Monday, 31 August 2009

My Banks Hols.

When on the M25 driving to my mothers on Friday afternoon, we saw these two cars which made us all smile.
Saturday we went to Olney, and we went the scenic route, through this village where instead of pavements they have a stream with watercress growing in it. A cup of coffee and a browse in LB Crafts, where I managed to find some paper casting moulds for 99pence in their sale. Then it was on to Milton Keynes, and Hobbycraft where I got some paint stamps for my children at school 2 for 49 pence-bargain! Another cup of coffee in Borders, and a lovely browse amongst all those books and magazines- what a great Saturday.
Because the weather was grey and chilly in Buckingham, I managed to do a fair bit of hand stitching, and all being well, I should start constructing my vessel tomorrow night.
I can't believe how hot it was when we got back to Essex!

Thursday, 27 August 2009


I have finally finished my school work having spent another couple of hours on it again today. So I am not going to think about going to work on Wednesday until Wednesday morning.
I have also tackled the big pile of ironing that has been lurking in the corner. Took Kezzy to her art lesson, picked yet more runner beans and started packing to go away tomorrow. So tonight I was going to play-WRONG. I have an elderly neighbour 82 going on 60, who has just had a hernia operation and is not allowed to drive. He needed me to take him shopping as his freezer was getting low, so tonight we went to Tesco's on the 127. It made a change for him and gave him some company. So now, at 22.57 I am going to play.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Up and down the M11.

Another early start, then a morning spent in school. I then went to Craft Arena to change my Hemingworth thread and got two more as I had finished my loyalty card, the latest issue of CPS and some Lutrador.
It was the time to go to Cambridge to pick up Kezzy. My oldest daughter Sam, came with me, in fact she drove as we couldn't all fit in my Smart car! Kezzy has been on a drama and art course near Duxford. We watched their drama production (something one of the girls had written) then a cup of tea and wonderful homemade cake before driving back to Essex. Kezzy has had a great time, made lots of friends and didn't stop talking about it all the way down the M11!
I am going to spend this evening making stencils for my vessel. I need to get it ready for stitching by Friday as we are going to visit my Mother for the Bank Holiday weekend.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009


I know I said I wasn't going to, but I did spend a little time today, on getting more bits sorted for school- then I had a small dabble with the new rust powder I bought from Craft Arena the other week.
I sponged acrylic wax through the stencil, sprinkled on the powder, shook off the excess, spritzed with cider vinegar and left it while I prepared the evening meal-stuffed marrow with fresh runner beans from the garden.

The rusting effect occurred quickly, this is the result after an hour. I am now going to put a coat of acrylic wax on top and I will put some stitching on, a tea break project I think.

I also made some paper fabric, painted with cerise and purple acrylic, (it's because I've been reading about the 60's and 70's) I might use this on my vessel idea I am working on. Also had a little dabble with my new paints,reverse printing, nothing wonderful to show, just wanted to see if it lived up to the sales blurb. Also had another dabble with drawing, pastels today instead of charcoal, lovely and messy.
Popped to Craft Arena to get some Hemmingworth purple thread, and I ended up picking up the wrong colour, too much talking to Denise. I'll have to go back and change it for the right purple-what a good excuse!

In school again tomorrow morning and then off to collect Kezzy from Cambridge.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Tooooo tired.

Started off this morning doing schoolwork on my computer before getting into school for 10.00am. All the stock is unpacked and given out, planning/photocopying done and made huge in roads in getting the classroom ready for next week. I didn't leave school until 7.15 this evening, by which time hubby was getting a bit concerned. And though I really want to play I am just tooooooooooo tired and will make silly mistakes, so instead I am going to read some blogs and have an early night, this side of midnight for a change!
No school work tomorrow, I'll be back there on Wednesday before going to Cambridge to pick Kezzy up.

More books.

An early start today, I am going into school today as I have 22 boxes of text books plus a big GLS stock order to unpack, before that a bit of research on the computer for work and then IF time, drafting the pattern so I can start creating a vessel tonight. Why does work get in the way of trying to be creative?

Sunday, 23 August 2009

FOQ cont.

