Tuesday 27 January 2015

Coming this summer....

Have just taken delivery of a lot of Oxford Summer School brochures - choc a bloc with fantastic courses, something for everyone - check out the web site and treat yourself to a fun creative course - I'm paper cutting from27th - 29th July. I'm also doing a creative textiles session on the weekend of 7th and 8th March, which went really well last year.

Thursday 15 January 2015

Buttons are a joy!

One of the things I enjoy doing at Denman is hitting the craft shop.  A treasure trove of all things stitchy; fabrics, beads, yarns, threads, ribbons, buttons and all manner of random items that 'might come in useful one day'. It's all been donated so prices are extremely reasonably, in fact 'no brainer',  so I inevitably come back with something. My latest finds included a large piece of beautiful wool fabric, grey with a fine pin stripe, perfect for a skirt if I was the sort of preson who could rustle up a skirt whilst listening to 'Woman's Hour', and a substantial old glass coffee jar full of buttons. I have a touch of the Silas Marner about me when it comes to buttons, especially mother of pearl ones. I lay them out on a wooden tray and marvel at their loveliness, and wonder what  garments they adorned in a former life. The large ones must have been a statement on a coat or jacket and the tiniest ones may be on a delicate blouse or doll's dress. I make patterns out of them, contemplate animating them into some sort of button square dance (I will never get round to this!!) and then I carefully scoop them up and put them back in their wooden cigar box...until the next time....
Sometimes the simple things in life bring the most joy.

Monday 12 January 2015

First course of 2015

What a great start to my 2015 courses, a full class of eight patchwork novices at Denman College. They had come from far and wide, some on their own and some with friends.
Friday evening I showed them with my quilts, inspiring books, some cushions and chatted about what they might like to do. I am not a 'You must do this' sort of tutor and am more than happy for students to go 'off piste', within reason, and I love that at this early stage of the course, Friday evening, I know that they will all go home with something they couldn't believe possible at 9 o'clock on Friday night.
Saturday morning decisions had been made about what they fancied tackling and once they had mastered rotary cutting they were off! They really did excel and amaze themselves, they got very creative and we all laughed a lot. And Sunday lunchtime they had all finished their projects and were beaming and telling me that they would definitely carry on patchworking.
So all in all a very rewarding session with lots of smiley faces.
Next course at Denman is 2nd February, strip patchwork - super easy technique great results and you stay fully clothed - just in case you were wondering!

A display of the finished projects
This is one side of a bag, equally lovely panel
on the other side
Finished knitting bag
A jewel of a cushion complete with pearly buttons
used to quilt
Fabulous velvets

Love these colours!

Thursday 8 January 2015

Accounting begins

It's that time of year when I think to myself, and not for the first time, why do I leave sorting out the boring number and paper stuff until now? And truth to tell I do not have an answer, except January would not be January without this annual ritual!
It is a revolting day outside, the temptation to leave the house is nil so today I shall embark on stage two of my accounting, the trawling through bank statements and invoices bit. I spent yesterday sorting out receipts, aided and abetted by my assistant - he sat around, re ordered things and then had a sleep!

Tuesday 6 January 2015

My 2015 has started

So the children are back at school, the Christmas tree has been stripped and moved out of the house leaving a huge naked space, the fairy lights have been decommissioned and I am procrastinating about sorting out my tax - must be January! On the plus side I spent yesterday 'doing' the christmas cards - this entails going through the list of who I sent to and who sent to us and then selecting my favourites, chopping off the backs and using good old fashioned glue to add them to my festive scrapbook. Subconsciously they seem to get sorted into two main  themes - colour and subject.
I have been chopping up cards and magazines for many a year. It started in my teens when I sliced out the best pictures from  'Honey' and '19' magazines and stuck them on to my bed room walls with wall paper paste. They were arranged in colour spectrums and it was quite an organic process in that I added to them over the years; they were taken down once I moved to college and sadly there's no record of my collaging efforts but I still collect pics of stuff that I like, both actually and virtually (Pinterest) - I never know what I might do with my visual collections but it's good to know that they are there.
Would highly recommend starting your own personal pictoral library - it's a great way of building up inspirational material that means something to you.
Could be a New Years resolution?

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