Wednesday, 31 October 2007

The postman loves me

Wow! What a bumper day for post! Stand by for lots of pics......... First to arrive was an Amazonian parcel

This book was conceived as a handbook for students and teachers and presents Albers unique ideas of experimentation. I shall find out what those are when I get to grips with the book!

The other book in the parcel was this exciting book by Kim Thittichai. I was going to buy it at one of the shows I am going to soon but decided to get it from Amazon as some suppliers have been selling out I believe. I also saved money!

Then, just after 1.00pm, the postman, sorry, lady, arrived with two lovely envelopes. First was the swaps from the MixedMediaATCs -Uk group on a theme of natural materials.

Becky made this lovely card from cork and a peacock feather.

This beautiful wooden card with pyrography and shell was made by Maz.

And this delicate dried flower lady was made by Jean. It is absolutely beautiful! (Sorry there's a little bit of glare from the holder).

The final goodie envelope came from Denise who has a blog here. I only met her a few days ago thro my DH's blog and look at this great selection of materials she has sent me

I shall have to have a sort out to make room for it all! Thank you so much Denise. You will be hearing from me.....

On a less happy note, we had a bit of a disturbed night last night. I had gone to bed, a bit late after 11 o'clock, and had only just got into bed when I heard one heck of a thump and rumble from next door. I shouted Stewart and threw a jumper over my pyjamas and we both went round to find that my dear neighbour, who is 95, had fallen in the kitchen and couldn't get up. Fortunately her neighbour on the other side has a key so we roused her and then rang for an ambulance and her daughter. G, my neighbour, is a lovely, independent lady with a very sunny disposition and it was very upsetting to see her slouched on the floor very distressed and confused. Stewart looked after her until the ambulance and her daughter arrived, which was within about 10 minutes at the most. Unfortunately G was in such a state that they decided to take her to hospital. Stewart has been to see her this afternoon as he is on shift up there and nothing is broken but she is still very confused so I don't know what the outcome will be. G has always been so independent and it will be awful for her if she can't carry on living on her own. I have her in my thoughts all the time at the moment and I am just so glad that we decided to investigate when we heard the bang.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Happy Birthday to Laura

It's a special day today. My beautiful stepdaughter Laura is rather older today than she was when these photos were taken! But she's still on the right side of 30, bless her. I don't think she looks in here very often so I may get away with showing this pic of her at 4 years old, with attitude! LOL The second photo is of her with her Dad taken a bit later the same year. Sadly Laura's Dad died when she was 15 but he would be very proud of her if he could see the lovely woman she has grown into. Happy Birthday, Laura!

Now that Laura's birthday is here I can show you the secret from the other day. Dotee dolls are all the rage on the Fibre Art Traders yahoo group that I belong to and you can read about them on the site of the lady who originally designed them here. Here is my first attempt which I sent Laura for her birthday.

I am really pleased with how this doll has turned out and I shall be making some more. I think they could become quite addictive!

We were at the hospital this morning for a problem my DH has. They have decided to carry on keeping an eye on him for another 6 months and then review the situation, so nothing nasty is going to happen for the moment. It's one of those cases where blood tests suggest something may be going on but biopsies don't show anything up. At least if something does start up they should catch it early.

No artwork to show from today. I have been working on my feather stitch ATCs for a swap I'm in but they're not quite finished yet. I seem to have a lot of swaps going on at the moment. I'm not committed to all of them but I have got 10 on my list to be completed by the first week in December! Have I taken on too mcuh? Quite probably. Do I have time for blogging? Absolutely!

Watch this space - I'm staking out the doormat for some postal deliveries!

Monday, 29 October 2007

You know you're tired when

you try to put your fish pie into the fridge to cook! Doh! I think I probably overdid things today. As it was a lovely sunny day I got all enthusiastic and decided to venture to our local out of town superstore for a mooch round their craft section. I bought a few embellishments and checked out some prices ready for going to the Hobbycraft Exhibition at the NEC in a couple of weeks. I couldn't resist taking a couple of pix of the sky which looked beautiful.

