Thursday, May 25, 2006

Mighty Oaks, from Little Acorns grow

This is the postcard I completed for my Project Spectrum partner Jane for the green month of May. I used the same techniques as last months - I think I am building a series....

This proverb was chosen to remind myself that its okay to start with something small - then the large project will follow.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Completed Panel

I have finished my panel - which in this case is an memory album cover. Its done but I am not completely satisfied by it. It looks a little unpolished and homely for my taste. I think I could have benefited from doing a little bit more sampling. I restricted myself to only hand dyed fabrics as well, which I tended to rip up - which left things rather rough. Sometimes this was good but this also meant I used torn strips of fabric instead of ribbon for the ribbon embroidery which is usually a lot more refined with the traditional ribbon.

The shapes and drawing were fairly childlike (my current unpracticed standard). M pointed out that for this project it was entirely appropriate because the project is about my childhood memory and the child in me. One benefit of this is that I needed to get back to the drawing of my childhood - the time before I became self concious of drawing and "judging" my efforts to be not "good enough". From that basis I can go on and develop my abilities - the only way I will ever improve. "Mighty Oaks from little acorns grow" - more on which later this week.

The costs for this particular project were kept lower due to me reusing a lot of fabric scraps. Also the background linen I used were discounted linen napkins from Habitat. The time taken for this project was reduced considerably. I was also more proactive about getting it done. Although there is still room for improvement I have managed to scale down my time and costs something I highlighted after completing my wallhanging. So in a way this has been successful.

The back of the book has this teapot - I used the iris motif as a corny reference to my Grandmother. She liked many flowers - however she was not overly fond of irises due to the name link and she was given rather a lot. I followed the shape from a teapot I saw in the V&A.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Recipe for May

Grandma was no northerner (she was a Hampshire Lass) but that didn't stop her from cooking the best Yorkshire puddings or Eccles cakes. When I had the job of clearing her freezer after she passed away there was a batch of these uncooked and frozen in a plastic bag. M got in trouble because he baked and ate the last one! Oooo - just realised that I have done exactly the same and there are a couple in my freezer at home. Now wishing this was tea time rather than lunch time at work!

tip: Puff pastry - buy it.

Monday, May 15, 2006

A Weekend in Wales

Spent a lovely weekend in Wales with M and a group of friends. On the way back I managed to persuade M to make a little diversion to the Mill shop of Colinette. This was not as expensive a trip as some people would think. As I know I have no time for knitting I just filled a bag with a selection of lovely odds and ends from their Creative Threads selection (a huge cardboard box of small hanks), thus staying under the budget set me by Mr P (not that I had actually taken any notice!). As you can see I got a nice colour selection. I was very tempted by one of their canvaswork cushion kits (but I know I don't have time for that at the moment) despite my legendary aversion to anything involving canvas and counting.

Note: Apologies to all knitters whose feelings and sensibilities have been harmed in the writing of this blog - yes I was in the Colinette shop surrounded by loads of their lovely yarns. Yes, some were even discounted to £4 a hank. You may see this as sacreligious - but restraint was necessary.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A little Sunday trip

M went off mountain biking, followed by white water rafting (can I have some photos please Mr P?). I, for various reasons, didn't fancy exerting myself quite that much so stayed behind.

the worm slide

My friend C had to return home from Wales early, so we went out for a quick little trip to the Centre for Alternative Technology. Most of this was preaching to the converted (maybe a visit should be made compulsory for tip dumpers and litter louts) but I picked up a few things to do in future:
  • compost a few more things such as kitchen towel. we already compost vegetable peelings and so on, but kitchen towel usually goes in the bin - no longer.
  • take reusable bags (either old carriers or fabric totes) to the shops to save using carrier bags. I do already use supermarket carriers as bin bags (the council insist all our regular refuse is wrapped)
  • minimise the products I do buy from the supermarket that are packaged.
  • consume less - full stop. (something Alvin Hall also advises in my current read)

What I call the music hut - various bits of recycled metal and wood were hung up to creat several large "wind chime" type instruments which C and I spent a little while playing.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A little bit of exercise

Went for a lovely walk with M, C, S & X. Forgot my camera so don't have any fantastic photos of the views (although will be having a chat with X who did have a good camera). I did, however, have my trusty mobile phone with its camera (which is OK for a phone camera) so I have few nature snaps which I might look at further for my design work for my next piece for City and Guilds - the accessory. I am thinking of a scarf and returning to my first love - Silk Painting.

