I've been busy finishing, labelling and packaging my work for this exhibition and I've also made some brooches to sell. The exhibition will be stewarded each day by members of the group, so if you are in the area, come and say "Hi".
Listen carefully....yep, it's the sound of silence (well it would be if the neighbour's builders stopped for a brew and the dog stopped grumbling!)
I have to say though, I don't much care for it...an empty house, no kids running in and out, taking over the computer and leaving dirty mugs around the house. It's going to take some getting used to!
Today my youngest started at High School and I've been on pins all day waiting to see how he got on. My middle child is starting a new term and GCSEs and my daughter has gone on a last trip out with her friends before they all go to different colleges.
So while I can get near the computer and it is quiet enough here to think, I'll show you what I've been up to recently.
I've started to crochet a blanket that was featured in Mollie Makes magazine and is also in the "Cute and Easy Crochet" book by Nicki Trench. I'm fairly new to crochet and I've never crocheted a square, but I was amazed by how easy it is and now I'm hooked (pardon the pun!)
I'm only going to use a small amount of the gold and blue, but the other colours are in my bedding.
These are my first few squares- I know they don't look very square at the moment, but they will be once I've pressed them.
It is going to be a great project to pick up when I have a few minutes spare.
As you may remember, I am interested in grafitti and I am planning to do some more textile work based on the colours found in the city. When I visited the Festival of Quilts in August, I found these two great books full of inspiration.
I can't wait to experiment with Sharpies, printing and fabric collage.
The summer holidays are passing at a fair pace and I think we are beginning to adjust to the fact that my youngest baby has now left primary school. He was very sad about it and I felt so emotional and stunned that all those years had passed so quickly. My home-loving son seemed to change over night once the holidays began- going off to the park to meet his friends with my old mobile phone "in case of emergencies" (though it turns out now he asks me to text him when I want him to come home!) and deciding that girls are actually not too bad once you spend time with them. He may need gently reining back in at some point, but for now he is enjoying his new-found independence.
His Year 6 teacher and support staff have been brilliant and have really encouraged the children to grow and blossom into young people who are ready to meet the challenges that their new schools will offer them.
I made them some cute felt biscuits as a token of our appreciation. These were featured in an issue of Mollie Makes magazine some time ago. I made mine into keyrings.
Felt biscuits are the only kind I am allowing myself at the moment- I am trying to get fitter. At school, I played a little hockey, but mostly I hated sport. I was never very coordinated and Sports Day was an annual source of humiliation. My lovely(?) PE teacher used to bring me out to the front to demonstrate how not to perform shot put, javelin or discus throwing!! I'm just not put together right for running! However, I love walking miles, Pilates and swimming (in my own splashy way!) I have to say though, how inspiring I am finding the Olympics. I can appreciate the hard work and dedication that goes into developing a body that can produce such power and achieve such amazing feats. It makes me want to challenge myself to try something new. I might be tempted to dust off my bike. Or maybe, it might just be possible for me to teach myself to run, slowly, a step at a time.... after dark!!!
My beautiful girl en route for her High School Prom. I was so proud- she is such a good girl, has worked so hard for her exams and I am so glad she could enjoy this special evening with her lovely friends. (better photos when I get hold of Mr Dotty's CD)
So many events have come and gone and I haven't written about them. I have still been popping by all my favourite blogs to find out what wonderful things you have been up to and sometimes creeping out to comment. I have so much going on in my head, so many questions and so many spinning plates to deal with. The ones that have slipped from my grasp have been my favourite things- blogging, Etsy and my Ten Plus creative work. The fact is, my heart has not been in it. My family have been thrown a curved ball and it is taking some time to understand how to proceed, one step at a time.
My Dad has been diagnosed with stomach cancer, which has spread to his liver and lower spine. He may be about to begin chemotherapy, but this will be to control the cancer rather than cure it. He is a devout Catholic and my parents' strong faith in God is helping them to take a day at a time and accept all that is happening to them.
This has come into the mix of busy family life, GCSEs, school prom, my youngest child almost leaving primary school, going away on a residential trip and desperately wanting me to be there for his school production, leavers assembly etc. Life carries on, but so many things have been put into perspective!
I know you have all had times when life throws difficult situations at you and my heart goes out to you. Please pray for my parents and extended family as we get through this.
I don't like to my blog to be all sadness, so here are a few glimpses of the other things that have been going on;
Sam built a shelter in the garden in the Whit holidays and loved being in there planning secret missions!
My daughter made a pig for her friend's Birthday:)
Jubilee street party in Manchester.
This makes me smile- Alfie looks so livid and refused to move with the "cone of shame" on his head! He had a sore foot, a minor thing, but he wouldn't stop licking it. The cone lasted a day! We had to pull his bed out of his crate because he couldn't fit in with the cone on his head. After a night of him crying I had to get up at 4.30am to settle him, coneless, on the sofa. After that I gave up and taped a sock to his leg which made him hop as though I had splinted his leg :-D
Love to you all and hope to have better news soon x
Mr Dotty and I spent a happy Sunday afternoon at the glorious Stockport Plaza watching Brief Encounter (his favourite film) which was divine on the big screen. Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, illicit meetings, clipped vowels and oh my...those eyes! In the interval I noticed a couple in front of the stage and realised that the man was getting down on one knee to propose!!! Judging by the lady's reaction and the fact that champagne was consumed, I'm pretty sure she said "Yes" ! It was a lovely, romantic moment.
