Thursday, 22 January 2015

Commissions update - Snowdrops 2

The best travelled sampler!

Well, so much for being determined in March 2014 to get back on track this commission.

To be honest, progress was more or less non-existent until the Christmas break, but it must be in the running for the 'most travelled embroidery project' by now with numerous trips to Cardiff and Norfolk, not to mention Brussells, north Wales and Provence in 2014.  I'm really pleased (and hugely relieved) with how it is going now. There was a mild (understatement of the week!) panic over the weekend when I got to the last corner and realised that the two 'ends' were one thread out of line.  Yes ONE thread!!!  Aaargh!

But, I found where I'd gone wrong and thankfully it isn't as big a 'repair' job as I'd feared. So, last lap here I come.  Just one more repeat of the V shaped motif and it is on to the text of the poem for the central space.  I still have the white flowers to catch up on (daylight is an absolute MUST for these at this time of year), which I may still outline (watch this space).

I'd love to find a suitable font for the poem though.  The border is 'art nouveau' influenced and all the backstitch ones I've found so far don't really 'match'.  There are plenty of lovely cross-stitch ones around on-line, but I'm constrained now by the border, so it can't be too large.  I've found some nice 'print' fonts, which I may attempt to convert to backstitch (or at most, cross-stitch over one thread).  We'll see how much time I have.  I don't really want to 'spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar' this close to the finishing line though!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Nice colours

Ages ago, during my quest to design a sampler for my friend's little girl, I came across these gorgeous websites (thanks to Wild Olive's suggestions - I hope she won't mind me repeating them).  I came across them again whilst tidying up my draft blog posts the other day and got distracted by them all over again.

They have some scrumptious colour palette suggestions and I'm tempted to get lost in them again looking for some interior colour scheme inspiration.  This one could almost be the inspiration for the colours in our living room carpet.

They're a really good way of learning about colour too I think, especially if you're not that confident with mixing colours together (either in what you wear or things around your home).  Using an image you like - either one you've taken yourself, or one you've seen in a book, magazine, blog (!) etc - as the basis for a colour scheme is a great and simple idea.  All you need to look at is the blocks of colour and 'separate' them out (as these websites do for you) and, hey presto, you have your colour palette.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

Design Seeds
Color Collective blog
Creature Comforts Blog - color crush posts

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Stringing along

Just a short post today, to say that I'm rather pleased with myself for having recently learned how to knot beads.  It is fantastic what you can learn using t'internet!

This was a coral necklace that my DF bought for me on a work trip to Hawaii (I think), but it was threaded on wire and had somehow acquired a 'kink' and never lay flat.

Not perfect, but I'm chuffed how well it has worked.  And I've already have more use out of the necklace than I'd had before rethreading.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

More reading

Well, hello and welcome back!  And a happy new year to you all.  Once again, my apologies for my absence from the blogosphere.  I'm afraid that other pressures haven't given me much time or material to write to you.  So, going 'off piste' a little to get myself back in the mood, here goes.  In true SewandSiw fashion, it is almost a year since I've given you and update on my reading projects.

I have managed to catch up on two of my partly-read book that I mentioned last time, namely:
From the Holy Mountain - William Dalrymple (a bit of an epic journey to read about, but fascinating and an eye-opener in places)
Life of Pi - Yann Martel (It took me a while to get going with this, probably why I 'flaked out' last time, but really worth persevering.)

In addition I've also read:
Fall of Giants - Ken Follett (his books are always favourites and this was particularly timely as it is set during WW1)
Sieben Tage Ohne - Monika Peetz (some German chick lit about a group of friends going on a detox holiday (an oxymoron if ever I heard one))
The Lady of the Rivers - Phillipa Gregory (really the first in her Cousins' War series, but the last one for me to read.  As fascinating and gripping as all the others)
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies - alexander McCall Smith (one of the No1 Ladies Detective Agency series. Very entertaining and fun)
Mother tongue: a history of the English language - Bill Bryson (fascinating for a language geek like me!)
Bring up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel (after reading Wolf Hall, I just HAD to read the second in the series.  I couldn't put it down - just like Wolf Hall)
One Step Behind - Henning Mankel (the start of a crime-fest after some history)
The shape of water - andrea Camilleri (the first of the Inspector Montalbano books - although they're crime books, they are quite funny and you really get a feel for Sicilly, especially with Salvo's obsession with food!)
The terracotta dog - andrea Camilleri
The snack thief - Andrea Camilerri
The voice of the violin - Andrea Camilleri (I'd bought a boxed set of 10 of his books!!)
Enigma - Robert Harris (having bought this for Dad after our visit to Bletchley Park and before going to see The Imitation Game, I wanted to 'get into the mood'.  A brilliant read - but don't watch the film with Dougray Scott and Kate Winslett within a few days of finishing the book or you'll be spotting all the errors and omissions for much of the film and annoying anyone else in the room!)
Labyrinth - Kate Mosse (I started this on a 7-hour return train journey from Provence and to DH's amusement I kept saying 'I'm not sure what to make of this', to which he replied, 'Well, you seem to be getting through it despite not being sure!'.  I think it was the sinister undertones that were putting me off, but well worth a read)
Treason's Daughter - Antonia Senior (the author was at uni with my BIL and the book was given to DH by his brother and as I like history novels I decided to give it a go.  It is set during the Civil War, which isn't a common period for history novels, and on the whole I enjoyed it.  I was a little disappointed that the title and the blurb gave the impression that the main protagonist is a woman, but it really follows her story AND her two brothers through the Civil War.  I can't decide what I think about the ending either)
The constant Princess - Phillipa Gregory (the first in her Tudors series. Looks like I'm on a bit of a history-fest again!)
The Other Boleyn Girl - Phillipa Gregory (guess what!  I'm going to try to read the whole series now, although I may take a break 'en route' for some more crime!).