Monday, 17 May 2010

Crook Hall visit

Crook Hall is one of those places on your doorstep that you always mean to visit but never get round to doing.  Well yesterday we finally went there with the U3A gardening club (no we're not keen gardeners just like to see what other people have achieved and drool over them).   There has been a hall on this site since the 13th century, added to in the Jacobean perios and again in the Georgian period.  The gardens have an eclectic cottagey feel to them, small, secret and beautifully scented.   Best of all they have a wonderful view of Durham Cathedral almost as good as that from Durham train station.

Although a lot of the medieval hall  was standing it had fallen into disrepair.  It is now restored using the original materials where possible and is typical of halls of this period.   The hall comes complete with an offset fireplace and a minstrals gallery.   In the far left hand corner is an alcove supposedly where a soldier died and visitors are invited to stand in it with their hands on the walls to see if they are 'ghost receptive'.  
I tried standing in the alcove but I could only feel was the walls,   The Jacobean hall is much cosier but it is reputed to have a ghost.  The Grey Lady has been seen by lots of people but she was keeping herself to herself yesterday.

The Georgean part of the hall is ghost free and lived in by the family so we weren't allowed to go there. The gardens though, as I said before were lovely and when we were there the rain stopped, the wind dropped and the sun came out.   There is a small solar garden at the end of the medieval hall, tiny, packed with plants and peaceful. 

This was the Shakespeare garden and is planted with the flowers in his plays such as forget-me-nots, pansies (heartsease) and many other.  There is also a moat pool, a woodland walk and the present owners have planted a small maze which although not at full height yet is still fun to walk through.

Now its time to get down to some work and make a start on my May journal page.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

It's been a quiet week

It's been a fairly quiet week, my friend's funeral went off as well as any funeral can and we all felt better having said our goodbyes to him.   I've been friends with Ann and Ken since I was 15, many moons ago, and even if we don't see each other when we do meet its as if we seen each other just the day before.   Some friends are like that - for life - other can be more transient but I enjoy them all.   Ann's gone off to the Lakes this week with her daughters and their families and I hope she really relaxes and enjoys the peace and quiet.   We off on our 'jollies' on Saturday and I'm really looking forward to it.

I did manage to get some sewing done this week.   I was persuaded to enter the Reticule (shop in Kendal) cancer charity exhibition.  For a £5 entrance fee you were sent either a fat quarter of fabric or a bag of Texere yarns - I chose the yarns and when it arrived they were all shades of pink.  This is what I made:

I used the pack of yarns and my embellisher to make a fabric which I lined and turned into a small evening bag.   The flower was made from wool tops which I wet felted and cut out two rough flower shapes.  These were then beaded, tasselled and sewn in place on the bag.   There is a small internal pocket.   I had several shades of pink and purple ribbons but none that matched well, or were too short to bind the bag.   So despite having told myself I was not going to buy more ribbons  I did.

This is a close up of the flower, I really should have rotated the photo before I imported it.  Never mind you can still see it clearly.  I will take it with me when we go to the Lakes next week as the shop is in Kendal and hand it over.  It'll give me an excuse to browse in a shop I understand is packed with goodies.
I don't think I told you that a few weeks ago a lady I'd not met before emailed me and asked if I would sell one of the houses I made for the Textilechallenge group swap.   It was the Hen House.  As the group no longer exists I didn't want to sell or part one of  my set of houses.  However we came to an arrangement, I made her her own Hen House and she sent me one of her handmade gifts and this is it.

These last tow photos are close ups of a couple of the panels on the tea cosie - its much to beautiful to use.

One other thing I've been meaning to show you.  When we were decorating my sewing room and sorting out all the stuff I had scattered throughout the house I came across this Elizabethan sweetie bag.   I had made it some time ago at one of the Embroiderers Guild workshops.   We drew the flowers, painted the centres and used goldwork threads and silks to embroider the rest.   I'd completely forgotten about it until it came to light.

I forgot to take a photo of the back of the bag which is quilted into small diamond shapes with a tiny sequin and small bead in the middle of each shape. Not at all sure what I'm going to do with it but its been put away again and will probably be another decade before it sees the light of day.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Day trip to the Lake District

It seems to have been all doom and gloom recently, my friend with the pancreatic cancer passed away quietly this week.  My other friend with the spinal cancer has lost the use of his arms and legs and is now in a hospice.   We definitely needed cheering up so we set off yesterday for a day in Windermere.  Actually we've booked a cottage for a week at the end of April and we thought we'd try and find out where it was.  As usual we went via Ullswater and what a difference from the last time we traversed this road earlier this year.
This was February when the lake rose well above the retaining wall on the roadside and flooded the road.
You can see from this photo just how high the lake has risen.   Yesterday, despite a cold wind, it was sunny and the ducks were enjoying having their photos taken.
I love the view down Ullswater toward Skidaw and Patterdale.
We'd stopped at Rheged for morning coffee and a look round the boutiques.  Bought some bits and pieces in the Paper Shed and sweeties to keep us going until lunchtime.

