Friday, 29 October 2010

Plant texture and Busy Weekend

I've dashed in here with a very quick post as I am going to be very busy over the weekend.  In fact, I should be in bed now or I'll be useless tomorrow.  So, what is happening?  Tomorrow is our Regional Day with the Quilters Guild and this time it is being held in north Lincolnshire.  I'm really excited to be going as the speaker is Sheena Norquay whose work I have admired for a long time and on Sunday I get to do a workshop with her!  I am beside myself!  My DH thinks I'm moving house because of all the stuff I'm taking ;)

Fortunately my brother lives about halfway between here and where the Regional Day is being held so I won't have to come all the way home tomorrow afternoon and I get to spend the evening with my brother and his wife.  Beats driving home when you're tired and even better it means I don't have to have such an early start on Sunday. 

I still have loads of St Ives pics to show you but for now have made a quick collage of some plant shapes that caught my eye.  The dried wreathy, shelly thing at the middle bottom was on the wall in our cottage.

Lastly, tomorrow it's the birthday of someone very special so Happy Birthday to my very special step-daughter from her wicked stepmum ;) Xxx 

(She's going to kill me for that photograph LOL)

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Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Stay Home Round Robin and Journal Quilt

I've just realised I didn't show you the next stage of my piece for Kate North's Stay Home Round Robin which I completed last week.

The instruction for this month was to add a strip 9" x 3".  I have continued with the theme of the red/orange batik but couldn't find anymore of the dark blue fabric.  Luckily I found the blue chrysanthemum fabric and decided that would work.  Some of the girls have been including circles in their pieces but I didn't feel brave enough to give them a go yet so I decided to balance the curved lines of the right hand side with very slightly curved horizontal lines in this strip which I added on the left.  I am really enjoying following this Round Robin and it feels less scary than working on somebody else's piece, although that would be a fun challenge sometime.

Yesterday I decided it was high time I got on with my Contemporary Quilt Group Journal Quilt for September.  Just running a little behind!

This is called "Scrap Happy" and it is what its title suggests.  I raided my scrap bags and only used fabric I found in them.  I used the 'mile a minute' technique (mostly) and was surprised to find enough matching pieces to do the repeats.  The backing, which you can't see, came from an offcut from an old embroidered tablecloth.  I now have three more to do, hopefully before the end of November so that they don't get lost in the lead up to Christmas. (Oops! Sorry, I mentioned the 'C' word again!)

Now for some really good news!  My friend Grace is home at last!  Her leg is healing well and she is getting about on two sticks.  She has carers going in but she is able to potter about fairly happily.  I would like to thank everyone for their messages of support and good wishes. :o)

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

This is the photo that didn't want to load last night.  I used several different adjustments in the Image tab in Photoshop Elements and then applied a Spatter filter.  It was just a quick  play and I'm sure it is open to other manipulations, especially with the use of layers.  Looks a bit like a felted picture, don't you think?

Whenever you are in St Ives Bay you cannot fail to notice Godrevy Lighthouse which sits majestically on Godrevy Island.   Before I ever went to St Ives I made an oil painting of the lighthouse and also painted it on a ceramic plaque and I have been fascinated by it ever since.  This year on our holiday we had the chance of a boat trip out to the lighthouse so as it was a beautiful sunny day we decided to go.

The boat we went out on was the 'Dolly Pentreath', a traditional Cornish fishing lugger.  It rolled a bit but generally it was a good trip and very exciting to be up close to the lighthouse. 

From the shore you can't tell that there is that huge rock behind the main island.

It was also interesting to see St Ives from a different perspective.

I've no doubt my DH will be posting some more dramatic pictures of our little adventure on his blog before long.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Now. Where was I?

Oh yes, St Ives!  Seems like a long time ago now.  The reason for the gap in postings this week is a quick trip to my Mum's to empty and demolish her garden shed which was in danger of collapse.  DH worked like a little Trojan and with me filling bin bags and making drinks we got the job done.  So now here I am trying to pick up the threads again.

Anyway, back to St Ives.  St Ives was home to the noted sculptor Barbara Hepworth and is proud of its museum which celebrates her work.  We have visited the museum and garden before but thought it was time for a return visit and this time I tried to concentrate on images that would provide me with inspiration for digital work as well as possible design sources.

