Saturday, 31 December 2011

things I am glad for

My garden at Christmastime.

Yes! The holly has berries!

Daffodils coming already!
Sure prefer it to all the snow!

These bloomed this week.

From bud to fully open

and even a poppy!
The polyanthus has been out for a few weeks. I see the snowdrop leaves are coming, too!

Oh, I love England in the winter!

Friday, 30 December 2011

Christmas 2011 memories

We had a few days in Yorkshire with family.
My sis in law loved her tablecloth set! no photos though.

Spent time with MIL. At 91, she is an Amazing Lady who still does courses thru university and other learning providers in York, even though she doesn't get about so well.

Some photos of things that went with Christmas at home.
A variety of biscuits - which I mentioned in one of the last posts. Including wonderful ones from a recipe Angie at ReOrsa gave me...from Lichtenstein!

2 trees this year. Perhaps to make up for only having lights last year?

No, the little one is what we use for the Mince Pie at the shops event, and my husband decided it needed more than one day out of the loft each year!

The trees are full of little treasures which have been given to me or that I made. For quite a few years I made about 15 new decorations each year.
The crochet afgan was made for me by my grandma who was very special to me.

Monday, 26 December 2011

something to do with your new scarf

if you received one.

Happy Boxing Day. We are heading to Yorkshire to family for a few days. A Certain Lad is stopping at home revising for exams. Pepper is helping. She loves having him here...he is in the kitchen eating about every 2 hours. Her idea of a Good Thing to do.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The right kind of busy

Like most of the rest of you, amongst other things, I have been doing things for Christmas.

Monday, we took down the Exhibition. It took a lot less time to take down! Janet from ReOrsa said we averaged 15 each day we were open. Which is pretty good for the time of year and the weather some of those days.

Today we found out we had a whole page about Whatever Floats Your Boat... in the South East Newsletter for the London 2012 Inspire Programme! They were reporting about the exhibition when it was in Slough and the various events which happened in conjunction with that.
Here is a quote from the newsletter.
"The wonderful news is that the project will now be
continuing its journey. Langley Academy will be taking a
selection of the pieces to exhibit in 2012 alongside
artefacts from the collection of Slough Museum. This will
mean that the project will continue to engage young
people in the local area. The exhibition will also be shown
at the National Needlework Archive in Newbury from 19
September to 26 October, 2012."

After I took some of the work from the exhibit to the car, I took the time to wander round town before I went home. Something I seldom do nowdays. I couldn't seem to think of what I might want to buy! I did find something which I hope fits the general description of one family member's wants. I hadn't found fabric in the market I liked on Friday, but I found a very reduced king size sheet set. Which for all practical purposes is fabric with finished off edges.

Now to figure out where the making part will fit in!

On my way around town, I was drawn by a wonderful sound and ended up at the bandstand. The Swing band of a local school was playing. Very fun! They weren't restricting themselves to Christmas music. So anyway that was a nice break and just a chance for me to stop and enjoy. I finally went off and bought something so I could come back and put some change in their pot...and listen some more of course.
It brought back memories of listening to the band each Christmas when a Certain Lad was still playing his trumpet.

Then, Monday evening it was finishing the parcelling and Tuesday doing the posting. I never manage to send the parcels to America any earlier than the ones to people in the UK! I had expected a long queue, but only one lady was ahead of me.
So, now that they all will soon have their secret presents and I gave the ones for friends on Sunday and neighbours is a photo of one of the sets.

Christmas Tree Serviettes!

Since then I have been baking. and baking. and baking.
The big thing I remember about Christmas from growing up was all the pies and cookies that we ( really - my Mother!) made. So, I always feel that is part of Christmas. Nevermind there were 8 in our family then and there are 3 now! but I am thinking of some people to share them with.

Off to bed. I am shattered. I have realised I have been on my feet nearly all day for the last 3 days. Yikes. I will be paying for it if I am not careful.
EDIT - more serviette photos

These blue ones were made later, but I am putting them here to link to.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Slow Cloth - this visit

Tomorrow another member of TVCT is looking after the exhibition, so I will be able to continue doing things with half circles which are still secret.

and the Slow Cloth I have been working on the last 3 weeks has come to a good stopping place for now. The orange chain stitch was the people wandering around the shops. Then a few of the trees in the town centre made their way into it. and today it was sections of the paving bricks along the walks inbetween the shops.

This is the upper mid-section of the length.

