Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A Day That Didn't Go Sideways!

On Monday night I realised that Tuesday was just about mine for the taking and so planned a day in my room to play.  Normally when a plan is made Sod and Murphy both join forces to jeopardise it.  I actually made it through with only one very brief phone call interruption!!!

Block 9 of My Tweets is done and block 10 is waiting for cutting and starching.

I have bloomers...
 ...and a chemise for a new troll.  I did spend quite some time fiddling with top layer clothes and came up against a few snags so put it to one side for a while until the solution found me later in the afternoon, so pleased there.
I also did a couple of pieces for Christmas and began gathering thoughts for a class I have been asked to give in January to my sewing group.

During our away trip last week I think the faeries were in my room making a lot of mess too.  There seemed to be a lot of projects out all over the work tops.  I had to sort and put quite a lot of that away as well.

I now have a little time this afternoon so perhaps I will open the C&G folder..... (but shhh don't tell Sod and Murphy).

Monday, 17 October 2011

Museum, Museum...

After the Book of Kells we went upstairs to the Long Room of Trinity Collage, link as in the last post.  If you have a love of antique books you would either love or hate this room.  It is stacked floor to its incredibly high ceiling with beautifully bound leather books, you can watch the ladies in their little alcove doing some restoration, but you can’t actually go near them!! There are plenty on display down the centre of the room open in special cases and the smell of old paper, leather, ink and wood is quite strong.  A very thick atmosphere of academia. 

Again we were only halfway down the room when the group of students, German I think, drifted through from one end to the other and down into the shop with barely a glance at what was around them.  Some were even singing along to their iPods.  I hope there was a quiz later.

Across the campus and along the street was the National Gallery of Ireland.  This is currently going through some major refurbishment so the exhibitions are a little on the smaller than usual side.  The first gallery was dedicated to Irish painters such as  John Lavery and Jack B Yeats but my favourite was by William Davies.  Again no photos, sorry.

The other exhibition was focused on European artists including Gainsborough, Goya, van Gogh, Monet, Pissarro, Sisley and a cubist Picasso.  I’m not a fan some of Picasso’s work but when you realise he had the talent to paint in the style of any of the other painters there he just chose to paint the way he did at that particular time in his life, you just have to admire him and his considerable ability.  Doing what you feel rather than what is expected is something a lot of us have to re learn!

We had lunch and wandered around the corner to the National Museum of Natural History.  Lots of taxidermy and skeletons!  I hadn’t done a natural history museum before and though the animals were a little creepy it was fascinating to see the size of some animals, hippos are enormous for instance, and also how the size of some animals have changed in 150 or so years.  Lions are much larger now and thankfully not often found stuffed in museums!  This museum is also, apparently, a museum in its own right as it’s currently being preserved as one of the last remaining cabinetry collections.  Most museums do away with all the old display cases; this one is actively keeping them. 
Chris with a Giant Irish Deer
Around the back is the National Museum of Ireland full of archaeological finds.  A real treasure of a museum if you like metal work like me (I love the bronze daggers) or are a goldaholic.  Plenty to drool over.  Again the skill is out of this world! 
A few of the many daggers and spears.
A beautiful, and quite large, cloak brooch. 
On Wednesday we started at the Jameson Distillery (yes you have to put in your age to enter the web site,  not sure why), and on to the Guinness Storehouse.  Both simply because you really have to do them I suppose!!  I was rather disappointed, especially at the distillery, that the one element that is vital in these places was missing.  Smell.  Jameson’s is actually now made down by Cork and the Guinness brewing part is nowhere near the visiting area.  If you have ever been to a working distillery of brewery you will know how important the smell of the place is.  It’s not the same without a sniff of the angels share! 
I don't think I will be buying these for John for Christmas.
The view from the top of the Storehouse was worth it though.  

We finished our visit with a tour of Dublin Castle and then through to the Chester Beatty Library.  More manuscripts this time in a private collection and from all over the world but again no pictures.

I really can’t recommend a visit to Dublin enough.  We did most of our visits on foot, and we are not great walkers, and the people are always willing to help answer questions.  It’s a very vibrant city and we would certainly go back and perhaps take things a little slower next time.  And it’s only an hour or two from most airports in the UK!

Chris did spot this on the pavement on the way to Guinness and we thought it apt! 

