Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Take it Further April

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I am pleased to say that I have actually managed to complete the April challenge on time! Yay! I kept to the postcard format I had decided on at the beginning of the month and chose to use the brown paper fabric that I had made for the Fibre & Stitch challenge previously.
All the materials used in the postcard have been changed from their original appearance or purpose :
*The brown paper has been painted in many layers with acrylic paint, inks and metallic paint
*The leaf has been painted with gesso and then copper acrylic paint
* The key has been changed by rusting
* The lace has been changed by dying with inks
* Beneath the lace is a copper garden label which has been rusted and the spiral metal piece is rusted copper wire from the copper tag.
In keeping with thoughts about change, which can be for good or not so good, I have free-motion embroidered over the surface of the card to suggest the path that change can lead you on in your life. Some of that change, and its effects, may not be obvious initially and I think that's why I wanted the copper label to be partially hidden and only hinted at under the lace.
Change is a funny thing. Life is full of change. We change as we grow, and we grow as we change. Our outlook changes as we develop and as we meet other people on our journey. Sometimes we are not aware, at the time, that we are changing or that change is affecting us. Other times, change is obvious and overwhelming. During my life I have experienced all kinds of change, some of which I resisted and which made life very difficult for me. Other change has been a joy and has happened without any conscious decision on my part. I have just gone with the flow. Other change has been a definite decision on my part.
I would never have dreamt a year ago that my art interests would have changed so much and that I would be so involved with experimental and textile art and meeting people all over the world who share my interests. It seems appropriate to say thank you here to everybody I have met over the last year and to everyone who has left comments here. Thank you for sharing my journey of change.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Progress and texture

I am still working hard on my long quiltie but I've had a "duh" moment and am now wondering if our American friends might look in at my blog so I'm going to delay showing you anymore until I've finished it (next week). Sorry! On the technical front I have found that I could fix the photos to the background with bondaweb without the iron affecting the printed images. Phew! I just need to find out now whether I need to/can seal the printed images to help prevent fading. I have machine stitched the images down after bondawebbing but I have decided against free-machining and am doing some hand sewing.


On our last day in Killarney, before we met our friends for lunch, my DH and I took a wander in Killarney Park. The Park forms part of the gardens of Killarney House and extends along the edge of Lough Leane, one of the three Killarney Lakes. Needless to say I was on the lookout for texture and colour and I wasn't disappointed (especially as the wind was blowing and it was pretty chilly).

I can see possibilities with the texture and patterns in this sawn tree trunk.

The blue sky seen through the branches of this tree belies the chill in the day.

I should have photographed the whole tree but this hole was, I think, in a buttress coming out from the base of the tree. There are some nice textures in the wood and I like the glimpse of a world beyond through the hole.

This slate wheel is part of a monument on the roadside to people lost while working as Missionaries overseas. The monument is planted with some exotic plants including Tree ferns which give a hint of the countries where the missionaries worked.

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This wonderfully woolly tree trunk, covered in lichen, shows just how clean, and wet, the atmosphere is in Killarney.

This young tree in Killarney park drew me like a magnet with its unusual patterning on the bark. I think most likely it has come from protective coverings which were left on too long when the tree was getting established and have left their imprint in the bark.

I suppose I'm cheating a bit with this almost repeated photograph but it is a different part of the trunk shown above. I do love the shapes of the sawn off smaller branches which are seen nestled into the dead vines and other vegetation around the trunk.
This is the full view of the Missionaries Garden along the roadside in Killarney. As you can see it looks like a little oasis.
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Sunday, 27 April 2008


We have some friends coming to see us from America next week so I thought I would put my very young designing and stitching skills to use and make them a wallhanging. We met G & P several years ago when we were holidaying in Connemara in Ireland. Since then they have looked us up every time they have come to the UK which they do quite regularly. We spend a very pleasant evening having a lovely meal in a local hotel followed by a glass or two of Tullamore Dew, a very palatable Irish Whiskey!
I decided that I wanted to work with my own photographs of Ireland on a pieced background. (Do I sound as though I know what I'm talking about? Hmmmm.....)

The fabrics have come from the samples I got from the Scrapstore a few weeks ago and I tried several arrangements with paper versions of the photos I will eventually use.
I also auditioned some trims and embellishments but I think I need to tint the shamrocks to reduce the brightness of the white. The shamrock motifs came from the coasters I bought at Blarney. (Not sure if I have blogged about that). I may or may not use the piece of driftwood as a hanger - it is maybe not quite long enough and will add to the weight for our friends flight back to the US so I may look for an alternative.
I have been experimenting too with the arrangement of the photographs on the backing fabrics but I still haven't settled on the final arrangement.
So, it's taken me all day and I've managed to stitch the layered fabrics together and also tack them onto a cotton backing. The next step is to transfer the images. I think I will use T-shirt transfer and iron these onto cotton which I can then stitch onto the background. I don't think I can transfer the images directly to the background as some of the material is quite fluffy/textured. I'm just hoping the photo images won't be too "strong" and in your face, or maybe I mean realistic, as I want to add some shells and lace and maybe some text here and there. If I am really adventurous I will Free Machine embroider over the surface. I would like to handstitch the embroidery but I don't think I will have enough time.
I'm sure I should have drawn all this out and planned it in detail before I started but I tend to be a seat-of-your-pants kind of gal! Watch this space! I have to finish by next Tuesday.
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Friday, 25 April 2008


