Thursday, 31 January 2013

A Tactile Solar System AND The GYB Giveaway Winner...

Its January 31st.........
the day when - 
although I forgot to give you a draw date ........duhhh 

I'd intended to pick a winner!

I drew the draw!

And the winner is Hula-la.......... !

I have emailed her, so once I have the address I can post off a little bundle of silky goodness to her.

Many thanks to all who visited, whether from the Grow Your Blog event, or not! It's been a fun event. I must tell you about Baxter, who is safe and well but now called Sid!

I was telling a colleague at work about how he'd appeared and showed her his picture and she got quite overcome. 
Her own elderly ginger and white cat had died last summer and she told me that she would have loved to have given Baxter a home.

Now given that my own two cats had gone off their food and were determined to give him a hard time ........
I homed him on, knowing he was about to be spoilt, adored and cherished by a really nice lady and her hubby.
They came to see him and he was smitten with off he went.
He's having one to one attention and he'll thrive on it.
They live in a quiet road too, so he wont have to dodge the traffic when he's out and about either.
But he's now become a so despite the name change, I think I've done right by the boy.

My two cats are eating again and no longer in a huff........ go figure!
My daft dog........his life was fine before and still is........that's his way lol

I completed the tactile Solar System Board this week and I will be making a second board like this so we have a duplicate to use. 
I used a variety of spheres, the sun is a large 6" polystyrene ball, halved. 
I've used ping pong balls, a sparkly covered plastic bauble ( Mars) and even a fake orange.........all have been halved and painted over.
I put a final sealing cover of modge podge on them too.

I have stitched the halves onto the velcro accepting fabric which we get from  

Mind you......I realise this picture hasn't got the brailled, planet name labels attached, so its still not the finished article as it is now! darn it.

You'll be able to see that I've pierced the halves in several places around their bases, so I could stitch them onto the fabric base. 
I just used a long needle to pierce the 'planets'.
You'll also notice how irregular the planets orbits are.....
lol well, there you go!
I thought I might put the planets moons on as well...........but one of them has 62 and another I didn't!!

Yes........thats earth!
I double sided taped the fabric base down onto a board and then backed that with spare fabric.

This is the other board I made for this topic box...... illustrating why we have day and night on earth.

Right, now I must make some froggy hands and feet for my grandson....
I have him overnight tomorrow and you can be sure he will remember he'd told me to 'build' some for him!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

I appear to have been adopted......

Previously.... I had 2 cats and 1 dog....... but as of thursday evening...
I now appear to have a 3rd cat who as you can see, is remarkably comfortable on my arm chair!

He's been stalking me this past 2 weeks, hurtling across the busy road out front, between cars and in front of cars to make his self known to me when I got home from work.
Ive even heard him meowing outside the front door at night I realise now!
As much as Id said to him was ..................
hey handsome boy mind those cars - 
but sussed he was newly abroad and wondered if the rental folks over the road who left, may have left him behind. 
Folks do that....
I was for years one half of Hull Cat Welfare so collected cats, trapped cats, hand reared babies and rehomed many.
My pal and other half of the group Sue, died 2 years back........but we called it a day once we knew how ill she was, some while before that.
Im thinking she may have sent him to find me lol

Anyway on thursday this young man was not only SAT on my front door step to welcome me home .......he then sat squarely on the huge rubbish bin in my front yard and stared at me thru the front room window LOL SOOOO funny.
Like he was telepathically working on me to let him in !

What with the snow and sheer cold and given that he then allowed me to stroke and pick him up............I brought him indoors.
He was an entire male, torn claws, fleas and none too clean but as daft as a brush............brainless even.

I stashed him in one room, phoned the vets and then took him straight there. He wasn't chipped, no surprise there then.
Im guessing hes about 9-12 months old.
Hes now had his nuts removed, been wormed and thoroughly deflead and I picked him up friday afternoon.

Since which time hes taken residence on the armchair and my lap!
Baxter.........may take a while to get used to his name and my other 3 furries were abit taken aback.........
but I think it will work out fine given time.
My three have been used to strays coming and Baxter will  adjust to sharing our space given time.

