Sunday, 29 November 2009

Christmas is coming

I've been busy making Christmas presents for the females in the family for the past three weeks - seven done, three more to go - hence it's been a bit quiet on the blogging front. Can't post any pics yet in case one of the recipients spots them.

I can, however, show you a photo of the gift I've made for Secret Santa at work. In the past, I've always picked one of the girls' names out of the hat but this year got one of the men so his iPhone will be sporting a smart new case very soon. I know he doesn't read my blog so I think I'm fairly safe giving you a sneak peek!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Hubble bubble, Double Trouble

The week in Puglia with Jan and Jean was simply amazing. And we were quite an international crowd - 3 from Israel, one from the USA and one from Switzerland as well as 6 Brits (and two non participating husbands).

For me, the most memorable thing was simply (!) learning how to truly "look" at something. From looking, we progressed to sketching, painting, printing and collaging and then to developing these into stitch using hand and machine embroidery and the embellisher.

Now I usually do little hand embroidery having endured a particularly finicky needlework teacher at school who used to measure our stitches with a ruler - any deviation from her required stitch length meant unpicking it all and starting again - enough to put anyone off for life! Jan and Jean have an entirely different philosophy about hand stitching and I found myself really enjoying it; so much so that I hardly touched a sewing machine all week.

The villa itself is lovely; light, airy and spacious, simply but beautifully decorated and furnished. The swimming pool looked very inviting but it was too cold for me to take a dip although two of the hardier souls in our party did venture in a couple of times.

So, here are some photos:-

Stone wall - hand embroidered on solusheet and lightly embellished.

Lichen 1 - hand stitched

Grasses - printed then hand stitched

Lichen 2 - fibres applied with bondaweb, covered with chiffon, hand stitched

Lichen 3 - foil and fibres applied with bondaweb, covered with chiffon and embellished front and back

Olive grove sketch

Olive grove - embellished sheers, hand stitched then further embellishing

And in case you were wondering about the title of this post, the last night we were all together was Halloween.