Sunday, 29 January 2012

All that glitters...

Of course what I needed to make me feel better was a whole day playing and stitching.
And what better than a day with the lovely Ann Parr!

A happy morning playing with heat guns, embossing stampy thingies and blow torches  produced this little lot:

(note to Father Christmas - please may I have a blow torch?  I promise to make crème brulée too and not just colour metal with it...)

A couple of us got bored waiting for the heat guns to warm up, so we went in search of Bigger Flames.  A quick peruse of the village hall kitchen found us a six-ring gas range, and we were in business.  Unfortunately, returning triumphantly to my table with this large piece of fabulously coloured copper in my wooden tongs gave the game away, and then everyone wanted to go play...

Then after lunch I finally dug out the machine, and with no preamble, stitched straight into a piece of pewter to make a box lid.  Here it is at the end of the day, before adding beads:

And here it is post-beading.

I can feel ideas coming on, thick and fast.  We're back!

All the decluttering must have been some sort of temporary illness, as my obsessive hoarding of useless pieces of stuff

(or "swarf" as my husband called it, letting slip a rare instance of Man Speak) is unabated.

Quite what has got into the Girl remains to be seen...

She came down to lay the table for dinner and announced that she was a surgeon.  Now if that doesn't scare anyone back to health...

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Snippets and senses

I've been trying to recover from all the tidying, and slowly crank myself up to creating things again.

I made a start by making a lavender bag, to hold the lavender I'd found in one of the drawers of the Megacupboard:

It's a bit over the top for something that's just going to be stuffed inside my pillow, but I got to enjoy the novelty of being able to choose the fabrics from an organised drawerful very close to my desk, instead of having to hike up and down the stairs to choose...

And it took a whole day to stitch, partly due to spending a morning gossiping with friends, but mostly because my head was beginning to fill with goo.  Too much information probably, but it's the reason I'm not teaching this evening...and of course I can't smell the lavender now!

I've also been trying to use up all my snippets to create something intuitive and spontaneous (and as you can see, un-ironed).

I started off randomly stitching by hand, but then began to use the machine a little bit. 

Here is the progress so far:

I'm not sure why everything is so blue in the evening it looks like this:

I'm not sure what it is yet, but now it's all constructed I'm going to add machine stitching. 

But not tonight.  Tonight I'm mostly sniffling and snuffling and generally feeling sorry for myself!  I haven't had a cold in ages, so I'm not taking it well, in fact, I'm quite probably all comes of going in to help at the Girl's school last week :(

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Le grand nettoyage

Oh yes indeedy, hence the infrequent posting - I've been busy. 
We are now decluttered and superorganised and spring cleaned and I learnt a new phrase in French class today!

It all started with my frustration that our living room was not "cosy".  So I had to move the furniture around.  Again.  (This is something I have a habit of doing, so Mr Gonecycling is used to it, but still hates it when I do it, ever since he came home and found a wardrobe stuck across the landing).

I knew that if we emptied and removed the large bookcase, swapped it for the blanket box, budged up the sofa and moved the rug, we would (a) have a cosy place in the living room to sit together of an evening, and (b) I could move one of my megacupboards down from the office - and wouldn't have to keep running up and down the stairs to fetch my supplies (not to mention disturbing Mr G when he's trying to work...)

So!  Here is a "before" of one megacupboard in the office (I have two):

Here is the (newly-edited) contents of said megacupboard:

taken out and spread all over the floor, in readiness for the great furniture removal which took place after the Girl's bedtime on Friday. 

Here is a bad pic of the other megacupboard:

Unfortunately, the stuff all over the floor had to go into this cupboard, so the stuff in this cupboard could go in the cupboard that was destined for downstairs.... The stuff on the floor is stuff I need, but is boring, and the stuff in the other cupboard is "nice" stuff, like fabrics, threads and my hoard of unused sketchbooks, which I wanted downstairs...with me so far?!

 Even more unfortunately, the cupboard to be moved was too heavy even with the empty drawers, so I had to remove them all.  And they are all screwed onto runners.  And there are 15 drawers.  And they hadn't been taken apart for 10 years.

Eventually, we got it downstairs, and I had to start the reassembly - except the pressure of the overloaded drawers over the last ten years suddenly being released caused the whole thing to warp and twist and it wouldn't stand up straight.  It's at this point that Mr G's eyebrows reach the ceiling, and I begin to feel a bit sheepish.  Luckily, the application of some felt furniture pads (to the cupboard not the eyebrows), a couple of hours of sweat and toil reattaching the runners and a liberal dose of magic silicon drawer-glide stuff, and the whole thing was sitting pretty and all the drawer contents were reassigned and my knees were completely wrecked and it was 11.30pm on a Friday night!  Don't tell me we don't know how to have fun around here.

As well as the grand furniture removals, the grand clear up has also meant dealing with unfinished projects, like cutting up my collection of jumble sale and charity shop clothes and dyeing the pieces.  This killed two birds with one stone, as I used up the dye from my class which has been sitting in a crate in the office since we did dyeing last summer term...

And another crate of dyeing equipment has been sitting on top of the filing cabinet for about six years, waiting to be put in the loft.  But it couldn't go up the ladder and therefore at an angle, until I had done something with the jamjars of acid dye that were in it.  So this was my project yesterday evening:

It's come out a bit washed out, but then the dye is six years old...and at least the crate can go now!

So I have created space, order and room to work, if not Art!
The Girl, meanwhile, has been getting creative with her food and wanted me to take a photo:

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Magnum Opus

No, not an amazing new piece of textile art, the sort to inspire, the sort that could win prizes and sell for loadsamoney.

But a heck of a lot of time and energy has gone into this project nevertheless:

Yup, I've been sorting my recipes out.
Every year I get a gift subscription to a certain food magazine .  Unfortunately, the lethal combination of a monthly magazine delivered through the letterbox, my worrying hoarding tendencies and my neverending quest for Vegetable Solutions, has resulted in a massive stack of clippings, box files and plastic wallets of recipe overload. 

But I think I'm nearly there!  I've been ruthless and chucked recipes that I know I'll never make, made a massive teetering pile of old magazines for the recycling collection, sorted everything I'm keeping into "main vegetable ingredient" categories, and now I can begin the long process of sticking it all into useable pages for my plastic folders.  I've just spent a happy morning working my way through "Green and Leafy", but I've hit a bit of a wall with where to put cauliflowers.  One idea does spring to mind, but I know I should eat them because they're good for me...

But it's not all vegetables around here.

We made an impromptu visit to Wales to see Mamgu for some apple tart refills.  While there, when it wasn't raining, I took the opportunity to look at some of the trees and bushes more carefully, in the vain hope that trees won't be so difficult anymore.

I like this idea of collaging text and drawing over it.  I will develop this idea...

And the Girl and I spent a happy half-hour grubbing around in the little slate quarry at the end of the track.  We brought plastic boxes of slate pieces home....but the colours seem to be better when it's wet, which in Wales is nearly all of the time...maybe I could varnish it?

Not a very good representation, but a quick go at recording the colours.  Again, something to work on.

I also made a little box of inspirational words, in the hope that I may conquer my fear of journaling and learn to express my innermost thoughts...

Hmmm.  I did surprise myself and write a haiku the other day:

See the trout leaping
Coffee foam river thunders
Nature harsh and cruel

Inspired by seeing the sea trout trying to jump up the fish ladder.  I've never seen them before and we were there for ages, wanting to see if one made it to the top.  But I think I'll leave the poetry to someone else.

Back to it - "Autumn and Earthy" and "Root Vegetables" next!