Just a few more days and calm will be restored. We have had a busy time and two more things to enjoy. To night is Shirley's drinks party, I shall love going to her house because it is filled with wonderful things to look at. Some waiting to go on her ebay site, so only to enjoy for a few hours,but there are lots of other joys to see and nice people to meet.Then tomorrow we will have friends here for the evening.I'm hoping everyone isn't caroled out because one friend promises to bring her guitar so we can sing some. I,ve made mincepies,sausage rolls and cornish pasties so far.Thats not quite true I made a fruit cake but something went wrong and its very strange. I think I must have used the wrong flour. Still maybe it will heat up for future puddings! Friends are bringing other delights. These are my last pictures of my decorations. Every year I buy one new special item to hang among the silk flowers that I have twisted round the light fitting, this year it 's a fairy sitting on a swing,but there are glass birds, pretty glass heart decorations and a crystal bell.
After a good nights sleep I woke up this morning feeling fine. I started the day reading some other peoples blogs. The first one was SIMPLY-CHATEAU.blogspot.com , she is a good friend and loves many of the things I also like. Today she mentioned me in her blog and its true to say I love making cakes especially chocolate ones which is difficult because both of us would like to loose some weight. I did buy several bars of dark chocolate yesterday and am tempted to make two,one for Shirley and one for me later today.
After reading some blogs I went around the house and took pictures of some of our decorations.I added two of this years dolls to the three I made two years ago and will come out every Christmas. I popped two more of the new ones in a letter rack above this computer.
I have tried to upload a few more pictures but nothing is happening so I will star another blogand see what happenes.
This day, every year I always find myself feeling sad.Its a time of year when my thoughts turn to the 4 people that have meant such alot to me and are now long gone. So this afternoon I took myself to the village Chapel and lit four candles in their memory and spent a few minutes remembering each of them. The chapel is tiny and very pretty,built as a place for pilgrims to come to on a day in September every year. The village is decorated and a fair set up in the field opposite with food stalls,a beer tent and craft stalls.All day long we can hear hymn singing and sounds of the service held out of doors in the grounds of the Chapel for the hundreds of people who come from far and wide. The pictures are of a few of my favourite places inside .Tomorrow I will be just fine.
I decided I would assemble the journal I have been working on for some time. I have finished all the fairies I needed to make and wanted a clear mind and space to think about what to do nextI had just one page to finish for the journa but every time I looked at the blank page my mind went blank too. Now the journal is assembled maybe an idea will come into my head. I photo copied the watercolour I did a few weeks ago for the back page and tried machine stitching into it,but it didn't look very good so I copied it again and left it as it is.Wednesday is the final afternoon at the village hall and then I hope to have some thoughts on what I want to do next for myself.I have plenty of thoughts for the possable workshop but not just for me. I need to because other wise I might make cakes,something I love doing but sadly love eating far to much.
As I walked past the village hall yesterday morning I noticed the lights were on and then saw lots of white stencils on the windows. Now I am not a fan of stencils but I suddenly realised the first party in the hall will be for the village children,and they would love to see lots pictures of a smiling Father Christmas, bells , reindeer and crackers.Without those it was maybe too adult for them.When the pine branches are up and decorated I will take the final photos. I think I have four people so far that would like to continue after Christmas so am very pleased,I'm going to take in some crazy patch work, a few dolls similar to the ones I made for the Comfort Doll project,some fairly easy bags and a pile of sewing craft magazines.
I have been very busy all week working on my 3rd journal.I have seen several I love on peoples blogs and they are a wonderful way of keeping small pieces of work as well as having a use.
I just love the face on the last doll I have made,can't quite make out what she is thinking.
I still seem to have two blogs come up,its a complete mystery. The latest followers seem to be on one or the other,but the content remains the same.I generally am not thinking sensibly at the moment. I set myself the task of making several christmassy fairies and meant to stick to reds ,gold, silver, christmassy colours. But this morning I thought well why have I made this white and purple one. I also tried to change my usual way of doing things and am not at all sure I am pleased with the results for the ones in the right colours. I am going to try some painting this afternoon,it usually makes me feel very calm.Then I'll start some more fairies.
I took the red fairy along to the village workshop in the hope that maybe one or two of the ladies will like to continue our sesions after Christmas. They certainly examined her very carefully and asked what would happen to her after Chrismas,would I sell her or keep her? I suggested they might like to make one themselves. The idea was met with most of them saying they were sure it would be much too difficult,I did my best and now will wait and see what is said next week. In the mean time I have two more almost finished,they are for here. I want several sitting on a shelf this Christmas.The other panel of the three wise men is finished and next week will be the finishing off session so all is ready to decorate the hall completly.
