Thursday, 30 October 2008


There was still signs of snow as we made our way to Chelmsford Station to catch the 9.27 train to Liverpool Street. What an impressive building! My daughter had been given some money to spend which was burning a hole in her pocket so we stopped at the children's shop first. I found 2 books which I hope will prove useful for my project- Sutton Hoo. The on to room 40 to look at the exhibits, take photo's and TRY to draw. This is a bit of a problem for me, I wear glasses for close work but not for driving, watching television etc. The thing is when it comes to drawing objects from a distance of a couple of feet, I struggle with the fine detail. On my last visit to the opticians I was told it was not time for new glasses- I fear it will be a different story on my next visit to him. We were told it is best to draw items from first hand experience, but I will have to use my photo's instead. (Hope they are good enough!) I hope to start working on this project next week, after my visit to Sutton Hoo at the weekend,( quite fancy doing something based on the silver bowls I saw BUT there again I could change my mind).
A quick bite to eat and then we went to the Science museum. As it was half term it was very busy. Kezzy spent ages in the energy exhibition ( making children aware of our dwindling supplies of gas, petrol etc)- this had lots of hands on activities, though this is a very child friendly place to visit. Walking round this museum made me feel old, there were so many things exhibited that I had used as a
child or remembered my parents using!
We then walked along Hyde Park and up Oxford Street to see the Christmas decorations. Debenhams had the best display very child friendly, lots of action. When I worked in Wigmore Street when I was 16, Selfridges used to have the best windows. Their windows were still being dressed. A good excuse to go up to London again. We were going to go to Leicester Square, as my brother was filming at the Bond premiere but Kezzy was complaining about being tired and footsore, so we came home instead, which gave me a little time to play with glue and paper before bed!
Today I have sewn press-studs on Dracula's cloak to stop it falling off tomorrow night when he goes trick and treating (my grandson) and this. I have been working on it in my 'spare' time the last couple of days. It is for Schoolhouse Arts in January. A book with lots of pockets for photo's, memento's and journalling. Not quite finished, a couple more pages to embellish, but I needed to get something to Margaret pronto so she can get on with making some flyer's.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Give away's

There are two give aways I thought you might be interested in. The first on Dale's , is for one of her textile postcards or a book or some stamps. The other is for some eyelets and setter from here. Good luck! Off to catch a train to London.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Found it!!!!

When I woke up this morning the sun was shining (though we had had a frost) just right for a day trip to Mersea. We got onto the Island just before high tide by the skin of our teeth. After a lunch of prawns bought from the local fishmonger it was time to go down to the beach- BUT- oh! what had happened to the sun? We had not been out walking for more than a few minutes when the skies opened, so I dashed into a local charity shop to keep dry. I have been on the look out for a Scrabble board for the last couple of weeks, I didn't mind if the pieces were missing, I just needed the board- and guess what? the charity shop had one (20p). So tonight I can at last start making the 'Blue Peter one I made earlier' book that we are going to be doing at Schoolhouse Arts in the New Year. We did not stay on the beach very long as the weather was bitter.
In fact it took my son an hour to get home from work ( normally a 15-20 minute journey ) because of this- SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!
Pauline has O.K.'d my postcard workshop for Textiles in Focus- I just need to think up a catchy title-duh!!!!!!!!
Off to London tomorrow, to the British Museum (looking for inspiration for the Sutton Hoo exhibition) and if we have time, my daughter has now chosen the Natural History Museum instead of Tate Modern to visit as well.

Monday, 27 October 2008


On Friday, I had to go to Basildon Magistrates Courts to start proceedings against a dodgy dealer. As I had not made enough copies of my claim I had to pop to the library to photo-copy my form. This was very lucky for me as they were having a book sale on and I managed to find a small book that I can use for the Maggie Grey lessons.
I have spent the last three days with my mother in Buckingham, I managed to finish my sample postcard for the Textiles in Focus workshop that I am doing. (Image sent to Pauline Verrinder, for her to OK it) Yesterday I had to go to IKEA to get some fabric to line some curtains I was going to make for my brother. I found a lovely 100% cotton, so had to but some extra for me to dye and stitch some time in the future.

