Tuesday, 8 May 2018

We've Been Away!

We've been on a dogliday with the girls!  Ruger and Tully were looked after by a friend as their age doesn't agree with sitting for long hours in a car and romping around big beaches any more.  So sad. 

The girls enjoyed themselves though! 

They explored rock pools for ages!  It was hard to see them in amongst the weed a lot of the time.  

And then there was the big, sandy beach too. 

John even found me a dolphin skeleton which he refused to let me bring home!  I was still a little juicy in areas though.  

We even had a day up on Dartmoor though it was a bit blustery and sometimes wet. 

We managed to really up our stepcount but I would really have loved to put a counter on one of the dogs!! They did not stay still for long at all!! 

I took Mandala Madness with me and managed another few rounds.  

Now I'm home I've also caught up with most of Cosmic.  A new part is released today.

I've also put together another set of cards.  These were very popular at the last Art Weeks.

Other than that we had the pub's Spring festival yesterday and Iwas there all day serving ale and cider.  It was a hot one but much fun.  We're off on a long dog walk now before the heat gets too much.

Have a lovely week!! 

Monday, 23 April 2018

Now Where Was I...?

After spending some time making samples for Brockenhurst I did put together this little book from a 1968, rather well used map of Dorset.  

It was falling to pieces along the mappish creases and so it naturally wanted to be pages.  I just added a few bits and stitched it together keeping all the lovely worn bits around the edges.  

There was also another couple of bags done for the Art Weeks.

I had a few scraps left over from the bags and, after pulling out my bitsa box, put together some cards in my Fragmental Cartouche style. 

Love making these!  Who needs to through stuff away. 

We had an amazing presentation of Elsa's Masters with Merit last week too.  I'm so proud of this young lady!! She has studied for her Masters at the same time as working full time, having two babies and training and running all over the place! Perhaps she's one of the ones who has found the secret door to another time dimension to fit it all in.  

Brockenhurst Needlework Fiesta went well.  Two days of stitchy, creative people can only be fun really.  Maggie Grey and I before the doors opened.

The Greys Mandala has had a few rows added.  Now at 32 inches.

 I've also started the new CAL this week in colour.  This is Cosmic and is 21 inches across at the moment.  

I'm sure the colours will grow on me as they expand.  I'm just used to dull! I did have to change the greens though as I found them a bit too off my taste.  I've put in much more earthy ones, chosen from some of the colours in one of the Batik yarns used so they do go much better to my mind! 

Finally, this week we have started the prep for the Dorset Art Weeks, 26th May - 10th June.  John has dug out the signage A frames and attached the new roadside posters.  I've been making up arrows and numbers.  

I'm not going to blink or it will be here!!!  

Have a creative week. 

Monday, 9 April 2018

March into April

Exciting post title I know but I can't think of anything else at the mo!

I've had a strange few weeks creatively. Not that I've been idle.

I put together another natural book. 

Gives reason for picking up all those odd bits I find calling to me. 

Despite trying it refused to have a proper cover mainly because it wants to sit like this.  Which is ok as it displays quite well. 

I have been making various pieces and samples for demoing at Brockenhust Needlework Fiesta again later this month and really struggle with what to show.  After hours and hours of fiddling about and mind changing I think I have come up with something that will work that isn't hot, smelly or takes too long to dry.  All things to be taken into consideration in such a close environment there.  If it works I'll be happy.  We will see. 

I also made another couple of Curio Compendiums to show with the others for the Art Weeks.  They make it more of a collection display then.  More places for all those ODD things I find.

This also included me making the smallest book I have ever created! It's in the top lefthand box. 

I have recently been pulled back into crochet.  I think the last I did was a bag in July and a couple of throws the year before.  This time I'm joining in a Crochet A Long (CAL) by Helen Shrimpton.  As a warm up I did one of her squares to see how she stitches and she has some amazing combinations.  this cushion I made using up lots of odds from knitting the Grand's cardies. 

I have just started her 2016 CAL called Mandala Madness in a King Cole Curiosity yarn that has a looooong colour change. They're supposed to be done in different colours per round but I fancied one of these in neutral greys.
It takes so much more concentration than just knitting in the evenings! There are 45 rounds done so far (36 hours worth), another 66 to go!  AND I could square it off after than if I chose.  I may stop early, depending on the size reached.  This years CAL starts in just over a week. 

In my efforts of trying to use stuff up I dug out my fabric sample books and an old bag pattern.  I tweaked it a bit and have been putting together some new bags for DAW too.  

Two made all bar the metalwork and bits, another two under the machine and several more waiting for cutting.  these always sell well.  The black and gold one I may even keep for myself! 

