Monday, 29 October 2012

Wildwood Windlass Lasses

Time again for our annual sojourn on Wildwood along the Grand Union Canal from Catherine de Barnes then onto the Stratford Canal up as far as Wilnecote and back. The Men-Folk as usual at the helm took charge of the boat with us wifeys down in the galley taking charge of the cooking and looking after the children, albeit teenagers who probably take care of the grown ups these days.  

The Men-Folk did let us wee girlies loose with the windlasses from time to time to open and close the locks but it's always a bit of a power struggle as they prefer to be in overall charge of navigation.


Always looking for inspiration and  interesting shots which might translate into ideas for an artwork.  I love the old bridges of some of the locks we went through.

En route to The Bull's Head for some prepandial refreshment we got to see some of the beautiful Warwickshire countryside - this is the weir at Wootten Hall, Wootten Wawen.

How about this for a magnificent climber in all its autumn glory.

As a keen knitter this caught my eye  moored in Lowsonford. A narrow boat for knitters to drop by and view yarns and wools. More for retailers though than the home knitter but what a fabulous idea. 

Ducks on parade at Kingswood Junction.

They had come over to see us and fight for our stale artisan bread bought at the local farm shop.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Deep Chutney

Oh dear!  I was in deep chutney this week with Darling Husband owing to a bit of a mishap when making a batch of Green Tomato Chutney.  Had a huge glut of tomatoes from the greenhouse which unfortunately refused to ripen, or fortunately if like me you love Green Tomato Chutney.   It takes me back to childhood as I remember my Mum used to make a delicious Green Tomato Chutney giving it a bit of a kick with a touch of curry powder.  I didn't have my Mum's original recipe but found one of James Martin's on the BBC website. The recipe looked a doddle starting off with melting sugar in a saucepan until melted and caramelised.  Shades of the Great British Bake Off technical challenge here where scant recipe instructions are given and you have to guess the rest so wasn't very impressed with Mr Martin.

Now, sugar takes on a life of its own when it reaches boiling point and it seemed like Vesuvius was erupting on my stove top.  Needless to say it all started to burn and coagulate so I ditched James Martin's recipe and ditched the burnt sugar, down the sink. Big mistake!!  Molten toffee and plastic pipes don't mix.

After DH carried out a lengthy investigation worthy of Leveson Enquiry proportion, on who and what caused the leak, I'm afraid the blame was laid very firmly at my door.  In my defence though, thanks to Delia saving the day we now have a year's supply of delicious green tomato chutney and can look forward to sampling it, once it's matured, with cold turkey at Christmas. 

Monday, 22 October 2012

Orientation - Textile exhibition @ Forge Mill Needle Museum, Redditch

Hilary Beattie - Series of 3 Oriental Pots
A lovely autumnal Saturday afternoon took me to see an exhibition of textiles and mixed-media at one of my favourite museums, the Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch.  The exhibition called Orientation was by Midlands based textile group (apart from Catherine Nicholls in Vancouver) SiX and Friends, taking their inspiration from all things Oriental and Eastern.  Apart from the exhibitions this is a really interesting place to visit with its history steeped in needle making in the Redditch area and so of course inextricably linked to sewing.  There is always have a textile exhibition at this time of year and I just managed to get here on the penultimate day before it closed.  Here is a selection of my favourites: 

Hilary Beattie - Oriental Pot 1 - Bonsai

Edwina MacKinnon - Umami
Ineke Berlyn - Pieced Kites

Annabel Rainbow

Annabel Rainbow

Stephanie Redfern

Catherine Nicholls

Linda Kemshall

Linda Kemshall

Laura Kemshall

Monday, 15 October 2012

A Day of Escape from the Men-Folk

Had a really fun day with my mates from the Solihull Embroiderers' Guild on Saturday on one of our Saturday School Workshop days with our very own Anne Thumpston as tutor.   Anne gave us lots of inspiration and got us splashing paint onto fabrics using various methods of mark-making such as mono-printing, stencilling, stamping, making our own print blocks to create our own designs and generally having a really fun time.  Us EG girls always enjoy ourselves on our Saturday Workshops as it's an ideal opportunity for like-minded women to get together to be ultra-creative.  New members to the Embroiderers' Guild are always welcome, so if you fancy a Saturday indulging yourself in the creative process, a day of escape from the men-folk, a chance to chat over coffee, tea and biscuits, and learn something new in the process we would love to hear from you.  Take a look at our results:

Thursday, 4 October 2012

I Feel a Trip to IKEA Coming on

I feel like a trip to IKEA coming on!  Nothing like the threat of an IKEA trip or a mention of the dreaded 'D' word (DIY) to make a husband's blood run cold.  This all came about on Saturday really, when I jumped at the chance to go to textile artist and author Kim Thittichai's workshop with the Genesis Textile Workshop Group, as I've been a fan of Kim's work for some time.

I've long admired Kim's innovative and creative 'hot textiles' using heat tools to distress and distort fabrics combining them with Vilene, carrier bags and Tyvek to name but a few.  Having now met her she is a lovely larger than life lady who is really passionate about her craft and work and certainly generates inspiration in abundance.

Trouble is now, I've simply got to have her books Hot Textiles and Layering Textiles but Darling Husband has forbid me to buy any more books unless I start operating a one in, one out policy. Our Billy book cases are groaning under the weight and so as a solution to my burgeoning book habit (tip: husband's like solutions, not problems) I merely suggested that it might be a good idea to put up a nice shelving system on the walls of my work-room and have a nice Saturday afternoon saunter over to Cov or Wednesbury IKEA to chose said shelving sytem, partaking in a tasty lunch of Swedish meatballs and lingonberry sauce in the process.  This had an unfortunate effect on DH - not sure if it was the looming trip to IKEA or the actual putting up of the shelves that did it.  I can't think why as I thought he loved  our little trips to IKEA.  

Anyway, I digress. We all had a great time at the workshop ironing old newspapers and combining with good old Bondaweb (our world of textiles would be a poorer place without the wonders of Bondaweb) to create textured colourful surfaces to print and stitch into.  I was a bit of a gilding flake virgin too so loved working with that for the first time to embellish and 'pretty' up the newspaper.

Kim also has a great technique of making 'faux-chenille' using layers of old newspaper and organza.  This was a good way of using up old newspapers because since becoming a textile and mixed-media artist I hate throwing things away and have visions of being discovered one day in my Girl Cave buried beneath hoards of the Solihull freebies we get pushed through the door.

Anyway back to the shelving issue - feel I will need to bide my time here and wait till a better opportunity arises itself, probably when DH is on the other end of a beer which often helps with thorny issues such as these and I can perhaps mention at the same time that other thorny issue of heating in the Girl Cave.  Winter draws on after all.