On our way back to sunny Essex this afternoon, we did a slight detour to Missenden, to stop at Rainbow Silks. The shop is next door to the Rhoald Dhall museum, so get hubby to take the children there while you get some 'me' time in Rainbow Silks.

I tried to get Liquid Sculpy for the Catalogue Killer lessons that start on November 1st, but they didn't have any so have got a similar product, I hope it works. I also bought some Artgirlz bits to make a 'Wild Women' in my tea breaks at school next week. They also had some face moulds, so I bought 2 different types to see if they would be any good for doing my own 'wild thing'.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

E.G. committee meeting

We had two members volunteer to join the committee at our A.G.M. on Monday, and tonight was our first meeting with Nickie in the chair. I have just finished typing the minutes because I am off to my mothers for a long weekend and if I wait until Monday I will forget what my notes are about- I never learnt shorthand. Our Guild is holding an exhibition in Chelmsford library next March and we are holding the Regional day in 2010,so we will be very busy.
I have spent part of today experimenting with an idea for Textiles in Focus workshop that I am doing in February at Cottenham. I am now on sample number 4 and I hope to have the piece finished in the next day or so.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Ladies that lunch.

It was lovely to be able to go out for lunch AGAIN today, ( I went out for lunch yesterday with my friend who is going stir crazy due to having a fall and breaking her arm) I very rarely get the chance to meet friends for lunch due to working in a school, so when it is a holiday I rush around trying to catch up with friends. Today I met Doreen-A.K.A. 'The Granny With the Gun and Licenced To Kill' as she is referred to in my house. I bumped into Doreen on a workshop with Pauline Verrinder at Belstead, ( we had met some years earlier at Watt Tyler Park, but not kept in contact.) She has now become a regular at our Schoolhouse Arts workshops but we never have time for a good old natter. Today we remedied that. We had lunch in the Beehive at Barleylands before shopping in Craft Arena. Denise has been very busy this weekend reorganising her shop.
Denise runs a loyalty card scheme, and as my card was full I was able to get 2 more reels of thread for my collection. I also had run out of Bondaweb, muslin and I am going to try some Mistyfuse.

It was then in to Sugar and Spice(would be rude not too), where I got some papers with hearts on ready to start developing the project for Schoolhouse Arts workshop for January.

Prior to meeting Doreen, I had popped into the P.D.S.A charity shop in my quest for books to 'Maggie Grey'. I shall find it hard to alter the books, as I have a BIG thing about books that have been defaced when I get them from the library. The first book is Antiques Roadshow, which if I have to alter, this book could make it easier.

The second book I bought is a book of Confucius sayings. This book is so lovely with symbols and line drawings in it, I think that I will have to search for another one to use instead! Total spent on the books £1.50.
(The little brown box is the one I shall be using, when in Craft Arena, Denise was unpacking a delivery, so I was able to recycle it for her)

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Springfield Quilters

At Springfield Quilters tonight we had Helen Howes as our speaker. She lives near Beccles and describes herself as an artist/craftsmaker. She gave a lively and interesting talk about her work.

John her partner/ taxi driver/ minder of the sales table came into the room carrying a huge suitcase. Helen then proceeded to pull works of art out of it - like a magician. What a vast array of work, and like artists she works in a series. I loved the series of trees especially the cream one, lots of lovely textures!

This one reminded me of my trip down under to N.Z and the Silver Ferns (the national symbol for N.Z). There were quilts in every size as well as flat dolls and pillow dolls to look at.

This piece of work being held up by Delia is going to be a workshop at Keene Quilters, next October.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Chelmsford Embroiderer's Guild.

Tonight was our A.G.M., this meeting is always very well attended by our members. The details were released tonight of the tutors for the Summer School which is held at Belstead in August. I was lucky enough to get a place this August and had a wonderful time with Gwen Hedley. Nickie gave a talk to the group and showed her work from when she was a young girl to the present. Our Chairperson, June Caroll, has done her time in office so she has had to step down, though will still be on the committee. Nickie will be our new Chairperson and I have become secretary. A pity I didn't do office skills at school!
Tomorrow night it is Springfield Quilters and a speaker has been booked.


