‘Home sweet home’ teabag quilt

I have been enjoying hand sewing very much recently, so I decided to make another tea bag quilt. A few people have asked how I made my first one so I thought I would do a step by step. My friend Fran Halperin and I have been experimenting with joining techniques. Fran has been using her sewing machine.

On the left zigzag stitch, on the right she has straight line stitched along the edge of the teabag and then jumped over the gaps.

On the left I used blanket stitch on the right for my new quilt – I back stitched the tea bag onto material. NB try and use something with very little ‘give’ – I used an old linen nappy and it’s very difficult to sew neatly on top of.

I decided to make my ‘ Home sweet home’ quilt have a more quilt like feel- the last one was a bit abstract. I printed some tea bags blue/ purple and others pale blue/ white. With my doors and window hand carved stamps .

The tea bags were a bit higgledy piggildy on the linen so I decided to add some strips of kitchen towel ( dyed with tea during the drying of teabags process) with writing on between the rows and buttons at corners. This stitching held on the back piece which is a white tea towel

I am edging the quilt with a sheet of used colour run paper/ fabric that goes in the washing machine. It needed 3 rows of running stitch to keep it flat. I used white sewing cotton throughout. I think I will print over this again when it’s stitched all around

Nearly finished. It needs a few more buttons and I haven’t stitched the edging all the way round but you get the idea.

I wanted this quilt to be a bit more obvious that it was teabags. I haven’t used any glue on the joints so that it feels much more like fabric

I think I need to do a bigger one ……

Lisbon mini break

We are in Lisbon for a couple of nights after our trip to the Omassim Guest house for a yoga retreat.

We are staying in an Airbnb at the back of the Sao Jorge Castle, on Calçada do Menino Deus 6–16. The Airbnb is in an old apartment block. It’s small with one bedroom but could sleep 4 at a push.

It’s quirkily decorated with charming second hand furniture and fittings

Around the apartment building there are lots of narrow streets with pretty architectural details

I particularly like the different ways the doors and windows can open to let in fresh air

There must have been a fiesta recently because lots of houses still have brightly coloured plastic decorations up

The apartment block has a hand of Fatima door knocker. These are a feature of the region and are a Muslim influence which implies that all who enter the house with one of these attached are protected by Fatima – Mohammed’s daughter. There are several different designs

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Jon took us on a walk today to find a coffee shop that had been recommended online. It was a good 30 mom walk from the apartment so we left early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day – it’s 34 degree at the moment ( 4pm) toooo hot for me to be walking around after the cool week in Omassim.

The trek took us past lots of beautiful tiles( see my earlier post), graffiti

Of which there is an abundance

And lots of different pavement mosaics – which are very attractive – if a bit slippery in places

The coffee shop was on Ruas das Flores and did an 8/10 pour over and had a original Blade Runner poster in the loo ( the things I do)

The coffee shop was on the number 28 tram line back to the apartment. These are 1930’s trams, the journey stopped an started as the extremely calm driver avoided pedestrians, parked cars and other obstacles.

Nice internal wooden features and a fab shiny metal wheel. There is an interesting website for the tram

http://lisbonlisboaportugal.com/lisbon-transport/lisbon-tram-28.html

We got off the tram at a very pretty viewing point of the estuary with a church, terrace and more tiles …..

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I do love all the blue and white details.

last night we ate out at a restaurant recommended in trip advisor. The food was fab we had a carrot salad – speciality of the restaurant which was crunchy and peppery with tomatoes and a great sauce, sardines with peppers which should have been on a bruschetta type toast but I am gluten free so they left the toast separate ( which was nice of them). The dinner was finished off with roast pork belly – which was a melt in the mouth version and comes highly recommended. I was in a bit of a strop about eating hot food in 30 or so degrees. However the plates were all to share and were smallish portions – Jon did not leave hungry and we didn’t have sweet or coffee

Funky table light – interesting fact Sean Connery was filmed at that location in 1991 for the Russia House. The restaurant’s name was ‘Needle in a haystack’ or Agulha No Palheiro.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g189158-d8757206-Reviews-Agulha_No_Palheiro-Lisbon_Lisbon_District_Central_Portugal.html

Sometimes it feels like I am in a dyslexic fugue-shining a light – ‘Soul Restoration’

I am ‘doing’ Soul Restoration with the ‘Brave Girls University’ . my best arty friend Debbie Howard is tutoring me electronically and I have signed up for Melody Ross’ video tutorials and bought the work book….

I am shining a light on my truths, today looking at my dyslexia which is driving me mad this week. I have trouble with dates and calendars – I try so hard to compensate but sometimes I have a melt down – 4 double bookings over the next few months has me reduced to a quivering jelly with a lack of self esteem……. I drew a table last night of my cock ups to get a better idea of how much grovelling I have to do , over the next few days.

As compensation I decided to stop beating my self up and look up symptoms of adult dyslexia

I tried very hard to spell the title properly but – drawing letters sends my potty – concentration on tooooo many things at once 😂😂😂

I picked out those that apply to me the most – if you have 10 the website has a course that you can attend to help you ……

https://www.dyslexia.com/about-dyslexia/signs-of-dyslexia/common-characteristics-of-adult-dyslexia/

I try an compensate but when I was a teacher it was a bit tricky with report writing and timetables….

I was reading the list – which I found interesting – it has a disclaimer at the top

‘Most adult dyslexics will exhibit at least 10 of the following traits and behaviors. These characteristics are often inconsistent, and may vary depending upon the day or situation.’

My art journalling called – I sometimes see pages in my head just before I wake up properly in the morning – today a girl was drowning in a sea of dyslexia – a bit dramatic but I liked it.

