Saturday, 28 January 2012

My New Etsy Shop!

I'm pleased to announce that finally I have an Etsy shop! Please do stop by to have a look & tell me what you think.

However I'm not so pleased that I can't manage to change the text below edit, the text won't publish here either!

 My mucky hands (look at the depth of those wrinkles lifelines!)

into what I can see in the sample for my Etsy Mini at Etsy. My head is pounding, i've watched a couple of videos, very helpful & i'm doing it all right (well, obviously not! ) & all I get is a non clickable word that says My Etsy shop. I've spoken to lots of Etsy holding blogging friends who've been so helpful, thank you! The Youngest just showed me last night how to search on Etsy for the friends who's link won't work either, (or i'd have asked a few more questions!) by choosing 'people' & not products thing! It's a bit of a learning curve this, but I can't fathom why something that looks so simple just doesn't end up on the blog as you see it in the sample.  I shall move on & just announce the shop with this little link. I feel as tho I've had an office job this last week, but I'm so excited, things started happening at the shop  within one hour of going live! That is circles & treasuies & things I need to learn more about ;)

I had to do something with paint, as you can see, above, & it is Valentine's Day soon, & anyway, I do love hearts...

excuse the flash, last minute as usual

Don't you just want to keep some pallettes just as they are?

No Northern lights or sun flares that we've seen this week, but the stars have been amazing & last night, bumbling outside with the Youngest in the pitch black I saw for the first time EVER a star reflecting in the bay. I didn't take a pic, I just saw it as magical. I didn't even mind that he told me all about the stars & planets but he admitted he might have got a couple wrong - well, I knew that when he pointed to the East & told me it was the North star, some things I do know, but who cares?       We did have a giggle about it, if there's one thing I've taught the kids it's how to laugh at themselves.   What I didn't know is that particular red acrylic I used this morning to paint the papers for the collage, as seen in the first pic doesn't come off...& I'm working tomorrow with our staff night out in the evening; it's gone a very pretty if shocking pink! Maybe it'll come off in my bath...

Saturday, 21 January 2012

More notebooks

Made some more papers this week, this is the first of the next design in this years new range of greetings cards, circles again but this time terracotta & blue. I didn't have time this week to make the pretty pic with 9 cards in it ;) But I had to make one at least. I thought it was rather dull & realised I'd not added my trusty gold yet. Still a little muddy looking so I got out the Chinese inks again looking for dark blue but there was only light blue. What a pick up, I thought ;)

greetings card


I enjoyed making notebooks last week so made a couple more.

  notebook front

I used cream Lokta paper for the inside & made another book out of last weeks paper

I couldn't waste all the little snippets, the cut off corners, small jewels of color ( can you tell I like them?) so I started making some squares for cards, I thought, then decided I might put 3 of the squares together for a collage. I'll scribble some more & stitch.

Lovely sunny lunchtime between the gloomy clouds so I went up on the track behind our house to take pics of the Highland cows, inspired by Aileen  

Just in time as they were taken off the hill mid afternoon. I hate to think where they were going.....

The first 2 pics are at the bottom of the hill where they low for their food. They lined up for me nicely, the babies, as they think anyone who's walking out there are going to feed them. Then they followed me up the track, they're fed up the way, thankfully behind the fence as you don't want to get too near those horns, especially with young near them. The amount of visitors who stop IN THE MIDDLE of a single track road, sometimes even on a 60 mph duel track road to take a photo & GO RIGHT UP TO THEM.......don't get me started!! Peeps don't seem to realise how you could get tossed or impaled by a slight turn of a head. I know it's not often but once would be enough for me!  (sorry Aileen, I know they're cute little sweeties, really ;) they are in your wonderful pics, anyway!) 

The last photo is for a sense of place, the water on the left is the bay in front of our house; what a fabulous place for us & the cows to live!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Concertina notebooks

I made a couple of concertina notebooks this week, starting them when I went over to Janet's; appropriate as it was she who encouraged me, showed me hers & gave me tips on folding in the middle & folding back on itself etc. You end up with a shape dictated to you by the length the paper started with, which was fine as I was using up some old marked watercolor paper torn in half. I'm sure the formula for measuring & ending up with a square, if that's what you want, is out there somewhere!

