Sunday, January 30, 2011

Feeling good

So I had forgotten to give the birds some bread this lunchtime and they were making a lot of noise in the back garden, when... I saw this larger bird strolling across the back garden... called to himself indoors............... is that a partridge?.... no--- was the reply! We know what partridge look like , plenty of roadkill in these parts.

Thanks to the RSPB website its a quail!
What it was doing in my back garden .. heaven knows. According to the RSPB ( click here)

They are quite common in Wiltshire in April and May and they eat seeds and insects..... so why I ask -- was it eating bread in my back garden in January???

I have had a really good weekend and totally indulged myself. Finished my granddaughters birthday present. She loves my bag... so I have made her one of her own.

Then I decided to play with my embroidery software and sewing machine .... and cannot remember the last time I became so engrossed and really enjoyed myself, all fuelled by a get together last Wednesday of some stitchery mates. We talked and showed our work and I hope the others feel as energised as I did. good to talk about what you are trying to do.

Helen also shared some of her designs with me... and that was fun, to see if my ten year old software could read it and download to the machine... and..... it did as you can see.

I also took one of my own designs to see if I still had the skills to digitise.... that was enjoyable.... especially as I have some ideas for how to use the designs as well.... may take a little while to realise. As the image is only part of the process. so no instant art here!
Our local art and craft store ( Frameworks) is closing down, so I managed to buy some more procian dyes in the sale.... and so will need to start dyeing again. At the moment the weather is too cold.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Skinny quilt

Have spent some time this week making this skinny quilt for a swop that is happening on BQL

The idea is you make a quilt for Jan/Feb that is 12inches by 24 inches, upload pictures to the list and then you can choose one to swop with from the gallery of quilts.

You get the quilt you have chosen, if someone wants your offering. Just as well I like my quilt, it is a bit bright and abstract, which I like but not sure others will. If no-one wants it I get to keep it.
I am not much good with numbers and my quilt is not quite as skinny as it should be its 2 inches wider than instructions.... so I have stretched the tolerance to the maximum. Ummm!
Great day today, had a meeting with like minded artists in my new studio, and we all discussed our work and sketchbooks, trying to discover our individual way forward in our work. Really inspiring.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Feel so tired at the moment, and not helped by cooking and feeding the family Sunday lunch yesterday. Mind you even if I say so myself.. it tasted so good!

Grandchildren wanted to play Tri-ominoes after the meal..............the adults however were too tired and retired to snooze in front of the TV.

So out came the sketching paper, and I showed them how to use my new B to 6B pack of sketching pencils and also we talked about different ways of shading and using the pencils. We had lots of fun, all sitting around the dining room table, after the dishes had been cleared. Think my efforts will find their way into my Faces sketchbook.

I was very impressed with the sketching and use of the pencils...... 15 year old was drawing cars.... 12 year old Still life -- in particular my vases... 10 year old was drawing Manga faces, and 5 year old Bertie Bassett from my Liquorice Allsorts... did I take a photo... nah! forgot!

Anyway managed to get all the crockery changed round in the cupboards...... it was a lot of washing up!

It was good to see them all.

P.S. I have finsihed all that number work for the tax man... yes!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dream Faces

I am working on Faces again..... and really enjoying it. I know that readers who know me well are not surprised. I am though, as I thought I had moved on to pastures and inspirations new.
I have not really worked on my faces series this intensely for the last 2 years despite the fact some of my works were exhibitied last year.
Suddenly faces are back in my life. The sketchbook is filling up and I am happy.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


"Solitude is an unavoidable part of creativity, self reliance is a happy by- product" John Ruskin

I am currently starting work on a newish theme, but on reflection it has been buzzing in my head for ages. So my sketchbooks are being used again to try and reach a resolution..... it is a solitary activity.... advice is sought and taken, but the resolution is a blurred image in my head, even getting it down on paper is proving hard to achieve. So must keep working at it in my own way.