Afterwards we settled in the tea room for afternoon tea- what could be better! We had a wonderful afternoon, such a great event to raise money for Christie's hospital
Later on we drove over to Dovedale for the National Schnauzer Walk organised by the lovely people from the schnauzer forum. We got a bit lost on the way, the ABS warning light came in on the car- I don't think the car liked all the twisty hills and consequent braking!-and the youngest child, who usually has an iron stomach, got carsick! Thankfully we arrived on time and I was in schnauzer heaven. The car park was ringing with the sound of nearly 40 schnauzers "chatting away"! It was so funny :D
Alfie was so ecstatic to have all these friends to meet and play with.
The stepping stones were negotiated in various ways, some leapt across and others were carried- dogs, that is, not owners! I don't think anyone fell in. Alfie is a wimp when it comes to water and usually tries to act as a health and safety officer, yapping at any human or dog who tries to paddle and tries to pull them out! Needless to say he thought we were slightly mad to suggest crossing the water and he had to be carried!!!
After this, Mr Dotty scoffed his pie, which was pork and black pudding and apparently scrumptious- a brave move, I thought, for a man surrounded by dogs.
Here are some of the group. I'm the one with pink hair and Alfie is the one who is facing the wrong way and showing his bum!
We went home tired and happy and I REALLY want a second schnauzer:)
I think we are in for a lovely week weather-wise so I think lots of walks will be on the agenda, which I hope will also give me time to try and come to terms with some difficult family news we had yesterday.
I am very excited about tomorrow-it is going to be a good day! In the morning, I'm having my hair coloured (ok that part is a bit boring, sitting still for ages! There are only so many Hello magazines I can stomach), meeting two lovely friends in the afternoon, then in the evening Mr Dotty and I will be rubbing shoulders with some arty types! I had a piece selected for the Open Contemporary Art Exhibition at Stockport Art Gallery and I can't wait to see all the wonderful art.
Sneak preview of my mixed media piece, "Home from Home 2". I am always very grateful for how well received these pictures of Skye cottages seem to be.
I have been busy working towards my next exhibition with the Ten Plus Textiles Group. This is a quilt I made four years ago for an exhibition at Little Moreton Hall, a stunning tudor house in Congleton.
The "strips 'n Curves" technique by Louisa L. Smith is quite challenging. I created a fabric by piecing together black and white strips, then cut these up to make the patchwork- lots of seams to match up!. I quilted it very simply with circles. It is quite striking, but I'm afraid I found it...well, dull!
So, my brains were wracked for ideas on how to recycle it (or is that "upcycle"?) I'm beginning to explore the shapes of leafless trees.
I love the ones in Skye- short and gnarly, and leaning against the harsh elements.
So, I appliqued a bold, bright, bare tree onto the quilt. The curves of the branches echo the curves of the patchwork and the tree looks as though it is offering up the moon. I requilted it with orange thread-it was originally blue- and added some black satin stitch circles to draw the eye. Then I had great fun handstitching and voila!
I don't want to reveal the whole thing just yet as it is going to be on show in October.
Right, off into the kitchen to make the second Christmas cake of the year! *smiles smuggly*
I have been given this lovely award by Joy at Perfect Little World. I feel very honoured! Thank you very much Joy :D
The rules are as follows:
Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog
Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you
Copy and paste the blog award on your blog
Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed (see below)
Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.
I love reading all the blogs that I subscribe to and they inspire me in so many ways. So I would like to nominate the following blogs from my list of favourites. (If I have chosen you, please don't feel pressured- it is just for fun)
Arran feels quite a long way away now. Everyone has gone back to work and school and the dog is a bit confused.
I'm really missing the sea. We had a lovely walk along the canal at the weekend, but it isn't quite the same.
There is something special and life affirming about walking along the shore, listening to the sea breathing. The air is so clear and the sky is huge!
You never know what treasures you might find.(This is the shore at the front of the cottage we stayed in).
I love the colours and textures of old, weathered boats.
It's educational too- my children enjoyed explaining the different features of coastal erosion.
We had a walk to King's Caves which is where Robert the Bruce hid from his enemies. The story of him watching the determination of a spider and being inspired to go back out into battle originates from the caves in this area.
Apologies for my recent lack of blogging. Life got a bit hectic, then we had a family holiday on the Isle of Arran. We have never been before and it was beautiful. It is always a joy to spend time together with our children and it was a real opportunity to slow down for a while, unplug from (most) of the daily distractions and laugh together. We are increasingly aware of how precious these times are and try not to wonder for how much longer the older children will want to come away with us!
As for Alfie- he will never tire of chances to run free on the beach, eat seaweed and dead crabs and snuggle up in the evenings with his whole pack around him.
We took him for a haircut after his holiday.
Now we have a much smarter version. This is the funny stance he takes when you put his harness on "Oops! I've lost the use of my legs!"
We can see his eyes now! He still manages to sport a rather windswept beard!
Two of my beautiful boys with their new haircuts :D
Some of my days are an uphill struggle at the moment, trying to achieve so much with so little energy. February is my least favourite month.....roll on Spring!
On a positive note, I have quilted the wallhanging that will be shown at an exhibition in Stoke very soon (details to follow). I like the way the text has added texture to the sky.It still needs binding and a hanging sleeve-the tedious bits-but I want to show it to the lovely ladies at Ten Plus Textiles first to make sure it is ok before I finish it.
Hope you are all having a good and productive week. x
My socks are coming on slowly. The first sock has two toes!!!
(Sorry- that looks more like a form of torture than a craft project!)
I am trying to eat more healthily, but today it is cold and I had a craving for warm custard and ginger cake.
(Don't tell anyone- neither were home made)
Since then, I have added some lovely, meandering pathways and today I am beginning to quilt it using mostly free-motion machine quilting. It is quite nerve-wracking, so fortified by cake, I will be taking it slowly and pausing at each step to make sure I am on the right track.