Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Look away now if you don't like coffee!

Last Saturday was an exciting trip out for us and here we are all heading to Staffordshire to the Has Bean Coffee Roastery. The purpose of our trip was an espresso training course and you see above that Bob took a new bunny friend. We made this red and white bunny as a gift for Has Bean because red is their corporate colour and you'll see why when we get inside the building.

The Has Van was outside the building as we arrived.
Once inside you start to notice all the red bits and bobs. The roastery was brilliant, even one of the roasters was bright red (unfortunately I didn't seem to get any snaps of the roasters), they have a table tennis table in the office! Looks like a great place to work and Macs on all the desks too.

The big beast of an espresso machine which we had looked forward to seeing and trying out was this, it's called a Slayer.

They are handmade in Seattle and kind of the Rolls Royce of coffee machines, very much a thing of beauty with its walnut handles and can be customised to your choice of finish.

This is a 3 group head and you can see a shot coming through after pre-infusion.

Our training was done by one of the UKBC 2012 finalists, Dale, and his Has Bean assistant Chris. The big boss, Steve, made an appearance and gave us a roastery tour, it's fascinating. These guys are passionate about coffee and really know their stuff.

We purposely pulled bad espresso shots to look at whether the extraction timing was wrong, the coffee grind size, the quantities used etc., all for the purpose of moving forward with pulling good shots and understanding why.

Here are some views around the training area.

I think this was some sort of water and weighing device.

The four hour session passed very quickly, it was great to have this experience and certainly would be good to go on another course at the roastery, maybe cupping or a brewing course. Thanks to all who made it a great day.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

My week - Stoats, Harris Tweed, Veg, Makes

I'm definitely less motivated to blog when the weather is cold and grey but I'm trying to keep up with one post a week.

The week started with a visit from one of the stoats, I go for weeks without seeing them and then all of a sudden you see a flash of movement outside and the little mischief maker is there.
This was a particularly cute stoat, almost two tone and I only got one reasonable photo as it darted off pretty quick.

I seem to remember the sun was out on Tuesday when I went to Beverley and I found a couple of lovely fat quarters and some ribbon on my travels.

The fruit and veg section in Morrisons is really interesting now it has been upgraded and I've probably mentioned before the dry ice being piped over the food to chill it.
I'll really miss Morrisons when I eventually move to an area I know there will be none, I've shopped in Morrisons since student days at the one which used to be in Leeds Merrion Centre.

Lots of interesting things, I don't like aubergines but they had many varieties including this Graffiti Aubergine, maybe I should give aubergine a try again, I think it's the texture I don't like.

I have completed a few 'makes' this week. Firstly Mr Bob the Bunny has a new chum.

As yet un-named as he is a gift. The boys and I are going on a trip on Saturday so all will be revealed what we get up to after that!

I've also finished a few brooches.

And finally, a lovely package arrived today, I ordered some Harris Tweed samples from one of the mills in Tarbert and here they are, the colours are wonderful and much nicer than the photo shows.

Some of the bits are small so I will have to put some thought into my brooch making before I cut into them.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Some competition results

A week on from entering contests and my best result has been joint first in the ukulele poster design, I'm not sure what I have won but I believe they are sending us a little prize which is intriguing.

With the Spoonflower love letter fabric I was really pleased to come 12th as quite a few people had entered, over 370, that was a good result for me.

No news yet regarding the recycling poster.

Friday, 8 February 2013

A week for entering competitions

I've entered 3 design competitions in the last 10 days and just starting on another for next week.

They're a bit like buses, non for weeks and then 3 come along which you want to have a go at! I should just say that I am squeezing these in between work jobs and not allowing them to take priority over paid work, just incase any of my customers read this!!!

Last weekend I entered a recycled poster competition which Pretty Nostalgic magazine were running. The theme was to illustrate what Waste Less means to you and mine is based around clean air and the environment. It's made of recycled paper, maps, scraps of fabric, ripped and stitched.

