Saturday, 28 April 2012

4 seasons in one day

Well we're trying to make the most of the rainy weather, last night we went out in our spikes for a delibrately muddy bogg run around our local Country Park.  There's nothing like being able to run through flooded fields with out fear of sinking in, for bringing out your inner child - and the other bonus about spikes is that you don't have to have a long run to get a good work out.  
Our roles are becoming very gendered again - today Col was digging trenches at the Brinsley wreck, so that we can lay cables for our workshops, its hard work and muddy and there's so much water, both over and underground, that the trenches are quickly becoming moats.  While he was making a start on this, I was gathering the withering daffodil heads for natural dyeing  - Hmm so much for the new neighbours being impressed with how much d-i-y-ing i was doing.
There's so much to do at the moment, trying to get the Brinsley wreck habitable, and both of us setting up the treehuggery business, I've got loads of craft fairs coming up and don't feel there's enough time in the day - the cushions though are fun to do, and although they're all based on the same theme, they're constantly changing.  I haven't put all 4 seasons together for a while, so here they are.....
I'll post a photo of the moat later!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Legless and Bikeless

Cols had to sell his motorbike ,and we're hoping that our Treehuggery business venture will start bringing in some money!  Cols working at the Brinsley wreck today.  I gave myself a nasty scare this morning, when I went up the garden and found a pair of legs, it took me a second to realise that they'd dropped off the scarecrow.  I've been struggling to get my sewing machine to work today (disaster) but inbetween swearing at it I did manage to finish off a few Spring Blossom Silver Birches which have been work in progress for a while.

Monday, 23 April 2012

The sky might be pink, but the air is blue!

It's dangerous stuff is textile work. 
I rather stupidly decided to see whether my soldering iron was still hot by touching the end of it (it was) while making my cushions - the cushions are the first ones that I've tried with such pink skies..
I've also obtained a freecycle'd pressure cooker, to manipulate voiles, and experiment with making some sculptured scarves.  I've never used a pressure cooker before and  when it starts to hiss, I have to fight the urge  to run away,into the garden and take cover.  (Mind you as a child, cooking wasn't my strong point, and I melted a microwave door cooking a rather large jacket potatoe, but that's another story!) 

Sunday, 22 April 2012

More difficult to follow than Mornington Crescent!

Well its been a good weekend - after getting some useful feedback on Friday, I've updated my website, Cols picked up his van (tree huggery joinery here we come) and we helped our friend celebrate her birthday.  We were invited  round for good food, drink and a fantastic board game themed around the London Underground (complete with Mornington Crescent! - and the rules were just as difficult to follow!) One of the friends invited, is currently testing out a scooter (the non motorised kind) for a very exciting sport that she's in the process of developing (more in a later post, as I think its still top secret right now).  We bumped into her en route with her scooter, and were very tempted to try and arrive "Goodies" style with all 3 of us balancing on it.   The route back on a Friday night was quite entertaining, and we did get some funny looks from some passing police, but that's probably because she was without lights, thankfully she wasn't breathalised - it would be terrible to be banned from riding a scooter!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Bless You

We'd just gone to bed last night, when an aeroplane came over the skies, it was so loud it sounded like it was right over the house, we were just commenting on how close it had sounded and if it would make it to the airport, when we heard a sneeze from outside - we both looked at each other and started saying at the same time, "wow that was close -  did you hear the person on the plane sneeze"! 
We've really been together for far too long!

Painting the town red - well the sky pink

I'm dying lots of pink voiles for the skies for my cushions today (sadly not with natural dyes, they only work on natural materials, not on synthetics) - its quite a messy job, made worse by the fact that I'm naturally messy, and that the phone keeps ringing - I keep mopping up little splotches of dye (its to rainy to do it outside) and am hoping that I'm not leaving any traces behind.  I'm also multi-tasking by trying a sample of dyeing with coffee grounds - as much as possible I want to use the colours around me , manipulating synthetics with a freecycle pressure cooker later!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Alls well that ends well.

Col went and did the first of the summer league races today - I went for a lazy run with my friend this morning.  The race is a nice route and being the first league race of the year its always popular.  About half way round, and quite near to the front, Col was expecting to go up the grassy hill, but the runners in front of him carried on ahead, and so obviously he followed them, but it turns out that, up the grassy hill they should have gone, and the marshall only appeared after quite a few of them had run past.  It shouldn't, hopefully make that much difference to people's times, the detour probably added a couple of 100 feet, and their route up the hill was less steep and less muddy, so all in all it probably equalled things out.  Though the poor marshall who should have been in position must have felt terrible.
It reminded me of the time we did a half marathon, and the lead car that everybody was following, mistakenly added the mile fun run route to the beginning of the course - consequently the mile markers were all a mile out, and although me and Col worked out fairly quickly what had happened, I'd spent most of the course fretting that I might have to run 14 miles rather than 13 miles, but the poor organisers who most have watched the lead cars route in a mixture of horror and disbelief, had worked really hard to dismantle the very large inflatable finish tunnel and time, and resite it  at the 13 mile mark - obviously and unfortunately there were quite a few runners that were unhappy with what had happened, but I was just so pleased that I didn't have to go the extra mile, and had been so impressed with how hard they'd worked to rectify everything in such a short space of time.

