Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Last minute!

This is a last minute post to thank you all for your good wishes. I'm not worried about the weather as it is just so nice to be going away together. We haven't had a holiday in over two years so this will be a real treat. Trouble is like all holidays taken in England, and Scotland, is that one packs clothes for every imaginable kind of weather. So I have flimsy hot weather gear, woolly jumpers for the cold weather...probably ice and snow, and wet weather gear for the rain! Plus lots of changes in case one makes a big mistake in the morning when dressing and then gets drenched or frozen! Or burnt, but that is least likely. I may get eaten alive by gnats my sister now tells me! But I'm really looking forward to it all in spite of small beasties or nasty weather. I shall take lots of photos and I've taken my sketch book and pencils with me. How dedicated is that! So I hope you'll all miss me (lol) and I'll be back at the beginning of September!

Closeup of the gorgeous printed orange silk. Posted by Picasa

Some of the fabric from my sister.  Posted by Picasa

The Last Day

This is the last day before we leave for Scotland. We are leaving around 7 in the morning so that we can avoid the traffic hotspots at rush hour time. I am a little concerned as to what Martin is expecting or has in mind as he called me earlier to say he had bought a camping stove and ice packs for the cooler bag and that he was off to find a kettle for said stove. Does he imagine we will be lost in the wilds up North? I had in mind that if we were hungry or thirsty we would stop at an eatery of some description. Part of the holiday is eating tons of junk food! LOL I am not your intrepid explorer type! Though we are going up into the Highlands and I suppose heating water facilities for drinks might be useful as there isn't the same density of people up there and probably not so many coffee/tearoom places. Hard to tell as it is all tourist country and where tourists are there are usually touristy things.

I have been into Falmouth; come home and got my orders processed and they are ready for posting. I've been in the attic and found the cases. Going in the attic is a major job. In my enthusiasm for storing stuff some years ago I rushed out and bought a convertible ladder. However I didn't really think it through and what I'd bought is as heavy as lead and suitable for outside things. I should have bought aluminium! I didn't which means putting this thing up requires great effort and stamina. It also means being very careful when opening up not to hit the light fittings, glass over doors or the bookshelves on the landing. In fact it is a very precise operation. And one has to remember to open the attic while it is in step ladder format and not in long ladder format. By the time I'd done this I was tired! So I climbed up into the attic and then when I was up there realised I had no light! Well I couldn't be asked to go down again and fix it up so I worked by feel. It is a miracle that I didn't fall through the ceiling as the floor boarding up there is very flimsy and there are gaps between the joists. Eventually I was successful and as luck would have it they were on top and I didn't have to move anything. I still remember with horrow waking up one night to an awful thundering noise above us and I was sure the roof had fallen in. I made Martin go and look but what had happened was that earlier in the day I had moved some boxes and not checked that they were stable. So later they all started to move and that was the awful noise. It was lucky that no damage was done. It took a while for my heart to stop pounding. Anyway back to today.

I have cleared the junk, I mean stuff, from my sister! I took a photo of the fabric. There is some nice stuff in there particularly the orange printed silk. Plus a couple of embroidered pieces from Madeira which I might turn into a summer nightgown now that summer is over. So I am on track. Bought a couple of patchwork magazines in town so its time for coffee and a read. Well I won't get much reading done as Mum will be here. I'll take them to work! LOL

AND my avocado stone has started to put out a root. I am so pleased. I was first encouraged to do this by reading Sue's blog What's Up I was very impressed witht the results she got and hope I'll get to having leaves eventually.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Suddenly I'm exhausted!

