Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring in the air?

It is so long since I did a blog post. It has been a hard winter. So much has happened, not all of it good, but it has been a busy time. The box is finished and raffled and won, making someone happy.
One of the highlights of the last two months was a wonderful weekend course with Jacqueline Smith. organised by Ribble Creative Stitchers. I have long admired Jacqueline's work and I just love this print of one of her collages.

I have been busy doing a blog for Preston Embroiderers Guild, which you can look at at here.
Many thanks to Jackie, who knows all there is to know about blogging ... and many other things.

Another highlight was a talk by Judy Fairless of the Contemporary Quilt Group at Parbold Embroiderers' Guild on Saturday. This was the 'Journal Quilt Project' and involved making a small quilt every month for a year. Judy did this for four years!
I'm not a quilter but I was entranced by some of the images and ideas. These little shoes were delightful. There were lovely sketchbooks as well ...
... as more than 48 delightful quilts.
This was one of my favourites - a Tuscan hillside.

There is, perhaps, a hint of spring in the air and the promise of the return of creativity?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Twelfth Night - and some trees

Yes, it's 'Twelfth Night' and apart from it being my very favourite play, it's also the day you take down your Christmas decorations if you're as superstitious as me. Can't risk any bad luck this year!

This was the view from my bedroom window this morning. Pretty bleak - but still pretty?

I am going to try to note three things every day that have made me happy. Today's are (1) that I decided to scrape my frozen car and brave the icy roads - scary but satisfying. Then (2) I took down the decorations and have the house looking back to normal. Sometimes I think that Twelfth Night is a better time to start New Year's Resolutions than New Year's Day. It's like a new start in a way?

This is my Christmas tree before I started to dismantle it ...
... and these are two of my favourite decorations. Two glass Christmas trees bought at the Corning Glass factory in 1988 on our first visit to America. They hold lovely memories ...
I made these door garlands many years ago and am still fond of them.

(3) is that when I go to bed I have lovely clean sheets. I've had a busy day ...

... and I've also been doing some sewing. This is going to be a box to raffle to raise money for the Mission Aviation Fund in February.

Oh, and keeping to the 'Twelfth Night' theme, those NYRs have to include "there shall be no more cakes and ale". Oh, dear ...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ring out loud bells across the snow

Well, no bells and no snow ... but a Happy New Year to one and all!

You've probably guessed what my New Year's Resolution is? Welcome to 2010! ('Two thousand and ten' or 'Twenty-ten' - does it really matter?)

Strange how enjoyable - and guilt-free - a Bank Holiday can be? Somehow there is permission to do 'nothing'? I read an article in this morning's paper about how happiness is made up of very small things and that we should make a note of three 'simple pleasures' that we encounter every day. Interesting ...

Well, here's mine for today. Stayed in bed (a rare treat) listening to Desert Island Discs with David Tennant. I'm not a Doctor Who fan but he was fantastic in 'Hamlet' which I watched yesterday. And he's a 'West Wing' fan!

Lazy morning reading the paper and then a wonderful walk on the park in the sunshine after lunch. Tidied up my 'playroom' and made a trifle for tomorrow's Embroiderers' Guild 'Jacob's Join', whilst watching 'Guns of Navarone' - they don't make 'em like this any more?

Then a look at some lovely blogs (not something I've been doing lately) and realised that I have so much to learn/re-learn as they all look so beautiful and I've forgotten so much. (Must learn about mosaics and pretty mine up a bit - another NYR?)

Finished off with the last episode of 'Gavin and Stacey' and then wrote this post. Yes, all in all, a happy day.

The photo is a felt corsage with beaded centre. I've had 'tennis elbow' for ages and haven't been doing any 'proper' felt-making but have been able to manage these small pieces. The elbow's getting better - I've given up on those smashes, lobs and killer strokes - and I hope to be back on the felt scene properly soon.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The year is going, let him go

I was reminded of the Tennyson poem when I was listening to ‘The Armed Man’ the other day.

As far as I am concerned this year can’t ‘go’ quickly enough. It hasn’t been a good one to live though, although it is ending on a high – hence the rainbow.

This year I was diagnosed with a very nasty sounding disease (PBC – anyone else out there have it? I’d love to hear from you!) which has proved to be most benign at the moment – and I have learned to live for the moment.

