Wednesday, 29 October 2008

The O's in the Snow

Just got back from a lovely few days in Norfolk with my family. Spent a day with my sis, with her trying to teach me crazy patchwork - I think she was despairing of me in the end. It seems I'm a bit too slapdash even for CRAZY patchwork. As yesterday was my Mum's ??th birthday, we went out for lunch - it makes a change for us all to look presentable (and I'm speaking mostly for myself here) so here we are all tidied up and ready to go out. The one who isn't me, and isn't my parents, is my baby sister. Incidentally if she's reading this, she can call off the search party for my glasses case - I found it in my bag - sorry!
After lunch, I then had to drive straight from sunny Norfolk to rainy Leyton (through a bit of a hail storm on the way) as Orient were playing at home to the MK Dons last night. Just before the start of the match there was a terrific clap of thunder and it started pouring with rain, which, during the course of the match turned to hail, then sleet, then snow (so much for global warming). By the time it was over (yeah yeah, we lost again 2-1) it was a real blizzard, which got worse and worse until the snow was settling on the roads, and even the main A roads were transformed into one lane. And just to prove I'm not making it up -this is a picture of my road when I eventually got home just after 11pm.It looks beautiful this morning though - the sun is shining and I don't think the snow will be hanging around for too long. Good excuse not to go anywhere, but instead to sit and finish my homework and then start on crafty things for the fairs in November and December.

Now that I've read this back - it's more of a weather report than a blog, isn't it?

Friday, 24 October 2008

Home, work and homework

You'll be glad to know that I have (more or less) managed to catch up with my C&G homework. I decided to treat it like a proper job, so by 9am on Monday morning I was sitting in front of my machine, ready to start stitching. All went according to plan until a friend popped in for coffee - but then even at work you're allowed a coffee break, aren't you? After coffee, I carried on working until 3pm so achieved a fair amount - but the samples are not particularly photogenic at the moment - bit like me really - so they will remain under wraps.

I was working at AVG on Tuesday - which was fortunate as Frances Pickering was running a workshop on Textured Treasures. I was very envious as they were making beautiful little stitched books - but at least I got to pop in now and again to see what they were doing. I can't believe how much laughter was going on - surprised they got any stitching done at all.

On Wednesday - after a quick and painless visit to the dentist - I went to visit one of my many cousins - really good to see her and we took her new whippet cross puppy (that is a whippet crossed with something else - I don't mean he was angry or anything) out for a walk in the sunshine. On the drive back I remembered a nearby patchwork shop "Just Between Friends" in Station Way, Buckhurst Hill - so I just had to call in and have a look around. Bought some really nice fabric, and another stash of rick rack braid - my sister says you can never have too much rick rack (or is it ric rac??) and I guess she must be right.

All absolute essentials - I'm sure you'll agree. I think I was quite controlled.

Thursday I was teaching my 80 year old pupil Edie with her stained glass patchwork. The trickiest bit seems to be working out in advance the order in which to stitch the bias strip, so that most of the joins are covered up and you don't have too many folded pieces. Anyway, it's still a work in progress but Edie was happy for me to photograph it at this stage.

Can you see what it is yet??? (said in a Rolf Harris voice if you can manage it)

I'm going back there next week, so hopefully we will get it finished then - but it will definitely be done in time for C......... mas (I'm not saying it yet, not until November at least.

Right, now off to do a bit more homework......

Sunday, 19 October 2008

I think I got away with it!

Had another great day on Wednesday at my C&G course - working on Whip Stitch, Feather Stitch and Cable Stitch. Really scarey stuff, - had to loosen the bobbin tension and everything!! I hadn't realised there were so many different machine embroidery stitches.
Fortunately I didn't get detention for failing to complete my homework, and I am absolutely determined to get it all done before next class in three weeks' time. Consequently my living room looks like there has been a minor explosion - but I'm not putting my machine or fabric etc away until I've finished it. If, no, WHEN I finish it, maybe I'll post a picture.
Last night the band that I manage - Sweet Sister - had a gig in a local pub. I was a bit worn out beforehand, having worked at Leyton Orient all day (they lost again - to Tranmere Rovers) but once I'd got ready and gone out I livened up. Didn't feel QUITE so lively this morning though - I keep forgetting that the pubs don't close at 11pm anymore.

Fortunately, quite a few people turned up to support them, so we've got another booking in three weeks' time.
For anyone who is interested, I've set up a blog for Art Van Go now, (I've got so much time on my hands, I really needed another little job!) so I'll include the link iin case you'd like to have a look.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Now it's next week!

Another week has flown by!

It's not like I've done anything. Well, apart from two days working for Art Van Go at the Knitting and Stitching show, a seven mile walk on Sunday, and two gigs in London. That's not counting half a dozen walks into town - at least two of which were to run errands I'd forgotten to do on the previous trips. And before anyone says I'm getting forgetful - it's not that, but I've decided that my personal hard drive is full, and I need to delete some of the useless stuff that's stored there!

So .. Thursday was the first day of Knit and Stitch at Alexandra Palace - this is just before opening, the calm before the storm!

And this is shortly after opening:
This is Jane who was demonstrating for us - she's a bit shy! And this is Kevin - who clearly isn't!

Please don't anyone tell him he's got odd shoes on - he thinks it makes him look hip and trendy!

And finally Viv - who will hate me for this!

On Saturday, I managed to nip off to have a quick look at Ruth Issett's exhibition before the show opened. And I think I may have discovered where she gets the inspiration for all those beautifully bright colours - she's obviously looking at the world through rose tinted champagne glasses - and this was half past nine in the morning!! Maggie Grey was clearly encouraging her - these bohemian artists must all be the same!

