Sunday, 21 August 2016

Genie's Finally Finished!!

After a few days of really knuckling down I've finally finished!

I learnt several little tricks and I'm pleased I've done it.

My fingers are now rather sore and the joints ache though.

It has been cloggin up my todo list so I'm pleased it's done.

There's about 200 hours of work in that and it's only 6 inches tall.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Catch Up Again

Well what an exciting couple of weeks I’ve had!! First there was a week of one of my dogs being very ill and needing emergency treatment including a big operation, he’s nearly 11 so worrying.  I’m pleased to say he’s almost back to normal after lots of TLC, just the hurdle of 20 or so stitches out on Monday!  Could be challenging. 

Then this week, as you will have possibly read on FB, my 50th birthday with the sudden and one week early arrival of my grandson on the same day!  Lots of cuddles for him and his now big sister have been in order of course.  

We also, finally, opened a bottle of port we found about 11 years ago when we first moved here.  We arrived at this house with two sofas and a mattress so visited a couple of auctions to try and fill up the space and this was one of the nice buys! It was decanted and allowed to breath for some time and it goes down lovely, especially with a bit of English blue cheese! 

I have managed to make up a quilt top from a kit I bought when we were in New England a little while ago and it’s now draped over the longarm frame waiting for the quilting bit. 

Kate Crane of The Kathryn Wheel was recently on Hochanda the crafting chanel.  I actually never watch these sell hard programs but as Kate is a FB friend and doing her techniques I thought I would have a go. I'm not likely to manage one of her classes so this was almost as good and she did a fantastic job. I had most of the things already so didn't need to actually purchase, which was a relief! Quite pleased with my result and adaptation of a Pink Pig book. I will now put this in the for sale pile I think.
Cover left and inside tabs right

I’ve also been working on some pieces for exhibiting next year so will only tease you with that at the mo.  We've been up to look at the gallery this week and work out our spaces.  I'm much happier now I know what I have to fill!! 

Aaaannnndddd in between all this I have been plodding away at the Sherry Serafini Genie bag!  It's been slow going for me but it is very intense beading of mostly size 13 and 15 beads.  Sore fingers and joints so gloves have been on! 

Today the weather doesn't look as though it knows what it's doing so I may just head down and try and finish the Genie bag.  I have things stacking up behind it and the panic is building!! 

Have a good week. 

Thursday, 14 July 2016

An All Round Catch Up.

Quite a busy couple of weeks here. Strange though looking back at it it never feels like it's much but I know the days have passed and they are days of doing things! 

I finished a piece from Workshop on the Web using the kit from the last issue.  It was using sand gel medium and a tree stencil.  An interesting effect but I'm pleased with it.  I used Woods in Winter a poem by Longfellow as a base. 

I have also written a piece for the magazine itself.  There is another one in the pipeline but I have to let that one stew for a while longer.  

The Sherry Serafini bag is growing slowly.  It's not a big bag but very time consuming.  Most of the fill beads are sizes 13 and 15.  Tiny!  

I have it here sewn onto a piece of cloth and in a frame to help try and lessen the strain it is actually putting on my tendons.  I seem to be having a bout of tendonitis in the wrist at the moment and it's very painful! The action of gripping the needle is causing it so I am icing it and using stretches to try and ease the pain as well as wearing a support glove.  Oh how we suffer for our art! 

I started quilting a piece I was putting together as a demo piece during the Art Weeks showing curved piecing. Unfortunately my sewing machine decided it didn't want to do any free motion and, where the pebbles and ammonite pieces are at the bottom, it has eyelashed to the extreme on the back.  A lot of pulling out to do and machine is now in Eastleigh being serviced!  That will teach it.  

I had a Couronne stick made for me too which finally arrived this week.  It really did take about 3 months for the chap to have the time to make it.  It has been done beautifully though so I'm pleased.  I've had the quickest of plays with some knitting yarn to show someone on facebook what it is actually for but that is all so far.  

And that yarn was from making this little cardie. 

It's a slightly larger size than newborn but he will be a summer baby so no point going mad!  I did knit this little waistcoat too which he might have the chance of wearing before it's too small. 

