Sunday, 29 December 2013

Happy Christmas?!

Allo darlin''re all looking mighty splendiferous today…new frock?!

So yes Christmas!  As with most festive occasions in the gaff I was woken Christmas morning by Mr. Mimi in what's rapidly becoming a traditional fashion.  He kissed me gently on the forehead, placed a mug of tea on my bedside table and whispered the words everyone wants to hear from their loved one's on Christmas morning: 
 "Wake up you old tart, the cat's been sick in the spare room"
Pretty much set the tone for the day. The kitties had been glued to the rockery for the two days in the run up, queueing up for the baby mouse bonanza that had obviously been occuring.  I came down to be greeted by the dog standing by her water bowl looking quite forlorn as there was a disembodied mouse head floating around in it., (the rest of it had been regurgitated all over the windowsill in spare room) and both kitties copped the right 'ump for being put straight back on Santa's naughty list.
We had a new team member this year too.  A "little" stray that had been abandoned by her owner and was being kept locked in a shed. She arrived the weekend I was away so had a 2 day bonding session with himself. We were told she's nervous and not used to human interaction and will probably hide away for while etc.  
I was a tad concerned until himself sent me this photo….
...that's my pillow she's got her arse on…charming.
Suffice to say she's won the kitty equivalent of the lottery and adores him completely…I'm still getting a "you still 'ere?!" look every time I try n get into bed but generally speaking I think she's feeling quite at home!  He optimistically named her Delilah but as she lumbers about the place with all the grace of a drunk hippo, I've re-christened her Big Lil…she did however like her Christmas present….Mr.Squizz... but as the other 2 clearly had the best one, she also spent rest of day sulking.

Himself excelled himself in the trifle department this year…it was huge.  He made his own custard and was positively triumphant when he announced he'd "doubled up" the recipe and ended up with a 4 pints of cream to 12 egg ratio in it.  The whole thing barely fitted in the fridge and it was virtually impossible to serve as it caused a kind of vacuum effect akin to trying to get out of quick sand, when trying to pull spoon out.
It's day 4 now, we've been served it at breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper.  There's still half a bucket of it left, it's most decidedly on the turn and I don't think there's a Statin big enough to deal with my cholesterol level.  He's squirrelled himself away in his shed now so I'm taking the opportunity to get shot of it before it does me.
Generally speaking though, that's a pretty good Christmas by our standards!
Anyway s'nuff of my wittering, got loads to show you!
So first up I was commissioned waaaay back in August to paint these guys.  Mr.Bunny and his best mate Pooh the cat.

Hot pre stitch action: watercolour on canvas

I had a brief of veggies n narna's so that's what I did!

Stitchy details:

and also:
"...when we gave him a voice, it was sort of a slacker, surfer voice – he called me "dude," and my wife "m'am dude."As this was for a wedding anniversary I stitched 2 gold rings and "engraved" them with stitchy names!

I also finally finished the cow!

Whey-hey! Watercolour on canvas with all manner of stitch doin's including...

... a wee stitch meadow...
…walloping great daisies...
…poppies n cornflowers...

…and as it was all getting far too serious there for a while a big dollop of Kelis

(I stitched the price on as well…I'm good like that!) ;0)

...and for added measure a wee stitched Laughing Cow logo!
She's also delighted as she's now living in Northern Ireland which is kind of spooky as I took her with me when I went and so she is now officially better travelled than me!
And last but not least a Christmas commission…

...a wee beagle called Mollie…just a painting, no stitching. Watercolour on paper.

Have to say I'm still riding a bit of a high from my trip to Northern Ireland and choc full of vim, vigour and brimming with inspiration…and indeed trifle!  I'm currently working on a range of new cushions which will be hitting the ol Etsy shop soon and which will also be appearing in Cute Cross Stitch magazine soon, courtesy of my fabulous mate Judy Darley, who's also off to pastures new and concentrating on her wondrous freelance writing…check out her work here!
I've got all sorts of other bits and bobs in pipeline, including prints of my work and maybe even some wearable stuff…oooo!
So in the meantime I wish you all a happy, prosperous and peaceful New Year and thank you all once again for your kind comments, love and support of my work…also if anyone knows a good cardiologist drop me a line! :)
Big loves homies and thanks for droppin' by :)


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Cough! Cough! Splutter!

Ey up my bloggy chums! You're all a sight for sore eyes; looking particularly gorgeous today if I may say?!

Anyway apologies for the noise, it's just me shaking the dust sheets off the ol' blog.  Think of us as the internetty equivalent of Miss.Havisham and her cobwebby room -  Dickens described her as looking like "the witch of the place".  My husband said the comparison was uncanny.  He's a constant source of comfort n joy to me...sarky git.

Anyroad, so it's been a few months since I hit the blog for which I must apologise.  I shan't bother you with all the gory details as it's depressing enough us dealing with it without foisting it all on you lot!  Suffice it to say I've shaken off quite a few cobwebs just lately and kind of getting back into the groove.

