Monday, 17 April 2017

Flying Visit!!

Long time no blog!  Life has been interesting, heartbreaking, fast, full and just time eating lately! Never sure why everything always happens at once!   This is a super quick round up. 

At the end of this week I will be at the Brockenhurst Needlework Fiesta with Maggie Grey and Fiona, come say hello if you're there. I've been in two minds what to demonstrate, either the embellisher again or soluble.  With that in mind, and the fact that my next exhibition in November I wouldn't mind showing some 3D pieces, I made up some fabrics using soluable and loads of dead balls of wool.  

As you can imagine the texture is fabulous.  I made up two of these strange maquettes.  Far from my usual doll shape and very much self evolving! 

They're wired inside and have weighted bases so quite stable though they are 20 inches tall. I have never been any good at depicting human form, loath trying to be honest, and so gave myself permission to go comfortable abstract on thier shapes and faces with no features as such and I'm quite pleased with them.  

The cloaks are felt made on the embellisher, totally dry and quite thin.  

Luna, the white one, is almost there.  I just need to add some embroidery around the Shisha mirrors along the hem.

Aurora, the dark one, I've only just managed to start the cloak embroidery.   Still a fair way to go.  Whether they will be ready to take to Brock is another thing but it's not vital.  It's been quite a nice journey in a different direction for a change.  

We had a fair bit of this in the nest.

The a glimpse of these.  Sorry it's blurred but my camera refused to focus on the eggs. The pinkish blob below the blue eggs is a hatchling. 

An awful lot of feeding of these.

And they've grown into these! I can only see two chicks although there is a hatchling and two eggs above.  I don't know if we've lost one or I managed to catch the baby just as it came out and that is the shell of its egg as yet unremoved by mum.  Either way the two left are very demanding of thier parents! 

The bluebells have been fabulous up in the woods beside one of my dog walks.  I was a bit peeved to be there last week and pass a couple and their spaniels just charging around in the woods knocking them all over them place.  Dog's aren't actually allowed in there anyway and the gamekeeper has signs up all over the place but I was sad to see the disregard of the flowers. 

Hayfever hasn't actually been too bad so far this year even though this is the view from our bed.  Love how sharp the contrast is! The next three fields to the right and up behind us are yellow too. Thankfully it's not for too long.

This is our fig tree Elsa bought us for our wedding 10 years ago.  It often goes into winter with it's embryo figs attached but not many make it but this year it's covered!  We could be searching out lots of figgy recipes later in the year! The birds love them too, sadly so do the wasps. 

This is our Solanum over the terrace.  All green at the moment but I will take more photos over the next couple of weeks and it will soon be a huge ball of blue. 

This is where the blog is fabulous, as a diary.  I had to look back to see when the robins nested a couple of years ago and all the info was there.  Also this week on the 15th John heard the first Cuckoo.  If I look back I can see it was 15th of April in 2016 and 2015 but April 17th in 2014.  They seem to have amazing calendars built it! 

Finally I will sign off Happy Easter from us and the dogs. 

Thursday, 30 March 2017

On to the Next Thing

We've packed up the exhibition and brought it all home.  I know I saw quite a few friends from Facebook and even one or two from here as well.  It was lovely to see you if you came, thank you for taking the time.  

Up next is the Brockenhurst Needlework Fiesta at the end of the month.  I will be upstairs with Maggie and Fiona again demonstrating something. Will have to work on what though. 

I do have another companion outside the studio window!! Some of you may remember the Robins who moved into the nestbox in 2014 HERE and went on to have a lovely family which I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to photo fledging too.  Well this year we have a Blackbird who has made her nest just below the nestbox so still right in view.  

The blur along the bottom are the numbers on my quilting ruler, that little access alley is only 3 feet wide so she's quite close.  She has been there just over 2 weeks now so hopefully she has become used to our comings and goings.  I will keep an update on the nest progress I hope. 

Not a lot else to report at the moment. It took a while to log and put away all the quilts from the exhibition and I'm only just putting my head straight so I will leave you with a picture of the four dogs having a blast on the beach this week. 

Thursday, 16 March 2017


We are all set up and under way at the Shaftesbury Arts Centre.  

I'm there today so, as yet, have no photos but here is one just about as we finished hanging on Tuesday.  

It looks rather good even in the dark!  Lovely vibrant colours from all three of us. 

I was very honoured for the others to choose to put mine in such a way that you see some of them as a succession as you walk in the door.  

I have been asked several times at the Art Weeks and since if I have any of my landscapes.  Well you can see Strawberry Moon on the back wall above but I decided on Sunday night that I could make some more just not as big as the others.  So Monday I set everything up and got on with four more.

