Sunday, 25 July 2010

Hoorah for Sammy!

It has been a 'bit of a week' to say the least. We were seriously down on numbers as Alanna (Banana) was on holiday and Sophie was off sick, John was also poorly but was soldiering on (one of the few men that I know who doesn't get 'Man Flu'!). However, I was fine and we fortunately still had Sammy. She was on her second week with us on a work placement from University and I don't know what we would have done without her! She has been a real treasure, hard-working and with the ability to pick up new tasks faster than anyone I have seen. We were all really sad to see her go at the end of the week - and Sammy had even bought the team some Thornton's chocolates as a Thank-you. So it is a big 'Hoorah' for Sammy and good luck with her final year at university.

So because it was 'all hands to the pumps' at work, I haven't had time to add in the new bookmarks to the website. I do promise to do it soon and there is now the possibility of some new designs, poetry quotations from a poet that has joined our list of Sumptuosity friends on Facebook. So I'll keep you posted with how discussions with that new project are progressing.

On Saturday after taking the parcels to the Post Office, I went to have another little look at the booksale on St. Saviour's Gate....what can I say? except to quote the nineteenth century writer Mrs Oliphant who said that 'there was nothing so costly as bargains'.

Sunday morning was glorious and sunny and so John and I went to Askham Bog nature reserve. Most of the flowers have gone over at this time of the year and the few birds who are still singing are generally well and truly hidden by the leaves of the trees and bushes. Although I could distinctly make out the sound of the Chiffchaff and the Wren. There were some fabulous insects to be seen, Common Blue Damselflies and a Four-Spotted Chaser Dragonfly. The absolute hightlight was the Water Vole. We had been standing quickly by the sound of the pond looking at the insects, when out he/she popped merrily swimming along, gnawing at reeds and then taking the stalks back to it's house. It was tooooo gorgeous for words and even John (a.k.a. grumpy Yorkshireman) was delighted at seeing it and said that it was very cute, so you can imagine how lovely it was in real life. The photograph at the top is a 'valiant attempt' (his words not mine, I think it is great) by John with 'limited resources'.

Now it is time for our Sunday evening Martini....

3 B.T.'s

1: Working with the lovely Sammy, she has been great, to say the least.

2: Finding a book for my brother Ed at the booksale, I can't wait to post it to him as I am sure that he will love it...just hope he doesn't have it already. He does have quite a few books, although that is a classic case of the kettle calling the pot black!

3: Seeing the Water Vole at Askham Bog was wonderful and well done to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust for managing the site so well that such fabulous creatures can take up residence.

Bye for now,

Love Ruthie xxx

Monday, 19 July 2010

Re-organising in the Flat and on the Website...

Monday morning and it is our day off and so of course we are doing work on the website! John has been busy altering some of the images that can be seen at the beginning of the site and I am going through the shop area and seeing what we need to put up on -line. I have only just started with the bookmarks and am already up to number 45 (!!!) on my list. A few require new pictures as the original design has evolved but many of the designs that we now do simply aren't up there! I have even thought of a few new ideas while writing out the list of designs to be embroidered and photographed.This is something that I promise to get stuck into in the next few days.

Yesterday (Sunday) was our other day off - I know two WHOLE days can it be true? and so John decided that arrangement of the living room still wasn't quite right. The television was not in the right place but to move it would require a new longer cable and where could we find one at 3.45 on a Sunday afternoon? Fortunately we live quite close to Barnitt's in York and they sell everything under the sun and so we managed to get the cable. However, in order to move the television we had to first move one of the small bookcases. So I took out the books and arranged them on the floor but then in order to put the new cable in place we had to get to the television socket which was behind another bookcase....yes you guessed it I had to take all the books out of that one as well! Then I decided that I wanted to swap the books over from the first bookcase to the second one. Added into this fun mix is a beautiful but annoying rug that will NOT stay in one place and which must be contantly flatten back into position...However, in the end after much jiggary pokery we managed to get everything sorted. Yes, honestly, we did..... It is fab in fact, as we now have our dining table against the window and are able to eat our breakfast while gazing at the view (York Minster, archeologists at the Hungate Dig Site, the birds, fish in the river Foss and of course not to forget the men repairing the pavements...). Yes, I think that we have finally sorted out how we want the living room to for the rest of the flat!

