Tuesday 23 December 2008

Not tomorrow but the next day.

I'm sorry about the spacing of this post but I've editied it three times and it still ignores my returns. I've even put full stops in - that usually works. No luck.
However - lots of lovely comments:

Heather - I have a great mental picture of the 'Timber' moment.

Deanna - What is an Akita? I might want one (don't tell Clive).

Pat - the chewing goes on as Smudge has started eating doors. Do cats have teething problems - he's eight months old so it seems a bit late.

Wabbit - we have a 'get off' spray (we call it 'bog off' spray) which does stop some of the carpet scratching but I must confess I've never thought of spraying it on Stevens, That's some inventive mind you have. I remember big wagging tails - no ornament is safe.
We were talking about my friend Olga, who sadly died and it was good to know that lots of you knew her, too. Thanks for the emails. This is Olga wearing one of her bodice creations.
And this is the luggage - her C&G final piece. It had all the things you were likely to use on holiday (plus quite a few that you wouldn't) on the outside. Really need a close-up. Olga was a great one for fossicking in charity shops and found some amazing stuff.
I have been working on my stuff for Salisbury museum exhib in January. I've finished Skulljuggery and facebook and am working on this design which is based on a historic site - Old Sarum - and what goes on beneath it.
In a minute I will be collected by my friend Jane and taken to a 'Pagan' lunch at Elli Woodsfords - to celebrate the solstice. As a member of the Church of England (who doesn't go to church) this is a challenge, but I like to be ecumenical. I don't think it will involve bacchanalian revels but I'm taking some wine, just in case.
I was reminded on Sunday of the reason we stopped going to church. We went to the local Carol service. All in candlelight, lovely singing and just when we were all feeling really spiritual the rector preached a very boring sermon for over forty minutes. Talk about turning spirituality into a sore bum!
Are blog rules the same as dinner party rules - no politics or religion? Apologies, if so, but it made me so cross.
We have to take a small gift for the solstice lunch and I made some dear little books, in tiny cases. Can't show them, as they are part of the next lesson for the catalogue killers. Will put them up later.
Yesterday we had all the granchildren here for a rehearsal of the Boxing Day panto, Snow Beauty and the one and a half dwarves (it's the recession). Such a hoot and Smudge joined in by stretching out on Snow Beauty's carefully constructed bed and going to sleep.
After this, we had a Chinese takeaway for lunch and I found a new way to amuse five children - give them a pair of chopsticks each and put a hazlenut on each plate for them to pick up. Hours of fun.
I may not be back before the day (big cooking session tomorrow) so I wish you all a happy, peaceful, Christmas with all sermons limited to ten minutes!

Thursday 18 December 2008

More Duck Speech

Glad you all enjoyed the duck speech and just for you, Viv - quack, quack.

Hi arti - good to hear from you. I must try to translate more of the German mag. Perhaps I could illustrate it, got a great idea for duck speech.

Thanks to Christine I have a proper translation and it was a good review and turned out not to have been written by a duck. Very kind of her.

I used to love Stanley Unwin, Heather. It does sound just like him. Liked the H&S comment, too. In fact the drawings were wonderful - Jane had caught the movement and the faces had something of Bacon about them. There's a very rude joke trying to get out here so I will just say, Gilby, that I will try to get a pic for you

Yes, Aussie Jo , I can't believe we're going to do a book with Jean - her outline sounds fantastic and I can't wait either. Will she do a little extra for the site, asks Shirley - I'm sure she will, but it might not be classes. We may have something else up our sleeve.

D4daisy has had an exciting week with a big package of books going to America. They also wanted copies of a CDROM called Paper and Beyond that Jane Wild and I put together. We'd had such fun with the Paper, Metal and Stitch book that we didn't want to stop and because we decided, while driving up the motorway to the photoshoot that we had too much material in the book and it would make the pics too small. So Jane was tearing out pages from the file as I drove along and some of these went in the CD. It features surface decoration, paper techniques and lots on using embossing powders. Now that it has been re-pressed I may put it on the secure site.

At the end of this post I have included a step by step of gradients in Photoshop Elements - lots of people had emailed me about this as they are a bit hard to find. Have also included Displacement maps in Elements. I've done these before but forgot to label the post and, again have had emails on the subject.

We tried to put up the Christmas tree today - in view of Smudge and his tendencies we've dug out a fake tree. It had to be lashed to several boxes of books to make sure he couldn't pull it over. Fiona says that his sister climbs their tree and goes to sleep in it. Here's the lashing.

First he tried a good ear rub.

Then he had a good chew. Haven't put much on it yet but I think lights might not be a good idea in view of the chewing.

Enough of this wittering here's the Elements bit.

Open a new page and then click on the gradient tool on the left-hand toolbar.

Then choose a gradient from the drop down menu, as shown.

Now drag the mouse down the blank page in the direction that you want the gradient to go. Just experiment.

To make a displacement map you will need to have saved a suitable image as a photoshop (PSD) file. Remember where you saved it. Then go to Filters, distort and displace.

Make the numbers in the two boxes quite high - about 100.
I'd saved a file of this tower with a tree - worked out well.

