Monday, 23 July 2012

Textiles, Pottery, and Farewells

                                     Gratuitous photograph of  Eldest Grandson Chris.

                                Thank you to Ada at Vintage Sheet Addict for this lovely award!

You might have been thinking that you've come to the wrong blog, lately, as there has been a bit of a dearth of textile in my posts. Obviously things have been hectic round here for a while so there hasn't been a lot of fresh and creative stuff going on, but fear not! I have plans afoot. (Ooh should I mention that word???) I struggled to find some coherence for this blog post, but it seems to be jumping about all over the place, so bear with me as I qickly update on the Visit, sadly now at an end, and some bits and pieces in between!

                     And a lovely one of Beccie, Elder Granddaughter, and Great Nan.

Obviously the most urgent item on the textile list was COMPLETING THE QUILT . I finally put the last stitches in it at the family farewell BBQ at Oakham on Saturday. We had a presentation and a few modelling shots. Krissie loved it and so it was all worth while.

First thing Sunday morning saw me hastily writing, pressing/setting, washing, ironing and stitching on the label.

Next up comes a quick Beach House cushion cover - I part-exchanged the one I made for the craft fair, with Cathy Jotter Potter, and would you know it, son Kit said it was his very favourite one  (he's missing his surfing. badly!) so I have to get going with another of them...probably end up taking it out with won't get done very soon, I promise you!

One to be planning is Beccie's cushion cover. Bex is having her bedroom 're-done' when she gets home and we are all very excited about that, I've been promised a thorough 'skype' tour when it's done - or perhaps Dylan will make me a video. Bex and Krisie each have one of those nursing cushions, the open 'v' shaped ones as they are just so darned comfy. She will send me the lining to use as a template, and we have chosen the fabrics: she is working on a black/white/teal colour scheme. So it will be patchwork with teal applique letters of her name,already chosen the fabrics but I'll leave that for another post.

Now I promised you a look at the other items Cathy made for me. They were gifts for our visitors, and I am so thrilled with the way Cathy interpreted my ideas. First of all I just wanted 3 hens with Union Jacks on them, for the children's rooms - they were suitably impressed as Dylan loves the flag and both boys are into 'Angry Bird' images and Bex just thinks they are 'cool'!

For Krissie I wanted something which picked up on the things she loves to do. She loves to read, she grows great basil which I am really miffed about! and from being a woman with no time to bake when they lived in the UK she has blossomed into a domestic goddess to rival Nigella on the baking front. Now don't you think Cathy has done me proud? Krissie was terrifically pleased with it and knows where she is going to display the plaque on a plate stand.

Kit's present is not seen at its best, as it will be mounted on a whitewashed plank when they get home (we have supplied him with a tube of no more nails!) However you can see the text which is the last line of an ee cummings poem.

  'It's Always Ourselves We Find In The Sea'. When I saw that quote in Cathy's workroom I just KNEW we had to come up with some way of incorporating it into a piece for Kit. He is a boy who loves to surf, and his de-stresser, and source of meditation is the ocean, which he has been missing since being here. Cathy designed some surf pieces and the whole thing is just so right for him. He was a little stunned to be honest, he loves it. Cathy, you have done an excellent job! I have photographed them poorly as the light was bad and we couldn't really make Kit's piece look as good as it will once mounted. They were all extremely chuffed with their pieces and so am I. Thanks a million!

So, a few more photos, taken at the BBQ , I almost whipped the camera out today as they sped off in the (very large) taxi, but to be honest I wasn't in the mood, we tried to keep it fairly upbeat but Jim and I are really noticing the  emptyness today. Of course, it's going to be lovely to sleep in our own bed again! And we have whizzed through the house tidying and vacuuming and done tons of washing (in fact Jim has just finished ironing umpteen sheets and pillow-cases, bless the man!) But it does feel strange and I am quite flattened at the moment.

