Sunday, December 31, 2006

The last table runner to be made! By this time I'd done away with the binding which required hand stitching! No time!  Posted by Picasa

The first table runner I made. They were all similar but used different fabrics. Some hand-dyes plus some batiks.  Posted by Picasa

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to one and all! May 2007 bring Peace and Joy to everyone, everywhere!

Christmas week seems to have come and gone in a total rush. The run up to Christmas was hectic, especially as I thought it would be a nice idea to make some of my presents. So I ended up making 13 table runners and a set of place mats! As Christmas Day fast approached I did wonder if I'd had a mental breakdown in making all this work for myself at what is normally a busy time anyway. But I got them all done and even made half a dozen coasters to go with the place mats. There's dedication!
The best part of Christmas was knowing that soon the house would be ours. I have such plans! It will be wonderful to get rid of the old carpet in the living room and put down parquet flooring running through into the dining area in the kitchen. So much better when I have students here for mini workshops as it will be easier to mop up spills and generally clear up fabric scraps and threads. Also I have plans to move my computer into the spare bedroom and for this purpose I have bought a computer cabinet with locking doors. Most necessary to keep the grand kids out when they visit, especially young Fred who has great potential as a demolition expert! This will free up lots of space which is always useful. I've also been very very good at clearing out and getting rid of unwanted stuff which has meant that I can get most of my sewing stuff into my workroom. I'm even using the wardrobe in the spare room to hang my winter coats. Something I haven't been able to do in all the fourteen years since we came here! Wonders will never cease. And I am feeling so much more enthusiastic generally. I'm even going to use some very expensive fabric I found during the clear out to make a jacket! There is a story behind the very expensive fabric! A few years ago when I used to make most of my clothing my friend Sue and I decided that we were only going to buy good quality fabric regardless of how much it cost. Because good quality fabric hung better, looked better and was a joy to work with. So we bought several pieces of lovely fabrics; tweeds, wool crepe, silks, etc. Very little of this fabric got made up because it was so wonderful that we didn't want to waste it on making something mundane and in my case I was always waiting until I'd lost the odd pound or two or more of surplus flesh. Well this never happened and the fabric just sat there. But now I am determined to use it regardless of my size or my inclinations. It won't be any more of a waste than just letting it continue to sit there and get crease marks! So the first effort will be a jacket and possibly a skirt if there is enough fabric.
Roll on 2007 for the new me! It is going to be my year as it is all 9's! Don't ask!

Again, have a Very Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Christmas

I've been a very bad blogger this last half of 2006 but I will be better in 2007 I promise. Things can only get better. We are buying our house thanks to my very generous sister and it is going to be a wonderful Christmas. For a while I was getting quite worried that we were going to end up homeless but its all tickety boo now.

So have a super great time with lots of fun and enjoy your families!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Silk Ribbon flower vase - class sample which will become a small sachet. Done on hand-dyed silk noil.  Posted by Picasa

I'm still alive...just!

Oh I have been such a bad blogger. It is over a month since I last wrote anything here but there are mitigating circumstances. Since the summer I have had one blow after another culminating in a notice to quit from our landlords. This has been quite devestating as I thought we were here for life or as much life as we wanted but this isn't to be. So I have been clearing out as if my life depends upon it. Well I suppose in a way it does! We have been here nearly 14 years and it is amazing how much stuff one can collect in that time. I have had to make some very big decisions as to where I am going in the future and what I need and want to keep and what I will never ever use and must get rid of. Books have been the first things to be pruned. I have over 2000 books; well I did before I started moving them on. I have so much fabric that I could start a shop so that is being sold, given away or chucked. It is hard but I am being ruthless as I don't know where we will be or what room I will have. We are just so glad that we didn't start the major overhaul and re-decorating that we had planned. I would have been so cross if I'd spent masses and then had to go! Oh life is hard for those of gentle birth! (Big grin!)
But I have not yet succumbed to despondency and have even been doing some patchwork (for class samples) and some ribbon work (ditto). Although nothing world shattering this has been very therapeutic. One of the biggest problems has been that a large box of fabric is sitting in my living room and since doing the silk ribbon work I've been sneaking pieces out as I've ideas as to what to use them for....immediately! Well as I'm going to use them up now I reckon I can do that! (grin)
I have a pleater and a four shaft table loom with warping mill to get rid of. If anyone in the UK has any ideas as to what I should ask for these I'd be truly grateful as I haven't a clue. Also if anyone in the UK wants a list of what craft-art-embroidery-quilting books I'm getting rid of, do ask.
Nothing much else to add. I spend the majority of my time emptying two boxes into one and grovelling under tables and benches to access things I haven't seen in years. The amount of dust I'm finding isn't as much as I feared which is one reason to be cheerful. I'm now going back to convincing myself that I really don't need as much embroidery thread as I have. At least I've given all the wool away and I don't even knit!

