Monday, 23 February 2009

I hardly spent anything ........

On Thursday, my friend Jill and I had a table at a local craft fair in aid of the Zoo Cafe Drop in Centre. Unfortunately not many visitors, so no one sold very much, but it was in a good cause and we enjoyed the day (and I've now got hundreds of hand made cards available to me!

Really enjoyed the Textiles in Focus exhibition at Cottenham this weekend. On Friday I went up as a worker, assisting Viv on the Art Van Go stand - we were really busy all day and I was glad Sally was on hand to help when Viv went off to run a workshop in the afternoon. The following day I went as a visitor (although I did end up working for a bit in the midday rush) and did a workshop in the morning called "Licenced to Frill" run by this lady who showed us how to knit flowers with ruffled edges (watch this space)
I met up with my sister for lunch and we had a good look round the show, and made one or two purchases (Can't say how much we bought or what we spent - you never know who might be reading this and we don't want to get told off!) but we had a lovely time. If you've never been to the Textiles in Focus show, and are in reasonable travelling distance of Cottenham (nr Cambridge) you really should think about going next year. See the Art Van Go blog for more information, and photos of some of the wonderful exhibitions that were there.
On the way home there was the most amazing sunset that seemed to last for ages with beautiful pinks reds and oranges and clouds that turned purple.
I stopped the car when I could and took these photographs, not great scenery, but I was in the car on the A10!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Spring has Sprung!

Just a quick post to celebrate the fact that at last Spring seems to be on it's way - it is much warmer outside this morning, and on wandering down to my shed, I noticed a little group of snowdrops - how did they manage to survive under all that snow?
The bird feeder that I had for Christmas has turned out to be a brilliant present. It is a constant stream of activity - birds are back and forwards all day. The fat balls have attracted birds I've never seen in the garden before - and a look in my ancient Observers' Book of Birds says they are long-tailed tits. They seem to fly around in gangs - I had four in the garden together at one time, two feeding and two waiting patiently for their turn. The robins also seem to be keen on the fat balls, whereas the Blue tits, Great tits and Coal tits seem to prefer the peanuts - I've been filling them up every two or three days (don't they know there's a credit crunch?)

As you can see from the picture, I seem to have temporarily thwarted the squirrels from nicking a complete fatball, having fashioned a kind of security system from wireform and wire. It makes it a right pain to refill though, and my Dad reckons that the squirrel will just round up his mates and they'll lift the entire caboodle out of the ground and carry it off.

I had an unexpected day out yesterday - Viv from Art Van Go rang to ask if I'd like to have a day at the Craft Hobby and Stitch Trade fair at the NEC. It meant getting up at the crack of dawn and getting to the studios for 6.30, to drive up to Birmingham with Kevin, but it was a great day. There's little or no opportunity to spend money, as its a trade show, so for once I managed to come back after a show without spending anything - and how often does THAT happen? AVG had a much smaller stand than they have at the retail fairs and it only took us about half an hour to get packed up, but they had a successful show. Here's Kevin chatting to Margaret Beal who was visiting for the day.

Ann and I tried to get into the Fashion trade show in a neighbouring hall, but they wouldn't let us in without the correct passes, and try as we might, we couldn't convince them that we were Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer. Can't imagine why - surely even THEY have their off days?

Got back home at about 8pm and watched the Culture show on BBC2 to see my friend Jane (check out her blog at ) being interviewed by Mark Kermode - I have such famous friends!

Monday, 16 February 2009

I can't believe it's been over a week since my last post - where does the time go? Despite the snow I managed to get to City and Guilds last week, where we did colour mixing with stitch - and the bonus of not much homework to do as I finished most of it in class. That evening I went to a Knit and Wine meeting (or should that be Knit and Whine?) at a local pub in town. We nearly got mixed up with the Reptile group, who meet in the same pub on the same night. I was a bit concerned, and thoroughly checked my knitting bag for poisonous snakes when I got home. Anyway, the knitters seemed like a really nice group, and as long as I can lay my hands on some snake venom antidote, we'll be going again next month.
I had my student nurse niece staying for a few days last week (not connected with the previous paragraph, unfortunuately she hasn't covered snake bites yet). We had a lovely few days, we made earrings, went shopping and watched countless episodes of Friends. Oh, and she did LOADS of studying too of course.
Yesterday I ran a birthday party for five 8 year old girls. It was a pledge I made for a fundraising auction at the local cricket club. We did silk painting and jewellery making and here are their results -

I think their silk paintings all turned out brilliantly. They had tea (obviously I had nothing to do with the catering side of things!) and then we made bracelets with memory wire. I forgot to photograph those until most of the girls had gone, but here are two of them -

They all seemed to enjoy themselves, and so did I. Not sure I'd want to organise kid's parties for a living though.
Oh, and just in case you thought it would never happen - the Mighty O's beat Crewe 1-0 on Saturday. Not that anyone is interested, but I thought I should mention their victory, as well as their failures.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Where did you get that hat?

On Sunday, despite the biting winds and impending blizzards, I threw caution to the winds and walked along the tow path from Hertford to Stanstead Abbotts. It was very cold, but I had knitted myself a very nice pink hat with bobbles all over to keep my ears warm, and I'd dressed in lots of layers so that was ok, plus I knew that we were going to have lunch when we got there. After a very pleasant lunch, on the way back, the sun came out, and whilst it wasn't warm, the wind was behind us so was much more pleasant. I suppose the glass of wine might have helped too. Just as well the sun had come out, because after a couple of hours wear, the pink hat had stretched beyond all recognition, and came down over my eyes, so in the end I gave up and took it off. That'll teach me not to knit a tension square. Anyway, on the walk back, as we approached Ware, I saw a house a thought I recognised, and I realised that I had previously painted it. (I don't mean up a ladder with a tin of emulsion, I mean at my painting class, when the teacher had brought some photos along). So I took a photo and then I came home and dug the paintings out. At least I recognised the house!

This is my version in watercolours -

And this is a moody one in acrylics -(weather vane looks a bit on the Aunt Ciss, but perhaps they've had it repaired since!)Anyway, it was a lovely walk of about ten miles, so I felt quite self-righteous for the rest of the day. Just as well I had some exercise on Sunday, because on Monday morning, like most of the country, I woke up to snow, and decided to stay in for most of the day. I unravelled and reknitted the pink hat, on smaller needles, so it fits now. When I mentioned to Pam (who had given me the pattern) about it stretching, she said that hers had done that too. Thanks for the pre-warning then Pam!

No more snow overnight, and they do say it will thaw today, but doesn't my studio look pretty in the snow?
I even ventured down there and pottered for an hour or so, painting some bondaweb and a charity shop frame for one of my paintings. The Leyton Orient game has been cancelled this evening because of the weather, which is a bonus for me, but I just hope the snow has cleared sufficiently for me to get to class tomorrow. Mainly because I've done the homework.