Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The badgers keep moving the goal posts

Ok so I can't do the poem, but I can make the cushions
badger cushion by www.treehuggery.co.uk 
Badger cushion by TreeHuggery
poem by Carol Ann Duffy

22 Reasons for the Bedroom Tax
Because the Badgers are moving the goalposts.
The Ferrets are bending the rules.
The Weasels are taking the hindmost.
The Otters are downing tools.
The Hedgehogs are changing the game-plan
The Grass-snakes are spitting tacks.
The Squirrels are playing the blame-game.
The Skunks are twisting the facts.
The Pole-cats are upping the ante.
The Foxes are jumping the gun.
The Voles are crashing the party.
The Stoats are dismantling the Sun.
The Rabbits are taking the biscuit.
The Hares are losing the plot.
The Eagles are kicking the bucket.
The Rats are joining the dots.
The Herons are throwing a curveball.
The Shrews are fanning the flames.
The Field mice are sinking the 8-ball.
The Swans are passing the blame.
And the Pheasants are draining the oil from the tank-
but only the Bustards have broken the bank.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Perfectly Perfect Presents!

I'm feeling very flattered to have been asked on the brand spanking new website www.perfectlyperfectpresents.com , there is some lovely work on there, and although it's only been launched for a couple of days, it feels like Christmas has already arrived, maybe it's the change in weather, and people starting to feel seasonal, but orders from there, and from all of my other outlets are rolling in.
To help with the launch of perfect perfect, I've doing a give away of one of my hare cushions,  I've also got badgers and pups, and am working on a range of h'animals (huggery animals).

I'll post some more photos later, but here's a picture of the hare, and a link to where you can enter to the draw.
Hare cushion by TreeHuggery

Friday, 4 October 2013

A dog is for life not just for Christmas

I've been making some of these little chappies just recently, they're really nice to make, distressing and layering hand dyed voiles and each one has its own little character.  Whereas with my silver birches and poppies a few slight differences (it always happens they're all completely handmade) only makes for a slightly different cushion, a few slight differences here can create a very different character - a couple of extra downward stitches can make one of these little chaps look really really sad and worried.
dog cushion perfect present for an animal lover
Doggy cushions by TreeHuggery

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Black Pigs

I was exhibiting at the Eastwood Expo yesterday, which is mainly an event for local authors to promote their work - fantastic.  The event was at the lovely Beauvale Priory which is close to us, but we previously hadn't visited.  We'll definately be back though - the priory remains are interesting,. and there's a lovely tea room serving high teas, which also hosts a summer beer festival.  As well at the exhibitors there was quite a lot of entertainment - my favourite being the black pig border morris dancers. The woman at the stall next to me kept urging me to go outside and look at the morris dancers, and I was just "yeah, yeah" but I'm really glad I did - don't think traditional morris dancers, think "steam punk"  brightly and chaotically dress, covered in feathers and ribbons with blacked out faces, playing their own instruments and attempting to thrash each other with massive sticks - Hugely entertaining.
Apparently the tradition was started by farmers, who needed to earn money, once the harvesting was done.  They would tour the pubs and turn their jackets inside out and decorate them with ribbons and scraps of materials.  They would black their faces so that they weren't recognised by the church, who were disapproving of people having fun.
The Black Pig Border Morris dancers were all really friendly guys, and are well worth checking out

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Winter's Here

The weather is changing, and quickly - the gales are blowing again, and it feels like time to hunker down.  Always much easier to sew in the winter than it is on the red hot days, where I feel I should be making the most of the sunshine.
Here's my latest hunker down picture - I took a photo of a frosty fence post years ago, I loved the pattern and the textures, but have never been sure how to progress with it.
Karina at Studio 61 and I often work together on seasonal projects - shes a water colour artist, and sometimes she'll do something and I'll make something in textiles that is inspired from that, sometimes its the other way round.
With the request of "do something wintry" it felt time to revisit the frosty fence post - I've incorporated silks and angelina fibres (ideal for winter sparkle) as well as lots of burning..... I'm really pleased with the overall effect and am going to get some prints and cards created.
Now to hunker down again.
Frosty Fence Post

Monday, 9 September 2013

scruffy pups

Thanks to my neighbours lovely animal pictures that are created by pyrography (wood burning) I've just been playing around, and have come up with this little chappie - he's stilll a work in progress, but I think he's got potential, and am feeling inspired about the possibility of creating a new collection
Just need to think of a name for him now.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Giant dragonflies

Another busy weekend.
Col went over to a fell face at Longshaw sheepdog trials on Saturday; brinsleyrunner.blogspot.co.uk

And then yesterday he helped me with my stall at the Brinsley Headstocks.  It was a great day; despite the gloomy forecast the sun shone all day, and the volunteers who take responsibility for looking after the headstocks and organising the festival did a fantastic job.

