'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Sunday 28 April 2013


does not mean that nothing has been happening at Cheese Acres. On the contrary. When the sun comes out, even intermittently, I start running around like a battery powered bunny. Well, almost. (I had actually typed 'batty' instead of 'battery', which may be a more apposite word.)

1. Books have been made. 

The large one is experimental. I wanted to try using a paper bag for a cover, and to try a binding with an even number of holes, like the illustrations to the section on making a sketchbook in Sandra Meech's 'Connecting Design to Stitch'. I've written before about finding these instructions quite confusing: some illustrations show an even number of holes, as suggested in the instructions. Others show a conventional 5 hole pamphlet binding, which is what I ended up using before, for example on the smallest book here.

Both experiments worked. The cover is made from the two sides of the bag, Bondawebbed together. It's lumpy, but quite serviceable - I think. For the binding I used a sort of Holbein stitch, which looks quite neat.  

Then I did what I should could have done in the first place, looked at Keith Smith's '1, 2 and 3 Section Bindings'. He shows several, including one with a similar thread path to mine, but done with two needles. 

Flushed with success, I tackled the middle sized bear book, which is also an experiment. I wanted to make a Sanda Meech style book but bigger, using A3 paper rather than A4. It also worked, though I can't decide if it is floppier than the smaller ones or not.  

2. Embroidery has been done.

These are the last two of the series, because I've run out of the background fabric. 'Teasels' isn't finished, and I've decided to put a border round them all, so there is still a bit of work to do. However, even though I haven't yet decided if they are going to be a concertina book or a vessel, I've started trying out ideas for the backing...

3. Paint has been applied,

inspired by Lynda Monk's 'Fabulous Surfaces': when it has dried, foil and tissue paper will follow. The process described in the book sounds a bit like magic, and I didn't have any Brusho, as recommended, in the right pink, so I used another Colourcraft paint and I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

4. Sketchbook work has been done,

based on a photo on Flickr I can't find any more. I seem to be in a floral phase. 

Daisies made me think of lazy daisy sttich, so there is a small sampler of detatched buttonhole as well. I like that daisy, it may reappear in another guise.

5. And finally, knitting has been done. 

I had 4 largish cones of grey left over from my machine knitting days, and several odds and ends of pink and grey, so they are becoming a blanket, using 5 strands together.  I've used up the first pink odd and started an end of grey. It will be slow progress as I only knit when reading subtitles, or after child minding when I'm too tired to tackle anything which needs thought.  

I'm exhausted just writing that lot. Silence will probably descend again.

Monday 22 April 2013

A Day Off.

We had two three small visitors for the weekend. Babybel and the VHC's mummy was running in the marathon, and their daddy was providing moral and logistical support, so the small Cheeses and their dog  came for a sleepover. Fortunatly we had a lovley spring day on Saturday, so we could get out in the garden: we played a little football,  Babybel practised her running so she can be like mummy, and the VHC did a lot of 'doodling' in one of his granny's notebooks. 

On Sunday Uncle Cheese and his senorita came over and we went to Mottisfont (it is one of Babybel's favourite places thanks to fish to feed and  this). 

While we were having fun, B & VHC's mummy was working hard and completing the marathon in just over 4 hours, while raising £200+ for breast cancer research. We are all very proud of her! 

So what has this to do with a day off? Well, mummy took a well deserved one today, so we got one too, although  we hadn't been working quite as hard. We haven't had a Monday meander for quite some time, so we meandered off to Walford Mill, for a cream tea and a browse round the current exhibition. Both were good.

The exhibition theme of mapping is one I've played with a couple of times, so it was interesting to see other people's ideas.

There were several pieces by Wendy Dolan, whose map-related work we saw at Ramster a few years ago. Unfortunately I can't find any of the map pieces on her website.  I love her use of colour - scraps of maps set against a patchwork of neutral fabrics - and was pleased to be able to buy a tiny sample, of Corfe Castle, on a card.

I also liked the pieces by Amanda Wallwork, which looked at first glance like ceramics, but are, I think, painted wood, and Pauline Monkcom's real ceramic plates, with wonderful glazes.

Then we came home via Knowlton Church, which we saw on a TV programme recently and realised that we had driven past it frequently without knowing it was there.

It is a very atmospheric place, which provides beautiful views of Cranborne Chase, even on a grey day like today. The earthworks don't really show in this picture, but they are very evident when you are there, as are several yew trees. We'll be back when the weather is a bit warmer!

Friday 19 April 2013

A little bit of stitching.

And a fair amount of bitching, since 'Posts', which is the ap I use to write these posts, and Wordpress are not playing nicely together. (Yes, I know this is a Blogger blog, but I have two Wordpress blogs as well and since I changed the passwords for those, life has got a bit complicated.) But I digress. 