Then I entered this weeks Spoonflower fabric contest which was a valentine love letter theme. I didn't have to spend too much time on that as I revamped one of my collages of vintage postcards and other memorabilia into this. The design does actually repeat, it was initially designed as a non repeating fat quarter pattern for quilting projects but now it can be bought in metreage too as a repeat pattern.

And then yesterday I hurriedly knocked out some designs for the York Ukulele Festival, I submitted a few as the details were a bit sketchy and I wasn't sure quite what they were requiring. Here are my ideas, I thought they could perhaps shorten York Ukulele to YorkU'lele as the name of the event but maybe that is not obvious enough.

Have a good weekend everyone, make the most of tomorrow there's a threat of snow on Sunday, yuk!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

More Valentine brooches & hankie craft

As you might have noticed I've been fiddling around with the look of my blog. I realise now why I don't change it very often because on Monday morning I decided to pop a new header on the blog. What started out as a 10 minute job turned into a 2 hour hassle. I don't know if it's because the internet connection is so slow here or what but I inserted the header and then lost all my gadgets and widgets at the side. The layout was not playing ball, I finally found my list of followers, blog archives etc but could not get them in the right position, I was going round and round in circles wishing I'd never changed things. Fonts would not stay at the right size, colour and so it went on. I was beyond reverting so kept battling away until I got to where I am now and sort of ok with it!

This week I've been making a few more Valentine brooches although it's getting a bit near the day I guess to actually sell any and get them mailed out in time.

These are made from scraps of fabric, ribbons and vintage braid.

I'm also keen to find a use for some of my vintage hankie collection so this is going to be either an envelope style lavender pouch or a hankie pouch!

It's not finished yet, I think maybe some lace would look nice with an embroidered initial on the front and a pretty button & loop fastener.

It's also been a week of competition entries for me, I've submitted a recycling poster, a new love letter themed fabric for the Spoonflower contest tomorrow and I'm trying to do a ukelele poster for Friday. Might show if it looks ok!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Yarn Bomb at York Art Gallery

I arrived at York Art Gallery about an hour after opening and my first thoughts as I approached were along the lines of where is all the yarn bombing, has it started yet, what do I do?
That's not exactly what I expected, I suppose I'd hoped to see swathes of coloured knitted squares and things.

As I got to the front steps I started to see a few things tied around columns and railings and of course there was a groovy bike which I think you usually see at these things.

I took a few squares and things but I wasn't sure if anyone from the gallery was involved with where you tied things, clearly not, and I hadn't left tails on my knitting so I was a bit stuffed for tieing them to columns. I thought they might have had string or something available. I also thought they needed a sandwich board or something outside telling you what to do or what was going on, it didn't seem to be promoted too well.
I saw a lady wandering around with a lovely big knitted flower but she didn't seem to know where she could stick it.

Here are some of the best bits, there wasn't that much there even after I had been in the gallery and spent a couple of hours in the vicinity.

This brolly was all knitted

These pigeons were sweet, I think they were done by the lady who planned this yarn bomb.

I like this owl one on a column

Below is my rubbishy little flower, I had also left a few squares spiked on railings.

Inside the gallery a whole lot more activity was going on with people doodling, scribbling and even doing good pieces of art.

I took my little friend Bob and he did a self portrait!

We later went back to colour it when we found some crayons.

Kids were having great fun scribbling and the Northern Potters were there too so you could dabble with clay.

Like I say, some people were working on masterpieces.

I also scribbled one of my little birdies, notice how I haven't drawn my stuff next to any of the good stuff, I went amongst the kids drawings to try and make mine look a bit better!

This post is getting rather long but I have to show you these wonderful patchwork textile pieces which are still on display at the gallery.
The wall hangings are regional interpretations, first off, Wales


Northern Ireland

Think this one was Yorkshire & Cleveland

And lastly, one gallery room is showing a York version of a Bayeux tapestry with all the segments submitted by community artists and schools.

It was all very interesting even if the yarn bombing wasn't as plentiful as hoped, I think it may not have been promoted enough. 
The gallery will close and re-open in 2015.

Thank you for sticking this to the end if you have !!!