Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Photos (or lack of them!!!)

I've been having difficulty uploading photos onto my blog but managed to get these two okay.
The little purse is from Lynne on the UKembellisher group and it's beautiful. I'm really pleased with it. As a bonus she also sent me some goodies to play with. The larger photo is a Journal Page I've just completed for Ann in France as part of the Surface Design groups "colour" trades. It represents blue, the emotions attached to it and in particular the song Blue Moon that always leaves me feeling a bit lonely. Many years ago in my mid twenties I travelled overland to Khathamdhu and en-route we went through two deserts in Iran, the Great Sand and the Great Salt deserts. Not sure which one we were in but one night I was laid in my sleeping bag watching shooting stars. The sky was immense and a really rich velvety navy blue when somewhere in the dark one of our party started playing Blue Moon on his clarinet. It was really haunting and full of emotion. It was the first and only time I felt homesick for my family and friends back home and I wasn't the only one in our group to feel that way. Since then Blue Moon always conjures up memories of that night in the desert.
I have a confession to make, this is the 'lack of photos' bit, not sure what I did but I went to upload my photos from my camera onto my pc. I was looking at them on the pc whilst the photos were still on my sim card. But I hit the wrong button and instead of copying the whole lot into a file on the pc I lost the lot!!!!!! Tried all ways to get them back, my son look at hidden files etc but as I hadn't actually transferred the photos I had managed to cut the out of the sim card on the camera and moved them into the ether.
Good bit of news though is my elder son is now an BEng he's worked really hard for this degree and as he's severely dyslexic we're very proud of all his hard work. Well done Marc and if there is anyone else out there who is dyslexic, don't give up you CAN succeed and don't let anyone say you can't. It's his birthday next month so think he deserves something special.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Another quiet day

Not done much today as I had a bad night not slept much because my neck was uncomfortable and I developed a headache. The old arthritic neck syndrome I'm afraid. I think I've probably sat too long in front of the machine. Got my veggie card into the post at last.
Got Betsy's Notan swap in the post this morning the background is tremendous and she must be very good at cutting out look at all those little circles. But again it's made from paper, guess I went wrong somewhere it never occurred to me to do it in anything but fabric, ah well must read instructions more carefully.
Headache was still bad at lunchtime so dh decided I needed some fresh air and took me to Richmond (N Yorks) for a bacon butty and cuppa down by the River Swale. The autumn colours are beginning to merge into dull green and brown. There are still a few bright leaves but they are mostly on the ground. I think the trees are turning brown quicker this year but I could be wrong. I'll post a few photos of Richmond tomorrow, I'm not sure where I put my card reader and this old pc doesn't have a card slot.
Been thinking about the Journal Page for Ann in France, part of the Surface Design trades. This one is attaching meaning to colour(s) my mind is going round in circles. I have several colours I would like to depict each relating to a different colour but haven't decided on final one just yet. I enjoy making journal pages more than cards these days. Think I like the slightly larger format. I decided this year I would make a Journal Page a month and so far I've made two for myself. I really need the motivation of making them for 'something', perhaps next year I'll make them for myself.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Quiet Day In

These are the two Notan technique swaps I was talking about last time. The blue and black one is from Candy Grisham (I think I called her Cindy sorry Candy) its blue paper on a black paper background and shows the technique very well. Mine is the other one made from fabric and machine quilted.

Had a very lazy day today managed to finish my Monochromatic Journal Page for Surface Design group. This one is going to Emmy Schoonbeek in the Netherlands. It's great when you can swap with lots of different countries. Pity this type of small artwork isn't that popular amongst my friends. They like the pieces I make but wouldn't want to do one themselves. I should be able to get this in the post on Monday.

Keith had his flu jab the other day and is feeling a couple of degrees under par today. My son is house-sitting and the elderly parents quite comfortable at home with no inclination to go out. The day has been very quiet but I've really enjoyed the peace and quiet and been able to get down to some sewing without the usual hullabaloo for food and drink. In fact we had frozen pizza for lunch and a pan of home made soup with large chunks of fresh bread for dinner. Wouldn't have been able to get away with that if we'd all been in for meals.

Managed to make the paper cast 'veggies' for another swap today. Had real fun with these as I used to make them years ago but when it came down to it I'd forgotten the process and had to go and read up about them. Thank you Maggie Grey your books came to my rescue again. I dried them out on the radiators and painted them. I am absolutely useless at painting but the dies cast now no going back. I think they'll be okay when I finish them, hopefully tomorrow.

Off to watch telly, it's been so quiet here I keep thinking it's Sunday!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Notan Technique

I was going to post a photo of my Notan technique quiltlet but apparently theres a problem with blogspot and I can't upload them so I'll do it late.

I've had a really hard time with this Surface Design swap wondering how I was going to do it in fabric then I had a thought. Spraystarch. The Notan technique is an exercise in positive and negative design using paper mostly. It's a bit like cutting out those doilies you made at Xmas as a child. You know, fold a circle of paper and cut on the folds but leave some to hold the pattern together. With Notan you cut the design from a square and by folding out part of the design you leave a negative image behind. Anyway it gave me a headache until I thought of spraystarching the fabric so it would fold like paper and I could then cut the design out. I cut out a template from card and scanned it into the PC and manipulated it to create an all over design showing positive and negative patterning. I then printed it out onto cotton using different coloured backgrouns. I was quite pleased with the effort and finally raw edge appliqued the original sized design on top and quilted the whole thing.

I received a Notan swap from Cindy which shows the negative and positive design in paper very well indeed. I'll post that later too.

