Thursday, 27 February 2014

DOUBLE, DOUBLE TOIL AND TROUBLE, FIRES BURN AND CAULDRON BUBBLE

My first year students have been working hard for weeks and weeks and weeks.
They have been designing and making their first costumes.
They had to study the text of Macbeth, analyse the characters, create a full set of designs for he play and realise one of them.
I won't let them spend lots of money on fabric.
They have to be inventive with what they find in the costume department, scraps of fabric, off cuts, old curtains.


They all created their own fabrics and textures in one way or another.

Dyeing, distressing and using interesting found materials.

Would you believe these are all part of costumes for Macbeth?
My clever Bunnies.
Love Nora xxx

Monday, 24 February 2014

THIS WEEKEND
This weekend I bought some lovely bowls at a junk market. 
Because you can never ever have too many bowls.



This weekend I also started some crochet. I am being brave and taking on a big project. 



This lovely big blanket
10 diamonds in, 121 to go....



Hope you all had a fun weekend.
Love Nora xxx

Thursday, 20 February 2014

RAIN RAIN GO AWAY COME AGAIN ANOTHER DAY
Rather than get even more depressed about the constant never ending rain and storms, I thought I would stitch all those feelings up and then leave them behind and wait for the sunny happy times to come back.
A washed out palate of grey and blue linen and bobbin net.
Distressed and frayed.
And stitched in to with the rain.

Until there are no drops left.
This is the first in a hopefully year long creative project being hosted by Alex of Lola Nova.
You can read all the details here if you wish to join in too.
Love Nora xxx
Also linking up here with creative spaces.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

GROWING UP IN THE SHADOW OF THE CATHEDRAL
Way back when in the mists of time a little girl with red hair in two scraggly plats moved home.
She used to live above the shops with her Mummy, Daddy and baby Brother.
Then we moved, every thing changed.
We moved in to the shadow of the Cathedral.



It was exciting, the new house was huge in comparison to the flat, There was space for us to have our own rooms, the garden was enormous and stretched on for ever.
And there were children. Lots and lots of children every where.
The road was a cul de sac on a steep hill with a little traffic island at the top of it. The road belonged to the children.
The children, the ice cream van and occasionally the Corona man.
Adults were tolerated in the road, however adults were not tolerated on the island, that was ours and only ours.
Then one day something bad happened. School. It was big and scary and full of children who seemed to know where to go and what to do. Best thing to do was hide under a desk.
The next day we all had to go back but it was ok because there was  little girl with dark dark hair in unruly bunches and deep brown eyes.
They took each others hands and skipped off to play witches under the trees.
Janet and Jane.
Janet had big brothers her house was full of noise and music and animals. 



Her garden was full of apples, boys, animals and THE SHED.
The shed was a mythical place, no child could cross its threshold.
We could peek in through a grubby window but if we were spotted we were shooed off.
Jim did important things in his shed.
We watched in awe as model aeroplanes came to life in front of us, engines were reassembled and fuselages were painted.
We could look, but not too hard. Even the clumsy looking of a small child may wreak havoc upon the delicate workings of Jim's model aeroplanes.



The path from number 7 down the hill and round the corner into the crescent to number 99 was well trodden.





All the time on the hill above us the red bricks of the Cathedral loomed.
None of us were particularly religious and yet the Cathedral was a constant presence in our lives.
When we were bored our Mum would often trudge us up the hill to the top and spend an hour or so exploring its chapels and grounds.



The scout hut where we went to discos was just at the bottom of the hill below it. The University where we spent countless summers playing in the ponds was right next to it. The Cathedral was just there, making its presence felt and keeping an eye on what we were up to.



Many many years later after we had all moved many times, grown up and had children of our own two things happened a post card came to light hidden in an old trunk in my mother's attic. 



Sent from Hastings, where I now live, by Janet to me. 
The boating pond is still there, the model railway is still there. 



Many things in life change but when I look at this picture of the two of us as teenagers I see in our faces exactly the people we will become.
The other was that Janet's Nana Joan passed away. I have written about Joan before its all here if you want to read it.
Somehow I ended up with all of Joan's old crafting fabrics and supplies.
Every thing I used in this piece, with the exception of the threads and a small piece of green gingham from our old school uniforms came from Joan's stash.



The hankie I used as a base for the embroidery was from a small pile of them she had kept in and amongst her fabrics. It was worn thin and frayed round he edges. It had a dark mark on it that had never washed away. I like to think it was from dabbing the grazed knees of her grandchildren.



