Sunday, 31 July 2011

It's been a sad week.

We had to have one of our cats, Tallisker (Tally for short) put to sleep on Friday, a heartwrenching thing to have to do. She'd stopped eating properly 2 or so weeks ago, then hardly at all a week ago & we took a thin little thing to the vet. She got vitaments & steroid injections but within 5 days she was barely taking water off a teaspoon, couldn't support herself & then became incontinent. It wasn't a difficult decision with all that happening.

She'd been braindamaged from when the cat rescue place found her & a few others stuffed in a bag shoved under a bush & water had got in. I don't think the place knew she was damaged, but when you needed to put her food under her nose for a good few minutes & then she suddenly delightedly found it you knew. She also had a similar thing to an 'intention tremor', as in knowing what she wanted to do but couldn't, rocking back & forth trying, as in getting thru a catflap. Got there eventually, similar to Parkinson's, apparently.

She had the sweetest face, always with a bit of food stuck on the end of her nose, as she didn't constantly lick herself as a normal cat would. Nor did she wind herself round your legs - you had to go & get her to give her a scratch & when you did she practically stood on her head getting into the itch! The moment you went into the room she would purr & she died puring, a tiny little sound by then, but still there. I managed to control myself while waiting - the vet & reception were just great - but the appointment before us was a kitten having jabs, I guess & when she was brought out it really got me. So I thought it would be an apt photo to show of her as a kitten in the arms of my little ones, 16 years ago.

She's the tortoiseshell on the left, this is from one of the photo albums we did in those days. I didn't mean to burble on so much, I know you'll understand how distracting it's been so I haven't done much in the studio. I can't imagine how people cope with their loved humans being ill. What brave people we are. Strangely I thought it would be the black one going first as she got thinner recently, 16 is a good age tho. Sorry to be so sad here, I'll be fine.

So I will have today to catch up on things & start a new piece & these are the flowers to inspire me.


Rambling Rector going over


To cheer us up here's a pic of the sweet card our youngest sent from Mongolia.

The cut out square is only about 2" x 1", you have to hope tweesers were used but I imagine it's more like tiny nimble fingers made this, I hope they enjoyed it. The other good news is the photos that were lost are now found - there are hundreds of pics of kids sleeping on busses & blurred passing on the bus shots but he's going to make a file for showing the grandparents/aunts/uncles so I'll try & grab some of those. This  card shows exactly the gers they were staying in.

I did manage to make myself go to the talk given by Diedre Nelson textile artist on Thursday night - if I live in this stunning place then I must be prepared to travel for 45 mins up the Island to Portree where most events happen - & was gratified when she recognised me from a workshop I'd done with her making wired flowers about 3 yrs ago in Plockton (where I'm having my exhibition in 6 weeks!) We're to make knitted or textile herrings ! & this knitted shoal will greet a small ship that's arriving in Portree in September as its the year of Islands apparently. This ship is totally covered in mirror tiles, called Celeste & is in honor of the pirate radio Caroline.......I remember listening, I'm sure. Anyway, it's all rather involved so the bit I'm concentrating on is that the fish will be auctioned/sold in aid of RNLI, which is good & it/they will be along the lines of my 'white' hanging with added silver bling...Diedre is part of an exhibition at the Dovecote gallery in Edinbro - I may have to ask my dil to be to go take pics! If you go to her blog & go to pages & then fish exchnge  you'll see what a busy woman she is.

Now I'm off to cheer myself up even more by visiting a few blogs before I get busy myself ;)

Sunday, 24 July 2011

The best laid plans

Well, I was all set to post early today & have almost a whole day of catching up with all the things I should have done before like finishing off pieces & actually getting them framed & on to the wall. Oh & a bit of weeding... So I got tangled up in stitching on the beads & the hanging cords - well, you wanted a twiggier twig didn't you?!!! ;) Then a phone call, then could you believe too much sunlight outside, too breezy to set the things down in the shade & so I settled on the studio floor but could I see the shadow that the camera picked up? No. I fiddled with brightness & contrast & just made it worse so here they are as all I can manage.


I decided to do a creamy gold hanging & was amazed by all the white flowers I have & the weeds in the fields around. I took 8 in all I think but that would be another half day gone if I showed you them all - one day ;) So I chose the Shasta daisy, right on the edge of my garden or it would take over

 the common daisy, a blown out pic, sorry, to much sun, see?

& meadowsweet down just above the shore

For the sample & hanging I laid down some undyed wool tops & strips of all my white cream & gold bits  pieces. No blending visible with white wool on white fabric but it feels nice & soft. For the large daisy I suggested the white with squares & strips of a shinyish cotton (?) for the tiny daisys, squares of silk only just needled down which ruched them up nicely & builders scrim for the meadowsweet.

