Saturday, 28 February 2009

Featured Blog

This weekend's Featured Blog "Green Weeds" is by Sarah Wyman. I love the whimsical look of the ladies in her paintings and art collages. I love so many of the pieces, that if I ever do start teaching and finally have a bit of money, I will probably buy at least a print from her. However, it will be very difficult to decide.

I found her sight when I was looking for a another textile artist, whose surname is also Wyman. That reminds me...I got so distracted by Sarah's work, I never did find the other lady's work!! I shall have to go look again.

I'd love you to tell me what you think of Sarah's blog.
She also has an etsy site and is an ebay seller.

I have nothing of my own that in anyway compares to her work, but they have more of a "Mona Lisa-like" feel than anything else I have ever heard described that way.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Recycle your rubbish - and give away update

Give Away update: I have parceled up Sue B's gift and will post it out in the morning. I still need to hear from Quilt Lady, who lives in San Diego, and Louise, who lives in Saskatchewan. Please can you email me with your address so I can send your gift? If I don't hear by Tuesday, the 3rd, I will draw 2 more names.

Tonight was our EquilARTeral group. My friend was showing me an idea she has had about stitching onto Crisp packets. It reminded me of my experiments with Easter Egg foil. Here is a card I made with it sometime back. I used the programmed patterns on my machine to stitch the pieces like crazy quilting.
front and backinside
And now I am off to bed as it is late.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Light Box

I'm tracing a pattern onto fusible adhesive from my design mock-up. At present, I can trace most of it as is. But for part of the design, I want to trace it onto silk. For that, I will have to be able to see through the silk. It is thicker than habotai.

One tool that I have found very valuable for this type of thing is a light box. Some years ago, a friend of ours made one for me. There is plexiglass in the top, and one of those strip lighting tubes inside. He has coated the bottom with a sticky back foil effect material, to help bounce the light back up. It works quite well. I like the air holes so it doesn't get too hot. They actually make it easier to carry, too!

But, don't use it for a base for cutting out synthetic organza with a soldering iron. Why? You get lovely little patterns etched into the plexiglass. (Don't ask me how I know!) For that kind of thing you have to use glass or tiles.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

And the winners are...

Saturday was my 100th post, and suggested a give away for those who would comment. Today was the draw. So...
Fancy Box with 21 names on slips. (not counting my post and Ferret's extra one) Climb upstairs and ....drumroll...."bother" DH who doesn't really mind and picks 3 (divides into 21).

1. Louise, who says she is in SW Saskatchewan.
2. Sue B
3. Quiltlady, who says she is in San Diego.

Then feel bad because it would have been nice to give something to everyone. But I can do this again sometime.

Climb downstairs and take photos. Get bits of rust fabrics and fold them to show some of the patterning. Cut some of the "mystery fabric" I have mentioned lately. It is actually very thin and see through, but I have folded it up on the piles. (Sorry it is pink. I don't do pink, but I saved a bit for me just in case I desperately need it next week!) Rummage through the strange threads pile...
And voila!

So, if the winners would send me their snail mail addys, I will get these bits and pieces in the post for you! If you click the link about my profile under the bit where it says About Me, you can find my email to give me the snail mail.

and by the way,
Susan Purney Mark has been doing a Stamping Monday on her blog, showing ways to make and use stamps. For this week, she asked if anyone had stamps they made like the ones she was showing. If you sent a photo, she would put it up on the blog. SO, I am featured on her blog today...well, my stamps and how to make them are! Go have a look.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Inspiration Tuesday

Our family likes to go to ruined castles and abbeys and the like on our holidays. I take a lot of photos of the stone work.I was looking for an image of some anomaly in stone to show you, and came across this photo from a castle in Wales. Of course, it is sideways, but the lines and shadows really struck me. It seems one of those images you should "do things to" in order to make it into a screen for screen printing.

Then I decided to see what it looked like upside down.
I really like it. I like the randomness of it. The "almost stairs, but not quite". It actually makes you focus on things like the levels in the slate. The dry stone wall next to the stairs looks completely different when the shadows are "in the wrong place".

