Thursday, January 31, 2008


Here is my third and final posting of the TIF challenge for January, as set by Sharon.

You may recall, I really admire the work of August Macke and created a lot of sketchbook pages in celebration of his use of colour. I have enjoyed working in this very free and liberating way with colour, and the work has eveolved into a very abstract piece, a collaged mixture of digital imagery taken from the sketchbook and enhanced with free machine embroidery. I look forward to February's challenge now.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Teaching the teachers 2

I had another session teaching the teachers today, difference this time --I was the invited artist. We had a great time. I showed them a number of different routines using the image editing programme Gimp. Such fun. The work they developed on their computers was amazing.

Here is one of my finished pieces that I completed .
I am very impatient to see the projects they complete with their students. I feel sure the youngsters will develop the imagery into inventive realms we cannot even imagine.
The ICT consultant to the Education department attended too. I am pleased to say she now has a few new tricks up her sleeve as a result of the class. It was a steep learning curve for some of the attending teachers, but they were fantastic in their dedication and interest. A big thank you to them, if they are reading this blog, for being such great students.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Just for Potter fans

No,this is not for the Harry fans but the Beatrix fans. Went to Gloucester today , not to meet Dr Foster, but Gill, of Elegant Sufficiency fame. Had a great time looking at some new toys.
Click here for the nursery rhyme.
Could not believe it but did not need to wear my wellies, as it did not rain. Anyone familiar with the nursery rhyme will know that he did not go there again because he stood in a puddle....... I would like to return ot Gloucester and have a more leisurely look at the Cathedral.
Great place. They also had some colourful mosiacs on the pavements.... forgot to take a photo....maybe next time.
Go over to my photo a day blog to see a brilliant door -click here.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Caught in the act!

We had a really good night out with friends last night .... they imbibed quite a bit of the golden nectar, the dinner was delicious too. Traditional English fare and on Australia Day . I was a good girl - no alcohol - as I did the driving.

After a leisurely start to the morning I started to do some stitching on my TIF challenge.... feeling very pleased with it, I must say. I could really have done with out the help on offer, I have spent a lot of time re winding threads! I wonder why?

Sorry for the blurry quality of the photo, but he moved like grease lightening, tapping the reels onto the floor and then running off with them in his mouth. I told him .. I will put him up for adoption if he keeps this up.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Full Steam ahead

On behalf of the Textile group Great Western Embroiderers Kath and I had a meeting with officials at Steam Museum in Swindon.

Click here to see details about the Museum. This used to be a railway town in the Victorian era, and it was built by Brunel as a tea stop for the passengers to the West Country and a Engineering centre for the engines and rolling stock. The town had existed long before as a country market town.

We are planning to put together an exhibition of textiles, based on the artefact's and nostalgia in the Museum... we are very excited about this. We have arranged our first sketching session at the start of next month, with a view to a small exhibition during their Festival in September 2008. We would like to develop closer links with the Museum, and create a more substantial exhibition next year based on our sketched at the Museum. I think this could be very exciting. So watch this space I will keep you informed as it progresses.

Such excitement.. cannot wait to start...... where are those sketchbooks?

Herr Schnauzer is sulking again- accusing me of favouritism on my previous blog postings towards his furry play mates.

So here he is, looking very hairy, I really must remenber to make an appointment for his haircut !

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Busy hands

I have had the most wonderful day today working on the project I am managing, which involves in service Art training for Key Stage 2 and 3 teachers. I invited the artist Philip Cox to come and work with us. check his work here. This must be the ultimate in recycling.

All right we were also using hot glue guns... and my goodness I wish I had asbestos fingertips. It is so easy to burn the fingertips. I discovered you also need quite strong fingers to manipulate the cardboard.

We folded, cut, moulded and cajoled the cardboard into these wonderful "people". We placed them all together at the end .... it was quite frightening, as these characters had so much attitude.

