Monday, June 12, 2006

Thirty Things about Me

Kerrie of Hipknits is celebrating her 30th birthday, and has issued a challenge to her readers to come up with 30 things about themselves. Well. I like challenges, so here's my attempt:-

1. I like challenges!

2. I am a collector: I collect textile techniques. I knit, crochet, embroider by hand, embroider by machine, do bobbin lacemaking, macramé, tatting, dressmaking, patchwork, feltmaking, smocking, spinning, weaving.... This means I have a lot of equipment and various stashes of materials so storage is a big issue in our house.

3. I own four sewing machines: a Husqvarna Lily; a Janome which I owned before I fell in love with the Lily but which does good buttonholes and mock-overlocking; a Brother Embroidery machine; an overlocker.

4. I love my garden and my favourite part of gardening is choosing new plants. I especially love roses, as long as they are scented, and other scented flowers such as honeysuckle and jasmine.

5. My favourite colour is blue, especially turquoise, but all shades from lavender to jade.

6. My three children were all born by induced labour because I developed high blood pressure in pregnancy. I am a little sad that I shall never know what it is to go into labour naturally.

7. I love natural fabrics and dislike wearing synthetics because they do not breathe.

8. My favourite forms of exercise are swimming, yoga, and pilates.

9. I have had M.E./C.F.S. for 18 years.

10. After a flu-like illness twelve years ago, I lost the use of my right leg and had to learn to walk again. I still use two walking sticks for walking and have hand controls on my car to help me drive.

11. I love watching the birds in my garden and have several bird feeders and bird boxes to encourage them.

12. I was forced to retire from my career as a social worker by my illness, which I found very difficult. However, it has allowed me to be at home for my children while they have been growing up, to study embroidery in City and Guilds classes and add to my collection of textile-related arts.

13. Creative activities have helped me to cope with the limitations and frustrations imposed by my health problems. It is important to me to feel I am achieving something productive, even if it is just a few stitches sewn or a row of knitting.

14. My husband is Armenian. When I first met him, I had to look this up in the atlas and discovered that it was either a town in South America or a country between Turkey, Georgia and Russia. In fact, he was born and raised in Iraq, where the rest of his family still live.

15. I think I may be addicted to knitting socks. I am currently knitting my 8th pair for me, and have also knitted a pair for my baby nephew.

16. I grew up in London (Highams Park) but am glad to live in a country village because of the peacefulness, clean air and smaller community.

17. I met my husband in a hospital ward round/through work. He is a doctor.

18. I was married to another doctor when I met my husband, but we were separated.

19. My husband is my best friend.

20. I love Cornwall and my favourite place there is Mousehole. I particularly enjoy the far west. However, we visited the Scilly Islands for the first time during our last holiday there and I would like to spend a holiday there because it is so beautiful.

21. My favourite holiday country abroad is Greece, especially Greek islands, and my favourites are Cephalonia and Crete.

22. My husband promised to take me to Paris for helping him to pass a work-related examination, and in January this year we spent a few days there. I only had to wait 21 years!

23. I would like to visit Venice and Barcelona, the latter because I would like to see the Gaudi buildings in reality.

24. I can read Greek and speak a little, thanks to learning New Testament Greek as a teenager. This comes in very handy when navigating on Greek islands.

25. When I was a child, I wanted to be a ballet dancer, and then I wanted to be a fshion designer, but was put off by my school teachers who said it was too competitive.

26. I love word games, like Scrabble and Boggle. I do the trackword in the Radio Times, and any crossword puzzles that come my way. However, I also enjoy Sudoku.

27. I love to read novels and am a frequent visitor to our library. I don't really have favourite authors but enjoy modern crime and romantic novels. I don't usually enjoy short stories because they are over too quickly.

28. I am currently very overweight, but am newly on medication to reduce my appetite. I have lost nearly half a stone in the first month and dropped a dress size already!