The time is flying by far too quickly! Why is it that everything happens at once? My sister is moving from her 5 bedroom mansion which the Queen Mother slept in during the 1930's to a much smaller 2 bedroom bungalow. I think she is mad! Why? Because the new house is costing 2/3rds the cost of the old one and it is way, way smaller! Definitely mad! Anyway mad or not she is having to jettison loads of stuff so I went round there tonight after work to see what she was chucking out and I have gained loads of fabric, some really up market clothes, crockery, glass ware, a small foot stool, some lampshades and a swivel mirrow. But the crunch is that I haven't got time to find homes for all these things before I go away and so they will sit on the living room floor while I am in Scotland waiting for me to come back and sort them out. And on top of that I have orders to process before we leave and I was hoping to get my accounts finished. No way Jose! Its all too much for me! I have to go into town tomorrow and put money in the bank so that the end of the month bills will be covered. I've forgotten what else I was meant to be doing and if I don't remember by tomorrow morning it will be too late! So no way am I going to be doing any sewing. Oh well I shall do what I can and the rest will go hang. There is nothing that is likely to be a hanging offence if it has to wait until I get back. I must go check on my supplies for the orders.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The things I do!

I am a very accommodating woman! I have just had a b-b-q in the rain because my husband is a b-b-q fanatic. It started off damp and overcast so I thought OK we'll humour the guy! I put a thick cardigan on and socks! I was totally protected from the weather. And then it began to rain so my dearest one put up the sunshade! This was now beginning to be a bit farcical and reminded me of days in my childhood when we ate on the beach come rain or come shine with towels draped over the beach hut doors to keep the rain out! My grandmother was an outdoor fanatic and nothing would keep her indoors if it was at all possible to be outside. We children found it most exciting to have an ordinary tea round the table with real china. In fact I have one of those old china plates to this day and whenever I use it I am reminded of the teatimes at Grannie's. We would even take our breakfast down to the beach and eat our Cornflakes in lonely splendour with the sun rising up over the sea. Anyway I digress. By the time the meat was cooked it was absolutly pouring down and intrepid man had to admit defeat and we retired to the house. By which time I was slightly on the sozzled side having consumed a few rum and coconut's to keep the cold at bay. These are known in our house as 'coco pops' and are really delicious. A Jamaican friend introduced us to this drink and we haven't looked back. Grin! So we ate our icecream inside and watched the b-b-q through the glass!

Picture taken in the rain which made it all a bit fuzzy!

Lunch time break

Well I have been very good and done the accounts to date. I still have to go back and sort them to make sure I've left nothing out and then I must start on my husband's accounts. Much bigger job and needs lots of strong coffee and chocolate while doing it! I'm doing a course in Excel from HP and this has been most useful. The link originally came from Liz at Dreaming Spirals. I have to say here a VERY big thank you to Sandy (Dangling by a Thread) for sending me the information re the links. This is the most useful piece of information ever so thanks Sandy! The link for the tutorial lessons (on all sorts of things relating to computers) is http://h30187.www3.hp.com/all_courses.jsp Anyway I have found these tutorials to be most useful and have printed several out to use at a future date. The best piece of equipment I ever bought was my binding machine. It means that I can bind pages together thus making small booklets rather than having lots of odd bits of paper floating round never to be found when wanted. I even use it for making small booklets for my students on various things. Most useful! That and the guillotine! And a proper guillotine at that, with a decent sized blade!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Dear Diary I have been so busy this afternoon and evening that it is quite unbelievable. I have quilted both the stained glass windows cushions tops and now just need to put them together with backings and then I will have two new cushions which don't go with any of the colours in my house! Of course I didn't even think of this when I planned them! Then I quilted a piece of work I did as a class sample to show manipulated Cathedral window. This is where you insert folded fabric into the seams and then fold it back over an inlaid piece. I'm sure that is as clear as mud! This too will make a cushion in the fullness of time. In fact I got onto quite a roll when it came to doing some free machine quilting. I just meandered hither and thither using a variegated YLI thread. My right arm with the tennis elbow problem doesn't help my machining at the moment as I don't have the control in it that I used to and after a while it aches, but on the whole it wasn't bad. The pieces are square although the photos don't show them that way. It was just the funny angle I took them at.