Friday, May 12, 2006

I am full

In Wales for the weekend. Just finished a meal of pasta bake. I cooked chicken tetrazzini, for the carnivores & Pasta al forno con pomodori e mozzarella for the vegetarians. We followed with Gin & Phil's better-than-Eton mess for pudding. Now sitting round table with mates, talking the night away.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Weekend Wedding

As previously mentioned I was "up North" last weekend at a friends wedding. This is a twin of of the card that I stitched for them. This is a further exploration in the layering, burning and bonding techniques that I have been playing with recently. As all the fabrics were one tone white I picked fabrics with a interesting texture - pre-embroidered cottons, nobbly dupion silk, cotton twill.

Anyway I hope W & S are now enjoying themselves on a sunny Caribbean beach somewhere and having a relaxing time after the nuptials.

(what kind of evil person puts a kid free couple on a table with 2 couples with 2 kids each?)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A place of my own

Tonight I will get to use my new studio! We spent the May Bank Holiday painting it all white and then part of last Sunday and the couple of nights this week to move the furniture and paraphernalia in. Although, everything will fit in I have come to the conclusion that I have too much art, craft and sewing stuff. Gasp! I need to adopt a policy of reduce, recyle and reuse. Even more difficult as a weekend in Wales is looming and a little visit to Colinette is planned.

I have to resist the temptation to organise everything perfectly – it won’t be and sure as anything will not stay that way. I need to get my stuff together so that I can surge ahead with my panel and I also have a project spectrum postcard to prepare. Besides, M has offered to put up more shelving in the recesses between the chimney breasts. So he is booked later in the year to do that – but I will let him have a DIY break – after the garden and allotment have had enough attention and the birthday beer fest has been done. Still, if he volunteers to do shelf erecting before then I won’t turn him away....

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

May flowers

Oooh I am a bad girl only blogging once a week at the moment - I was trying to aim for at least every other day. The title is a lie too, these were not stitched in May.

This is my first attempt at silk ribbon embroidery. I was just trying this technique out for my panel (is it me or is it taking as long as my wretched wallhanging?). The panel is going well so far but my efforts have been hampered by attending a wedding "oop North" and a spot of DIY which will be worth it in the end (more about this later).

I realised I have already done a little silk ribbon embroidery last year. On that occasion, however, I was sampling for my 3D functional item and I then crossed over to using torn stips of organza. I am sure purists would not consider embroidery using torn strips of silk organza as silk ribbon embroidery. I know one thing for sure though, its a LOT cheaper. Silk ribbon for silk ribbon embroidery is not cheap! Oddly enough I have found it difficult to find good value silk ribbon which you can dye or paint yourself on the internet. I have, for now, enough for my purposes: finishing the panel.

I found some of the stitches more effective than others. I particularly liked the effects acheived with the thicker ribbons. This stitching is quite slow going, whether this is because its a new technique I'm learning or the fact that the ribbon needs careful manipulating with 2 needles.

The Ribbon Embroidery Bible, Joan Gordon
Silk Ribbon Embroidery: Designs and Techniques, Ann Cox
Ribbon Embroidery and Stumpwork, Di van Niekerk Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fake cake

I made these a little while ago to start exploring the subject of my panel. I had been wanting try out some of my own ideas after seeing some great pin cushion cake tutorials on the web.

I was particularly eager to try out a particular cake by a particular baker.

Then I went for something a little more homemade in the form of lemon cake. Although the syrupy nature was left out. Sugar syrup and felt makes me go all eeeew!

Then to get away from the boxy nature of the cakes I tried out a butter swirl:

I confess - I made these and photographed them a while back when our mornings were a little darker. I had been meaning to re-photograph them but just haven't had the time. I may reconsider when the work we started last weekend is finished. Watch this space.....

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