Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Last on my UK trip

About That Time Machine......
 I hope ya'll have enjoyed visiting the UK & France with me on the blog. I took literally thousands of pictures....and for the next trip....I will get me a new camera! (Did I tell you that 2 weeks before I was set to leave, I dropped my Nikon and broke it? I had to bend the outer case back so it would turn was horrible! But I made do....I love Nikon cameras...if mine could get stuck round a dogs neck and zoomed thru the house crashing into everything, and still somewhat work...they have my patronage till the end of time)
The second half of my free day on Wednesday during school was spent in the beautiful Cotswolds. For lunch, we stopped over in Lacock village.  What is amazing about Lacock, is that just about the entire village is owned by the National Trust...but the descendants of the original villagers still live there. The village dates from the 13th century~ I know they have electricity, but I am unsure if they have indoor plumbing...I am thinking they do not.  If the cars weren't there, one would think they walked back in time several hundred years.....I was totally at home.
If some of these buildings look familiar to you, thats because Lacock is a favorite backdrop for many movies over the years~ Harry Potter being one of them. 

 I really loved the colors~ and the textures. Everything has such character~ it is really magical to just stand there, and take it all in. To know, that what my eyes are looking at, has not changed for centuries.

 I I didnt want to spend my time in Lacock sitting in the Red Lion eating, so I grabbed a quick, but really awesome sandwich from the  Lacock Bakery 

Every home, every sight the eye can see, is a picture perfect postcard. :::::sigh::::: just look at this trailing rose....hello! Beautiful!

 Of coarse one cannot go to Lacock without visiting the famous Lacock Abbey.  The link I just posted has a beautiful view of the entire thing, built in 1232 if I remember right~ they were currently filming a series there, so blue tents were set up on the greens...and the famous Cloisters seen in Harry Potter were closed, as thats where the filming was taking place.

 The cloisters can be seen from the outside here, the courtyard you may recognize as Madame Hooch's Flying School scenes in Harry Potter were filmed here.

 Harry Potter & Dumbledore were filmed walking down the streets here in front of this pub

 These yellow roses just took my breath away~ I could literally just sit here and stare at them all day long, literally, I really mean it.

Does this home look familiar? It was used for Harry Potter's parent's home in the movies.  After Lunch and time to mingle in Lacock, we were off to another early village~ 

Welcome to Castle Combe

 Known as the prettiest village in England, it easy to see why....

 The shops and residences open straight away onto the streets, everyone has such beautiful gardens! And yes, it is as quiet and peaceful as it looks. There are no cars in the pictures because there is no parking ~ we parked in a lot to the edge of the village and walked in

 Oh. my. Golly.  Can I please have my home built over the road....please

 I would like to know, how old this rose is? I really wanted to knock on the door and ask...but didnt want to seem like a rude foreigner, so I didnt.

 One of the interesting features, if you want to call it that, of some of the homes, were the witch crosses...if not pointed out, one would never know what they were looking at. In medieval times they did very much believe in witches, and beneath the stone ball finial at the crest of the roof here, you can just make out 3 prongs of a cross. From below, they look like a normal base to the finial, but from above, they are seen as a cross. Witches flying overhead could see them and not be able to enter the home.
I wish there was space here for all my pictures! These were just some of my favorites~ it was such an enjoyable time for me, I am very much looking forward to going back in 2019...

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

May A Very Blessed Day Ye Have~
 Happy Thanksgiving! My daughter has to work today, so we are having our Thanksgiving Day celebrations tomorrow, but I wish all of  ya'll a wonderful, Happy Daye filled with friends, family & food! I get too emotional to ever say Grace on Thanksgiving,  because when my mind tries to condense all that I am thankful for into words, I just start to cry. I am thankful for each and every day on this earth, no matter how good, or bad it is~ and all the people in it, for you all have helped to make me who I am today. 
May we all have Love & Peace...Love & Peace
If you would like an interesting read on what foods were served at the first Thanksgiving, here is a short little article by National Geographic

Monday, November 20, 2017

It's so Dark....

Makes me Want to Hibernate
I don't know what is up with it being so dark lately...but I don't like it. Here in southern Colorado, its midnight dark by 5pm! Depressing. I don't remember it getting so dark, so early last year.... Its hard to get things done when all I want to do is sleep. I have been working very hard tho, tho at the moment it doesnt look like I have anything to show for it. Last weekend I worked the four butterflies on the top panel of my flat top this weekend I was super excited to get to start my two angels. Their wings are a big focal point~ each feather I am working separately.  I drew in lightly with pencil where each feather would go....eventually.

 So there's not much to show for an entire weekend of work...the two angel busts are attached now...but thats about it.  You can see their poor feet dangling on the panel~ I just have them pinned in....not sure if they will even have feet or not yet....

 The entire weekend, just about, I spent working 2 pieces of needle weaving....for portions of their gowns. I wanted them to be open and kind of made up my own stitch. The second piece has more open areas, so they both wont be totally the same. It was fun, but took what seemed like eons...

