Monday, 31 December 2007
Saturday, 29 December 2007
Thursday, 27 December 2007
That went quickly, didn't it? Thank you all so much for your good wishes. I have missed blogging and am back here at the first opportunity.
We had a lovely family time which was only slightly affected by the fact that the oven followed the example of the laptop and packed up. We had visitors at the time so it was an interesting exercise in damage limitation. Thank heaven for the microwave.
This was Christmas Eve, no chance of buying another one, so on Christmas Day we had to cook a large turkey in the small top oven. It was decided to remove its limbs to make it fit and it was at this point that the electric carving knife gave up! At least that was the third thing. Anyway, we managed very well. I was so pleased that the big family meal on Boxing day was outsourced to a local restaurant this year.
In the morning of Christmas Eve we took the three biggest grandchildren to the movies (saving daughter's sanity) to see The Golden Compass. I was so worried that the filmakers would ruin the story, but it was wonderful. The cinema was full of overexcited children beforehand but everyone was spellbound during the film. The children haven't stopped talking about it and we have had wide ranging philosophical discussions about souls, religion and whether Leo's hamster could turn into a daemon. Great stuff.
We went for a walk just as it was getting dark on Christmas day and I took these swoopy pics. One of Val's ideas - you set the camera to night setting and then swoop slowly over a light source when you've pressed the shutter. Takes a bit of practice but it's great fun. I've got it in the book with ideas for using the results. Margaret R http://digitalgran.blogspot.com/ has a lovely 'proper' night pic on her blog.
The one above was a fast swoop of a brightly lit house. The pic below was slower and you can just see the shape of a star (and a couple of cars). Good time of year to play this game.
I'm off to buy a new laptop - the cooker can wait but I need 'puter power now!
Saturday, 22 December 2007
Friday, 21 December 2007
Wednesday, 19 December 2007
T'other Maggie. Sorry about the challenge - just go with the antlers and show us the result on you blog. I think baby reindeer are called showers.
Carole - Happy Chrimbo back and I'm sure that everone's blog will go from strength to strength in 2008. I'm so glad I got into it - loads of fun.
Here are some more pics from the embellisher weekend. We were experimenting with working from the back and making patterns. This little sample (below) from Rita is worked on silk carrier rods (pods).
This one from Sarah uses black chiffon over built-up silk fibres. The chiffon is applied by working up and down in rows which pulls it into chevron patterns.
Here we were ironing T Shirt transfer prints over embellished surfaces and Penny has put some glitter on this one. She will go on to work into it with the sewing machine to enhance the architectural lines.
Monday, 17 December 2007
Thursday, 13 December 2007
Tuesday, 11 December 2007
The youngest granddaughter (6) changed schools a couple of months ago and I asked her how she liked the new class, which is rather more politically correct than the last one. She said 'It's OK, but we did nothing for Halloween, didn't even dress up.' This evidently was a serious business as she then heaved a great sigh and said 'It was the worst day of my life'. I'm still chuckling about it.
Anna - I'd heard from Hazel that the course was good. Janet is an excellent teacher. Val would be so pleased.
Carole - we must get you blogging. It is such fun. I'm typing away here all on my own and imagining you all out there. It is so lovely to get comments, too.
Aussie Jo - what a long holiday - no excuse for you.
Arti - I forgot the camera - how daft is that!
Today I was supposed to be getting ready for Urchfont but was overtaken by displacement activities in the form of:
a) the need to eat and therefore to shop
b) having to get the proofs to Batsford
c) lovely sunny day for a walk
d) Christmas decorations
As I'm not home from Urchfont until late Sunday afternoon we will have to go straight to the local Candlelit Carols and one needs to come home to a Christmassy house and have mince pies. It's a lovely service and the church is lit only with candles (which actually means you can't see the hymn sheet and you have to wear old clothes as you come out covered in red candle wax) and another of our traditions. So we decided to do the decs today.
Broken baubles one
Falls from ladder none
Arguments about how to put up the tree none
Non shining fairy lights none
Probably our best result in 24 years.
The wood-working son-in-law (TWWSIL) made me a new mantlepiece this year. It is made from pearwood (not sapient, I'm glad to say) and it looks lovely with a garland on it. I know it should be real but our house is hot and they don't last five minutes.
