Thursday, 30 October 2008

Awards and Bravery.

Have I done something different?
Having spent quite some time working out that photos upload in a particular order I now find that they upload the other reverse order.
If you know the answer please leave a comment and explain.
Anyway I have received a blog award from Jean of Genies Art World
Its quite interesting.
I have to award it to 4 people who are already followers of my blog and one person who is new.
So here goes:
From the House of Edward
Gunnels Blog
are my choice for the 4 existing followers, and I have just plucked one I like the look of from the top blogs by crafters list and that is
Rachael Rabbits Blogspot
So if the above bloggers would like to accept the award don't forget to leave to a comment on your chosen blogs and link back to the one who gave you the award (that would be me) and pass it on.

Quite apart from blogging I think I deserve an award.
I went for a day out to York on Tuesday to meet up with some of my college friends.

We met for the first time in September 1969, when we went to train as teachers, at a wonderful place called Strawberry Hill, almost 40 years ago.
We grew up together during three years at college.
We have kept in touch on and off and like true friends we can pick up where we left off no matter how long the gap since we met.

I deserve an award because I overcame my fear of heights and went up in this.

They deserve an award too because they put me to shame, and are all doing good things in schools, having continued to teach and to advise, weathering all the storms that have blown teachers from one new initiative to another recently.
I wimped out several years ago.

I am happier sewing.

'But there is no money in what is called the till' to quote Beatrix Potter.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Travels with Teabag Paper

(Please ignore anything you've seen on google reader..this is the definitive post!)

I have had a great weekend with the Isle of Man Branch of the Embroiderers'Guild But the journey to the furthest outpost of the North West region was not uneventful

The original ferry was cancelled due to bad weather and we were booked on the 2.15, check in 1pm. We left home at 11.45 for what should have been a 30 minute journey to Heysham.

Due to an accident on the M6 it took two and a half hours.

At check in time we were stuck on the main A6 through Preston.
At 1.30 we were back on the M6 hoping the boat would wait.
1.45 saw us hitting the jam caused by an accident in Lancaster holding us up for a further half hour. I can't tell you how sick I felt.

I am accustomed to being late but on this occasion I couldn't think how I would be able to explain the the Ladies of the IoM branch..I'd missed the ferry.

I felt so sick.

My heart was pounding.

We arrived at the ferry port.

OH JOY!! The weather was so bad the boat had only just arrived. We were in time.

The boat that should have left at 2.15 was delayed till 3.15.
The crossing was a bit on the rough side but it didn't deter the majority of passengers from scoffing bacon sausage beans and chips..yeuch!

I had a revolting sandwich. (We had originally intended to pick up 'not just a sandwich' from M&S on the M6, but the traffic jam put paid to that).

When the announcement came that the boat would dock in Douglas at 7.15 I realised I would have to go straight to the Guild to do my talk, but I was in my very casual clothes. I persuaded a crew member to accompany me to the car deck for a quick rummage in my suitcase to extricate my decent togs and did my Clark Kent act in the Ladies loo (trying hard to ignore the sounds of those who were now regretting their earlier consumption of sausage beans bacon and chips.)

At the Guild meeting we unloaded everything from the car and set up the laptop with their digital projector. I had around 200 photos of my work to talk about.
The projector wouldn't work so I had to improvise and talk about the few pieces of work I'd taken with me. It was a shame because I hadn't taken my best work.

They assured me the talk was a success.

After the talk we tried to get a meal.

Even MacDonalds was shut.

We pleaded with the Hotel and they made us some lovely sandwiches and from there things progressed very well.

The next day the workshop was great fun, the Ladies were delightful. They made me so welcome, made a lovely lunch for me and joined in with great enthusiasm and skill and creativity. It rained all day but that didn't dampen their warmth and hospitality.

They even arranged an extra hours sleep for me! (BST ended so the clocks went back.)

Thank you ladies..and thank you for the blog comment, but as you were anonymous I don't know who you were.