I then watched the film Charade on DVD because I love this film. I joined the Amazon DVD rental club and this means I get a couple of DVD's to watch each week which I find amazingly good value and nice for Fridays and Saturdays when I'm on my own. It does mean that I avoid anything too creepy or scary as otherwise I'd be afraid to go to bed knowing the house was empty. Stupid I know but that's how it is!

And I finished my book! So a very successful time was had by me! Tomorrow I'll do the accounts as I can start early in the morning before Martin is up and I always work better in the mornings anyway for this kind of thing. And I am going to start doing yoga again first thing in the morning. I have missed it! And it shows! In the autumn I might even fit a class in again. It is necessary to make some effort as I need to shape up as there is a large and important function coming up in November for which I need to look my best or at least better than I do now. Can I do it?

Manipulated Cathedral window after quilting Posted by Picasa

2nd cushion top after quilting  Posted by Picasa

cushion top after quilting Posted by Picasa

Movie Test

Found this on http://www.dakinidreams.blogspot.com I love these things. Wish I could remember how to put the html code in without it being seen! Used to be able to do this!

Lazy Day!

I'm having a lazy day. Got up early and tidied up the workroom so that when I go in there again I'll be able to start on something immediately. This is important or else I'll fiddle about and never get going on anything. In tidying up I found two floor cushions which are partly started and which I could use now! So this afternoon I might be able to get stuck in and achieve something miraculous. But I also need to start the accounts so a bit of a conflict of interests there. However at the moment I am just waiting for Mum to come up for coffee and took the opportunity to write in the blog. I always feel I should start off 'Dear Diary......' as there is a very Edwardian feel to writing down one's thoughts in this way. This morning I went into Falmouth which was heaving with people. This time of the year there are always large numbers of tourists around and on the whole I avoid the town like the plague in August but I needed some things before going away. And Sue drove us in in her dinky little silver sports car so I didn't have to worry about parking....she did! :-) I bought several books in various Charity shops including Day of the Triffids by John Wyndom which I thought I might read again. This is such a creepy book but I enjoyed it in the 60's so hopefully I'll enjoy it again. It has always been my policy to take lots of books away with me on long car journeys just in case we either break down or get stuck in traffic jams. If I've got a book to read I don't get either panicky or bored! :-)

It is a glorious hot sunny day so it will be hard to incarcerate myself in my workroom but it has to be done at least for an hour or two. Sitting having lunch with Martin in the garden I got some good ideas for projects. I have decided that the ideas I have been sketching out would be good done in miniature as postcards first, to see how they look and if I'm happy with them then I can enlarge and make into a bigger piece of work. This will kill two birds with one stone! I am really looking forward to seeing different scenery in Scotland and getting more ideas. I shall take the sketch book with me plus a tube of glue for sticking things into it. My sketch books arn't just about sketching but also about found objects and inspiring things.

I'm not going to do any dyeing this weekend as it would be a rush to get it done, dried and ironed in the time available. And also I will want and need to do some when I return, if only so I can use my new steam press which should have arrived by then. If it hasn't I'll want to know why! I did overdye some pieces that I wasn't too keen on and they are amazing. Its always interesting to see how certain colours come through and just light up a piece. I must sort out those I want to keep or they will be gone! Off to sit and chat! For a while!

Friday, August 19, 2005


I am feeling full of virtue as I went and finished the last block for the sampler quilt. I took my time and didn't try and rush and it went together like a piece of cake! So now I have to do the quilting on the blocks and then put them together with sashing. The feeling is wonderful as I have nothing hanging over me now!

The DVD wasn't as good as Changing Places but was good enough! The glass of white helped! In fact two glasses helped even more!

Also I packed up packages to post tomorrow so I am on top of all orders plus I was actually able to find birthday cards that I'd bought months ago which I need for tomorrow. How good can that be!