When it came to the metalic gold petal stitching I got into technical difficulties, bending the needle by fme stitching thru my index finger, quite a shock but managed to keep the blood from 2 holes off the pale fabric! I then broke 2 needles, thats 3 in less than half an hour! but they turned out to be 70 (70 whats I don't know!) & found a 90 by scrabbling about thru every basket & box. 70 obviously couldn't cope with the intense amount of stitches in the middle of the flowers. Enjoyed meandering over the piece with hand stitching - it felt like plain sailing after the needle incident...til the beads.

While I was in the white mode I stuck together a couple of cuffs - I recently sold a creamy one, a few colored ones , oh & a couple of the 'After Ruth Rae' collages I did earlier this year so as the white stuff is still out I'll make a couple more for the show...time is passing!

The youngest got back from Mongolia safely having had a fabulous time, loved trekking on the horses, didn't like loosing his pics by formatting by mistake - his leader might have a program that will retrieve them...nor was digging a toilet for the orphanage, part of the project, 2m deep by 1 1/2 wide his favorite thing! preferred teaching English & playing with the kids. Took a pic for me every time he saw felt & lined up the felt hostel slippers to show me, very touching, hope the pics aren't lost. He also brought back a prayer flag so I've tied it in the wind & said 'health & happiness' all over it, so here's hoping!

There's an interesting video on felt & a Mongolian 'fantasy yurt' on Quitlers Cottage Norfolks blog, (on my roll). I'm interested in making a prayer flag or 2 but not a ger (Mongolian for yurt) ;)
Right, 7 hrs left til bedtime - I will not be distracted! (she says hopefully)

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Two more hangings

 Almost finished. I had a shuffle of my work days this week so wasn't able to finish off the hangings today. Even tho the shop closes at 6pm on  Sunday I started at the ungodly hour of 9am. Still a long day but better than finishing at 10pm & I'd have been up for B&B breakfast at 8.30 anyway. Mustn't grumble, well, much anyway, glad of the extra cash the job brings as the studio is pretty quiet. We'll just keep on with the various bits of diversification for as long as necessary.

Anyway, this week I chose Foxgloves & Forgetmenot - I took a pic of a forgetmenot ages ago but it's dissapeared & they're well over now. My beautiful foxgloves are almost gone, I do love them. I took this pic a couple of weeks ago.

Here's the sample

This may have gone a bit dark but I'm on the lap top tonight - normally it's set up to run on the pc  moniter - & I find the density of the image changes quite a lot with the angle of the laptop screen. It's lovely to use tho, I can see us not bothering with the 'big screen' eventually mainly as it's a faff to plug it all back in & you can use the laptop anywhere in the house. More of that technology stuff!

Anyway, here's the hanging.

I'm pleased with how it's turned out, a little similar to last weeks but the flower colors are the flower colors. I'll hang them away from each other. More stitching needed. I just want to say how great it was that you all joined in the 'twig' debate. I loved everyone's helpful comments, loved the disscussion, thank you.

The next hanging's color choice came from the fabrics - I looked at the boxes in the corner my 'stitching room' & saw burgundy & burnt orange/terracotta. I lay down the background & then went into the garden to find the matching flowers. ;)

This is more purple than I thought - I seem to have 3 similar clematis, 2 I bought for my special birthday last year & one that flowered just after I took this pic mid week was probably a better color, more deep magenta - I thought it had died. You get the idea ( I seem to say that a lot!) The flower with it is a Hieracium Auranticum, a mouthful that really doesn't flow off the tongue & I never remember it. A weed really commonly called Fox & Cubs. I love it but it's going to seed now & I must go round cutting back, tho the wind & miserable rain today has probably saved me the trouble (a good day to be stuck working indoors) so I'll have triple the flowers next year. So I was thinking burgundy more than purple & anyway decided to use a lovely potentilla as my inspiration.

I came up with this sample

I realised at the last minute that I'd almost run out of gold thread, I mean how could that happen?! I had a look in the Middlest's fishing lure tying box - I'd given him some gold thread to tie with once - but I'd already had that one & not replaced it. ;( Luckily I had some copper metallic thread & look forward to using more of it on the sample & hanging. I thought I had some silver metallic that I could have used on the blue & purple hanging but that seems to have run out/dissapeared too. So more fme & some hand stitching needed too. I'll get there in the end.

I did have 5 little beads but whenever I turn round I loose something, it'll turn up!

