Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year full of Peace and Prosperity! Looking back on 2007 I seem to have achieved a lot although it didn't seem like it at the time! The most important thing for us was buying our house and this has made such a big difference in our lives. Martin has been able to get his new Espace on the road and this has made his job that much better. I have been able to start my own classes which have gone very well. And most importantly we have all been healthy. I don't know about the wealthy and wise bit! Hopefully that will come in 2008!
Today I started as I mean to go on. I finished a quilt that had been half finished for several months. Shame on me! I also did a load of dyeing and over-dyeing. In fact the fabric is in washing now. And I got out a drawing pad and did lots of doodling and scribbles which when translated into ideas will provide me with the first set of quiltlets. I am going to work small and achieve a lot! Now I'm going to go in the attic and continue with clearing out the clutter. The dustman comes tomorrow so this is a good time to find stuff to throw. I already have a huge bag for a charity shop.


Friday, December 28, 2007

A Superb Christmas!

Thank you for all your Christmas greetings. I had a great Christmas and was thoroughly spoilt by my family. Martin gave me a USB record player so I can convert my old vinyl LP's to CD's. I am having a super time going through my hundred's of LP's and 45's listening to them through the computer. Isn't technology wonderful. These stretch back to the late 50's and I'm finding it really nostalgic. Such fun!
My mum gave me EQ6 so that will keep my occupied. It is a great improvement on EQ5 and that was a pretty fantastic program. And what is even better is that I can use it while listening to my records. I'm going to be very good and work through the lessons so that I really know how to use every bit of it not just the things that I know already.

My niece and nephews gave me books. I am going to really enjoy reading them. The landscape one has some great ideas in it. For some of her work she was inspired by the paintings of Ton Schulton and I really like his work.

These three books are going to be most inspirational, especially while I stretch my brain and try to produce some art inspired work. The Art Quilt workbook has a series of exercises that I am going to follow week by week just to get the brain in gear. My aim is to produce small pieces of work each week/month. Notice I'm not being too hard on myself! Smile!

This is my son and his fiance huddling under a hand woven rug that my daughter gave them for Christmas. As a weaver I can really appreciate the different weaves in it. A really lovely piece of work in soft heathery colours. I was hoping he'd leave it behind!!! But I guess in cold Scotland he has more need of it than I do in mild and occasionally sunny Cornwall.

The food was wonderful though I say it myself. I've put on a couple of pounds to prove it! We all had a good time. My friend Sue and her husband came over on the Sunday evening for dinner. We played Trivial Pursuit after the meal and I was on the losing side. Andrew and Matt were too busy giving clues away to the other side for us to win. Just as well I'm not competitive! It was a hoot from start to finish and a good time was had by all.
I am now stocked up with wonderful things to make me smell and look delightful in the coming year. And so many scarves I can venture into the coldest weather with impunity! So colourful too that I wouldn't be lost even in the deepest snowdrift! I'm off to the sales tomorrow to see what bargains I can find. My Christmas money is burning a hole in my pocket.
I hope you all had a great Christmas and are ready for the New Year. Still a few days to go. Time to reflect on the last year and the changes for the better that could be made in 2008. I'm on holiday still until next Thursday. It's wonderful. =

Friday, December 21, 2007

Four more sleeps to go!

