Wednesday 31 March 2010

I am leaving Blogger

After the fiasco with Picasa making photos on most blogs invisible earlier in the week I have decided to go over to Wordpress and see how it goes. I am not closing this blog down entirely as I have not yet discovered how to get alerts to your new posts yet so will have to pop back here on a daily basis. My first impressions are that it is much easier to work with, particularly regarding photos, and I like the clean lines.

For the time being I will just put up a link on here each time I create a new post, which will take you straight to it. I have asked for your input though as I am still in two minds.

The new blog is here - same name, different look.

I hope that some of you will pop over and see me but whatever you decide enjoy what you are creating.


Sunday 28 March 2010

Eat your hearts out Chris and Kate

There are certain advantages to finishing work at three o'clock in the morning, not least the fact that there is no traffic on the way home but this morning I discovered  a whole new one. When I arrived home I started  to watch a programme that I had recorded, while trying to decide whether to go to bed or stay up and watch the Grand Prix. I was about thirty minutes into the programme when the cat started to behave oddly so I looked out of the window thinking that there might be another cat lurking and upsetting him. It wasn't a cat that I saw but two badgers, munching their way through the bird food that was still on the lawn! These creatures are supposed to be easily startled, but not these two. They ignored the fact that there was a very excited female standing peering through the patio door, fully lit, and were completely unfazed when I rushed upstairs to get my camera and opened the bedroom window to take a couple of photos, complete with flash. Unfortunately the quality of the photos is not good and the battery died after the second one but I feel very privileged to have had the company of these nocturnal visitors.

I think that maybe a decent camera should be next on my wish list!

For anyone who is wondering about the title, over here in England we have a regular series of programmes called Autumnwatch and Springwatch during which, amongst other things, they try desperately to present glimpses of  badgers with carefully concealed cameras, often to no avail. The presenters are Chris Packham and Kate Humble. 

Apologies too to any farmers reading this as I do appreciate that they are not your favourite animals but this was an event that I really wanted to share.

Nothing creative to show at the moment as I have been working on my show quilt and so can't reveal that just yet.

Until next time enjoy whatever you are doing at whatever time of the day or night.


Saturday 20 March 2010

Why I love to dye silk

It seems to be a long time since the last post and much of my time has been spent dyeing and working. I did several loads of acid dyed silks and viscose wool felt, mainly because I just love dyeing silk for the effects that it creates but also I needed something suitable for an embellisher-made bag swap.

Medium weight habotai

Various silk sheers

Silk tops

And because I was going to be using the embellisher, I threw in some viscose wool felt.

I liked the piece that I made for the bag so much that I came very close to keeping it and turning it into a piece for the wall but I stuck to my original aim and made a bag for Cath. I am glad that I did now as she loves it and so it has gone to a good home

The original fabric

and the bag ...

Just because I had the fabrics out I also made another wrapfolio and a postcard.

This month's Technique of the Month was overpainting fabric with metallic paint. As I had a pretty unprepossessing piece of fabric that had not dyed well, I decided to use that and it certainly improved it although I can't say that I love it.

The  same group that is doing the bag swap have also been doing a bookmark and quiltie swap. These are the bookmarks that I received from Jytte, Angela and Marian. Now I can enjoy reading lots of books at once.

This is the quiltie that I made for Joan, again using silk and felt and with the flowers and leaves made from thermogauze

If you have managed to get down this far, can I recommend a beautiful book to you by Virginia Spiegel, 'Wild at the Edges'. This has the most beautiful images and thought provoking and inspiring narrative. For those of you who have been considering that they might have a book in them, this one is self-published by Blurb and I was surprised at the excellent quality. If you want to have a peek inside the book go to Virginia's blog.

Last but not least I managed to win myself some fabric last week from Just Hands On TV, just for being a subscriber. Do check out the site. You can get there by clicking on the logo on my side bar.

I'll try not to take so long before the next posting, so until then, enjoy whatever you are doing.


Tuesday 2 March 2010

A really mixed bag

Another sunny and warm day today. Dare we hope that Spring is finally here? I decided to take the opportunity to drive over to Eccleshall in Staffordshire to visit Gallery@12 to buy some of Angela Smith's jewellery that I had seen on her blog.  It is a beautiful gallery with so many lovely things all made by Staffordshire artists, well worth a visit and, if you are a quilter and go on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, Pollyanna Patchwork's shop is directly opposite. I decided to avoid that added temptation! I was not, however, able to resist the temptation to buy a gorgeous matching bracelet and earrings.  It was really good to meet Angela also who happened to be working in the shop today. I just love the way that blogland can lead us to new people.

Saturday was another Chris and Barbara class but this time at Stone Station and with Barbara trying to keep us in order on her own. It is a lovely venue, recently refurbished and very light and airy - just don't try talking as the trains go by, or even as they stop. Yes, it is still a working station. The class was Reversible Runners, creating both sides of the block at the same time so they only have to be sewn together with binding afterwards and it  is finished. I decided that mine looked better as a square and Barbara also decided that I should make it into a larger piece as a star. "You just need to do another twelve blocks" she said! I have to admit that I do like it and so will get on and do the twelve blocks although it may mean dyeing some more fabrics. Photos of everyone's work is on their blog so do head over and take a look. It was a very small and pleasant group and we all worked so hard that lunch was very short and I even forgot about the biscuits, although there was cake near the end.

The right side

The reverse side

I am currently taking part in a Birthday Club through the Popular Patchwork Forum. There are 24 of us and it involves sending a card and a piece of fabric, designated by the host mum Jan. I got a lovely selection of purple fabrics and some gorgeous cards.

Although it is hard to single out any one card, this one from Kerstin from Germany is awesome.

And another card received today from Jo as part of a Quilting Together one-to-one swap.

I love this, it reminds me of the way that the sun tracks through the sky.

While I was suffering from my cold recently I had a craving for some crisps, not something I normally eat but I think it is the salt thing when you have a cold. Round about the same time I happened across a post by Lynda Monk about crisp packets and decided to give it a try. I can't remember exactly what I did  use although I know I got out the Gesso, acrylic paint, writing ink and Lumiere paint. What an amazing result, and yet another way to recycle!

I even managed to find time to make another wrapfolio and a couple of ATCs. Two of these wrapfolios have now gone to good homes.

To those of you who have been wishing me well with my Classical Greek studies, I apologise but I decided yesterday that I am not going to continue. I have been getting excellent grades in the assignments and I understand the language as we are progressing but ... and it is a big but, I simply cannot retain the vocabulary. We are not allowed to use a dictionary in the exam and the vocabulary list that we are going to have to know is huge. It has been causing me quite a lot of stress lately and I always said that if I stopped enjoying my studies then there was no point in going on with them. I don't need the qualification and was just doing it out of interest so having made the decision to withdraw, I still have all the course books and can just plod along at my own pace with no pressure. I did agonise a lot over the decision, feeling of failure etc, but now that it is made I feel a huge sense of relief and can at least devote more time to creativity. 

So until the next time, find enjoyment in whatever you are doing.