This beautiful beach is at Inch on the Dingle Peninsula. Known as Inch Strand this idyllic beach featured in the film "Ryan's Daughter" and also "Playboy of the Western World". There is a story told that when they needed seagulls to fly up in "Ryan's Daughter" they had to release birds onto the beach because there weren't enough there!
The figures in the photo above are mostly tourists let loose from their coach for a quick wander (not us sadly).
From here you can look across to the Ring of Kerry where we were the day before. "I was looking back to see if she was looking back to see if I was looking back at her"! (Or something like that!)
What do you reckon to this bungalow? It sits on the mountain side above Inch Strand and looks out on the views above. We are thinking about renting this property for a holiday, maybe next year. Wouldn't you just like to walk out along that beach every day? There is a 3 mile stretch of beach here and I would definitely need an extra suitcase to bring home the finds washed up from across the other side of the world by the Atlantic Ocean.
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Thursday, 24 April 2008

Arte y Pico Award

Don't panic Lesley! This is just a quick post! LOL
I am very honoured to have been nominated for the Arte y Pico award by Anne Wigfull of Grains in the Wind . Thank you very much for nominating me for this award, Anne and thanks to you and everyone who takes the time to look in here and also leave comments. There are so many varied and inspiring blogs that I visit that I have found it impossible to select just 5 to award in my turn. Any of the blogs in my links list fulfills the criterion for this award and my life is enriched by visiting any one of them.
I am honoured too to be referred to as a girl, Anne! I still feel like one but the outer cover is getting a bit crumpled ;o). (Sorry I can't import the symbol for the award as my computer freezes everytime I try it).

Postal goodies!

I had a lovely surprise through the post today. This lovely colourful envelope landed on the mat this afternoon and for a moment I couldn't think why Susan was sending me a parcel. Then I remembered! I had swapped an ATC with Susan a few weeks ago and this was my ATC in return from her. Sorry Susan, all this travelling is rotting my brain! LOL

The envelope got me excited on its own as its so pretty, both sides being printed with hearts.
When I opened the envelope I found not only the promised ATC but also a tempting parcel wrapped in lovely spotty tissue paper.
The ATC is gorgeous and is twinkling at me from its present perch on top of my cabinet in the lounge. The angelina which you can see in this photo is more extensive than this photo shows and sets it off well. Sorry but my colour is a bit off, the longer beads and the bottom left background fabric are both more purple than blue.
The reverse of the ATC is just as lovely as the front!
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These are the beautiful goodies that were in the spotty parcel. There are some lovely threads, braids and cords here and 2 lovely pieces of cloth, one painted in the colours of a lavender bush by Susan and a beautiful piece of leafy patterned batik. I love these colours, they remind me of a beautiful garden.

You can see the leafy fabric here and also the very pretty lace heart and heart charm. You can just see a small piece of green silk on the right hand side which is beautiful too.
Thank you Susan for my lovely ATC and all these inspiring goodies. Now I have to put my thinking cap on! :o)
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Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Gratuitous Beauty 2

From here you are looking across to the Beara Peninsula on the other side of Derrynane Bay, across the Kenmare River. Some years ago (1997 to be exact) my Mum and I explored the Beara peninsula and, dare I say it, it is a stunning area, even more so than the Ring. The Beara is even more rugged than the Ivereagh Peninsula (the Ring of Kerry) and is less well populated.

We had our lunch at the Scariff Inn enjoying this lovely view. (No affiliation).
Looking back onto an inlet of the Kenmare River.
This beautiful tumble of rocks and water is in the village of Sneem, which is also known as "The knot on the ring" (Sneem means 'knot' in Gaelic). although there has been some building of new homes I was pleased to see that Sneem still retains its traditional atmosphere. It suffers a little from being a recognised stop for coaches on the Ring but fortunately we were there early in the season. Saying that there were about 6 coaches ranged round the central green!
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You know me, I can't resist stones! this is the end wall of a cottage at the Bog Village.

Slate appeals to me too. This slate topped wall is at the Scariff Inn.

I can't imagine what these nails were doing in the top of the wall but they'd been there a while. And no, I didn't bring them away! I wanted to though! ;)

You may need to enlarge this one to see the detail of the riverbed at Sneem.

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Hopefully when you enlarge this photo you will be able to read Vivienne Roche's commentary on the sculpture below.
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This sculpture, one of many dispersed around Sneem, is by Vivienne Roche and commemorates Cearbhall o Dalagh, President of Ireland from 1974 - 1976, whose funeral was held in Sneem.

These 3 views are in the Killarney National Park from the viewpoint known as Ladies' View. As with many things the name is said to come from a visit by Queen Victoria and her Ladies-in-Waiting. That reminds me, I believe the Ring of Kerry only became known by that name after the Prince of Wales (Queen Victoria's son) first made the circular tour. (Correct me if I'm wrong!)

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Happy St George's Day

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St George is the patron Saint of England and has a reputation as a dragon slayer. If you look here you can read what some children in Kent have found out about this famous man. (Dilly, you don't need to worry! You're right! He didn't slay any dragons! Yay!)
Happy St George's Day, everyone!
PS The window is in Thriplow Church.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Technical Hitch

*!?*#&*! flip! Sorry but I've just found out I've got a problem with uploading my photos. All that work for nothing! You might prefer to come back tomorrow when I've had my nervous breakdown and beaten Blogger and Picasa into submission! Aaaaaaaaagh! Yippee! Picasa has recovered! Normal service is resumed!!!!! Happy dancing here! :o)

Artful Blogging

I have had an email today advising me of the opportunity to win the above magazine through a blog draw at . If you follow the link you will be able to see a few of the pages of this new magazine (no affiliation, by the way) including an item by Juju of Juju loves Polkadots whose blog is here. To stand a chance of winning the mag you just need to leave a comment giving your blog address and also say why you blog or read blogs. Must be worth a try! Oh no! If you all join in my chance to win goes down! LOL Go for it!
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