Monday, 26 October 2009

Half Term

Yes it's that time already. Bit scary as this is the last break before Christmas. I suppose I should be thinking about getting started on the christmas shopping. Few things lined up for the week. Car in for service this morning. Bank account says ouch.
Tomorrow we are hoping to have a day in London but don't hold your breath. So often we plan these days out and then don't get there. All seems too much aggravation somehow. Maybe we will make it this time. Planning on Camden Market as everyone says I would love it and I have never been.
Later in the week meeting up with Arty and then have a workshop on Saturday which is the second of three with Janet Goddard where we are making a Japanese style quilt. Have some homework on that to catch up with so some time will be spent on that this week. Also have to sort and tidy my sewing room as I am soon moving into my son's old bedroom. This job could take me til past Christmas it's in such a mess.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Sunday Sunday

Busy day out in the garden getting on with jobs that need doing before son's wedding next June.
Evening reception is in a marquee in our garden so we need to get the outside all sorted.
Got loads done as son and fiancee came over to help. Fuel was bacon rolls and then later beef stew and dumplings.All I want to do now is sleep but hubby has gone to see his mum and we haven't watched the MotoGP yet although I do know the result.Alas not a win for Rossi he was second but the good news , for Rossi and his fans, is that Lorenzo didn't finish.
Work tomorrow but next week is half term and hopefully have a few things planned

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Knitting and Stitching

Had a very relaxing day out at the Knitting and Stitching show at Ally Pally on Saturday.
Good coach journey up and there, nice and early so parked really close to the building.
Nice slow wander round with good company (thanks to Anne for that) Bit of retail therapy but not so much that I felt guilty. No research to do so no stress there.Bumped into my City and Guilds tutor Julie on the EAST stand.Some really interesting work there.
Also bumped into an old friend and her daughter who I haven't seen for a while so that was good.
All in all a good day.

Friday, 9 October 2009


Those that know me or have read any of my blog will know that motorbikes play a huge part in our lives. We enjoy riding them and watching them race. We have a Ducati 996 which I adore. Ducati's have been my dream bike for many years and I finally got my wish when we bought one.
Had to wait a bit til the marque we wanted was cheap enough for us to afford. Was a bit peeved when hubby highsided it earlier this year but it's all mended now. Missed some riding time but never mind.
But that is not the only bike we own.We also have a 60's Triton racer. A beautiful machine well developed and appointed. Hubby did some parading on it a few years back but what with moving house and then Mum being ill and passing away it went on the back burner. Although we have a load of work to do on the house and garden before Peter's wedding next year it is time to pay the old girl some attention and hubby is going to rebuild her and make her all beautiful again.
He may race her but is more interested in trying out Sprinting and in particular Twisty Sprints.
In the interest of research we went along to a VMCC sprint nr Aldershot. It was a much smaller event than I had anticpated and I was very glad that I packed a picnic.

One of hubby's favourite bikes was there. This bike is a thing of beauty,
Also this great car turned up.I think they were racing them nearby as we could hear the noise.

On the creative front nothing much happening. No great ideas and actually that's not bothering me at the moment. I am having one of my paranoid spells where I don't feel that I fit in anywhere,am being left behind and excluded by everyone. But as I said that's just my paranoia. I am still planning on moving my sewing room into what was my son's bedroom which will give me much more space.Well surface area anyway. Maybe this will spark something off.
I am going to man a stall at a Handmade fair in Leigh on Sea on 21st November and will be promoting handmade and etsy and hopefully selling some of my own and other peoples wares.
Tomorrow I am going to the knitting and stitching show at Ally Pally so a bit of retail therapy there.
Next weekend we are hoping to have a day in Brighton with our son and his fiancee. Always good fun and she is great to shop with.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Challenging times

Friends and family having treatment for cancer.
Mother in law in and out of hospital with no diagnosis.
Staying with us in between.
Starting a new job
New school
New people
Out of comfort zone big time.
Nothing creative going on
Challenging times

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Southwold and Walberswick

Two of our favourite places to visit. Hubby had some time off and we could not seem to get ourselves organised to have some days out so took a last minute decision to visit Southwold.Journey there took ages as we got stuck behind a large static caravan being transported.
I always feel that it is a bit like stepping back in time when we go here. Although it is now a bit 'touristy' and sanitised. Also crowded. Parking is a bit of a nightmare.But still we had a pleasant lunch and walk round.There are some nice shops and galleries and of course the Amber shop is always worth a look. There is an interesting craft gallery/shop that I like to take a look round but sadly was shut . We did discover the charming little cinema down a back street.

