Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Golden phoenix cushions and ladybirds everywhere!

Ages ago I acquired the most beautiful vintage kimono and today I made it up into cushions and got some up on the website.

I loved the idea of the flaming lights continuing the theme of the fiery birds.
I backed some of them with this wonderful Manuel Canovas fabric that I've been keeping for just such cushions.
Even though I should have been sewing all day, it was so glorious I did goof off this morning to have morning tea with my friend Lizzie for her birthday.
The glorious weather has brought out all the birds and a wealth of flowers. Every year I forget about some flower or other. This year it's Forsythia. It took me ages to figure out what this plant was.
The other thing I always forget about is ladybirds. This year they are absolutely everywhere. I decided to see how many I could count out my back door. One on the back door step.Then one on the back door mat.
Another on the hose beside the back door.
This one I had to save from its watery home.
Lots on the washing.
and the pegs too.
Crikey, ladybirds everywhere. Too many to count.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hil's chair

My darling friend Hilary came to visit over the weekend, she of the brilliant blog Earwig Sandwich
We had such a lovely time.
She brought a chair with her that she'd bought in a charity shop. Here it is cleaned up and waiting for its new cover.
We set to work.
Measure, measure, measure first.
Make sure it's all square.
My favourite bit always is making the piping.
and cutting out metres of it.
Hils had bought a small amount of great 50's vintage fabric in a black & white print but there wasn't much of it so we used some dark grey suiting as well with a bit of stretch in it that worked perfectly.
It was so nice to have company in the workroom. Especially someone so easily impressed with my skills.
She loved all the equipment especially my "Shnibbs".
It starts to take shape.
I love this photo. It looks like a still from 'Being John Malkovich' on floor 7 and a half.
Finally we're all done. The stretch of the dark grey suiting worked really well to give a tailored look.
and here it is in situ in Hilary's groovy pad. Doesn't it look great? Come ANY time Hils and bring any project you wish.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

David Hockney exhibition

Over the weekend I had the lucky privilege to go to see the David Hockney exhibition
with two friends Jan & Jane. The tickets were booked ages ago and it seemed like the day would never come. Finally on Saturday we met and caught the train from Diss to Liverpool Street Station.
Jan is a great cook and when she mentioned that maybe we could have a picnic on the train, I was thrilled, we had rolls with roasted vegetables & ham, macarons, crisps & juice...however this is a picture of Jane's Chocolate browniesI wish I had one beside me now!The exhibition was amazing, brilliant, inspired & uplifting and blew me away completely. David Hockney is 74 and still paints almost every day. His canvases for this show are huge and he seems to get more & more inspired the more he paints.The show is titled "A bigger picture" and it was so good to see something so expansive & vibrant when all you hear all day long on the news is doom, gloom, recession & death.....the microcosm of our daily lives, lived small. He had the luxury of being given all 13 rooms of the Royal Academy to fill as he wanted. He's done one hell of a great job. The pictures are all landscapes but like no landscape you've ever seen unless it's Van Gogh's. The colours jump off the wall & march around singing. Hockney has gone back to his Yorkshire roots & seems to be in love with the trees, flowers and seasons of that small pocket of this small island. It seems he can never get enough of the changing scenery in that corner of the world.There is such positivity in the work. He's embraced technology and has been using an ipad to paint with.51 huge prints of these ipad paintings line the walls of the biggest gallery taking you through all 12 months of the year culminating in a whopping painting made of 32 smaller canvases in oils titled "The arrival of Spring", you can almost hear the trumpets.It was particularly wonderful to see all this inside the gallery as it's all happening outside in the lanes & forest all around us here too. As Hockney says "It's as if you'd poured cream over all the hedges when the may blossom comes out". It's opened my eyes to all around me and instead of just green fields & white blossom, I now see purple light in the shadows and orange trunks on the trees.
As a short aside & to bring you back to the real world...before we went in to the RA we had a few minutes to explore Fortnum & Mason across Picadilly. They have the most amazing window display happening for the diamond jubilee at the moment, here are some photos and a short video from their website. The colours are inspired and very, very clever. I feel a cushion collection coming on!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Walsingham IV

Each year at this time, just as the sun starts to come out a wee bit more and the birds start to sing, I have a yearning to make the annual pilgrimage to Walsingham. The village that time forgot.
My darling friend Kate usually comes too and we had a rare day without children, wandering around this most beautiful landscape. Here are previous posts from 2006, TWICE, 2007, 2009 and 2010.
The snowdrops had almost finished but still enough pretty little flowers to carpet the ground. There was hardly anyone around. England at its most beautiful and peaceful. .
Kate had a new coat which I was very envious of..
with a lovely fur hood. We played poo sticks for ages from a bridge over the clear stream that runs through the snowdrops. I figure if I'm going to put up pictures of Kate then I'd better level the field and put one of me too. Even though we had coats on it was unseasonably warm.
A trip to Walsingham is never complete without a quick look in the shops! Here is what you find. Incense of every flavour, the pontifical variety has flakes of gold in it.
Crosses, thuribles, candlesticks of every size and Church candles by the altar load.

The lovely Kate bought some snowdrop plants while we were there and I managed to get down to Ricardo's grave today after Church to plant them. We'll have to wait until next year to see them flower now. It was beautiful in the Churchyard with the sun on my back and the birds singing as I pottered and planted and told Ricardo all the village gossip.