Monday, 30 November 2009

Inspiration Monday

Metal offcuts in the jewellery studio at South Hill Park. One of the random attractions on the tour we had the other week. Anything coppery always catches my eye!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Thanksgiving from afar

Being in a different country to where Thankgiving is celebrated means that it is difficult to do it justice on a Thursday. So, we generally do something about it on the Saturday following. And this year, our son decided to come back for the weekend, so it was worth cooking the enormous feast because there would actually be someone to eat it!

Our meal doesn't resemble the meal my family in Maine has. For a start, my British husband never could get his head round eating sweet stuff in the main Baked Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows that my grandmother used to make - we have sweet potatoes in their natural sweetness. Still good! and we miss out the Lime Party Salad my mother makes using Jello. Well, I do make that at Christmas to take to my sis in law's house, but as I can't get powdered Lime jelly, I do orange and it is served as a less stogy pudding alternative to Christmas Pudding or Christmas Cake or Mince pies after the meal! There are other various differences and a few similarities, but after over 22 years, it is our own AngloAmerican tradition now.

So, that all means, I was stood in the kitchen most of the day yesterday, and flopped in the evening. Sorry if you missed me! :-)

Anyway, besides 2 pumpkin pies (one for the freezer for Christmas) I made some Pumpkin cookies. The recipe I have is called Pumpkin Chip Cookies, and is attributed to a friend from my teen years. Probably came from her family. This year I haven't got choc chips, but I did have dried cranberries, so I thought I would try them. They are actually very good. I almost like them more than the Pumpkin Chip. Actually, the colours look better together. (ever the artistic eye!) So, what shall we call them? Pumpkin Cran Cookies?

Friday, 27 November 2009

Fund Raiser - 5

Another paperwork day,
But a bit of time for some Christmas trees tonight.The top ones have a light green pearl colour. the blue ones have bright white spots on the printed snowflakes.

I will have time next week to put the toy wadding inside.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

sample - drafting a skirt

This coming Monday in our C+G class we will start drafting the skirt block from personal measurements.

Although I can do this and do it somewhat frequently, I wanted to go through the steps again so I am freshly familiar with it, and also have something to show the students. So, that is what I have been up to today.I used the method described in the book Metric Pattern Drafting by Winifred Aldrich.

Actually, I was going to use the method I found in the handouts this college uses, but I don't feel confident enough to teach a method I am not familiar with. Especially, after talking about getting the right hip depth per person, and then discovering the other method calls for you to use a generic hip depth, I abandoned the attempt to try it. I would rather work with a method for which I am aware of what changes may be needed! If the hip depth is already not a personal measurement, what changes will that effect?

And further to that, I am to be observed that evening! Yikes. So, if I am bumbling my way through an unfamiliar set of instructions, it will hardly instill confidence in my abilities to teach!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Greyscale Student work

Way back here I tried to work out the best way to do a greyscale using dyes which would work in my C+G classroom session.

I opted for a 4th version of the experiments I did then, which was to put strips of white fabric (reserving one for pure white!) into the jar of black dye. Then we set the timer and at 15 min intervals, we pulled a strip out and put it in a plastic cup, so it could be taken home and rinsed out. When they are all sorted, we will divide them up between the students.

Today I rinsed out the strips. I realised the dye struck so quickly, that the first piece was already too grey to be the next step after white. So, I did a few to fill in that end...1 - dipped in quickly and rinsed out. 2 - left 5 min. 3 - left 10 min. (and so no.4 was our initial number 1, done for 15 min.)

Because we only had 2 1/2 hours for class, the last ones were not as black as should be, so I also put in a strip for 3 hours and another for 4+. This dye doesn't produce a black as dark as I would like, so that is why the 4+. (This strip is actually the 2 shorter ones in front.)

The difference between each one is very subtle. I think if I were to do it again, I would set the timer for something more like 20-30 min after the intitial 4 as mentioned above. And possibly then after doing no.8, I would then set the timer for an hour each time.

But, anyway, we have a greyscale, and it is not too bad. And if it were different, there wouldn't have been as much student activity with setting the timer, putting gloves on, taking a strip out, etc. I'm not worried that they didn't do the rinsing...which takes ages!... because they did the rinsing on the colour scheme pieces they did some weeks back.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Fund Raiser - 4

A bit more work on decorations for the fund raiser. Instead of beads, I am using dots of gold paint. Nice mindless work to do whilst listening to an audio book.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Inspiration Monday

Italian Gardens at South Hill Park.
I am thinking stencil, screen print, patchwork, etc.
Any other ideas?

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Doodle 9

Here is a doodle I have been working on in fits and starts for sometime. At first, I did a bit of a "what if" thing. I took a berry from a bush...I can't even remember why or what prompted it! But I think it was blue and I wanted to see what the colour was. Instead of squishing it any old where, I thought I may as well squish it on a page in my doodle book. I had already started the swirly bit, but didn't like it well enough to finish. The colour was a bit mulberry.

