Royal Arcade

Just a short post today. I wanted to share my photos of Norwich’s beautiful Art Nouveau Arcade.  I visited my hairdresser, and as I sat there with my hair covered in goo, knitting away, I realised what a lovely view it had of all the tiles in the upper part of the arcade.  Jon let me take a couple of shots out of the open window, on condition that I didn’t  let any pigeons fly in, or drop my camera on the head of an unsuspecting passerby.
Back on ground level …

Yet again it was a very cold day, so in the interests of not spending any more money, I didn’t dally in town.  By the time I got on the Park and Ride bus my hands were far too cold to carry on with my knitting…

…and in fact needed help with photographing it when I got home…

(Henry is more than a little peeved because Higgins, who had been hogging the fireside all morning while Henry was upstairs on our bed,  decide that the floor was a little hard and dragged his bed across the floor and pushed it up against the fireguard making quite sure there was no chance of Henry doing his usual bully boy thing and chasing him off the hearth rug.)

Talk about smug…

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Grand Designs

 

 Now I know I’m only having a studio built and I am not renovating a villa in Tuscany and Kevin Mcloud has no idea where I live (damn)but I’ve just realised I”ve talked a lot about the building works and haven’t really shown much of what has been going on.  I will spare you a picture of the mud.  We live next to a narrow country lane and large lorries delivering building stuff has made the area round our house a quagmire. (I love that word, so descriptive and just to add a little extra je ne sais quoi we have a tractor muck spreading in the adjacent field – we’d been blaming Higgins!)

Firstly this is the drawing from the plan:

The little bit at the end fits round the existing brick shed making a really good area in which to put shelves and storage. You can see that the building will not be entirely at my disposal, Tim is having a workshop at the end and we do need storage for bikes etc.  However, there will be an internal door between the studio and the store because the architect pointed out there was a chance I will need more space and I could then take over another room… (Tim is now trying to work out how he is going to keep me out of it,  it wasn’t my idea, but…)

The main light source is from Velux roof lights on the north facing pitch of the roof.

We’ve had to resign ourselves to losing a bit of the view, in fact once the fence came out we enjoyed a really good view of our neighbours garden but once the wall started being clad they got their privacy back.

It all started off under a tent to try and beat the bad weather although there were several hair raising moments when I thought the tent with both builders hanging on for dear life was going to sail off over the roof of our house and end up three miles away in the middle of a Norfolk Broad!

The weather is not being helpful, but at least its not snowing.  Meanwhile I am poised indoors with my boxes, longing to get inside and start working, but it will be a little while yet…

Valentines Day…

…and it was nearly not cold.  Although I have become so lazy I was terribly tempted to curl up on the sofa with the Sunday papers I knew this was a rare chance for some sea air and a mud free walk so we donned warm coats and hats, Higgins too  (well I haven’t manage to get him to wear a hat yet, I suppose I could tie his ears under his chin like a head scarf) and set off for Waxham beach.  Even there we had to wade through mud to get to nice clean sand. I’m so glad we chose a portable dog who can be popped under an arm and kept clean.  It was worth it though…

Although he still has all his puppy playfulness, Higgins is now very much a ‘grown-up’ even if it is in miniature,( but is still a complete ‘Cuddle Sponge’!)

Marking Time…

This is what I feel I’m doing at the moment, marking time, waiting… Waiting for the spring, waiting for my studio to be build, waiting to climb out of the muddle of boxes that surround me in which I have packed all my materials so I can’t find anything… 

My sanity has been saved by having some wool and fleece  to hand so I have been needle felting pincushions.  As well as the two I made as prizes (which I got in the post this morning despite the snow and ice)…

I have made a couple more with a view to selling them when I get my Folksy shop up and running (another ‘Watch this Space’ moment!) It’s a comforting thing to do, needle felting.  It’s very tactile, it’s like magic feeling the change from soft fluffiness to springy firmness happening in your hand with just the action of the needle. And the colours are cheerful, just what we need with all this whiteness!

The sun shone yesterday and so Higgins and I managed to go out for a walk.  It really hasn’t been that easy in this weather.  Higgins is very much a fairweather walker, and any suggestion that we might go out in inclement conditions sends him scuttling behind a chair, or burrowing under his blanket, and I am easily persuaded not to bother myself!  However yesterday he was kitted out in his jacket and carried beyond the point of no return so he made the best of it.

I took the steam driven camera along and I’m getting such good results it makes me very frustrated with the Olympus (which is packed up to go back to the shop tomorrow)

As I sit here I am looking out at two very chilly chaps building the studio as the snow blows all around and into the cups of tea I have just taken out.  I suppose it concentrates the mind towards getting the roof on, I’m really glad I’m sitting in here at the computer!

The sky looks blue, it isn’t, it’s snowing!  I’m looking forward to showing this view in a few months when the sun is shining, the flowers are in bloom and there is a glass of something cool and delicious on the garden table!

What’s in a Name?

A while ago I came upon a new blog, County Living, with the appealing idea that there would be a draw from the first twenty people signing up as followers.  Well the blog looked as if it had potential, the prize was a pretty little Beswick preserve pot and I’m always game for a little flutter, despite my lack of luck with these things. 

A few days later I went back to the blog to see whether the draw had taken place, and yes, it had, and the lucky winner was Penelope.  Oh, gosh I thought, another Penny, you don’t see that many about, that’s nice.  I tried to look at the list of names of the people who had signed up to follow, but as luck would have it the link wasn’t working that evening.  Two days later I happened to be passing, the link was working and I checked through the list to find this Penelope and to see if she had a blog.  She has, it’s Planet Penny, the only Penelope on the list was me, as listed through Google.   I am so rarely Penelope that I didn’t recognise myself!