Now that the decorations for the village hall are well under way I decided I would make a fairy for the tree .I had two thoughts in mind,firstly to make the fairy then it occurred to me that if I made several different ones , a patchwork cushion and also took along some of my quilts for the ladies to see they might like to continue some sessions in the new year.They have all said how much they like working as a group and for me there are the two aspects,I am improving my french by getting to know more people in the village and I to am enjoying working with the group. I shall have to get up early if I am to finish this doll,I've only finished one leg, half a shoe and need some thing for her head. Oh! then there are her wings though I think I have a pair somewhere.
Today I bought a book by Papillon Bleu ,its full of lovely illustrations and a story or stories about the dolls she has made. Her blog is full of equally pretty photos of her work. If you are a doll maker or lover do take a look. When I had looked at it I went and dug out some of the little dolls I made probably two years ago. I remembered I had sold several of them but the 4 in the photo I have kept.Looking at them encouraged me to start to make 5 for Christmas,I have a long length of red silk I can use and plenty of gold and silver fabric.
This week at the workshop I am going to ask the ladies to each make some hearts to hang ,I shall divide them into pairs and give each pair a different group of coloured materials and hope we will have plenty by the end of the afternoon.
I am not sure what I have done but somehow I seem to have two blog sites,both almost the same except for the recent new followers, they only appear on one or the other. Then on one site it doesn't show the blog except for the title and the words read more . I thought I would get rid of one only I am scared I might loose both. So I will try this one and see what happens. If your recent comment isn't there then it must be on the other one. A french friend who has made many many cloth dolls suggested( when I said how mine all seem so similar )that if I made an etirly different one from a pattern it might change my ideas. I always just start mine with no real preconceived idea of how the doll will finish, Over the years I have learnt to draw for myself legs, arms etc and always love doing the faces.Any way Anne -Marie brought round the pattern and I said I would try it out. I don'tlike the results so far one bit,but already I can see another way of making clothes , I feel reluctant to finish them,maybe I will maybe I won't. I have already started one of my own and will try something different thanks to Anne-Marie.
Its a few weeks since I have been here, I have been very busy but also extremly tired all the time. I began working last week with the group of people in the photo,there were 10 of us altogether. We are meeting each week to fill the old school classrooms,now the village hall, with decorations for Christmas. Here in France the people don't usually make as much of Christmas as some countries do. I made lots of templates to begin with and put out red white and green tissue papers as well as lots of card.I showed them how to make the flowers for the garlands and if they wished also shapes for hanging things. I made a sort of wall display of three singing angels, mostly cutting and gluing.I started on another panel of the three kings,when I had finished the second oneMartine made a third. I was delighted she so enjoyed her self.,It was difficult not to interfearbut I so hope more of them will come up with their own ideas in the remaining weeks.
For months now life seems to take place as if I am caught up in a thin fog and am constantly trying to clear it away so I can see and think properly. I start this and I start that. I have been working on a quilt and yesterday decided I could put it all together. But when I laid all the pieces out it looked all wrong. I tried many variations but then found I had two quilts in the making. Trouble is I promised myself I would use the fabric I have . I have enough of the red to finish the darker quilt but would like green for the crazy one and I haven't any. I do have a sheet and some green dye ,I might try that. Then there is the water colour painting,if I try and paint in the garden the wind seems to arrive or it gets too hot,the flowers loose their petals befor my eyes,so I have taken lots of photos and am going to try painting from them. I have been asked to decorate the school hall for the village childrens Christmas pary. Its enormous so I explained to the Maire I would need help making the things .I had to attend a village council meeting and he said to everyone I would make a wonderful fantasy. Mmmmm! Its the time and organisation that scares me right now. The garden needs attention its so overgrown, thats to happen next week I hope. Plus we are going to England soon for a few days. We have recently come back from Provance where we had a glorious time and will write about that next time .
We are going away tomorrow down to the south of France for a few days.Since its cold wet and windy here its difficult to know what to take. I spent a long time this morning agonising then gave up and went and looked in the wood to see if by chance there were any flowers left that had not been battered by the wind. I found this little wid rose and some pretty honeysuckle. I choose the rose as it seemed the easy option knowing time was short.In fact I managed to do it in about an hour!! Then I cleared up and wondered what to do next. I sat at the computor and looked at loads of brilliant blogs. For some reason I was drawn to people's collages and so started to play with my box of small scraps,one thing led to an other but then I had to stop as Tony reminded me of all the things that needed to be done before tomorrow morning. I wonder what I will think about this beginning when i come back?
After following martha's poppy class and learning such alot I still knew there was masses more to learn. I decided to copy a print I have had for a long long time in the hope I might learn more. I certainly did. Most importantly I learnt I must mix up enough of the main colour to see me to the end. As you can see I didn't, then I realised I must let parts dry before painting in something right next to it. Now I know I need to get something (I don'tknow what its called) to paint on where I want white to stay,and that I can't paint over where I've already painted because the colours mix so.
I was sorry I messed up one of the middle flowers petals, but overall it was well worth doing. I am going to try the same approach to leaves next,then will try again to paint real flowers from the garden.
