Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year!

I've been playing with color on this the last day of the year. The first thing I always need to make is my wonderful Sister in Law's birthday card for the 6th & that generally becomes the 'birthday design' for everyone thru the year. It might be a bit similar to last years card, bright scribbled color, but I'll tweek it as I go.

first few layers on 2 pieces of A4, 3 blue/green acrylics with a few pieces of paper from my bits box, gold paint added here & there then carmine ink (carmine, what a color! thought it was red from the bottle as i hadn't used it for years, what a surprise!) sprayed thru one of those small thin spray bottles using a found cardboard 'stencil'. I used to dislike circles, in the garden or in my work, maybe they're too perfect? But since watching Ro Bruhn & Roben Marie Smith over the last couple of years inspire me with accessible messy circles I thought I'd have a go. The 'grownup color' of Burnt Umber is Chinese ink, brought back by  my SIL from China a few years ago & i finally had courage to open the tube! More colors to explore if the courage holds ;)

I didn't want to be precious or anything but i did scan the right one in to the computer before i carried on.

I added a thin wash of white poster paint rubbing it in with my fingers a la a confident approach, then colored all over round & about with oil pastels but only the caran d'ashe (sp!) actually smoosh well. The above pic is with flash & it's highlighted the earlier gold, oh for some daylight! I ruined, temporarily i hope, 2 thin black markers, then tried a biro till that stopped working then used a pencil for circling & doing a kind of backwards writing/scribble with my left hand, just an opposite move of how right handers write 'normally' I'm lucky to be able to write both ways with both hands, Leo de V I am not! But I can do a scribble ;) Some stamping with a coffee cup heat protector, too. Love the texture when using bits ofskelatised leaves.

So, i'll cut these up, reassemble & make cards & collage, & look forward to the freedom of making more next year.

Heres's to a fabulous 2012, hoping for a wonderfully happy new year & that we all get a little of what we wish for.

Lots of Love

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

Wishing all my Blog Buddies a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

Hoping  you get everything you wish for in 2012 ;)

Inspired by Rustic Vintage country being inspired, I took the above pic of our tree, great fun!

Christmas came early with my giveawaty win at Silvermoonbird - wonderful lime green dyed velvet, cotton, lace & embroidery thread, can't wait to use them in my shoreline pieces next year, thanks Jan!

Better go light one of these

We've got the village coming for a drink in an hour if they can brave the weather, it's blowing a real hoolie!

Warm Wishes x

Saturday, 17 December 2011

The gift of giving

OK, I admit it, my two arty buddies are my guinea pigs! I'd seen a scarf made of some diaphanous material with strips attached & as I'm a strippy sort of person I decided to have a go myself & give the results of my experiments to my buddies at our 'studio staff party' We've been working together thru the year to either carry on where the printmking class left off or to just 'knit & bitch' - well, I didn't knit I was just working towards the exhibition & both of them were so helpful with ideas for it & stuff, I felt the least I could do was give them something for their efforts ;)

 So I gathered some bits & pieces, no mean feat, that as my corner of the Eldests room is becoming the second B&B room & an 1/8th of the Middlests room will turn into the sewing corner in 'our' room, as he's away at college/sea now. I think I'll have to suspend things from the ceiling...!  It's been great stitching in the studio but it's too cold to do much in there in the winter & anyway I can't store fabric as it gets damp despite the heating, yes we need some insulation which finances didn't run to when we built the studio & house, 11 years ago last week we moved in! Never mind it's on the wish list along with a sink & tap! I remember our builder laughing  when I suggested using sheeps wool - the amount of Country Living etc awards I've seen since then!

They like purple & turquoise

& turquoise & terracotta

I sliced up the stripped pieces very thinly & stitched them on, there were 16 each scarf & it was tricky stitching satiny fabric onto silk, I even had to resort to pins & even then it slid about in a higgledypiggledy fashion, but they won't notice & if they did I know they wouldn't mind. As for going into production with them, I'm not sure!

Here they are bundled up together. 

