Thursday, 2 July 2015

A lovely sunny day and lots of money raised

We had a perfect sunny summers day last Saturday for Let Hope Bloom.
The village hall was trimmed with lovely fresh flowers and bunting.

And here's Linda Barker launching the event for the World Vision charity she is involved with. Linda and sister Jill, a ceramicist, had organised this day of creative workshops to inspire and enthuse us all to do a bit for World Vision and the fearful children of Cambodia which they are now helping to support.

This is my little corner set up and ready for showing people how to make a crochet flower.

I met some lovely people who visited my workshop and we ranged from the complete crochet beginner to a couple of ladies who knew the basic stitches once we got going and just needed a bit of a refresh. The comments from the beginners were along the lines, they persevered but found it a bit stressful although they did say i was very patient! And the ones who had a refresher I'm delighted to say were very enthusiastic to get stuck into crochet again and went off inspired to make more flowers.

I even had Linda visit me when it quietened down in the mid afternoon for a one to one crochet session, we got there with a flower but I think she had the common problem which people have for starters and that seems to be too tight with the stitches.

My little friend Bob the Bunny was with me and he likes Linda and asked if I would take a shot of him and L so here she is and she was happy to meet Bob too!

Some of the more messy workshops, pottery, printing and the kids things were taking place outside. We listened to a talk about World Vision and the local children sang a song which they'd recorded to help raise funds with CD sales.
What an added treat we had when the Vulcan bomber flew over on it's way to nearby Elvington, you should have seen everyones head turn to the roar in the sky and get their cameras out, brilliant, I love the Vulcan.

It turns out we had a very productive day, the aim was to raise £1000 and the latest update this week is that they have gone over that with some monies still to add on from the raffle and auction.
Well done to everyone involved and all who came to support it.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Almost ready for Let Hope Bloom

I've immersed myself in crochet flowers this week as I get ready for my crochet workshops at Let Hope Bloom.

The printouts are done and the mini balls of wool are bagged up.

I've also been making some wearable things to inspire the crochet flower makers what they could go on to make if they master a few basic stitches.

Here we have some new brooches.

I've also done bracelets and a ring.

I've made a scarf with dangly flowers which I was going to wear but I think it will be too warm.

Instead I will wear this neck-tie.

There are so many things a crochet flower could be used for, bunting, hanging decorations, wedding trimmings (see below), placemats, coasters, lots of things which I didn't have time to do samples of.

Time to bag it all up now and get organised. Happy weekend everyone.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Let Hope Bloom

I'm happy to be involved with the World Vision charity as one of a bunch of volunteer crafts people. I was approached to do some very basic crochet flower workshops as part of a whole day of crafty activities for Let Hope Bloom. This is all in a run up to Floral Friday which is raising funds for vulnerable children in Cambodia.

We will all be doing something floral themed as a workshop so as well as my crochet flowers there will be floral paper cutting, ceramics, sewing etc and lots of tea and cake. A small donation is required to join in any of the craft workshops on offer.

The event is on June 27th 10 - 4pm at Ellerton Village Hall in E. Yorks and we have Linda Barker who promotes the charity giving us an opening presentation. Linda's sister Jill Ford who is a wonderful local ceramicist has organised this event.
The local school children have also recorded a song as part of the fund raising and I think they will be performing it.

Should be a fun and creative day in support of World Vision.

Remembering good times over bad times

I haven't made a post for a while, I had been quietly busy until hitting some rough patches as June got underway. 
It's very typical to get a rush of bad things but I suppose that is how life treats us all at times.

So I started June with a very bad back which made the stairs and moving about quite uncomfortable, fortunately a week later this has eased away with some tablets. 

I had the sad loss of my Grandma just over a week ago, she was just 2 months short of her 105th and we'd been looking forward to our gathering at her birthday party. At that age every year was a bonus and fortunately she had not suffered a long illness, a recent small stroke and then only days after coming out of hospital and back to the care home the news they didn't think she'd have long and that was about right. Expected in a way but odd to think she's been around forever and now she's gone.

But I'm pleased to have so many happy memories from childhood jaunts with my grandparents. It is certainly the encouragement of my Gran that I got in to baking, sewing, crochet and foraging with our legendary trips with sticks and buckets to the secret & best bramble bushes in our village. Summer bicycle rides with picnics, strawberry picking and jam making, happy days indeed.

Below, wedding day for Violet & Ted (Grandma & Grandad) 1930

Our clan after my christening. Back row L to R, mum, grandad, dad,
front row, my sister chomping away, grandma, and great grandma holding me!

Days after that news another family member was taken into hospital, out now and hopefully settling down a bit. And then almost hospitalised was my nearest and dearest who seems to be slowly returning to normal.

I hope good times are around the corner, just getting back to a normalish routine is something to be thankful for.

I shall move swiftly on to a charity event I'm involved with.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

New work, crochet and flowers

May had a slow start but I've ended up very busy, mainly with design work and that is keeping me tied to my desk at the moment.

It's the time of year I do label designs for my vineyard client and this year they are releasing some new wines with my illustrations on the labels. I can give you a sneak preview of the new East Coast and Dalesman wine which sound delicious.

The wines are doing very well and picking up plenty of awards these days.

Next in my in tray is a new client which is something completely different, a logo to design for an American space science institute, wish me luck with that one!

In between proper work I've just completed a commission for a crochet flower garland necklace which I've made in some lovely bright cotton threads.