I don't think I will get an opportunity to blog again until after Christmas. Possibly on Boxing Day! My son is at this moment driving down from Edinburgh and at the last count expected to be with us around 1 am tomorrow morning! Not the best time of the year to be making a 600 mile journey in one fell swoop!
I am totally organised which is amazing me! I have bread made and a pot of soup is simmering on the stove. All the shopping has been done. I actually managed to get to the supermarket before the hordes descended! The presents are wrapped; the bed is made up and the room tidy and dusted! I have cleaned and polished and all is ready. In fact I have time to read a good book should I so wish.
Talking of good books - my present to myself arrived this morning. It is Gaudynski's Machine Quilting Guidebook by Diane Gaudynski. A quick perusal has told me that this will be a most useful book to own and I will be pleased I gave it to myself.
I am on holiday now until January 3rd and I have got so much planned that I wonder if I'll get it all in! Already I have made a few resolvements (I won't say resolutions) that I am going to put into practice in the New Year or sooner! I don't know if that is a word but it sounds good to me. I'm going to start making my brain work and do more hands on designing. I'm going to start planning now for next Christmas so that I can do wonderful things without pressure. I'm going to give myself projects to do so that I can practice new techniques. And I'm going to prune my life. This last one is the biggy! I'm going to work out what I enjoy doing, what I do most of and what I avoid doing if I can help it. Then I'm going to give away, sell, jettison and otherwise get rid of all the clutter that I don't need and which I'm never going to use because it isn't part of my 'enjoyment' list. I have been quite good at this so far this year but not good enough. And the attic is going to feature strongly here. I am loving the attic. It must be the next best thing to sliced bread. A floor and lights...what more could I ask. It enables me to keep and get hold of stuff quickly so that I can create more space where it matters. ie In my workroom. Oh I'm getting quite excited about it all already especially as I plan to do more of my first love which is applique.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, holiday or whatever you are going to do over the next few days. Our works Christmas lunch today was yummy. I shall leave you with a picture of my absolutely fabulous dessert. It was superb! In fact pictures of all the desserts. They were, in order, our table, Christmas pudding, cherry and lemon creme brulee with shortcake and sticky toffee pudding. The creme brulee was best! I do love dessert! I'm going to make a trifle now!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Wonderful Day!

I had a wonderful day yesterday. It was just like being retired! I wish! I got so much done that I felt really pleased with myself. I started by making bread and a pot of red pepper soup. Have to keep the inner man going! Then I made a hot water bottle cover which was easy peasy. No big deal there! After that I made the small bag for my mum with a longer handle so that she can put it round her neck to carry small things up and down stairs and thus leave her hands free for clinging to the bannister as she has difficulty getting up and down stairs. I was really pleased with this one. I embellished an abstract design on the front with dyed fleece (from the sheep)! So no picture just in case she should glance at the blog. You never know! She has been known to. Then I did a load of washing and got it all dried and put away. In between times I sorted out all the Christmas presents into recipient piles and started to wrap them. So far I haven't done very many! And last of all I went into the attic and attacked another pile of boxes. I find this so exciting as I never know what I'm going to find. This time I found a set of curtains which I'd forgotten I had. Today I put them up in place of some really manky ones which I put out with the rubbish. They are a great improvement! And I was still in the attic when Martin came home and I had to get dinner. But a wonderful day all told as I achieved so much. Well it seemed like a lot to me!
It was hard going back to work today but there were compensations. There have been so many tins and boxes of chocolate given to us that I think we will probably suffer death by chocolate. It is especially bad for me as they are put in reception for folk to help themselves to as they pass by but I have to look at them constantly. My will power has never been that good so it is very hard! I have to keep telling myself that the more than a stone I've lost took an effort and I don't want to have to struggle to lose it all over again!
I have just bought myself a superb book on colour by Stephen Quiller called Colour Choices: Making Colour Sense Out of Colour Theory. (It's an American book so of course colour isn't spelt like that!) And it's a book for artists but that doesn't matter as often books for artists have more meat in them. And this one has lots of good ideas and interesting uses of colour. Will be brilliant to try to translate it into dyed fabric. All I need now is a bit of time to indulge myself and read it from cover to cover!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Wintery waves

We went shopping this afternoon to try and find some Christmas cards for Martin to give to his customers. I found several things I suddenly needed but he didn't find any cards! Or anything else that he was looking for. Mind you we only search one store, Trago's, as it is the main one that is open on a Sunday and handy for parking. On the way home taking the scenic route along the coast I was bemoaning the fact that I had left my camera behind when Martin remembered he had his in the glove compartment. So all was not lost!

I was fascinated by the rays of the sun coming through the cloud and immediately got some great ideas for some designs. The waves were pretty too though not awesomely huge like they have been during the recent gales. The large building in the picture on the end of the middle row is the Falmouth Hotel where we will be having our works Christmas lunch. Always a good occasion. And last but not least Martin's new car! It was bitterly cold and I was glad I had the boots AND gloves!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Very, very cold!

