Monday, 29 November 2010

Whilst I remember

I sat next to a lovely canadian lady on the coach the other day and her friend in Canada keeps all seams off jeans when she uses them for their fabric.
You know like when you cut the front and back jeans legs apart and you have 2 x 31" lengths of the seams left over?

Well I already have a bag full of seams from girly dresses and other clothing, they can be twisted to make lovely flowers for pins or decorations.
I also have used the jeans seams to make flowers as well, but they are bulkier and dont twist quite as nicely.
But this lady had saved up all those leg seams and then stitched them together into a fabric bowl which by the nature of it being doubled up denim, was a very sturdy bowl cum basket!
I love this idea so am now on the cadge for more jeans!
What a smashing door mat it could make, oversewing with strong, maybe colourful thread, those long seams?
Maybe they could be woven into a warp of pretty fabric?
They could make table mats, coiled up and oversewn as baskets like this lady had done...
or coiled similarly to make a hat!

Im on a mission!!!!

Oh and the pockets?
At K&S there was a wall hanging made out of jeans pockets stitched onto a backing fabric. About 3 across and 3 down, looked to be mens jeans cos they were big pockets but it was a hanging to store pencils in, to tuck bits into.........ideal for a kids bedroom next to the bed or for alongside the computer maybe...loved that idea too.........
Fun for the making lol

WW1 gas mask, scarves and sad news

Am back to work at last after having a lengthy cold and my eyes are almost back to normal after the secondary conjunctivitus, so am able to get stuck into the Topic Boxes again. This gasmask outline above is a freebie online pattern  with instructions to make it in card. But Id seen a photograph of what WW1 soldiers were issued with first off, and they were basically this design face mask, set within a hood that fit over the head and shoulders.
It cant have offered very much protection from the gasses and it would have been difficult to have any useful field of vision from within it.
But it would be ideal for a VI child to place over the head, if they are willing to! recreate the wearing of such a mask.
And as such it would go well with the trenches model Ive made and psoted about previously.
 Ive made the mask out of fun foam though and used a cut down thick cardboard carpet roll inner for the mouth bit.
That's been covered as in the original insts. with (I used several) layers of bubble wrap at both ends and around, the cardboard tube.
Its then been set into the mouth opening from behind and secured in position with double sided and sellotape.
Will take a pic of the inside so you can see that I have overlapped the last layer of bubble wrap, so there is means to secure it in place.

It yet needs see thru plastic set in the eye areas and then stitching into position in a fabric hood. I'm going to hand stitch the fun foam mask in place though, because I suspect machining it, might enable the fun foam to tear away? Its a prototype so if it doesnt appear to work I will rethink that as and when though.
The other two pics are of some fulled scarves Ive made, with holes in them and oddly sliced out areas. so you can tuck the ends of the scarves in much like a cravat.
It was vintage wool felt and has fulled beautifully, though the greyish one is thinner and as you can see I didnt iron it very well lol but thats going in for another felting, so the crumplyness of it is more even.
Now I have to say I read the blog post the other day and there were these stunning scarves with holes in them, in sumptious colourways, felted from scratch.
And I had been sat there for a several nights already cutting away at this vintage felt I had, to make much the same kind of thing, but by cheating!
I left a comment saying that mine would never be a match for hers but wasnt it funny the way we Creatives have similar ideas, wherever we are in the world BUt thats oem of us are just MUCH cleverer at it than the rest of us lol
Youve seen mine, now see some perfect examples at the link above!

Thats one of the last wreaths I made, think thats been posted previously.

