23 December 2009

Happy Christmas

One of the first photos I took with my new 'nifty fifty' lens.

This is of the large wheel that is in Liverpool One over Christmas. I thought the centre looked like a star so what better photo to put up to wish everyone who celebrates it a very

Happy Christmas

and best wishes for a peaceful and creative New Year.

11 December 2009

New glasses

I had to get my eyes tested for new glasses this afternoon. It's 2 years since my last eye test and I've noticed over the past few months my eyes had deteriorated, been using the computer too much I think. I've had a separate pair for close work but this time I'm getting varifocal lens but I got a bit of a shock at the price. I get some help because I'm on benefits but I had to pay £174 towards them. Good thing I had some money saved. It will take 7-10 days but I should get them in time for Christmas.

The optician didn't mention it but the young man who helps you choose your new glasses said I had an 'astigmatism' it had me worried until I looked it up on the internet. Now I know why I had some blurring of my vision sometimes. It makes you realise that you really shouldn't take your vision for granted and get regular eye tests.

Update 23rd December

I got my new glasses yesterday. I suppose my eyes had got used to the old ones so it will take a while for them to adjust to the new ones, but everything is so much clearer and I can read now without any difficulty.

06 December 2009

Calendar Girls postcards

I've not been able to do any work for the past few weeks. My Mum was rushed into hospital in the early hours of 21st November with pneumonia and fluid on her lungs. She came home on Friday but for 2 weeks my life revolved around hospital visiting. Anyway my life is back to normal now so I'm trying to catch up.

I am late sending this first postcard to Sharon but hopefully she will think it was worth waiting for.

This is the picture chosen by Jenny for November.

I have had a piece of fabric I dyed using the 'shibori' method for my C & G work and it reminded me of the bark of a tree so I used it for the base and backed it with a piece of wadding and FME around the shapes.

December's postcard is for Doreen in Australia, so I worked on it this afternoon. I want to get it in the post so it will get to her if not before Christmas at least before the end of the year.

This is Neki's choice.

I used my embellisher to attach some silk fibres to a piece of black felt.

PS I bought the silk fibres from a UK distributor but they are from Treetops so they are going home.

23 November 2009

Go Penguins update.........

The Go Penguins are 5ft high but I forgot to say in my last post that Liverpool schools have designed and painted 3ft high penguins see here. Aren't they good. If this is a sample of what our youngsters are producing "Art" is safe in their hands. They also seem to be more aware of the Environmental issues that are facing the world than many adults.

3 primary schools near me have done one each 'Arnot St Mary’s C of E Primary School' which is my old school, 'Gwladys Street Primary School' and St. Francis de Sales Catholic Junior School.

22 November 2009

Go Penguins......

...... last year as part of Liverpool's Capital of Culture year brightly painted 'Superlambananas' sprang up all over the city and where a surprise highlight of the year. I don't think anyone knew how popular and successful they would be.

This year Liverpool's year long theme has been the Environment. As part of 'A Winters Trail' for Christmas this year the council commissioned the same company to come up with something new .......... Penguins.

I missed out on doing a design last time so I made sure I did one this time and this is what I submitted but unfortunately I wasn't chosen boo hoo!!! I thought perhaps it was because I hadn't done a design featuring the Environment but now I've seen the finished ones some have nothing do with it. Never mind maybe next time they do something similar.

I called him/her 'Oddles of Doodles'.

They all went on display yesterday and this website has them all - click on one of the photos and it will take you to a slideshow with further info about each one.

Some of them are brilliant but is it just sour grapes on my part but are a few of them a bit mediocre?

I particularly like Carrie knitted from 300 recycled plastic bags, Gustav Penguin, Waterfront Penguin, there are some fun ones Sleeping Beauty, Snowy and a celebrity one Owl Ma Penguin. I'd love to see these but they are over the Mersey on the Wirral Grow Your Own Penguin and Strawberry Fields which given its' name you would have thought would have been on this side.