29. I am the eldest of three children, with a younger sister and even younger brother. I have two daughters and my son is the youngest. The girls and I have birthdays which fall on the same day of the week each year. My husband and son have the same birthday.

30. My favourite clothing store is Gudrun Sjoden and most of my clothes are bought on the internet.

Rose and the Green Man


This sounds like a good title for a story: in fact, it's The New Dawn, popping up her lovely head to commune with my ceramic Green Man, made by my pal, Karen Edwards.
A wren takes occasional refuge behind his face, but I've not yet seen a pair nesting there. Apparently male wrens prepare a range of suitable nest sites from which the female makes her selection: sadly the Green Man has never quite come up to scratch.

Paul's Himalayan Musk


In our first marital garden, one of the first roses we acquired was a Paul's Himalayan Musk, which flowers in one flush but is exquisite while it lasts, with a good perfume, so it was declared essential to any garden we might own. In our family home our first purchase of this rose transpired to have white flowers, so we bought a second, and this has the gloriously pearly pink blooms we had anticipated. Both are lovely. The pink one is in close company with a David Austen Pilgrim (yellow rose) plus a bright yellow lily


A Whiter Shade of Pale: Three Roses and a Paeony

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Some of the flowers are more subtle than others in their colourings. The trio of roses are (clockwise from top right) Renaissance, Sarah and The New Dawn. I don't know the variety of white paeony I have, but it is glorious.

Garden Party


A lovely summery sunny afternoon, spent under the maple tree with a good book and a cool drink. The stunning flowers were something of a distraction, however, so out came the camera so I could share my welcome visitors with my blog-readers. I love the form and subtle colours of the Astrantia (Hadspen Red)(bottom left).

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

More creativity

While we were taking the sea air, my DH was attending a workshop in willow sculpture in Cheddar. When we arrived home, there was a cat in our garden.

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Meanwhile, I have been making a beaded bracelet, having been introduced to this style by my pal Gill. I found these beads in Bristol's Bdelicious and thought they worked well together. Having completed it, I've had to wash it: the purple Nymo I used to work it decided to shed its colour onto my skin and clothes (but luckily washed out).

Weston super Mare: a sunny Sunday afternoon

Weston is a nearby seaside town which tends to get very crowded during the summer, so we often avoid it. However, on Sunday we needed to visit a shop there, and then my son reminded me that he had never been on the pier and that I'd promised to take him. As it seemed a good use of resources to kill two birds with one stone, I agreed as long as we could find somewhere to park within easy stumbling distance, and for once we were lucky. The pier and promenade were quite busy with trippers and the reality of the pier did not live up to Ben's fantasies. However, it gave the opportunity to see some unusual light conditions, combining strong sunlight with mist on the distant sea (there is a large tidal range here). Naturally, the camera was employed in an attempt to capture the views.

Even with the clear blue skies, the sea was a brownish shade: locals often refer to the town as Weston-super-Mud. Water on the sand reflected plenty of light.

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The visit was completed by ice cream all round, and a ride back along the pier on the little passenger train, before a drive home along the back roads to avoid the traffic jam on the main road.

Sunny Saturday in Bristol

Sarah, my elder daughter, and I spent Saturday morning visiting the Art of the Stitch exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy, meeting up with my internet pal, Pauline, who was on a visit there from London with her branch of the Embroiderers Guild. It was a very interesting and engaging show, with much food for thought and inspiration.


Afterwards, we decided to make the most of the wonderful weather by having lunch at the Arnolfini,a newly refurbished modern art gallery with a good bar/cafĂ© and excellent waterside location. The photos show the view towards St Mary Redcliffe, a general view south across the harbour, the cranes outside Bristol Industrial Museum and the WEEE Man, another current visitor to Bristol. With good food and excellent company (we were joined by Pauline after she had perused some of Bristol's shopping opportunities in Park Street) it was a very pleasant spot to enjoy the sunshine from under the shade of a big tree. Posted by Picasa