Lovely pal Mary from Oz told me to expect a cheesy book for my birthday which was ordered in Oz but shipped from the USA.......and it had arrived on saturday when I got home laden with the K&S goods.
So there am I unwrapping it, expecting a cookery book about cheese.... wasnt! lol
But this is a lovely surprise, it has short essays for each day of the year and quotes and snippets of poems too. The idea being that you read an essay a day over the year and presumably find a peaceful thought and place at least that once each day.
Since my birthday was last month, not sure if I should hang fire and start it on january 1st or try and read back and catch up till today............but then I wont have that simple pleasure of reading the one piece each day, if that makes sense?! So thankyou Mary. I love it xx

I had sad news last week, my sons godfather had died after a 6 month battle with cancer. 6 months to the day they had told him he probably only had 6 months to live.
Drew was a simply lovely man who adored his wife and kids and grandchild, something I so admired in him, throughout the years.
A chap with a lilting scots brogue to his speech and the most infectious laughter of any man I've ever met. A smoker all his life sadly.

We flew together now and then when both on10 SQN in the RAF, before he was posted onto The Queens Flight and galavanted about places with members of our Royal Family.

Drew and I once went to Hanover as part of an RAF crew and had several days there till the flight home. So I had intended to take the opportunity to sample German white wines, which at the time I needed for my upcoming wedding ( back in 1981).
Drew being a helpful soul, staight way offered to assist me in this.
He was a canny shopper and Maz his wife, says they had the best loft insulation in the world, cos he would buy "bargains" from overseas and she would stuff most of it in the loft, till when it was ever needed.
If they were ever short of anything, there would be another, in the loft!

So we went off shopping for various labelled bottles, pricing and fathoming what was the better deal and taste.
I dont think we were sober for 3 or 4 days and we laughed so much that we cried buckets. 
  Fortuneatly we were sober by the time we had to return the aircraft to UK lol
But we had managed to select both a white German wine and a sparkling wine, so I came back laden with a small cargo of 'crew baggage' wine cases.
Even with a customs payment at this end, I was still quids in!
So Maz, Leanne and Ashley have lost a Treasure and the world is very much the poorer.
Whilst I dread his funeral on 9th December, I cant miss it and wish to goodness I had seen him before he left us.
However, we did once agree that whoever went first, we'd keep a stool for the other at The hope he remembers!

Yes more K&S uniform pics......youre bored now arent you lol

Am reposting these pics the right way round because I felt they deserve to be seen right.
There were two awful full face and headgear things that I cant have photographed, presumably for the chap to wear over the face/head for protection during the course of the treatments stages.
They must have been very restrictive and were in standard military fabrics so wouldnt have been kind to the delicate facial areas.
I love what Paddy did to the pockets though dont you?
Like layers. And I pick up from this that the army was his life or maybe they were army doctors who undertook this reconstruction?
It would have been a pioneering proceedure Im sure back in 1939.

Posted by Picasa

More Knitting & Stitches and a uniform pic right way up!

Okay this triptych ( is it?) was hung impresively together like below.

Im 5' 8" and they were longer then I am tall. By Ann Deckers who told me it took her a whole 6 months to make..........
like I could manage anything like that within a year or more!

The shoal of fish were delightful and the floaty chap alongside here was so delicate you could almost anticipate his next gentle pulse movement forwards.

The technique used is shibori, dye resist, in which I know very little. She used only indigo and worked from the front and the back.....and then laboriously and carefully cut back the velvet pile.

Quite amazing but sadly the pics dont do the colour justice. There was subtle shading to the velvet background.

This face blew me away, called About Face by Lynne ProsserIt was impressive, not as scary as it may at first appear, because you could clearly see the care taken to merge the fabrics together. All manner of fabrics were used.
Whilst I may not want to live with him on my wall, I do like the technique and have seen cats and old faces done in a  similar way which were stunning too.

Here's one of the uniforms right ways up, I found which button I hadnt clicked lol

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Knitting & Stitches ~ did I mention I bought afew things and found a book?

