Saturday, 11 June 2016

Festival and family

It's been another full on couple of weeks, but all great fun. The Exmouth Festival coincided with my family visiting so there's been plenty to do.
I was able to put some of my work on display at the Blackmore Theatre and it was good to get one or two items finished in order to do it!
Here's a picture I finally completed - it's called 'Heartfelt'. I'm rather pleased with it as I hand felted the background and topped it with a ceramic button I made a while ago. I know the photo is on a bit of an angle, but any other shot I tried to take reflected either the rest of the bedroom where it now hangs, or me taking the picture!


I also hung a couple of scarves I made a while ago from bamboo poles as wall hangings. These I spun  from sari silk. It always amazes me how a ball of random fluff can end up looking like this once it's been spun and knitted.

I had some of my hand spun, knitted and felted bags on display too.

As well as this bag made from some thicker sari silk.

Once that was all up and on show other than a spell of stewarding on the Monday I was able to spend time with my sister, mum, niece, her husband and my great nephew. Graeham and I had a full day's digging on the beach on the holiday Tuesday while Finn directed operations and gave out spades. He'll make a great foreman when he grows up. Then the action moved on to Crealy the next day with the weather still with us. Thursday saw mum, Judith and me eating ice cream on Budleigh beach and then on Friday we all met up for scones and tea before they had to get ready to head back to Surrey.

On Sunday it was back to the Festival withthere workshops at Seadog Gallery. I took the wheel along as well as a couple of drop spindles and some chopsticks (yes chopsticks) so that anyone who dropped in could try their hand at spinning some merino and silk (yes with chopsticks) to make simple bracelets. 
The sun shone, sandwiches and scones were plentiful and it was a lovely day in Anna's garden. I had time to watch Hayley teaching others how to craft mosaic panels and even got to try making a felt flower in Natasha's workshop.

So, from then on it's been back to the day job, with plenty of writing to get to grips with! 
Today we've been shopping for fabric. A bit of household sewing to do - I'll show you when it's finished....
Phew.... Time for tea I think - and an evening of football......

Saturday, 28 May 2016

I'm Baaaaack!

It's been a while, but at last I'm back (or baa-ck) with the blog.

So much has happened that if I were to begin filling you in I'd be here till midnight - so I'll just carry on as if I've never been away and try harder to keep up to date. That includes rejoining Handmade Monday and enjoying all the other posts there each week....

I finally gave in to sense and said goodbye to my first wheel... 

I was sad to see it go, but there's not really room to keep everything and I use my travelling wheel more so it's gone off to be used by a really nice guy who farms alpacas.

I've finished one or two patchwork-y pieces.
The first was a recycling project... The front here is made up of old felted jumpers
While the back is old worn out t-shirts...

Finally here's the crocheted mini wall hanging that I started ages ago.
It's now got a starring role on display! It's Exmouth Festival this week, so I've put it in the exhibition at the Blackmore Theatre - part of the Exmouth Art Trail. I've also got some bags, a couple of sari silk wall hangings and a felted picture down there. I'm stewarding at the end of the weekend so I'll try and get some photos to add....

More news soon.... I promise it won't be such a long wait between blogs this time!
Enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend.....

Monday, 29 July 2013

School's Out!!

Okay, I know I said normal service was resumed, but I was away again last week so the post sort of fell by the wayside....

Still, now it's the end of term I can catch up (a bit)...

It's been nice to have some 'kick-back' time and just watch the grass grow - well I would do, but up until a day or two ago it wasn't. Everything around here had gone a sort of straw yellow with the sun, but recent showers have definitely perked things up. Here's the (rather grainy) view from our garden/sun room before the rain.

A lovely view (when you block out our neighbours' bungalows by squeezing your eyes - and ignore the telegraph pole) to drift away while having a coffee and pretending to read!
The sun has also worked its magic on the pots and plants around the garden. When I was young dad would fill the house in the autumn with all the geraniums he was saving. They all lived on the landing on top of the tallboy and reeked of that rather distinctive geranium smell which I hated. Funny isn't it, that now I can't imagine our garden here without them!