Cool! What do you think?

Monday, 23 February 2009

State of Mind

I'm sure you don't really want to know, but I am making a PowerPoint presentation on Schemes of Work. I have to present a seminar for the teaching adults class tomorrow.

So, you get a glimpse of my state of mind. (how do you do strike through? anyone know?)

No, I mean a glimpse of my work table. Besides the Endless Possibilities which is at hand stitch stage, I am starting the third piece for the EquilARTeral Zoom piece. And then there are all the books I am trying to make some sense of. The bag on the cupboard handle is the finished altered dress. And just off to the top right of the photo, you get a glimpse of the overflowing ironing basket. and then you don't get to see the side of the studio with the sewing machine. I will leave it to your imagination.

My classes didn't have enough interest to run, or I would be teaching (and probably have even more of an archeological dig on my table.) But the samples for teaching are under the other part of the table. I was rather gutted that they didn't run. I know I will find the prep wasn't wasted, but I could have been doing other things.

So, as it is, I also have a meeting about the regional Contemporary Quilt Group on Thurs and a meeting with EquilARTeral on Fri. and have to finish prep for the course at Pangbourne next Wed. Oh, yeah, I need to get some photo or something to Simon to market the next Crafts@the Library. and I am meant to be writing an article, for which they have moved the deadline up.

I think I need to learn how to say No again.

The thing I am finding is that the past 6 years, the Spring was taken up with big projects...either City and Guilds: Fashion projects or Bernina garments. For relief, I did bits and pieces, like textile art pieces. So, now, it seems life is full of bits and pieces, and I am really on a learning curve about how to keep everything in order. Maybe I need to do a Big project so I can focus on the bits...HA. NOT.

However, I AM slowly ticking bits off the list and trying not to put more bits on. I think after next week I should have got back to a better state of mind. Cross fingers.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Featured Blog

Today I will do the Featured Blog, since yesterday was about the 100th post. Don't forget to leave a comment on "Posy for You" to be eligible for a give away.

One of the blogs I check out frequently is Pins And Needles by Summerset Banks. Summerset does very detailed posts about her projects. She is an excellent technician making garments with a vintage feel, sometimes from vintage patterns but using modern embellishment techniques. She gives step by step explanations of how to make a pattern work for you, whether for fitting or for aesthetics.

Summerset has won awards in various wearable art categories in shows across America. She was in hopes of being invited to be a Bernina Fashion Designer, but they have stopped doing shows now. Like me, Summerset likes to develop garments with a theme in mind. I am sure her garments would have been stunning...well the ones she already makes are!

Summerset also makes clothing for her family and does community related projects. At present, she is doing the Peter Rabbit Characters! Reminds me of all those days I spent using the "Chop-Chop-Sew-Sew" method to do storybook and Nursery Rhyme Characters. Here are some examples of a few I did.
More of my costumes are at my old website: But, before you go there, check Summerset's blog out!
UPDATE: February 27, 2009 Summerset just won Best of Show at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show 2009, Hampton,VA with her recent ensemble "Bluebird of Happiness"!!! Well Done!

Saturday, 21 February 2009

A Posy for You!

Today is my 100th post! So, I took some photos of the crocuses in the glorious sunshine we are having to day. And although I have plenty of other things to do :-P I taught myself how to do layers in paintshops pro and made a collage of images.

Or in other words, a posy to celebrate Spring and 100 posts.

If you leave your name, I will select one next week and send a little something.! I am not sure I can do handmade at this point, but you might get a fancy thread or something!

Notice: I am doing the draw on 25th Feb. So, if anyone is still wanting to leave a message, now's your chance. I am thinking you might get a bit of my rust dyed fabric from which I made the award winning skirt design! You can see it in the first part of this page.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Believe it or Not

At my age (which I won't reveal) you don't normally expect to have people consider you a style icon....and Be Not Afraid...

They Don't.