All I can say is that I havent been well and now I could see properly (conjunctivitus tho not all gone yet)I was overwhelmed with the need of these things...... many of you will understand ( sorry Mary lol)
I got the flower stitcher book cos I had recently won a  draw for one from Maggie Grey before she moved house. I have Dales other books so knew Id pick up wisdom from it.
I also found some old natural dyeing books that interested me. One about identifying lichens and which to use for what colour.
Must find me a kindly graveyard caretaker so I could go with him lichen scraping at some point in the year, then Id be sure not to steal away anything protected!
I managed to buy the CPS for sept/oct 2009 thinking it was a 2010 copy and am sure I have this already so will pass this onto a a pal.
I bought the selvedge backcopy mag having seen it at the NEC last march but forgot to get it.
On their stall they had 5" or 6" small fabric birds with metal legs, you know like in the book Little Bird? The only difference was that they were made of several diff fabrics almost scrap patched together with frayed edges as part of the design.
Go on, guess how much they were?
£75 each.............I kid you NOT!

Some wonderfil rayon threads, egyptian cotton variegated, shiv sticks and some divine japanese silk yarns oh and those holey silk pods, forget their name but they are lovely as they are!
Oh yes and thyese sari skeins were a bargain, size 12 and 10 crichet hooks and two balls of yarn.......but one is a lacy/holey blue to the will it embellish? wont it look great woven with novekty yarns? And couched down in things too?
Then the turq variegated coloured one is finer and wider than another similar yarn I have and sea couldnt resist that could I!
Oh and fat quarters and some wonderfully inexpensive spiders web like 'tulle' they called it, must take a piccy of it.
Its like a very open weave lutrador that you can see right through and would look great laid on a background fabric.......they had it in white and black and also black with a silver thread in it too, so it was sparkly.....resisted the sparkly one.......see how good I was! 
Saved myself £3.50 there....... :)
Now off to make a cupper then put drops in the eyes and sit with a book on my lap whilst making brown felted robins to hang on xmas trees.
When I went downstairs at the show to see the hundreds of Morse bags that had been made and donated for charity............they lined both sides of a 150 mt corridor of sorts.very bright and fun to look at...........I stopped for a coffee at a table down there.
On the table was a book that had been left with a yellow sticker on it that said PICK ME UP.... I felt like that Alice lass!
The sticker tells you its a Travelling Book, its not lost, its on a  journey and it asks you to sign in online and let its folks know where its gone!
How great is that...
Its new to me but you know the wierd thing about it?
I picked it up and almost bought a copy of this book a the last jumbly thing I went to and am not sure why I didnt buy it in the end.....
its called The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and about a missionary family who go to the Congo and realise that they are way out of their depth and should they be there at all...a sort of Heart of Darkness.
Now is this evangelism at work do you think or what?
After Ive read it off to Oz lol I may make it a passport! for details !

Knitting & Stitching (5)

Now these beauties are slate, the larger gravestone like one, is yorkshire slate which is hard by all accounts. Made by Clyde Olliver
who has been stitching metal into slate for years he told me..........well, as you do!

Id have never ever thought of doing so but I fell in love with his work no sooner had I entered the show hall!
I adore the welsh slate that suggests fossilised dinosaur spines and the gravestone like piece was as tactile as it looks.
Look carefully and you will see runes have been crafted in metal on it............clever or what!
Some folk are so gifted and here is using some of natures own treasures........... Hey if you buy his work online, let me know what the postage costs are like will you? lol
But what a thing to buy this as your own gravestone and then have it ready for when youve gone..........thats my idea, not his intention by the way!
But Id be content with my ashes laid beneath this wouldnt you?!
Posted by Picasa

Knitting & stitching show (4)

The journey by coach to Harrogate yesterday 27th, was quite good, snow not withstanding. It was picturesque en route and not that cold, todays a different matter of course for us here in Hull.........but plenty of snow to do snow dyeing, if I could be bothered to go out back and freeze for the fun of doing it again! 
A guy called Paddy Murphy had altered 2 particular military uniforms and they were just amazing.
Not least because I know someone who had to have a similar facial construction quite recently and she deserves every ounce of respect for what she went through after cancer struck a chord in her life.
Im happy to say she's well and has had a successful reconstruction.
I took these pics in the hope that being an exquisite needlewoman herself she might see their significance.
Cant swizz some of my pics round, not sure what I havent done ~ but niether blogger nor Picasa are playing ball here, so apols for the sideways tilt again...

