31 December 2008

Happy New Year

As one year ends and another begins I'd like to wish everyone a Happy, peaceful and creative New Year.

New Year Resolutions

I haven't made New Year resolutions for years now - then I won't break them.

In 2009 I'm tightening my belt (not because of the credit crunch) but because I want to save up for an all singing computerised sewing machine. I'm only going to use things that I already have in my stash of supplies unless it is something I especially need for my City & Guilds course or if there is a book I just have to have.

I've narrowed it down to:

Janome Memory Craft 11000

OR Bernina artista 730E

so if there is anyone reading this who has used either of these machines I'd appreciate their advice.

PS Just seen the info on the new Bernina 830, WOW what a machine but what will the price be????

28 December 2008

DIY lightbox

Lynda was telling how she was given a 'light tent' and it was so big that it exploded when she took it out of it's box. I made a DIY lightbox from plumbers piping a while ago but I've never really used it because it was too big but I'd also seen on the internet how to make one from an old cardboard box. Well I spent Boxing day afternoon making myself one. It's a cube about 15inches in size so not too small but just big enough for photographing my work.

and here are a few photos I took with it or should I say in it. Close ups of a few pieces of costume jewellery

and a 'Scruffy' a little teddy statue I was given a few years ago.

This is a piece I did a while ago - monoprinted background with a piece of scrim over the top then embroidered and beaded. The colours come out much better more true to life so don't have to do any post processing in Photoshop so I can see I'll be using this a lot in the future.

PS I should have given you the link to how to make one :) there are 2 here and here. Good luck if you have a go.

25 December 2008

Seasons Greetings

If you celebrate Christmas hope you are all having a great time.

I got my Christmas present to myself a few weeks ago. I like to tape Radio 4 plays such as Poirot or Sherlock Holmes to listen to in bed. I'd bought a new radio cassette earlier this year but the cassette player broke last month so I decided to treat myself to a DAB micro system

I bought it from Argos and it's not often you get anything for nothing in this life but got this DAB radio free with it, yes FREE you aren't misreading.
The sound quality on Digital radio is brilliant and I can now get BBC7 so I can listen to all the murder and mystery plays to my hearts content. It's been fun listening to some of the old comedies they put on such as 'Hancocks half hour, The Clitheroe Kid and The Navy Lark'. They may be 40-50 years old but you can still have a good laugh not like some of the so called comedy that is on nowadays.

09 December 2008

December Calendar Girls Postcard

Well here we are at the last of the Calendar Girls postcards for 2008, where has the year gone to???

We had the choice of staying with the calendar or doing a Christmas themed postcard. Mine for Val is a combination.

I wanted to put some writing on the background and as I don't have any rubber stamps to use I printed 'merry christmas' on to a piece of tissue paper that I ironed on to freezer paper so it would go through the printer. I glued it to a thick calico

and once dry painted it with acrylic paint with a touch of fabric medium added to it.

I've been experimenting with Tyvek and after wasting a lot of pieces I think I've finally cracked it. I'd painted a piece with a green/yellow combination and once dry and ironed between silicone paper I thought it looked like leaves so used it for this months postcard. I painted another piece red and cut circles out before I ironed them.

I've enjoyed this years swaps and looking forward to our new challenge next year. Thanks for your friendship and roll on 2009.

25 November 2008

Textile Translations

I bought Maggie Grey's new mixed media book ' Textile Translations' and she has been generous with her time and given some extra lessons for us to follow.

This is my attempt at lesson 1.

November Calendar Girls

This is the inspiration for this months postcard.

I received this from Sandy in the post yesterday. Aren't the bead flowers lovely.

and this is my version which will be in the post to Carol M this afternoon.

I painted a piece of calico with blue fabric paint then put a piece of scrim on top and a bit more paint. The yellow petals ( though my Mum said she thinks they look like fingers, I do hope not) are made from a machine made cord couched on to the background with orange FME for the centre of the flower. I hope Carol likes my stylised sunflower.