I had a blue theme in the little sitting room.
The closest I've come to a textile today is to gaze at these two lovely silk paper pieces from Val at Silk Sacks. Maybe tomorrow.
Sunday, 9 December 2007
I think you need to get a blog, Carole, so we can see your UTEE experiments. Or have you got one tucked away somewhere? Have you tried the stuff they sell to colour the UTEE - I think it is called To Dye For, but I may be getting muddled. Jane Wild got good results from it. If I get time this week I will have a go.
I am teaching an embellisher course at Urchfont College next weekend so I must get ready for that. I don't usually do residentials but this was one that Val was booked to teach and they asked me so nicely that I couldn't refuse. I know I will enjoy it, but I also know that I will put on even more weight. The food is so good there. All these Christmas lunches have me feeling as stuffed as the turkey.
The other excitement has been proofing the Image to Stitch book. Here is a double page spread that you might recognise. The small piece, left hand page, bottom is one of Val's which I scanned and put through a Displacement Map. The right hand pic shows my gauntlet - remember that? It doesn't look much like one from this angle but I like the way the soldered edges show. It is made from a variety of prints - transfer and ExtravOrganza, plus quite a bit of constructional stitching on Wireform.
They have done such a good job with the book. I tried a new approach when sending it in and made up a file of double page spreads so I could judge the amount of text and the size of pic. Usually I just rabbit on, marking where the pics go, until I have the correct total word count.I must go as I have an appointment with Father Christmas at the local garden centre. They do a train ride, through a winter wonderland, which seems to be a very long way - due to all the loops and bends. All our grandchildren love it and it is an annual event with drinks and toasted tea cakes afterwards. All for charity, too. Even the fourteen year old is not too cool to accompany us.
Sue - I had the front half, of course. The back is much too antisocial.
Friday, 7 December 2007
Jackie - it's very good to meet you. Any relation of Ian and Ruby's is a friend of mine. If it hadn't been for those two, we'd have had great difficulty getting the Val exhibition up to Harrogate. Good to hear that the World of Embroidery mag got you moving. I bet Ruby had a hand in it, too.
Judith - I expect you got caught up in the Fiona telephone kerfuffle - you should have the password by now , I'm sure. Any problems, I'm on firstname.lastname@example.org. Must get around to putting that on the blog.
It turned out that Fiona's neighbours had been having trouble with phones earlier in the week, so we think that was why a 'set' of password messages didn't get through. It was while BT were sorting out the earlier problem that they caused the later one!
Interesting feedback about software driven embroidery. I do use it quite a lot and have the digitising programs for several machines. Yes, Carole, you can just set it up and it stitches by itself. Best to keep an eye on it in case it has a hissy fit but, in theory, you can go off and leave it.
I did like your husband's comment, Penny. My son is a hydro-geologist in Sydney, so he is very involved in the drought situation. It has to be said that his solution seems to involve him spending a lot of time surveying surfing beaches. However, joking apart, it's a nasty state of affairs and Ian has been writing warning articles for years to try to get someone to take it seriously. Now they are.
Swap you a machine for a pony any day, Penny. I used to own half a horse and would borrow another (very quiet) one and take my daughter out for day rides when she was about four. We'd tie our sandwiches to the D-rings behind the saddle and just take off. Now I'm too scared of breaking a limb to even get on a horse. Do you ride yours?
Back to the embroidery machines, I almost always stitch on felt and cut out the motifs to re-apply them. In its native state, the stitching can be very flat and most of the work I've done on the machines has been in the form of experiments to raise the surface (I keep having to use that phrase, must be a subliminal message to sell the book). The design below used the drop shadow effect in a paint program to mimic raised, cut-out Celtic motifs.
This was then digitised and the background stitched. I then digitised thin strips and stitched them on felt. The cut-out motifs were threaded onto these and 'bunched' to raise them up.
The piece is a collection of three flag shapes and is called 'Fly the Flags for HRT'. I felt so great on HRT that all my work got very colourful but that was before the scare and I had to stop taking it. Then, as Amy Winehouse would say, it was back to black.
The proofs for the Image to Stitch book have arrived and I'm delighted to say that Batsford have done a really good job and it looks great. Now for the proof-reading.