Funny how fate throws you a curve ball and you have to think on your feet and make a decision .......
                                              he's here now and become one of us.
We'll find the measure of life as we each learn about eachother.
Meanwhile hes eating well, using a litter tray and flaked out like hes in heaven!
I blame Sue!! ( Bless her!)

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Knitting.....but not ear huggers this time!

First I must welcome the new folks that have visited via the Grow your Blog 'party', those that dropped in and chose to stay and follow along too!

I'm thrilled that you've chosen to stick around with us and I hope the new folks, will pop in and see the blogs of those that were here before.......
and that those of you who were here before...........
will nip over and see the new folks blogs too!
If that makes sense!!  lol

This above, was what greeted me as I opened the window blinds at work one morning this past week......a second later the suns ray broadened and we had a delightfully sunny spell that morning...........above all the snow!
The snow is all but melted here abouts now and that suits me just fine I admit.

Last week I looked out the window there and saw a woodpecker hammering away on the tree trunk, for the first time ever. 
I'd never seen one live before!

This week we had another strange bird... a water pipit!
Another one Id never seen before and wouldn't have known about,
had I not done a bit of RSPB research to identify her. 

Then blow me, today the sparrow hawk returned........we hadn't seen him since Jan 6th........... I fear I'm become a twitcher!!
I may have to buy some

My daughter Tylah is expecting and baby is due on April 29th.
And I have finally had the urge to knit for Evie-bump ~ yes its a girl, name chosen already and fingers-so-crossed, that all goes well.

Now given that I can never follow a pattern or recipe properly ........
I'm amazed that so far, the pattern seems to be similar to the printed leaflet I'm using! 
However, I've had to adapt as I knit, since either the pattern is wrong 
( yes!) or I'm doing things wrong ......... cough - cough -( possible).

I've had 1 too many, or 2 too few stitches at most stages LOL
It's a long time since I've knitted baby bits!
The yarn is ( not recycled on this occasion!) Peter Pan double knit, white with a pretty reflective marl in it.

Still no news about my job yet............but I'm working on making up tactile bits for a Solar System topic Box so the hell with them lol

I saw this online somewhere and darn it now cant find the link for it.
Am so annoyed with myself because its such a great looking graphic and I should credit who designed it.

Anyway, I decided to make it up in a tactile format and have collected spheres in all sorts of sizes, so I could replicate it.
I picked up a big bag of Christmas decorations at car boot for £2 and then halved some of them, before then painting them.

You should be able to see below the halved spheres...........though one was actually a pretend orange, but it was the right size compared to the others.
If you don't already know and most of you will I am sure, the old hand held electric meat slicers are brilliant for slicing through thick foam and also polystyrene balls....although the squeaky sound is torture!

Fiddly I grant you, holding a 6" polystyrene ball and electronically slicing it in half LOL but I still have all my fingers...yeahh!
I stuck the ball in the biggest ever lump of blu tak to try and stabilise it .....the best part of 2 packs might have been overkill............but I do value my fingers!

Below you can see the chalked in orbit paths and the planets laid in approximate positions on the black velcro accepting fabric I'm using.

I have since hand back stitched the orbits with white perle and begun to stitch down the planets.
I will complete this on monday and will show you the completed board resource then.
I will also show you how I stitched down the planets given they are 3D.

I love making models like these! 

I nipped into our Scrapstore this week and picked up just short of 2 metres of cotton fabric with large coloured circles on it for a £1...........

I was thinking the circles would make plain hexis perhaps.
Here it is on my ironing board lol...........hows that for an almost match!

And lastly here's a pic of grandson in his frog costume.......for which he still needs froggy hands and froggy feet......
two of the things on the verbal list he's left me with, 
of things to 'build'for him

Well to be fair, his slippers don't really 'go' !

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Grow Your Own Blog and ......Giveaway too

Now this is a great start to an event I was so  looking forward to participating in !!! 

I forgot to post in time for the start!!    DUHHHHH 

Id blame the snow but having read Suziqus blog post already I dare not use it an excuse, since she bless her, has fire threatening her home with temperatures of 45 degrees!

When you visit blogs on a tour like this, its a great way to see who is out there and view blogs that you wouldn't have stumbled on ordinarily.

So pull up a chair and grab a cupper/coffee/glass of wine or whatever and browse some amazing sites and see some inspirational folks out there in the cybery spaces.