As well as my stall, I'd bought along a giant dragonfly sculpture that I'd been commissioned to make with young people from the Eastwood Youth Club.  We'd designed it so that people could stand in the middle, and have their photograph taken, and write and weave things inside the wings.  It was lovely to see how popular it was.

It was also really nice to have persuaded my  neighbour to come to his first ever event and sell his beautiful work - he's a pyrographer, burning art in to wood, my personal favourites are the hares, and I'm really tempted to create some animals in textiles.
Our little bit of the village is quite a creative corner, with photographers, textilers, painters and pyrographers - oooh a Brinsley art trail would be nice......

TreeHuggery at Brinsley Headstocks Festival

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Brinsley Headstocks

I can't believe I haven't posted for over 2 months!
I've been so busy getting things ready for galleries, and doing my textiles degree (including a smoking jacket for Bradley Wiggins!) that I haven't had time to post, and I've got a whole load of things waiting to go on here. Even though I haven't been running for months, theres not enough hours in the day, and a bit of a niggle in my leg, has actually felt like a relief, and an excuse for one less thing to have to do!
Just in time though, for Sunday's Brinsley Headstock Festival, my piece is finally ready and framed.
I'm loving the big chunky frame that Col made for me out of reclaimed timbers, it's so chunky it can sit on a desk rather than being hung.
Sunday's festival is sounding good, lots of guided walks, and I'm intrigued to find out what/who "Sheepish Grin" are....
More soon - hopefully

Brinsley Headstocks

Brinsley Headstocks - I'm thinking of getting this one done as a print

Brinsley Headstocks - big chunky frame!

Friday, 21 June 2013

Kafkaesque nightmare

I'm stuck in a kafkaesque nightmare.  Not having had a television for about 10 years, (and only having a black and white television before that) I'm used to having to send, almost monthly, declarations swearing that I don't have a television (when we had the black and white tv, we eventually asked if they wanted a black and white photograph of our b & w tv as evidence).
Yesterday we had a visit from the tv licensing authority people while we were out, to check to see if we do have a tv.  Obviously I don't mind them doing this, and fully understand there is a need for them to check, but because I was out they requested that I contact them to state, yet again, that I don't have a tv.
Firstly I tried phoning, but after eventually reaching the department that I needed, an automated voice told me that there was a que, and to leave a message on the website, before cutting me off.
Easier said then done, when I eventually founded the page that I needed to state that I don't have a tv and so don't need a license, it asked me for license reference number......

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Wash day blues

Ages since I last posted - the first of the strawberries are out - yay, and with all of the sunshine and showers the other veg is looking healthy too.
The sunshine has provided me a great opportunity to do some hand dyeing and get it dried easily, still thinking about a scarf inspired by the sea, I've moved on to thinking about something more textured.... as always its still a work in progress......

Sunday, 26 May 2013


I was at Belper Arts Festival yesterday, and it felt an interesting start to the day, when one of the other artists said that she had already seen my work.  it turns out that her water colours, which are lovely, are in the one of the same venues as mine (The lovely White Peacock tea room and emporium).  It turns out we'd both popped in there yesterday, but at different times, her with her work, and us later on for their bistro night.  Small world.
The world got even smaller, when a few minutes later, one of the Artists who has a studio in the building, came over to look at my silver birches, and told me that she also creates silver birches, but in pastels.  OK that bit's not particularly surprising, lots of artists are inspired by silver birches, but it is strange that I recognised her from a holiday in Iceland that we were both on about 12 years ago!  At that time she wasn't drawing, and I hadn't started sewing,  but 12 years later, not only do we have the shared love of Iceland, we're inspired by the same subject matter.  (Though I really must be more careful in how I ask questions, I was so surprised to see her, that I just blurted out "Have you ever been to Iceland?" - It would have served me right, if she'd replied with "No, I prefer Sainsburys"......)
Then when we got home, me and Col were researching the area we now live in, and it's links to DH Lawrence (neither of us had realised that the White Peacock tea room, is a reference to DH Lawrence's first novel), and then, when I picked up the Guardian, the front page of the Review is all about.....DH Lawrence.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

choosing a weather forecast!

