Thursday, 10 May 2018

Mud, mud glorious mud!

Yesterday evening I went on my first Photowalk with my Camera Club. During the day it was touch and go whether it would be on or not as the weather was wet and miserable. The sun, however, eventually made an appearance so we were good to go.

We met up at a local Marina, so I expected, not unreasonably I felt (!), that the walk would be mostly on paved paths and roads and dressed accordingly.

How wrong I was!! There was mud up to the eyeballs on several parts of the route, some of which we navigated more than once as the walk leader decided that we needed to double back on ourselves at least twice. Can you tell that I was not a happy bunny???

There were a couple of themes for the walk, namely Contrast, Texture and Motion. I completely ignored the Motion theme and just concentrated on Contrast and Texture. I am always on the lookout for inspiration for my embroidery so kept an eye out for anything that would help in that regard too.

When I wasn't dodging puddles or trying to avoid the ankle deep mud, I came across lots of this wonderful lichen clinging on to the tree trunks. I am itching to work on an embroidery piece inspired by these :)
These frilly fungi are just begging to be recreated in textiles aren't they? I love the blowsy nature of them, don't you?

There were lots of ferns around, busy unfurling themselves from their tight buds. The next theme for the Endeavourers Quilt group is spirals, so I had to take a photo of this beauty for inspiration too.

Our walk took us away from the woods and along the shoreline of the Firth of Clyde (on a paved path at last!) where the contrast between the rocks, leafy plants and the rusty looking seaweed caught my eye.

It wasn't the only thing to catch my eye as this German cruise liner sailed serenely by us heading off to Belfast after its' passengers had enjoyed their day dodging the showers in Scotland! I would certainly have swapped my muddy surroundings for the elegance of a classic cocktail before dinner watching the scenery slip by :)

And speaking of classic cocktails, Ardgowan House whose estate we were visiting featured in the recent adaptation of Agatha Christie's Ordeal by Innocence, so has undoubtedly hosted the odd cocktail evening or two in the not too-distant past.

No time for cocktails here though, I have a pair of very muddy shoes to clean!

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Song of Zadar

The second reveal of our Endeavourers Quilt Group is due today. This quarter the theme was Transformation/Change. Now you would think that as I was one of the members who suggested this theme that I might have had a jumpstart on making the challenge quilt, well you would be wrong :)

I had originally toyed with using the Mathematical concept of Transformation as the basis of my quilt for the quarter, but Mathematics has never really been my strongpoint so that idea was soon jettisoned.

Nothing was really grabbing my attention, until I came across this photograph taken in Zadar in Croatia last year.

This is part of the sea wall at Zadar, which was replaced with these steps and the system of pipes contained within them in 2005/6. As the water moves through the pipes it is transformed into random musical notes. I had my inspiration!

And here is my quilt - Song of Zadar!

I gathered together a selection of white/cream and grey fabrics and pieced them in strips to represent the concrete steps, then surrounded them on two sides with strips of blue watery fabric to represent the sea.

The back consists of pieced blue fabrics, each of which portray the movement of the water through the pipes.

I used a metallic blue thread to quilt waves on the sea strips and a light grey to quilt straight lines on the steps as a nod to musical notation.

When the quilt was bound I decided that it was lacking some movement, so I added some beads as well.

As well as giving a sense of movement to the quilt, the beads also represented the soaring sounds that the Sea Organ achieves.

I had received this book in the post the day before, so embellishment was very much on my mind:)

I thoroughly enjoyed working on this challenge and I can't wait to see what my fellow Endeavourers have come up with, I am sure it will be amazing. You can check them all out here

We visited the Sea Organ twice on our visit to Zadar, and I recorded the sounds of the Sea on our second trip but I have not been able to find that recording since I upgraded my phone a few months ago :(

You can listen to it here instead.




Thursday, 26 April 2018

Seashells on the seashore

Welcome to this week's TGIFF link party where I am delighted to share my latest finish with you.





I shared some of my progress on the Shoreline embroidery with the new stitches that I have tried in my recent New to Me post, so I am pleased to be able to share the whole embroidery with you as it is now finished (finally!).

The whole process of creating this piece has been a joy from start to finish and I have tried so many new techniques and stitches along the way.

I fell absolutely in love with the Spiders Web stitch, used to attach the button and sea glass above and also on its' own at the top left in blue.

There were lots and lots of French knots and quite a few buttonhole circles!

I had a lot of fun adding the buttons, pieces of sea glass and even the odd sequin to the embroidery as well as the shells I started out with.

Now I have to work out how to frame it!

Over to you now to link up your wonderful finishes this week. Share the celebrations by checking out your fellow finishers posts and give them a virtual pat on the back too :)





Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Stitches and Sealife

Welcome to this month's New to Me Link Party, where we celebrate the triumphs and disasters of trying out new and exciting things!


This month I have visited a New to Me place.






We visited the Bristol Aquarium with the gorgeous grandson and whilst he wasn't overly impressed with the fishy display, I was definitely inspired by the amazing textures of the coral and the colourful fish. I suppose when the Rays are as big as yourself it can be rather daunting :)

Sticking with the seaside theme I have also been exploring some new to me stitches in my Shoreline embroidery (yes I am still plugging away at that!).

First up Sorbello Stitch



next was Scroll Stitch , which was the perfect stitch for a wave don't you think.

I really like trying out new stitches in my embroidery projects and anything that replaces that old stalwart the French knot as a filler stitch is always a winner in my book!