SO HELLO fellow followers and anyone new that pops in from the 
Grow Your Blog Party organised by the kind and by now I hope, more relaxed Vicki at

A little about me....

I first took the plunge to blog because Id seen so much that was helpful on other blogs and I hoped that occasionally, I might repay with an odd insight or two that I knew about.
I hoped I might meet some new folks along the way that might become bloggery friends and I have! 

So a resume of me first....

I came late to stitching but had a NEED to make, when I was just a teenager. I didn't work out until I was an adult, that my need to stitch was a form of therapy for me...........but it certainly is!
I was an Air Load Master in the RAF before marriage and motherhood and the Queen, gawd bless her, sent me round the world on a VC10 aircraft.

 I was responsible for roleing the aircraft and flying with her en route, working out her weight for the captain to take off, fly and land safely!

Naturally it was hell going to Bermuda, Nassau, Belize, Midway island, RAF Gan( the Maldives - sighhhh), Calgary, Hong Kong, Kathmandu plus many others ..........
and YES...........I still SO miss that job!
Before that job though, Id been police and store security, so I've certainly gotten around a bit..........never let grey hair fool you!!
( esp if its dyed over.........)

I am employed ( at least until 31st march...long story that ) in an artistic role devising and making tactile resources for visually impaired children, a job that allows me to recycle and use all the various craft skills I've picked up along my creative journey. 
I love doing it too, thinking laterally and employ as much recycling as I can.
It's like Blue Peter with Braille..........almost.

a matching and sorting activity above
the Lighthouse Keepers Lunch childrens book model below

Little Lumpty another childrens book

and an empty pc box which is now his wall

I like to stitch, knit, crochet, make mixed media and the odd art doll .........yes, I am a dabbler BUT.............its not my fault!

Its my 'Creative Gene' who is my muse............who chirrups in my ear what I should do next...

I quite like her and I seem to work well enough in her undisciplined way...but although I periodically sell under the name of 'RecycLin'.........
I accept that 'Creative Gene', doesn't want to earn a fortune.
That's fine by me too..............unless I am without a job as at April 1st......then she and I will have to rethink life!

I am going to give someone amongst you the chance to win a bundle of something and since I'm late starting here, I haven't photographed it yet!

 So please pop back and see the collected items later on if you'd like a chance to win!

But as a will be Japanese and will be silk............

All I ask is that you tell me what was the very first stitchy or crafty thing you ever it a success or not!

I will post worldwide and although you don't have to follow my blog,
 if you felt we had anything in common it would be so nice to have you along for the journey too : )
There are some lovely folks following along already and you'd have chance to meet them too!

I love felting and driftwood...........wolves and hares

I have a dog ... he has corgi legs and spaniel markings and must have once been human.....£15 from a dog rescue and money well spent!
Oh he didn't unravel the white stuff! 
Its from our local Scrapstore and I was rolling it up into balls crochets and knits up beautifully...... so watch this space....

and I also have two ruined rescue cats...
left over from 20 years plus cat rescuing. 

I'm currently hexing but 'Creative Gene' is whispering knitty and crochet  ideas so I may have to down needle for a week or two.....

Okay............IF you've waded through to should have been rewarded with a photo of the Giveaway which I have yet to photograph - so please pop back for the update piccy!

UPDATE!   I'm giving away 2 silk sleeves from Japanese hauri jackets, both lined with silk and a scrappy bundle consisting of all silk, Indian sari and silk offcuts. See pics below.....

I'm off to attend a candle lit vigil to make a stand against the breeding of beagles locally and worldwide for experimentation...........
so unless I'm arrested for stood standing in contemplative angst............
I will post the Giveaway piccy later this very UK day!
I promise!

Thank you new folks for dropping in ..
......and Thank you too, to those who follow along already......
I wish we could meet up for a cupper and natter along in real life!
Other blogs participating are..

There are hundreds of blogs to visit but I'm not sure how to link multiples into this please nip over to Vikis blog for direct links to participating blogs..........and check out Vikis wonderful nests whilst your there!!


Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Northumberlandia - the female form

I dont have photos of my own of Northumberlandia to show you but include a couple of links so you can read her story.
This above is taken from one of the links and you can see the artists vision with the paths that you can walk along.

