29 May 2007

I don't believe it

After waiting in all day on Friday for the gas engineer and getting a phone call first thing this morning to say he would be here between 9am and 1pm, he got here at 11.30am and guess what it took all of 5 minutes to fix the problem. There is a small whole at the bottom of the ignition that he blew in to and the fire came on first time. It seems it gets dust in there, blocks it and blowing the dust out is all it takes to fix it. I've lost track of the number of times this has happened with this fire. Why couldn't they have told me that before and I'd know what to do. I suppose because they want the Landlord to pay their bill.

28 May 2007

Nuno Felting

I just found this great You Tube video on how to do Nuno Felting so thought I'd share it with you.

25 May 2007

C & G Chapter 3

Anyway I got to spend the afternoon finishing off Chapter 3. I have thoroughly enjoyed doing this chapter. I've been amazed at all the shapes I've been able to come up with from just a few basic star shapes.

I particularly like the colours I used in Design Sheet C. I've been watching coverage of the Chelsea Flowere show on BBC Tv and it seems purple and yellow are the "in" colours for flowers this summer, so I've been in fashion and I didn't even know it I just liked the colours I chose from the colour wheel.


I usually do the shopping on a Friday afternoon but I've been waiting in all afternoon for a gas engineer to come and fix the ignition on our gas fire. He was supposed to come between 1 and 5 pm but when it got to 5.15 I phoned the landlord only to be told the office is closed and the woman who answered said she couldn't do anything until Tuesday morning because of the Bank Holiday. It a good think it isn't the middle of winter or we'd freeze, I feel like screaming!!!

City & Guild group ATC swap

I joined the ATC swap on the City and Guild group I belong to and these are the lovely ones I got in return:

This first is from Lesley in St Albans

the second I got yesterday from Jacque in Illonois, USA

and Leanne had a few spare from her list so we swapped with each other as well

I'm always amazed at what variety can be achieved in such a small piece of work.

23 May 2007

Good Luck Liverpool

I just want to wish Liverpool FC the best of luck for tonight's game in Athens. It is 30 years since Liverpool first won in Europe. Hopefully we can make it 6 times tonight.

Come on You Reds

Boo hoo we lost 2-1 Oh well it wasn't meant to be, after all it is only a football game there are more important things in life.

I get too nervous to watch big games, not that I watch them a lot anyway I just follow my team anyway I spent this evening doing some more work on Chapter 3 of my C & G course. I hope I can finish it tomorrow and post some photos of what I've done.

22 May 2007


As I mentioned yesterday my Mum won a copy of the DVD of the series Lilies. Alis left a comment and asked if there was going to be a new series. If you've not heard there has been a lot of press about the BBC not commissioning another series because it didn't get enough viewers and according to them it didn't attract the right demographic audience, in other words anyone under 25 and the attention span of a flea. If you go to the Lilies website you can read the hundreds of comments left by disgruntled viewers which prove that it appealed to everyone from 8 to 80+, male and female alike. I've just googled to see if there is any more news and found Digital Spy
that has a good forum discussing Lilies.

21 May 2007

Mum's a Winner

My Mum was made up when she got the post at lunchtime. Just look what she won and she didn't even know she'd been in a draw.

I've got to own up, it was me. It was our favourite serial on BBC earlier this year and I was trying to find out if they planned to make any more and came across a website for the over 60's that where giving away the DVD in a draw so I put Mum's name down and she won. She's so pleased I don't think she's ever really won much in draws or competitions only the odd £10 on the Lottery.

19 May 2007

Missing comments

I don't know what happened but the comment link disappeared of my last post so no one could let me know what they thought of my Mandala, Terri, Alis, Lynda and Sue pointed it out in emails, thanks girls.

It took a few minutes but I've sorted it out. I'd noticed the 'Post Options' bit at the bottom before but never clicked on it but when I went to help I found out what it is. I also notice they've changed so your post get autosaved now, that's a lot better.