To continue with a flower theme I'm revisiting a craft I used to do many years ago, or rather trying to get back into it for an idea I have and that is the folk art style decorative painting you see on canal boats.

I got my paints out last weekend and started practising the brush strokes. If I can paint a selection of floral motifs then I will try and create a fabric design. I just need some time to spread my paints out and get on with it, it's difficult when you have to work on the kitchen table and pack it away at meal times. Or rather not pack it away and we eat with loads of stuff on the table! Oh the joys of living in a messy confined space.

Hope the weather cheers up for the bank holiday :)

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Spring is trying to spring into life

It seems a late Spring here and last bank holiday weekend was so chilly that I went back to my thermals I'd recently stored away and had to warm up with vest and long johns again. Don't you find the chillyness always seems to happen when the central heating has been turned off!

Gladys the Great Tit has been visiting me and landing on my hand sometimes 3 or 4 times daily for a bird treat. Sometimes she stays on my hand for more than a second and looks at me and tweets, it really is quite sweet. From previous years of having bird best friends, this will usually last until they have their final brood and then they disappear rather sheepishly so I enjoy her friendship whilst I can.

The blossom on the cherry tree was looking lovely on one fine day the previous week but it has been so windy and wet this week it has virtually all blown off now. 

The Daffs peaked but have been battered this week too.

As some of you know, I find this is a pretty grim place to rent with all it's problems but this time of year it looks a little better with a splash of colour and with the thought of longer warm days.

The cool bank holiday weekend was an excuse to stay in and watch the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race in our area. Nice to see them whizzing through Brid, Scarborough & York but shame there wasn't more TV coverage for the villages nearer to us.
I had designed a beer label for this event for the Malton / Norton area the race was passing through.

The weekend also brought about yet more summer scarf making. I have used the crochet moss stitch I like to make this pastel coloured scarf.

With a new ball of soft alpacha wool I've had a go at a lacy shell stitch scarf. It doesn't look too good here but it's a lovely duck egg blue & speckle.

I've also been doing some teeny tiny embroideries which I've tried to show the scale with a 5p. These will turn up in some textile brooches at some point.

And finally, a delicious little thing to share with any embroidery enthusiasts out there.
A lovely parcel arrived this morning.

Beneath the intriguing wrap was this.

This is a box of vintage embroidery threads made in Sweden in the 1960s.

This beautiful yarn is made from flax and has been hidden away for decades after the factory closed down in Sweden. It has been recently rediscovered (I don't know all the story but will link to the site) and is now for sale. The colours and quality are wonderful and having such amazing vintage thread will make a project truly unique.
Check out the site to find out more and if you'd like to buy some, I can thoroughly recommend it.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Quick trip to Skye

I'm just back from a 4 day trip to Skye, it only feels like 2 days with the 10 hr drive up and back filling the best part of 2 days. It was mainly business with a bit of pleasure. 

A few months back I was working on some new branding for hand made clothes shop Skye Batiks, as well as batik clothing they have a fabulous range of handloom smocks which had previously been known as Skye Smocks. They wanted to change the name into something more unique for the smocks, after much bouncing back and forth with ideas the name chosen was Guga (guga is a young gannet).

I designed a fair few logos experimenting with gannets, handloom textures, landscapes, fishing nets, weaving etc and the chosen design is the simple one at the end, blue and white with the Scottish flag. As with lots of designs, it comes down to how easy it will be to produce at a small scale on a woven garment tag and the chosen design works great for that.

I've designed leaflets, mugs and quite detailed folding tags for the garments. They let me have a few mugs and tags to take back as samples but they haven't had the leaflets at the shop yet.

The thing about visiting such an interesting shop is I always find something new to buy and surprisingly on this trip I came away with a 'toy' and not a skirt. They use all the leftover bits of fabric from clothing to make little soft toys, there are seals, mice, puffins and new to me was the sea eagle. They're fab, they are really quite substantial chunky and heavy, beautifully made.

I was thinking of a name for him on the journey back, Eddie the eagle was too obvious and I went through various ideas but I looked at him and decided he was an Idris. Welsh name I know but there is a sense of fierceness to him like a dragon so Idris it is.

Here is Idris showing you some views on the trip, is it a bird, is it a plane, no it's Idris sea eagle!
Below, Idris swoops over Uig bay, you can catch a ferry from Uig over to the Isle of Lewis.

Idris near Duntulm castle ruins. The weather was beautiful whilst we were there.

Idris passes through Glencoe on the trip back.

I stayed in Portree the capital of Skye, I did a walk around part of the bay which I hadn't done before, usually because the weather has been poor but it was the hottest day of the year so far. This is the view from the bay across to the Cuillin mountains.

And when you've walked around and climbed upwards you come to this part which is where they have their Highland games and festivals.

I took my little friend Bob with me and here we are having a very tasty goats cheese salad and fresh raspberry milkshake at Cafe Sia in Broadford.

Somewhere new we went to investigate, and some of you may recognise this if you ever saw an episode of Grand Designs building a turf house on Skye.

This is the turf house at Kendram.

The two ladies who have this have turned their art studio, which was a separate building, into an espresso bar and below is the Single Track cafe. It's a fabulous little piece of architecture with a stunning view from the landscape window.

We got talking to owner Indi who made us some fabulous coffees and we feasted on a huge mozzarella and tomato sandwich. It was a lovely place to while away some time and take in that view.

The trip was all over in the blink of an eye and I'm back here to some weird sleety weather this afternoon!