However, what is rather worrying is if they think your mother is. Check out the story at

Actually, I think it is due to my sister. In late 2007, my mother was ill for a while and unable to eat much, so in her new shape, she needed new clothes. Which my dad gave her clothes money (that, my friends, may be the rarest part of this story) and since she still wasn't up to trawling the shops, my sis who works for Macy's and has impeccable taste, managed to get quite a few good pieces on sale. Also, with a 70th birthday on New Years 2008, some of the rest of us gave more money for nice clothes. So, hurrah for a sister with style who can change a "little grandmother type" into a feature in the Lifestyle section of a newspaper. :-O

Just to compare:

My parents-January 2006

Anyway, it is rather a shock to be sent a link to your mother being selected for a Shop Girl Style Award along with several young things.

...even if it is in Maine in the grip of winter and you suspect they all have cabin fever.

Thursday, 19 February 2009


Every now and again I do an alteration for this person or that. Mostly people who know me or who know someone who knows me. I don't mind a bit of one off, but I think I would go mad to do it all the time. My friend Gabrielle thrives on it!
Anyway, today I took in this dress around the high waist area to give a bit better definition. It looked a bit matronly hanging straight. The hanger does nothing for it, but when we were fitting it, we decided it looked better that way. I could have reconfigured the whole top to suit her better, but my time and her budget didn't go for that.

The lady is the mother-in-law of a young lady whose wedding dress I altered last summer ...I used to work with her mother at a Junior School. The young lady married in Greece...without family. This son is being married in Antigua in March...with family...thus the dress for the mum. She rang me last week...not too easy to find dresses for Antigua weather at this time of year, and especially trying to get something that fits well enough for a wedding. She says she has a few others for some of the other events, but they have little light jackets that cover up the bits she isn't happy with, so they will do.

I was a bit concerned about the part where I had to unpick part of the side invisible zip to take it in. But, as I was only taking in part of the area and tapering to the original seamline above and below, it wasn't too bad.

We have an extension on the Stretching Art deadline, so that means tomorrow I can concentrate on my studies for the session I have to present about "Schemes of Work" in my teaching adult course. Unfortunately, the two courses that I was supposed to start teaching next week are not running...not enough interest. I guess leisure courses are not such a priority when people are losing their jobs. Fingers crossed for the courses I am to do towards the end of March.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Endless Possibilities

And here is the middle panel of the triptych. I will tell you about one of the reasons I went with the transparent/translucent idea. The theme for the Stretching Art challenge (SA11) is Never Ending. So, I decided to do a triptych in such a way that you can choose a variety of positions to hang the panels. That suggested "Endless Possibilities" And then I thought, if it is transparent/translucent, it could be double-sided, creating even more hanging possibilities. So, I call this the middle panel, but it can be changed around if need be.

I also thought it might be interesting to be able to switch the pieces of this section. I was going to put buttonholes or something on the silk strips inbetween so that could be done. But in the end, it made it too difficult to determine that the composition would still be good when swapped around.

I am really enjoying this. I love it when things turn out like the design you create in your head as you contemplate the look. The pieces will be shown at Quilters Heritage Celebration Show in Lancaster, PA, USA from 2-5 April, 2009.

I may very well make another piece to go with them (as I have another idea). Then I can use them for my Festival of Quilts entry this summer. Would that be a quadtych? or as someone suggested somewhere on the net - tetratych?

Contemplate this while I work on another panel.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Half-term - Inspiration Tuesday

Inspiration Tuesday takes a break today, as I am on half-term break and actually have some work to show!
I mentioned I was making a baby quilt. I used a piece of shrink textured fabric I did for the workshop I had in early December. It was just big enough to work for a pram quilt. It is for one of the ladies who was in the first part of the teaching training course I am on. Her little girl Sophia was born on the day my sister died. To me that is special...I always seem to hear of a new life when someone has passed on. Restores hope again, in a way.

I sandwiched it with cotton batting and cotton fabric. Then I used a butterfly stitch on my machine to spot quilt in the centre of the diamonds. Aqua and Yellow to match the stitching. The fabric binding I made isn't quite the tone of aqua, but close enough.

