Monday, 28 February 2011

Knitted Mad March Hare

As anyone who has read my knitting posts will know, my knitting skills and ability to read a pattern are zilch, I can do squares! Crochet is different, I'm not bad and I prefer it by a long way but I do still like to dabble with knitting.
My approach is knit a square, make it up as you go along and then drag it or stitch it into whatever shape you want!
I think it's a bit like that guerilla knitting ethos where people knit squares and do crazy things like decorate telephone boxes or suspension bridges with the squares.

Anyway with March just a matter of hours away I was determined to finish the little hare I had started last week. He is one square stitched into a tube and stuffed with 2 small rectangular tubes for ears. Very basic but I like him!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Jumble sale

I haven't been to a jumble sale for years as they tend to be a bit thin on the ground round here but I was tipped off by a friend and I was pleased I made the effort to yesterday's event.
It was like a mad scrum of women fighting for stuff off the tables, and I think if you didn't get there at the start the best stuff had gone in the first half hour.
Pictured below is some of my stash.

Miffy mug & others

From cupping events to cups, or mugs to be accurate! I've had a really good run of mugs as gifts this past fortnight. There's the lovely Miffy mug (one of my childhood heroes), the Snoopy mug, another hero and not exactly a gift 'cause I found it in a charity shop but I bought it with birthday money. And then there's the retro 'drink me' mug.
So my mug collection continues to grow but I do make sure I rotate them on my mug stands so that I can appreciate them.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Cupping Event at Limini Coffee

Had a really interesting & enjoyable evening yesterday as I attended a Cupping Event at Limini Coffee.
The idea was to sample a selection of 5 coffees of the world, to try and detect each coffees properties of sweetness, acidity, balance etc. etc. but just basically find out the type of coffee you like.

Youri roasted the fresh green beans in his table top roaster which took about 5 minutes for each batch, we did the smelling, aroma test first and then the slurping to sample the coffee (no spitting, why waste good coffee!).

We cupped 5 coffees individually and made our comments and gave ratings, then we cupped the same 5 altogether at the end  (mixed up) to see if we had managed to figure out which was which.
I'll admit now that I did rubbish and didn't spot one of the coffees, fortunately I wasn't alone, this proves how difficult and what a skill it is. Amazingly one of the other girls on the course spotted all 5, she did so well and was rewarded with a prize of a latte art course.

It was all very fascinating, everyone enjoyed it, met some lovely people, a mixed bunch of home users and cafe owners. If you are looking for a good coffee or specialist tea in Harrogate, give Bettys a miss & check out this place as the people were on the course and they are very passionate about what they do.

As always a great event put on by Youri at Limini and hopefully they will be creating some more events in the future.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Spoonflower contest - Breakfast

Haven't entered a Spoonflower contest for a while and quite fancied a go at the Breakfast contest which goes live this Thursday. 
I opted to go for the simplest of designs. I sat at my graphics tablet and just scribbled whatever breakfast related images came to mind, even sausages despite being a veggie! I wanted the design to have a hand drawn rustic feel rather than a really polished set of illustrations.

From the outset I had planned to do a single colour background with white drawings which was fine until I started dabbling with colouring it and then I quite liked the coloured versions! So I really was in 2 minds which colour option to go for and I have to say I've gone for the pink as I think that sort of thing is usually quite popular, and I'm trying to appeal commercially here rather than my own colour choice.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Coastival Weekend - Scarborough

It was the Coastival weekend and I visited on the Saturday to meet a friend and visit some of the galleries. It was a foul day for weather, rained all day and was cold but we still had a good time.
Started at the Woodend gallery, saw some interesting print & photographic installations which made the most of light and shadows distorting the images. Also experienced some sound sculptures with poetry over the top which was quite spooky.
Next was the art gallery which had a super exhibition of quirky pictures by Pete Mckee

The gallery gift shop had some lovely cards and handmade jewellery.

Finally on Saturday I went to the Rotunda museum which has been refurbished since my last visit about 7 yrs ago. It is such an interesting building and the roof with the new coloured glass panels was amazing.

On Sunday it had stopped raining and as it was too cold to hang around the house all day I decided to go back to Scarborough and see some more of the festival. I couldn't find the Green craft market which was a shame or maybe it wasn't on on the Sunday.

But the highlight was seeing the street performers called Saurus. They are huge dinosaurs on stilts, fantastic costumes which defy belief of how they balance and walk. The dinosaurs make an eery noise and walk amongst the crowd scavaging for food, it was all quite bizarre and very popular. I found myself like a lot of people following them around. I found a Youtube link from a street scene in Canada which will give you a taste and you'll hear the creepy sound they make.
Its nice to have a culturally refreshing weekend for a change!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Coastival 2011

It's really chilly today with a sharp breeze coming in off the North Sea and it doesn't exactly feel like the start of the festival season. But in true, freezing cold, British seaside fashion, Coastival has kicked off in Scarborough today for the weekend.
I haven't been to Coastival before but I am meeting a friend up there tomorrow to visit some of the arty events.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Sledmere project - finished

Over the weekend I finished my work for the Sledmere project. The exhibition called 'Ways of Seeing' will run at Sledmere House from April 22nd to 17th June.

When I visited Sledmere I tried to look beyond what my eye initially sees when I entered the rooms.I found myself looking closely at surface patterns, everything from ceiling motifs, marquetry furniture, textile patterns on carpets & cushions and opulent designs on cloisonne vases. Pattern it seemed was everywhere and often an eclectic mix which flowed beautifully from room to room.