If you look carefully you might be able to see a shopping trolley in the sky. How did that get there? LOL
After a long wander round (it's as big store) and a new pair of shoes (no, not because I wore mine out walking round), I had to go to the supermarket on the way home and was on the point of collapse by the time I got back - well it felt like the point of collapse. So I did collapse, on the settee with a cuppa and a browse through my emails and a few blogs. Fortunately I had a lazy tea (meal for one), once I realised I needed to cook it in the oven not the fridge, as my DH is on afternoon shift this week.
I would like to thank everyone who has been leaving comments on my blog recently and for all the great hints and tips about FME. It's really lovely to have your comments and I really appreciate all the kind comments I've had. Thank you all.
No art to show today but I must just tell you, I had a parcel from my mum today. She's a very sprightly 82 and has just been on a coach holiday with her friends so she sent me a video of the holiday and a bookmark. Well, it started out as a bookmark, her letter ended in a PS "Sorry the bookmark turned into a coaster!!!" You can see where I get it from can't you? *LOL*

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Slothful Sunday

I came onto my laptop at about 10 this morning planning to quickly blog and then get on with something and, 3 hours later I'm still here! I had a box full of e-mails and that led me to several other sites, you know how it is, and here I am, still typing! I have done a little sewing this morning but I can't show you the result for a couple of days until the item concerned reaches someone special - she may be looking in!

I've finished my book cover made with the fabric paper that I made for the Fibre & Stitch challenge. I say "finished", I am not overly happy with it as i would have liked to make a better job of the edging and I don't like the frilly ribbons I've included which were supposed to be used as bookmarks. I would do this differently next time. At least it got me using my new sewing machine. After I had painted the fabric and applied Treasure Copper I painted it with two coats of slightly watered down PVA (which I read somewhere is the equivalent of mod podge) which has made it look almost leather-like. I am now using it as a cover for my Cornish Journal but will replace that with a blank journal next time we go on holiday.

I must just show you this. I was just wondering where my DH was as I couldn't hear him moving about and went to look for him. I found him outside:

No, he's not dead (Thank God!) he's busy photographing some fungi that have sprouted up on the front lawn! I hope noone's called an ambulance! *LOL*

I had a proper play with the new sewing machine yesterday and feel a little more confident about using it.

Most of the stitches on the machine seem to be variations on zigzag but there are several options for edging stitches. I had a little go at Free Machining but I didn't get on very well as I didn't have a hoop. My dear friend Lynda has sent me some tips to help so I will try again as soon as I get a hoop. Thank you Lynda!

I had another rotten night last night. My brain was whirling round like I don't know what and again, I couldn't stop coughing. Why does that happen? Very little coughing during the day then all hell let loose as soon as you lie down! What a pain!
Right! I must get on. 50 blogs to catch up with and then sewing! *LOL*

Friday, 26 October 2007

You are the Moon

I was invited to do this quiz and find that I am the moon! It looks a bit scary to me but the creative bit is right! Oops I took the link out without realising it! Hang on I'll try and get it! Ok, it should be there now. Doh!

You are The Moon

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.

The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.


A lovely gift

I have had a beautiful gift through the post today. Anna Nowicki celebrated her first year of blogging on Monday and offered a gift to the first ten to comment on her blog. I was lucky enough to be one of those ten! This bag is made from silk carrier rods which Anna dyes herself and this one is called Autumn.

The bag is beautiful with metallic threads running thro it which my photo does not show up. At the moment I have my camera in it but it will be useful to carry my mobile and keys on a day out. Thank you Anna and I hope you enjoy the next year of blogging. If you haven't visited Anna's blog you should, her work is inspirational.

I shall have to experiment with making cords on my new machine.......any tips would be appreciated!

I was planning to sew today but I haven't got there yet.......blame blogland....again! I did fuse some fibre together this morning after I'd done a bit of ironing:

It is a piece of calico that I painted previously with inks and I've layered Angelina, scrim, dyed by Purplemissus, organza and chiffon. I'm going to have a go at FME and then burn back some of the layers with my soldering iron. Of course, I am almost paralysed with fear at actually machining on it. Where do I start? Shall I sew in a pattern or just randomly? Which stitch shall I use? You can see why I'm such a slow worker can't you? Get on with it Girl!!!!!!!!

Sky Watch Friday

My DH is taking part in "Sky Watch Friday" which is sort of self explanatory. The idea is to post a pic of a sky every Friday. As I love skies and am fascinated by their colours and patterns I thought I would join in. This glorious sky was taken at Art in Action in July. It was a lovely day with the threat of rain but no actual downpours for once (that's if my memory serves me correctly which knowing my memory it probably doesn't! *LOL).

