Sunday, 31 May 2009

Feltmaking Day

I had a brilliant day the Sunday before last, on a felt making course. I can't remember if I mentioned it, but for Christmas, my little sis bought me a voucher for a felt making course with author of Complete Feltmaking, Gillian Harris

My friend Val and I drove down to Gillian's house in Capel, near Dorking in Surrey. It was a beautiful day, and being Sunday we had a good drive down with little traffic. We arrived early and we sat in Gillian's garden drinking coffee, until the others arrived - there were six of us on the course altogether - two of the other women had been given the course as a Christmas present from their husbands - seems lots of people saw an article in Country Living featuring Gillian's work and had booked classes as a result.

We worked in the beautiful and well-equipped studio in the garden, where there were loads of felt bags on display, and lots of books for inspiration. There were lots of decisions to make - what shape bag to make, which colours of fleece to choose from the rainbow selection, what decoration did we want on the front, and on the inside (the bags can be reversible) - but we eventually make our decisions and started work. And it was surprisingly hard work on the arms - would be a great way to get rid of 'bingo wings' (if I didn't already have the body of a 19 year old, obviously)

We stopped for a delicious lunch which we had sitting in the garden, before going back to finish off our bags - and another decision - what sort of handles did we want?

Anyway, here are the finished results .....

This is the front of mine, now didn't you just KNOW it would have a heart somewhere

and this is the back (it was supposed to be the front, but the flower didn't turn out quite as I'd planned ....

This is my friend Val's - she incorporated a dangle-y bit from the bottom of hersAnd these are the others - sorry girls but I can't remember all your names
Oh yeah, and one of the class decided that she wanted to make a hanging, rather than a bag - it turned out beautifully ...

And more bags ... And just to prove they really are reversible - here's the inside of mine

It was a really excellent day and would thoroughly recommend it - plus it's so lovely to come home from a workshop with something finished! I may have to go back and do the felt jewellery day sometime.

Long time, no see

Oh dear, I've got a lot of catching up to do!! I had a lovely week in Cornwall, staying at Durgan, a little hamlet just south of Falmouth on the estuary of the river Helford. Weather was variable, but at least we didn't get rained on - and although it was windy, the sun shone some of the time, so we were able to go for some lovely cliff top walks.I made some 'beach art' - inspired by Stonehenge ....And then we came across this wedding on the beach - it looked a bit like a Jack Vettriano painting!

One day we met up with my sister and brother in law at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, which was lovely - we seemed to walk for miles - the rhododendrons were beautiful..............We were unable to identify this unusual plant at the time (although we were able to discount the suggestion made by a non-gardener amongst us that it could be a fuchsia) It turned out to be a Crinodendron hookerianum, or Chilean Lantern Tree. So now you know.And we saw this baby bunny - who was too little to realised he was supposed to be frightened of us, so we managed to get quite near. My sister does love a baby bunny!From there, we went to Mevagissy and had a cream tea (I managed to only have ONE the whole week!) and a walk around the harbourAnd then on the Wednesday we went to St Ives - where I had an unfortunate incident with a seagull, about five minutes after we got there. No, he didn't nick my ice cream (although we saw one do that), he just deposited his previous meal on my clean jeans. It's supposed to be lucky. All I can say, is that HE was lucky I didn't have an airgun with me. (It washed out)

We watched a Coast programme that evening (presented by that handsome scottish bloke with the hair), and it turned out that they were able to scientifically prove that the light IS special at St Ives. Apparently it's down to a combination of little pollution, being surrounded by the sea, and the very pale sand which reflects the light. So that's why all the painters flock there.