I am only sorry I forgot to take any photographs of you all. On Saturday we ate at this restaurant which I am reliably informed, previously turned away Johnny Depp because he hadn't booked.

On Sunday we had blue skies and sun. We went to 'The Sound' and saw these lovely colours and watched seals.

I was told about Braddan Old Kirk, an atmospheric old church with an amazing graveyard, full of ancient gravestones with trees growing through them.
apparently its often used for film making.
But the real treasure lies inside.
A fantastic array of Ancient Celtic and Viking Stones and crosses.
Just standing there.
I especially liked this one with just half a cross on it. I liked its simplicity.
Sorry the picture isn't too good.

The patterns were so varied, both simple and complex.

Just imagine how long ago these were carved, and with such skill.

All this and kippers for breakfast!
What more could an embroiderer want?
I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.
I must add that all the people of the Isle of Man who we met and spoke to were generous, helpful and welcoming .
I must just make a mention of the sad news of the death of Julia Caprara on Friday from Cancer.
Julia didn't know me but she was a great inspiration to me in my early days of embroidery, and many others.
She will be missed.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Dog Daisy Abroad.

I have been really touched by the lovely comments I had after my last post. Thank you to everyone who left me a few words.
I wasn't too sad on Wednesday, but my Mum was of course.
I just remembered the fun we had with him.

Big excitement chez-dogdaisy...I am doing a talk and a workshop OVERSEAS!
Yes, on Friday morning I and my car and much of my tackle, are boarding the Isle of Man steam packet ship from Heysham, and sailing off into the west to deliver a talk and a workshop to the members of the Isle of Man branch of the Embroiderers Guild.
The weather forecast is not good.
I will need a strong stomach and possibly a brown paper bag.
I think I'd better wrap my laptop in plastic.

UPDATE: Thursday pm. Just had a text..early ferry cancelled due to bad weather..postponed to 2.30. Hope I don't miss the talk. I'm the one giving it.

We will be making these boxes on Saturday,

having dyed our own tea bag paper and stitched into it.

I have been making samples using the technique I used in my blog header.

Dyed teabag paper, shibori style, providing a base pattern for applique and stitching over voile.

The ink seeps out as in chromatography and provides surprising bits of colour as a guide for adding stitch and fabrics.
As the colours arrived at are a component of the main colour they always look right and inspire addition of threads and fabrics in a colour you may not have considered.
Much nicer in reality.
I have collated all the pictures of my work for the talk and copied them onto a disc, and a data stick, and my laptop.
I will be using a digital projector.
(I have no idea how to do it.)

If there are any Isle of Man Ladies reading, I am looking forward to meeting you at the talk on Friday evening.
There will be homework.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

A Significant Day

22nd October is a significant day.

Its the day my husband and I had out first date. One of the best days of my life.

We arranged to meet up in 'The Old Black Bull' in Preston.

We were married in the following July, both of us being old enough to recognise the 'real thing' when we met it.

This year in July was our 31st wedding anniversary, and today 32nd anniversary of out first date on 22nd October.

22nd October is a significant day.

Its the day my Dad died.

He was rushing through town at 3.30 in the afternoon.

As he passed 'The Old Black Bull' he fell down from a heart attack. And died.

He was 65.

On that day, I had just seen a class of children home. I had popped into the next door classroom and was chatting to my colleague. The conversation came round to My Dad..I don't know why.

I started smiling and telling her about him, how he built a boat in his suburban garage, how I spent my early years looking in tool shop windows, how when he couldn't drive a car we had our family holidays in a motorbike and sidecar,how he had been walking the Lakeland fells in the footsteps of Wainwright since he retired, had been up there on Monday, how enterprising and clever he was in his spare time...

That was 3.30

22nd October 1992 . The worst day of my life.

