Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Those Were The Days

After much debate, I decided to throw my felted slippers into the washing machine for the third time, this time  at a slightly higher temperature.  I was a bit concerned they would shrink too much - but no, they are now just perfect size-wise.  I also felted some knitted flowers I made to go on them at the same time, and now I can't decide which ones I like best.

All this indecision - and the ridiculous thing is - I don't wear slippers.  Oh well, maybe I'm getting to the age where I should start.  Which brings me to an incident earlier today.  
I'd seen that Tigerstores sell LP frames - for displaying an album cover on the wall.  I explained to the young shop assistant that I'd seen LP frames on their website but that I couldn't find them in store.  He smiled obligingly, and said he would show me where they were.  The following conversation then took place.....

Him -  "There you are madam, all our frames are here" indicating some small photo frames.
Me -   " No, they'll be much bigger than that, they are for displaying vinyl Album covers"
Him -  "Oh, it's an album you want,  they're over here" (indicating a fine selection of photograph albums)
Me -   "No, not photograph albums, these are frames, for hanging on the wall, to display an album"
Him -   Puzzled silence.
Me  -  "A vinyl album - the cover for an LP"
Him -  "What's an LP"
Me  -  (Long sigh) "It's what old people used to listen to music on, before you were born"

In the end, I found a label on the shelf showing where they were meant to be, and he took the stock number and went away and came back with a boxful, and I bought a couple.
To make matters worse, I asked the girl at the checkout if she knew what an LP was, and she didn't have a clue either.  
On the website, they have the frame displaying a copy of a Beatles Album.  I'm glad I didn't mention that, I'd have probably had to explain who the Beatles were.

I decided to bake some cakes when I got home, to take to my Embroidery Group tomorrow.  I made some Red Velvet Cupcakes.
Big ones ........
and, for the dieters, small ones -

The recipe is from the Hummingbird Bakery Book - but I'm afraid I cheated.  Our local cake decorating shop has a ready made mixture for this recipe, so I used that.  You can't really see in the picture, but they have red (edible!)  glitter on and look like very wicked cakes.  
So, if you read of the mass poisoning of a Hertfordshire Embroidery Group..........

Those Were The Days - Mary Hopkins

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Wild Dog Blues

I went along to the North Herts and Beds Embroiderers' Guild on Saturday, and the speaker for the afternoon was Fan My Flame who had been asked to give a demo of the sock creatures she makes.  I took a pair of pink and black striped socks (new ones, of course!) with me, and swapped one of mine with one from the nice lady sitting next to me, who just happened to have a co-ordinating pair.  I didn't stitch  my creature while I was there, but I made loads of notes, in the hope that I'd be able to decipher my own handwriting  sufficiently to make mine when I got home.  Anyway, I did and here it is ....
Neither photo is great, but I'm quite pleased with her.  Anyway, for reasons which I won't go into, I decided to send her off to my sister as a surprise (which is why I'm only posting about it now). 
I had a call from my sister this morning to thank me for it - she didn't get it until she got home last night, and apparently it caused quite an upset in their house.  She unwrapped it, watched in eager anticipation by her bouncy, black Labrador puppy, Bentley  - who then proceeded to howl and cry for over half an hour because he wanted it, and she wouldn't give it to him.  In the end she had to take it upstairs and hide it just to shut him up. 
You see,  some of you might sell your beautiful work in galleries, or at craft fairs, or from websites - but how many of you can say that your work reduces a puppy to tears?  You've either got it or you haven't.

Wild Dog Blues - Willy Mason

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Two Hearts

Do you remember a while ago I asked if anyone knew of a stockist for WonderFil metallic threads? I'd bought some at Chilford Quilt Show and they seemed brilliant.  I generally encounter lots of problems with metallic threads -  shredding and breaking, inspite of using metallic needles and topstitch needles.  In fact, if I know I've got to use metallic thread, I tend to take myself off to my studio at the bottom of the garden and stitch down there, so as not to upset the neighbours. 
Anyway, when I tried the WonderFil metallics, I didn't have any trouble at all, and used an entire spool without a single breakage or shredage (if that's a word?).  
I wanted to get some more, but despite searching the internet, I couldn't find a supplier in this country and didn't get any joy when I emailed the company in the US.  So, as a last resort, I contacted Grosvenor Shows (the organisers of Chilford) for a list of the traders at the show, and intended to email all of them to see if I could track them down.  (Ok so next time I'll be more organised when I buy stuff, but no-one's perfect).  Grosvenor Shows were really helpful and emailed me back the very next day with the name of the supplier that sold them.  Which, in case you're interested is Cottage Patchwork and I've contacted the nice lady  there (who tells me at the moment she IS the only stockist in the UK) and ordered some more.
Today, in an attempt to do at least a little bit of homework before my next Embroidery Group meeting, I've been stitching into metal.  So, to really put the WonderFil threads to the test, I free machined into metal shim.  And it STILL didn't shred, which I think is pretty impressive.  More than can be said for my photo, but the light's bad, so I had to scan it.  
 The top one is stitched with a machine quilting thread, and the bottom one with the WonderFil metallic. 

