Friday, 22 May 2009

I've been out of action this week, think the stress of the last few weeks has caught up with me and I came down with a nasty chest infection. Being asthmatic its hit me quite hard and it still hasn't cleared. Which is a bit of a begger as at 03:50 tomorrow morning we leave for Italy. Keith is quite excited, I'm trying very hard to be excited but failing miserably, far too tired. This "Anthing but cotton" card is from Arlene Franks and is silk and paper, stamped, painted and embroidered.
I have managed to do a little bit of sewing over the past couple of weeks. This small handbag is a Monkey Button's pattern its just about the right size to take all my odds and sods. It will go in my main bag and keep all the first aid bits and general medication one tends to take away with them.

As you can see I sewed one strip upside down and didn't notice until I'd put the zip in. I am not going to take it out now.

Finally got my mailer journals out in the post. They are made from fabric paper, stamped, gilded with cords etc. They looked a little like leather when finished.

Got to go now and finish packing, I hate packing luckily for me Keith doesn't. Anything I've forgotten now I'll have to do without. Well there's one thing I have to sort out and that some hand sewing. For the next day and a half I'll be travelling overland sewing, watching the scenery pass by (we have front seats on the coach) and listening to Conn Iggulden's Genghis series on my ipod. Don't you just feel for me!!!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

A walk on the wild side

On Sunday we decided to go out for the day and blow away some cobwebs. We loaded up the car with walking boots, sandwiches and flasks and set off for Upper Teesdale to Cow Green Reservoire which is above Caldron Snout and High Force waterfalls. It was a bright day if a bit cold and breezy but we really needed to get out for the day. It's a bit wild up there, bleak in the Winter but full of wild life and rare plants.
The locals watched our every move with suspicion.

This is what we really went up to see - the rare blue Teesdale gentians.

There were other gentians out too, together with Spring viola's, some alpine plants and the mosses and grasses were really colourful. I was going to upload photos of these but Blogger is being so slow I ran out of patience.

Now here are the photo's I was trying to upload last night. My wonderful TextileChallenge house swap from Mariel. She has gone to a lot of trouble the stonework alone must have taken her ages to sew.

Closed but the dragon still strides along the cressellations and the King and Queen look out of the windows.

The back also has lots of stonework and the workings for my little drawbridge.

And here is its my "at the castle door" house with the drawbridge down and the knight ready to fight or welcome you. I just love it and my grandson enjoyed raising and lower the drawbridge.

Rose doll from Kari in South Wales has come to live with us, not sure she approves of us but welcome cariad (hope I've spelt that correctly).

We had a short visit to Newcastle Metro Centre today, not many in the centre wonder whether its the affects of the credit crunch or whether we just went on a slow day. There was a team from the Wii people trying to coax us onto the wii fit boards, managed to avoid that one. A fashion display was also being staged, that was a little more successful than the wii fit demo.
We couldn't really find anything we wanted to buy, well anything clothes wise for the holidays, so had lunch and returned home. The traffic was nose to tail until we got past the Angel of the North. I'm probably in the minority but I love the Angel and think the more rusty he gets the better his body shows up.
Mum's now home and is settling in, she's already phoned me three times I think she's missed having a phone and is making up for lost time. I must say I too missed phoning her and would often go to the phone thinking "Oh I'll just tell Mum that" and of course she wasn't there. Thank goodness though it wasn't permanent, she may be an old battleaxe but she's my old battleaxe and I did miss her.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Not a lot of work done

Well I tried to upload photos but blogger is just hanging so they will have to wait for another day. I've got absolutely nothing to show sewing wise as I don't know what's happened to the time. Good news though on both Mum and friend front, Mum is going home tomorrow she has made such dramatic improvement they are letting her go back to her flat earlier than anticipated.

My friend Wendy has shown signs that she understands what is going on and can give brief nods and shakes of her head. She still can't talk or move her left side and has to be fed by tube but talking to her over the last couple of days I've had a sense of her normal sense of humour.

I've had a couple of beautiful items through the post but as I can't get google to show their photos I'll leave them until later.

