Sunday, 4 October 2009

Christmas come early!

This is a long post today, so cosy up, put the kettle on, make yourself a nice cup of tea, plump up your cushions and put your feet up ...

After this I will be taking a teensy weensy blog break so that I can catch up with some things at home, wrapping parcels, emails, paperwork, filing, accounts, cottage renovations and textile workshops ... I hope I won't be away too long!

Here is my mosaic for Mosaic Monday - full of fine things for Autumn into Winter time - a favourite season for so many of us! I hope you enjoy the mosaic. Thank you to all the artists who are featured here for their wonderful work and photographs on flickr!

1. Body Bag - The Effects of Ageing 2. Red Background Errors 3. Cold Winters Morning 4 4. Frozen Berries 5. Frosty Hydrangea 6. Textile Landscape 7. Fruit of the Larix 8. Inspired by Nature 9. Leaf Ice

Is it Christmas already? It's felt like it this week!

After the huge disappointment of not making it to The Creative Stitches Show at Exeter last weekend (I've been looking forward to it all year and saving my pennies!) I've had some wonderful surprises, gifts, treats and some on-line retail therapy which has more than compensated!

Actually, it's been one of those weeks where I've been so completely spoilt rotten that I hardly dare show you all the wonderful things that I've received over the last couple of weeks, but I will because they are too gorgeous not to show you!!!!

Starting with these wonderful Christmas pendants I received from Lynda of Diva Designs

Now I've no idea how she makes them but they are gorgeous, as are all her designs, and I've had one of her pendants on my wish list for a very long time. I love the olde fashioned raspberry coloured primitive style Santas and they look fab as pendants

Cathy Cullis, one of my favourite artists, made this beautiful stitched heart for me

I commissioned the heart in red stitching because I loved the words Cathy stitched which are all favourite thoughts

in dreams
kisses in a secret garden
the darkest roses are in bloom
blackbird song
echos in twilight

This beautiful monoprint in red ink was a gift to me from Cathy

As soon as I saw "FragileThings" I had to have it from her heart series of work, again for the wonderful stitched words. On the back Cathy has used some fabric that she dyed with St. John's Wort which came out a lovely warm reddy brown terracotta and I was so interested to see it as mine didn't come out anywhere near as vibrant as hers. Cathy said she was glad the heart came to live with me as she was thinking of me when she stitched some of the words, probably because we both love the gifts of the seasons, autumn leaves and seedpods

fragile thingsautumn leavesseed podsfeathersrain cloudsfading photographspoems
y heart

I also adore Cathy's poems at Nevering and her latest poem "And the bird" touched my heart

And the bird saidI want a homea home with dry moonlightberries, moss, mothsAll the things a bird who is truecollects together and makes her ownEverything and nothingfor my heart is a home in itself

Cathy's card

I was also delighted to read the wonderful birdie poems by another Cathy of Menopausal Musing. Do pop over and read "First Flutters"and "A Little Bird Told Me" ... they are a delight!

The next thing I would really love to share with you is a darling piece stitched by dearest Viv of Hen's Teeth

Viv knows that my Dad is not well (and won't be getting better) and I've been all nostalgic and sentimental recently. I sent Viv this photograph of me as a little girl with my Dad. It was taken in Rosemary's garden. It was a hot summer's day and we all posed for various group pictures

Rosemary was my Mum's penfriend for a long, long time and she lived in a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by fields and flowers

Look at this beautiful fragile darling stitched piece that Viv gave me. My photo does not do it justice. There is a beautiful softness about the piece. The photo is transferred to silk and has a lovely delicate look about it. Viv has chosen the loveliest fabrics and stitched tiny little flowers that perfectly remind me of Rosemary's garden all brought together with my favourite dark red thread, carefully chosen buttons and a rusty heart. It is so me! It is so her! I absolutely adore it

Between us we called the piece "Rosemary's Garden"