Two Hearts - Bruce Springsteen

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Listen To Her Heart

For those of you who wanted to see the finished felting flippers - here they are after two washes.  They kind of fit, and I'm not sure whether to give them another go in the washing machine or if that will turn out to be a felt-too-far.  What d'ya reckon?  Then I've just got to knit little flowers to stitch on them.
I inadvertently stayed up until 2.45 this morning.  I started watching a Peter Bogdanovich film about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, which started at 10.45pm last night.  What I didn't realise was that it went on for FOUR hours (with no ad breaks).  I did really enjoy it though, and fortunately I didn't have to get up early today.  While I was watching/listening, I did a couple of sketches - although it's taken longer to scan them and adjust the brightness/contrast to make them visible on here, than it did to draw them.  Maybe it's best to use pen rather than pencil.  Anyway, both on a heart-shaped theme.

I don't know about you, but three nights spent watching 'Stargazing Live' with the lovely, smiley Professor Brian Cox. (the one with the hair, and the enthusiasm of a bouncy puppy) and there I am, searching on ebay for a telescope.  Except that I think I'll delay that until the weather improves - not sure I really want to stand out in the garden in the middle of the night with icicles hanging off my nose.  But maybe my next sketchbook work should be star,  instead of heart, inspired.
Listen To Her Heart - Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Drawing The Line

I thought I'd get started straight away on the Sketchbook Challenge - January's theme is "Highly Prized" which I've interpreted as precious things that are special to me.  Obviously, family and friends are at the top of the list, but as I don't want to offend anyone, it's probably best if I don't try and draw them at this stage in the proceedings.  Instead, I made of list of my  favorite things - raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens  (oops, that's what comes of watching Sound of Music) - hearts, sweeties, loud guitar music, pointy boots, pottering in my studio, fairylights, etc etc.
No point being uncomfortable, so I decided I'd sketch the beautiful cushion my sister made and gave me for Christmas, which meant I could sit with my feet up on the sofa. 
And Here's my interpretation ...

Bit more successful than the slippers I knitted, which appear to be slightly on the large side.
I'm sure the pattern said "slippers" and not "flippers".  I'm sure they'll be all right really - they've got to be felted in the washing machine and they'll end up (hopefully) a lot smaller.  Anyway, I've got mates with little feet and other mates with bigger feet, so they're bound to fit someone.
Oh, and in case you thought the healthy eating was just a flash in the pan, today was roasted veg  .......
And they said it wouldn't last.
Drawing The Line - Porcupine Tree

Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Year's Day

Happy New Year!

So - did you make any resolutions then?  I believe that last year I decided to  'Make More, Buy Less', which by and large I did - I even made some of my Christmas presents.  As I managed to stick to that one, I am carrying that forward for another year.  I also intend to get back to practising the guitar regularly- it seems to have fallen by the wayside a bit after my Aussie trip.  And I suppose I'd like to exercise more, and eat more healthily.  So,  to kill two birds with one stone,  I walked into town today to buy some vegetables.  Unfortunately, all the food shops were shut, (well, I suppose the big supermarket that I don't mention was probably open, but  I definitely wasn't going in there).  
It was quite tempting to just eat sweets again, but I decided I couldn't fall at the first hurdle, so when I got home I found an onion in the depths of my fridge, and an orange squash thing (a bit like a pumpkin, but smaller) which has been hanging about for a few weeks.  I think my original intention was to draw it, but that didn't happen, and it was starting to get dusty.  Anyway,  I decided to make what will now be referred to as "Squash Surprise Soup"
The mini pumpkin took some peeling (are you supposed to peel them, do you think?) and I roasted them with the onion.
When they were sort of roasted (but, fortuitously, not burnt) I chucked them in a pot with some stock (oh, don't be ridiculous, of course it wasn't home-made) and simmered them, then bashed them up with my whizzer.  And then there was soup.
So, how about that then.  A resolution adhered to or what?  And, just in case you were wondering why "Squash Surprise Soup"  Well, it was not only edible, it was delicious - which believe me, was a surprise.

Oh and, I've just remembered another intention (I think the word 'resolution' is a bit too inflexible, personally)
I'm going to join in with the Sketchbook Challenge which looks as if it might be quite inspirational.  Right, I'm off to practise guitar, quickly followed by some sketching.  (I wonder how long this will last?)
New Year's Day - U2
or you could try listening to this lullaby version!