Friday, June 06, 2008

Gravity is postponed.

Anyway, so I spent a happy 2 hours last night digging up weeds and spreading my hard earned manure over the flower beds. It’s remarkable who comes to chat to you when you spend time in the front garden, even when it’s pouring with rain.

First I chatted to a well-to-do elderly lady from over the road who, after introducing herself as Mrs Neighbour, ranted for ages about the lack of respect from youngsters these days and how she didn’t like being refered to by her Christian name by people she hardly new. I got the message loud and clear, and from now on will refer to her only as MRS neighbour in a deferential manner.

Then another lady who lives opposite came out in her mac especially to tell me about her dry rot.

Neighbour: Hello! You’re an Architect so I thought you might be interested in seeing the work I’m having done on my house.
Me: (thinking: no, not really, I’m trying to dig my garden) Oh yes! Have the dry rot men started? I’ve seen the vans.
Neighbour: well, he’s taken off all the plaster and has discovered it’s spread to another whole wall, as well as the floor and kitchen walls.
Me: Oh no!
N : He has knocked down the dining room wall.
Me: You should keep it like that – have it open plan.
N: oh no, he says that it a load bearing wall,
Me: So have you got it all propped up then?
N: no no, he said it would be ok
Me: But it’s load bearing? What’s holding up the house then?
N: Dunno. The man said it would only be for 2 weeks.
Me: Hmmm. I’m not sure that gravity will hold off for two weeks.
N: He said it will be ok. Anyway, it’s half down already. Do you want to come and have a look?
Me: Erm, I’m a bit muddy and wet at the moment
N: och it’s fine, come and see.

N: (to dry rot man wielding sledge hammer) Hello, this is my friend Rachel. She’s an Architect.
Dry Rot man: (looks alarmed) are you here to do an inspection?
Me: (Standing as far back as possible and looking though the doorway) oh no no no, I’m not here on a professional basis, just to have a quick nosey. I’m not coming inside.
Dry Rot man: (looking relieved) Oh right. (swings sledge hammer and more bricks come crashing down.)
Me: (backing away)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Horse Poo

It's a constant battle to make sure the front of our house looks as nice as the rest on our leafy street. Our next door neighbour has a gardener. We have me. And sometimes Nick if I can persuade him that gardening really can be fun if you try.

To perk up the lack lustre borders in the front garden I decided to buy some bags of manure from B&Q to mulch around the plants. I was amazed at the price! £4 for a small 50l bag of old cow pats. I bought a bag and it barely mulched around 4 rose bushes.

Being the skin-flint I am I took matters in my own hands and called up a local riding stables to try and blag some manure at a slightly better price. ‘Of course!’ said the nice stable lady. ‘If you dig it out yourself you can have as much as you want’.

I admit, there was a moment when I nearly lost a welly through suction from the enormous dung heap that I wondered if perhaps £4 for a nice sterile bag from B&Q was the more sensible option. The foot hills of the heap (which was about the size of 2 tennis courts, and at least a high as a house) was like a bog, in both senses of the word. I gingerly stepped onto what looked like firm crusty ground and found myself sinking Indiana Jones style. I left that side of the heap in favour for the dryer yet nettle covered older section, where upon I got stung to death, but didn't run the risk of meeting an unpleasant end drowning in dung. What could be nicer than spending an hour digging on the world’s largest pile of horse poo on a sunny evening in June?

Despite the rather unpleasant nature of the task I am now the proud owner of 12 sacks of lovely crumbly rotted manure for the princely sum of £0. I was only going to get a few sacks, but once I was there, and had found the ideal digging spot I kept filling sacks thinking oh well, I've started so I may as well finish.

The son of the stable lady drove me over the fields to the dung heap, and helped me stack the sacks in my car boot so I gave him a fiver for his troubles. A small price to pay for what would have cost me the best part of £100 at B&Q.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Me: oooh goodie, my megaphones have arrived!
Colleagues: Yes, they arrived yesterday.

I unpack my 2 new megaphones excitedly.

Me: **TESTING, TESTING** yup, those will do!
Colleagues: (nonchalantly continuing to work)
Me: It’s quite telling that 2 megaphones arrive in the post for me, and neither of you bat an eyelid.
Colleagues: Well, we are used to all manner of odd things arriving for you. Last month it was a felt hat shaper. The month before it was a box of assorted French coffee pots, and before that it was a vintage chandelier from Belgium.
Me: But aren’t you even slightly curious about why I need a pair of megaphones? One megaphone maybe, but 2?
Colleagues: Where your crackpot projects are concerned we’ve learned it’s generally safer not to enquire.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Good things come to those who blog.

I never imagined when I started this blog how it could influence my life.

2 weeks ago I was asked to represent the UK along with 4 other British artists in an international textile festival in Antwerp. The exhibition is to demonstrate the best of contemporary quilt art across various European countries.

This was an amazing surprise and honour for me. In fact I still can’t quite believe that I was chosen! The lady who is organising the work to be exhibited had seen my Self Portrait quilt in the Scottish Quilt Championships last year. After I won an award for that quilt she called me to discuss my work. She was kind enough to say that she though it one of the most original pieces she'd seen that year in all of the shows she had visited, including the huge international show in the NEC in Birmingham.

It appears she has since been following my progress on my blog (Hi Fiona!) and asked if she could take this quilt to Antwerp.

Not bad for a girl who is making it up as she goes along!

Also on the exhibiting front I will be showing a number of my pieces in a local exhibition as part of the G66 festival later this month. The exhibition is called ’Our Creative Community’ and will be show all sorts of artwork from people who live around Kirkintilloch. It runs from 17th to 26th June in the College, Southbank Rd Campus, Kirkintilloch. I have no idea what the exhibition will be like because we have only lived in Kirky since last September, but in for a penny, in for a pound as they say!

Another bloggy initiated relationship has been with Lisa at Primrose Hill Interiors. She has worked incredibly hard recently to build her new studio and open her shop. I went along on Saturday to help out during her opening day. As far as I could tell it was an unqualified success, with scores of people turning up to browse around her shop, and have tea and cake in the marquee. At many points in the day we had a queue of 4 deep at the desk waiting to buy her gorgeous products. I had such a fun day playing at shop keepers, rearranging the shelves as the stock depleted, and hopefully helping out a fairly frazzled Lisa as much as possible.

If you live too far away from her studio to visit in person you can always buy online.

Lisa will be running all sorts of courses from her studio in the future. I will be teaching a weekend beginners patchwork class. Contact Lisa to put your name down and we will be in touch to organise the dates.

I will also be teaching an art quilting workshop at Purely Patchwork in Linlithgow based around designing your own quilts using freehand cutting and piecing techniques. Should be an interesting challenge for both me and the workshop students!

Chelsea Flower show.

I was enjoying the Chelsea Flower show SO much that I kept forgetting to take photos! Here are a few anyway.

Now my expectations have been raised I just to work in my own garden a bit more...
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