Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Use to Progress

I hope you've had a wonderful Christmas!  We had a lovely time with Elsa, Mike, Olivia and Remi.

I heard from the elves that there was no Fairy on top of Olivia's tree.  Every little girl has to have a fairy!

I hope she manages to grant Olivia some of her wishes at future Christmas'.

And of course she had to have her first stocking.

I think she was happy.

I also made some felted robins but I can't find a picture, but I did photograph this little adage sun I made for them.

*Edit* a picture of one of the Robins sent to me by Elsa!!

Bacon butties on Boxing day.

Even the dogs had their own party online with their other Pointer pals.  Ruger and Ellie had to dress up for the 12 days of Christmas doing the 5 Gold Rings part.  Ellie insisted on gold bones though.

She did look rather pretty for the big 'Do' later that evening.  Ruger and Tully fell asleep.

I have been thinking back over the year and realising I have discovered a few things.  I've learned that I don't have to do everything.  I have turned my hand to most things but now I must step back and appreciate the work of others who can do it better and enjoy that instead.  After my holiday to France I truly did understand this.  Though I like the work of those around me, I don't have to do it myself, for myself or to prove to others that I can do it. I can own assemblage art pieces that others make, it's ok, I am not a failure if I haven't made it myself.  I am allowed to buy handmade felt, yes I can make it but I don't enjoy making it, it hurts! Giving myself a break has really opened my eyes and I'm enjoying it.

Another thing I also came to realise is the difference between being able to create art and being an artist.  A couple of years ago I was asked why do I bother doing paintings like this, why not just frame a photograph?

There were a few other comments, I was so taken aback by them that I  literally stopped painting. I went on and did the Art Weeks and my paintings were admired and, infact, this one eventually went into a charity auction to raise funds for Wessex Autism, something I'm quite proud of.

Anyway zoom forward a few months and I was at a gallery opening with some beautifully drawn pieces of art, exceptionally high quality that I would have been honoured to own.  I was chatting to a friend I met there and he said that yes he liked them too but without going up to them he couldn't tell who had drawn which as they were all so lifelike, there was no artists individuality in them.

Big bell went off in my head. There were quite a few other artist friends there and I looked around and thought, yes actually I would be able to pick out that painters work if I saw it in a show, or that one's work in fact quite a few of them.  They were all artists of their own style not just able to copy an image.  And I suppose when we visit a gallery it is the individual style of an artist we first see and like/dislike, their interpretation of what they are seeing and not a photographic likeness.

Each year I have been choosing a word to try and work by.  Last year my word was USE.  It worked for me.  I thought twice before buying anything to see if I had something I could use instead and I tried using my time better. I like having just the word to stick to rather than a whole lot of promises to break.

For 2015 I am going to choose the word:


I want to go further in my education and I want to progress further in my own art.  I have a slightly different view of things now having had the experiences of this year.

I hope my ramblings make sense!  I feel better having put it all down in words anyway.

I hope you all have a good New Year.  Be healthy, happy and creative and maybe look for a few eye opening moments too.

See you in 2015!

Friday, 19 December 2014

And the Year Comes Round Again

Christmas is just about upon us. Again!  I'm always amazed I'm still here spouting whatever it is I think of and I still have lovely people reply.  It was about now in 2009 that I started moving my blog, then with Live, over to Blogger.  I've resisted the urge to move again to Wordpress as the first move was traumatic enough and took until the March before I had it straight!  Blogger does what it says on the tin well enough for me.

This past week or two I have been making a mixed bag.  Or perhaps that should be UN making.  I started the quilting on the Ricky Tims Lady of Shalott and didn't like what I was seeing.  Of course I carried on and still didn't like it.  Eventually I stopped, stuck it up on the design wall and lived with it. (No pictures, it was that bad).  When Elsa came around I told her what I thought of it and she agreed so I then spent three days un picking very dense free motion vermicelli.  Argh!! Next time my gut kicks my head I will listen!!!

I also finished-ISH the Compendium! (15 inches tall).

I love working in Papier Mache and scoot back to it to satisfy my urge to build quite a bit.

It's amazing what you can create really.

I did take an idea or two from the latest WOW with Kate Crossley, loved the adding scrim to the walls.

There are plenty on niches to fill still but I want to do this one more slowly.

I bought a huge box of broken clocks and there was this tiny little cuckoo in there and he's finally found a home.

Lots of fun and plenty to look at.

I also have a power unit that needed a cover so I found some pieces of chiffon and felt.

Wove them together...

Passed them under the embellisher quite lightly...

And started stitching...

Added a bit of beading...
 Not forgetting the pouch on the back for the attachments...
  and a functional piece was finished.

Now as usual time seems to be marching on at a rather brisk pace, except when it comes to Natural England who are really being a pain about the bats, and the year is just coming to a close.  I'm not sure that I will be fitting in another post before we turn the page so, if not, have a

Happy, Healthy and Wonderful 
Christmas and New Year.

Even Ruger, Tully and Ellie would like to get in on the act with their posh, new collar covers.  

John has just opened a bottle of something bubbly and the lamb is nearly cooked so bye for now! xx

Thursday, 4 December 2014

One or Two Bits

Forgive me fellow Bloggers for I have been lax.  It has been a whole month since I last posted, not that you've missed me I'm sure! Like a lot of you out there, at this time of year especially, I really don't know where the time goes!

Anyway, it's just a quick hello to you all as I've missed you.  I've not been anywhere or done much.  There are a couple of bits in the Christmas pile that I will show after they have been given and I finished another cardie and forgot the photos.

I have completed the course with the Embroiderers Guild, had to go back to a Level 1 as it's with a different organisation but that's understandable, I now have my first cert in Machine Embroidery.

Most of it was great fun and I enjoyed doing the samples etc but one project subject just would not work for me.  I learned to put it aside and move on!

Obviously I can't show you too much as this is a paid for course and it wouldn't be fair but these are a couple of my pieces.

The felting seems to have come to a halt.  I am struggling with the patience needed for it!  It also hurts my wrists and after snapping the tendon earlier in the year the pain can be quite severe.  Maybe I will pick it up again after Christmas as it has actually moved on to the more exciting bit of 3D items.

I have started another Compendium. It's letting me know what it needs rather than planning.

It's been a few years since I did one, in the way back whens of Windows computers etc.  I see there's a tutorial by Kate Crossley on WOW at the moment, very spooky!! But I like a couple of her ideas and will perhaps use them but she does use pre made boxes, I always construct from scratch and love it. I've never seen her work before so had to look it up.  Very exciting!

And last but far from least I had some serious sewing to do.

Poor Ellie pup's Tiggy Teddy had a little hole and needed surgery.  She watched every stitch and was very relieved to have him back.

I hope your Christmas preparations are going well.  Have a great weekend, we're sitting Olivia while Mum and Dad run races!


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

A Couple of Finishes

I finally finished the hand pieced hexi top.  Now just to layer and quilt.  It isn't a huge size, 44 x 36 inches, but I'm sure Olivia can use it in the garden or for toys when she's bigger.  

I've also pieced and appliqued the Lady of Shalott top.

Miles of double blanket stitch which takes an age with all those points and corners!  Really love the shapes and colours, quite a disappointment to find that Ricky only uses cheap calico to dye for his kits.  For the price I would have hoped for a poplin.

I also had another go with the keys.  I carefully roll wrapped them and left them for two days this time. Much better!

These three photos are all one piece.  Some great key shapes here.

I am still working on reducing The List!! There seems to be a kind of block that I can't go beyond until some of these things are done but I can feel other things starting to grow in the background.  I've done a little re thinking to so I don't feel quite so pressured about it.

We will be having some building done to the house soon.  It was supposed to start in June but we keep hitting obstacles namely Natural England, because we have bats! Over the moon to have them and we already have bat boxes and we will be bending over backwards to accommodate them (it's only a day roost not a maternity or hibernation roost)  but those who hold the strings just love their high and mighty positions and making life as difficult as possible for everyone.  The scaffolders will be moving on to other things soon if we don't stop having to mess them around! I just hope that the pen pushers all come across a pain in the neck jobsworth whenever they want to do anything to their homes! (sorry, little rant there)

This popped up in the lawn the other day.  We've had fairy rings and puffballs but never a Parasol this huge before.
 And today we have a birthday!

Ellie will, no doubt, make sure she is the centre of attention as always.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Catch Up is Going Well!

First of all I did something I've never done before, I used the keys to do some rust dyeing.

I laid them out with a few wisps of steel wool on vinegar soaked cotton.

Put them to one side covered overnight.

And washed and ironed the following day. 

I used two pieces of PFD poplin and two of the 440 count Egyptian cotton that is available.  They both behaved when it came to taking the rust but, as usual the Egyptian I find too dense, too fussy and too hard to iron decently to be bothered with again.  I'm pleased with the patterns and will try again once the keys have rusted up with a little more thought to how they are wrapped.  The first use and vinegar does seem to clean them!

I started the Felting course after this lot arrived.

My sample results are below.  Shading.


Still lots to learn especially with technique but it's interesting!  And I seen to be losing weight on my wrists from all the rolling and my bracelets now slip off which they have never done before!

As for other things...

1) I think the number one slot in The List is always going to be another piece of clothing of some sort for Olivia!  I will keep this updated.  At the moment it’s yet another cardie from the Jumping Jellybeans book. 

2) Mystery Item No 1.  Is still waiting

4) Mystery No 2. Finished this one!! I will show you after Christmas!!

5) Mystery No 3. Still waiting

6) Mystery No 4. Also still waiting.

7) The Travellers Blanket I have done a little on mainly after the Halloween quilt was finished and I was still in evening stitch mode and pre another knit mode.

8) The hand pieced Hexi is not far from finishing now. Well the top at least. I am waiting for the lightbulb about how to quilt.  

9) My Tweets.  Nothing yet.

10) Ricky Tims’ Lady of Shalott now has the threads and so there should be no excuse other than time to start this.

11) Aunt Sukey can wait at the bottom for a bit.

So a bit of movement there which I am pleased about.  It's growing shorter!! 

On the more domestic front I have covered a cushion for my studio chair.

And made some bumpers for Ruger's bed.

And I have a footstool to cover next.

Tummy ulcers have decided to flare up again and causing problems so I'm on a bit of a go slow again until the energy levels rise.  At least the knitting and hand sewing can be done on the sofa!  

I'm a bit sad I missed Ally Pally this year and I hope all of you who went enjoyed yourselves!