Thursday, August 31, 2006


My son has gone back to Edinburgh after a frantic four days and we are on our own again. I have seem more of Cornwall in those four days than in the last four years! His car looked like a mobile greenhouse as he filled it full of plants to take back for his newly formed garden. Looking at pictures of it he has really worked hard and it looks as if a professional has done it. I can't wait to see pictures of it next summer when it will all be in bloom. My garden has decided it is Autumn and is looking very shabby. There are still tomatoes on the vines in the hanging baskets and the runner beans are still producing the odd couple of beans every other day, but apart from that it is all over and I need to get out there and work!
We had a great visit to Lanhydrock which I thoroughly enjoyed. However it isn't what I would call an intimate house being very large and I should imagine it would be easy to get lost in it. There was an amazing ceiling circa Charles 1st's era but photos weren't allowed so I can't show you. Suffice it to say that it was moulded all over with decorations and scenes from the bible plus fruits and leaves. Because of the fear of it falling down there were no chandeliers hanging down into the long gallery below. The kitchens were fantastic with one large kitchen for cooking with a large rack of spits in front of the range plus a separate cooking range. Separate larders for game, fish and general supplies plus a still room and dairy. Must have been a hive of industry in its heyday. The house was mostly built by the first Lord Robartes of Truro in Charles 1st's reign and was finished by his son John who was a Parliamentarian (Round Head) during the Civil War which was unusual as most of Cornwall was Royalist. In 1881 a fire destroyed a lot of the house but it was rebuilt to the original plans. The north wing where the superb ceiling is was spared. The church behind the house is older being 15th century. In latter years it was the family's holiday home! Some holiday home!

Original gatehouse with Andrew and Mel in the foreground.  Posted by Picasa

Lanhydrock and church from the park. Posted by Picasa

The gatehouse and an old car used for transporting the less able to the house. (It was a long walk from the car park!) Posted by Picasa

Lanhydrock!  Posted by Picasa

The main door with the coat of arms above it. Pity I chopped it off and didn't get it in the picture!  Posted by Picasa

Martin at one of the doors.  Posted by Picasa

Sneaky picture of side of scullery. Posted by Picasa

Typical doorway. Posted by Picasa

Rose gardens Posted by Picasa

Church and kitchen and scullery rooms to the left.  Posted by Picasa

Close up of formal garden Posted by Picasa

Old cotton net curtains at the windows in the kitchen area. Posted by Picasa

I love old door ways!  Posted by Picasa

Formal gardens  Posted by Picasa

Very old graves under the trees. Posted by Picasa

My son Andrew! Posted by Picasa

Fascinating tree in the park at Lanhydrock. Very inspirational! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Holiday time!

I'm having a week's holiday while my son and his fiancee are down from Scotland. I haven't seen them since this time last year so it is fun to catch up. Today is his birthday and it seems strange to think that 35 years ago today I was awaiting his arrival. I had a home birth and it was a Bank Holiday Sunday. My midwife was on holiday and I had a student midwife. She was most concerned that I didn't take a long time in production as she had a chicken in her oven at home and that seemed to be of much more importance! In the event Andrew was born at 7.00pm in a rush and her chicken was probably overcooked! He has been a true Sunday's child all his life. Tonight we are all going out to a local Italian restaurant to celebrate.... pictures tomorrow!
Yesterday we went to visit Godolphin House. It is a manor house in the village of Godolphin, nr Helston which isn't too far from us. I had never been so it was something new. The original building on the site was a small castle built circa 1300 by Sir Alexander Godolphin with money from the family's tin mining business. Many changes were made in the next centuries and by the 17th century Godolphin had become the largest house in the county. However a fall in the price of tin meant that by the late 18th century the house had become derilict. The house was bought in 1937 by Sidney Schofield who had carried out much restoration work. It is ongoing. The house is fascinating though bears little resemblance in layout to the original plans. Sadly there was a policy of no photography inside the house so no pictures. Not all of the rooms are on view but those that are have been restored to their former grandeur. Great big fireplaces with carved overmantles. Sumptuous bed hangings on the four poster beds and an enormous table in the great hall. This must, in its heyday, have been an amazing house. I believe it was used in the Poldark series. Anyway I'm glad I got to see it eventually. Tomorrow we are going to see Lanhydrock. Another historic house up near Bodmin.
Now I am going to play with the DVD that arrived this morning from Gabrielle...Creativity on Demand. How I have been able to hold off until this moment I will never know. More about it later. Fun awaits! N

Godolphin churchyard Posted by Picasa

The village of Godolphin Posted by Picasa

Godolphin House nr Helston Cornwall Posted by Picasa

Main entrance to courtyard and house.  Posted by Picasa

Courtyard. Front of house is opposite this view. Posted by Picasa