Meanwhile back home , our elderly moggy, decided she would steal the limelight today.
Thsi is her normal day and at 17 and a half years old... we generally let her enjoy her peace, especially as she is totally deaf... so never hears us either.
Today she proved there is nothing wrong with her other senses. I had thought the local vermin were safe, however today she caught a mouse! So despite her elderly years, she has lost none of her most important skills, so there is hope for me yet!! What a clever girl she is.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Having fun with photos

I have been playing a lot this last week with my computer with a programme called - gimp... I just love it! Such fun.


They say a picture is worth a thousand words......... I will just add.... what no stitching tonight?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Awake and working on TIF Challenge

Mr Siamese has been a just trifle miffed with me after my previous blog post , and wants me to assure you he is my most wakeful, helpful and trusted artistic assistant..... so whilst he was posing on my sewing machine waiting for lunch, I was busy getting my images from my sketchbook onto my fabric for the Take it Further Challenge.
Think I will be doing some heavy FME next..... but may change my mind yet.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Quiet Day

Quiet day --- For some any way, Siamese decided to have a duvet day, whilst the rest of us toiled away at our work. Its all right for some! Have to add, this is not the first time he has been known to have one of his special days. It is becoming something of a habit. Are we jealous? You bet!

The planned stitchery and design work did not happen again over the last 2 days, yesterday was a mad dash to A & E when eldest son put the electric drill bit through his finger. I indulged in some name calling, and interestingly his sister used exactly the same expression! There's a united family for you. Pleased to say not too much damage, lost the nerve in his right ring finger between the knuckle and the finger tip and a slighlty chipped bone..... just pleased it was his right hand as he is a south paw!

Today I had the delight of looking after 2 of the other grandchildren whilst daughter in law visited her mother in hospital. We had great fun on the computer using the programm Kid Pix.. they loved it. ( so did I) . Then bangers and mash ( sausages and creamed potatoes ) for dinner, with ice cream to follow. Truly childrens food - great!

So this evening I have looked longingly at a sketchbook that is prepared and waiting for me, I have an exhibition later this year and had thought I would use this, and display it at the exhibition too. Only trouble is I am too tired now to make a start. Have to confess I am also fed up with going to the local hospital -- 5 times since Saturday -more than enough for me. Good thing I am healthy!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Take it further challenge

My sketchbook has been working hard over the last couple of evenings, some of the sketches/ideas are just like the workings of my brain muddly, darting about and pretty dire..... so I made the decision to cull some of my more pertinent ideas into a digital sketchbook, so that I could see the wood for the trees.
In my humble opinion a good decision, as suddenly I can see a little more clearly what I would like to reveal, in my quest of understanding Mackes work and how to express my admiration in a little more detail. More importantly perhaps, how my own work could evolve. I decided that I also had to look at the Expressionists a little more closely, as the key figures of this movement helped him to develop his art.
If you click on the image hopefully it will enlarge for you.
I have now printed this page out and stuck it into my sketchbook.... I feel I wish to re-create a piece of work in textiles from these ideas.... So I wonder where this part of the journey will take me? Am I ready to start some textile work? ... or should I look at my source in even more detail? What key features should I develop from my initial imagery and thoughts? Lots of questions... no answers at the moment.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Been and gone and done it

You will be pleased with me today, I have managed to finish the stitching. Took two and a half hours of solid stitching. Had to stop every half hour to let the motor on the sewing machine machine cool down. So that made it take all afternoon.

Here is the bargain Bernina I bought on e-bay, having a well deserved rest, as you can see a bit battered, but I will repeat myself.... it can really stitch.

On reflection it is probably it is a good idea, from a health and safety point of view, for me to rest every half an hour from this intensive activity. I tend go right away from the sewing table and do other things. Hope fully doing that will help to prevent me getting RSI.

So here is the embroidery.. hot off the sewing machine..... and I mean that literally.

Tomorrow morning I have to get up early to help my daughter.....just hope the weather improves... we have severe flooding again... and it is snowing at the moment. The forcast is for more snow and then Ice overnight and treacherous driving conditions. What fun! If the journey tomorrow was not so important.. I would stay in bed. Just hope the hospital staff make it in.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Promises, Promises

Got up early especially this morning ... sorted out all the gear from the Day school, set everything up to finish the machine stitching I had shown you yesterday, ready for after breakfast. Ate my porridge like a good girl, then sorted my emails and post. All ready to go to the studio and work.

