Wednesday 29 April 2009

Day 1 without Willow

So far its awful.
I know there are people out there with much more to grieve over and that its 'only a dog' but I can't begin to describe how bad I feel.
For the first time in 17 years there is no dog in the house.
When Daisy died we had Willow but now we have a big dog shaped hole, an empty chair, and two emboldened cats.

I was going to have a lovely blog anniversary post but all I need to say just at the moment is, thank you all so much for your kind and supportive comments yesterday. I realise I don't really know most of you but those comments and that support are the reasons that I love blogging so much.
I can't even be bothered with a picture at the moment but I may feel better later.

Its just the day for a walk.
It will be strange without my sidekick.

Tuesday 28 April 2009


Today its a whole year since I first posted on this blog, but do you mind if I postpone the celebrations until tomorrow?
Today at 5pm the vet is coming to put Willow 'to sleep'.
We took her to be examined yesterday. She is extremely ill but not in pain, and we brought her home so our boys could come and say goodbye last night. She is here next to me on a big soft blanket on the sofa. Its obvious she needs to be released.
I can't believe she will be gone this evening.
I am beyond sad.
We all are.
I'm sure you understand.

Sunday 26 April 2009

The Northwest Regional Day

Saturday was the North West Regional Day of the the Embroiderers' Guild at the Rheged Centre near Penrith.
I had a good day. I actually managed to remember it for a start.
(Last year I was still in bed when the phone rang to tell me the coach was waiting for me at the motorway services about 8 miles away. This would not have been quite so bad had I not been the one insisting that the coach call in at the motorway services to pick me up)

I met Maggie Grey again and really enjoyed her talk on Celtic Inspirations, in which she showed one of my pieces.
Then, I won second prize in the coats anchor competition with this piece, which you saw last year.
(The top picture is truer in colour to the original)

Here's the whole thing.

I managed not to offend anyone (I think).
Although I was a bit tactless at one point.

I got to actually hold a lovely piece made by Purple Missus, and saw some dead catalogue art too!

Now when I tagged a few bloggers the other week I certainly didn't expect this!
Edit: its fun do go and look. (I wasn't shocked Cathy!)

Do you have stat counter? Its very interesting and my favourite bit is 'came from' which shows you where readers have ..well you guessed it..come from. Its so lovely to find links to your blog and I am humbled by some of them.
People I don't know linking others to my blog.
Thank you .
Yesterday I discovered a lot of visitors from katafoltok I have popped in quite a few times but unfortunately I don't understand the language of the blog. I do understand that she has made some beautiful cuffs in velvet. I did a 'translate' but it only gave me a very rough idea of the meaning. For example, do you know what a 'vernal quiltnet' is?
I thought not.

Friday 24 April 2009

A coincidence

Today was my day to steward the Exhibition I am part of at Lytham Heritage Centre.
It was very quiet with only one visitor until about 11.15 so I decided to pop out to buy something I needed.
I was away about 20 minutes . When I got back the other lady on duty said there had been 9 people in and there were two waiting for me to get back.
Look who they were!

Maggie and Clive Grey!
They hadn't known the exhibition was on, and had just been visiting relatives in Lytham as they were on their way to Rheged near Penrith, for the Northwest Regional day of the Embroiderers' Guild, where Maggie is giving a talk, and for which I have a ticket.
They saw the sign outside and just popped in for look.
What an amazing coincidence.
That it was on my day to steward too!

Here I have to say that Lytham is MILES from where they live and quite a few miles from where they were headed so you will appreciate the slim chance of us meeting.

I had been out to buy a canvas for a piece, and visited a new Art Gallery in Lytham run by a man who had a huge piece of work for sale with a print of a fish on it,when I say a print of a fish I don't mean a drawing of a fish rendered in print..I mean fish as printblock!
And bird too.
I wondered what happened to the fish? If he'd done some potato prints he could have made a fish and chip supper. (After he washed the ink off)
Just a minute I'll go and find his card and then I can link to his website so you can see ................................................................................................................................................................
..............................................footsteps disappearing ........................................ .................................. ............. ......................................................................................................................................................................
.............................................................coming back ........................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................................................
found it!
William Estlin Cummings

Tuesday 21 April 2009


Little tiny prototype brooch mentioned in the previous post.
About an inch and a half in diameter.
Photographed on my lovely Midwinter casserole lid
Is it a runner?

Monday 20 April 2009

Back after a busy week.

