Monday, 26 January 2015

Spring Flowers Book Cover Inspired by the Artist, Angie Lewin

A few weeks ago I read a post by Hilary on her blog (take a look - it's great) about the artist, print maker Mark Hearld. This started my creative juices going and curious, I looked him up on Pintrest. I love his work but whilst doing this search, I also found Angie Lewin, another talented artist and print maker - her work is heavily influenced by the natural world - lots of flowers and seed heads. So my book cover is loosely based on her ideas and images.

This photo is awful - it's from from my mobile - I dropped and smashed my camera - will have to go shopping for a new one!!

Anyone looking for my Grow Your Blog 2015 post - it is the previous one.

Spring Flowers

When you can't change the direction of the wind, 
adjust your sails

H. Jackson Brown, Jnr

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Grow Your Blog Party 2015


Hello to any new visitors, come in, you are very welcome .....
let me introduce myself. 

I'm delighted to be involved with this fun event again this year and I can say that I found many exciting and interesting people to stay 'in touch' with in blog-land last year and also gained some new followers, which is what it is all about really.  I am always surprised that people out in the world wide web find my ramblings interesting!!

Before I get going, I want to thank Vicki of Two Bags Full and her behind the scene helpers for making this fun event possible.

My name is Gillian Salmons but due to the fact that there are people called Gillian or Gill in my village and some of the groups I belong to, I have now become known as Gilli. 

I live in the United Kingdom, Great Britain or England - whatever title you choose to give our little island and have been living in Somerset, a county in South West England for almost 7 years now. I moved down here with my husband, who sadly passed away in October 2014 after a short but spirited fight with cancer, and my youngest son, Andrew. We came from Sussex in the busy South East of England. I retired from nursing in public health in the community in 2006 (due to rheumatoid arthritis).  I live in a cottage built around 1800 which has thick 18 inch walls, a little inglenook fireplace with an oak beam; the whole place is just so cosy and the village is very small with a river, wild flower meadows, church, thatched pub and a wonderfully supportive community. 

I have always been interested in handicrafts and was taught most of the basics by my Nanna; we would sew, knit and crochet. My Mum was also a dressmaker and made my wedding dress and the dresses for my five bridesmaids, along with all the trimmings!

I dabbled with all sorts of sewing and knitting for the home and family and also got caught up in the 'cross stitch craze' of the late eighties/early nineties. 

Gradually I became bored with cross stitch and started to look for something else to do. My answer came from a visit to one of the Knitting and Stitching shows at Alexandra Palace, North London.  I saw an exhibition of work by a lady that had just completed City & Guilds Creative Textiles. My adventure in C & G world was started in 1998, with Part One completed by 2000, and Part Two by 2003.  I loved the challenge of learning design techniques in Part One and became particularly interested in the historical studies necessary for Part Two and gradually started my ever increasing collection of antique and foreign embroideries from all over the world. 

Which I really should photograph and feature here from time to time - mental note to myself to start this!

I have continued to develop my love of textiles with membership of the Embroiderers' Guild, West Country Embroiderers (which is a break away group from the Embroiderers' Guild formed in 1973 - and is based in the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset only). I've also been a member of various exhibiting groups; I attend a group for developing skills with the embellishing machine but mainly explore and experiment with techniques and ideas with my friend, Maria and our antics are described in more detail on our 'joint' blog, Stitched Together.  We are also taking part in the 'Party'.  

I love hand and machine embroidery, I enjoy traditional and modern techniques and I love to use mixed media whenever appropriate and I do it all because I LOVE it. It's a passion and has now become my therapy too, as I now learn to live my life 'alone'. I enjoy creating pieces and find it fun when people ask 'How did you do it?'

I blog because I enjoy sharing my ideas and reading about other people's and it is useful to get comments when I'm stuck with a piece of work. Blogging lets you have 'penfriends' everywhere without the postage cost.

I really hope to find some new friends, to follow some more interesting people and maybe inspire some readers enough to want to follow me and my textile life. 


Friday, 16 January 2015

Finish For Friday One

Earlier this week I wrote about trying to tackle my unfinished objects: UFO's. Well my aim is to get one done as often as possible and I hope to post about one of these projects under the above title, Finish For Friday. I thought this would be a good slogan to use to inspire me when looking through the pile of projects awaiting some attention.  

This week's achievement was started in May 2014 at Kingcombe, the holiday using the embellisher machine.  I finished the first piece started on that course very quickly and sold it at an exhibition last year, but this piece has hung around for a while and other problems in my life just made it impossible to get on with it.

It is called 'La Fenetre' - the window and is based on a photo of a window, wooden shutter and window box of a french cottage.

I have tried to depict the stones in the wall by using different colour felts, outlined with machine embroidery. The flowers in the window box are also felted and detail has been added with hand stitches.  To get the mix of the paint effect of the shutter, I incorporated some silk fibres in with the wool tops. The vine/ivy is also hand stitched and the leaves have been constructed by using the needle lace technique.  

