Monday, 18 August 2014

Craft Fair at Letheringsett

Lest you think I have abandoned textiles entirely for a life of music and frivolity, here are a few photographs of some of the items I've been working on for the Craft Fair at Letheringsett this weekend.

First the details - Back to the Garden can be found very easily on the main road from Fakenham to Holt, and all the details are on the website above. Come along for a visit, have coffee, a snack or lunch - and there is also a food festival on at the same time as the craft fair.

As well as the bangles and pin-cushions, brooches and quilts, I have some new items, some of which I am rushing to finish!

                                    A woollen bag with felted wool appliqué decoration.

A new cushion using some of my dyed blanket. I made the buttons with felted wool and pelmet vilene.

                  A fourth "One Bird Upon a Hill" cushion, they are proving to be very popular!

                                           Folk art blooms and birds on this third cushion.

I made this little nursery cushion using reproduction "flour sack" fabrics, and the central panel contains a dozen genuine vintage Suffolk Puffs or "yo-yo's" as they are known in the States.

        And this is my latest Angel Panel, slightly smaller than the first one which has sold. I so enjoy         designing and stitching these panels - more in the pipe-line, but not in time for the craft fair!

It will be an early start on Saturday morning, though it is less than an hour's drive for me. I'm quite looking forward to it, and bless her cotton socks, Yvonne Autie rag-rug maker and silversmith extraordinaire, has volunteered to come and keep me company all day Saturday. I know several other friends have promised to pop up and see us, and I hope that my Norfolk blogging friends might be free to dash across-county and come and say hello. This is a new venue for North Norfolk Arts and Crafts, and I am very proud that Textile Treasury has been selected as one of the exhibitors, so do come along and help make it a success!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Post-Burwell Post

Well here it is, very very late. I just could not get my thoughts together to write this post. Also I haven't been able to lay my hands on many of the other photographs I know were taken so there are fewer than last year. Starting from the top - the new Melodeon Class Tutor, Andy Cutting, taken at stupid o'clock in the morning, by the lovely CAroline Creasey, whistle player and One Night Stand Band Leader. Thanks for the photo, Caroline.I had a great time learning melodeon, instead of fiddle tunes. I think we brought so much away from the workshops it will take time to sort out just what little nuggets of gold, as well as the tunes, we were given. We were all chuffed to hear from Stephen that the melodeon class is back next year and "Mr Cutting has it in his diary" !

Of course, it was strange not being in the fiddle class - and I did get some "good natured " flack from Jock and Tola (above) . Fortunately Stephen had allocated me to Jock's Mixed Band so I did get to spend time being tutored -after a fashion- by the lovely Mr Tyldsley. The photo below is our Mixed Band about to perform, the night of the Tutors' Concert.

On Monday, coffee break saw the presentation of a lovely cake by the Burwell Staff for Emily's 21st birthday, and here we are, after Gina (Emily's mum) gave her the bag I had made as an 'extra' birthday present. When Gina commissioned this I was a bit worried as you never really know how things will be received unless they have chosen it themselves, but Em seemed very pleased, so PHEW all round!

On Tuesday we had Games Night, which began out in the garden with silly games like rolling a tennis ball down very long plastic piping. Sadly the Blindfolded Sheepherding was not on the agenda this year - poor new students, al 21 of them, have missed a treat! When it got dark, Games Night moved indoors and the  Team Ceilidhs began. Below is one team, with the obligatory photo of "Clive Dancing" (There has to be one each year, along with one of "Stephen Sleeping".

Another obligatory shot is one of Ellie and Dave. This year I have relented and not published the "Sleazy Shot" to save their blushes. (It wasn't really, honestly, Burwell isn't like that.)

Another theme this year was the logo tee-shirts. Here is Nicky demonstrating his feminist streak - and good for him!

Dom, AKA "Rear of the Year" displaying his personal mantra on his manly chest.

