April 30, 2006

There was an invitation in my intray this week for Craig Fisher at Vane in Newcastle. This was the image on the front and I was intrigued by the beaded decoration, which is really beautifully done.

Click to look closer if you have a strong stomach. :)

'Fisher is concerned with the seductive image of an object and the way in which we receive them. In his work he highlights the difference between the real object and the image of that object'. It is amazing how when I know what it is, it really does make me feel slightly ill.

April 26, 2006

I often spend more time researching something than I do actually doing it: I can have endless patience looking at holiday options and then just forget to actually book the final choice.

I love casually browsing the internet for its wealth of source material. Back when I did academic research (when I didn't even have a computer...) I used to feel the same way about libraries; I spent a LONG time betwen shelves and shelves of bound art journals from the 1890s to 1930s. Actually reading books cover to cover appeals a lot less to me than picking out the little useful nuggets of information. Not a good completer-finisher, me...

In my slightly obsessive research towards a pointy kitty for Back Tack 3, is this going to turn into a site of pictures of cats?... :)

I love this pottery cat from Tonala, the big ceramics-producing area of Mexico. I wonder if I can translate this into fabric?

April 23, 2006

Don't get me wrong: I love my mother and my daughter dearly. It was great to get the chance to spend four days in Disneyland Paris with them and (mostly) a magical time was had by all.

But, boy, you sure need to queue a lot. And it was hot. And they don't sell juice boxes. I'm glad to be home, watching snooker on the telly with my feet up.

My feet hurt, I'm sunburned and feeling ragged around the edges. My muscles hurt from carrying a four-year-old when it all got too tiring/boring/ intense.

DD tells me the princesses are not the actual ones from the movies, just people dressed up in costumes.

I don't believe her, after all we stood for an hour and a half to meet them whilst wearing stupid headgear.

(Belle was an absolute sweetheart and generous despite clearly roasting alive, and Sleeping Beauty was completely unfazed by being asked to sign a picture of the tellytubbies)


As well as being surly enough for whiplash, this was also a good bit of experimentation to get posable limbs for my Back Tack kitty.

April 16, 2006

The gender divide... illustrated through our weekend crafting activities:

DD and I took out Cinderella from the library and we really liked her ball dress. The illustrator is Julie Monks.

Some textile paint... a potato print (DD did most of the printing herself, she had fun making the stars 'twinkle' by just adding paint to the points)... I should probably have ironed the fabric first... a bit of elastic and lace... and about 5 hours of hand-sewing (I really MUST get my sewing machine sorted)...

and here she is modelling the new skirt at the ball (well dancing on the sofa until she gets an invitation to the palace).


Last weekend DD and DH went to the Royal Armouries in Leeds.

Possibly hanging out with her 8 year old cousin T made her hanker after a sword and shield. DH eventually gave in...

DH is a dab hand with insulation tape and a Pringle tube.

He may live to regret making this, but so far she seems quite happy with the idea a sword is for chopping up vegetables (thank you Royal Armouries display team and your excellent cabbage-slicing)...

Next weekend:
I tackle chain-saw carving and DH takes up flower arranging in our attempt to redress the balance.

April 14, 2006

On Wednesday DD and I fly to Paris on Air France. Does anyone know if I'll be able to take either a sewing needle or knitting needles (bamboo most probably) on the plane?

April 12, 2006

I saw the most amazing sunset at the beach. Because it's April there was no wispy sea haze so it was a perfect glowing orange circle disappearing into the sea.

I didn't have a camera; actually I don't think I could have captured the magic of the moment on a photograph. But here's a photo from Pictures of England (which is a great site showing the beauty of this country) of the same spot with the lovely colours.

Thinking of this wonderful sunset and the Degas indoor-beach, I set to make a Project Spectrum orange and yellow bag for DD.

The Wirral has an off-shore windfarm, and these windmills were silhouetted against the orange fire of the setting sun. I used a really simple overstitch around the outside which evokes that effect.

There's a picture of the whole bag on sew?Iknit!.

April 11, 2006

I'm signed up to Back Tack 3 which was an entertaining thing to do in itself - lots of crafters all competing with each other to sign up the minute the address was announced (midnight here in the UK).

Ideas have been flowing since I read the rules a couple of weeks ago so I'm excited, if a little daunted by the high calibre of the company. I've been thinking about making pointy kitty for a couple of months now so I plan to concentrate on that rather than lose myself in the wealth of softie patterns out there.

So, a little research into essential cat-ness. A few years ago I was bewitched by a book I bought in Vermont, which shows a house where the rooms' (very stylish) decoration and layout is all cat-orientated. Our poor cat doesn't even get a cat flap.

N, our cat, is an old lady now. Well travelled - she's been to California and back and survived 6 months in quarantine kennels. Her favourite hobbies are apparently kicking kitty grit all over the floor, eating grass and then coming inside to be sick and wailing for her breakfast at 6am. Oh and sleeping on people's heads. There's no denying it, cats do things the way they want.

So here's a Back Tack inspirational shot for me. Not N, it's from flickr, always a excellent research source. I like the contented look cats have when washing themselves.

April 09, 2006

I loved the yarnstorm family's fairy cakes a few weeks back, but was mostly just impressed that the usual yarnstorm aura of calm surrounded the picture.

Cooking in the petulant household is never quite that ordered, and an awful lot gets eaten as part of the creative process...

Still, if you watch out for your teeth on the excess of decorative balls, DD makes a yummy fairy cake :)

April 06, 2006

G is for... Green (& Black's)

I think buying fair trade chocolate is pretty important: what's a luxury for us shouldn't destroy people's lives half a world away. Plus it feels like giving to charity, so really it's a responsibility to eat more chocolate...

We are given so much choice in the western world and mostly it's cost or convenience that guides our decisions. Even if we only occasionally take food miles, fair trade and free-range (both poultry and pork products) into account, it will help the world around us in the long-term.

Green & Black's is the most prominent fair trade chocolate producer; so successful in fact that they have been bought up by Cadbury's. They have been criticised for 'selling out', but actually I think it's great that Cadbury's are seeing how important fair trade is commercially. Perhaps one day all Cadbury's chocolate will be fair trade...

My very wonderful Secret Pal, Bryony, rounded up Secret Pal 7 with a fantastic parcel of the Green & Black's chocolate cookbook, some chocolate, and oh yes, some green Rowan Cork yarn she had promised me. Bryony has spoiled me so well, I've got some amazing things that I will treasure and use for years. I've also had the benefit of her good advice and friendship which has definitely made me a better crafter. She's a star! Thanks Bryony.
I... um... worked out who she was quite early on but she's managed to keep up the facade of secrecy extremely well :)

Here's chocolate swirl shortbread from the recipe book, it's yummy. I'm not going to post the recipe though, you'll just have to buy the book yourself :)

April 02, 2006

An inspiring picture for the Orange/Yellow month of Project Spectrum. Beach Scene, 1869, by Degas; in the National Gallery in London.

Despite the Impressionist's love of plein air, I don't think Degas was that keen on fresh air - he seemed to paint a lot more indoor scenes than outdoor - and in this one the key figure pair was posed in his studio.

Which is why it feels like an April rather than a summer painting - cosy curling up inside THINKING about the beach rather than actually being there. DD said 'let's go to the seaside!' yesterday (it's about an hour and a half to North Wales from here) just as it started to rain. Hopefully we'll get there before too long.

There's a lot of tenderness between the two central characters in this painting. I'm hoping to translate this with my Orange/Yellow crafting into doing something specially for DD.