There does not seem to be many Saturdays when I don't have to be up early to travel somewhere, and this Saturday was no exception as Nickie and I were going to Cambridge for our first F.E.S.T. meeting run by Pauline Verrinder. What a lovely group of ladies they made us feel very welcome. Within minutes or so it seemed we were told about the exhibition we would be working towards-(in at the deep end or what!) this is to be held at Sutton Hoo next summer(6-21st June). It's very exciting but a bit scary too! As I am on half term I hope to find some spare time to go to London to the British Museum to see what they have there and my daughter wants to go to the Tate Modern so hopefully with another early start we should fit both in.

The afternoon was spent making a fabric, this was made on a frame using shirring elastic and fibres. It was then machine stitched. It has a lovely texture!

This is a W.I.P., using sheers and fibres, I have not yet machine stitched it, and I would like to create voids in areas. I might have time later, but as it is Embroiderer's Guild tonight, it might not happen. Pauline has also asked Nickie and I to teach at Tetiles in Focus which is held at Cottenham in February, so I need to make some samples for this- I have an idea buzzing around my head, but I need to make sure that it can be done in two hours.

Yesterday I popped to Barleylands to spend the voucher for Sugar and Spice,that I had been given from the girls at work for my birthday. I love these type of pressies.
I bought some heart ribbons, some 12x12 acetate sheets and some stamps. This is so that I can experiment with an idea I have for making a Valentine card. If it works I shall be doing it at Schoolhouse Arts next year.

I then went to Craft Arena to get Quilting Arts as they has an article by Maggie Grey in it, though they had forgotten to put her name on the article. I ended up buying two more books. I shall be doing a lot of reading while I am staying at my mother's next weekend! The 'Stitching on Metal' book I had seen on Dales blog but didn't see it Ally Pally last weekend. Denise is always very helpful, showing me all her new products that have arrived since my last visit. (Not long to pay day, thank goodness!)

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Finished A.T.C.'s

I have survived parents evening and got home just on 8.00. I have just put the finishing touches to my A.T.C.'s and photo's as promised, a day later than I had hoped.
This one is for the theme music. My inspiration was 'Rhapsody in Blue'.
The A.T.C. is much bluer, the photo does not show the true colour. Background fabric made from baby wipe, floor polish and inks. Machine
stitched text. Treble clef was made with felt and sheers, machine stitched and cut with soldering iron. The beaded edge is 'a'la Kemshalls'.
This A.T.C was made to represent intense colour with a 'fabric'
tissue, craft vilene and gesso, 'a'la Maggie Grey'. It was coloured with Golden acrylics. Machine stitched 'rays' on bonded circles of fabric. The 2 small red hearts are made with acetate, tissue inks and floor polish. Beaded edge as above.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


On Saturday Nickie and I are up to Cambridge to join Pauline Verrinder's group F.E.S.T (another early start!) We have to make 2 A.T.C's to take with us to swap. The themes I have been given is :- Culture-Music
I have made the one to represent music and tonight I have to start the one on colour. I hope to have something to put on my blog tomorrow night. (A late night tonight I think) Thursday is my parents evening and I wont be home very early from that!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Knitting and Stitching show.

As I have a Smart car, I was doing the driving to Ally Pally, the view on the left is what I can usually see from my garden. The image above is what I woke up to! In spite of the thick fog we made it to A.P in an hour.
Nickie and I didn't have much on our shopping list, just the 2 books from Double Trouble and Maggie Greys new book.We enjoyed looking at, and taking photo's of Jan and Jean's work. This was the only stand that allowed photo's. Thank you Jean and Jan.
I bought:-

I enjoyed every minute of the K & S show, looking at the exhibitions and talking to the exhibitors, catching up with friends, and spending money!
At 4.45 Nickie and I called it a day, our backs were aching from the heavy bags, our feet were sore and our purses empty- well almost we had just enough for a 99 before the drive home in wonderful sunshine.
P.S. I did get the Maggie Grey book and the 2 new Double Trouble books, BUT I can't have them until tomorrow, as my husband has bought them for me as part of my birthday present.

