Monday, July 31, 2006

July's Recipe

With 20 minutes to spare:

My Grandmother and I had one or two "disagreements" when I was a young child. One of the less serious altercations was over the classification of pie and tart. Anything that she brought out as a sweet or dessert in a pastry case was a tart regardless of whether it had pastry over the top or not. One thing that was agreed on was the name we gave this: Lemon Meringue Pie, even though there was no pastry over the top.

As for more serious altercations ..... well I was a bad bad child and suffered the disgrace of being the kind of little girl who bit her Grandma......

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Stitch In Time Saves Nine

Erm yeah - this is this months Project Spectrum Postcard. Ironic isn't it? The meaning "A little preventive maintenance can eliminate the need for major repairs later." Seems to be totally lost on me sometimes....

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Silky Moopy

Made from silk dupion scraps left over from my previous adventures. The green, turquouse and pink were all hand dyed. The purple check was left over from a party dress I made for one of my nieces. The felt face was made out of some felt I made last December.

The pattern for this funny little fella came from my Project Spectrum postcard swap partner. She makes large Moopys, each with their own unique personality which are well worth checking out.

Monday, July 24, 2006


From this fabric bomb chaos pit:

To this calm guest bedroom:

Nothing like a parental visit to get things tidy! I had been procrastinating about getting it tidy (it would have taken me at least a week). Instead it was done in an evening - including making the bed. If you wonder where the bed came from, my work table is a Besk (now no longer produced) a desk which converts into a double bed, with the help of a variable height adjusting mechanism and a futon mattress.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Activity Weekend

Saturday went cycling in the New Forest - started off late as S&X were doing funny doodads with their cycle carriers - nice ride if abit hot and air flow was restricted due to me forgetting my inhaler. Surprised by how much I do need my inhaler - mainly because I never considered myself much of an asthmatic as my family tended to concentrate on my sister H who had the more serious problem, hence didn't get the drugs until I changed doctors when I went to Uni.

The next day was similar to the previous Sunday - allotment and fruit picking. Nice change though was a very relaxing BBQ at G&P's. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Embroidered Shoes

As I am currently specialising in items I should have blogged ages ago I thought I would blog something even later than last months recipe - last years finished shoes. I have since gone to a wonderful workshop where I was taught to make the most fabulous kitten heeled mules using a proper last, tools and components. These shoes were originally created as my 3D item for City and Guilds and I followed the methods described in Sharon Raymond's Book Crafting Handmade shoes. The last I used was my own foot and I drew up the patterns from drawing round them (with help from M) and the design work of the project. The emphasis was on the embroidery not necessarily the actual construction of the shoe. Although they were fit for purpose (wear them to G & Mr. T's wedding) the soling material I used made them a little inflexible and they would be even more lovely made in the style of the mules mentioned previously. Unfortunately they would no longer be fit for purpose as they had to be grass "sink proof". The following photo shows me speaking from experience at my own wedding:

M helping me put my shoes on after sinking - changed to beaded flip-flops soon after

As it turned out I wore the shoes to G's wedding but spent most of the time bare foot (my favourite footwear choice despite my obsession with shoes), when it was time to go home though I stuffed my, by now, filthy feet into them. Not the best move, but luckily I had some of the leftover lining fabric to reline them for this years show. Though the shoes were great I think the dress (home sewn from fabric dyed with leftover project dyes) was more popular with the men for its cleavage enhancing properties.
(The photographic evidence is on the web somewhere but you're not going to get any pointers from me - and thats the last time I ever lend PJones a camera)

(G got this from your site and cropped - if not okay will clear it off)

Monday, July 10, 2006

A Late recipe

Discovered that I completely forgot to post June's recipe - Freezer Strawberry Jam. Nevermind , there are still some local strawberries in the shops in England(apologies if you're not).

As a child I preferred the firmer set of my mother's strawberry jam. Now, I quite like the fresher quality of this jam, especially as strawberries are not the best freezer fruit.

Can't help but think a raspberry jam would be more appropriate in my house at the moment as we are well into the raspberry season and I had another raspberry picking marathon on Sunday. My favourite recipe is one which is found on the Waitrose site - Rhubarb and Raspberry Jam - raspberries from the garden, rhubarb from the allotment.

Speaking of the allotment - have you heard the latest gossip? Rumours are circulating that the mysterious Mrs. R was spotted down there last Sunday after an absence of, hum, months? years? I couldn't possibly comment - lets just say the back of my thighs are killing me - I only weeded for an hour and a half!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The finished accessory

Sorry, I was too busy doing a celebratory dance (and then M wanted lunch - huh!) when I completed my accessory (and final piece of stitching) to blog the results.

