Thursday, October 30, 2008

Old stuff revisited!

While tidying up my pictures folder I came across some old stuff that I did several years ago. And not having any new stuff to show I thought I'd put in a few of the old ones.

This is a silk ribbon embroidery that I had great fun doing. I spilt coffee on the silk and had to paint over it which is why it is as it is. The coffee stains actually helped the paving colour! And I can remember that all the while I was painting the gate my tongue was hanging out I was concentrating that hard! But it is one of my favourite pieces even today!

This piece is even older. It must be all of thirty or even forty years old. It is a collage using mainly nets and some velveteen for the sun. It was meant to represent the sun sinking into the horizon with a dark and choppy sea. Very abstract! I wonder how I would tackle this today. Perhaps when I have a moment I'll try it!

This is my favourite piece of crazy patchwork. It is called Autumn Leaves. So original! I had such fun doing it. And I even did some needle tatting to make motifs for it. The sashing is gorgeous silk dupion. The colour is heavenly! I now have it as a throw and the colours are as bright as ever.

And last but not least a more recent unfinished piece. In fact if I'm truthful I will tell you that I had completely forgotten about this series of leaf pictures. There are four of them in all. Two in greeny browns and two in this bluey pink colouring. These are meant to be leaves in the moonlight while the other two are leaves in the day. I really must finish them. It is amazing how many pieces I do that have leaves in them. The leaves here are all hand painted and the backgrounds are woven fabrics overstitched with thread and heavier wools. I am ashamed of myself for not finishing these off years ago. They must have been hidden up for at least two if not three years now. So much to do, so little time. Story of my life!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bitterly cold!

It is bitterly cold here and I am huddled in front of a roaring log fire. Fires are so warming and cosy. I am determined not to put the central heating on until it is really cold. Like three inches of snow on the ground! One of the joys of having a lap top computer is that it is portable and can be set up wherever one wants. Of course that means no printing or scanning but warmth is more important at the moment.

I have been wicked and bought a supply of fabrics. Mostly Christmas fabrics but some I couldn't resist like the African prints above and the lovely metallic green underneath them. I needed more Christmas fabrics for making samples for my Christmas workshop next week but unfortunately for my bank account there were lots of other delectable fabrics in the shop as well. I have taken this Friday and the following Monday as holidays so that I can have a long weekend in which to achieve stuff. I like to offer the students lots of choice as everyone has different needs when it comes to Christmas decorations, gifts or cards so I try to cater for all. And it's fun!
I have treated myself to Marian Barnett's book on using Lutradur. As I have a large roll of this which has been languishing (isn't that a great word!) in my workroom, when I read about her CD book I knew I had to have it. From reading the content's list it sounds most exiting and although I have used Lutrudur and blogged about it in the past I need something to get me going again. This will be it!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

SewEzi Sewing Table!

I really love this sewing table. The picture above is of it folded up having just come out of it's carrying case. It is so easy to put up!

This is it up with my Husqvarna 1100 in it. I had it made to take both my Husqvarna and my Bernina 180. The Bernina being the bigger of the two machines I have to put in small disks to raise up the Husqvarna. Very simple to do.

This is a close up.

You can see from this picture that when the Bernina is in it there will be plenty of room for the knee lift to operate. This was an important point for me as I use the knee lift all the time and really miss it when I'm using the 1100. A point to note is that if one rolls the table in wet weather it would be necessary to wipe the wheels as they are in close proximity to the sewing area. Just a thought!

This view is with the clear insert so that the table can be used as a light box. I really like this idea and it will be so useful when I'm taking a class.

This is the insert that turns it into a table. In this mode it would be useful for rotary cutting, ironing using a pressing cloth or even as a spare table for a buffet or whatever,as well as taking the machine so that the free arm can be used.

And here it is ready to roll all packed up in it's carrying bag. It has a handle at the top and also at the side (on the right in the picture above). It is very simple to pack up and cover and it stands on it's own too. There is a large pocket at the front for all the inserts and a smaller pocket at the back for the disks. All in all I think it is wonderful and even my husband was impressed. Two of my friends have seen it and are keen to have one. It is ideal for anyone with a lack of space as it takes up so little room. I'm in love!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I spent Thursday morning searching for some beads that I knew I had somewhere and felt that I'd seen them recently while searching for something else! Of course I didn't remember where! By the time I had to go to work I was totally frustrated so I spent some time re-designing my workroom so that I could go through EVERYTHING! I came home, fed my husband and then started stripping out everything in the room, furniture and all. It all got piled on the spareroom bed and at one stage I completely marooned myself in the room not being able to get out! Then I started to putting the furniture all back in the new arrangement and wonder of wonders my plan actually worked! Stand back in amazement! But then I had to bring back all the bits and pieces and sewing paraphenalia. By the time I cleared half the bed I was beginning to feel like an old woman of 100! The next evening I finished it all off. I didn't think everything was going to go back but with a bit of organisation there were only a couple of things that ended up in the attic or under the spare room bed. Well if those things had gone in the attic I would never have used them again! Things like the frame for doing large machine embroideries on the Bernina. The pictures above are of the new layout. A very strange one but it does work. The views work round the room looking in from the door; then the left wall; window; right wall; and then looking at the back wall with the bookcase; and finally underneath the workbench and table. Not an inch of space is wasted. Oh, did I tell you this room is 7 foot by 7 foot 6 inches. Not overly big! But with this arrangement I have my ironing pad AND cutting board out next to each other.AND I can get at everything without having to move things. So useful! Of course my husband reckons I've got to much stuff! Of course I haven't!
Oh yes and I've bought the SewEzi sewing table and I'm in love! It is wonderful. I have already thought of five uses for it. But more of that tomorrow when I've taken some pictures.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Finished Place Mats

This is a mixed 9-patch piece with appliqued holly leaves across it. I had some left over from the leaf mats. These will be place mats as they are too wide for the tray. The lighting isn't very good I'm afraid. Sorry!