Then, I left it, not thinking what I could do with it at that point. But, when I had the book at a meeting I had to go to, I started just drawing round the anomalies in the colour. So, that was interesting.

But, I left it open on my table at home, and bit by bit I saw faces of creatures that look a bit like various sea creatures. So, I drew in the eyes, some patterning for the creatures, and so on. I was nearly done when I was just doing a bit more detail. I had just washed my hands, and hadn't realised there was water under my ring. When it leaked out, I thought "oh no!". But, eventually the area affected looked a bit like a dolphin, so he got added. I have no idea why there is a pinecone floating on the top of the pile!

I found it interesting that the addition of water turned the colour blue again. A bit like beets, red cabbage and some red berries.

Anyway, it was quite fun in the end and quite out of the ordinary. Very surreal and fantasy like.
I might actually think about doing some sort of art work using this as a jumping off idea.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Thames Valley Contemporary Quilt Group

Today TVCQ had our November meeting. In the morning, member and author Linda Seward, talked about her experiences as an editor and writer of craft and sewing books. It was fascinating! She also gave us some advice about how to propose articles or books for publication.

Look at all those books!
Then we went off to South Hill Park where Jane O'Sullivan gave us a tour round the mansion. They had just completed the set for this year's panto Peter Pan. We got to go in and see it...and even go on stage!! It was awesome. We took photos, but I won't steal their thunder. There was the most wonderful little mock stage set up as well, which had been built by the set designer to show how the full stage should look. I haven't been over there for a panto since my son was small, but I may go this year!

As we went round the building, I think Jane was amused when we were stopping to snap photos of things like the board in the Jewellery studio where all the tools were hanging! Well, inspiration, you know! Here is a photo of one of the ceilings and a beautiful old printing press in the print room.

We also walked round the grounds, and we lucky as the rain held off. It wasn't too chilly either till it started getting darker.

We went back for a cuppa and a bit of show and tell.

All in all it was a great day!

Friday, 20 November 2009

paper coat

Today was a bit of a paperwork day; agendas and maps for tomorrow's Thames Valley Contemporary Quilt Group meeting... lesson plans for Monday's session at college, etc. But here is something else I did.

I made up a pattern for a 3D coat to use for a story with the children on Sunday. I am quite chuffed with it. I may use it for an idea for a 3D piece of art at some stage!

off to bed...

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Connect-Disconnect A2

Way back in September, I started the preliminaries for the last piece in the Connect-Disconnect series I am doing with EquilARTeral.

Finally, this week I have been able to get on with doing more. Luckily, the techniques are simple ones, and quick to accomplish. So, I put on an audio book, and just started working.

Here is the front.

Here is the back.

If I can, I will begin the next step tomorrow. I will have to take a photo against a different background so you can see the detail better.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Decorator Candles - Student work

Yesterday and today I taught the Crafts @the Library sessions. Here are photos of the student's work.
Birch Hill - Dorothy, Annette, Norma and Lisa Great Hollands - Jean, Chantel, Owen and Simon

Don't they all look good?

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Sample making

C+G Creative Techniques: Fashion class Some of the students working hard at sample making. They had just drafted a facing from a small scale pattern and were making up skirt units so they could apply the various waistband treatments.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Inspiration Monday

What has been happening in these woods? Are the trees playing games?

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Busy Day

Saturday was a bit busy. My husband had several men from our church round for breakfast.

I did not get up and do it, though I used to several years back when he was doing something similar. He really enjoyed making Caravaner's Pie...a recipe given to me by our former neighbour, who we still call "Clare Nextdoor". It is basically a full cooked English Breakfast cooked in the oven.
In a buttered oven dish... layer, Mashed Potatoes or (cubed and cooked if you are short on time). grated cheese, eggs (just cracked open over the other layers), bacon slices, sliced tomatoes, and a bit more grated cheese. Bake in the oven for 40 min to an hour depending on how much you have made. Clare says, don't use tinned tomatoes instead...her friend called it Roadkill pie when she did that!! LOL I am thinking you could actually get some mushrooms in there and have the real "full-cooked English".

There were several other things he made, including a blueberry muffin mix, etc. The men throughly enjoyed it. I stayed in bed! Good excuse for a lie in! (well, till the dog - who was banished out of the kitchen to the lounge - cried so much my husband brought her up to the bedroom. She was fine for about 5 min. So, much for going back to sleep! She thinks she has to be there when you are eating.)

Anyway, when they had gone, I tucked in to what was leftover. Then popped into town to the haberdashery stall in the market for petersham and some other bits for class on Monday.