It was interesting seeing them against their clothes, one wearing dark grey & one deep purple,  the scarves looked a little pale - I hadn't thought of 'trying them on' & stepping back to look. I guess it's a question of taste & more experiments!

Made some labels & stamped the brown paper the presents came in, for wrapping. I'd love to have my own carved stamps for next year, like the glorious ones on Letting in the Light's blog - I just 'found' her again, hiding on the dashbord thing I forget about ;)

This is the first Saturday I've had in ages to myself. Last week I joined in to a community jam & chutney day - I've made jam once & chutney never (I did see our Kirsty making a ready to eat chutney in her last year's lead up to Christmas craft show, now that looked good, as for comparing crack cocain to fme...again,  I'm not too sure!) I'm not a foody, you'll never see a recipie here & yes, I'm one of those awful peple who forget to eat but boy, when I smell food, am I hungry! (I'm so lucky to have my own Maser Chef in the kitchen ;)

The pear & walnut we made is something else. What do you mean it has to sit for a month? It's nearly gone already!

I'm off to decorate the tree, it's been anchored & covered in lights that work by the DH & Youngest - he could hire himself out as the best untangler of lights in the country. I'm so lucky to have them here, get all nostalgic with my lovingly collected & handmade decorations (I've always collected one decoration per child each year, how delighted am I to now be able to make them myself!) by a warm fire, with the somewhat confused by it all dog at my feet, looking forward to the rest of my little family arriving next week.

Have a peaceful & enjoyable lead up to Christmas, this week!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Giveaway results & a slightly bent garden

I drew the results the old fashioned way, by writing down the names on little bits of paper & getting the Youngest to close his eyes & pick one - he's helpful like that. You won't believe it but  Jan from Silvermoonbird won.....& I've just won part of a giveaway from her!!!!! It's not a fix, promise! Now you can send me your address, please ;) Hope you enjoy the pendant.

Loved my day off on Tuesday, enjoyed the light smattering of snow, ambled about a bit, started making our Christmas cards & caught up on some tv programs. Wednesday made some more cards while chatting with my Arty friend over lunch, a beautiful calm day.

By Thursday, all hell broke loose! I'd spoken to my parents, they weren't worried, I'd told them we had a full tank of oil for the Aga, (thank goodness an Aga doesn't seem such an extravegance in a power cut!) 3 bags of coal just delivered & a wall full of logs. The power went off at midday but we were warm. The Eldest rang to say it was pretty breezy in Edinburgh but he'd been out to get supplies & hoped we weren't blown away. The Middlest rang to say college was closed in Glasgow -t he didn't know why as there was blue sky ;) Just had to wait for the Youngest to get back as school was closed & they were travelling thru the mountains in the worst of the stom, great! Being a bus moniter he'd had to yell at the screaming & crying girls to sit down keep quiet & put seatbelts on, it was all he could do - poor driver, too!

Quite exciting watching the sea & listening to the roaring outside (once the boy had got home)

The spindrift was amazing.

We had a tricky moment taking a pole off that was flapping about on our screen/pergola. My imagination ran a little wild thinking of it flying off onto our heads but altho we could bearly stand up in the wind we were fine. The pergola wasn't ;( Compare the pic below with the one above in the snow.

A repair job using stronger wood & screws in the spring, I think. We built it so the kids didn't fall into the river, a sheer drop. Perhaps we'll stick to something shorter now the kids are older but I do enjoy the hight of clematis, rose & honeysuckle all in a heap, there.

The bird table fell, snapping the pole, the table bit was in my grandparents garden & has been replaced, bit by bit with found wood; we found the post, we'll find another one on the shore.

The Eucalyptus fared badly too, see the evergreen in the middle back above? Not surprising that the only non-native in the garden didn't make it, too many lovely leaves & it was as tall as the house - should have kept it shorter! I'll have to get my India Flint book out & dye with the leaves!

You can see the roots are right out so we'll root prune, take the lower trunk off & lop just above the branch fork on the top 2 & try & stick it back in....or is it a new planting opportunity?!

