Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Had to buy them .... and WIP

Last day off, back at work tomorrow and still very much want to drop my hours and have more time off in the week to myself.
I work 32 hours over 4 days at the moment but would prefer 3 days (naturally for the same money!) but we all dream dont we lol

Anyway I popped in to a charity shop, to drop a wedding dress in that pal Jean gave me to take to a charity shop for her.... 2/3 weeks ago!
I forgot it was in the boot and then kept meaning to take it, but finally did this morning! 
(Help the Aged or Age Concern whichever its called now.)
So maybe an old dearie might buy it and make an honest man out of an old darlin' at the day centre there....... who knows.
But there was this book for a £1 and I couldnt resist it.......its choc full of lovely illustrations and memories of when I was a child trying to collect cigarette cards.
Looking back now, what an appalling sales technique it was, to get folks to collect cards and kids, later or sooner as many did I expect, to become smokers.
So keep your eyes out for it in charity shops or at the library and feast your eyes on it.

 It also has pictures of the silks that used to also be in packs, must admit I knew little of those back then.

My parents smoked Woodbines and Players....both pure tobacco I reckon then and they stunk the house out.
No surprise I never smoked myself... by choice, though I must have inhaled as much as them no doubt..yukkk.
Not a very clear pic sorry but 14 little heart charms for £1.50 and 3 of those are cloisonne ....and Im sure thats not how you spell it....
Popped back to the local park to pick some more of the huge shrub that had given me such a fabulous rich maroon colour early in the year on fabrics.
One that I had no idea the name of, well what another surprise!
I know, I know, this time I MUST find out and identify it, again I hear Indias words in my head.... warning, never to pick anything you havent identified.
This is what the foliage looks like now!
Very pretty and  its sizzling away downstairs even now, but the water is nowhere near the rich red it was back in the spring.
So it will be interesting to see what colour is gives this time round, if at all.

And this little piece came to life last night, excuse the small patches of rain water on the top right there........its dried okay thankfully.
Done something abit different with the moon this time.
It was a mishapen bleached out moon on denim, that had a pimply splodge where it shouldnt have had, on its edges.
So I cut it out as a circle and lightly stuck/ironed a little silver foil across it,  linear like, to suggest the silvery moon. Then I stitched a coloured voile over it to give it that murky glow look and from the back, inserted a thin slither of felt, which has padded it abit.
Not sure if I like it padded though, may take that out yet.
Ive layered different fabrics for the sea and will add more as I include my flying fish, adding a little simple running stitch in sections to both hold it in place and add some play of movement maybe.

The fish may yet change shape because I think its too large at the moment.
But the 'interesting' fish fabric and colour is worth mentioning ..... lol
Its silk dyed with mahonia ( yellowy) and then ironed a second or two too long, after turning it right side out after hand stitching.........lol .... so its now a burnished orange!
Duhhhh but I quite like the colour lol

Sunday, 29 May 2011

More Arts Trail at Saltaire

One of the joys yesterday was meeting Claire whose blog I follow and seeing some of her fine work, first hand.
Claire works with adults who have difficulties in life and she is involved with a community allotment, which benefits them in so many ways.
Claire has used much of what has been grown to dye fabrics with incidentally and results can be seen on her blog.
Great to meet you Claire!

Bermantoft again.....but what amazing colours...

You may recognise the cute pincushion rings from Etsy or Folksy and they are as cute as they look!
Paula Perrins of

AND LOOK! I could have brought them all home with me....
so much fun, so cute!

By Joanne Walker of http://www.stitchart.co.uk/
and look at that natty little drawer too.

What great use of the glitsy bracelet as well, doesnt she just look fabulous!

This is the way to see art.......above books, fabulous cards and art materials.
If you get the opportunity, do visit Salts Mill and see what else Bradford has to offer.
The dark satanic mills town has a great deal to interest us !
One of several for sale, cant find the listing for it though but they have one of the lesser houses ...
( ......... streets are named after his family you understand, George, Amelia, Ada, Edward, Fanny, Herbert, Whitlam, Helen, Albert, Constance, Shirley, Katherine, Jane...then theres Myrtle Place and others! )

1, Fanny Street is listed for £110,000 currently but not a patch to look at, as the lovely one above! Room sizes would be about the same mind you
and what a great address.........Fanny Street..........I love it!
Property image

Oh and Riel......a postcard will be on its way tomorrow !