And when I got back, I went with my friend to South Hill Park Christmas Fair...

which is why I started this post! among the interesting things we saw were some pots made by Lauren Denney from Caversham. The ones that attracted us are not on the website. They had small holes near the top through which Lauren had sewn buttons! and some with slots that she had threaded ribbon through and tied.

When we had finished looking round and had a cup of tea, we decided to go back. She had a few small ones without buttons so you could make your own. As I have plenty of unusual buttons, I am looking forward to showcasing them on the pot.

Here is a photo of the one I got, next to her card, showing one of the pots which already has a button. Mine has a place for 2 buttons...hmm which ones?

Lauren is selling more of her work at the All I want for Christmas event at the Caversham centre for New Directions. My friend is going to go along to that event to purchase one of the larger vases with buttons.
Oh, I just found a photo of one of the button pots.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Featured Blog

I haven't done a featured blog for some time. I was running out of interesting ones who posted regularly!

Anyway, one of the blogs I have a look at fairly regularly is 5 Orange Potatoes. Like the Magic Onions, it is an interesting blog about the sorts of things Lisa does with her 2 daughters. Very crafty nature type things and most are not childish at all. There are a lot of interesting things you can do with herbs and flowers. Fascinating.

So, the reason I wanted to tell you about it is that I am not the only one who enjoys the blog. 5 Orange Potatoes has been nominated for the Best Unschooling Blog 2009! If you go over to 5 Orange Potatoes and think you like it, too, then follow the link for Best Unschooling Blog 2009 and go vote for her! When I did, I saw she was at the top!

And here is one of the many learning things we used to do with our boy back in the day.
It is great to have a kid who loves to learn. You learn allsorts with him!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Fund Raiser - 3

I am trying out a few ideas of things to make for the charity Christmas Boutique.

Here are a few tree decorations. The thing is, if I am going to make enough for the day and with my current schedule, they can't be complicated.
The middle one is turned... too fiddley.

You may not be able to tell from the photo, but all are stitched with beads, etc. Elegant, but really too time consuming. I have started a few more with thoughts of using dimensional fabric paint. If it were some high class Christmas fair, I would do the beads. But as it is a charity event, the people who come are not likely to be expecting to pay prices that would reimburse your time. It is the small coins that go to make up the amounts in these instances.

I will show you the next lot when I have them done. Because I am just pinking the edges, I am drawing round my template onto doubled fabric with chalk, leaving a little bit of a gap between. Then I am stitching round each tree on the piece of fabric, and cutting them out with the pinking shears. I leave the bottom of the base open for stuffing.

I am not a great one for making loads of one thing, but I have a selection of quilting cottons, some in not-to-predictable greens and reds and golds. It gives a bit of interest and somewhat of a reason to buy because they are different...I hope.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Candles and Fleece

Not really connected, but here is what I went into town in the rain for today.

Candles for next week's workshop for Crafts @the Library and fleece for Christmas presents.

I am real chuffed with the fleece. I was going to get it at Tesco where I had found the lowest priced fleece throws for about £2.50 or so. You couldn't get the yardage for that!
However, there were only 2 designs I thought would be suitable for what I want to make (secret!).
But, when I went to another shop for dried cranberries, I saw that Bentalls (the posh shop). Has a shop where they are selling reduced items...maybe a credit crunch idea? Any way, they had these packs of 2 fleece throws for £5.95. Although, the price comes to a bit more, the colour choices are better. I can do alot of mix and matching. The leftovers from the Christmas presents will be used for the January workshop for Crafts @the Library.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Sample - Waistband faced with Petersham

Next week we are working on waistband samples in the City and Guilds Fashion Course. In the older version of the programme, a straight waistband was sufficient for a sample. But now, there are a few more requirements, depending on which type of skirt or trouser you choose to do. So, I worked on the steps to make a waistband faced with petersham. There are directions in the Reader's Digest Complete Book of sewing. It is a very useful technique if you have a heavyweight wool like the one above. The bulk is much less, because instead of self facing, you use petersham. It also helps to give a firm waistband that doesn't crumple and stretch. I like petersham in my waistbands anyway, so I think this is a good idea.

When I do a sample, I usually do most of the steps, but leave part of the work undone so that you can look and see what happened before the finishing. (As it is a sample, I didn't fuss about matching the side seams.)

I want to try another sample for a shaped faced waist from the book. It looks interesting as they do a bit of machine pad stitching when applying the interfacing to the facing. This gives it a bit of body, and helps it to stay firm on the body. The skirt then floats somewhat freely on it's own.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Celtic Dragon-finish

And here is the completed Celtic Dragon. I thought I would try out echo quilting. I haven't done much of that before. The varigated golds and beiges on the edges really worked well, because the lightest of the beige actually reads as if it were a similar colour to the colours on the dragon. In real life, the visual play between the two almost makes the border vibrate.