18 May 2007


As I've mentioned I've joined a group called The Artists Muse. I'm still waiting for the book to come but the 1st chapter is available on Amazon.com. which is the US site. Our first challenge was a Mandala, which for anyone that doesn't know is Sanskrit for 'whole world' or 'healing circle' and historically where used as symbols to help people to meditate and also for protection and healing rituals.

The idea was that you sit quietly for a while or take a walk then start. So I got my art stuff out ready, sat for a while and then started. I was surprised that I didn't really have to think about what I was doing the Mandala sort of did itself as I went along, if that makes sense to you.

I started with a small circle in the centre of a piece of watercolour paper 14.5 inches square, that's 37cm in metric. I know we are supposed to use metric in the UK but I was brought up on feet and inches and can't get used to it. Anyway to get back to the Mandala, using a compass I drew a spiral which in Celtic design work symbolises growth - clockwise is positive - anticlockwise is negative. The Mandala sort of grew from there of it's own volition until I ended up with this.

I felt the corners of the page needed something so I drew some Celtic knotwork which symbolises infinity and the continuity of the spirit in this world and the next.

I didn't set out to do a flower but when I'd finished drawing the Mandala I realised that's what it looked like. I love flowers and my dream is to have a garden of my own one day so perhaps it was some part of my subconscious coming out.

I decided to use gouache to paint it. This is the first time I've used that medium in my art work so I was rather pleased with how it turned out.

Blue represents peace, faith, spirituality, truth - Purple represents artistic, mystic, altruistic and Green represents life, nature, tolerance. I wasn't too sure about the green background, it seemed a bit bright so I've toned it down a bit with a glaze of sap green watercolour. Finally I used a black pen to outline the different shapes - it reminds me of stained glass now.

This is a close up of the centre which I think stands alone as a small Mandala

and this is a close up of the Celtic knot in the corner

16 May 2007

Another book and new toy

Another of the books I ordered from Amazon came last week, only another 6 to go.

This was on offer in the last issue of 'Stitch' magazine, £14.99 instead of £24.99. Too good to miss so I treated myself. It came with a little bag of fabric so I'll have an experiment with it at the weekend.


I mentioned previously I was in the middle of making something, well it was with my experiments with Garden fleece, I've finally finished it. I was hoping to have it finished on Sunday so my brother could take it, because it is a present for my sister-in-law for her birthday at the end of the month but I didn't get the chance to finish, it has taken a lot longer than I expected.

Firstly I used one of the fancy stitches on my sewing machine to sew rows in Natesh thread.

I thought it needed something else to make it a bit more textured so I made some machine made cord. Blimey it took ages but I eventually made enough. I attached it in between the fancy stitching with a zig zag stitch.

Close up of stitching

I used some of the painted fleece for the lining of the padfolio but felt the pockets could do with a bit of texture so did some more stitching on to some more pieces of fleece.

I stitched this piece on the bias because it was going to be folded with a slant for the pocket.

and this is the finished Padfolio

and the inside

I made a little tag for the end of the cord and could I find the rivet to put on it could I **** (insert your own expletive). I bought a pack a few weeks ago and had got them out ready to use but when I came to use them they'd disappeared. Now I knew they had to be somewhere and I looked everywhere. I'd had a bit of a tidy up at the weekend when I put my new bookcase in my studio so I pulled everything out and looked in boxes but still couldn't find them and I was beginning to think I'd thrown them out with rubbish. I had one final look and put my hand down behind a couple of stacker boxes and guess what, there was the bag. I must have put them on top and they'd fallen down between the stacker box and one of my shelf units. Forgot to say the button is one you cover with your own material so I used a piece of the painted fleece on cotton fabric.

Garden fleece experiments

I had a go with the garden fleece I mentioned that I got for £1 in Poundland. I don't know if it the same as nappy liners, not having used them but Doreen said it is the same material but it does work.

First I used some oil pastels over some textured surfaces.

Then I painted a few pieces with Silk paints to see what they turned out like and ironed them on to white cotton fabric.