So my day has been a bit like the curate's egg. Good in parts! Tomorrow I have to make a start on doing the accounts. As always I am almost at the eleventh hour but as always I expect I'll just scrape by in time. But now I can go to bed with a clear conscience having done this last block! And its very similar to the one I gave up on in disgust so I feel much better about it now. Life's too short to anguish over things.

Ideas using acrylic paint and PVA glue Posted by Picasa

more experimental ideas  Posted by Picasa

Using the 'wave' stencil with work inspired by this curving rail track.  Posted by Picasa

Trying Too Hard!

I got up early and ate my porage on the patio in the weak sunshine. Actually the back of the house faces south so in the early morning the sun is shining on the back of the garden and not on the patio but it is nice out there at there before the world is about. So far so good. Did all the things I have to do and then I started on the last block and of course I rushed it trying to get it done. Disaster, total disaster! There were lots of set in pieces and they would have been fine if I'd got the diamonds the right way round. Much too hasty. Sew in haste, repent at leisure. So in the end I threw my hands in the air and gave up. I don't know why I'm sharing this with the world; obviously I'm a masochist! Anyway I found a similar pattern and cut that out and I will take all weekend over it if necessary! This isn't my kind of patchwork. I'm more into applique and weird shapes and since starting the blogging lark I've come to think that fusing is the way to go in the 21st century! So a good morning gone bad!

I'm very excited about getting my steam press. So far I haven't heard anything from the seller so I hope it is all OK. I'm sure it is! I'll be able to have a real mammoth dyeing session when I get back from Scotland. Just for the joy of pressing it all! :-)

Well I'm going to play hookey tonight and do nothing.....well not exactly nothing, but I'm going to sit and drink a glass of white and watch a DVD. I've got Coming to America and as I've never seen it am looking forward to watching it. I joined the Amazon rent a DVD club and it is good. For £8 a month I get 4 DVD's which works out at one a week which is all I have time for watching. The hardest part is choosing what to have sent. They send the DVD's and then when finished with them I just put them in the post box and that's it. No postage to pay! So for now nothing much is happening. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak!

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Yes I did it! I now have a Singer CPS-1 Steam Press

This will make pressing my fabrics so easy especially as I am dyeing larger pieces now! Oh I am so pleased. I was quite envious when I saw the one that Melody Johnson showed on Fibermania (http://fibermania.blogspot.com/). I'm not good at putting links in! Sorry! Now I have to hope that it will come before I go away! Oh anxious moment thinking about this. Lots of nail biting to come I think! Can't wait to use it!

Totally boring!

Well the blog must be totally boring to some people and not inspiring at all as when I checked it out on Bloglines I'd lost two subscribers. So I'm not being interesting enough! But its a bit in the doldrums here as I am betwixt and between and with going away next week and trying to catch up this week I'm not really writing anything very riveting I'm afraid. Oh well, never mind! I'll probably come back from Scotland to find I have no friends left! Gosh I'm feeling sorry for myself arn't I? I could be over the moon in less than an hour but on the other hand I could be feeling even more sorry for myself. Why is this? I am bidding on something on Ebay! That is why. And I am so consumed with paranoia that I'm not even going to say what it is in case one of you rush in and outbid me! Sickly grin! If I'm not overly anxious as to whether I get something or not I really like that last minute bidding when you have to try and get your bid in at the last minute without being pipped at the post. The adrenaline rushes and the heart beats faster until you are sure you are the final high bidder. I rarely buy on Ebay but Martin loves it and buys all kinds of things. Stress doesn't sit well on me!

I have been working in the sketch book and have some ideas for my next piece that isn't a sample for class or a UFO. This will be the beginning of a body of work for my next exhibition. That sounds good doesn't it....next! Except that my last exhibition was so many years ago I've forgotten when exactly! Isn't that sad! All that wasted time! I really enjoyed sketching and found that ideas came left right and centre which was good as I worried I might have dried up on the ideas front. I think it was because I had been looking through the sketch books and already had some tentative beginnings just waiting to come forth and be allowed to see the light of day plus I was quite relaxed about it all and just doodled to begin with and then expanded on the doodles.