"Seldom......" Ah now, you had to be there. Andy is here giving his Maiden Speech, or actually, giving his tutor's critique of Clive's One Night Stand Band. He began with the word "Seldom...." and paused. It had been a side-splitting performance, and really, that pause said it all. He then launched into a brilliant spiel which had us all nearly in tears of laughter.

Brian Finnegan pausing before launching into his Mixed Band performance. It was a very special Burwell this year, Brian's 20th, and we celebrated in style, and a wonderful video show created by Ellie, depicting 20 years worth of Brian photographs and accomplishments. It is true to say that without Brian's ongoing efforts and support, Burwell Bash would not be happening today. It was a wonderful and emotional evening, which later included the Tutors' concert.

I have to explain this photograph, Jock and I are NOT the worse for wear, honestly. We are preparing to play for our Team Ceilidh, and the photographer caught one of those split seconds when your face is all over the place! Our team took as the theme of the dance The Commonwealth Games - which were running concurrently. We had  barn dancing in the style of synchronised swimming, dancing  in the style of discus throwing, in the style of tandem bike racing, and probably others which I have forgotten. I know Jock and I played The Oyster Girl on repeat for about eight minutes. It was gloriously funny, and Stephen did say it was the best ceilidh he had ever seen. Ironic? Stephen? Anyway, great fun.

The next few photos are of our One Night Stand Band. We played the 'given tune' to our own arrangement, then Blanche led us with a new version of the Kinks' song Lola - now renamed - TOLA.

Impossible to play melodeon throughout the entire song so I abandoned my box and took up the shaky eggs, channeling the spirit of my lovely Burwell friend Debs who couldn't join us this year. Debs is an expert eggs shaker, and I hope I did her justice!

Below, Tola as the realisation struck him. The audience, needless to say, were well ahead of him, and it was priceless watching his face as we swung into T..o..l..a  TOLA!

So, a very different Burwell this year, 21 new students, and some 'old stalwarts' who couldn't join us this year which was sad, a new instrument class and new tutor ..... but the Burwell Bash is bigger than the sum of its parts, and, as I say every year, this was the best Burwell Bash ever! I know there are lots more photos out there, but I simply couldn't put all of mine on and there are some I haven't even seen yet. Oh, and a few excellent unofficial videos happened this year too. One of which is on Jock's phone ...... allegedly .......

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Pre- Burwell Post!

A quick post, just to fill you in on this week's events, as we hurtle headlong into Burwell Bash week. (The mood on the BB facbook page is verging on the hysterical!)

It has been a beautiful week weatherwise, here in West Norfolk; we've had temperatures in excess of 28 degrees several times. The herd in the nursery field next door has been glad of the shade afforded them by our wall and the large beech tree. There are a couple of suckling calves there now, and Jim took some shots for me.

The veggie garden is doing nicely, green beans, broad beans and courgettes are romping away, and we are enjoying them by the plateful.

Those of you who remembered the awful pain and infection I suffered last winter in my jaw - first identified as a dental problem, then a sinus problem, finally a specialist dental surgeon diagnosed a split tooth which required extraction as it had grown another root, and then I needed a replacement. I've just had the final stage of the implant completed, and can now smile widely again!Hurrah, just in time for Burwell! The dentist actually timed the 2nd and 3rd stages so as to be complete before Burwell, honestly! What a guy!

I've been stitching furiously this week , mainly for the Craft Fair at Back to the Garden in August (tell you more about that later) and also to finish this commission for a shoulder bag. Again, the green colour doesn't show too well.

I do hope the recipient likes it! It is messenger bag size, with a pocket on the back and one on the inside.

Now I have got out of sync with The Year in Books, I'm afraid, but I have been reading - about four detective novels so far this month, and also I am tandem-reading this mighty tome with Jim.