Only problem, I've taken the photo this evening under electric light and therefore the colours are not as convincing as in daylight.
Tomorrow I shall be going to the first branch meeting of the year for Blackmore Vale embroiderer's guild, but I'm not doing the another opportunity to work on an unfinished item, problem is which one.

Life is like photography - You need the negatives to develop - Anon

Sunday, 11 January 2015


This week I have been sorting through my unfinished projects; they are now labelled with what is needed to finish each one and what I plan to do with the completed article - I shall try to be strict with myself.
A while ago I bought two kumihimo discs - I've been having a play this week too. So much easier than I expected.

My poppy from the Tower of London - World War 1 installation has arrived at last!


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Playing with the Embellishing Machine

Yesterday was the first day back with all my sewing/embroidery chums; we met at Bishops Caundle for our group where we use our embellishing machines.  They were all lucky enough to enjoy a workshop with Pauline Verrinder during the summer but have passed on some of the ideas to me. One is to embellish threads wrapped around a metal frame: my efforts produced these two book covers. 

On the way home I stopped off at a well known budget supermarket and they had some 'felting wool'. This wool is sold primarily for knitting and then felting in the washing machine but having tried that before, I can only say that it doesn't impress me much because I feel it becomes too 'solid'. Last night I knitted one ball of 50 gram 'felt' wool and today it has be 'whacked' on the embellishing machine. Like it!!! and as it is variegated wool, the pattern can be altered by the number of stitches. I knitted this on size 6 (UK) needles, 30 stitches and about 50 rows. 




Another experiment today, layers of the 'shiny polyester' headscarves - 6 in all - whacked again with the embellishing machine, needs some machine embroidery.


Thursday, 1 January 2015


As 2015 begins, it is time for me to look back at the past year and to let my followers know why I've been away for so long.
2014 was very eventful for me to say the least, so let me start at the beginning.
February: My late mother's house was finally sold and my sister and I looked forward to receiving the inheritance and a more comfortable life. It was our reward for our hard work on the clearing and decorating of the house for over 18 months. Whilst having this money was exciting, it was also sad because the house was the last physical link we had to our Mum.
May: My good friend Maria and I went away on a super four day break to the Kingcombe Centre in Dorset to a workshop using the embellisher with Sandra Coleridge. Surroundings were brilliant, food was fantastic, company was good and the course was fun, informative and something different.
Also in May, the Embroiderers' Guild branch we are both members of had a two week exhibition in Bishops Caundle, Dorset as part of Dorset Arts Weeks. It was very well attended and we both sold a number of items.
June: My eldest son announced that he had booked his wedding date for May 2015 but my youngest son left home to live in New Zealand, first plans were for 18 months but with the possibility of making it permanent. Also during this month my husband first became unwell with constant back pain and various tests and investigations didn't seem to help the doctors to make a diagnosis.
July: Our world fell apart...after a weekend of pain and loss of feeling in his legs, my husband was admitted to hospital for more tests and this time the doctors had the answers but not what we wanted to hear. He was diagnosed with a lung cancer but also it had already spread to his spine, hence the loss of feeling in his legs. He was transferred to another hospital for a week of radiotherapy on his spine and then stayed in for a further two weeks for further tests and biopsies.
August: By now my husband had been allowed to come home and we had the endless round of hospital visits for chemotherapy, consultant appointments, scans and xrays and at home we had constant visits from all the community staff arranging the care and various equipment to try to make our lives easier. By the end of the month it had been confirmed that the cancer had also spread to his brain and various other places. Our son in New Zealand decided to come home, so it had ruined his life and plans too.
September: Treatment was continuing for my husband, but for every one thing that seemed to help him, it caused multiple problems that did not - almost like one step forward but three back. His breathing became more difficult and another scan revealed he had a blood clot on the lung and fluid too, all alongside the tumour.  Morphine was now being increased to help him with his breathlessness and our days were dominated by waiting for the nurses to come to the house to replenish the pump and the fact that he needed to go everywhere in a wheelchair now due to the difficulty in breathing.
October: This month started quite brightly as he seemed to have an upturn for a while but it was all misleading and very difficult for me and the 'travelling' son (who was living with us again) because by the middle of month he had passed away. Our great achievement as a family was that we were able to nurse him at home together and that his passing was peaceful and pain free.
November: I had the need to have time away from the house and I took myself away to a self-catering cottage for a week in Yorkshire - photos below.
December: A difficult time for all of us as we spent our first Christmas and New Year without him and knew that we were not a family anymore but a mother and two sons now.
I got through this terrible time because of my sons, family, two dear and patient friends and the two community nurses from the surgery.
The future: now that 2015 is here I have a number of plans for my textile work and have booked two workshop holidays away - March, back to Kingcombe, Dorset with my embellisher and April, off to Barnstaple, North Devon with Maria for a four day workshop with Alison Holt.
Things will always be different and sometimes difficult now but I promised that I would live life for the two of us and that's exactly what I intend to do.



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