Thursday, 29 March 2012

David Hockney and a nice cup of tea

This week has been great!  I went to the David Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy.  My mum came to visit and we went off on the train together.  We arrived in time for our 11am entry and then crowded in with the hoards of people.  I really enjoyed the show.  I had watched Andrew Marr's programme a couple of weeks before and was really looking forward to it.  From the series of trees in all seasons as you go in, to the grand finale of The Arrival of Spring 2011 (twenty-eleven) there was a lot to see, with older and new paintings in the show.  My favourite 3 pictures were Late November Tunnel 2006, Woldgate Woods 21,23,29 November 2006 and Woldgate Woods 7 and 8 November 2006. They were all quite similar in colour tones (warm autumnal) which appealed to me.  But I thought the exhibition as a whole was quite compelling.  It was really interesting seeing the iPad sketches blown up and printed onto huges sheets of paper, and as a medium for drawing, it certainly piqued my interest.  Royal Academy link

You can see The Arrival of Spring (it has been a popular image to advertise the exhibition), but I did find a picture of Late November tunnel on the Daily Telegraph website (image 5):
David Hockney in Telegraph

It had a range of his work, from the early, post-student days, through to the most recent paintings in Woldgate Woods. The canvases of the Grand Canyon were particularly striking and vividly coloured, but there were also a series of watercolours that were beautiful in their own right.  You got a real sense of the accomplishment of the artist with a huge selection of works, from bold and colourful works, to immensely detailed but subtle.

I had a great day, and found it very enjoyable.  My mum noted that "He does like to dab, doesn't he?", but she is a huge Hockney fan and then proceeded to grab herself the accompanying tome and lug that home.

But before home, we stopped off at Fortnum and Mason and had a sneaky look around.  Inhaling all that opulence and splendour made us a little bit thirsty so we had a cup of tea and some apple strudel.  What a luxury...

And a lovely cup and saucer to drink out of. 
We had a final look around all the lovely kitchen wares (we were eyeing up the egg cosies, as neither of us were brave enough to tackle the Mollie Makes ones just yet, and then we set off for home.  I was a bit tired that evening....Ahhh.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Bring on the Rainy Days

My great news today is that I have finally finished my Amy Butler Rainy Days raincoat (cue masses of rapturous applause!!! Yey!).  After its humble beginnings in December 2010 to now.  I had seen the Amy Butler Sandalwood fabric and loved it and at the Festival of Quilts had bought 3m of the Ivory design in cotton.  When I saw that other Sandalwood designs in different colours had been produced in laminated fabric, I was on a mission.  I searched all around the UK (literally everywhere that stocked it - couldn't even find it in Liberty) and eventually happened upon it in the USA via Tinternet.  Luckily for me, I managed to get it back to the UK, and then it sat in a cupboard until my New Years Resolutions in 2011 were practically crushing me with their recriminations....

Finished mac (all pieces present and correct)

The pattern itself was very easy to follow, and I loved that Amy Butler has added so many useful details.  I was a bit nervous about not having a Teflon foot, as is suggested, but my Walking Foot came to the rescue with that, and allowed me to create fanastic (ie straight) seams and have it look really professional.  I now worship at the altar of edge stitching (Thank You Amy, for making my life a little happier with that tiny detail). 
Edge Stitching

I only did dressmaking when in Sixth Form (ahem, one or two years ago) and didn't take to it very well, but this pattern has really made me think I can achieve some good results as long as I apply myself and don't rush.  Oh, and be prepared to unpick when something goes wrong.  As it did, of course.  When I first sewed the lining to the exterior, the fit was awful, all the seams were ruched and I couldn't pull it around my middle!  My first reaction was to hide it away in a box at the back of the cupboard and not talk of this mac ever again, but then after giving myself a mental dressing down, I agreed with myself that it could not be a fault with the pattern (those lovely ladies on the cover wouldn't be looking as comfortable as they were) but more with the seamstress.  So I went back and looked again at my pieces, and realised that I'd sewed the front panels together and put them on the back and done the same with the back panels (gracing the front of the coat and pretending they had always meant to be there).  So after unpicking and resewing all the correct pieces in all the correct places, I had a much better fitting lovely, lovely mac!  I covered the buttons, and sewing them on with the suggestion of using flat buttons to stabilise on the back was a great idea.  It was my favourite thing of the whole mac.  I only had teensy-weensy buttons in the right colour, but I think they look very neat.

Teeny tiny little buttons on reverse

covered buttons,which were so easy to make

I am going to have a look at what fabric I have left, and see whether there's enough to make a bag to go with it.  Now, all I need to do is look out for rainy weather and I am ready to go!  Although, I do wonder how waterproof it will be...  Never mind, when does practicality ever get in the way of fashion?

Monday, 19 March 2012

Stitch and Craft

I had a great day at Stitch and Craft Show at Olympia on Saturday. Got up at 6.30am which was a bit of a shock to the system, but I needed that much time to ensure that hair, make up and presentable clothing was done in good time. The show was good. There was a knitted village, of which I took a few pictures. That last one is a little dog having a pee up the side of a lamppost. I love the things with a sense of humour!

There were also some fantastic pennants on display for Quilts 4 London. People from all over the world have made over 15,000 pennants to be given to the athletes coming to the Olympics and Paralympics. They were strung up all around the hall.

There was a beautiful yurt that Linzi Upton had made of quilts. There were some beautiful pieces there, especially one of a Moom Hare. I had a chat to her before the hoards descended and she was lovely. If I could camp in a yurt as comfy looking as that, I might even be tempted to take up camping. I say that with the sure fire knowledge that it is unlikely that I will EVER take up camping. It would make a lovely retreat for your garden!

Next post will be my soon-to-be-finished Amy Butler mac. Yey!

Thursday, 8 March 2012


I went to see Hugo yesterday (I'd missed it over Christmas - lack of willing small children agreeing to accompany me).  It was fabulous and just breathtakingingly shot.  A definite design source for any Steampunk fans.  Lots of cogs, clockwork and metal work.  And steam!  A beautiful story and I hadn't realised that I would need a tissue at the end.  I did think that it would have gone over very small children's heads as there were a lot of themes runnings through (the subject of loss ran very deeply through the film in relation to several of the characters), and it was a love letter to the beginnings of cinema which as an adult was wonderful to see.  I would defnitely recommend the Empire Seniors screenings to anyone.  Our little group got a few quizzical looks from various OAPs (due to our relative youth) but for £3 a ticket with a cup of tea and a biscuit thrown in, who's to argue?

I shall be looking at clock faces with renewed vigour from now on.  It has given me a few ideas!