I am hoping now I have stitched all my memories of this time, such a long time, though in reality only 6 years of my life, I will never forget how it felt to grow up in a place where the sun always shone and it was always hot and when it wasn't hot it was snowing.
A place where we all wore hand made party dresses and had scabby knees. 
A time of skateboards and skipping ropes.
A time when we took ferrets for walks on leads while singing along to the sound track of Grease and no one stopped to stare, or may be they did and we just didn't notice.
A happy time.
Love Nora xxxx
Linking up here

Sunday, 9 February 2014

THE DAY AFTER THE DAY BEFORE.

Today we wrapped up warm and snuggled up in front of the fire.
We were all a little jaded after a very late night in which 50% of the family over indulged in alcohol and mainly potato, cheese and egg based food. The other 50% ran about with a motley crew of like minded souls becoming over excited and over indulging in haribo.
Yesterday was a day when some of the things that used to take over all my spare time and space in my brain when I was in London seemed to re germinate. 
Workshops and mad community projects. 
For a fleeting moment I thought "This is one of the things I wanted to leave behind me when I left London". 
But really only a fleeting moment. It felt so good watching ideas take flight, does it matter if they get swept up in the morning with the rest of the party debris? I realised what I had been missing since we moved.


So with a befuddled head full of ideas we spent the morning making an accordion. 


Then we went out to do some wind powered skate boarding.


Look Mum, no hands!


Topped off with hot chocolate and cake to warm up frozen fingers.
Then home for pyjamas and more loafing about in front of the fire.
Night night, sleep tight, hope the bed bugs don't bite.
Love Nora xxxx

Saturday, 8 February 2014

POOR POOR KATE A YEAR LATE FOR THE PARTY.
Oh poor old Kate what a way to go.




I started Kate a year ago for this stitch a long. But before she was finished we moved and somehow she just didn't get done. 




Shame really because I only had the detailing on the trees to go and as I was stitching them I remembered how much I had enjoyed doing it.



I took the illustration from "The Gasley Crumb Tinies" by Edward Gorey. So I now have something to show for all the stitching I have been doing as part of the And Stitches finish a long.
To be honest I have already finished my hexie skirt but somehow the photos I took of it ran away from home and haven't been found yet. You may also have noticed an other version of this post appearing briefly last night. Somehow I managed to delete it after I had written and posted it.
How? Why? Who the hell knows. One moment it was there and the next gone. I did something silly, but I'm not sure what and it also disappeared. Oh well it was the end of a fairy stressful week when nothing ran smooth so I guess it was to be expected.
I love the way the embroidery sits in the centre of this only tray cloth. I am thinking of mounting the whole thing on to a piece of white felt as he tray cloth is very fine and doesn't have much stability.




At some point in its life this piece of cloth was really rather treasured. It has some tiny delicate patches of mending on it and a laundry mark stitched on to the back. The stitching of the original embroidery is exquisite. So happy someone decided it was no longer for them and got rid of it unloved to the charity shop where yours truly unearthed it, brought it home, loved it and gave it a new lease of life. Meaning the beauty of the original stitching won't be lost.
So thats it, I have now finished two of the projects I wanted to finish as part of the And Stitches finish a long
There is still some time left before my final piece is also late for its own party. Fingers crossed I can get it finished and posted here with no hiccups. I don't seem to have a great track record for this at the moment!
Love Nora xxx

Monday, 3 February 2014

MONDAY OH MONDAY.
Sometimes all the things that could and should have gone wrong over the weekend save them selves for Monday.
Sometimes runs of bad luck or problems you felt must have been put to bed as you left the school gates on Friday afternoon only went away for a quick visit to some other poor bugger. Sometimes it would be nice to go one day, just one simple day without a phone call from the school about one of the grubby little Herberts.
Sometimes you wake up on Monday morning hoping that the rock and roll injury you sustained at a six yr. olds party on Saturday must be better and are sadly disappointed seconds later.



Sometimes I really know how she feels.
But I wonder did her brother break the doll to wind her up, or did she smash it to the floor in a fit of pique, or has she staged the whole thing to get every one's sympathy?
And what kind of weirdo would send it as a postcard?
The truth as ever is in the unwritten spaces between the words.
Today has been crappity arse but it has also been quietly productive and thought provoking.
Tomorrow I should be able to show you what I've been up to.
Fingers crossed.
Love Nora xxx