Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Crazy butterfly...

For those of you also doing the Bead Journal Project or the Crazy Quilting Project this year I imagine that the design element is both the hardest bit and the most fun... it certainly is for me!
January is my design/ layout and gathering month, finding the beads, fabrics etc to work with. This January has been no different... I've been collecting beads and lace, and now I finally have the design laid out and the templates cut.

I'm going for a much less involved design this year, last year's beading project was a zodiac/ wiccan visual reference aid, and very detailed with tons of information. Because this year's project is based on a crazy quilt I don't think that it will work as a teaching aid, it will be far too busy. 
I've chosen a butterfly, I doodle them alot and it will be nice to do one in a different media. It really lends itself to blocks of crazy quilting. Each section will be a blend of  similar coloured fabrics, lace and beads.

Scale has been fun.. the original design is on A4, so it will give you an idea of how big it will be...

...but then the sections need to be reasonable or the crazy quilting will look silly!  Can't wait to get going now... but I'm still waiting on that fabric to turn up so I can ice dye the background. That promises to be great fun considering the way my snow dyeing adventure went!  Come on postie!!

Monday, 28 January 2013

On a wing...

I spent today working in another international  Pass and Paint journal, courtesy of Willowing. It was Paula's, whose theme is "When she flies". I'd been thinking about what I was going to do for a while, and really wanted to do a folding pair of wings with tissue feathers, so yesterday I set about a heavy gesso layer with textural feathers across the page in preparation.
I collect those plastic boxes that mushrooms come in nowadays, and each one is dedicated to a project so all the materials are together in one place... until the project is completed. Anyway- I've had a box with the tissue and bits and bobs sitting accumulating for a couple of weeks now, but the final pieces were decided this morning after I used a die that I'd recently bought. 
I rarely work to a plan, but I might have a "want" for each project, knowing full well that once I get started it'll probably go out the window anyway...
I liked the idea of music as the base for the wings so I ripped and gessoed a pair, then stuck all the other elements I wanted to include. Once they were all in place they were gessoed again, then built up in pastel colours to give depth and movement. Once it was shaded to my satisfaction I added glass beads and pearlescent highlights.

Here's how it turned out.. before text

I really liked how the wings looked so I opted not to add fold-up wings, or tissue feathers... I wrote the text with a technical pen- I do wish I could learn how to do really nice text, it just doesn't come for me- calligraphy is one of those elusive techniques for me.

Here's the full piece...

 The photo doesn't show all the silvery highlights or reflective glass beads, but you get the idea... if you tilt it the light plays beautifully on all the textures and raised surfaces...

I hope Paula likes it.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Valentine Friends Dreamcatchers

It's coming up for Valentine's Day, and I don't know about you, but I don't like the idea of perpetuating  profits and growth  ideals of large stores and card companies... I want to give something because I want to- not because I'm told I'm obliged to! Thankfully my hubby agrees, so we just do our own thing. Having said that, I also don't believe it has to be restricted to partners... if you love someone, say so!
With that in mind, and the fact I love making dreamcatchers of all sizes, I thought I'd make some special little ones with a charm for each friends favourite hobby- or animal!
Here's a pair... 

complete with a ball of wall and knitting needles, and a few gorgeous pieces of garnet and red jasper. It's kind of sent me into a making spree so I have made others in various colours, with various charms over on Etsy. They're not all there, but if you're interested in something a little different, pop me a line- I might already have a set made up!

Friday, 25 January 2013

So snow is white, eh?

Good grief! I do a few projects, knit a few bits and all of a sudden I've not posted for forever! I must make a point of squeezing some time to post more...

We were forecast snow eventually in the UK, some would get it more than others, but we woke up last week to a small spattering, followed by an absolute deluge. A rare thing in our southeastern position. We seem to have our own little micro-climate which is more in line with Calais than the town 8 miles down the road! I do like snow- very much, but I don't like weeks of grey, sloppy slush, which is what we tend to get- a nice covering then a prolonged thaw out. Messy, and dangerous, ice over night, slush during the day.
However, the long thaw has been a bonus for me because I wanted to experiment with something since I read about it last year, and with little snow guaranteed  I had to make the most of it... so as the snow slowly disappeared it was perfect yesterday for a bit of snow dying- or so I thought!
Having planned for this some time ago I had all my supplies stashed away; Procion MX dyes, soda ash, salt, squeezy bottles, fabrics, and a few tubs. For a full tutorial of my dip into dying check out my How to- Textiles page... but here is a quickie

The fabrics are soaked in a soda ash solution to make the fibres more receptive to the dyes. While this was happening I gathered up the rest of my equipment and mixed the dyes.

These are the small containers with a bamboo fabric scrunched up in the bottom of each, snow piled on top and dye squirted over the snow. All the containers were left for over 24 hours, the sled was left outside to thaw naturally, while I brought the small ones in overnight.