Actually I spent some time thinking about this designing business and wondering whether it was harder these days to be original when so much work is thrown at one via the computer or whether that is a good thing in as much as it inspires one to do more and better. I don't know. I do know that I have to have a cooling off period when designing just to make sure that I haven't subconsciously picked up on someone else's style and ideas. I don't have a particular style of my own apart from using my own hand-dyed fabric which can be pretty unique. This could be the Gemini in me which means I can chop and change at will or as my daughter says be quite variable by which she means unreliable! Another sickly grin! Not unreliable in as much as I don't do as I say, but unreliable in that you can't be sure what is going to come next! I find it interesting when I am teaching that no two students work will be the same even though they are all using the same pattern and hand out notes and similar fabrics. I encourage them to put themselves into what they are doing and to be individual and not copy blindly and this means that at the end of term we will have a real pot pourri of work not lots of carbon copies. But when I first started doing creative embroidery and patchwork with free machine work it was hard to find work to look at as there weren't computers then, and books were expensive and shows were few and far between. Specialist magazines were hard to come by, that's if they were being published. So we are much luckier now in being able to see what is out there and what is going on and like everything else, what is 'fashionable'. There is nothing new under the sun but what comes round, goes round.

Oh well speech over. This is probably what makes my blog less interesting in that I go off into my own thoughts. Well this is why I write it so ....... I shall round off with another picture from the sketchbook! Just to keep it pretty!

I liked this picture of an old arched doorway and tried some experimental ideas using corrugated paper and string. The centre motif was burnt paper with felt and string. I like the shapes I've got here and this is one of the ideas that I have followed up and played with. This page in particular would work very well with the ideas I had on reflections of houses in water. And I like the idea of perhaps doing a circular piece though the hanging of it could be difficult. Have to think about that. Would all depend on what fabrics I used. In fact lots of thinking to do all round.

Got to go check on Ebay!

A Very Successful Morning!

I took a bird's eye view picture of the 9-patch. There are only 25 patches altogether so it wasn't that difficult to get done this far. Plus I dyed the ribbon AND I finished the Storm at Sea block and put the backing and wadding together with the block so that it is all ready to quilt along with the fourteen other blocks. Just one more to do and that is a more complicated one. Wish now I hadn't left it until last when my time is flying by at the rate of knots. Would have liked to have been more leisurely with it.

Anyway I can now have some coffee and contemplate the next thing to be done. I think I must make a start on the quilting! Off to gossip with my Mum.

9-Patch partly laid out on the ironing pad. Posted by Picasa

Early in the morning!

I am up early and it is a beautiful day already. Time stretches ahead of me. Unfortunately it isn't endless but I shall make the most of what I have. Today's list is:

1. Dye some ribbon
2. Finish Storm at Sea Block
3. Nine patch block - do as much as I can in the time.
4. Start on Flower Basket block - if there is any time left.

I am being quite realistic with my time so hopefully I'll be able to scratch out at least two of the above and have got a long way with a third one. As long as I don't fiddle about and tidy things up and get side tracked. So easy once I get into the workroom. So; ready, steady, GO!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

This and That!

