Saturday, June 12, 2010

Festering Filth

I'm not very well.  In truth I have been poorly for several months, but of course, I just kept going.  On several occasions I almost passed out.  Fortunately I was always near a chair and I was able to sit down for a few moments, not for long, though, fainting is for whimps!  And so I pressed on.  Working hours that were too long, enjoying every moment, but just not feeling on really top form.

This week everything has 'come to a head'.  Results from blood tests show that I need a little bit of TLC, so today I did something that is so unusual I am having to blog about it!

I had a lie in!

Yes, I've had 'lies in' before - but never beyond 07.30.  The alarm regularly goes at 06.30 and I am always up before it sounds.  I'm not one for going to bed early, either.  Our family routine is such that I'm on duty until 11pm or later, so you can see that I don't usually take time out.  Well, yesterday I just had to throw myself onto the bed in the afternoon, and I slept for 2 hours.  I was in bed by 10 last night, and asleep almost before my head hit the pillow.  Undaunted I slept until just before 09.30 this morning!  AND THEN I DOZED UNTIL NEARLY THREE O'CLOCK!

Yes, I must have needed it, and I do feel more rested, but what on earth does the title have to do with all this twaddle?  Well.....  You know what it's like when you are neither awake nor asleep.  Sometimes you just drift with eyes open, seeing, but not really looking.  This happened today.  I meandered backwards and forwards from sleep to not sleep, and every now and then my eyes alighted on what looked like a book title - 'Festering Filth'.  I didn't think anything of it at first, after all, I wasn't really awake, and the title meant nothing to me.  Finally, however, as 'awake' took over I looked harder.  The title was out of focus... meaning it was time to pop on my specs.

Wish I hadn't!  The title, one of DH's, was in fact 'Ffestiniog Fifty'.  I was quite disappointed.

At least 'Festering Filth' might have had some 'meat' to it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dyeing today!

Sold out of these at the weekend, so off to dye more.  Watch this space!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Where is the month going?

I refuse to believe that it is because I am getting older, but this month is just speeding by!  I have just returned from another weekend's teaching - this time at Missenden Abbey - and already final preparation is well underway for Brockenhurst Needlework Fiesta next weekend......

Landscapes on the Embellisher was the subject, and I had such a lovely group of students.  Some of them had been on previous courses, but several were there for the first time, and one student had never used a machine before (in fact another had only bought hers on Wednesday!).  They gelled really quickly, and I am really cross with myself because I now find that I came home with no photographs of them working!  And work they did.....   I have photographs of the beautiful work that they did, but none of them are very good as I didn't get time to really set up the camera.  I have tried to post the pictures now, but Blogger is having a hiccup, so I'll try again tomorrow.

In the meantime - if you are in the area of the New Forest this Saturday and Sunday why not make a trip to Brockenhurst to the Needlework Fiesta.  It will be worth it - and you can always pop over to the Winifred Cottage stand and say 'hello' too.  Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy Birthday

April is the month when we celebrate three family birthdays.  In fact, all three people feature in this photograph that you have seen before



Fortuitously it is the three in the middle!  One was last week, another next week, but the one in the middle celebrates today and I would like to tell you a little story that also includes the one to her left!

It seems a long time ago that I was pregnant with my first child.  We could all move a little faster in those days, as will become apparent!  It was in the days when babies were expected to arrive when the doctor said they would arrive, and if they didn't arrive on time the medical staff would do everything in their power to induce them to do so.  This was the situation in which I was!  Due today - but nothing happening and a hospital appointment to check that all was well.  Then came the threat.  'If nothing happens by 7pm this evening you must come into hospital and we will induce you tomorrow'.  Of course, nothing happened, and later that day I was in a hospital bed.

