At midnight the water receded about 4 inches – thank goodness.

Today the river is down to 3ft and there is no sign of a flooded field / track.  Shame my neighbour is blocking the Environment Agency and the local council from putting in a channel to direct the water away from the house, well and septic tank.  How can someone be so intensely horrible as to do that?

Last night I thought I might be living in a parallel universe – having gone down the wrong trouser leg for 2010.  Those of you with a misspent youth of Red Dwarf and Hitchhikers Guide will understand my reasoning. 

Today its freezing and snowing!

Star (the rabbit) has not come out of his hutch all day, I’ll close it all up again later to keep him warm.

Meanwhile here are the photos from the month of March from the NE71 Photo a Day blog.  I didn’t manage every day this month, I decided not to stress about it. 

NE71 Mar 2010 NE71 Mar 20101 NE71 Mar 20102 NE71 Mar 20103 NE71 Mar 20104

I’ll leave you with another quote;

Dmitry Fadeyev from Quotes on Design

“Good design at the front-end suggests that everything is in order at the back-end,
whether or not that is the case”.

Here we go again


This was taken at 6pm.  Most of this river is now flowing over this field, the next field and past my house.  (Arrow marks us).  A few feet from the kitchen door it’s up to the top of my wellies.  We are just waiting and waiting….. and hoping it starts to recede as it’s already into the garden in two areas.  But rain is forecast all night and for the next few days, but what can you do? 

The river is 7ft higher than normal at the ford, thank goodness the Environment Agency have done some work recently to lower the road to the ford so some water water is going down there. But already the plumbing is screwed – we have a Portaloo and as the well will be contaminated with all this surface water its bottled water for at least two weeks.  Oh joy. 
And that’s not considering the damage if it floods the kitchen……. All we can do is watch and wait.

Yes, we’ve moved the rabbit to higher ground. 

It’s going to be a long, long night.

And its got to rain all night and tomorrow too. 

Where has spring gone?

“What garlic is to food, insanity is to art.”

That explains a lot then.

The quilt top I made many, many months ago is now pinned (thanks to friends for helping!) and machine stitched.  It was meant to be completed on the long arm quilter……… but you know why that didn’t happen.
Stitching a straight line is not my speciality, so its “stitch sometimes in the ditch”.
Give me FME any day.


The weather is still awful, I thought Spring was here but this week its rain and more rain with snow.  Everyone is on flood alert again.  The bunny is soggy and cold (I’ve just wrapped him up in his fleece blanket), the snow drops have died and there are no signs of any daffodil flowers.

Everyone else in blog land seems to have gardens overflowing with bright spring colours. 

Not here. 
Everything is still very dead looking, the grass is the only part that looks any greener. 


Yesterday during a trip to Newcastle, I saw this poster in the Laing Gallery – I saw an Hokusai exhibition in London at the Royal Academy in the early 1990’s.  Seems its finally coming north!


Last week I went to Paxton House and arranged for a solo exhibition in June 2011.  Exact dates tbc. 
Something to look forward to.  There will be a mix of paintings and textiles. 


My exhibiting and teaching at Loch Lomond quilt show has been postponed until May 2012 to give me time to get some new textile work complete and maybe even get a book finished started.

Quotes and new work

Quotation copied from a friends blog;

Albert Einstein said:
“One of the strongest motives that lead to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness.”

Well having had careers in both Art and Science I can agree totally.

And this one that’s just come through from the SAQA list:
“It is better to make something decorative and discover that it is
considered art than to attempt to create art and find that it is considered

The drama continues here…. because I am fitting a different roof to the new studio (fibreglass rather than felt) I need to go through a FULL planning permission application again – another £150 and three months of worrying.  Though the planning officer basically told me to build it and then apply retrospectively as he really didn’t see a problem.  Everything else will be the same except a new door as the old one is in pieces.  More money to Northumberland County Council coffers.

Anyway, lets smile, be happy and have some colour to cheer us up. 

Here is a small piece (20x29cm – Impressions 6001) I completed (and framed) this week.  Remember I challenged myself to make something from a selection pack?  Well I added more fabric (the dark organza and painted sizoflor), some beads and a few extra threads but did use up almost everything from the pack except from some silver gimp thread.

Then I had fun photographing the piece and enjoyed this as much as the stitching.  Its for sale at £49 plus shipping if I can work out how to ship a framed piece.  On Sunday it goes to Deugar Red Art Gallery in Rothbury.

Impressions 6001

Impressions 6001 close 4

Impressions 6001 close1

Impressions 6001 close 2 Impressions 6001 close 3  Impressions 6001 close 5 

But actually having just looked at it again……
I love the colours so much I might decide to keep it myself!