Saltaire Open Houses and Arts

What a feast yesterday, to go and visit Salts Mill at Saltaire and follow the Arts Trail round the townships site.
Salts Mill is an amazing place in itself http://www.saltsmill.org.uk/ go
click to see the huge building and listen to the birdsong and wonderful calming music !
( then pop back leter lol)

" Sir Titus Salt was born near Leeds, Yorkshire, in 1803 to Congregationalist parents. He was the eldest of 6 children. His father leased a 100 acre farm in the area where he worked hard and prospered.

In 1822, Titus’s father Daniel left the farm and started his own business in Bradford as a woolstapler. Titus, then aged 18, joined his father and learned all aspects of the wool trade. He travelled to London, Liverpool, Norfolk and Lincolnshire learning about different types of wool and how to buy and sell between farmers and wooltraders.
When he was 28, Titus bought some Donskoi wool from Russia, but he couldn’t sell it – the tangled fibres made it difficult to process. Some of us might have given up at that point, but not Titus Salt; instead, he bought a mill of his own and began to spin the wool himself. His mill prospered, and soon he bought four more mills in the centre of Bradford. "

This above is taken from the official website so it gives you an idea who Titus Salt was.........do go over there and read about the fascinating story of how the enormous building and the village of houses for his workers was saved, renovated and has become a national treasure here in the north of england. It was all down to Jonathon Silver who saw the potential and realised the horror of plans to build a bypass road through the entire site.
David Hockneys drawings and paintings are hung and can be  viewed within the enormous halls that once housed noisy, dangerous mill machinery.
An amazing place..
Anyways.....30 plus places in the village were open and displaying various art work by local artists and crafts folk. So you got to see the insides of the original old houses themselves, BONUS!
Mostly very small houses with no gardens to speak of, back to back yards and alleys, but the most amazing stained glass windows and I even found (painted over) Lincrusta in one or two of them.
Lincrusta was the Victorian equivalent of our Anaglypta wallpaper, I suppose a cheaper alternative to wood panelling. It was often over painted with wood effect colours, to simulate wood panelling in a way.

If you open the Salts Mill site you can continue to read my blog with the calming music in the background.........neat that!
( from she who doesnt have an MP3 or music in the ear anything...so is easily surprised anbd pleased lol)
OKAY..........so what did I see there?

"Samantha Bryan I am a mixed-media artist based in West Yorkshire."

Go look at this fairy of hers............isnt she simply the most oddball and wonderful fairy ever? Look at the weeny leather shoes! Darent take a piccy off her blog, it seems rude and it was too crowded in the wee house to take a photo then.
 Do go look though.

The houses.......click to enlarge and see the original old stained glass in this one...and the street scene shows what were the larger, foremans houses, one or two in each street no doubt to keep the workers in line when not IN work!

The houses are small but lived in, many rented, several were up for sale, must look to see how much they cost! Mostly lived in by young professional couples since no room in them for families and afew by arty folks....with modern cars as you can see!
Though did spot this old Treasure.... with cream leather bucket seats and a fine old wooden dashboard that had a beautiful grain to it....

Displayed in Salts Mill are stunningly beautiful examples of Bermantoft pottery.........
WOW or what and such rich colours and patterns.....

Jardinaire heaven....

....and lillies, hundreds of long stemmed lilies in pots all over the place, what must that cost to keep them fresh and alive all year long mind you too....
Wonder what the inset metal area behind the lillies was for in its heyday?
 Sir Titus Salt himself before a painting by Hockney of the mill building and below the ground floor room/hall that once was a buzz of machinery and noise... now a wonderfully relaxing haven of books, art materials, paintings and Bermantoft pieces.
Go make a cupper.........more in the next post!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Shelaghs Rosey Rosey -ish and dye results

I can finally say that Rosey Rosey is finished and I can think of nothing else to do to it. Its a twosum hanging now, but I suppose each would work on its own.
I grant you the brown tea towel does nowt for it of course!
I still have a third section to do something with but that will have to have different leaves, because I cant find the rest of the lace edging that I dyed and am sure the others were dyed with a different colourways anyway.
I have added beads and loose stitching to the flowers and took out the padding that had been in them.
Thats the first time Ive used Pro Markers to add to the background fabric, cant think why I havent done it before!

I had a dye session yesterday, with cold water dye and brambles (blackberries). Not bad results for only an overnight session.
My pal jean uses cold water dyes and I'd never really played with them but will definately do so again.
Mind you my moons turned out unexpected lol
I do not seem to have the knack of doing those. ....lol but am not disapointed with what emerged from the pot never the less!

 and think its called indigo, but the cold water sachet, which is SO much easier to sue than those daft little circular tins they sued to have the dye powder in lol
The above right was made by grabbing the wet cloth in the centre and swirling it round bit by bit, so it formed a spiral on itself. Then elastic banding it, to keep it together and pouring the dye mixture on it. That one seems to have worked splendidly, bet I wont manage it as well again lol
And my smaller moons, here at left, morphed into a humorous, spooky Roswell like, something or other!
All these are torn pieces of old linens, antimacassars and table cloths.

