Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Not singing but giggling in the rain

Well Britain's heat wave well and truly ended this weekend!!!!
We spent Sunday at a friends daughters Christening, with her husbands own smoked salmon and yummy hog roast with huge sheets of crackling.  Followed with piles of brownies and biscuits and a beautiful rainbow layer cake covered with butterflies.
Very spoilt.
Then the heavens opened, annoyingly about the same time we had to head home, things to do etc!! And had been clubbing the night before, so rare!  but hadn't got home till 2am!!! So abit tired.
And there is something fun about walking in warm rain!
It was only a 10 mins walk but with in seconds we were drenched and giggling, we needed windscreen wipers for our eyes, one kind chap even offered us a lift.
But we were having a ball.
And then sods law just before we got home, the rain stopped and the sun came out.
Oh well, we enjoyed out Gene Kelly moment (though I love the Morecambe and Wise version best!) 

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Non Pareil

I want to show you a commission I completed last month.
It was for a friend in Sark whose Dad was about to celebrate a milestone birthday and wanted something special.  George runs boat trip round the island, explaining to visitors all about what makes it such a special place for wildlife, especially sea birds.
And it is a beautiful wooden boat, and so became the focus for my stitching!

First sketch sent over for approval, and we decided to add George in as well.
All ways abit nervious doing people, but took the plunge.
The building process,
when doing an applique I slowly build up the layers of fabric needed and play around with colours and fabric, some recycled and some new. The back ground here is one of Chris's shirts (yes I did ask!) and the printed denim round the edge of the boat is from a pair of jeans I had when I was twelve, and if I remember rightly they were from St Malo!
Only when I am totally happy do I get the iron out and bond all the bond-a-web and fabric together.
Then its time to start stitching.
I love doing boats, must do more.
All details of were added, including the name and the puffin painted on the bow

I think the french knot beard and hair worked very well.
And I was rather pleased with how George turned out,
and from what I have been told George was rather pleased too!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Cutty Sark

London Part 2

Arrived in Greenwich by the river bus to go and see the newly renovated Cutty Sark, a beautiful
tea clipper that once was one of the fasted ships in the ocean.
She has been in dry dock as a museum since the 1950's and all that time she has been balanced on her hull, and as any of you who are sailors know that is not where a boats weight is designed to rest.  That should be on the widest part of the hull which is where the boat and sea meet.
So slowly over the years the hull has been caving outwards from the pressure. Not good.
So a few years back she went under a major restoration, re-opening last year,
 the main feature was re-designing how she rested.

The solution to this problem was joists that supported her from her water line and they were disguised in this beautiful glass sea. I think that this is one of those occasions when the modern and the traditional work really well together.
In the photo below you can see her name sake, her figure head is the image of the 'Cutty Sark' who is a character from Robert Burns poem 'Tam O'Shanter'
When you enter the museum you are at the ships water level, and can really appreciate her curves.
In the back ground you can see the joists supporting her.
You walk up into her hull where her cargo would have been stored, originally this would have been tea. The designers have been very clever decorating the floor and display units with the images of old tea chests, also the air is scented with tea, gorgeous. 
Its those small touches that I think really make a museum special. 

And there was this amazing 'game' you had to navigate the ship from Sydney to London, using the trade winds, and see if you could beat the record breaking Captain.  Well I shipwrecked three times getting past Sydney (!) then got back in 163 days, the Captain took 72, oh well, more practise I think!

Once again the old and the new over lap,
here you can see Canary Wharf behind the rigging.

I think this gorgeous monkey was carved with a chainsaw,
 have seen an artist working like this in Gabriel's Wharf, sadly there was no label.

What amazing location for a café, right under her burnish copper hull.
Fancy a cupper with the ship that helped fuel our love of tea hanging above you!

Then at the far end of the Gallery was this amazing collection of figure heads
Maybe alittle gordy, for some!

But I liked this weather un-painted one best

Only final look down her hull, what a beautiful boat, and what a fantastic restoration.
If you are in London it really is worth going to see.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Cruising down the Thames

Sorry I have been quiet for a few weeks, its all been rather mad, I have been over in England catching up with my sister and old college friends and then back here we have had my step son staying for the week.  But life now feels like it is returning to normal, so I thought I would share abit of all that with you!