We had lunch overlooking Winderemere, fed the ducks, walked along the lake shore.   The sun had gone in by this time so we headed up to Lakeland Plastics to see what they had new (I simply cannot go to the Lakes without calling into Lakeland Plastics).  Several pounds later we headed off to find our holiday cottage.   Its about a mile outside of Windermere but has a lovely view over the lake.   The cottage was occupied by holiday makers when we got there and we didn't like to intrude but we were quite pleased with where it was and how it looked.   Looking forward to going there on the 22nd.  

Got home to find that the two books I had ordered from D4Daisy had arrived and I'm wondering where I can get Keith to put me up another bookshelf.
Hmm might have to work on him a bit. 

I've made a start on my entry for Reticule's Summer Exhibition to raise money for breast cancer.   I was sent a pack of pink  Texere Yarns and I've used my embellisher to felt them to some wadding.   My next step is to make it into a small evening purse.  I hope to finish it off either tomorrow or Monday.  I need a shade of ribbon I don't have so may have to go into town to buy some.  I'll post pictures when I've finished.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

It's taken me a lot longer than I expected

To get back into the swing of things.  I've not blogged for quite some time and felt unless I made the effort and began again I was in danger of dropping out.   So sorry to those who follow my travels and in the last week I have begun to sew again.

I promised last time that I'd show you some dyeing I'd done using alcohol inks and this is one of the pieces.  
I bought this book which gives you lots of ideas on using alcohol inks both in dropper bottles such as the Ranger ones.   But you can also use pens with alcohol inks such as Sharpies or Copic pens.  Both are very easy and simple to use.  You simply colour the fabric with your pens then drop alcohol blending solution onto the fabric.   I showed the book to a couple of friends and we got together to try out some of the methods in the book.   The result is fairly serendipitous but lots of fun.   We used silk but it works just as well on other fabrics.   The inks and blending solution dry almost instantaneously so you don't have to pack away wet fabric.

I finished my 'Twilight' picture for the EG's Sparkles exhibition next month.  I used the alcohol inks on tinfoil for the frame.   I dropped several colours of ink onto felt then stamped it onto crumpled kitchen tinfoil.  Once it dried, which took only a few minutes, I glued the tinfoil onto a wood frame.  Not sure of the name for this piece but couldn't think of anything else.

 Just in time I managed to get my March and April journal pages for the CQ 2010 challenge finished.  March is in remembrance of Mum who would have been 94 on the 8th March.  I've used fabric paper in two inch block patchwork as the background.  Printed a photo of Mum onto fabric and using Photoshop created a scrapbook page.  The lace is again dyed using alcohol inks.

April's JP is also on a paper fabric quilted background.  The top layer is made using soluble stabiliser and tiny scraps of fabrics.   I've called this infection as it was a really nasty kidney infection that laid me low during April.  The infection is spreading across the page just as it spread to my kidney's, lungs and liver.  Luckily I'm now fit and feeling up to sewing again.


 Once quilt I was unable to upload to the challenge site was my intepretation of 'Passage' - Passage to India.  I was doing the bi-monthly challenge on the 3Creative Studio site but try as I might I could not log on to upload the photo, the deadline being yesterday.   I tried re-registering but was told I was already registered, when I tried to use my registration details I was told I couldn't be found.  Guess I'll be sitting out this one.

Keith has finished my sewing room and I've finally moved in, these are a couple of photos of it but don't show all of it.  However its now full of junk from our dining room.   We ordered new flooring for the dining room and were expecting it to arrive end of next week but its arriving on Tuesday.   So all hands to the pump we've had to empty the dining room so we can redecorate it before the flooring arrives.  Keith decided to take off the radiator so it would be easier to take off the old paper and put on the new.  Unfortunately our plans went a bit astray as we developed a serious leak.  Good job we have new flooring coming as the old one is sitting in the garden dripping wet.  Still its all under control now but we've had enough excitment for one day and will start the decorating tomorrow.