Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Antlers Aweigh!!

I've been madly catching up with 'stuff'.  This is turning out to be an exceptional year of travel for us, part of John's master plan in making up for wasted time me thinks.

I have been splattering, stitching and sploshing for the C&G. Several bits have been tweaked.  I am pleased that I am making progress again.

My sewing group has declared the Christmas Challenge to be a table centre or wall hanging. I had a few thoughts scattered in the back of my brain and some scribbles in a file so I dug them out and have managed to sketch out, refine and then cut these out onto fused fabric.  I'm now in the process of blanket stitching before further embellishing.  It's hand TV work at the very least!  What on earth made me choose to draw all those antlers??

Next week the Dorset show is on and I've entered a couple of bits.  Not some of the ones I wanted to but what I have will do.  It's a bit of fun and supports the Dorset arts.

This is a very small pile of the triangles I've been putting together, most of these were done in the car on the way and back from Wales last week.

We have had another good year for the Greater Spotted Woodpeckers again (sadly not a single sign of the Sparrowhawks though), and also a very noisy pair of Green Woodpeckers.  This morning John opened the curtains and saw this little guy sitting in the tree.

At first we thought it was a Thrush as its so flecked but after seeing the closer photo there was no mistaking the beak or slight red tinge to the head.

I have the floor mats on the frame upstairs and part projects everywhere so I'm flitting a bit today.  It may be cold, grey and miserable outside but it means things should be done inside.  I leave the computer alone now...


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Linda and Laura Kemshall Exhibition

On Monday we drove to Gliffaes in South Wales for a rather nice treat.  Tuesday we visited a friend in Treharris and then went on to Aberdare and the Cynon Valley Museum and Art Gallery where Linda and Laura Kemshall are holding an exhibition called 'With Hand and Heart'  

It was absolutely lovely to see such a profusion of first class textile work all in one place and beautifully displayed. Even John, who claims to be the least artistic person around, was bowled over by the themes, textures and extremely high quality of it all.

I will leave you with a few of the photos I took, with permission of course.  The exhibition runs until 10th September and is well worth the visit.  There is more information on Linda and Laura's link above. (Don't forget to click to enlarge!) 

PS John has just pointed out to me that there are no people in the photographs though there were quite a lot in the gallery. I had to tell him that I was very good and sneaky about when I took the photos and then rather clever in not posting those with people's heads and bodies in the way either, and a few ladies saw me with the camera and dove behind a pillar too. It was the artwork I wanted you to see, not a load of very excited ladies wishing they could do such wonderful work. :-)

Saturday, 16 July 2011

To Be Busy

I have been looking for some bedside mats for ages and not particularly liked any that I have seen so far.  A light bulb moment a few weeks ago made me think of making my own.

What's wrong with putting quilts on the floor?  We do play mats for babies and have thick towelling ones for the bathrooms.  I don't think they would be good on the wood floors downstairs but we have carpet in the upstairs bedrooms and they shouldn't slip and can be thrown in the washing machine regularly.

I had a couple of bundles of 10 inch squares in shades of green and cream and have spent today cutting them into strips and piecing them back together (weird game this patchworking).  And have made these two tops which are 37 x 18 inches each.

I will be adding borders and then I will quilt them quite heavily, if anything they will be great practise on the longarm!! 

The reason to be busy was that yesterday we had to say goodbye to Leopold Magesticoon, or Izzy to us normal beings.  Cats have character, Maine Coon's have Attitude with a capital A.  They also, unfortunately, have a breed trait for heart problems and Izzy was one of the unlucky ones especially being male, of older age and of larger than average stature.  

He spent most of his time in the position below dreaming of cat things but we know he was also a great hunter which was hard to believe, agility didn't seem to be his strong point.  He was also quite vocal and I will miss our Maa Maow conversations as we gardened or just sat in the G&T hut.

We are more than grateful to have known him and to have been there with him at the end and that it was quick.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Beannachtaí ó Éirinn

On Wednesday 6th we boarded the ferry 'Julia' in Swansea to travel to Cork.  We have always travelled to Ireland from Fishguard to Rosslare before now but usually we had to take into account an extra night half way to our destination or a very long journey.  This trip was, for a start, nearer to us on this side and overnight so we could start our journey with a new day.

