Tuesday 27 December 2016

End of the year

My last post written way back in October ended with my looking forward to a workshop in Garstang. Well it was lovely and the town looked lovely too. It's a super little market town with a lot of independent shops, and I really wish Chorley had taken a leaf out of their planners' book when they decided to wreck our town with unsympathetic developments. I said this in the class not knowing that two of my students were from Chorley, but I think in the end they agreed.

Anyway here are some pictures from the day.
 There was some really super work all different.
 The two below both used the same source picture, so it shows that we all have our own style.
 A Van Gogh interpretation.

 The one below should be rotated. It's based on a David Hockney tree painting.

 And here is a shop in Garstang all decked out for Halloween. It's a long time ago now!

 Also a long time ago, the roofer decided to thank me for all the soup and toast I'd made hm with a lovely hamper.

He made an excellent job of the roof, and it's completely dry now if somewhat cooler, as the old wood and mortar between the wood and the slates, has been replace with battens and breathable membrane so there's very little insulation left up there between us and the elements, and the bedrooms are chillier. However, when all the loft has been cleared of a lot of the aforementioned 'stuff' that fell into it , we can put down some layers of insulation and that should make a difference.

 It's a beautiful job and cost a fortune, so you can imagine how upset I was when the chimney above began to drip into the kitchen again. We all thought it was cured but it seems not, so at extra expense it has to be re-investigated from the other side, ie the neighbour's, who are absolutely adamant that they have no problems with it. It only seems to happen when the wind blows in a certain direction so it could just be a small crack somewhere.
So...watch this space.
So we had a farewell photo of Lovell and Michael but we'll be seeing them again in January!

I've been working like a maniac sewing and selling and doing workshops to help to pay towards the roof works and I'm pleased to say I've been selling well.
I've made birds

and sheep

and lots of other things.

I've been in 'Felt Matters' magazine, 

very exciting, and I've been asked to write for another magazine. 
I did another two day workshop of my own and it was equally good fun as the last one, with more super work from students.

We had a good laugh.
I've had a lovely Christmas with my family at home and too much food.

I've been accepted for Wonderwool Wales, and I'm about to apply for Woolfest once again.
I have a new two day workshop in the offing, 26th and 27th January in Lancashire, still some places left, as well as some work on a fossil theme to accompany a special exhibition.
So, plenty to look forward to in 2017.
But I'll let you into a little secret, I'm feeling rather down. That black dog.  Not really a secret, I've mentioned it before. Christmas can make it worse or better. It seems to like to alternate and this year it definitely worse.
(I hope thats not a truth too far.)
So roll on 'normality'. 
And Spring.
Only 8 weeks to Ballyvaughan.

Thursday 27 October 2016

It's been a while...

..since I posted.
I've been having a nice time.

I had a brilliant time at Yarndale.
This is my new sign at last.

I wasn't expecting it to be such fun as it was the third time I'd done it and I thought perhaps it might be good to have a break, but it was sooo good I can't wait for next year!
Blurry photo of my pen.

I met loads of lovely people , some of whom had signed up for my course in September which has been and gone, and some of whom were interested in signing up for my second course which is in November (I still have a couple of spaces left due to having to change dates) .The alpacas had a lot of compliments too. Vivian the baby was a big draw with her spotty face.

A grand time was had by all. Apparently , if you were walking about on the Saturday it was heaving, but I was in my little pen and enjoying chatting to people and selling pieces of work so I loved it. It's so wonderful to be complemented all day long.
These giant sheep were walking about all day as well.

On Friday 14h October it was my Lovely Mum's 89th Birthday.

 We had a plan. Hetty went to a friend's house. We would go for lunch to a pub we'd seen in Far Sawrey (Near the Windermere ferry) called 'The Cuckoo Brow Inn' and then go to Kendal and pop into the Abbott Hall Art Gallery to see 'Winifred Nicholson in Cumbria' . My husband had restored a lot of her paintings for a book by Christopher Andrae which was published a few years ago.

Don't you love teh lake District? Lovely sights like this.
Swallows and Amazons on Windermere.

The meal at the pub was delightful , 

Then we set off to Kendal but unfortunately the traffic from the North to the South of Kendal on a Friday afternoon is a nightmare and by the time we got to the Gallery it was too late to go in.

