Monday, 26 January 2009

Birthday weekend

Just thought I'd share the lovely weekend we had with our DS and his lovely DF in Cardiff Bay.
It was My OH's B-day on Saturday and before Xmas when we were visiting we noticed that the Scottish Royal Ballet were performing Sleeping Beauty at the Wales Millennium Centre on his actual B-day, so as it was 20 years since we last saw a live ballet I decided to make it his B-day treat.

As we were spending the w/e we went up to Cardiff on the Friday and had a great afternoon at the St Fagans, National History museum, which I shall blog about later as I took some lovely inspirational shots of a beautiful medieval restored church.

Here's one to whet your appetite.

After a lovely afternoon I had to visit the new hobby craft in Cardiff and bought these wonderful buttons, for a project I'll show later.

When we arrived at the flat we were treated to a delicious Paella which our, soon to be, DIL made for us as a lovely start to our w\e.

On Saturday we went for a long walk around Cardiff Bay and tried out the new barrage walk along the harbour. It was quite blustery, but very excillarating. Here's me between my two boys!

And here's our lovely hosts.

Before we went to the performance we were treated to a spelndid meal, which was a surprise treat from our DS and his DF, thank you both very much.

Just before we went into the millennium Centre I just had to have a go at this night shot, it was such a stunning display in real life, I'm afraid my pic doesn't do it justice, but you get the idea.

The inside of the MC is really modern and very stylish. The actual stage area isn't as large as you'd expect from the outside of the building but that helps to give it a more intimate feel I think.

Just before the curtain went up I managed to snap this shot of it as I thought it looked amazing.

The performance was absolutely super, I loved the fairy costumes and the intricate way the traditional story had been woven to suit a modern contemporary audiance.

One of the good fairies

The wicked fairy and her daughters responsible for trying to kill the princess.

The wonderfu princess (sleeping beauty) and her prince. They both danced magnificently together and seprately, bringing a lump to my throat with their tender interpretation of the story.

It certainly was a memorable evening.

Of course we had to round the w/e off with our usual vist to Craft in the Bay on Sunday for huge slices of cake and hot chocolate.

So a big thank you to Our DS and his DF for a fantastic w/e.

Monday, 19 January 2009


I went to the cinema with 2 of my DD's ( my poor youngest couldn't come out to play as her baby son had a nasty tummy bug, maybe next time), on Saturday and saw the amazing blockbuster, Australia.

It really is a 'must see' film, the scenery is amazing, the plot keeps you on the edge of your seat and the acting is faultless, especially that of Brandon Walters, who plays Nullah, "......a mixed race Aboriginal boy left orphaned by the inhumanity of Australian law"

Having just been doing a very small amount of research into the Australian Aboriginal culture I was completely captivated and horrified by this side of the story.

I had no knowledge of the "........Stolen generation when mixed race children were banned from living either with their Aboriginal families or within the white community, but were taken from their homes to be brought up in church missions" and was shocked that such cruelty could ever have been allowed to happen.

Having said that, It's a good thing for us to be educated in such things and I think this film handled it with sensitivity.

On to other things, I now have my official finishing date for my C&G, March 13th, so please excuse me if I'm an absentee blogger for a bit as I have 2 modules yet to do and am trying very hard not to panic!!!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

January CG PC

This year the Calendar girls have each selected a favourite artist's calendar page as a design source for the month.
Debbi has started us off with a painting by Shane Picket, who as you will see if you follow the link is is one of the foremost Nyoongar artists working in Australia today.

I was fascinated by his wonderful work and by the Nyoongar, who are an indigenous Australian people who live in the south-west corner of Western Australia.

I did some research on the net and discovered that they have a very special relationship and respect for the land on which they live.

They beleive in the "The Wagyl (alternative spelling Waugal or Waagal) which is, according to Noongar culture, a snakelike dreamtime creature responsible for the creation of the Swan and Canning Rivers and other waterways and landforms around present day Perth and the south-west of Western Australia."

Also, "In Australian Aboriginal mythology, the The Dreaming or Altjeringa (also called the Dreamtime[citation needed]) is a sacred 'once upon a time'[1] time out of time in which ancestral Totemic Spirit Beings formed The Creation."

I found these accounts fascinating and wanted to illustrate my PC using some of the imagery that I found on another website,
here. I didn't realise at the time I was surfing that this artwork was on a freeway in western Australia.

The BG for the PC is a mixture of hand printing and digital manipulation, and the whole piece was printed onto print ready canvas.

I really enjoyed researching behind this artist and would have liked to have had time to explore the Nyoongar culture and myths, so thanks Debbi for such an inspirational start.

Monday, 12 January 2009

New Year gift and CG PC's

I just had to show this lovely package that popped through my letter box, on friday, it was a complete surprise from Jo-Anne. I had admired the PC on her blog and had no idea it was winging it's way to me as a New Year gift, together with a gorgeous skein of Australian hand dyed silk and a lovely book mark, thank you Jo.

In the same week I received my January PC from Pippa who is a new member of our Calendar Girls group. It came in this very stylish envelope done in a lovely leather like texture. Both are lovely Pippa, thank you.

