Friday, 31 December 2010

Snow Dyeing

Whilst the snow was on the ground I thought it would be a good time to use up the Dylon dyes I made up earlier this year........ Quick look on Google and away I went. My quick look was too quick..... I missed out the need to drain the snow as it melted and  the dye so it didn't puddle in the bottom of the tray. Lesson learned and some usable material, so all not lost.

Christmas tree

In the 1970s I found a wallpaper shop that sold unusual tree ornaments at Christmas time. These were admired by my mum who asked me to buy one each for two of her sisters Ada and Lily. They soon were asking me to get three special ornaments so they could have one and give one to each of the other sisters. So each year I had to get 3 lots of 3 different ornaments and carry them carefully home as they were glass. Mum died and I mentioned at the celebration of her life how the 3 sisters had this little ritual and to look on the Christmas tree for the man in the moon, two children on a sledge, a child wrapped around a huge snowball, a mini car, the funny doll like figures, the polar bear with lantern, the coffee pot, clock, turkey, owl etc. After the service, the tree ornament story had brought back many memories so I invited her only surviving sister, Ada, some nieces and her daughter in law to come and take their pick of some of mums collection of tree ornaments. Others asked if they could have some to remember her by because they remembered the fuss that Aunt Lilly and Aunt Ada and my mum made of the Christmas tree.

frozen pond and the birds

Not far from where I live is a public park, East Park, one of several in Hull. The pond in it was dug out during the great depression when work was scarce. Men turned up with sacking tied to their feet as they had no boots to work in.
During the summer we have masses of Canadian geese and see them later in the year practising flying in V formations before they fly off for winter pastures.
Some birds stay and do not venture off. Here they are on the frozen lake. They come waddling towards any human in the hopes of food.
From the footprints in the snow on the lake many people have walked across it and while I was there I saw a man walk across with his dog ! Must be the first time in years that the fire brigade hasn't had to rescue anyone who had fallen in while "testing" the thickness of the ice.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Ice on the fountain Kingston Upon Hull UK

In 60yrs I have lived here I have never seen the fountain like this. Its like a fantastic ice sculpture. Talked to someone who said they had been to photograph it daily as it is growing and changing all the time.
The fountain is surrounded by flower beds which are spectacular when in flower. It is laid out like wheel with the fountain as the hub and the footpaths the spokes of the wheel. The fountain was refurbished a few years ago and now is sometimes lit up at night which is quite romantic.
Behind the trees is the old victorian Queens Dock which was filled in before I was born and is now known as Queens Gardens. It is laid out as public park where concerts and other entertainments are held. The statue of William Wilberforce was originally just across the road from the fountain but now is at the other end of Queens Gardens.
I have NEVER seen anything like this, it shows how unusual the weather is. Minus 6 today.                                                                                                               AND the downstairs loo is FROZEN at home !!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

more angels

Abbie and Ellen aged 8yrs and 6yrs who live next door made these 3litre bottle angels with me and now they take pride of place in their sittingroom. Each wanted different wings. Didn't they do well?

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

bottle angel

The bottle angel can be made on any size bottle.  The circle of fabric, we use net curtain, is double the length of the bottle. A length of the header (where you slot the curtain rod or wire) is used for the arms. The head is made from ladies tights  or some stretchy fabric that can be stuffed to  the right size and fasten around the neck of the bottle. The circle of fabric has a hole in the middle for the head and two slots for the arms. Wiggle the head through the hole for the head in the net curtain and remodel the head back into shape. Tie a ribbon at each end of the arm material for the hands. Thread the arm through the arm hole at one side around the back of the bottle and out of the other hole. Flip it inside out and glue the base of the head to the bottle lid. Turn it the right way round. Tie a ribbon under the arms, add some wings and some hair, a face if you like and its done. If see through material is used cover the bottle with paper or material before you start.The nativity can be made in the same way. I have made these out of plastic carrier bags for outdoors. I attached them to a stick and secretly placed them in a neighbours garden. I managed to make a circle of them around a central bush without being rumbled. I used to make these with children for the angel parade workshops.

look well to this day

It was suggested that I google the poem, why didn't I think of that ? So I did. the longer version is as follows.
"Look well to this day, for it is life, the very life of life.
In it lies all the realities and verities of existence: *
the bliss of growth, the glory of action, splendour of beauty.
For yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow only a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day, for it and it alone is life.
Such is the salutation of the dawn.
Another translation has at this point * Joy of growth, splendor of action, glory of power instead of "bliss of growth" etc.
Apparently it is an ancient Sanskrit Proverb.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

human beings?