So in the end Brian went on his own the day after , as it was the final day.
Shortly after that, an invitation arrived in the post for guess what? The preview of the Winifred Nicholson in Cumbria Exhibition in London!

The day Brian was hobnobbing with Winifred, I was having a fab time with a wonderful group of ladies teaching the first course I'd organised myself and I have to say it was brilliant fun.
They were a terrific group and we laughed a lot and they made some beautiful felt, and made a good start on the embroidery.

Some came from so far away they had to stay in hotels. I was very honoured.
I'm doing it all over again in three weeks with a different group.Still a couple of places left due to ..well circumstances!

The work on the roof still grinds on. I'm going to miss the lovely roofer and his assistant when he leaves (eventually). Last week his Father (a retired GP)turned up on a motorbike and his brother (a tiler) arrived to throw some rubbish in our skip (by prior arrangement) so we had three members of his family at our kitchen table. I'm beginning to think he's a member of my family! I'll be so glad when I can see through the windows again and walk into the garden without clonking my head on the scaffolding, and pay some attention to what we used to call the lawn. We need an industrial vacuum cleaner to clean out the loft . The skylight has been covered with a layer of thick grit and bits of old slate and new roofing felt so it's gloomy on the landing as thats the only natural light.

Brian is painting the woodwork so all is going to be very smart. e might even finish with a flourish and re-instate the Balls on the gateposts which regular readers might remember were lifted a few years ago but then recovered.

This weekend I'm teaching a workshop at Creative Threads in Garstang.
I was convinced I'd be exhausted on Sunday when the clocks went 'back' but then I realised it's 'forward' so I'm ecstatic.
Happy Winter everyone.

Sunday 11 September 2016

August. And a bit of September

Well if I don't do this post soon it will be too late and in my dotage I will be wondering what I did with my life during August 2016!

First a gorgeous surprise arrived in the post from Mary-Anne Richardson of Magpies Mumblings.
We've been blog friends for many years and it was a generous and beautiful and unexpected gift.
Isn't it pretty?

Mid August I had a lovely visit from a college friend I first met 47 years ago.
We are still close and had a very happy four days together. We had a super 'Beatrix Potter ' day, visiting Hill Top Sawrey and Yew Tree Farm. Connected with Beatrix. We crossed Windermere on the ferry and experienced the ridiculous and controversial new ticket machine, which was later the subject of a an item on the local BBC news!

Shortly after that we had a week in Dorset. Lyme Regis to be precise.
When we arrived at our last minute accommodation we were a bit daunted by the exterior view at first.

But it was like opening a craggy oyster shell to reveal the beautiful Mother-of-Pearl interior,
Entering the door at the top of the steps revealed and lovely apartment with French Windows opening onto a gorgeous little patio overlooking the sea.

We had a most beautiful relaxing week . It was a complete joy to walk about the town and down to
the sea and relax in the very comfortable apartment.

Lyme Regis is a lovely town. Real English seaside with something for everyone.

We did get the car out on one or two days , We went to Beer.
Very quaint.

Lyme Regis harbour is so interesting
The light is glorious.

There are so many lovely places to eat as well.
We ate in The Harbour Inn. A seagull swooped and ate half my hake!
And one day we revisited The Anchor Inn at Seatown. Still fabulous.

On our journey home we took a detour to eat in Wells at the most wonderful vegetarian restaurant  The Good Earth. Really worth a detour.

And the Town Cryer of Wells will offer all sorts of helpful advice like car parking tips.

Its always good to get home though.

Usualy at this time of year we are in Symi but not this year.
I made a moussaka to help us get over it.
I used nearly every pan and every utensil.
It was worth it.
Even better when we ate the other half a few weeks later, defrosted and reheated it was delicious.

Hetty had a haircut at a different place, much nearer home.

I finished a piece of felt.

And a mirror.

Then.... the scaffolding began.

By the end of last week every surface of our house was covered.
We are having a new roof, some pointing and while the scaffold is up my husband is painting the hard to reach bits.
Its a good job he has a head for heights but I can't help worrying.

And meanwhile I'm preparing for Yarndale.
Stand 17 . Come and see me.