I also nearly finished one of the panels for Endless Possibilities. Should be finished enough to show tomorrow.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Endless Possibilities

Some of the stitching on the third piece. I think I am going to do hand stitches on these rust dyed parts and machine stitches on the other parts. Somehow I need to get the synthetic organza with gold dots to show more. Perhaps cutting sections away?

How did I make the design decision? I had already been considering the hand/machine combo. However, I am trying to do a baby quilt on the machine using some of the shrink textured fabric I did. This was going well until time for the Cricket again... and as England has remembered how to play again, it took a bit more concentration. (Big Grin) Since I couldn't hear the online commentary when I was using the machine, I decided I better sit and hand stitch!

I don't suppose that sort of thing goes into the design books.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

UKSewing - Thames Valley group

Yesterday I went along to a get together at my friend Gabrielle's house. We are part of an online sewing group on Yahoo called UKSewing. Every so often those of us in the Thames Valley area get together. We just have a natter about sewing and show off some of the things we have made recently and so on.

Often, you can come away with a bit of fabric someone else has decided they don't have a use for. This is the fabric I came back with, courtesy of Helen. I am thinking of using the paisley in someway with denim. The photo picks up the red more than it actually is in real life. Perhaps I will add it to a jeans skirt I was given that I can chop and change. Then I can use it for examples of what you can do for some of my courses. There is a bit more of the greyish blue (which is actually a bit more blue than grey shown in the photo). I am thinking of doing something with a bit of a retro feel to it.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Featured Blog


Here is a piece I did using junk mail some months ago. I was inspired by an artist who decided to recycle junk mail into art. The theme of this piece is also Spam of the challenges from the Fast Friday Group.

Most Saturdays I am very busy, and haven't been able to post. So, I thought I might introduce you to other bloggers. Most of these will be artists of one sort or the other. For some, I love the work, for some I am intrigued by the technique, for some I admire the commitment, and for others, I respect the artist.

These will not be in order of preference, but as I think of them or am reminded of what they are doing if I have seen something they have done in the week. And of necessity, there will be plenty who are blogging that I haven't discovered or haven't remembered to mention yet. If you know of someone whose work is similar, or who you think I would enjoy discovering, just leave a comment.

And so, today, I invite you to look at the work of:


Karen is a mixed media/textile artist. She regularly makes collage pieces with many layers, many of them using up bits of junk mail that land through her letterbox. I find her work very inspiring, and intend to try more with junk mail or similar things. You can find Karen at . She has a website as well.

Let me know what you think of her work...actually let her know, too!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Endless Possibilities...and in life, too!

Here is a detail shot of some of the stitching that is going on for some of the parts of Endless Possibilities. FME (free motion embroidery) with Varigated rayon from Thread Studio and hand stitched pearl cotton. I am still thinking about the other section.

Other things:
Today we got a visit from the community support police officer! This was in response to my husband's bike being stolen from the garage the other day. However, as community support, she had also been trying to contact him for a while about a youth programme she thought he might help with because of his connections with the community centre and church.

Well, as we talked about the community, the workshops at the library idea came up. I told her my idea about people needing to be encouraged to meet in the community again. (Long story, but we used to have a grocery store in the parade of shops. It moved to a different town and although we were promised something else, it has been well over a year now. It was a place where people met up and had a natter about life. Old people used it for a daily outing. Mums stood round and gossiped before or after collecting their children from school, etc. Now, people might come and pop into the Chemists or the Post Office/Newsagent for a few minutes, but there is nothing that makes you want to linger. There are signs something may come in the Spring, but who knows.)

The police officer was really excited about "Crafts@the Library". She wants to come to the next one and encourage the effort along. If we do up some leaflets, she wants to give them to some people in the community who she feels would benefit from getting out and doing something like that. When I said I was hoping to develop a group and then perhaps have a sewing/craft group at the community centre. She got quite animated about the idea. She is real keen on helping the project go forward.

