Friday, 14 September 2012

21st birthday cards for twins

My friend's "identical" twin daughters will be 21 years old in a few days, so I decided to make them each a card.

I toyed with the idea of making cards that looked as if they had been split, like the egg that created them, but decided against it.

I wanted to indicate their "twinness", but also their uniqueness, and eventually decided to create something really simple - the same basic idea, different colourings.  I chose to use the letters of their names and 21.  

I chose different fonts, colours and sizes for the letters and numerals, and corrugated some backing papers in contrasting shades, but used the same card shape.

I'm quite pleased with the results, I hope the girls will be too!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Singing in The Minster, Preston Guild

This morning Preston Community Choir sang a Guild Anthem written by Lyndon Hills at the Guild Mayor's Thanksgiving Service, held in the Minster Church of St John the Evangelist, Preston.

We were asked to wear black and silver!

This is Joe Martin, our musical director, the website is if you'd like to check us out:)

The Minster roof is quite spectacular, don't you think?

The window is more spectacular than my humble camera is able to show!

The church began to fill up with invited guests.

The officials processed down the centre aisle.

The standards looked impressive as they lined up ready to depart.

This was the final event of the Preston Guild week as far as my singing goes.  Following the service we processed through the streets across to the Guild Hall, where, after shaking hands with the dignitaries, we took a glass of wine before adjourning upstairs to enjoy a simple lunch.  

A lovely ending to a very special few days:)

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Singing for Preston Guild Proclamation 2 - youtube link

Well, I said I hoped someone would post on youtube, and they did, thank you MrFSCB:)

So, about two minutes in you will hear the Guild anthem announced, and then we sing - simple!  ~I'm standing on the far left behind our young soloist , in front of a lady with a very yellow scarf ~ I still look somewhat like my photo:)  Enjoy!

Come and meet my tomato family

I love to grow tomatoes - I guess it's like a hobby.  Some people fill their greenhouses with delicate flowers, but I like to eat what I've grown, so my greenhouse is full of edible plants.

 The view from the door - but allow me to show you the tomatoes - each of these is different in some small detail, whether it's shape (and some shape variations are easy to miss), matt or glossy, or simply size.

egg shaped quite matt, med size

tradition matt plum

very pointed, peaked at base

oval with fatter base, med size yellow

samll yellow quite even width

fat oval matt

very tapering and long

fat oval, peak at base

traditional plum shape, but only an inch long

dark green top, red base blending into each other

similar to above, but cute little nipples at the base:)

unusual sort of octagonal lantern shape

cherry stripy green/red

large cherry red matt

med large matt globes

heritage variety "yellow stuffer"

med yellow cherry


I don't know the names of most of the varieties as I simply save and dry seeds from tomatoes I've enjoyed, then sow them the following spring - free food!  Well, actually, of course, it's not free, because there are 27 grow bags in the greenhouse this year, but, as I said, it's a hobby:)

Preston Guild knitted diamonds installation

So ... we sewed together a good few hundred knitted diamonds - but why?

Well, Avenham and Miller Parks in Preston were to be the hub of many events for the 2012 Preston Guild celebrations, and the council paid for Rachael to bring together this particular project to create knitted "cosies" for some concrete planters in Avenham Park.

So after the diamonds were sewn together into the correct shapes, the resulting "skirts" were hand sewn on to the planters up the steps. They looked very effective and I saw many people admiring them.

Judge for yourself!

naked planters!

my friend knitted a lovely cross detail on hers

my textured blues were across from my friend's at the foot of the steps by happy coincidence:)

the "shades of green" piece I sewed

and here it is on a planter

This was a fascinating project to be involved with, we really enjoyed the experience:)

Friday, 31 August 2012

Preston Guild - guerilla knitting

When I saw a plea for knitters to take part in Preston Guild in a secret project I just had to ask for details - well, you would, wouldn't you?  We all like the idea of secrets, after all.

So I enquired, and was told that knitters were needed to knit diamonds, many, many diamonds, which would be used for an installation in Preston's Avenham Park.