These two are the first of a planned four - because I've got enough fabric to make four. Inspired by what I learned from Karen Ruane, I looked for shapes in the hand-dyed silk to create the design, and flowers emerged. Not my usual colours - I think someone gave me the fabric in a swap - but I've enjoyed trying something a bit OTT.

I'm not sure if they are going to be resolved samples, a book (a bit too 3D for that) or this morning's inspired (?) thought, a vessel.

Just before Easter I bought some daffodils - my favourite flower, and very cheering up. They got photographed, and the photograph got apped. Mostly in iColorama, but in Decim8 as well.

These two got printed, and went away on holiday to have some stitch.


And this is about as far as I got. There were some French knots, but those have been removed and a bit of appliquéd silk added. (Sharp eyes will notice that this is the opposite way up to the picture above!)

Then there's this, all my leftovers of grey and pink 4 ply being turned into a blanket. 

That's 5 things I've given myself to do at the same time.

So I'd better stop typing and start stitching, hadn't I?

And if there is lots of wide open space in this post, it was 'Posts' idea, not mine.

Sunday 14 April 2013

To Wales and back again.

While Babybel and the VHC are away, granny and grandad can play.

We had a quiet week in Ceredigion, which was relatively new territory to us, although we approached it via the Elan Valley, which is one of our favourite places. As you can see it was a little snowy.

We explored Aberystwyth, and its cliff railway - tatty but fun, and the view from the top is stunning.

 We visited Strata Florida Abbey - I am developing a thing for Cistercian Abbeys, they are always in such amazing places. And there were tiles! 

We went to MOMA Wales in Machynlleth (which I can neither spell nor pronounce). The gallery is well worth a visit, both for the art and the building.

And best of all, so good we went twice, was seeing red kites being fed at (pauses to look it up) Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest Centre. The best free show in Ceredigion, and the bara brith in the cafe is good too, though not free. 

I even did a little embroidery, though half of it will be taken out again when I can pluck up the courage.

Although it was a bit cold for a holiday and the weather could have been better, I feel much fitter than I did before we went away, and ready to face Babybel and the VHC tomorrow, who will no doubt tell us all about their holiday in the depths of Suffolk. Well, Babybel will: the VHC tends to limit his conversation to 'choo-choo', 'copter' and 'juice'. Primarily 'juice', which is what his great-grandfther used to call 'cow juice'.

Thursday 4 April 2013

C'est la vie.

Tuesday. Hanging (an exhibition), shopping and cooking. All indoors. The sun shines.

Wednesday. Cleaning and cooking. All indoors. The sun shines.

Thursday. Looking after two small children who are happiest out of doors. It snows.

Tomorrow is back to housework.  I expect the weather to improve.

Monday 1 April 2013

Easter holidays?

I thought we were going to have a quiet time over Easter. (I seem to remember always thinking we would have a quiet time over Easter when I was working. It didn't happen then either.)

To wake us out of our post Easter lethargy (not a scrap of choccolate egg has passed my lips, honest) I have an exhibition to help hang tomorrow, at Hanger Farm. Then we will be welcoming Señor and Señora  Queso, the parents of Cheese Major's señorita, for the evening. (And Cheese Major and Señorita Queso, obviously.)

Then more visitors! I've had to clear all my degree stuff out of the spare bedroom (about time). Thanks to the vagaries of Network Rail engineering works, it makes more sense for Babybel and the VHC's mum and dad to commute from our house this week than theirs, so we have them, the little ones and the dog for a couple of nights. We will, of course, have the pleasure of taking the little ones off for an adventure :<) while their mum and dad go to work :<(. 

Things should get a little quieter the following week when the Cheese Minor family is off on holiday, before it's back to the old routine the following week. 

In the midst of all the spring cleaning (spring? What's that?) this has engendered, I've found time to do a little embroidery. 

Another app print.

And a strange experiment, in which I looked for interesting shapes in a bit of hand dyed silk someone gave me, to use in a design - and somehow it turned into a flower...

I would have said I never embroidered flowers - but then I began to think about it, and there was a metal thread branch with flowers on it and a raised work bag for City & Guilds, and some motifs I took from historic textiles for a Karen Ruane course, and the transfers I used when I was feeling totally non-original last year... 

I have four bits of this silk, and the next bit has said 'tulips' to me.

This strange flower reminds me of these, which I bought last week. Mmm - daffodils and tulips? Am I suffering from Spring deprivation?

I know I had to go out in the garden to photograph what few flowers we have out there. (Isn't the sky an odd colour? I thought skies were meant to be grey.)

And while I was there I looked at a few old friends, some of whom are aging better than others.

Story of my life, really.