I will never be able to thank Viv enough for this treasure. It is going on the front cover of a journal of stitched collages from my "Calico Journal" series of pieces which I am quietly working on. The stitched pieces will be sewn to a calico book eventually

I cannot wait to show Viv's piece to my Mum who will love it as much as I do. This is now a family heirloom which will be treasured and loved forever

This is the red thread that Viv used, alongside a print Viv sent me of her lovely quirky birdie drawings and one of her delightful moo cards. Oh wow! I am a lucky, lucky girlie xx

Rosemary's Garden is a hard act to follow but I could not believe my luck when I won one of the bestest giveaways ever! I jumped around for joy for days when this arrived ...

"Nature Inspired" by Tracie Lyn Huskamp of The Red Door Studio. If I had not won this book it would have been top of my wish list. It is full to the brim of beautiful altered art inspired by nature, nature's finds, birds, seed heads, flowers and inspiring mixed media workshop projects for gathering, sketching, painting, journalling and assemblage. It is an invitation to make a Gathering Journal. This could not be more perfect for me. Every day I gather, gather, gather ... leaves, pressed flowers, seed heads, berries, feathers, pebbles, shells, seaweed, driftwood, found things. Now this book is so wonderful ... you must check it out if you love the same things as me ... you will want it!

I wrote about blackbirds to win this book ...

My favourite bird is the English garden blackbird. They are so cheeky and have such comic personalities. I feed three families of them and it's an absolute delight to have them in my garden. They are very naughty and come and sit on my windowsill and peer in at me or fly up against the window when they have eaten all the sultanas I give themI enjoy seeing the baby birds grow and watch their colours change from the tail end to the neck, then mature and bring their own babies the following yearSome of them are more interested in the pecking order than in actually getting their share of food, preferring to spar with the other blackbirds. I wag my finger at them and tell them to stop fighting! They tilt their heads, they are listening!It is a joy, they are so funny and they cheer me every day!

These are some of the beautiful altered art stitched collages that Tracie Lyn has made that are featured in her book

Tracie Lyn generously shows how the collages are constructed including how to alter and enhance the birds from photographs

On top of winning the book Tracie Lyn also sent me this beautiful signed original piece of altered art ...

... and this gorgeous signed limited edition print, all of which came beautifully wrapped in tissue paper, large white net bow and an original birdie tag signed by Tracie Lyn. I am very, very thankful for the wonderful gifts. They will be treasured and enjoyed forever

I would really like to have a go at the bird collages from Tracie Lyn's book some time

This is the front cover of a Ladybird book about birds and inside there are lots of lovely birdie images (for personal use only, of course)

Also there is a lovely bird image on this first day cover of Textiles stamps that I have that I could use

Tracie Lyn's work

I have lots of gathering boxes like this, on the go. Can you see the bullet I found (bottom right)? I found it in a granite stone wall up near the Steeple. I also found what looks like an old doctor's instrument in my garden. It is intact still with the glass in. I would love to know what it is. I must take both objects to the local museum to see what they make of them. I must do that soon and let you know what they say!

So, I had some saved up money for The Stitches Show and it was burning a hole in my pocket so I decided to do some on-line retail therapy instead

I treated myself to some new wool as I always get the urge to knit at this time of year. I got some gorgeous Colinette Point 5 yarn in these colours:


Summer Berries

And I bought books because I love to be inspired by the art of others and follow the workshops and projects at home on my own. I renewed my subscription to Cloth Paper Scissors which just expired and I got these:
  • Kim Thittichai's Experimental Textiles
  • Linda Kemshall's Issue 1 of Threefold
  • Sabrina Ward Harrison's Spilling Open
  • Sandra Meech's Connecting Art to Stitch

On Friday I had my first "blind date" with a dear blog buddy who is down on holiday in St Ives. We got on like a house on fire, as I knew we would, and I will tell you more about it when I'm back and show you the wonderful inspiring gifts she gave me

If you made it to the bottom thank you for reading my long and winding ramblings. If I owe you an email I'm sorry I've been very remiss in replying to emails lately. Watch your box for a reply soon! I hope to be back blogging again on Saturday 24th October when I think it will be time for another giveaway! So I hope to see you then!