I painted the insides with a wash of the base colors I'd used on the papers (I hadn't put them away yet, oh the mess that needs to be cleared up! on my list, of course ;) Then I used thinned a little gesso to make an area to write or draw in, just using my fingers to paint & going round & round, so gentle & theraputic. No fingerprints left anyway!

I've never made these before so I attached the ribbon behind the back 'end' paper just by glueing & pressing down, it seems to work well. There are many inspiring ways out there & Janet has a couple of mouthwatering tomes on bookmaking, but I wanted to start simply.

Can't wait to make more papers or fabric for further books. One day I'll have the courage to make beautiful mixed media pieces in themselves like Kim at Letting in the Light has. She's just opened an Etsy shop, too & that  will surely encourage me to open mine, I've been talking about it for long enough!

I also made myself another earing after I lost the one I was wearing when I went to my first Zumba class. I knew as soon as I'd made it I'd find the lost one so now I have a spare. I haven't moved so fast at the class since running after my toddlers 15 years ago. It seems all the rage & the class has come to a village near me so why not? I've never done any Salsa either, but the teacher said if you're moving it doesn't matter. The more you wiggle your hips, strangely, the easier the steps are & when you're zooming right for 4 steps & you don't move back left in time you'll be sorry otherwise it was a great laugh...when I could get a breath! I gave it 110% & feared for my neck & back just after the class but having streched out well, no problems. Next week I'll try 90% & work back up gradually ;) I do look forward to Yoga starting back next week & I'm sure my body will benefit from the combination of these 2 classes.

The next page in 'Straps' was some lovely work by Janet Crowther on pin tucking, using a twin needle. Can't find any of her work but came across this you may aleady know about where you can read some of the articles, very generous!) Can you believe I have a twin needle from the 'old' days? ;) Unfortunately, when I inserted it I could see that it wouldn't be able to go down into the hole in the plate as the needle holding shaft has bent again. I think it's time for a service but not until I can find a machine in the loft that I was given in 1976....

Anyway, I skipped along to making a 'felt motif' These are usually made from black felt & colored with a wonderful mix of metalic thread with zigzag & embroidery thread couching them down. then you cut round the thread, snip out the center of the pattern & stitch down to more felt. You can then stitch inside all the shapes. Motifs can be attached to anything, a wall hanging, handbag, book cover. The best way I think is Maggie suggesting getting a sample  or piece out of the 'failed experiments' box & 'just' adding  the motifit creatively to the found piece , & adding lots more lovely stitching & that's what can be made into the above. Therefore, nothing has failed! I used a piece of ground which is the base of my cuffs & I grabbed the first 4 aged pieces of felt in the colors of sweets ;) Maggie had clematis flowers inspiring quite abstract motifs but I thought I'd start with the petal shapes, very much in my comfort zone. When I added the first pieces to the felt I thought I'd make a reverse applique effect on 3 petals so you could see a suggestion of the ground as well as the base felt, before stitching into the space. Another enjoyable experiment.

Welcome to my new followers, I think I found you in the grey picture area at the back but no links, do comment then I can visit, thanks!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

A brand new year

Well, how wonderful is that, a brand new year? We had our first new year's eve without our Youngest at home - first time he's looked old enough to go out on the razz (shhh! he's legal next year - will I get arrested now? I didn't say he could...) Anyway a sign of time passing, so, so quickly.

We watched the local hotel's fireworks thru the open French windows, a foul night but the dog wanted to smell the wet air & didn't mind the noise a mile away. We decided the world was our oyster, & thought it terrifying, but exciting at the same time.

 cards from last weeks background

I've enjoyed reading  some resolutions, plans, promises here in blogworld. It was making my own committment 2 yrs ago that took me to making over 360 daily squares & then to a saleable piece of work each week last year, which was the only way I got a body of work ready for my first show in September.