 I have been working like crazy out in the shop trying to get orders filled for Christmas, and working on orders due in January and Feb(I just can't crank out things in a day)....I think it is hard for people to really understand how much time and effort I put into my I took a few pictures of the shop yesterday to try and maybe show why ya'll have to wait for things.  When you open up one of my kits and see all the cut and portioned threads....they didnt arrive like that! We had to measure, cut, package and label each and every and I. We have a great time doing it...but it takes time.  Oh...and that awesome picture on the cover....of the finished model....we stitched that too, so that we can write you the most complete stitching instructions possible. We make an awesome team,, myself, and I...but we can only do so much in a day.

 The wood for my stitching tools I mill myself...we are planing down stock for padded mirror cases in the picture above.... Each and every hole on a thread palette, gets drilled not once, but twice~ once from the front, half way, and then again from the back, so there is no tear out....same goes for holes in the slats of my slate frames....there are 48 holes on a single large slat, so 96 holes per large slate frame, drilled twice is 196 holes I have to drill for one large slate frame....then they all get sanded.....and yes, each and every hole I drill, gets sanded inside the hole!  When you see a shaped thread winder...I cut out each and every one, myself, on a scroll saw. If it's a circle.....dont even dare think I use some hole saw jig....absolutely not~ I cut that sucker out freehand, absolutely.

 Speaking of slate frames.... I had a visitor to the shop the other day see this stack of frames I have to make the mortise & tenon joints for, and he says...'so you use a mortising bit on a router for those I been thinking about getting one'   To which I replied, "no~ I dont use power tools for my slate frames~ theyre too small. A power bit has too much power and bends in the wood when its this small~ I use rasps and a chisel."  ...He didn't believe me until I showed him, to which I then got the~ you are crazy comment. Its  what I do~ I enjoy the process just as much as I enjoy the finished product.

I wanted to have a slide top spool box ready for eBay this weekend...I got the box done, but not painted, so it will be coming soon! I am also working on some regular spool palettes for those of you who dont want a hole box. Here are three sets of spindles....and yes, I make them too~
 It took an entire afternoon, and I mean an entire afternoon to sand and shape the tops of the spindles!

 I have been working on some new designs in between other things. Got in some new wood, this is quarter sawn sycamore, and I love love love the design of the grain~ its only achievable by sawing the wood this way.  I have been wanting to make this shape of a thread winder for a while~ I have to have a steady hand on my's a replica of a c1840 winder...coming to eBay this week!

 As you can see, we(me, myself and I) have all sorts of things going at once...while some things are getting clamped...I work on something else....everyone is patiently waiting for their turn!

 Ok...I'm so excited about it, here is a peek of the thread winder going on eBay this week! For me, this is the best winder I have made to date~ I have been experimenting with different finishes to try and get a more Early American looking finish to my work, and finally, finally have a lacquer based finish that I am super super happy with. Its strong and super smooth to the touch. The varnish I have been using sometimes can feel tacky to the touch after fully cured~ which was just the nature of the varnish...I have been trying to get my finish to look and feel like a hand rubbed and worn finish....and finally, success! I know ya'll will be as happy with it as I am....not to mention the colors of the design~ these are water colours folks!

And if all that wasnt enough to keep me busy... husband decided to throw a new puppy into my day. We lost our beloved Yetti on the 4th of July, and well...I really wasnt ready for another Pyrenees yet....any puppy for that matter. But what can you do~ that wicked little face is so cute. I personally wanted to name him 'White Devil'....because he tears around the house, eats everything in shoes, the kids shoes....pots, pans...I caught him chewing up tiles from the floor the other day :::sigh:::  ...but alas, his name is Yukon, so everyone~ say hello to Yukon....he wont be little little for long!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

2017 Ornament Kit Going...Going....

  Time Is Running Out!

 ...for you to order your 2017 Limited Edition Ornament Kit, Winter Queen.  My ornament kits are only available for the year in which they were designed, and in this years case,  the materials were so difficult for me to get in quantity, I only have a very limited number of kits left. When they are gone, they are gone!  If you are interested in learning more about Winter Queen,  or ordering a kit ( I can gift wrap for free) you can do so here

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Glorious Finish!!

Well Done Jeanne A!
 Happy Monday! I was going to blog today the second half of my free day during teaching at the Bath Textile Summer School this past August....but a student emailed me a picture of her finished basket yesterday, and I just had to share it! I am so proud of everyone in class~ I really hope they enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed teaching....I think I may have indeed successfully spread my love and obsession with early beadwork to a few...planted a few seeds...and I am very much enjoying watching them sprout & grow!

Jan worked very diligently in class and after, and by Friday, had completed her basket frame. It looks fabulous~ so many possibilities!!

