Sunshine on gloomy winter evenings

The days seem so short at this time of year. Cold and dark, the winter evenings seem to stretch out for longer than the hours record, and it makes me want to hunker down. In need of honing my embroidery skills for my Creative Practice, I set out to make something to brighten my spirits. 

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I started with a sample of linen I had dyed, somewhat unsuccesfully, with red cabbage leaves. I say unsuccessfully, because I was hoping for something much more vibrant instead of the pastel lavendar I ended up with. 

I folded the sample in two and manipulated the top layer into folds using running stitches and concealed buttons and secured the whole thing in a hoop.

To give me the colour hit I needed, I was clearly going to have to raid the kitchen cupboards. I boosted the background with some vinegar from a jar of pickled red cabbage (keeping a theme going!) which I dripped on, before dribbling on water mixed with spirulina powder.

My dear late dad had been an enthusiastic cross-stitcher in his later years and it felt special to be able to use some of the threads he had accumulated and which had not been touched in the years since they had come into my possession.

Such a lot of choice! But a great chance to play! 

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No constraints, just experimental stitching, to see what worked or didn’t.

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It felt like a lovely way to bring some life and colour into the winter gloom. And I learnt some useful lessons to carry forward for my next MA project. Happy, happy!

New Year, New Start

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that after the frenzied activity of Christmas you have settled back into a calm and productive start to the new year. For me it’s definitely productive, but I can’t say it’s ever very calm!

Christmas for me was very busy with lots of socialising, far too much food and a more or less absence of structure. Lovely while it lasts but it’s nice to be back into a routine of sorts again. 

My lovely family gave me some exceptionally thoughtful gifts:

cosy hat and mittens…

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…and a tin of Kendal Mint Cake (to encourage more walking in 2018)…

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…stainless steel straws set (no more single use plastic straws)…

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…zero-waste shampoo and conditioner...

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and 2 huge trugs for the allotment (our old ones are so on their last legs.

Modest gifts you might say, but totally in keeping with my ethos of buying less and well. Thank you!

For most of us, Jesus has been put back into his box for another year. 

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For those of you with a Christian faith, you might like the following verse which I think is inspirational for a fresh new year.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11 

In a world of failing plans, weak leadership, poverty and pollution, it’s an enormous comfort to know that God has a plan! And He will carry it out.

Wishing you all a safe, prosperous and creative year!