Friday, 30 April 2010

It wouldn't do if we all liked the same thing.

I went on a coach trip  to see the aptly titled "Les Miserables" last night. 

Hmmmm.  I've decided that musicals are not really my thing.  Or at least not this one.  I don't understand why some people want to go back and see it again and again - once was DEFINITELY enough for me.  I'm glad that I went, if only to see what everyone was talking about, but it really IS what it says on the tin.  The only song that I recognised  was "I Dreamed a Dream" and that's only because it's the one that Susan Boyle did on X Factor  (and before you completely write me off, it's the one and only time I've ever seen X factor.  I was doing my ironing and it was the least rubbish thing on at the time)  Anyway, back to Les Mis - there certainly weren't any singalong numbers that had you whistling on your way out of the theatre.  Not wishing to be totally negative, for, as you know, I can always find the best in any situation,  the stage sets were impressive, and the cast were very good - I particular liked the bit when they all died in slow motion on the barricades.  I liked the venue - The Queens is a lovely compact little theatre,  and the leader of the revolutionaries was a pretty young man with long hair (he looked like a young Michael Ball, before he'd eaten so many doughnuts).  Oh, and I enjoyed my ice cream at half time.  I won't be buying the CD.

Bit different to last Friday, when I went to the Forum at Kentish Town to see Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Now that WAS a good night out. A brilliant gig  with  music just as I like it, loud guitars played by moody young men wearing skinny jeans and black leather jackets,  with a drumbeat you can feel through the soles of your boots and that thumps in your chest and leaves your ears ringing.  I guess it takes all sorts.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Heart Swap

I am a regular reader of  Carolyn at Love Stitching Red and although we have never met we have become 'blogpals' and I've very much admired her work.  She suggested a while ago that as we are both slightly partial to hearts of all types, that we have a 'heartswap'.  I agreed straight away, although it was with some apprehension as I worried my work wasn't good enough to take part in a swap with a proper artist.  Anyway, several weeks have past, my stitched hearts and other fripperies were wrapped and posted, and yesterday, just before I left to go to my beading group,  the postman knocked  with a parcel from St Ives.  I was so excited to see what was inside that I nearly forgot to take photographs.  In fact, to be honest, I did have to re-wrap one of them temporarily in order  to take this ....
And inside the purple paper I found not just one heart....
...... but two!  Aren't they beautful?  My photos don't do them justice, but they are exquisitely stitched with all types of thread, and adorned with lace, sequins and beads and shells.  I love them!
The pink parcel contained these beauties ....
I have quite a thing for fingerless gloves, and these are really special with the lacy picot edges.  I'll be the one walking about in the heat wave, wearing sunglasses and  fingerless gloves.  Then in the green parcel was a bundle of all sorts of luscious fabrics, sparkly lace and beads, which I will definitely be putting to good use soon.....

And last, but not least .....
What a fabulous swap!  Aren't bloggers just lovely?
Having opened and delighted over all my parcels, I went off to my Saturday beading group to finish a necklace that I started a while ago at a workshop.  I  like the necklace, although I'm not sure about the colours, I might have to try again, and maybe stick to black and white.  I enjoyed making the embellished rings that sit around the main necklace, and for the toggle fastening.

And, as I still had some time left, I made this bracelet, incorporating some of the beads that had arrived in my gorgeous parcel that very morning! 

See, I told you that this was the year I was going to finish things.

Friday, 23 April 2010

The Handwriting game.

Check out Jackie's blog for other handwriting samples!

By the way - you can see Gina's here
So to continue .....
Whoops, apologies to Madeira - I just wrote down what the late great Val Campbell Harding said.
That one above was with Deborah Gonet, sister of Stella (House of Elliott) Gonet! And fortunately, she's kinder to Madeira threads
Never did finish the bag started with Deidre Hawken - but I will.  Soon.
Finished the stitched self portrait with Mary Cozens Walker - could maybe do with a few stitched lines now

Above - from a wonderful weekend workshop near Bournemouth with Maggie Grey
Closer to home with Pauline Verrinder (I found the samples from the above course the other day)
And then finally ....
So that's it.

PS - My sister rang me to say that she'd got examples of my handwriting in her loft - she's got a folder with song lyrics that I'd written out years ago apparently. So, bright and early this morning, she was up in her loft and found the folder.  In amongst the lyrics, she found a poem I wrote to her when she was starting senior school, aged 11 and I'd have been 14.  She emailed it to me this morning - and having read it, I realise I was a bit mean to her even then - but it did make me laugh.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Four and Twenty Blackbirds .......

