Thursday, 28 February 2013

Prayer Flag Course Update & More Cushions

The Prayer Flag course last night went very well. We had 26 say they were coming on Facebook, but only 5 turned up. That was just as well as we only had 3 machines to use and we would not have coped with 26 people - simply not enough room.

Fiona using my New Home My Style - 20 years old -the machine. Never give a girls age away!

Paula hand sewing ( Queen Bee of Colchester Slack Space)

Crystal -  who says she hates sewing on the machine ( she always makes something good)

This is an old Necchi Lydia machine probably 40+ years old

Retro Divas on a visit.

Dawn on the Singer Featherweight. She was making a flag for her Reiki treatment room.

The Singer and Necchi were donated by a friend of mine. They work fine and were quite easy to use. No instructions so a lot of head scratching on the threading up. We were so busy I forgot to take pictures of the finished flags!

I've made 3 more cushions, all on a lemon, lace and daisies theme. Oh and 2 cat ones.

I used one tablecloth, which was a rayon fabric, not very stable, so I could only use small pieces of it and patch them onto curtain lining. The fabric seemed to have a mind of its own and would not stay with the warp and weft straight. Had some lovely polycotton and laces that went really well. All glammed up with some machine embroidery. 18 x 18 with button fastening.

My friend Val2 - I have 3 Vals :-)) came round with  two black bin bags full of fabric and these two fronts were in one of the bags. They were under the needle quick and I did a lot of machine embroidery on them. 16 x 16 with a fruity curtain backing and button fastening. 

Apologies if the pictures are not big enough my Microsoft Picture gallery has crashed. I've uninstalled as they recommended and now it will not reinstall. Grrrrrrrrrrr more computer problems.

It was Church Home group at mine today and they caught me hoovering. There were gasps of horror and offers of support. They were so shocked I was cleaning not crafting. Oh and I had forgotten they were coming too. I'd run out of milk and only had digestives to offer them. Been a good day for me then. Try again tomorrow.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Inspiration Avenue - Breast Cancer Awareness Challenge

This is an acrylic on paper, with collaged paper napkins to give the skin texture. Three colours were used, copper, bright pink and Prussian blue. Size A3. View other entries here on Inspiration Avenue

Title - Quiet Repose

I hope no one is offended by the naked image.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Made this week - Retro Divas and Cushions

Well no posts all week and then you get three from me in one day. Reason its Handmade Monday so I just had to do a post for that. why not pop along and get your makes on there?

This week I have finished two Retro Divas,  Twins I think, one with white detail and the other with black. The black lace is just to die for. Its a fragment of a Victorian veil from a hat. Very delicate and I had to stitch up a hole.

Looking a bit fed up of being poked and posed!!! Oh these two have lace, modern as the Victorian was just too fragile for this, or voile sleeves.

Little ballet slippers with lace edging.

Crochet butterfly in her hair, 1/2 a lace collar as a shawl, with a vintage button broach.

A lovely tatted collar and huge vintage button broach.

We do rear views too.

Made four of these cushions, embroidery from one tablecloth. Surround by blue check another table cloth.

Backs of the cushions, random patch work of the blue check tablecloth and a 1/2 pair of Scandinavian pattern curtains. Lovely blue vintage buttons.

I have really been struggling with making a decent shaped heart. They are made of really small scraps, random patched together. Had a really bad tempered day getting these wrong! First I did not overlap patches enough. Then I did not sew right up to the edge of the patches so they split when I stuffed them. Then I could not sew around the top of the heart and get a neat round shape. I unpicked so many times. Then the hand sewn bit on the side was also a disaster. These look OK in the picture but not up to my standard for sale.

Just so you know I am not perfect and really bad blooper wrong items happen. This is the worst heart ever! Sewed too far down in the dip between the rounded tops. But I have an idea to use this as something else. So next week we will see if I have a new thingy to show you all.

Remember to pop over to Handmade Harbour

Colchester Slack Space - Mixed Media Class Prayer Flags

This Wednesday 6.30 - 9.00 pm at Colchester Slack Space Victoria Place off Eld Lane Colchester CO1 1LR. Class is free but we would be very grateful of donations to cover the cost of supplies.

We are making Prayer Flags. Thought as joint facilitator I should make a couple.

See how keen I am the glue is still wet on one :-)


Thank you to the lovely Julie Howe for the wonderful printed on fabric house.

Sales at the Pop-Up Shop!!!!

