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

Dorothy Rowe

Friday 7 February 2014

So much for a low stress week...

On our way to our Monday Babybel and VHC minding, an ominous yellow warning light appeared on the car dashboard. Consulting the manual revealed that we had 'an engine management system' problem. (Don't ask me, and even more, don't tell me. My eyes will glaze over and I will start biting the cushions.) The manual told us to go directly to the garage. So we did.

Fortunately, it was not one of our silly o'clock starts, so it was daylight, it was not raining, we could turn round easily, and a substitute B &VHC minder was readily available. 

So we turned around, did not pass Go, and did not collect £100, alhtough it would have helped with the bill.

In the old days, when you took a poorly car into the garage, a mechanic in overalls came out, looked under the bonnet, sucked air through his teeth and told you what was wrong. These days a young man in the showroom, in a shirt and tie, tells you that they can't tell what the problem is until they've plugged it into the computer, he advises you not to drive it too far, and that they could take a look at it tomorrow.

To cut a long story short, we got it back on Wednesday afternoon, for a price, and all appears to be well. Luckily we have bus passes and a good bus service.

It did mean I got more done than expected, including not one but two books of the week, although neither were going to be books when they started.

My bedtime reading recently, as part of my Visual Marks inspired research, has been Val Campbell-Harding's 'Machine Embroidery - Stitched Patterns'. She recommends trying the automatic stitches on a variety of fabrics, so I collected a few from the scrap box, sat down at the machine, and asked myself ’which patterns shall I use?' 

And the answer came 'All of them!' Apart from the buttonholes. And the basting stitch. And one or two others I couldn't be bothered with. Just under 170 in all, ten per piece of fabric, so I had to find a few more bits of fabric. By then I'd decided to restrict myself to black, so I had to be a bit creative about what 'fabric' is. And decide what I was going to do with 17 6" squares. The answer, of course, was a book. A rather untidy, sort of Japanese stab bound book, as seen above, which I hope will be useful.

This morning, after photographing that lot, I was going to move on from automatic stitches. The plan was to get put the Embellisher and try embellishing stitch-like marks. But first, as the result of some more bed time reading (author's name withheld to protect the innocent, but it was not V C-H) which recommended using drawing inks for the process, to try dip dying some paper and fabric. I have lots of ink I'll never use any other way, so it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Well, the cotton fabric (top right, bottom left) slurped up the ink like there was no tomorrow, and the paper - didn't. Look at my results and laugh. And the ink was the waterproof type, which is sticky, so the dipped pieces stuck to the newspaper I put them on to dry.      

Chalk it up to experience...

Then, before I got the Embellisher out, I thought I'd use some of my stitch mark Gelli-printed papers for a bit of weaving. And because I'd been reading Sherrill Kahn's  'Creative Embellishments' (yes, in bed, how did you guess? Not laziness, insomnia!) I decided to add some woven fibres and some stitch.

Wensleydale looked at it and said 'Chess board meets Snakes and Ladders' - which is quite an interesting idea.

And I looked at it, and it said 'I am a book cover'. 'No, no', I said, 'You are going in my sketch book', but it refused. A book cover it became. A totally impractical, irritating to use book with an equally silly book mark, but Wensleydale, who writes a journal, has agreed to use it. That man is so noble!

Tomorrow I must get the Embellisher out.


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