Oh dear… I realise that with this post and my last I am fast giving the impression I am completely batty.  I do sometimes feel I leave a trail of brain cells behind me wherever I go but I’m blaming the weather and feeling as if I’m going stir crazy for this latest lapse.  Roll on the Spring!

Anyway, Maria at Country Living kindly sent me the pot and it’s charming, and looks very pretty with my little plate.  Do go and have a look at Maria’s blog, she has some pretty things to sell.

I’m off to do some Brain Training!

A Wimwam for a Goose’s Bridle…

When ever I was rummaging through my Father’s toolbox and asking  ‘What’s that?’  too many times as a child my Father would tell me ‘That? It’s a wimwam for a goose’s bridle’ and, in the way of children I would go away quite happily, if a little confused.    I was quite grown up before I questioned the concept. (Actually, I am embarrassed when I look back at the number of things I accepted without question as a child AND I thought sprouts grew in tiny rows like fairy cabbages although why fairies would like such nasty bitter things…) But I digress.

A while ago I showed you a ‘thing’, a thing given to me by my crafty friend Kit, and made by her talented husband.  Because it was from Kit, I opened the present with my mind quite set on it being an amazing tool of some sort, a challenge.   So when I saw it, I knew at once it was a loom of some sort, for weaving amazing…things. And it was a challenge, because there were no instructions. There was a second part to the present too, eight reels of Nutscene jute in lovely colours, just what I needed to make the amazing things on my beautiful hand made loom.

So I sat for a while and I puzzled, and I couldn’t work out how to use my incredible hand made loom.  So while I was puzzling I photographed it, and blogged about it, and asked if anyone out there knew what it could be.  Then Kit came home and I phoned her and said ‘OK, I give up, what is it and how do I use it?’  After a baffled silence Kit said,’Do you really not know? Have you opened both parts?’ and I said ‘Yes, and the Jute string is lovely and the colours are beautiful and I know I can weave something lovely on my special loom but I don’t know how..’ 

And Kit said’ Oh dear I’m sorry, because you think I’ve been really clever and it’s just that I saw the Nutscene jute in the lovely colours and I knew you would like them and then I said to Bill it would nice to have something to put the reels on so he made a holder out of a nice piece of  walnut and I got the little scissors and the little brass thing at the end is a scissor holder…’

And I looked at it and thought,  ‘Of course,’  and if I had had a young person to hand they would have said ‘Duuur’.

So there is the answer to the question I posed a few posts ago, and I had a wonderful variety of answers so I was not alone in my puzzlement which made me feel somewhat better. I said there would be a prize, and in fact there are two, one for the correct answer and one for the answer that made me, and lot of other people laugh.  So without further ado, the winners are Emma, of Silverpebble who is the clever person who correctly guessed it was for storing yarn, and Hilary, who suggested it was a drying rack for Higgins’ welly boots, both sets, and I so wish it was true!

So Ladies, if you could email me your postal addresses I will send you both needle-felted pincushions made with hand dyed Merino and Blue-faced Leicester wool, heart-shaped appropriately for February and Valentines Day. My address is pennygjatgooglemail.com(replace the ‘at’ with@, I’m being spam conscious!)

(My Mother’s guess was that it was the wimwam for the proverbial goose’s bridle – she didn’t get a prize)

Too Many Cameras…

…and not enough photos.  The camera saga continues…sorry, I’m sure it will be resolved, just not sure if it will be this side of sanity.  I haven’t been able to get to Norwich to the camera shop so I’m still snarling at the Olympus.  In the meantime Tim, who is in the middle of the North Sea,  has bought me a second hand Fuji on Ebay.  We resolved the fact that it came without the Smart Card because I still had an old one from a past camera lurking in a drawer, complete with old photos I had forgotten about.  I have managed a few reasonable pictures this afternoon, and in doing so discovered that   the new old camera’s rechargable battery needs to be charged for six hours  to do 10 minutes photography.  Talk about swimming through treacle…

However, onwards and upwards.  This is what I thought was just what I wanted in 1995…

It was my first attempt at ‘Folk Art’ painting, a little desk which belonged to my grandfather and destined for the scrap heap.  It’s been in my studio and is crying out for something for something more ..er…restful …in the way of a paint job before it goes into the new studio.

And I have another doll. After I made the Fairy of Sensible Shoes I had to demonstrate how she was made to a class and so had another body tucked away in yet another box which surfaced in the clearout, naked and bald.  I spent a whole evening working on her hair.  I had some left over sock wool in brown, black and grey so I carefully cut all the grey sections out and painstakingly embedded each strand into her scalp with a felting needle. As I said, a whole evening.  How long for Higgins to do his own version of hairdressing?

Thirty seconds…

Some raging, tears and a good nights sleep later I tried again with a new head entirely, without rips, teethmarks and spit.  I abandoned the bandana and went for a miniature felt hat…

…with co-ordinating shoes…

I cheated with the socks, I now have a pair of gloves with the middle fingers missing!

Her little cardigan and bag are crocheted with Blue-faced Leicester wool left over from my hand dyed wool/scarf project, and the skirt is from the stash of fabrics accumulated during my recent ‘Polka Dot Period’ (any one can have a ‘Blue Period’), and here she is…

She sits on a VERY high shelf…