Why do weather forecasts have to be so, very varied?  Sometimes its nice to be able to browse the diiferent forecasts until you find one you want, but sometimes it would be really helpful to know what the weather is going to be doing.
I've got an outdoor stall at Belper Arts Festival this weekend, and while I'm loving the forecast of a sunny day with highs of fifteen degrees, it would actually be really useful to know, and be able to prepare for, high winds and snow.
My preparations are reminiscent of packing to go on holiday to the East coast as a small child; t shirt, ground sheets, flask, anorak, sunnies......

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Treasure Hunt

Just come back from a really good activity - I'm not a confident orienteerer (is that a word?) but have just done the Run Challenge around Eastwood, which is more like a giant treasure hunt.
Forty five minutes to find as many control points (and answer questions such as "What is the last digit on the post box?" and "Which day of the week is the Clairvoyants night?"  (Hmmm should they need it advertising????)   )
Points get deducted if you're late back, and so as well as sorting out a route, and looking for clues, you have to be realistic about how quickly (or in my case, slowly)  you think you can run.  
As well as doing speedwork and hill work, by stealth, you really don't realise that you're doing it, it has the added bonus of getting to know new routes for when it's dark at night, and running through fields of cows isn't an option.
The Eastwood event is really handy for us, but their website www.runchallenge.org.uk shows that they're setting them up in lots of places - very exciting to be at the start of something new! 

Monday, 20 May 2013

who said village life was quiet

After a busy weekend last weekend, and knowing that I've got a busy week ahead, we decided to have a lazy Sunday, catch up with friends, and visit the Lady Bay Art Festival.
We've both become captivated by a garden chair - based on the old wicker "egg" chairs, that are suspended from the ceiling, this work of art, can be suspended from a tree, or from a metal sculpture, and it is truely wonderful to look at, and relaxing to sit it, one couple who have bought one, take duvets outside in the winter, snuggle up in it, and watch the stars - how fantastic is that.
Any way busy week ahead in the village, there's a footpath walk today - its purpose is to report on any maintenance that needs to be carried out, but has the added advantage of linking new routes together for us, a treasure hunt run in Eastwood on Tuesday (hope I don't get lost) and a gourmet bistro night at The White Peacock Tea Rooms on Friday night, before sorting out everything to take to Belper Open Arts Festival on Saturday.
Best get cracking

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Can you see the sea?

Today, I hope to, finally, get around to mailing my scarf off to my tutor to be assessed for my degree work.

I've been so busy preparing for the Open Studios, that my degree work, unfortunately, had to take a back seat.
The scarf is hand dyed and is inspired by the sea, I like to think that the colours capture the colours of the sea, swirling blues greens and greys, and I hope that the structure works too; I wanted to create something that felt inviting to step into, but had the potential to be threatening too; dangerous, and out of control, with the risk of being pulled down and submerged.
A big thank you too, to my friend, who thought that she was just going to put it on, to see how it sat, and was a bit surprised when i got the camera out to start taking photos!

Friday, 17 May 2013

monkey business

well the good news is that the local paper have decided to do a little video of me and my work (apparently video clips are the way forward even with local news papers), the bad news is that the clip features below a comedy monkey at a traffic island, and you have to click on that page before you can find the video "Jackie Ward, Artist)
Currently feeling the same double edged feeling of having run a Marathon, but being overtaken by  a pantomime horse

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

And relax...

Well that's my first ever Open Studios, and after all of my initial worries, that
a.   I might be sitting there on my own for the whole weekend
c.  People might comment on the state of the garden (it's a work in progress, not helped by the rain)
b.  People might walk straight in, and straight out
and  d.  and e.
I can honestly say that I had a lovely time; people came who I haven't seen for a long time, neighbours came and supported me, people came who had heard about it by word of mouth, or had seen the Open Studios publicity, and as well as being able to explain how I work, I was able to hear about other peoples arts, interests and passions,
We actually saw the last visitors back at around 9pm Sunday evening!  so went to to bed with that strange combination of shattered yet buzzing

Best bits - two little girls who, on entering my studio, were as excited, as if they'd entered a sweet shop, that, and teaching them how to felt - stopping them from pulling and treating the wool gently - priceless.
Then the next morning opening up my inbox, and finding an email from a lady who had travelled from Lincolnshire, which was extremely lovely to receive.

Funniest moments - the comment "we thought you'd closed for the day, but then we saw a couple of mugs moving behind the door".  priceless, still smiling now, both about that, and my lovely weekend, ach well back to the sewing machine..

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Drum roll

And here's the reason why I've had so little time to post anything over the last few weeks

My lovely cosy new studio.....

Only a month ago, we didn't even have a concrete base, and now thanks to my lovely shop lifting (err sorry shop fitting) husband, I have a lovely studio, and (literally) just in time for this weekend's Open Studios Event.

