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!