Thursday, 29 October 2015

Three builders and an IKEA catalogue

You may remember this picture of our living room

Well we've got all our building approvals and wotnot, and chosen a man who can - make straight edges to holes in walls for new doorways! The garage is nearly empty, just need to sell my old bike and move more bits into the sheds. We now have two mini sheds outside the kitchen, and the summerhouse - never truly sure of its identity (summer living room? Meditation room? Studio? Model railway room?) is now our posh bike shed, green roof and everything!

And I've been busy with the catalogue of all things flat-pack and my squared paper, planning to the millimetre exactly what is going where. Fun fun fun, I used to spend hours doing this sort of thing when I was 10. Should have been an architect.

And with two weeks until New Town Art Collective hang an exhibition at the Greenstede Gallery, East Grinstead, for which I have no new work, I thought I'd use my half-term break to empty my cupboards and desks ready for the Great Furniture Merrygoround that will keep things like the piano out of the way of builders and the ensuing dust.

Look at all those empty shelves and drawers...the stuff still inside the cupboard is all in crates and can be moved out tout suite when we need to dismantle (!!!!) the desk.

The cupboard in the way of the squiggly red line in the living room is quite an important one to shift early on, natch - can't have that sitting in the doorway to my studio! Let me say that again. MY STUDIO. 

I have had to make some hard decisions along the way

Pots of bits? Foily bits? Fabric bits? Leaf skeletons and dried petals?? I know exactly what at least one person reading this would say to do with it all...and she may be right.

But I've also found things like my Grandmother's pin box, and my Mother's needle cases and tatting shuttles...

I've kept out a supply of materials to finish off some work (I will do it, I just need a stupidly short deadline) and I've also kept out some books that I got the last 18 months or so, that I haven't read properly yet (where does the time go?). The rest of everything is either stacked in the office or in the loft. Mr G has expressed concern that one room, even all for me, already won't be big enough before we've even started...

Oops, sneaked in a box of shells there...sshhh

But then we took a cupboard over to Mrs B's workroom - the wonderful Mrs B who has agreed to buy my enormous sewing cupboard and two other sets of drawers (she's hankered after a cupboard like mine for years, she says) and her work room and the volume of STUFF EVERYWHERE beats mine hands down. I don't know if he was relieved, or worried that it was a glimpse into the future, as Mrs B has a head start on a few years over me....

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

If it ain't broke

There's a double meaning in that... When I started this blog, it was a bit of fun, a place to share my creations, a place to waffle on about life.

Then more teaching happened, and I began to get noticed on the Threadnoodle Facebook page...and I started to get confused about who I was, and who I was writing for (am I Iz, on a quest for the ultimate flapjack? Or am I Isobel Moore, Textile Artiste and Teacher extraordinaire?) So there followed a year-long dry spell in the land of Blog.

But I'm back. I'm both Iz and Isobel. I have accepted my random teaching style, my tangents and digressions. I will try and mindmap as a way to tame the thought processes or at least make them accessible to my students (Jan!).

But meanwhile, here is a blog post about breakfast.

A certain celebrity chef popped up on my Facebook timeline with a video about a kushti breakfast recipe. Let's call him Damie Jolliver. I was intrigued. I was tempted. Girl had expressed a dislike and boredom of the homemade birchermuesli offering (summer breakfast; winter breakfast being porridge) and wanted packet cereal and milk again. Oh no, thought I. I will make this kushti granola sweepings just like Damie Jolliver and all will be well.

Except it wasn't. It never is, is it?  As usual, I quickly concluded that Damie doesn't do his own prep or washing up. "Just" toast 1kg of oats and 1/2 pound of nuts? Like how, Damie? I didn't have a big enough oven tray so thought I'd use a dry pan on the gas and do it in batches.

One hour later.

The next step shows an excitable Damie cramming it all in a food processor. Uhuh. Not going to work, no Magimix in these parts. So I did batch blending in my mini chopper.

Fatal error no.1 was adding the ground coffee. Fatal error no.2 adding orange zest with cocoa. The only chocolate orange combo I will ever eat belongs to Terry, and I'll only eat it if I'm in a post-Christmas torpor and not thinking straight. I hate chocolate and fruit, loathe it. Why did I not trust my instincts?

Then there was the dust. Oh, the dust. Dirty, dirty. Oaty chocolatey coffee grounds dust. Then I didn't have a big enough container for it all. What a palaver. 

By this stage it had already taken nearly two hours to do what Damie's little video suggests you can knock up in a matter of moments, and that's before I'd cleaned up the kitchen.

Then, the first taste...hmmm, strangely gritty but not too awful. Was hoping for more than "acceptable" so I went in search of Mr Gonecycling and commanded him to eat a small bowlful of the stuff with milk. The results were not good. The final reckoning was at breakfast the next day, with all three of us. All three of us who then had a bowl of emergency porridge. 

I tried to salvage the granola dust muesli sweepings in the form of flapjack - not many things can't be helped along with the addition of butter, sugar and syrup. But I was wrong. 

We put it out for the birds. They weren't partial. 

Since when, I've actually been skipping breakfast altogether. Sort of lost my taste for it. The others are back to porridge. 

Moral of the story? Don't be in the thrall of celebrity chefs who don't do their own washing up. 

Secondly, blog as myself: it's good to be back! Next up, tales of cupboards and knocking holes in walls.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Catching up

Well gosh a mercy, it's been a long time. If you know me though, or follow me on Facebook or whatever, you will know that since I was last here I've been to Brittany, taught my first summer school at Missenden Abbey, had an exhibition, prepared my classes for this term, booked an amazing holiday for February, learnt a bit about painting, and generally had a hard time of it with Girl. I could have blogged about any of those things, but didn't, so here is a quick snapshot just to catch us all up: Brittany: We had a bit of a storm Which was terrifying, a bit floaty in that our tent was - floating - but did give rise to the expression "#waterproofgear" to be used hereafter in any inclement weather (one of the German boys came over to check we were OK, much to Girl's delight, and was checking and helping everyone in our section of the campsite because he "had the waterproofgear". And a big torch. Meanwhile, I was trying to move everything off the floor of our tent by the light of an LED tea light). But it wasn't all rain. Our last full day was definitely a beach day, so we tootled off down the coast to our "secret" beach i.e. only locals, no tourists - followed by the compulsory ice-cream from the little shop in Ploumoguer, eaten on the steps of the enclos paroissiaux:
Summer school:  I was terrified (but that's nothing new - I'm scared of everything!) but I had an absolute blast. A fabulous group, and wonderful work: Here is my Facebook post with the finished pieces (See my website for details of my 2016 courses at Missenden Abbey). Exhibition: No time for new work, apart from a few cards, but it was a lovely venue and I think we got it all together remarkably well - our first real group exhibition!
More pictures here. Holiday:
I'm already scared about driving my own snowmobile (obviously) but I'm ridiculously excited about our winter holiday to Norway. Must leave room in the suitcase for some knitwear and Sami anything!!  Painting: I went on a course with Emma Burnett, and painted this:
Not entirely sure I've found my métier! Which just leaves... Girl: Here she is in "colourful" mode
Funny thing is, it could be me at the same age. But don't tell her that!