Sometime after midnight I began to have the first pangs of labour.  They aren't easy to recognise when it's the first baby, so I walked the floor for a couple of hours before being found by a nurse.  'Telephone your husband' was the command, so I did - knowing that the chance of him waking from a deep sleep was virtually nil.  The phone rang and rang, then, to my surprise he did answer and promised to get there as soon as possible.  The hospital was about 5 miles away from where we were living, and the roads were winding and dangerous, so I made him promise to take care.  I was popped into a wheelchair and taken to the lift.  Down we went, one floor, and along a corridor.  It was fairly long, but not that long.  We turned a corner and into another corridor, finally reaching the delivery ward.  It had only taken a few minutes.  Guess what!  The new Dad to be was already there!!  It still amazes me when I think about it.  I was also curious as to how he had heard the telephone.  Worried that he would miss something he had hit upon an ingenious 'device'.  He had placed the telephone on top of an empty tin box so that it made much more noise than usual! 

Happy Birthday S

Belated Happy Birthday R

And as for J - I'll wish you a Happy Birthday when it comes!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Here and There

Well, maybe the title should be There and Here, because we are home now!  However, I have to report that we had a really lovely weekend in Lancashire at Sticky Fingers.  The workshop was great fun, although I made them work hard


I forgot to take photographs of the samples, mainly because the camera was mostly out enjoying itself in the countryside while I worked hard at teaching!


It was a lovely part of the country, but I was only able to get a quick glimpse of it as we drove through it on the way there and back.  The journey on Friday was awful, with several accidents on the M6.  We were glad to arrive in one piece.

Yesterday saw the start of the Little Bookies online course.  You can sign up for this until the end of the week.  I've seen evidence of activity by the students already!  Here's a glimpse of just one thing they will be doing.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

There are some days when it's all worthwhile!

It has been a difficult few weeks, and I must confess that I feel shattered!  We've been out selling today, and although it was a good day, it was hard work.  Tomorrow we leave early as I'm teaching over the weekend and we have to travel up to Lancashire, then we hurry back on Monday for the start of the online Little Bookies course.

We arrived home from our selling to a mountain of post.  No, not all bills, but quite a lot of paperwork that needs seeing to - and a couple of packages.  The first was a lovely surprise, it was one of my hand-carved printing blocks that went astray when I was making the second DVD - and today it arrived home.  I have to admit that it's one of my favourites (it makes a repeat pattern in a number of different ways), and I have been hunting for it - well, I'll hunt no more, it's now home and safely stored with my others.

 The second package was a bit of a mystery.  DH grumbled (he's tired too) - had I been shopping again?  No, I hadn't!  It was squidgy, and yet hard in places, I really had no idea what it could be, but the surprise when I opened it was even greater than finding my printing block.  It was wrapped in blue tissue, and tied with a burgundy cord.  What was it?


I'm cheating here because I've copied and pasted the photograph from this site, where it all becomes clear!  The post is worth reading, but you'll have to wait until you get to the end before you find out about this lovely item and see more pictures.  I can only say that it is even better in person than in the photographs, and is not only beautiful, but also very useful.  In fact, it will be packed and on it's journey with me tomorrow - I have just the perfect use for it.

Thank you Jan.  I can see that I'm going to have to watch out - you are progressing at an enormous rate.  I love the way you have combined materials and colours - and the further embellishment is just perfect.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter Day with the Family

It was a bit cloudy, but we went for a picnic anyway!


Following an invigorating walk we stopped to look at the view
This is one of my favourite places, and somewhere I have visited since childhood.
It was remarkably warm, and a really lovely day.




Monday, March 29, 2010

Would you believe it!

We often visit groups and classes. And so we did the other day.  It was a large group get-together which involved lunch and a speaker.  The group sat at tables which were set ready for lunch and shopped during the morning, listening to the speaker in the afternoon.  There were about 150 attendees, and we know most of them fairly well having visited this meeting for the last several years.  Some of their purchasing is predictible, so we had stocked up on several items, including hand sewing needles, and all stock was checked before being added to that for display......


Imagine our surpise, therefore, when we arrived home and checked our stock in readiness for the next venue.


This pack of needles looks fine from the back - seal unbroken and albeit ready for sale

However, the other side shows a different story!  

Closer inspection showed that the clear packaging had been prised away from the backing on each side. 
Just far enough to insert a knife


And presumably, that's how the needles were removed.