This piece I used to mop up the paint that was left on the piece of plastic I'd used to cover my desk.I can't work out where the pink/lilac came from on this because I hadn't used any red. I've just realised where it came from I moved this piece of fleece on to a piece of bubble wrap and there must have been some paint left on it from a prevous project and the fleece has taken it up, a lucky accident or what because it works well. I probably couldn't get the same effect again if I tried.

14 May 2007


I've been tagged by Doreen 7 random things about me and Sue 7 weird things about me.

I had to have a think over the past few days so here goes in no particular order.

1. I would dearly love to have been a Mum but I've never had the opportunity so it was not meant to be, I have to love my 2 nephews instead, which of course I do, it goes without saying. I can remember when Caleb who is now 8 was about 2 or 3 and was standing in front of me so trusting as he let me feed him a packet of snacks, I thought to myself if anyone every touched a hair on his head I wouldn't be responsible for my actions.

2. I've worn glasses since I was 12. I started to need them when I was 11 but it wasn't picked up at school. I kept saying "please Miss I can't see the blackboard" - so she moved me to another seat further back, but of course I still couldn't see properly because I meant it was fuzzy. My Mum realised I needed glasses. In those days we went to the bag wash (launderette) and she pointed out a notice on the wall and I couldn't read it properly so she took me straigth to the Opticians. My eyesight is so bad without glasses I wouldn't recognise someone I knew until they where practically in my face.

3. I can touch the end of my nose with my tongue. It drove my brother mad when where children because he couldn't and he'd pull at the end of his tongue trying to get it to meet his nose be it never would.

4. I stick my tongue out when I'm concentrating, I don't always realise I'm doing it. It seems my Mum's Father did the same thing. When I was little Nan said to Mum "just look at her who does it remind you of". My Granddad died long before I was born so I could never have seen him doing it.

5. I like NUTS!!! They must be in my Gene make-up because when Mum was expecting me she ate salted peanuts every day. I always joke that it's a wonder I didn't come out peanut shaped.

6. I like Rhubarb and custard, but I can't stand eating it together. I must take after Mum, when she was little her Mum had to put her jelly and custard in separate bowls because she wouldn't eat them together.

7. I can't swim or ride a bike. At junior school we where taken to the local swimming baths and I thought you just got in a began to swim straight away, but of course I just went under. It must have been 2 or 3 times and I've been scared ever since, which is a shame because it is the one sport I would like to have been able to do.

8. I failed my O'level in Art, my best subject BUT passed CSE French which was my worst. I can't explain it the examiners must have had an off day when they marked my exams.

9. Another food one. My weakness is Chocolate, but isn't it every woman's. I like the dark bitter kind but the weird thing is I cannot stand Drinking chocolate or Cocoa I'd rather have hot milk.

10. I like Haggis.

11. I would rather sit and stare at the wall or watch paint dry than watch Big Brother or any reality TV show.

12. My dream is to own a house with a garden so I can grow my own fruit and veg. I am so sick of buying stuff from the greengrocers and there being absolutely no taste.

13. Just thought of this my favourite flowers are Roses and Freesia.

I'm suppose to Tag some other bloggers but I think most that I read already have been, so instead, if you read this and you haven't consider yourself tagged.

13 May 2007

I was going to spend this afternoon finishing off some sewing and making a start at painting my Mandala for 'The Artists Muse' group but my brother came to LFC's last home game of this season and brought my nephew Caleb with him, so that put paid to my plans. I got to see half of 'Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Were-rabbit' before he got bored and he wanted to go on the Internet. I am now a pink penguin called Aunty Susi on a website they go on at home called clubpenguin. Ste left the DVD for Mum and I to finish watching thank goodness, nothing worse than missing the end of something when you've been looking forward to seeing it.