At FOQ yesterday I indulged in some retail therapy, first buy was some new paints- they were being demonstrated and you can reverse print with them. (I was hoping to have a small dabble this morning with them, but alas no such luck!) This new book by Claire Benn and Lesley Morgan- I have been wanting to learn screen printing for some time now, so hopefully I can now try some experimenting very soon.

These lovely wool threads by Madeira, I had a couple already so, needed to add these to the collection.

Also some King Tut threads.

Just a few photo's of the quilts that stood out for me. This quilt won a gold, by Laura Kemshall, as if you couldn't tell. I couldn't get near it to take a photo, until it was nearly time to go home

This quilt won a gold, it was created by Helen Godden, from just black fabric and the colours were achieved by painting with bleach, soooo clever.

This artists work, can't remember her name (senior moment) was stunning. Such clever use of fabrics and stitch
Today, I made Fresh Fruit Brulee and Rocky Road Squares for a family get together to celebrate a cousins 4th birthday. I have never made Rocky Road before but I shall be doing it again very soon- it was delish!

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Retail therapy

Just a quick blog, hubby wants to use the computer, I want to unpack my 'goodies' and the computer is playing up a bit.
Nickie and I had a lovely day at the NEC. we went by coach with Keene Quilters, which meant that we could stitch all the way there and back. Lots of lovely work to see plus all those traders!
It was lovely to be able to talk to some of the exhibitors, a lot of whom allowed us to take photo's of their work. I will post some in another blog when the computer is behaving. Off to stroke my threads!

Thursday, 20 August 2009


I had nearly six hours at home ALONE!!!!!! Unheard of, though we all get on and do our own thing, there is nothing like having the house to myself. Wasted nearly an hour on the phone to the bank, but never mind. I picked our first crop of runner beans, nearly two and a half pounds. My favourite vegetable. Our runners are growing in a different part of the garden this year as where I have had them before there was a lot of shade. The move has paid off. All sliced and in the freezer now. I also finished my bag as well.
I am running a workshop at Schoolhouse Arts in February, making a vessel. I want to base the vessel on a piece of Carn pottery from Cornwall, I love it, I keep promising to but myself a piece. Anyway, I needed to see if the china will translate first into paper and then into craft vilene. The paper mock up seems to work, though the masking tape is low tack and keeps falling apart so I am now stitching vilene together. Fingers crossed it works out. Kezzy is going on a residential drama course tomorrow, so maybe I can carry on playing when I get home from dropping her off-M11 permitting.
Then Saturday, an early start as Nickie and I are going to FOQ- sooooo excited as we didn't go last year as we were at Belstead on the Embroiderers' Guild Summer School.

Blueberry dyed fabric

After reading Carolyn's blog at the weekend, and knowing that I had blueberries in the fridge past their sell by date, I had ago at using them for dyeing. The hardest bit has been the wait- but it was worth it. The fabric and threads are a lovely soft heather colour.(sorry forgot to take a picture of the threads. Fabrics used from top to bottom :-
Gauze(from out of date first aid kit)
Butter muslin
Knitted 100% polishing/cleaning fabric- Asda

It was so easy, not having to worry about mordants either.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Thank goodness.

I have at last got all my school records updated- I have sat at it all day because I needed to get that job out the way and not keep putting it off. I did my work in the garden sitting in the shade so it wasn't such a chore and I managed to get a bit of the boiled lobster look even though I was sitting in the shade.
Tonight I have stitched the button on my bag and the trimming around the edge, just need to hand stitch it down now.
I have just spoken to my brother to wish him a happy birthday and he got his card, sent snail mail on time. He was very pleased with it. He is filming the English cricket tour so he wont be on the tiles tonight as he has to be at the Oval early tomorrow.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Safely home.

Rhodri got home safely from his holiday in Cyprus looking very tanned and relaxed. He bought Kezzy this bag, and I got a lesson in designer bags. The designs are based on tattoo's, the nearest she is going to get to having a tattoo while she is living at home, if I have my way! I have spent a lot more time at school today getting organised for the start of the new term, I am NOT going in again until Monday, though I have got to do some work at home before then.
I then went to blood donors, where after using me as a pincushion, I couldn't give blood because though it was good enough for a donation, they had used both arms for blood tests. Apparently they are only allowed to stick a needle in each arm once.
Tonight I played at making buttons for my bag. The one on the left is stamped and painted shrink plastic. The middle one is felt and sheers and the one on the right is hot glue on a card base, stamped, painted and then treasure gold(copper in this case) rubbed on. I shall be using the button on the right.