It is exceptionally cold. I have the heating turned up and still my hands are frozen! An extra couple of jumpers wouldn't go amiss. So short and sweet.
I have continued to drag stuff up to the attic and am being constantly amazed at what I am finding squirrelled away in boxes which I haven't looked in for months. I am being very organised and putting everything away by category. So that means that when I want something that is sewing/textile related I'll be able to find it quickly. Whether this is so will only become apparent later when I need something!
After all that effort and expenditure of energy I felt the need to take a break so I finished a book I started a few weeks ago. The Chameleon's Shadow by Minette Walters. I didn't think I was going to like it when I read the blurb on the inside of the book cover but it was very good and towards the end quite riveting. I couldn't put it down! I have read all her other books and enjoyed them immensely.
I made a small gift bag in machine embroidered felt. Very simple with attached yo-yo's. Well they will be attached when I can find some spare time. And I thought this would be a good bag shape for my piece of embellished wool. So I added to the embellishing and turned it into a small bag with hand-dyed cotton lining. I like it! They are both quite small being about 8" high.

They were much admired at the workshop on Friday. We had a good time and got lots done. Plus we enjoyed mince-pies, scones and pie with our coffee. And my wonderful students gave me a gift voucher for Creative Grids which means I can indulge myself in the new year! For now I have to think CLEANING, TIDYING and COOKING in that order. Actually as I clean I will tidy so the two things will go together. I have put up the Christmas tree so I do feel I'm on the way to Christmas! And I have Monday off to get lots done!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Almost there!

After tomorrow I will have a whole week to clear up in before my son arrives from Scotland for Christmas. This may sound like a long time but believe me I will need every minute! I will firstly have to clear up the mess I've made making Christmas goodies. Then I will have to wrap up all the presents that are residing on the bed he will sleep in. And when they are wrapped I will have to find somewhere to store them until Christmas day. I am feeling virtuous because I have posted off everything that has to be posted off. Fingers crossed that those gifts going to the US do actually arrive this year! And when the pressies are sorted then I have to sort the attic (the attic with the wonderful new floor that is going to make my life sooooo much easier!) so that I can put away the clutter I'm keeping from the living room. And Martin wants me to move the stuff I stored in the garage so that he can put one of his cars in there. And my Mum would also like me to remove some of the stuff that I have stored in her garage. Not because she has a car that needs to go in there but she would actually like to be able to walk from the house door to the garage door! And we haven't yet got to any actual cleaning. You know, dusting and stuff! I'm not really good at that! And then the bed will have to be made, the Christmas tree put up and decorated with those wonderful decorations I've been making; and if I am still standing I have to do some cooking! And go to work every afternoon. I'm feeling tired all ready! It's just as well that the wonderful book on colour and the book on free machine quilting which is coming from America, won't be here this side of Christmas. Because were they to arrive the temptation to read them would be great. But when they do finally appear I will no doubt be flat on my back from all the Christmas exertions and barely able to open them! Or on the other hand they could gee me up and give me a new lease of life!
'Exuberant colour' I'm sorry about that long and involved paragraph with long and involved sentences but that is unfortunately the way I talk, and think! I HAVE been trying to be less verbose! Have you noticed?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Another change in the weather!

It is hard to keep up with this week's weather. Today Falmouth work up to a frosty start with cars iced up and roads slippery. The sun came out and it was a cold and sunny day. So cold that when I was de-icing my car windscreen my hands became so frozen that I couldn't feel them. I was so demoralised by the cold that I bought a pair of fur lined boots when in town just to cheer me up! They are lovely! I expect I shall now live in them until April!
Again it has been a productive if mindless day. I completed the bottle carrier this morning and spent most of the afternoon getting hand out sheets ready for Friday. Then this evening I have been mindlessly making yo-yo's to sew on the bottle bag. But I am now finished. Hurray! Tomorrow I will be able to wrap up presents that need to be posted! And I quite liked the effect of the bottle carrier that I might make a small bag along the same lines but with a bit more pizzaz!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Another day entirely!

The weather today was gorgeous! Bright sun, no wind and remarkably warm. Compared to yesterday we could be in another country. Long may it continue - well at least until I've been into town tomorrow morning!
I am feeling virtuous as I've finished the place mat I was doing. In fact it was very quick from start to finish. I appliqu├ęd a poinsettia flower on the left hand side of a rectangle of beige self print Christmas fabric. I layered the fabric to start with by putting the top fabric and Bondawebbing it to the wadding, placing stabiliser behind this and then doing the stitching. I love the effect of ironed wadding. So smooth and flat and yet so solid. Then I bagged the whole thing out with another piece of the beige fabric. Topstitched the edges and voila one table mat. The next thing to do is a bottle carrier in green felt decorated with yo yo's. The good thing about all these samples I'm doing is that will come in useful over Christmas. If I get time I want to make some small humbug bags and stuff them with pot pourri. Lovely for hanging from hangers in the wardrobe.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Two posts in one day! Wonders will never cease! I have finished the table runner and tomorrow I will be able to finish another of the many half done pieces waiting patiently by my sewing machine. I quilted this in gold and multi gold thread though it doesn't show up in the picture. I put two threads through the needle to make it bolder! One was gold metallic and the other was gold shot with a greeny blue - very pretty!