I miss him still after 16 years.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Picture Post

Despite the birthday celebration and an afternoon of hospital 'procedure' (ending in 'oscopy' )I managed to get a pile of stuff ready for The Platform Gallery Christmas Exhibition so now I'm going to bombard you with a few of the 40 or so pictures I took. For some reason I really like this whole collection (OOH! Get me! ) so I'm showing off.
Isn't that what blogs are for?
If you want more detail click on the pictures.
I bought some new silk from The Bombay Stores stand at a show so I used it to make these silk and velvet cuffs and brooches.

Don't you just love how it glows?

I tried to match them to encourage sales!

Then I started again with the Harris Tweed.
Round brooches.

Do you like the new labels?

Tweed cuffs with added silk and velvet,

This is a bit too macro,

and a new little type of purse.

I've tried a new fastening method , a strip of fabric

that goes round the back and fastens with velcro.

Here's a red/gold one.
They are outrageously expensive.

And I did some more tweed hearts.

Here's the tweed and silk together.

And the whole lot...

Oh and I finished decorating some books. They all have a little bit on the first page.

I delivered them on Thursday so I could see the Open Textile Exhibition. It was a really good mix of styles and techniques. I wish I'd gone earlier so I could have recommended it to you but it finishes today I think.

I've made a bit of a decision about blogging. I have Google reader so I can keep an eye on the blogs I'm following, but I just can't keep up with it and comment on every post of every blog I read, so I have decided to ease off on myself a bit.I add new ones every day, there are so many. I am still reading but I might not comment as much. That seems really selfish, and I love all the comments I get. I try to reply but even if I don't I am still very appreciative. (And if you don't have a blog and don't leave me an e-mail address I can't anyway)So here's a big Thank You to everyone who comments.

Now I have to tag 6 people.I was tagged by Highland Fairy . Its taken me a while to find 6 who haven't already been tagged but here they are:
Caroline Inckle
Cariad in Crete
Mermaids Purse
Fabulous Threads
Maureens Mixture
Creative Wabbit
You have to write 7 random facts about yorself and then link back to the person who tagged you (That would be me) and tag 6 more.
Or you can ignore it.
I must say I had a lot of fun when I wrote mine, thinking about which ones to choose..there are so many!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Birthdays, facts, and a trio of puddings.

Today (Well, as this is a post midnight post, it was yesterday) was my Mums 81st Birthday..this picture was taken last year on her 80th. We managed to persuade her not to go to keep fit today but to be taken out for lunch, the highlight of which was the Trio of puddings.

Why have one when you can have three? From Left to right for those who like me , would need to know:Strawberry and ginger cheesecake, peach, cherry and amaretto trifle, and mango and passion fruit filo parcel.

Here I am briefly with not much news because I'm sewing like a maniac to get everything ready to take for a Gallery Christmas Show. I'll post pictures at the weekend but in the meantime I've been tagged by the lovely Highland Fairy I have to write 7 random facts about myself and then tag 6 others but I'll do that bit later.

Here they are:

· When I was young I was very very thin. Twiggy appeared when I was about 15 and made me feel better, but I was so ashamed of my spindly little legs that I used to pray to get fatter. Never underestimate the power of prayer. My request was answered ‘one hundredfold.’

· I always try to think the best of people. When I was 24 (In 1975) I went to Athens by myself. Some Greek people started chatting to me on the plane and said ‘Oh you must come and stay with us in Athens, we’ll show you round..-oh by the way, we’ve bought some stuff in London and its too much for our customs allowance, will you carry this bag through customs for us?' And guess what?
I did.
· I am a freaky eater. I eat all kinds of food at home but I could never eat bacon or a fried egg that I hadn’t cooked myself in my own frying pan. I won’t eat fish and chips from a chip shop but I’m fine with Indian takeaways, and fast food chains. In some peoples houses I could eat anything (except the bacon and egg) and in others I could eat nothing. Its perverse, I don’t understand it, there’s no logic to it and its very difficult.