Next on the agenda, besides preparing for next week's Craft @the Library, is finishing off some of the EquilARTeral challenges before I get too far behind.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Inspiration Monday

Here is an idea for you.
Take a photo of an item that is commonly seen.Play with it in a paint programme.
And you create more of an iconic image. This type of thing can be used as inspiration for a series of textile art pieces that say a safety. Or that just draws more attention to the common place.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Remembrance Sunday

Just stopping to remember.I'm thankful for those who were willing to serve for our freedom.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Celtic Dragon-2

All the painting done for the Celtic Dragon. You can see the adaptations I made after the trial ideas on the photocopy. Next step to sandwich it and quilt it.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Celtic Dragon

Here is what has started to happen on the worktable.

It is a Celtic motif from a design book I recently got secondhand. The animal head looks a bit like a horse, but I am going to adjust it to look more like a dragon. It will be my November piece for the Contemporary Quilt Challenge.

I coloured in the photocopy so I could work out what colour I wanted the different parts to be. I am painting the image with metallic acrylic paints.

I have already made quite a bit of progress on the actual piece, but I will post that tomorrow. Our son is here for a few days from uni to visit for dad's birthday.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Book binding

As I said last week I went with my husband to the book binding exhibition at the Bodleian in Oxford. I wanted to see this book in particular.

I was not able to take a photo, but this one is from Needleprint. From what I saw, the above image is a bit lighter than the actual book. I was not able to see the difference in the colour of the silver and the gold braid. Perhaps it was the very low lighting, but even the hearts ease didn't seem to have colour. I hope it is not because it is faded.

I hope I convinced the man at the desk that they need to do a postcard. There was not much more information to be found about it other than the small blurb about the binding in amongst the other bound books of that era. I think it should have at least had something to draw attention to the fact that it was produced by "royal hand."

As quoted here at the Crafting Spot the Princess Elizabeth translated 'out of frenche ryme into english prose, joyning the sentences together as well as the capacitie of my symple witte and small lerning coulde extende themselves.' It was wrought for her step-mother, Katherine Parr. The dedication reads: 'From Assherige, the last daye of the yeare of our Lord God 1544 ... To our most noble and vertuous Quene Katherin, Elizabeth her humble daughter wisheth perpetuall felicitie and everlasting joye.'

Among other interesting books, the Crafting Spot also has an image of another book the Princess Elizabeth made for Katherine Parr.

As you may know, I did a series of Journal Quilts which I called "The Elizabeth Pages": A private textile journal of Elizabeth the First. It was a flight of my imagination...what if Elizabeth the First had done a textile journal?...what would it look like? At the time, I didn't know she may well have done something of the sort if she had thought of it!

I did another related series I called the Forgotton Tudors. (further down on the Journal Quilt Page) At sometime I had intended to put them all together with the first series to make a book, but I was never quite sure what the cover would be like. Now, I think the cover will at least be inspired by these two books that Elizabeth actually DID make!

and so til tomorrow I wish thee "perpetuall felicitie and everlasting joye." I think it worked for Katherine Parr
...she actually outlived Henry!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Cow Girls at Sunflower Branch - 3

Here are the girls finished. it is actually much more cheerful in real life.
The quilting is an all over sunflower connected by vines with leaves.

I am still amazed at the way you can applique shapes down with a zig zag which then fades into the background. I did the ladies with a varigated thread which has shades of tan. In the full photo, you can see that you aren't aware of the stitching at all.

I am not quite sure that this piece might have actually wanted a solid applique stitch, though. It might have helped to give it a more comical feel like cartoons. I think if I did this type of thing again, I would have more contrast between the cows and the background so they would stand out more.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

staring contest?

Here are a few fun photos of some huge statues/busts that are on the pillars of the walls round the grounds of some of the museums.
I just thought the staring faces were awesome. Almost as if they all saw something like Medusa and their terror was frozen on their face. I think the teeth and lips are pretty strange. This is 2 views of one and 1 view of another one. But it is all I had time to take photos of because my husband was already on the way to the Bodleian.
Even the "lady" in the background seems to have a silent scream!
It just strikes my funnybone. How about you?

Monday, 2 November 2009

Inspiration Monday

More from the Museum: I thought these decorative compasses were pretty as well as functional.
This one is a sundial as well!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

history of science

Some of the wonderful things on display at the Museum of the History of Science. Most of these were down in the undercroft where dissections and chemical experiments used to take place.

Cue evil laugh - Mwa ha ha ha!

apothecary jars


As part of the Steampunk exhibition, they had an activity going on for the children which looked quite fun. They had printed out photos of some of the historical gadgets on display. Then you could take the images and chop and add them together in various ways to make up a design for your own Steampunk gadgets! What fun!

I have some photos to show tomorrow for Inspiration Monday. But, I am saving some for my own design inspiration!