Friday, 15 March 2013

Winter Sun

When I look out the window in the mornings all I see is grey drab winter weather, sometimes its frosty, the other day it even snowed but last week I was in Marsa Alam in Egypt and it was wonderful.  It was hot, hot, hot ranging around 25 degrees and one day it even reached 32 degrees.  This was the view from our balcony

A short walk away was the beach and a great photo opportunity.
I am sure this image has been photographed many times.

The sea was lovely and if you dared to dip your head under the water there was some lovely coral and beautiful marine fish just beyond the buoys which was easily reached even for me.

But the reason we were here was to not only enjoy the sun and the sea but we were here with Jamie Malden of Colouricious and Marilyn Pipe to stitch and print to our heart's content.
Following are some of the things we made, nothing too strenuous after all we were on holiday but it was lovely to be in such beautiful surroundings and be able to spend some time with new friends trying out new techniques.  To be able to spend a week (or even two) sun bathing, swimming, eating and stitching was just bliss after the cold, dark damp weather we had left behind in England.

The first day we made a fun book using dyed blanket fabric and woollen threads, a template was provided but we were free to design our own if we wanted.  It was quite quick to stitch but we could spend as much or as little time on it as we wanted.
The second day was a messy day  using glue and paper from old magazines which if I am honest I didn't enjoy.  Again it was a book and I used mine to press some of the beautiful flowers we saw growing around the grounds of the hotel.

The third day was back to stitching again thank goodness.  Marilyn showed us how to do ribbon embroidery on a piece of dyed Silk Noil and I really enjoyed this little project which was designed to be a needle book. One can never have enough needle books.

By the fourth day the sun and the relaxed surroundings had got to me so I am not sure exactly what we did.  Although I do remember a couple of the staff bringing us in some lovely fruit drinks, we were thoroughly spoiled.

I think we finished off what we had been doing earlier in the week and also we made what Marilyn called funky flowers or Lis's flowers because Lis from Denmark had asked her to show her how to make the felted flowers which Marylyn had hanging in her house.  I had only ever done felt embellishing on a machine so I found it really interesting to have a go at doing it with the special needle and a small piece of sponge.  We were also each given an opportunity to have a go with the clover brush and 5-needle felting tool which made it so quick and easy.
By the fifth day if my memory serves me correctly we were back to blanket books but with a more sophisticated air with the addition of organza and beads and buttons, very indulgent.

Towards the end of the holiday we were still clamouring for more so Jamie organised some block printing and dyeing, so on with the aprons and rubber gloves and plastic on the tables.

Amazingly the hotel had lots of old tablecloths which were not being used for one reason or another and they allowed us to print and dye them and bring them home for use later.  Such Fun! :-)

On the final morning we had a small exhibition to show the rest of the hotel guests and staff what we had been up to all week as they were all very curious.

When I look back over what we made we seemed to have done quite a lot but in reality we only spent an hour or two each morning after breakfast and then another hour or two each afternoon around 3pm.  In between times we were swimming, sunbathing or just lounging around reading, napping or walking along the sea shore.  Some of us (not mentioning any names) had a massage, pedicure, or manicures and all sorts of treatments which were available as an optional extra.  I can personally recommend the pedicure and the purple nail varnish! Whatever next!
All in all a wonderful holiday and I can't wait for next year. Maybe I'll see you there.

Bye for now.
P.s. If you haven't seen enough there are more photos on my flickr page here

Thursday, 3 January 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Nope! I don't do New Years Resolutions but I have been doing a lot of tatting and embroidery since the last time I blogged and the new year seems like as good a time as any to bring things up to date, if only to remind myself of what I have been doing.

 I have a couple of special embroidery projects that I am currently involved in which are set to get more intensive this year.  One of which is the Thistle Threads Cabinet of Curiosities on line Casket course and the other is a casket that I am making at workshops conducted with Nicola Jarvis and Lynn Hulse of Ornamental Embroidery.  So hopefully over the next few months I shall be updating my blog with info on these and other projects.