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Anyone want a cold?

My dear DH has very kindly shared his cold with me and I am now sniffling, sneezing and coughing with the best of them. How kind is he? To be fair DH had a bad night last night with coughing and ended up spending the night in the lounge surfing the net and eventually getting some sleep on the couch. We thought it might be flu this morning but, after some proper sleep he managed to get up and seems a bit better this evening.
So, these pix are to try and cheer me up. The glass pyramids were at Rattenberg, a former mining village in Austria and the lunatics below are DH, his friend Richard (in the smurf hat and Paul (the coach driver) entering into the spirit of things on holiday. The chap with the rip in his jacket was the entertainer, part of a duo, who had us in fits even tho they spoke very little English. (In case you're wondering they all ended up playing the me, it was hilarious at the time!)
I have had a little play with my sewing machine today and the fabric paper book is coming along, at least I now have it sewn together. I just need to finish the edging.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Hope DH's not looking!

OMG!!! I've done it! Don't tell my DH! Hope he's not looking in....... I've succumbed to a snap decision in Dunelm Mill Shop this morning. OK I'll get to the point. I've bought a (basic) sewing machine. Finally. Yes, I know I've got my mum's old Singer upstairs but she says it doesn't work too well and I can't lift it off the floor. And this is a Janome and I can lift it.

Here it is boxed

And here it is in all its glory

I haven't used a sewing machine since the 80's and certainly not for creative stitching. It's only a basic machine but it has 20 stitches and drop feed dogs so it should do most things that I'll want to do. It only cost me £89 so I'm happy. I've managed to thread it up and had a little play so, watch this space, I may now be able to finish my fibre ATC's neatly and indulge in some free machining. Yee ha!

If DH is looking in MWAH! luv ya! Kiss, kiss, kiss! I don't really feel guilty! ;o)) (He won't mind really).

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Cobwebs again

Yesterday I set up another experiment with the cobweb fibre this time with lutradur. I taped down samples of 4 different weights of lutradur (as I couldn't get drawing pins into my board - wimp!) and then stretched a small amount of cobweb across the board and pulled it underneath so that it was held taut.

Once the cobweb was spread out I sprayed it all with water and allowed that to soak in for a few minutes. I then dripped silk paints over the surface and tilted the board to allow the colour to blend all over. I did give one or two areas a spray of water where the colour was lying too dense.

You may be able to see that I laid one or two other fibres on the surface to soak up some of the colour and to see if this had any effect on the underlying surface - on this occasion it didn't. I resolutely left the board alone until today when I pulled the cobweb away to see what had happened both to the lutradur and the paper underneath.

There are some interesting effects on the paper which I will use in a future project. The colours have dried light and delicate.

As you can see, the light weight lutradur took up less of the colour. The cobweb has had a mild effect on the lutradur, probably as it is already a fibrous material. I will have to try this with other materials like tissue and calico.

My fabric paper is coming along. I have applied two coats of watered down pva glue to protect the surface and have also rubbed in some copper Treasure Gold.

The blue material is the lining for the book cover I am hoping to make this into. Unfortunately, I don't think I am going to be able to hand sew through all the layers so I am going to see if I can get any iron on binding or ribbon to finish the edge. If not I may have to re-think the tabs that will hold the book in place. All this sewing and making things is new to me.....I haven't a clue what I'm doing half the time but that's half the fun!

You may remember I mentioned a natural materials swap I am doing. I couldn't decide which of the cards I had made to put into the swap so I made another card yesterday from needle felted wool. I didn't use any backing material to support it so it's a little bit loose but I quite like it. I shall have to learn some more stitches for finishing edges, the blanket stitch looks a bit ragged, again.

These are the cards that my DH said he preferred so they are going in the post tomorrow.

Sunday, 21 October 2007


I tracked down the artist who wrote about the cobweb technique in "International Artist". Her name is Mary Ann Beckwith and you can read a little about her here. Mary uses hot pressed watercolour paper and Yupo (a plastic watercolour paper) with the cobweb and liquid watercolour for the pigment. As I was reminded with my experiment yesterday, inks can cause the cobweb to stick to the surface and leave fibres behind.