Last weekend Tony and I held a party in our wood. All day we worried that it would rain so we begged and borrowed lots of open sided tents. With the help of friends we gave each one 3 sides and al 72 of us could have been seated and under cover if it had rained. We decorated the inside of every one with summer coloured paper flowers we had already made and hung up my many wedding sari's. It all looked very pretty, the rain held off ,it was warm and we danced and danced to a live Irish group and ate and drank to ours hearts content.
The next morning ( and we went to bed extremly late) Tony got up at 5:00 and went to a Brocante!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lots of people meantime turned up and helped dismantle and restore the wood to its usual beautiful calm self.
Just as we finished he came back with a bag full of treasures which we all duely admired.
The weekend before he bought me the little painting of the young girl,it was framed very badly so I immediately took it out of its frame.Imagine my surprise when I found the other portrait on the back. I love them both ,now have the dilemma of which side to show.
After taking martha levers Colour Drop Flower class I have found myself painting as often as I can. I learnt alot from the online class and found I was very very motivated. I have just enrolled for her painting poppies class. I am finding it very difficult to paint poppies but keep trying.I am posting a few of all the flowers I have done in the last month. I say few because for every one posted there are a pile of awful ones.
I 'm hoping when I feel confident I will start trying to paint containers for the flowers at the moment I kind of invent the stems. I hope too I can get to painting lots of other things but I realise there' s so much to learn.
When summer is over and there are no more lovely visitors to distract me I will be able to contiue with my textile work.
Some time ago I made a cloth doll I loved but by mistake she was sold. I decided I would try and make another one that was to be similar. I discovered I had lost the leg pattern and the small body so I went ahead with the ones I could find.I wish I had taken time and remade the smaller limbs,but I am still quite pleased with her and will keep her.It is becoming very difficult to find old old materials,I have plenty of lace but now am going to have to use more of the modern fabrics I have a mountain of.I spent the day yesterday with a friend who is nearing the end of a city and guilds course. She showed me a few techiques to make making a quilt easier. I think I will now complete my rose quilt much more quickly.
I have spent days and days trying to make some small doll faces I like. I seem to have made dozens and unpicked many rather than waste all the stuffing.I onlyhave one I feel I might use so far and I have two dolls waiting for them.Tomorrow is another day, maybe I will achieve just want I want. I have also attempted some little postcard size painting based on Martha's colour drop flowers. Not finished yet but a start.
I am going to England tomorrow for a few days and wanted to finish this doll before I left. After the muddle I kept getting into yesterday I had my doubts I would but today went smoothly and she is completed.Eight dolls are going to be on display at a french coffee bar and B&B called La Maison. The owner is a wonderful artist and Tony and I often call in there if we are nearby. The doll with the red dress had a very sad face so made her a new one,not sure she looks very happy now?
I have most finished a doll but realised I needed to quickly make a couple of fabric cards for two friends birthdays.I tried to use just things I already had and that was quite difficult because I couldn't somehow put colours together that I liked.So I only finished the cards. I shall try to sort out the doll tomorrow,but the day flew by and I enjoyed every moment.
Its been months since I have been able to settle down and and actually do something in my workroom. I would go in and then start to tidy up or find a must read now book,anything but anything creative. But I bought a beautiful little journal from Suzy Quaife it was for sale on her Etsy site. I love it and she very kindly included some lovely lace and ribbon. It suddenly made me want to do something,I had already enrolled on the color drop flowers online course by Martha and thats where I started to make and do once more. I loved the class and now find myself doing some painting most days . Ineed much more practise. I have made two journal pages and the collage . I stitched all the flowers and insects then painted the back with Golden Gel medium,when it was dry I cut out every thing . Once arranged I attached them to the background. I have my fingers crossed I will continue.
The sun has shone steadily for several days and its been wonderful to be outside after such a long grey winter. I have been busy in the garden and yesterday friends came for lunch and we sat out side for hours. Not much sewing has taken place but these journal pages were made because of the joy I have had because winter has ended at last. Primroses ,aconites and creamy primula are every where. I am about to begin some red pages to celebrate the tulips , the amazing rhododendron and the reddest of red camellia. I have also to make the pages to write on to be opposite the pages in the photos. Try as I might I seem to be unable to achieve good photos since my Samsung refuses to let me download and I am now using an old camera until I can sort out the problem.
Last week the wonderful weather had to be enjoyed. I spent as much time as I could in the garden,I read alot or simply looked at all the flowers and new growth( I should perhaps have pulled up some weeds but just didn't). I worked for a couple of hours on my quilt and one morning suddenly made these 3 cuffs. I have been lacking enthusiasm and inspiration a lot lately,this morning I read the blog written by Sharon over at The Shabby Chic Bohemian and felt it was so true for me too. I looked at the pile of small unfinished work,then played with them a while ,cut up some some and reassembled bits together. The results were interesting because it had made me group different colours together,ones I wouldn't usually mix. Then I looked at an old painting I have and now I am planning to make a fabric piece based on it.