Today is the 38th Anniversary of when my Dad died. He was in hospital and we where expecting him to come home but he suffered a massive heart attack, he'd had a strained heart for years. I suppose if it had been nowadays he would have had a heart transplant. I can still remember getting up for school and my poor Mum having to tell us that our dear Dad had died and gone to heaven. Sorry, just had to stop for a minute to wipe some tears away. Suffice to say even after all these years not a day goes by when I don't think of him and miss him. I thought I'd share this with you, sorry I don't know who it's by so can't give them credit. I was given it by someone in a computer class I took a few years ago.


4 Years
'My Daddy can do anything'

7 Years
'My Daddy can do a lot - a whole lot'

8 years
'My Daddy doesn't quite know everything

12 Years
'Naturally Father doesn't know that either'

14 Years
'Father? Hopelessly old-fashioned

21 Years
'Oh, that man is out of date. What do you expect'

25 Years
'He knows a little bit about it, but not much'

30 Years
'Must find out what Dad thinks about it'

35 Years
'A little patience, let's get Dad's opinion first'

50 Years
'What would have Dad thought about that?'

60 Years
'My Dad knew literally everything'

65 Years
'Wish I could talk it over with Dad once more'

10 May 2007

Nappy Liners problem solved

Thanks to everyone for the comments on nappy liners. Aren't Bloggers kind and thoughtful Doreen kindly offered to send me some all the way from Australia and along with Carol
emailed to tell me about garden fleece and Dawn Ulgen sent me an email with the website of 2 Baby equipment suppliers Green Baby and The Nappy Lady.

Great minds think alike though, I bought a piece of garden fleece from Poundland a few weeks ago because I wondered if I could use it in my textile work some way. So I got it out yesterday and had an experiment with it and it does work, hurray. I'm in the middle of making something with it but will post when I've finished. I measured the fleece just to see how much I got for my £1, and it is 42 inches by 6 feet so it will last me ages, but next time I'm in town I'm going to get a few more to have in just in case they stop selling it.


I've been busy putting my pine bookcase together so not been doing much surfing or posting, I'll have to catch up. I got it from Argos for £39.99 and it came with a entertainment unit and CD tower. I spent yesterday varnishing it. I got some water based varnish from the local DIY shop. It's great it doesn't have a smell and you can wash the brush out in hot soapy water. I've always thought the space under my desk was wasted so the unit will go under there for more storage and the CD tower will go in the living room for putting DVD/videos in. I've found a space for the bookcase in my studio as well, my brother left an old stereo unit behind so I'd turned it on it side and been using it for storage but I can clear that out and put it in my Mum's bedroom and put the bookcase in it's place. I wonder how long it will be before that is full though.

03 May 2007

Nappy Liners

One of the new books I've just bought - Layers of Stitch mentions using Nappy liners. I've looked in local supermarkets and shops but not been able to get them, does anyone know where I can buy them in the UK.

More Books

Thanks Doreen for all the comments you left today. I was beginning to wonder if many people looked at my blog.

You asked what books I've ordered, well I'm still waiting for:-

Surface for Stitch: A Guide to Creating Surface by Gwen Hedley
Edges and Finishes in Machine Embroidery by Valerie Campbell-Harding from my first order.

And yesterday I ordered:-
The Artist's Muse: Unlock the Door to Your Creativity by Betsy Dillard Stroud
African Inspirations in Embroidery by Mary Sleigh
Fusing Fabric: Creative Cutting - Raising the Surface with Machine Embroidery by Maggie Grey Stitch Magic: Ideas and Interpretation by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn
Bonding and Mark-making with the Soldering Iron by Margaret Beal because I've just sent for a soldering iron that was on offer through Stitch magazine £14.99 instead of £24.99 too good a bargain to miss out on but I don't know how to use one so thought I'd better get a book.

So you can see why I had to go out today and buy a new bookcase. I think I've got going on for 300 books on different subjects. The internet is a great source for research but there is nothing quite like thumbing through a book.

The list of books that came with my C & G course work lists

Designing Worksheets by Jan Messant and
Designing with Pattern by Jan Messant

has anyone bought and used these books and is it worth me getting copies.