I checked out lyns blog (liniecat blogspot usually gets me there) and then checked out the blogs she follows. When I read stinkwanink blog, it made me smile as it reminded me of when I was 16yrs old, in hospital on the dangerously ill list. As  I laid there I pondered on many of life's great questions ie. what it meant to be a human being.  As I recovered I was wheeled through to the day room and a magazine plonked on my lap and left there on my own. In the middle of the page was a verse in a box so it stood out. "Look well to this day for it is the very life of life, every today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well therefore to this day." It was longer but that's all I remember and still remember to this day. When I got home I eventually got around to thinking more about what it means to be a human being and looked it up in a dictionary. To be human was different to being an animal because we have a conscience and be-ing meant a continuous state of to-be. Be is present tense for live or exist and Ing is active and in the present. So as eggs and sperm we were in a state of to-be and in the womb we went through several stages constantly changing be-ing until born when we change again. We change throughout childhood, puberty and adulthood always in a state of to-be. To be what?  That is where I left it and reminded myself of the verse, Look well to this day for it is the very life of life and grew up ! The next time I remembered the Human being thing was when I did a Fine Art degree as a mature student and it impressed the tutors !

Saturday, 4 December 2010

snow, snow , snow

The weight of the snow has snapped guttering brackets at the front of the house and added a worrying "belly" to the guttering at the back. The snow keeps dropping of the roof and blocking both my front door and back ! My "bus shelter" with the Wall in has a good 8" of snow on top and the polycarbonate roof is beginning to bow slightly.
I tried to dislodge the snow on the bellying guttering at the back of the house and started an avalanche of roof snow, I got covered and ended up in 2feet of snow (already standing on 18inches of snow). In seconds the snow was freezing round my wellies and I had to be dug out!
I know other parts of the world cope with this yearly but it really is rare in the UK especially this time of year. The last time I remember it like this was 1996 and before that in the late 1970s/early 1980s.
My lovely neighbours have cleared my drive daily but as its continuing to snow they are now just clearing a path to my house which is all I need really and the front garden is already full of snow...... where else can we put it ? The another neighbour gets me some shopping when she or her mother goes to the supermarket and another neighbour takes me to hospital clinic appointments and brings me home again. I am so very fortunate with my neighbours.

Monday, 29 November 2010

box for a box

Someone gave me this box of wine to finish, just pop it in the fridge and help yourself whenever you fancy a drop they said. Hmm. Too easy to drink more than I intended so I'll stick to bottles. At least they come with a built in guide, bottle half empty, or bottle empty !
Anyway, the box came in handy for a spot of weaving. Folded magazine paper, folded so that the edges are folded inside for strength. Just needs a quick varnish now to strengthen it. Handy sized box.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

lovely day today

The snow came down to a depth of 4inches, and fell in big proper snowflakes like white cornflakes fluttering down. Magical ! Snow like this is unusual and its so early as well. The phone never stopped ringing which is quite unusual too. AND I had a couple of hours with the neighbours children making bottle angels. (they call me nonna jean ) I first made plastic bottle angels in the year 2000 for the Angel Parade on a rundown housing estate. I was involved with it for a few years. The idea has spread to two other estates across Hull. So for 10yrs I have run workshops for it or have seen my ideas reproduced year after year in three areas of Hull. Great ! Love it!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

another follower !

Hi and welcome whoever you are ! I am still amazed anyone reads this stuff ! I discovered the Stats button/tab whatever its called and was amazed at the list of countries that would appear to have looked at my blog.  Doing a blog is all part of a conspiracy to drag me into the 21st century and getting to grips with all the gadgets TV controls and handsets oops, no, they are remotes, must get the lingo right! All I need is to borrow next doors children because they know how to do it ! I think they are born with it nowadays. OK so I can use a mobile phone although I resisted for years. I do find them useful when the name of something or other that I couldn't remember suddenly pops into my mind and I can text whoever I was talking to......before I forget it again !! Lol.  Now if I was competent with computers I would know how to "talk" to my followers but I'm not! I tried to do a message but it would seem I have to follow my own blog to be able to do it.??? So a big hello to anyone who stumbles across my blog and I hope you find something you like.

