder taken out on Tuesday.  Thankfully the stone had passed on the Friday and a gallbladder operation in itself is a day release operation if there are no complications.  It's the other symptoms that kept me in so long but I was able to come home very late on Tuesday night.  There truly is nothing like your own bed and pillow and being with those you love! 

I'm managing to sit in the studio today and look at everything I want to be getting on with but the energy levels are rather low.  John is an absolute star and I'm being spoilt rotten.  Hopefully each day will be better and I can start creating more.  

I leave you with a couple of photos of the Solanum which is really starting to show it's blue off.  Still plenty of flowers to go though!! 

Monday, 24 April 2017

Turning a Corner

Yesterday was the second day of the Brockenhurst Needle Work fiesta.  

Maggie Fiona and I had a great time demoing, Maggie mixed layers and dissolvable paper...

and I was on dissolvable films and fabrics.

From what I can gather it was probably one of their best attended shows to date with over 1200 visitors. Considering it was very close to finishing for good not long ago that is pretty good numbers!! I hope the traders downstairs all found it a viable weekend and will continue to support it.  

Today I had a Dorset Artists Coffee Morning at Gold Hill Organic Farm Cafe.  It was a little chilly but some chose to stay outside.  20 or so turned up, including some new faces, and we were served with delicious coffee and lunch or cake.  A great venue to visit.  

So that marks the end of a little period in time where I had events and deadlines to work toward all within the last three months.  I know I can be a bit of a lazy or sloppy worker, choosing to please myself as and when. Everything over the past 10 months or so has almost been put in front of me as a challenge to see if I could actually set myself targets and I think I have come out of it pretty good.  

February I could hold my head high next to the amazing Maggie Grey when she asked me to spend the four days with her and Fiona at Craft 4 Crafters. Early March I actually walked 18 miles!  Me who doesn't get out of the car unless I truly have to!! I have very tiny nails growing back on my feet now and I also have a refund for my expensive, waterproof boots that leaked!! I then held a joint exhibition with Karren and Caroline which we curated and managed ourselves.  Though I have shown in other venues this was a first of this type, especially with established artists. And this weekend demoing again with Maggie at the Fiesta.  

The demos do take a lot of thought and planning.  If you're ever watching someone do one please remember that whoever is doing it has tried to condense something into a short mini show if you like and it's often something that takes an age in the real world.  They've had to probably do a lot of pre samples and practising so you the viewer can see the best of it in a short period of time.

There have been other personal obstacles to clamber over along the way too but tomorrow I have promised myself a peopleless day, except for John and the pups, and nothing on my creative mind or demands from the studio and it feels good. 

I worked to deadlines and passed the test! 

Monday, 17 April 2017

Flying Visit!!

Long time no blog!  Life has been interesting, heartbreaking, fast, full and just time eating lately! Never sure why everything always happens at once!   This is a super quick round up. 

At the end of this week I will be at the Brockenhurst Needlework Fiesta with Maggie Grey and Fiona, come say hello if you're there. I've been in two minds what to demonstrate, either the embellisher again or soluble.  With that in mind, and the fact that my next exhibition in November I wouldn't mind showing some 3D pieces, I made up some fabrics using soluable and loads of dead balls of wool.  

As you can imagine the texture is fabulous.  I made up two of these strange maquettes.  Far from my usual doll shape and very much self evolving! 

They're wired inside and have weighted bases so quite stable though they are 20 inches tall. I have never been any good at depicting human form, loath trying to be honest, and so gave myself permission to go comfortable abstract on thier shapes and faces with no features as such and I'm quite pleased with them.  

The cloaks are felt made on the embellisher, totally dry and quite thin.  

Luna, the white one, is almost there.  I just need to add some embroidery around the Shisha mirrors along the hem.

Aurora, the dark one, I've only just managed to start the cloak embroidery.   Still a fair way to go.  Whether they will be ready to take to Brock is another thing but it's not vital.  It's been quite a nice journey in a different direction for a change.  

We had a fair bit of this in the nest.

The a glimpse of these.  Sorry it's blurred but my camera refused to focus on the eggs. The pinkish blob below the blue eggs is a hatchling. 

An awful lot of feeding of these.

And they've grown into these! I can only see two chicks although there is a hatchling and two eggs above.  I don't know if we've lost one or I managed to catch the baby just as it came out and that is the shell of its egg as yet unremoved by mum.  Either way the two left are very demanding of thier parents! 

