Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Thank you

Well that blog silence didn't last long did it?

Seriously though I have 2 important thank yous to make.

Firstly, I would like to thank all you lovely friends who have wished me luck on my project and let me know that I will be missed while I'm away, I was very touched.

Secondly, I want to thank my lovely family for giving me the best birthday I have ever had.

Yesterday I became a pensioner, ouch!!!!, that looks even worse in print!!!!

I had said some time ago that my best birthday present would be to spend a weekend with all my family together, no small wish considering there are now 22 of us, and hiring a house for such an occasion was no meant feat.

I had put the idea to bed for this year as we all have heavy commitments and as some of you will know our son and his DF are getting married in August, but to make it up to me my OH said he would take me away for the weekend and take me out to dinner on Saturday night, so I needed to pack something posh to wear.

We set off on Friday mid morning to an unknown location, he wouldn't tell me where we were going, even though I thought it was a bit far North for a random weekend away, he just said he thought it would be quieter further North, hmmmm!!!!! I am renowned in the family for my gullibility.

It was not till we finally arrived deep in the Norfolk countryside at this beautiful house the I spotted a familiar vehicle, DD2's people carrier, and then I noticed the birthday banner on the door, and promptly burst into tears, my poor OH wondered if they'd done the right thing, but he couldn't have been more wrong, it was the best surprise I could possibly have had.

We had a lovely informal meal when we arrived and made ourselves at home in this gloriously spacious house, which was a real family home.

Here's our youngest GS ignoring the resident chicken, who later became his best friend.

On Saturday night we all got dressed up for a special dinner which was cooked and served for us in the house by a team of caterers and was absolutely splendid. We had champagne and a beautiful toast from my OH, another lump in the throat moment.

And then a family pic of course.

And just to prove that there's life in the old girl still, I had to have a go on the trampoline with one of the younger members, who later did a great impression of the little boy in the film The Shining, on his tricycle.

I had a wonderful birthday cake and to top it off had the most beautiful presents and cards from all the family, so I really did feel very special and loved.

Thank you all so much for making my dream come true, I soooo.... much didn't want it to end.

But I really will have to go now and get on with some serious work.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Bye for now

Mike Young

The time is rushing by towards the hand in date for my entry in the CHF textile competition, so I have decided to follow the example/advice of a a very wise (hence the owl pic) blogger friend Val and take a blogging break until the piece is finished. I don't really want to be away from the scene, but I spend most evenings surfing and I really need that time to get my sketch books ready and work on the embroidery for the piece.
I shall look forward to sharing it all with you in September when it's gone on public display at The Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch.
I shall look forward to returning to Blogland in August.
Bye for now.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


Time is taking wings, as usual, and I realised I had been very rude and not shown my last 2 CG PC's

This as my lovely PC from Pat working to our March theme.

And this one is from Carol M who's done an amazing job using techniques that I could only dream about.

And this was the inspiration, yes I know it says September, but it really was our April theme.

And just to show how 'out of it' I am at the moment this lovely PC arrived from Jenny this morning and I had no idea it was for me. It's really beautiful in the flesh.

The theme for this month is Monet's Water Lilies.

Thank you all very much, sorry it's taken so long for me to put yours up Pat.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Meeting Alice Kettle and the CHF finalists

We had a wonderful w/e, which started on Friday with a lovely easy drive up to a great caravan site just past the NEC at Birmingham called Somers Wood. It's right in the countryside and best of all it's adults only, so it was really peaceful, which was just what we both needed after a very busy week.

As some of you will know I was a bit nervous about this workshop with Alice Kettle and meeting the other finalists in the competition, but as Julie so rightly said it would be fine and I'd have a great time.

The venue for the day was a purpose designed classroom with a bank of new Pfaffs to play with, and lots of lovely fabric and thread for our creative endeavours.

We started with a meet and greet session, followed by a show and tell. Everyone's work was very different, which made for much lively discussion, with Alice offering us all lots of encouragement and helpful suggestions as to how we might emphasise certain areas of our work.

I wish I had taken some photos of the work the others brought with them , but the day was a packed one and the time just flew by. We had a photographer with us for the day so hopefully we will get to see where the photos are being used at some point and I can show you.

During a working lunch Alice gave us a brief history of her career to date and a small insight into what it's like to be a successful working artist. There are some wonderful pics on her web site and we were privileged to see some her work in the flesh, which was amazing.

After lunch we settled down to doing some line sketches and collages of the still life compositions that Alice had set up for us. Our brief was to look at the type of line we could see in the objects and their relationships with each other, with the purpose of using the collages as a design source for our stitch samples.

These are two of my attempts, I had a spiky sanding drill bit, a chrysanthemum flower, a wire wool pot scourer and 2 fishing floats in front of me, amongst other things.

And this is one of my stitch samples, using techniques, stitch settings and materials inspired by some of Alice's samples.

Here are some of the other students work from the day.

It was so nice to meet the other finalists and have a chance to work together, under Alice's guidance, she is a lovely encouraging and generous tutor.

The rest of the w/e was gorgeous too, but that'll have to wait till later in the week as I'm still buzzing from all the advice and ideas I received on Saturday and can't wait to get on with the project.