Just yesterday Graeham called for me to come quickly as he'd spotted a little visitor in the garden... We regularly have cats and foxes, we've also had a frog on the front door (actually sitting on a projecting piece so that when you open and shut the door he looked up rather enjoying the ride!) and a pheasant strutting along the road outside the bungalow, but never a bunny! This one was very small and looked rather lost - hopefully it made it to a place of safety.....

So what else have I been up to other than relaxing and gazing out of the window? Well, I was up in Kent working at my old school for the end of term. It coincided with Mum's birthday so I stayed at my sister's place and we went our and enjoyed a meal at the local tapas bar. And Juds also gave me the mirror that I made last time I was there. We both played for a while sticking our shells on - mine's the one on the left. I just need to varnish it, then.. not sure what to do with it, or where to hang it!

Other than that I've tried to get myself into finishing a couple of blankets that I started - as you can see this one hasn't got that far! Mind you, it's a lot further than the baby blanket I have started, frogged, restarted, frogged... and so on about four times... Now I've stopped knitting it and started crocheting instead.
Oh yes, I got to spinning too.... I'm having to tear myself away from the lovely Shetland fleece that I'm spinning and try to discipline myself into concentrating on the alpaca that still sits there looking accusingly at me - perhaps next week when I go to the spinning group I'll get the drum carder out and attack it full on to speed things up!
And I've read, and played tennis and eaten cake.. all that and the holiday's only just started!
Right, action - I have got teachers' notes to write on Carrie's War, still I reeeaaallly need to just pop over to Handmade Monday to see what everyone else has been up to. Task avoidance I hear you say, hmmm now if that was an Olympic sport I could truly be a champion!


Monday, 15 July 2013

Normal Service (!) resumed...

Hello again! I know I've been remiss with the postings, but I can't believe how quickly the time goes and how little I seem to have to write to show you how I've filled it!!!

Anyway, excuses aside, everything keeps moving along - so here are some highlights..

In between the writing and trips away for work we have managed one or two nice trips out for ourselves too. There have been barbecues with friends - the most recent last night on the beach at Budleigh, walks along the beach and relaxing in lovely spots. Here's a couple of shots from when we had some time in Cockington. This first one is the view from our table in the cafe where we had our cream tea while the pianist played in the garden....

I have managed some bits and pieces of finishing off, the odd doll's blanket and scarf.. like this lacy one. I've also got a beautiful new fleece from one of our Wednesday spinners, Dawn. She sheared her flock on the Saturday and brought a selection of Shetland fleeces the following Wednesday. They were lovely. I've washed mine and started on it abandoning the alpaca that's driving me nuts! (Mind you I am about half way through the throw I'm making from it - I swear that the rest of it that is living in the loft is breeding, there always seems to be more of it each time I open the box it's in...).
Work continues apace, with next academic year's dates already rolling in - so it would seem I'm still employed for the future. On my last visit to Cardiff I went out for a walk in the evening with some of the staff from one of the schools. It was such a change from either having a drift around Cardiff on my own or retreating to the hotel room. We did a couple of circuits of the lake at Roath. To my shame, even though I was at university there for three years, I'd never been to the park. Here it is - can't really guess you're in the middle of a capital city, can you?
I've also been able to get up to see my mum and sister - their birthdays are this week so I'll be back there again on Sunday - and then on to my old school for the end of term. So we'll have time for an evening at their local tapas bar with plenty of Sangria. My excuse is that I'm practising for my holiday. We finally managed to book one for October - so it's off to Fuerteventura then!
Finally, thanks to some of the lovely comments you sent I plucked up the courage to pop into a local shop, Inc. I chatted to Emma who runs it and showed her some of my brooches and she bought a couple to try in the shop. This week I had a call asking for some more and I showed her an ice cream one that I'd made - and she wanted more of those too! Here's some of the batch ready to go down there today! I've never done anything like this before so I'm well and truly chuffed at the response, especially as the first two she had sold so quickly.