In the Studio we have had the company of a lovely student called Sammy. She is studying textiles at Demontfort University (one of my old stomping grounds) and wanted to do a work placement with a craft business. She is being introduced to all the glamour of working for yourself (although I hasten to add that I haven't got her to sweep up the floor or make the tea), but we are getting her to cut up the endless pieces of fabric for the embroideries (e.g. white blouses for icing on the Cupcakes). Don't worry, we are letting her have a go at the embroidery as well as and she is really picking it up very quickly. Although would you believe that the one problem that she is having is that her embroideries are a little too small! I know, hard to imagine but someone who actually embroiders tinier images than we do. Sammy is with us this week as well before going home for the Summer.

3 B.T.'s

1: Sitting on the sofa with a Martini after re-arranging the living room.
2: I have got three new friends on LibraryThing this week - I am addicted to this bookish site.
3: I went to a booksale at St. Saviour's gate in York and came away with a bag full of books and all for £8.60.

Bye for now,

Love Ruthie xx

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Oxford and York

John and I had a fabulous time in Oxford. The weather was glorious and the sun shone down on the dreaming spires. It was a real mixture of culture and beer (a bit like an episode of Lewis - but without the murders!) and John and I found a number of wonderful museums and real ale pubs to visit. My favourite was the Oxford Natural History Museum, which is an absolutely beautiful building, although rather over fussy in John's opinion but that's Victorian gothic design for you. John enjoyed the Pitt Rivers Museum because he was able to do some research for his latest Open University Project. This assignment is about the Benin bronzes and while we were standing there, another couple walked up to the exhibition case and began to stare intensely at the objects. Hello, I said, are you studying at the O.U. as well? It just so happened that the man was, and then the next minute another man walked up to the case and began to make some notes. Hello, I said, are you studying at the O.U. as well? The man looked quite amazed and said that Yes he was but how did I know? Oh just a wild guess...... the fact that this wonderful museum was crammed full of objects and yet the largest crowd was in front of the Benin art in one small corner gave me a clue...

At the Natural History Museum, we had a coffee with Jennifer who runs the Museum shop, although we have talked and emailed quite a few times this was our first face to face meeting. Sales had been going well and she was interested to see if I could get any inspiration from the museum collections and/or the building decorations. She loved the new Dodo and Chamelon designs. The really exciting piece of news that she had to tell us was that the museum had been visited by Tim Burton and Helena Bonham-Carter and they had purchased some of our Alice in Wonderland designs! I was sooooo excited I couldn't wait to tell Sophie and John (whose Laptop is never far from his side) put it up on Facebook before you could 'Wonderland'.

Oxford was wonderful but it was nice to get home to York. The first evening at home we watched an episode of Lewis and enjoyed guessing which bits of the city they were in and/or which pubs! It is incredible the number of times that Lewis and Hathaway seem to be walking past the Radcliffe Camera (the picture at the top of this blog)!

An interesting job that Sophie and I have worked on this week, has been the embroidery of a preaching scarf for a friend of Father Tim's. It was a real 'rush job' as it was needed for Sunday morning and he didn't bring it into the Studio until Saturday morning. However, we did manage to get it done and he was very pleased with our embroidery. It had been a real departure for us as Ecclesiastical devices are not our usual type of thing - to say the least.

The Swifts have been screeching above the city of York although not as many as last year. These birds are one of my favourites. The Buddleia blooms are coming out along the side of the Foss and I am avidly looking out for buterflies. This is our first Summer in this area of York and so I have my fingers crossed that I will see more than I did last year. In fact any would be nice...


1: Saw a beautiful demoiselle Damselfly in the garden of the Merchant Adventurer's Hall in York

2: A Red Kite (bird of prey) seen spiralling over a field near to Tring Natural History Museum as we left to start our journey home to York.

3: John and his O.U. course - he is doing so well and is getting into his seriously into his study. Not bad for a 'thick Barnsley boy'! I am so proud of him.

Bye for now,

Love Ruthie xx