Saturday, April 28, 2007

I've bitten the bullet!

I've done it! I've bought a new camera! I was beginning to feel as if I'd lost a limb as I take pictures nearly every week of the year. It is my answer to a diary in many respects and the advent of digital cameras and programs such as Picasa have made it so easy. To begin with I went the repair route and found that I could pay Fuji £99.99 plus VAT to look at my old camera and if they couldn't repair it or didn't find anything wrong with it they would in their generosity send it back to me free of charge. I would of course be out of pocket by £99.99! So I then thought I'd spend that amount of money on Ebay and buy a similar camera as I really do love my Fuji Finepix. But after being pipped at the post by a couple of £'s I gave up and decided to go for new. Well actually Martin said if I was going to spend that much on an old second hand camera why not go for broke and buy a new one with all the bells and whistles. Which is what I've done. Monday I will be the proud owner of a Fuji Finepix S9600! 10.7 optical zoom and 9 million pixels plus their fantastic CCD technology. link to more info And I am amazed at the drop in prices since I last bought a digital. My old one was over £600 but this one which is just as good if not better was only £247! Amazing. I can't wait to get back to taking pictures again. I've already downloaded and printed the manual and it doesn't appear to be to different to the old one which is just as well. So we'll be back to pictures soon.

I am still plodding on with the seat covers. Two down and five to go plus headrests. Two more are cut out and ready to sew. But today was a day of rest! This morning I went to a garden centre with my friend Sue and bought plants. And this afternoon I did a batch of dyeing. Very bright dyeing! Pictures after Monday! And then I read a book! Sheer luxury! It was the latest in the Phil Rickman series.....Remains of an Altar. I can't wait for the next one to come out later this year.....The Fabric of Sin! I have found that I can order books from the library on line and then when they are in I can go and collect them. Saves having to browse the shelves when I'm in a hurry and not find anything I really want to read. Also this way I can borrow from all the libraries in Cornwall. Its a pity I can't tap into all the libraries in the country as I have been finding that I'm reading a series and then one or two are missing and this is just so annoying. It is very tempting when this happens to buy the book from a secondhand bookshop but that way lies ruin! And one of the reasons that I have hundreds, even thousands of books, even after clearing out boxes of them. So I'm being really restrained and only buying books that I just have to have. Especially as I am still getting rid of books! It hurts!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Playing with Martin's camera

Well finger's crossed that this is going to work! At this rate I'll be giving up for good! I am not happy with the changes to Blogger. Having to sign in several times is a pain and then getting everything done and then losing it all is more than a pain!

I managed to get Martin's camera to work and took some pictures of the loaf of bread I'd just made. Its tall and thin because that's how the machine makes it but the bread is scrummy! This one is a Granary loaf with added sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Yummy! I was going to put a picture of the breadmaker but I just haven't got the energy left after doing all this twice!

And what's with the 'required field must n't be left blank'? I wouldn't leave it blank if I knew what it was. All that happens is that I can't publish and then lose the lot! I shall have to cut a slice of bread, spread thickly with butter and enjoy while still warm! I turn the loaf on its side to cut so that it is a better shape!
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Magic Squares Quilt
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New term begins

Today was the first day of a new term. This is the last term of the year and it is only five weeks long as students go off on holiday and have other commitments. We do basic techniques and finish off with a quick quilt which is a design I have found which can make a quilt top in about six hours. This year I have designed a briliant pattern which I call Double Drunkard but pictures will come later when I've actually made the sample. It is a good way of getting a new quilt as otherwise I'd be too busy to make something this large.My Magic Squares quilt started off as a class quick quilt. Admittedly getting the quilt top backed and quilted can sometimes take a while. I am still waiting to quilt a finished 'Crazy Cuts' quilt that I did two or even three years ago! Oh procrastination how you bug me! I didn't even realise that I had the lazy gene until fairly recently!
Today the technique was Seminole patchwork and I was impressed at the work done by the students. They were very innovative and produced some exciting pieces. No pictures unfortunately as I have no camera. Martin very kindly lent me his small digital but I have to read the manual before I can use it as it is completely different to mine. I am a great manual reader. And a good and well written manual can be a blessing.
I think Fenella shows great promise here for a career in show business! She has the mannerisms! I asked her to give me a smile and this is what I got!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Je suis triste!