This is a detail of my piece. When using inks the colour does not fade on drying as it would with watercolour so this is quite vibrant. I did make the mistake of dropping inks onto the paper before applying the cobweb and the overall effect is too dark and even for my liking. I will have another go and

1 Stretch the cobweb out so it is finer

2 Hold the web down with drawing pins (pushpins)

3 Spray the web and paper with water and let it soak into the fibres before I apply the inks.

I am wondering whether this technique would work with tissue, lutradur, scrim or calico so I will be having another play this week. I've just bought some silk paints so I may use these instead of the inks. Once you have your cobwebbed paper (or fabric) you can of course use it as a background or however the fancy takes you.

I've been working on making my fibre paper (from the Fibre & Stitch challenge) into a book cover today and have now got all the stitching to do so I'll show that later if I can get a needle through all the layers!

Hope everybody's having a good weekend!

Saturday, 20 October 2007

It's been a funny kinda week

I don't know where this week has gone. I haven't done anything earth shattering all week but I have managed to get some art work done in between feeling ropey, having chest pains and going up to the hospital with DH on Wednesday to see the out of hours doctor as his tum was playing up! The joys of middle age! DH has got to have a procedure next week and then he can go back on his tummy pills so if we can just get thro the next 5 days we should be ok. I have already had an ECG and I've got to have a chest x-ray but the doc seems to be erring on the side of a digestive problem. Fingers crossed.

I have made these 4 ATCs for the All things Natural Swap at the Mixed Media ATCs_UK group but I am not too sure about them. I think I will probably add a dried flower or two to the ivy.
I am not pleased with the beach materials one as I got too much sand on it and I don't think the composition is very good. What do you think? Could do better!

The sun drew me out into the garden this afternoon and I took a few pix. It seems amazing that a clematis is in flower in October - I think this one may be a Jackmanii which should flower in July.

We cut the plant down to the ground in July when we had the fence replaced and it's gone mad ever since and is smothered in buds. I hope the frost doesn't kill it off.

There are still flowers on the fuschia too and the pansies were smiling happily in the sun

Since it's almost Halloween I've been revisiting a technique I've used before and thought you might like to see it. It's not an original thought of mine as I saw it described in an art magazine (International Artist I think) but unfortunately I can't find the copy so I can't credit the artist. The idea is to use "cobweb", the type that they are seeling now for Halloween works well. You can buy it in Morrisons and Woolworths and probably ASDA too. I have used it on paper and canvas and the result is always different. Today I pre-wet a block of watercolour paper and dripped and squirted some inks on it. I then stretched the cobweb over it and sprayed it well with water. I then used more acrylic inks to dribble ink all over and sprayed again with water so that the colour moves around and all the cobweb is wet.

The hardest part is to leave it overnight until it is dry, then all will be revealed! If I'm lucky it may look like this....

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Foils and remnants

No art to show today as I've had a quietish day so far and we're hospital visiting this evening. However, the postman did bring the fooils I ordered from Fibreinform and they are gorgeous. I also went shopping for scrim and came home with these lovely remnants for the grand sum of £1.49! There's almost a metre of the organza which is in an unusual colour but which will be wonderful for toning down surfaces and burning thro. Yummy. Must make more time to play! (Didn't get any scrim tho).

Here's a clearer pic of the lace which seems to be lace curtain samples

Got to go and cook tea. Ttfn! :o)

Wednesday, 17 October 2007


I had to go to Patchings today (of Patchings Festival fame) to collect a garland so I turned it into a pleasant trip out with my friend Ann. It's been an absolutely glorious day here today with just a nip in the air to remind you that winter is on its way.

Patchings is a very attractive Arts Centre in the Nottinghamshire countryside with a main exhibition gallery and a second exhibition space located in the shop. In addition there is a materials shop and several small studio galleries where working artists display their art for sale and are available for a chat at various times during the week. The Arts Centre also has a thriving art group and holds many classes and workshops.

Needless to say Ann and I spent a very pleasant couple of hours browsing the display shop and, after a cuppa and cake, had a friendly chat with Jo Lloyd a resident artist who specialises in hand made rugs. Jo is shortly going to be doing a workshop on Textile design so I have put my name down.

There was no time for art work today but my fabric paper has dried out and it's looking quite interesting.

These colours are a bit adrift I think but that's the vagaries of monitors. The little dots are sparkles on the tissue paper I used. Next I have to finish the fabric paper off and make something with it - probably a book cover - all by the end of the month. Phew!

