Tuesday, 31 December 2013

As the sun goes down on 2013

As the sun goes down, quite literally, on 2013 I thought I would do a little blog post, 

now all the delicious food has all been eaten

and all the drink has been drunk, (love the vintage vibe of this label).  

 It's time to look forward to 2014 and what delights and opportunities it will bring for us all.

But first a word about this year.  2013 has 'been a funny old year' to paraphrase old Arkwright

I felt unsettled in January, started clearing things out, trips to take stuff to the charity shop when stuff normally comes the other direction, an attempt to get organised, so not like me who happily works in chaos, or creative juxtapositions as I like to call it.  Then I put my house on the market and resolved to move to the country, to a smaller house with a bigger garden.  No joy, no houses to go and look at much less to fall in love with.  So stay put and do some improvements.  Pass the smelling salts, the quotes came back so high that it just wasn't worth it.

Okay time for a list of what I'm looking for in a house and this took the form of a collage which is now blowing in the breeze (okay it's a bit more than a breeze but breeze sounds so much more romantic) in the garden for the universe to see.  So now I wait, and scour the internet and ring drippy estate agents and keep my fingers crossed for the right house, at the right price, to come onto the market for me and my furry friends.  Sorry no photos of the collage, they're on the old camera and I can't find the lead, total chaos as I said.

2013 was unsettling as well because I was 50 in November and that caused a fair amount of reflection etc.  All in all a difficult year to be creative in, boo hoo.  Well no more unsettled, a goal to focus on and some creating to be done in 2014.

So heres to the New Year being a year of creativity -

I've got a project to work on that is still inspiring me to work on already, 

a warm and cosy new home 

family, friends and a multitude of cats!

May 2014 bring you all you dream of!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Roses Patchwork Cushions

I've been attempting to use some of my fabric stash and came up with making these simple patchwork cushions.

Take tapestry roses from the charity shop....

                Add some fabric scraps and hey presto!  

You have a couple of cushions in a couple of hours!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Cushion Cover Finished

 I've been working on this cushion cover, on and off, for a couple of months and I've finally completed it.  I thought I'd show you, stage by stage, how I did it.

 Firstly the inspiration came from my friend Helen who drew and then screen printed this gorgeous face and script onto a piece of cotton.  I'd seen it and asked if she had any spare if I could have one to embroider and make into a cushion.  Isn't she clever, I couldn't draw that in a month of Sundays.  Then as I was taking a batik class and had been experimenting with lace as a stencil to two ideas came together and I got to work.

 I stretched the piece on a frame and used a vintage piece of lace from an antimacassar (it may have been my Grandma's but as I collect this type of lace anyways I can't remember) as a stencil for the beeswax, and 'framed' the image on two sides.

 I was very concerned not to get the dye on the face and yet I wanted to have a crackle effect over the script to the left.  This called for some serious, careful scrunching of the wax!

 I first painted over the dye (Dylon Burlesque Red) but was happy with the light results, I wanted a stronger, deeper colour.  So I ended up immersing the whole piece in the dye bowl.

 Then, obviously I couldn't waste the dye so other batik lace pieces went in together with scraps from my stash.  I love dying all different fabrics and trims in the same pot as they all take up the colour slightly differently and I have lots of pieces to then use to embellish a piece and they automatically 'match' the main piece.

 Here it was, all dried and the wax taken out by ironing and washing.

 Now came the auditioning and patchworking of pieces to enhance the main piece

 Maybe this....

Or this?....

 When I'd settled on an arrangement, and sewn the main pieces together with my trusty machine, (or I'm liable to keep changing things and not getting on, lol), I began embroidering.

 I used simple back stitch to enhance the hair and a kind of satin stitch and couching on the lips.

 The crocheted piece was dyed with tea to give it a more vintage look and couched down into place

 Now I all I have to decide is where to use it! 

 And try to keep the cats off of it!

 The back I kept deliberately simple, just two offcuts of co-ordinating fabric and an envelope finish.

I've really enjoyed working on this and now have to find another project to take my interest, sure another project will present itself soon.  Maybe if I use a vintage photo as the focal point and do something similar......

Monday, 15 July 2013

Time for some Cat Photos me thinks.....

 Merlin - sniffing out a barbeque in the vicinity....

 Mickey - your pincushion looks nothing like a cat....

 Hutchie - Feed me now!

 Billyboy - deep in thought....