Again, a hanky with a whatever it is on it!

Here I used the brambles........3 punnets for a £1.00 at the fruit stall at car boot.........and they were huge, sweet and tasty! 
 I used one and half punnets for dyeing and theres some colour still in the pot to use up. I love the way its two sorts of colours. I used salt on all the fabrics, simmered the brambles in a steel pan and used the hard water from the tap, so nothing special at all.

And what about the crazy pinky red staining below here? You wont guess what that is so I am going to tell you lol
I used a rag to wipe up (spilt) red paint that I used on my front door step last week and threw it in the wash with the dogs towels!
And now the rag is streaked in places with this water mark effect...so its been cut into manageable pieces and is no longer in the duster and rag bag!

And lastly Ive bought a book, and in skimming through it am pleased I did! 
Watch this space, Ive an idea for a Jude Hill / Louisa L Smith- ish, moon and sun!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Picking ones own burial site

 Its not at all mordling you know and my pal Sue selected the events of her burial  with care and with great success I have to say.
It seemed a faultless occasion and must have been a huge help to her family and partner, to know that they were following her wishes and not doing anything she would have disliked.
We should probably all organise our own funerals to save those we love the anguish of doing it after we have gone, it seems fair somehow to me.
( I had best get my finger out and do it myself!)
It's like having made sure you have made a will you know?

Are family likely to know what music we'd have liked them to sit and listen to, what relevant words we might want said, that kind of thing.

Sue wanted a Peace Funeral, where she would be buried and in time able to regenerate the earth and become a part of the natural elements again. It must be some 2 years since she had chosen her spot and selected a silver birch tree to have grow above her.
It wasnt any cheaper than most funerals and it was many years since Ive been to a burial but you know, it was somehow far better than the cremations Ive been to.
It gave a closure of a different kind.
It seemed to be a contact with long past peoples, the way that our ancestors would have done it, laying kith and kin within the grounds arms, so they could become one with the earth again.
And to have birdsong and not other music at the graveside you know?
Just lovely.
Yes I know, there are so many of us we cant all be buried of course.
But to know you will be entwined amongst the roots of a tree, the same kind that you have always loved to sit beneath, and listen to the breeze rippling through its leaves above your head, in life.........what solace that must have given her.

The gathering was in a thirteenth century manorial barn at Whiston, near Sheffield, after which we to drove afew miles out into the countryside, to the woodland site itself.

" The Mediaeval Manorial Barn on Chaff Lane has been restored and is used as a village hall and is available for hire. It dates in part back to the Thirteenth Century and was use by the Lord of the Manor to store the grain collected from his serfs and peasants by way of tax. The barn ceased to be used and fell into disrepair before it was bought by Whiston Parish council in 1985. It was extensively restored and is a Grade 2* listed building. "

Inside were 3 large stitched panels, I think they may have been done by  WI members, I've an idea I have seen them exhibited at Harrogate at a show, but if you know different, do put me right!
Halfway up on the left of the first picture is a stitched version of the inside of the barn itself.
I sat looking over Sues' wicker coffin at that very end of the building, the enormous aged old beams that hold up the thatched roof above us.
We all soaked up the peacefulness and listened to Vaughn Williams music, The Lark Ascending.........again, Sues choice of music.

A lady spoke words from Sue herself and memories were shared amongst us, if not spoken, then certainly in our thoughts.

The collection was to be for her favourite charity, one we regularly donated to, when we were fund raising for own cat rescue group.
The Doctor Hadwin Trust for Humane Research

Sue is now laid in a small forest to be, in South Yorkshire (http://www.peacefunerals.co.uk/Woodland.html) and it was just delightfully peaceful with bird song in the background as the guys carried her wicker coffin through knee high wild flowers and grasses, winding past copper beech, rowan trees, oaks and elders........though I did see a monkey puzzle tree.............not sure what that was about!
(Perhaps a wife or hubby with a sense of humour!)