This is a little bag I made out of flower paper. It was very easy to do and would make a nice container for a gift. I had forgotten I had it and it was only when looking through sketch books that I came across it. I must make a note that this would be a good thing to do for Christmas pressies. It is such an enjoyable thing to do making flower paper and it can be used for so much, from little bags like the above to stitched over embroidery pieces. And it makes lovely cards too.
Like this piece with hydrangea petals and machine made mesh. This piece on pink hand made paper is drawings of lily flowers using wax pastels and then a marigold captured in transfer adhesive. This method has retained the brightness of the petals which ordinary pressing of flowers doesn't do. The petals at the bottom right were also put between two layers of transfer adhesive.
These were lily petals that I covered with transfer adhesive and then rolled round a knitting needle to make beads. Before I took the roll off the needle I just touched a hot iron to it and it melted the transfer adhesive so that the layers all stuck together thus giving me a bead. The long petals of lilies make wonderful beads. And there are so many colours to choose from. The tiger lily makes the most interesting bead though I think.
Well I have just been randomly selecting pages from a sketch book because I have to say I've done nothing today! Lets quickly scan over that and then ignore it. After all it is Wednesday which is Martin's day off and I always find it hard to work when he is at home. I did manage to get some drawings done though in the latest sketch book for my water and reflections piece and I think I know where I am going with it. I shan't make it very large mainly because of the constraints of space but also because if it is a medium size there is every liklihood that it will be finished. I know my limitations. When I was in Falmouth I treated myself to some new pencils and got some lovely pastel crayons. I like working in pastels even though they are messy and need to have tissue or tracing paper over them. I fix with hair spray as it so much cheaper than the real McCoy!
This time next week I shall be well on my way to Scotland. We are leaving on the Wednesday morning to visit our son Andrew and his partner Mel in Edinburgh. Well actually in Dalgety Bay but Edinburgh is close! We will spend Wednesday night in a hotel near Preston so as to break the journey and allow us to take our time. Altogether we will be away for 8 or 9 days. I'm really looking forward to it and as we are driving up there will be lots of photo opportunities. While we are there we hope to go up into the Highlands as I haven't been above Edinburgh before. So quite exciting!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Life just got away from me!

I don't know where the rest of the day went! Work was fine and I managed to study the Richard Box book. More about this in a minute. Then when I got home I organised dinner and sat in the sun for a bit waiting for Martin to get home. We had a leisurely dinner eventually and then being Tuesday it was shopping night. This seemed to take for ages even though my list was so small. I have so much food over from my weekend entertaining that I'll be able to make very little effort in the food department this week. Good! When we first decided to shop late at night it was wonderful. Really quiet, no people, no queues. Now it is crowded, busy and long queues at the check outs! I can see that eventually I'll be shopping at midnight! It was gone 9.30 before I got back and that's the evening gone! So nothing on the sewing front will be finished. I might be lucky and get it all done tomorrow.

Re the Richard Box book, 'Drawing for the Terrified'. This is a really useful book to have. So for those who have asked, especially Gabrielle and Sandy, I'll go into a little more detail. The book I've got is a hard back, I don't know if it has come out in paper back yet. It has 126 pages just to give you some idea of the size. It contains carefully designed structured exercises for learning to draw a wide range of subject matter with complete confidence and covers all the basic elements of drawing: materials, equipment, seeing your subject, drawing in monochrome and colour, tonal values and shading, colour theory and lots more. Clear instruction is supported throughout by detailed step-by-step illustrations and finished pieces. I copied this from the jacket back. It does all that it says and more. There is a lot of reading but if followed the reading amplifies the exercises and make them much more useful. The use of colour is covered in great detail. It's the kind of book that I can enjoy sitting up in bed reading last thing at night. I like all his books as they are very easy to follow. His free machine embroidery is exceptionally easy to follow and having met him several times at shows I know he is a very nice bloke and good at what he does. He is very generous with his time and expertise. I have no affiliation with him just like his stuff! Its a jumping off ground for developing ones own style.

Below is a bird's eye view of the Storm at Sea block in it's nearly finished state along with the cut out squares for the nine patch quilt top. I'm quite pleased with the colours I've chosen and I think it will look fine when finished. Once I can get started the nine patch will be cinch.