She was a feature on a recent BBC Countryfile programme and she intrigued me.
 I think its her lush figure and her position, laid on her back on the earth and a part of that earth, but not in a submissive manner. 
She's reminiscent of the revered ancient figures of womanhood and Goddesses.

She strikes me as being a great subject to simulate in textiles in some way perhaps you may see her in the same way?

She has been created from tons and tons of soil and clay that have come from a nearby mine and she lays like Mother Earth with a water nestling around her delightful curves.

I haven't been up to see her yet and at the moment the official site photos make her look manicured and sparse. 
But she is a new attraction for the North East and I imagine once the turf takes hold and perhaps small wild flowers ( if allowed!) emerge on her bodily slopes... she may blend in more. 

I think she could be an interesting place to go for a wander and perhaps there will be balloon or helicopter trips so you view her from above  which must surely be how you'd view her best of all!

Oh yes.......... and I may have counted my chickens before they were hatched as far as my job is concerned lol
The letter I have had simply advises me which of the 4 counties I will be considered to work for after April 1st.
Previously 4 counties paid for us all to work in our Joint Arrangement Service and with the big split, our staff are first being reassigned to whichever county they had contracts with.

The next stage is for those councils to decide whether they can fit us into positions in their new planned structure.
 And my tactile post wasn't in the first planned structure for Hull who I have a contract with, nor was the post listed in any of the other 3 councils structures.
So now I await to see if they have listened to our view that the tactile post is necessary for the sustained production of useful and relevant resources for our visually impaired kids.
So I may yet not have a job after 31st March lol 

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Embroidery Club meet

January's EYES meeting was today and I took some pics of a couple of members work on display. 
The crocheters amongst you will appreciate how much work went into this cover!

Apparently it was spotted on Ravelry and had been in a magazine which Jackie ( Parker) had managed to buy a back copy of, should have asked which one in case anyone was interested.............duhhhh, but I didn't sorry!
I couldn't live with it on my bed but I do think the squares have been cleverly formed and I really like the edging.

I was very taken with this beautifully shaded patchwork with applique by
Chris Hart...........

We generally have a sales table where members bring something from their stash that they have decided they no longer want.
You can bet someone else wants what you've discarded lol and by selling off the items at much subsidized prices, within ourselves, it boosts our funds.

I have shed loads of wool but could not turn away from 6 of each of these two cottons. 
£1 for 12 here for £2........a no brainer, right?
Naturally, many of you will use that same logic and follow my reasoning lol

The rose is Rowan 'fine milk cotton'.........70% cotton and 30% 
MILK PROTEIN............?
I'd not heard of milk protein being used but guess its an eco yarn and it will be interesting to see how it knits. 
( Have I any idea what to knit with it? Noooooooooo not yet!)

The sage green looks like a smooth version of the old crepe yarns?
Looking briefly online it appears to be a Danish cotton.
I must gather together the other odd balls of cotton I've picked up on my charity shops travels, I've an notion there may be a cotton afghan lurking somewhere in my mind.

Oh and some good news!
I had a letter today confirming that Hull Council will be offering me employment past March 31st! 
Yeah!! The tactile post I'm currently employed in, lives!

However.........they also say that my new contract and pay scale may be subject to it looks as if they may be reducing my pay scale.........but I will still have a job! 

And the crafty sods say, I have to sign as accepting the proposal by 18th Jan and yet I may not have been informed by then, what my new contract salary will be!
But on the strength of the letter ...........I may have to open a bottle of wine! : )

Friday, 11 January 2013

First completed handmade of 2013!

So here's my 15 Minutes of Play, fabric challenge totally completed...
with its buttons and button holes stitched on the back. 
The front ( picture) is in my previous blog post but here you get to see how I used the jumper welt as the flap over bit.
So this counts as my first completed handmade for 2013....heyyyyy !
But lets not hold our breath too long for the next one.......
remember I'm still hexi'ing away here.......

At work this past week I've been making up items for a Solar System Topic Box and I have made up this tactile board to illustrate why we have day and night. 
I have to flight test it with a VI child yet but I think it should work out okay.

