Sunday, 27 December 2009

Japanese Sashiko Textile exhibition - York

Today was my first proper run out since the snow and the destination was York Art Gallery to see the Japanese Sashiko Textile exhibition which is on until some time in January. The centre of York wasn't too bad in terms of icy paths and shoppers although some of the side streets had paths as slippery as glass, plus the shoppers started appearing in force by lunch time.

The Gallery was pleasantly quiet and the exhibition was superb. Sashiko is a decorative form of stitching and a very old Japanese craft technique for embroidering decorative patterns and reinforced areas onto workwear garments. On display were beautifully decorated and woven fishermans smocks, firemans coats etc. done in this technique. Symbols were embroidered such as rabbits, leaves, flowers and the like as protective symbols for when the men were out at sea. The garments are generally blue, dyed with indigo which was also thought to repel bad spirits and snakes. Certain areas had their own patterns and styles.

Also on display were wonderful modern textiles by Nuno Corporation who try to incorporate traditional skills into their weaving and textile art.

In the gallery shop they had a few Japanese sewing kits for making your own little Sashiko items and trying the stitching technique. I bought the pin cushion kit you can see in the photo.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Christmas food

The festive meal finally came together in the form of a few Indian dishes, one newly invented which I will call 'Sprout Aloo', it was based on Sag Aloo but without as much spinach and the addition of course of sprouts and chestnuts. Also seen in the balti dishes are cauliflower & coconut curry and a tarka dahl, served with cardamom rice.
Turned out quite tasty and plenty left for some reheating at a later date.

A few hours passed before the M&S christmas pud came out, wasn't that impressed. I bought the luxury one but found it a bit bitter and I don't like finding raisins with seeds in. The moral here is I will have to make the effort to make my own next year and control the seedless raisins!

Visiting the folks tomorrow so have just finished this flower brooch for part of my mums pressie.

Will probably have a few light nibbles later but apart from that I guess that's me more or less done for another Christmas. I think when you work for yourself and one day is pretty much like another and when you don't have any kids around, it really is just another day but with different food.
Hey ho! Merry Christmas all.

Christmas presents

Christmas is here again, been a lovely sunny day with plenty of snow on the ground still, so looked really festive.
I have hardly seen any friends or family on the run up to Christmas with being snowed in so few presents have been exchanged. Not that that's a bad thing, I wish people wouldn't go mad buying things and I'm really trying to give more handmade presents and spend less in the shops.

I did have pressies from a couple of old friends and they were absolutely lovely. One friend always seems to find wonderful festive decorations and this time I received cute little fabric soldiers and stockings which were great to jazz up the small tree I have.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Festive Greetings on Christmas Eve

I'm trying to feel festive, I had a glass of mulled wine and got a few trimmings out. It is just a few trimmings as most of my decorations live in boxes, ready to leap out kicking and screaming in full blown sparklyness when that glorious day comes and I have a house to call my own again!

I really will have to start thinking about food soon although it's been too cold to muster up any enthusiasm for cooking or food preparation in a kitchen which is only 14 degrees at the moment. I usually do some sort of christmas meal which involves chestnuts, mushrooms, & pastry but the plan is to be a little more exotic this year and prepare some Indian dishes.
Haven't had time to make any puddings so have succumbed to an M&S pud. Have also got a back up veggie haggis incase all goes pear-shaped.

If anyone out there is as sad as me on a computer today then I wish you a very jolly Christmas!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Skye Batiks bag with my design

When I was in Skye the other week a trip to Skye Batiks was inevitable, especially as they had a sale in full swing!
What a fortunate occasion as they had some new shopping bags with my design, I missed out last time they did a batch so this time I couldn't choose and bought my 3 favourite colours.
They also had a black skirt with the design and it was in the sale so even better!

I hope on the textile course we get to do some fabric printing and then I won't have to spend so much money in Skye Batiks if I can do my own!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Skye Chocolates & Sloe festive drinks

What better way to spend a snowy afternoon than in the company of some lovely chocolates and a tipple of sloe vodka.

