Sunday 30 January 2011

I am blessed with a full and busy life..

...but I do wish I had more hours in the week to get things done!  This past week I've spent quite a bit of time with friends, which is lovely, and doing paperwork and going to meetings which isn't so lovely!  Oh, and Monday was spent at Paddy's doing one of Sylvia Wood's amazing textile workshops, 'Burnt Offerings'
[by the way, Paddy now has an active blog :)  find her here]

We burnt, stitched, heated, combined a variety of textiles and came away with a tiny book of gorgeousness...

I gave mine a love theme :)  I'm going to add more bits to it, and it has spaces for tags and weenier books.



I love using my sewing machine to draw with, and adding little snippets and fragments to miniature books so it was a blissful day for me :)

I am very lucky to live near to 'Creative Recycling', an art gallery run by a group of artists who use recycled materials as a central part of their work.  I introduced a friend to this artistic space on Thursday and we had a fabulous time.

The gallery now has an outdoor space with sculptural pieces made from recycled items.

I've wanted to make metal flowers for my garden for ages but am waiting to learn how to manipulate and combine large sheets of metal.  Until then, I can easily use my collection of rusted bottle tops, wire and tin cans to make some smaller flowers like these :)

And I have an area of garden too shaded and dry for much to grow so I'm now saving my coloured glass bottles :)  Even better, sherry comes in blue bottles so maybe I'll just have to get some more now it is a paving material lol

This pond is actually made from waste glass from the framing service offered by the gallery.  The glass is fused and used in pictures as a collage element, although here it serves as a frozen pond for these fabulous ducks :)

Some people are so talented :)

Friday 28 January 2011

The StampMan Challenge # 15 Oriental

I love to challenge myself, and this theme did just that!  I rarely work to an 'oriental' theme, despite owning a few suitable stamps, but just LoVe the way this card turned out.

I made some red and gold paper using starburst stains and some plain copier paper then made a little folded pocket for the front of the card.  I wanted to include some origami in my piece.  The tiny book inside doesn't contain a message yet, that will be added when I send the card as this could be for a birthday, get well or just to say hello!  My good friend Sue (who swanned off to CHA this week ;)  gave me the japanese text a while back so thanks Sue :)  And enjoy CHA; I'm looking forward to your blog posts :)

Head on over to The StampMan Challenge blog to see more ideas for this theme, and to join us with this challenge :)  Happy Crafting!

I should be in bed but...

I've had this idea in my head for three weeks now and I thought I'd missed the deadline for the Hero Arts monthly challenge but being 8 hours ahead really helps lol. So I'm up late, blogging but happy.  I just love Hero Arts' owls.  This is the first time I've ever entered one of their challenges so I hope I linked it all correctly over on Flickr!

The challenge was to be inspired by the new 2011 catalogue which has the most beautiful stuffed and sewn flowers on the front.  I immediately went on the hunt for an owl image I could use in a similar way!  I purchased 'A few more owls' from Two Peas in a Bucket and successfully printed this gorgeously cute creature onto a piece of felt. (I glued a piece of paper to the back of the felt and just ran it through my printer :) )  I put a second piece of felt behind the one with the image on and free machined the owl, using a thick blue thread.  I added lace, felt, rusty-ish washers and beads and am really pleased with the result :)

She will be gracing the cover of a fabric journal I intend to make very soon!  

Thursday 27 January 2011

Where on earth did the last week go?!!!  I can't believe I've not got to the computer for a whole week...too much work, that's the trouble!  It's play date time again and this week it's colour splash time...that seems to have come around quickly too ;)

This lilac rose really caught my eye, and I realised that although I like purple/lilac, it isn't a colour I use very often in my artwork.  I also decided to challenge myself to use black lace and stitching against a white background rather than vice versa.  This has meant lots of hunting for suitable materials, which ended successfully in the charity shop with a lacy jumper!

I created a tiny flag book [7cmx6cm] in matchbook style, decorating each page with scraps of paper and lace and some 'useful facts' I gleaned from the only white paged book on my bookshelf - most of them are on the creamy, old side!

Apparently our New Year didn't start on the 1st Jan until 1700 and something!  Up until then it was the 24th March.

Enjoy working with these colours, and don't forget to visit our fabulous team of designers for some great inspiration!

Thursday 20 January 2011

all of a twitter at the Play Date Cafe

I've been making little books recently in preparation for my 'basketful of books' workshop.  I decided to see if I could make a little origami pocket with felt and free machining and was rather pleased with the result!  This week's play date cafe colour inspiration comes from the wonderful Quentin Blake's new range of fabrics based on some of his illustrations.

Unfortunately my boys are now too old to have their rooms decorated in this fabric, otherwise I'd be creating a jungle bedroom lol.  I just love the splash of colour against the grey, and of course Quentin Blake's fabulous illustrations.  Those birds are just so, so FaB!!!

After putting my envelope together, I created a tiny book (4cm square) to fit inside, using a scrap of stencilled paper from my stash.  I added orange stitching and a scrap of green fabric to the front cover.  Leafing through an old book I came across a mention of 'orangey-red and green' so couldn't resist basing my text on this.

One of the things I love about old books is opening them and reading a random sentence - usually a great source of amusement.  

Don't 'Wind-Clouds and Star-Drifts' sound amazing?  Very Roald Dahl!  The book is made from a 9cm square of paper, folded into quarters and cut along one of these lines into the middle.  This creates a little pocket into which I've tucked the torn book page.

Have fun with these colours, and don't forget to visit our fabulous team of designers for some great inspiration!