Here is my laptop case:

The project write up was swiftly put together. I made good use of my sampling and used them to create a cover for my write up project folder:

I found it difficult to get going on this project as I was not sure what I wanted to make. By taking a break and allowing outside factors to inspire me (and a deadline to motivate me) I got started in reasonable time and completed on time. The clasp placement was a fiddly issue РI had to reposition the front middle appliqu̩ 3 times Рresolved by formalising my order of work but it could have been avoided by deciding what to use as a clasp before I started construction. I decided on a hidden magnetic clasp but by sampling I could have explored other possibilities Рtoggles, felted beads etc. and then not had the issue of repositioning and correcting.

This project has shown me that you can get good results from previous design work which did not have a particular finished result in mind. It is good to design, draw and play for the fun of it and that it is not wasted effort – it can be used in the future. The same applies to experimenting with techniques. With the projects we do not have a lot of time for sampling – this can be eased by trying out new techniques and putting effort into retaining creative vitality.

I would use the cheats felt and felted blanket techniques again – I have a nice tactile object which is also sturdy and fit for purpose. I would like to supplement the bag with a glasses case and maybe some pouches to hold some of the laptop peripherals.

This design approach would be worth pursuing again and this has encouraged me to make use of sketch books and study of themes. This is something that will be useful in the Level 3 Diploma which I wish to pursue next academic year.

Start of the project
Another experiment

If I had the time (i.e. I wasn't working full time and pursuing the embroidery course) I would love to sign up for the City and Guilds Creative sketchbooks level 2 course that the college is running for the first time in the Autumn. I have been extra disciplined and resisted though - it my be an evening but I just cannot stretch my artistic endeavours any further. One thing I have realised this month is that I do need spend a bit of time on other life activites such as cooking (which I do usually enjoy), gardening, exercising and being a wife and friend. The cleaning can still go hang!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


In the rush to get everything finished for the end of course and exhibition I didn't blog a lot of my work. I also thought it only fair to allow the exhibition goers first look.

The following pictures show some samples of various kinds of embellishments that I covered during the course but had previously been left stagnating at the bottom of my course box. Well I extracted them, filled in some of the gaps that needed filling and mounted them up to create a browsable collection of samples. My set of samples were either presented in my little stitch book, sample quilt or mounted and grouped together in a cake box.

Buttons and toggles - I started these about the same time as my canvaswork and 3rd experimental sample so went with the blue/turquoise and orange colour scheme. I really enjoyed doing these especially the covered button blanks where I was able to combine stitch techniques with silky fabrics, beads and sequins (shown centre). Also shown are yoyo's/Suffolk Puffs) (shown in each corner), wrapped and melted toggles (top, bottom, left and right edges), Dorset buttons (shown inner corners) and gathered toggles made from stuffed and slashed hollow ribbon (shown middle left and right).

I had completed some of the following cords a while ago:
From left to right: lucet cord, finger cord finished with Josephine Knots, machine cord, friendship bracelet, machine cord, Greek braid, Kumihino Braid (flat), machine cord with wire, machine cord, i-cord, Kumihino Braid (round), hand cord.

I have already used some regular tassels on my shape design work but I created a few more, slightly different tassels, in my favourite pink and green colourway:
From left to right: tassel, machine tassel, knotted skein, tassels covered with mini tassels, knotted skein with beads, plaited tassel, tassel

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July is here

And I am freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

The exhibition is done and dusted. M's party is thrown and cleaned up after. Financial decisions have been made. I have all the ticks and signatures that I need for my City and Guilds Level 3 Certificate, all I have to do before September is sign up for the Diploma.

I have lots of ideas of what I would like to do with my spare time but I first have clear up my studio - it looks like a fabric bomb has gone off.

The most important thing though, is to recover from the stinker of a summer cold I acquired from M - who is struggling to recover from the complication of a chest infection (time to give up the ciggies - at long long last?)

One thing I did feel up to doing on Sunday (along with a ton of washing and the supermarket shop) was a bit of fruit picking. What is special about the fruit picking is that I did it in our small back garden which is perfect for soft fruit (the raspberry canes grow like weeds!). I picked the last of the redcurrants, the bulk of our blackcurrants (more to be picked) and the first of our raspberries. I had enough fruit to make a summer pudding (my favourite pudding in the whole wide world) entirely from our garden - oh okay, shop bought bread and sugar.
 Posted by Picasa

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