Monday, May 14, 2012

Hold on Tight

Wow. Things are going fast now. Too fast for me to feel comfortable or settled. I am a careful, planned out sort of introvert. I like to know what I'm doing today, tomorrow and next month. House moving is not compatible with my natural tendencies. I have a struggle with Matthew 6 vs. 33. I remind myself daily to relax, just breath and God will look after us all one way or the other.

Still I waver between packing everything, panicking its not going to go through and fretting over where we are going to move to.  We've had so many car boot sales they all know us there now and complete strangers ask how the sale is going and when we leave.

 M has grand plans that we could camp through to the beginning of August.... Ahem. I could see it working only if the rain decides to grace some other country side. At the moment it seems like a ludicrous idea full of potholes but I would do it, if it meant sleeping next to M every night rather than living 100 miles away with his folks while he rooms down here.

So our home is a quarter packed, a quarter sold, a quarter mess and a quarter chaos. If I don't post for a little while either I've moved house and we are broadband-less or a towering pile of boxes finally toppled over and squashed me.

X Jo

Thursday, May 3, 2012

London Stitching Sneak Preview

 Having completed two projects on the trot did not mean I get to start on ideas I have set aside in an enormous "I want to be doing these" dream list... no. Oh no.
 I also have a pile of half complete projects which I've started in fits of boredom (half way through the back piece of a sweater), or temper (ripping out two thirds of the back piece of a sweater) or in a panic (certain I've just ruined the back piece of a sweater and have to put it away and just not think about it). Anyhow... I have a basket which sits in ignominy in the corner of our living room looking at me balefully with its accusations of neglect. As our house move is coming on I rather feel the need to complete some of these projects before evil forces beyond my control send them to the Island of Misfit Projects.

This particular one is so exciting and huge- I didn't realize what I was biting off when I started it. I got a bee in my bonnet last July looking at these stunning papercut maps by Famille Summerbelle. I am about 1/3 of the way through it but now all the preliminaries are out of the way its coming on much faster.

It is- for those who don't recognize it- a map of London (she says hoping people do recognize it... otherwise its pointless). I started with a regular map- of the tourist variety- with a nice size enlargement of the center of London. The difficulty with my map is that I wanted to combine the structure of a ridged street map with the artistry of doodled hand embroidery.  It is working but slowly. I am learning bits of history and fable and incorporating it into the detail of my map as I fancy. Unfortunately it means I don't know which streets I want to show and which I will be happy to disappear under a doodle before I get there.  I traced the map onto projector acetate with a permanent marker and then the experimental stage began!

 Firstly it became clear doing one small bit at a time without the map in-situ was resulting a a distorted map so I went back to the beginning. I tried seamstresses chalk, water soluble ink, pencil, etc etc etc for transferring a light version of the streets onto my white cotton. Eventually I settled on stitching all the streets with one thread onto the cotton.It would be easier with a light box- I however did it by eye with my acetate as a over-lay.
  I am enjoying it and it is easy to just stop for a few minutes and add a little bit more to it. It makes a very nice sitting with M. in the evening project as he likes to read aloud to me and I like to be read to but loath my hands being idle.

I think this could be a great way to map your own neighbourhood, or favorite coastline, or your own house with little doodles of your favorite things stitched in! I'm wondering about getting the girls to do just their own rooms in a 12 in embroidery hoop as part of a home school textile project.

This little bit is one of my favorite sections. I love China Town and Leicester Square, its always bustling, you can find really great food and the National  Gallery is just around the corner!

 X Jo

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cough-Cough... Atchooo


Sorry I've been away so long. We had a week away in South Wales visiting M's family and since then I've had a rotten cough and cold. I've been feeling very sorry for myself indeed!
However- I've gotten a LOT done in that time. E's knot cardigan is finished! I lengthened the pattern to make it hip length and left off the sleeve finishing as I thought it made the finished cardie fall strangely on the arms. Esther loves it and as it is more K's size than E's she is constantly defending her territory.
And then came this!!! I finished my first colour pencil (cp) painting. This was done entirely with wax based prismacolour pencils and many parts of it are over worked. I don't have the meticulous had require to create a really great cp painting but for a first attempt its not too bad.  

Or at least not bad enough that I wont let M hang it on our walls.

 I owe my love of this medium entirely to my cousin's genius. She has so much skill and beauty in her hands I cannot get anywhere near her artistry but she did encourage me to try. I would mention her by name if I didn't think she would be entirely horrified!

 CP painting is amazing- I would like to try my hand at water soluble pencils at some point but it's quite a challenge to get to grips with the wax based ones. The frame is from Ikea... I love their frames! This one came with the white matte and I cut the grey matte myself (as the painting was too small for this frame aperture but too big for the frame size down).


X Jo