Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Houichepotte de' Noue

Now Christmas has been and gone, so I feel I can now share this years card with you.  Had to wait till I knew everyone had received theirs!  As you can see its a Christmas pudding, but look closer.....
Underneath it says 'Houichepotte de' Noue' which is Guernsey Patois for the said pud, and isn't that a fantastic word for pudding?  When I first found it, it didn't have a pronunciation, and I though it might sound something like Who-chi-potty!!
Well I was wrong.
Its a Wish-pot!!!
Love good words.
Well I hope you all had a great Christmas and hope you have a fantastic New Year.

Friday, 27 December 2013

A Traditional Guernsey Christmas

If I am at home for Christmas I always try to partake of an old Guernsey tradition
that is believed to have started in 1886. 
That is the Polar Bear Swim!!!!
 Having been to midnight mass, it really is a most exhilarating way to start the day before heading in decadence before finally falling a sleep on the sofa.
After the storms earlier in the week, Christmas morning was bright and
 sunny though still windy down at the Victorian bathing pools. 
 That with a high tide was going to be interesting!

My lovely friend Vicky joined me, and as we stood looking at the sea with apprehension, it dawned on me that the waves were actually going to make getting in easier as getting past the giggle line is always the hardest part!

It doesn't matter how far you swim, but swim you must, hair doesn't need to get wet,
 but wetsuits are definitely cheating.

a few strokes done and a quick and undignified climb out

and straight into our wrap for a restorative swig of sloe gin from Chris's hip flask.
Now the strange thing is we were definitely colder before we got in than when we got out, something to do with the blood vessels rising to the skins surface, so I am told.

Two proud girls with their certificates as proof and ready to go and celebrate Christmas :-)

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


The last of my Paris posts.
While Chris was in his meetings, I treated my self to some stitching decadence,
 in the form of Lesage haut couture embroidery atelier.  Its an amazing place in the heart of Paris, with its birth in 1853, they produced work for Charles Worth, Madam Vionnet and Elsa Schiaparelli. Then in 2002 they came under the wing of Channel, who are actively working to protected these specialist Ateliers.  It really is an awe-inspiring place.

Was actually very nervous going, don't know why, and still was in the midst of a horrid cold.
Arrived abit early and the teachers were in the midst of lunch and
 typically French said so and to come back in 10 mins! 
It was a real mixed bunch of students, a lot of Japanese, a smattering of Americans, a heavily pierced chap from New York who loved sequins, a fashion designer from London, a beautiful French girl and me, unable to breath, surrounded by nasal sprays, tablets and hankies.....
Really not feeling glamorous at all, actually rather provincial, but I loved it!
We were all working on different projects from Professional courses that take 150 hours and cost a small fortune, to me doing 6 hours of sequin work.
 I had a lovely tutor called Annie who was from French Canada and so had very good English,
she was fascinated by Guernsey ( I was the first student from here!),
 she had friends who had been to the Iles Chausey , which is the French Channel Island.

It was so peaceful sitting in the studio just stitching, the attention to detail was amazing, getting the direction of the tiny bugle beads all heading the same way. The finished effect was gorgeous.
 Only got a quarter done there, half way through now.  Am looking forward to having a go at doing my own designs, as would love to do something really colourful, loved the pieces the 150 hour students were working on, layers of Japanese fans. But you have to walk before you run don't you?

Best of all it felt good being in Paris as a student not a tourist!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Tour Effiel

And back to our weekend away!
Chris was working in Paris, so it seemed wrong not to tag along, and maybe do a course while there (but more of that later)
We only had one morning together, and seeing as we were up by the Trocodero I wanted to take Chris to Museum of Modern Art to see Matisses 'Dance', a stunning collage that I always make a pilgrimage too, as I first went there with my Mum.  It was done for a Museum in America in the 1930's too fit in a series of arches, but some one got the measurements wrong! So it was done again, and the first one lives in Paris
But I got my days wrong, and it was closed on Monday mornings, really should have checked my guide book.......
Well the only other thing in walking distance was the Effiel Tower
 and decades since I last went up it 

Even in November the queue to get up in the lift was large and we didn't have time.