The timing's been very tight, the electrics only went in on Tuesday, and I've been moving stuff in around the Electrician, but it's here, and apart from some last minute tweaking, it's really, and I really really love it.

I can look down the garden as I work, and as my next door neighbours are getting some chickens, I'll have some company too.
Just can't believe it's all mine....

Open Studios, 11 & 12 May, The Moor Cottages, 36 Moor Rd, Brinsley, Nottinghamshire, 10am-5pm
shaky hands - I'm so nervous - hopefully better photos tomorrow!

last minute sweeping!

just got to get the bunting up

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Blue blood

Every day is a school day!
I work, a few days a week in a busy hospital pharmacy, and today, on a visit to Quality Control, I learned all about the horse shoe crab and it's green/blue blood.
Apparently the horse shoe crab has copper rather than iron in it's blood, which explains the unusal colour, and it is this that is very useful for staining, and therefore detecting, bacteria.
Certain bacteria (gram negative bacteria) don't show up with more conventional stains, that are designed to stain bacteria purple, but the blood of the horse shoe crab, is an effective stain and highlights any possible contamination. The crabs blood is harvested, for use in the laboratory and then they are released back into the wild. 
It brings a whole new meaning to the term blue blood.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Say what?

I love the confusion that the English Language brings.... I still find it amusing that I was at cross purposes for so long when I was told that my car needed "a new car bonnet",  After a few times of me repeating the statement, and then asking what was was wrong with the one I'd already got, it turned out that I needed "a new carb on it"
Cols mum and dad make me smile every time they talk about the wireless, it means something so much different to most people nowadays, and when they talked about liking dance music, it turned out that they liked listening to big band music.
Today the headline in the Metro was "overdosing on tablets is killing PCs", and I started to read the article thinking that our police force were suffering from stress, but it turned out that the headline was referring to tablet computers and personal computers....

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

OK so it's not quite the Observer

Ok so it's not quite the Arts section in the Oberserver, but v pleased that myself (TreeHuggery), the Wood Studio and The Open Arts have been featured in the media again today - this time in The Nottingham Evening Post
All in all, it's proving a good week, I've got a new outlet at the lovely White Peacock Tea Rooms and Emporium in Eastwood (apparently their bistro nights are to die for), I've nearly finished one of my uni projects - photos soon - and am hopefully going to be involved in some outdoor art projects in the vicinity -
sooooo excited

Monday, 8 April 2013

Girls and garages

I hate taking my car into a garage, I know nothing about cars, and I could be told anything, and I wouldn't know whether I was being told the truth or not
Once, when I was working in teenage pregnancy, I took my car to have a tyre changed, - relatively straightforward huh?  except my locking wheel nut was in the boot, under boxes and boxes of condoms.  Understandibly I was attracting some very odd looks as I unloaded my wares by the side of my car, so I tried to explain it away, be gesturing towards them, with a casual "oh, it's my work".
I've never gone back there again
Today I've dropped Cols van at a new garage that we're trying out, with an Amazon reciept instead of it's MOT certificate - I so look like I know what I'm doing.....

Sunday, 7 April 2013


It was Cols 40th birthday at the weekend - one of his cards, complete with 40 sticker, had the warning not to be given to children under 36 months .....
Despite Col not having a day off, and still working in the garden, it was a good day, the sun shone, and even working became quite leisurely.
In the evening we'd planned a Mexican meal for a few friends from the running club, and they made us laugh out loud; turning up with Mexican music blaring, sombreros, ponchos (ok aztec bath towels with a hole cut out) and drawn on moustaches.  Excellent.

Friday, 5 April 2013

I'm in the news today, oh boy

Just received some lovely publicity in our local paper about the Open Studios event I'm taking part in.
Like the Open Gardens, artists across Nottinghamshire will be opening their workshop doors giving the public a chance to see them at work.  So as well as textile artists, people can meet painters, sculptures, wood turners etc, and while I only have the link for Nottinghamshire www.osnotts.co.uk. This relatively new event is spreading around the country so there may be an event near you..