And all for just over £1.00.......

I hope they enjoy using them.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It never rains......

Today we took delivery of the new DVD.  Level 2 Inspired embellishing is now available.  



You can find it on my personal website.  The first orders have already been despatched.  I have to say that the arrival was the highspot in a rather worrying week.

Last Wednesday the situation at my mother's care home became totally untenable, and with the help of social services we had to find new accommodation at very little notice.  I won't go into details, but the situation there has been a problem for a while and we have been looking for a suitable place, but of course, no vacancies.  Fortunately one arose on Friday less than ten miles from where we live, and we were able to move her yesterday.  It was traumatic, both for us and for her, and it is not a process I would like to repeat.  However, I visited her today after another sleepless night, and saw that she has settled better than I could have imagined.  I know now that she is safe and cared for in a sympathetic environment.  Amazingly they have already diagnosed her immediate problem and it is being treated - it will be a quick and painless solution for her.  The irony is that it is something I have mentioned time and time again at her previous residence - and it was apparently 'being sorted'

You may remember that just a few short weeks ago at the beginning of March we had a new little grand-daughter who was born five weeks early.  Unfortunately she is not at all well and is back in hospital on oxygen.  Her condition is still under observation and no diagnosis has yet been made, so our worries have concerned both ends of the age scale.

Little ones bounce back very quickly, so I'm sure it will be a positive outcome.

By the way, the repeat of Talking Threads is on Sky Channel 171 tomorrow night at 6pm.  




Monday, March 01, 2010

An Announcement, and An Announcement!




Remember these?  Well, time and tide wait for no man, and it was time that held up the announcement of the One World One Heart winners.  Apologies for that, but here they are.

Donna

and

Hazel

They will be in the post later this week after I have heard from you.

I also would like to point you all towards a new online course that is starting next month.  We'll be making a series of little books, some will be similar to those illustrated here.  You can find out more by following this link.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Whether the Weather....

I'm sure you all know the verse:

Whether the weather be cold
Whether the weather be hot
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather
Whether we like it or not!

Well, that just sums up the time we had at Textiles in Focus!  Snow, Sun, Rain, Hail!  We had them all.



This photograph was taken just as the snow began to fall again!  We had snow every day, at the most unexpected moment.  One evening it began to fall just as we were getting ready to go out to eat.  The whole area was white - but by the time we left all evidence had gone - and it was a lovely evening.

The show was a great success.  We were so busy that I didn't get a proper look at the exhibitions, which was a great shame.  Here we all are, just ready to open on the first day.  You can see that some of the stewards have crept in early to have a look before the hoards arrived.....


 Both the workshops went well, although there wasn't much time to recover from the last one before we had to load the car and travel home.  We chose a new and somewhat circuitous route as there were problems (again) on the M25 and were rewarded with the most amazing sunset.  Unfortunately (as it had been raining when we left) the camera was hidden in the back, so no shots of that, even through the windscreen! 

I only made one purchase!  


More about this another day.  I have plans.....  All I need now is the time.......

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Things can only get better!

This is a really trivial post.  However, it's been a frustrating morning so far.

I had a list of things I wanted to achieve by 10am!

Fabrics partly rinsed then into the machine for the final rinses
Threads rinsed and ready to dry
12 more pots dyed and left standing
Oh, yes, and breakfast was being fitted in there somewhere too!!

So, what's happened so far......