11 November 2008

Lest We Forget .....

I had tears rolling down my cheeks this morning as I watched the last 3 servicemen who served in WWI, representing the RAF, Navy and Army pay their poignant tributes to their fallen comrades on the 90th Anniversary of the signing of the Armistice.

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the guns fell silent.

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields

Inspiration for the Poem

On 2 May, 1915, in the second week of fighting during the Second Battle of Ypres Lieutenant Alexis Helmer was killed by a German artillery shell. He was a friend of the Canadian military doctor Major John McCrae. It is believed that John began the draft for his famous poem 'In Flanders Fields' that evening.

09 November 2008

We Will Remember..........

I found this beautiful but sad poem on a blog. I'm not usually into poetry but this moved me to tears.

28 October 2008

October Calendar Girls

My postcard for this month is on it's way to Carol T in Wales.

This is the picture we worked with this month.

Firstly I painted a nappy liner with blue fabric paints and once dry ironed on to a piece of white cotton fabric. There where a few gaps so I added some scraps to them, I think it's made an interesting background to work on. I couched some Gold and Silver threads on to it.

I made the flower from a blue plastic bag by cutting it up into small pieces and putting them between a piece of silicone paper and ironing until they melted together. I cut the shapes out and zig zag stitched to the backround.

If you look closely at the picture the blue tulip I used for inspiration has some highlights on it. I couldn't work out how to do that at first - I don't think painting would have worked so I went back to my old standby FME.

23 October 2008

I'm still here....

..... but a lot of hospital visits with my Mum over the last few months. She's been having trouble with her hearing for a while and when she visited her GP back in February she was told she had a perforated ear drum.

We couldn't work out how she could have done it but we suddenly remembered last year when she had yet another hospital appointment she got blown of her feet on a particularly windy day as she was getting in to the taxi. At the time she was covered in bruises but she must have knocked her head, not enough to be noticeable but hard enough to damage her eardrum.

Firstly the GP had requested a hearing test but because of the perforated ear drum she had to go through ENT but it has taken over 6 months to get the appointment and then it wasn't for ENT just for the hearing test. They managed to do it and she needs hearing aids for both ears. They've taken a mould of her left ear but she's still got to go to ENT for her right ear. BUT she can't just go there, the technician has to write to the GP who has to write for an appointment for ENT so heaven knows how long that is going to take. They don't make it easy do they. Plus it will take up to 12 weeks for the hearing aid to be made. Hopefully it won't take that long.

Anyway on to some TEXTILES.

I've finished Module 2 of my City and Guilds or I should say I thought I had but I've got to redo the final assessment. You can see what I've done here.


I got this brilliant postcard from Lynda in September. The japanese symbol means 'friendship'. Have a look at her blog to see how she made it.

I got this one last week from Pat. I love the way she's interpreted the 'silver and gold' of the text.

Do you like my cute box to hold my bead collection? It's only 9 by 5 inches and 5 inches tall. Have a guess how much it cost me? Give up .............. £1 ..... that's right one pound from the appropriately named 'Poundland'.

21 September 2008

September Calendar Girls

This is the inspiration for this months postcard for the Calendar Girls.

I painted a white paper napkin with silk paints and attached it to a piece of cotton fabric with Bondaweb.

I bought some white Kunin felt a while ago and I've been wanting to have use it so I painted Transfer paint in 'Wine Red' on to a piece of photocopy paper. It doesn't look very nice on the paper but it's nice shade of pink once ironed onto a piece of the felt.

I used a narrow zig zag stitch to sew it to the background and added some FME. At last I've found a use for the soldering iron I bought last year to cut around the outside of the flower to get rid of the excess felt and added french knots at the centre for the stamens.

25 August 2008

Congratulations Team GB

I'm not really into sports but I've just been watching Team GB arrive back from the Bejing Olympics on BBC Tv. Didn't they do well. The best for 100 years apparently.

19 Gold
13 Silver
15 Bronze

Well done to all our sportsmen and women who competed. After all your hard work whether you came back with a medal or not you should all be proud of what you have achieved I know I am.

