Thursday, 15 September 2011

Magic Feathers

Jude Hill, of SpiritCloth, is gathering 1000 embroidered feathers from around the world and sewing them together.   She says: 

"The Magic Feather Project is a collective stitching project focused on creative sharing and giving. The magic feather has been my personal symbol for almost forever. With the idea of making it a symbol of something bigger than just myself, I thought I would share it with you and you in turn might stitch one (at least) and send it to me so I might, in turn, sew a bunch together and put the larger cloth to some charitable use.My target for any charity efforts connected with this project  is children. Their well being and education. I may give or donate some of the cloths directly or donate them for auction. We'll see."

She also has a Facebook page and a Flickr page, if you would like to see some of the wonderful donations she has already received.
I'm finding them a bit addictive to make....  These are sewn on a piece of roughish cotton which I indigo dyed at the shibori workshop I went to earlier this year.   The one where I had to walk home 3 miles carrying a bucket and drainpipe and looking like a bag lady. Oh, don't remind me.  Anyway, the bits where the dye was resisted look a little bit feathery in places, so I though I would use silks in similar shades to create some harmony.  
The backing cloth in this one is an old soft thick piece of cotton which was an altar cloth in a previous life.   It's actually a bit more of an ochre colour than it looks and is gently faded in the folds.   The thread was some hand-dyed I bought years ago from Myfanwy.

In between feathers I've free-machine stitched some little brooches.   This poor bunny perhaps needs reporting to the RSPCA, with its dislocated tail and withered back leg....

Job for today:  removing Bondaweb glue from the ironing-board cover before my husband permanently fixes his work-shirt to it....


Monday, 12 September 2011

pussycat pussycat, where have you been

Not to London to visit the queen.   But to South West France, deep in the countryside in the Lot valley.    Along with quite a lot of the population of Holland, it would seem!  

Eating chocolate pud and creme anglaise a la menthe
watching the twinkling reflections of the stained-glass windows in a tiny hill-top village church

 fois gras central in St. Cirq Lapopie
ancient village on a very steep cliffside overlooking the river Lot

33 degrees C at 9.15 a.m., so made a very sweaty retreat back to the house and into the pool......

A very special treat the day before we set of for France was a quick train trip up to Birmingham NEC for the Festival of Quilts.   And it was worth it just to see this masterpiece by Carolyn, a kind and lovely blogger friend.   See more about her quilt here.
I took some more photos, but in my excitement and because I hadn't invested in a programme, I didn't have the artists' names.   So sorry.

little boxes and indigo

domestic scenes

unfurling ferns
no visit to FoQ complete without some purchases
sari silks

and threads
BIG ceramic hearts
REALLY BIG ceramic beads in lovely shades
slightly smaller versions
sweet little free-machine stitchery on felted blanket by Janet Clare
(v. cheap, so treated myself!)

And another one which became a brooch yesterday
Talking of brooches, there was quite a gathering of bloggers at FoQ, photos of which you've probably seen on other blogs, and I met some of my heroines that day.   One,with quite unexpected generosity, pressed this awesome beauty into my sweaty palm.   I was quite overcome and couldn't believe my eyes.   I love Viv's work and just wish I had a smigeon of her artistic talent and freedom of expression.  
Cakey interlude - three types of plums from our garden
And another 'birthday treat', something I've wanted to do for years-and-years and eventually managed to get to a few weeks ago - Gifford's Circus.   They travel around the Cotswolds area during the summer months, camping out on common land with their traditional vehicles and bite-sized marquee.   We went to see then when they were on Minchinhampton Common, for a matinee performance on a beautiful summer's day.   I have to tell you that I haven't laughed so much for ages and was completely transported by the effervescent theatre, gymnastics, music and 'pure magic'.

OK, so this smart-alec can not only play the violin, she can do it dangling from one leg from the topmast of a circus marquee

sorry to have been gone so long - I'll be back soon, promise .....


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

In which we consider incongruity and birthday treats

I've been thinking about incongruity.   As one does.   