Jim adding some last minute photos to Dylan's Journal which is all about his trip to the UK, which he will present when he gets back to school.  (Ooooh, can you see that photo in the blue frame in the background? That's our Engagement photo!!!! September 1970!) Also seen, as in so many recent shots, is the polka dot oilcloth table cloth which has graced the table for the past month - best £22 I've spent in a long time, I can tell you! I felt quite sad when I wiped it down for the last time and replaced it with a 'proper cloth' this afternoon!

                                      The small ones playing a 'tick and run' game.

However, we will be skype-ing as soon as we can, and we have already begun talking in earnest about plans for going out in the New Year! That certainly takes the sting out of it.

Friday, 13 July 2012

A few Jaunts

                                           Journal pages I'm currently working on

Wow! It's a whole NINE DAYS since I last blogged! (I feel a confession coming on!) In my defence it has been a rather hectic and full-on nine days, but even so! Right, a quick whizz through some of the things that have been happenin' here-abouts.

The day Kit and Krissie took Beccie to Manchester Airport on her way to Florida for a week it poured down, so Jim and I took the boys to Farmer Fred's, an indoor adventure playground up at Heahcam Lavender. It is HUGE!

                                                     And this slide is very fast!

 It's a lot higher than appears on this photo as well, we didn't think Fraser would venture up to the top but heheh, how silly were we!

 A very popular stopping off place for youngsters, so it was good for us that it was mid-week in term time. We had comfy seats, close enough to keep an eye on them, and Jim made frequent check-ups. We had a pleasant snack lunch and the boys barely stopped to re-fuel! We were there for four hours - I took the quilt to be getting on with, and Jim had the cross-word and a book.

Jim and I headed to Suffolk to Number 1 Son Mike and we celebrated Vickie's birthday in style at a lovely country pub in Laxton. Food quite basic but beautifully cooked, the sun shone, and the gardens were lovely.

The following week we all headed up to Northumberland to stay with Jim's mum and his sister Pam who put us all up for a couple of nights with a bit of a squeeze! We had good-ish weather for our trip to Housteads, the Roman Fort, and both boys had the time of their lives.
                                          I think there's a 6' sheer drop on t'other side!

We also managed to fit in a visit to the Hancocks which is a natural history museum in Newcastle.

Sorry the lighting was awful and my photography skills not up to dealing with it! Dylan was fascinated with everything he saw, and Jim took him into the Planetarium, which he adored, another of his Big Interests!
 The following day they left for Scotland and Jim and I drove home to a very quiet house! We spent a couple of days recharging our batteries and catching up on emails, washing and a bit of tidying. As you can see, the garden is running away with itself.

                                                            Blowsy, frowsy lushness!

                                                             Veggies doing nicely.

Yesterday I drove across to Wymondham to pick up friend Sue K, and we went ot see Cathy from Potter Jotter to collect the items I had commissioned. It transpired that Sue and Cathy knew each other slightly from way back, as they had both sat waiting whilst their young daughters took their ballet classes! Small world! You can imagine we had a good long chat...and not all about quilts or pottery. I was hugely delighted with the pieces Cathy had made for me. Now, I can only show you one of these as the others are a surprise for....well, I'll blog about that another day. But look at my beautiful stem vase..isn't it lovely? EXACTLY as I had wanted it to look.

I love the glazes Cathy uses, and my pot was created just the way I hoped it would turn out. I can't wait to show you the other items she made for me, but you'll have to wait for the next post. Well, here's hoping we all get some more good weather, think of my poor half-drowned Kiwis! See you next time!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Art Journals, Castles and Scalded Fingers!

Sniff. Sniff. Sneeze. Watering eyes. Sniff sniff. A...a...a....tchooooooooooooo! Sniff. Sniff. And a happy summer to you!

                                      The windswept Pollen Fields of West Norfolk!