Sorry! What did you say? Shopping? No, of course I didn't buy anything at Patchings! Moi?! (Sssh, DH reads my blog!) Lol. Oh, alright then. I bought some silk paints and some Treasure Gold. VBG! (Very Big Grin or Very Bad Girl - you choose). LOL

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Innocent Smoothies part 2

I'm quite pleased with myself today. I've had a productive day for once. I woke up way too early with my brain buzzing so, once DH had got off to work, I decided to get up and start the day. Mind you it still wasn't a rapid start but at least I wasn't still in bed at 10 o'clock.

I wanted to have a play with making fabric paper a la Fibre & Stitch. I set out my stall with waxed paper, well, a corn flakes bag, laid out on which I laid the muslin. The idea was then to paste the muslin with a 50/50 mix of pva let down with water. This was the fun part! I got wonderfully stuck up as the muslin wouldn't stay flat while I was brushing the paste on.

Once the muslin was coated in paste I laid on a layer of tissue paper that I had already crumpled up so that it was nice and crinkly and brushed over again with paste. The final step at this stage was to apply pigment, in my case acrylic inks, while everything was still wet.

The photograph was taken while everything was still wet so the colours won't be right. The swirls are red gold acrylic ink which is really thick. I'll be interested to see how it has dried tomorrow. (Hopefully it won't all have stuck to the waxed paper).

I'm currently working on some mixed media ATCs using only natural materials and I got those 3 parts finished but I can't show any pix until after the swap at the end of the month.

Following my post about the Innocent Smoothies yesterday I dug out some knitting needles and wool and had a go at making the little woolly hats. And, tah dah! I made three!

Don't tell anyone but my needles were too big so I think they're a bit oversized but better that than too small. lol All I have to do now is get them posted.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Woolly hats for Innocent Smoothies

My friend Gina at Fan my Flame has posted today about a knitting challenge in aid of Age Concern. Innocent Drinks are running a campaign called "Big Knit" where people are invited to knit hats for Innocent Smoothies. For every Smoothie sold wearing a hat, during November, Innocent and Sainsburys will donate 50p to Age Concern. You can read all about the campaign here, where there are even knitting patterns. (Sorry Gina, I pinched your wording!) Looks like I'll be busy with the knitting needles for a day or two. The deadline is 22 October. I shop at Sainsburys, how come I haven't heard about this?

Saturday workshop

Our workshop on Saturday was hectic but enjoyable. Inspired by my friend Gill Boyle's exhibition that I blogged about here I had prepared a sheet of random textures on Friday evening at home. I flung anything and everything at the paper from painted paper towel through magazine paper, texture paste, material, corrugated card, silk paper to lace and leaves.

At the workshop I applied gesso to most areas but left some areas clear so that some of the map and newsprint will show thro. I then applied a first layer of gold ochre ink to provide a base.

I am really pleased with some of these texture areas. As blogger again won't enlarge here is a detail:

Actually, on here it looks like a load of rubbish covered in paint. LOL. :o)) but it is only the beginning. As usual I have ploughed in with no plan, just an idea that I want to make a highly textured surface based loosely on the textures in a stone/rock face. We shall see..........

What else did I do on Saturday? Oh yes. Remember this?

Well, I wanted to enrich the colour so I added reds and some brown inks. Sorry but I forgot to take a pic and it's too dark at present. It still needs some more work and I'm going to use some copper acrylic paint next and then more dark reds on top. I'll put a photo up when I've done the next stage.
Oooh! I've just thought.....I wonder what that lutradur with the gold thread would do for it?......... or even any lutradur.......might be worth a go.

What else did I do on Saturday? Had a laugh and a good natter and exchanged arty ideas...what else is a workshop for? Excellent!

Swaps and shopping

I forgot to post up some ATCs that I received at the end of last week from friends at Mixed Media ATCs_UK. The theme of the swap was "Time":

This one is from Jenny

This is from Pat

And this is from Amanda S

I've also been naughty today and bought some goodies. tsk tsk tsk! But good fun! Lol. I popped into a new local shop for cardmakers and scrapbookers - not that I do either , but they had some good stock.

I think the little packet marked 'material' is lutradur with a gold thread running through it. I shall have to have a go with that.