This is a close-up of one of the bamboo pieces, thrown into the container with excess dye from the mixing. Not too bad considering it was most of the colours together.. it is brown, but so many shades and patterns!   I did quite a few pieces, one of which I have to cut into 12" squares for a Fabric Swap I'm hosting on Stitchin Fingers. We're all trying new techniques and swapping our results- what a perfect way to create a unique stash and find techniques we've not tried before... this is our first month so I'm really excited and can't wait to see what everyone else has done!
The sled was a little more fun... not only did it not thaw out outside, when I brought it into the kitchen it still didn't want to thaw! What does that tell you! I did cheat in the end and hurry it along.... the results are over on the How to page.
If you want to try this but don't have the luxury of snow you can use ice with dry dye... that's my next project once the fabric arrives. Why not have a go?

Friday, 11 January 2013

Bookmaking fun...revisited

It was some time ago that I made a concertina book after a prompt in the Hinges group on Milliande's. The plan was to turn it into a family photo album- hence the specific stencilling on the canvas covers... that was so long ago!
As part of my "Finish up 2012 projects" campaign I sat down and finished it- woohoo! As it is a present for a family member that we've not seen before 2005 the photos are really about the kids growing up...
Here it is finished

There is a tutorial to make the book over on the How to's... Books page if you'd like to have a go. It's a beautiful little book and so versatile- you can use it for any personal story. Why not have a go?

Thursday, 10 January 2013

It's a cinch! really...

Having promised myself to scour high and low, internet and shop for a reasonably priced Cinch binder, I eventually found one a few pounds less than most, but with a bargain on coils to go with! So I did it... I ordered it, and it arrived Christmas eve so I didn't get to play with it until a few days ago... such frustration!

In the meantime my Big Bite had arrived, and being as compulsive as I am I had to play straight away...before friends arrived to stay... do you remember those really textural collage canvases I did  a while back? No? Here's a reminder...

I marked out the holes and spent an evening punching holes- what bliss compared to using a rotary leather punch! It is truly easy to use, I highly recommend it, and great for difficult places. My only issue is the depth of gap between the punch and base... by the time I put the canvas board in place I could not see my markings so some were slightly out of place... which, if you're a perfectionist like me, is completely horrible and unacceptable. (Still, I have the Cinch now, so not an issue for book cutting)

I had wanted to make some spiral bound artist journals with the set of canvases, and to make them truly unique I have filled them with a mix of papers, coloured hand-made papers to match the cover, water-colour, pastel, black, cartridge, card and charcoal papers- 4 or 5 of each in these 40 page journals.

Yellow- floral series, 40 mixed artist papers

Here's how they turned out- I'm really happy with them so I'll be putting them on Etsy and Creative Stores soon.

My Book, purple, 40 mixed artist papers journal
My Book, pink, 40 mixed artist papers journal

I still have to put papers in the green, red and blue books, but that won't take long at all. 
From then on I shall be using the Cinch to make the holes- and it also cuts through the canvas boards beautifully, making my life so much easier, hooray, more time to play!

PS. there's still a 15% discount on my Etsy stock if you type in NEWYEARSALE2013 at the checkout, but only until the 15th January, so grab a unique bargain now!

A tissue, a tissue...we build a house!

So, with friends staying over the holidays it was guaranteed to be a busy, fun time, with no time for creativity- of the non-food or drink kind!
So I have been busy in the last week catching up for my swaps... 
Marilyn is hosting a "Winter Wonderland" ATC swap on Milliande's. I decided to try something new, rather than painting or collaging pictures. 
I loosely sketched a winter scene on watercolour paper, then proceded to paste coloured tissue papers in the appropriate places. Once I was happy with the arrangement of colours I overlaid scrumpled white tissue to subdue the colour and make it more abstract. 

After the gel medium had totally set I loosely went over the faint pencil lines with a technical pen to outline the house and details.
They're ready to post now, I hope the recipients like them.
It was a fun experiment which I may well use again in a future project...

Why not have a go yourself? All you need is a few scraps of tissue paper, some glue or gel medium and a waterproof pen. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Year 2013

Well we made it through the end of the world, christmas and now new year, so I guess I ought to make those resolutions now!
May this year be a year of reflection and action towards conservation and preservation... we escaped it this time, but we are responsible for the state of the planet.. so I shall keep up my recycling and add a few extra good deeds if I can...
I promise to be more sociable-I've hidden in my house all year and it's probably not doing me any good...
I will complete all the projects I begin this year! and I will do tutorials for more of them too...
I will lose some weight, quite a bit if possible, the more the better for my health...
I will start making xmas stock in July because October is just too late!

Have I missed anything?  Oh yes, I'll be grateful every morning that I wake up breathing, and my family are happy and safe... and that my camera still works!

Here's hoping that your 2013 is what you would wish for, be happy, have fun... and create, create, create!

PS, I'm having a New Year Etsy sale, so type in NEWYEARSALE2013 for a 15% discount across the shop! Enjoy!
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