Monday, July 24, 2006

A Meeting of Friends: Cirencester, 20th July 2006


This happy trio of ladies is (left to right) Pauline, me and
Gill. We're sitting in the shade of an umbrella on Gill's scenic patio in Gloucestershire, recovering from an exciting afternoon spent having lunch at Brewery Arts, trying on clothes in the far-too-tempting shop that is named Sahara, perusing quality art supplies in the Coln Gallery, and being culture vultures inthe Wonderwall Gallery before making our way to our main objective, the the Wetpaint Gallery, to see their exhibiton of work by Bridget Riley, Terry Frost and, most importantly for Pauline, Sandra Blow (she's studying her work for her next university coursework. Very interesting work, despite it being a small exhibition. I personally fell in love with a print by Brenda Hartill, a very rich print on heavily textured paper entitled Waterlands III which I will purchase if I have a windfall.
Anyway, we retired to Gill's charming abode for refreshments and enjoyed a delicious drink she and her husband, Mark, had developed: Rock's Blackcurrant Cordial "spiced" with ouzo on the rocks - very refreshing and not at all cloying. Pauline and I would both love this wonderful bosky home, with its ginormous play room and very swish kitchen, but it was wonderful to be guests there. The kitchen was deliciously scented with this bunch of lilies on the windowsill, as well as yummy foody fragrances. It was hard to tear myself away to return to my own humble abode but I eventually did, despite Gill's protestations that I should stay for dinner (and it was a delicious home-cooked risotto I was missing out on).
It was a wonderful day. With friends like these my life is rich indeed.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Pots and Socks

Our village has its own art gallery (Church House Designs) and I called in today to look at the new exhibition. I ended up succumbing, buying a garden pot by Johhn Huggins. I've been admiring his work since it appeared in the gallery window a couple of months ago, but there were some smaller, more affordable pieces and one came home with me.

It has found a possibly temporary place in my garden but may have to move: it is a little vulnerable to football passes where it is pictured. I am so taken with the ammonites within its body. Heavy rain means both footie and repositioning are postponed, and the garden is very grateful.

Meanwhile, here is a picture of my latest knitting project.

I came across a wonderful blog by Sock Bug , which includes some new-to-me and different sock patterns - FREE! These are her Lacy Scallops Socks, which I'm making with a stash ball of Opal self-patterning sock wool. I like the picot edging. It's the first time I've cast on using waste yarn and then knitted in the stitches later to form a fold-back hem. The lace pattern is easy to remember and pleasant to knit, so I'm enjoying it so far.

I'm simmering some fabric on the stove in a dyepot as I write. Last evening saw emergency Mummy duties when DS announced he needed a navy blue scarf by tomorrow for his sailors' dance costume (he's performing in a schools group show on Friday). In a house of fabrics, no plain navy cloth was to be found. Instead, I found some calico (recycled toile from a dressmaking friend) and cut out a scarf using DS's cub scout scarf as a template. I edged it in zig-zag and then dyed it: of course, I couldn't find my navy blue dye, so used a mix of Omega Dyrect Black and Indigo. Apart from being pleased to have solved the problem of the costume scarf, I also realised that it would work rather well with the rust-dyed fabric Pictured previously. So, using some recycled cotton sheeting, I'm having another dyeing session with a view to combining the two fabrics in a textile art piece. So, watch this space!

More flowers from my garden


Pinker flowers are out today: the hydrangea and lily are particularly pink. The garden is very grateful for the heavy rainfall we have had this afternoon and I am appreciating the relative coolness after yesterday's torrid heat. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Something in the air


My evenings, spent in the living room with windows open to the fresh air and the garden, are perfumed by the scent of flowers: most notably, by the jasmine, whose scent seems to travel well from the obelisk outside. It is heady, sweet and sensuous but not overpowering. I'm glad we planted it in such a good position. Posted by Picasa

Deep Secrets


This lovely rose grows in our front garden and produces wonderfully voluptuous velvety red blooms with a delightful scent. Posted by Picasa

Dyeing with a rusty pole

We recently obtained a trampoline for the children to play on in the garden, which meant dismantling the outgrown swing/slide/climbing frame we've had for about 13 years. We'd hoped to be able to pass it on, but in the event it turned out to have rusted so badly that it would be unsafe. I rescued a few choice bits from the pile destined for the rubbish dump, and dyed a piece of muslin by wrapping it around one of the rusty poles. Before I did this, I soaked it well in white vinegar, and wrapped the whole lot in a plastic bag, sealed with a klippit. It worked quickly, being warm, humid weather, and each day or so I rewrapped the cloth. After five days, I soaked the square in salty water, then washed it and hung it out to dry. This is the result:

I do not yet know what I am going to do with this cloth, as it was created as an experiment in learning the technique, and it is not telling me what it would like me to do with it. I wonder about adding to the dyeing, or printing on it, but it may be put away for future use instead. Any suggestions gratefully received!