Now bear with me cos I havent blogged since March and haven't been away from home since a school trip to Boulogne in 1984 so LOTS to bore you with, get comfy! :)

I have had lots of support from my lovely, neglected friends for which I'm eternally grateful and there is one person in particular to whom I owe a massive debt of gratitude for not only getting me to leave the house for first time in absolute years and to go further than Morrison's (Sainsbury's on a good day if I'm feeling particularly maverick) but even managed to get me on an airplane for the first time EVER!

Stand up Avril Halliday!!
(yoink! Photo courtesy of NIEG)

Avril and I have been friends for long time and she asked me absolutely ages ago if I would come over and give a talk and workshop to the ladies of the NIEG.  I have to say I was super excited at the thought but also extremely nervous but as this is was booked over a year in advance figure I had plenty of time to brace myself...but bugger me a year goes quick doesn't it?!

However after many, many deep breaths (and that wasn't just me getting my jeans on) I did actually fly out on Fri 14th Nov...(I even copped a hug from the security lady at Birmingham airport as I looked so nervous!)..I found my seat (window...argh!) and was glued to the stewardess safety lecture.

After a plane journey that I spent clutching my arm rests and calculating my chance of survival should the worst happen I arrived dazed and confused at the George Best Belfast City airport into Avril's arms...she gives the best hugs! :)

Waiting alongside Avril was Aylerie Dowdell, who I later discovered makes the most exquisite embroidered shoes....including a couple of pairs of killer heels which if I could've fitted in my handbag, would've done!  Gorgeous!

From there the ladies whisked me off to The Salty Dog hotel which sits on Bangor seafront and was just lovely.  Even lovlier when the ladies and the receptionist organised an upgrade to a beautiful seaview room...haven't seen the sea in years so that was just an additional joy!

I was then whisked off for a tour of Bangor and went to visit an exhibition of the guild's work and then off to Project 24

(yoink! Photo courtesy of Project 24)

where I also met the watercolour artist Barbara Allen, which was a thrill!

(yoink! Photo courtesy of Barbara Allen)

After a whirlwind of a day I scuttled back to my room and tried to get some sleep in readiness for my big moment next day!

Saturday saw me stuffing my face with breakfast followed by a stroll on the seafront before the girls picked me up and whisked me off to Ballygilbert Hall.

It's a lovely building and the girls informed me it's opposite the field where saucy minx Rhianna got told off by a farmer for getting her doodahs out...quite right too! ;) 

Here's a couple pix of the hall filling up to hear my talk!  

I'll be honest I was terrified and I should point out that all those chair were full! But everyone was so supportive and welcoming and very generously laughed and applauded in all the right places!  After a delicious lunch and the World's gayest cupcake (again thank you Avril!) the Sat workshop started which I think I was more nervous about but everyone seemed to enjoy it and there was some lovely work produced.

The next day started with a famous Ulster Fry, followed by a trip to The Ulster Folk Museum for the Sunday workshop.  What an absolutely stunning place!

Here's a few shots of the girls in action…

...everyone was really engrossed in their work, contrary to my husband saying "they're trying not to catch your eye!"…I swear I will kill 'im one day!  But a fun filled day nonetheless, in between spells of hardcore stitching there was lots of lovely chattering and laughter!

And here is some of the work produced.  Have to say I'm really thrilled with what everyone produced!

So a massive THANK YOU to my dear friend Avril for not only putting up with me and my infrequent, rambling and depressing emails but for all the love and support and encouragement over the past couple of years and having the faith in me and my work to put me forward to the Northern Ireland Embroidery Guild.

And even bigger thanks to the Northern Ireland Embroidery Guild for taking a chance on a pink haired hermit with a vague grasp of sewing/painting and no experience whatsoever of speaking in public...I wasn't dragged off stage (despite my very poor rendition of "that's a-moray" halfway through my talk) and no-one's asked for a refund yet so think all went well! ;)

And last but not least a massive thank you to the lovely folks of Northern Ireland who really couldn't have made me feel more welcome, at ease or at home.

Now if you're all still awake brace yourself my next blog...hoping sooner rather than another 6 months, but I will fill you all in about my most recent commission which features these guys and a bleeding' great stitched narna!

So big loves to you my bloggy homies, it's nice to be back!!
Stay groovy :)

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Funky Mother Clucker!

Ey up my bloggy chums. 

First off, I just want to say a truly heartfelt thank you to all you lovely folks who commented and emailed me after my last blog. It was a horrible time, on top of what is a pretty crappy situation already. The temptation was to pack the art/stitching/internetting in, crawl under a duvet and never come out but your kind words and messages really touched my heart and have helped and encouraged me to keep going with all this really, from the bottom of my crunched heart, thank you. xx

 Right, s'nuff of all that serious stuff eh? Let's get... FUNKY!

Remember the BIG chickens?

