Thursday, 30 August 2012

Kirsty's felt biscuits

I've been itching to blog about this for ages, but it was top secret until the village Flower Show last Saturday!  

Whilst we were on holiday last summer we visited An Tobar, the Tobermory Arts Centre on the beautiful Isle of Mull where I spotted a tiny wee book called 'Felt Biscuits'.  When my daughter wasn't looking I bought it and then kept it hidden until Christmas.  

I thought Kirsty (age 12) would probably like to have a go at making a couple of the biscuits.  I never imagined that she'd tackle the entire project of a complete set of biscuits, a box to put them in and a tray shaped to house each biscuit!

Here's the box...

...and here's what's inside.

A custard cream and a jam sandwich.

Pink wafer, Bourbon and shortcake.

The inner tray was by far the hardest part and caused Kirsty a lot of frustration.  She stuck at it though, and whilst she'd accept advice from me, I wasn't allowed to help with any of it as she was planning to enter the box into the village Flower Show so it absolutely had to be all her own work.

She had never used blanket stitch before but, after a shaky start and a bit of unpicking, she became very adept!

The lid required a lot of careful planning, cutting and positioning.  Kirsty struggled with french knots and did a lot of practice ones on a scrap of felt before starting on the real thing.  
If you've ever sewn with metallic thread, you'll know that it's not the easiest thing to handle!

And the result of her weeks and weeks of hard work - the much coveted rosette for the Best Exhibit in Show - that means she beat all the grown ups in all the various categories.

Winning was the icing on the cake though - the achievement of actually finishing this project was reward enough!

Result = one very happy daughter and one very proud mum!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Summer expeditions, rain and felting.

I usually do a wee bloggy post about our holidays, but as our main summer holiday comprised a week of almost constant rain, I don't have great photos to share.

We were in the Borders for a week, staying in a gorgeous cottage near Kirk Yetholm - very rural with a pond right outside.  We went for lots of soggy walks and made excellent use of the washing machine as we returned to the cottage with muddy clothes every evening!  I was very struck by the beauty of the area and would love to return in better weather sometime.

 Our cottage and the view from it - beautiful!

A highlight for me was the ruined abbey in Kelso which has had some amazing restoration work done to some of the the pillars - see how fresh it looks.  It helps you to imagine how these ancient buildings must have looked before they lost their roofs and became exposed to the elements.

Less soggy was a wee bonus holiday that Kirsty and I went on at the end of July.  We stayed a few miles south of Nairn in a lovely b&b.  The rain was never far away, but it came in short, sharp bursts, interspersed with beautiful sunshine.

The beach at Nairn - we sat eating pizza in the glorious evening sunshine whilst watching a storm over on the Black Isle - magical!

Last year we went on a shibori felting course at Diva Designs who have a studio at Logie Steading near Forres, and this year we returned to learn about sculpural felting.  The courses are run by the very experienced and helpful mother and daughter team of Christine and Kirsty who encourage you to be ambitious and try complex ideas out under their expert guidance.

We started with small pots to get the idea...

...and then progressed to more ambitious creations.  This fab purple and red vessel was made by Kirsty.  It's quite a complicated piece to make and getting those slits in the right places was really tricky - I should point out that she's 12 years old and I am a very proud mum!  

Mine didn't turn out as I'd planned but I love its wacky shape!  I had grand ideas of making a vase shape with wild twiddly bits at the top, but the balloon I was moulding it around was blown up too big and the wool kept falling off!  I did get the wild twiddly bits look that I had wanted though.

We had a lovely few days away which included dolphin spotting on the Black Isle, taking a boat trip on Loch Ness and visiting a couple of our favourite galleries,  - just fabulous!