· When I was very little I used to wear a vest but I couldn’t stand having it tucked into my knickers and being all rumpled up so I used to insist on pulling the excess vesty substance down my knicker legs. If my skirt blew up in the wind I got some very funny looks. (Not unlike now..for different reasons...)

· I love Winter skies.

· I am a wracked with guilt about not being vegetarian because I love animals (Except slugs). I hypocritically divide my animals into two groups, huggable, and cookable. Please don’t hate me.

· I am hopeless at singing but I love it. I know all the words to all the Hymns at church but please don’t sit near me because I join in.
Here's another bithday girl. Willow was 13 last week.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Saying Goodbye

I am bracing myself for a 'Goodbye'.
Pauline, Clytie and Francis are off to a new home.

I did this piece a few years ago inspired by The Harris Museum, in Preston. I chose three characters I was very familiar with. I thought I'd tell you how I did it here. If you want to read about my inspiration for the piece then click on this link and look at my Flickr page where I have explained why I did it.

I wanted to reproduce the three characters on a background incorporating the words of the 'The Hound of Heaven', Francis Thompson's best known and very beautiful poem.

I used Fabric Transfer paints for the words.
I printed them off as a mirror image print and then painted each letter of some of the words with the transfer paint.
Other words I painted with watercolour masking fluid and then washed over them with the transfer paint. I rubbed off the masking fluid to leave white letters. I arranged the papers with the letters face down on the fabric and ironed them on.

In this area you can see the white letters with the coloured letters on top.
I was thinking about the words echoing around the museum .

I machine stitched over some letters, and around others.

The figures were done seperately on pieces of fabric using pencil crayons, the water soluble type. I coloured them in and then wet them slightly to blend the colours. Then I machine stitched the details in, and finally positioned the figures on the background and machined them down.

I added bits of waxed and inked brown paper to represent the marble mosaic floors of the museum and blended everything together with a flowing running stitch by hand.
You can click on any picture to see more detail.

Now this piece is going to a new home.
The new owner was once a pupil of mine, when I was teaching in Primary School in 1979...we didn't know when she first contacted me, but isn't that amazing? She saw this piece on Fickr and got in touch.
I know it will be greatly appreciated and its a lovely thought that a piece of my work means so much to someone else.
But..its still hard to say Goodbye.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Hebridean Jewels.

At last I've made something I feel I can show. (Although the pictures are not too good, you can click on them for more detail)
Cuffs using a background of Genuine Handwoven Harris Tweed, combined with beautiful hand-dyed silk velvet

(Forgive the ropey state of the 'models' arm just look at the product!)


and lined with 'vintage ' fabrics, Laura Ashley here.

I've been using Harris Tweed with my dyed silk velvet for quite a while now. It all started when I was given some as a gift from the Isle of Harris. I'd had it a few years and I suddenly hit upon combining it with silk and velvet. I made a few brooches from the one piece I had and they were received well.

So I got in touch with the Harris Tweed Authority who gave me the names and addresses of 4 handweavers, two of whom replied to my letters and were prepared to sell me small amounts of their wondrous product.
In this brooch I have added some little matt beads.

This pink one is much more beautiful in reality than the picture shows

and its lined with an old Liberty Tana Lawn

They fasten with velcro

so are adjustable in size.

The velvet glows like jewels against the wool.

The little purple beads on the dark one may even be amethyst..they were in a very old tiny 'Potassium permanganate ' tin from Boots in an inherited 'stash'.

The Harris Tweed is so lovely on this scale because you can really appreciate the blend of colours that go into it to make the overall pattern.
These two older brooches are the same background fabric with different velvets .

And I really enjoyed making these loopy flowers last year

I sold them for £8 each.(I still have a few left if you are interested.)
And if you would like to see more there are some bags here and a pile of brooches here.
I have listed the cuffs and a brooch on Folksy
Thank you all for your feedback on the gift tags.
They have been featured on Cuteable
Thank you Lynsey.

st of my pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Dear Anonymous.....

....don't waste your time...I have a spam filter.