My first promise to myself this year is to find more balance  - I still have a small body of work & plan to add to one or 2 of the different series, so I can afford the time to recreate my neglected garden, take more walks, not just because it's healthy but to explore this wonderful place we live in. I need more yoga time to unwind from the hunching over stitches or leaning over the painting table (not to mention the stiffness & tiredness caused by the day jobs!) If you take care of yourself first, you are more able to do all those things that you want, that's my excuse, anyway ;)

heart background

So each week I will be working towards our show in June, but not just a saleable collage a week, I may take 2 weeks ( or longer) to work on a large wall hanging. It might be a selection of textile jewellery or notebook covers. I may try some sketchbooks or accordian books - my friend's been telling me they're just up my street. I would love to learn to draw/paintsea birds like Claire Harkess look at the bird 4th pic along. I first saw her seagulls a few years ago at an exhibition in Plockton & I never thought I could be so moved by a simple seagull.

 heart cards

of course I need to keep the studio full, too. I want to make more scarves so the place feels warm. I used to decorate lampshades to go with the driftwood lamp bases we made. I've sold all the ones we had, why not make more just because the driftwood's run out?

squares background

Photographing these backgrounds & cards without getting them wet in the rain or muddy dropping them on the way is a nightmare - I use the greenhouse where there's some light & to get out of the wind but it in itself is full of mud! So, I plan to make a permanent space in the studio, up against the sunny back window where I just store stuff, with my trusty college tripod for the days there isn't any light - I mean, hardly a week went by in the last 2 years when I didn't take a photo. I could at least keep the things flat! I might also install a white roller blind in the greenhouse for bigger things but it would probably go green or be eaten by mice within 5 minutes!

Square cards

I've really enjoyed the freedom in these cards & collage backgrounds. This week seems to have been a card week but I found time to make a couple more samples from that wonderful book Stitches Straps & Layers by Maggie Grey.

This a sample using silk carrier rods split into a few layers, no mean feet with my broken nails! I chose to use  them flat (instead of wrapping them round the side/bottom of a piece) My sample is based on a pic in the book of a beautiful bag made by Anna Nowicki using 'flat knitting tapes' My interpretation of that is to use ribbon... maybe that's what it means ;) Have a look at her blog thru the link - she's doing amazing things with bits of thread...!

The next sample, above, was to use foiled grounds with needle felted things on top. The sample in the book had me & my arty buddies drooling so I've tried my best with my sample. The first 2 strips are machine & hand stitching & using the embellisher machine over the silk & the stitches. Then Maggie used sumptuous silk velvet ribbon & lightly felted it down. I've had a meter of this purple velvet ribbon for ages & finally I've used it! The next strip is a skeletized leaf under black organza - you needle felt all round the leaf then on the leaf for a bit distressing it as much or as little as you want. I don't think my fabric was sheer enough, but that's the whole point of having a sample book, of course. I missed out the lutrador bit & tried the puffed & purple painted scrim with an added bit of fabric (Maggies was purple) I had hard scrim to hand & just stitched it. The last strip is painted tissue paper & painted with acrylic wax AFTER embellishing to stregnthen. Well, I didn't read the instructions & used wax before felting - lovely holes in stiff paper! I love this learning lark, what would I have achieved I wonder if i'd loved learning at school? These little samples will look so lovely in my samples book; wish I could show my teachers.....

I'm sure I could go on about all I plan or want to do. Despite my schooling ( the best was done for me at the time!) or maybe because of my schooling (!) I find myself doing something I absolutely love, even tho I haven't managed earning a full time living yet, but I know I will never be bored in my life, there's always something exciting I can be doing (hence the yoga/balance thing!) I took time to join the Middlest & Youngest watching 'Coach Carter'  before the M went back to college & even tho I'd watched it before I hadn't remembered  the lovely quote from it - got to say I'm delighted that my teenagers so enjoy the uplifting family film - the basketball that they both play might have something to do with it. Anyway, here's the quote!

edit - this is the version by Marrianne Williamson from her book 'A Return to Love'. Coach Carter left out a few lines, I think.

Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.

And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.