The three above are at the finished machine stitch stage and ready for me to add all the hand stitch and beads.  I have finished the one below, New Moon, so that is going to the Gallery today.  They finish at about A3 size.

I have also managed to put together another dog blanket for a friend too. 

I had a fab day yesterday as a guest at the West Country Embroiderers Dorset Day.  They have persuaded me to join them.  After my rather cliquey experience with the Embroiderers Guild I was happy to meet some really lovely ladies who made me feel welcome and so will be going to the first meeting I can in a couple of months time. 

The toes are healing fine though I did manage to put them in a roomy pair of shoes for yesterday's day out and have been paying for it with throbbing toes ever since.  Seeing as I'm not willing to encourage badly growing nails, been there and it's not nice when they have to be sorted, I am staying in flip flops or the like!  

I'm now off to the gallery! 

Monday, 6 March 2017

We Did It!

Yesterday Elsa and I walked 18 miles around the New Forest.
We had every type of weather you can think of from bright sunshine to torrential downpours, hail and gale force winds.  It was changeable enough to make it interesting anyway!  
The worst thing was the endless mud.  Some was just continuous squelch and other parts looked innocent enough and then tried taking your boot off.  Very hard work in some places.  
We saw some lovely parts of the Forest though and often wondered where all the other entrants were once the runners had passed us.  
I'm not the smallest or fittest of people so I am super proud I walked twice as far as I have ever walked before in a good consistent time too.  My feet are a bit of a mess but they will heal! 
I had already given my donation to Macmillan Cancer Care before it was posted on Facebook that I was doing the walk and several people asked where they could donate for me too.  I set up an Just Giving page if anyone is interested HERE I am very grateful to the donations that have come in already.  Thank you.  

Thursday, 2 March 2017

The Brain Doth Fizz

I did finish the 2AM piece, it just needs a damn good pressing now as you can see.

I added some stitch and now it's hanging on the door just to see if it needs anything else.  The window position in the gallery is a bit ignored in the scheme of things but it's bright enough it might catch a few eyes and draw them in.  It's 43 x 28 inches. 

The last couple of days I have been using up the last of my lovely Harris tweed making A5 and A6 notebook covers.  I have a Folksy account as yet unused and I thought I should give it a go.  I didn't enjoy the Etsy experience as I found it just too awash with imported crap.   At least Folksy is UK makers only.  I know the stock will be few and far between but we will just see how it pans out and these will be the first things in there very soon. 

I know they have a rather strong Pointer theme but they will be profit to the GSP charity sales.  

I have a couple of thoughts swimming around in my head which I need to get on with and I have also been playing with some beautiful Prima moulds. Still a little un focussed on that one but there could be another WoW video for them.  

Off to have a light supper, my tum has decided to play up the past couple of days and I have a BIG walk this Sunday and I need it sorted by then. 

Have a great weekend! 

Friday, 24 February 2017


Well last week was fantastic!! Had a ball! From set up day right until the end.

Maggie Grey and Fiona Edwards
We were so busy the  whole time we didn't take too many photos.  This was just before the doors opened on the first day. 
Maggie and I were demonstrating at each end of the booth and Fiona was busy in the middle with subscriptions and book sales.  

I had some lovely visitors and comments and my friend Jan Daly, who is local to Exeter, popped by with much needed refreshments!! I also had one of those surreal moments when a face appeared in front of me and I knew I knew it but it wasn't supposed to be there.  The very lovely Shirley from Stitcherydo also came down to say hello. After being blogging friends for must be at least 6 or so years, we finally met face to face!

All back home and unpacked now.  It took a couple of days to get over the withdrawal.  I was honestly fed up with the sound of my voice by the end of it all but miss being surrounded by so many creative people of all levels and disciplines.  Food for the soul.

I did have a massive lightbulb moment 2am Saturday morning.  Caroline and Karren had asked if I wanted to put a piece in the window for our CAKE show next month.  After watching DMTV recently and Linda's porthole technique I realised I could use that with a slight twist and some glorious hand dyed fabrics from Farne who had a stall just around the corner from us, I could make a piece for the awkward position of the window.  

It's virtually made itself so far.  Just a few more seams to hand stitch and then some added stitch to the surface.  Should keep me quiet for a while!

Have a great weekend. 

Monday, 13 February 2017

Nearly Ready for the C4C Show!

As well as life in general happening including some more longer walks I have been getting a few bits ready for the Craft 4 Crafters show at Westpoint this week.
I put together this 8 x 11 inch piece called Opus Motif 1 inspired by, yes you guessed it, the Opus Anglicanum exhibition.
Background made on the embellisher, silk paper central motif and canvas and stitch frame with a 5 strand braid around the edge. I loved the Bishop's stocking and shoe and think I will at least be taking some more sketches from them. 
I also made some matchbox books to display with one of the articles recently done for Workshop on the Web by Lesley Patterson-Marx

Also to demonstrate what you can do with the embellisher I made this piece called Maelstrom this weekend. A pain to photograph as it's 1 metre by 20 cm and Blogsy wouldn't load it on its own so I had to tile it with a couple of close ups. 

