Sunday 28 September 2014

It was a good party.

One poor harassed daughter trying to make her cake icing behave itself on a warm night in a warm room!  She worked her magic and it looked wonderful as you can see.
She made each flower and leaf individually and you might just catch a glimpse of a ribbon round the edge too.
Our daughter-in-law made the cake and daughter no.3 iced and decorated it.

We had loads of cards including one from the lady above, which was a great surprise.  I had no idea that cards other than those for 100th birthdays were sent out.   I answered the doorbell to sign for the recorded delivery packet and had just opened it and said 'well it won't be from the Queen as we aren't old enough'! The family had organised it some weeks in advance - there is quite a strict procedure to follow.

My photos of the gathering were not entirely successful and several have not come out at all.  I'm no good at taking shots in artificial light but this gives some idea and you can see that through the open door - far right - there are several people taking advantage of the cooler air outside in the courtyard.  That looks like my husband out there - one son-in-law in the left foreground,  son and two grandsons with one girlfriend in the middle distance and two more sons-in-law and two daughters at the far end.   Everyone else is outside.    The age range of those attending was between 5 and 86 and the youngest guests all behaved impeccably.  It helped that the evening was so mild and they could run around outside to let off steam.

Someone presented us with this balloon and a very long banner plus loads of those little metallic confetti number 60s which were sprinkled across each table but soon found their way onto the floor.  I'm sure the couple who run the restaurant will be sweeping them up for weeks to come.  The buffet was excellent - they did us proud.

Background music was provided by our youngest daughter's husband who made a compilation disc of music from the 30s, 40s and 50s.

A good time was had by all and we are both shattered today.   The next big occasion will be our grandson's wedding next year but we won't have to organise that, thank goodness.

Thursday 25 September 2014

We made it!

Today is our 60th wedding anniversary.   Needless to say you would not recognise us from the above photograph!   I can't quite believe that 60 years have passed even though our son will be 57 next month, three of our daughters are now in their 50s and our 'baby' will be 40 next year.   It is all the more confusing because mentally I still feel about 23 years old - that is on the days when I am not 12!

We are having a large family gathering on Saturday evening with all our offspring, and their offspring, and in some cases their offspring too.   We have much for which we are responsible!  And much for which we are most grateful.    It should be a good evening all round.

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Finishing things off.

I have been finishing the book I started on the weekend course with Frances Pickering - above is the front cover decorated with rubber stamped images machine stitched alongside the letters, cut from offcuts of the printed fabrics which make up some of the ages, and spelling out the name of the poet whose words inspired my drawings. 

I have several rather nice rubber stamps of wild flowers which gave a fitting design for the lining of the cover.

These are the pages which needed more work - I think I have improved on them.

This is the back cover lining featuring more wild flowers.  I made the covers from a printed fabric with a pattern of roof tiles.  I used the reverse of the fabric and knocked the design back further by overlaying it with muslin, and bound the edges with the reversed fabric.

My other finished book is the one made from assorted fabrics which had been bundled up and left in the garden for weeks.  They have taken on interesting stains which give them a lovely antique look - not easy to see in these photos.  I call it my scruffy book.
I toyed with the idea of making a separate cover then decided that the largest page would be ideal for the purpose.  As all the fabrics were just bits and pieces from my ragbag (I didn't want to risk anything special)  my pages are all shapes and sizes as you can see.
It gives quite a nice effect and I deliberately arranged them in a very random fashion to make the most of this.

I haven't bothered to photograph all the pages separately as you have already seen them in an earlier post.
This is the back cover.

So what shall I do next?   I have several ideas - it is simply a question of which one is the most persistent and keeps pushing itself to the fore.

Monday 8 September 2014

A wonderful weekend.

This is Hawkwood College near Stroud in Gloucestershire where I have been enjoying a weekend workshop tutored by Frances Pickering and enjoying meeting up with several of the students I met last year, and yes, I did sign up for next year.
It is in a beautiful setting and a haven for wildlife as the gardens are not manicured but allowed to naturalize.  There were bees and butterflies everywhere and birdsong all day and owls hooting at night.
There was a huge clump of these magnificent globe artichokes growing just outside the studio windows.
And St.Francis of Assisi stands in the overgrown rockery.

I love this giant mobile hanging from one of the enormous trees.  I think those stones might be old roof slates - they are quite big

Our theme for this workshop was 'Black and White and Read all over'.  We were asked to include text in our designs and work mostly in black and white plus shades of grey, and one other colour was permitted.   I chose yellow but kept forgetting to include it.
All of my text has been taken from lines of poetry by John Clare.   To get us started we did mono printing or transfer printing on white fabric.  I decided to stick with mono-printing and found that my abstract marks turned out to be very useful and easy to adapt to landscapes and woods.   I printed with a feather on this page so thought a quotation featuring birds was in order for this one.

Most of these pages need more work done on them but I am not quite sure what.  I shall put them away for a day or two, then take another look at them.

I was very brave and did all my drawing directly onto the fabric pages with a black Pitt pen.  The one above is from 'Open Winter':  "In sheltered spots - primroses, when they get behind the wood's old roots where ivy shields their crimpled curdled leaves, will shine and hide".

This one is "Old elm that murmured in our chimney top - the sweetest anthem autumn ever made".  I like that swirly pattern of my background print and thought it could represent the tempest that felled the elm tree.  It was so hard trying to make it look like a fallen tree and I haven't quite got it right.

This one also needs more work and I think I will make the moon a bit larger.  It's a bit lost behind those trees and I need a few more branches here and there to break up all the vertical lines.

I think we all felt exhausted by the end of Sunday but had thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and worked ourselves to a frazzle.   The  weather was lovely, the food was delicious and plentiful, the bed was so comfortable and the company was delightful.    If that wasn't enough, among the other students was none other than Jan Messent who has been a textile heroine of mine for many years.  I love her work and have several of her books.   I took the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Embroidery one with me so that she could sign it, which she did.   I even sat next to her one lunch time - she is a very serene person but has a lovely sense of humour.  It took great control not to be like a schoolgirl hyperventilating with excitement!

So it's back down to earth today, with chores and gardening crying out to be done before I start work on my pages again.