Up early so that I could fulfil my timetable
Made breakfast - oatmeal - somehow managed to add the water twice, so it was more like gruel, except I also, as I got carried away with rinsing, managed to burn it....
Made coffee - left it to get cold
Made more coffee - forgot to add more grounds so when I finally drank it found it was so weak I could have given it to a newborn!
Began to rinse the fabrics in the machine, got halfway through before I realised I hadn't added any powder
Realised I was running out of time so became far too enthusiastic with my thread rinsing - half of the water ended up in my shoe
Interrupted by telephone order - no complaints there, but that was interrupted by demanding knocks on the door by the meter reader!  I was still nursing a wet shoe, AND I had to lead him through puddles to the meter
Back to the order - fortunately a very understanding customer
That finished, another door knock
This time it was a neighbour with a cat emergency.  Now it turned out to not be an emergency, but I'm sure it was a scare...  New kitten, out all night for the first time, came back rather bloody..... I won't go into more details, but lets just say that it was a 'natural occurrence'.
Back home to the phone ringing.  I'd forgotten that I was expecting a 'delivery' of mountboard all cut into lovely sqaures for Textiles in Focus.  WooHoo!  Were they ready?  No, cutter was taking an unexpected advantage of a trip to warmth and sunshine, so very sorry, can't do it!  AAARGH  Now that's something else to add to my list of 'to do's'
I needed another coffee - so I typed this while I drank it (never drink coffee or anything else around made up dyes.....)

So....  I'm now just about to start the next lot of dyeing!  And the time is.......?  12.21

Have a great day - and as for mine, yes, I know it can only get better...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Textiles in Focus

We will be missing in action for a few days at the end of the week as we will be visiting Textiles in Focus.  I have mentioned this several times before, and I know this show will be as good as the others.  If you are near Cambridge (or fancy a long drive if you aren't) the show runs from Friday until Sunday 19 - 21 February.  The venue is Cottenham Community College, CB4 8UA. 

Don't forget to say 'Hi', and maybe I'll see you on  a workshop.

Results of One World One Heart will be published tomorrow.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Food

Well, this post begins with food, but may well degenerate into something else!

It begins with fried bananas.  Now, I can hear some of you salivating at the very thought.  Me?  Well it took some courage to even type the phrase!  I have to admit that I HATE cooking bananas.  The very thought of having to cook one fills me with nausea, and as for looking at a bowl of bananas and custard - the memory of woolly banana in warm sauce does exactly the same, and please don't offer me any sort of trifle that includes them, and as for whole bananas on someone's barbecue ...  The strange thing is - I LOVE bananas.  But I love them straight from the fruit bowl and just freshly peeled.

So, what is it about bananas that's so bad?  It's the smell.....

As I get older I find that smells are more and more important.  There are other smells that I really don't like, one of them is the kitchen cleaner CIF.  The smell doesn't speak to me of cleanliness but of cheap talcum powder, and I won't even start on that line of thought!    Combination of smells can be a problem too.  Imagine the delicious aroma of your favourite meal cooking only to be completely destroyed by the over indulgent use of spray bleach.  My lovely DH has a passion for bleach and constantly sprays our white sink with the stuff!  The only problem is that he chooses the most inappropriate times to do it (but I shouldn't complain, at least he does it!)

Smells are very evocative too.  If I smell lime-washed walls I am transported back to my childhood and my paternal grandparents cottage in Wales.  The smell of nutmeg will take me to my memories of cooking with my maternal grandmother, and fresh wood chippings to the garden shed where my maternal grandfather would encourage me to experiment with different textures and effects.  Freshly baked bread (and who doesn't like that smell?) will take me straight back to our kitchen at home when I was a child - helping my mother to knead the bread and following the process through, ancitipating the taste of the special small roll that would be the 'taster'- fresh from the oven.  Do you like roses?  Part of our garden was crammed with them, and childhood summers were filled with the heavy perfume.  The smell of solder reminds me of my father as he experimented and built numerous radio and tv gadgets using valves and wires of all descriptions; and there are more......

However, to return to bananas, I have to admit that my DH LOVES cooked bananas!  There are occasions when I know he will ask for one, and I tactfully steer the conversation towards another food combination!  The problem with that, of course, is that he will cook one for himself, especially when I'm not around - when I'm away teaching, for instance - and that is just what happened recently.  Unfortunately, though, it was cooked with such enthusiasm that this one completely bonded itself to the surface of the pan and normal washing would not remove it.  Several strong soakings, first with a variety of strengths of bicarbonate of soda and then with proprietory brands of cleaner have also failed in their promise of success, so too have vigourous rubbings with  various scrubbers, so the pan was declared dead.......

