Saturday, December 20
Sunday, November 16
Only a few days to go to our wee local Christmas Fayre. Busy people (David and Hugh) have installed a new kitchen in the Hall and there's just some plumbing work to be done (this week, we hope) before it is ready to rock. The stalls are fully booked (all eleven of them!) so there will be lots of quality craft and cooking up for grabs on Saturday. Sadly for me, I will not be doing the Paisley one the following week after all but we will still drive over before Christmas to see niece and grand-niece. I do have a nice date to look forward to in ten days' time - leading a paper decoration making workshop in Ayton for the ladies of the SWRI. An excuse for scissors and glue, as if I needed one....
Sunday, November 2
Now I must grab the moment and take the dogs out while the sun is shining. Before I forget, though, there's a Wool Festival in St Abbs on the Berwickshire Coast next weekend if anyone local-ish fancies a treat. Find out more at Woolfish (great name for a business)
Monday, October 13
There were seven participants, some of whom had been before and were back to hone their skills, and a few who, like me, had no previous experience. On the first day Rebecca took us through the basic principles and had us experimenting with our first 'plate' which we inked up in one colour. I had good fun exploring textural effects with everything from carborundum to tile grout, wallpaper and PVA. On Sunday, Carol showed us how to ink up plates using two and three colours. This long skinny work of mine is flawed, strictly speaking, as there was so much PVA soaked into the little piece of hessian I had used that it squeezed out under the pressure of the rollers when I took a print. You can see the runs into the orange section all too clearly below.
The workshop we were using is the old church hall in Horsley so we had the bonus of the sunshine through these cheerful windows.
The drive down and back on the Sunday was particularly glorious - autumn colours just starting to show and the lovely pure quality of light you get at this time of year. The village below is West Woodburn in Northumberland in the late afternoon light. I had a fine two days, trying new techniques, enjoying different company and eating well at lunchtimes in the adjoining coffee shop. It was a wee breathing space in my complicated little life!
Tuesday, October 7
On our last full day we travelled over to Wigtown, the Book Town, for a wander round the new and secondhand bookshops. We were there a few days before the Book Festival started but there were quite a few tourists (guess that included us) and the coffee shops were doing well, as ever. Obviously it was our duty to help in that respect so we went to Reading Lasses for refreshments. From there we travelled to Kirroughtree which is one of the 7stanes mountain biking centres established by the Forestry Commission. Hugh is hoping to get over to ride the routes there which are highly regarded. However we were there for a walk and, as it turned out, a little history lesson too. It was a still day, as you can see from the reflections on this wee loch hidden in the trees
Sunday, October 5
We had only a minor hiccup on the way, a jammed caravan brake which Hugh sorted by means not recorded in any textbook. Arrived at Glenmidge Smithy campsite which has space for only eight tents or 'vans. At its busiest there were four of us and we were outnumbered by the red squirrels in the trees around the site - what a treat!
We did two or three walks from the door in the course of our stay, as well as a good one along seashore and cliffs near Auchencairn (south of Castle Douglas) where Hugh spotted this grass snake enjoying the day.
A good morning was spent exploring the streets and galleries in Kirkcudbright, one of which Hugh is hoping to interest in his work.
I've more pics for another post tomorrow, you lucky people!
Monday, September 22
Monday, September 1
The first Crossing Borders Art Trail kicks off on Friday. There's a three day opening exhibition in Hawick, a week of Open Studios and then a two day exhibition in Berwick. There's additional space on offer in Berwick but work has to be there tomorrow so we are whizzing over there first, and fitting in a visit to the Gymnasium Gallery to see a Peter Blake exhibition, then back via Kelso and Jedburgh (to display more posters). Wednesday is the last clear day to get our own 'studios' shipshape because on Thursday we'll be at Hawick helping to hang that exhibition... Friday lunchtime is the media launch there (the media had BETTER turn up!) then zoom home and await the first visitors to our humble artspace.
Saturday, August 16
More soon - must go and make collages/chutney/a cup of tea....