Now I've just got to try and get photograph of as many as I can. I can at least see what my design would have looked like Home Bargains one of the sponsors have been selling 6" high ceramic penquins that you can decorate and enter a competion to win a 3ft version with all the proceeds going to the Lord Mayors charity appeal. I've bought my nephew one each and a few for myself.

11 November 2009

Lest we forget

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning.

We will remember them.

10 November 2009

Calendar Girls postcard for October

At last I've done Pippa's postcard for October. I caught my nephew's cold when he came a few weekends ago so what with the kitchen refit and a rotten cold I was feeling very sorry for myself so only felt up to creating at the weekend.

This is the picture we had to work with chosen by Carol M.

I embellished some gold coloured wool to a piece of fabric, it matched the ladies dress. Then I took part of the mosaic background behind her head and free machined it on top. I think it's worked okay.

Back to creating

At last the new kitchen is finished and I can get back to creating.

It was worth all the upheaval but oh what a mess workmen do make. It's a long kitchen with windows at one end so where the stove was positioned before (where all the new cupboard are) I was standing in my own light when I was cooking so it's much better where it is now.

Do you know windows and doors don't count as part of a kitchen??? Well that is according to the painter from the firm who did the kitchen so I've got to get some paint to do them myself. Though how I'll manage with the window over the sink. I may get up there but I could be stuck up there for some considerable time. We had curtains up at the windows but we're considering blinds now.

Update 4th December 2009  I didn't have to paint the windows, we've just had new double glazed windows installed.

03 November 2009

Another Doodle book

I had another go at a Doodle book but this time I used watercolour paper for the signatures and 5 lots of 2.

23 October 2009

Doodle Book

Like many people I bought the books by Maggie Grey and Lynda Monk/Carol McFee. Last Monday the first of their online classes started.

Our landlord is replacing our delapidated kitchen so I was in my studio at 8am this morning while the plumber replaced the pipes.

At the end of the day this is what I ended up with from Lynda's first lesson.

Inside Cover

Outside cover

Front inside cover and signatures

Back inside cover and signatures

Doodle Book Spine

Finished 'Doodle Book'

I didn't think I'd be able to do any sewing for a while. A few days ago my right hand was very painful. I don't know if I'd been using the computer mouse too much or if it was from doing the lino cutting. It's hard to describe but I couldn't hold anything even writing was painful so I rested my hand for a few days and it seems to have eased.

The plasterers will be here before 8am on Monday morning to finish the walls so I'll have a go at Maggie's lesson then.

15 October 2009

Talking Threads

I've just been watching the first programme in this series. I don't have sky so had to watch it online but if you do it full screen it's at a good resolution to watch. This week's programme was Jill Kennedy on silk painting. I'm looking forward to the rest in the series.

Since I've been blogging I've been staggered to realize how many people, young and old there are that are keeping alive the various arts and crafts from painting and drawing to textiles, knitting and anything in between. So isn't it about time the TV stations that everyone has access to (not pay to view ie cable and satellite) started to cater for the artists amongst us and stopped continually bombarding us with reality programmes like Big Brother and as I read recently 'repeatedly repeated repeats' you can only watch Midsommer Murders, Diagnosis Murder and Murder She Wrote so many times before you start to speak the dialogue with the characters as you watch.

What do you think - agree or disagree?????????

09 October 2009

More Lino cutting

I used a piece of turquoise fabric to print the sample block as a background

then printed the positive and negative leaf over it. I like the way some of the background print shows through.

Finally I did a repeat print. If you look carefully you can see there is a second pattern appearing.

04 October 2009

Calendar Girls postcard

I'm late finishing my Calendar Girls postcard for September. Life got in the way and it will get worse later this month. Our landlord is putting in a new kitchen for us so it will be chaos for up to 10 days. It will be worth it in the end because I would be so ashamed to show a photo of it at the moment. Nothing has been done to it since it was done in 1975 so if you where around then you will have an idea of what it looks like.

Anyway back to September's postcard.

As soon as I saw Pat's choice at the beginning of the year I knew exactly what I was going to do.

I used a piece of fabric I'd already dyed and put it through my smocking pleater, pulled the threads out and ironed a piece of iron on viline to the back of it.