Bye for now

Carolyn ♥


Diane said...

That was a post and a half - I don't know where to start with my comments. All of the pieces (especially the hearts and the collage with the photo) are really gorgeous. You must be so delighted with them. So sorry to hear about your dad. xxx

Lyn said...

Some beautiful things in this post. I love birds and want to try and get some into something creative too.
Hope you get lots done.

Tally said...

That for sure was a long post :-)
Just to pick a bit (pick like a bird?):
I love this bird poem.
Rosemary's garden is a delight, although the reason for letting it getting done is rather sad (wish you and your family the best). In Nov I will take a workshop on working textile memories. This could have been a result. I was thinking of my Dad, who died young, too. But it still is hurting too much and I don't have an idea. Maybe I come back to this piece to meditate about it.

Have a good time during your blog break
Happy automn
*with fall storms around*

Chrissie said...

Well, lucky girl, what treasures you have shared with us! I was talking about you as I scrambled around the cliffside botanic gardens at Cap Roig on the Costa Brava last week, explaining about 'gathering bags' to my husband. Unfortunately, the gardens are so well-tended there wasn't really anything to gather ...! Looking forward to your return to blogging. xxx

Doreen G said...

That looks like Christmas and Birthdays all rolled into one.
What beautiful gifts Carolyn and they couldn't have gone to a nicer person.
Have a great break and I look forward to reading more when you return.

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

What a lovely post, so visually exciting and interesting - from magenta roses, to the richly coloured yarns and Tracey's beautiful birds. Viv's recreation of Rosemary's Garden is a joy! Come back soon! Lesley

Sharne's Bit 'n' Bobs said...

Thank you for sharing all your gifts. I love Rosemarys garden, what a wonderful treasure. So sorry to hear about your Dad, Enjoy your blog break, I will look forward to reading what you get up to on your return.

PatStudio said...

well, i'd say you compensated very very well. and good for you. beautiful objects and lovely post too

Jacky said...

What a wonderful, wonderful post. I have enjoyed taking my time, reading all about your goings on, your thoughts and your lovely gifts from friends. So many beautiful things, really warms the heart.
I was saddened to hear about your father, but what a gorgeous piece 'Rosemarys Garden' is for you at this sad time.
I love the words and poems and am about to head off visit a few of the blogs you have mentioned.
Enjoy your little break and look forward to seeing you again later in October.

Jacky xox

~ Phyllis ~ said...

Your blog post is a feast for the eyes.
I'm so sorry about your Father.
I know you will treasure Rosemary's Garden. It's lovely.
Enjoy your break.
We will miss you.

Gunnels blog said...

What a beautiful blogpost, as usual! Carolyn; you are my favouriteblogfriend at the moment! but I don know how much time it takes, and we have more to do, havn´t we? So much lovely things you have sharing here with us. I really love both Cathy´s and Viv´s art, they are really great artists!
Sorry to hear about your dad.... And of course you mum also will love the collage from Viv! Have a really nice blogbreak !!!
Gunnel xxx

Gina said...

You were right... it was long! But so many wonderful things to look at - what a feast for the eyes! Come back soon Carolyn.

Menopausal musing said...

A cracking good read, so full of wonderful visual treats. Thanks for mentioning me. Enjoy catching up, hope you get everything done and more..........
The piece of work with your dad on it is an absolute work of art.
Lots of people will be thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post. So many beautiful words and images.Rosemary's garden is so special and I am sure you will treasure it always. So sorry to hear about your Dad. We will all miss your wonderful posts and will be thinking of you.
Penny xxx

Gez said...

