Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Quick Catch Up

Well, whether I'm nattering to myself, some peekers you other lovely people, here's a brief of what else I've been up to. 

I managed to collect some lovely bits in Devon when we took the girls there for our anniversary last month.  I've been trying to not go overboard on just shells, I have hundreds already, but try to find the more unusual.  I picked up some nice water worn wood, a lovely cluster of big barnacles and a fab bottle neck with cork still in it.  The cork shrank as it dried but I glued it back in before mounting them all in a deep box for one of the bathrooms.  

I think this is a lovely way of keeping memories from beachcombing and I have quite a few now.  

I really, really got fed up with waiting for the finishing instructions for the bead-a-long I took part in which started on 1st August for National Beading WEEK! Despite having several messages on her FB page from several ladies she was always doing other things. Why start something if you can't finish it? I would be devastated if I did that to others.  Anyway, I had to clear the space on my desk so strung everything together in what i thought was a pleasing way and it's finished.  

I have space on my desk!  Only a little mind and I have a commission to be doing.  Maybe I should try clearing some more first.  

I never seem to show the continuous stream of knits I do for the grandchildren any more but this little waistcoat is the latest.  Olivia doesnt seem to like sleeves, well I always seem to be knitting short sleeves for her anyway.  This is such a quick and easy pattern and I loved the repeat in the wool, quite short which is important when doing small garments or you end up with huge blotches of colour and it just looks wrong. I hope she likes it anyway 

My list for the K&S at Ally Pally is starting to grow and the next load of yarns is part of it.  There was also a fabulous button lady at Westpoint, I wonder if she will be there too?  I will have to check! 

And our wonderful Facebook Pointer dog group had another local get together when some of the northern members were down, two from the very top of Scotland and one from Yorkshire.  John calls the gatherings a stand arounds as 'walk' is a bit of a misnomer.  There is always a lot of chatter!! He didn't mind the coffee and donuts afterwards though.  The dogs love it and they really are a lovely bunch of people so worth going to. 

I have a West Country Embroiderers meeting with Fay Maxwell now so I will let you know how that goes later.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Plein Air Stitching

Last Saturday, 9th September, I went to Sculpture by the Lakes, the rather lovely gardens of friends Simon and Monique Gudgeon, to take part in the Plein Air day.  

My view for the day.

Of course I wasn't going to do the usual painting thing!  So I loaded up the sack trucks with a yellow box of stuff, including beach shelter, table and chair, quite a few threads and some silk cotton mix fabric.  

The weather was forecast to be changeable with thunderstorms and it was!  Very!! I even took a quilt to wrap up in as, after spending many years lurking near water in it's various forms, I know how cold it can get.  If you are with me on Facebook or Instagram you may have seen the video of one of the downpours we had.  I was so relieved I had shelter!  The thunder and lightening was a little scarey especially with carbon fibre rods holding the shelter up but John mentioned that any strike would probably go to the pylons in the next field first.  I just trusted his judgement!! 

Anyway there was about 25 artists in all and the majority survived to the BBQ at the end of the day when the sun came out and everything was lit beautifully.  

Some are so well equipped they bring frames to pop their creations in! 

Just to the side of where I sat was a little inlet full of lilies that slowly opened through the day.  Had the sun been out they would have done it rather faster no doubt.  

I had finished my first piece and still had about an hour to go so did a quick stitch of that view too.  These are the results, mounted and ready for framing.  

You can also see them in the picture above next to the five little black framed pieces by Stephen Bithell. 

I was really rather proud that I could actually Plein Air stitch and I had lots of wonderful comments through the day. The best was a nice gentleman who came back and said I had inspired him to try something different.  

If I am invited again I would most certainly do it.  I may even try something completely different!! But still stitchy of course.  

I've noticed more and more there is a huge drop off of people commenting on blogs.  Not just mine either. I do wonder sometimes whether this is down to other social media taking over (see above comment about FB and Insta!!), content of blogs or the way they are now presented.  It's so easy to just read the headlines and not bother interacting now! Anyway, I did have a conversation with myself about carrying on but I've come to the conclusion that I mostly do this for me, like a diary, and sometimes being able to refer back to a post has been quite useful especially as I'm not a diary keeper.  I will keep nattering to myself for a little while longer anyway.  

Friday, 8 September 2017

Making Mess

I have spent years collecting Junk for doing something arty with.  I always knew I wanted to do something with it but hadn't found the what yet.  Recently I've started junk journalling.  

I stained up some papers, with able assistance dog.  

This is about half the pile left. 

Gathered stuff, i.e. trashed my studio.

and joined in Nik the Booksmith on her course to make some.  She has and interesting and almost traditional technique which I have enjoyed doing.  

First one is now bound too. 

I'm just beginning to stuff with the Junk. 