Book of Kells

On the afternoon of Monday 10th last week John, Chris and I flew from Southampton to Dublin.  Though it was a little grey and miserable we still went for a walk along the river before dinner.  I had totally come focused on really doing the touristy thing and of course, just around the corner from the hotel was a bead shop!  I don’t think John or Chris were that impressed as they kept walking.  I did manage a very quick peek though.  On the other side of the river Chris pointed out a fabric store and, though they rolled their eyes, they did let me have a quick look around in there too.  Of course the fact that every time we go anywhere I try and suss out where the fabric and craft shops are beforehand and then really struggle to find them had no meaning on this trip.  I had forcibly not chosen to look for any.  Perhaps I shouldn’t bother in the future at all then they will leap out at me!

Our first port of call on Tuesday morning was Trinity Collage to see the Book of Kells.  The first exhibition was very in-depth and well worth spending the time over.  
Please bear in mind that there were no cameras allowed, even phones had to be switched off.  Photo from Wiki.

A large group of Americans arrived just after us and hardly had time to stop before their guide was ushering them through to the next room.  Mind you the guide was very loud and telling everyone of all her past experiences visiting the book and what to expect.  I was on the verge of pointing out to her that I had waited 35 years to see this and I didn't really need her version spoiling it when she marched them all off waving her umbrella!  Though it was finally peaceful again I did feel for them all missing out on so much information. 

We were just about finished in the first hall when John noticed that a large group of students had just arrived and it would be a good idea to visit the book now.  He is a genius when it comes to avoiding crowds!  We moved on to the next room and there it was! The security was pretty impressive, but not as much as the illumination on one of the pages.  In 1953 the whole book was divided into four volumes, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John, to better preserve the whole thing.  This means that every two months they rotate two of the volumes on display and every week they turn the pages.

I do love artisanship and the stunning ability of past ages to create with the barest of materials and tools.  I have seen photos and have several books on the Book but to actually be within inches of the velum and ink, to actually see the precision of the pen strokes and the glow from the gold was wonderful.  I was almost sad to move on upstairs to the Long Library as the group of students started coming into the room. 

I was more than grateful to have seen it without having to jostle for a position and a glimpse!


Sunday, 9 October 2011

Ally Pally

On Friday, 21 of my sewing ladies, Elsa and I travelled up to London to the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace.  It was a first for me and I was very pleased to go especially in a group on a coach as I wouldn't have to face driving in a city, abandoning John or the horrendous train journey.  I don't do cities very well and London has always struck fear and dread into me.

We were quite early and made our way into the relatively quiet side halls that were filling fast.

Plenty of stands to visit and people to watch.  I even managed a sneaky pic of Elsa!! (The blonde in the foreground :-) ).

There were plenty of exhibition stands...

Many of which we could not take photos of.

The work at this exhibition was very fine and must have been laborious.  This is a section of the arc of a circle seen in the whole cloth below.

We met with Dale and Ian Rollerson from The Thread Studio, Perth, Australia.  (We're both rugby fans and Dale is a New Zealander in Australia so plenty to follow at the moment!!)

I wasn't sure about this one!

But I loved these knitted cranes!

I'm very pleased we made it and didn't spend too ferociously.  We also met with Liz from the Cotton Patch and talked about extras for the longarm.  The amount of catering at Ally Pally was superb and the venue itself is rather magificent, worth a visit just for the views over London.
Meanwhile back at home the grape vine in the courtyard has been slowly turning colour.  These leaves have been shielding the study from the afternoon sun all summer, when it shone, and the grapes have fed the blackbirds superbly.

And Chris found this happy chappie when he was shifting all the logs after a delivery on Saturday.

Have a wonderful week!


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Meet Gregory

OK, latest minor obsession.  I saw what SpeedieBeadie had been creating over on her blog a couple of weeks ago and thought, 'gotta have one!'.  So I ordered a pattern from Ute Vasina, the brains behind the Troll invasion and waited patiently for it to arrive.  It came Saturday and I've been playing since Sunday.

There has been quite a bit of input from John and Chris and Gregory had quite a lot of influence on how he was going to turn out himself!

Anyway result is this little fellow and something new to start collecting 'stuff' for!


It was great fun in actually making him, but just as much fun, if not more, with the dressing up and adding bits.  I even heel turned his socks.

He needs a friend now.

(John has just asked me to point out that this is the genuine Gregory House and not the fictional doctor portrayed by Hugh Laurie!!!!!)

(Promise more in the way of C&G in return for new obsession!!)