Fantastic, thoughtful presents…

It’s better to give than to receive, apparently.  Hmmm.

People who know me well, know that I love giving presents and give them all the time as soon as I see them, and for no reason other than I think people will like them.  I have more or less stopped giving things I have made.  I can’t stand seeing good close friends (you know who you are) smiling bravely at some lumpy notebook you could never write in, or some horrible bag that only a particularly taste-free seven-year-old would like, or some badly mounted picture that you have to find houseroom for, particularly if we are about to descend for a visit.  But, I give a lot of books and stuff and like doing it.  I have blogged before about generosity being the way out of our current woes – I know it is as battily naive as you can get, but I am sticking to the position.

That aside, I had some totally lovely presents this year from people giving me stuff for my textile work.  These were often we were going to throw this away and then thought of you, which is nice in a sort of back-handed compliment kind of way.  And, anyone who quilts and is reading this will know that sinking feeling you get when people say, ‘I’ve got a bag of fabric for you,’ as you know it will be 75% polyester in garish colours and 25% crimpolene, and you will have to find an unsuspecting rag rug maker to shift it onto.  But this year was totally different and I got some utterly gorgeous stuff.  So this post is a photo gallery of Christmas presents I received very gratefully indeed.  I have not included the block of beeswax that my beautiful friend Ruth gave me, but that was delightful and fragrant and will be very welcome for bookbinding in 2012.  So here are some lovely treats Santa brought this year:

Glorious taffeta-type furnishing fabric samples from my Mother

Glorious taffeta-type furnishing fabric samples from my Mother

Gorgeous cotton tie-dyes from my Mother

Gorgeous cotton tie-dyes from my Mother

Gorgeous vintage brocade and golden gauze from Alison and David, and lace from Julie

Gorgeous vintage brocade and golden gauze from Alison and David, and lace from Julie

Lovely box of bits from Ceri

Lovely box of bits from Ceri

Just my kind of thing keyring from Meg and Edward

Just my kind of thing keyring from Meg and Edward

All will be coming soon in work in 2012…

Thanks again,

Ann

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Happy New Year

 

For the purpose of this post, 'Three French Hens'

For the purpose of this post, 'Three French Hens'

 

So, my New Year’s Resolution last year was to start a blog, which I did, and I think this is my 140th post.  Thanks to everyone who has read it and commented, either via the blog or in person.  It is lovely to think that it is a way for former students to keep in touch and for my colleagues in various countries to see new work, and sometimes get a bit of a preview of the conference season.

A quick post this year as it is New Year’s Day and still officially a holiday.

For about the last six or seven years I have made a doll on New Year’s Day.  I set myself the condition that it had to be doable in a day, and the idea was that it had a secret pocket or a bag or something which had a wish for the coming year.  Every year they became more sophisticated, until last year when they were very quick pipe cleaner dolls with big plastic beads.  Well, this year, My Grate Frend Ceri has invited me to lunch and frankly Ceri comes first so I thought I would cheat a bit this year and finish off the birds we started making before Christmas.  They were all cut out and ready to go, and I had made the legs, which was definitely the trickiest part.  So, I have ended up with what I have decided are three french hens on my mantlepiece.  They are nothing like hens, but we have to use our imagination.

Here they are in construction yesterday:

 

This is a very quick shot, taken with my phone and again the quality isn’t wonderful, but I rather like the way that the cutting mat in the background makes it look a bit like an identity parade or mug shot.

That photo was taken before the wings or eyes went on, which is when they really take on their personality.  Yesterday I used a heavy variegated machine quilting thread to zig zag round the wings and this gave them a gentle curve outwards which I really think adds to their character and ‘birdiness’.

 

Quite a commonplace thing struck me again in making this ‘series’ of three birds which is that using the same materials and the same pattern produced three such different birds.  The tail piece fitted on two out of three but one of them has a tail at least a centimetre shorter than the others.  And the first bird I made seems to be dashing forwards whereas the others are quite happy to stand upright.

Anyway, I shall have to find a cardboard box for them on 12th Night and put them away until Easter, probably.  But, as I said when I posted about making the first one, I am astounded at how tasteful they are and how much I enjoyed working with this elegant linen and finishing it properly.  I’m also happy that the fabric was salvaged for some faintly useful purpose and didn’t go straight into landfill.  So, on that happy note, from my and my new friend, Happy New Year: