Friday, 29 April 2011

I'm getting ready for my second craft fair this weekend. It is at the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth on Monday.

Monday, 25 April 2011

heart felt

After removing these hearts from the kiln, I got ready to drill holes in them for the loops , only to discover that my drill is broken. No matter what I tried , I could not fix it so I have had to order a new one and will have to wait for it to arrive before I can finish my work. Boo!

On the other hand , it has been such wonderful weather that it is difficult to feel cross! So we went for a long walk around Emsworth harbour. It was really busy and I had the last vanilla ice cream in the shop! Then fell asleep on returning home. Bliss

Sunday, 24 April 2011

looking fabulous

What a difference a coat of paint makes! Now I need to sew some cushions for them! It never stops.

sun and fun

Sitting in the sun, with my darling girls, surrounded by flowers and pond life, right in the centre of London, next door to the new Tate Gallery! This is a private residents garden and it is brilliantly well organised. There are identification photos of weeds for anyone who wishes to do a spot of gardening and there is a notebook for people to write about sightings of new plants, birds or other wildlife! Amazing! It has been really cleverly designed and the seating is fab too.
Here we sat for a wonderful picnic- me and picnics!! I love them. It must be the freedom that appeals to me. We went to a wedding reception a few days ago and I spent a good half hour discussing the merits of picnics and camping, with another couple.
Such a fun idea this. Each person cycles while a driver steers through the London traffic! Apparently hen and stag  parties often hire them to cycle from pub to pub.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

birds in blossom

New birds with blossom!

Garden delight

Just a few days away and the garden had changed so much. Apple blossom has burst open and is leaving a confetti of petals everywhere. It looks so beautiful. This is the effect that I try to achieve with my glass work.


Dinan is a timber framed paradise built on a steep hill leading down to the river. It is surrounded by castle walls made from granite. As it is the beginning of the season, many shops were not open for business and the streets were not thronging with tourists, so we were able to wander around easily. Gosh, the road leading to the river was very steep and we ended up walking up and down it several times during our stay, with the result that our calves were crying out for a rest.
My husband , being brave, opted for an unknown meal one evening. There was some meat which had the most unbelievable smell to it. We puzzled over what it could be as we didn't recognise it at all. Turns out it was tripe! Never again!

A very English occupation!

Picnics are fab and we always take our picnic basket on holiday with us. After settling into our room we found a nearby garden attached to a small church, and we set up our little stove and kettle to make a wonderful cup of tea. Why does it taste so much better out in the fresh air?

French holiday

Why do the French speak such good English, when we , who learn French at school, are generally not so fluent, confident or brave? Perhaps I am speaking for myself only here, but I felt ashamed of myself for not being able to converse in French. Partly, I realise, I am scared of making a fool of myself! How ridiculous is that! How I envy the easy way some people pick up a language and I long to be able to do the same. I did take conversational French lessons a few years back, and although I can work out some of what is being said, I cannot understand unless they speak really slowly and give plenty of hand signals and other clues. I stayed with my brother and his French Canadian wife in Ottowa a couple of years ago. His 2 year old daughter could speak fluently in both languages and could even swop half way through a conversation. I gave her a bath one evening, while his mother prepared supper, and had to admit to my young neice that I could not understand her and could she please speak in English for me!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Rag rugging -my first adventure!

I have just returned from a course on rag rugging and as I have never done it before, I thought that it would be a good idea to keep a record of how I did it before I forgot! Hopefully, others might like to read about how to do this too, but bear in mind that I am a novice!
First, I stapled my hessian to a wooden frame, beginning in the middle of each edge then moving towards the outside. Next, I tucked the extra hessian under so that it is out of the way. It will be needed at the end, for finishing.
You need a hooking tool. At first , I thought I would be able to use an old crochet hook but you need the wooden handle because it is far more comfortable to work with.
I made a hole with my hook, in the hessian ready to pull the fabric strip through. The strips are about a cm wide and it doesn't really matter how long because you cut it to size once you have finished using it. Then holding the fabric beneath the frame with my left hand, I pushed the hook through from the front with my right hand, and hooked the fabric up and through to the front. Stop when it is about 2 cm showing. This is the start of your hooking. Next, count about 3 threads of hessian along and again push the hook through from the front, picking up the strip from  the back and hooking it through. Stop when you have about 1.5-2cm loop.
Again count about 3 threads of hessian and push the hook through, repeating the last step. Keep doing this until you have the amount of the colour or fabric that you want, to make up your design. If you run out before reaching the end of your section, make sure that you finish by pulling the last piece out to the front.
Now you can trim the loops or leave them as they are, depending on your design. I have not yet completed my design but you can see my half finished project, in the next photograph.
Trimmed loops!
 Here I have used ribbon. Below, you can see a wide variety of fabrics and colours which look fab together!
This shows netting which worked much better than I expected. I can now be found scouring charity shops and raiding my daughters wardrobe ( well the floor actually, as this seems to be where she keeps most of her clothes!). I have already cut up loads of my old T shirts. I had a fun time the other day when my middle daughter gave me 2 boxes of old material that she had had during her fashion design course. Now I have begun colour coding my scraps too!

It is quite easy and there are so many other things that you can do to add texture. Liz, the tutor, has made some amazing rugs, wall hangings and cushions using rag rugging. Her designs are vibrant and sumptuous and she is an inspirational teacher.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

On creative pathways

I have been soo busy in my day job that I have had to neglect my creative side for a week. It may not sound like a long time but I feel lost when I am not making something! Hurrah for the holidays! What a beautiful day today. I am beginning to stretch my wings and reach out for the sky. A while ago I was following The Artists Way by Julia Cameron, and while talking to someone, it came back to me how powerful and enlightening that book was. I will try to start doing morning pages again. I really looked forward to reading each chapter and to choosing my own special mantra. Then you had to make a page in your journal, using the mantra. I chose learning to fly and used birds( a bit corny and obvious, but it meant something to me) andtext as my visual image. Strangley enough, I find myself returning to birds of late! The book was also heavily into serendipity and that was a lovely experience, searching for links and discovering opportunities. It is certainly a half full book!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

bags at the ready!

How to print your own bags!

After inking up the block, place it  down on the bag. This was easy because the brown paper has lines as part of the design, making it simple to keep straight. Then use a clean roller to roll over the back of the lino, thereby transferring the ink onto the bag.


Obviously music was needed to set the mood! I love Elbow and can be heard singing along to my hearts content. The only problem for those nearby ( apart from my voice,) is that I don't know all the words so I lah to it, which probaly annoys the  neighbours. What the heck! I am enjoying myself!
I cut the lino after drawing out my design, then prepared the ink. I used an old acrylicchocolate box case to roll out my ink.
One of the pieces of advice I was given was to have work in progress during quiet periods on your stall, so I nervously took out my sketch book. I had bought inexpensive carrier bags and felt that they lacked something. Brainwave! Why not make a lino print to decorate my bags? I already had all the equipment so it should be easy! I set to and began designing, at first more realsitically, but this didn't match with my style of glass so then I simplified the design until I had one that might work.
Next, I searched high and lo because I had put the lino and tools in a safe place- never to be found again! Am I the only one this happens to? Finally, lino tools discovered in the spare bedroom-where else? !!