Cough! Cough! Splutter!

Ey up my bloggy chums! You're all a sight for sore eyes; looking particularly gorgeous today if I may say?!

Anyway apologies for the noise, it's just me shaking the dust sheets off the ol' blog.  Think of us as the internetty equivalent of Miss.Havisham and her cobwebby room -  Dickens described her as looking like "the witch of the place".  My husband said the comparison was uncanny.  He's a constant source of comfort n joy to me...sarky git.

Anyroad, so it's been a few months since I hit the blog for which I must apologise.  I shan't bother you with all the gory details as it's depressing enough us dealing with it without foisting it all on you lot!  Suffice it to say I've shaken off quite a few cobwebs just lately and kind of getting back into the groove.

Now bear with me cos I havent blogged since March and haven't been away from home since a school trip to Boulogne in 1984 so LOTS to bore you with, get comfy! :)

I have had lots of support from my lovely, neglected friends for which I'm eternally grateful and there is one person in particular to whom I owe a massive debt of gratitude for not only getting me to leave the house for first time in absolute years and to go further than Morrison's (Sainsbury's on a good day if I'm feeling particularly maverick) but even managed to get me on an airplane for the first time EVER!

Stand up Avril Halliday!!
(yoink! Photo courtesy of NIEG)

Avril and I have been friends for long time and she asked me absolutely ages ago if I would come over and give a talk and workshop to the ladies of the NIEG.  I have to say I was super excited at the thought but also extremely nervous but as this is was booked over a year in advance figure I had plenty of time to brace myself...but bugger me a year goes quick doesn't it?!

However after many, many deep breaths (and that wasn't just me getting my jeans on) I did actually fly out on Fri 14th Nov...(I even copped a hug from the security lady at Birmingham airport as I looked so nervous!)..I found my seat (window...argh!) and was glued to the stewardess safety lecture.

After a plane journey that I spent clutching my arm rests and calculating my chance of survival should the worst happen I arrived dazed and confused at the George Best Belfast City airport into Avril's arms...she gives the best hugs! :)

Waiting alongside Avril was Aylerie Dowdell, who I later discovered makes the most exquisite embroidered shoes....including a couple of pairs of killer heels which if I could've fitted in my handbag, would've done!  Gorgeous!

From there the ladies whisked me off to The Salty Dog hotel which sits on Bangor seafront and was just lovely.  Even lovlier when the ladies and the receptionist organised an upgrade to a beautiful seaview room...haven't seen the sea in years so that was just an additional joy!

I was then whisked off for a tour of Bangor and went to visit an exhibition of the guild's work and then off to Project 24

(yoink! Photo courtesy of Project 24)

where I also met the watercolour artist Barbara Allen, which was a thrill!

(yoink! Photo courtesy of Barbara Allen)

After a whirlwind of a day I scuttled back to my room and tried to get some sleep in readiness for my big moment next day!

Saturday saw me stuffing my face with breakfast followed by a stroll on the seafront before the girls picked me up and whisked me off to Ballygilbert Hall.

It's a lovely building and the girls informed me it's opposite the field where saucy minx Rhianna got told off by a farmer for getting her doodahs out...quite right too! ;) 

Here's a couple pix of the hall filling up to hear my talk!  

I'll be honest I was terrified and I should point out that all those chair were full! But everyone was so supportive and welcoming and very generously laughed and applauded in all the right places!  After a delicious lunch and the World's gayest cupcake (again thank you Avril!) the Sat workshop started which I think I was more nervous about but everyone seemed to enjoy it and there was some lovely work produced.

The next day started with a famous Ulster Fry, followed by a trip to The Ulster Folk Museum for the Sunday workshop.  What an absolutely stunning place!

Here's a few shots of the girls in action…

...everyone was really engrossed in their work, contrary to my husband saying "they're trying not to catch your eye!"…I swear I will kill 'im one day!  But a fun filled day nonetheless, in between spells of hardcore stitching there was lots of lovely chattering and laughter!

And here is some of the work produced.  Have to say I'm really thrilled with what everyone produced!

So a massive THANK YOU to my dear friend Avril for not only putting up with me and my infrequent, rambling and depressing emails but for all the love and support and encouragement over the past couple of years and having the faith in me and my work to put me forward to the Northern Ireland Embroidery Guild.

And even bigger thanks to the Northern Ireland Embroidery Guild for taking a chance on a pink haired hermit with a vague grasp of sewing/painting and no experience whatsoever of speaking in public...I wasn't dragged off stage (despite my very poor rendition of "that's a-moray" halfway through my talk) and no-one's asked for a refund yet so think all went well! ;)

And last but not least a massive thank you to the lovely folks of Northern Ireland who really couldn't have made me feel more welcome, at ease or at home.

Now if you're all still awake brace yourself my next blog...hoping sooner rather than another 6 months, but I will fill you all in about my most recent commission which features these guys and a bleeding' great stitched narna!

So big loves to you my bloggy homies, it's nice to be back!!
Stay groovy :)


Jackie said…
Its good to see you're back again. I'm so pleased for you that you faced your fears and did it. Maybe its the start of a new phase. I remember when I flew for the first time after an 18 year gap , by the time we'd got up to travelling height I had tears streaming down my face. I found , on the return journey, wine was a great help. Congratulations.x
bonzogirl said…
Great to hear from you again....hey life happens...and sometimes you can't do stuff...but you're back wayyy hayyy!!Just waiting for some quirky fun stuff from you to get the creative juices are a warped mad woman who loves life ..just my kinda gal...we could be twins!!!
solka said…
love your blog and your art! nice to see you again)
Anonymous said…
hooray you're back! And also, wow - such a lovely adventure! Well done you on conquering your fear of public speaking (and flying)...or at least beating it into submission for a few hours!

Gina said…
Great to see you back. You obviously went down a storm... there'll be no stopping you now!
Lyn said…
Good to see back! The work produced by your pupils is very good indeed. I enjoyed reading all about it and looking at the photos - thank you. I very much like the start of your new picture and look forward to seeing it all stitched up.
Raylee said…
so happy to see you !
Christine Young said…
Was a treat to meet you Karen (loved the pink hair), really enjoyed doing your workshop on the Sunday even though I was under the weather & missed out on your talk to the Guild & the workshop on the Saturday! So glad you enjoyed your trip to NI, you must come back with your other half! Hugs from Lisburn, N. Ireland
Glad to see you back again! Love looking at your stuffs!

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