The article can be viewed here....http://www.eastwoodadvertiser.co.uk/news/eastwood-kimberley-news/artists-open-up-their-galleries-1-5543139

Sunday, 31 March 2013

An old fashioned Sunday

Today, Easter Sunday, reminds me of what Sundays used to be like before the changes to Sunday trading, where everything got busier and busier and faster and faster.  There is hardly any traffic on the roads, all but the smallest shops are closed, children are playing on the park, I even saw a toddler enthralled by the croci.  Ok so it helps that the sun is shining, and that everybody is coming out of hibernation after the cold and prolonged winter, but it's a great reminder of how things used to be, and it was great for the little business man too.  It's hard to compete with the lure of the supermarkets, the shopping centres, and town centres, but  sourcing things locally, I've heard a rumour that the "shop local" campaign is spreading, lets hope so, and then everyday can be a bit like Sunday

Metal Hipopotamus

I love doing craft fairs, I get to meet the nicest and most interesting people.  I've previously made friends with a shepherdess and a Well Dresser.  Yesterday I was sitting next to a wood turner.  Like me, she was made redundant from the Council where she worked, and like me, she took a long hard look at her life, and decided to make some changes and start to earn a living by doing the things she loves. She sold her house, and bought a canal boat, she now lives there, and is a mile away from even a corner shop, and a long car drive away from the nearest town, so if she hasn't got the things she needs, then that's it, she has to without.. She keeps herself warm and toasty with a wood burning stove  She has kingfishers outside her window, and is woken in the morning by the ducks nibbling away at the algae on the boat.  Because she's always moored there, the wildlife completely ignore her, and in her words, regard her as a Metal Hippopotamus.  

Sunday, 17 March 2013

"Delete as Appropriate"

I've had a productive Sunday - sorted out press releases for the open studios event, gone for a run, made flap jack, and finally finally finished my "delete as appropriate" gift tags.
I had the idea way before Christmas, to have "TreeHuggery" gift tags where people could select the type of day they wished to give their recipient, but the wording was actually harder to organise than the design; we're such hippies that the kind of day that we would wish to have, probably isn't the kind of day that most people would wish to have, but then....even though  it's just a bit of fun, I didn't want to "sell out" with what I put, and I wanted to keep it true to my beliefs....
so in the end, the message on the reverse reads

Hope your day is filled with....
(delete as appropriate)
a.. Blue skies
b.  Love and laughter
c.  Scrummy cake
d.  All of the above

people have already commented, that they'd go for option C



Friday, 8 March 2013


I've been working on a textile piece called "White Horses", which I've just had converted into giclee mini print cards.
Surprisingly, for someone who loves working with trees, the seascape piece has really captured my interest, I'm currently working on a textile piece of close up pebbles, and think my next degree piece might even have a seascape theme.
Here's my "White Horses" card - those damn pesky horses, get everywhere!
White Horses.  Seascape mini print card by TreeHuggery

Monday, 4 March 2013

Spring is here

Spring definately felt like it had arrived this weekend; I had a lovely run followed by a beautiful trip up to Holloway in Derbyshire to collect my new mini print cards
Autumn Leaves, mini print card by TreeHuggery

Then yesterday, the lawn had the first cut of the year, I picked some of the leeks for tea, planted onion and garlic, and then later on started framing the first of a new lot of originals.
Study for Sierenes.  Original wall art by TreeHuggery

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Thank you very much

Well I haven't got the Blue M and Ms that I asked for from Britsh Gas, nor the Cava, nor the picture of the Chief Exec. (with or without drawn on moustache and speech bubble), but to be fair, I have had a very nice apology and my final bill has been wavered - so thank you BG - I might even buy some celebratory M and Ms.
I've been working more on my picture of the Brinsley Headstocks too, and like to think that I've now created a sense of depth that the original piece was missing.
And I've been working on a collage/screen printed piece inspired by Prague's Dancing Buildings (I love Prague, its such a beautiful city) so hopefully have lots of work to post up soon.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Feeling better now

I'm gradually learning that it's almost always impossible to change the attitudes of other people, and that therefore it's necessary to change you're own approach to dealing with people - so, for instance,  if somebody is being particularly annoying, I try to think, "Poor X, it's not their fault that their really horrible, they must be really lonely with no friends" It doesn't always work, but it's largely better than feeling pointlessly angry.

This week though, I've had to put up with incompetence from all of the major utility companies, and was starting to get really, really annoyed.

Deep breaths, and time for a slightly different approach; one that at least has already made me smile, and stop ranting.....

Therefore, I am currently awaiting a response from British Gas.

I've asked to be compensated with.....

blue M and Ms (200 of)

a bottle of Cava
and a picture of their Chief Exec, complete with a cartoon moustache, and a speech bubble saying "I've let the customer down, I've let my team down, but most of all..... I've let myself down."

Just the process of deciding what to ask for as compensation, started to snap me out of my bad mood.

Ach feeling much better now!

hanging out the bunting.