Then we walked down to take a look at the ferry.Again something we had not done before.This ferry has been in the same family for about 5 generations and the present owner has written a book on its history.We happened to have Phil's brothers copy with us so we got it signed while we were there.As a little bonus there was a seal bobbing around as we crossed over from the Southwold side to Walberswick.Coffee and scones at the tea rooms were scoffed and then I held of the wasps so hubby could eat his sandwich.Again rather busy but we find the charm of this place is that there simply isn't much there.Didn't go down to the beach on this occasion

Nice to see some traditional crafts being used.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

An amazing day out

We were recently very privileged to be allowed to view the private Ducati collection of Tony O'Neil. He is a friend of a friend, lucky for us. The collection is truely amazing with many iconic bikes. Heaven for us as we are great Ducati lovers and follow bike racing. The bike pictured above is the very famous Troy Bayliss Imola 2002 bike.This race is Superbike legend. Colin Edwards and Troy battled for the whole race literally bashing fairings throughout. Tony says that the bike had Colin's tyre marks up the fairing when he got it. We could not believe that we were standing inches away from it. There were also bikes that were raced by Carl Fogarty,Carlos Checa,James Toseland,Ruben Xaus,Loris Capirossi and so many more that I can't remember them all. It was such a rare treat and we are very grateful to our friend John for organising it and to Tony and Leslie for making us so welcome.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Rust Dyeing with Myfanwy Hart

My local Embroiderers Guild is a very lively and vibrant group.We seem to be bucking the trend and attracting new members all the time. They organise excellent speakers once a month and I am very disapointed that due to the hours I have been working I am not able to get to many monthly meetings any more. But I am able to get to the workshops as they are on a Saturday. The latest one was Rust Dyeing with Myfanwy Hart.
Myfanwy is one of the lovely ladies in the Boomers group over on etsy and we had met briefly at the Cottenham show.
I had extracted a few pieces of rusting metal from hubby and his garage.Not that easy to find as he is all about making sure that things don't rust.
After cleaning up the rusty items they were wrapped up in fabric and we added either salt water or vinegar water to accelerate the process. Some parcels had a tea bag or strong tea added as the tannin also has an effect on the cloth when combined with the rusting process.
These were then left overnight before being dried off and washed and ironed.
So another interesting washing line.Bit smelly though.
Myfanwy also bought hubby and shop along so there was time for a few purchases of delicious threads.
The picture shows the resulting pieces of fabric.Not quite sure what will become of them but a few ideas are bubbling under.
Thanks for a fun and interesting day Myfanwy.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Sutton Hoo

Recently visited Sutton Hoo. Have been meaning to get there for some time but as it happens Fen Edge Textiles were exhibiting there and my friends Nickie and Sharne are members of this group.
Hubby wanted to go to so it was a nice trip out together.
Sutton Hoo itself was interesting, in parts. There really is little to see there apart from a few humps where the burials were.The exhibition was very interesting but there are virtually none of the original artefacts there as they are all in the British Museum (I think)
Anyway we decided to test ourselves and did the long walk round the whole of the site.
Much further than I have walked in some time but the weather was glorious so it was most enjoyable.

Friday, 12 June 2009

I can't believe I didn't blog about this

How could I be so remiss as to not blog about going to one of the best gigs ever.
I am referrring to the soon to be superstar (if there is any justice in the world) that is Imelda May.
Hubby picked her up first from a Jools Holland programme and from that we watched everything that we could find on U tube. Then we managed to find her album in HMV and what a little gem that turned out to be.
So from then on we were on the lookout to see if she was gigging locally. Low and behold she had a booking at the Colchester Arts Theatre. 4 tickets purchased for us and some friends.
On the night it turned out to be a standing only gig,which we had thought that it would be but I had forgotten and not put on the most sensible shoes. Also only being 4ft 11in I tend to get lost in a crowd.
Support band was Tim Allalone and the 78's who started the evening off in a lively rocking style.
Then on to the main event.
Imelda May was magnificent. Her voice is amazing and I believe she could do any style but what we got was a blend of rockabilly ,blues ,jazz and ballads. The band behind her were one of the tightest I have ever heard .The main guitarist is her husband and apparently is way up there in the rockabilly world. We bopped and sang along and totally wore ourselves out. As hubby put it
" I felt like a teenager again til I woke up in the morning then I felt about 101"
A stonkingly good night!!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Janet Bolton Workshop