This morning, early and unexpectedly promptly, a new pan was delivered.  I'm off to 'season' it now, but first, I must hide the bananas.......

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Do you Journal?



If anyone is interested I'm planning on posting a few journalling exercises over the next while.  You will be able to find them here.  They won't be complete journal pages, but hopefully they will get the creative juices flowing.

If they inspire you I'd like to know.



The first one is now up and ready to view

Monday, February 08, 2010

The best way to relax .....

It has been a very busy weekend.  Firstly, on Saturday, we had a trip to Busy Bees Patchwork in South Wales for an embellisher workshop.  We left before first light, and had a really good trip down.  Travelling west with the sunrise behind us I watched it in the wing mirror, the sun becoming more prominent and the moon gradually fading away only to reappear on the way home!  This was the only daylight I saw as it was already dark when we left for the return journey along the M4.  This too was uneventful, but I have to admit that I was tired when we arrived home.

The hall, in which I was teaching, was enormous..  This picture shows part of the class!  The others are out of sight on the right of the picture.  There was enough room between to hold a tea dance, however, they all decided that they would rather play on their machines than go out and find some partners!  We moved the tables near to the walls to be close to the electrical sockets.  Trailing leads would have been a health and safety hazzard.
And so it was Sunday.  Yes, I was tired, and for once we had a day at home.  I spent the morning sorting out my plan for the week and then visited my dear mother with son and grandson


She is a mere shadow of her former self, but still smiling and delighted to see everyone.

Of course, she is delighted with her relationship with her youngest great-grandchild, and he is very fond of her too.  This was a completely natural response from him.  

Next, we were on a mission

The ducks, geese and swans were calling, and it was time to feed them. 





And when the food has all gone it's important to make sure there isn't any left, just in case.

But, I have to admit that even after all that I still wasn't fully relaxed, so what could I do now?

Why, indulge in a 'wobble walk' of course.....


Just what I needed!

(PS if you want One World One Heart the giveaway is HERE and there is time to enter until 14th February)


Monday, February 01, 2010

One World, One Heart Too

 You may already have joined in the fun on my previous post.   I have to say that I didn't expect such a lovely response, so I've decided to add to the fun and present another offering.  
Please don't leave any more comments here - put them on the new post, you can find it here

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Food

If you have come to find One World One Heart, don't despair.  You'll find it here and there is time to enter until 14th February 2010

So, Friday Food!  I began to think about this subject at breakfast time this morning, (but it was a while later before I realised that it is actually Friday - and therefore I could turn it into a blog post)! 

What is it about toasters?  I'm sure you've heard it before, and no doubt you will hear it again, but ours doesn't work very well.  It wasn't cheap, we deliberately bought a more expensive one because we had similar problems with the last one, but the colour of the toast is dependent more on the state of the universe than on the mechanics of the machine.  Ours is labelled with settings for one to seven minutes, and hopefully the toast will brown nicely within three to four......... OR NOT!  And yes, it  usually is 'or not', although suddenly there will be that wonderful day when the toast IS a glorious shade of golden brown and all will be forgiven.  The answer would seem simple - just increase the time to four to five minutes!  Yes, we've tried that , but then we have the singeing smell and charcoal toast followed by the dash to the smoke alarm to 'stop that infernal racket!'  So the answer is to leave it set on three minutes - retrieve uncooked toast - turn it around and replace - and set it for a further one minute.  It doesn't work the other way around, so if further toast is required a setting of one minute first followed by three minutes will still result in white toast - another single minute is still needed.  I'm talking about white bread today - the same applies to any colour - but the significance of white bread is actually important to this little story. 

When I was a child I had a friend called Susan.  She had two sisters, the youngest of these was called Margaret, but was always referred to as 'Margie Jane'.  Margie Jane always got what she wanted, and if she didn't she would scream.  We lived across the road and down a little, and we always knew when Margie Jane wasn't getting her own way because we would hear the  S C R E A M !  There was one thing that made her  S C R E A M   louder than anything, and that was colour of any sort on her toast.  She not only LIKED  it that way - she was seriously SCARED to have it any other way.  Needless to say, we always refer to uncooked toast as 'Margie Jane Toast', but the significance is that poor Margie Jane was actually really frightened of this strange coloured thing that most people would prefer.