Sunday, 7 November 2010


I faffed about with a crumpled tissue background, a collage of old sheet music and novel pages, a painted cream background and none of them looked right. I knocked back the cream to off-white and that that seemed to work best. Not that it that it looks much different in the photo.The blue-green wool blanket backing was simply blanket stitched and stuck down to the canvas and I decided that would "do". Think I will make them smaller now, on a single wool backing and extend the idea to more robin like colours, a christmas tree, a fairy and maybe stars and presents. We'll see!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

post op bird therapy

OK stil haven't mastered this flipping computer. I'm sure that there is some logical reason why the computer has a mind of it's own and does what it wants. GERR.

OO..... wondering if next time I put some text next to the photo before adding more photos..... will that do it I wonder....? Back to this bit, wonder if I delete top two photos and re import (or whatever the jargon is) after the last picture, if the flipping computer would be fooled  into leaving the text along side the gingham bird?

Anyway, as I was going in hospital for a little op I put together some bits and pieces to occupy my hands while I recovered, and this is what I made.
I was thinking of making Christmas-y things but got side tracked into to these birds.
The gingham framed bird is made from recycled men's suiting, brown trousers, a shirt and a bit of old woollen blanket on a old picture frame.
The other birds are just laid on white, deep 8ins canvases while I decide if I should paint the canvases cream or cover in newsprint and music scores. Alternately  I could blanket stitch them to material and then put that over the canvas frame. Don't know yet will mull this over. These birds are in various fabrics and double mounted on old blankets and slightly padded.         I rather like them.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Larkins toads

Larkin was a Poet and Librarian at Hull University and he made Hull his home for 25yrs. We have just celebrated his life and times in Hull with various events. One of which was the Toad trail which initially caused much controversy but in the end was much loved by the public and raised a lot of money for local charities. Go to or liniecat blogspot for the low down on LarkinsToad Trail in one of her posts.
The children who live nextdoor to me were big fans of the toad trail and tried to see every one of them. The eldest one (8yrs old) wanted to make a toad for her dads birthday and this is what she made.

First she drew the design before making the toad with half a cardboard Easter egg, scrunched up newspaper and modeling clay. It was covered in Modroc before painting. She also took all the photos and intends documenting the stages in a booklet. 
I enjoy having the children round my house to make things

Chinese Dragon

This mask was made at a primary school  workshop for one world week by years 3/4. One world week involves a whole school participation exploring customs and food tasting from a number of countries.
This is a simple interpretation of a dragon head. We  also made a long body which was decorated with scales and a big tail which Incorporated a jacket so that the wearer would be able to swish the tail from side to side. They will probably use it again in February for the Chinese New Year.

Friday, 15 October 2010

cling film revisited

Here, I painted the paper blue and dropped the cling film on top. When I lifted the cling film off it still had a lot of wet blue paint stuck to it. I quickly painted another paper red  and dropped the blue- cling film onto it.
I also experimented by adding a second colour layer to a dry cling film print and covered it again with cling film and I drew into it with a stick over the cling film. I liked the effect so much that I used it straight away ! So, no photo. Will play with this process after my operation. wish it would work with fabric!

glass class

 This is what they should have looked like!

I started a glass making class at the local college and our first exercise had a disaster in the kiln!
Most of the pieces accidently fused together, here two mine and one of someone elses are fused as one ! The piece on the top is one of mine. Unfortunately I will have to leave the course to go into hospital for some unexpected surgery and follow up treatment, but I will go back and take it up again as I was enjoying it.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Welwick Heritage Weekend

Found my camera just in time to take on an outing with my friend Lyn to Welwick heritage weekend at Moat farm, however it had a low battery so failed to capture the flavour of the event ! This old barrow was pushed around for the visitors to donate to Dove House (a cancer charity and hospice) the Church and the village hall. The weekend event is centred around an agricultural auction and a Steam Rally, add to that a car boot, produce stalls with jams, chutneys and cakes, sizzling hot bacon sarnies, vintage cars, motorbikes and commercial vehicles, there was something for everyone. The steam rally had full sized farm vehicles and fairground organs playing, with the pipes, bells and drums steam activated along with the nostalgic coal fired smell wafting everywhere. Steam driven farm engines that made the farmers tasks easier in years gone by were being demonstrated. Model working engines in all sizes showing off the skills of the owners/makers were everywhere, some being attended to by young people which was heartening to see that the old skills were being passed on.
These were interesting to see again as I come from Kingston upon Hull. These would have been pushed around the streets of Hull by the army of street cleaners. One has cast iron wheels and the other has cycle type wheels . Next to them is a SMABO stop me and buy one Walls icecream  trike. These used to be  cycled around the streets packed with ice to keep the tub of ice cream cool.  So nostalgic for me.
There were stands with old farming implements, sisal sacks printed with name and produce of old firms, including Silcocks where my father used to work many years ago.  Silcocks made feed for farm animals.