 To say I enjoyed my time in England would be a gross understatement... I loved it.  I will forever after now have tea & biscuits for the morning break, and tea and cakes for the afternoon breaks in all my classes. I have to say a special thankyou to Lynne & Michael for providing our gourmet treats...and to the ladies in class for making the tea!

 I must get me a pair of these magnifiers Ladye Mendy is wearing... they look so much better than my miner head gear I wear.

 The basket is a very involved project~ there are over 50 pages in the step by step instructions...too much to ever get done in a four day class focused on working up the Ladye and detached techniques for flowers.  Just about everyone in class got their Lady's torsos worked~ I love this picture~ what a happy group!

  We spent a morning on making peapods~ a common and popular element on many beaded baskets.

 And here is the glorious finished basket of Ladye Jeanne A!  Seeing a finished piece, the first from class, just makes my heart explode with joy! Jeanne said~

Here is the photo of my completed basket!
It may need the odd little 'tweek' but basically is finished. What a challenge it has been but so enjoyable and a sense of achievement. 

I think Jeanne has done a fabulous job~ you can click on it for a larger picture. Shes got plenty of flowers, and a little kitty cat bead...I love her butterfly at the top, and her colors are wonderful. Really, Really~ great job Jeanne~ I'm so proud of you!  I know you said you didn't think you would ever work another basket, but I hope you'll try these techniques on some smaller projects! Thankyou for taking my class~

Monday, November 06, 2017

Bath Textile Summer School Free Day!

 England Trip...What day is it? Part One
  One of the great things about teaching (or taking) a four day workshop at Bath Textile Summer School, is that there is a planned vacation day in the center of study on you can give your brain a time to relax, or catch up if you are behind. I scheduled a day tour for my 'free' day....and good grief, I was so tired by the time I got back, totally wiped me out but it was fabulous! We started with a trip to Wiltshire to see Stonehenge. It was really magical~ the stones so much larger than I had ever imagined....the field next to it was full of sheep that had just been sheared so that just added to the awesomeness!

  You may have noticed how hard it is to find a payphone here in the US,  now that everyone has a cell phone(not me~ Im still hanging on with all my might to not get one)...England is no different, and it was fun to see the ways the different villages have chosen to use their iconic red phone booths (or tardis)...this one is now an emergency defibrillator booth~ since this little community is a ways from the nearest hospital. If someone is having a heart attack, you can run to this booth and grab the portable defibrillator.

  After Stonehenge, we were off to Avebury to see the Avebury Circle....a Henge larger than Stonehenge, but much less publicized. On our way one of England's famous chalk horses is merrily galloping thru the countryside. They were made in the 18th c by removing the upper layer of turf & soil to reveal the white chalk underneath

 Along the way, my heart was skipping a beat every time I laid eyes on a thatched roof cottage~ this was the back of the cottage...but I didnt care~ what I was interested in is along the ridge line~ the two hares. Thatching roofs is a dying art~ the thatchers grow and harvest their own thatch...since wheat grown for food has pesticides that weaken the stalks. They cut it, bundle it, and then create works of art on top of already beautiful cottages. Many thatchers sign their art, with a thatched figure on the ridge line that is their signature, and theirs alone.
  I left this picture big so you can click on it to enlarge it~ the figures are totally thatched~ you will also be able to see the wire netting strung over all~ this is to keep the thatch in place. Not that it ever falls out, because it doesnt. Having a roof thatched is very expensive .. and while the thatch makes a great waterproof roofing material, the birds also like it to make their own nests out of~ so the wire is to keep the birds from unpicking it.

 We are arriving in Avebury now~ you can see the half buried stones of the circle jetting out in the village. These stones are made from same materials as those at Stonehenge, they have just not been shaped.
  Above is a pic of the aerial  view of the village~ the Henge itself is so large, its hard to tell from the ground its in a circle

 Oh my Golly. Everywhere I walked here was a perfect picture postcard. The gardens are all so green and beautiful! I am so jealous of all ya'll that get to live in England.

 Walking along to the church,  I look up and see not one, but two thatched roofs :::swoon:::::

  And then I realize, the ancient stone wall I am walking alongside, is thatched on the top as well! Truthfully speaking, I could have sat right here for the entire rest of the day..week...month....and been totally happy.

 St. James Parish Church has been on this site since 1000AD.  The aisles were added in the 12th century, the tower in the 15th century. I was thrilled to see the doors open~ who could see that and not go inside?

 Beautiful stained glass and woodwork would have been subject for plenty a photograph...but as I always look at my feet when I am walking, I was much more interested in what was below, than above.  I wish we would have had more time, I would have liked to really study the floor tiles/headstones~ some dating back to yes, the 12 century. This one from a young man, 19 years old, who died April 23rd, 1697.

 After our quick visit at Avebury, we were off to explore the Cotswolds. More thatched cottages....

Another chalk horse. I believe this is the Westbury Horse if I remember right.... it's just about time for lunch so we will stop in Lacock Village...and that, oh my....I will need a separate post for~