It got dark pretty early so I did a little filing of my photos, while the laptop had battery power, read thru a few mags to sort them into the get rid of bag, worked on the Christmas cards & watched the Youngest make a wax finger, didn't you love doing that as a child? Nice quiet evening round the fire, baltic anywhere else in the house!

Friday I got some painting supplies in while I could see in the studio - so cold in there! - but of course by the time it was dark the power had come back on, not bad only 28 hrs bearing in mind the damage we saw on the news. All I did was paint some scrim & fabric, lots more work to do & that was in the light!

Wonder what next week will bring?

Saturday, 3 December 2011

No more arty crafty obligations this month! oh, & a giveaway!

Just did my last craft fair & got anothr 'reasonable weeks shop' worth of sales. It was shorter than last week, perfect weather (I saw 2 stars last night & hoped it wouldn't freeze!) but I've decided I'll get what I'm given, they're only small fairs & as long as I enjoy making the 'smalls' I'll continue. My stuff made more than it would have done in a darkened studio & it helps to get yourself seen.

 A few more christmas cards

I'll just have to learn to ignore the people who don't bother to even look at my table. I've learnt that it's not that they don't bother, they're just so distracted & all they really want & cakes! If I had my time again I'd be a baker of fat free cake ;)

 I enjoyed trying out some hair clips, I'll keep working on these.

 But I'm quite excited about my new pendants, below.

They're both about a couple of inches long/wide. I sold a flower one today, delighted to sell something hot off the press.

I'll be working, of course but I feel I'm going to have a holiday from the pressures of making for a fair/exhibition/studio & I shall really just enjoy myself, making. I plan to finish off samples from the books I borrowed, make a few presents, play with experimenting, TIDY my appalling mess of a studio - it's beyond creative mess, go thru magazines I've had for too long (not my CPS & QA, I'll keep thoose!) & file at least a million photos on the computer. Then I'll start all over again in January, but having had a bit of breathing space, i'll look forward to it.

I realised that I had my 2nd anniversary of my blog mid week so if anyone would like a rectangular pendant, let me know by leaving a comment. It's the least I could do to say thank you for being here for me for another year.

Best of all this week I received a Christmas card, swapped with Sue  I'm sure I was allowed to open it even tho it arrived early, that way I can enjoy it for longer! We've both used last year's chopped up christmas cards, what thrifty people we are ;) Thanks Sue!

Hello to my new follower - you have no link on your profile page & I'd love to visit. If you comment I can visit thru that, thanks ;)

Friday, 25 November 2011

Thanks giving

I've been doing a little of my own thanks giving this week, after all I did celebrate it as a child in Princeton NJ. Being on the constant quest to find 'the perfect balance' in life & despite the list of 50 things to do for the craft fair I took the dog for a walk on Friday inbetween the sleet showers. We woke up to thunder & lightening, quite dramatic still snuggled under the duvet & dark outside. When light eventually came it was that warm yellow gold light of sun filtered thru snow clouds.

more crazy fabric

By mid afternoon  the snow was on the hills down to 1 1/2 -2000 feet & just a little breezy so I put on 2 coats, 2 scarves & a wooly hat (nobody could see me ;) I start off most walks thinking it's just for the dog's benefit but every time I'm out there I realise it's so good for me. I know it's obvious but with your head down doing stuff you love  (or rushing around doing stuff you don't ;(  it's easy to forget to look up sometimes! I sat on a rock gazing at Ben Sgritheall (screel) in the eerie light, listening toTam hurtling thru the purple birch wood, sleet clouds to the left,  blue sky over my head, with horizontal rain coming in.

 made some hearts out of it

 I've been here in this house 11 years next month (12 1/2 on Skye) & I've never seen a rainbow falling down the front of the mountain. If you took a photo you wouldn't believe it yourself. If I hadn't gone out I wouldn't have seen it.

 a tiny fern plant emerged in these dark days so to preserve it's memory I took a print & made more cards

I've also done some sorting on the explosion of magazines front - on  coffee breaks from intense stitching I'm flicking thru just in case there's something I've missed - imagine picking up a pile of old mags & just recycling them...couldn't do it!