I've been having a few panic attacks about what I have to make for what's coming up and really not liking where I am with it all.  I have piles of stuff I just want to play with or finish or even start in some cases!  I took the decision to not do any more exhibitions after the one in September.  I may still do an Art Weeks or two but they are every other year and I don't have to do it if I don't want to.  I find it hard to keep producing items of a showable standard and I'm not the fastest creator.  I know there are some out there who can bang out work at a phenomenal rate but they have usually worked out a formula that works for them and, to be honest, I become so bored doing the same thing I become frustrated by the constraints.  I had the same problems when I was committed to doing my City and Guilds each time.   I will continue to flit like a butterfly rather than slog doing what I think NEEDS to be done. 

After having a bit of a moment last week I made lists.  Then I made lists of the lists.  When I could see where I was going and scratch a few things out each evening I made a mini list of things I wanted to achieve the following day.  I certainly started sleeping better knowing what needed doing just in small bites.  Then Saturday night I had a phone call asking if I would like to join 5 other local creators at a weekend long exhibition just after the Art Weeks.  Of course I said yes.  Now I have to slot in making a few more scarf pins and bags and hope I don't sell them beforehand! I'm sure I would still feel the same even if I hadn't lost all of January and February and most of March to the tumour but at least I'm still hear moaning about it! 

Once more into the studio......!!!! 

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Whoo Hoo!

It seems like ages ago now when were were snowed in.  We have a fairly steep drive and because of the weird freezing rain after the powdery stuff leaving a thick layer of ice over everything we couldn't get out. We are used to being prepared, even though it rarely happens.  Living in a little village does make  you more aware. Anyway, it was all over in a jiffy, pretty while it lasted.

I did take advantage and try some snow dying! Not something I'd done before and, as we were all talking about it in the WoW FB group, several of us decided to have a go. 

I'd seen on youTube several versions of applying the dyes and opted for the straight powder way.  the strength of the colours looked promising to start with but, even though I had pre soaked with soda ash, I was a little disappointed with the results. 

I have a large box of quite strongly dyed colours already so perhaps it isn't such a bad idea I have some softer tones to add to them. 

The WW1 Sawdust heart arrived. I asked the organisers if it was OK to make another identical heart of my own to put in our village church and they said yes, a lovely idea. I had a Dorset Artist woodturner friend of mine, Darren Wheeler collect some of his sawdust and make one I did! 

Despite packing it in as hard as I could it was still slightly smaller than the original but you'd have to look hard to notice and they are not going to be next to one another. They both have the names of our fallen on the back on silk too.

I know the village had a bigger population back then but to lose 15 men, and several of them from the same families, must have been quite a blow to the area.  The official one has been sent off and the other is waiting for me to take it to the church later in the year. 

Speaking of the church, I will be holding my Dorset Art Weeks there this time with fellow Dorset Artist Karren Burkett.  Though I loved being at home with John and the dogs last time it was still a bit strange having all those people turn up at my house!  Also the new church warden is hoping to try to have the church used more as a community space, not just by a dozen or so every other Sunday.  It does have a lovely, light area to use too so when he asked me if I'd like to do something there the Art Weeks seemed the logical thing.  Hopefully it will make others see it as a valuable part of the community too.  

Something I have made for the Art Weeks, along with the pincushions, are some zipped pouches. 

These little bits are the equivalent of a painter's cards.  The little things people can buy and they help cover the basic costs of holding the event.  Once those costs are covered I can put money towards the dog rescue charities.  

I also had a frame made for the finished Earth's Treasures.

Really pleased with how it looks framed up.  I'll be happy to keep that on my wall.  

Yet another Dorset Artist Colleen du Pon who I have shown with and who's skills I have used before, has made me another hanger for the Ammonites piece.  She did one for me for the last Art Weeks.  It's just perfect. 

I've been rather sad to read of several reports of Etsy turning into not such a nice place to sell.  As well as the place being overwhelmed with the NOT handmade stuff, it's now selling awful cards mocking Harvey Price and other tasteless items and not banning them from being sold.  I have an Etsy and was going to go back there but I am now definitely staying with Folksy! After the Art Weeks anything unsold will be listed.

Finally, I'm feeling fab!  I had a phone call from my surgeon last week and he said the biopsy from the tumour removal came back as good.  The iron infusion has kicked in and spring is in the air!  What more could I ask for? I have an appointment to see him tomorrow so he can sign me off and life can move again.

Have a wonderful week ahead!! 

Monday, 26 February 2018

Getting My Head Down

As well as copious nana Naps, all to aid recovery of course, I have actually been in the studio beading! I have to be a little careful of my sitting position though and leaning forward over the desk can be painful after a while but I'm learning! 

This is a nice piece of Ocean Jasper and a little fossil bead into a scarf pin or brooch.