I did manage to do some work on the sketch book and have some ideas for a wall hanging based on reflections/water though to a certain extent I have moved on a bit so its not so obvious to the uninitiated. I'm quite excited about this and will use layers of chiffons and gauze to get the effect I want with cut outs either by cutting or by burning with a soldering iron. When I have a moment I'll start pulling some fabrics out to give me some idea as to what I want. I think I have just the right piece of dyed fabric for the background but if not I'll dye one. Then I'm going to use stencils over it and/or stamps. I have this lovely sticky backed rubber stuff that I can cut into shapes and stick to blocks of wood or polystyrene. Just this minute I had the thought of using polystyrene and I'm now cursing as I threw a whole load out with the rubbish this morning. Rats! Oh well there will be more as it is such a common packaging item. Its the cutting of it that's the pain. I use the electric bread knife at the moment but I'm sure there must be something simpler. Let me know if you know of anything please!

Well I'm off to bed. I'm exhausted!

Coffee Break

I should have titled this 'A Day in the Life of'! I'm now stopping for coffee with my Mum. She can give me her opinion on the boiled fruit cake I made yesterday. I thought it was delicious! I like to see her everyday if I can as otherwise there is every chance that she won't see anyone. And at nearly 86 I don't know how long I'll have her to chat to and have coffee with. Plus she's my biggest fan! :-)

So far I've found the Richard Box book and I'll take it to work to look at. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve their art work and drawing. Its well written in an easy to read way and lots of good exercises. I'll go into more detail if anyone is interested!

I've cut out the squares for the 9 patch! I'm 3/4 of the way through the Storm at Sea block. And what was the 4th thing? Oh yes....work in the sketch book. Well that one hasn't happened yet but there is still time.

Off to cut the cake!

Plan for the day!

OK dear diary this is what I'm going to get done today! Penalty points all round if I don't achieve at least one of these things! Grinning madly 'cos who's going to administer a beating anyway! Moi? No way!

1. Cut out and make 9 patch quilt in lovely Autumn fabrics which I BOUGHT! I don't buy fabrics these days so this is a first!
2. Find Richard Box book 'Drawing for the Terrified' which I know I have somewhere.
3. Make time to do some more work in my sketch book on the Reflections and Water themes.
4. Make up Storm at Sea block. Make this no 1 priority!
5. no way I'll do 5 things! I'm pushing it with 4!

Now go and start! Yes ma'am!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Finding the right path!

While I've been tidying up after the grand feast of yesterday, and wouldn't you know it is bright sunshine today, I've been contemplating and thinking about my artistic/creative endeavours. I'm at a bit of a cross roads in my life and I'm not sure in which way I want to advance. There have been several posts and writings about the size of things lately and that set me to thinking. As always when I want to refer back to something I can't find it. Do I dream these things? Whatever, it got me to wondering about the size of worked pieces. Because I live in a mega tiny house I do tend to work in a small to middling format most of the time, though I do make large bed quilts. I do think that it is easier to work a traditional pieced quilt in a larger format than a large format art quilt which is probably destined for the wall, when there isn't any space to lay anything out. I can never get more than 3 feet away from anything to view it and it is important to me to view things from a distance to get the overall effect so this is another reason for working in a medium kind of way. However I have been promising myself an exhibition for several years now and this is the time to jump in. But I am going to have to work in a larger scale than at present and I can see this posing problems. So what do others feel about the finished size of a piece. Is it necessary to produce ultra large pieces for impact or can there still be that lightning flash with smaller works? I would be interested in any views expressed, especially if anyone else has to work in less than perfect conditions size wise!When I was all cleared up and back to normal (well as normal as I will ever be back to) I hadn't got a lot of time left. So didn't want to start on something and then break the train of thought by having to go to work so I decided to look out one of my sketchbooks for inspiration. Living so close to the sea and some beautiful coastal walks these are my major sources for inspiration. These pictures are drawings, stencillings, stampings etc that I played with in a random way to see what I could do and where it would take me. There are some great ideas here that I might follow through with hand-dyed fabric and then applique work. I shall continue with this line of thought in my sketch book of the moment and see where it leads me now that I have a goal in mind. There is quite a difference between playing with ideas on a 'lets try and see where it takes me' basis, and a lets see how this could be worked into a quilt/hanging/skirt kind of ideas. I always start with the first kind of playing (since I got my degree in textile design many moons ago I've never lost the habit of sketchbooks and note making - its the Art College training) because then I'm not hampered by pre-conceived ideas. So these following pages from a sketchbook are what I'm working with.