So alongside the sketchbook I am creating some white on white stitchery.. with a view to painting it.....there are a lot of technical issues and techniques to conquer..... so I think this could be a long haul, but I know it will be good to be able to concentrate on this one theme, instead of having it constantly rumbling around in my head, and proving to be an insistent distraction. Solitary indeed.

Sunday, January 09, 2011


Jasper Johns 0-9, 1958-59

I do hate working with numbers... but sometimes the art of design is enhanced by numbers , and I have been known to make good use of this Fibonacci sequence in some of my compositions.

I love this work by Jasper Johns, it is one of my favourites...... but the numbers I have been working with are the ones where the calculations all have to add up and make sense with all the totals over a year...... not my sort of beloved number work at all, but has to be done!

Have spent the whole weekend in the company of these columns of numbers and finally one set are done and dusted. Just one more set to go.................;0)

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

sketchbook posting day

Woke up to some un-forecasted ( is there such a word?) snow this morning.. but by lunchtime it was disappearing fast.
So no excuses ....... time to make the journey to the post office and dispatch the sketchbook on its way to Brooklyn. ( check it out here) .
I have not taken many photos, but like others participants I found the paper quite difficult to cope and work with and so felt I was not able to work in ways that are my usual practice. Actually think that it is good to break out of the comfort zone on occasions, but this was a challenge.

I finally decided to make the sketchbook into an over sized flip book.... so although I have taken photos.......... the effect is better as a video. Its the sort of sketchbook that needs to be handled, not just looked at.

The video I took is not brilliant, but hopefully shows what I was trying to achieve. Blame my amateur movie skills for that one.

Here are some of the still photos of the sketchbook. I had intended taking a replacement video, but the light conditions have been awful these last few weeks, so have had to make do.

You can probably see how thin the paper is in the sketchbook.
However changing thoughts to another direction ...... I cannot usually see the point of new year resolutions, this year however, I think I am going to indulge in the process of re-evaluation of my creative work to see if I can make some new resolutions. May not lead anywhere, but feel I need to do it, before I carry on.
Have loads of divergent ideas and so I think I need to try and see the way forward a little more clearly. Always a difficult task. I'll see if it works. A case of " Just do it!"

Monday, January 03, 2011


This was a real surprise ---- a new studio gift. Given to me by a lovely friend. A cupcake pincushion... I do not think I can bear to stick pins in it.. but it is absolutely beautifully made. Thank you Shirley.

Here it sits on the windowsill of my studio with some of my other gathered treasures. They give me lots of pleasure. Do you have treasures in your studio or workspace?

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Its a new day in a new year.

On one of the Internet lists I belong to we have been discussing different cutters mainly used by scrapbookers for creating intricate paper designs, and the discussion then ventured into whether these would work with fabric too..
Which led us to discuss the version marketed by Bernina. Apparently it can be used by the Artista 180 up to the present machine.
I have a Bernina 170 , but apparently although it has the embroidery module the cut work accessory will not work with it.
However , never to take anything at face value, fellow blogger Ros kindly sent me a design for cut work, to see if my 170 would be able to see the design. It saw the design .. but not as a cut work design, but as an Embroidery design.

Here is my trusty 170, stitching out the design beautifully. I decided to put a tangerine thread on the bobbin and a variegated yellow to beige thread on the top..... have to say I really liked it.

I plan to play with this some more..... many thanks Ros.
Does anyone else have/use the Bernina Cut work accessory? Just wish it would work with my 170.
Would love to hear from you if you have any experiences of these cutting machines.
Having set up my machine and the computer link..... I could not resist playing some more. Have had a wonderful time today... so really pleased. I really feel that I shall be doing some more work on the embroidery module.

I have signed up for a new sketchbook challenge, as I thought it would give me something to focus on every month, so in anticipation of a great surge of inspiration, I read the challenge this morning on the blog............ I must admit I felt let down when I read the focus of January's challenge... Mmmmm ... thinking cap time. Do I or don't I carry on???