Tuesday, 23 December 2008

I have been back to the Church and I can't find my camera, I hope someone has put it in a safe place for me!

Happy Christmas bloggers!

Another session of bookmaking at Nickie's last night, we have made 14 books now, though some of these need the finishing touches, I can't post any pictures as I have left my camera at the Church. We are really pleased with how they have turned out, I hope Pauline like them when we take them to our next Fenn Edge Textiles meeting. It was lovely to spend time with Nickie playing with card and paper while life is a bit fraught at the moment. I took my daughter to visit her father in hospital again, and they can't do anything else for him, just a matter of time. When I have finished wrapping the last of the pressie's and delivering cards, I hope to pack some bits to take and sew at my Mothers.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Christmas preperations.

I am going to my Mothers for a few days on Christmas Eve, so I have spent today busy wrapping presents, buying lots of food for my home, for son who has chosen to stay here plus food to take to my mother to share the added expense of Christmas. In between this, I went to the local church this evening as they were doing Carols by candlelight and I was asked to make mulled wine. It was a lovely event and I have been asked to make the mulled wine again next year. While I have been wrapping I have got hubby cutting lengths of paper for me to colour ready for the next book making session at Nickie's tomorrow night.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Nickies again!

Last night was spent putting together some books. Nickie cutting and I was binding.

I have had my Bind-It some time, and had only made one book, the guest book for the Schoolhouse Arts exhibition in April. It really does go through the grey board and paper easily.We then started to make some 'buttons' to go on the front of the books, these have got to have additional colours added and we will attach them next week. I have put an eyelet in the back cover through which machined gold cords will be threaded and stitched as part of the closure.
These are the books so far, we both need to make LOADS of papers for the remaining covers.

Today Kezzy and I had to visit her father in Colchester hospital, on the way we went to Doctor Bernina a.k.a Martin Woods, what a lovely man, he got my machine working quietly within a very short space of time. The canvas above, is what I made for Kezzy to give to her father for Christmas. I started it last night by painting it with gesso, followed by a sky blue acrylic. When dry, I then covered it all over with white acrylic, but rubbed it off while still wet to reveal the blue but now its misty. This morning I carried on playing. Alcohol inks were applied to the plastic letter tiles, green acrylic was dry brushed around the edges to echo the green flower in the bikini, when dry this was over stamped randomly with turquoise ink and a Paper Artsy swirls stamp. It was then just a matter of putting it all together. The final touch, was a ribbon round the frame. ( The photos I used for the canvas were the last photos I took of Malc and Kezzy, before he became unwell)

Thursday, 18 December 2008

I have managed to upload some pictures today. The first one is the completed wall hanging. The colours are the same as in the photo that I was working from,but the lighting has affected the colours. Cotton fabric dyed. Rough guide lines were drawn on with a soft pencil. Areas painted with fabric paint. free machined and the Markals applied on top. Fibres were applied using my embellisher. Lots of free machine and hand stitching to get the shading on the water.

The Guild is having an exhibition in Chelmsford library with the theme- seasons. I have taken some photo's over the last couple of days to get some inspiration.
Friday morning-frosty!
Tuesday morning- foggy!

Wednesday afternoon-sunny and fresh!

This is Sue Cranwell who came to our Guild on Monday.

Nickie was lucky enough to win this pair of earrings made by Sue, in the raffle.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Wall hanging finished!

It's been a busy couple of days! Any free time I have had over the weekend was spent on finishing the 'Sunset on the Nile' wall hanging. See blog 3rd September as to how it was made. It has taken nearly 40 hours to make! The edges have not been finished as it is going to be put in a picture frame. I cannot post any pics tonight as the link is not working. I will try to upload tomorrow as I should have some photos of the books that I am making with Nickie. With this in mind, I have stencilled some more decorated paper with the peacock feather and made some embossed frames to which I am will now add some Treasure Gold to highlight the raised areas.
I am unable to do any machine stitching as my Bernina is poorly, I am taking it to Martin Woods the Bernina doctor on Friday on my way to visit Kezzy's father in hospital. I am hoping that my machine is not too sick!
On Monday we had Sue Cranwell come to our Embroiderer's Guild meeting to talk about her work. She is a member of Fibrefusion and this is when I first saw Sue's work at Art Van Go, when the group were holding an exhibition there in 2005. This was when I was doing my City and Guilds and I loved her work on Rock Art. When I went to the next exhibition there two years later, she had done some wonderful work on cranes - you should see her sketchbooks! I was also able to book on the day class with Gwen Hedley that the Guild is holding in March.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Hylands House

Our textile group, Schoolhouse Arts had an appointment this morning for 9.30 to discuss the possibility of doing some workshops there. Unfortunately I didn't check my emails yesterday as I was out with friends, so I was up early and ready in plenty of time to find that it has now been postponed to the New Year. BUT, it meant I got the dreaded ironing done! Off to do some Christmas shopping and I hope that I will get some play time this afternoon before going out tonight, celebrating a friends 5oth birthday.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Books continued.

