An elegant sufficiency

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Back from Blackpool

Blackpool was looking lovely in the sunshine this morning, as you can see.

I've been there for a couple of days, judging the entries in the British Legion Womens Section Purse Competition. Some good ones too, and as always, very hard to find a winner. Trouble is, there are those which don't exactly conform to the rules. Usually they're too big, which is such a shame, because there were some really lovely ones in that bunch.

Sorry, no pictures, since I didn't ask permission to photograph them. I'll send the organisers a CD with all of them on it shortly.

Tomorrow we're off to New York for a few days; shopping, time with friends, going to a Raff concert and no doubt having fun. Will report back on our return and promise to confess all that I bring back. I have quite a list.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Monday evening

Spent last night at a recording of this radio perennial - interesting to see what goes into the making of a programme such as this. Two programmes were recorded, one will air on the 7th May, the other on the 25th June. My question was answered by Bob F in the warm up, so I had the best of all worlds - an answer without having the embarrassment of having to speak! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Country House weekend

I've been lucky enough to spend the weekend in the glorious surroundings of an Oxfordshire country house. There was some wonderful artwork on the walls, including this fantastic quilt done by my friend Pat Lumsdale on my bedroom wall.

This superb quilt hangs on the wall next door and is hand painted with many varieties of apple, each named in stitch.

Although you might think that I normally inhabit such grand surroundings, I can tell you that Chez Nous isn't quite furnished like this, and I am not used to having a crystal chandelier in my bedroom!

And though we enjoy fine views at home, our garden isn't quite like this one, and our pond is a little smaller than the lake you can see in the distance.

So, playing the Lady of the Manor for the weekend has been fun, even if it did take an hour or so to lock up every night - dear me, those full length drawing room curtains are so tiresome!

What a good job I took a few friends along to lend a hand!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Caterpillar Bracelet warning

Put my Caterpillar Bracelet on this morning, since I'm off later to be host at Denman College, where 70 ladies from Gloucestershire are going to spend the weekend learning all kinds of new skills. Thought I'd show off my new found beading skills to some of the far more expert beaders who will be there.

Have just washed my hands however and discover a green wrist. Bright green. Colour coming strongly off something - the thread I suspect. I am not going to change my top, which has a small green spot on it too. I shall blame the b****y caterpillar.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Responding Creatively - at last

I'm taking part in a project involving "To Kill a Mockingbird" and some form of creative response was required. Well, my instinctive response when being creative is to get out the fabric, which is what I did this afternoon.

Fabrics are bonded, not pieced, and there is a garden of sorts in the lower left hand corner, free machine embroidered mimosa, camellia and wisteria, which doesn't really show in the photograph.

Quite satisfying to get the machine out and play, though no-one is going to see the back!


I am finding it hard to ignore this.
I'm not allowing it to stop me working on this though, and am making fairly good progress. My main dilemma is when to begin the cast off for the handles, since I have no more yarn than the ball in the picture, and since it's a hand dye, it's not easy to buy more. How do I know how much is going to be needed for the handles?

How much yarn is enough?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Advantages of teaching him to cook

Advantages to encouraging a son to cook

1. Steak and Kidney Pudding for supper tonight.

Need any more reasons?
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Teeny Tiny Tote

Inspired by Seahorse Claire's recent knitting (OK, I confess, copying Seahorse's recent knitting - thanks Claire!) I looked up the pattern for this Teeny Tiny Tote and made it yesterday - took one ball of Noro Kureyon and an evening to knit. It's been through the washing machine cycle with two loads of towels (beware, the colour runs!) and is ready for handles and fastening. Cute, isn't it?

This was the bag before felting.

I have another ball of Noro to make one more Teeny Tiny Tote, and then I think I'm ready for the French Market Bag from I have three balls of Manos del Uruguay in "Jungle" (dark greens and blackish browns with a flash of lime green) bought at Purl in NYC last Summer which have been saying "felt me" since then, and I think that, at last, I have courage!

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Friday, April 14, 2006

This is a tulip!

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Finished my Caterpillar Bracelet

Have finished my bracelet this afternoon, the extra beads having arrived from the Bead Merchant this morning - excellent service. I particularly like the way the lime green twinkles through the darker beads which sit on top - nice design. Would make it again, but wouldn't say it's much beyond what I think of as mind-numbing beading - a little on the repetitive side. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Love her

From The Times, this morning:

"On Royal Deeside, the Queen can slow down and rarely ventures outside the castle grounds. When she did pop in to the tea room in the nearby village of Ballater, she was accosted by a tourist. “You look awfully like the Queen,” she was told. “How very reassuring,” came the reply. "

Full article here

Love it

We're off to a wedding anniversary party later, and stumped for a pressie, I resorted to looking up what the 20 year anniversary is described as (if you know what I mean). China, I discovered. So, got them two cups, saucers and spoons.

Trouble is, we like them so much it's proving hard to give them away.

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Need beads....

Have so very nearly finished my bracelet and have run out of the embellishment beads. Huh. Sadly, it's not quite long enough to go around my wrist, so I can't just finish it there and make do, either. I will email The Bead Merchant and request more but am sorry not to be able to be done with it this afternoon.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Good grief - the sewing machine is going!