During a flying visit to Skye last week I went to see my friend who makes the Skye Fudge and she is launching Chocolate Skye, a range of lovely chocs handmade on Skye. I came away with my festive fudge order and a good supply of the new chocolates to sample. Favourites so far are dark choc truffle with raspberry & balsamic and white choc truffle with coconut & lime, very delicious and not a bit sickly as you might imagine.
I don't think the chocs are ready to order online yet but here is a link to the site with details

As for the sloe drinks bottled in september, my 3 varieties are ready to go. I have sloe gin, sloe vodka and mixed sloe / damson spirit. The vodka and mixed are my favourites as they seem a bit more fruity than the gin but then I'm not a big fan of gin. Just need to find some bottles to siphon it off for gifts.

Textile collage done, I think!

My collage is basically finished. I might just do one or two more twiddly bits and I can't decide whether to tidy the edges but I quite like the rough and ready sides.
It just leaves the paperwork to go with it now.

Due to the weather the exhibition has been cancelled until the beginning of Jan so I have a bit of time to faff with any final touches.

More snow overnight

Yesterday I was busy sewing my textile collage for most of the daylight hours so I didn't get to appreciate the snow and how lovely and festive it looked out here. Of course it's not easy to get excited about snow when the temperature inside isn't much warmer than out!

But, this morning with more snow overnight and my collage all but finished and the warmth of the sun, I braved the weather to go for a walk and take some piccies. Decided to go down the green lane near here just to the next village and back by the main road to see how bad it was. The snow was pretty deep and definitely more than we had last year. Lovely animal tracks zig-zagging across the paths, and the main road was rather slushy with only a handful of cars heading in a York direction.
Have placed a thermometer outside and as we head towards mid-day it is registering -5.6 outside, pretty chilly eh!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

First snow

Haven't had a spare minute for blogging recently. I am frantically trying to get a mural finished for college and it's taking a lot of stitching and making. It has to be delivered to a gallery in Brid on Saturday as we are having a mini exhibition of our maritime themed murals.
Also really unprepared for Christmas, hardly done any festive shopping. only half way through my cards, no trimmings up and not even considered the nice stuff I like doing at this time of year like baking.

This picture is about as festive as its got so far, the first snow has hit the Yorkshire Wolds and it's freezing here, that's not so much the snow but the old house!

Roll on next week when the college work is done and I can get back to normal work. Christmas is such a chore these days, I'm sure one year I will enjoy it again! Bah Humbug!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Textile course - homework 5

Following the busy spell with the craft fair comes another busy spell with work for the course which is supposed to be resulting in an exhibition of our wall murals towards the end of the month.
We are working on murals based on our maritime work. Mine is turning into quite a sculptural piece showing things loosely based on layers under the sea. Lots to do on it still with little time!

Monday, 30 November 2009

Craft fair in Driffield

After a very late night finishing stitching and labelling things, I made it to the craft fair on Sunday just before the rain came down, and I got the stall set up minutes before blast off.
This photo is very poor and fuzzy, but for me it is a record of the event.

Despite the foul weather this was my best craft show yet in terms of sales. It's odd but I sold more of what I didn't expect to sell and less of my usual best sellers, but guess it's just the way it goes sometimes.
It was also nice to see a few friends call by the stall and buy a few bits n pieces so thank you to all who said hello.

Unusual gifts

Have had a friend visiting this area from Devon over the past few days which has been fun but hectic in amongst my craft fair goings on.
She brought me some lovely pressies consisting of this homemade vodka which smells lovely, I haven't sampled yet. And also these flowers, they are actually edible and I believe chocolate. They really look too nice to dissect at the moment!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Craft fair items - 2

Time is rapidly running out and as I'm out tomorrow it leaves just one full day to get everything finished and labelled up.
Just done these flower brooches but have all the pins to attach. Also made the fingerless gloves from a recycled felted jumper.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Brooches for Driffield craft fair

Things are quite frantic on the making front with only 4 days left before Sundays craft fair. I've lots of things half started, like purses cut out but need stitching, brooches done but buttons and pins to add, most things still to label and price up, lavender bags to be stuffed last minute to have the fragrance as fresh as possible.
Of course with 'real' work and college project (which is a bit of a tall order to get a mural done for 7th Dec but that's another story) I'm definitely burning the midnight oil this week!