In case you are wondering they are to be used as notebooks or diaries but are already filled with lots of ephemera to make them a little more exciting to use.  At least the stuff I have is finding a home at last!! 

I also spent an enjoyable day making beads and dangles to add to the Journals.  

I also listened to a big chunk of audio book too and felt totally great at the end of the day!! 

This Saturday I have been invited to take part in a Plein Air painting festival at Sculpture by the Lakes owned by friend and sculptor Simon Gudgeon.  I will be attempting to paint with thread of course and feel honoured to be asked even though I don't actually wield a paintbrush.  We will see how it goes!! 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Stitch, Paint, Stitch

In the last post I mentioned a charity dog quilt I made.  Well I've had the photos back.  This is the lovely English Pointer Bruc snuggled up in his new home in Scotland with it and teddy.   

The request came at very short notice and with a lot of tooing and froing of messages.  We decided on a nice blue colour for him and to just keep it simple.  The Foster carers wanted a couple of days to have the blanket with them to make it smelly so he wouldn't be leaving them without something he knew.  

Couldn't have been a simpler design but i did manage to quilt his name into it.  

Summer returned very briefly at the end of August and it was lovely.  We had a good walk with friends and the lunch afterwards was rather nice too even if there was the most enormous thunderstorm.  Luckily it didn't come over while we were all out in the middle of nowhere! 

Did I show a pastel painting I did of Ruby?  I don't think so.  She's a Griffon and a mischievous minx.  Her mum says I caught that look in her eyes.  Bless her.  

I was recently given a box with some old and very, very decrepit bibles.  They are truly in a right mess.  Totally foxed, old damp and falling to pieces from what bindings they have.  I was given them with the reasoning that I make books and could probably use them in my art.  I was sad to see them in such a state and, as thier future wasn't looking too bright, I brought them home.  Now I'm not religious but I do have respect for a Bible and what it stands for.  I was in a bit of a dilemma over what to do with them.  In the end I asked the opinion of a group of bookmakers I am in and in the end the overwhelming consensus was to use them as they were only good for the bin, the words in them should already be in the heart of those to whom it matters and surely it's better to keep them alive in some small way anyway.  As so many of the replies were from practising Christians I felt better about that.  

I still only started with a hand sized New Testament, still dated 1880 mind, and looked up online verses which were classed as favorites.  I took the plunge and cut the verses from the book, mounted onto linen and then into a scroll book.  

I'd like to think I have made something good out of a bad thing. I won't feel so guilty over using the rest of the little book now but it is only 6x4 inchs.  Still not sure what to do with the others which are enormous tombs but maybe the fact that they're not in a tip or burnt is enough for now.  Am I being daft?? Who knows.  

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

A Bit of Out and About

John and I have just been away for a few days to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.  We went back to Lewtrenchard on the edge of Dartmoor and took the girls with us while the other two stayed at home. 

There was some of this 

More than a few miles of beach

A bit of being real fire dogs

And, of course, lots and lots of very noisy....... 
I think they enjoyed themselves! 

Back home I have been having the itch to decorate so we are starting to make a few in roads to that.  Creatively I've finished off a few silly bits, you've either seen or it's knitting crochet type like this bag.

I saw the crochet basket weave stitch for doing a blanket and loved it.  It's also a great scrap buster as you use three strands of yarn so my bulging yarn bag is now a little less fat.   There was also another charity dog quilt which I forgot to photograph before wrapping it for posting!  I will ask the recipient to send me one when she receives it.

On Monday I took myself off to Salisbury to finally see the Ancient Landscapes exhibition in the Salisbury Museum.  

Well there were some Turners, Ravilious and Constables, several Henry Moore sketches (above) and a Barbara Hepworth sculpture (below) all playing on the theme of our amazing and beautiful local landscape which, of course, includes many, many barrows and Stonehenge.  

I love the history of where I live and can spend ages sitting on barrows where I walk the dogs along the Ackling Dyke and Dorset Cursus just absorbing it all. 

Also at the museum, which has some very fine artefacts, was a small textile exhibition History Through the Eye of a Needle by the Machine Embroidery Group.  A book by someone it seems I didn't take a photo of their name and vessel by Adrianne Woodfine caught my eye.

Village meeting tonight and the pub AGM and I'm trying to write a bit up for the Workshop on the Web new bookazine which will be coming out in December.  I'm back to making lists to try and keep on top of myself as there is also a commission to do, a couple more bits for the November exhibition and life in general to live with four looney dogs. I need a coffee! 

Monday, 7 August 2017

Being a Bit Bookish

I've had a tub of wonderful shells for a few years now and a lot of them I've collected with the specific purpose of making books.  I have actually achieved this on a few occasions but this last couple of weeks I had another rummage as the urge was upon me again! 

The scallop shells were pretty standard but the enormous cockle shells (those are 5cm squares they are sitting on) needed a little thought.   I ended up grading the pages to fit the concave shells better.  Rather pleased with them. 