Collage of computer drawing Posted by Picasa

This was a print out of a computer drawing I did of the previous scene and trials for getting a water effect on fabric.  Posted by Picasa

My own sketches and interpretation. I think this bottom mock up will be one that I work on in depth as it is quite strong already.  Posted by Picasa

Moved into reflections from this. It is interesting how one thing can lead to another. i even saw ideas for ear-rings!  Posted by Picasa

Use of collage - looking at sky reflections, clouds etc Posted by Picasa

More ideas Posted by Picasa

More playing - photo for inspiration - I liked the idea of burnt pieces for the rock formations but didn't go far with this at the time Posted by Picasa

Basic stencil shape Posted by Picasa

using a stencil to get ideas of shapes inspired by wave formations Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 14, 2005

A Fun Day!

Well today has gone all too quickly. This blog is about family and friends and doesn't include any quilty or sewing bits so all of you who arn't interested in my family life now is the time to turn off. Tomorrow I'll be back to the sewing! Big Time!

My French friends, Odile and Jeff plus their three children, Charlene, William and Cedric, came over to stay at Padstow for a holiday and it was planned that we would meet up as I haven't seen Odile in two years since I was teaching at La Bourboule. So I invited them to lunch and also invited my friend Sue and her husband Matt plus Sue's daughter Ellie who is only a year older than Charlene. I hadn't realised that Ellie had a weekend job at M & S (saving up for College) and so she arrived late and didn't get to go swimming at the beach with the others. She had to make up for lost time with the food as well. I have known Odile forever or so it seems. When she was 19 she came to stay with us on the farm and looked after my two children for me. They can only have been about 5 and 6 then and as they are now 35 and 34 respectively that is some time ago. We kept in touch and although we didn't meet up that often it has always been exceptionally easy to pick up the thread and carry on where we left off. Another common ground is that they drive an old Renault Espace as does my husband. I think there is a competition to see who can do the most miles but Martin is easily winning as he has clocked well over 3/4 of a million! lol
It was a great day and miracle of miracles the sun shone and it was sheltered in the garden so we didn't even get the wind. It did cloud over but by then we were all full of food and drink and quite replete so we didn't mind. It was a laugh a minute and it was great that Matt and Sue got on so well with them. Odile and Jeff speak excellent English so I didn't have to muster up any French except when speaking to the younger children. Charlene's English is also good! AND Matt didn't fall asleep! It is a joke that whenever Matt comes over here he will fall asleep after a meal and a glass of wine. I don't think anything of it as he works really long hours and is just tired. We laugh about it and pull his leg! So it was amazing that he stayed awake all afternoon. Martin and Jeff took the kids to the beach where they went swimming which gave Sue, Odile and me time for a natter without any interruptions. Odile was anxious to see my workrooms so I took this opportunity to show her stuff. It was incredible that I could drag her away! {g} Well all good things come to an end and all too soon they had to leave. The food didn't run out and there was constant grazing all afternoon. It is so long since I did any special cooking that I was worried I'd forget what to do but it worked out OK. Odile suggested that next year we should go and visit them in France and she actually got Martin to say yes! This will be a first as getting Martin anywhere is a miracle. Let's get to Scotland first before we make plans for abroad! I've already had two late nights cleaning and cooking so I must make it an early night tonight. I've done enough cleaning to last me now for a month or two or perhaps even three! {g}

Group photo! From the left; Charlene, Jeff, Cedric, William(back),Martin, Odile, Ellie, Sue and Matt.  Posted by Picasa

It was a laugh a minute!  Posted by Picasa