Then the phone rang........ my daughter.. could I go round for a cup of tea. So yes of course I can. Whilst at my daughters, the phone call came from the hospital, my son in law needs an operation and he is now an emergency ... so he will be going in to hospital on Saturday morning at 7.30am.
I will be looking after her 3 children whilst she takes him to be admitted.

When I got back home I was not able to work at all.......I sorted all sorts of different stuff out. Real displacement activity. Surfed lots of blogs, found a wonderful silly programm on one blog, (apologies I did not make a note of whose it was.) So I played with it.. took my mind off things.

If you have some time to spare do have a play -click here.

Serves me right for promising to finish the machining today. Another day tomorrow. At least the studio is all set up and waiting.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Sandra Thank you so much for nominating me for the Make my Day Award...... I am so flattered. It has left me speechless.

Thanks for all the great comments on my blog, it is always a lovely surprise to think that people visit and read and I hope enjoy. It gives me such pleasure to read the comments you leave.
Karin, I am pleased that the stitching of the flowers gave you inspiration, and Lynn - its a pleasure.

I have been racking my brains about the TIF challenge (check it out here) that Sharon B has set us. My thinking has got to the stage where I have considered a whole host of people whom I admire and then have asked myself the question why? That has been the stumbling block.. to recreate that "emotion" I feel about the admiration into visual imagery. I suspect I am not alone in this. I have decided to use the artist August Macke as my "idol" he had a short life... but the the way in which he used colour .... I so admire his style and the way in which he progressed in his art.

I feel much better now I have thought it through... tomorrow I shall finish the stitching from yesterday ( I hope) then I shall get my sketchbook out and make a proper start. I have to do so much thinking around a subject before I can really get started. Reading your blogs ....I know many of you have the same problem. So we will see what happens next...... ooohhh scary!

Making my Day Award

Here are my 10 nominations , and I know that some of you will have the award twice... but I would like to share with you blogs I enjoy and find informative. This list is by no means exhaustive and I have left so many inspirational bloggers out of the list. Had to restrict to 10. I hope you too enjoy these blogs.

''The rules are: "Give the award to up to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about Blogland! Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so that they can pass it on. Beware! You may get the award several times!"Some of you may have received this award already, if so, please do not feel any pressure to participate again".

Anna - so talented, but has inner struggles which I can relate too, and expresses them well and assists me in overcoming my struggles..
Angela- such an inspiration with a fresh and delightful approach to stitching in all its different formats.
Christiane- Who inspires me with her creativity and talent.
Gunnel - for her beautiful hand stitchery, so clever
Kirsten - whose creativity astounds me.
Susan- I am a huge fan of Susans work and her blog is amazing.
Maggie- It would be totally remiss of me not to include Maggie, she is an inspiration to so many- need I say more?
Gill - sho has the most wonderful creative ideas.
Helen - an artist who uses colour with attitude and is so inspiring .
Liz- who is so generous in sharing her skills and techniques.
Sue - who creates beautiful work and overcomes her health problems with strength and determination.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Now you see you don't

Remember these.....?
They have both gone.... eaten!
The day school was wonderful was really relaxing... did not quite finish my piece of work, but non - the - less, will share with you. I took my cheap £30 e-bay purchase sewing machine with me ( Ex school Bernina) It performed brilliantly ... it looks beaten up, but my goodness, it can stitch.
This is pictoral machine stitching. Great fun.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Have been stitching.

Yes I have been stitching, about time I can hear you say. I feel so much better, and stitching has really lifted my spirit. Thanks for all the kind comments whilst I have been indisposed and "under the weather".

Yesterday we had some errands to attend to in the village my parents used to reside. Interestingly a new air sculture has appeared. This used to be the site of an old wartime airfield, which when I lived at home was pretty derelict..... in fact I learnt to drive on the old airstrip! It was made into a business park about 20 years ago... and now they have a sculpture too.