All these will be on view at the show from Thursday to Saturday this week on Maggie Grey's stand 165. Would be nice to see some of you there! 

Friday, 20 January 2017

Dates for the Diary.

Today sees the opening of the Welcome 17 exhibition at the Shaftesbury Arts Centre gallery.  This exhibition has a piece or two from all the artists who will have shows at the gallery throughout the year.  I have sent up Relic, Jurassic.  Welcome 17 is on until the 4th February.

I will be there with Caroline Ireland (pastels) and Karren Burkett (painting) with our CAKE show from 15th to 28th March also I will be back there again with Karren but also Andrea Jenkins (painter) and Colleen Du Pon (blacksmith sculpture) 7th to 21st November. 

Before all that I will be at the Craft 4 Crafters Show, Westpoint Exeter with Maggie Grey so come and say hello if you're passing!  Dates are 16th to 18th February. 

Last Sunday we had a lovely morning at Salisbury Cathedral for the Christening of our grandson.  He looked lovely in his Daddy's christening gown and he was so good and seemed to enjoy himself.

I have been walking more with Ellie and Remi.  The longest one to date was up on Salisbury Plain with my friend Natalie and her two dogs Hobbes and Dimple.  
Dimple, Hobbes, Remi and Ellie

A total of 9.5 miles and I'm rather proud of myself as I did it with two rather sore toe nails.  They are both healing well now though so there will be more tromping over Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire very soon! 
Hobbes and Ellie

First I'm spending more time in the studio finishing off another wall quilt.  Of all my pieces at the Open Studios both Sunset and Moonrise were most often requested to buy, but they are not for sale so I have made this one in a similar style.  Not necessarily to sell but because people seem to like them.

Have a good weekend. 

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Walk, Walk, Walk.....

Today I turfed out my hand dyed fabrics to see what I have left. Not a lot in reality.
The pile top right is for over dyeing. They either need pepping up or calming down, most of them are from my City & Guild days so a bit experimental. I'm sure they'll be back with the others before long once I've found all my white cottons and silks too. 

On Monday Ellie and I set off from the village at 8am for a walk. 

It was a beautiful, crisp start to the day and we had a lovely time but it did start getting greyer as the forecast had said it would. 

In this photo the faint hill in the very furthest distance, you can hardly see it in the middle there, is just about where we set out from. 

But 3 hours later and 7 miles further we made it to Badbury Rings. 

We walked down Ito the car park just as the heavens opened and John pulled up to take us home. It was the furthest I'd ever walked in one go! 

Tuesday I went to London to see the Opus Anglicum exhibition at the V&A.  My Southwest train took me to Clapham Junction and my ticket took me on to Victoria but the Southern Rail train part of the journey was on strike so I chose to walk it.  The map said 2.5 miles. My MapMyWalk said 3.4 by the time I had walked up the steps at the front entrance. 

The exhibition was really busy and it was hard to get close enough to a lot of the exhibits to see the minuscule stitching. It was still nice to see all the bits I had been looking at in my book over the past few weeks though. Silly thing that caught my eye was the huge size of some of the feet in the pictures! No photos allowed sadly.  After I had some lunch I wandered around a few of the other galleries for a couple of hours and then decided to walk over to Waterloo station as that would take me past quite a few of the sites of London starting with the Oratory and then Harrods which I haven't been to since the children were very small. Lots to see though and not just Buckingham Palace, Horseguards, St Stephens tower, now the Elizabeth Tower, and the Houses of Parliament but lots of really fancy fast cars going no where in the static traffic, dogs dressed up to the nines, street buskers, spray tans and piled on make up, suits of every colour and holiday makers wrapped up against the cold though I didn't think it was that chilly. Anyway that walk was 4.8 miles apparently so that, getting there and the walking around the museum totted up to just over 9 miles. I'm doing well!! 

Yesterday John and I did a bit of work on this little beauty. 
Only thing wrong with it was the paper didn't feed so we stripped the top carriage down, found a few missing parts in the works, gave it a damn good clean and it works really well now. It could do with some new feed rollers but we can do that another day. I'm over the moon with it. 

Tomorrow Ellie and I are off on another adventure but the snow is supposed to come. Nothing down here yet but it has been raining and now the sky is clear so it will be icy in the morning no doubt. I'm setting of early so I can go slow and steady. 

Red Sky in the Morning has a proper sleeve too now so that's finished and I've another piece on the go so if the weather does turn I've plenty to be getting on with. Have a great weekend!