Monday 15 December 2008


Another hectic week - mostly spent doing all the admin that I've been putting off for weeks. My desk looks a lot clearer now. I've just realised that I failed to comment on the comments from the blog before last so there is a grand catch up at the end of this epistle.

A big d4daisy excitement - as well as Lynda and Carol (I'm so thrilled about their book) we are going to publish a book by Jean Draper. Her work is just so fantastic and we're flattered that she wants to do a book with us. More details later, but it looks as though d4d will be having another exciting year.

My pieces for Cyber Fyber have arrived and, my goodness, but it looks as though Susan Lenz is setting up a great show. She is working so hard. I so wanted to go over for the exhibition but the flights to Charleston are very expensive - no cheapies that I could see.

I've been doing lots of work but it's mostly for the next lesson in the Textile Translation free classes, so I can't spoil the surprise. Here is something I'm working on for an exhibition with Wessex Textiles in Salisbury Museum in January. More about that in the next blog. I am doing a Timeline of Salisbury, which has an interesting history, right back to Old Sarum in the Neolithic times. As space is limited we are all producing six, eight inch square pieces, and this one is based on an artifact - a jug- in the museum collection. It has a face on it and I'm calling it Skulljuggery.

Here's a detail.

There are lots of faces in the museum artifacts and the next piece will be based on a book with a face. What else to call it but 'Facebook'.
We went to give a talk in Somerset on Saturday and met with terrible flooding. It was a bit scary but the Grey's, like Wells Fargo, made it through. Great day but I was so glad to get home. The nervous tension was tiring and I was just wiped out yesterday.

I was sent a copy of a lovely German magazine, Patchwork Professional, which reviewed my Image to Stitch book. It was, of course, written in German and I tried to use a translation site. This is what came out.

Textilschaffede, already long with the topic besschafigen, are many valuable tipsIf they know its lake a mad subjects, however, like them it on New project ubertragen could caused Maggie Grey do need know show in their New book on the basis of many inspiring textile models like one pictures, photocopies, digitally photo, designs ubertragungsmethoden into a simple or one computerntwurf with merges. In the printed picture can be continued working anschliebebd with hand or machine passport. Way suitably best The book is ace if duck speech into the in a modern manner textile technology in the. But therefore .

Here are the replies to some of the comments I missed.

Jolly good yarn girl - of course you can do the classes. Anyone who has the book can do them, and very welcome they are.

I like the gory bit, Kim but I didn't drip blood on it - honest!

Am trying to find a pic of Olga's luggage for you, Lizzie - you are right, she was certainly interesting and we all miss her.

Pot luck not really an option with my kids' cooking, although Fiona makes a mean cake.I love the way Aussies have a traditional Brit Christmas, Doreen. I've met loads that do that. Bread Sauce - one year, when the kids were all going through different phases, we had three varieties of bread sauce. Carnivore, veggie and vegan. How's that for spoiling the little blighters?

Jane W is on her way so I must finish now. She is bringing work from her life drawing class which featured a naked man with a sword. I can't wait.

Sunday 7 December 2008

The Secret Revealed

I promised I would tell the secret - you may have heard already - but the result of our assignation on the M4 with Carol and Lynda is that they are going to write a d4daisy book. Isn't that exciting, and well worth the horrid driving conditions. I'm sure they will be blogging about it themselves, so watch their blogs.
I have had a manic week even by my standards. Mostly it has been about getting my pieces off to the Cyber Fyber exhibition. You saw a tiny piece of Binary Humanity and here is a little detail of Digital Reliquary.

I don't know what I would do without Clive - he measured, cut, soothed, made labels and travelling boxes (as well as cups of coffee) - and did most of the cooking. Then he did the packing up. What a treasure.

I've also been trying to keep up with my on-line class girls, who are doing the most amazing things. Here are two examples, but I could have chosen many, many, more.

A wigwam book from Sonja:

Another wigwam from Ali:

Here's Faye, taking the shape and colouring further:

Other highlights from my week:

Stuffing my face at the Beyond Stitch Christmas lunch and watching while everyone made paper-fold stars from the cracker wrappers. Following Jane Wild's step by step instructions, of course. I didn't have to drive and so enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine.

Going out with my technophobic cousin and helping her buy a laptop. Now to get her on-line.

Doing the talk at our charity Christmas party yesterday. This is held at Stanpit village hall which is where most of us did our City and Guilds. Sadly the C&G no longer exists but the party goes on forever. Last year we raised £800 for our local children's hospice and the Macmillan nurses and this year looks set to top that. The hall only holds 70 people and we always have a huge waiting list but we refuse to move from our C&G hall.

Taking the kids on the Father Christmas express at our local garden centre. You ride a little train through a magical world of toys and fairy lights and then you visit Santa at the end. Lauren is now 15 but won't give up the annual visit. Here is Sophie (Fiona's daughter). There's a song about teeth in there somewhere.

We see all our grandchildren on Christmas Day but only briefly. I'm so concious that they have other parents, in laws etc on this day. But they all come to me on Boxing Day and we have another Christmas with huge sacks of pressies for the kids, silly games etc. Last year we took them all out for dinner - such bliss not cooking. This year they elected a spokesman who said "We did like the meal last year, granny, but could we go back to your cooking this year. We need tradition"!!! Back to slaving over a hot stove, then.