But the queue for the stairs was non existent....
So up we went, and was fine till we got close to the first level and then my legs started to shake.

Good views though, hope some fire engines were heading towards that smoke?

Sacre Coeur

Now we could have gone on up t the next level, but my jelly legs weren't feeling brave enough.
It was actually worse going back down, very wobbly, had to consentrate very hard, couldn't talk (yes it was that bad), vertigo always takes me by surprise. Was very glad to be back on terra ferma.


Well we got that far, and it was worth it

Will always love Paris, gorgeous city.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

November Nuttiness!!!!

Chris's good mate Ewan has a tradition that every November we go over to Herm for his birthday.
And today was a beautifully atmospheric day, with stunning light coming down over Castle Cornet as we left the harbour on Travel Trident. In the run up to Christmas TT do Herm shopping Saturdays where the boat is free, and so it was packed with families and very happy dogs!


It was a low tide so we landed at Rosaire steps in the south of the island
and headed off up on to the cliffs.

The big legs had to walk slower so the little legs with us could keep up!

This little island off Jethou, Crevichon, is missing a chunk, I was always told when I was growing up that it was a granite quarry and that the stone from there was used to build the steps of
St Paul's Cathedral.  Not totally sure if that is true but its a good story!

These three are the November Nutters, and you will see why soon.....

Belvoir Bay, a big clue!

Ewan checking out the waves

And Chris just double checking again....

'Come on Chris lets do this!'

And they are in!
Max was in too, I would have been, but still got this damn cold,
and that's my story and I am sticking to it!

Lovely out here isn't it?
Just floating around pretending it isn't freezing,
but in that strange way the sea is warmer in November than in May I think.
All to do with absorption of the heat from the sun all summer, and it only looses it in Jan/Feb, then takes ages to warm up again.


Then home to warm up and get cosy by the fire after a mulled Rocquettes cider in the Mermaid, very good day.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Brighton Rocks!

Sorry I have been off line all week, we have been away and I have been rather snotty!
First a lovely weekend in Brighton with very old friends, then I went with Chris on a business trip to Paris! Lucky me, but a bugger about the cold......

This was Chris's visit to Brighton and Emma's boys felt that the most important thing for him to see was the pier!  Next time we will do the Pavillion.

Glitter balls on the beach seemed very appropriate for Brighton, the party town!

Such a traditional pier, with lots of family fun
Two huge arcades, full of flashing, money eating monsters.  Though I must admit that as a student I loved those ones where you are trying to push the 2p pieces off the edge, horribly addictive!

The Brighton wheel is a new addition since I was last here, looks good.
The one thing the boys insisted on was that we had to do was the Ghost train, got to admit it was a first for me, great fun, but got to admit I wasn't really scared.........

Then back to the Arcades..... think the adults were more competitive than the kids!

Up on to the Brighton Wheel, very like the London Eye, but faster and you get three rotations not just one.

We really did have perfect weather for it, not a cloud in the sky and not a breath of wind.

A brilliant way to see Brighton and out towards the White Cliffs, but not quite Dover

Then along the beach, which is always buzzing, for lunch.

Think this sums up Brighton Beach totally!!!!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

getting people started

Well it is November and so I am teaching again!
Last year I ran a course at the Tapestry Gallery teaching people the stitches used with in the panels, and then I promised I would show them how to design their own piece.  So this year we are.
Its being kept simple, a small pin cushion using 4 or 5 different stitches, and I did two samples pieces to give them ideas, and have to admit I am rather pleased with them.

This is a very simple design, decorative boarders round a plain striped tent stitch centre  Then the whole think is lifted with a three dimensional flower in needle weaving and French knots.

The stitches used in the boarder included blanket, upright cross and chequer board cross stitch.

The second one used only three stitches, upright cross, mosaic and tent, but I blended the threads so you get a softer almost tweedy look.

Then because the pattern was so regimented, I added the random with the uneven amethyst beads forming the fringe boarder.

So go on have ago at designing you own, it will be a one off and so much satisfying than a kit!