Sunday 28 July 2013

 My life is always a little on the complicated side and it only takes one or two extra things to complicate matters so the building of the conservatory has been a major undertaking. Very well worth it though and it is now finished. Frustrating that I am now away for the next two weeks so cannot do all the fun finishing touches. Even though it is not finished it looks great.

I wasn't going to have the rattan furniture as I am not a big fan of this style but it looks good so I am getting new cushions made. I am keeping my ebay purchase of  Stressless sofa though. So comfortable. It is the first 'big' thing that I have prurchased on ebay and I am delighted.

Colin and Tom - the builders - were great. The only real problem was the fact that they wore shorts and Smudge (who can't resist a nice juicy calf) kept licking their legs. he even had a little nip once or twice.

Now we are in a hotel in Lancashir so I am 'the blogger from Burnley. Doing a talk and mini workshop at Gawthorpe Hall later today. More on that, I am sure in a subsequent blog. We will be home late this evening and I am off again tomorrow for a girls stitch retreat at Kingcombe, deep in the lovely Dorset countryside. As soon as I'm home it is time for the Festival of Quilts. I am doing three talks and being interviewed by someone for something.

Luckily we had a lovely gentle drive up yesterday with afternoon tea at Baddesley Clinton - an NT pile near Warwick.

Sweet moated house - not too big. The scones were a bit heavy but the garden was lovely. This hot weather has brought out all the bees and butterflies.

Time to go now. Will have a more stitchy blog next time, showing yoy what I have been doing with my new Bernina Cutting device.

Great news on Wow - now definitely saved, thanks to everyone's efforts and the Septemebre issue is lovely.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Book Give-Away

Gosh! Two posts in two days. I shall have to lie down in a darkened room. With this heat I might have to do that anyway. Thank you for the comments on my Perth textile. I do enjoy doing those diary pieces - just like doing a stitchy jigsaw.

This post is to tell you that we have some fantastic books up for grabs for subscribers to Workshop on the Web. This is to thank you for all that you have been doing for us in our drive for new members. Also for the lovely comments you have been sending about WoW. They do encourage us so much.

We have books to give away for WoW subscribers. Here are the books:

Embroidered Art by Lindsay Taylor
Art Quilt Portfolio - People and Portraits curated by Martha Sielman
500 Paper Objects curated by Gene McHugh (two copies to win)
Wee felt Worlds edited by Amanda Caresti
Transfer Painting by Mary Gamester
Printing on Fabric by Jen Swearington
Suzanne Golden Presents Interviews with 31 Artists who Innovate with Beads (two copies available to win)
Creative Thursday by Marisa Anne
Stitch Savvy by Deborah Moebes

To enter the competition email  with the word 'competition' in the subject line. In the main body of the email, make sure we have your name, email address and which book you would like (only one per person, please).
We will do a blind selection on the 5th August - plenty of time for you to enter.
This is just for WoW subscribers - if you don't subscribe, today is the last day of our special offer for new subscribers. Find out more at
Can't leave without putting up a pic. I grew this clematis from a teeny weeny little plug plant. I am very proud of it.

Monday 15 July 2013

Piece for Perth

First of all, millions of thanks to all of you who have been publicising Workshop on the Web for us. Subs had sunk dangerously low but, thanks to everyone's efforts (and a good initiative in the form of a give-away), we are looking much healthier now. I would hate to let the quality of workshops slip. As you know, I believe I paying for good stuff and, from your comments, you all appreciate this.
We are having a giveaway for all our wonderful subscribers. I wish we could send you all a free book but we will have lots to give away. More details in a couple of days.
I have finally finished my piece, on the subject of journeys, for Dale's Perth show. I made a variety of the long diary and called it Scandi Scribblings: Kingdom for a Norse. It went together quite well and I enjoyed making it. Here is a detail. Lots of hand stitching.

This is the whole piece. It Is based on our wanderings around Copenhagen and Stockholm last year. Made me want to go back. Anyway, it went off to Dale last week, so I hope it is in time.

The conservatory is nearly there. Since I took this photo they have finished the glazing and the electrician is coming tomorrow and the plasterer on Thursday. Hooray. Then I am away a lot so the final job - floor tiling - will have to wait until August.

It is much bigger than I thought it would be and I'm pleased about that. I hope the weather cools down a bit or it will be too hot to use! It has a fancy heat reflecting roof, which helps a lot but it is still quite hot in there. We saw a portable air con on special at B&Q and got it for the conservatory but, with the current heat-wave, it is doing sterling work in the living room. Not that I'm complaining but it's hard to get down to any work.

Friday 5 July 2013

A Lovely Evening

We had a great time yesterday evening at the Eastleigh College degree show. It felt like going back in time to the days of Jan and Jean at Windsor and the work, particularly from the Graduates, was excellent.

The seven artists have formed an exhibiting group called Marks and Stitch and intend to continue to support and challenge each other now the course is finished.

My good friend Alison Hulme is part of the group and I loved her theme - hiding behind the pinny. Well, she is certainly out from the pinny now and the ex-pinnies were displayed as works of art, with superb surface decoration, as you can see.

Lettering is used here in a special way as Alison was recently diagnosed with dyslexia - explaining a lot about her ambiguous feelings for words and lettering.

All the work  by the graduates was good, in particular the 'headology' that showed a maturity and a willingness to open themselves up in many ways - Alison with her dyslexia is a good example.

Others look to pass on thoughts about a sustainable society, well illustrated by a delightful study by Caroline Bell who takes her theme into new dimensions with her eco-prints. The presentation of these, as floating tiles was a pointer in the 'framed or not framed' debate and suited the theme admirably.

Others in the group engage with a personal theme such as dance (Catherine Fox) or atmospheric memories of Africa (Jan McGarry). Janet Steer and Louise Wainwright also concentrate on different aspects of memory and environment.

I was very taken with the mark making of Robina Richter, who elevates a simple premise to a whole new level with a very assured use of colour. I am hoping to persuade her to write a workshop on the subject for Workshop on the Web. Watch this space.

All in all, it was a very inspiring evening and full maks to tutots Sue Chapman and Terrie Hitchcock, plus all the other tutors at the college.

On another matter, I'd like to thank you all for getting behind our great subscription rally for WoW.  We have all been touched by the offers of help we have had and lots of people - like DIane (many thanks) have asked for our bookmarks to give away at their guild or group. If anyone else can do this, do let me know.

We're very pleased with the results of the initiative - if you haven't subscribed yet, hurry up as the free book offer ends in a week's time. See I am also working on some giveaways for our loyal existing suppliers - more news in the next blog.