Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Around and about our house ...

... things happen ...

fruit and vegetables ripen


and Paul has been blanching  & packing corn on the cob for the freezer  ... we're eating them every day  ... so sweet and juicy 

meanwhile just by the front door the newly hatched sparrow chicks can be heard asking for food and a parent prepares to deliver  

out of sight, the chicks are deep inside our wall 

 and I'm going very slow with some more eco dyeing  and rusting. This time with dyed fabric and old lace ...  presently its air drying, tomorrow a wash, more drying and I suspect it will have faded!

Thank you for reading this, comments welcome  -that way I know you  are there!!!!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Summer 2017 books & review of The Memory Stones

I've just finished reading The Memory Stones by Caroline Brothers, see

Product Details

Really enjoyed this novel. Clearly based on sound research but written very allowing the evidence stayed in the background while the plot, characters and powerful emotions took centre stage. The web link above gives the outline of the story. For me the book's strength is in the way the story embraces all those affected by Military Rule and stretches this effectively into future generations.  In places the scenery was in danger of taking over but these passages helped to set the pace of what happened to match that of the characters experience. A very good read. 4.5 stars.

Finishing one book set me thinking about all the books around me this summer ... here's a few pics.

 I went to a workshop run by Robert Vas Dias last year ... good to have time to read his Still Life collection.

I'm learning a lot from this book but need more practice at image transfer with Gel medium 

I heard this author interviewed on BBC World service  .. looking forward to starting this tonight 

Another purchase after an author interview but I'm struggling with this even though its set in New Zealand and I recognise much of the geography 

A bit tedious! I'm trying to read two pages a day to improve my French!!!

My breakfast book with lots of helpful examples of how using a sketchbook leads to original textile work 

And if I'm to progress my knitting I'll need to find something to follow Middlemarch on Audible ... another classic comes to mind. The convenience of bluetooth headphones and George Eliot's wonderful writing had me hooked. I struggled to read the book in print but it was a great listen. I'm now watching the BBC series. I'll let you know what my next choice is. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Practice without a purpose ...

... is a phrase I came a

... is a phrase I came across in Pencil Dancing (see My copy was 50p second hand and is useful to dip into for a few minutes with my early morning tea, just a glance, a few rows of knitting and some birdwatching.  Sparrows are still feeding young in a nest in the gaps between the stones in the front house wall and I'm told a Hoopoe visits occasionally.

The phrase 'practice without a purpose' is a good label for what I've been doing for the the past couple of days with three lengths of white silk and some left over scraps of coloured silk.

rusty nails from a falling apart pallet - I love the sort of regularity 

odds of silk wrapped in an old chain and drill bit 

and below a melange of Procion dyed cotton marked with a Markal paint stick using our walls of lime plaster, hemp bricks and wood.

Most of marks were similar!!

Doing this has  given me some ideas for the 'brick quilt' that's slowly happening.   Watch this space.

Meanwhile ... as the pics below show my line a day project continues and also a hand embroidered and charcoal marked piece I started at the Textile Study Group's summer school two weeks ago. For more detail of this inspiring group see

one little basket of beautiful thread 

The heatwave here in France continues. A good time to have some slow days!  A good time for listening to Test Match Special reporting  the England v South Africa at Old Trafford.

I may be back here more regularly than usual ....

adding stitches to the marks, 

a line a day.   noting more 

summer school sampler now folded and stitched into a sketchbook 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Walking and boats

Summer has come to my part of the UK, days just right for waking and exploring.

So briefly and in pictures Tuesday took us along the London Loop, from West Drayton to Harefield. Eleven miles of walking alongside the canal and river, with insects and birds, barges in use and in repair.

Our lunchtime entertainment at the boatyard 

Another hidden gem of a place amongst the city's light industry 

Wednesday was the first of the 2017 birthday treats family and friends have arranged for me. It was a blue sky day, perfect for a boat ride to Greenwich, a tour of the Cutty Sark, lunch and a climb to the Meridian. All perfectly arranged by my dear schoolfriend Rita. I'm feeling blessed. 

The conservation of this ship is fantastic -everything about it shines
My version of a selfie

Feasting on the east of London 

Monday, June 5, 2017

all about yoga

It looks and sounds like winter outside as I write this - a windy, rainy bleakness that hopefully will clear by tomorrow morning. But enough of bad weather this post is a catchup about yoga as I'm feeling optimistic about finding a local weekly Iyengar class at last.  At least it feels local being only 30 mins away in Cranleigh.

They have a useful website, online booking and the 2 hour workshop on Saturday was very good. See details here I'm still unsure which weekday class I can get to ... I might have to do a major diary rearrange!!

It feels good to have the possibility of a live yoga class to do alongside my now regular online classes that inspire a home practice. I've signed up to Ekhart Yoga for two years now. Its flexibility and range of classes have made a big difference to what I do when I'm on my mat at home.

For example today I followed a morning class based on sun salutations with Esther Ekhart and just now took a restorative class with Irina Verwer.  There's lots of other sections all about yoga on the website including detailed descriptions of the poses. Very helpful as I try to learn the sanskrit names and the minutia of each pose. Today for me it was Utkatasana, or chair pose ... see

I can't write about yoga without saying something about the wonderful week I just spent in classes with Rachel Lovegrove at Quinta Mimosa. More details about both can be found here and I'm already booked in for another retreat in May 2018.

I'll end this blog post with pictures (thanks to Rachel for two of these) from my week at the end of May ...

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Can't believe its June!!!!

A bit of a much needed catch up, mostly in pictures ...

After  many years I've found my crochet hooks. Now to decide whether to make lots of squares or to just keep on going around and around 

 Louise Tilbrook has kindly shared a really easy shawl pattern

Well, its easy now I've worked out how to do the wyf slip stitch!!!
It's a good project for train and plane journeys and a great one to have alongside some stash busting blankets for Woolly Hugs see


Baby blanket from one stitch onwards and upwards ... I love the simplicity of slipping the first stitch to give an almost lacey edge 

And with the help of blocking pins, usually used for knitting projects, I'm progressing with mounting some of the bits and pieces I've finished in the past few weeks.

I went to a very good Picture Mounting Workshop in early May at Farnham Maltings ( with Lynne Friel see
so I've no excuses now for a bit of DIY finishing off.

old thread, scrap scrim and linen ... learning how to stretch over mount board 

From the back - to be continued 

In the to be mounted queue 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Colouring in the garden

Its still sunny! Perfect weather for unwrapping and unstacking the paper I left overnight in dye and steam baths.

I found a great set of tutorials to help with eco dying, see I followed most of the instructions given, but also used the remainder of the Logwood and Persian Berry dyes as a bath for some of my stacked and wrapped papers.

The big hit was poppy heads, with bay leaves coming a close second in terms of subtle colours and interesting shapes. Most of what's shown in these photos is paper, pre-soacked in an alum bath ... next task is to try the poppy flowers - the bank behind the house is covered with them, and bay leaves from our very large tree, on some fabric.

Inside, my design wall has been moved to be flat against a solid wall so now I can audition fabrics, tea bags, whatever and they stay in place!!! 

the beginning of a quilt. 
this may become a curtain!!!!
Finally, a quick catch up ...

for my stitch a line a day project today's thread was red (left over from sewing  the binding on a quilt) and today's stitch was running stitch,

my yoga socks are finished ...

and I've been chain stitching ... the motif on the old piece of lace just seemed to call out for this stitch to be added, even though I've used it on this piece before ... some things are so good you do them more than once!!!