I read about lots of intrepid rural women, doing the things they love ( I've 'written' many an imaginary article about myself, my little secret!) & making it work (or not?) with determination & hard work & I realise that I am, really, living the dream; how lucky am I?

more notebooks
Zoffany fabric - speaks for itself. I'm not a designer lover but when I worked in a Curtan Exchange when my lads were toddlers i fell in love with some wonderful curtain/upholstry fabrics, some like tapestries, wonderful.

Wasn't so lucky with the weather on Saturday for my craft fair - 85 m winds but I'm amazed anyone came & even tho I'd hoped for a big weeks shop worth of takings I at least got a small weeks shop worth. Still lucky, I guess.

My hearts went well!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Such exciting post this week

I thought Christmas had come early!

I won a little test on Jan's blog & this was my prize, one of her Dooleybobbers, in fact No 3 which was certainly one of my favorites. Can't believe it's mine & as I told Jan I'm so pleased & delighted to have won such a wonderful thing. It's gone straight to the studio to be hung in pride of place. Thank you, Jan!

I had to do the slow opening/taking pics as I went thing - difficult when you're so excited!

Love the yarn & gift tag & some ribbon.

 some batting....I think. If it is I may have to invest in some as I've never found anything in a charity shop that could replace soft & you want to sink into it.....& I'll have to stop resisting buying it as ALL the quilters in the world seem to use it & I'm just missing out!

 A bit closer. So lovely & such a lot of beautiful amount of work & now it's all mine!

It made the fact that someone...SOMEone de-followed me ;( I was enjoying my round number of 125 too. How could they? I can only imagine they had the misfortune of having to discontinue their blog, & that's sad.

Anyway, there are far more important things to think about ;) Here are the cuffs I needed to finish, so they're up to 10 for the fairs (only managed 4 last yr!)

Then I made 2 more purses out of the fabric I was working on last week & I'm pleased & they are up to 10.

I didn't get as far as I wanted on notebook covers

The top 2 is fabric I painted a couple of seasons ago, bottom right some fabric I found in a bag full of fat 1/4's someone gave me & bottom left is part of a pair of jeans with the gold  from a wonderful blouse I snapped up in the local charity shop & the heart shape is chopped up bits of fmed organza topped fabric . I'll use the cut out heart next time. I chose lining carefully out of the pile & forgot to take a pic. The book cover method is by Lyric Kinard & is so wonderfully simple even I could do it! You've probably all been doing this since you were in nappies but I only recently discovered it ;) I downloaded her DVD a while back. ( when it was an affordable price)

I got pretty far with these.

enjoyed making them. Lots of time consuming stitching of course but what isn't time consuming in this life we've chosen?! The DH thought they were great... I guess coz they aren't hairy ;)

Saturday, 12 November 2011

time is running out

& all I could come up with this week is a few more purses!

The middle one is using fabric kindly sent to me along with the Thermofax screen I ordered from Linda Stokes, printed with her lovely design. The 3 pale blue printed are old ones I hand printed &  made up a couple of seasons ago & I tart them up more each yr, well, I added lace to one. I might add some hand stitching in a quiet moment. Top left & bottom right I started ages ago & kept putting them off, waiting for the perfect button. I finally made my own buttons. The bottom left is the sequins & foil fabric from Stitches Straps & Layers, Maggie Grey's book that I'm working thru.

I was so impressed with Lorna at Artymess & her purse linings - it's difficult, I don't want to 'waste' good fabric on a lining but I also want it to 'go' nicely. Tricky.

 I started a new background for a couple more purses but I'm not sure, needs a bit of work!

Got my pieces & Janets to Inchmore but haven't heard whether they've been accepted yet. go here to see some entries.

I wanted to visit Patches Corner near Beauly since Fibrefrolics mentioned it, I think & I finally got there as it's near Inchmore. I thought I'd walk in & just enjoy the fat quarters but they've got lots of 'creative embroidery' stuff too, lovely. I was restrained, spent under £10!

  A beautiful Steff Frances piece, organza & metallic organza, tiny tastes of deliciousness, more purple/pink sequins! & a button making kit. Thought I'd try it - the buttons I made for the purses are fun but bulky to stitch on.