Not so cold today. I got the bright idea of tapeing the latch part of the door so it would stay unlatched! So, we didn't have the door open. However, this was the third week in a row they were trying to sort out the heat and even though the gallery was still cold, it wasn't as cold as the rest of the building! Janet came down to stand near the fan heater at one point so she could get warm again!

Hope to finish the half circles tomorrow.
I picked up some bits and pieces to do some baking next week.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Strange sightings at the exhibition

Last Friday, one of the members came to the exhibition and was taking photos. She hadn't been able to come when it was in Slough.

I got her to take my photo.

Can you tell I have at least 5 layers on top and two layers and thick socks on my legs. I was sooo cold! The gallery/studios used to be a nursery, and the door currently still has the automatic lock which kept kids from dashing out behind their mum's back. The Gallery is working as a charity and as they have only recently opened, they have been focussed on getting it looking good. So, changing the door lock will have to come after fixing the boiler! Anyway, because of the door, if you want anyone to come has to be propped open! That and just a space heater in December makes for a rather frigid situation!

While I was sitting stitching on my slow cloth (another link - I haven't worked on it for some time, but it is great when you are minding an exhibition. It seems to have got people wandering from shop to shop stitched into it...) Anyway...I saw something strange. I just managed to pop outdoors and catch this
And later they came back and were talking to someone outside the gallery, so I asked for a photo.
I never knew the AA man had a mascot.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

onward to Christmas

So, now the last class of the year is past. and I have time to think of doing some of those special things I really want to do. Last year, I had the emergency journey to America, so I really missed it.

Today I have been cutting out half circles...but I won't say why because a few of the recipients of the results read the blog. (even though they don't comment) I just am glad to have some very special friends and I want to make something to say, I am glad you are my friend.

Saturday another member of TVCT looked after the exhibition in the morning. I was really grateful because I was able to join in on the Mince Pie event at the Birch Hill shops.

It was really great to meet more of the community. and they seemed to enjoy the hot drink and a mince pie or biscuit. and of course our friend Eric trying to convince everyone to have a balloon, regardless of age!

On Sunday we had our Candlelight Carol service. That was lovely, too. I am grateful we had the rain chucking it down rather than it being snow like the last 2 years!

and continuing with the joy in service thing...last night I took fruit juice and nibbles to class. It is just a way of saying. I appreciate you being my students!

What have you been doing along these lines?

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Thankful for creativity

The last 2 days i have been grateful I have creativity to get me into a focus where I can stop thinking about pain. Suffice it to say, I have been hurting, but I have also had fun creating.
and about the joy in service thing? I managed to go up and down looking for documents a Certain Lad needed for an application he is trying to fill. and you know, it isn't all one sided, at one point in the emails and texts flying back and forth he said something that really made me laugh.

anyway... you know I like to tell you stories about the development of a work.
Well...quite a while back - years - the CQ group had a challenge with the theme Breakthrough. I had an idea, but not the time to do it properly.

Fast forward...CQ is participating in a challenge about Diversity in Europe. We need 60 little quilts 20cm square to make up one big piece which expresses Britishness. I realised that idea would work and since then have a better idea of how to do it. And besides it is more like the size I like working with.

The idea for Breakthrough was a Wicket - a cricket ball breaking through the stumps. This was shortly after England won the Ashes here in the UK.

I even took some photos of a stumping on telly with my camera (like the ones above). So, of course, this could also represent Britishness. And since the England team have continued to be a winning side, there is no chagrin related!! Something British to be proud of.

and the development -
Step 1 - green stripe fabric discovered in cupboard (Some sample pack from Oakshots which I can't remember why I was given).
Step 2 - colour the stripes with water colour pencils so it is more like a cricket field.
Step 3 - seal with textile medium
Step 4 - get annoyed that the textile medium is too shiney. Go look for sandpaper in DH's cupboard. Sand furiously.

Step 5 - draw in the wicket creases as seen from the air - real and practice ones. Research setting the field and find one image to get an idea where to put white dots representing the fielders.