This is the piece that I put up a few days ago but now it is finished. I decided to do applique on this one as well with the last remaining holly leaf. This fits as the mustardy tan fabric has a pattern of swirling holly leaves. And I've been able to find more of this fabric so I'll be able to make a complete set! I like them even if no one else does! Obviously they look better in the flesh!
I am feeling very cheerful as I've had good results back from my chest X-rays so I'm going to live to fight another day or two! I have to take care not to get stressed, not to over do it and not to get any chest infections in the near future. As there are at least two people in my place of work with streaming colds this could be hard but I'll do my best.
It has been a lovely sunny day here and I've just picked a handful of baby courgettes with more to come. Plus a couple of dozen round carrots. Very late in the season but they have taken that long to grow. If the weather is nice at the weekend I want to do some sun printing as the sun is surprisingly still quite hot. Well when out of the wind. Today was as still as a mill pond so hopefully it will remain that way.
I still can't make my mind up about the Sew-Ezi sewing table. Do I want to spend all that money when we are on the edge of a recession. Hard decision to make! I could buy loads of yummy fabric or even a new mattress for the spare room bed. Not easy!

Monday, October 06, 2008

More black and white

The second block in the black and white series. This one was to use the quick technique for 1/2 square triangles. I love pin wheels and in black and white they certainly stand out. I also made the block below which isn't yet quilted or pressed, but is destined to be a mat of some description. If I put an applique in the centre it will be a table centre otherwise I expect it will join the others in this colouring and be a place mat. I did one in this colouring using the quick nine patch technique. Stupidly I chose the tan print without really thinking about it and if I can't get more then I'll have to change the colouring. The bluey piece is fine as it is a hand-dye and I can always dye similar but the holly print will be harder to get more. I don't often use prints (bought ones) so I'm not used to thinking about quantities when I'm playing. For a large project obviously I would have been better prepared.

It is bitterly cold here and I didn't get round to lighting a fire before it became to late to bother so a quick burst of heat is in order I think. That is the trouble with working. It is such a rush when one arrives home. At least I only work in the afternoons so I get a lot of stuff done in the morning. Into town in the morning so there won't be much accomplished tomorrow!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

All this time!

It is bitterly cold here and I am wrapped up in several sweaters and thick socks because I don't want to put the heating on! Sad isn't it that we have come to this to save money on the gas which is forever going up!
But my hands are warm and I can still feel the keys on the keyboard. I was interested to see that I have been blogging for over three years now. In the first year I actually made 852 posts which means I must have been putting up loads of pictures as I am sure I wasn't blogging twice a day, every day! And since then on average I have managed a post at least once a week. And also in that time I have had over 54,000 hits on the site which I think is quite amazing. But it is also quite sad that in all that time and with all those hits the comments are far and few between. I have got to know some bloggers really well and I find that I look for new posts on a daily basis to see what they have been up to. Other bloggers whose blogs had a lot on offer have just dropped off the face of the earth. Is there perhaps a limit on how long the interest to blog remains? I know I'm not quite as enthusiastic as I was originally, but I couldn't tell you why. Perhaps it's a time thing. I know that I am quite busy now. Or it could be that my main computer is now up in the spare bedroom in it's own little cupboard. A real neat contraption. However making the effort of going upstairs isn't always what I want to do and getting the lap-top out is a fag. I'm so lazy! At the moment it is permanently ensconced on the dining room table as I've been having to do our tax returns (which are now finished)and so it's been a piece of cake to blog and read blogs. Ah well just a few thoughts on the whys and wherefores.
Tomorrow I am going to light the first fire of the season as it will be cheery and warming.It used to be government policy that heating went off on May 1st and came on again on October 1st regardless of weather. Often when teaching in Adult Education in September our hands would be so cold that we couldn't feel the needle. Have you ever tried sewing in gloves? I can tell you it's not good! When the rain stops I shall bring in wood and coal to dry out overnight. Well I hope the rain will stop! I didn't light a fire today as I am going to be in my workroom finishing off samples. This week I did the quick method for nine patch blocks and next week I am going to do the quick method for 1/2 square triangles. As I have a surfeit of quilts these will no doubt be turned into place mats or tray cloths. Quick and simple to do and very effective. Pictures tomorrow if I can get them to download. The laptop doesn't like my camera card! But tomorrow I might go and use the big computer!
Well having rambled on about not a lot I shall go and make a smoothie for tea. When I'm on my own I can't be doing with making a proper meal and this will be a nutrionally sound smoothie. Before I do that I might even put on a bouncy compilation CD with tracks like the Scissor Sister's 'I don't feel like Dancing', and Rod Stewart's 'Do ya think I'm sexy', and then do twenty minutes bouncing on my mini trampoline to warm me up! Can only be good!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Total Confusion!


When I started this piece I thought I knew what I was doing. I had sketched out some ideas and chosen the sketch that most emplified what I wanted to do and I'd chosen the fabrics that I wanted to use. And then somehow I got lost. I was confused. It wasn't what I'd had in mind when I started. In fact it was a mess! But rather than call it 'Mess' I have called it 'Confusion'. I'm sure lots of us have this happen but that doesn't make me feel any happier. I now realise that if I was going to use this very busy piece of hand-dyed fabric as a background then the foreground fabrics should have been much, much stronger, especially the lilac. Or better still I should have used a plain background fabric. And really when one comes to look at closely it isn't going to work anyway! But hey! I'm not going to worry when it gets coffee dripped on it am I!
It's freezing cold here so I'm going to make a courgette and asparagus risotto for tea using the last of our courgettes. Good comfort food!