Plus, she went away saying I was a wonderful lady. Well, I just like to make stuff and somehow like to get other people making stuff, so that's the result!!

So, how cool is that! having the police marketing your workshops!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Endless Possibilities

Here is a detail of what is going on in the transparent triptych piece. I worked on laying out all the strips just the right size, etc. Now I am considering how they will be stitched.

Also, last summer, I altered a wedding dress for the daughter of a lady I used to work with in the Junior school. This week, the girls MIL rang me up because another son is getting married. So, she came round yesterday because she needs work done on a dress for the wedding in Antigua in March. One more thing to do next week! I hope Endless Possibilities comes together as well as I am imagining in my head!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Thinking of You Workshop

A small but fun group came to the workshop at Birch Hill Library on Tuesday. As we thought, due to the snow last week, not many people had a chance to hear about it. I think I will do up a leaflet to put at the shops next time. And of course, I forgot the camera for taking photos at Great Hollands. One of these days I will get the hang of it!

Two of these ladies were at the Christmas boxes workshop in December. They all seemed interested in coming again!

Here are some of the magnets and gift tags they made.
AnnetteDorothy Jo

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Inspiration Tuesday

Just to show you that you can find inspiration anywhere!
How would you translate the bubbles or the shape into your work?

Monday, 9 February 2009

Thinking of You Workshop

Puttered around getting all my bits together for the Thinking of You Workshop at the Library. I am not sure how many will come. It sort of depended on last week marketing to people stopping in at the library. However, because of the snow, and days off school and the like not many people got out last week (including me). So older folks stayed in so they didn't slip over and mum weren't taking kiddos back and forth to school.

However, when I stopped in today to see what the response was, Pat had just told one lady about it. She seemed interested, just worried that she would have a little one with her. I am sure we can cope.

Tuesday, 10 Feb - 2-4pm Birch Hill Library
Wednesday, 11 Feb - 2-4pm Great Hollands Library

and now to stick the camera in the hopes I will remember to take photos.

Sunday, 8 February 2009


Well, we won't say any more about the Cricket, except to say I should have watched/listened to the Rugby on Saturday instead.

But I went to Reading to the Hobby Craft for a some bits and pieces for the Library workshops on Tuesday and Wednesday. I intended not to get swayed by any deals. However, when these were in a bin for 97p each and they are normally £3.99 each. I realised I better get them when I could! They had the ink versions, but the dye based ones can be used on fabric...or so I have been told. I really had to rummage for the red ones and the green and blue, as they had loads of the other colours. But, I am looking forward to trying them out.

I also got a few bits for some of the other classes coming up that I will be doing.
And now, back to assignments.

Friday, 6 February 2009


Trying to do assignments today. The trouble with being willing to teach 4 or five courses plus workshops, means you have 4 or 5 times the paper work. And besides, I have to have the relevant paperwork for at least 30 hours teaching in order to fulfill the requirements for the teaching training course. So, I have been trying to filling in schemes of between being distracted by the cricket.

Not a "real" cricket, but Cricket.

Photographer: Ian Britton
England are playing the West Indies. It is a test match, so it lasts 5 days. I did have it on the digital radio, but it keeps cutting out, so I have it on the computer. Well, at least I haven't been tempted to veg in front of the telly to watch it.
I still need to do lesson plans, but I guess it won't happen today.
I'd rather make art Thankyouverymuch.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Endless Possibilities

I am trying out an idea that has been percolating in my head for some time. I want to explore the concepts of transparent and translucent. In my head it wants to be neutral colours. So, here are some of the long strips of different fabrics I am considering. I have hung them in the patio window in my studio.
(without flash)
Of course the sun has nearly gone down, so it is a bit hard to tell how it will go.
(with the flash)

At the moment it is silk organza, rust dyed silk habotai, the mystery fabric I spoke of yesterday, and some synthetic organza with some metallic dots. I also intend to stitch in "patches" of more silk organza, other rust dyed silks, etc.