Been a busy few days - I've been making bunting in advance of the open studios event (I feel like I'm trapped inside a Banksy picture) been trying to finish off pieces for next weeks craft fair, and do my homework as well.
Today I worked with my nordic walking instructor friend, to help her design a patchwork square.  She has a friend who has cancer and is wanting friends contribute patchwork squares so she can sew together a giant patchwork quilt of hope, with colours graduating from dark to light.  The idea is that it will give her something to occupy her on the days she doesn't feel like much company, or doesn't want to watch the television.  After a run, discussing ideas we sketched out some draft ideas, and came up with the idea of feet and (nordic) pole prints walking into the sunshine.
I think it's a lovely idea, especially as everybody involved will tune in to their creative side in doing this.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Brinsley Headstocks

I've tried combining my love of creating trees from textiles, with my love of the local area - so here's my take on the Brinsley Headstocks using collage and textiles, it's not quite complete yet, but it seems pertinent to share it ....
Brinsley Headstocks

....It's pretty ironic that my piece is to get finished as yet another risk to building on our green fields - there's so much heritage and wildlife in the local area, yet it seems that it's up for sale to the person who is the highest bidder - time and time again, green field sites are being used for development over brownfield sites, yet its all ok with the Council, if the developer promises to build new access roads (and destroy even more green fields)

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Puts me to shame

Wow - there's me struggling to train for the Eyam half marathon and then I go and hear about a guy who's 101 and still running marathons
Pretty inspirational, and just goes to turn stereotypes of old age on its head

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Order, order

Well I'm not sure how long my cottons will stay orderly, but it was quite a nice task arranging them thus
I had the added bonus, while I was sorting them, of finding my free machine embroidery foot, which I'd put in a very safe place during the move (and of course was so safe, that I subsequently couldn't find it)
In fact today has been a good day so far, not only did I find the foot, I've also been given a paint roller for painting acrylics on to fabrics, and some metal shelving for the workshops, we were also offered some window glass for cold frames  - we're definitely feeling the love on this cold bleak morning.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Textilers in the Making

I've been using my neighbours' children as guinea pigs again this week!  Half term seemed the perfect week to make sock animals with them - although it's good a job I didn't have a firm "sock animal" plan in my head - as the conversation went something like this Me; What do you want to make, an animal or a monster?.
Them; Animal.  M; Ok - What kind of animal?  Them:  A butterfly.    Errr ok, that tested my creativeness to its limits.  In the end we pretty much abandoned the sock element and went for basics with pom poms and pipe cleaners, and the fact that they were happy with what they'd made was pretty evident.
I'm really made up though, because yesterday I got a thank you card, a butterfly incorporating bits of MATERIAL!!!!
Hoorah - textilers in the making!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

feeling the love from freecycle

We both love Freecycle.  For those who haven't come across it yet, check it out.  It's a website that allows you to gift away things that you no longer need, and that others may want, and stops lots of perfectly usable items going to landfill.  All that it asks is that you gift some thing first, and then you become a member of a local group, and are able to ask for things that are being gifted or even post "wants".
Like most things where there's the possibility of something for nothing, there are some greedy and unrealistic people who ask for cars, flat screen tvs, lap tops and the like, but they're in the minority, and thankfully, largely ignored.  The majority of fellow freecyclers are more likely to be queueing up for a few panes of old greenhouse glass or chicken manure.
We recently offered Cols old mountain bike, and not surprisingly we were deluged with requests, now this is the hard bit, how do you weed people down.  Unfortunately there are usually a few people who are rude and just don't get it - comments such "I'll take the bike off your hands, tell me your address, and I'll come over now", get instantly deleted, and unfortunately people claiming to work for charities are usually the worst culprits of doing this, so we generally look for the friendliest sounding email, and this is how we chose to gift the bike.  Definitely a good choice of people, they've already been back in touch twice to tell us how happy it's made them, and we are definitely feeling the love, from gifting something, that was basically taking up room in the shed.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

The Fisherman

This isn't my story, but I think it pretty much says everything, that I'd like to say