On the way out after leaving Sue in her place of rest I did notice a lady tending to a plot around a tree. I felt she had kind of missed the point of having a loved one buried in a natural woodland environment......
Because she had planted tulips and daffodils beneath the tree, and they stood about 18" tall, packed together in a 4' x4' block like sardines, forming a protective barrier against 'nature' lol 
It looked like a manicured little enclave of urban garden amongst the wild growth wafting lightly in the breez all around it...
Sue would have had something to say about that lol

And I learned that just before she had passed away, they had heard a  dogs bark at the door of her room in the hospice....where there had been no dog.
So we hope it was her beloved dog Eddie who died a year or so before her, coming for her... we have to hope dont we?

Saturday, 14 May 2011

On a lighter note...pun....and planetary alignments

Having signed up for Jude Hills - Sun, Moon, Stars Whispering mini series I have been lightening fabrics in planetary shapes and was thrilled with this crushed velvet result......no idea as yet what I will do with it, but just love it as it is ~
Love the colour thats left behind, I used the bleach and vim mix again and it took less than 10 minutes.
I stumbled on an old single quilt cover in the charity shop and was taken with the stars on it though it is an odd shade of not quite french navy cum jade background.......but couldnt very well leave it in the sho at 99p!
As you can see..........discharge paste did nothing much to the background colour....lol

I was in need of fresh air today so spent an hour or so beach combing, on the river foreshore nearby. Its tidal so there was that rich briny smell in the air and a fresh breeze, just the job.

I was searching for heart shaped stones.......I wanted one to place on Sues coffin when its buried, but in the end I didnt find a large enough one, so will use one of my own from my garden, that I picked up at Spurn Head a while back.
(I did find a couple of small ones though for Peggy, so they will go in the post next week, along with afew bits of sea glass lol)

On the subject of sun, moon and stars..there is an aligment of 4 planets at the moment which are visible by the naked eye, certainly in Australia and here in the UK but surely elsewhere as well?
(They are mercury, venus, mars and saturn.......good huh?)


and also


so those of you also sunning and mooning, might like to check it out.
It could be said that I have seen the 4 said planets in line, across the UK heavens.........but if Im honest.........I could have 'dot to dotted' 4 shiny 'stars' all over the place and assured myself they were THE big 4!
So whose to really know without a telescope to confirm it and anyway it seems that mars zigzags about at the best of times !
But its an interesting thing to ponder when planning another planetary textile piece ala Judes workshops :)

The loss of a friend

I lost a friend this week.......... thankfully.
She had struggled with ovarian cancer over the past 5 years, which spread everywhere, then lastly into her spine.

I wasn't alone in wishing an end to her suffering and can only hope that she was so morphined up, that she had no pain and was largely unaware of where she was.
Because I know how she would have hated, if she was at all aware, this final indignity, with no control over what was happening to her, in hospice and hospital care.
She didnt much like being the centre of attention at the best of times and here she was confined to bed, with her supportive family and partner awaiting the enevitable, around her.

She hated hospitals and the chemical treatments that we force into our bodies, prefering the alternative routes when possible.
A patient friend she made on her journey, had died of the chemo treatment itself, not her cancer.......
....so when Sue herself took a stand and said, no more chemo.......it was at a stage when chemo might have prolonged her life for a while, but would never have been able to stop the disease itself from its spreading.
The cloth had been cut as it were, already.
She chose to take back control for as long as possible and would only relinquish that, come the end.

We had formed a cat rescue group together having previously worked alongside eachother, rescuing and caring for strays with another much larger group.
She was an opinionated, sometimes arrogant, highly intelligent, smart arse, who suffered fools badly but could be tact personified if needs be.
She had a tongue on her that could whittle anyone down to size and yet rarely needed to use it, because her obvious strength of character carried such impact that words were rarely needed .... lol ....
 besides which, she could give a look that could wither if needs be and would not speak to someone for weeks on end till they submitted ! lol

I respected her, admired her courage during this period, whilst she lived with cancer.........rather than, was dyeing of cancer.
She taught me there is a difference there.
Ive been watching her waste away for these last years yet now that she has been spared more pain, its doesnt make it any easier, knowing she is gone.

We were not religeous, spiritual yes, but I know if shes anywhere beyond our hearts and memories, she will have already found a stray cat or dog, I know that for a fact.............. rest in peace at last pal x

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

My Rosey, Rosey and moons

This is my adaptation of Shelagh Folgates 'Rosey, Rosey' workshop, hope your not cross with me Shelagh!
Its a challenging and enjoyable workshop and well worth doing folks ........ and I did follow it almost to the end ... but got sidetracked as I said previously.
So now my one piece is to become two, or three pieces, to hang alongside eachother.
This is number one!
Having signed up for the Sun, Moon, Stars whispering series with Jude, I did abit of bleaching after work yesterday, not that successfully, but my first attempts, so not to worry.
Having said that I actually do like the blotchy brown and fringed navy one especially. I cant have mixed a smooth enough paste or was too heavy handed maybe, but I quite like the almost textured appearance Ive achieved..accidentally!