Sunday 17 July 2016

Trip to Oxford.Picture heavy post

We went to Oxford for a couple of days. Stayed in a cheap and cheerful Travelodge with a saggy bed but it was ok.
Our main reason was to visit 'Art in Action' the very last one. 
We've been a few times before and had always said we'd go again, and as it was the last it was now or never.
Its a feast of every kind of art. Painting , print, sculpture, textiles, ceramics and so on. It was wonderful. 
Here are a few photos.
I took this one for my son's friend who does drawings on the underground. (I'll credit this photo when I find the catalogue!)

It was delightful to sit under lovely trees and listen to the music.

 The Gardens at Waterperry nearly made me cry. 
I wish wish wish I could grow things like this.

 I have one delphinium which hasn't yet flowered!

Please enjoy these garden pictures. Sigh....

The sculpture area 

In the Textile Tent I saw Carol Naylor, who once gave a workshop to our textile group and stayed with us.
I also met Este McCloud whose paintings I have long admired.

I can't begin to convey the loveliness of Art in Action. 
So sad it's over.

 In the evenings of our trip we dined in lovely places found by my husband who was tasked with finding said beautiful places.
The Perch, Binsey was one such.

 Lovely place, delicious food.

You could walk through fairy-lit arches to the river.

 Not mad on this picture 
but it shows the fairy lights.

 Oxford is a place I have often driven past and never explored. It's truly beautiful with so much history (obviously.) 
I popped into a church where Cardinal Newman had preached and Gerard Manley Hopkins had been curate. 
Just there..just passed by and there it was..amazing.

I liked this alternative to a brass plaque on a door, such a beautiful stone carving to announce yourself.

 We met my cousin's daughter  and her daughter in The Barefoot Bakery Jericho,where we ate lovely toasted banana bread and I bought a super blouse in a charity shop. Very very lovely stuff in Oxford Charity shops! Noa-Noa, Toast, White Stuff, Gudrun Sjodern.
Here are Freya and Fiona in the cafe.

The cakes were delish.

 I was envious of the vegetation which springs out of every crevice voluntarily. 
Imagine the trouble I'd have trying to grow hollyhocks in my garden?

 And my cousin had an 'accidental artichoke' in her garden!!!I don't think I could grow one deliberately.

 Then we set off for the Ashmolean Museum.

I'd wanted to visit since I did a research project on The Minoans when I was at College, and it wasn't disappointing. Many of the objects are reconstructions but it didn't matter. There was so much to see.

After the Archeology we looked at the paintings and found a concertina-playing sailor in this Holman Hunt painting.

After lunch in the (sadly over-rated) rooftop restaurant we tootled along the road to the Pitt-Rivers museum
The first part is spectacular enough, the natural history section.

My husband was a bit worn out by then so became a specimen himself for a few minutes.

Many many bones.

A beautiful building.

Then we went through to the actual Pitt-Rivers bit. I was blown away. It has hundreds of glass cases each holding many artefacts from all over the world. I wish I could remember all the different categories. A lot of photos follow to give an idea of what we saw.

A case of combs


Votive tokens

A garment which looked like silk but was made from seal intestines..aleuit.

Bark cloths

Bells rattles and xylophones.

Lamellaphones are a kind of Jews harp mouth instrument.




Don't know what this is, but it's so cute.

As is this!

Masks..again..different ones!

Eel and rat traps and one was a hedgehog trap


Axe heads. I took this because we found a similar one on the beach at Cley in Norfolk years ago.

an of course a  hat made from a fish!

Skates and snowshoes!

Carved spoons

More combs

General view showing the totem pole.

A case full of things made from recycled materials. Guitar!

Mind boggling and I'll never feel as if my house is cluttered again. I have my own little Pitt rivers type collection here you know! Butter paddles, rolling pins, scissors.....

I could spend days and days in the Pitt Rivers and more days in the Ashmolean. Both are free, the staff are fabulous in both and children are welcomed in both.

On the third days after visiting my cousin at home, we went into town and saw many sights and sounds and really too many people. 
I was glad to get out. 
Here's a young man doing a show on top of a telephone box, as 
you do.

So Oxford was wonderful and we enjoyed every minute but its always nice to be home isn't it?
And breathe....

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

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