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Archive for June, 2013

Fluff And Soap Suds!

Until today all my felt has been shop bought – things may well be changing at Pip’s Place however as I have spent part of my day off on a course learning how to make my own felt.  There are two methods that can be used to do this but our tutor, Mo Jackson, showed us how to create our own unique fabric using the wet felting method.

We used Merino wool which is very fine and soft and our task was to create a flower brooch.  We used a template and covered it in fine fibres in an assortment of colours, covered it in bubble wrap, got messy with soap and water, did a lot of agitating and ended up with some lovely results.  I chose a mixture of purple and blue for my creation and finished it off with a purple ball in the centre.

Very pleased with the result for my first attempt.  Expect to see something similar rolling off the Pip’s Place production line before too long, provided I can find some time to master the technique.

Here are some photos of the stages:

Mass of fluff

Mass of fluff

Add soap and water, turn it over

Add soap and water, turn it over

Add more fluff!

Add more fluff!

Get a good lather!

Get a good lather!

After some snipping and more agitating, a flower begins to appear

After some snipping and more agitating, a flower begins to appear

Voila!  The finished creation!!

Voila! The finished creation!!

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With the rest of the family busy doing other things yesterday, once I’d done my hour in the gym, I took myself off to Parham House to the Sussex Guild Contemporary Crafts Show.  Parham is beautiful, set in a park with huge mature trees and stunning views of the South Downs.  It lies on the A283 between Storrington and Pulborough and only took me about 30 minutes to get there.

The show was set up in a large marquee.  With it being so windy, there were times when the structure gave the impression of being about to take off but thankfully it had been securely anchored down although the constant noise must have been a bit distracting for the exhibitors who were there all day.

The work on show was of a very high standard and the prices reflected the skill and expertise of the craftspeople.  What struck me was the vast amount of people who make jewellery – all very nice, some of it stunning but none of it for me, even if I could have afforded it.  I had hoped to see a large selection of textiles but these exhibitors were in short supply although I did come across a lady who made her own felt from silk and turned it into gorgeous scarves.  There are two methods of making felt, wet felting and needle felting.  I am about to go on a 1/2 day course later this week to learn how to do the wet felting method so I mentioned this and asked if it was an easy process.  She wished me good luck so it seems it isn’t!

The Sussex Guild have a website http://thesussexguild.co.uk/ which is well worth a look.  They also have a shop and gallery in Lewes.

After a bowl of rather spicy carrot soup in the ‘Big Kitchen’ complete with a vast collection of copper pans and other equipment from yesteryear and a board with bells on marked ‘Drawing Room’ ‘Library’ etc,  I found my camera and went for a wander in the walled garden.  It was absolutely wonderful, full of perennials and shrubs in wide boarders all blending together beautifully.  The bees were having a field day!  There is an old green house and a shop where you can buy some of the lovely plants that can be seen throughout the garden.  At one end of the garden is a Wendy House which was built in the 1920’s for the owners 3 daughters (how lucky were they?).  It’s a perfect little cottage with a fireplace and an upstairs.

My trip was a real delight which ended back in the ‘Big Kitchen’ with a cuppa and a piece of chocolate biscuit cake! …

Here are some photos of the garden, the house is open too and you can see more on the website at http://www.parhaminsussex.co.uk/

Inside The Greenhouse

Inside The Greenhouse

Stunning Wisteria

Stunning Wisteria

Ouch!

Ouch!

Bee's Paradise

Bee’s Paradise

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My other half, Mark, is off on a bike ride tomorrow with his 18 year old son, Jack.  They will be covering the majority of the Downs Link Bridleway which starts in Shoreham (West Sussex) and runs all the way to Guildford (although they are only going as far as Cranleigh).  The weather forecast is for sweltering temperatures tomorrow and heavy downpours on Thursday so they will have all extremes to deal with – I’m so glad I’m not going – I am a fair weather cyclist (runner and walker too).

I have done the ride myself back in 2008 with Mark and we enjoyed our first Youth Hostel experience in Holmbury St Mary which was our overnight stop.  It was also my first experience of sleeping in a bunk bed!  The 40 miles on the first day were fine but the last 10 or so on the way back the following day were very tough.  Jack has my padded gel saddle cover but I fear for his comfort!!  I recall not really wanting to sit on the saddle for the last few miles!

So, with a whole evening to myself, what on earth will I do?  No dinner to cook, sandwiches to make or odd jobs to attend to … of course I could spend my time crafting, soaking in a lovely hot bubbly bath, reading a good book, chatting to a friend on the phone without interruption or a myriad of other self indulgent girly things.  But no, I will sacrifice all these and take #1 son out for something to eat (but not until the Champions Trophy Cricket semi-final is over – this is Andrew getting his priorities right!).  Having only just got him back from Uni there is much to catch up on.  So while the cats are away, the mice won’t exactly be playing but they will be enjoying each others company.  What could be better than that?

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Just for a change, a post about something other than crafty things – today’s subject is Cricket, specifically my day at the Ageas (Rose) Bowl watching England against New Zealand.

What a stunning venue – a lovely modern ground where it would be impossible to have a bad view no matter where you were sitting.  Getting there was a bit laboured however as you are directed to use the park and ride which is out of town near the airport.  No matter, it all worked well and we were in our seats with a few minutes to spare before play started – just enough time to make alterations to the scorecard so we knew who was actually playing!

With Finn and Broad still injured, England fielded the same team that lost on Friday at Lords.  My companion for the day, Andy, bemoaned the inclusion of one bowler, suggesting various alternatives and I took a photo of West Indian fast bowling legend turned Sky pundit, Michael Holding, who had stopped near us to sign autographs.

England had lost the toss and were bowling first.  NZ lost an early wicket to the superb Jimmy Anderson but the pitch was obviously good for batting and we witnessed an innings of class from Martin Guptil who scored a magnificent 189 not out and never gave England a sniff of  getting his wicket.   They finished their 50 overs on 359 and Guptil got a well deserved standing ovation from the crowd.

After some ‘interesting’ interval entertainment involving two small teams of men dressed in strange costumes, a large catapult and a flag, we settled down in the now blazing sun to watch England’s attempt to win the game by scoring 360.  A positive start with Captain Alistair Cook and Ian Bell playing some lovely shots but with their demise our mood changed and we witnessed a steady procession of batsmen come and go with the only resistance coming from Jonathan Trott who made his way steadily to a century but never looked likely to pick the pace up sufficiently for England to have a chance of victory.

And so it proved; another crushing defeat by New Zealand who I described on Facebook in a tongue in cheek manner on Saturday as ‘mighty’ but who actually fitted this description.  England left the area and the crowd left the venue with faces similar to the colour of the new England kit; England through embarrassment at their poor performance and the crowd from the glorious sunshine … now where did I put the After Sun lotion!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Michael Holding                   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Pavilion at the Ageas Bowl

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