I really didn't have enough room to photograph this properly. I made three ragged log cabin blocks and cut them back to 10" and then put a border round the three joined up of 3". And now to bed to listen to the wind. Just the night for a really creepy book at bedtime!

On being busy!

These are some of the dyed pieces I did yesterday. I did a range of whirlpool designs using already dyed fabric for some and white fabric for others. Whirlpool designs are the most popular design that I do. I don't know why! It is always exciting pressing the washed pieces out as they look completely different when ironed. I love the one in the top left and the one in the middle. The camera hasn't done them justice as they are really vibrant.
I have finished the top for the ragged log cabin table runner and I'm very pleased with it. If I can get it finished tonight I'll post a picture tomorrow. It was very quick to do and I have more ideas to use this technique, which is a good way of using up odd strips of fabric.
The weather is still stormy with gale force winds. I meant to go down to the beach and take pictures of the waves but forgot and then didn't want to go out as the rain was tipping down. If it is still windy tomorrow, and it no doubt will be, then I'll go then. Last night was so bad that at one stage I thought we might be going to lose our roof so it was with great trepidation that I drew the curtains this morning but there was no obvious wind damage anywhere. Just a sodden lawn and bare trees.
I have signed up for Sharon's Take it Further challenge that everyone is talking about. Hopefully it will encourage me to take the time to be more 'artistic' next year. I need something to motivate me and I know once I get into something like this the whole thing spurs me on. Well that's what I'm counting on. I use the word 'artistic' loosely. I know what I mean but it's hard to explain! Just that I need to think more about the design concepts and stretch myself. Life's too short to knock myself up over it; suffice to say that a tad more thought and organisation wouldn't come amiss! After all as Gabrielle said on her blog - I have lived over half my life already - or words to that effect! But that doesn't mean I can't make the best of what is yet to come!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Too busy to blog!

I have been so busy these last two weeks that I have felt quite stressed. Firstly I have been having to keep up with making samples and hand-out sheets for my class on Friday mornings and then I've also been working like mad to make things for the workshop this coming Friday. I've got a good collection now of stockings, tree decorations, table runners, place mats, bags and sachets to name but a few. My workroom smells like Lush or the Body Shop the perfume in the sachets is so strong in such quantities. One sachet good; several sachets overload! Then I've also been trying to get on top of my Christmas present list and I'm happy to say that after a mammoth haul this morning in Truro (in the wind and pouring rain!) I now have everything organised and bought. I just need to wrap them all and pack those gifts that are being sent. All I have to worry about now is the food! I am also making 'The Projects' which is this year's made set of pressies. But I can't tell you about this as it has to be a surprise until after Christmas. So far I am one down and five to go but I have a day's holiday on Monday week so I hope to get finally finished then. None have to be posted so I'm not under pressure. Well not that much pressure. I am also in a Crazy Patchwork round robin and I have a block to finish doing my bit of embellishing on by Sunday night so I can post off on Monday and I have to set up a scanner for my Mum so I am going to have a busy day tomorrow. But it's fun! I do like to be busy!
And as you can see by the picture I am keeping on top of the dyeing. The hand-dyes have been selling like hot cakes so I've been dyeing batches every weekend. One of the pictures is a close up but the others are all of the same batch just at different angles. I haven't done so many pieces this time, just thirty or so. Usually I do twice or even three times that amount. But space was at a premium. I want to use some of the stripey pieces with Christmas fabric to make a table runner like the one on Gerrie's blog on December 6th. I think this design has great possibilities and I want to play with it. I love making uneven log cabins as they are such fun and its a good way to use up scraps. I might even fuse it to save time! But now I have to go and rinse out the dyeing and throw it all in the washing machine. Ho hum, another Saturday which has flown by! But I have done a lot!