Archie - my camoflage is working.....

Have a good week all, keep cool and keep smiling.... 
PS Other captions welcome!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Visit to Rock Cemetery, Nottingham

 It was a blisteringly hot day yesterday, when my friend and I visited Rock Cemetery in Nottingham.  It had long been on my mental 'to visit' list but when I saw my internet friend, Linda of Blue Eyed Girl fame's photos recently I knew I just had to go now.

 There were angels galore in this Victorian gothic cemetery, built in and around old sandpits and sandstone rocks.
 I thought I'd share a few of my favourites with you.  The graves were tightly packed together, no paths between them and such a mixture of statues and crosses.

 Whilst it was nice to wander about on a bright and sunny day, I couldn't help but wonder how the atmosphere would change on a say, misty or frosty day.  I feel another trip is needed later in the year.

 Some lovely iron work,

 beautiful carvings,

 and wild flower settings really give much to the overall atmosphere and ambience of the place.

 Unfortunately the couple stripped and sunbathing, together with the family having a barbeque in one of the shallow caves did not add to the experience.  Whilst I am all for the living appreciating the resting places of the dead, these behaviours just smacked of over familiarity and were inappropriate; especially when there was a park next door but I assume no park keepers in the cemetery.

But the cold of an autumnal morning or the damp of a winter's day should soon put paid to such interlopers and am looking forward to my next visit.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Foliage Friday

I love looking at all different leaves in my garden, the different shapes and colours.  Here are just a few of my favourites.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Looking back at Spring

It was a wonderful spring for aquilegias this year.  They are all self set from the introduction of a couple of plants about 6 years ago.  I just love their fairy dress like petals, so beautiful, swaying in the breeze.

I also know them as Grannies Bonnets, what do you call them?

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Poppies are no more

 Thank you so much to the lovely ladies who responded to my last post.  It's good to know that I'm not the only one who suffers bloggers block.  Very big thanks for your support and encouragement to continue blogging so off we go.....
 My poppies came out on Tuesday, I photographed them on Wednesday as heavy rain was due on Thursday

 and today check and yup, they are no more, battered down and petal-less from the rain.  But they were glorious whilst they lasted. 

Friday, 10 May 2013

Blogger's Block and Other Animals

 Does anyone else suffer from Blogger's Block or have I just made up the condition.  Do you know that 'I have nothing worth saying' feeling, everything seems so minor to mention.  The thought that nobody will be interested in that and then the days go by and before you really realise it you can no longer hold your head up as a blogger, you're verging on being an ex-blogger ....  That's when your internet friends step in and offer encouragement and support, understanding your blight, having been there etc.  So thank you to all my blogging buds for the gentle push I needed and here's hoping that you'll be encouraged to continue blogging as well.

The lovely cookie above was made by one of the nicest library customers we have.  She makes them to sell for World Lupus Day, which is apparently today.  It is no more, I've eaten it and it was delicious.  I find it so lovely that there are people in the world willing to give up their time and effort to help others and that this lady made a special effort to come in to see me, as I'd loved last year's cookie so much!

 The cookie helped stop my craving to go back to Ilkley, North Yorkshire, where I visited earlier this week, stopping off at the world famous Bettys Tea Rooms.  A delightful cup of tea and a cake were the order of the day.
 I found a lovely victorian shopping arcade but sadly there was only one shop open in there, a sad sign of the economic times.
 The display of tulips around this church was amazing, and more amazing as I don't particularly like tulips or the colour yellow!

 We went over the moors, no sign of Heathcliff  I'm afraid

 and stopped off in Tadcaster, the home of John Smiths Brewery to partake of some fish and chips.  The batter is always so amazing in Yorkshire and the haddock from Kirkdale Fisheries was no exception, so light and crispy.
 I've been putting my extensive wallpaper sample collection to good use, decorating the chimney breast in my bedroom to show off the fireplace

 and papering a wall in the kitchen to try to increase the chances of selling my house, yup I hope to be on the move and escape to the country, but more on that, no doubt, in upcoming posts.

 Mickey remains indifferent to all the hustle and bustle going on around him.

 Merlin was just intent on getting some rays on the sunny windowsill.

 Hutchiebaby picked up some rays on the entrance hall floor

 and Billyboy insisted on supervising the paper hanging.

Archie was having a laze in the garden and I'm going to take a leaf out of his book this weekend!

Hope you  have a lovely weekend whatever you're up to!