It is a very large book, and we are both reading it, using individual book marks to prevent confusion. We don't fight over who gets to read it. If you enjoy a bit of non-fiction and enjoy history, and most of all WORDS, you could not do better than to try this. It isn't a book to whizz through at great pace,  but it is fascinating, covering such topics as English writing, mythology, religion, symbolism, the Anglo-Saxons - obviously! A book to totally immerse yourself in. If it takes me a month to read it I don't care. Oh, I might just add - though why I should feel the need is a sad indictment on the age - I should stress that the book has absolutely NOTHING to do with jingoism, Far Right politics, or plug-ugly skin-heads wearing bovver boots and fascist slogans.

And speaking of books, I have such a pleasant little tale to tell you. I had been searching for a book of small embroidery patterns, and eventually found one on Amazon second hand. The seller was a lady in North Wales, who answered my query about delivery dates with a lovely personal message - to which I replied. (I know, I know, you just DON'T do that normally do you?) My book arrived promptly and inside the package was this envelope:

And inside, this:

With another lovely personal message inside. Now that's what I call good service! Thank you so much Dr. Dorothy Griffiths, the book and your gesture has been much appreciated. 

I expect many of you will be enjoying watching the Commonwealth Games. I can't ay that sporting events figure largely on my list of favourite things, but JIm likes to watch, so I sit and sew with it all going on in the background. (When we come indoors to cool down!) But next week there will be radio, tv, and newspaper silence, as ever at Burwell. We cut ourselves off - apart from the occasional phone home - and leave the rest of the world to carry on while we exist on Burwell Time! This year I am forsaking the fiddle class - though I will take my fiddle for the sessions - because I shall be part of the brand new MELODEON CLASS and as I have intimated previously, our tutor will be ANDY CUTTING!!!!!! Forgive the excess of capitals and exclamation marks, but I am just thrilled to bits. I'll tell you all about it next time. 

Meanwhile enjoy this lovely suns and heat, you Brits, and to my Antipodean readers/friends/relations I hope it isn't too wintery for you down there! 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Champagne and Real Ale

Jim, me, Chris, Mike

The cryptic title of this post refers to the very different refreshments available at the two very different events I attended since my last post (Whenever that was!!) First was a brilliant afternoon/evening at Fransham Forge, the annual Folk at the Forge, hosted by the estimable Master Blacksmith Nigel . This year the weather was a great improvement on last lear,and we didn't need the roaring brazier to keep us warm! Much Real Ale was consumed - not by me, I hasten to add - and much music was played and enjoyed. The event coincided with a weekend course Nigel was running for blacksmiths, so there were lots of people around, as they bring their families and make a holiday of it.

A great BBQ was provided, cooked on the BBQ Nigel had forged that very morning! We took food for the communal table and there was more than enough for all.

This year we had trestle tables and benches, which was an improvement in one way on last year, but a little awkward for us box players, you had to sit a bit awry to play!

No photos of me this year but I was there, I promise! I love events like this, just chillin' and playin', great fun and totally relaxed.

Roger the Pipes

Mr Rob King 'gotchering' me as I 'gotchered' him!

The second, and more important event, was our grandson Chris's Graduation Day on Friday just gone. He is at Staffordshire University, and the awards ceremony was held at the very lovely Trentham Gardens, a beautiful setting and the weather was terrific - about 31 degrees we reckoned!

The ceremony was everything you'd expect , well run, entertaining, and emotional. The speeches were short and to the point, and the young people thoroughly immersed in the event. I hope all of them have happy and successful futures. The pride of the parents, friends and relatives was palpable, not least our own. What a wonderful way to celebrate all the hard work and achievement of our young people. We are so proud of Chris.

My Boys, Chris and his dad Mike

Look what I spotted hanging around the grounds ...

Brilliant, eh?

So despite the heat and the long drive there and back it was a day I wouldn't have missed for the world, and I'm sure those of you who have done similar will agree. So no textiles this week - and my A Year in Books has dropped off the scene I'm afraid; I HAVE read lots of books but have't got round to taking photos and making notes. I may pick it up later but I suspect there isn't much point any more!

Hope you are all enjoying the sunshine, and girding up your loins for the holidays!