I received the pattern and began to knit.  We were encouraged to make our diamonds as original as we liked, providing we stuck to the size specified.  I decided to create a small bobble in the centre of all mine so that they would be tactile, and different if a visually impaired visitor touched them.

You can just about make them out in the emerald green ones in the centre.

A few of us got together on Wednesday for a few hours to sew them together.

The dark blue ones with the pale blue bobbles on this piece are also mine!

Watch this space to see what was done with them in the park:)

Monday, 20 August 2012

Preston Guild Proclamation

On Saturday I was a part of the choir that sang the newly written Preston Guild Anthem as part of the opening Proclamation ceremony - an event which has been ongoing since 1179.  Sadly we weren't allowed to take cameras on to the balcony with us, so I have no photos to share:(  but I expect that somebody somewhere will post something on youtube or some other social networking site!

Well, I say ongoing, and that's true, but as it occurs just every twenty years, it certainly isn't something that people around here become bored with!  In fact there's a saying 'once every Preston Guild' which implies that whatever the topic of conversation is, it doesn't happen very often.

So this year I've been rehearsing many hours, and thoroughly enjoying it:)  By the end of the year I will have shared my voice with four choirs - one at the Preston Passion in April, another at the Riversway Festival last month, at the Guild Proclamations, and in another at The Minster, and in Avenham Park.  As well as the small music group at my local Methodist church.

I'd forgotten what fun singing as a part of a group is - if you haven't tried it, give it a go - we can all sing in some way, if we have the correct stimulus:)

Saturday, 23 June 2012

The Olympic Torch arrives in Preston

Today the Olympic Torch travelled through Preston, and I was lucky enough to be right where two torches "kissed" - apparently the technical term for the touching of the "old" torch to the "new" torch for the next leg of its journey.

The old torch is carried along 

to where the new runner awaits

The torches "kiss" 

Briefly, two torches burn, before the first is extinguished and the new bearer begins his leg of the journey

I normally visit the Ceragem centre in Preston to lie down for a wonderful deep massage on the automatic beds at 0830, 

but as the torch was due to pass by the building at about that time, it was arranged that we would have our session an hour earlier - yes, that meant getting up at 0600 on a Saturday morning!!!!!  But I did it:)

The centre staff were in a party mood, providing tea, toast and juice for their lucky patrons.

Ceragem t shirts were provided for us all to enter into the spirit of the morning - thanks Geoff and Julie:)

Monday, 20 February 2012

The Blessing of the Animals in Rabat, Malta

Once a year the animals are brought to the church of St Augustine, in Rabat on the feast of St Anthony,
to be blessed.  They don't go into the church, instead they line the streets around the church, and the saint is brought to them.  Originally the blessing was for farm animals, but now it it mainly domestic animals that benefit from the blessing - although we did catch sight of a small black goat.  This year it was on the 15th January.

We knew we were nearing the right area of Rabat when we saw this diminutive pony being driven along.

Then we saw donkeys "parked" at the side of the roads with their carts spruced up, this one is sporting the Maltese flag.

this is how deserted the approach to the church was when we arrived - it soon filled up with hundreds of locals, most bearing, or being borne by, animals.

This brother and sister were in charge of two baby rabbits, nestled in fresh straw in a basket.

We were allowed into the church to see the effigy of the saint being prepared for his journey through the streets.

Outside, the band began to arrive - we were impressed by the sensible notion of wheeling the big drum along!

the priests appeared outside the church with the large, red flag.

Even the "search and rescue" dogs were brought along to be blessed.

This little girl, too young to be in control of a live animal, brought her stuffed dog along, her brother supervised the small bird in its cage.

Dad was allowed to support the basket for the photo - the rabbits weren't really interested.

This older couple brought their family pet, complete with new outfit.

The saint emerged from the church.  He is made from wood, and his base is a lightweight plastic, but you wouldn't know it to look at it.  It has an aged appearance.

We followed the procession around the block.  The poor carriers stopped periodically and set down the saint to rest their shoulders.  The musicians played throughout.  It was an interesting morning.