Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Well you could probably guess that life here has been doggy dominant.  I have sneaked about a total of an hour in my room to have a quick stitch and play on the City & Guilds.  I did manage to knit a pair of bed socks in the evenings though!!

And just to bore the pants off you all, and to remind me that sometimes there is calm in the House household, if very brief, I will leave you with some doggy poses involving sleep.  (If you look carefully you may even see the odd quilt or stitched cushion!)

Thank you for following our blog this past year.  From this family to yours, we wish you a
Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Chaos Reigns Supreme

Finally, after a lot of searching, juggling and decisions we managed to bring home our latest edition to the family.

This is Ellie.

She did do a lot of sleeping most of the way home, which we were grateful for.  Seeing as we were in the car for 4 hours we only had 3 wees and all in the right place.  No other accidents or car sickness.

Mind you, now she is finding her feet, I think the resident stuffed duck population is in for a hard time.

But you know butter wouldn't melt really.

Ruger and Tully are not quite sure what to make of this energetic, squeaky little thing and Oscar is grateful he can jump onto high places.  We can't wait for her to meet Remi who is a lot nearer her size!  Vets and vaccinations tomorrow.

Everything, including Christmas probably, is on hold for a while!


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Sharon B's Studio Journal Class

If you were wondering about Sharon's studio journal class I mentioned a few posts ago, this is where she is now advertising it.

Sharon B's Studio Journal Class


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

That Rorschach Effect

Rorschach played in my head with those fabrics I dyed last week.  John kept seeing things and so did I.  We didn’t necessarily see the same thing but there were a lot of insects and bugs!  Anyway I saw these in this piece and had to play. 

I think it was the pupa stage that caught my eye more than anything but there had to be an adult stage as well, and the fabric had provided that too.  

I added some Inktense pencil to give depth to the background but the only thing I added to the pink fabric was a very slight metallic sheen from some Lumiere to the adult as a lot of beetles have that irridesence to their carapaces. 

Freemotion quilting and a jewellery headpin with silver bead for the pin and it was finished.

Someone was a slight distraction at the weekend.

And I made a Thing! No recipe as such.  I had been having a pre Christmas rummage in the larder and found a couple of bags of dried fruit and glacé cherries, you know the sort of thing that lurks.  I put all it all into a bowl and added some brandy, sherry, glug of honey, juice and zest of a lemon and a splash of water for lack of orange juice and left it while I thought of what to do with it.  I had also found a bag of premixed shortcrust pastry but I knew I didn't want to make mince pies, I wanted it to be a little more though I didn't have many ingredients really.  I made up the pastry and lined a 9inch square loose bottomed cake tin to a depth of about 2 inches.  I poured in the fruit which had now been soaking for about four hours and were much more plump and topped it off with a Bakewell topping, without the almonds, made with 5oz butter beaten to death with 5oz caster sugar, 2 eggs added and 2oz plain flour folded in.  In the oven for 35 minutes and this popped out.   

It is (was) very yum and quite rich but the sponge bit meant it wasn't overkill on the fruit.  Lovely with vanilla custard and would be worth doing again with the nuts too. 

And finally this is Oscar watching The Frozen Planet with us on Sunday.  He was facinated by the little mice under the snow but when I took the photo the owl that was after the mice appeared on the screen.

It didn't catch him, honest!


Thursday, 1 December 2011

Shades May Be Needed!

Yesterday I dyed some fabrics using the method shown by Laura on DesignMattersTV a few weeks ago.  Where she scrunched into flat trays, I only had empty laundry gel capsule tubs.  I scrunched in the same way like a concertina and then gently wound it around so it looked like a Danish pastry so it would fit in the bottom of the tubs.  I have a few whitish patches but then each of these pieces of fabric, apart from two almost all orange ones, are 1 metre by 1.5 metres so quite large.  I wanted vibrant, I think I managed vibrant!

I think next time I would use smaller pieces and perhaps sacrifice some of the crystalline effect for less white areas.  I mustn't forget also that the chances of me using this as a whole cloth are about 0 so they will be cut up  and the colours redistributed.  At least they will all have a united theme.  They are fascinatingly like a Rorschach test though, I could spend hours looking at them! 

And the single colour ones are textured too.

My sewing machine has been in for a service so I have been muddling along on my workshop one.  Still a great machine, but not my Bob.  Yesterday I phoned them as it had been three weeks and they said it would be 10 days max and I was told that yes it was done, had been sitting there for ages they just hadn't managed to ring me.  Great service, not.  If only the recognised Bernina dealers weren't so far apart!!

We have been to a couple of Christmas Craft fairs and, because we're doing a little of the Buy British and local thing this year we actually finished our shopping well before December.  Mind you I do tend to buy and make gifts through the year so there's not a loony rush at the end but now we have reached December I am a little more happy to start thinking about the whole thing, especially the cooking side of it!

And just because he simply is just so adorable....

I can't wait to give him a cuddle again this weekend!

Off to to some C&G now and wait the arrival of John and a sewing machine.


Saturday, 26 November 2011

I've Become a Nanny! Sort Of...

Elsa and Mike have their new addition to the family.

Isn't he the cutest!  Just love pointers and their wrinkly baby faces.

I have been creating, honest!! Had a day set aside and Sod and Murphy both came to join in and then John had a rather nasty tummy bug for a bit.  and, and, and.....