I was then reminded of another friend.  Claire also had a food fear.  She was terrified (yes, truthfully, terrified is the word) of brown sugar.  Brown sugar in a bag was to be respected, but put it in a bowl and she would 'freak out'.  Why?  Because it moves.  Next time you are using some, just try this little experiment if you don't know what I'm talking about.  Put a reasonable quantity into a bowl, insert a spoon and take it out again.  After the spoon is removed the sugar will continue to move - and it was this that frightened her.  I have seen her run out of a cafe when the man at the next table used the sugar from the bowl, her fear was that bad.

Another friend, Caroline had a fear of rice pudding.  She could eat boiled rice, risotto - rice in any shape or form, but she could not eat rice pudding - BECAUSE IT HAD A SKIN.  Some of you may have seen this picture on another blog, for those of you that wondered I am reposting here - it's rice pudding - showing the skin.


Of course this also shows a completely unexpected arrangement of rice grains that appeared after cooking - I hate to think how that would be interpreted by Caroline.

So, do you have a food fear?  Do you know anyone with a food fear?  From where do they come?  I'm not talking about dislikes - I'm talking about real deep-seated fears.  Now I'm just off to convert another piece of Margie Jane toast.......

Monday, January 25, 2010

One World One Heart

 THIS GIVEAWAY HAS NOW FINISHED

Oh what fun!  It's time for One World One Heart.  It's time for a ride on the Magic Carpet as you surf from one blog to the next to see what's on offer.  As I mentioned in the previous post I had intended to take part last year, but missed the deadline.  This giveaway runs until midnight 14th February UK time when I will choose the winner using a random number selector.  The whole event finishes on 15th Feb, but I'm out on that day, so you may not hear until 16th if we are late back.

Photo

So, what's the giveaway here?  Well, there are two.  Each winner will receive a little handmade book, both are illustrated here and the above link shows one of them in the process of construction.




 I would not have thought it would be so difficult to upload these pictures, but my computer problems continue and I have had to resize them online.  I have to admit that I've given up for the time being as it was so slow (more about that shortly).  One of them is a rich burgundy colour with pink and grey pages .....

 

 And the other is shades of kingfisher and green with hand coloured pages.  Both have flashes of foil and glittery bits on the covers and are wrapped with hand dyed cords.

 

The books could be used for a variety of purposes, you can decide, and you can mention which one you would prefer, but I can't guarantee that you will receive that one!.  Each will come with a selection of threads and fibres too, but I have had to give up trying to prepare those for the blog, so forgive me if they come as a surprise (I may be able to add them here at a later date).

Here are the rules:

Leave a comment below, making sure that you include contact details - if you win I'd like to be able to let you know and feel free to leave a link to your blog too!  It's as simple as that.  If you would like more information or would like to take part you can find out more here. There are lots of bloggers taking part and they are all listed in the sidebar here

Have fun riding the magic carpet everyone.  It doesn't matter where you live you are eligible to enter - but be prepared to pay any taxes that may be applicable in your part of the world.  And you could also pop over to my second giveaway which you will find here.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Lots going on.....


This has been a particularly stressful week.  There has been a lot going on, and in the midst of it all my computer problems have continued.  Only part of the software has arrived - and that was missing one of the disks!  What fun!  I'm hoping I can sort it this week, but don't hold your breath!