Due to pressure of other things I realised I hadn't acknowledged my CG PC's for the past 3 months , so here they are, sorry to be so late , but they were all receieved with delight and made my day.

December was this lovely pretty card from Sandy it's been so cheerful to look at on these horrible grey days we've had lately, thank you Sandy.

November was this amazing 3D painting from Pat, which she very kindly sent with this lovely piece of lace, again a great colourful PC to beat the winter blues, thank you Pat.

And lastly in October I recieved this amazing sculptural PC from Lynda, it's an outsanding 3D piece and I wouldn't even know where to start to create something like it, so it's a constant inspiration on my 'thinking wall', thank you Lynda.

I hope I shall be able to keep up with the CG group a little better this year, otherwise I mught just get drummed out of the gang for poor attendance, and that would be a shame as I've really enjoyed it.

Thanks to all in the group.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Cyber Fyber Exhibition

I've just been trawling the Cyber Fyber Exhibition, hosted by the wonderful Susan Lenz, and here are just a few of the PC's on show, sent in by the bloggers that I know, there is loads more to see so do pop across and have a look at this unique event.

Pippa's PC

Jacqueline's PC

Carol T's PC

Helen"s PC

Debbi's PC


Pat's PC

Chrissy's PC



Julie's PC

Doreen's PC

And a great big thank you to all those who commented on my PC.


PS the exhibition opened yesterday and Susan has posted her article for the local newspaper here, it's well worth a read

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

It's all in a word

I'm so glad that I picked 'Enjoyment' as my word for this year because already it's changed my attitude. I catch myself thinking what can I find to enjoy in this task, instead of approaching it with dread and irritation.

To give you an example, cooking is not one of my favourite pass times, you've only got to look at this pic to see why.
My poor OH always approaches our kitchen with dread if I cook anything beyond beans on toast, and even then he swears I use every untensil we possess, and maybe some of next door's as well.

However I was cooking my favourite recipe tonight, mushroom and peanut loaf, so instead of getting in a lather about how fiddly it is to cook, I just concentrated on how nice it would be to eat it and the pleasure of cooking a proper meal for the two of us, as my OH had been away for a boy's bonding/photographic w/e. And hey presto!!!! the result was even better than usual.

And yes I did manage to clear the kitchen before I served the meal. I know you'll be wondering :-)

As for the knitting needles on the window ledge more about them later.

And to end a very good day, I packed up my completed module 6 ready to post off for assessment and have nearly finished the final piece for module 5, so long may this 'Enjoyment ' last.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Unfamiliar territory

This is one of the pieces that I needed to finish before the middle of January.
Needless to say it's the 3D module, not a fovorite form of working for me, but it's done now.
I started in the usual way with a brief and decided to work with ancient Norwegian architecture as the modue required that the finished piece must link to some form of architecture.
I found the image of the animals on an ancient Nordic chuch door during my research and thought they would make a good subject. The other restriction was that the container had to include some wadded work.
I got the idea of working the piece in white and then painting it in acrylic from the latest edition of CPS where I found a great article by Jo James and Dylan Curry.
It does require a leap of faith because once you've painted the piece, you then have to cover it in a wash of burnt umber and wipe it off again quickly, very, very, nerve wracking, but I'm quite pleased with the effect it gave.
It's a vey simple box that I'm sure some of you will recognise from Janet Edmonds beginner's guide to Embroidered Boxes.
I'm sorry there's no WIP pics but I had a bit of a trauma with my air brush in the middle of the painting and forgot to record the progress.

This cross signifies a Christian memorial.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

A time for evaluation

It's that time of year again when our thoughts turn to how we fared last year and what we might do differently this year.
We went for a lovely walk around a local lake this morning and I took my camera to record a few shots for this post. I had been inspired by the blogs I've visited over Christmas, with lots of enthusiastic ideas for the New Year, but in particular Becky's post made me feel I needed to get my thoughts in order and make a commitment to New Year plans.

I was very surprised when I reviewed my pics to find that they illustrated exactly how I feel at the moment, so I thought I'd show you.

I took this first shot as I thought it was so lovely that even on a very cold day this family had come out to make sand castles with their children and it reminded me how precious my family are to me.

When I saw this pic I just felt sad to see this football, it looked lost and alone and it sort of made me feel that I've felt a bit like that this last year, working in isolation on the C&G, never really knowing if I'm making headway or travelling backwards.

This lone tree reminded me of my ever present need to do something different and stand out from the crowd, which again is an uncomfortable place to be, out of your comfort zone.

And lastly this tangle of trees made me think of the constant scrambled messages I send to myself, while I'm struggling to reach my goal, sometimes hating what I've been instructed to do and doing it with a very bad grace, but then surprising myself when something works, and I would never have thought to go down that route.

Last year when people were mentioning choosing a word to guide them throught the year, I couldn't think of one, but this year my word is 'Enjoyment' as I think it is the key to producing beautifull (saleable) work.

I hope I will have more time to blog this year, as I have missed being part of the community over the past few months, and I do appreciate the help and support of other bloggers which is so generously given.

I wish you all a very happy and productive 2009.