Well the girls were getting restless so I thought I better get stitching. I decided after seeing my work on display at the Hemmed In exhibition that I really should start working on a larger scale...a decision I instantly regretted as soon as I started stitching! But inspite of the sore fingers and the hating one minute/loving it the next I'm kind of glad I persevered. So here they are embroidered within an inch of their lives!

Putting the FUN in funky! A walloping great stitchy "FUNKY" outlined in an olivey green silk and then filled with a range of threads and cottons in various greens including my favourite luminous one. I've also added wee pink sequin flowers and tiddly green glass beads for bit of added fun!

Hand stitched wheat or possibly corn in just about every colour I could shove on there!

Stitchy chicken wire...very fiddly!

A big, fat silky white egg with a small but very glittery golden egg waiting to hatch out to join their fellow chicks!

There we have it...chock full of colours and textures and chickens, check 'em out over at the ol' Etsy emporium.

I'm currently working on another larger sized piece which I thought you might like to see in the really early stages... MOOO!

...and also franticly putting together a few more pieces for the British Stitch and Quilt Village in Uttoxeter.  The show takes place April 26th, 27th and 28th at the Uttoxeter Race Course.  I will be visiting on Sunday 28th so if you are in the area pop along and if you see a badly dressed lunatic with a purple mohican (I've had a radical new "do") come and say hello! :)

I'm also putting together a wee collection of bits for a chickeny/birdy themed giveaway which I hope to announce on the next blog so stay tuned!

So once again yet another HUGE thank you for all your love and support...really does mean the world to an old bag like me
Big loves homies and thanks for droppin' by! :)

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Goodbye my friend

A lot of folks think I am actually called Mimi, unfortunately my folks weren't that exotic and I was christened Karen. The story goes that my mum wanted a name that couldn't be shortened; she was the first one to call me Kaz.

Anyway when I first started this internet mularkey with the painting and such I was a little nervous at worldwide exposure etc so I hid behind a nom de plume/brush and my kitty Mimi was my helper, from poking my paint brushes, chin rubbing the canvas edges and sleeping in my floss box, she seemed the perfect choice!

She's been my constant companion for nigh on 16years. She was found by the local vet, she'd been abandoned and was in a pretty bad way. A bag of bones, riddled with just about every parasite known to kittykind, bald as a coot and a VERY bad tummy. The vet had put her in a cage on the reception desk with a sign saying "Please take me home" I did.

Despite her issues she was a purry love from the minute I got her back and within a few months weight was creeping on, various cooties gone, the tum settled and the fur was growing back.

She's was a trooper from day one, became a one kitty champion ratting machine, survived a nasty anesthetic overdose and took our 2 long distance moves around the country in her stride.

When she was diagnosed with diabetes 2yrs ago I fretted about how on earth she was going to cope with injections/blood tests etc. We needn't have worried as she hopped on my lap every morning/evening, waited for her insulin to be mixed and took her jab with a shrug and a purr.

Just before Christmas we noticed slight changes in her, nothing major but just not quite right. A blood test revealed hyperthyroid on top of the diabetes and an infection that followed a couple of weeks later, her health went downhill rapidly. Despite everyone's best efforts she eventually stopped eating and became very weak, very quickly. With a seriously heavy heart we said no more. The vet came out to us and she slipped away peacefully with her head in my hand on January 25th.



She'd been by my side, sleeping on my pillow with her paw wrapped round my arm, poking my nose til I woke and loving us both without conditions 24/7 for the past 16yrs. I still expect to see her around the gaff and there is an awful big gap in our hearts and lives.

I miss her so much it hurts but I'm thankful we met and for the joy she's given us for all those years. So it will always be Mimi love forever

So before the snot n tears that are dribbling down my boatrace at the moment hit the keyboard, I thought I'd finally unveil the latest commission. I've hauled myself back into some sort of routine now, albeit a little hollow, and have been stabbing away at a bit of stitching etc to keep the brain from mulling.

This was finished just before Christmas but what with everything happening the blog and everything else was stuffed away.
So if you're still hanging on in there, I'd like to re-introduce Pidge, a fluffy white persian. She was described to me as having an underbite which "reminds me of my grandma", gunky eyes and a nasal problem which causes her to make a kind of "cooing" noise.

I was asked to include a pigeon, gerbera daisies and given a few photo's of the recipents decor to give me an idea of colours etc, and this is what I came up with.

Pidge accompanied by a feathery friend and festooned with flowery bits

Pigeon detail...all sorts of thready bits
Flowery bits
Watercolours and hand embroidery on canvas.
I've recently started work on these girls too...

I've decided to work larger this year, a decision I instantly regretted, but I'm ploughing on with it...swinging between really enjoying it to threatening to throw it out of the window, but it's keeping the brain distracted and that can only be a good thing at the moment.
Nowt much else to report although I am off to my very first Embroidery Guild meeting in Lichfield soon which I'm looking forward to, so stay tuned for stitchy news.
Apologies for the downer guys and thank you for putting up with me...again!
Big Mimi loves homies and thanks for droppin' by :)