Saturday, 11 October 2008


My catalogues are 'fermenting' nicely in the garden, and tomorrow
I am going to Allie Pallie to get my Maggie Grey book to find out what to do next.

While out in the garden with my camera saw this lovely
seedhead of 'Bears Breeches'. I love the colours and textures that you can see in Autumn.

Today Nickie and I went to Braintree to see the exhibitions by OTT
and EAST. Here is just a taster of some of the work. (The exhibition
finished today)
As soon as I saw the stones that Zoe Cox had stitched, I knew where she had found her inspiration and they bought back happy memories of my holiday in Cornwall. The stones have such distinctive markings, in fact I have one or two of them I bought home with me, waiting for me to use as a source of inspiration. I hope to win the lottery tonight so that I can but the large vessel by Zoe, it is wonderful! ( You should have seen her wellies!!!!)

Dot's dolls were a joy to look at. EVERYTHING to scale, the Kitkat bar, the map and when Dot opened it out it wasn't just a cover it was a real map! If you want to learn how to make dolls, Dot
runs classes.

It was then over to Braintree Museum to look at EAST's work. This exhibition also finished today, and if you didn't get there you have missed a treat. Nickie and I came out of there and we thought 'WOW!!!!!!'It was great to see the work of so many people we know from the Embroiderer's Guild and all of it made to a very high standard. There were so many wonderful pieces of work to see it would be hard to choose a favourite or even favourites. Jeanette Bright had a wonderful book continuing her research into Foundlings. Our tutor from Southchurch college, Julie Toppesfield has just joined the group and had 2 months to make her piece. For one of her pieces, Melinda had used the reflections of water as her inspiration. This was made from dyed fabrics that had been inserted into acrylic tubes. (The photo does not do it justice. )

Margaret Talbot, whose work we had seen at the 4x4 exhibition in London, has done some lovely work using rust and decay as her theme, if you did not know better you would swear it was metal and not fabric.
If you have missed the exhibition and want to see the work of June, Carol, Diane, Delia and the rest of the talented ladies, you have 2 options:-
1. Come and look at them on my computer
2. Go and view the exhibition at one of the two bookings they got, the Snape Malting's and I am afraid the I can't remember the other venue. (A senior moment!)
Well time for me to go and pack my bag ready for tomorrows outing. I can't wait!

Monday, 6 October 2008

I have spent the evening at Nickie's with Margaret and Deb planing our next workshop for Schoolhouse Arts which is a dyeing day. Plans have also been made for new classes in 2009 - card making, a wall hanging, more postcards, a mermaid doll and another dabble day. Keep checking our Schoolhouse Arts blog for more details. Nickie had been very creative in the kitchen keeping us supplied with coffee and lovely home baked rock cakes.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Postcard workshop.

Today we held the postcard workshop at Schoolhouse Arts. Everyone was very keen and some arriving half an hour early!Debbie bought in a piece of work that she had made for the Etsy monthly challenge, and she won! Well done Deb!

Marion bought a piece of work that she had started at the 'Stitch to Paint' workshop. It is lovely to see work when it is finished, this was a great achievement for Marion, who does not like to get messy. Oh dear! Today was going to be another messy day!

Today's objective was to make two mixed media postcards, and as you can see from the photo's below everyone did really well. A special mention to Jayne and Doreen who had NEVER done F.M.S.(free machine stitching). Everyone painted, spritzed, sprinkled,zapped, burnt, stitched- hand and machine and made some wonderful postcards-or nearly postcards.The postcards will need a bit of hand stitching at home to complete them, and then they are going to be posted to Nickie, by the time they have been sorted and franked, they should be nicely distressed. Nickie is then going to take photo's of them as they are delivered and post them on her blog. They will then be posted back to their owners.

Debbie very kindly made lemon and chocolate muffins for our afternoon cup of tea. The lemon ones were delicious I was told, and I can recommend the chocolate ones.

I just managed a photo of the last tasty lemon muffin before it was eaten by, guess who????????

At the end of the workshop, Marion who does not like to get messy, said that she had had a great time and wants to come to another postcard workshop!!!!!