Wednesday was very stormy.  That evening we sat in the dining room and listened to the Captain as he informed us that the sailing would be delayed whilst we waited for the gale force 9 winds to back down to gale force 8 and below so he could turn the ship around.  !

Two and a half hours later the wind did decrease enough for us to leave.  If there was one small thing to be thankful for it was that we were sailing directly into the oncoming waves, with a minor course adjustment, so we only went up and down from bow to stern and there was no additional wallowing from side to side. 

The supposedly lessening wind did pick up part way through the night and I remember sitting up in bed and yelling, ‘Come on Julia, you can do this!’ after a particularly violent set of waves threw us around.  I also knew where our clothes were and the nearest life boat!

I was happy looking out of the windows and seeing the sky brightening and Thursday morning being a reality.  As we approached Cork harbour the Captain informed us that we would be taking part in a training exercise with the Coastguard.  It really was an all go trip!  I’m sure they were taking advantage of the still rough but un-urgent conditions. 

We were staying in Waterville on the Ring of Kerry where we have fished before and our bedroom view was not from a hill but still rather nice. 

We did a fair amount of pottering around.  John, Elsa and Mike managed some fishing and Mike even caught his first ever salmon.  It was only a 5 inch parr but still a salmon all the same.  This sign was quite funny.  That was it quite literally, a very dead freezer and some shrimp pots.

 Rush hour.

The views are always lovely in Ireland and I would not like to think how many miles there are of the stone walls and how long it took to build them all.

MacGillycuddy's Reeks

It was a fabulous few days away with lots of atmosphere to soak up, Guinness to imbibe and good food to talk over.  We all went riding, beach combing and a minor bit of shopping.  I read two books and didn't do a thing creative (OK one of the shops was a quilting shop!). 

Thankfully the trip home yesterday was the absolute opposite of the one out and the Celtic Sea was like a mill pond.


Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Time Flies

Well it's heading for two weeks since I last posted and I'm not too sure where the time has gone.

I had a delivery from Oakshot Fabrics.  They had an offer on their huge designer collection and a voucher came through in an email.  Couldn't resist!  You may visually stroke them.

We had a lovely visit to the local Army Air base with a personal tour of the hangers.  Since Elsa started working for us she had several comments from our engineers that they never see where their parts actually end up.  As an Aircraft Technician, she always knew where the parts went but not where they came from!  (Well she did, it being in the family, just not too in-depth!)  She is very lucky to have Mike her fiancée still in the hangers so a few requests were made and a day was arranged and 20 of us had a really great day seeing where some of our parts end up.  Even to the point of finding parts sporting our company name written along with names of the guys who made them, some of who were with us.  This may not thrill some of you but it was a real eye opener  and a very rare treat to clamber all over some of Her Majesty's finest military equipment.  We even had a very up close and personal mini display from 5 Apaches.  As you can imagine, no photos to be published except maybe just a group one.

I was rather taken with the beautiful colours on the buds on this Lucifer crocosmia.

And Elsa and I had a visit from this Vapour moth larvae whilst we were sitting on the patio.  The moth itself is rather bland even down to the female being wingless and blob like, but the caterpillar really does make up for it!

I have been cutting some of my hand dyed fabrics into strips as I have been hand piecing triangles.  I didn't want to go the hexagon route, (I know that 6 of the triangles make a hexagon!) as I thought I could make a more controllable colour wash with them.  Well my strips were 1.75 inches wide.  Except when I took my eye off the ball and they were cut at 1.5 wide.  Luckily last weeks Design Matters TV was about using hand dyed fabric in a Rail Fence pattern and controlling where the colour ends up.  I stopped glaring at the little pile of strips that had been offending me every time I walked into the Eyrie and Rail Fenced them!  I'm sure it will end up as a base for something.

The C&G has had a few fabric moments this past week which I have loved, and now it's back to working in the sketchbook which I still struggle with.  I will climb that hill after a little while playing with other things!

I hope the change in the weather over the next few days doesn't spoil your plans, have a great week!