24 August 2008

Culture Day out

It was a bit late yesterday to post about my day out and I was to put it politely - knackered.

I finally got to the Klimt exhibition down at Tate Liverpool. I don't know if it was because I chose to go on a Saturday and a Bank holiday weekend as well or whether it's been like it for as long as the exhibition has been on, but it was absolutely packed.

I already knew that there where other artists works so I wasn't disappointed but I think if you where going just for Klimt you may very well be.

I was a bit early to get in so I went up to the 1st floor to have a look at some of the other art work on display to be greeted by a piece of sculpture I've always wanted to see, Degas 'Little Dancer'.

I also got to see Andy Warhol's Marilyn Diptych, his screenprint of Queen Elizabeth II and a self portrait. Some of the art work got weirder as I progressed. Perhaps it's old fashioned of me BUT I just don't get some Modern Art. I mean what is artistic about a woman standing in the nude pulling a long piece of paper from a private part of her body.

Any way back to the Klimt exhibition. The first part is a reproduction of the 'Beethoven Freize'. As I've already mentioned it was very crowded so it gave me plenty of time to look at it and appreciate all the details. The crowds thinned a bit so I went back to the beginning of the freeze to look at it again because I know Carol had mentioned once you left this room you couldn't go back. I waited for the lift up to the 4th floor and the rest of the exhibition but again it was so crowded it took ages to see some of the paintings. It was a good thing I'd been warned about the Nude drawings in the last room. I'm broad-minded but they where a bit naughty and made me blush.

I think my favourite paintings where 'Two Girls with Oleander'

and this beautiful portrait of his daughter Helene Klimt.

Not at all what I'd expected because you usually associate 'The Kiss' or one of his other highly decorative pieces with Klimt.

Was it worth going? A definite YES!!! It closes next Sunday but if you get the chance to come and see it, I'd recommend you do.

14 August 2008

August Calendar Girls postcard

This is the inspiration for this month's postcard.

I forgot to take photos of each stage so I'll just have to describe what I did.

Offhand I can't think where I heard about this site but it's what I used for the basis of this months postcard. Just remembered it was Sharon.

Anyway back to this months postcard. I liked the sentiment in the saying so put it in to Wordle and tried a few variations. I had to take a long route because you can't save it to your computer so I printed it out and then scanned it into Photoshop so I could resize. I printed the wordle on to a piece of white cotton then transfer printed the background colour over it. I FME flowers in the bottom left and right.

Superlambanana Exclusive

I always knew we had a sense of humour here in Liverpool. This made me smile so thought I'd share it.

It's been reported 'Lamby' has escaped, they think she has been liberated by an animal right group.

Latest: Good news Lamby has been found safe and sound and released into the wild ;)

30 July 2008

As it was a reasonably nice day warm and humid but not very sunny I had a walk along Southport Pier. It's Britains second longest Pier 3,650 ft in length. I should have taken my camera to take some photos especially as I got near to the end I discovered that it is true - on a clear day you can see Blackpool Tower in the distance from Southport beach.

Grand Day Out

I've always had trouble buying new shoes but since T J Hughes reduced their shoe stock I've found it impossible to get really comfortable ones in Liverpool. I've had a mail order catalogue a few times from 'Hotter Shoes' but I decided to take a trip to their shop in Southport today.

It took me nearly 2 hours to get there - one bus to Bootle Strand - a 30 minute wait then another bus to Southport. I've found that I can do it in about 90 minutes in future by getting a bus to Walton Vale and picking up the Southport bus there.

It was worth all the travelling though I had a nice trip in to some open countryside and spent a bit too much on these:

Have you ever tried a new pair of shoes on and known straight away that they will be comfortable, well these where like that.

24 July 2008

July Calendar Girls Postcard

For once I've finished and got it into the post on time.

I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do but ended up doing it completely differently in the end.

I ironed 'freezer paper' on to a piece of poly cotton fabric.