We're off shopping in Inverness tomorrow - I'd swapped my days to be here for B&B as the DH & Middlest have got to go buy a black suit for the Merchant Navy/ Nautical College which starts end next month - number 2 flies the nest! I'm a little emotional to say the least, (but not in front of him!) They could have mentioned you'd need a plain suit before he bought a beautiful dark with pin stripe one for his interview - still, it got him in to college ;) We've only got a booking for tomorrow pm so I get the benefit of a 'day out' as no booking came in for tonight & I'll hit the shops & stock up on gold & silver metallic thread & more copper. A worthwhile investment I think.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Isn't technology wonderful?

It's taken me about half an hour to get here & I only have 3 pics to post! The DH says there will be teething problems with a new system. The DH likes to fiddle, (it must be a man thing) so a white e mail pages now has a black background, quite funky really but after i'd grappled with the 'new system' in Photos I went to 'sign in' & it wasn't there, Firefox had eaten it! I called my DH in for the 4th time ( poor guy is trying to cook supper ;) he found it again. I couldn't have told you that I use Internet Exporer to 'get' to my blog! If i one day don't appear here any more it's coz I've gone back to piles of paper...oh, I have those too ;)

Finished the pink & purple garden flower hanging.

Above is the sample

Bottom left is the same geranium as last week, a pink variety of Linarea purpurea & a little Campanula. Soft & delicate (I can do soft & delicate...!)

I found an extra few seconds in my day to actually 'mount' this piece - it is ready to hang on the wall. I stitched the beads to the background first then carefully pinned the piece to the denim & stitched all round having stitched the tab down at the back. of course when you hang it on the wall the string shows a little which personally I find annoying & as the piece is flat to the wall the top falls forward more than I thought it would.  It's fine tho. Same size as last week, 14" x 5" ( I bet my hero Cas Holmes doesn't have these problems...then again...)

The DH isn't convinced by the 'twig' What do you guys think? I mean, honestly? The DH thinks it looks like I haven't taken the same kind of time, care & consideration as I have with the piece, which he really likes (even tho it's 'hairy') I built it knowing that I'd stitch a tab at the top specially to fit the interestingly shaped sun silvered found wood :) It's old, not a bought piece of dowling stained & polished & new. I feel it goes with the worn & reused pieces of fabric I've used. It's an innovative bit of free 'framing', well, hardly innovative but still. It doesn't look too church bazaar does it? (not that there's anything wrong with church bazaars!) I've got lots of 'twigs'!

I'm missing the Youngest, well, just a little! He's trekking deep in outer Mongolia, or by now he could be helping with a project in an orphanage near the capital. Next week he'll be getting some well deserved r & r in Beijing. Perhaps that's why I'm working in felt at the moment, using a needle felting machine instead of having it roll about behind a pony on the Mongolian Steppes?

Sunday, 3 July 2011

A ball of wool

I bought this ball of wool a while ago, just to have. It made my mouth water, all those colors together!

I seem to be drawn to these colors in the garden

Contrast has gone a bit funny but I'm still getting used to the new program.

Calendula, Alchemilla Mollis, Linarea Purpurea & Geranium. Simple flowers with a lot of zing.

                                                        A really quick sketch!

A sample. I got my needle felting machine out from under it's dust cover (thank goodness I'd put the thing on!) Had a fabulous time needling together dark pink, orange & purple with a bit of turquoise thrown in wool- I don't have any lime green wool strangely! Added to this bits & pieces of recycled fabric, mainly from clothing & some bought organza. Listening to some of these fabrics rip into ribbons is certainly part of the fun! I needled from the front & back to do a little blending. Then added recycled yarn & ribbon, some bought. I wanted to suggest the pink, purple & lime green flowers (oh, there's no lime green here ;) & then emphasize them with sketching stitches in the right flower

The orange flower was too much even after I stitched all over it so I trimmed them in the little hanging above - it's about 14" x 5". The purple & lime green were a little subtle so I added french knots. Pleased with the sketching around the pink flower. It really does help to hang it up & stand back & squint at it. I enjoyed making an extra piece to cut up & roll into beads - I've been longing to dangle something off some pieces! Used embroidery thread in the 4 colors to make cords. They're just pinned on the back at the moment. I'll back it with denim but this time I'll keep the wild edging as every time I look at my last felted piece with a narrow denim border I feel it looks trapped. I'll roll the top of the denim over a twig, probably, wrapped with various cords & ribbons in all the colors I can possibly find, well within the 5 used anyway. ;) I may add beads but my eyes had had enough.

I started a second one at the early stage & look forward to getting back to it.

Couldn't help the turquoise getting into both of them. I guess that's forgetmenot, but they're over of course - pale cornflower? I'll think of something! My garden is being so useful at the moment, even having to water it, I will willingly.

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