I've got a bag of proper 'shisha glass' that I bought when I did an Indian embroidery class years ago so embroidered them on the the background.

Finally I made some machine cord with variagated thread and couched them on to the postcard.

I hope Val likes my interpretation.

30 September 2009

Lino cutting lesson 1 continued

I've finished the rest of lesson 1.

Exercise 2 was to do a positive and negative image of a leaf.

This first block is made with 'Soft Cut' which is a lot easier to carve into. I didn't think it would give a sharp print but it seems to.

This second block is carved with proper lino. It's much harder to cut into so I heated it with an iron which helped.

and this is the print I got from them.

This is the last exercise to carve a block about 7cms square.

then repeat print it

24 September 2009

Lino cutting lesson 1

I got my first lesson from Dijanne on Monday.

I had some brown 'lino' but sent for some grey 'lino' and 'soft cut' lino sheet from Jacksons Art and had to wait for them to arrive before I could start.

I used a piece of the 'soft cut' to try the first exercise - using lino cutting tools to create a sample block.

This is what it looks like printed on to paper.

It was a very useful exercise to see what mark each tool makes.

09 September 2009

Lino cutting course

I’m hoping to do Printmaking 1: Introduction to Printmaking early next year as my 3rd Module in 1st level towards a Degree with The Open Collage of The Arts.

One of the blogs I follow is an artist based in Australia who is running an online Lino cutting course. It only cost $30 about £18 for 3 lessons and from what I’ve read on other blogs Dijanne gives a good grounding in starting to learn Lino cutting so I’ve just signed up for it.

I won't have to buy any materials because I've already got a small Lino cutting tool set and I bought some soft printing blocks but I want to learn how to use the proper 'lino' that I bought ages ago.....must remember to try the tip I read somewhere, sit on the piece of 'lino' for a while to soften it and make it easier to carve.

29 August 2009

August Calendar Girls

Just made it before September ........... where has this year gone to?????

Val chose our inspiration for this month

it had me stumped for a while until I was uploading some OCA work to my new Wordrpress blog and it came to me.

I found a piece of silk and using gutta draw some hearts on to it then painted it with silk paints.

Once dry I ironed it to set the silk paints and rinsed the gutta out. I sandwiched a piece of wadding between the silk and lining cotton and machine stitched around the hearts.

I thought it needed a bit of something so I used my glue gun to add a bit of 'Bling' to it.

It will be in the post to Pat after the Bank Holiday.

25 August 2009


I've not been posting to this blog a lot lately but yesterday I thought I was going to have to abandon it. For some reason I couldn't log into it, but as you can see I eventually got in.

I've been busy concentrating on my City and Guilds work and OCA Photography course. I've completed C & G Module 3 here.

Started Module 4 a few weeks ago and got a bit messy having a go at paper making. It's an interesting technique, but I'm not sure it is something I'll do a lot of in the future I'll see how I progress with it further into the module.

The weather has been so lousy this month (what happened to the long hot summer we were supposed to be having this year). I've not been able to get out a lot to take photographs so I'm getting a bit behind with my projects. I sent my 1st assignment at the end of July but I'm still waiting to hear back from my tutor. I'll give it another week perhaps she's been on holiday. If you'd like to see what I've done you can see it here.

I've eventually worked out how to use Wordpress, I like the way you can have pages within pages a bit like a website without having to pay for it. So anyone can click on a link in the sidebar and go immediately to The Art of Photography or Textiles 1 instead of having to trawl through page after page with Blogger. If anyone's reading this I'd appreciate some feedback on it because I think I'll use it for all my OCA work and stop using the other blog. You can find it here

I've had 2 postcards from my fellow Calendar Girls.

This is June's from Carol M aren't the colours gorgeous.

and this is July's from Jenny make me feel chilly just looking at it.

13 July 2009

Go Penquins

Last year as part of Liverpool's European Capital of Culture year we had 'Superlambananas' across the city and it turned out to be one of the surprise hits of the year.

Last week the company behind them announced a new art event here in Liverpool later in the year 'Go Penguins'. There will be 100 5ft and 3ft penguins in various places from November until January.