Today I am feeling quite relaxed after a very hectic week.
Monday was spent preparing for a visit from two really close friends. We first met 40 years ago in September when we arrived at Strawberry Hill, St Mary's college. We had a fantastic three years there then spent another three years together teaching in the same area. One is now a head of an 'outstanding' school,(offstead!) and the other is a deputy and doing a heads course. I on the other hand am a complete failure in the world of education.
Friends like that do not stand on ceremony. We have years when we don't get in touch but then pick up where we left off.

Tuesday was the felt group day and on Wednesday my friends arrived and we talked ate and drank wine until very late, and I was sad to say goodbye on Thursday, but I couldn't have stood another night with that amount of wine!
Then I had to get ready for Friday, pictures below, a workshop with a great tutor, Linda Westerman.
Here we are all working

This is a pile of some of Linda's fabulous work.

Here are our efforts.

Bet you can't guess which is mine.

She was an excellent tutor and we all did different things.
I was asked to give the vote of thanks.
I wrote it down, I read it to my friend.
BUT IT STILL CAME OUT WRONG!!!! I managed to make a sincere compliment sound like an insult.
Its my special skill.
Or a syndrome.
Putting my foot in it syndrome.
I had done it on a blog comment only the day before, but I won't tell you where.
I am going to get a tattoo on my forehead saying 'please do not ask me to speak in public..I will muck it up'
I feel sick. I couldn't sleep.
Fortunately I have a very poor memory so the sting has faded almost away, its only writing about it here thats is giving me post traumatic stress.

Karen tagged me recently with a kreativ blogger award, where I have to write a few facts about myself. I already did it here so I'll pass on writing more facts but I must encourage you to visit her blog and look at the beautiful stiching there. I think I'll mention four here that I have been reading and enjoying.
Heather from Ragged Old Blogger who has done wonderful things with a dead catalogue!
Helen from Cocoa and Blankets who is currently showing lovely pictures of her trip to Venice
Another Helen who does lovely embroidery at Sea Strands and is making fibre flowers.
Do visit Cathy at Menopausal Musings who has a really interesting way with her blog pictures.
So ladies, if you would like to play, all you have to do is write 7 facts about yourself, link back to me here, and pass it on. You can use the picture if you like, its in my sidebar. Kreativ blogger.
There is no obligation.

On Saturday morning I remembered that I had generously volunteered to type out, mount, and cut all the labels or should I say 'tablets' for our exhibition.
When that was finished without too many rejects, I started this, a copy of a piece I did earlier in the year.

Its about a foot square. Its funny but whatever you do, you always learn something or find a bit you like. Do you find that?
I really like the little blue circle above the black 'star' and I made a very small brooch like it.
About one o' clock in the morning on Sunday.
I may do more.

I finished my two large 'moucharabia' pieces, which I have re-named 'Marrakech' because it may have more appeal to someone who has been there.
This is the completed piece on its calico background,

and here it is rather skew whiff on my wardrobe door.

Here's the second one I did.

They are about two feet by 18 inches approximately.
The detail below shows a bit of two needle embellisher work. I wanted to give the idea of light coming through the window, but I don't think I've made the lines vary in length enough. It was all done in a rush so I didn't have time to change it.

The next one shows the area where I made nuno felt on muslin and then worked from the back with the embellisher to push the felt through to the front. I finished it with hand stitching to convey the idea of the tiled courtyard outside.

I put the two small pieces in IKEA frames.

I stuck them on with sticky velcro, but by the time we delivered them, they had come adrift in the frames. I stuck them back but am worried.

The exhibition is in Lytham at the Heritage Centre on the corner of Dicconson Terrace.
We had a lovely walk along the sea front, the weather was amazing.
I haven't been out for an afternoon with my husband since last August Bank Holiday (Not counting Symi) so it was a real treat.

I am stewarding the exhibition on Friday, 10 till 4 so if you are in the area do call in and say hello.

Sunday 12 April 2009

Happy Easter

Whatever your beliefs........

have a great weekend!