Had a wonderful time on Saturday at a workshop, organised by Embroiderers Guild, with Janet Bolton. I am an admirer of her work and have been for many years. She was very generous with her knowledge and techniques and although some of us didn't get very far I am sure we were all inspired. Unusually for me I came away with more ideas for development.
On Monday night it was our EG branch meeting and we were very entertained by the wonderful Kim Thittichai. Margaret and I went down to Hove earlier this year to do a workshop with Kim and had a great time. Very talented lady.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Mum and babies

Mum and babies
Originally uploaded by debsmuddle
These just appeared in our back garden the other day. Don't know where they came from. It put us in a bit of a flap as she couldn't get out of the back garden and the road is in the front. Eventually we guided her and babies out of the front and down the road. She seemed quite purposeful as if she knew where she was going so in the end we just let her.I do hope they are all ok. Someone commented on flickr that there have been reports of large broods this year. I think 11 is enough!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Childhood Memories

Childhood Memories 001
Originally uploaded by debsmuddle
April entry for Uk Challenge 'Childhood Memories'
You may recognise the pic from my avatar.
It is a shot taken by my father of my cousin David and myself.David lived with his family on a farm in Devon and most years we would go down on holiday.I loved David and followed him everywhere.We even had a pretend wedding at one stage.I think I used to drive him round the bend.David still lives on a farm with his Dad.Uncle Mervyn is entirely responsible for me not being a fussy eater.You didn't dare NOT eat anything down there as it was almost all grown on the farm.Meat included.My Auntie Hilda(Dad's sister) was amazing.She worked so hard. I have seen her turn out huge quantities of food for various functions ie 250 pasties etc
So this childhood memory is of happy family holidays.Sadly many of the family now gone.
Sewn on neutral fabric with neutral thread as I thought it would look nostalgic.Size is 7 by 5 inch.A nod here to my friend Nickie Kimber for the technique

Thursday, 16 April 2009

SPT 160409

SPT 160409
Originally uploaded by debsmuddle
Another Thursday another self portrait.
I bought a microwave silk dyeing kit when I went to Denman WI college with Ferrers Quilters oh some years ago.We had a great time there having a day with Katherine Guerrier and one with Mary Day(if I have remembered that correctly) I remember a foreign lorry driver nearly killed Sharon and I on the way there by pulling out into my lane whilst I was overtaking him.He did actually make contact with my car but fortunately it did not spin or we would have been in real trouble.
Anyway Denman was great, terrific food etc.
The kit was languishing in the back of a cupboard so I thought it was about time to give it a go.Worked out reasonably well but the scarf is not really long enough.
My skin looks awful in this maybe I need more fresh air or to start looking after it better.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Easter Decorations

Flowers 005
Originally uploaded by debsmuddle
Don't really do Easter as we are not religious but these felt decorations were really cheap in Tesco and I liked them so I bought them.I know this is not in the spirit of buying handmade and I am sorry for that.

Saturday, 11 April 2009


Flowers 003
Originally uploaded by debsmuddle
I am not renowned for doing a lot of gardening but I do like to have a few pots around for a bit of colour.Our local garden centre has an annual Pansy and Viola festival and we are always seduced into buying some.
The challenge then is to remember to water the pots.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

SPT 090409

SPT 090409
Originally uploaded by debsmuddle
Self Portrait Thursday is a group on Flickr. As mentioned in an earlier blog post I don't get one done every week.I haven't got great photography skills or photoshopping for that matter. I am not artistic. I have double chins.I really should challenge myself more to think of some ideas to get round all these problems.This week I think I managed it.

Fairy shoes

Fairy shoes 2
Originally uploaded by debsmuddle
Recently had a go at something that I have been meaning to do for some time. These are a pair of miniature shoes made from hand dyed fabric that has been attatched to felt with some FMS then made into the shoes by hand. I have then added bead and sequin embellishment. Really fun to do and I will definately be doing some more.