 I can see designs for quilts in several of these photographs which would require very little change in the shapes perceived.   I am longing to have a play with the spider's web photograph in Photshop, just need to find some time! 

I have had a very quick play with the image of the sawn off stumps but Blogger has gone into a sulk and won't load it. Grrrr!  I'll post it next time.

I seem to be back in a blogging slump at the moment, probably as a result of a few days away, but I have been working on a couple of projects so I haven't been totally idle.  I'll keep this short and hopefully get Blogger to accept some more photos tomorrow.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Rock Pool

Following on from yesterday and my previous post, one or two people have asked me to post close ups of the stitching I did on holiday based on the rock pool so here they are.  Hopefully they are much closer to the actual colour of my little wallhanging.

If you click on the pics you should be able to see the layering more clearly.  I do love playing about with these pieces of improvised stitchery, especially when they are on a sea theme.

Another glimpse through the clear waters.  I think these may be baby mackerel.  Speaking of which,

not so baby mackerel!  Unfortunately my photo is a bit blurry but I can see a bit of Photoshop manipulation coming up and the blurriness won't matter.

Many thanks for all your comments on my last few posts.  I'm glad you're enjoying the photos.  There'll be more!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

St Ives

What a magical name that is!  I never tire of thinking about St Ives and I don't think we will ever tire of going there.  I took so many photos that I've made a few collages to give a taste of some aspects of the town.

Over the course of 2 weeks we saw several faces of St Ives from flat calm sparkling sea to something a little more boisterous.  Having said that it was never really rough.
The photo at middle bottom above is the view we had from the sitting room of our rented cottage.  It was an upside-down house with the kitchen and bathroom downstairs and the bedrooms and lounge upstairs. 

These are just a few of the wonderful textures we saw throughout our stay.  I have many more to show and I'm hoping I will be able to use them as backgrounds in my digital art, when I ever get round to doing any! :)

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These are just a few of the images that speak to me of the harbour in St Ives.  Fishing for crabs is a popular pastime around the harbour and this little pink bucket soon became full of crabs who couldn't resist the squid bait.  I think they all got put back into the water.  The seal is a regular visitor and I think we saw him every day.  The cottages in the middle photograph sit literally on the beach and at least one is a holiday let.  In this high tech age it is interesting that the shipping forecast is written on a chalk board on the pier every day (except the weekend!).

What else can I show you?  There's so much to choose!

An Open-Top bus runs around the coast until the beginning of October and we took a trip on it to Lands End, the most westerly point in England (hence the photograph of my DH looking like ET!).  It turned into a glorious day and after lunch at the hotel in the photo we had a rush of blood to the head and decided to walk (!) along the coastal path (!!) to Sennen Cove and get the return bus from there.  

We walked up several hills,
 Enjoyed the view towards Cape Cornwall

Eventually walked down the hill into Sennen Cove and enjoyed a welcome cuppa and some cake.

This was the window in the cafe we had our cuppa in, very appropriate.

Suitably fortified we caught the last bus to return to St Ives.  But first,

a hair raising journey passing very close to buildings in St Just and taking care to avoid any roadside hedges and overhanging branches.

On the way we passed this ruined engine house that had once graced one of the many tin mines in the county.

  This village is only 4 miles from st Ives but may as well be in another world.  I think they are Cornish miles, twice as long as a standard mile judging by the time it takes to drive them, avoiding oncoming traffic and being careful not to scrape the roadside walls disguised as hedges ;)  If you google 'Cornish Hedge' you will find lots of images of different styles of hedge.
This lovely patchwork of fields is just outside Zennor and I hope that it will form the basis of a quilt before too long.   Zennor is home to the Wayside Museum and also to the Zennor Mermaid. You can read the story of the mermaid here.

Going back to the collages you can see how clear the water is in St Ives,

These beautiful rocks and seaweeds are alongside a jetty in St Ives,

and this is one of the crabs that didn't get away!

I'll be back soon with more images from our hols and I'm sure my DH will be adding his pics all the time. 

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Where Do I Begin?

I have had such a busy time on my blogging break and I really don't know where to start with all the photos I have taken.  Why all the photos?  Well, in case you hadn't realised, we have been on our annual pilgrimage to St Ives in Cornwall.  Both my DH and I thought we wouldn't be taking many photos this time as this was our 6th visit and we already have thousands of photos between us.  Famous last words!  Between us we took over 2000 photos, not that they all made the computer.  

