Thursday, 3 April 2014

Rainham Hall

If you live locally maybe you could be interested!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Material Girls

Last week Chris and I went to talk to the 'People' at the National Trust to keep ourselves updated on the progress of the restoration work going on at Rainham Hall, this is the venue of the groups next major exhibition. There are lots of research trips being organised and meetings with historians and experts in all sorts of related fields. What with that and other things going on I have even managed to update The Material Girls website click here and have a look, theres still a bit to add so keep checking in.

Last week at class we started making a box, my least favourite thing but I have finished it, no photos until I show it to my tutor. Today the groups were visiting Art Van Go and I was really looking forward to it, I'd arranged for Betsy to be looked after for the day, so no need to rush back. Money to spend and a list of wants, then yesterday afternoon I felt my throat tickling, I had an early night and dosed myself up, but no at 4am I woke up with a sore throat running nose and a thumping headache....... I'm p'd off! I think that's an understatement to be honest. Really needed something to take my mind off things today, but never mind we cope don't we? Tomorrows another day and maybe I'll feel like getting on with some textile things and if I feel better by Thursday I can go to Excel and meet up with friends for a coffee and have a bit of retail therapy.

As I don't like a post without a photo, here's one from last week Betsy with all her walking friends, she's sitting waiting for her turn to get a treat. Mary is the dog whisperer as soon as she walks on the field all the dog flock to her as they know she'll have something special for everyone of them! This is only half the group, the others had taken their reward off to eat away from the gang.

Betsy sitting on the left her sticking up ears give her away!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Hearts of the Kitchen

I couldn't make up my mind what to do with the heart stones I found on holiday last year in Ireland, it seemed such a pity to keep them in a draw or in the jar where I pop shells that I collected over the years from beaches across the world. Then on a trip to IKEA I saw black frames and I just knew........

After a lot of arranging and re-arranging I decided on these three and they now hang in a row on a wall in the kitchen instead of being forgotten in a draw, they are looked at every day and I remember the day they were collected on the beach of heart shape stones!
So what do you do with the bits and bobs you collect on holiday?

Friday, 21 February 2014

Textiles in Focus

Yesterday I drove up to Cottenham with a car loaded up with half The Material Girls work for the 'Tales and Textiles' Exhibition. Chris, Julie and myself set up the exhibition with the help of Chris and Julie's husbands. It went up really well, it is all Chris's work, she knows how she wants it staged and we just have to carry it out, that works well for us. When we do  an exhibition we do have a rough idea of how it's going to look before we get to the venue, all the work is taken to Chris's and so we know what work is going to be exhibited and the size etc.

I can show you what I've been spending a lot of my time working on…. my work is focused on Japan. I dyed the fabric for the quilt at a Janice Gunner summer school and I've used Sashiko threads for the hand stitching and I also used machine quilting to give the quilt texture.

I made an altered book, I've never been a big fan of altered books but sometimes it's good to break out of your comfort zone and try something different. To keep in the Japanese style I had a go at writing Haiku, you won't find much but I gave it a try and the Haiku is written on the Origami butterflies.

On Sunday I'll be back at the exhibition to steward and at the end of the show to take it down and bring it home with other Material Girls. Then it'll be all over until the next exhibition, but lots of things coming up, I'm working on my City and Guilds and always playing catch up. And the Material Girls will be starting research for the next exhibition so it'll be all go again soon.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Today I was at City and Guilds….

……class  chatting about all sorts of things as you do….. amongst some things we were talking about Janice's recent trip to Japan with a group of students and the blog she has started (you can read it here), Jillian said to me  'I look at your blog and you've not done anything since Barcelona!' Oh, dear how bad am I? Has life stopped, No I've just got out of the habit of blogging, I'm  making a commitment to blog at least once a month.

A few of the things that have happened since Barcelona, Christmas for one thing and followers of this blog will know that December is Birthday month in this family, so my whole family is now one year older……

I did get some lovely christmas and birthday presents, I won't bore you by telling you all of them but one thing that is getting very well used is a cookery book by Nigel Slater. I'm really enjoying trying a lot of the recipes, last night it was 'Liver and Bacon Ragu', I'm not really that keen on liver but it was delicious, so far theres not been a meal we've not enjoyed and nothing takes hours to cook, just the way I like it!  Another great gift was a huge umbrella that is fibre glass and is extra strong, now that is getting very well used when I take Betsy out for her walks, and it's not turned inside out yet, mind you I sometimes struggle to hold it in the gusting winds.

Dave and I decided last year not to buy each other Birthday presents and take a weekend break in January. So a couple of weekends ago I traveled up to London a met him when he finished work and we spent the weekend at a hotel near the Tower of London, and views of Tower Bridge (not from our room though)

View from our room

We were tourists in our own city, I arrived early and left my bag at the hotel, jumped on a bus and went to  the Paul Klee exhibition at the Tate Modern, lots of quilt inspiration. We'd booked tickets for Saturday to go to the Tower, a few enjoyable hours were spent looking at the crown jewels, and wandering through the towers and on the ramparts. We hadn't been there since the children were young.