It was another night at Nickie's doing some more work to our book covers.
More surface decoration has been applied by stencilling or rubbing over
print blocks with Markals, treasure gold or heat embossing. When dry, they were either polished with bees wax or painted with acrylic wax. Finally they were stuck to grey board and left to dry until our next session when we hope to start binding them into books.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008


I have had two evenings playing- fantastic! Just what the doctor ordered! Work is all a bit fraught at the moment. All the T.A's are being moved around as we are top heavy with staff in the Kindergarten and the Juniors need more help. I have such a good team working with me at the moment and don't want to loose anyone, but I don't have a say in who is going to be in my class after Christmas. We got outstanding in all three areas in our OFSTED inspection in July with this team, and we have another inspection due next year.
Monday was our monthly get together to do our scrap booking.
I do this with my oldest daughter and it is lovely to have a common interest, she is not into stitching in any shape or form.
I was going to make a scrapbook for my mother's Christmas
present, but maybe it will be for next Christmas!
Last night it was round to Nickie's to start making books to sell to raise funds for the Fen Edge Textiles exhibition. We are using
brown paper to make the covers which have been patterned and painted.
Papers for the pages were cut up and coloured ala 'Francis Pickering'. We
shall do some more work on the books tomorrow night, as I managed to escape from work a bit earlier than normal to get some grey board from Hobbycraft. Off to colour more pages with tea now so it will be dry in time.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

The best laid plans.........

I have not had my day stitching as I promised myself.
This was a sample I made the other night, as I want to make a vessel using Sutton Hoo as the inspiration. The right hand side was attached with hand stitching and the left side was by machine. The hand stitching is better for what I have in mind as it is more pliable and means that I don't have to make it square.
Thursday night was spent collecting all my evidence to go with my papers ready to hand into Court on Friday. It is surprising how long it takes!
I spent Friday evening getting my bags packed ready for Cottenham on Saturday.
An early start, but the roads were empty and we got there in time. It was decided that the 's' would be dropped from our name and we will now be known as Fen Edge Textiles. I have got to get my finger out! I have a lot to do by the next meeting. 2 A.T.C.'s for swapping, my 'dangly thing', a profile on myself and a photo(UGHHHH!!!!) asap for our website, which is under construction, some items to sell to raise funds to pay for our exhibition and develop my ideas for my vessel.
My day of stitching didn't happen as my son who has been decorating his bedroom had the carpet fitter in early this morning. He emptied his room into my playroom and bedroom. I was unable to get in through the door until this evening.
I also popped up to the churchyard today, as it is 7 years on Tuesday since my oldest son Ashleigh, was killed in a car accident, an event that was to change my life in more ways than one!
A few months after the accident, on a whim, I went to a quilt show in Chelmsford and I saw a quilt that a lady had made to celebrate her husbands retirement, lots of blocks depicting his hobbies and interests,(I wish I knew her name so I could thank her). I decided that I would make a quilted wall hanging to celebrate my sons life, but as his life so short and his interests were cars and music, I had a problem with a design. It was then that I decided to use a poem that one of the mothers where I work had given to me at the time of the accident, it was read out at his funeral, and I decided to translate this into my wall hanging. I went to my first the first meeting of the new patchwork group that Delia had started. She said to me that my stars needed points, 'why not foundation piece'. I have to say a big thank you to Delia, it was her words that made me decide I wanted to learn much more about patchwork and quilting, having only dabbled before. I have since done C & G, met lots of wonderful people who are happy to share their knowledge, been on courses as far away as Bramble Patch,been to inspiring exhibitions and shows and last but not least spent loads of money! I look at my wall hanging as it it hangs in the room where I sew, I know that it has many flaws, but it was the beginning of my journey.
( 1 large star represents each year of his life)
This evening, I managed an hour and a half of stitching on my Egyptian hanging. It's been some time since I have done anything on this and I need to get it finished this week so I can start on my Cottenham homework.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Withdrawl symptoms!!!!!

I have withdrawl symptoms. I have not had time to play with fabric, thread or paint since Sunday night. Last night I had Embroiderers Guild committee meeting. I like to do the minutes as soon as I get in ,just in case I forget what all my notes mean. They were emailed out just this side of midnight! Tonight I have battled for four hours with legal forms for a Small Claims Court Case- I have had dealings with a dodgy dealer. My head hurts with all the jargon. I hope to have some me time tomorrow!