I think that's just about everything up to date now.... although I'm sure I've forgotten plenty too.. it's been that sort of time. So I'm about to settle down to some data work for the morning, before I have my usual coffee break browse and Handmade Monday then  pop down to Inc with my brooches. After that I guess it's a relax in the sunshine - long may it last!!!!

Monday, 17 June 2013

That almost-but-not-quite feeling!

Yes, I'm back... sorry about the distruption in service, but between blogs I've had some chill out time as well as another working trip to Wales. I did think there wasn't much to report, but I still seem to have filled the two weeks somehow!

We were going to have a bit of a holiday, but decided that the issue of relying on 12 year old transport when travelling back and forth over distance was a bit risky so a newer, more eco-friendly vehicle was the first priority. It's not a new car, but it's much newer than the old one. It enjoyed the drive to Newton Abbott (well a girl's got to get to Hobbycraft somehow) and didn't object to me being at the wheel, so it looks like it can get it's first treat of a drive to the Rhondda next Monday. Just as long as I remember to put diesel, not petrol in it...

We had a trip out to the Cockington for the day the week before last and it was lovely to wander round the craft workshops and while Graeham was distracted by the lady in the fabric shop explaining about peg looms I bought some lovely oddments of fabric!

I got to spinning and acquired enough merino to finish my offering towards the Tedburn teddies for the exhibition at Killerton. Here she is, a bit lopsided, but with chracter I feel...

And I got to the Guild meeting so that I could hand her over too! While I was there I offered some pieces for the sales table at the exhibition and they were accepted.... I had two sari silk handspun scarves that I'd knitted, a skinny handspun, hand knitted skinny scarf and a bag I'd made from merino - spun, knitted and felted. I was caught in the usual debate about how to price them and was persuaded up from my original ideas by friends at the Guild who complained that I always charge too little!
Inspired by that and some of the lovely encouraging comments from you last time, I've also got some luggage labels to display my brooches on and am gathering the nerve to approach the owners of a shop and gallery later this week about taking some of them. Thanks to those of you who pointed out that I ought to go for it as the worst they can say is 'no'.
Having a bit of free time also meant I could get back to a project I started about three (or was it four?) years ago. I went to a workshop on Dartmoor to lean about mosaics from an artist called Anne Read. She was fabulous and we spent the morning making coasters to learn the techniques and the afternoon beginning a piece to finish at home. Of course, once I got home, that was it! Well, I got it out (a wall hanging for the garden) and cut up the rest of the tiles I'd brought home and glued them onto the block board. It goes without saying, that just like my teddy, I ran out of tiles. Still I'm an awful lot closer to finishing than I was before. This is it so far. What you're looking at is the back. Once all the tiles are temporarily stuck to the paper on the board they are butted up to a cemented tile, the paper is removed and the gaps grouted, then voila! Well, with luck anyway..

No work travelling this week, so today's about clearing paperwork and finishing odd bits and pieces of tasks. Spinning group is on Wednesday, then on Thursday I'm off to see my mum and sister by train - lots of knitting time! The rest of the week I can get stuck into the teachers' notes for a Welsh context book that's been waiting an age to be finished. So when I get back to you next week I may well have turned that almost-but-not-quite feeling into a look-I've-got-stuff-finished one.

Just one more thing to do - a browse over at Handmade Monday to see what everyone else has been getting up to....

Monday, 3 June 2013

Plenty of inspiration (but not much action!)

There's been plenty to see and hear around Exmouth over the last week or so with the festival in full swing! It's been good to get out and about and enjoy what's been going on, soaking up the creativeness of lots of people as well as the long awaited sunshine!