In the sea it says ” the very things that held you under are going to lift you up’ there is a randomn ‘ ‘achieve’ and ‘pressure’ and watches to represent time – calendars etc

The Soul Restoration course asks you to look at your light and shade in your life

Yesterday I had a mad art day and produced quite a few pages based on the idea around shining a light on the shade/ lies that I tell my self – I am finding the ‘lies’ quite difficult to get my head around

The one below looks at how there is too little natural light in my basement flat and how it is necessary to get out and walk everyday

Below I look at how I achieve when I push my self – this is quite a hard balance to achieve with the beating myself up that goes on with my dyslexia. These pages feel raw, untidy and unfinished but the express how I was feeling and the struggle to be authentic on the page

My first spread for this course looked at 3 different senses of self – a facade that I can present to the world , a shadow self and an authentic self. I made the page after a movement medicine session. Sometimes it feels like I dance to feel the light. – the page is a fold out piece so there are several pics

French window 2017 

Jon and I are staying in the French house with the fab view again. I think I am drawn to taking so many photos because I live in a basement in Edinburgh. Dad has had posh double glazed windows put in that open two ways. 

I was amused to find my daughter in the room yesterday taking pictures. I don’t go in for net curtains – but these keep out the bugs and flies so they are allowed …. the changing atmosphere and view is a fascination as you can see below. 


 



I have no desire to paint the images but, can understand why the impressionists painted en plein air – with lots of canvasses to record scenes  at different times of day. 


Palhais Portugal

We have been visiting Portugal this week at the Omissam Guest house. Jon booked us in for a yoga retreat. I was quite anxious because I haven’t done any yoga for years. However, Lia and her team are very adaptable and doing yoga once a day was an acceptable practice. 

The retreat is situated in the small village of Palhais. There is a lot of new buildings but the centre still has a lot of  charm. There are lots of blue and white painted houses and a few examples of patterned ceramic tiles.

The pavements and roads are made of cobbles that are cut into little cubes of various sizes


More examples of tiles – the chicken design was inside a cafe. The majority of designs that I saw are blue and white. 


The tiles are either set in panelled designs making a feature on a wall or a patterned area typically around the main door. 

Every roof is tiled in brown ceramic tiles – there don’t seem to be any guttering and several roofs have pretty ridge tiles and a ‘Moorish’ feel to them 


Because it is early July there are lots of flowers. Agapanthus seems to be used everywhere on rounderbouts, decorating roadside pots and gardens. 

 


Thistles , succulents and morning glory are in abundance too 

Manipulating Edinburgh with my IPhone 

The last couple of weeks  manipulations in my iphone apps, I’ve been experimenting digitally with ideas for paintings- I haven’t worked like this before. Usually the digital images are a end product in them selves. 


Interesting window at my gym – Edinburgh , waste pipes , Georgian window , light through a room, shutters , trees out the other side ( it ticked lots of boxes …..) 

I always sell a few pictures in my exhibitions that are Edinburgh based, so I like to manipulate what ever I am working on in that direction for a few pieces – shameless marketing? It pays for the framing and nibbles at the private view 


Heisenberg filter applied – I could do a whole graphic novel just using that filter 


Add a bit of dramatic colour – to see if it could work over the top of one of my mandalas – Nope 

Well we could use the trees reflected in the door at the gym or some stairs on the way to the market? 


Below I image bleneded the Heisenberg steps with the coloured gym window – which is a bit more interesting , but can I be bothered to draw all those railings? It’s always a problem wether to draw or whether just to leave it as a photo. 


Earlier this week  Edinburgh chimneys worked really well 



They inspired me to add a sky and a silhouette to a canvas I keep adding layers to – but, wasn’t going anywhere. I like the blue against my red wall

Memories of California-  wood and succulents 

Memories of my recent trip to California keep popping up in my head. I was thinking about blogging this morning and I decided that my prevailing memory is wood, houses, paintwork, floors, textures and succulents as big as dinner plates  

Living in Europe you don’t see many houses made totally of wood. 

 I remember a friends wooden kit house as a teenager and being very curious about it – wooden window frames and doors have to be constantly protected from the weather, how long would it last? (That was in the 1970’s it’s still there) 

In San Francisco ,Monterey and Sacramento there are lots of wooden structures – maybe because the weather is so clement – without our European extremes – the wood doesn’t need as much protection? 

My Dad and I commented whilst in SF on the quality of the paint work – we thought it would be a lucrative job being an external painter and decorator . 

I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the houses in SF . They are alien to my Edinburgh and Oxford raised eyes. 

The last weekend of our stay ,in Sacremento the weather was hot and sunny – you can tell by the clothing Jon and my Dad are wearing and the light , that it was not always so in SF lol. 

Visiting 3 locations  in 2 weeks , my eyes were constantly looking at different textures and decor- The SF house was quite dark , full of books and art 




One of the things I love about Airbnb is living in other people’s houses and looking at how they decorate and the stuff that they leave in situ when people visit . 

Monterey was the least looked after location that we stayed in – but it was decorated with fab stuff and had a charm of it’s own -looking back  it was a haven from the bustle of SF and the overwhelming business of the wedding 



Below a Monterey wooden house


Sacremento – the house was near Fair Oaks a suburb about 10 mins drive from my daughters law’s home. This was light and airy with a jacuzzi and a pool 

Succulents – I have always liked what Megan’s mum calls ‘Hens and chicks’ my Dad always says that a ‘good  big piece of art is much better than small piece’, I have found the same with the succulents  after my visit to California