I am seriously considering becoming an MP, just so that I can get a second home down at St Ives, paid for by the tax payers. Trouble is, everyone says I'm a nice, honest person, and therefore I'm unlikely to be suitable.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Weekend in Norfolk

Good job I spent last week de-cluttering. A mini-whirlwind arrived on Friday and devastated my lounge!
My friend Fiona came for one of our "cake days" on Friday, together with her son James, who is just able to pull himself up and toddle around. James' current hobby is to pick up EVERYTHING that he can reach and chuck it over his shoulder. Made for an interesting afternoon, and I have to say that leaping up and down to move things, and catching missiles must have burnt off at least some of the calories we consumed. Still, he kept us entertained by whacking himself on the head with the wooden banana in my fruit bowl and giggling! Trouble is, he thought that the harder he did it, the funnier it would be. Fortunately, he didn't cry for TOO long.I spent a great weekend with my family in Norfolk, we went to Hunstanton on Saturday afternoon - it was sunny but still very breezy. No, actually, breezy is an understatement, it was blowing a gale. All the better for the kite fliers and wind surfers though. On Sunday morning, we headed off to a huge car boot sale to support Sarah and Jess who had a table there. At least the wind had died down and it was really sunny. I managed to avoid coming back with a load of tat (why is other people's rubbish so much more interesting than your own??)Anyway, the girls had a very successful day!

In the afternoon, we did a bit of gardening, Dad planted the tray of pansies he'd bought at the car boot sale. You can never have TOO many pansies, can you. Here's the gardener in action ....
And here's the foreman, checking that he's planting them in the right place, and the correct way up ........
There might not be any pictures, but I did some gardening too, honest.

It was a lovely weekend, and it was good to know that I could relax as I'm up-to-date with my homework!

Thursday, 7 May 2009

I've finished something!

To all you doubters, who thought I wouldn't actually get on and finish things .................................
Yesterday I had a very productive day and I've now finished the green velvet dress that I was making for my friend Jill, and it fits her and everything!
Then I started on, and finished, one of the mini-projects for C&G, using Lutrador ........And then, in more of a de-constructive phase, and as part of my continued plan to declutter, I unpicked the beads and sequins from a Frank Usher top I bought for a couple of quid from a charity shop. It's been hanging around in a plastic bag in my sewing room for over a year now, and as I need flat sequins for my next C&G day, I decided to start unpicking. This will give you an idea of what the top looked like - I promise I only bought it for the beads, it's hideous, surely no-one ever wore it? (Apologies if you're reading this and you DID - I'm sure you looked lovely in it!)But personally, I think they look much nicer in the jar!
And today, not being one to rest on my laurels, as soon as I'd finished hoovering up all the stray sequins and beads that were strewn across the floor and down the cushions of my sofa, I went down to my 'shedio' where I started (and finished) another mini project for C&G. I have to say that my new-found enthusiasm to get cracking with things is partly thanks to BT - I have a problem with my internet connection at the moment and it's working slower than a dial-up connection (remember those??) and I really haven't got the patience to sit in front of the computer waiting for things to happen. I dare say this post will take several days to load up but at least I can do something else while it does. A very nice lady, from several continents away, rang me this morning to say there is a problem with my internet connection (yes, I know, I told THEM that) and that an engineer will be coming tomorrow to fix it. I hope he's not coming from where she was, or he'll be suffering from jet lag.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

De-weed and de-clutter

I've had a lovely week, with mostly sunny weather, so I've spent a bit of time pottering and tidying in the garden, which you can just peek between my patriotic floral display.

Yesterday was the final game of the season at Leyton Orient, so we had a team photo taken - it's the first time I've set foot on the pitch, and it would be the one day I was wearing heels!Anyway, for those of you with an interest in such things, it was a 1-1 draw with Huddersfield, who, incidentally, had the most enormous flag which they passed backwards and forwards over their heads in the away stand. They also seemed to have a large 'fancy dress' contingent - there were quite a number dressed as bananas for some reason?!?!?

Apart from tidying in the garden, I seem to have been overtaken with a spring cleaning bug. And no, that doesn't JUST mean I washed the kitchen floor. I've had a big declutter and I'm now on my second bag for the charity shop this week. I also made a May Day resolution to finish the projects I've got on the go before I take on any others. (It stands about as much chance of succeeding as the average New Year resolution!)
Then, as if that wasn't enough domesticity for one week, I fancied baking something this afternoon, and I made these Triple Chocolate cookies. The recipe said it made 45, and I didn't want THAT many, so I halved the recipe, thinking I'd end up with about 20.
I think I misjudged the amount of mixture to dollop on the baking tray, 'cos I've only ended up with about 12, and each one is the size of a small dinner plate. Still, if you're going to have one, you might as well have a big one.