Sunday, 20 November 2011

Out and About

We had a trip out to the Wimborne Food Festival a couple of weekends ago.
Lots to see,
 and certainly smell.
 Even the Minster joined in.
And a little entertainment from the Quayside Cloggies morris group.
It was a lovely morning out and we come home with quite a few tasty goodies that didn't last long!

When we were in Dublin last month one of the galleries had the new book of Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales just released and I bought it because it is years since I thought about fairy tales and also because the illustrations were by Harry Clarke.

Certainly plenty of inspiration for some textile work one day and almost a forerunner of zentangling!

I have mostly just been working on the City & Guilds as far as creating is concerned.  I have had a few sudden panics about not actually doing anything that I want to do, only things that are sent out to do. Don't get me wrong, I am very much enjoying the course and I'm having tremendously encouraging support from both my tutor and John, I just keep having flashes of things I could make outside the course (like the trolls) but I don't really want to start anything new knowing there are some exciting things coming up in the course that should be taking priority and plenty of past things I should be finishing!!  A real war of the devil and the angel within. I am becoming better at telling them both to shut up!

With the knowledge that I really am terrible at keeping notes, using a journal and sketching out my sudden thoughts for future reference, I have signed up for Sharon Bogon's Studio Journal course which starts in February.   Still a long way off I know!!!  Plenty of time to start accumulating all those Post Its and scribbles.  The course is not on sketchbook work or art journalling, it's purely on using a journal as part of a design process.  Hopefully I can actually learn a discipline that will add to and enhance what I am learning in the C&G and to take forward, at least the course is only for 6 weeks.

I have managed to quick knit some fingerless gloves.  That's finally used up some of the sock yarn I had as part of the sock club from D&T Crafts last year and re-aquainted me with double pointed needles, something I haven't done for years and don't particularly enjoy!  In the colour way 'Aquarius', good for walking the dogs and hiding doggy slobber and mud anyway!

And Friday I managed to send off another section of the C&G  just as the dogs demanded their walk.  Yesterdays sandy charge around was back down to Studland.  A beautiful morning for it too.

Waiting for the ferry to Sandbanks we had this chap sit on the wall and tell us all about the castle on Brownsea Island behind him.

Thank you for the kind words about Foxy.  He is missed by his brother who has also decided being the only cat can have huge advantages.  No one has the heart to move him from in front of the fire or off the clean washing pile.  Even the dogs have given in complaining that he's taken over their bed.

Have a great Sunday.


Sunday, 6 November 2011

Some Colour and a Farewell

I have been crafting and stitching but not much to show on here.  Mainly City & Guilds and Christmas things.

After the terrible weather we have been having just lately, it was a wonderful surprise to wake up to a bright blue sky this morning.  As John and I were wandering around picking up the mess the neighbours fireworks left for us, I thought I would take a few photos of colour still left in the garden.  I thought you may like a wander around the back garden of the House household too. 

You can't fault some colours.  This is beautiful when the leaves are just opening as well as before they drop.
Cercis canadensis Forest Pansy
Our last Hollyhock for this year.
A little moth eaten but still fabulous markings and quite a few buds still to come.
One of natures stranger creations as it's the only one in it's class and known as a living fossil.  I just loved the contrast with the sky.
I'm not sure if there is anything more yellow out there at the moment. 
Ginkgo biloba
A few of the roses still just hanging in there.
Rosa Dizzy Heights
Rosa Little Rambler
Rosa Markham Pink
Rosa Summer Wine
A view up to Tully Dew 2 with the Symphoricarpus albus (Snowberry) behind that had totally swamped everything in its path, (including TD2), and had to be hacked back.

Cotoneaster tree

The Trains with their winter clip done.
We've yet to have flowers on our Tulip Tree but it's still a baby at about 10 years old.  We always hope each year.  The leaves are rather lovely too though.
Liriodendron tulipifera
A close up of Tully Dew 2.  We dug up the old concrete grass roller and I found the bird bath top in the compost pile when we moved in.  The little gnome just needed a perch.

Cox's Orange Pippin.
We had a little crop of summer figs this year and the bush has a fabulous second crop.  Unfortunately they won't last the winter here.  Food for the birds anyway.
Ficus Brown Turkey
Spiraea, Geranium 'Anne Thomson' and Rosa 'Kent'.
We kept an eye out for the Spindle Ermine Moth this spring and sprayed a couple of the spindle bushes that had it.  This one managed to avoid being eaten away and has made it through to dropping its vivid orange seeds from the bright pink cases.
I don't think I have ever seen the Pheasant Berry so heavily laden as this year.
Leycesteria formosa
Geum in Pheasant's Tail grass
This vine was a wedding gift from Elsa and it's really enjoying itself on the pergola.  Huge amounts of grapes this year, still not ripe enough for wine but we are over run with grape jelly so they will stay on the vine for the birds.
Vitis vinifera Aglianico
And we had another cat farewell this week.  Foxy our sorrel Somali hung on for as long as he could after his accident with a car in 2007.  At that time he had both hips broken, a broken pelvis and tail and a complete gastric shut-down.  The vets had him in for two weeks and eventually we were allowed to bring him home after his insides started working again.  He never really fully recovered the ability to totally absorb food again and steadily lost weight until last week when we thought he wasn't benefiting from a good quality of life any more.  14 years old is still a good innings and now he's terrorising the mice somewhere with Izzy. 
Foxy helping Elsa on the computer.
Wenlo Foxtrot 27.11.97 - 04.11.2011