Thursday, 31 October 2013

Road to Hell

Now that the weather has turned I am less inclined to spend hours out in the garden and less likely to feel guilty about sitting indoors fiddling about with fabrics, threads, buttons and beads. So I started on one of my to-do projects.
If you know anything of the lovely Bobby Britnell, textile artist, you will probably know of her charity Hands Up for Uganda, which she founded with her (equally lovely) husband Martin.
She currently has a challenge/project running with Janet Middleton of  Starchild shoes to produce lovely little 'art shoes'.   For more information, check out her newsletter - scroll down and you can see some examples of the finished art shoes.
Basically, the idea is to buy a piece of barkcloth from Bobby for a minimum donation of £3, which you embellish using which ever textile techniques you like, and then post it off to Janet who will make up the shoes.  They will form part of an exhibiton at two ICHF exhibitions in 2014, in Birmingham and London.

Having looked at my piece of barkcloth for a couple of months, I made a start.  I was going to do something in keeping with the fabric, something tasteful.  But I remembered that I don't really do tasteful, so instead I machined lines of sparkly metallic cord that I bought years ago at one of the shows.
Then, running with the 'star' theme, I hand stitched on star shaped sequins, topped with flower sequins, held in place with beads.  
Fortunately, the shoes don't have to be wearable as I'm not sure how long the decorations would stay put.
You've got until the end of this year to send your finished pieces in if you fancy having a go, and it's all for a really good cause. Just contact Bobby via the links above and she'll sort you out.

Obviously I haven't spent my whole time stitching, and on Tuesday, when the weather returned to normal, my friend Jill and I went to Sunbury Antiques Fair at Kempton Park.  
We didn't need anything, and we weren't looking for anything in particular, but we both came away with some treasures, none of which cost more than a fiver, and several of which were only 50p.  
Not sure the necklace is real diamonds though.
It was a really good day out, although we have both vowed that in future, we will never go anywhere that requires travelling on the M25.

Road to Hell - Chris Rea (who did, in fact, write it about the M25)

Sunday, 6 October 2013


I've said it before, and this time I mean it.  I'm not growing tomatoes ever again (said with a sulky face and a pouty lip).  For the second year running, I had loads of tomatoes, but before they turned red they all went mouldy looking - I think it's tomato blight.  Anyway, I pulled the rest of the plants up today and binned them. When I think of the cost of seeds and compost and bamboo canes and Tomorite (other tomato feeds are available) together with all the effort that goes into growing the seeds and potting them on and planting them out, then tying them up, and pinching out side shoots and making sure they get fed and watered - it's be a darn sight cheaper and easier just to buy them.  

I might do beans again though - they've been very successful - I got back from Yorkshire and picked loads, some of which I've had for my tea. AND as a bonus, as I walked up the garden, something red caught my eye under one of the strawberry plants.  There were five big strawberries that somehow, despite complete and utter neglect have grown all by themselves and haven't been eaten by the birds or slugs.
Two of them are huge ....
So, if you'll excuse me I'm just off to have them with some yoghurt.  Maybe they taste horrible and that's why the birds didn't want them?

Never Again - The Mission

Saturday, 5 October 2013


No excuses for my absence - I've just been here and there on holidays and workshops, and lost my blogging impetus.
But I'm back to tell you about my latest excursion to Yorkshire, specifically Skipton, or even more precisely - Yarndale - the woolfest that was celebrating all things 'sheepish'
I first read about it a year ago on Lucy's blog and decided that it would be an excellent excuse for a week in Yorkshire. The cosy little apartment that I'd booked was perfect - ten charity shops, a branch of Fatface, and a Thornton Chocolate Outlet shop within five minutes walk of my front door!  
And, as it was so very close to the town centre, I was able to leave my car there and walk along the Leeds and Liverpool canal and through Aireville Park to  Skipton Auction Mart.  
I knew I was heading in the right direction because of all the yarnbombing that had taken place
and the miles of bunting
but mostly by the hundreds of women all making their way in the same direction.  It was a bit like some kind of weird pilgrimage, with women from all over the country, flocking (get it?) to one place to buy yarn.  In spite of the fact that I heard lots of them say "Well, actually I don't need anything...", believe me,  they WERE there to buy wool.  And needles, and crochet hooks, and buttons and patterns and gadgets for spinning, and felting and weaving.  You name it, if was wool related, it was here.  
Did I mention the bunting?

I was very tempted to buy one of these, as they're so pretty
but I remembered that my accommodation specified "No Pets" so I resisted.
I really liked the quirky knitted picnic
and this trader's riotous use of colour -
It was a really good show, and a fantastic achievement for the band of women and their helpers who made it happen.  It must have taken months and months of hard work - so big congratulations to them all, and I'm looking forward to next year!

And what did I buy?  Oh, I didn't need any yarn; I've already got some.  

Sheep - The Housemartins