Sunday, November 22, 2009


Today I played with my beads and made a heavy and tactile string of worry beads.

I did try to make a patchwork 'disapearing 9 patch' block, using a charm pack of lovely batik fabrics. Using my 1/4" foot, I carefully stitched together three sets of three squares. Pressed the seams and layed them out ready to join. Nope, not one seam matched. I would have to trim each and every 5" square if I ever wanted to patchwork with this pack. I unpicked and threw the whole set into the scrap box. I won't be buying pre-cut fabric again.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show

I went to the K&S show in Harrogate yesterday. Poop of a journey with an accident closing the A1 adding an hour to the journey, because we were later arriving there were no parking spaces, so it was a harrassed me that arrived. However a bonus was no queue for tickets so no wait in the cold. A sit down, a scone and a drink soon revived me.

First stop was the Oliver Twist stand. I always bust my budget here and this year was no exception, I bought hand dyed wool felt, a piece of abaca tissue, a red goody bag with dyed scrim, theads, silk rods and other bits for £6, a bag of red threads, more silk rods and some silk cocoon trimmings, these aren't the whole pods, just the tips. I calmed down once I had those and enjoyed the rest of the show at a slower pace.

CLAIRE BENN and LESLIE MORGAN are such lovely women, they demonstrate, sharing their techniques and patiently answer questions giving away their print secrets. There is a sign on thier stand saying "please take photos", so refreshing. I could have spent hours watching them screen printing. But I didn't - so much more to see. I did buy their latest book, which comes with a dvd. I already have a copy of the paper lamination book and they gave me the accompanying dvd.

RUTH ISSET was demonstrating Markal paint sticks on the ArtVanGo stand. ArtVanGo also sponsored 'Artists in Action' with demonstrations' I saw Ruth, Claire and Leslie amongst others and that is an area not to be missed.

I have seen JANNICE GUNNER's Indigo dyed shibori before, but never looked closely at the quilting on her work. My, Jannice can machine quilt and she knows just where to add a tiny speck of red to bring her pieces to life. This piece was amazing, and so restful to look at, I could easily live with this on my wall. It has 100's of tiny red and white french knots, hand stitching and machine stitching. Jannice generously allowed me to photograph this piece.

CINDY HICKOK had quite simple quilted figures leading you into her exhbition. They were lovely and put a smile on my face. Cindy's work at this exhbition was based on Impressionist's works of art, free machined on watersoluable and mounted in frames. What a lot of work! Quirky, beautifully made and wonderful titles.

This was my favorite piece from 'Art of the Stitch'. Balls of wool/cotton with a photo image and darning stitches. Made by GINTARE PILYPAITE, from Lithuania, it is called simply 'Grandmother'

ROXANNE HAWKSLEY's exhbition was macabre, fascinating and just a little dark! I did wonder where she gets her bird skeletons - are they real? I enjoyed looking at these and they made me think, especially the tiny people wrapped in cloth.

Guild Scholar JILL FLOWER's work was particularly
interesting, Jill stitched scraps of newspaper, glossy magazine pages and comics, + bits of lace to make very textural and interesting collars. All done on water soluable and free machined. Then beads and buttons added. Very different, would love to take a class with Jill.
I had a wonderful day and came home exhausted but happy, I didn't overspend by too much and there will be a special delivery for me sometime before christmas. A brand new on the market, made by Horn, folding sewing machine table. That's B's chrissy pressie to me sorted for him :)

Ben strikes again

C went out yesterday carefully putting Ben into his cage, locking it with a padlock and putting the keys on the floor by the cage. When she got home, the first thing she did was go to let the mad one out for a wee. No key! Search the house for the key, no key! Ben is going bananas because he wants out. Goes back to try to calm him down and notices a glint in the bottom of his cage (buried under socks). Chewed and slightly mangled key.
Did I mention it is a big cage? Huge. And the key was right in the middle where no hand could reach. It is a good strong padlock, (he breaks weaker ones and escapes and eats the house.) So using a long implement C tries to poke the key out of the cage, whilst trying not to hurt Ben who is squirming and wriggling and wagging everything, trying to lick her and generally getting in the way.
Last year my beautiful Katydog died and I am ready to bring another love into my life. B doesn't want to risk the heartbreak again. I have been trying to persuade him to my way of thinking. Ben just isn't helping...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bookmark anyone?

These little bookmarks
are so much fun to make.
I made 9 of the little dolly
ones. I hope they sell on our craft stall.