This is part of one of the pieces I have been working on.. photo is rather dark... sorry. When I went to take the photo today...... daylight had disappeared under low cloud. If you click on the photo it will enlarge.... it looks better. The piece is block printed with acrylic and cable stitched on the machine... I enjoy the texture and effects created by this technique.... but I hate hand winding the bobbins with the thicker thread. Am happy to work upside down though.

Tomorrow I have another wonderful day... stitching all day at a day School. Bliss.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Fuzz is clearing

At last I seem to be beating the virus, and feeling more like my old self. Actually feel like doing some stitching, as the fuzzy head and sight is clearing. Have eaten properly tonight as well, which is quite a step forward.... not that there has been much weight loss---2 pounds. I am not one for going on the scales though, as I am very partial to my chubby bits.

Had to go to the shops and buy a new steam iron today, and was so pleased when I delved into the box ---- it had been wrapped in tissue paper and cardboard ... no horrid polystyrene or plastic bags. I am not into advertising..... but well done Kenwood. May other manufactureres follow your excellent lead.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


Took all the Christmas decorations down yesterday and put them away for next Year. The house always looks so bare after they have disappeared. The Christmas cactus has been flowering for a long time now........ but this is the last bud. I could not resist playing around with the photo in PSP7.

Have not done that for a while ,.. must do some more this year. Sounds like a resolution ...OOOps

The UK is having a real attempt at re-cycling, certainly we are all separating our rubbish into different bins. I suspect we could all add this as one of our New Years Resolution.

Personally I feel manufacturers, really need to look at their methods of packaging. Why so much
Most of my waste is from supermarket plastic packaging.... although I try to be very careful.
I recall when I was first married, and found I had to do some serious food shopping or else starve, there was far less packaging of food. For instance:

The butcher used greaseproof paper and clean newsprint for wrapping meat.

At the greengrocers, we took a net to have the potatoes tipped into after weighing and all the other root vegetables went in on top. Fruit was packaged into brown paper bags.

At the Bakers, your bread was either wrapped in a strong tissue paper or into special paper bags, same with cakes.

At the sweet shop, most sweets were dispensed into white paper bags.

At the Fish and Chip shop the fish supper was put onto white newsprint and then as an insulation to keep it warm wrapped in old newspapers.

Why can't we have the return of paper bags for our goods.... surely we can now use re-cycled paper?

At the grocers or either used your own bags to carry the goods home or in a shopping trolley, or cardboard box. When I had a big silver cross pram, it had a shopping tray underneath..... brilliant.
I do try to take my own bags to the supermarket as often as possible. I have never liked the notion of advertising to everyone where I shop, through plastic bag logos!
I have been making Morse bags for a little while now ( link is on the sidebar)

One of the lists I belong to is also making a bag a month .... here is the January bag...... brilliant idea Kandy. Before long we will be leaving all the plastic bags at the checkout! Yes!

Looked around the garden today and realised just how wintery it looks . I was looking for opportunities to take photos..... I have just started another blog.....called Maggies 365 photos click here to see my first offerings. The idea is to take a photograph every day. Should be fun. This is part of the compost bin... my Birthday flowers. So recycling again.
However I still need my car....... despite years of attempts.... I still cannot ride a bycycle. That will not be on my New Year resolution list. The rest of this post will.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

Watched the fireworks in London on the TV...brilliant this year.... this picture is thanks to the BBC News, for the full article have a read here ...... quite a spectacle.

During the day I watched a fascinating programm on the BBC. I will try and link it for you to see. It was the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden and its about Beatrix Potter. The costumes were absolutely stunning.. let alone the dancing ......... here is the link.
Here is the BBC TV link to the programm with the London Fireworks..... click here.
If you would like to have a look at the BBC TV programs (think you need to live in the UK) for the past week..... here is the link for you here . A brilliant idea. By the Way .. I have no affiliation to the BBC.... just think this is such a great idea.
Another great idea is the Take it Further Challenge which I have signed up for this year. Should be fun.