Thursday, 22 October 2009

Chinese Costume

This is a piccie from a wonderful book I picked up at a 2nd hand bookshop in Ballater, whilst on my Scottish adventures.  I have not had time to read it yet but I will and hopefully I can give you some insights into the world of 'nyonya kebaya' when I have.  Basically it is the Chinese blouse? I suppose you would call it worn in Malaysia and all of them are beautifully embroidered. Usually they are sewn in a hoop exactly like the piccie shown.  The reason I wanted the book was for inspiration for my own machine embroidery and because it was so full of gorgeous illustrations of machine embroidery but I stress again that these are done in a hoop on old machines so they are very special. 

This is a close up of one of the designs so you can see what I am describing above.

Sorry that the camera has created a small flash point on the leaf on the right, I will take more care next time.
If you click on the piccie you will see in close up what I mean by done in the hoop, no way do these designs look as if they were produced  on a commercial embroidery machine. I don't think my machine embroidery is good enough to compete with this quality but I want to learn new techniques and gain ideas so this book maybe good for me. However, I do not want to copy anything as I will not plagiarise any other work at all, I merely wish to admire and learn.

I also wanted to say that I am temporarily removing a few items from the layout of the blog whilst I work on some improvements, I especially want to sort out the labels which are annoying me as I had not organised them well enough at the beginning of my blogging experience. So please use the blog archive if you want to look anything up until I sort things out. Thanks for your comments by the way, I read them all and am always astonished to find such a lovely group of friendly ladies and of course I even receive comments from men on my other blog; keswick rambles.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

I found my recent trip to Scotland not only exhilerating in terms of the scenery and the hills we climbed, but I also discovered a wonderful shop in Pitlochry. Now I know that when I am supposed to be concentrating on climbing hills that distractions of this nature don't usually occur, but this time I just had to make time for trying on these shoes. I have not seen a more enticing pair for a while... they were in the window too which meant that I had to go back for a second look, you know what I mean..... Once in the shop I tried on all 3 colours, purple, orange and the green above. Well the green won. They are sublimly comfy and I adore the little bows on the top. Of course the shop was delightful....lovely Scottish woollens and very stylish too. I have not been to visit their website yet but you can see the url clearly in the piccie on the bag. A good old fashioned shop and very different from the normal run of the mill high street offerings. I will be back......

Next up we have my feeble contribution to the 'bake' part of the blog this week; sorry I only managed to make some lemon curd. If you want the recipe I can post it but really its so simple just find lemons, sugar, eggs and butter in your store cupboard and off you go. I make mine in a lovely hand made pottery bowl over a saucepan of water. It is always on the breakfast table and also Bella likes it, have you ever heard of a terrier which likes lemon curd? Bella does and she loves scrambled eggs too......I wonder if I should start to include recipes for our canine friends? Perhaps not: you never know where it might lead....

This next piccie shows a couple of the eg ladies at the crewel workshop last Thursday, and I have to say we did enjoy ourselves, we always do like to welcome Phillipa Turnbull. She is very good to us in Keswick and has now visited us 3 times. Maybe we can entice her to become an affiliate member.......

Phillipa also gave us a sneak preview of some of her new projects which should turn into kits in due time. She kindly allowed me to show you a snippet for your enjoyment. I adore the tulip

So if you like this cushion I suggest you contact her for availability on this site. The kits all come with very clear instructions and the correct needles and Appletons wool are included with the screen printed linen which shows the direction of the stitches. A typical example is shown below with some work in progress.

They are so easy for beginners and I came 2nd in a recent competition I entered with a cushion I made from one of these kits and I usually only endorse the kits (Border Miniatures) my husband and I sell. But remember, go for a kit if you want some fun without the hassle; you can't better it for saving your time. Speaking of which I hope to show you my completed kit next time.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Comfort zones

Well you could call it zones I am familiar with and not too clever at.  The first piccie is taken in very wintry conditions last week when I was just coming down from a Munro in the Cairngorms, which shall remain nameless to you as you probably won't know how to pronounce it anymore than I can.  It was Ben something or other. I am getting on with the job of leaving the top as fast as I could because it was freezing fog up there....You can just see me in my dayglo blue jacket in the middle bottom of the piccie.

So the thought of doing some crewelwork embroidery this morning was like light relief in some ways but I always have to think hard before I do any hand stitching (my sewing machine is my best friend) so it was good to be inside in the warm and hard to be doing laid and couched work.  However, I have to say that Phillipa Turnbull is such a good teacher because she really works hard and her enthusiasm is boundless....that even I could not mess this up.

So here is the first stage of the work and I hope to be adding to it over the next few days or even weeks if I don't manage to find some spare time... I did add some Rope stitch after this photo was taken so the work has progressed a bit more. I wish I could sit and sew some more on it tomorrow but I can't because I am taking a guided walk up Haystacks. Also DH has just informed me that there is no bread in the house, and as I make all of our bread (most of the time anyway) I now need to rush into the kitchen so I have to say bye for now.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Off to Braemar

I am going away for a few days but hope to see some of you at the Phillipa Turnbull workshop when I return.  I must say I am looking forward to doing some crewelwork again.  It must be over a year since I did any, hope I can remember long and short stitch!

Meanwhile, the piccie is a special one for Jayne who is coming to the workshop and I am looking forward to meeting you. The Morso piccie was taken one or two years ago at a special season of the year which shall remain unmentioned as 'it's too early yet!' Anyway, Jayne has had her wood burning stove going at Bag End I hear, so this is a piccie of mine in all it's glory.

Next up is my lovely little Bella looking so cute, and this piccie is more for me and Jayne as I know she misses Ollie (hope I spelt that right) and I will miss Bella whilst away so I need a piccie on my pc I can look at fondly....

Well take care all of you until I return from my adventures, the attempt is to go up some remote mountains in Scotland and we can't take Bella coz we need mountain bikes and she has not learnt how to ride one yet.