Sunday, 30 November 2008

I have visited Craft Arena again this weekend, because I was using a copper metallic thread on my book cover which kept breaking, so,I just had to get the Hemingworth copper thread!
As you can see by the photo, the salt falls off as you F.M.S.(free machine stitching) and it gets a lovely distressed metal look.
The cover is completed now, for the time being. When I have put all my samples and bits in it, I will bind it properly on my Zutter Bind-It machine. I printed an image of the
mask onto shrink plastic to make the
button and it is tied with machine
wrapped cords.

I have also been busy getting ready for the topic in class next
week- Gingerbread man. I have made gingerbread scented
play dough, gingerbread biscuit dough so the children can make
and decorate gingerbread men tomorrow, a gingerbread house
that the children will decorate with sweets on Wednesday and
a counting game that I can also use at number time with a rhyme.
I haven't done much stitching at work on my 'Wild Woman,'
as yet again we have had staff shortages and one of our three year old's who is now going to be staying at school full-time is a diabetic, so every lunch hour the diabetic nurse has been in to give us training, so that we can administer her insulin.
Also, it is that time of year when I have to start my Christmas shopping ( I would rather have been at home stitching!) and I spent hours trudging round Basildon TRYING to find the right present for friends and family. I am NOT going out next Sunday, I going to stay at home and stitch!!!!!!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Reports finished!!!!!

At last I can go back to playing with paints, fabric and thread, though I must admit I have been slipping into my room for about half an hour each evening just to have some ' me' time.
I managed to make another medalion for the dangly thing for FEST, I am pleased with this one, at last!

This WAS the book covers I was making, (ala Maggie Grey) but after stitching Sutton Hoo in bands across the front in copper, I realised it didn't show up enough. I attacked it with copper spray paint and then, using the mask as my idea source I sliced the covers up and stitched onto net using F.M.S. Cut out voids with my soldering iron. I have now coloured some craft vilene with black paint. Even though a lot of salt fell off with the F.M.S. it still has the look of something rusting away, especially as the ink underneath stops the copper from being a flat colour. I shall be adding more stitching and maybe some beads. I am going to work on this idea to make a vessel over my Christmas holidays.

Saturday, 22 November 2008


Just had to pop to Craft Arena again today, as I wanted some pewter thread ( I bought the silver last week) , I love the Hemingworth metalic threads as they stitch well and do not break when stitching. I was hoping the pewter would show up better on my fabric motifs.

Another 'Wild Women' being stitched in my teabreaks at work, I have not had as much time this week on it, (staff shortages) hopefully I shall finsh it next week.

I have had some time for stitching today as I find it easier to sew in natural light, the reports can wait! I have taken the design from the silver bowls found at Sutton Hoo. The colours look like gold when it is in fact silver!
The flower on this one sample, is stitched in lame and cut out with a soldering iron. the textured circle is made from metal which I have embossed the pattern and stitched in place. Stitched with silver Maderia, the air was a bit blue as the thread kept breaking.

On this sample, I embossed the flower motif and stitched in place, drew the circle border onto stitch 'n' tear, put a silver sheer under and stitched before removing excess fabric with the soldering iron again. I feel happier with this one.

This sample was made by drawing the flower motif onto the solusheet I had bought this morning, f.m.s. The border was a stitch pattern on my Bernina machine and I used the drawing pin and masking tape method to keep it circular. Beads stitched at the base of each scallop. Stitched in pewter Hemingworth thread. I like this one too!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

School reports

Sorry no stitching so far this week as I am writing my school reports, I can't wait to get back to my play room!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Terry Fox

Terry Fox was our speaker at our Embroiderer's Guild meeting tonight, what a talented lady! We had a very entertaining and informative talk on the construction of haute couture corsets, the embellishments on these garments can take up to a week, using vintage jewellery and crystals. Terry trained with Zandra Rhodes and the Emmanuel's and now has a shop in Bury making one off corsets, wedding dresses, glamorous dresses, bags and other beautiful items. At the end of the talk we were able to handle the corsets and ask yet more questions. Next month our talk is by Sue Cranwell a member of Fibrefusion

Sunday, 16 November 2008

I popped to Craft Arena today to get the latest Cloth paper scissors, I also needed some silver beads, fabric and a reel of Hemingworth thread also in silver. This is to do some more experimenting for the 'dangly bits' I have GOT to make by 6th December the next FEST day. I must pull my finger out and produce something worthwhile, as I have not been happy with my efforts so far, hence- no photo's YET!!