And, after 10 months of being with us, Willow is finally learning how to play a little with Ellie.  Sorry for blurred picture but it was such a nice surprise to see them messing around together with an empty kitchen roll tube.  These things take time!! 

Fingers crossed the sun that has arrived today stays for a while!! 

Friday, 24 June 2016

Beading by Numbers

Yes, beading by numbers, not something I would do as a rule.  If you've been here a while you will know I'm not adverse to a bit of bead embroidery, just click the Beading word in the cloud on the right hand side to see some.

Anyway the Queen of Bead Embroidery, Sherry Serafini, actually released a kit for one of her bags.  As I'm never likely to actually go to one of her classes I decided to treat myself to the kit.  This would be as near as I was likely to get to have instruction from her and to learn some of her secrets.  

The kit arrived from America and I've been working on it now and then through the week. 

Yes the base was preprinted and the beads counted out but I have learned several tricks already that I would never have known as they are certainly not in her books!  I'm thoroughly enjoying myself and even when there was a little hiccup with the pattern and I had to contact her directly she was so lovely and it was all sorted in no time. 

This week I also went to our village church to have a look at the altar cover.   I had been asked by the Church Warden during the Art Weeks if I thought there was anything I could do to salvage it. 

The panels along the back are from a silk wedding dress from a lady who used to live in the village in the 1800's.  When I find out more details I will let you know the story. 

As you can imagine the silk is terribly fragile and really not up to much handling. 

I have put forward a few ideas and they will be discussed to see if they are acceptable.  As you can imagine you can't just whip off altar covers and stick any old thing on.  There are certain things that have to be followed which I have been finding out about in my research.  Only linen, cotton and silks should be used and, of course, they have to be blessed.  I'm sure a solution will be found and I will keep you updated. 

I managed to sort the pile of books and magazines that has been growing on my footstool, I even managed to read through a couple, so I now know where I am for the moment, I think!! 

Everything else is ticking along despite our government going into freefall over leaving the EU.  You can tell Ellie and Willow were totally stressed about the whole thing. 

Have a great weekend! 

Friday, 17 June 2016

Normal Service Has Been Resumed!

I hope anyway.  

I've dived straight into a couple of projects I have to put under my belt sooner rather than later and been having quite a lot of fun with them! John has been listening to strange mutterings and goings on but I may reveal all at some point in the future!! 

The Art Weeks was a wonderful success and it was so much easier having it from home this time.  Thank you to those who made it, and let yourselves be known!! I also made contact with a couple of other ladies who are into stitch and relatively close to me which is always nice. Everything is now packed away until next time but I will have to pull my finger out and start creating as several of my large pieces went, all the handmade books and bags bar one and I couldn't make the notebook covers fast enough! I know it's not supposed to be about the selling but showing what you do but people do like to buy!! The charities are grateful I'm sure. 

Jan, who I did the Art Weeks with, came around yesterday with a lovely gift for me.  

It's of the DMC Library published 1884 and a real little gem.

There are 16 chapters on everything to do with needlework.  I've crocheted since I was small but now-a-days have hangups about following patterns as they are often American and the stitch types are all wrong.  I spend ages 'translating' the pattern back into English so often give up.  Reading the crochet section in this however could take me down all sorts of paths I didn't even know existed!  Look at those amazing trellises! 

There are even some colour plates.  Applique on damask anyone?  I think I could spend quite a bit of time dipping into this treasure trove.  I love it. 

I'm back in the studio today, weather permitting.  We've been having huge downpours and thunderstorms.  They don't bother me, though I would like to put the sunflowers out without them being beaten flat, it's just the noise on the roof of the studio can be phenomenal!  The lovely amount of light I have more than makes up for it though.  

Have a great weekend! 

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Art Weeks Under Way

We are now halfway through the Art Weeks and it has been really great.  I've met so many people, old and new, and many I 'know' through Facebook.  My comments book is positively bulging and it makes my heart sing reading it at the end of each day. 

