Thursday, 22 February 2018

Time for Tea

This year my Embroiderers Guild branch celebrates 20 years since it was founded. To commemorate this event all of the members have been asked to create a pincushion in a teacup, which will be distributed during afternoon tea at our last meeting of the year in May.

To kick start the members' thinking on the commemoration a recent meeting saw all of the members present creating a cupcake pincushion. We were given the silicon cupcake holder and scraps of fabric to do with as we wanted.

So, here is my cupcake pincushion.

The dots suggested flower centres to me, so I surrounded them with daisy chain stitches to create rows of flowers. The pompom trim, which was lurking in my ribbon stash, was the ideal match for the bright blue cupcake holder.

Another colourful addition to my stitching supplies!

I have also been on the lookout for a vintage china cup and saucer for our anniversary project. I was loath to break up any of the tea sets that I own, so have been searching the local charity shops for a lone china teacup and saucer that would fit the bill. All of the cups and saucers that I found in the local shops were being sold in pairs and as I didn't want to end up with an odd cup and saucer afterwards I have resisted making a purchase.

On our recent visit to Gravesend I came across this in a vintage shop and knew that it would be ideal for our commemoration project. The cup and saucer were originally being sold as a pair according to the ticket price but there was no sign of the second cup and saucer, so the owner was happy to sell me this lone cup and saucer.

I have an idea in my head of creating a flower garden for the pincushion and have pinned lots of ideas but time will tell whether that works out!

In the meantime at least I have started the process with the purchase of a cup!

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

An hour to spare in Kent

Recently we were staying overnight with our son and daughter-in-law on our way to France, and found ourselves with some time to spare whilst waiting for our son to come home from work.

He and his wife moved to a new house a few months ago so are now living in a part of the world that we have not yet explored, and this was the perfect opportunity to remedy that. A quick scan of the map and we headed off to explore Gravesend in Kent.

It made sense to start our explorations on the banks of the River Thames as it has played such an important part in the development of the town. The excavations above trace the extent of the Tudor Blockhouse which was constructed to defend against the threat of an invasion by the Spanish Armada, but there have been defences in the area since the Iron Age.

The Three Daws pub nearby also has an impressively long history, there having been a public house/inn on the site from as early as the 15th Century. The pub and a neighbouring building, now demolished, were reputed to have several staircases and underground tunnels between them to facilitate the speedy exit of patrons when the press gang or Customs men came to call :)

For centuries ships sailing up the Thames to London had to be searched at Gravesend where the duty to be paid on their cargo would be assessed. The first appointment to the role of "Searcher" in Gravesend was made in 1356 by Edward III, so those tunnels would have seen lots of usage over the years!

A more modern Maritime history was evident in the Light Ship LV21, which was moored not far from the Three Daws. This Light Ship, which is now an exhibition and concert venue was commissioned in 1963 and plied her trade off the Kent coast until she was decommissioned in 2008. Sadly the venue was closed when we were there as the ship features in the book Stitch Stories, personal places, spaces and traces in textile art by Cas Holmes, who created a piece for the ship reflecting its transformation from working Light Ship to Arts Venue. Still, it gives me an excuse to visit Gravesend again.



Our whistlestop tour of Gravesend ended at the St Andrews Mission House where General Gordon, of the Siege of Khartoum, taught for a while. Charles George Gordon is most definitely one of Gravesend's most famous sons, but there are many others of note related to the area. Charles Dickens, for example, has many connections to the town and perhaps, more surprisingly, Pocahontas is buried in the graveyard of St George's Church in Gravesend!

Definitely more to explore next time we have an hour to spare in Kent :)


Thursday, 1 February 2018

A Force of Nature

Last year I read that Janine at Rainbow Hare and Catherine at Knotted Cotton were setting up a new Art Quilt Group, the Endeavourers, and inviting their fellow bloggers to join them. Needless to say I couldn't resist the opportunity, so duly signed up and then worried about what I had let myself in for!

In November we were given the first theme for the group, Nature, with a deadline of February 1st. Well the deadline is well and truly here so I can reveal my "Force of Nature" quilt for the first time.



I live right on the seafront on the West Coast of Scotland, so I regularly witness the power and majesty of nature in its watery and windy pomp. On a trip to the Lake District last Easter, however, I was really taken with the capacity for Nature to overcome man made obstacles that are put in its way, such as the moss covered dry stone wall in the photo below.