It fair breaks your heart to see this chap and read what his ops were about.
I loved that the guy has pulled away the breast pocket of the uniforms and placed this chaps face in one and his family maybe and a keepsake handkerchief in the other.
And see where he has opened a flap in the side pocket where again there is a photograph?
NOTE I managed to post them on 29th the right way up, so do look at them there properly!

It was SO touching to see this, Im still wondering if it was a relative of his from 1939, the dates mentioned thereon. It was very humbling to witness this mans story, whoever he might have been.

knitting & stitching Show (3)

These luscious altered books were done by Christina Brazier and the first one, was just stunning. Im making up a Topic Box of course about WW1 at work at the moment and if only our VI kids could see, this would have been a devotion to duty to make one like this to include in the boxes.
In Flanders Fields naturally features here and the whole book was beautifully scripted within. Loved the little ladybird and the gas mask added to the great sadness. Now if I could lay my hands on one of those at not too much cost, our visually impaired kids would experience the smell of the rubber and the cloying fit of the mask.......ooooh if only.

This book had a latin name, eringium maritimum.........but must be about seeds and growing....maybe its the thistly plant that adorns the piece.
Also cleverly put together and quite charming.

Knitting & Stitching show (2)

Harrogate is a jewel in Yorkshires crown, fantastic old buildings, heaps of atmosphere, though yes, theres a McDonalds there too lol
Our very own Agatha Christie escaped there at some point in her fame, and was nation wide reported as being missing....doubt we ever will know the truth of all that...Do hope the gal got laid at least whilst she was there, to make all the newspaper hype of her disapearance worthwhile!

So theres this wonderful old theatre that has been very beautifully renovated in its original colours and the theatre hall itself is sumptious it has to be said............But what do they build alongside it, with corridors going through and into it.......this monolithic cross between an egyptian tomb and an Odeon cinema.......this folks is the Conference Hall side....where the Knitting & Stitching show is held.
Once inside its like being in a maze, with great maps of how to find the 5 halls but the maps are upside down as compared to where you are at.........on it, at the time of looking....theyd do better to sell compasses for us to find our way from hall A to B to C to TG to downstairs........let alone the blessed loo! ( No bar there............I know why...)

These fab pics were Aspects of Dartmoor by Rosemary Jarvis. it was lovely to see examples of embellished felting used so creatively and with such rich result. Ive a lot to learn yet with this lol
But I really liked them.

Knitting & Stitching Show and what caught my eye (1)

Julia Caprara died in 2008 and these are all her works, the last here of which just blew me away. But this first one, I swear you could feel the breeze ruffling through  the grasses. Name not known to this one.
Gardens of the Sun. This second one was so deep with texture yet it lay so flat against the wall. I checked and it wasnt nailed in place! Rich, vibrant, luxurious and yet so naive in one way too, heres a small are a closer up.

Custodian of the Sacred Vessel and it was easily 5' long.This is sideways on as are a couple more, cos I cant get them to switch round and stay that way at the moment and my brains in slow mode lol sorry, so just swivel your head sideways on and pretent its a yoga lesson.....cough, cough....

Rainment of the Children of Light - Meeting points. Equally long and choc full of this incredible stitching with wow factor.

And this one was simply divine, so subtlely simple but am sure it would take real skill, to achieve that kind of awesome simplicity. It was ethereal and the close ups may show just a little of her stitch craft. Though swivel your head again for the next one, its actually the left side with the small tree on the horizon.
Called Sussex Garden - September. I wanted to take it home and treasure it but would have needed a 2nd mortgage even if it had been for sale.

More to follow despite blogger!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

'Lets draw plants and small creatures' the book!

Very many thanks to Lindsey Cardarelli of Quayside Publishing and to Craftside, which is where I got to know about a super giveaway for this book <<<<<<<<
which Im thrilled to bits to say that I won.