On the main land I had one day in London to do some shopping, lunch with my niece and then decided that I was going to be a total tourist.  I was heading down to Greenwich from the Embankment and the most relaxing way of doing it on a hot sticky day was by river bus.
It was brilliant, a fantastic way to see the city, half an hour of travelling in style for £4.50!
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
Not sure what the building covered in scaffolding is, possibly Westminster Cathedral?
The Golden Hind, Sir Frances Drakes ship. I do find it interesting how our view on humanity has changed, back then he was viewed as a humanitarian because he did not kill his prisoners only tortured them!
The very impressive Shard rising above HMS Belfast

Rather proud of this one, Tower Bridge, and a London red bus, Tower of London and the Gherkin!!!!

Looking back up the river, it is a beautiful bridge isn't it?

My destination, the newly restored Cutty Sark in Greenwich, and more about her later
Glad to be back and speak to you all again very, very, soon I promise xxx

Saturday, 6 July 2013

ta da, finished bees!

Well I did promise I would show you my finished bees!
I toned down the yellow with some tan and removed the black,
the thorax was extended and the abdomen was made shorter and less pointed.
Think they look alot more like a honey bee and less like a wasp!

The whole reason for the bees was that my Aunty Janice had asked me to help her with an arrangement for the Flower Festival at St Martins Church this weekend.
Each on had taken a theme and ours was St Bernard, the patron saint of beekeepers!
And we were doing it in memory of my parents, so it had to be good!

We had borrowed a mini hive and other bee paraphernalia from Jane Rix who is a
very keen local bee keeper, as well as a very talented florist.
The colours echoed the bees and we chose flowers that they like, honeysuckle, freesias, sunflowers etc. 
As well as lots of herb such as rosemary, mint and sage, so it would appeal to our noses too!
ta da, one of my little chaps buzzing round the sage,
the contraption next to him is a smoker to pacify the bees.

The finished piece, have to say we are rather pleased with it, I think it has a nice flow
and smells good too, but hands of our honey!
do pop in to St martins Church this weekend if you have the chance,
it's open 10 till 5pm and is definately worth it 

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Le Viaer Marchi

Every summer at the beginning of July The National Trust of Guernsey hold Le Viaer Marchi
(an old market) at Saumarez Park . nationaltrust-gsy.org.gg It is a lovely family event, I remember going with my Mum as a little girl and working behind the sweety stall, I even had a proper Guernsey bonnet,
 think I need to look in to making one of those again.
Its a great opurtunity to see lots of crafts people in action, spinners, wood carvers, lace makers
and the Gaudion Family (Dad, son and daughter) all working with willow.
There crab and lobster pots really are a work of art, it is such a classic design. I know most fishermen these days use the plastic versions, but it is interesting that the actual shape really hasnt changed abit, which just goes to show if it aint broke dont fix it!
But my favourites were Claire Gaudion's ormer baskets (pannier a cou)www.clairegaudion.co.uk that she had cleverly adapted to use as bicycle baskets, but I think they would look just as great with a couple hanging on the wall in the kitchen for veg or personally in the studio stuffed with off cuts of fabric! 
Definately on my wish list!
 Guernsey Coppercraft were also there explaining all about the local milk cans, I hadnt realised that each size had a specific use, Chris was definately taken with the copper pint measures, though I think he was thinking of drinking something a bit stronger than milk out of them!

They really are a very elegant shape arnt they. 
Over here the small silver versions are very popular for christening gifts

 A bit of Maypole dancing

and a choir singing local folk songs in Victorian dress
Lots of food on offer, but the most popular was with out doubt Bean Jar, its definitely a love it or hate it dish, I love it, Chris doesn't and Master George (below) is definitely enjoying it.  Its very similar to French Cassoulet or Peas Pottage, slow cooked butter and haricot beans with water and a cheap cut of meat.  I use shin of beef, but you could also use ham hock or even trotter (ugh).  Then it starts getting very political about wither you add a carrot or not!  The smell when it is cooking for 6 hours in a beautiful dark brown Bean Jar is mouth watering.
The crowds building, we were so lucky with the weather, last year it had to be cancelled because the ground was so water logged.
Most of the crowds seemed to be heading to my sister-in-law on the Rocquettes Cider stand!
The other ladies were all wearing Guernsey bonnets
so I have promised to make Emma one, in fabric of her choice!  Will keep you posted!

And finally our Golden Guernsey Goats goldenguernseygoat.org.uk , not as famous as our cows, but I think more beautiful and their cheese is delicious, especially with red onion marmalade!

Couldn't stay as long as we wanted, people to see, things to do, but you know how it is.
But very glad I did.