Sunday 22 October 2017

Catching up.

Such a long time since I blogged.
I just wanted to make a record of what I've done.
I started this post in August and now it's the end of October and I'm just finishing it off.
Partly due to the fact that I can no longer use my ipad to blog since I updated it and blogger haven't updated their app .

I returned from Crafty Retreats at the start of June and had to knuckle down and get work done for Woolfest at the end of June.
I had a super time as usual.

I had some super neighbours.

Rio the Angora

And some sheep of a breed I can't remember.

I met some lovely people..

a satisfied customer.
including Harvey the delicate poodle, a regular visitor to these events. His feet never touch the ground.

I stayed in a gorgeous B& B where you didn't have to take your shoes off.
I would recommend this place without hesitation.
Number Six Castlegate. Lovely food, lovely owners and beautiful rooms.

And in the evening I ate out..alone! The second night I returned to 'The Front Room, a lovely friendly restaurant with great food. 
Baileys Ice Cream for pud.

This is as far as I got in what else have I been up to?
Well we went Lyme Regis for a weeks holiday to coincide with our 40th Wedding Anniversary.

Love Lyme Regis.

We had a meal in the posh hotel which was wonderful.

Did a bit of mooching about and fell asleep in the sunshine which didn't seem too strong at the time.
these photos taken at Portland Bill show our red faces.

They were taken at a super quarry where sculptors go every summer to chip away at the stone.
Its a place we'd go again.

Later in the Summer I had a close encounter with a sparrowhawk who accidentally flew into the kitchen.

It beat its wings against the window trying to get out, and I had to cover it with a towel and carry it outside. 
Such a privilege to hold such a creature in my hands.

 A few moments later the starling it had been carrying came out of hiding from under the cupboard.

 Lucky escape. Not so lucky were my sea urchins from Symi. The sparrow hawk flapped them to pieces.
 The next day I found this on the path. So another bird made a lunch for the hawk.

I had a mighty clear out in the Summer and found all sorts of photos.
This one is an amazing collection of people in the one photo.
Little girl with bows= Me.
Woman seated at table=My Mum
Woman standing centre =my Mums best friend who sadly died on 11th September.
Man standing=my Grandfather who lived 100 miles away in Walsall
Two women to the right=my Godmother on the far right, and her Sister who were my father's cousins.
I really don't know what brought them all together for probably the only time. 
Perhaps it was becasue I was presenting a bouquet to a lady in furs...possibly mayor? I vaguely remember. I was about 3.It was a garden fete.

My room got really cleared out but obviously it was worse before it was better!

 I got rid of some goldwork stuff.

To an excellent home.
 A handmade book went to Australia...slow post. Might not even be there yet.

Then I started work for Yarndale.

 Amazingly I came up with some new things. Shawl pins,

 and fish! I've long been planning fish. I was going to make brooches but I thougt I'd tray something different.
 So I stood them on stands.

 They were very popular.

Then I harvested some potatoes! I grew them from rooty cupboard finds.
Such fun!

 At the beginning of October we went for one night to Dovedale in Derbyshire on a uni re-union husband's reunion.Here's a pic of the pretty village of Ilam. The building is the village school . Gorgeous. The Hotel we stayed in was lovely and the food was stupendous.

 As soon as I got home I started my Mums 90th Birthday cake. Fruit at the bottom and sponge on teh top. I researched cake decorating on youtube and I must say I got pretty obsessed. I used all the equipment I bought! 

My Mum loved it.

 It looked good if not tasteful!

 She certainly enjoyed her birthday.

So there we are. And now I'm getting ready to go off to do two days teaching in Honiton and two days in Yate.
Wish me luck for the loooooooong drive.
I'm trying to be brave!

Saturday 3 June 2017

Crafty Retreats

Over a year ago I had an email inviting me to teach in France. I said Yes immediately. 
It sounded lovely. 
And so it was. 
A week in a beautiful house and converted barn in the middle of the French countryside, teaching a handful of students who were there to enjoy themselves, beautiful food, accommodation and dogs and cats and a tortoise. 
I was picked up at the airport and driven to lovely Mallety. 
Past the old tree and up to the little group of buildings that make up Crafty Retreats.