Its winged its way over from the States and I have to say, it is simply delightful.
This particular little A5 paperback book is chock full of the most delish stage by stage drawings, with script text written suggestions, on how to draw plants and small creatures.
Its by one of Japan's most popular artists Sachiko Umoto and there are two other 'Illustration School' books to compliment this one by  Sachiko too.
(So they are on my wish list as of today!)
This would make a smashing gift for someone who wants to learn to draw. 
Theres nothing but positive ideas and absolutely no intimidation in it at all.   It would make it easy for anyone to simply pick up a pen or pencil and allow themselves to draw, as they have never before.
Its style is simple with added little snippets of interest dotted throughout its
the fact that lilacs usually have four petals. It is said though, that finding a lilac flower with 5 petals brings good luck!
Charming, just charming. Im smitten by it.

It would be a perfect gift for a child who wants to learn to draw, since the stage by stage pictures would allow them to copy, even if they couldnt read the words.
I know someone who likes to draw but says hes no good at it, so shall I give this to him for christmas? I will buy a copy  for him, then I can selfishly keep this one!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Hairstyles, wreaths, owls and robins

These three ladies are on a cabinet card that I picked up afew weeks back and couldnt resist at a £1. Three friends, since there are three different names on the back, each wearing very similar blouses and they obviously used the same hairdresser!
The blouses feature what looks like a printed embroidery design, am sure its not been hand or machine stitched and they are definately not real flower sprays.
The hairstyles are very Star Wars or Cheryl Cole-ish dont you think?
The pic was pristine when I bought it, but I'd got caught in the rain and I made the mistake of wiping raindrops off the picture, so now theres this streak across it.......... but I should be able to fix it enough to alter it in some creative way.

The wreaths I made through the summer are taking shape, not too fussy, as is my way. Above I've used some of the rust dyed fabric Ive shown on previous posts and had made the owl from fulled woollies. The lace flower was an eco dye, but am blowed if I can recall what I used to dye it.........though it may have been onion skins looking at it.
My Creative Gene, seems to have a thing about owls at the moment....... and no I havent seen the new Harry Potter movie, yet.

This 2nd wreath has a jumble or two of old red and white buttons and strips of a loosley knitted fabric to decorate it. The green fabric was a sort of wrap like cardigan that had a hole in it, where no hole had been intended. I paid over the odds for it since it was 'holed'  in a charity shop I suppose lol so I could try and embellish with it...............but Ive yet to do that! Still now I have finally sliced into it, Ive no excuse but to continue chopping pieces of it off.
The 3rd wreath is one of the twisted bamboo sprays and I left the dried leaves on, to give it a more rustic effect. But then for some daft reason I draped this old wired, more traditional ribbon about it, very not me ..... that Id been given and stitched the odd patchwork heart on as well.
The jurys out on this one lol
but the one below I adore and wont part with!
Again its the twisted round bamboo, both have a light spray of silver paint to knock back the leaves.
The red and gold fabrics are from my stash but I must have bought them at least 9 years ago, so they figure as recycled and almost vintage!
The patchwork heart was made from some patchworked together squares I bought at our embroidery club meeting a month back, when another member was clearing out her workroom.
The squares did nothing for me as they were, so I cut them up into hearts and have made them into garlands....but this one heart must have escaped!

Having said that I have a thing about owls at the moment, my daughter gave me a pair of her Abercombie and Fitch jeans. I had patched the inner thighs for her where the extortionately expensive denim had worn through.
Not worn through because she has chubby thighs mark you, no way.  Rather because I suspect they over stressed that area of the denim. But Abercombie and Fitch have status it seems, so she wore them with a patch till in the end they were no longer in fashion..... and were passed onto to me to use for fabric. So thus, this owl came about... and a robin or two

this one with a warm woolly fulled chest and rust dyed fabric beak
and this one with a christmas fabric chest and  yellow cotton beak.