Hi Carolyn. Gosh, what a beautiful post...your pendants look fabulous. I am very sorry to hear about your thoughts & prayers are with you.xx I hope you can find comfort in your Rosemary's Garden, it is so beautiful & absolutely perfect. Well Done on your win! Enjoy your new book. I look forward to seeing what you come up with. :-) I love your gathering boxes...fancy finding a bullet.

Take care my friend. Hope you get everything done that you need to & find some 'me' do whatever your heart fancies.xx

Thank you for taking the time to blog for us it's always uplifting to stop by.xx

Mmm...enjoy your new wool. You have inspired me to get me needles out!

Love & hugs.

Chris Gray said...

Love the blog post Carolyn! ...and all the lovely pics to boot...

Sorry to hear about your Dad ...

... all Dad's are VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE aren't they...

..I miss mine terribly....

Clare W said...

What a mouthwatering blog post! x

Julia said...

It felt like Christmas to me too, seeing all the delicious pictures of gifts unfolding! I do love Viv's piece that she made for you, its so very beautiful.
Have a happy blog break, and I look forward to your return!

Love Julia x

Hens Teeth said...

Dearest C,
Beautiful and interesting post.
So very happy, you are pleased with Rosemary's Garden, it was a pleasure to work for you.
Cathy's pieces are too gorgeous for words and I have Tracey's book...I met her at the Festival of Quilts this August and purchased her book from her. She is a lovely lady. Just like you.
Much love X

JP said...

what an interesting post - Iam so glad the postman has bought you a bit of joy - this post has really stirred me up to get going with some things as Autumn draws in tho' we have had some lovely weather lately - I sha;ll miss your posts but look forward to seeing what you have created

libbyquilter said...

hello Carolyn~!~what a treat of a blog post~!!~

the Christmas pendants are WONDERFUL and i'm looking forward to checking out Lynda's blog.
also love Cathy's art and her "And the bird said" poem is so very sweet~!!~

the news in regards to your father is quite sad and my heart goes out to you. i lost my own father when he was only 53 years old and although it's been nearly ten years ago, the loss is still very sad . . .
however, the Rosemary's Garden piece that Hens Teeth created using your photograph is truly special and will serve as an ongoing reminder of everything you love about your father and the unique relationship that the two of you share.

i'm now going to be on the hunt for the "Nature Inspired" book as it looks like my sort of lovely art to admire too~!!~
it's no wonder that you won it as your written bit about blackbirds was so charming~!~ coincidentally, the upcoming SPA challenge is blackbirds and i'm looking forward to what i can turn out for it . . . blackbirds happen to be one of my favorites too, despite their tendency towards quarellsome naughtiness.

between your delicious post, your gathering box treasures and Tracie Lynn's work, i'm now itching to make a start on my own blackbird piece~!!~


p.s. always lovely to visit your blog as well as have you visit mine and i will miss you while you take your break. i do hope that it yields everything that you need it to and am already looking forward to when you post again.

Seth said...

What a spectacular post. So full of beauty and inspiration. The treasures that you received are all so special and unique. What a great mail week. Thanks for the info on the books too and for your beautiful mosaic. Enjoy the break!!

Judy Scott said...

Hi Carolyn such a beautiful post, so much wonderful treasure both in images and words, Im so sorry to hear abour your dad ~ your stitched collage is such a lovely keep sake. Take care and hope your break goes well, lots of love Judy xxx

Ro Bruhn said...

What a fabulous post, so much to take in. So sorry about your father. The work by Cathy Cullis is delightful. I love the song of the blackbird too, we do get them over here, but not the thrush. Our magpies make the most melodious sound, once heard never forgotten.

missy k said...

Lovely long post.... all your 'goodies' sound gorgeous... I especially love 'Rosemary's Garden'.. it is a treasure.

Have an enjoyable blogging break... look forward to reading all about what you got up to when you are back!

Love Karenxxxx

Rebecca said...

Carolyn, thanks so much for including my piece in the mosaic. Love your blog!

The White Bench said...