Monday, 9 March 2009

ACEO swap etsy boomers group

I have recently joined the etsy group for baby boomers ie over 45's. It is a popular group so I had to wait a little while to get membership. They are a very friendly, supportive group , in the most part American but with a healthy sprinkling of UK'ers. A condition of membership is to post on their chat thread. Well no problem for me that one. Also to take part in monthly activities. I find that I work better to a deadline so again no problem.
The first monthly activity that I am joining in with is an ACEO swap. Theme Spring. I have never made an ACEO before and had lots of ideas as usual the problem was deciding which idea to go with.I tried out a few but eventually decided on the one above. I may list the others I have made in my etsy shop.
This ACEO is made by layering various hand dyed fabrics on to a background using the embellisher.Some commercial yarn was then added. I hand embroidered using both commercial and hand dyed yarn and then added the leaf beads.
I feel that spring means growth, green and fresh starts.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

March already

Can't believe it's March already. Where did Jan and Feb go?
Friday night went to a lovely birthday party at Hylands House in Chelmsford.
Apart from the host and hostess (it was her birthday) we only knew one couple there and we last met them about 30 years ago. He used to race motorbikes and my hubby used to watch him.He was good!! We also had a few mutual acquaintances that it was fun to remember. It also turns out that he has a very similar road bike to ours.His is slightly higher spec and a single seater which I don't allow here as it prevents me from riding.
Yesterday I taught a class down at School House Arts.It was Pet Portraits.Smallish class of 5 .Some familiar faces and a couple of new friends which was really nice.
Today we are having a day at home with a little gardening (thats him of course) and a little tidying up (thats me) Have sold and old cupboard that will be collected later making a small hole in the garage to give himself a bit of room for manoeuvre. Bike is due for oil change and belt service which is a big job but we don't want the bike off the road for too long or else the better weather will be here and we will be itching to get out on it.
Meal out tonight at Ask with out quiz team to spend some of our winnings.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

SPT It's that day again

Self portrait Thursday again.Since I don't like the way I look I have decided that one option open to me is to learn something about Photoshopping and apply this to my self portraits.So what you see above is the original. Below is where I have had a little play around.

I am very interested to have a go at introducing some of this into my textile work.The picture above for example would translate well into fabric. The one below could be an idea for some bleaching or discharge work. Nothing earth shatteringly new about either idea, but new for me.
On the home front hubby and I are attempting to spring clean our lives. This involves sorting out paperwork,getting rid of unwanted stuff like clothes,some furniture and for some reason several items of recording equipment that we have accumulated and don't use. I am not that keen on Ebay or boot sales but some of this stuff is just too good to give away. It is the paperwork that is threatening to engulf us though.Whatever happened to the promise of a paper free world.It just seems to get worse. And then there is the decision of what to keep and how long to keep things for. I don't really like all this grown up stuff!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Pet Potraits

Finally got round to doing a portrait of my cat Tamlin.Named after a favourite folk song of mine.
Sadly after taking the photo, and trying to clean it up in Photoshop, I caught the USB lead and sent the camera across the floor. I think I have killed it.
I am teaching a class on this technique at the end of the month.See my earlier blog post with pictures of the chaffinch piece that I did.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

With a little help from my friends

I am much in need of photography and Photoshop help, as my photographs will show you. Help is at hand in the shape of the lovely ArtyAllsorts. She very kindly spent the best part of a day in my instruction. I think more sessions will be needed as things seem to take longer to get in my brain these days but some of it has stuck.

Friday, 6 February 2009


SPT stands for self portrait Thursday.It is a group on flickr which for those who don't know is a free photo hosting and sharing site.For SPT you simply take a portrait and post it in the group. I have only a simple camera and few photographic skills.I am also not skilled in the art of Photoshopping. All this added to the fact that I don't like how I look at the moment means that I don't always post a photo every week.But this week I did.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Trees and Snow

Having purchased a couple of new saws we have tackled the major task that is cutting back our willow tree.We have decided that it has to be done over 2 years as you are not supposed to take any more than 25% of the tree at any one time.The actual cutting went really well and only took a couple of sessions.At this point I would point out that my main job was footing the ladder and jumping out of the way when the big branches dropped. Now comes the more major task of getting rid of it all. The larger stuff is to go to a friend with a wood burning fire. The small stuff has to be chopped up and dumped. Our kindly neighbours ( and next door but one neighbours ) have kindly lent us their green bins,which are actually brown, so we can get quite a lot taken away by the nice men that collect them once a fortnight.

