Tuesday 31 July 2007

Stickers and Ivy Leaves

Lots of excitment here today because these arrived in the post.

I spotted them first on Julie's blog about two weeks ago and just knew I had to have some. It was so easy to do (even for me!) I love little stickers anyway but to be able to have one's own pictures on them is just so much fun. They are MOO print stickers and are available here. They will be stuck on everything from now!

Have almost finished everything I need to do for summer school so have spent the rest of the day painting ivy leaves silver. I kept thinking of the Cards in the Disney Alice in Wonderland, singing "Painting the Roses Red"... Painting the Ivy Silver doesn't have quite the same ring to it!

so I could make this... another commissioned book.

It's quite a simple construction - a zigzag concertina book with board covers. The covers are the painted ivy leaves bonded between layers of black paper, lace and sheer fabric, decorated with free machine embroidery. There were lots of leaves left over so may make some more ATCs later if any one fancies a swap?

Monday 30 July 2007

Farewells and sequins

This morning we said goodbye to Sam who is staying in Epsom for the next couple of months. Since leaving university he has been trying to establish himself as a writer and in September he will be appearing in a "play wot he wrote" at the Epsom playhouse. Together with a fellow drama student, Adam, he has set up a theatre company and this will be their first professional production. More infomation can be found here. If you live in or near Epsom please go and see them! Have a brilliant time Sam and Adam!

I have been preparing for next week when I am away teaching at Missenden Abbey Summer School - packing materials and making sure I have enough samples of work (while I've still got time to make some more!) One of the techniques we will be doing are little bags like this one.

Which is also the same technique I have used on these cushions. A bit of sparkly fun! So this afternoon has largely been spent sorting out sequins - believe me, it is false economy to buy a bumper jar of multi-coloured sequins when all you want to use are the red and gold ones!

Oh... nearly forgot... I finished the mouse too!

Sunday 29 July 2007

French knitting

There's not been much stitching going on here this weekend but a lot of pottering about, reading and visiting a couple of exhibitions. If any of you are in Cambridgeshire there is a lovely exhibition at Wimpole Hall by "New Horizons" a local quilting group. Well worth a visit. Today we saw a couple of Open Studios - Anne Culver in Cambridge who has some fabulous machine embroidery on hand made felt and then Jill Leech in Saffron Walden who has done some wonderful things with rugmaking techniques combined with low relief wood carving. Sounds bizarre I know but it worked and her "coalface" series using plastic bin bags were stunning..

I've been knitting in the evenings - using up some baby wool making a soft mouse for a friend's new baby. All the pieces are made and it just needs a tail... French knitting, I think! Easy, I think! Ha! - Not so!

I used to do this when I was about 7 or 8 years old and I don't remember it being a problem. I was pleased I could find an old wooden cotton reel (complete with old thread). I got the nails banged in almost straight but it was so fiddly once I started I couldn't believe I used to make yards of the stuff when I was younger - multicolours too. Does any one have any tips or is it just easier for little fingers?

About 2 inches more to go so maybe tomorrow I'll have a picture of the finished mouse.

Friday 27 July 2007

A Long Day

Something woke me today at 4.20 am and I couldn't get back to sleep. Finally gave in at 5 am, got up and did the ironing (ok, some of the ironing) and made a batch of blueberry muffins. I was going to take a photograph they looked so yummy but the batteries were dead on my camera and someone (he knows who he is) has been at my secret battery store. By the time I'd got out to buy new batteries this was all that was left of the muffins. Such is life in a house full of men!

Spent most of the morning finishing the Gold Book. I know it looks like the last one but there are subtle differences.

And then I had a play with my embellisher. I embellished some wool fibres from Scottish Fibres onto kunin felt. Thank you to Helen for the inspiration. However when I tried to burn away the felt the fibres started to scorch adding a brown tinge! Not quite the effect I was after but I quite like it. Might add some stitch and see what happens! I did take some before and after photos but they were out of focus - not having much luck with the camera today! This is another attempt at an "after."

Now I'm exhausted and think I might just sleep!
PS Thank you Julie for telling me how to move my pictures where I want them. I'm starting to get the hang of this now.

Thursday 26 July 2007

Gold books

Today I'm starting to make another one of these... or something similar. It is a commission from the weekend ... a photograph album for a Golden Wedding Anniversary. It's lots of different stitches in different metallic threads on a rust printed calico background and then it's stitched onto a painted craft vilene cover. So I'm going to try to stay away from the computer until I've finished it. Not easy as I'm finding blogging, especially reading everyone elses blogs, very addictive. Anyway, the house is quiet, everyone either at work or out with friends so a good time to get on with some work!

Wednesday 25 July 2007


...Well it made me laugh!

Tidying up

Have spent the morning clearing up after the weekend. No, not a riotous party but Open Studios. For the past three years I've taken part in Cambridge Open Studios - an event run over four weekends in July where various artists open up their homes and studios to the public. I've been "open" for the past couple of weekends - lots of lovely visitors, plenty of interest in my work but not too many sales so there are lots of pictures and other bits and pieces to be packed away until another time, including these little books. I love making miniature books like these.

The one on its own is only 8 cm square and I've got about six of them. I keep making them with different coloured covers and with different patterned papers for the inserts. The two little ones are about 5.5 cm x 4 cm. Not really textiles I know but they are stitched and fun to make.

Tuesday 24 July 2007

Courgettes and shopping

I've been playing for ages and cannot get these pictures where I want them so it all looks very random!
Came home from walking the dog this morning in glorious sunshine (brief respite from all the rain) and couldn't resist photographing these wonderful courgette flowers. There is something about growing things that produces the same feeling in me as when I've crafted something new. I also picked my first tomato today which I proudly brought into the kitchen. Sam (son no. 2) looked up from his book and remarked "That should keep us going through the winter." How droll! He won't be laughing when he is eating courgettes every day for weeks on end!
The embroidery is a result of some book covers I'm preparing for a class. Had some left over so I've made them into a couple of Artist Trading Cards. I've only just dicovered ATCs and think they are great... though haven't swapped any yet. (Anyone wants to do a swap... let me know.) I'll send this one to the first person who comments on my blog.
The rest of the day has been spent shopping with Jacob (son no. 4) who has discovered skinny jeans and Converse trainers. My credit card thinks it is Christmas!
Back soon and maybe I'll have learned how to arrange the photos where I want them with the words... though I doubt it! It's a bit of a steep learning curve for me.

Monday 23 July 2007

A Beginning

For many months I have read the fabulous blogs of so many of you creative people out there and have contemplated my own... but it seemed such a huge leap for someone so computer illiterate as me!

But finally I have succumbed and so this is it! I'm not terribly confident about managing this... it seemed to take forever to add the few links that I've put on so far and as for that header... does anyone know how I can make it smaller?

I'm sure I will get to grips with it eventually and perhaps tomorrow I might post something relevant about me and what I do... but for now I'm just amazed I've taken the plunge.