On the way to Beauly - the long winter shadows from these haybales were wonderful.

Finally, a couple more examples from the book Stitches, Straps Layers. The next bit is laying down yarns &ribbons & couching them down on the foiled felt. ( I love that expression 'couching down' I remember 100 yrs ago asking what 'gimp' was  & being told 'you couch it down'...a whole new language!) Maggie says it's easiest to use Colinett flat tape but to try anything. I had a great time making my own ribbon out of fabric strips & combining them with yarn when I was making the beads for my hangings for the show, heres a spare bit from the first hanging made.

I'll add some more stitching & keep a small bit for my samples book & make a cuff or a brooch or another purse....theres not enough for it all!

Another suggestion is to weave (or darn?) on a piece of soluable film/fabric (I remember doing that with Jan Beany!) but as I had the 'other side of the frame' bit from the piece that wet to Inchmore, well, i didn't want to waste it, I lay that on film & stitched a bit to attach the warps & wefts together. Of course I tried it without the film first & had it dissapear down the feed dogs - these people seem to know what they're talking about! The idea is you then wash the film away, lay it over foiled felt & the foil peeps thru. Oh, I love layers!

Other ideas were to wrap straws with yarns various or cable stitch in geometric partterns but I didn't go there this time. There aren't enough hours in the day ;)

Saturday, 5 November 2011

3 more 12x12's

Hope you're all having a happy & safe bonfire night - I'd forgotten til I heard fireworks in the village as with the older 2 away & the Youngest at a propper fw party I wan't asked for any sparklers. I admit I've always felt a little self concious running around waving one about...

These are the next lot of 12x12 pieces for Inchmore Gallery. The idea to put a piece of art into a CD was the previous owners, Gwen Black, lovely work, & Jane the new owner a jewellery designer, has reinstated it.

 A piece using painted, tissued & fabric paper with a little bit of sunprinting thrown in (I hear you, Jill ;) This based on a design ( I really do use that term loosely!) of a card I made for the DH once & just managed to remove frome the jaws of the dog. It's been hanging around the studio for so long wanting to inspire a bigger piece.

 I started this a while ago, well, the  painting of a wash of gesso & turquoise on corrugated cardboard. Really I started it when tearing up an empty box of ever ready batteries at work - it was amazing ripping the front layer of paper off exposing the ridging but kept quiet about it in case noone understood what I was getting excited about... So the 12x12 thing inspired me to carry on, just need the odd kick up the b ;) More turquoise & gesso, & then more finishing with gold metallic powders wich was too brassy so finished that with my wonderful gold leaf pen.  Jute (or something) stitching with the inevitable tails but I covered most of that with builders scrim, smooshing it into the spaces. Can't seem to avoid sticking things out over the edge. Simple, hopefully not too simple.

You might recognise this, part of a spare  postcard from my birthday last year. Another piece I've altered to fit. The (off) central piece was going to be a card, one from the A4 sheet I mde a while ago when clearing up my desk & when stitching it I tought it would be a good mate for the pc.I like the alteration. All these were taken with the inevitable flash & look like they have a wash of Paynes Grey, despite the fact it was a stunning day today. I just forget the early dark.

Some samples for my little book.

black smooth stuff I found in my drawers, foiled, covered in crumpled tissue paper, ironed, painted with maroon & gold & when the paper was wet ripped to expose the foil, cool! I get confused with too many suggestions in a book, thinking yes but how does the tissue stay on, nobody mentioned glue, did I miss a vital word? etc, etc, which is why actually doing it helps my small brain to understand (ripping paper by mistake wasn't actually mentioned, but I enjoyed that bit!) Fused nappy liner (not buying felt) to stablise for stich, as the book told me to. See I can follow some instructions!

Pale for me, but interesting. This is thin crumpled tissue white glued to  printed paper, (using an old meat tray plate I made) with trapped gold leaf flakes. The left one is sprayed with walnut ink. Stablised for stitch which I might do a little of before putting into my little book. Or I might chop a bit off to make a paper brooch, or two ;)