Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday Theme

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Our mini adventure.....

Well, we returned from Textiles in Focus on Sunday evening. We were tired, but it was, as usual, a lovely show. I do enjoy returning to places and meeting old friends and customers. I was even able to steal a while away from the stand to enjoy a meeting with Margaret and Debs, lunch with Gina and a quick tour of the Exhibitions with Marion. Such a treat.

Our accommodation was in a different place this year. I won't go into details, but we had to find somewhere else. We stayed on the south side of the A14, in an area where eating choices were very limited. This didn't actually matter as the first couple of evenings were to be spent with friends and colleagues. However, on the third night we were on our own and, frankly, couldn't face driving very far. The receptionist came to our rescue - 'Why not walk to the pub, there's a path at the back'.

And so began our mini adventure!

Firstly we had to find the path at the back. It transpired that this actually was nothing more than a hole through the hedge. Obviously well used, the 'path' was nothing more than a sticky mess of mud, however, someone had thoughtfully placed an old fence panel on top of this so we were able to make our way across without collecting too much mud on our shoes. A few steps on the other side revealed that we were now in the depths of an industrial estate, but fortunately, as it was a cul de sac, there was only one way to go. It was well lit, but a little spooky, with deep dark shadows on either side. Bravely we set off, not knowing exactly what we would find. A little further on we could see a car parking area. It was empty, of course, and immediately in front of it the road took a sharp turn to the right. We followed this course and could see a small roundabout ahead. This would mean a choice of ways, and we didn't know which one would be the correct one! However, we needn't have worried......

''Ello, 'ello,'ello! What's goin' on 'ere?"

A voice from the gloom accosted us. It was the security guard. Strange people walking through darkened streets in the early evening had obviously been spotted on the camera. From where had we come? (This was actually phrased rather differently and so too was the enquiry about our destination). On hearing that we were looking for the pub his manner changed and he actually gave us quite specific instructions. (I told you that the path looked well used!)

So we set off into the gloom again, confident now that our steps were bringing us ever closer to our destination. A glance over our shoulder at one point, just to look for an aide memoire for the return journey, informed us that we were being shadowed by the security guard, obviously intent on seeing us off the site.....! It was at this point that we realised that he was probably MI5 trained (failed). His powers of camouflage were decidedly nil (it isn't easy to hide a dayglo yellow jacket by hiding behind a lampost). A few more twists and turns brought us to the end of the factories, and we were now on a main road - with no footpath! The mud at the roadside was again sticky, but no fence panels to help us now. It wasn't far, but I almost lost my shoe on a couple of occasions. Finally we could see 'The Pub' and thankfully we squelched across the road and through the car park. At last we could have a glass of wine and order some food.

I have to say that the wine was surprisingly good. It was Chilean, and very tasty. The menu was quite long and varied, however left a little to be desired. The choice included fried fish, curry of various types, steak, lasagne, spaghetti with prawns, scampi, and various other dishes, all served with chips and peas...... We chose the least calorie filled and left the chips. I wonder how many other guests at the hotel had been as disappointed as we were - and we still had to tackle the journey back!

So, off we went on our return journey. Back we oozed through the muddy verge (far too much traffic to risk walking on the road) and into the murky industrial estate. It was easy to find our way back, and we expected the security guard to be there lurking in the shadows at every step. Sure enough, there he was! No longer hiding behind a lampost but in the shadows and still highly obvious in his jacket. Let's face it, he was only doing his job. He did speak to us, asked if we had had a good meal (apparently he often eats there, so we were cautious in our replies as we had no desire to have to treck along the A14). He shadowed us all the way back, and I have to say that we were very pleased to once more see the hole in the hedge.

If you would like more precise directions for this themed evening and gourmet dinner I can tell you exactly where to go.....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What are You doing this weekend?

Tomorrow morning we are off to Textiles in Focus.  I'm hoping to catch up with lots of friends and customers, so if you are visiting please pop along to the Winifred Cottage stand and say 'Hello'.

Another event that is happening this weekend in Unravel.  The Maltings at Farnham is hosting the first even on Saturday.  You can read more about both of these events here.

Wordless Wednesday

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Cyber Fibre

This is the postcard made for the Cyber Fyber Exhibition. The background is made using Vegetarian Silk. It is a lovely soft fabric which has been hand dyed then embellished (using the Embellisher) onto a firmer surface. The applied stitching is made from scraps of precious fabrics that had great sentimental value. It was hard to see them go! You can see the original here.

There is a similar one for sale in my Etsy shop. The background is slightly different, it is our special hand dyed fine viscose felt.
You can find more details and a view of the whole here. Some of the fabric scraps are vintage pieces that were given to me by my Welsh grandmother. They were saved from evening gowns and wedding dresses that she had made over the years. My earliest stitching memories are making tiny purses by hand, using the then reasonably large pieces in a similar way, but stitching by hand. The remaining scraps will remain in my box of special memories.