 This is the house with the hot tub in front which some people sampled later in the week. 

The roof on the left is the 
 lovely air conditioned studio where we all worked happily together with much laughter and mutual support with absolutely everything we needed.

 Tiwi the tortoise kept us amused hurtling round the garden.

 There was brilliant sunshine to dry the felt quickly

 More felt drying.
The lovely pebble piece and the ammonite were made by the amazingly talented Philippa one of the owners, The floral piece was made by another Jackie.

Philippa in the picture below on the right is the genius and talent behind the whole building, converting the barn herself and building the studio.
Thats a real tree they put there to hold up the roof.

More drying felts before stitch.

 Here's Reggie the very shy cat in his antique pram with his scary antique teddies

This is Oscar the dog who had "a very bad start in life" so is excused any naughtiness! 
(There weren't many) He has to wear a t-shirt because he bites his fur if he doesn't.

And this is Tutu, devoted to his Mummy.

But he did jump on my knee for a cuddle.

They were regular visitors to the studio  and were very helpful. 
Sitting on the foot pedal Oscar made Sally's work move very quickly.

Funnily enough they mainly wanted to visit us when it was tea and biscuit time.

The only picture I got of Bubble, the other much more furry cat, was when she was jumping out of a neighbours window.

This is the dining room, the scene of many happy and delicious meals, cooked by the other half of the team, Fran who also played piano for us on the last night.

On Sunday we went out to a market and a Broccante which was amazing.

I bought a gorgeous old light fitting...I don't care if it doesn't work as a light.

After we'd spent we were given permission to crawl all over the owner's house where everything was for sale!

She had painted the murals herself.

After a good nosey we were treated to drinks in the garden.

There were dogs there too.

As we left we met a man with a splendid moustache who shook hands with all of us but we don't know who he was.

On Tuesday we had another trip, this time to the porcelain factory shops and museums in Limoges.
We had a little stop at Pont du Dognon where we all got out for a photo opportunity!

On via the small town of St Leonard de Noblat where the cherry picker matched the exterior decoration of the houses opposite. There was a roofer wandering about quite happily without a scaffold or any protection.

The first factory shop was on a river and very peaceful. It was full of very Chic and very expensive porcelain.

There was a waterwheel and some beautiful old houses surrounding the factory .

Onwards through Limoges to the next museum.

This had a seconds shop and a main shop. These little tea light holders were very tempting, but I restrained myself. there was a lovely sweet pea design. Ah well.

There was some VERY expensive stuff there. Gilded and highly decorated cups at 260 euros each.
A 'Milk Cup' modelled on an historic design, which is a replica of Marie Antoinette's breast on a tripod of goat heads.

Yours for a mere €1184.

I didn't buy that either.

 On our return as we drank Kir Royal from ordinary glasses and had nibbles before dinner. 

Watched carefully for falling crumbs.

I had a cute room with a lovely view. I should have been staying in 'the other house' but there was a bee problem so I was moved and it was lovely to be in the thick of it, listening to the chatter in the morning from the breakfast preparations, so I was very happy.

            The view from my window. 
Acres of forest but sadly I didn't see any wild boars!

Heard a cuckoo though.

Meal times were a pleasure and we were all treated to a beautiful  piano playing  from Fran,  so it made for a lovely 'last supper'.

I love this picture..

But my absolute favourite is this.

I stupidly forgot to take pictures of the finished work that was done during the week. There were some lovely pieces under way when we left an a couple of finished ones, with students going on to use the techniques they'd learnt to do in their own style.

I made a small demo piece when I was there.

Before I went I was worrying. Worrying about how I could sustain such a level of activity for a full week; would I be able to get up in time every day, what if I got bitten by midges, and so on..but I had the most amazing time and felt so well and happy all the week. Ate too much, drank too much and as usual, talked too much!

Of course it was lovely to be home with Brian and Hetty but it does feel odd to be lazing about again.
There are lots of other Crafty Retreat courses available on the website and I'm sure if you're looking for an activity holiday it cannot be beaten.

Oscar is waiting!

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

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