These cushions are selling well these have sold.

Cherry Ann Art's daughter bought the one on the seat.

Two more have also sold but not sure which ones. Will have to do a stock check next time.

Sold two of this style to one lady - gave her a small discount.

These are multi-aperture mounts, each picture is playing card size. I took 10 of these over to the Pop-up shop, I think 8 have sold. 

Lots of other artists have sold their items too. So a great start to this session of the Pop-up shop.

Hope you are all well, been very busy sewing more cushions and working on stuff for an exhibition.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Inspiration Avenue Challenge - Roads

This week the theme is Roads full details  at  Inspiration Avenue

So my art this week is watercolor. This is the first road I went down on my artists journey. I found it so hard to use watercolors, you have to work out so much before hand. So although I became familiar with the medium I realized it was the wrong road for me. Since then I have been down many roads with my art journey. Some I travel frequently, some have been dead ends and some I travel and leave only to return and have another visit.

This is a row of shops on a road that I have walked many, many times. It is in a small town in the UK called Halstead, it is in Essex. This link is the Google map and if you put the little yellow person on the map you can see the scene.

I was born here, christened in the church, St Andrews, I walked past here to school every day till I was 11.
Mum ran a Dry cleaners shop which is on the opposite side of the road. It's now an opticians. I used to have to go to work with her as we were a one parent family and in those days no financial help with child care or other benefits  So Mum let me have my toys in one of the windows and I would make window displays with the toys. Or I would sit knitting and sewing for my Sindy doll. I spent a lot of time looking at this view.

Although I don't live in the town any more, I am still near and visit regularly to do shopping and banking. Only one shop has remained in the same family and that is the bakers. That's 60 years, which is amazing in these changing times. 

You can't really see by this picture but this is a really, really steep hill. Two memorable incidents due to the hill, one was the very bad winter we had in 1963. So much ice and snow, the footpath was impossible to walk on and the road well no one went up it! To walk up the road we formed a human chain, each holding onto the hand of the person in front. Even then I remember falling over many times. The chain of people went from the top to the bottom of the hill, it's 1/4 of a mile long.

The next incident was one dark November evening and I'm now driving. There is parking on the side of the road, cars park nose in tail out and this parking sloped down to the road. As I was driving up the hill, on my left I saw a car backing out. "Silly person has forgot to put their lights on " I thought. Well I beeped the horn and still the car kept coming. Looking closer I saw there was no driver. Quick look in the rear view showed no cars behind me. Slammed the car into reverse. Just in time as the car reversing sailed past my bumper and on down the hill. It ended up hitting about four cars and planted in the store front of a dress shop. Silly driver had forgotten the hand brake.

So a road of many memories and many journeys back and forth. When we are making the memories by taking the journeys do we really take that much notice at the time? Or are we so busy just getting through life that we miss much of it?

Friday, 15 February 2013

Yet Another Day of Retro Divas

Oh boy making things in batches does speed up the work, but makes me feel a bit pressured. So not quite so enjoyable as pottering on at one at a time speed. As these dolls require several changes of thread it does eliminate many changes of bobbin and thread.

Look at those long legs dangling over the edge of the chair!
The cushion is 18 x 18 inches (45c45cm) so you can get an idea of size. The dolls are about 19-20 inches tall standing up.

Hmmm, now I wonder where my hair cam from, yup its some of the leftover cushion fabric.

I try to make each Retro Diva Doll unique, by changing the hair, lipstick, skirts and scarves. All the dresses are 1950's curtains and their arms & legs are some scrap fabric my friend Julie Howe gave me.

An oriental style face makes this one really different. Her boots are made from an old BHS tablecloth.

Butterflies on the cheeks and a choker necklace.

Three stars on each cheek and a pelmet mini. Each skirt is made from a doily - with the middle removed or a piece of lace from a chair back.

These are my attempt at Dolly Doc Martins. My friend Mary likes to wear DM's.

Weekend break now and hoovering up all those threads.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Busy with Retro Divas

This week I have been trying to get a stock of Retro Divas made.

A pair of 1950's girls with vintage doilies for skirts.

Lots of embroidery, done on my machine, on their hair and shoes.

This denim girl is feeling lonely as I sold her sister today. Didn't even get chance to take a picture. She's been snapped up and is now living in my friend Julia's camper van.

Nothing gets wasted, middle of the doily used as a hair decoration.

