sixty minute coat.

•May 1, 2018 • 5 Comments

Last Thursday we went to Harrogate flower show for the day and I bought a shawl (it’s definitely wool mix rather than wool, but the pattern is nice) for £25.

I don’t need another shawl or scarfy thing though, and I spent ages playing with the ones on the stall, trying to work out if I could do what I wanted with it. Then twice as long chosing which colour to get because there were many pretty colours.

I got home and spent an hour cutting and sewing, and ended up with this

It’s a basic kimono cut, and I used the selvedges rather than faffing around with hems (they hang better anyway)hence why it only took an hour from start to finish – although it could do with a run over to snip of stray threads and tatty edges, which I might get round to later today. I used the reversible nature of the shawl for collar and pockets.

all I had left were these bits, pretty much the tailor of gloucester’s “tippets for mice”

It was a shawl measuring approximately 38 x80 inches, in case you’re wondering. I wore it all weekend and it was perfect for the kind of coldish spring day when you don’t actaully want a big coat.

In other news, Gareth has spent the last week reminding the cats that animals eat in the hallway, whereas people are allowed to eat in the living room.

Branston and Trubble have agreed that animals do eat in the hall, but firmly reminded the idiot monkey that cats are people…

They think it was a perfectly silly topic of conversation in the first place, because it’s not like we actaully have a dog or anything.

bit more border

•April 26, 2018 • 2 Comments

I’m a bit slow posting this week because the laptop at my house died so I had to wait until I’m at Gareth’s and use my other laptop.

Tbh, it was at least an interesting experience, I’ve never had a computer do that before – previous ones have always either been smashed or just updated, but that Lenovo I got two years ago was just bloody awful – the desktop monolith I had in the early nineties was faster, so it was no great tragedy. I’m going to wait to replace it until I can afford another macbook though, I’ll manage with my ipad until then,

So there you go, a tale of mild woe, and a border.

I border with the signature worked into it, no less.

new tent

•April 22, 2018 • 5 Comments

I began this project last year, but phase one lacked the sides and wasn’t quite stable. I got more fabric and spent Thursday last week doing the sides. The idea was to have a tent I could put up without help – not something I can do with the big medeival pavilions, they take three people and I can barely lift the canvas, and even with three they take ages to put up.

I had an event at Brackley yesterday, and got to test the new one.

I got it put up in reasonable time, which I think I’ll be able to do quicker with practice, and it came down in fifteen minutes, which was great. (Taking down was more of a problem with the big tent, as it’s one thing to find people to help put up the pavilion when they’ve camped overnight and I’ve just arrived, but when everyone wants to go home it’s more of an imposition to ask), and I can lift the canvas easily.

It’s meant as a day shelter for demonstrating, rather than as a sleeping tent. Although there’s not quite as much display space as the pavilion, I think there’s still enough for a decent display. I need to make some curtains to shut off the sides so I’ve got storage space, but other than that…

Gareth did the woodwork, and I did the canvas, which is natural linen impregnated with acrylic (very waterproof) made for garden tablecloths. Total cost including ropes was about £250.

tea strainer

•April 20, 2018 • 4 Comments

I’m making an early start on christmas presents. This design has been on my desk for several years now.

I got the shape and the dish about right, and pierced the handle. I did toy with the idea of using Gareth’s favourite font, cochea, but it was too angular for the swirly design, so I made one up instead.

( I have since elongated the top ot the T to a point) THere will eventually be two blue/green glass millifiori counters at the ends, but they go in last of all.

I got to the point where I wanted to drill the dish, but I wasn’t sure how thin the metal was where I’d sunk it, so I decided to fill the bowl with beeswax for a little bit of additional support.

I don’t much like drawing on actaul metal, so I covered it with masking tape before marking the drill points for no technical reason at all, just because it makes me happier. It was really hard to judge the centre and in the end I don’t think I got the pattern entirely even, but nevermind.

Once I’d begun drilling I did think maybe a swirly design would have fitted in better, but it was too late my then, and the design had been knocking around with the holes in a heart formation for nearly two years, sooo…

I was quite taken with the pattern the drill made in the other side of the wax.

I drilled in five stages because this being a curved surface it was quite hard to hold the drill steady. I used a pendant drill with a large flame burr rather than a drill bit because I find the burr easier to control – drill bits in the pendants slide all over the place with me.


There’s one tiny dent at the very deepest part of the bowl where the metal was thinnest, but mostly the wax seems to have prevented anything worse. I have a lot of hand polishing to do, and I’m now trying to decide on the best method to get rid of the drilling burrs on the interior without obliterating the hammer marks from planishing, which are quite nice. I’ll probably tackle the rest of the hand polishing whilst I think about it, but I’m considering using a corundum burr on the pendant drill to tackle each spiky bit individually – concave things are tricky, but I think drilling from the outside in was easier than the reverse option, which would have been harder to hold steady,

I think it’s still a long way from going to be hallmarked though

ready to roll

•April 19, 2018 • 6 Comments

There is some rock to go with the rolling somewhere in this composition, but I haven’t quite got that far yet.

I am this morning nursing a sore bum. Last night I was lying on the bed, on my stomach, reading a book before bed. Branston was happily purring on my back, because he’s very helpful with the backrubs.

Then young Trubble launched himself off the cat tree (I told Gareth not to put the cat tree so close to the bed, he didn’t listen) and I’m not sure which one of them spiked my arse, but they spiked it good. I can’t see the damage without a mirror, but there was a lot of blood on the duvet.

pipe and drum

•April 18, 2018 • 2 Comments

I decided to make their cheeks pink because they puffing so much. Also because it’s really very unusual in early art to find a frontal face like this because it’s very hard to get right – they’re normally three quarters or profile – so it gave them a bit more life.

I think I got him “right” inasmuch as he looks like the one in manuscript, although I can’t remember if the crossed eyes are mine or the scribe’s. I think the pink cheeks work on the frontal face but not so much on the profile. Mostly I just like the piper on the left because he’s doing Ian Anderson’s iconic flute playing pose, so it worked out quite neatly that I was working on this the same week as the Tull concert.

I do like his grey hair though, and overall I’m very pleased with how all the disparate creatures are interconnecting in the composition – it’s one thing to look at the cartoon and think it works, but it’s much more satisfying to see them in the flesh.

the bluebird of…

•April 13, 2018 • 8 Comments

there was considerable discussion about the precise nature of the bluebird.

At first it was suggested that perhaps due to his tumbling nature he was the little bluebird of clumsiness, Next is was suggested that he was an antipodean bluebird. Then it was suggested that he is in fact the little bluebird of depression.

Branston is voting for depression,

but I think that’s mostly because I told him he wasn’t allowed to eat the bluebird?

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