Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Another class!

I had a great time teaching at Bee Crafty on Friday. A group of ladies joined us on a Stitched Landscapes class. The idea was to take a photograph, and re create it using scraps of paper, fabric, Tyvek, threads and wool, plus anything else they could think of.

The challenge is usually getting people to "free up" - many of them are used to the precise measurements required in quilting - like the 1/4 inch seam. This is more of a free form class, so I found myself saying "do it however you want to" when they asked questions like "how big should I make it?", "what colour should I do the sky?" and "Which thread should I use?". They soon got the hang of it and here are the (as yet unfinished) results:

The pictures that they chose varied, from a beach scene to a cityscape of Moscow and the results were just as varied.

I think that they will be looking at those scraps they usually throw away in a new light from now on!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

A Fabulous Distraction!

Today was a red letter day! Nothing creative happened but I had one of the most amazing days.

I love my Sci Fi - and I always have. Star Trek, Dr Who, Star Wars, Torchwood... I love 'em all! I have a huge collection of audio books from Dr Who and Torchwood which I listen to as I work in my studio.

So the fact that there is a show on this weekend in Peterborough where all these shows are represented was too good to be true!

 Me & the cast of the Dr Who the Movie. Sylester McCoy was a delight!
 Excitement of excitement - All of Torchwood where there! I was leaning into John Barrowman who had his hands on my should, when Gareth put his hand on my bottom! Result - made my day!!!

Never one to miss out on a hand crafted item on any occasion, I found this fantastic Tom Baker Dr Who bear. Isn't he fabulous! I just loved him instantly.
 And there was plenty of opportunities to snuggle up to a man in uniform, even if that uniform was quite a scary one!

Well I am heading off there again tomorrow to rub shoulders with a couple of Star Trek crew members and Avon from Blake 7. What fun!!!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

A small gift

Every summer for the last few years my lovely Dad has decamped to Canada to stay with his brother for a few months. Being a friendly and approachable kind of fellow he has made many friends. When two of those friends became grandparents, Dad thought "I know what would be the ideal gift - a quilt! I'll just ask my Sarah to rustle something up for my next visit". Being the dutiful daughter that I am, I readily agreed. How hard can it be, I thought? A turned 9 patch, an evenings work and weyhay... an heirloom!!

Unfortunately this is me we are talking about... so this is how the conversation went in my head...

"Turned 9 patch is a little simple, lets try something a little more interesting... I know - an I SPY quilt. 

So what shall I put in the quilt? Cats, dogs, babies, grandparents, parents... how about photos?

I have used photo fabric before - should be a doddle!"

So in the end I tried to keep it simple! Bright and cheerful once I had mastered the various elements and got my printer to play nicely!
After a bit of messing about, I got it done last week in between pond building sessions. So next was the 'how to quilt' conversation to have with myself.

Even with that one I talked myself into going all out. No stitch in the ditch for this sister! No way! Free machined heart and flowers motifs with invisible thread (something I had never used before) - which took me 3 solid days to complete. Who knew quilting could be so painful - I ache all over!

Well at least it is done now, and I (and my dear Dad) are delighted with the results. I hope Emilie and her family will be equally happy when it goes to Canada in June.

I am glad I am never one to take the easy path - It leads to some rewarding results!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Drought? What drought...?

I my last post I mentioned our holiday plans - to build a pond. I have had a lot of enquiries on how it has been going, so I thought I would share an update.

This is the state at the end of the first day - Saturday. It doesn't take long to dig through the topsoil and reach the clay, and being chilly I decide to call it a day! Like my wellies?

Sunday - a night of rain and my lovely half dug pond looks like this! Ooops! I heard there was a drought on...
A burst of sunshine on Monday morning filled us with renewed vigour, and 48 buckets of water later - and the pond is empty again. The clay was fun to work with now as the increased rainfall turned it to slop! Lovely!
 So a few hours slopping and shaping the pond - and in goes the pond liner!
So now with the aid of a few buckets of water and some bricks and tubs to weight the liner down, we just wait for rain!
 And more rain is what we got! It rained all day Tuesday so we stayed inside all toasty and I worked on a quilt.
This morning 1 1/2 tonnes of pebbles were delivered on our drive so we thought we had better get on with it today. These need to be hand sorted so that we only use round pebbles (no sharp bits to puncture that precious liner!), and washed so we didn't fill the pond with grit. Oh boy!

We started to put them in the pond and disaster! The rain on Tuesday had seeped underneath the pond liner and made it bubble up. The rain has also half filled the top of the pond, so the liner was suspended somewhere in the middle! New plan - peel back the pond liner as much as I can and use a jug to bail out the water under the lining. I emptied the jug into a bigger bucket and Pail emptied the full buckets down the drain. Talk about laborious.
So once that was done, we were back to filling the pond with pebbles!
A few hours of backbreaking work, and we are nearly there! About a million buckets of water later (or so it feels) the pond is starting to fill up.
 Yay - a pond!
So that is the end of phase 1! Next we wait for some rain to fill it up ... and then the planting begins. I want plants in the pond, as well as a bog garden to one side (using the rest of the pond liner) and then plants around the edge to soften the look (and ensure that Paul won't have to mow over pebbles).

I think we will wait a few days before we begin that lot! We both have aches in places we didn't know we had muscles, so a rest may well be on order. Tomorrow we are heading to the plant auctions in Spalding to pick up some summer colour for the new bed you can glimpse in some of the pictures. At least that means digging in soil rather than clay!

I will soon be back at work for a rest!