Wednesday 19 January 2011

WOYWW weeny books :)

I have workshop prep on my desk today.  I'm so looking forward to teaching it at The Cubby Hole, Crewe on Saturday, and again at The Stamp Attic, Wantage in March.  It's called 'a basketful of books' as we will be making five little books, all bound in different ways, which would look fab in a basket on your coffee table!  

If you fancy a nosy at what fellow crafters are up to, head on over to The Stamping Ground where the gorgeous Julia Dunnitt hosts this perusal every week :P

Monday 17 January 2011

The Sketchbook Challenge

Woo hoo!  I finally did some drawing in my sketchbook!

I was very brave and took my sketchbook over to the Manchester Art Gallery.  I went to see the Mary Greg Collection which I'd read about on the internet and is housed in the 'Gallery of Art and Design', my favourite room of the whole gallery!!!

I sketched a cabinet I liked, followed by the image of a bird on a piece of fabric.

I love the shape of this bird, and the pattern of circles on his body.  My next stop is Platt Hall Costume Museum which has recently been renovated and has loads of fabric designs.

Mary Greg, the wife of Thomas Greg who owned Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, collected a variety of objects that most people considered 'everyday' such as spoons, keys, wooden animals...  which gives great insight into everyday life of the time, and means many of these objects are now quite rare.

I'm including these as part of my sketchbook exploration of the theme 'Highly Prized'.  

Saturday 15 January 2011

"these beloved candles of the night.." - William Shakespeare

There's just something about the night sky...especially when you are out in the countryside and you can just lie back and gaze into the depths without the distraction of street lighting!  One of our favourite evenings when camping in the summer is spotting shooting stars.  

I'm not sure I'd really like to live in this little shed [Stampers Anonymous J4-1164 Moving Up] high up amongst the stars, it looks a little rickety to me, but I love the idea of it.

I splodged some 'Weathered Wood' distress reinker on my pages then added some more blues by putting the ink on some cellophane then spraying it with a silver spray before stamping this onto my page.  I stamped Jo Capper-Sandon's Text Stars [Stampotique] with distress ink directly onto the page then cut a mask and, using a stipple brush, added ink around the edge of each star.  I love how this highlights them! 

 I added more stars stamped in Wild Honey distress ink onto white paper and cut out.  The words are taken from Amy Wilson's Tall Word Collage [Stampotique] and again stamped in Wild Honey.  

I'm entering this journal page into the Stampotique Designers' Challenge, which  requires the use of 'masking' on your project :)

Friday 14 January 2011

a distressing StampMan challenge!

Brenda's challenged us to 'distress' in this fortnight's StampMan challenge so I had a very happy time (I'm glad to say!!!) playing in my journal with my Distress Inks!

After creating a background with Acrylic Paint Dabbers in shades of blue and brown, I added some distress ink by inking the lid of a clear box, spraying it with water, then laying it down on top of the journal.  Doing it this way means I can see where I am adding the ink!

I then placed a blob of 'Weathered Wood' Distress Ink [ from my re-inker bottle ] onto the page and blew it to create a flower like image.  The stem was made with a long drip of ink!

When I put this journal together I included various sizes of plastic pockets used for collecting coins and postcards.  I tore an Amazon box into small squares then collaged each square with images from Tim's 'Mini Muse' stamp set, tissue tape, stitching, words from an old book and scraps of paper.  I just LoVe decorating little tiny bits like this!

At some point I'll add some written journaling, probably in a grey ink, there's plenty of space!

Don't forget to head over to The StampMan Challenge Blog to see what the rest of the designers have been up too, and I'd just like to say an enormous THaNKYou to everyone who joined in the BLoG HoP celebrating your favourite project of 2010.  I'm still visiting people but thanks for all the lovely comments you guys left for me!

Thursday 13 January 2011

PDCC 64 with our brand spanking new design team :)

It's like an enormous party over at The Play Date Cafe today as we launch our new DT!  Sooooooo much fabulous inspiration over there :)

And Julie's choice of colours is very 'me', although I don't think I've ever combined grey and beige before.  

Isn't that soft blue so beautiful!  I've had a ball of grey wool in my crochet hook in my bag for a week or so now so always planned to include a grey crocheted flower in this piece.  I just love greys...although not grey, dull days I have to say!!!

I used a 7 gypsies Paddington paper on my tag (it had to be a tag, I was getting withdrawal symptoms lol) available in the UK from The Stamp Attic, along with some smidgeons of paper hanging around my desk!  The brads are 'Making Memories' upholstery brads and the washer is lovely and rusty, picked up off some pavement/car park somewhere ;)


Have a wonderful time visiting our design team this week, and apologies for not getting around to 'see' everyone last week, life caught up with me a little!

Julie Ranae [senior DT]
Savannah O'Gwynn [senior DT]
Ruby2Shoes [senior DT]
Colleen Dietrich [private blend designer]

Monday 10 January 2011

I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay...

Not the most flattering of photos (I've got Malc's old coat on to prevent myself being covered from head to toe in sawdust!) but after being brave enough to have a go with a chainsaw I just had to share this pic with pride ;)  I successfully chopped the log in half, but I think carving toadstools will require some practice lol

That was yesterday though.  Today (well, this evening) I was over at The Cubby Hole, Crewe for CR8@204, our monthly art class.  This week we had to select parts of images from our image board and replicate the lines, texture and tone with our graphite pencils.

We put these in a little accordion book, which is now secured in my sketchbook.  

We then had to work on a bigger scale in our sketchbooks, and added white emulsion and coloured pencil.  I focused on some cobblestones.  I really enjoyed the process, and it still has some way to go so it doesn't look much yet!

It's getting my brain thinking around the project title though - mine is Urban Landscape!  And it meant I actually did some drawing today :)


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