So, where to start?  A joyful part of our holiday was meeting up again with our very talented blogging friend, Carolyn, who lives in that beautiful part of the world.  We had a lovely day exchanging gifts and chatting over coffee and then lunch which my dear DH prepared for us.  Carolyn was most generous with her gifts.

Lots of lovely fabrics, beads and embellishments to play with a book for inspiration with lots of techniques that can be used in other projects too.  The fabrics in the yellow package were dyed by Carolyn form Monbretia flowers and are gorgeous.

Aren't I lucky?  Two of Carolyn's beautiful lavender filled hearts to enjoy and to remind me of my favourite place and a special friend.

On the second of our 2 week stay Carolyn and I met up for a super day of play at a workshop with the St Ives artist Sally Maccabe.  I have been wanting to do a workshop with Sally for a long time so this was a great opportunity to share the experience with a friend and have some fun too.  Sally does a lot of work in creative sketchbooking and that was the theme for the day.  We spent the morning covering our sketchbook covers in gesso ready for painting and in making lots of monoprints.  In some cases the printplate was just as exciting as the print that came from it and Carolyn and I both photographed our plates to use in digital work later.  

You won't be at all surprised to see that I stuck with my sea colours and motifs.  Nothing like staying in your comfort zone!

 This is part of Sally's shop and studio.  Notice all her sketchbooks on front of the fireplace.

Sally supplied us with a large assortment of different papers, everything from tissue, tracing paper and sheet music to watercolour paper and we spent the rest of a happy morning mark making and printing.

We played with drawing shapes,( are they pebbles or shells? ) with twigs and ink,

Made a folded pocket book which was great fun and easy to do,
and ended up with a pile of papers to use in our sketchbooks.

All of these sketchbook pages are only the beginning but already the cropped images in the picture above are suggesting further work and even pieces in their own right.

It's amazing how much time it takes to prepare pages like these and the pages above were made in a great hurry so they are not wonderfully impressive but they are a start and I may well use some of them in the Sketchbook Project (more of that another time).

While we're on a creative thread (pardon the pun!) I'll just show you the stitching I took with  me to stop me from going bonkers in the evenings.  I can never just sit I have to have something to do.  

This piece is based on a rock pool and the inspiration came from a project on the Embroiderer's Guild Website. I prepared the base and background before we left home and it consists of felt cut from a piece that Gina gave me some time ago, silkpaper,silk tops, sinamay, yarns, and scrim.  It was all held down with tiny stitches through strips of organza and then cuts were made in the organza to let the fibres underneath show through.  I stitched various yarns on top and added beads and found pebbles and shells.  Carolyn had included distressed ribbon in her gift to me and I used that to break up the line of rather glaring silk rod across the middle to suggest ripples in the water.  As ever the colour is a  bit off in this photo and the piece is more on the turquoise side.  I used very simple stitches for the embroidery, just french knots,seeding stitch and a few cross stitches.

This post is getting very long but I have just a couple more things.  First, Cameron is having a giveaway on her blog of some lace dresses and some of her beautiful felted work .  Cameron needs at least 10 people to join in so go across and leave her a comment on her post of 12 October, her work is unique and beautiful and she is a very special lady.  

Second I must express my own pleasure and amazement at the rescue of the Chilean miners over the last couple of days.  These must be very strong men to have survived their ordeal, to have been lost and now found and brought out of their dark place is nothing short of miraculous.  I hope that they and their families recover from this life changing experience with strength and happiness.

Talking of strength mine seems to have deserted me again for a while.  You'd think after a lovely holiday I'd be raring to go wouldn't you? Nup! Someone let the air out of my balloon and I'm vary flat.  Have no fear!  I will recover my mojo and thank you to Emma and Annabel for your lovely supportive words.  You can see, Emma that I've found some energy for this increasingly long post lol

What was that?  Where are the holiday photos?  Well, I now need a lie down but I'll leave you with a photo of my DH, otherwise known as ET!  Taken on board the open-top bus on the way back from Land's End. (My DH has been blogging some photos of our hols and there will no doubt be many more over there).

It was a lovely afternoon but a trifle chilly!  Bye for now :)