I don't know if you remember Tony, my roughty-toughty motorcycle racer neighbour?   The one who once got cross and (allegedly) set fire to Nick-the-Wig's toupe in the pub?   Perhaps I didn't mention that bit before...  Anyway, yesterday I was having a bit of a lie-in, still recovering from a lot of singing and dancing on Saturday evening, of which more anon.  I was in a half doze, when I heard someone outside singing  'Morning has broken'.   I stuck my head through the gap in the curtains.   Tony, bare-chested and with a car battery tucked under one arm, was serenading Peter the Postman.     I nearly wept to hear 14 stone of muscle and metal plates giving a sweet, falsetto, and just about word-perfect rendition of a hymn that he must have learnt at junior school.    I gathered from the look on his face, and a retort that I didn't quite catch, that Peter was contemplating incongruity too.  

Village life isn't always so touchingly harmonious and there's recently been the divisive topic of someone's neighbour noise issue which should have been resolved between the two parties involved, but sadly became front page news in the free paper and hotly-debated topic in a local radio programme phone-in.  Nigel the cockerel was the villain of the piece, but such was his notoriety after this publicity that there was even talk of him being invited to open the village fete.    

I've been indulged with quite a few lovely trips and treats lately, mainly to do with a recent Big Birthday.   I'm the same age as Dennis the Menace.   

Our first treat took us to London to the Imperial War Museum to see the exhibition of Women War Artists.   One of the most striking paintings was by Anna Airy of a munitions factory.   The exhibition is on until the end of November and it's certainly worth a visit if you are likely to be in London.   We also had a stroll along the South Bank to see some of the exhibitions staged in honour of the anniversary of the Festival of Britain (also 60 this year) and happened to bump into my lovely neice who was having a birthday outing too - now wasn't that a coincidence?

Another rare treat was the opportunity to see all the exhibitors and trade stands at FibreEast, the first event of its kind locally in support of The Campaign for Wool.   There's a button on the left to link to their website.   Two marquees full of fibre to bedazzle the eye and tempt you to touch.   What joy!   Lots of it was aimed at spinners and knitters, but that didn't put this felter off, oh no siree.   No chance of going home with any money left in my purse that day!   One real delight was to meet Sara whose fibres I have used in my felting for a while.   It was brilliant to be able to see some of her limited edition batts up close and I did eventually make my mind up about which two to purchase.  

Further round the marquee I watched someone felting with a proper multiple needle-holder and realised that this was what I needed instead of the single needles which which I'm always drawing blood.   So, with new needles and some of Sara's artistic batts, I have made myself some hearts, using the batts as a base and embellishing them with alpaca fibres I got in a swap a while ago from Loco Lindy the Lama Farmer  (true).

I also bought some bits of lightly-felted blanket in lovely shades and some cute ceramic buttons with doggies on them and made a few brooches just for fun.  These fairtrade buttons are made in Johannesburg and sold in this country by Injabulo, who are having a stall at the Festival of Quilts.   

I loved their beads made from magazine pages too, and I'm planning to make some felt beads to go with them and construct a necklace or two.   They are made in Botswana under the auspices of mothersforall, a charitable organisation teaching skills to women who are caring for children orphaned by AIDS. 

Saturday's treat was an outing to Audley End for a picnic concert.   So we joined the 9,998 other people sitting in the blazing sunshine on the hillside behind the house and ate our picnic listening (on headphones) to Test Match Special and the thrilling end of the first day's play in the second Test against India at Trent Bridge while we waited for the main attraction to appear on stage.   

No idea who all these people are, but somewhere in there was Gina of Fan My Flame!   Please go and visit her blog to see the wonderful snippet of video she took of the occasion.

You'll see from her clip that the star attraction was Tom Jones!   He certainly gave us a magnificent evening's entertainment, I can't believe what a wonderfully strong voice he still has at the age of 71.  And, of course, we boogied (is that the right word? I'm so out of touch with these things....) and sang along to Delilah at the tops of our voices.    What a fireworks display there was at the end - surely the best I've ever seen - just magic.

 (not my photo)

I'm sorry my blogging has been a bit inconsistent lately, not only v. busy, but having trouble with laptop and IE, so trying Firefox just to see if it helps.   So far so good ....

Have a great week - what have you got planned?

Chrissie x