Close up of the denim diva. I've made the arms a bit longer and soft stuffed them so you can fold them.

Oh and they also now have knees, this really makes them easier to pose, but harder to stuff. You have to leave a small gap at the knee, its easy to forget and then you have to un-stuff a narrow leg!!!

Denim Diva just had to show you how nicely she can cross her legs.
I've got a new tool for stuffing the legs, a wooden chop stick. It's really good, narrow and pointy one end and wider and square at the other. It's also longer than the previous tool, a size 10 crochet hook.

I've got 6 legs and 6 arms stuffed and ready for the next 3 dolls.

Just to let you all know my eyes have responded well to the new drops. I've got into a routine with the 7 doses of drops and am getting better at putting them in my eye and not on my cheek. Tomorrow I go down to 6 doses. Now what shall I do with those few extra minutes?

Thank you all for your messages, prayers and support.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Three Muses Challenge - Red

Another great idea for a challenge - red is such a powerful colour. You can enter and check out all the entries at   The Three Muses

This is one of my earlier works in acrylic. The cross is textured and is wool yarn stuck on with glue. The texture is made with a thick mixture of house paint, powder filler or spackle (USA?). Then I used several shades of red and a vivid pink, plus a little bit of black and gold. The little figures were cut as a stencil. Canvas is 20 x 16 x 3/4 inches.

This goes up at Easter just to remind me its not all about bunnies and chicks.

Looking forward to seeing every one else's entries.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Baby It's Cold Outside - A dog just has to keep warm

Overnight its snowed. So late up today. Heating on and there is one sensible dog in this house!

Molly wrapped up in the lacy blanket, on the new cushions. 
She won't move until we go for a walk :-)

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Making your own Paper Designs

Where do you get design ideas from? Is a question I frequently get asked, or sometimes it's "Don't you worry about running out of ideas?

Well the answer to the first is "My brain, it just works that way" and the 2nd is "No, see the answer to 1!

That sounds a bit brash now I read it again. But if I show you what happened when I had collected the following from a boot fair (Swap Meet) and a local Auction perhaps you will understand. I got sheet music and the watch parts at the auction. A shell bracelet at the boot fair and some beads from  my friend Danielle.

Browsing through the watch parts one piece caught my eye, because it looked like a wing. So now I started to search for a body, beak and face. Then I needed eyes, beads were an obvious choice, feet well those shells fit real good and just the right size too. Legs, bit more of a hunt, tried tooth picks, they looked horrible with the metal. Hmm, then I found a box of these wire thingys - have not a clue what they are - but hey great legs. And there my Mad Bird was born, from this also came the name of my business - Mad Bird Designs UK.

I tried him out on lots of designer papers and old newspaper adverts, none suited. He lay unmade for a few days. Then I was tidying my book cupboard and found a French song which is about birds, well ducks, at least I think it is. Long time since I did French at school.

It looked good as a background and I had an old box frame that was just deep enough. So he was glued and fixed. Of course I took pictures.

Another thing that helps me with my art is that I get OCD (obsessive compulsive) about things, it hinders daily life sometimes but for practicing art its great :-)

On my previous computer I had a Coral Photo program. I loved that software and was pretty annoyed when the computer died. Never mind my lovely son managed to salvage all my pictures for me but not the software. It had a really neat function the Kaleidoscope pattern. You could center on part of your picture and then press the button and you got these great patterns. Move the center and you got another one. 

and another

Once I get into something I like I play for ever so we get another.

and finally

So you see what I mean when I say my brain just works that way. Really to me, its nothing more than playing around with what you have to hand. But more than that it is allowing yourself the luxury of indulgence of doing what makes you happy.

Another thing that helps me is to swap from one medium to another, so textiles one week, collage another. That way you don't get bogged down with one thing and if you get stuck on a project (yes I do get stuck) you can turn to something else. That lets your brain work on the problem in the background. 

Also I spend a lot of time sorting and resorting my junk. Moving it round to try to make the piles smaller, never works. But I do often go "Ah that's just the thingy (I've got a lot of thingys) for that box I've been stuck on". Then the junk gets stuffed back in the box or cupboard and all thoughts of tidying are gone.

And I forgot to say (now editing) that I use these designs as backing papers on some projects.

Have fun making your art. Why not use some of these ideas to make your own projects or experiments.

THINGY = a thing you have, that you don't know what the heck it is, but it is just the thing for your ART.