 Luckily the weather was fine  for a short while, we jumped on a bus and went to Covent Garden  we used to go there a lot at the weekends but haven't been for ages. We had lunch at a Jamie Oliver restaurant and mooched (is that a word) around the stalls and shops, funnily enough we ended up by the 'London Graphic Centre'. No idea how that happened! Of course I didn't need much just a few bits, but I managed to leave the shop with a large carrier bag of must haves! Then to please Dave we went into 'Stanfords', their advertising says 'We have been an essential first port of call for adventure and armchair travellers alike for more than a century. Our roll-call of customers past and present includes such famous names as Amy Johnson, David Livingstone, Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton, Florence Nightingale, Ranulph Fiennes, Bill Bryson, Michael Palin, and even Sherlock Holmes.'

I'm not sure our next holiday is going to be upto the adventures that these people had, but at least we'll have a good map with us, to be honest Dave always goes here to buy maps when were going on our trips to America, more about our next American holiday nearer the time. 

Back to our London weekend, just as we arrived back at the hotel the weather changed and it poured with rain, on Sunday we planned to take an Open Top Bus ride, instead as it was still training we jumped on a train and took the twenty minute train journey home and on Monday Dave walked past the hotel on his way to work but it was fun being a tourist in our own city! As for the Open Top bus that'll have to wait for the better weather, if it ever comes!

Last Friday I met with some friends in town again and went to the Fashion and Textile Museum to see Artist Textiles Picasso to Warhol exhibition, I would recommend this exhibition really interesting work.

Below three images from the exhibition.

Oh well enough for now I think. But before I go I've not been 
completely off the blogging Facebook world, I've been updating the Material Girls sites and started a Facebook page if you'd like to take a look here it is if you enjoy what you see perhaps you'll like the page!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Barcelona Barcelona!

At the end of November we spent four days in Barcelona, I loved this city and will go back so much to do and see. Amazing architecture, great food………
So here are some images.

We enjoyed wandering the streets and alleyways around the area of La Rambla, sitting in bars and cafes enjoying a glass of wine. Or sitting on the Rooftop Terrace of  Hotel 1898 and looking at the view over the city, it's a shame we could have spent more time up there because the weather changed it rained and rained and……..


View from the Roof Top Terrace Hotel 1898

Visiting galleries and churches…….

None of the photos that I took at the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia do the place any justice, it really needs to be seen to be believed. It's truly amazing!!!!!

Antoni Gaudi
Gate for Casa Vicens
I even found inspiration for my next City and Guilds project in the Pablo Picasso Museum? I know what a surprise, I don't really like his work but it was like a lighten bolt, 'This is just what I've been looking for, quick Dave, wheres the shop I need to buy the post cards'!!!! Watch this space.

Today was the first time back at class since this trip and Janice likes my ideas, so here we go…..

Monday, 11 November 2013

Quiet Times??????

In the last few weeks of October it seemed as though my feet didn't touch the ground, Michelle who works for my husband got married. She is also a friend of our daughter so she was invited too, it was the most amazing wedding. It was held in at the Buckingham Railway Centre, Quainton, they were married on the platform and there was a steam engine running along a track for the guests to ride on after the photographs were taken. I don't think I've ever been to a wedding were everyone laughed from the start to the end, everything was fun even the singing of 'I'm a believer'  after the signing of the register,  had us all jigging about. I'm sure if their wedding was anything to go by they will have a very happy marriage! Oh! I should say that the Railway theme was very apt as Dave and Michelle work for a Rail Engineering Consultancy.

Two weeks later and we were in Michelle and Nicks company again for the company dinner and dance, at a hotel in the Forest of Arden. I managed to wangle a trip to the Cotton Patch while in the area, well you have to take advantage while you can, don't you? I bought the fabric for a baby quilt, I'm going to be a 'Great Aunt', we also managed to fit in a quick visit to Kenilworth Castle.

I completed this crochet blanket a while ago, it was just a matter of sewing in the ends. It did take me over a year to finish. I enjoyed doing it but it did drag on, as I seem to have so many projects on the go.

Last week saw the opening of the third exhibition of Bridging Waters, after this exhibition finished we were expecting the work to be returned. But an exciting thing  happened, the work is going to be shown at another gallery.  The work will be staying in Canada for a few more months, watch this space…….

Last Saturday was the exhibition of the City and Guilds classes, I had two pieces of work to show, the table runner and a bag which I didn't finish until the night before.

This isn't a good photograph I will do a better set for the next post, I have to say I'm pleased with it, at last I've made something I know I'll use myself. The exhibition had lots of visitors, and the work exhibited by the students who have finished their Certificate and those that have finished their Diploma was amazing.

I'm looking forward to a quieter time……...