We bought ourselves a small laptop last week, for using when we're on our travels. Trouble is, it doesn't have a case and looks a bit vulnerable naked. So this morning, I've made it a sleeve.
I have to admit, it's a bit WI-ish and smacks of a tea cosy. Could hardly be described as funky, unlike these but it will do until I find something better.

This brings to mind a WI story. Several people were gathered for an area meeting about health and safety and the chap leading the discussion described how he had gone to a WI office to do a risk assessment and had found - shock, horror - a fire door held open with a brick. This was bad enough, but believe it or not, said he, the brick had a tapestry cover! Sharp intakes of breath all round as eyes swivelled to try to identify the guilty party. No problem, for someone stood up to have her say - how dare he say such things about that doorstop? Didn't he know the difference between tapestry and needlepoint?!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Creature without a name

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Stupid Sock Creatures

This is the silliest book I have bought, but it's amazing!
The characters are delightfully original, absolutely charming and I want to make them all. I had heard John Murphy on Craftypod and was intrigued enough to go looking for his book today. The book is written very well indeed, with background, clear instructions for eight creatures and tips on how to mix and match the components to create totally new individuals. Each creature is given a name, a great personality and a crazy background, there are great sketches of the concepts, a gallery of friends and a comic to end with, featuring the cast of eight which have been featured in the book. I love it.
There is a Stupid Sock Creatures website here with pictures of dozens of these little chaps in the gallery. Guess who will be sorting her sock drawer out tomorrow?

Out in Oxford

We enjoyed a day in Oxford today, because Edward wanted to go here, to gather some stuff for his dissertation.

Any excuse for a day out, and I'm there.

Whilst he worked and Mark went looking up music stuff for his website, I shopped.

Of course, studying and shopping needs sustinence.

But did we need books to tell us how to acquire this?

For the record, books purchased = 3, this, this and this. No teenage angst required, thanks.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

An afternoon beading

I started the bracelet kit I bought at the show on Friday and am progressing fairly well, this point I refer you to the sidebar "about" column, and my expectation that I'm going to do everything perfectly first time. See why I'm less than happy with the bracelet?

Might rip it out and redo - but not today. Any advice from beaders gratefully received - although I have unrealistic expectations of my ability, I'm not too proud to ask for help!
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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Catching up

I've had a couple of busy, fun-packed days and need to catch up a bit today.

Yesterday, I was at the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC, helping out on the Denman College stand. Saw lots of friends (Hi Sue, Mary, Sarah, Nicholle, Pat) and met a couple of new ones - always pleased to meet online friends and Sue and Yvonne were as delightful "in the flesh" as their blogs would suggest.

Is the best bit of going to these shows about catching up with what's new and seeing what everybody's up to? Maybe the best bit is the shopping? Or perhaps, best of all, it's bringing it home and spilling the contents all over the table and sharing it all with friends?

Well, it looks like this year, everyone will get a black, white and pink card. The gift voucher from Craftwork Cards seemed to go a long way and it was good fun spending it!

I hadn't been at the show five minutes before finding Web of Wool and discovering they had Brittany sock needles, so was pleased to give them a try and quite agree, they are great (but maybe Addi turbos are slicker!)
*by the way, the Brittany site is worth a visit for the picture alone!

My WI colleagues asked if I'd upload my iPod sock "pattern" to the website, as a new craft project but as the samples so far have been black, we needed a brighter sample to show up the detail when it's photographed. Another trip to Web of Wool for some Regia sockyarn and the Brittany needles were put to instant use as I knitted the day away. The delightful Web of Wool people even Kitchener-stitched the end up for me too, since I didn't have a darning needle with me! Sample and pattern will be uploaded here shortly.

Good friend and expert knitter Sue Sanderson was on the "knit and relax" stand and showed me a terrific new sock book she'd just got from Amazon. I agreed it was a goodie, so when I spotted it on one of the stands later in the day, of course, I had to bring it home.
Other goodies from the day included some fun stamps, found in the Hobbycraft hall. One has phrases like "brilliant idea" and "this is a test" on it, the other "inspected by:" and "APPROVED".

Came across a tutorial online to make a button bracelet recently, so these bags of colour themed buttons from the Button Company were too good to pass up, and there is always a bead kit which I can't resist at The Bead Merchant.

I was tempted by the flower rope, but "Advanced Herringbone" ? Can't even do basic herringbone yet, and though I am known for diving in at the deep end, on this occasion I restrained myself.

Finally, those of you who know me well will know why I get hold of these bits and pieces for cardmaking. A few more samples to make for the new season, I think.

A good day. Lots of chatter, laughter and a really friendly atmosphere as always. I noticed that the Hobbycraft hall remains stuck in a glut of cardmaking, but in particular this year, I found the same things on almost every stand. Keen pricing seemed to be key and several stallholders did the "hard sell" in a way I've never noticed before. Clearly it's dog eat dog out there in the rubber stamping-cardmaking arena and I'm pleased that in the Sewing for Pleasure hall things were a little more dignified!

Memorable stands: Jane Callender's Indigo shibori, a french whitework stand, "Il etait un fois" and Linda Rudkin's natural dyeing were amongst those which stood out for me.

Came home, did a quick wash and brush up, changed into something more comfortable and went to a WI skittles evening in Avening with Mark and Edward.

I slept very well last night!!