Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Winter Arts Market

Since my last post, we’ve been to craft fairs at Lark Lane and Hale Village – both very well organised events with lots of lovely people and hand-made gifts on sale.    Both were successful as far as we were concerned and we look forward to going to both venues again.  

In fact, we’ll be at Calidad Events Craft and Gift Fair   at Lark Lane on Saturday, 13th.   It will be our last fair before Christmas and we’re looking forward to it
Last Sunday, we went to the Palm House, in Sefton Park, to hear Maghull Wind Orchestra’s Christmas music.    What a great concert – free Sunday afternoon entertainment for a very large audience, it was standing room only.    The choice of programme was excellent – they go from strength to strength.

On Monday, we went into Manchester to meet our eldest grandson outside College and take him out for lunch.  One of the (many) perks of being retired is that you can spend time indulging your growing grandchildren.   It seems inconceivable that we can have a grandchild old enough to advise us on the best place to eat lunch in a strange city!   It was lovely to spend some time with him – he’ll be off to take up a place at a Conservatoire after his ‘A’ levels next year.

Another lunch out on Wednesday – am I becoming one of the ‘ladies who lunch’?  -  this time with some friends from our textile course days.   Good to catch up and swap news of what we’ve been up to in the many months since we last met up.

The rest of the week was spent getting organised for our craft event of the year – the Winter Arts Market at St. George’s Hall, Liverpool.   We feel very privileged to get a stall there – there is fierce competition.    We would have loved to have had two days there but were grateful to get one day – Saturday.   As usual, it was buzzing with excitement, choc full of amazing crafts and talented artists.   In some ways, it’s a bit like a re-union, we meet lots of people who we’ve met before on the ‘craft circuit’ and it’s great to be able to catch up with what they’re doing, admire each others' latest work, swap ideas, and generally encourage each other to keep going!  That’s all before the public come in, and then it’s consistently busy all day.   It’s so interesting to chat to people who visit the stall; some come back year after year, some are just browsing and some are there to buy.    I sold three ‘ruffle’ felt scarves, I assume they’ll be Christmas gifts for someone, and a textile picture which, I must admit, I was rather fond of – it’s a nice feeling that someone likes it enough to hang it on their wall.  I did, of course, sell lots of other things as well – a mixture of textiles and cards and, all in all, it was a very successful day.   It’s a really pleasant, well-run event and I can only hope that the organisers will have us back again next year.  

covered notebooks in handmade felt

Now, it’s fall back and regroup!   I’ve re-printed some photo cards and generally tidied up and I'm starting to prepare for  Saturday and the photography club’s monthly competition, next Monday.   No rest for the wicked.

small patchwork hanging

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Marking Time

It seems we have been marking time for a little while and now the march is on to Christmas.    The annual fair at Ullet Road Presbyterian Church took place on 18th and, as usual, we enjoyed being in their lovely building.   There seemed to be a lot of fairs on locally that day so there weren’t as many people abut  as usual but we still had a good time and sold quite a few photos as well as some other things. 

Of the  two felt pieces I showed in my last post, one has actually been made into two book covers.   Having stitched into the other one, I couldn’t bring myself to cut into it and it’s going to have to join the other piece which I can’t put the scissors to.    I’m now looking for two suitably sized canvases to attach them to.

I’ve been weaving a ‘shrug’  - for myself this time – I really love it – the colours work really well and it’s easy to wear – not as formal as a jacket, not as’ mumsy’ as a cardigan but lovely and warm and cosy.

I’m still continuing with the efforts at reducing my ‘stash’ and so I keep making patchwork squares ready to assemble into a quilt (or two) when I get time.     I’ve also made a very classy glasses case, a textured white felt book cover, a pretty evening purse 
and several brooches with fabrics/felt which I’ve had hanging about for some little while.

We had a lovely afternoon out last week when we went to Chethams College of Music to see our grandson conduct his own composition in their Composers’ Concert.   The concert was excellent, and we were very proud grandparents.  

At the last  felting group meeting I learned yet another technique.   This time we made ‘stones’ – I’ve made one of mine into a pincushion – the stone has been removed from inside and it has been stuffed with fleece.   I love it.   I’ve got another one to finish yet – watch this space.  

A couple of  weekends ago there was a Steam Punk weekend in Haworth and Liz and Bernie and I went along to have a look on Sunday.   It was a lovely day, bright but cold, and we spent most of the day walking round taking photos of all the amazing sights.   The costumes were so inventive and the people were all so good humoured and interesting.   Needless to say there were nearly as many photographers as Steam Punks.  We really enjoyed our day and indulged ourselves with  a bag of chips each  to warm us up.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Start of the Christmas Fairs

November heralds the first of the Christmas Fair season!   At least I tell myself it's the start but really I think it started in October!   On Sunday, last, we went to one of our favourite venues, Scorton, in Lancashire.   It's a pretty little village with a vibrant community and we always get a great welcome there.    Unfortunately, for us, although there were lots of people, we didn't sell an awful lot - made up for by the fact that we met up again with old friends such as Michelle Clift, Independent Phoenix Trader,   who always seems to buy one of my notebooks - she didn't let me down this time either.  We had another fair in a large office building in  Liverpool on Thursday lunchtime - a great space, light and airy and quite busy.    This weekend we’re off to the Unitarian Church in Ullet Road, Liverpool – it’s a beautiful building and we always have a good day there.

