Friday, 22 August 2014

A bit of skullduggery in Hythe??

This week I had a day out in the ancient 'cinque port ' town of Hythe with 3 friends......we wandered along the quaint high street....which is full of quirky,individual shops rather than the usual 'chain' stores
had a delicious lunch in one of the many cafes....and spent far too long in the 'Sewing Space'......an inspiring fabric shop....it took great willpower to only buy one piece of fabric!!
We then took a seriously steep climb up to St Leonards church
which contains one of only two ossuaries in England.....small,but fascinating.....and strangely enough.....not spooky at all.....quite peaceful,in fact.
It holds over 2000 skulls and about 8000 thigh bones....they date from the medieval period....when it was apparently believed that at least a skull and thigh bone were needed to be preserved in order for the dead to enter the afterlife.
The skulls have also been used to find out more about the genetic make up and health of our predecessors.....interestingly there are a lot of teeth in surprisingly good condition......sugar has a lot to answer for!!!!
Some of the skulls are individually displayed with explanations of how and why the person died.....axe wounds.....congenital deformities.....illness.....it would seem some even died of plain old age.
And we weren't allowed to touch the skulls as the oil from hands eventually makes the skulls all shiny.
It was fascinating......and also took me back to the day that 6 year old DD1 came home from school and announced that she never wanted to go to heaven because it would be full of skeletons.....not sure how much she would have liked this crypt!!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Layered landscapes workshop

I recently attended a 'Layered Landscapes' workshop taught by textile artist Catherine Lawes....originally from New Zealand.....Catherine now works and teaches in the UK......and the full day workshop was organised by the East Sussex Federation W.I. for the amazing price of just £15.....what a bargain.
All Catherine's work is based on landscape photos that she has taken.....so we all had a pack containing a picture of the design which was based on a photo she had taken of a sunrise on the South Downs.....and an assortment of fabrics......all the fabrics were silks,voiles,satins.....no cottons.We then played around with the fabrics.....hand stitching them onto calico and wadding when we were happy with our placement.
When the fabrics are all layered up they don't look anything much to start with.............. 
 but just add a mount round them and the landscape effect becomes immediately obvious
One of the best things I learned was how to stitch trees using a small amount of embroidery thread.....I love how the tree looks.
Catherine had put some slightly furry,fleecy fabrics in the pack for making bushes......but I decided I wanted to embroider mine.
The way the fabrics fray just adds to the landscape effect.
I added a bit more embroidery at home.....and the picture is now finished and framed....but I've found it impossible to take a decent photo of it in the frame!!
I loved the workshop.....Catherine is an inspiring teacher....and also brought along a selection of her work for us to see....all of it wonderful.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Wedding belles

One of my summer break aims was to finish my 2013 album and my 2013 vacation album......but I've been sidetracked into scrapping some far more recent photos.....beautiful photos of my little granddaughters who were flower girls at their aunt's wedding last month.
One of the advantages of having a good sort out of my craft stash is that I've found stuff [like these alphas] that I'd forgotten I ever bought!! 
And papers lurking at the bottom of boxes
I used totally different colours/papers for the second page.....but felt that they had a wedding feel to them......and the heart brad was yet another 'sorting out' discovery.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

One photo and 20 words- I love sunflowers

I'm joining in with Abi's 'one photo and twenty words' today.....find more here.
I love sunflowers in my garden,
 bees love sunflowers in my garden,
 so not planted too near the kitchen door!!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Inspired by the Bloggers Friendship quilt.....some seaside sewing

I'm taking part in Fiona's Bloggers Friendship quilt.....making a square a month for 12 bloggers.....in June it was Fiona's own turn to receive squares.....and as her blog name is 'staring at the sea'......a sea inspired square seemed appropriate......so I made these two.

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit I nearly didn't send them to her......I really liked them and wanted to keep them!!
I decided that one of my summer break aims would be to make a wall hanging inspired by these squares......so last week I was busy sewing.
and these are the 9 blocks that I made......I didn't want the wall hanging to be too big......I don't have a lot of wall space.
I found a fairly large piece of blue cotton in my stash......enough for sashing and backing....and placed all the squares on it to see what it would look like.....I think it will match alright....though it is fairly dark.....what do you think??

Friday, 1 August 2014

Photography Scavenger Hunt update

2014 Scavenger Hunt
I'm joining in with Rinda's photography Scavenger Hunt again this year......a bit late in starting......but hoping to catch up as the summer progresses......21 in total to find....8 captured.....13 to go.
2. a garden gnome.....he must be a bit of an age....as I was a little surprised to see him 'wanting to play' in an antique shop.....cute.....rather than creepy.
 5. a rack of postcards.....on a day out at Sissinghurst Castle.
7. a rural landscape......a Kent field