Monday, 17 August 2009


Today, my plans went slightly awry as I had to go into school for the meeting that was cancelled on Friday. It was supposed to be a brief chat, BUT, it was 2 hours later before I could escape. Kezzy wanted to go to Mersea, it is the first time we have been back since Malc died on Boxing Day. This is our favourite beach because it doesn't get busy, in fact we shared the beach with only two other families and a couple of people dog walking- just how I like it!There is going to be a Regatta on Saturday so there were lots of boats racing up and down for us to watch. I also enjoyed watching the birds, saw the Oyster Catchers again and what I think were Curlews (hard to tell when they are in the distance and the eyesight not what it was) There was also a very small wading bird, but I don't know what they were, I shall have to do some research (flies in a flock and quite noisy!)

We then went to the other beach so that we could get an ice cream, fairly busy and the beach huts seem to be multiplying.Tried for an arty shot here! i feel sooo relaxed having spent a couple of hours on the beach, must do it again very soon. Last night after reading Carolyns blog, I decided to have a go at natural dyeing with some blueberries that Rhodri hadn't eaten. I cooked them for 15 minutes and left them to cool down. Tonight I strained the fluid into a bowl and added my unmordanted fabric. I will now leave them in the dye for a couple of days.( I didn't cook them like Carolyn, so it will be interesting so see how they differ) I will post pictures of the results later in the week.

Last night and tonight I have been working on my 'pan scourer' bag, as I have not done anything to it since I got back from my Mothers at the beginning of August. Joined the pieces together, made the lining, and now working to make a fastening.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

The photo of the completed birthday card as promised in my last post. The scrapbook page that I did on Thursday for Kezzy's fourteenth birthday. She knew she was getting a rabbit on the Monday (birthday) morning but had to wait (something she finds very hard) for me to get home from work on the Tuesday night before she could go and choose her rabbit.Last night, I had another go at trying to draw, they say you have to keep practicing

Today, after spending time working in the garden, I made a birthday card for my brother. I did Kokopelli, to remind him of his holiday to Mexico last year.

And as I had some background fabric left over, I made an A.T.C. as well.

Thursday, 13 August 2009


I took Kezzy to Braintree so that she could go swimming. It is a lovely pool there, well worth the drive, and she was swimming for two hours! This gave me a chance to sit on the side and watch her while doing yet more school work and then some more schoolwork while she was having her art lesson at Barleylands.
This evening it was the monthly get-together with my daughter and friends to do some scrapbooking. I will post a picture when I have completed it and of the completed birthday card which I finished this morning and posted.
Spending the day in school tomorrow while Kezzy goes ice skating in Chelmsford.
Started off today once I had done the usual chores, by baking a Farmhouse cake as Delia and Diana were coming round for tea and cake this afternoon, it was still warm as we ate it. I then completed Rhodri's cushion, now installed in his bedroom for him to see when he gets back from his holiday in Cyprus, next week.
I finished the frame and background for the fairy shoes, I did a bit more paperwork for school,

and almost finished a birthday card for a lovely member of our Embroiderers' Guild who is 80, I shall pop it in the post tomorrow, after I have added the finishing touches.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009


As I was getting lunch today I saw an adder in the garden, I rushed for my camera but it had already disappeared. The garden had lots of butterflies flitting around and as I had the camera I manged to get this image of the Meadow Brown. Later while doing a bit of weeding, ............. this frog made me jump.
I decided that as I had done a lot of paperwork yesterday, I was going to do some playing, so I had another go at trying to draw with charcoal and chalk, I lined some curtains for my son Rhodri ( he has been waiting since Christmas for me to do this job) and........

made this cushion from two of his designer shirts, that he had done an 'Incredible Hulk' impression in.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Yet more school work!

