Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Olympic Torch Relay Hooray!

It's been such a warm, sunny evening here that I thought I'd put on some comfortable shoes and take you out of the week day home for a wander round town.  
First we go down the steep little lane that leads to the local supermarket.  I never get bored with this walk and it's especially inviting at this time of year when the leaves are still young and fresh enough to be lime rather than just green.
This is where it gets very steep but that's fine because you can just look at the backdrop....
And here's the road into town all dressed up with bunting on railings, in shop windows and wrapped round trees!
Bunting everywhere, all over everything....
And the reason is....
 Yeayyyy!!  The torch is coming our way!

 And if it should go out, there's an inflatable one in one of the shop windows!
There are also some pavement Olympic facts like this tape stretched out to show the length of the gold medal winning distances achieved by triple jumpers.  I can't show you in a photo but the longest ever jump was HUGE!!
And so back up the hill to the week day home.  The warm weather is set to continue so hopefully lots of people will line the streets to cheer the torch on it's way through the beautiful Cotswold hills to Cheltenham.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Quilt Fest!

To the Malvern Quilt Festival for a visual feast and a day filled with "Ooohs" and "Ahhhs"!!!  The imagination, creativity and just plain damned cleverness of those who quilt is amazing!!  I'm going to share some pics from today but I want to tease you a little with this....

So onto the quilts...how beautiful are these?  The hours of planning and choosing and cutting and sheer love that's gone into these fabric compositions makes me blink in admiration.  There was soooo much talent on view today.

And once you you start looking at the details, your head spins all over again!  I absolutely love the patience in each stitch of the hand quilting.  

Simply stunning!

This quilt mixed rigid square blocks with flowing quilted circles.

Another joy was being able to wander round and share a coffee with my quilting buddy from sewing class, Miss P.  The trouble with an event like this is that resistance is futile....which is why I have to wish Miss P and her handsome new sewing machine a very happy stitchy life together :)  
 My own stash came mostly from Oliver Twist's wonderful selection of hand dyed silks....sigh....these will be turned into an arty silk paper hanging...one day.....
So, back to the tease at the top of this post.  Let me show you a little more detail...beautiful tight swirls and small, small, teeny circles.......

 And now some more colour....just look at the workmanship
Perhaps this will give you a clue and isn't it clever the way the artist has made the quilting and thread colour the main feature rather than the grey fabric?
 No words, just complete admiration!
I'm only sorry my final big pic can't do justice to the finished item.  The artist is wonderful, talented Ferret  Yeaaaayyy Whoooop Whoooop!!  She deservedly won the first prize for this and if you've never seen her work, grab yourself a cuppa, settle down and follow the link :) 
If only all Saturdays could be this good :)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Andy Skinner Workshop

Once again work took me to London so the week day home was neglected until the weekend when I attended another splendid Andy Skinner workshop with the lovely ladies at Paperarts. These are always great days, you get spoiled with drinks and cake while being inspired and getting time to play with new techniques.
Today we made a secret compartment book....
We started with a bare wooden book style box which we sealed before marking out two blobs and adding texture and little pieces of bits and bobs to it....
We painted the built up sections with white paint.....
For the spine, we spread modelling paste about 2 mm thick and pressed in deeply etched rubber stamps to add texture. Once dried this was painted burnt umber brown and a thin wash of black was painted over that until the black puddled into the sunken areas created by the rubber stamps.
Finally, we painted the built up sections and added modelling paste to create a crater rim around the sections. The modelling paste was flattened gradually to the edges of the book. Another modelling product was painted on top of this to give a sandy texture. The whole thing was painted grey and dry brushed with a lighter grey and then a white around the very edges of the crater to make it "pop".
The inside edge of the book where pages would be were covered with printed tape. And you can see how messy the table got and how much clearing up there was to do!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

A Week in the Big Smoke

The week day home was abandoned last week so I could go here...  
To do this....
This was a verrrrrry intense project management course.  If I had to stay awake through it you owe it to me, dear reader, to stick with me as I tell you that there were 12 of us to begin with, 1 fell by the wayside on Day 2 and the rest of us hung on grimly by our mental fingertips for the rest of the week.  We learned soooo much from 9am - 5pm our brains were in danger of leaking but at the end of each day we had to return to our homes and hotels to do additional study. 
 There were sorry tales of people waking up at 3.30 in the morning with one of their four text books plastered to their faces.  Others could bear no more in the evenings and set their alarms for 5am to try and cram the next morning.  We sat 2 exams, passed one and now have a 2 week wait to find out if we passed the final one and are therefore spared the pain of having to re-sit.

The course was being run in a building right next to St Paul's Cathedral so we were pretty central.  

At the end of each day when we were released, blinking, hunched and weary into the remaining daylight we went sight seeing round town.  We walked over to the South Bank and saw the Shard, The Globe and Tate Modern before walking back over the Millennium Bridge.  That evening ended with a curry down Brick Lane  http://www.aladinbricklane.co.uk/  very good and reasonably priced which was a nice surprise.

The following evening, we headed off on the Northern line to Camden Lock and Camden market.  I introduced my colleague to raw fruit smoothies at Inspiral before having a wander round the market. 

On the final morning, Day 5 we sat the last exam, had spasms when we saw how difficult the paper was, said our goodbyes to our fellow students and headed for home.  It was good to spend time here and we crammed a lot into one week (except sleep!) but it's always good to get home again :)

April Mosaic

I've been delayed getting my April mosaic posted for reasons I'll update you with in my next post but in the meantime, this was April!   

It started with a frosty Easter weekend camping trip to a small farm in Kent which we used as a base to visit the Tower of London and Hever Castle.  I managed to squash in a crochet workshop resulting in the burgundy curly flower thing, some experimental crochet hexagons and 5 meters of "Official Jubilee and Olympic Bunting"  My new recipe this month was a gorjuss (really, try it!) vegan curry and my proud moment was exchanging some hand made lip balm for freshly laid eggs from a colleague from a colleague's chickens.