Monday, 16 April 2012

dimming the lights - but not for the reasons that you might think!

I'm very excited to find that my silver birch cushions change their appearance according to the light.  At the weekend someone who has previously had one of my Autumn cushions contacted me to say that they would like another and did I know that as the light changes on them throughout the day that they change in their appearance; echoing early morning light, full day light, twilight, evening and night.
Colin made me get one straight away (Summer was close to hand) and we closed the curtains, dimmed the lights, slowly brought them up to full brightness, and then dimmed them again, and we had the whole cycle of a woodland waking up, being alive and then going back to sleep.  I'm really, really happy that they do this, and can't believe that without the kind feedback, that I would never have noticed!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

What's he gonna look like with a chimney on him.

Poor Colin was convinced that the Brinsley wreck was about to collapse today.  The house is still a building site; the plummer has "first fixed" the pipes, and the electrician is due in tomorrow and the water company have still got to sort out an appointment date.  So when he went in the front room and heard a low "fizzing" type noise, he couldn't work out what the problem was; gas, electric or water -one by one, he turned them all off, and went around the house investigating every room for drips, holes in gas pipes etc, but couldn't find anything amiss......
After a few anxious moments, Col's really good at most practical things, but hates messing about with water and electrics, he realised, with both relief and annoyance at being so dim, that the fizzing was from the bottle of cola that he'd brought with him, ah maybe it could be written into a sketch for a cola advert, for a coke break!

Poison Ivy

I've been dyeing with ivy today (it makes an interesting yellowy colour) but all of the time that I was doing it, I couldn't help but sing the tune "Poison Ivy" - I'm now getting slightly anxious that this is a sign and that I should really invest in separate utentsils (collinder, spoon, bowl etc) and that it might not be too good for our health to be using the same untensils that we use to cook.
I'm keen to get a pressure cooker too, as I'm keen to use it to manipulate and distort man-made fabrics with it, I already used Cols heat gun and soldering iron to distress and distort voiles and polyesters, but I think that there would be a lot of scope to more subtlely manipulate larger pieces of fabric, (think Issey Miyakes designs) and the high temperatures of a pressure cooker would allow this to happen.

Friday, 13 April 2012

running with faries

Me and Col went for a run in a torrential downpour last night - Col's not keen on running in the rain; he's allergic to rainwater (really!!) and he gets cold really easily.  Me? I love running in the rain; it makes me feel alive, and it makes me feel like a "propper runner"; anyone can go out for a run in the nice weather!
Last night we just got wetter and wetter and our rainsoaked clothes got heavier and heavier - but as well as getting wet and heavy, my trousers began to bubble and froth - at first I thought it was the spray from a scummy puddle, but no, the washing machine can't be rinsing our clothes out properly, and the unwashed away detergent was bubbly away quite nicely, it wasn't quite the bubbles that you can make by blowing fairy (washing up liquid) around, but it was very very frothy!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Thank you for being my friend.

I've been given a Herman!  He's a friendship cake given to me by a fellow running buddy, and is I suppose a cake version of the old fashioned chain letter.  Herman is alive (he starts off as a yeast) and you have to take care of him for 10 days, stirring him, talking to him and feeding him, splitting him up into little baby hermans which you give away to 4 other friends - before finally putting him in the oven on the 10th day and murdering him!
At Saturdays Nordic walking class (which was very good) somebody was discussing making a Herman App for their phone so that they can see where he travels too  ( a bit like book crossing I suppose)

Thursday, 5 April 2012


I'm moving on to the "people" part of my drawing module, and poor Colin, who is usually so relaxed, is getting very stressed out.  Whenever he sits down for 5 minutes (which is not very often) I pick up my sketchpad and start drawing him.
It probably doesn't help that my sketches aren't particularly flattering; Half of the problem is that when I sketch I always try and catch the essence of something rather than a likeness, which is fine for sketching in nature, but probably a bit unflattering for people. And Col would probably be the first to admit that he has the face of a "mugger" rather than a "muggee". 

Monday, 2 April 2012

Nordic Walking for onions!

My natural dyeing has gone much better today, I now realise that the reason that the grass didn't dye satisfactorily was because it was a couple of days old, whereas most of natures finds need to have time to dry out before dyeing, grass needs to be very fresh or else the chlorophyll, which gives it the green, gets destroyed. 
I've also been dyeing again with onion skins, this time with a mordant (Allum) which allows the dye to penetrate the cloth more readily, onion shouldn't need mordanting, but it does make the colours much richer, and this time they came out a lovely rich rusty colour.  I'm also lucky in that quite a few people are starting to save me their onion skins, including people that I don't even know!
My friend and Nordic Walking Instructor knows how keen I am to forage for things to dye with, and so she has very kindly invited me to her Nordic Walking Class at Shipley Country Park., to do just this.  The people who attend the class sound lovely, one of them has already volunteered to start saving onion skins when she heard about what I do.  I'm really looking forward to starting the weekend with a good walk, a forage and a chat to some new friends.