glasses case
 During the week I've been completing a few ufo's - that's unfinished objects, - anyone who makes craft items always has lots of them lurking at the backs of cupboards, drawers and other dark spaces.  It's always good to complete them and move on to the next project.   Speaking of which, I've finished another woven scarf – cream and green this time.  A friend and I had a whole day, last week, with an experienced weaver who taught us the correct way to warp a loom – it looks so easy when an expert does it – I’m still stumbling along but at least now I know what I should be doing.

I’ve had a couple of sessions of  feltmaking this week too – it’s really self-indulgent - I love it.   I intend to stitch into both of them and then I hope to make book covers from them.

Liz and I had a little try at marbling recently, very successfully on paper but less so with fabric.   I think we are going to have to do some more experimenting although the results are still usable in patchwork - nothing gets wasted here!


Sunday, 2 November 2014

Where to start

It really is a bit difficult to remember what I've been doing since the end of July but I'll try!  I've been  to more than a few craft fairs including the Summer Arts Market at St. George's Hall and on several photography outings with members of Maghull Photography Club.  The ongoing task of carding all that alpaca fleece has finally been accomplished and I've begun spinning it - another mammoth task!   

At the end of July we spent a couple of days in Liverpool photographing the Giants - what an amazing event.   There was Southport Flower Show and,as if that wasn't enough, we went off to see the Military Tattoo in Edinburgh with Liz and her husband.  The four of us had a lovely break and the the tattoo was everything I'd expected and more - what theatre! 

Motorfest in Ormskirk, in late August,,was another opportunity for some photography and I've got umpteen photos of vintage and classic cars. 

September saw the start of the felting group and photography club seasons and the resumption of rehearsals for 'The Mikado' which we will be performing, in March, at the Epstein Theatre, Liverpool.  Liz and I  visited a craft and hobby exhibition in Manchester on 12th September and were, once again, inspired by the creativity on show.    

In mid-September, my husband and I joined two friends for a short break near Kidderminster.   The weather was kind to us (it didn't rain) and we were able to visit the Black Country Museum which was fascinating.    We also visited Berrington Hall which had a special exhibition of costumes from the t.v. series 'Pride and Prejudice' as well as their permanent exhibition of textiles.   I was in heaven!  On our last day, we went into Worcester - what a lovely city, one day wasn't enough, we'll have to go back for another visit.

At the end of the month Liz and I visited Yarndale, near Skipton, a really exciting show celebrating all sorts of yarns, spinning, weaving, dyeing, felting etc.   Once again, we spent a whole day oohing and aahing over  all the lovely things we saw.   That sort of day always sends us home with new enthusiasm and inspiration.

As well as the feltmaking group, I've also joined a group of weavers - I've only been to one meeting but it was so informative and the people there were so ready to give advice and encouragement.  Owing to the helpful advice of one of them, I can now warp my loom, on my own, in about 2  hours - a vast improvement on the 2 or 3 days it used to take me (not to mention the swearing that accompanied it).  The result is that, since the meeting, I've made 2 scarves and am halfway through another.

At October's felting group meeting we made bangles - I'm not sure I'll ever wear mine (I don't ever wear bracelets) so I'm not sure I'll make any more, but the technique could easily be adapted to make wrist warmers - I'll have to think about that!  The lattice scarf I made there last month is now among the goods I take to craft fairs - hopefully someone will like it enough to buy it soon.

As anyone who knows me is aware, I find it difficult to waste anything textile related!  I hoard all sorts of scraps of fabric, yarn, buttons etc. because I'm sure they'll come in useful one day!   I finally decided that I must actually reduce the amount of  'stuff' in my stash of bits and so I've  made some of them into cot/lap quilts (seven so far)  and I must say that I really enjoyed the process and love the results.   The size of my stash, however, seems to be just as big - explain that!

Finally, we've been to a couple of  Maghull Wind Orchestera concerts during last month, - the first one was in aid of Liverpool Chest and Heart Hospital and was given  in conjunction with a Welsh choir, the Sirenian Singers.   It was one of the best concerts I've been to in a long time - the joint finale was an absolute triumph.    For Halloween, the Wind Orchestra gave a concert in aid of the Mayor of Maghull's Charity . Our grandson, home for half term,  guested on  percussion - proud grandparents!

Friday, 31 October 2014

I'm back?

For some inexplicable reason the e-mail notification for the three blogs I posted in July and August were delivered today!   If this post actually reaches my followers, I will have finally cracked it and will follow up with an update of what I've been up to in the last 2 months.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Testing time

This is really just a brief post to see if it actually gets published this time - I seem to have been having terrible trouble with the last couple of posts.  If everything works o.k. I'll be back soon!