Firstly the music continued in the gardens - this picture doesn't really do the crowds justice, but it's been busy throughout the festival with good weather almost all the time. In fact it's the first time for ages that the sand sculpture competition hasn't been drowned! Sadly as I was being good and chained myself to the computer to finish the teaching notes I needed to get done I don't have any photos of that this year!

We popped into one of the local bars/pubs for lunch the other day and they had an exhibition of some sparkly collages. (They often exhibit work by local artists/craftspeople.) Again apologies for the photos, but they were great. The collages included all sorts of bits and pieces - paper, beads, sequins, miniature treasures - and were on coloured/painted canvases. I keep looking at the two I've bought ready to make some creation or other thinking I'd love a go at that... When I get wround to it - you'll be the first to know....

 Then we soaked up some sun on the beach. I still have to pinch myself sometimes to realise that I really do live here, even after seven years. It's all so different from a 'proper job' near London. I never actually thought I'd be just ten or fifteen minutes walk from the beach and yet that's exactly where I am!

I also needed a card for a friend's birthday and while I was in the shop/gallery in town I saw this. It's by Moose, one of our local artists, and I couldn't resist it. Just about sums up the fun!

While I was there I got one of those 'I make stuff like this' moments. I just wasn't brave enough to chat to the manager about whether or not they might be interested in some bits and pieces like the handmade brooches like these...

Any ideas?
Right I'm off to get a coffee and enjoy Handmade Monday....
Who knows I might get my act together this week - it is spinning group on Wednesday - I might get that bear finished!

Monday, 27 May 2013

What do you mean it's Monday again!

Yep, got caught out with busy-ness and didn't get to blog last week. So what's been going on?
Well, I've been away working in Orpington for a week followed by some more time in Wales, I've had some fun at my sister's and seen all my family while I was staying with her (one of the big bonuses of working near London!) and met up with friends. I'm ploughing through the writing on my desk(top) and it's also festival time here so loooaaaddsss to get up to - sadly most of it resulting in zilch photos!!

Anyhow, the sun is shining and I'm about to have a few days off so I might even get something creative on the camera.....

The week at my old school was good. As I mentioned it means seeing a lot of my sister, mum and nieces and some really nice social meals out - one of which seemed to involve a lot of Sangria - don't know who suggested that (eh Juds!). Juds and I also tried our hand at decorating mirrors with shells. As I left her place before the glue was completely dry I don't have any photos, still if they've worked and the shells are still stuck on I'll get some next time I'm up there!

I was also able to browse Hobbycraft as the girls (and Richard) had bought me a voucher for my birthday. Among my buys were these...

So now I can really have a good try with needle felting and hopefully save my fingers from the barbs. I did get some other stuff, but I can't show you or it won't be a surprise for someone....
While I was in Wales I did manage to get on with the merino that neds to be turned into a teddy, but this is as far as I got before running out of yarn.. just needed a bit more for the arms...

Hopefully I can beg some at spinning next week so I can finish it off. I've almost finished the dress for it too - that should hide some of the uneven spinning!
It was our wedding anniversary last week as well. Thankfully I had enough time to put a card together.... I had bought the wooden heart a while ago thinking it would be useful at some point - and it was!

As far as creativity goes there's not much else in the way of photos - although I've been writing plenty for work - sadly words don't work for the camera so you'll just have to take my word for it that it's been extremely satisfying, especially now I'm about halfway through the task.
It's also Exmouth Festival as I write - the website here shows last year's events - the video gives a flavour of what happens here - everything from Reggae to Sand Sculpture, clay modelling in the park to Soul Bands and fireworks.. all free and enjoyable - especially when the weather is as kind as it's been so far this year. We went down to hear Souled on Saturday night in the Gardens - a nine piece band that a friend's husband plays with. There's so much going on in and around Exmouth creatively that it makes me feel positively lazy!
That's about it I think - just off to Handmade Monday for a catch up and some inspiration.. hopefully I'll have time this week to comment on some of the lovely stuff there.....
Have a good week....