Off to Newcastle Metro Centre tomorrow to look for holiday clothes, now that both Mum and Wendy are stable I can relax a bit and look forward to Italy.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Good news Bad news

The good news is that Mum is doing well and ruling the roost at the care home. She's in her element surrounded by other rehabilitating patients who haven't heard her fund of stories. She's not in the least bothered if we can't get to see her every day, just so long as we keep her well stocked with clean undies. And, of course she knows she's not there for good - when I think of all the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth that went into getting her there.

The bad news is that my friend Wendy is still gravely ill. She is very little respones from her - even when the physiotherapist comes to exercise her shoulder. We've been told its only a matter of time but at the moment she is stable, no better, no worse. In the meantime I'm sorting out her post, bills and anything else that needs doing for the time being. Bin day Friday so Keith and I will go round and empty her fridge etc and make sure there's nothing left that can create bad odores while she's in hospital. These couple of swaps though have taken my mind of things. The first is the 'Spring/Monoprinting' atc swap on Surface Design group. The background fabric, velvet and cotton where first monoprinted (twice) then machine embroidered and finally embellished with brads and fabric flower petals.

The second are for the jigsaw puzzle piece swap set up by Pat Winters on her Pieces of Friendship blog. These were more difficult to do than first anticipated or rather I should say more fiddly. The bases are fabric paper I made last Summer. They were then decorated using stamps and metallic inks, machine and hand embroidery. Flowers were stamped out of a tomato paste tube and the centres beaded. The first ones I beaded I sewed through the metal flowers but it was so easy to cut the threads I decided to couch the flowers down between the petals and this worked well. I enjoyed making them but wouldn't want to make lots of them I am though looking forward to seeing what everyone else has done. The pieces are darker and more vibrant than the photos shows.
The postman over the past few days has been very kind to me and I've been a bit remiss in saying thank you to all those who have sent me goodies.

First, from my friend Sylvia who sent me this piece of 'Shrink' fabric. Apparently you sew it onto the back of another piece of fabric then heat set it and it shrinks to create a textured surface. It reminds me a bit of a nylon shower curtains but not quite as heavy. I wonder if its the same fabric but finer. Has anyone else used this yet and if so what have you created with it?

The next two cards are the final two in April's private swap with the theme of Geometric. Cindy created a ballon from hexagon, circles, square and more circles in the chain stitch. Chris has used the Tangram a very old game. I remember playing with one as a child and I think they use something similar spatial tests. They are certainly one of the 'Brain Train games for the Nintendo DS.

Susan Monk sent me my first Mailer Journal and its beautiful (free tutorial on Iris's blog if anyone is interested). It's currently a swap on the Surface Design group. Susan has used a technique in Beryl Taylor's book to make the journal cover and finished it off with beaded binding and a really interesting pin on the front. She has made the pin detachable so I can reuse it if I so desire. I've made a start on mine and hope to get them finished before I go on holiday on the 23rd.

Susan also sent these goodies, a lovely card with a handmade embroidered foam stamp, decorated paper tag and everything came in the handmade envelope. Very creative Susan I am delighed with everything.

This beautiful card is from Jan Zeibol, again a Surface Design swap "Anything but Cotton". Jan has used wool and silk fibres, threads and handmade paper. She has also put a really lovely response on the back of her card "Thank you for the times of gifts and creative surprises".
Today Keith decided we needed to decorate the front lobby, which is where a lot of my 'stuff' is stored. Great timing as I had the U3A craft class this afternoon. I hate it when he decided to do things on the spur of the moment as we are now living with my 'stuff' spread all over the rest of the house. Luckily Sy has gone house sitting for the next couple of weeks so we can use his room as an overflow. This is the problem with small houses - you need to be fairly tidy, oh how I wish I were.
As for the Craft class well Keith decided to stay at home and paint as he didn't think any men would show up. They'd finished caning the chair bottom. Naturally two men turned up with a chair they wanted to upholster but neither had the foggiest idea where to start. Keith and I have upholstered furniture before (okay Keith has) so I had to get on the mobile and call him out. By the time he'd arrived all the ladies had advised the men on how to take the old fabric on, how to create a new pattern and impressed on the owner of the chair (another 3 in the pipeline) that on no account must he go shopping for fabric on his own. He has to take a lady along with him. I think the men were quite relieved when Keith arrived but Judy has been volunteered to go with Ron to buy the fabric, watch this space.