(I did the first banner of my own accord for our church a long time ago.
Then we got a new priest and he asked me to do the 'Risen Christ' banner. It took me about 100 hours. There are some things I don't like about it...creases in the face, slightly Disney look about the eyes, but on the whole its been well liked .
The bottom church banner was done for the 25th Anniversary of Liverpool Catholic Cathedral, when all the churches in the Liverpool Diocese took their banners to the Cathedral for a celebration which was filmed for 'Songs of Praise' over 16 years ago)

Thursday 9 April 2009

Time and Weight

Since 30th March when I overindulged on cheese and potato pie with a pastry crust followed by sticky toffee pudding and felt horrible, I have been eating 'healthy'.
(There was a reason for the pie..a request from my friend for her birthday..she wanted 'plain')
But since then, neither a speck of chocolate, nor a grating of cheese, has passed my lips.
Not much wine except one glass on Saturday and three glasses on Sunday has been taken.
I have eaten a mountain of raw veg with less than a molehill of Houmus and Pitta ...
MINI pitta that is.
BROWN mini pitta
Kept other bread to an absolute minimum.
Much fish has been consumed, as well as small amounts of brown rice, wholemeal pasta, chicken
and glasses of water to bridge the gaps.
I have walked quite a lot.


I know its only 9 days but I haven't lost an ounce. I get on the scales every morning but there it is ********and a half stone. I won't tell you what the ******** is, its too embarrassing.
On Wednesday we went out to celebrate number two sons birthday.
I ate a pizza, a starter of some small fowl on lettuce , one or two bits of bread sticks, and one small glass of house red.No pudding.
I weighed myself the next morning and ........I PUT ON THREE POUNDS.
Is that fair?

Here is number two son last Wednesday, his 24th Birthday, on the steps outside his flat in Manchester. (Just out of interest to any Mrs Gaskell fans, her house is next door)

I had a maudlin session looking through old photos

and listening to this.

I got a bit weepy.

Monday 6 April 2009

Felt like spring.

While blogs everywhere celebrate Spring and show gardens bursting with life, I reflect on the terrible state of my own garden.
The problems are clay, height above sea level, wind, and shade.
And the greatest of these is Shade.
But shade can have its compensations.
You have to look hard but your efforts will be rewarded.

Strange how these two little gems are in opposite complementary colours.

I take no credit for the celandine, they arrived on their own.
The violets were planted by me but have spread like wildfire.
I planted these gorgeous, precious, special snakeshead fritillaries but even though I planted them they have thrived/thriven/throve and come up multiplied each year.

Shade also has its villains.
We will draw a veil over these and their naked brethren for now.

I've been working on my felt. This little piece is a side issue.. made possible by the use of the embellisher.

I made a long strip of multicoloured nuno felt on slate blue cotton gauze
Then cut it up to construct a background and added other bits of felt using the embellisher.

I drew deatil from the back with the embellisher too,

and did a bit of handstitch .

I love the way the colours of the wool come through the gauze and change slightly.
Violet and celandine and fritillary colours, coincidentally.
I may wet felt this again to finish it off.

Now go straight from here to visit my new love, Bob T Bear Esq and his friend..sorry fwend, Dilly.
They'll make you smile.
Really they will.

Wednesday 1 April 2009


Thank you for making me feel better about my felt. I knew you would! It just gave a me a bit of encouragement. I've done some more work on it, its coming on.
Maybe you were just being kind, but I am grateful anyway. (See Anonymous comment four posts ago)
This is why blogging is such fun.
I am sorry I've been neglecting blog reading. I am in a panic now because I have hundreds unread in Google reader but I must work on my exhibition pieces. Tempus, as usual is fugiting.
I have more to do to this.

But my back is killing me. I've been making felt all day.
I'm such an untidy worker.
The sherry bottle is just to bang the corners of the felt into shape. Honest. And the crumbs..well I have no excuses...

I've made a bag and straps and loads of prefelts.
I need a horse

But all I've got is this bag of bones who isn't in the least bit interested and wouldn't even know which way she was going if I tied my felt to her.

I should have utilised a recent opportunity and harnessed the roller to Denny, my son's dog.
You see, I did get a visit on Mothers' Day after all.
Denny is a human dynamo. Well she's not human but you know what I mean.(She's the one on the left, my lovely boy is on the right!)
She would have dragged enough felt for a whole row of yurts round our garden in no time at all.

And shouted a lot while she was doing it.

Now I must point you to two other blogs.
One is a post in Mousenotebook which says a very useful thing.
Read it to find out.
The other is a very very funny blog. The blog of Bob T Bear Esq. There are so many posts to amuse, but I especially like this post which appeals to my 'schoolboy' sense of humour.

I put three 'Retro' brooches in my ETSY shop. Look at the link in my sidebar.
Pinks greens and blue.
Lovely spring colours to go with the wonderful weather.

And finally...a question.
Does my blog background look grey or white to you?
I am looking at it on the main PC and its pale grey, which I chose, but on my laptop it looks white.
I wonder why.

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

Dear Anonymous.....

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