Step 6 - look for wicket stump fabric. Find a cloth I used to wipe up walnut ink. How clever to be a saver rather than a thrower away-er! Trace stumps cut from inspiration image.
Step 7 - find a hand dye fabric with one spot that will work for a cricket ball.
Step 8 - use water colour pencils to develop the images. and decide since it isn't going to be washed, don't used textile medium.
Step 9 - put fusible on the back of the images. just at the point of fusing them. stop and think.
Step 10 - I have admired the graphic quality of Terry Grant's work. So, I decide to fuse the images to a scrap of thin black wool - see saver up above. Cut them out and then put fusible on the black.
Step 11 - think about not having them in the centre because not enough of the field arrangement in the background will be seen, so may not be obvious enough. arrange them again and fuse.
Step 12 - make white french knots so the fielders will be more noticable. Stitch some of the 'stitching' on the ball so it looks more realistic. hand stitch round the wicket patches to set them out from a distance, too.
This is the sandwich photo - Step 17. I get too involved at this point to remember to do photos. :-}

Step 13 - Go to bed wondering if it looks too much like Terry Grant had made it. and thinking something has to go in the lower left corner. Perhaps the 3 lions?
Step 14 - Next day. Look up cricket symbols because I realise the 3 Lions are probably trademarked or something. Images have some umpires, so I realise an umpire with the OUT hand signal raised would also do.
Step 15 - try to sketch my hand in the position, but realise I am never going to get it to look like a man's hand without a man's hand to look at.

Step 16 - borrow an umpire's hand from a photo and tweak it a bit in Paint Shop Pro. This time use fused paper over the black wool. Include a W which is the symbol for recording a wicket in recording the stastistics. (See above in the Sandwich photo)
Step 17 - Sandwich the quilt and do a bit of stitching to hold it together and to highlight a bit more.

Step 18 - Satin stitch in black round the edge.

Done. and here is 'Cricket'. Quite British.

Not so hard to ignore pain when you have something else to think about.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Toy Run

Speaking of spreading joy...

Sunday was theToy Run. It is a charity run the bikers do for Bernardos. They take a toy and thousands of them go through the streets to the Orphanage. This year our friend Niki and another friend Eric went off to it dressed as Santas.

Niki had also dressed the bike as Rudolph! Even when she left her house in the morning with just the bike dressed, she already was spreading big smiles to everyone who saw it!

Just as they left the church, it started raining!
But they still planned on having a good time!

I wonder if they got in the line up for the Santa photos. This link takes you to a page with a photo of the Santas on the hill at the event. That year my husband went on his bike with Niki. He hasn't got the bike any more.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Today was a lovely day

Today I went with friends to a Ladies Christmas event. It is something I look forward to each year because it is a way of getting perspective back before heading into all the events of the Christmas season. It is also a lovely time greet ladies I haven't seen for a whole year and to meet new ones. and it was just special to sit round the table with my friends singing the carols and just doing something special together.

then tonight I came across Lyric Kinard's post on Quilt Art about posts she is doing on her blog this month about thinking of others this season. It is really quite inspiring to read the comments from readers seeing what they are doing randomly and sometimes anonymously.

I have added her blog link as a Featured Blog in my sidebar so you can keep up with the ideas easier. What sorts of things can you think of doing for this holiday season?

Next weekend, we are getting involved with something to cheer up shoppers in our local parade of shops. We set up a table with mince pies and Christmas biscuits and a hot drink. Here is a photo from last year.

I am looking forward to it!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Whatever Floats exhibition in Bracknell

Jane, Clare and I had a quick session on Monday morning to hang the Whatever Floats exhibition in Bracknell. It is at Gallery@49. More about Gallery@49 on the ReOrsa website.
Here are a few photos of the work in place.

More info about the exhibition and the stories behind the pieces can be found here.

Because most of the time the exhibition will be 'view through window only' we tried to put small things in the window so they had as much chance to be seen as the larger wall pieces. Already whilst hanging it we had people asking when it would open, and stopping to look closely at the small works.

Refashion challenge - 6

So, by the last cryptic post, you can tell I finished in the wee hours. As it turned out my husband was away with work, or it never would have got done. Oh, and then I had to get M'Lady, who has a broken leg, to prop up in a space where I wasn't ashamed of the background so she could model the skirt. I had to lay on the floor to do the photograph so I didn't show the propped up broken leg bit!

and then I had to learn how to post a review, which also meant posting the photos here to link to. Phew! but at last it was done. Pepper got fed up around midnight and asked to go to bed.

you can see the review and the other items in the contest here. Scroll down till you get to my skirt - I am Sew Whatever - and click on Read review.

Here is a photo of the inside of the waistband when I started it at the TVoffcuts meeting on Saturday and finished on Tuesday. I couldn't get a piece big enough for a waistband, so cobbled it together.

Refashion challenge - 5

Here it is. many french knots into the night. will write more tomorrow!


Probably should have given a press, but oh well.