Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas Everybody

In the post-shopping and present-wrapping frenzy I've had a few productive interludes.  One of my friends asked me if I'd help her with her new hobby - crochet.  I agreed to help, despite the fact that I've only had one lesson myself and haven't picked up a hook for over a year.  Anyway, I had a quick practice, and in that time, and the four hours we spent together drinking tea, chatting; - oh and eating our way through a packet of chocolate biscuits - I managed these,
Enough for a cushion when I get round to stitching them together.
The following day I met the girls for our last coffee and knitting session of the year.  We met on Friday morning, and on Thursday at 9pm one of our number suggested we do a Secret Santa.  Nothing like being prepared, is there.  Of course, being the clever, resourceful women that we are, we all turned up with appropriate gifts and everyone seemed pleased.  I for one was delighted with my pressie - handmade festive lavender bags -
much too beautiful to only been seen at Christmas!
This afternoon I've been reading my friend Gina's blog with my Mum, who asked the question that all of Gina's readers want the answer to "Where does that girl get all her time from?"
So, not to be outdone, we decided it wasn't too late to make mince pies of our own.  Obviously we crafted our beautiful pies from pastry, made from scratch, and homemade mincemeat
And despite much rummaging in Mum's kitchen drawers, we couldn't find a star cutter so had to improvise.
(excuse the state of the baking tray, it was clean when we started)
Anyway, they turned out ok, and for asthetics, I decided to sprinkle them with a little icing sugar.  Except I was a bit heavy handed and a flurry of snow turned into a minor avalanche.
They tasted ok though, and after visitors this evening, half of them have gone already.
I'm afraid I can never aspire to be a domestic goddess like Gina, but that won't stop me having the occasional dabble.

Anyway, sorry I've been a bit of an irregular blogger recently, and even worse at replying to comments, but I really am delighted when I get them, so thank you, and I like to say ....

Have a very Happy Christmas xx

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

New Shoes

In my last 'catch up' post I didn't mention what we did at Spectrum last week, apart from eating and chatting.  Gina demonstrated how to make little 'petal bags' - based on a design in this lovely book by Jenny Rolfe. 
We used black and white fabric that we had previously printed ourselves, which were then machine embroidered.  I finished mine last night
I think they may be going into our 2014 exhibition, so for once I haven't left it until the last minute to finish them.  However, the odds of me remembering where I've put them in a year's time are negligible.

I've been out shopping with my friend Jill today - and she was under very strict instructions not to let me buy any more boots.  And she didn't.  However, while her back was turned and she was busy elsewhere in the shop, I saw these. 

Jill arrived back just as I was trying them on, and I justified them by claiming that they would make good "posh Christmas slippers".  Says me, who has otherwise turned a bit Bah Humbug recently.  In case you wondered what particularly drew me to them, here's a close up.
As you can see, very practical, and highly appropriate for a woman of my years. Not.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Still Here

I'm never really sure if anyone reads this, except my Mum, but it seems they do, as I have had a number of enquiries from friends, checking that I'm okay as I've not been on here for weeks.  So I thought I'd better write a quick post to say I am still here, I've just been a bit busy. 
So, a quick summary (with pictures) of what I've been doing and making since we last met ........

Two trips to visit my parents in Norfolk, with a lovely walk along the front at Hunstanton with my Dad, just as the sun was going down.  I think it's the first time I've EVER walked along there when it hasn't been blowing a gale, you can see how flat the sea was.

Then, a weekend in Whitstable with the girls, for a bit of shopping and pottering.  We went there last year, and it was so pleasant, we booked the same cottage again.
We visited the Turner Contemporary gallery at Margate and saw these by Maria Nepomuceno

and a visit to the little Museum in Whitstable.  I really liked these pieces made with wire, they look like 3d line drawings, if that's not a contradiction in terms.

Apart from that, I've been beading.  

Good job I took a photograph of my little beaded flower, because I've lost it.  I remember where it was for ages, then I put it somewhere safe, and now I can't remember where it is.  I guess it will turn up sometime.

I made a cover for a photograph album, for my Mum's birthday, using vintage fabrics and buttons
I made this dress ....
I made the version with the full length sleeves, but they are VERY full and although I really like the dress, it's a bit too, er, 'sleeve-ish' so I think I am going to chop them off and make short sleeves instead.  
It's not my usual style at all, but I tried on a Ted Baker dress in a similar style and fabric (as a dare from a friend while we were out shopping) and although I really liked it, I wasn't prepared to pay that amount of money for a frock, so decided to make my own.  THAT way, if it languishes unworn in my wardrobe, it'll only have cost me 20 quid instead of 200.
Next, I made a skirt from a pattern in the Sew Serendipity book .  I like the style, and loved doing the frills, but not quite sure about my fabric choice.  If all else fails I can always cut it up the back, add ties and it's an apron!

We had a meeting of Spectrum on Wednesday - it was touch and go whether we got there due to the weather, but as we had all made things for our shared Christmas lunch, and as you know, I don't cook lightly, I braved the journey.  I'm glad I did, because by the afternoon it looked like this

We are planning our second exhibition for early 2014, and we needed to be 'on the way' with our first piece.  Which means more than just an idea in our head.  So, as I am working on wearable art, using fabric that I've printed myself, I thought I would get the first pattern sorted.  I drafted the pattern for an eight gored skirt, that flared out quite a bit at the bottom.  I thought I would try the pattern out for size, using some odd bits of  of curtain and upholstery samples that I'd been given years ago.  But, when I tried it on I decided I liked it, so I put a zip in it and tacked the hem. The girls at Spectrum seemed to like it, but when I tried it on again at home in front of the mirror, I decided that the combination of the upholstery fabric, and the flared out shape of the pattern, meant that I looked just a little bit like a standard lamp.
Not to be daunted, I tapered the pieces, and rehemmed it, and now, not only do I like it, but I've already worn it.  My first 'wearable muslin'!
I know why I was thinking 'lampshade' - it's because a week or two ago I had made this
using vintage linens again. Quite pleased with it, but if I made another one I think I'd line it in white cotton, to diffuse the light a bit more.
Oh and in case anyone thinks it's a bit wicked to cut up pretty tablecloths, I only do it with the stained or ripped ones; the perfect ones stay intact, honest.
I'll try not to leave it so long next time ....

STILL HERE - New Model Army