Finally caught up with my mountain of ironing today thank goodness. Ironing and washing windows are my pet hate but unlike the windows where I can just put the lights on earlier if they get too grubby, there is a limit to the amount of unironed clothing I can bear lying around.

Feeling really tired today, think it's a result of all that driving around we did at the weekend. I really am not used to moving too far. Talk of travelling we booked a few days in Valkenburg but got to know this morning that it's been cancelled due to lack of interest. Darn I was really looking forward to seeing the Christmas Caves. There's another one we can book going just before Xmas and if Keith can get the time off work (holiday) we'll go then. Might even be a better time to go.

Monday, 15 October 2007

From West to East

We decided to take off for a few days and were really sure where we wanted to go so we ended up at one of my favourite places - Oswaldthwistle Mills. I bought some new polyester threads, stalizer and fusible wadding. We called in at Embsay Mills on the way to Ossie Mills and I managed to get hold of some silk cocoons and other bits and bobs to play with on my embellisher. Left Ossie Mills and headed for Blackpool to see the lights but got caught in the rain on the M6 and missed the turn off. Ended up at Heysham where we thought we might catch a ferry to the Isle of Man - everything was shut. Next stop Morcambe and somewhere to stay for the night. Found a lovely B&B and headed out for food and a lively night on the town - No chance. Couldn't find food anywhere, everything had closed for the night and this was 5:30pm!! thought at least something would be open. At last we managed to find something to eat in a restaurant above one of those slot machine places. They were very polite and waited patiently to close up while we ate. No wonder I had indigestion later on. We wandered into a very noisy pub alive with children and rubgy fans, we decided to go back to our B&B and change and go out for a quiet drink. We found one other pub open and it was a bit too quiet for us, one other man sitting morosely in a corner, we went back to the first pub to find the children all disappeared and the France/England match in the final half hour. We ended up shouting with all the rest and and a really good time. However the next day the weather was drizzly and we decided to go back to the east coast.

Burton Agnes Hall was on our route to the East coast and we decided to have a look. It's a wonderful Elizabethan manor house with absolutely beautiful gardens. Keith was fascinated by the wood carvings in the hall. Its a house well worth a visit I think we'll definitely come back to see the gardens when they are in full bloom, October isn't the best time to view them. I liked the pattern the brickwork and doorways of the old Norman house made.
View throught the walled garden gate into the more formal gardens of the hall. The big 'daisies' below also caught my eye.
Stopped overnight at Bagdale Hall in Whitby another Tudor House but we were bedded down in the Georgian extension. Great four-poster bed big enough for a family!!!!

Came back over the North York Moors and stopped at the top of Clay Bank with a great view out towards Teesside.
Enjoyed the few days away but glad to be back. I managed to get a couple of swaps finished before I went away but haven't posted them yet better get that done tomorrow.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Sunshine and Showers

My little mermaid that I made to sit inside the seahorse bowl took first prize in my EG 'RoseBowl' challenge. I was very surprised but delighted and I know just where the £10 book voucher will be spent on.

Great day all round on Saturday not only did I get a first (first time I've won anything) but my sister called unexpected to see me. We sat in the garden in the sun chatting, it was lovely to see her.

Today we took mum to the lake district as she loves to go there in the autumn to see the beautiful colours on the trees. We set out in the sunshine and stopped in Keswick by the lake and had lunch. After lunch we went up Whinlatter Pass for the views over Bassenthwaite. We noticed the clouds seemed to be dropping and decided we'd go back and drive round the lake.
The heavens opened and we could hardly see a thing. Such a change from yesterday. We thought we'd go back towards Penrith and come back over Alston Moor and through Teesdale. I'm sure the views at Hartside are wonderous but we couldn't see them had a hard time seeing the road as we drove through a cloud. When we finalled dropped down low enough to go underneath the cloud it was raining hard. Still mum enjoyed the trip out.

On the way to Keswick we stopped to watch the farmer and his dogs bringing the sheep down from the fells. He had a quadbike on the other side of the road behind me taking the photo. He said he had thousands of acres of moorland with sheep all over and the dogs feet got sore with all the miles they have to travel so he makes room for them on his quadbike. I didn't get a photo of them (I forgot to take my camera!!!) but he managed to get all four dogs on it.

Monday, 1 October 2007

More Seahorses

Well it worked, you can embellish on soluble stabiliser if it's underneath. If you put it on top it won't felt down but that has the advantage of stopping all the little bits getting into the holes of your presser foot and allowing you to add to the Surface Design group challenge. I thought I'd put the finishing embroidery and beading on and just get it into the folder on time but I reckoned without the heating being off. I put it on the radiator to dry slowly overnight but it was such a cold night the bowl was still wet when I got up. My son's girlfriend had the idea of putting it on the lid of the slow cooker (I was doing some braising steak for dinner) and it worked, it dried in no time at all.
I got the embroidery and beading done but not in time for the challenge. Never mind it will be in time to enter in the local EG competition themed 'The elements', it can go as water. Doubt it'll come anywhere as the majority of our members are elderly and prefer the traditional.
I'm tired today as I didn't sleep too well last night, dh started his nightshift at 11:00pm and as he's still only working four hours a day returned home just after 3:00am. Naturally once I was woken and bless him he did try not to wake me, I stayed awake. So I'm having a lazy day today trying to get on with a jacket I started knitting last year. I found the UFO sitting in a box under my son's bed (used to be my sewing room) and thought it about time it got finished. Trouble is I've put weight on since I started it and am sure it will be too small. Ah well, where's the chocs....