 Vintage cars.

Old Dot (a familiar figure at these local events) was there with her stand which is set out to educate the children about where our daily bread comes from. They see what cereal grains look like as they are grown, she lets them grind the ear of wheat to flour etc. She talks in the old dialect of South Holderness and is always a delight to listen to. She wears a battered old felt hat with a feather stuck in the side and her trousers are tied up with string just below the knee. Sometimes she smokes a pipe. quite a character.  She is to be seen at a lot of the village shows

The medieval Church of St Mary was lovely, light and airy. The bright sun that shone through the windows high up in the walls caused problems trying to get photos. The church was laid out for harvest festival.  There is a  Gun Power Plot connection. Lyn may have more to say about the day out on her blog http:// liniecat

Inside the church there were lace makers showing off their skills. The light was too bright to photograph the lovely old christening gowns. This piece of lace is very old and is unlikely ever to be finished but will be displayed at events like this one.

this was being worked on by one of the ladies

This is Doris who is holding up a 1ply shawl she had knitted. It had over 900 stitches on the outside edge  and ended in the middle with 8 stitches.see how fine it is draped over her hand.  She was just one of the talented ladies showing their work. There were painters and a display of old postcards of the area and a display by the local history group. The woodworker was busy behind a see through screen. He had platters and vessels of all sizes, puzzle balls and one twelfth sized goblets, just wonderful and we were invited to TOUCH !
will have to leave the photos like this ! Don't seem to be able to put them in a line! and I can't get rid of this blank space either. In edit it will reduce but on publish its back ! I keep  accusing the computer of haveing a mind of its own !

Monday, 4 October 2010

misplaced camera

I have misplaced my camera, it will be somewhere in this house but it could be just about anywhere ! My new years resolution was to use up what I have and not buy new resouces ......... lol...... impossible to do ! However I did find a box of birds I had been making and then got side tracked by something else. So finished off some of them and they "flew" away and I never finished off the rest and so they got packed away again while I did something else........ Anyway having found them AGAIN I thought I would finish them off and photograph them and put them on the blog....... Can't find the camera...... So I will share the birds when I do find it....... so long as I don't get side tracked again........ I am also trying to fix the washing machine AGAIN It's been out of action, got fixed and now will work but not drain away...... Had to have the central heating fixed as it wouldn't turn off...... even when it WAS turned off....a curtain pole fell off the wall, had it fixed and then had to get someone else to fix it AGAIN properly...... I think I see a pattern emerging here !

Saturday, 25 September 2010


More of my kitchen divas, kitchen godesses, kitchen buddies or whatever you may wish to call them. I started making them a few years ago and they certainly got addictive!
 When you push down on the corkscrew it makes the doll do her exercises ! She is made from a corkscrew, glass salt cellar, coaster, a wooden piece for a curtain pole and a wire frame that had beads wired to it to cover a night light.
 You could say that this one had "seen the light" about healthy living, emptied her salt cellar and rendered her corksrew useless and taken up exercise instead !
 The other one is an ice cream scoop in a peppermill stood on another piece of a curtain pole. Her arms are a drawer handle and wired bamboo beads. She is decorated with buttons and holds a fabric rose.  This one seems familar somehow, as though I know her, with the pepper and the ice cream  in her personality she must blow hot and cold, yet she seems to look demure and  reminds me of a bridesmaid......
I made a lot like the ones outside that are made from jelly moulds and egg whisks. They are mostly made from found materials, jumble sale finds etc.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

bits of wall 6

a Spong mincer, it had a bit missing so it went into the wall. Used to use this to make Chutney in the Raw. I minced apples, onions, dates, carrots and mixed them with spices and vinegar, yummy with cheese. It was kept in the larder not in the fridge and it kept OK, mind you it didn't last long, it was soon eaten up as was the Banana Chutney I used to make.