Oh dear me, yes. A month and a half late, the hay fever season has hit me like a brick in the face. Not helping that I have to walk down and up the garden path each night and morning from my 'home from home' sleeping arrangements! Still, now I have found a gigantic pair of wrap-around sunglasses things have improved. Goodness knows what a passing stranger would make of us, sidling guiltily from our back driveway over the road to the pub, me in my sunglasses at 1030 pm, clutching my Cath Kidson overnight bag. I'm probably being put down as Jim's secret 'other woman'...except that most of our neighbours are 'in the know'!

Sunday saw me cooking a roast for 9 of us - would have been 10 but Beccie is obligingly in America so we had enough chairs to go round without resorting to garden furniture! Whilst I pottered in the kitchen, Jim Kit and Krissie took Fraser and Dylan to Castle Rising to see.....the Norman Motte and Bailey castle there. Dylan is currently studying mediaeval history at school and so was thrilled to hear we have a genuine important twelfth-century building near us. Its most famous period was when it was the home of Queen Isabella, mother of Edward 11. In 1544 it passed into the hands of the Howard family, who own it still.


                       Obligatory stop-off at the Tea Rooms - hmm, lovin' that applique, Fraser...

                                                             Arise, Sir Dylan!

Meanwhile back at the ranch all was ready for family and guests. Jim laying the table, Krissie sorting the serving dishes, and I was....checking the steaming veggies....yes, you guessed it! Steam scald right across the fingers of my left (fortunately) hand. Arrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhh! The excruciating pain for about 30 seconds. Then just normal really really really bad pain, folks I kid you not! Quick as a flash my hand was under the running cold tap (drought? What drought?) and clingfilm was being sought. Between us, an ex-Girl Guide/ Nurse and a Paediatric A&E Nurse, we sorted me out and I directed operations from the sink whilst Jim and Krissie saw to lunch - Kit doing the child-care and entertaining. I tell you, never a dull moment. Anyway, lunch was great, with top marks to Krissie's famous baked Chocolate Cheese Cake. (well, actually it is Nigella's but we won't tell)

So the Kiwi's are off for a day or so visiting other relatives and we are chillin'.

                                              jim was chillin' at the water's edge.............

                                                  There, you see.....proof!

And while Jim was out doing manly, outdoorsy things, I have been in my sewing room doing some of Krissie's quilt, and also looking back at my old art journals. I got into journalling briefly during the two years I wasn't stitching. Then I stopped. Quite abruptly. Now, though, I have a yearning to be messing about with marker pens, and inks, and carving stamps, and ..........but this time I want to incorporate my paper art into textile work. I just have to get my head round  what I want to be doing. I enjoy collage, whether paper or textile, and I enjoy using text with cloth, so I think I will be having a bit of an experiment. Here are a few glimpses at the sort of thing I was doing.

                                    My early attempts are clearly very derivative.....

                                       ....the wings, the crown, the stripey legs..........

                                           .....oops, another crown, more stripey legs!

             zzzzzzz...zzzzz......more crowns.........birds, the EYE........
           But these are all mine. Sorry about the flash. Collaged cutouts glued to painted background.

                                                rather duller than in real life

                              The bottom is missing from this page  - wouldn't fit on.

So, just a few pages from the journals, now I'm really itching to get going, but have to remember I have a few other things I need to be doing ! OH! and speaking of which, I had a nice opportunity come my way the other day.

I was browsing a rather nice household-ey kinda shop near LynneK when I spotted a .....three tiered wooden tray thingy for putting pot plants on....the name will come to me eventually.. I was having it folded to pay for it when we got chatting at the cash desk and I said as well as holding plants, I might paint it white and use it at the next craft fair. Well! Floodgates opened. What kind of crafts? Did I do workshops? Might I be interested in a plan she (the owner) had for a large back room she was having painted out. More details later, but the upshot is....I will be offering workshops and classes in the autumn! Hows about that for happenstance?

Tomorrow Jim and I out for a nice birthday lunch with Mike, number One son and his partner Vicki. The fun keeps right on happenin'! See you soon, Lx.