We have to produce an A5 sketchbook as well, so I have also coloured some pages (managed to knock the jar of spent dye over in the process, and flooded my extension lead!) and I am using the Maggie Grey technique for the covers-I just love the texture and colours you get. I can't wait to see what they will look like when they are dry.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Dyeing workshop

Today has been spent at North Fambridge being 'Gofer' for Margaret and Debbie who were running the workshop. Our ladies learnt how to do plastic bag dyeing on calico, linen etc.
Debbie demonstrating how to use the dye powders safely!

While that was maturing they then went onto transfer dyeing so that in the afternoon they could start to make a book. Craft vilene was used for the cover and the pages were coloured with Brusho.

Folded and tie dyeing either with buttons or thread with a different range of colours was the next lesson after lunch, then onto stitching the book cover.
Nickie who was also a 'Gofer', made rock cakes for our afternoon cup of tea.
There were a lot of oohs as the dyed fabrics were washed out and they were able to see their unique fabrics. The spent dyes were decanted into jam jars so that it can be used by them at a later date for colouring papers or sketchbooks.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Schoolhouse Arts workshop

Tomorrow we are holding a dyeing workshop at Schoolhouse Arts, Fambridge. Deb popped round in the week to collect all the large bottles I had managed to save for her to make up the salt and soda solutions to save time in the morning.
Last night I didn't get any stitching done as I was in charge of making the mulled wine for the Little Stars baby and toddler group that my daughter and her friend run. I made 5 large pans!!!!!
There is a really lovely atmosphere at this event and they raised a nice sum of money to buy more equipment for the group. I donated 'Daisy' a sock monkey and she sold very quickly, so I will have to make some more in the school holiday for their next fund raiser. (I would have given 'Freckles' if I had realised how popular they were)
Next week I have to start writing my school reports ughhh!!!! more time not being creative!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Wild Woman and Travel Log

I have been busy the last couple of night's partying! Friday night was an early Christmas Do for work, had a great time, but not in until one a.m., and last night my friend held a Pink Night Disco for breast cancer, she raised nearly £700. Today, I have been feeling quite sluggish (not helped by having to get up at 3.15 Friday morning, as my daughter had to be at school for 4.30 a.m. for a school trip to Belgium) I had intended to get on with trying to do some design work for my Sutton Hoo project once I had completed my work for school, instead I finished tweaking the Travel Log for the Schoolhouse Arts workshop and put the last few beads on my Wild Woman. I think that I shall be making some more of these, as they are easy to stitch in my tea breaks. This one is going to be a raffle prize in a Christmas shopping night on Thursday in our village. My daughter and her friend set this group up 3 years ago and do it voluntarily, they both work very hard to make the group a success .This also means that I not be stitching on Thursday, as I shall be making Mulled Wine instead for the shoppers.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


I have to show you the photo's of my pieces a la Maggie Grey. The colours and texture are wonderful, it could be lichen! The photo's don't so it justice. It was just like using Brusho for the first time- that WOW! factor. Thank you Maggie. I can't do anything on this tonight as it is still drying.

I have managed to get a few more beads sewn on to my Wild Women at work today, I wish that I had made her in pink, as on Saturday I am going to a Pink Party in aid of Breast Cancer and I need something pink to wear.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

In a rush

Just a few lines tonight as I am in a rush to get back to playing. I have started Maggie's lessons and I am now ready to get out the gesso. I have also sewn a few more beads on my Wild Women and drawn ready a motif for stitching in sheers on the machine. Photos soon I hope!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

On Friday my daughter number 2 got her costume ready for Halloween, we bought a cheap pair of wings that she painted black, we found some spooky tights in the factory shop, and a cheap dress from Primark that to distress with my soldering iron. She wouldn't wear a coat to go Trick or Treating as it would have spoilt her outfit. Why don't the youngsters feel the cold?

Grandson number 1 came T and T to our house, so I had to do the doting Nany bit and take a photo.

Yesterday I had to do some babysitting for my daughter number 1, so she could take Grandson number 1 to the fireworks, so after finishing some schoolwork(ready for Monday) I started my Wild Woman, it was lovely to sit in front of the television(a very rare thing to do) and sew beads randomly onto vilene. I shall be doing some more on this in my tea breaks at work.
Today we went to Sutton Hoo to do some more research in readiness to start making something???? for F.E.S.T. We met up with Nickie and her man.My head is buzzing with ideas but, will they work? When will I get time to be able to start playing? Which idea first?
My daughter caught Nickie on camera eating AGAIN!!!!!