A few years ago, a very rich businessman decides to take a vacation to a small tropical island in the South Pacific. He has worked hard all his life and has decided that now is the time to enjoy the fruits of his labour. He is excited about visiting the island because he’s heard that there is incredible fishing there. He loved fishing as a young boy, but hasn’t gone in years because he has been so busy working to save for his retirement.
So on the first day, he has his breakfast and heads to the beach. It’s around 9:30 am. There he spots a fisherman coming in with a large bucket full of fish!
How long did you fish for? he asks. The fisherman looks at the businessman with a wide grin across his face and explains that the fishes for about three hours every day. The businessman then asks him why he returned so quickly.
Don’t worry, says the fisherman, There’s still plenty of fish out there.
Dumbfounded, the businessman asks the fisherman why he didn’t continue catching more fish. The fisherman patiently explains that what he caught is all he needs. I’ll spend the rest of the day playing with my family, talking with my friends and maybe drinking a little wine. After that I’ll relax on the beach.”
Now the rich businessman figures he needs to teach this peasant fisherman a thing or two. So he explains to him that he should stay out all day and catch more fish. Then he could save up the extra money he makes and buy and even bigger boats to catch even more fish. The he could keep reinvesting his profits in even more boats and hire many other fisherman to work for him. If he works really hard, in 20 or 30 years he’ll be a very rich man indeed.
The businessman feels pleased that he’s helped teach this simple fellow how to become rich. Then the fisherman looks at the businessman with a puzzled look on his face and asks what he’ll do after he becomes very rich.
The businessman responds quickly You can spend time with your family, talk with your friends, and maybe drink a little wine. Or you could just relax on the beach.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Just walking the dog

We're looking after my friends dog for a week.  She's beautiful; and is a King Charles spaniel  crossed with  a chinese poodle, and has very very soft fur. Unfortunately for us (her?) we've been told that she doesn't like getting muddy, which is a bit problematic, as we're surrounded by muddy open fields.  We're not sure if we're going to be handing back a traumetised dog at the end of the week, but so far, she seems to be embracing the puddles - though I think she's going to have to have a bit of wash and brush up before we return her.
Pictures later

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

A very special delivery

This one's a bit different to my usual pieces, but has been great fun to make.  Asked to make a cushion for a new born baby, I suggested that rather than sew the details, in the conventional way, that I incorporate them into a picture.  I drafted a few ideas, and the special delivery post box was the favourite, so here it is.  It was lovely to be caught up in the excitement of a new born baby, and I got to see photos of her too - she's gorgeous.
a very special delivery - cushion for a new born baby

It's been nice to work in a different style, and as most of my commissions have been wall art, its also been interesting to design something very personal that is practical too.  I've posted it on to my website www.treehuggery.co.uk and once Col has framed some new pieces for me, I'll post some new pieces of wall art on there too.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Should I be worried and the fur is flying!

Hmmmm my watch battery has died - not a problem in itself, except that it has a lifetime guarantee.  So should I be worried?
Worries about my mortality aside, I've now seen the puppet, all finished, it's fab, and I have started sewing scarves using fake fur - they're very warm and snuggly, only problem is, that where you cut, the fur flies, and consequently I am covered in fur, and look like the proud owner of about 10 huskies....
And talking about dogs, we get to dog sit at the weekend - more later!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

It's a puppet

I've been helping a neighbours child, to create a puppet for her homework.  I'm not sure that I was quite so young, when I learned the skill of getting other people to help me do my homework!, they'd already passed the buck, and got their mum involved before I was asked to help out too, and so after sorting out material scraps that were pink, purple, or had sequins, and de-coating myself from the mud from this mornings run, I got invited around to "play" on a Sunday afternoon.  And what a team we were - the littleees drawing faces, and stuffing body parts, and me and mum sewing layers and layers of material.
I'm not sure our puppet will win any prizes, but the main thing was, that we had a good fun afternoon, and now I think I've got two friends, who I can test potential workshops on.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

cute goats and illiterate horses.

We had another downfall of snow last night, which left everywhere looking beautiful; seeing as it's already starting to melt and rain is on its way, we decided to make the most of the winter wonderland on our doorstep, and took the cameras and went for a short walk over the fields.
We had thought of going over to the second hand record shop, but as we did a short detour past the Brinsley Animal rescue centre, and then decided to make the most of a beautiful snowy and sunny Saturday afternoon.  Hence all of the photos of a very photogenic goat, I couldn't just pick one photo of him!, then later in the walk, the illiterate horses, oh yeah, and some scenery shots, seeing as how I was supposed to be taking photos of the snow!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Long faces

room at the top

heaps of sheeps

why the long face
It was too snowy to do a long run today, so we just did a short run around Brinsley.  To be honest we both thought it would be more scenic than it was, but to be fair the snow has been down for a few days now, andthat said, we still got some cracking views, and were lucky enough to have three horses, all stick their head over the fence and post for a photo - much nicer when they're the other side of the fence

Sunday, 13 January 2013

cross country in the snow

Had a reallu good cross country run in the snow yesterday, around Shipley park.  To be honest cross country races can be a bit boring, they have the potential to be fun muddy affairs, but all to often the routes are fairly dull.  Yesterdays though, was great - up and down hill, and then up and down again, and then again through sections that were so steep and so muddy that you had no choice but to walk up, and then good steep down hills where you lose control of your legs and just hope for the best, 2 laps, and then a down hill all the way to the finish line, and so tired at the end, that I even considered being a snow angel.  The weather yesterday was great, beautiful and snowy, and yet lovely and warm, with the winter sun. 