This one, a Fern Agate, I had to bezel bead rather than bead embroider.

Its see through you see and that would be lost with a backing.  The depth is amazing.  Lovely bit of stone.

And this is a drusy in a hand cut Cheetah Agate.  I backed the drusy with gold kid leather.

I'm still collecting Iron Age ideas and making notes.  It's always amazing to think I walk in the steps of villagers of over 2500 years.  I know in the garden we have found Roman glass and nails, wish I could remember where I put them!  Our friend's farm along the valley also featured in a Time team a few years ago.  Simons Time Team Episode is here should you be interested.   I also have found copious oyster shells and we are 20 miles north of Poole Harbour.  I just want to find something Iron Age and I'd be over the moon.  Eyes are always peeled on dog walks! 

I'm now off to sit and bead for a bit more. Have a great week! 

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Nice Bit of News

Well the current view is a bit drab. 
The tumour came out yesterday. I wont miss it. Biopsy results in a week or two.  Great for weight loss I hope!  All I’ve eaten since Thursday is some mashed potato and that little pot of ice cream. As everything was done fabulously by keyhole, 5 of the blighters to be exact, there was hope I might go home today but things went a bit squiffy so I’m staying in another night. Better safe than sorry with a chunk of the old tum missing.  Anyway I did have the delightful news this afternoon that my Snowdrops piece was voted 3rd in Vistors Chioce at the Shaftesbury Snowdrop Festival!  I’m over the moon! There are an awful lot of amazing entires to this so super pleased. 
I have my knitting and notebook and thank goodness for the internet. Now I just have to work on getting my temperature down and things working in the right direction and I’ll be home anoying John before long.    

Sunday, 4 February 2018

It's Being Used!

The huge piece is being added to and my little pile of empty thread winders and covers is growing. It may not seem much but it is to me! 

The piece itself has had lots of stuff added to embed the plastic canvas pieces in.  

At the moment it's far too busy and needs some calming measures! I will work on it.  

The village we live in has Iron Age roots.  This has been extensively explored and dug by the local architects and university over the years and there are a few papers on it all. This field in front of the house (to the right in my header banner)

and this one to the rear

Both had Iron Age villages in them.  This is the rear field and if you know what you're looking for you can see the outline of the enclosure and pens. 

I have been gathering information on what I open my curtains and look out on over the past couple of years and decided it's about time I put something together!  According to the finds the villages were of high status foundry works. Lots and lots of metalwork for farm implements but also a large quantity of wagon and chariot fittings as well as weapons.  All, to me, fascinating stuff!  So, that is what I'm trying to put together in the piece up above.  

The plastic canvas pieces are supposed to represent a sword sheath and shield boss.  The rest of the mayhem is the concealing earth.  The only downside of the piece is it's size at 24 inches square!  It's certainly going to be a show stopper!  I now remember why doing  small work is a good idea.  The other ideas in my head, and even in my notebook, will be on a much smaller scale. 

I have still been falling asleep at silly times and feeling like a limp dishrag most of the time.  Yesterday I spent the day in the hospital where I finally had the Iron transfusion. 

I was hoping to feel better instantly but no, the effects can take 10 - 14 days to start being noticed.  At least it's in me and working now! 

I did put together a pile of pin cushions for the up coming Open Studios.  

I have found that most people would like to buy something from you even if they can't afford the larger pieces and these, and a few books I'm hoping to make, fit the bill!! 

This week I also had a delivery from Ikea. I found these hanging pots for my Ikea trolleys. 

Not really what they're meant for but the small ones were only 50p so how could I say no, and they're not that small either. 

I've been almost having a bit of a clear out when I've felt a bit more energetic and I hope these will help my sort the stuff better! 

My two nurses have been wonderful looking after me this week but they're all demanding lunch now. 

Have a great week!! 

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Using it Up

I have started a new piece this week. Its quite large for me and should end up at 24 inches square. One thing Elsa found and brought round to me one day was a rather large bag full of all the cross stitch threads I had used over the years. Believe me when I tell you I have loads of end of project threads! I’ve gone from the days of saving literally every single inch I could as I didn't have the spare cash to buy more to now just throwing them all at a project to finally use them up. Its really quite liberating!

These pieces I have sewn onto so plastic canvas for a bit of body and structure.

I’m now merging them into the background using up more stuff I've hoarded. Lovely work to do whilst in brain still not working right mode. 

I’ve been putting the photos on my Instagram page, Amo107, and using the #useupthecraftstuff. Feel free to use it too! 

I am waiting for another call from the hospital as I urgently need an iron transfusion apparently.  Iron is far too low, explains brain not working, and they need it higher before they operate. I’m downing enough iron tablets a day to go rusty already.  

All a waiting game, not able to plan and January has all but gone.