The idea is to do a triptych. I am calling it "Endless Possibilities", because I like the idea of hanging the sections in different positions and even turn them around...which is where the transparent translucent hanging in front of a window idea will come into play.

For now, I will leave it up there to consider while I do assignments tomorrow.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

EquilARTeral - Language

If you recall my post on the 16th Jan, I am making some pieces to the theme "Zoom". The first piece I did - "Words" - is actually the middle of my zoom in/zoom out concept. This is the zoomed out piece. "Language". I have been working on it the last few days."Word" was A5 sized. "Language" is A3 sized.

I had rescued several foreign language dictionaries one time when we went to Hay-on-Wye to the secondhand book shops there. Some of them were actually on outside bookshelves in the rain! So, I wasn't too guilty about using pages from them to create the base layer of the piece. Well, I say that, but as it has been several years before I could give myself permission, you can see that I didn't start ripping them apart straight away! Here is one possible layout when I was starting. I decided to use Tsukineko walnut inks for a bit of colour. Then I looked up several translations for the word "language" on Google and Babelfish, which I then wrote onto the pages I had fused into place. Across near the top I used cuneiform shapes for my own version of a transliteration of the letters for language. I even carved my own cuneiform stamps! I painted the definition of language as well as stamping the word a couple times with different alphabet stamps.

Then I covered the whole thing with this mysterious non woven very thin stuff I got in a shop where they didn't actually know what it was! The one I used over the whole thing was pale beige with images of things like official documents, handwritten letters, and the like. I fused it on with Misty Fuse as well. It was cool because it gave the look of stamped images, but as it was so thin, it looked like a middle layer rather than sitting right on top.

After quilting it, I thought I was done. But I hung it up a while to see what it might need. First of all, the word Language in the middle needed to come out more because everything blended too well.
Then I also decided I needed more of a visual of what I meant by language - which was really communication. I had incorporated a small image from an old tourist language book, but I wanted something you could see from a distance as well. So, I cut and fused the people silhouettes out of green coloured mystery fabric. I think that helped to take the eye around and create a dialogue.

Ha! No pun intended.

I have a plan for the final piece, which will be A1 size. But now, since these two have a similar look and show they are a series, I am not sure about it. It will be Letter and I thought to do an Illuminated Manuscript. However, as I think about it, I may find ways to combine this look with the Illuminated Manuscript look and create something unique...
If it works.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Inspiration Tuesday

How would you use it in your art? At the recent meeting for Contemporary Quilt, I started with an icebreaker. I got the idea from a site I looked at in studying for my teaching training course. I took this tool I have had in my drawer for sometime. I don't even know how I got it! I passed it around and asked the question above.

Anyway, there were some interesting ideas including making marks in paint for monoprint. Create a stamp with soft sculp by pressing it against the ridges. Cut carrots, potatoes, etc and use them to print with, and so on. In the past, I have used it to hammer marks onto metal which I then used in my art.

What would you do with it artistically?

Monday, 2 February 2009

Guardian - reworked

I had a few comments on the Guardian dragon. One from a friend who saw it in person and some on the Fast Friday blog. It seems the baby looked a little like a lunch packet!
Someone suggested putting "lace" on the baby blanket. So, here is the reworked version. I think it helps to give more focus on the baby, too. So, then the tension is a bit stronger.

Here is a detail shot. What do you think?

Sunday, 1 February 2009


I didn't get the Fast Friday challenge 28 - posted at the end of last year - done due to the life upheaval over Christmas. However I have had the image in my head since I heard what it was.
The art principles were: Colour - Zingers:"Zinger colors add accents, and capture the eye. Zingers add interest and can be used to enhance the focal point or move the eye around the quilt." Composition concept: Create or illustrate a mood or emotion with your piece.

I decided to work on it inbetween other bits this weekend, after finishing the other piece. Since I finished it today, it means the February journal quilt is finished, too!
This is a dragon egg about to hatch open. Bits of the shell have fallen to the sand. Drawn to the spot by the magic swirling through the air, "The Finder" waits in awe and wonder to see the newest dragon emerge from the shell.