Having got to this stage we then had a fair amount of snow so we were glad to have got the job done

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Chinese New Year

Happy New Year
We have a favourite little cafe in Moulsham Mill.Lily turns out great food at an extremely reasonably price.Her coffee is second to none! At Christmas she does a meal for some of her more regular customers and this year we were invited along.It was fantastic. Last week when we were in there she invited us to her New Year Meal.What a treat.Started with a chicken and sweetcorn soup followed by a buffet style meal with green tea (or wine) then a choice of pudding. She is a real star

Kim Thittichai Hot Textiles

Last weekend Margaret and I tootled off to Hove to do a workshop with Kim Thittichai.
I offered to drive as Margaret seems to do more than her share.I worry when I am going anywhere different but hubby kindly bought me a Sat Nav for Christmas and Margaret had a good idea where it was as her vet lives in Hove.Don't ask but the culprit is Libby her dog.
I fancied a different voice for my sat nav so went on the website and downloaded (for free!) the sultry tones of Joanna Lumley.Imagine her gentle instructions and announcing 'You have reached your destination Darling' Yeah well great idea but as it turned out there was no satellite signal all the way down there.Just shows that you cannot entirely rely on modern technology.All was well though and we found it OK (well done Margaret)We had a fun day playing with Tyvek,Lutrador,Bondaweb , foils etc.


Crab and Mango Parcels

Bit of a catch up for me again.Firstly we finally got round to trying out the restaurant at the other end of the village.When we moved here there were just the two pubs.Not an awful lot else really which suits us.A village hall ,a small shop and a church (have used the first two but not the third) Now one pub is about 100yds away so obviously this is the one we go to.Nothing wrong with the other pub but anyway it closed down and reopened as an Oriental seafood restaurant. Our pub landlord owns this one too.

We have heard good reports about the food and as it is not the cheapest we have been saving up our £2 coins and finally went.
Not very good at being a restaurant critic but the food was fantastic ,service excellent and although it was a bit empty in there, good atmosphere. It has been very nicely done out and I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone.It is called Hoyzen and it is in East Hanningfield.
They didn't even laugh too much when we tipped out our coins to pay!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Thursday 8th January

Things I love and can't live without
Trivial I know but I love my coffee machine.Well both of them really.This is my filter coffee maker.Yes I am addicted to coffee, sad but true.This is my self portrait for Self Portrait Thursday which is a group on flickr.I don't do one every week as I don't like the way I look at the moment and I am not very good at photography or photoshopping although I did make my nasty mole disappear on this photo.
Picked up tiles for the utility room today.Hubby is threatening to do tiling at the weekend. I did spend some time in my sewing room today and started planning a piece for the UK etsy monthly challenge topic Japan.Just waiting for hubby to get home after work.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Tuesday 6th January

Snowdrops in the Snow

These were chosen and planted by my Mum.She loved them.The always make me think of her when they come up. Our local church has a large bank of them and she used to really enjoy walking down the Tye and looking at them.
Very cold here again today. I had a job interview in
Rochford. Should get a decision on it tomorrow.Had lunch at Lily's. Still haven't got into my sewing room.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Monday 5th January

Very cold today and a bit of snow around.Went in to school where I volunteer and had a couple of near things with my brakes not working on the sheet ice.Bit scary.
Will spend some time today preparing for my job interview tomorrow.Must also get into my sewing room and do something creative.The old juices seem to have dried up recently and I need to get going again.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Sunday 4th January

Been quite a productive day so far.
I have done a dry run to where I have an interview on Tuesday to test my sat nav.
I have cleaned out my fridge
I have sorted cupboards and thrown away out of date stuff (not much)
I have packed the Christmas decorations away
I have filled up the bird feeders and put stuff out for the ground feeders
This is good going for me!

Friday, 2 January 2009

Friday 2nd January

Happy New Year to all.
Right first problem this year is to prune our willow tree.Can't afford to get someone in to do it so we have to tackle it ourselves. Some research has led us to believe that previous pruning had been done incorrectly so we are on a sticky wicket to start off with.We will have to cut back in a manner that is not recommended and we may lose the tree. I would not be too sorry to see it go but hubby likes it and as he rightly points out we have nothing else in the back garden so would have to replace it anyway. It is going to be quite a task.