So, what have I been doing?  Well apart from the general business stuff that goes on each day (made more stressful by the closure of our local post office nearly a year ago now) I spent the day teaching on Wednesday.  No, the teaching wasn't stressful in the least.  It was a lovely group of embellishing students, and I enjoyed the day.  The weather, however, was awful, rainy and dark, and I needed my headlights.  Guess what.  The light switch decided to play up and wouldn't keep the dipped headlights on!  At one point I sat in a car park and tried to fiddle  with them.  The lights flashed on, then off, then on again - and so on.  I was completely oblivious of my surroundings until two large and beefy men got out of the car on the opposite side of the lane in which I was parked and started to walk over towards me.  They didn't look very pleased, and I realised that they thought I was flashing at them!  At that point I decided to drive home on my sidelights and foglamps, smiling sweetly at them as I departed and trying to explain that it was a faulty switch.  I don't think they believed me!  Of course, DH managed to do it with no problems the next day, which made me very cross.....


Thursday was a busy day.  It began with a journey that should have been along the M3 and M25, but both were at a standstill so we had to drive across country.  Part of the journey was through the centre of Slough, we were dreading it, but amazingly we sped through there faster than we could have imagined.  We were on our way to record my second DVD in the 'Inspired' series.  'Inspired Embellishing Level 2' is now 'in the bag' and should be out before Easter.  



It was hard work, but a fun day.



I have to say that the director and crew made it a very pleasant day, and I think we managed it without too many retakes.  You can find out about the 'Inspired' series here, there are lots more to come as far as I know.  Inspired Embellishing Level One is going well and has had lots of kind remarks.  Hopefully it is establishing good machine practice and encouraging experimentation which is what it is all about.....

Here's hoping it's a quiet weekend so that I can sort all my samples and bits and pieces!  They need to go back into the right boxes........

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Embellisher Workshop

As long as there is no snow the workshop in Aldershot this next Wednesday will definitely be running.  There is one place left, so if you had an Embellisher for Christmas this would be ideal to really get you going.  All materials are provided, so you only need to bring your machine and you will be off to a good start.  The workshop is also suitable for anyone that doesn't have a machine but would like to learn about them.  I have loan machines, enough for each individual.

If you would like more information, or to get in touch you can do so here.

If you can't get to the workshop but would still like a good start - there is a lot of information and tips on my DVD

You can buy it directly from my website and read about it here and  here.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Food - or 'How to unintentionally offend'

I have a feeling that someone somewhere will take offence at this post.  I usually talk about a food that I enjoy in a post like this, but today I was reminded of two of my least favourite foods.

Think about pastry.  There are various types, and well made they are delicious whether used for sweet or savoury dishes.  However, when it is badly made it is more than offence to the taste buds!  We don't eat pastry very often but when we do it is usually shortcrust, and I make it - well, by the way, however, I have memories of very bad pastry, and I want to tell you about those now.

My earliest recollection of bad pastry was when I was at school.  I usually went home for lunch, but for reasons I don't need to go into now I always had to have lunch at school on a Friday.  This may not seem a problem at first, but now let me tell you that I went to a convent school - and no meat was served on Friday.  In fact, there was only one dish that was ever served on Friday and that was cheese and potato pie....  We were all convinved that is it was really potato, flour and water pie because there was never any evidence of cheese (it may well have lived on the shelf next to the flour, in retrospect) and the pastry was the hardest most disgusting flour and water crust you have ever seen.  We weren't allowed to leave anything on our plates, so we took it in turns to secrete a bag into the dining room so that we could dispose of  the offending 'pie'.  We would leave the dining room with the 'bag holder' suitably surrounded by the rest of the class, and we didn't get caught once!

I have the same feeling about cornish pasties.  I have never tasted a good one.  One of the problems is the onion.  Onion that is not previously cooked but steamed within a casing is really unpleasant, however the pastry adds nothing to the combination as it is always so thick and hard.  There is a well known brand that is advertised regularly on television and once, a very very long time ago, I was given one to eat.  Memories of that one bite is enough to make me heave, and seeing a well known chef prepare one on TV in a recent re-run brought back all the old horror, even the picture of the finished dish did nothing to alleviate my distress.

So, if I am coming to dinner - please don't serve me cheese and potato pie, even if it is well made - and definitely don't offer me a cornish pasty, well made or not.

;0)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

When all goes quiet.....