I decided to focus on representing the power of Nature and its ability to reclaim spaces that Mankind has abandoned in my quilt for the group.

To find out more about the process and thinking behind my quilt head on over to the Endeavourers Blog, and check out how the rest of the group chose to represent the theme. It is fascinating to see the many different ways in which the same theme has been interpreted. 

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Black, white and grey

My quest to try new things and encourage you to do the same continues, so welcome to another New to Me link party.

As it is a new year we have a new button too :)

Celtic Thistle Stitches New to Me

This month I have tried my hand at making a Fascinator for the first time.

With, I am pleased to report, a more than adequate outcome!

The next competition at the Camera Club is for monochrome photos which, I have to admit, I have never attempted before. Reading the notes I was given on the first meeting of the club I discovered that my camera has a built-in setting for black and white photography. Isn't it amazing what you can learn when you read the manual????

So, of course I had to try it out.

A walk along the prom on a lovely, sunny Sunday recently gave me the opportunity.

Birds feeding on the shoreline

Rocky shore

I was pleasantly surprised by the results, but I think I might need some more practise before I am ready to submit any photos into that competition :)

So, have you tried anything New to You this month? Share your triumphs (and disasters!) here and your fellow bloggers can celebrate (or commiserate!) with you.

As ever the Link Party will remain open until the end of the month, so if you need a nudge to try that new technique or to give that new pattern a go, consider this a virtual nudge from me :)




Friday, 19 January 2018

Get ahead, get a hat!

Well not exactly a hat, in truth a Fascinator!

Last weekend my EG branch held a Fascinator workshop, something New to Me so naturally I had to give it a go :)

I don't actually have a need for a Fascinator at the moment but I knew that my daughter-in-law is due to attend a friend's wedding in April as we are babysitting the gorgeous grandson whilst they are there, so I offered to make one for her at the workshop. There was a proviso that she wasn't obliged to wear whatever I produced :)

We started off by making the base of the Fascinator, which comprises a circle of grey Sinamay fabric folded to create a peak then covered with bias binding to cover the raw edges. Millinery wire is then basted around the edge of the Fascinator base and covered again with bias binding, which is then covered again with a double-fold Sinamay bias binding.

That took all of the several hours of the workshop to complete! There may well have been some chatting and tea drinking went on too :)

After tossing several ideas around in my head on how to embellish the base I decided that I needed feathers so one order to Petershams Millinery Supplies later and these beauties arrived in the post.

I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with them, but I knew that I would have fun trying out different ideas!

We had been sent home with lots of extra Sinamay fabric to complete our Fascinators, so I cut a 2.5" bias strip folded in the edges then ironed and stretched the strip to provide the material for a loopy addition to the base.

I had some of the double-fold bias binding from the brim left over so looped that around and added it too. The curled pheasant quill was the perfect addition.

It felt a bit plain still, so I dug out some seed beads and added a few of those too to catch the light when it is worn.

I have enough Sinamay left over to make another Fascinator all I need add is some Millinery wire and a comb, so I think another Fascinator might be in the making.

One thing is for sure if my daughter-in-law does end up wearing this to her friend's wedding, there won't be another one there like it!

I am linking this up to this week's TGIFF hosted by Vera at Negligent Style. If you would like to showcase a finish by hosting the TGIFF link party sign up here to join the fun.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

A word to the wise

If like me, you get an email notification when someone decides to follow your blog, do you ever take the time to look at their profile?

I have to confess that I don't always, often I recognise the name from a group that I have joined or a blog that I have commented on, but equally as often they appear to have come out of the blue. Recently, however, I have been checking the profiles and it has definitely been worth it.

In the last few weeks I have had several "new follower" notifications from Bloglovin that when I have checked the profiles this, or similar, is what I have found.

Each time I notified Bloglovin and each time they have responded after a couple of days expressing dismay and informing me that the so-called follower has been deleted. I have asked if there is anything that I can do to stop this happening but they have just ignored that, so I don't know if that means that there isn't or they just can't be bothered to tell me.

The profiles show several other blogs already followed so I am not alone in receiving this kind of attention. Have you ever had this happen to you and, if so, was there anything you could do to stop it?


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