Seriously though, Ruth's exhibition was fantastic - such wonderful use of colour and pattern - it just makes you happy to look at it. If it was music it would be the Beach Boys, or Teenage Fanclub, or The Delays (depending on your era) - all summer and sunshine. My photos can't possibly do Ruth's work justice, but in case you didn't see the exhibition - here's a taster

I only worked two days at Ally Pally this year - we were busy non-stop as usual. It seems that people have decided to take their money out of the banks and invest in art materials instead!

On Sunday, as we were promised good weather, I went for a long walk around Much Hadham, taking a footpath through the Henry Moore Foundation gardens - and just to prove it really was sunny:-

It was a lovely day - (hotter here than Barcelona, apparently) and a great opportunity to enjoy what may be our last day of sunshine this year. Didn't see many other people out and about - presumably they were inside watching the omnibus edition of Eastenders.

Monday night I went to the Roundhouse in Camden to see Elbow - had a really good night- although my photos weren't up to much -And last night I went to a tiny venue at Highbury to see a young band from Paris - King of Conspiracy. Really different and with so much energy - glad I caught them before they're famous.
Anyway, I guess all this explains why I didn't quite finish my City and Guilds homework in time for today's class. Must try harder ......

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Braintree Exhibitions

I've had SUCH a lovely day today. I decided to drive over to Braintree to see "EAST 13" the latest exhibition of work by East Anglia Stitched Textiles at Braintree District Museum, and "A Walk On The Wild Side" by O2 Textiles at the Town Hall.
Libby Smith was stewarding at the Museum, and kindly said that I could include photographs of her beautiful work on my blog - thanks Libby! She is working with recycled vintage fabrics and haberdashery to produce wonderful works of art, inspired by the idea that fabrics and notions absorb memories from the past. This is a close up of one of the dresses -

and two pretty pairs of dainty shoes - I love the suspenders at the front!

We had to leave the exhibition in a hurry as unfortunately the fire alarm went off, but we were standing in the sunshine, and then the firemen arrived - so every cloud ......
Anyway, it was a false alarm thankfully, so after a cup of coffee I went back in and took photographs.
I then made my way across the road to the Town Hall and visited the O2 exhibition. More inspirational and lovely work. These two pieces were made by Wendy Greene who was stewarding today. I love the combination of Fuchsia and Lime.

I've come back full of ideas for my C& G pieces - must get my sketchbook out! Having both exhibitions on at the same time made for a great day out (they both finish on Saturday 11th, so you'll have to be quick if you haven't been yet). On the way home I called in to Blake End Craft Centre to get some "essentials" from the patchwork shop - well, you have to, don't you? The sun continued to shine on the way home so had the roof down and sunglasses on and sang all the way back with Brucie (Springsteen, not Forsyth - I do have SOME standards!)
I must have an early night for a change, in preparation for a couple of very busy days - I am on the Art Van Go stand at Alexandra Palace tomorrow and Saturday - wish me luck - and don't forget to say 'hello' if you're passing.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

STOP PRESS - more cooking!

I completely forgot - I've been cooking again! This is becoming a nasty habit. I made some Tomato, Apple and Celery Soup from a Delia recipe. (Well, I didn't do all the messing about with greaseproof paper that the recipe demanded, I just chopped the stuff up and chucked it in a big pan with vegetable stock - you can take all this cooking nonsense TOO seriously you know) Anyway, it's really lovely - definitely tastes like soup. Probably made all the tastier by the fact that the apples I used were from the Queen's garden at Sandringham. My parents brought them down last weekend - the apples that is, not the Royals.

Mum and Dad live quite close to Sandringham, and - much as we've tried - we've never been able to stop my Dad from going scrumping. And he looks so innocent.....

The Week in Brief

Oh dear - a week has gone by with no update. It's been a busy seven days - working at AVG on Monday and Tuesday, then the second session of my City and Guilds course on Wednesday. We had another lovely day - this time we took our sewing machines and did some free machining. The samples I've done so far aren't particularly photogenic, but when I have done my homework (mustn't lag behind - teacher might be reading this!) I will post some if I think they deserve it!
On Thursday I was a bit of a visiting tutor myself, helping a lovely 80 year old lady called Edie with some patchwork. She is partially sighted but that hasn't stopped her buying a super new machine and trying free machine embroidery, and now stained glass patchwork. She is really lively and is a great inspiration. Hope I still have her love of life and enthusiasm when I'm 80! Oh, and she'd like to meet a man - so if you know of any lively 80 year old men .....
Friday was Pilates, which really seems to be helping my back - I recommend it if you suffer with yours - then in the evening I went to help my friend Rosie (coincidentally also my Pilates teacher, and the singer in Sweet Sister, the band I "manage") to recover her sofa.
(That is, we were making a new cover for it, not rescuing it from kidnappers or anything)
Yesterday I was working at Leyton Orient - they drew 2-2 with Scunthorpe. I think the result could have been slightly disastrous, had they not been assisted by the fact that Scunthorpe's goalie was sent off in the second half. Then made a mad dash back home, (obviously observing all speed limits) to get ready for the County Hall Cricket Club Dinner and Dance. I didn't get in until 6.15pm, and was showered, dressed and ready to go out by 6.45. How's that - from Match Day Loggist to Babe in 30 minutes. Not bad for an old bird.
Had a great night dancing to a load of old records (obviously an 'age-appropriate' disco). Although if my gig mates ever find out that I was dancing to Take That - I will never live it down!
Tonight I'm off to a Green Onions evening - Ska and Reggae - in Hertford. Diverse musical tastes or what?