My grandson and his fiancĂ©e were delighted to be pregnant but were told at the twenty-week scan that things were not looking good. Subsequent scans were closer to normal but there was careful monitoring and a great deal of anxiety for us all. Harley was born mid-November and is a bright, alert and absolutely gorgeous baby. I’ve had lots of ‘Harley hugs’ over Christmas and ‘Finn fixes’ and cuddles from Jack and I consider myself a most fortunate Mother, Grandmother and now Great-Grandmother. I must sound like ‘the old woman who lived in a shoe’?

And as I had a wonderful 70th birthday party in November that is probably quite true. bring it on!

Roll on 2010!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Getting there!

This is just a vey quick progress report. I now have walls (painted) and floors. Everything is very white and stark, just waiting for some colour to be introduced. A blank canvas, you might say?

I seem to have been walking aimlessly around, tape measure in hand, mumbling "105 centimetres, tea with two sugars and coffee with one sugar ... , etc ..."

All that is going to change this weekend as I take a break from the cleaning and refresh myself ready for the week ahead. The exciting bit is yet to come!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Well and truly plastered!

I've just spent a delightful afternoon in the company of my lovely daughter-in-law (I much prefer the French 'belle-fille'?) and my youngest grandson, Finn, as he chatted and giggled his way along his first train ride on the 'Docks' railway at Preston. The trains had 'Thomas' faces on several of them, which made it very exciting, and he got the chance to climb aboard some of the engines. It's definitely a 'boy' thing!

What a welcome break from the last week! I seem to have spent the week charging around IKEA or B&Q with a tape measure and trying to work out 'what' will eventually go 'where'. So many decisions to be made!

On Saturday, the plasterers came. Despite having to listen to the dulcet strains of 'Rock FM', the lads worked hard and now - I'm plastered!
I'm well aware that the pictures are pretty boring but they're all I've got so far. Hang on in there!

Whilst all this is going on I'm being very industrious. I'm clearing out drawers and cupboards so that when I can get at my fabrics and fibres again I will have the time to be creative. All the boring housework will be done? That's the plan anyway.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hitting a brick wall

Well ... I should have known. It was all going so well. That just doesn't happen to me. On Friday, Alan started to take down what he and the building inspector had both decided was a 'studded wall' (no, it doesn't mean anything to me either) only to find this ... breeze block. Literally hitting a brick wall?

Cue another visit from building inspector on Monday. There will probably have to be some kind of support for the walls above. (My worst nightmare was a sudden collapse from above - don't anyone even dare to hum " ... and the walls came tumbling down ...")

Then when I plugged in the kettle - a very necessary piece of equipment at the moment? - no electricity in the utility room. The electrician was due and we had power in the kitchen. Tea problem solved. (I have to tell you that Alan likes the weakest of tea - it's me that has the 'builder's tea'!!!)

I went off to order the laminate floor to match the existing floor (this is now a 'special order', which may delay things? But, thankfully, still available). And another ex-pupil in 'Floors 2 Go. They're all over the place!

Returned to find this ...

... the source of the electricity problem. A nail - which had been hammered through the electricity cable by the original builders!!! - had moved when the plasterboard was removed and touched the wire.

And, yes, a leak in a pipe...

Cue buckets and a boiler that needs 'topping up' at regular intervals because the water pressure keeps falling.

And then, when everyone had gone, no Internet access!!! Quelle tragedie!

It has taken me till now to work out that the 'computer' sockets had also died on me. Ran an extension lead from the utility room and we have lift-off!

So - picture this - trailing leads, buckets of water and a boiler that needs more attention than a baby (will I have to get up in the night to 'feed' it?) Not exactly a picture of domestic bliss, is it?

It all makes me feel very 'ditsy' and silly and well ... 'girlie'? In my defence, I do have my own drill and screwdriver. It's just knowing what to do with them that's the problem ...

Still, I have enjoyed a lovely visit with my friend Elaine to 'Art in the Pen' at Skipton this afternoon. So nice to see her again now that she has returned from New Zealand.

Oh ... and the ladies at the Platform Gallery didn't reject my piece. But I think they were only concerned with the back - and, yes, it did have mirror plates and a label .... So far, so good.