02 May 2007


Well who'd of thought it, it's a repeat of the 2005 final Liverpool v AC Milan. I was sure it would be an all British final, but that's football for you. On the lunctime local news they where saying the Police in Athens are due to go on strike over pay on the day of the final. I wonder what will happen if they do with Eufa move the game somewhere else on the grounds of safety, because it surely couldn't be played without a police presence.

TAST Running Stitch

Even though this is a very easy stitch to do I just could not come up any ideas for using it. That is until I was in bed and drifting of to sleep and it popped into my head - Sashiko - I'd been looking through my issues of Stitch earlier in the day and there have been a couple of articles on it and it must have stuck in my subconscious. I don't know about anyone else but I get ideas in the most unlikely place, just before going to sleep, standing at the bathroom sink having a wash and how shall I put this delicately, sitting on the loo doing what comes naturally.

So next day I had another quick look at the articles and decided to do my own version.

I used a shape from the Line Drawings I did for the 1st part of my C &G. I drew it on to a piece of paper to roughly place where the shapes would go.

I didn't have any Indigo coloured fabric so I had to use the nearest colour I had and this is what I came up with.

I ran out of white thread so couldn't take it any further but once I get more thread I'll finish it off.
I've still not got the hand of Oyster stitch, had to unpick my samples 3 times so far. I'll have one more go and if it doesn't work I'm giving up!!!!

TAST Palestrina Stitch

I finally got the hang of this stitch. I thought it was very easy to do but then found I'd been passing the needle through the loop I'd just made and not where it should have been under the bar to make a buttonhole stitch, doh!!! I know a blind man on a galloping horse wouldn't have known it was wrong but I knew so of course I had to unpick it all and start again.

I've just realised I didn't photograph my sample before did the next stage, but I did photograph it when I did it wrong so I'll have to post that to show what it looked like roughly before I went any further. Hope that make sense.

I painted it with gesso then a coat of Quink ink.

Then sprayed bleach on. I've just had a thought will the bleach keep on working and eventually rot the piece???

Then I used a stiff paint brush to rub Autumn Gold Rub n' Buff on.

I bought some emulsion paint on Tuesday to use instead of Gesso it's a lot cheaper, 2.5 litres for £6.99. should last me ages. I've had a quick go with a piece of hessian and the ink goes of pale shade of denim. I'll have to try it on different fabrics to see if the ink goes any other colour.


3 of the books I ordered last month came from Amazon at last

Layers of Stitch by Valerie Campbell Harding and Maggie Grey

Paper, Metal & Stitch by Maggie Grey and Jane Wild

and finally Stitch Dissolve Distort by Valerie Campbell Harding and Maggie Grey. I've had a quick look through and I can't wait to get started trying some of the techniques but there aren't enough hours in the day.

I'm waiting for 2 more from the same order plus another 5 that I ordered yesterday. Do you get the feeling I like books? I've run out of space on my bookcase so I've just reserved one from Argos to pick up tomorrow. Just got to find room in my studio to put it now.

01 May 2007


Well they've done it again, Liverpool FC are in the final of the Champions League and are off to Athens in 3 weeks . But I do wish they wouldn't make my nerves so bad in doing it. The game went to extra time and then to penalties yet again. I can't bear to watch so keep listening every so often on Radio Merseyside then went to watch the last few minutes of the penalty shootout.

My brother is on his way back to York as I post after going to the match. He has a season ticket in the KOP and he said it was amazing the place was shaking with the fans jumping up and down. we have to wait until tomorrow night to see who they play AC Milan or Man Utd.

The Artists Muse

I've just got confirmation that I've been accepted for the Yahoo group 'The Artists Muse'. I only decided last night to see if I could join and there where a load of emails waiting this morning. I'll be a bit behind because I've only just ordered the book from Amazon. Phew, I did it just in time as well it was the last copy they had. It will take a couple of weeks to come because I ordered a few other books to get free postage but in the meantime I've looked on Amazons US site and got the gist of the 1st chapter and now got to put my thinking cap on to do a 'Mandala'.