The bluebells have been fabulous up in the woods beside one of my dog walks.  I was a bit peeved to be there last week and pass a couple and their spaniels just charging around in the woods knocking them all over them place.  Dog's aren't actually allowed in there anyway and the gamekeeper has signs up all over the place but I was sad to see the disregard of the flowers. 

Hayfever hasn't actually been too bad so far this year even though this is the view from our bed.  Love how sharp the contrast is! The next three fields to the right and up behind us are yellow too. Thankfully it's not for too long.

This is our fig tree Elsa bought us for our wedding 10 years ago.  It often goes into winter with it's embryo figs attached but not many make it but this year it's covered!  We could be searching out lots of figgy recipes later in the year! The birds love them too, sadly so do the wasps. 

This is our Solanum over the terrace.  All green at the moment but I will take more photos over the next couple of weeks and it will soon be a huge ball of blue. 

This is where the blog is fabulous, as a diary.  I had to look back to see when the robins nested a couple of years ago and all the info was there.  Also this week on the 15th John heard the first Cuckoo.  If I look back I can see it was 15th of April in 2016 and 2015 but April 17th in 2014.  They seem to have amazing calendars built it! 

Finally I will sign off Happy Easter from us and the dogs. 

Thursday, 30 March 2017

On to the Next Thing

We've packed up the exhibition and brought it all home.  I know I saw quite a few friends from Facebook and even one or two from here as well.  It was lovely to see you if you came, thank you for taking the time.  

Up next is the Brockenhurst Needlework Fiesta at the end of the month.  I will be upstairs with Maggie and Fiona again demonstrating something. Will have to work on what though. 

I do have another companion outside the studio window!! Some of you may remember the Robins who moved into the nestbox in 2014 HERE and went on to have a lovely family which I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to photo fledging too.  Well this year we have a Blackbird who has made her nest just below the nestbox so still right in view.  

The blur along the bottom are the numbers on my quilting ruler, that little access alley is only 3 feet wide so she's quite close.  She has been there just over 2 weeks now so hopefully she has become used to our comings and goings.  I will keep an update on the nest progress I hope. 

Not a lot else to report at the moment. It took a while to log and put away all the quilts from the exhibition and I'm only just putting my head straight so I will leave you with a picture of the four dogs having a blast on the beach this week. 

Thursday, 16 March 2017


We are all set up and under way at the Shaftesbury Arts Centre.  

I'm there today so, as yet, have no photos but here is one just about as we finished hanging on Tuesday.  

It looks rather good even in the dark!  Lovely vibrant colours from all three of us. 

I was very honoured for the others to choose to put mine in such a way that you see some of them as a succession as you walk in the door.  

I have been asked several times at the Art Weeks and since if I have any of my landscapes.  Well you can see Strawberry Moon on the back wall above but I decided on Sunday night that I could make some more just not as big as the others.  So Monday I set everything up and got on with four more.

The three above are at the finished machine stitch stage and ready for me to add all the hand stitch and beads.  I have finished the one below, New Moon, so that is going to the Gallery today.  They finish at about A3 size.

I have also managed to put together another dog blanket for a friend too. 

I had a fab day yesterday as a guest at the West Country Embroiderers Dorset Day.  They have persuaded me to join them.  After my rather cliquey experience with the Embroiderers Guild I was happy to meet some really lovely ladies who made me feel welcome and so will be going to the first meeting I can in a couple of months time. 

The toes are healing fine though I did manage to put them in a roomy pair of shoes for yesterday's day out and have been paying for it with throbbing toes ever since.  Seeing as I'm not willing to encourage badly growing nails, been there and it's not nice when they have to be sorted, I am staying in flip flops or the like!  

I'm now off to the gallery! 

Monday, 6 March 2017

We Did It!

Yesterday Elsa and I walked 18 miles around the New Forest.
We had every type of weather you can think of from bright sunshine to torrential downpours, hail and gale force winds.  It was changeable enough to make it interesting anyway!  
The worst thing was the endless mud.  Some was just continuous squelch and other parts looked innocent enough and then tried taking your boot off.  Very hard work in some places.  
We saw some lovely parts of the Forest though and often wondered where all the other entrants were once the runners had passed us.  
I'm not the smallest or fittest of people so I am super proud I walked twice as far as I have ever walked before in a good consistent time too.  My feet are a bit of a mess but they will heal! 
I had already given my donation to Macmillan Cancer Care before it was posted on Facebook that I was doing the walk and several people asked where they could donate for me too.  I set up an Just Giving page if anyone is interested HERE I am very grateful to the donations that have come in already.  Thank you.