8. a tattoo on a person.....this was an easy one.....in theory......DD1 is a lover of tattoos.....but not such a great lover of me photographing her.....she was finally persuaded....I really like this tattoo.....I think it's cool......I just wish it wasn't on her!!!
12. a mascot......on the knitted boat at the 'Follow the Herring' Exhibition
13. a sunrise....at silly o'clock in the southern UK!!
 14. a parade......or more accurately......a parade of pirates
21. a photo of you with something representing the season......I noticed a few UK participants used a raincoat or wellington boots or umbrella for this one.....I might normally have joined you......but in this part of the UK rain is so elusive that we've almost forgotten what it looks like....my garden is in a serious sulk......and ice cream or Factor 50 is definately more appropriate.....though tomorrow is our town's carnival....so, of course, rain is forecast!!
I'm thinking that a juggler may prove a bit elusive.....birds on a wire aren't that common round here either....probably due to a lack of wires!! A bit of lateral thinking may be needed.
If you'd like to see what everyone else is capturing......Rinda has a monthly link up here.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Follow the Herring-Yarn bombing The Stade

In our town a lot of people are involved in a community arts project called 'Follow the Herring'
During the 19th century, women from fishing communities along the east coast of Scotland and England, the ‘herring lassies’ as they were known, would follow the herring fishing fleets down the coast to meet the catch at each port of call. With knives and strips of cloths tied around their fingers to protect them from the blades, they gutted, salted, and barreled the ‘silver darlings’, the bountiful herring that were destined for markets across the world.
The project involves a knitted boat traveling to fishing towns along the east coast
and in all the towns it visited there was yarn bombing by the local communities....the boat has arrived in Hastings.....its last port of call....and today.....after weeks of knitting....we were out yarn bombing The Stade.
 a knitted fish and chip shop.....in an old bathing hut
 showing the town's famous net huts
and prices that certainly don't apply today!!
A group of local W.I.s have had our own little project going on as well
 and today we've been yarn bombing the benches with underwater knitting displays
If you live in South East England....you may want to come take a look....it all shows how a local community can come together to produce something pretty cool.

Friday, 25 July 2014

A bit of sorting....and a bit of finishing

One of things on my summer break 'to do' list was to sort out my craft stuff.....I've done pretty well with this so far.....all the boxes emptied and sorted....the shelves all tidied.....some bits I'm sure I'll never use have gone in my 'work box' or to the charity shop or the boot sale box.....and a few ready to Ebay.
I know [more or less] what I actually have....and am far more likely to be able to find it and use it!!
On one shelf I found these bags
with UFOs that had been there for longer than I want to admit......so I decided to actually finish them.....2 down and 2 to go.
 A collection of photos that S had put on FB.......Little A is always ready to pose for the camera.
This page began when I was sorting some old 35mm pics......one off pics of DS......not really related to any particular event that I could remember.....it seemed a good idea to just collage them altogether on one page.....I can see where Little A inherited her posing gene from!!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Pirates Ahoy

Today was our town's annual Pirate Day.....I may have mentioned before that we hold the official world record for the most pirates gathered in one place......over 14,000......Penzance again tried to break that record this year.....and they must have been pretty p*****d as they only missed by 77.....so no record attempt needed this year.....but there were still a few thousand pirates marauding in town.
a rather blurred DD1 ready for action
 there's a prize for the 'best dressed' retail outlet
 Johnny Depp was in evidence everywhere
pirates larking around all over town
 a pirate parade almost impossible to photograph due to so many people milling around
best dressed pirate competition
and even the odd boat....this one made purely from recycled materials.
A fun family day out.

Friday, 18 July 2014

It's that time of year again....

Time for my summer break.....and because I tutor courses in schools and Children's Centres......and finish before them....and start again after them....I'm lucky enough to end up with nearly 9 weeks this year.....though I should point out that I don't get paid when I'm not working!!!
It's very fairly easy for me to waste too much of my break faffing around doing very little.....so I need A LIST to keep me on track and get through some projects.
So this summer I want...
1. to complete Rinda's scavenger hunt.....I'm a bit late starting....though I have got one or   two in the bag
2. to completely sort my craft/study area......I've made a start this week.....3 bags to the charity shop......and drawers and shelves looking a lot tidier....still plenty more to do though.           
3. make more squares for Fiona's Friendship quilt ......it's my turn to receive squares this     month.....and I'm really excited as the first ones have arrived....there will be an upcoming   blog post on that.....this one was for Fiona and I was so pleased with how it turned out....I   want to make a wallhanging based on it this summer.
4. to finish my 2013 scrapbook album.....there's not too much to add to that one....though   this page reminds me I have another bloggers' weekend to go to before my courses restart....yay!!!!           
5. to finish my 2013 cruise album......I'm only about half way through......but I'm only going to do a limited number of pages.....and the other photos will go in divided page protectors             
6. to visit the beach regularly.....I live so close to it.....I should have gone today.....but with our temperature hitting 30.....I decided to stay indoors!!
7. to read a book a week.....I have a pile by my bed just waiting.
8. to sew a patchwork bag.....this has been on my list of things to do for ages.....and with my sewing machine out for the quilt squares.....I need to get over my fears and give it a try ....and I even have a book.....which is full of lovely bags.....and only £2.99 at Amazon
9. do my tax return......so that it's not a last minute panic....yuk.
10. sort and clean all the kitchen cupboards and drawers.....and remove any vintage food   lurking in the shadows!!
11. try and have a day out with a friend each week.....visiting places of interest.....nearby     towns.....renowned coffee shops etc.
I think that might be enough to get started on.....I'll report back each week....which may help me keep on track.