Thursday, 23 December 2010

Season's Greetings!

Only a few days to Christmas - where does the whole year go to? Like most people I've got plenty of jobs still to do before the big weekend has been and gone! I should be wrapping presents right now ... but at least I've ticked off the mince pie baking, decorating, and the dreaded "final" shop.In fact I'm feeling quite smug about the last one; I got up before 6am and went straight to Tesco! The wide aisles were clear , nobody had "trolley rage" and there was an empty checkout waiting for us! My fridge, freezer and cupboards are full and no blood was shed - not bad going, especially as it was still -6 temperatures outside and the (non-gritted) roads were all a-sparkle.Like everybody in the UK I am so over that whole White Christmas thing!!!

Here's a peek at my mantel piece; I used the butterfly masks to decorate my table at Sheffield.They are far too gorgeous to stash away, and I adore these new, glittery, die-cut Victorian style cards - which I'll be keeping as decorations permanently!

I've also used them in my wall unit, where they go so well with roses, white bells and vintage photos...

I decided to make some Teacup Candles as Christmas presents this year, and I was really pleased with how they turned out. Having trawled my favourite vintage and collectible haunts for pretty cups and saucers (all from the Staffordshire potteries) I also picked up a bundle of assorted silver plated spoons for added decoration.I used an Antique Ivory dye, and Vanilla and Cinnamon perfumes mixed together. Next I made some tiny little "Gingerbread cookie" sachets ... ssshhhhh don't tell anyone they're filled with cut pieces of vanilla scented Magic Tree, and polyester stuffing ...

This one is "Pansies" by Royal Grafton.

I haven't done any proper sewing for well over a week; which is starting to make my fingers itchy! However I did manage to squeeze in a lovely bear swap through TBACA before The BBAAs weekend away. I sent my little 3" "Gingerbread Angel" to Lesley Stipanov (Les Bears), and despite crossing continents and the continued bad weather here we've both received our swaps in time for Christmas :0)

I will definitely be making more of these bears with decorated gingerbread wings - oh yummy!
Here is my new little fella from Lesley - he's only 1.75" tall!

Happy Christmas to Everybody out there! With every Good Wish for a peaceful and joyful holiday for you and your loved ones XXX

Ruth xxx :0)

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Back From Brighton

I've only just started to feel as though my feet are touching the ground, after our weekend away in Brighton! We left the house before 7.30am on Saturday and arrived in time for early lunch in the Brighton Pavilion Tearooms. As the building is laid out with a "traffic flow" we had to request an escort through the ropes to get to the right staircase and then re-start from the beginning again afterward.

Visiting this building could never cease to delight me; well, it is a celebration of high Regency style in over-drive! The wallpapers, furnishings and ornamentation were still just as breath-taking to me as they were 2 years ago. Difficult to describe the sheer spectacle and opulence when you can't back it with photos (none allowed). The star room for me is the Banqueting hall where a truly massive chandelier is held by the claws of a huge silver dragon, his mouth agape to show a fiery tongue. Above him is a central rotunda trompe l'oeuil of palm leaves which is so fresh and realistic it must have looked out of time and place in the 18th century. The long table is resplendent with beautiful ceramics, glassware, silver and centre pieces, and George III's red brocade chair, set in the middle, is pulled out slightly as though he might arrive, to dine in style in front of us.I was intrigued by an art installation by Claire Twomey - visible throughout the Pavilion - called "Dark Day in Paradise"; consisting of randomly sized black ceramic butterflies (how could I not be interested!) which appeared in various wing poses and scattered, or suspended in flocks. They herald a cautionary note on excess (George III was reviled for his profligate extravagance) maybe a glimpse of darkness on the horizon in the current economic climate and the shadows of history that still chime with us. Very thought provoking! Not to mention sinister behind net curtains!

What about the "main show" though?? Of course I mean The British Bear Fair and Artist Awards - held in a new venue at Brighton Racecourse this year. I enjoyed myself so much wandering round the fair, chatting with such lovely bear people and unhampered by any need to return "behind the table"! A little bear from Susan Gam chose me as his new Mum , and then it was time for the award announcements.

Cat 1 Single Miniature Bear nominees

L to R: Judges Gregory Gyllenship, Dawn James, Wendy Hobday together with Victor (2nd left) who presented the awards)

Me collecting a 1st place for "Georgiana" - feeling stunned and delighted!

Category 1 award.

Category 10 "Tea is for Teddies" wins 1st place too!!

I was feeling a bit shocked after the awards (understatement) and I found it difficult to get my head out of the clouds on Monday too! I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the judges and organisers, and Hugs to the other nominees who all brought beautiful pieces on the day. There's no better way to spend time than deep in beary conversation with like-minded folk so I had a wonderful time!  :0)

TaTa For Now,
Ruth xx