I've been away again this weekend - that's two weekends running with NO television and therefore no election coverage.   I think I may have to keep this up until the second week in May.  I've been to Rye near Hastings with my friends Jill and Julia. 
We stopped at Tenderden for coffee on the way down and popped in a few shops (charity and otherwise) while we were there.  I DIDN'T buy a very nice dress in Phase Eight, which saved me 90 quid, so consequently that gave me plenty to play with over the rest of the weekend.  (I'm sorry if you don't understand the logic behind that last sentence - I'm guessing you must be a bloke?)
We did buy these spoons though -

All three of us thought they were beautiful and just right for eating ice cream sundaes.    Ok, so we don't do that very often, and we did agreed that none of us really needed six spoons.  But then I suggested we buy one set and have two each, so that was another purchase justified.  Everyone needs two brightly coloured plastic knickerbocker glory spoons, don't they?  I nabbed the fuchsia pink and the bright orange ones and I left the other two to fight over the rest.
I'll gloss over the rest of the purchases for now.
Anyway, we made our way to Peasmarsh and found Carters Farm where we were staying, in Pond Cottage

It was lovely - and we were lucky enough to have the best weekend weather-wise so far this year.  But then, as I've probably said before, the sun always shines .....
Saturday we drove into Rye and explored some of the second hand shops

("Antique" is probably overdoing it a bit, and  the term 'junk shop' doesn't really do justice to the prices they were charging for some things) but we had a lovely time looking and bought a few little treasures.  I then suggested that we drive over to Dungeness as I'd read about Derek Jarman's (Film Director/Artist/Writer) house and garden on the stony beach and I'd always wanted to see it.  The others hadn't read about the cottage and after a bit of driving backwards and forwards, I think they were beginning to think that I was making it up.    But I found it -
I quite liked the cottage, and the garden was interesting, but it's rather an odd choice of location - unless you are a bit of a loner and particularly drawn to stony beaches, broken down shacks and find beauty in the architecture of a nearby power station. 
Anyway, I was pleased I'd finally seen it, and the girls said they were glad they'd been too, that it was an 'unusual' place that was different to anywhere else they could think off (my mates are nothing if not polite).  And to save you the journey, here are a couple more shots of the surrounding picturesque landscape ...
I think I saw the place in the photo above in an Estate Agent's window, described as "Bijou weekend cottage, away from the hurly burly, in need of some modernisation"  Apparently it had belonged to an MP who was claiming it as his second home. 
On Sunday it was back to Rye, but this time, as it was such a glorious day we decided to walk from the farm, across the fields, past loads of these ...
It was all going very nicely until the footpath sign indicated that we should cross here.  Jill volunteered to be the intrepid explorer to go first ....
but then one of the tree trunks wobbled, and she suddenly felt a bit less intrepid and changed her mind
Anyway, we did manage to find our way to Rye and had a really good day wandering around the town
past the author Henry James' house

Then a bit more vintage/junk shop browsing, and finally exploring a fabulous church, that had magnificent stained glass windows, including this one by William Morris' mate, Byrne-Jones.  This window was used in a design for a postage stamp (see bottom left hand corner)

We even bravely climbed up the (very narrow) steps into the bell tower and out onto the roof  for some stunning views.

Our cottage is past the farthest trees on the horizon in the next picture - (AND we walked back too!)

Definitely worth it, even though we did have to come down the steep wooden stairs in the church tower backwards.  So with all that walking and climbing,  I don't think we need to feel at all guilty for popping in here ....
I love these old sweetshops - just like the proper sweetshops my Grandad used to have when I was little.  I got butterscotch filled with chocolate, Julia went for a couple of licquorice wands, and Jill chose Clove balls.  They smelt disgusting and I was very tempted to pop a moth ball into her bag to see if she could taste the difference, but I managed to control the urge.
Lovely weekend, with great company, and we are all in favour of going back there sometime.
PS - Maggie Grey very kindly mentioned my blog in her article in Workbox magazine - and I've tried everywhere to get a copy but no luck.  If there's anyone who has the April/May copy of the magazine and they don't save it forever, please can I have it when you've done with it.  I may never be in print again.
STOP PRESS!! My lovely sister managed to get me a copy of Workbox from Kings Lynn this morning so problem solved!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Back from Belstead

Had a great weekend with my sister Linda's patchwork group The Flying Geese, at Belstead - and my quilt is finished!!  (Excuse the rubbish photo)
Well, I say finished.  There's still some handquilting to do, and it's still held together with little plastic tag things until the quilting is finished (those little black dots that look like fleas in the picture).  BUT, it's put together, and the edges are done, and I've put it on my bed so that it makes me finish the quilting, and so there's one less bag on the floor of my sewing room.  And I will take a proper picture when it's completely finished, and ironed (I couldn't do it yet or the little black plastic fleas will melt).

Linda and I visited a great patchwork shop on the Saturday morning, East Coast Quilting in Walton, near Felixstowe - it's quite new apparently but already has a really good range which is apparently expanding all the time
They run workshops too - I'd like to do this one ...
Having spent a bit of time (and money) in there, we went to Bags of Handles which (as it says on the tin) sells handles for bags, as well as numerous other must-haves for bag making, patterns and books and also knitting yarn.  We eventually managed to drag ourselves away though and back to Belstead (didn't want to miss lunch!)
Here's a selection of some of the work produced over the weekend.  I haven't got photos of everything - some people had packed up before I got my camera out and some of the photos were less than successful, so apologies if I've missed anyone.  The first two are Linda's - a little bag/box for holding her fabric postcards, decorated with some of her hand-dyed buttons

And then some handstitching on scrim and silk velvet - a work in progress ...

And now I'm just going to show the photos in case I can't remember who they belong to!

Sorry it's short and sweet but I'm dashing off again.  Excuse any spelling mistakes - no time to check!