I'm sure you have all heard enough about the snow!  Suffice it to say that we have had some.  There are no photographs to show you, the reason will become clear shortly, but I have taken lots.  Our road is still only passable with difficulty.  We have had no post since the first flutter and frankly, that first flutter was more than I wanted to see anyway!  So, it came, and it looks as though it will never go away.  We had rain during the night but that just turned to ice, so I'm not looking forward to venturing outside shortly, but we will see.

There is a particular sort of quiet with snow, and that has been apparent in abundance, but it has been particularly quite here as we were also smitten with that disease of communication commonly called computer failure!  Regrettably our failure was fatal, and totally unexpected.  The machine was working at lunchtime but by the time I had eaten my poached egg it was dead.  Apparently the hard drive and mother board aren't functioning and all is lost.  Putting it into perspective - it is a nuisance, however in view of the recent earthquake in Haiti it really is a very small thing, and so we press on.  I have managed to contact a few people - but if you were in touch with me before I would be grateful if you would email me (you will have my address) and send me yours again. 

So here I am sitting in front of a bright (well, dark really, it's black) spanking new computer - with nothing much to do.  Somehow this has managed to find its way through the drifts and blizzards, but all software is hiding deep within igloos or the like.  No post - no software!  I can connect to the internet (this post is proof of that) but apart from that I'm sitting here with nothing to do.  I can't carry on with my book (oops, didn't mean to tell you that), can't download my photograps and can't do any admin.  I've masses of dyeing to do, though, so I'll just have to get on with that - and, of course, prepare for next week when I'm filming Level 2 of Inspired Embellishing.

Have a great day, and Happy Computing!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Monday Memory

I cannot emphasise enough just how blessed I was to have such lovely parents.  They were kind, considerate and extremely loving.  As I get older I appreciate them more and more and know that I could not have achieved so much if they hadn't given me such a wonderful start.  My father worked long shifts.  He would leave early in the morning and on a normal day wouldn't return until after midnight.  I'm sure the unions wouldn't let that happen now, but in those days it was regular.  He worked a shift pattern that ran over two weeks, and mostly included a day off after the long shift - except at weekends, when one weekend in two was worked.

I thought about this again last night.  We all loved his weekends at home, not least because he would do surprising things.  I remember one Saturday.  My grandfather had been very ill and my mother had been helping my grandmother to nurse him.  They only lived around the corner at this time, but it was hard work.  When it was time for her to come home he bundled my brother and I into the car and we drove all of 250 yards to collect her.  This was unusual, but we had no idea why.  Surprised, my mother asked what was happening. 'We're going out for afternoon tea'.

This was very unusual and quite exciting.  However, when we got to our destination there was no obvious tearoom in sight and we couldn't understand why we were there.  Dad explained that it was just along there - at the end of a path, so off we skipped with Mum to find it.  To find what?  There was nothing there.  No tearoom, in fact, it was a dead end and we just had to turn around and go back.  What a disappointment!  Or was it?

When we got back to the car we had such a lovely surprise.  A blanket was spread out on the ground and it was laid with a tasty spread, just ready for afternoon tea!  Dad had not only packed a picnic he had also spent the morning baking so that Mum didn't need to.  We had such fun, and afterwards there was plenty of space for my brother and I to run atound and play.

Thank you Dad and Mum for teaching me that spending time with the family brings its own rewards, and for encouraging me in all that I did.  Sadly my Dad is no longer here, but my Mother continues to encourage in her own sweet way.

Enjoy your family as much as possible.  It makes for very sweet memories. 

Saturday, January 02, 2010

One World, One Heart

Are you taking part this year?  I was too late last year, so I'm prepared now that 2010 is here.  If you click the link below (or in the sidebar) you can find out more details.  In the meantime here are some of the ingredients of my proposed giveaway.  You will have to come back to find out what it is, though, around about 25th January!




Photo

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year

`
 Russia, Eire, Lithuania, Scotland, Wales, England, Norway and India



All came together to bring in the New Year

As you can see, we celebrated in style and the drinks flowed freely.  I raised a glass to all my internet friends too.

Happy New Year