Gosh Carolyn! What a yummy post!! I love all, I am going to re-read this with a cuppa and some cookies handy ;))
As for your question, I use to dry my pumpkins on a shelf in my kitchen. I do not think they need dark as flowers need, I always got wonderful results this way (I use to dry some each year to give as gifts)! My only tip is to 'cuddle' them, checking regularly (they tend to go mouldy) and turn them upside down often. That's it. When they are light they are ready for the 'artistic treatment' :))
Hugs, and enjoy your break and your pretties!

Primchick said...

Yummy things.... love love love rebecca sowers work... Have a great blog break...!!
Marion ;0)

jackie said...

Thank you for your lovely comment. I think you have had an early Xmas.
Cathy and Hens Teeth's work are some of my favourites.

Anni's Art said...

Thanks for your sweet comments on my blog it gave me the opportunity to visit your wonderful blogs,love the tutoriel makeing leafs of scrap, so many fine things you have received, Rosmary's garden is wonderful, and the birds, love them.

Val said...

As I was reading your post I kept thinking WOW! that is just gorgeous. When I get to leave a comment everyone else has said all I felt too! Wonderful post Carolyn and you are truly blessed to have such supportive friends.

bad penny said...

just home - what a feast to catch up on !

Ticking stripes said...

Beautiful words, pictures and sentiments. Lovely.

Jackie said...

I enjoyed that. Have a lovely blogbreak, don't worry about replying.

bad penny said...

Hi ! pop over to The Hen House for an award...sorry it's not red ! xx

jude said...

what a loaded post. no wonder you need a break...
sorry about dad...
xx said...

I loved your wonderful post! I seem to do rather long ones, but I only post once a week! Love your blog, its gorgeous and full of treats. I found you over on bad pennys blog! Suzie. xxx

allison said...

A great and lovely post :), beautiful art, photos and words.
I hope you are fine and enjoy your break.
We wait for you and your future posts!

Dot said...

What a beautiful and heartfelt post Carolyn! I enjoyed every photo - especially the ones of the collage Viv stitched fof you in honor of your dad. They bought a tear to my eye.
And Cathy Cullis's work is gorgeous! A few years ago I bought a doll from her and it has remained one of my favorite dolls. Love how her art has evolved.
Your blog is a feast for the senses!
Dot xx

Diva Designs Jewelry said...

Hi, Carolyn. I am so sorry I didn't see your wonderful post about the pendants until now. Thank you for your comment on the blog today, and I am so sorry to hear about your father. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers, my friend.

I am so happy you like the pendants. I call them my Carolyn Santas and I will never make another with a neutral background, in honor of you! :)

You are the best, and thank you so much for the lovely mention. Take care of yourself!


silverpebble said...

This is such a moving post Carolyn. What a beautiful thing Viv has made for you. Your most recent post, 'Autumn walk' is a very thoughtful image. I do hope you are holding up OK. Sending thoughts. Emma x

Cathy said...

Wow, so many lovely things to read and see on your blog. I am very behind with my blog visits. I am being intrigued and led astray when I should be doing my own blog...haha. I love the gift from Viv. It is so beautiful. Her work is gorgeous.

Also everything Cathy Cullis does is wonderful. I always go to her blog on Mondays to see her mosaics. Her works are real collector's pieces.

Have a nice rest on your blog interlude. We need them every so often to catch up with everything.

Cerejeira said...

Your work is beautiful!
How do you embroider the text???
Beautiful!!! tears... no sufering ... the former things will past away.

jeanamarie said...

hope you are able to spend some quality time with your dad - sorry to hear he is not well. so many beautiful things in this post - i love cathy's work too - so very lovely xo

mimilove forever said...

Sending virtual hug to you and waht a beautiful piece to treasure from Viv x

Kickcan and Conkers said...

Wow - what a super post! You have received some beautiful work from some extraordinary artists. It really is a pleasure to see so many special things together. Lucky you!

Amy said...

Look at all the birds..what a treasure to behold!!! Love all the images you shared here. The pillows are so sweet!