Now I saw this great post on Terry Grants 'And Sew it Goes' blog and thought you too may like it too...........Mary Anne it resonates with your recent post about thumb twiddling too I thought lol
Please pop over and read what Terry has to say....
about 'that January thing'

Saturday, 5 January 2013

A bargain Linoleum book!

A useful reduced, (new) book store in Hull is closing in a weeks time, the staff having been made redundant between Christmas and New Year.........out of the blue. 
Such a shock and shame for them and a store I often popped in and frequently bought from. 
Yesterday I paid the £2 for this US $30 book ............and no, I'm not a linoleum fetishist.....
..........each to their own and no offence intended lol

It's actually an interesting read about the product and its growth and decline in popularity.
It's specifically about the early linoleum made of linseed oil, resins, cork flour and pigments on a burlap backing and I wouldn't have guessed these were the ingredients for lino! 

This is not about vinyl mind, it's about the lino invented in 1863 and all but replaced by vinyl in the 1960s and features a great many photographic reproductions of vintage designs.
There are some wonderful vintage advertising reproduced too........but its the pattern colour plates that took my eye....
one of the end plates below for example below.

Patchwork layouts and above a couple of applique possibilities maybe?

And whats not to love about this next page!!! 
I've never seen lino or vinyl in such a fun kids pattern. 
I bet it wasn't cheap and our home had the very basic lino's as I recall from my childhood days.

The other thing that I think is interesting are some of  the vintage edging designs, which would lend themselves as unusual but attractive, quilt edging designs.
If you can pick it up at this bargain price, it could be inspirational for fabric placement designs, but its perhaps also worth taking a look at it in the library if you can find it. 

It's about 10" square, quite heavy and printed by Gibbs Smith of Salt Lake City in 2003 and the authors tell us that Linoleum has been relaunched in the past 20 years....who knew - certainly not me!
The current suppliers listed are all in the US and Second Hand Rose in New York ( shades of Streisland lol) supplies vintage linoleum if your interested!
: )

Thursday, 3 January 2013

I have started piecing the hexis as an antidote to gloss painting LOL
Who knew how infuriating painting old banisters could be!
They were already blethered in paint, at the bottom of which I'm convinced is old (its dark brown) leaded I daren't strip the paint back to seek out any glorious wood....
...and chances are it wont be prime pine or teak anyway hiding under the layers of paint!

It doesn't look as if there's a design process going on with the hexis but I'm hoping the idea in my head, comes together as I piece along.
Reds flowing into pinks and lilacs, mauves, purples and so on in wave like will see how it goes.

I had put my grandsons name on the fleecy blanket that he has on his bed at mine but he told me off over Christmas, saying it should say his surname
So next time he stays over...........that's now sorted!

I hadn't noticed how skew whiff the letter 'i' was whilst stitching, but when I did, I quite liked it that left it. Mind you if Jack turns his nose up...........I may have to re jig it yet ....! lol

Am back at work next monday...........and could cheerfully stay away!
We find out this month who amongst us will still have jobs and which of 4, education authorities we will be working for.
 At the last review my tactile post was not included in the great new scheme of things, so the suggestion may be that my post is being written out. Unless it was an oversight, maybe .....

My boss and I both put in business plans of sorts, to try and have them keep the tactile post on and maybe take it further in the future.
I could train folks, using pdf formats or class/workshop sessions and the council could then trade or attract income from the post.............if they use some common sense. Ha!
The fact is the Councils are reviewing all job specs and pay scales and have not released any figures, which leads us and the unions to assume they will increase job responsibilities and probably decrease pay scales!
Which of course can affect our pensions too.

For two pins Id set up in business myself, but part of me 63, can I be 'bothered'? I'm not sure I can, although it would be great satisfaction to do so, even if I never did make a big income.

Anyhow I don't have the finances to do so, but I may have to think a way round that, if my post has been written out lol after all, I do have a blessed mortgage to pay and my pensions will not amount to much.

I wish now, Id fought to having some of my ex husbands pension when he took off with his totty, as the solicitor at the time suggested. 
I was silly to not do so, serves me right lol 
But no point in worrying till I know for will get a gin and tonic, curl my legs up on the settee and stitch in some hexis........therapy two fold!