It's not often I'll rave about races, especially cross countrys, but this course set out by Heanor RC was a corker!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Synchronised Kiting

Well we had a treat today, we were just stretching out after a run around Shipley Park, when we noticed about six stunt kites in the field ahead, all sweeping and diving in synchronicity - having tried, unsuccessfully, to do anything other than keep a kite in the air for a few moments, made the actions even more impressive.
And it didnt stop there, later, saying our goodbyes, before going our separate ways, we had a robin come up, really close and stayed there, unbothered by us, for quite a time.
Well worth going for a run on a bitterly cold day

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Hunky Dory

Hurrah - David Bowie has a new single out - which is fantastic, not unlike a track you would expect to hear on Heathen or Reality, and even better than that, in the world of media frenzy, he managed to keep it a secret, and release the news when he wanted to, and without all of the hype that most "stars" seem to need.

Textile dyeing has been pretty hunky dory too, I've been using procion dyes on silk - photos soon - and while I struggle with dyeing as an end in itself, I'm pretty pleased with how these samples are looking.
I'm still hankering after buying  a felting/embelishing machine though - and am imagining the possibilites of combining materials with that - hey ho, maybe one day..... for now though, it's been a pretty good day

Its a small world

There must be less than 6 degrees of separation (the number of people we are away from knowing everybody in the world) since the introduction of social networking.  I have an old school friend, who is now living in Australia, Col has never met her, but yesterday, he heard her name being mentioned on Mansfield radio, cos she was unhappy with the way that Liverpool had beat the Stags in the FA cup game.
I've lost count the number of times on Facebook, that I've discovered that 2 of my friends know each other, and I didn't have a clue.
The world was proved even smaller later in the afternoon, when one of my friends facebooked me, cos she'd heard that I'd had a smurf like shout out on radio 6 - I've got blue hands from dyeing again - and interesting fact, for me anyway, I have found out that I can dye sheep wool with dylon dyes - I'm not sure how colourfast the dye is yet, but hopefully I've struck on a very quick and easy way to dye fleece.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Running up that Hill

It was my and my friend Helens first Training run for Eyam Half today, I chose a hilly 8 mile route that would be challenging but not to difficult, mainly on paths but with a bit of off road running - thank goodness that the fog masked the worst of the hills and that we couldnt really see where the top was.  Col chose to do a fell race around shining cliff woods, and came in, in 15th place, which is good by any stretch of the imagination, but especially considering that, like me, his recent runs have just been plods.
No rest for the wicked in the afternoon - me painting fabric, I'm going to do something similar to the piece I did inspired by the allotment door, and also a piece inspired by dry stone walls, and Col fitted the cooker hood -
Next weekend we have the local league races.

Friday, 4 January 2013

The Hounds

Some pictures of my sisters dogs,  - the big one Frankie is also known as Scooby Doo, she's scared of everything, and ralph the scruffy pup is fairly like Scrappy, and really are little and large. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2013


Nearly had a "Fenton" moment today; was walking my sister's dogs around Felley, when 19 deer ran across our path - thankfully Ralph was already on a lead, and we managed to grab Frankie just before she saw them - had visions of going viral!

new year new start

It's been a busy few weeks for us, we've had a really lovely Christmas; spending Christmas day in our new house and going for a walk over to Felly and seeing a rainbow, and over the rest of the holiday period catching up with family and friends, while still managing to work on TreeHuggery (I have a new tablecloth to make up the one way that blew away while I was doing a craft fair in the storms, doing up the house and going for some runs)
Our running leaves a lot to be desired at the moment, we've been so busy, and so much of the local area is flooded that its been really easy to put if off, still, we're both determined not to have a lazy year, and while not exactly a new years resolution, we both have our eye on races in the spring, that will mean that we need to start training up
I'm going to do eyam half marathon, I've done it twice before, its beautiful but very very hilly, and has the strapline "if carlsberg made half marathons" ... you get the drift...... while Col is going to do a leg of the Hilly 100 relay, he's done this a couple of times too, and always seems to get saddled with one of the hilliest legs .... I think we both need a challenge that is do-able but tough enough that we have to get some serious training in! 
As for fitting it all in, I think the mantra "if you want something doing, ask a busy person" works just fine!