A little insight

At the end of last month I noted the demise of my favourite record book.  If you didn't see it, it's here.  But today I thought I'd show you part of the other records that I keep.  
These are just some of the samples that I have.  They amount to well over a thousand and that doesn't include dyelot samples.
Reference details are on the hang tags, sometimes just a number, at other times I write a name.
They  hang on bookrings, in collections. 

As I said - these are just some of them!  I'm running out of space.......

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Thursday Theme

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Watch this space.

A couple of days ago I posted some photographs that were taken at Missenden Abbey. This morning I was searching through a box to find something I want to photograph. I knew it was in there (and it was) but I had forgotten exactly what else was there. To my surprise I came across some experimental photographs that my father had taken.

He worked for the BBC, and at times was asked to take photographs for them. I have very early pictures of several celebrities, some of whom are now in their 80's if not 90's, including Judith Chalmers and, a real name from the past, Polly Elwes (does anyone actually remember her?) I'm not so sure about the other names, although I'm sure a google search will enlighten me when I have more time. However, hidden in the box was a small album of the results of experiments, and although I don't remember the photographs I certainly remember them being taken.

The photographs are of flowers, but the significance is not in their subject but rather in the preparation for the photographic session. Instead of using filters (he had several of these) to alter the appearance these photographs were taken using crumpled sweetie cellophane. The result is a very strange rendering of a flower, but one that I just love now that I have seen it again. Of course, if you want to take photographs like this you first have to acquire your sweetie papers. That's the part that I remember......

Isn't it true that you never have the most important item that you need? Such was the case in this instance. But Dad was at work, so it fell to my Grandfather and I to go shopping for sweets. Wow, what fun! This was a very rare treat, however it wasn't quite what I had expected. We didn't just want sweets, we wanted cellophane wrapped sweets. But..... we didn't just want cellophane wrapped sweets we wanted cellophane wrapped sweets with NO WRITING! They were surprisingly difficult to find, and we had to visit many shops before we found them. I can still remember the look on the shopkeepers faces when their offering was spurned with 'Sorry, they're no good they've got writing on!'

So, why watch this space? Well, after my dabbling with coloured glass I can assure you I HAVE to have a go at this.

But first, I need some sweetie wrappers.........

Monday, February 02, 2009

After the dark

The worst part of winter is the dark evenings!

Here in the northern hemisphere we do get quite short days, although not as short as those farther north. Even Scotland, just 400 miles away, has days that are shorter than here. It isn't pleasant driving home from work in the dark, especially as most street lighting is abysmal but after a few journeys it seems to become the order of the day and everyone just gets on with it. However, just one month after the shortest day it is apparent that the days are lengthening. Daylight stays for a little longer each day and the mornings start with more than a glimpse of light. January passes quickly and everyone's thoughts turn to spring, to bulbs pushing through the cold ground and giving us glimpses of colour to come. The snowdrops, often the first to appear, remind us, though, that maybe the cold is not yet gone.

And so we move into February. Are we safe? Is winter over?

My family will vouch for the fact that I have always said that February is the most dangerous and cruel month. March comes so soon after a short month, that we can be forgiven for thinking it has almost arrived! However in my experience the weather of February has so often taken us by surprise,

When I think of February I always think of snow......

We live in the south of England. The north downs end just a short distance from where I am now sitting. It is a very sheltered area thanks to the proximity of the downs. We can often drive across into Farnham to find that the weather is completely different, it is often raining there when quite dry here, and it doesn't often happen in reverse. Consequently, when snow was forecast for today we didn't really expect much at all. In all fairness we haven't had much, but we have had enough to ensure that I won't go out. It's too cold and, frankly, I hate snow.......

This photograph was taken this morning. It is our front gate, and I used the zoom to get this close! You see we haven't had much snow, but the way it is sticking to the wrought ironwork is rather pretty, isn't it. So how can this amount fill me with such dread and a determination not to leave the house? Northerners will presume it is because I am a namby pamby southerner, but that is not so!
I have been stuck in snow. I know what it is like to be caught for longer than I wish to remember in snow. I have been snowed into a house with no way of escape unless by way of shovel (a spade would have been useless). I have driven through snow drifts that reached half way up the car sides. I have even been driven, in a bus, through snow that reached above its height, and, frankly, I hated every moment. I have even been snowed into a town with no way of escape for 10 days.
So when I say 'I hate snow' I'm probably not making myself quite clear. Maybe now you will have a better indication of what's behind the statement.
Oh, yes, and I forgot to mention - all these 'escapades' happened in February................