bits of wall 5

An old OXO tin, back in my childhood in the 50s and 60s we used to call an OXO cube "a square meal" as a joke. Theres  the neck of an old stoneware bottle with a pouring lip, the sort we would have used at school to fill up the inkwells in the desks. Another sea washed brick. A box brownie camera that the shutter can still be clicked. I remember spending 19/11d, (nearly £1) all my birthday money, at Woolworths, on a box camera not thinking that I could not afford a film nor to process it ! I had to save up to be able to get a film but dad did buy the chemicals to develop and print at home. I remember holding the frame to light to make a contact print that was about 2inches square ! I did do a series of workshops at an old folks complex and the women asked to do pinhole cameras because when they were at school the boys did them but the girls had to do cooking. So I set it up for them and they were pleased to have the chance to do it but did confess it was not as exciting as they had imagined it to be !

bits of wall 4

An old shoe last used by my late uncle Ted in his shoe repair shop, below is an old sherry tap which would have been put into a barrel of sherry in a pub.

bits of wall3

Another kitchen diva made from 4 whisks, a jelly mould, a tea insfuser and a metal star shaped basket with rosebuds inside, again hanging from an old window stay from the front doors stained glass windows. I made quite a few of these divas from kitchenalia. At the top of the picture is a few of my brothers old pipes (from the days when pipe smoking was all the rage) Between the bottle and the diva is a door handle off my late mothers wardrobe.  

bits of wall 2

One of my kitchen divas hanging from an old window stay. Made from a lemon squeezer, a pipeing nozzle, whisk, two spoons, and a baking mould. Theres an old metal shoe stretcher in the picture, something we don't tend to use often now as they were mainly used on leather shoes to keep their shape. Near the bottom of the picture is a typewriter key W.....Imperial Typewriter Factory was in East Hull and a neightbour used to work there. The square pan is in the picture with the "dampner" off the back of the front room coal fireplace resting in it. The bricks are from different stages of building work on the house and some are from a fireplace I had taken out.

bits of wall

my late husband worked at Kingston Communications which used to called Hull Corporation Telephones Dept, the oldest independent telephone company in UK. This old corporation Bakelite telephone was too far gone to restore so it ended up in my wall. To commemorate the standing of the telephone company,  that my husband used to work there and it is the right age for the house. Above the phone is a sea washed brick picked up by the kids from the beach at Hornsea  where they used to holiday with their grandparents.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Heritage Trail

In 2005 I was asked to facilitate an Art Project to celebrate a Methodist's Churchs' Centenary. Many people in the locality were upset about the changes on Princes Avenue. Much loved local shops over the years closed, the whole area changed into wine bars and eateries and the focus became on the night life for people outside of the area.  I wanted to celebrate all that the Avenue had been in the living memory of the local people and try to give the Avenue back to them.
The whole of the Avenue was photographed early one morning and the photos joined together to make the street. Originally I had tags hanging off each dwelling/shop listing from archives who had lived or sold from the premises. People had to lift the tag to be able to read the list to check if I'd found the name of the shop they remembered. There were gaps, which I hoped people would fill in from living memory. I was privy to many stories and memories from all age groups which was a great delight. I found pictures from the 1900s and the 1930s showing the shops and street life, shots of old public transport, bombed buildings from the war and so on, invoking memories for the people who had lived there all their lives.  The archive I created has been borrowed and reused a number of times, more recently the brand new Hull History Centre also made use of it. The blow ups that they did are pressed into service for Hulls Heritage trail weekend where they on display again at Artlink's lovely new premises on Princes Avenue.The tiny old premises can be seen on the right of the second picture. Tomorrow as part of the Heritage weekend I will be doing a Mega map making workshop drop in for the children there.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

tatty bag

Instead of throwing these scraps, some of which I have had for years at the bottom of my scrap bag, I turned into my shopping bag to finally use them up. The jeans were one of my sons and some of the florals were from my old clothes and my daughter's .

The wallpaper is sooo me, it reminds me of my flowerpower barefooted days and brightens up my kitchen.
I remember walking to shops barefooted, in a long skirts and a shawl (as was fashionable then) some children watched me pass by, their eyes were as big as saucers, one of them pointed to me said in an awed voice "a lady ghost from the olden days" I stopped and turned to face them and they scattered in all directions!