I will actually take some decent photos soon!! 

There was another scroll book finished too and I have another in the pipeline which still needs a little thought.  

I also put together this little palm sized notebook in leather.

It feels lovely to hold and I can see where I could take different fabrics to make covers with this one.  Perhaps a few to sell at the Art Weeks for the GSP Rescue UK charity.  

One thing I have been working on for a little while is another compendium.  This one came from the fact that I bought this beautiful, chunky frame some time ago and then promptly broke the glass in it.  

I am constantly on the lookout for little bits of 'stuff'.  They usually end up on display in my printers trays but I do have a basket where I collect up things that will need a home at some point or another.  This was the perfect chance to showcase them.  That and I had a clock mechanism to use too and it all came together nicely.  As with my other ones there is still spaces to fill but these things do evolve.  And to clean them you just use a soft paint brush, just in case you were wondering. 

I have several little bits on the go like knitting and crochet and also a bit of a bead-a-long with Fran Griffith for National Beaders Week so no excuses to be bored at the moment! 

I hope the sun eventually decides to show it's face again up here soon though I do feel for those in southern Europe at the moment.  

Happy creating! 

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Creating Has Gone AWOL!

I have no idea where the last two weeks have gone!  As I usually mark the passing of time by going through the photos I have taken I don't think I have achieved much in the creative department at all!! There have been a few personal milestones involving DNA and solicitors but that's another story altogether!!! 

I have worked on parts for a couple more books for November but nothing to show really.  Ann Small has a new book out and I was given a copy.  At first I thought it was going to be another rehash of an old technique, slashing in this case, but Ann actually does some amazing and beautiful things.  I loved the grey skies of Rape fields hanging she did probably as that is the view we have from the house.  I had a new notebook started for the West Country Embroiderers group and needed a cover so read up on her technique and I'm really quite pleased with the result.  Very soft and tactile to handle. 

Speaking of WCE we had a lovely meeting last week before the summer break and I managed to finish off the rock pool piece I showed in the last post.  I also have been fiddling with designing a web page for them as there isn't one as yet and it would be a good place for members to find information rather than phone around.  (I know, telephone, so old fashioned!!) 

John opened the bathroom blind the other morning to find a heron strutting his stuff on the garage roof.  

Not too sure why he was there as we don't have a pond.  He hung around for a few minutes and then flew off towards the pub.  They don't have a pond either!  Slim pickings unless he went down the valley to the stream.  

I had a lovely coffee with friend Karren this morning at the local big house and garden centre.  They have a little antiques barn there and I found these two! 
The knife box is perfect for pens on my desk and I have been looking for a little case to keep the books I am making safe in.  This one is absolutely perfect!  It's lined with newspaper from 1929, whether that's genuine or not I don't know but it certainly could be contemporary. 

Finally if you know me on Facebook you know we've been having a bit of a sad time with Ellie.  She had a lump that kept coming up on her neck.  Well we managed to get her to the vet while it was very inflated and they aspirated it.  We were more than a little shocked when they found mast cells.  She had the lump removed last week and is recovering well.  We are still waiting for the results from the surgery but I'd rather they were absolutely sure they took all the nasty away.  

She's still our beautiful girl even if she has had a bit of rearranging of her neck!! 

Now, back to the studio......

Monday, 10 July 2017

Oh Deer

Reindeer to be precise.  I did another stab along and did this guy.  He's 18 inches from nose tip to antler top.  

There was the option to add a red nose.  I chose not to but he will showing an appearance just at that time of year.

Other projects have included this hoop for my embroidery group.  Theme of the sea.

Lots of encrusting and beads.

Also a bit of nice slow stitch using up some odd bits onto a little scroll.  I see a few of these in my future.  

This crochet bag made a change from knitting in the evenings.  As I did it using DK yarn rather than chunky I did a few extra rounds to make up the size.  There are pockets all around inside, some I stitched to make channels for needles and hooks so they don't become lost in the bottom. I think I will make a smaller version too.  A great way of using all the leftover yarn from the grandchildrens knitting! The pattern is HERE

The Blackbirds flew the nest on 1st July and I just missed them go! They had regular postings on my Facebook page and I was a little sad I didn't have a photo of them leaving.  I hope they have all fully fledged now.  

I have also been in training again as I will be doing another walk in October with Elsa and my friend Natalie.  Not as far this time, just down the Test Valley.  This time GSP Rescue UK will be the 80% beneficiary.  The other 20% goes to the Rotary Club who are the organisers.  

We have a shiney new Justgiving page if anyone would like to donate.  Every pound helps and I am very grateful if you do give to us.  We haven't started nagging people yet but there will be a little nearer the time.  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/amoelsanat

I have the pleasure of lunch out today and a broken filling to sort asap.  Have a great week.