Of course the ultimate buzz and compliment is when people like what you do enough to want to take it home with them.  I still find this a bit of a shock to be honest!  I sold out of the books that were for sale and have very few of my show ones left, and I could have sold a couple of those a few times too.  The covered notebooks went so fast I had to make more and, again, they are selling well too as are all the cards.  Strata went on the first day, the Piscine Parade has also gone along with Silver Light and the landscapes are going down too.  All amazing, all great for the charity.  (They are all on my website if you want to see which is which.)

I had some lovely reviews from Maggie Grey yesterday on Facebook too HERE  and HERE.  Honestly, if you've ever thought of doing it, have a go!  

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Dorset Art Weeks 2016

We're under way!! 16 days of showing our stuff right across the county.  I've just finished day two and things have been going very well including out of the door to new homes.  All great news as my charities, Combat Stress and GSP Rescue Services, will be very grateful of the money raised.

The samples I made at the Brockenhurst Needlework Fiesta were converted into notebook covers.

A fair bit of stitch and beading later and they are already going. 

Our dining room converted into a gallery space.  

The displays look good even though we only have a fraction of Jan's jewellery as she is at Highclere (Downton) on the deer stand at the Country Show for the Bank Holiday weekend.

Not as many books this year, which has been commented on! I think I'm seeing areas where I can add to and also, perhaps, expand into some demos too. 

There are a couple of red dots where the new owners have agreed to let me keep the item for the time being.  Frosty Fields I could have sold at least three times today! The cards are going well too and I can see an empty space I will have to go and fill in a minute.

Can you spot the difference in these two pictures?

Yes, Strata has gone to a new home too.  A lovely lady who came for a couple of visits last time and bought several of my Marrotte dolls.  this year she made a beeline here straight away and bought it. 

I've had several return visitors in fact and it's so lovely to see them again.  I know of two who actually follow this blog too, thank you so much for coming along, it really makes my day!! 

I will say that last time, and this so far, there have been a lot of comments from people who specifically look forward to the textiles.  There aren't that many of us out there.  If you do make textile items and you have an Open Studios event, I believe most counties do, it is so worth while and rewarding to do.  Really consider giving it a go especially if you have a friend or two to do it with.  They don't even have to be textiles themselves, a mix of media is a great draw.  

I'm for a glass of something nice and a bit of planning for day 3 tomorrow!! 

Monday, 16 May 2016

I Think My Feet are Touching the Ground!

A couple of weeks ago I picked up these three after they had come back from being shown in the L'Artishe Gallery, Swanage.  The other two were nicely replaced with a cheque.  

We also had coffee with a few others who are taking part in this years Dorset Art Weeks (DAW). This meant swapping some brochures and flyers so we can point visitors in the direction of other artists in the area.  Of course this also means we have to have the brochures and flyers all ready and printed! These are the things that have taken up a lot of time, along with a few other meetings and swaps, the website, cards etc, but if they're not done no one will know about you and won't visit!  

I did manage to make a couple of these in the same proportions as the Erosion pieces above.  

I liked them so much I made a few more in a larger size too. 

Sort of a cross between the Erosion pieces and the hangings Frosty Morning and From the Gate the Furrows Run.  All the same technique with a few tweaks.  Nice to sit and add the hand stitching and beads.  

I have also made 50 metres of bunting!  The very bottom of our drive is shared and I wanted to be clear on which side we were as it's quite a long one and you can't see the house.  All made so much easier with a pinking blade in the rotary cutter.  I became rather carried away though and now have a large pile of precut, pinked, 8 inch triangles leftover! 

Never mind. 

I have also just completed a two week course with Dionne Swift on using sketchbooks.  You know how much I don't use them.  Well I thought I'd have a look at this course, like I had time, and see where it took me.  

Some beginning to bulge sketchbooks!  

I think I can use some of her ideas and take it further. That should be useful as I am adding to my notebook all the time and I'm already looking to beyond the Art Weeks quite eagerly with so far two exhibitions and a couple of regular shows in the pipeline!

Along with new Gelli plates and Thermofax screens on my desk glaring at me wondering where their chance will come I have had to learn a whole new finance program as the last one really didn't like Mac and was constantly bucking the trend oh and live life in general!  