I am so sad! Today my wonderful Fuji Finepix 4900 digital camera wouldn't work! I love this camera as it is so user friendly. Whatever I did it took wonderful pictures...well 99% of the time anyway. In the car, at any angle and with all sorts of bumps and jerks it still took a very good picture. If I can't get it mended I am going to miss it. It was OK last night and then I charged it up overnight and this morning when I turned it on it was all haywire. The settings were all awry and most on them gave me video mode. There was no macro setting and no fine tuning controls. It will take a picture but with no input from me to get it just right! It wasn't cheap either. I bought it for my second teaching trip to the States and felt I deserved the best! It did me proud and I took masses of photos and since then I've used it constantly. Perhaps it has just run out of life! Who knows. But while I wait for a camera techie to pronounce judgement I am sad.
However I am really touched by all the comments from yesterday's post welcoming me back! You are all great and I am glad to be back. I hadn't realised how much I missed writing in the blog. It anchors my thoughts. I have thought about this and decided that I will only reply individually to comments if I am asked a question or there is something I need to reply to. Otherwise I will just mention them in the blog. I do like comments so don't let this put you off!

I managed to get some pictures of the garden from the semi defunct camera. So here goes.These show the before and after of the tree. It really does look bare but also makes the garden look much wider. The honeysuckle on the back fence is now able to get some sun so I might even get flowers this year. I have planted bamboo and some ferns. The bamboo is the silvery looking stuff. I have clematis in the obelisque and give it a year and it will look lovely....I hope! The problem with this corner is that it is very damp and shady so not a lot will grow there. It does get some sun later in the year but not for long. It is also possible to see the difference in quality between the older photo and the one I took this morning!

And as well as all this gardening I have been playing with faux chenille. I love this technique. It is so tactile. This is a bag I made using a piece of faux chenille. It is full of pockets and is really a useful tote
bag. The flowers were fussy cut and put on the top fabric piece. Then five layers plus flowers were stitched through and the resulting channels cut and brushed. I have also made two more pieces to turn into cushions. I am contemplating making a jacket using this technique as I think it could be quite useful and very effective. I first saw this technique in a very old copy of Threads magazine and they had made a coat!

It is now time for pudding! Greek yogurt, maple syrup and cream. How decadent can one get!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Rising from the dead!

Well I had been in two minds as to whether or not to give up blogging but then I needed to know when I had planted seeds in my garden last year and the blog was able to be of immense help so I am still here and rising from my slumbers of the past few months. And its all change as well! No longer just a click and I'm on the 'dashboard' ready to roll. No, its sign in and sign in and eventually one can get going on the spiel!
We now own the house we have been living in for the past fourteen years and it is a funny feeling. Its not like moving; there is no euphoria of a new house to decorate or the fun of arranging the furniture in a new setting. But there is the quiet satisfaction that everything we do in the house or garden from now on is for us and not for the landlords. And I have such plans. The list is growing by the day. Unfortunately everything except the garden is on hold as Martin has bought a new Espace to take the place of his old one and he is spending every available minute doing it up and I have seven seat covers to make. I wouldn't mind so much except that all seats are different. The front seats are different to the middle seats and the back seats are different again to the middle and front and to cap it all the middle seat in the back set of three is different again! As he's been cutting templates for me in acrylic I must get on with them pdq!

Carolyn came down to visit in February when the weather was rough and cold but we managed to get onto the beach and had one day of sunshine. Looking back it was a very wet start to the year and yet now we are having hot and sunny weather with a promise of more to come.
Fred, who at eighteen months is now all boy complete with chocolaty mouth and a real tear away and Fenella on our local beach being very pink. Her favourite colour!
This is just a start. Tomorrow I will take pictures. I am teaching for five weeks this term and start this Friday. Then through the summer I will give workshops at home. The teaching is very rewarding and although I haven't been doing a lot for me what I have been doing has been satisfying. I no longer feel that I have to produce stuff. No longer do I feel driven to create just because, which has freed me up to do the things that I really enjoy such as reading, dyeing and applique without feeling guilty that I am not making 'meaningful' art! I shall enjoy this summer making my small garden wonderful and planning next year's teaching projects. It is amazing how much one can spend on such a small garden! My son has transformed his garden.

From this on the left to this on the right! It has taken him a year to do the basic restructuring. This is a photo he sent me this April. I wish he lived nearer and not 600 miles away as then he could lend a hand in my garden!
Now to see how these photos will publish! Fingers crossed!