So, that's my New to Me's for this month, now it is your turn to link up and show off the new techniques, patterns or anything else that you have tried out for the first time. As always, the link party will remain open until the end of the month, so if you have tried out something new but not yet blogged about it you still have plenty of time left. As Sandra can confirm the New to Me party accepts link ups right up to the deadline :)





Thursday, 5 April 2018

Life's a beach!

Welcome to the TGIFF link party where we celebrate that great feeling that finishing a project brings!



I had hoped to be sharing a completed Shoreline embroidery with you today, but sadly I am still plugging away at it so that will have to wait for a (hopefully not too far in the) future post :(

Instead I have another long time in the making completing finish to share.

It doesn't look like and shouldn't have been a long time in the making project but that is what it turned out to be.  The partner lampshade was made ages ago and my intention had always been to make a pair, but the beach hut fabric had disappeared when I first went to complete the second lampshade. That problem was solved when I found the fabric at the Knitting and Stitching Show (over a year ago!). Of course, a short while later I found the original fabric!

I have no excuses for why once I had more than enough fabric I didn't actually set to and finish this, but isn't it amazing the difference that a looming deadline for a finished project can make :)

The lampshade was made using a Dannells kit and it was, again, really straightforward to put together. The hardest part was trying to get the backing off of the double-sided sticky tape!

This was the original lampshade so you can see why it needed replaced!

And here are the pair of matching bedside lamps in situ, there is a definite seaside feel to that bedroom isn't there?

I have some sewing themed fabric that is meant for a new lampshade for my sewing room, hopefully it will not be waiting around as long to be made up as that beach hut fabric was.

So now it is your turn to link up your finishes and, of course, check out your fellow bloggers and congratulate them on finishing too. Add the TGIFF blog button to your blog post so that your readers can join the party too!




Linking up to Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Monday, 26 March 2018

Seashells on the Seashore

I recently attended a workshop given by the inspirational Toni Hanley. The theme for the workshop was Seashore and shells, so we were asked to bring along bits and pieces such as beads, buttons and shells to add to our embroideries.

Never having worked with shells in an embroidery before, they were the first of several New to Me's that I was introduced to in the workshop!




The first element of the piece to be made involved colouring some silk fabric with paint.

We wrapped the plain silk fabric around a plastic cup and tied it tightly with cotton thread then painted over the scrunched up fabric with silk paint and left it to dry.

Then we cut up pieces of Tyvek, a definitely New to Me fabric, before attacking them with an iron and heat gun. I discovered that Tyvek, which is used in the making of items as diverse as envelopes and housewrap (!), is a favourite of mixed media artists, due to its capacity to warp and bubble when heated whilst retaining sufficient softness to allow for stitching through it.

This is what happens to those flat pieces of Tyvek after they have come into contact with a hot iron!

A dab of silk paint later and they were also left to dry.

Next up bonding Angelina Fibres with the iron to create a shimmering piece of fabric. Another New to Me too :)

Finally we ironed some painted Bondaweb to a piece of felt and covered it with a layer of iridescent film, as you have probably guessed another New to Me, and we were all set to start embroidering.

A couple of happy hours later and I had this to show for my day. The darker pieces are the painted Tyvek and the long piece at the top of the silk is a silk cocoon that has been teased out and painted.

I absolutely loved working on this and have been stitching away on it every chance I get ever since so, hopefully, will have a finished piece to show you in the not too distant future.

So, that's my New to Me's this month, now it is over to you to link up what you have been up to for the first time in March. As always, the link will remain open until the end of the month so you still have time to give that technique a whirl that you have been pondering about for a while :) Don't worry either if things didn't quite go as planned, we are all about the triumphs and tribulations here and who knows maybe someone else has had the same problems as you and knows a great fix. So share those New to You's with your fellow bloggers who are always up for anything that will extend their creative boundaries!




If you have some finishes in the pipeline there are still some host spots available for the TGIFF link party in the coming weeks, sign up here and maybe tick another New to You off that list!

Sunday, 25 February 2018

It's quilting, I think!


If you have been around here long enough you will know that on the 25th of each month we celebrate our attempts at any new experiences we have had that month.


So, welcome to another New to Me link party!

A couple of weeks ago my EG branch held a workshop on quilting with paper so, naturally, I signed up.

This is the example of the technique we were shown, it is definitely not something that I have ever attempted before!

The paper used in the example was ordinary brown wrapping paper scrunched up and layered together, hence the quilting. The class tutor had also brought along some sheets of the paper that you often find filling the space in the large boxes that a well-known online retailer uses for the smallest of items.




I decided to use that instead of the brown wrapping paper and instead of being inspired by tree bark as in the example above, was inspired by some of the walls that I have photographed on my travels, such as these in the Lake District.



Here is where I have got to so far. You can see that as well as the three scrunched up layers of packing paper I have added a layer of tissue paper to the top before hand quilting.

I have a lot of stitching yet to do and will, at some stage probably add some FMQing to the piece too, but I am surprised to find that I am enjoying working with this paper. The more that you work with it the softer it gets and the more like fabric it begins to feel.

I probably should have started with a smaller piece, but that is a lesson for another time :)

My other New to Me this month is not sewing related and is the eventual take-up of a birthday present from last year.


Salmon Ceviche



Chilli chocolate pot with Churros

A day Mexican cookery class at the Cook School Scotland! The class was a mixture of demonstration and hands-on cooking and was a great way to spend a cold Friday in February. With chillies in nearly everything we cooked and ate, there was no shortage of heat in that kitchen :)

So, that's my New to Me's for this month now it is your turn to share your triumphs and disasters as you navigate the uncharted territory of brand-new experiences. As ever the link party will remain open until the end of the month, so if you need a nudge to try something new that has been lurking in your mind for a while consider yourself nudged!





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. 
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