I have been having quite a cathartic time on the computer as a whole.  I have cleared out well over 100 people on my Facebook page whom I really don't have anything to do with or anything in common. Not just hide them but totally unfriend them.  I was pleased to look through my list afterwards and realise I was left with those I actually do meet or interact with or have an interest in and can automatically recognise their names in a context rather than wonder who the hell they are!  I have also spent a few days unsubscribing to dozens of emails I no longer need and that has taken a huge weight off of that chore through the day of just automatically clicking them into the bin not even opening them!  

Now I've finally managed this post, and probably bored you all rigid, I'm off to paint some more signs and then, hopefully, off to the studio to finish some more pieces for DAW.  Less that 2 weeks to go now.  Don't forget, if you're in Dorset for the first weeks of June pick up a brochure and come and say hello! 

Have a great week! 

Monday, 25 April 2016

Weekend at Brockenhurst

Saturday and Sunday was the annual Brockenhust Needlework Fiesta.  I was there with Maggie Grey and Fiona Edwards. 

There was a little bit of silliness and plenty of laughter. 

Quite a few new members signed up to Workshop on the Web and bought the books.

Fiona even managed a couple of photos on me on the embellisher. 

Hundreds of visitors over the two days.  I even heard one lady say as she was going down stairs that though she likes going to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace this one, small though it is, is so much better!  It really is nice to have such a well attended by traders, local show. 

Well that weekend was one of those markers in the years that, though I totally enjoyed myself, I can now move on to the Art Weeks at the end of May. I may be some time!! 

PS I've also managed to change over my website finally.  I was never, ever happy with the Clikpic site, it was far to professional and it had a set up that was too complicated to just go in and change something.  I could waste so much time trying to perform a simple task so I threw in the towel and moved to Weebly. They may not be UK based but it was seriously easy to use and, if you wait until after 2pm, the live chat it so useful. I've still a few things to add here and there but the new address is link on the sidebar too. 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Long Time No Post

So I will now make up for it with a long one! 

The two mixed up panels are now stitched and finished off.  

Plenty of machine and hand stitch as well as beads.  This one is already sold but I'm hoping it can stay for the Art Weeks.

I liked doing this one very much, I think I have shown it to you before.

So I am now doing another slightly larger this time. 

After making the little Erosion pieces for the gallery, of which another has sold I thought I would combine the landscapes and the smaller size for some framed work for the art weeks.  A couple of the other artists had suggested I try larger frames and a stronger colour contrast which I think works well on these little pieces.  I think I will do some more in differing sizes. 

I have also been experimenting with the Pebeo paints which have been Maggie Grey's favorite medium of the moment for both her latest book, Long Diaries and Tall Tales, and for Workshop on the Web. 

This was an iPhone box covered in a mixed media fabric including Kozo paper which I used the Pebeo paint on and then lined with silk.

Copper sheet put through an embellisher folder and then the Pebeo added before cutting out.

The leaves were made into a bag once added to velvet.

I will be with Maggie demoing at the Brockenhurst Needlework Fiesta on 23 and 24th April, it would be lovely to see you if you are in the area! 

Last week saw the hard copy publication of our Dorset Artists magazine.  I was the opening article in this edition. Though there is an electronic one there are always a lot of requests for a 'proper' paper version.  Sarah Broome, the editor, does a great job as it's all done in house and she is not, in anyway a magazine editor by profession!  She still holds down a full time job too. 

At the moment I am working on more items for the art weeks, some of which worked and some didn't!!! The ones on the right will not leave the moulds so I have a bit of a job scraping that lot out.  I think the pre oiling wasn't enough.  Never mind! 

And finally, like a lot of our textile community, I was extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Maggi Birchenough this week.  Maggi was one, if not the first non family follower of my blog in 2009.  She always took the time to comment and 'talk'.  When she found out I was doing my City & Guilds in 2010 she decided to do it too.  We both finished a couple of weeks apart.  I have several pieces of her beautifully dyed fabrics and loads of threads, even the dining table centre piece is made from hers, and I will always be grateful of her online friendship.  So sad we never finally met in the real world.