I had a phone call from school today to go and do my CRB, I spent ages trying to find all the relevant bits of paperwork. I then spent this afternoon and more time this evening on updating all my assessments - still got a quite a bit to do by Friday.
I have started painting a box frame to put my fairy shoes in, I hope to do some more to it tomorrow.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

This and that.

I spent Friday shopping and cooking as we were having 4 of Alan's relatives coming for the day on Saturday. I always like to try different recipes and I shall be doing this one again. I found the recipe last weekend at my Mother's, it is called apple sablee. I had a job to get the orange blossom water to go in the cream but found it in the end at Waitrose.
Today, Alan and Kezzy went to Duxford to see the Spitfire's flying, so I decided to go to the boot fair at Barleyland's. Sam wanted an Action Man for Josh but couldn't find any in the shops-success I found a couple so he will be a happy little boy. I also bought some lovely books for school and........

this baby doll.
Over the summer holidays, I promised myself I would make time to practice my drawing. I have been working in charcoal and chalk.I need a lot more practice.

This afternoon I finished stitching my fairy shoes, tonight I will work out how I am going to present them I hope.

Thursday, 6 August 2009


A busy day at work, sorting out stock (only 350 exercise books to unpack today instead of the thousands that I had the other week), planning and loads of paper work. When I got home I took Kezzy for her art lesson at Barleylands, and was able to have an hour stitching while waiting for her. Saw and chatted to Denise from Craft Arena as well. I am in the process of making a pair of fairy shoes for a Schoolhouse Arts workshop that we are going to be running in October. I am spending this evening doing more school work :(

P.S. Check Serendipty 's blog as she has a lovely book for a give-away.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Ladies that lunched

My first job today was to ring Basildon Court to see how my Small Claims is going, as I haven't heard anything since June. The hearing will now be 1st October, providing they can track down the dodgy dealer!
It was then off to Bicknacre to have lunch with friends from work. Though I have been to Bicknacre many times, I have never been down this particular road, and when I got out of the car I found this wonderful ruin.
Yvonne's son cooked all the wonderful food as he has just finished training as a chef and will be starting work in a new restaurant opening in Marks Tey later this month. ( Another girlie night being planned to visit it!)

George the cat joined us as well. I didn't get home until gone 5.
This evening it was round to Nickie's, so that the four of us involved with Schoolhouse Arts, could plan the workshops for the forthcoming year.
Tomorrow I am spending the day at school getting ready for the new term. We know that we will be inspected anytime within the first month by I.S.A.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Rust dyeing samples

Popped to Craft Arena at Barleylands, to get Q.A's and some thread. While talking to Dean Smith (this is where Kezzy goes for her art lessons) I found out that he was the local artist who helped the children at my school in Activities week make the shark out of paper. Lots of photos follow of my rust dyed fabric.
This is a piece of my own dyed fabric that has had wire wool tied into it with wire, and also I did some stitching with wire and pulled it up to form pleats.
Opened out and washed

These samples are wire wool and salt solution.
Cream calico

White calico
My own dyed fabric, not much rust on this sample.

White calico
Scrim, though scrim was used in every batch of samples, this was the only piece of scrim that didn't end up looking like a very dirty floorcloth!

The following samples were with vinegar solution and wire wool.
Cream calico Evalon
White calico
Own dyed fabric
White calico
These samples were made with wire wool, salt solution and tea.
Cream calico Evalon
White calico

Own dyed fabric

White calico
These samples were soaked in vinegar solution and tea with wire wool.
Cream calico Evalon
White calico

Own dyed fabric
Calico Samples using different bits of metal.
This 'axe' I got from the Caretakers at school when I was on the hunt for things that were rusty, the top fabric was folded over the fabric sandwich too obtain a ghost image. Salt solution was used.

Metal objects stitched and pinned to fabric ala Gwen Hedley, in a salt solution.
All the photos were taken while the fabric was wet, not too keen on the rust smell when I opened all the different bags, but it is worth it to get such interesting marks on the fabric. the axe and the pins and washer samples dried out while I was away as they weren't in a bag, just wrapped in parchment, could have been rustier still. Just got to decide what to do with all the samples now.