 The top left one is so pale its almost not there, centre right is a stamp, but its not clear enough as it is, but the individual circles will cut out and can be used I'm sure.

I cut shapes out of the plastic lids, from large natural yoghurt tubs for these. That top right one is actually round, though it looks skew whiff from this angle lol
These two I really like and if I'd paid more attention to where I was dropping the gunk......the one on the left might have had a more Plough like star configuration on it!

This was a lid to a box I picked up at the car boot somewhen-or-other. It had a piece of glass in its centre, but I knew it could work for a small stitched something.
The bonus is that I still have the 2" deep shadow box base left, with the same mini clapboard sides to it and that too should be able to house a stitched piece at some point.

And this last pic was as I sat at my pc here, last evening, looking out for swallows, to see if they'd arrived yet..

And they have !!!
So I now have swallows and swifts magnificently sky diving above my urban roof top .......... they never fail to fill me with joy.
Their lives are spent pretty much on the wing.
They fly 4000 miles here and then by September, 4000 miles back to Africa.........and yet they are so fragile to look at........
but so obviously, courageous in heart and spirit.......

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Day out and 158 SQN commemorative sculpture

Have done a little more this evening, turned in the edges abit and used coptic markers and fabric paint markers to add some grounding at the bottom.......keep watching......lol

Felt so much better today that I drove out to the jet ski lake where my son has a caravan and met them all there. First time Id been across and was tempted to buy a £700 caravan there myself to simply go and chill at weekends in! Of course there is about £1500 in ground rent to pay as well but still......its in the country, next to water and wild life... anyways...................
I took my grandson off with me for a walk on Fraisthorpe beach, not that far away, where folks congregate to wind surf and sand surf.........if thats what flying about on the sand on 4 wheels powered by a sail is?
If you get a magnifying glass.....................duhhh...thats one of the wheelie guys in the pictures lol......he looked so much nearer when I took it! Grandson was mesmerised by him! ( almost 3 yrs old...grandson, not the guy..)

Stunning sandy beaches, stretching for miles each way, you can see why they like it for the sports!

Anyway on the way back to the caravan we took a detour off the main road, for me to find a fairly new sculpture thats been erected at the edge of the old RAF Lisset site.
The RAF station is not there any more, infact on the land now are several gi-mungus wind turbines.
Huge magnificent rotating windmills, I love watching them, they are fascinating.
I fell for them years ago when I saw them all over the place in Denmark, they have an elegance to them and of course on this east coast we have enough wind to make them turn! But they are pretty lethal to bats did you know that? In their turning, ( simple explanation this...since Ive forgotten the exact explanation lol) air pressure drops and bats need that to fly with so they simply drop and die........I hadnt known that, until recently.

This was a former bomber command station and home of 158 SQN who lost a  good many of the airmen sent out on bombing missions from there.
There was a silo explosion on the station at some point and I think it was 5 airmen who were killed in it, so 5 of the turbines are named after each of them and this award winning sculpture, is to commemorate the 851 aircrew lads who died. Their names are inscribed on the bodies of the aircrew figures here. 
The fabulous thing about this is that
they look as if they are walking towards you, back from flight perhaps or towards their aircraft. They are made of the same steel that our Angel of the North is made from and they are magnificently rusted.
And though there was too much low cloud, at sunset, the sun sets through their faces.........imagine that!
12' tall figures, 15' wide spread, 3 central guys and 2 either side of them with names inscribed on both sides of their bodies.......very, very touching and hidden away off the main road with no obvious signs to tell you they are there.
I think they were placed in positionin 2009 so maybe a sign will appear in due course. You can just make out the wind turbines in the background below...

I cant explain how touching this is to look at, though maybe because I too was RAF aircrew (VC 10s), it means more to me.
But the rusty finish too.........bonus!

Since I had grandson with me and it was nearing his tea time, I didnt get chance to read the bumf so I will go back with a flask and sit on the bench there, and listen to the birdsong and watch the turbines, another time.
But if you google the 158SQN sculpture, theres a fabulous piece about it, will see if I can find the link.
The SQN motto, strength in unity, explains the linked chain emblem and this other sideways on picture, shows you how slim the sculpture is and how the figues are set apart.
So all in all a great day!