Getting into a routine

I am trying to get into the habit of going to the gym.  It takes about 15 minutes to get there, so I can go, get showered and be ready again in about 90 minutes.  
This is the view;


This is the gym and swimming pool building;


It’s usually empty, I plug in the Ipod listen to a good audio book or podcast and admire the view.


Sometimes this seems a huge chunk out of my day when I only have 6 hours, but I’m cutting down on internet surfing time and to be honest I’m not feeling too chatty atm as things are not so good again.

My neighbours pulled out a hawthorn hedge yesterday which was not only was beautiful and must have harboured lots of wildlife but this removed most of the screening we might have had between us and the caravan site he has instigated.  I was in tears at the thought of the trees being ripped out.  When we approached him he was incredibly rude and said the total opposite to everything he had agreed the week before when talking to DH.  Why are some people on this earth just so horrible?  I can’t understand it.

I have been creating some hand carved stamps (more to follow), this is the first one for about 5 yrs.


And doing a bit of this….. but I can’t really show you why until August.  You’ll just have to be patient 🙂


Exhibition pieces

Here is my work in the exhibition, poor photos I’m afraid. The two hangings are in the corner – though one is not hanging but lying flat, which won’t help it’s sale.  The exhibition is up until the 2nd April.


My oil paintings.


Still hard to get much done when I am still looking out onto this every morning.  Have been waiting 2 weeks now for the builders to start (after they said they would start).  I just want to get in and recover my teflon ironing sheet – I think everything else will be trashed now. 
The new studio will look every different – different coloured wood (“Country Living Blue” with a grey roof), french doors and the windows turned around.


Only the snowdrops are showing any new growth.  Everything is still so flat and sludge coloured. 


Before the nettles come though we are trying to tame part of the garden, not an easy job. But the sun is shinning and I am getting on with some small projects – more next time.  Must run as we are dropping DS at his art class and going for a coffee at Cragside – our local NT house.


Yes! I managed an afternoon of work!

I repositioned a few pieces and added in some darker voile.  Which do you prefer?

First attempt;


Today; – looks a bit wonky here, I wonder if it really is?  Must go and check.  I think its better without the darker voile.  Maybe….. not quite right yet.  I took out the three squares at the top…… maybe I should have stopped at the first impression?  but then I really like the continuity of the layers in this…… plus it has to fit into an Ikea frame 20x29cm aperture so that limits me and the squares were right at the very top.  Will go and pin it up on the armchair and stare at it this evening.



What else today?  I had to open a new roll of wadding – so heavy I could only just lift it onto the table.


I turned up a tunic that’s lovely, but the company seems to think everyone is 6ft tall.  Long tunics on 5ft tall woman make them look even smaller……(if that’s possible).  I am still loving that Pfaff for plain stitching.


Did I say I was going to do 5 Towers for FoQ?  Make it 7 for luck.


And hassles with neighbours have started.  This afternoon the whole house was invaded by this dense smoke and it still stinks.  This is the view from our kitchen window.  DS had to come in from the garden as it smelt so badly you couldn’t catch your breath.  Oh what fun.


Pottering and learning something new

Glad you liked yesterdays picture.  Kerry said >You were born a 100 years too late.  You look straight out of a Victorian profile. <

Well, I’ve always said this.  Can you imagine my curves and cleavage in a corset?  There is a corset maker in Paris (I forget the name) who makes custom corsets for the likes of Dita Von Tesse and Helen Bonham-Carter, if I had the money I’d be there getting measured.  I love the pre-Raphaelites and I could easily be there – think of the pictures with the embroiderers, knights in shinning armour, castles and suitors…… *sigh*

I love wearing long skirts or dresses with boots – not that I do that much these days, but I used to and when I loose weight I’ll be there again.

So what’s been happening in the unit?  Well, I do find it hard to get going on work – and can’t face larger, complicated projects just yet.  A few weeks ago I got a pack of fabric and challenged myself to see what I could do with it.  Here’s the start.  I wanted to bring it home to start stitching – but most of my pins were in the house so I couldn’t move it – see how little things are frustrating.  These pictures were taken last Friday and I haven’t been able to get back to the unit to work so far this week.  Will be there tomorrow afternoon (Thursday).

P1010521 P1010524 P1010525

I’m also determined to finish my History of Art course.  I had a shock when I realised I’d started it in 2005.  Must get it finished before the 21st April as that’s when I start a new course.P1010528


Look what DS just found – must be around 1995.

Helen 1996

I remember the dress – Monsoon, size 14, possibly a 12. 
Pure silk, wore it to a friends winter wedding with a long jacket and a 20’s style hat.

Notice the hair – long and no colouring.
Those were the days.