Friday, 22 February 2013


Congratulations to our beautiful daughter Hannah, who lost 8 stone in just 9 months. It was an amazing journey for her and it has completely changed her life.

Her story has been told here and is truly inspirational.

As a family we are all supremely proud of her and are benefiting from her extensive knowledge, both in diet and exercise. She is always generous with her help and encouragement despite an incredibly busy life.

We all send you our heartfelt congratulations on your success, Hannah.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Allotment red alert, and art therapy

While we were away from our allotment yesterday, we were told that someone had visited the next door plot looking very interested in renting it......... Oh no! So we're now being very positive and hoping that they weren't as keen as one of our neighbours thought, roll on next Wednesday, when hopefully we find out.

On a positive note look what I found in my local charity shop, this lovely vase to go with the tea cups I found the other day, maybe it's a good omen.

We were also lucky enough to spot some very large pallets on a building site in town and after asking the site foreman if they were going begging my DH carried one back to the allotment, no mean feat considering how heavy they were. Fortunately we had our grandson over for a couple of days and he bravely helped his granddad carry 4 more back to the plot.

If that wasn't enough today he took on the job of taking the pallets apart and pulling out the nails, what a good chap. Thank you very much :-)

And as to my contribution, I potted on some possible hyacinth bulbs that got dug up during plot digging, and brought a pic-nic lunch for us all.

Hope they survive the transplanting.

And now for some art work. With my lovely new easel that my DH bought me for Christmas I've been able to return to the exploration of large scale sketching again, A2 to start with. I set up a still life and took the plunge, it's been many years since I worked on anything bigger than A4, so this was quite a new experience. I tried to remember the things I had been taught in my art classes back in the early '90's, not an easy thing when the memory's not as good as it used to be.

I tried to keep it loose, but wasn't that pleased with the result so I put it into iPhoto and put a paint filter on it, which loosened it up a lot more.

The original sketch was done with oil pastels and charcoal pencil, but I much prefer this one that has a more painterly feel, so maybe that might be the way to go next time.

And this one was the same sketch but using a Grunge app, which was great fun and the filters do give an idea of what a distressed treatment would produce.

And  today I had another go with a different still life, this time using chalk pastels, oil pastels and charcoal.

It'll be a slow journey back to working this size and bigger again, but it is a lovely feeling to be able to use your whole body to get the shapes you're trying to create.


Friday, 15 February 2013

Life without boundaries

This last week has been very strange, as you can imagine. For the first time in three years I have no deadlines to make, so I've created them for myself.

I've been manically clearing and tidying everything in sight, even my threads are all evenly spaced with no ends dangling, they wouldn't dare in the current climate, which will of course change when a new wind blows in.

In the meantime there has been lots to do and supervise in the allotment of course, you do have to keep an eye on the staff and make sure they're not slacking.

I do get my hands dirty occasionally, well the gloves anyway.

Looking forward to painting this a nice National Trust green I think.

Now some of you who have been paying close attention will remember that we have had our eye on the next door plot and so far the news is that it is up for reallocation, but there is now a 2 week period for anyone to apply to swap to it if they're a current plot holder and they want to move, so fingers tightly crossed the no-one wants it and it will be ours.

So in the spirit of positive thinking I give you the corner logs/bricks of the summerhouse.

And the boundary (white square) of my personal part of the plot, what do you think of it so far?

So foundations laid, plot division agreed, onto the colour scheme, I'm going to use this lovely Proven├žal  fabric for the furnishings and the summerhouse colour scheme, Ultramarine blue and Windsor yellow I think for accent colour......oooo, I can feel a Kirsty mood board coming on, and the icing on the cake were these wonderful cups and saucers we saw in the charity shop, there were 4 in all, 2 for us and 2 for guests. The lady in the shop thought they were perfect for an allotment summerhouse. So do we so please wish us luck for next Wednesday week.


Friday, 8 February 2013

Finished at last

I've finished my assessment piece at last.

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

It took 166 hours and 12 weeks to complete!

The piece is now residing in our small hall where it adds light and interest to what is a very functional area.

It also throws some lovely shadows onto the ceiling 

Needless to say it was a very difficult piece to photograph so I made a short video which I hope will show it off better.

The ceiling shadows show well right at the end of the video where the colour is just right.

If anyone wants to see more, the full story is here

As this is quite a pivotal  moment for me having now finished my C&G diploma course, I wanted to thank the people who made it possible for me to do it , and of course first in the queue is my long suffering DH, who has supported me throughout this creative journey that started with the first C&G in fashion in 1989 and has continued ever since, through a degree in fashion and textiles and on to my C&G courses in embroidery, I couldn't have done it without you :-) 

Nor could I have made it without the support of my amazing children and who each in turn kept me going when I really didn't want to continue, with a common sense that sometimes seemed to go well beyond their years, thanks to all of you :-) And a special thanks to grandson Ben who worked with me on a couple of pieces.

And last but by no means least thanks to my friend Carrol who never lets me take myself seriously and all my blogger friends who have never stinted with their encouraging comments and helpful experience and advice.  

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Girl's weekend

Had a lovely indulgent weekend with my 3 daughters, lots of naughty food washed down with a bottle of bubbly, after spending a wicked amount of time in the sauna, spa, swimming pool and steam room , who could ask for more. Lots of girly chat and chilling out.

My apologies for the strange angle of the photo, giving pride of place to my home made bread, it wasn't deliberate, girls, just a tight squeeze to get all our food in. And this was by no means all of it, we followed it up with delicious salmon steaks and Italian bread, not to mention leek and potato home made soup, in there somewhere ....... and a coffee gateaux before we went to the spa....hmmm, what luxury.

While we were having our chill out my grandson was investigating his new clothes and took a definite shine to his Scooby Doo baseball cap, but which way is the coolest way to wear it.....

Crossbones to the front or a 'devil may care' tuft of hair when worn backwards.

Thank you so much to my daughter for hosting such a lovely get together. Looking forward to the next one already :-)

Friday, 1 February 2013

New sketchbook

I must admit I don't venture into the realm of fantasy sketching very often, I have enough trouble sketching what's in front of me. However after almost 2 years of daily sketching in A5 sketchbooks which has now completely gobbled up my supply I finally decided to take the plunge and move into A4.

And the fantasy bit has come about when I found this wonderful article in a magazine showcasing this amazing studio summer house....... big green eyed monsters then appeared, especially as the owner turned out to be a textile specialist. So I just had to put myself in the garden with my new studio.

It was very therapeutic :-)