Saturday, August 2
We had such a blast of toasty hot weather that more strawberries and blackcurrants were ripening every day. They're mainly picked and frozen and I've been a good little housewife too, using the bumper courgette crop to cook up tomato/onion/courgette/herby sauce and soup bases for later in the year. And the odd courgette and walnut cake too...
Been spinning too and making a few new things for the shop. We'll be having open days here at the beginning of September and it would be great to see a few friendly faces. I'll post more about this soon, as it's all part of the Crossing Borders artists network we're involved in.
Oh, my strawberry 'allergy' isn't, after all. Not strawberries and not my breakfast meusli, nor coffee, so I reckon it was either a supplement I was taking or something else that I have not identified yet. It has not happened for a week now so I'm still not certain what it is/was.
Tuesday, July 15
Well, after my Woolfest haul, it was only ever a matter of time (hours...) till I tried out my new fibres. I have had a good time with bright shades, as you can see, and I keep falling in love with each hank of yarn as it emerges. This morning that led me back to dyeing, too, so there are some ermm, 'confections', blowing about in the breeze as I type.
Meanwhile, there's little to report in the way of NEW stuff. Hugh is cutting grass for anyone and everyone, in between building us a new woodstore and fixing the car. I've been painting fences and sheds and endlessly weeding and cutting our own grass. The compensations are fresh fruit and vegetables on the table. The BAD bit is that I seem to have developed a reaction to strawberries! This is miserable news - what could be nicer or tastier than fresh picked strawberries on my breakfast cereal? But even two or three sliced up and munched is bringing me out in demented itching and red palms and face, which then spreads to knees, soles of my feet (?!) and back. Doesn't last for more than half an hour or so, but not nice at all. And this is our own strawbs, no nasty pesticides, no sprays or anything else on them. And they are the same plants as last year when I had no reaction at all. Ho hum.
Sunday, June 29
Oh, it was like all the sweetie shops in the world, rolled into one! It's been running annually since 2005 and I've only missed one year, so far. In my view it gets better each time. though maybe it helped this year that I knew what I wanted to look out.
There are textile shows in other parts of the UK but none like Woolfest which takes place at Cockermouth, in the Lake District, a little under two hours' drive for me. So it's virtually on the doorstep, and it only costs £5 to get in! For those of you who may be thinking, yeah, but, so what? who wants to look at wool and sheep? I would say GO NEXT YEAR! Chances are if you are reading this you have an interest in handmade textiles in some form, and Woolfest is so much more that wool! As well as the bigger companies (that's big in this field, I don't mean multi-nationals!) there are lots of stands with individual makers' goods for sale - everything from kits to yarns to embroidery silks and fancy beads and fair trade buttons, beautiful rag rugs and felts in glowing hand dyed colours, stunning handknits, amazing angora and cashmere and silk fabrics and so on and on, as well as all the raw materials to make your stuff from scratch, and spinning wheels and knitting needles in all shapes and sizes, and demonstrators and workshops and live music and sheep's milk ice cream...... I've been doing quite a bit of spinning lately and my stocks were getting a bit patchy (honest) so I bought some lovely bright colours of wool fibre, either as tops or carded. There's Merino, Shetland, Corriedale and Wensleydale in the top pic, as well as angora and silk waste.
Below you can see a close-up of some super fine dyed Merino in palest pink and pistachio on the left. Along the top is dyed angora and below and two little heaps of dyed Wensleydale locks. I am itching to get started on new yarns now! And finally, how could I resist Herdy? I mean, no-one needs another mug, do they, but he's designed in Cumbria and made in Staffordshire, and a proportion of the sales gets channeled back into Lakeland causes. Check out the light-hearted website for more info.
Saturday, June 21
Sunday, June 8
Sunday, May 25
I have to show off an addition to my stylish wardrobe! I dyed this Blue Faced Leicester yarn earlier in the year with natural dyes and the skein is in the shop. But I sent the other, very slightly lighter coloured, skein to the lovely Jess in Maryland (she lives in Geronimo Street - I love that) and she knitted me these fantastic socks based on gansey pattern. They fit perfectly and I will treasure them.