My artworks were inspired by an Oriental vase, I was drawn to the image of a bird, a popular symbol in textile and ceramic decoration. My challenge was to take that ceramic design from the vase and create a stitched collage using recycled scraps of fabric & paper, to create a heady mix of Oriental Chintz meets floral bouquet.

Much of my mixed media work will use recycled materials, fabric, wallpaper, newspaper etc. and in keeping with the spirt of that I turned the leftover scraps from the collage into a trio of brooches, each one being a wearable piece of art in its own right and paying subtle homage to the patterns I saw in this English country house.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Busy weekend

I've had a busy weekend filled with lovely things as it was a birthday weekend.
Received some fabulous pressies, very arty crafty, and went for a lovely meal with friends in Brid.
I also got chance to visit York Art Gallery to see the Hockney picture, Bigger Trees Near Warter, it was quite spectacular. The shear scale of the picture was something special and they were running a small film that Hockney & JP had made through the life of the picture. (not the documentary which was on TV).

Have also finished my Sledmere project so will show some pics soon.

Small picture in the Ferens

Attending the preview on Friday night confirmed my thoughts that the one picture I had had selected was the one I thought least likely. Bit of a token gesture was my theory, backed up by what I thought were some very odd choices in there... but that's art for you, all comes down to personal taste so I'll say no more on the subject.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Ferens Open Exhibition - 2011

I have just received news from the Ferens regarding the 3 pieces of work which I submitted for the Open Exhibition, and I can reveal that 1 piece has been selected.
I'm not as delighted as I thought I would be.
Firstly in my rush to deliver the 3 artworks I forgot to make note of which piece was Entry 1, Entry 2 & Entry 3 so of course the letter has arrived saying Entry 3 is accepted. Well I'm not sure which piece was number 3 until I go to the preview!

My entries consisted of 2 railway style posters which I create digitally and the other piece was the large textile wall hanging I made on the course last year.

In trying to remember which piece was which, I think what I thought was my main piece, or the piece I was most proud of and put most effort into was the textile wall hanging and I'm sure I labelled that as 1. That was probably followed by 2, my large Spurn Point digital art which I went to the lengths of having  professionally framed. So, if I'm guessing right, that would leave 3. which was a small A4 artwork I framed myself in a cheapo Wilco frame. This piece, although I like it, was what I thought to be the least likely piece to get accepted over the other 2. (it was my tribute to Woolworths picture).
So, that's why there's a tinge of disappointment if my guessing is correct. Of course I'm interpreting it as they let that one through as a token gesture with it being a little diddy A4 thing and maybe my others were too big or the textile piece too complicated to work out how to display it.

Oh well, I should be pleased to have one piece recognised and not think too much of it because after all it has probably come down to the personal taste of whoever the judges are this year.
I will look forward to the preview to see the standard of entries.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Coffee stuff

Today is the Midlands heat in the UK Barista Championships and Howard from Limini Coffee, where I do the courses, has entered so good luck goes to him. I think it will all be over by now so we won't know the outcome until the Limini blog is updated.

On the subject of coffee, a Has Bean parcel arrived today with 2 espresso blends to try and they are the interestingly named Jabberwocky & Jailbreak. The reviews say that Jabberwocky is a challenging blend to get right! Also had to order some cleaning equipment now that the espresso machine is over 2 months old.

Day in Hornsea

I was in Hornsea at the dentist yesterday which is always a fun day out, my Scottish ex-army dentist is as mad as a box of frogs!
Following that I visited the shop of one of my networking colleagues, she has a wedding cum gift shop with some lovely things in.

I then visited 2 shops I hadn't been in before, recommended by friend, and one was a florist cum antique shop which was an interesting mix with lovely curios in. Followed by a few doors along, the Southgate Studio, a place with the most unusual handmade gifts from crafts people around the country and they do bespoke framing services. It was the sort of place you looked around and wanted stuff in every direction you looked, lovely people passionate about their business so well worth a look if you are in Hornsea. 
I restrained my purse strings on this occasion and came away with a couple of jolly seaside greeting cards by a local artist.

I had a quick whiz around the charity shops and found a pair of 1965 Hornsea egg cups in the Gourmet range, a snip at £1. Also found some vintage floral barkcloth and a 1970's M&S quilt cover in a groovy geometric pattern in lovely condition so will probably remain a quilt cover and not get chopped up.

The day was complete with a visit to Freeport for some new walking boots which I found in Hawkshead.

Monday, 7 February 2011

1940's fabric from Donna Flower

A small parcel of vintage fabric arrived at the weekend. I bought these 2, 1940's cotton panels from Donna Flower who have a great range of vintage fabrics.
Nicely parceled too.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Vintage pillow cases

I was having the car MOT'd in Scarborough the other day and I got to mooch around some of the more out-lying charity shops I don't normally walk past when shopping in the centre.
One was particularly good and cheap, stuffed to the rafters with fabric, table cloths, bedding etc. I got these vintage floral pillowcases, only 25p a pair.
In another charity shop I found the little milk jug, useful for splitting the textured milk when steaming for latte's and I got the bag of buttons.

Sledmere project progress - 2

Progress is coming along well with my stitched collage.
I am hoping to start a second collage over the weekend as I think you can enter more than one piece of art.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Packaging 3 - Marmite

I think we are all familiar with the traditional Marmite jar and label so I will not bother displaying that here. But, has anyone tried the new extra matured Marmite? I was lucky enough to come across this lovely jar of the black stuff over Christmas (as yet unsampled).

Well love it or hate it (I've grown to really like it as I've got older) I think the packaging certainly says mean, dark and full of spirit. This looks like a seriously adult jar of Marmite and I can't wait to finish off my current jar of normal to see if this one really does blow my socks off!