My girls

I was reading back through the blog (how sad is that? - reading your own blog) and realised that I mention C now and again, but not E. This is not because Em isn't gorgeous, adorable and much loved, she is. We do things together but we don't have the sort of catastrophies that me and C seem to attract. Anyway for the record, I have two beautiful talented daughters (C is on the left in the pic, Em on the right). Those frocks were bought in Liberties in London and I don't think the kids will ever forget the crushing (it was boxing day in London) the bad manners and overall mayhem of that day. B has never been shopping in the sales since. I wish I had kept those frocks, they were beautiful and the fabric would be very nice in a quilt. I wonder what I did with them.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Moving Ben and raining socks

C moved house this weekend. One of the things we had to do was take the Van to the 'old' house and collect Ben and his cage. Ben has to stay in a cage when he is in the house on his own otherwise he eats it - the house I mean. Seriously. Doors and door frames are fair game in his eyes. C bought the biggest cage available and Ben (a greyhound) has loads of room to move around.

I have to explain that C used to live down a long street of Victorian terraces built when cars hadn't been invented. It is narrow. Today the street is lined with cars and the gap to drive down is extremely tight. C drove down fine but when she tried to turn around the van at the bottom of the street, the van got stuck. It was pouring with rain and I had to start knocking on doors to try to find out whose car we were almost wedged against. Then ask them to please move their precious car. Twice! Claire finally managed to move the van but there was no-where to park it so she had to park up the hill, 100 houses away from hers. We then had to walk back to the house, catch the dog and attempt to get Ben into a secure room. Not easy. We then had to get the cage down the stairs. Unfortunately there was a huge pile of boxes of books and other heavy stuff in the way so we had to lift the cage over our heads to get it past these.

Ben likes socks. C kept her socks in a basket under her bed. Ben's cage is next to the bed. Ben likes to poke his long narrow nose through the mesh of the cage and steal socks. He is very picky and choses fluffy socks. He then lays on them. He doesn't eat socks! Ben also has a fluffy blanket in the bottom of his cage, he used to eat blankets but he seems to like this one and it is still in one piece.

So, we lift the cage over our heads and past the boxes, to the top of the stairs and then socks start flying around, landing on our heads, followed by a fluffy (hairy and a bit smelly) blanket. I laughed. C laughed. We got a bit hysterical. Couldn't move, socks everywhere, Ben starts fretting and worry about him eating his way out through the door forced us to get a grip. We got the cage downstairs, outside, down the concrete steps, onto the pavement. Cars parked everywhere including the pavement. We had to carry the blooming cage up the middle of the road, giggling like crazy, water dripping off us. We managed to lift the cage into the van and secure it so it wouldn't move around. Went back to collect Ben. Who is by now having a breakdown and has escaped the secure room but is still contained inside the house. Rather innocently I asked where his lead was. He ate it last week.

Picture two hysterical females, absolutely soaked to the skin, water dripping off our heads. One maniac greyhound, one van 100 houses away, no lead. I ran up the road, Ben ran after me with C hanging on to his collar hoping he was following me and not escaping. We did get him into the van and into his cage, he even stopped for a wee on the way up the street.

Next day we went to the pet shop and bought a new lead. It is a long chain with a chunky nylon hand grip. He likes it. Unfortunately someone forgot to use it and take Ben out for a walk. He peed on the brand new carpet.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Playing with my beads

The past few days I have been sat by the fire watching rubbish tv and beading. This little brooch is 3 1/2 cm wide (approx 1 1/2").

These really simple little bookmarks are 8cm tall (3").

The bigger bookmarks measure 12cm tall (4 1/2"), they are all the same size (my cut and pasting was a bit off). The bookmarks will be sold on behalf of Sleaford Embroiderers at a craft fair to be held at the beginning of December.

Couronne stick

I didn't know what a couronne stick was until last week. Whenever I wanted to make a button loop, I would hunt for something approx the right thickness, dowel, pencil etc. I won't need to do that anymore - these gorgeous turned wood couronnes arrived this morning.

I ordered them on Friday and they arrived on Monday, pretty good service, don't you think? They weren't expensive either, the three cost less than £18 including postage. is the place to go if you want one for yourself. Michael has other wood turned tools and is going to make me a mushroom so that I can do some darning.

Acts of Kindness

Isn't this lovely? A beautiful beaded cuff which fits me perfectly and a piece of complex cloth, both made by Julie. I met Julie through reading her blog. We realised we lived reasonably close so we met for a cup of tea and I think we may become good friends. Julie gifted these to me.

I always get a good feeling when I send a random act of kindness, and it is lovely when someone thinks enough of me to send me one. Raks are win win win.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Ex Factor

Warning - rant coming.

What is the point of having a bottom two sing off if you are going to go with the public vote anyway? Why not just cut out the second show and send the one with the fewest votes home each week?

Who gives Louis the right to act like a spoilt three year old, have tantrums on air, insult popular music dj's, and when all else fails, accuse someone of cheating?

I give in, this isn't something I want to watch anymore. Good luck to the rest of the contestants.