I know all my crafts won't get done, I wanted to do festive solstice wreaths but I can't see there being time so I guess I'll have to concentrate on what I can achieve.

Anyway here are a few new brooches, felt apples and textile art miniatures with beading.

Visited Beverley school craft fair

On Sunday I made a flying visit to the festive craft fair at Beverley school. I was quite keen to see how people had set out their stalls and also to get an idea of what type of things were selling. All good research for my stall next weekend.

I bought a few bits n pieces as you can see here. There were quite a few knitting stalls and these cute little christmas tree decorations were only 80p each, infact everything on the knitted stalls were really reasonably priced.
The small doll brooch and little bag were on a stall with lovely things from Nepal.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Harrogate, Knitting & Stitching Show

Yesterday was the show in Harrogate which I went to with a friend and we had a fab time. The conclusion was there was far too much to see and do in a day. We didn't even get chance for a look or a go on any of the workshops.

There were so many wonderful wools, fabrics, beads etc. to see that you ended up overwhelmed with choice and I was fairly restrained with my purchases. We did gather plenty of leaflets and info for researching and ordering stuff online.

One thing we were impressed with was a lady with enormous knitting needles like broom handles and instead of using wool she knitted with strips of wool blanket which made a very thick material and great for rugs.

The picture with the faces you see here is by an artist called Kerry Mosley, they were very delicate fine thread and bead pictures.

Also shown here some lovely little notebooks and a photo of the bits n bobs I bought.
My head is absolutely buzzing with ideas but there's so much work, college stuff and craft work on the go at the moment it will be a while before I can put some new ideas into action.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Knitting & Stitching Show

Tomorrow is the Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate. I'm really looking forward to it, I've been lucky enough to get a lift. Had I not been so lucky I would've gone with the college group but I'm not good with bus travel so it's a relief not doing that.

I'm sure my wallet will be groaning at all the wonderful stuff I'm bound to see. I've also been told it is very tiring and gets hot so I'm trying to get as organised as I can for surviving the day!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Felt donuts

I found a blog not so long ago with someone seemingly making nothing but felt donuts and they looked so real and yummy and fab. I haven't been able to find it since and really wanted to have a go myself.

Anyway I have found another blog and the person has kindly put a free download for their felt donut pattern. Here is the link to the blog and these are my first 2 donuts.

Knitted sheep

Isn't this little sheep adorable. I bought him at the East Riding Artists Christmas auction on Sunday night. He was made by Cluny Chapman and is made from wool from her own sheep which she spins and knits up into lovely things.

At the ERA festive social they ask for hand made donations to auction on the night to raise a few quid for the kitty. I took some brooches, a cupcake pincushion, some hand made paper & cards, it went really well. I had hoped to win the bidding on a bag of fudge Selina made but I was outbid. Penny took some of her new pots filled with beautiful holly but they were auctioned off as one lot instead of individually so I had to pass on that. We had a lovely evening even though it didn't particularly feel Christmassy being only middle of November.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Just made - Fresh batch of Cupcake Pincushions!

I think I've made enough cupcake pincushions for the Christmas craft fair now, given that I didn't sell any at the last craft fair.
This time I've gone for an assortment of sizes which will correspond with assorted prices, maybe that might attract more interest.

I've sold a few to friends which have gone down quite well. I have also been searching the charity shops for cake stands to display them on and luckily I found a couple this week.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Textile course - homework 4

These are my latest textile samples.
Bottom 2 pictures are samples of using pleats and rusched roundels. Top picture is woven fabric strips on rug canvas.

Wet Weekend in the Lakes

Escaped for a long weekend in the Lakes. The weather was particularly wet until going home on Sunday so I didn't get many pictures.
Stayed near Carlisle, I wasn't very familiar with Carlisle & Penrith so had a look round as I had done some research on the internet pre-trip and found a few fabric and craft shops to visit.

Got these lovely pieces of fabric and the ball of wool is Herdwick wool, Herdwicks are my favourite breed of sheep. The wool is coarse so I think it will be more suitable for small knitted brooches.
It was lovely to find traditional looking shops and I spotted this grocers in Penrith and the Victorian coffee shop in Carlisle.

Also did some shopping in Keswick which is one of my favourite places and picked up a supply of mint cake and brandy butter for christmas.