Next I used some of the transfer paints I've just bought to colour the background and when I removed the freezer paper it looked like this. I quite like the effect so I think it is something I may develop further.

I was going to just FME the yellow stripes but it needed something else so I ended up FME all of the flower as well, but I think it's worked.

19 July 2008

New Fridge Freezer

Isn't always the way - because I'm not feeling as tired as I had been I was planning on spending this afternoon catching up with some C & G work and make my postcard for this month's Calendar girls. But sods law I didn't get anything done.

As I was passing the fridge freezer last night I noticed a red light on it that isn't supposed to be lit up was. It lights up when the freezer goes below a certain temperature. We hadn't noticed the motor hadn't been running so we don't know how long it had been off for.

I checked how much it would cost to repair 'from £99.99 upwards' so we decided it was easier to get a new one. So I spent Saturday afternoon shopping for a new one. I chose this one from John Lewis.

It's a Frost free one so bliss I won't have to defrost the freezer. We'll have to manage until Wednesday when it will be delivered. We had to throw out ice cream and lollie ices because they'd melted but if we don't open the freezer too often some of the food will stay frozen for a while until we can use it so luckily we won't lose a lot of food.

13 July 2008

I'm Back

I can't believe it's a month since I've posted anything. I went for my regular blood test a couple of weeks ago and got the results on Friday I'm anaemic again. No wonder I've been feeling so tired all the time, to be honest I just haven't had the enthusiasm to do anything and now I know why. Hopefully once the iron tablets start working I'll feel more up to doing things. I was wondering where my creative muse had gone, she seemed to pack her bags and had been on holiday for most of this year.

I finished my OU Photography course last Wednesday, you can see some of my work here. I'd appreciate your opinions on them.

Here's a photo to keep you going until I have some work to post about. There are 120 SuperLambananas that have sprung up around Liverpool, these are 3 nearest to where I live.

12 June 2008

June Calendar Girls postcard

Hurray I'm ahead of time with this months postcard. This months card is for Jenny.

I started by embellishing blue wool on to a piece of purple muslin for the background.

Next I made some Silk Paper in yellow, cut petal from it and stitched them to a piece of water soluble film. I FME the flower centre and leaf.

Once I rinsed the piece to get rid of the soluble film and dried it I zig zagged round the petals to attach it to the background. I've left the leaf loose.

Hope you like it Jenny.

03 June 2008

May Calendar Girls

Late as usual ..... but my postcard for Joanne is winging it's way to NY. Firstly I coloured a nappy liner for the background with some scrim over the top. Next I printed the words on to some T-shirt Transfer paper. I made a footprint stamp and used some fabric paints to stamp them near to the words.

29 May 2008

TIF April.......

........ only a month late and just in time for Sharon to give us June's challenge ....... one of these months I'll get it done on time.

For April's challenge Sharon wrote:

"Since it is the first of the month it’s time to set another Take it Further challenge. With the arrival of Autumn in my part of the world and Spring in the Northern hemisphere my mind turns to ideas of cycles that involve change. Some people see change as positive while others are fearful of change.

How do you see change? That is the challenge topic this month."

Lynda kindly sent me some of the polystyrene frames that she blogged about here

so I decided to use one of them for this challenge.

First I stuck some straws on to the sides and after they had dried I covered it with tissue paper stuck on with PVA glue let down with some water. I glued some thick thread in the spaces between each straw. Then I glued scrim to the front and finally some crochet cotton in various swirling shapes on the front and left it to dry thoroughly for a few days.

Next I painted it with Burnt Umber acrylic paint as a base, then lightly with some Burnt Sienna and finally Copper acrylic paints.

I stuck a small oval shaped glass bead at the bottom on each side.

I'm not sure whether to leave it like this or add some more glass adornments. The square centre has clear covers that I may put something in between. I'll leave it for a while and see.

I started the colour option for April but the colour don't really do anything for me. I'll finish what I've started but I may add some brighter colours to it before I blog about it ...... stay tuned.