Friday, 18 April 2014

The sun is shining

All is well in the Macbiehill world. It has been a gloriously sunny day and we have two working wifi systems! What more could anyone want!


Thursday, 17 April 2014

Getting My Hands Dirty

After all the upheavals of the last few days or even weeks peace has returned to Macbiehill together with the internet access. And what better way to spend it than to retreat to my painting shed with a stack of cotton fabric in my arms, get the acrylic paint and fabric spray paints out as well as some of my stencils and gelli plates and  proceed to get my hands dirty. And boy, do I do that. Paint up till my elbows, and what a satisfying feeling it is. So is the stack of fabrics and papers that are now drying. All the fabrics will be for a specific project I have had in mind for a long time now but that I wouldn't allow myself to start till the previous quilt was tacked. 
That has happened and I'm in the process of hand quilting it. I'm up to date with all my other projects and am well on the way with an article I'm writing. So all is good! Very good even!

 These fabrics will be cut up in the process of making the new quilt that's in my head but somehow I still "design" every piece of cotton I paint which is strictly speaking unnecessary but I seem to be conditioned to do it anyway plus it's good practice too. One day I might set to work making one large piece of fabric, all painted, to translate into a whole cloth quilt and this will have been an excellent preparation for that. I just have to get to grips with the logistics of such an undertaking given the size of my gelli plates (largest being 12 x 14").
I feel it coming though, which is always exciting. My quilts tend to live in my head long before they ever take shape in reality and it's at this stage that I problem solve and think about how I can turn my vision into cloth. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Spring in my Step

Here is one of the daffodils dancing in our garden.

I feel like joining her in a merry dance. Today we had our satellite broadband installed and we are now reaching dizzying download speeds of 16Mb (compared to 1/2 Mb on our telephone one). What shall I do with it all! And what a pleasure it will be to watch videos play uninterruptedly. We will keep two systems up and running just now as to start with we have only 10Gb allowance on the satellite system and what with my online classes I would soon reach that. In fact I use about 25Gb a month. Quite shameful really, but such good fun and as I tell myself regularly learning is laudable!

But at least it will mean one of our systems should be up at any given time and I should be connected to the wide world one way or another! Oh the joy of it.

Monday, 14 April 2014

In Fine Style

In Fine Style was both the name of the exhibition I visited with a friend this morning as well as a description of the whole experience. This show about the art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion is on in The Queen's Gallery at the Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh, so quite a regal and fine venue. We were also SO very lucky with the weather. After days of rain and wind today felt like a gorgeous summer day which enabled us to have lunch outside in the Queen's courtyard coffee shop. What a treat.

The show will be on till the 20th July and if you are in any way interested in historical embroidery and costume you don't want to miss it! I love how visiting exhibitions in this day and age has become a multi media experience. The audio with this exhibition is superb, giving detailed information about the works exhibited as well as music to match. Also this show is quite compact. There are just enough exhibits to make it fascinating but not too many to take it all in. Before I met my friend I took the opportunity for some photography around the palace, such as the lions standing on top of the palace gates.

And this rampant lion looms over the sky line of Edinburgh on the doors to the gallery. The sculpture was made by Jill Watson (

More lovely detail on the entrance pillars, including the Scottish thistle.

And here details in the foreground of our Scottish Parliament with the flags flying while in the background you might just discern some tiny human figures at the top of Arthur's Seat (that's the rock in the distance).

This day was a gift. We enjoyed the exhibition and we then had a lovely lunch and lively discussions about embroidery, quilting and life. Just a perfect day. I'm now off to spend some more time in the sunshine, this time in our garden.


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

We have reached week 16 of 2014 and the challenge on The Documented Life Group is: Add a cardboard food box in a creative way. This provided a bit of a problem living where I do. There are no take-away food shops here in West Linton. That's right, none at all! And even had there be, food boxes are not necessarily provided in take-aways here in Scotland. Specially not ones with patterns or images on it. You're more likely to be handed your food in a newspaper. I ruled out a visit to McDonalds as it seemed just a bit mad to drive about 10 miles to the nearest one to buy food I don't want to eat, merely so I could use the carton it comes in. Instead I looked around and yesterday was the day I gave my hair a new lease of blondness. That comes in a carton so I decided to put this to good use.
I must have been mulling it over during the night as I woke up this morning with the words "Gentlemen prefer blondes" ringing in my ears and knowing exactly which of my rubber stamps would be put to good use. I used a previously circle painted paper for the background, stitched on the elements of the hair dye packaging and added the 3 gentlemen, who were stamped onto gelli plate printed deli paper.
I added more details with markers and watercolour pens and have now tipped the page into my 2014 Moleskine planner. It might not respond exactly to the brief but this is my planner after all and I'm pleased with it.

Friday, 11 April 2014

It must be Spring!

 There are many juicy buds on the crown imperial and I can hardly wait to get the first glimpse of that glorious orange.
 The prunus is flowering.

And all the daffodils are out.

Spring is here and yesterday I transferred all my paints and the like into the shed so that I can start making a mess there when ever I feel like it! Now I just need to clean the table in the spare room where I did my painting during the winter and then I can start to tack a large quilt. Something that is my least favourite part of quilt making but there are now no more excuses left! I will however save it for a rainy day rather than one that promises occasional sunshine like today.


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