Friday, 30 April 2010

wearable art

Today I started a wearable art project. I hope to enter it into a show this year. I may show details, but I think I will hold back on showing the whole of it. As you can see though, there is a bit of shiny going on! i have a title already, which may give you a bit of the vison... SKy Princess.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

beaded bracelet

Today it was my turn to make something in a workshop at the library. Lisa ran a workshop on beaded bracelets today, so I went along.

and here is my bracelet! I can do beading, but haven't done much with the findings at the ends. So, that experience was helpful.
oops I see I missed one of the silver dividing beads.

I also met a 90 year old lady who stopped by the table, interested in the beads. She told us she used to work in an atelier near Bond Street in London, doing tambour work.  I was very excited as this is something I would like to learn. So, I am to get a support frame and contact her and she will show me how to do it! I think I could work it out from a book, but if you want to learn the best way, you may as well learn from someone who was trained in the industry!

okay, loads of exclamation points there... I guess I am excited about it. :)

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Wendy House -inside

As I already had the pieces cut to do the inside of the Wendy House, I decided to do quick painted bits to stand for the section of the inside of the house.

So, after I zigzagged over the edges of the outside scene for this panel, I painted a dining room. The paint is drying, and then I will outline the pieces in black...sort of cartoon like. I may put a vase of flowers on the table.

At this stage, I am not being fussed about scale. It is about giving something for the children to use for their imagination to take off from. I am not being extremely precious about going over the edges of the fused bits outside either. It is not about an award winning piece of art, but a functional cover for a table for the children to play under. I don't even think I will do anything to the walls, inside or outside, to make them more realistic. I have far too many other projects to do!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Button Blooms - Tues

Here are some of the bright and colourful Button Blooms made by the ladies who came to the Tuesday session of Crafts @the Library At the Birch Hill Library.

Lisa, who works at the Birch Hill Library came up with a really cute variation for making the "stem" look good. Her bunch is at the right.
 They all look even cuter when you hold them up or pop them in with a potted plant.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Inspiration Monday

Medieval Scrabble tiles?

seen in the new medieval gallery at the British museum

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Wendy House

At last I have been able to get back to the Wendy House. Here is the back. I have started putting the curtains into the sides.

I hope to start to get some of the stitching done this week. I have plans for interior scenes for the inside, but I think at this stage I am just going to complete the outside and leave it at that. For something simple for the children, it has taken a bit too much time!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Rudbeckia - Brown Eyed Susan

After I finished the dragon yesterday afternoon, I had a look at the new challenge for Fast Friday.
The challenge theme: is Flower Children: either developing some new 'flower child' similar to the book OR relating to the 'flower children' of the 60's OR, better yet, some inspiration of your own which incorporates one of the basic ideas of the theme.
Colors should be cheerful. No dark, dismal colors, gray or grayed shades.
Techniques should be dimensional, either by inference or in reality. A 3-dimensional sculpture might be the outer limit; the inner limit being a shading to create depth.

Straight away I had a good idea. I finished the petals for the flower by tea time and the rest by bed time! Wow, that makes a change!

I thought I would base the child on one of my Sunday School children...all of them are from African countries. Then I remembered brown eyed susans, and it all came together.

I had just enough golden fabric for petals left from making a sunflower cushion some time ago. I also had some swatches of a fuzzy sort of fake leather, so used a brown to machine stitch and colour in a little face. I stuffed the middle and then mounted it on a wooden dowel.
The braid on the outside has been caught down with gold beads. It is meant to look a bit like this photo.

Hard to photograph to get the true bright golden fabric and still see the little face.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Merdragon - finished!

A bit scarier than I meant him to be, but there we are.

A simple description this time.
Merdragons are often mistaken for seahorses. However, they serve in the same capacity as watchdogs for the MerPeople. They hid amongst coral that is similar in colour to themselves in the same way that seahorses do. They have the capacity to breath fire under water.

Unlike seahorses, the males do not hatch the eggs in their pouch. Both parents guard the egg sack, taking turns to carry it.

Thursday, 22 April 2010


Trimmed and a bit of detail. The dragon has been quilted down, but I need to go round the edges to make him stand out. Then quilt the background.

I think he needs one or two more flame like fins near the top of his head. I may do that, although they have to be drawn seperately and attached.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010


I was able to begin work on the Merdragon today. I am quite pleased at the amount I accomplished, as I had most of the day to work on it. Tomorrow I will finish stitching it to the background, trim it and add more detail along with some quilting. I have been trying out various colour combinations to see how one colour can make another colour "pop".

I am very late on the Fast Friday challenge again this month, which was about under the sea. But I have been planning to have this fit both schemes, especially as it also included threadwork. The background print already represents coral. I bought it to make a fun blouse. I think taking this small piece from a corner won't mean I have to scrimp if I ever get round to doing the blouse.

I was also able to put the zip into one of the skirts I started during the holiday. Sometime back I thought I might be able to take an idea from Somerset Banks and do something like 30 minutes a day (out of my sewing time) on garments for me. That never came to anything since I am generally a right out straight sort of person. However, I think if I manage to have a cutting out day, and get several items cut out, then I can do a few seams here a zip there, and so on. Today it worked because I did the zip first, and was able to put it aside because I wanted to work on the dragon more.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

papyrus and dragonish ideas

On Saturday, the Contemporary Quilt AGM in London was not very far from the British Museum. Even though I had been there a few weeks ago, I decided to pop into the museum shop before heading home.
When I had been there previously, I noticed they had small rolls of papyrus. I got 2, thinking they might be interesting to incorporate into a piece of work. After coming home, I decided it would be good to have a few more, and then I could do even more with them...what ever they decide they want to be.

I had also missed where the postcards were located, so Saturday, I looked a bit futher and picked up a few that for some reason or other I thought would give inspiration for dragon shapes, textures, etc.

Today I have been running around helping a certain lad who had a severe allergic reaction to the tree pollen or something last evening when he went for a run. Halfway into the run, his eyes became swollen. When I got home from teaching, he could barely see through slits! My husband got him some antihistimines. He was starting to see a little this morning, but we thought it would be best to go see a doctor. With another prescription, it is a lot better tonight. He needs to be recovered for an interview on Saturday.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Inspiration Monday

I meant to post this on Monday, but for some reason my photo programme wasn't working.

A very fascinating piece of sculpture I came across when investigating the British Museum the other day.
It is huge! but then if you had been able to see the complete statue, I suppose you wouldn't even notice the feet. It is very lifelike, even though colossal.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Primroses and AGMs

Yesterday I was out and about all day. I went into London for the Contemporary Quilt AGM.
I took the camera, but the only thing I took photos of were these primroses on the bank at Bracknell train station.
I am quite pleased with the photo, as I was right across on the other side of the track. I put the camera on the long view...landscape as opposed to automatic...and then zoomed in. Apart from the crispness, it looks like I could have been standing near by using the macro setting.

I really enjoyed putting faces to names at the AGM. It was good to hear the discussions. Several people also came to offer their help with the Coffee Morning at the Festival of Quilts that I am meant to organise.

After lunch, Anne Smith, 2009 winner of the Quilt National exhibition, talked about her work. It was fascinating. I got some insight to a way of working and a style of quilt art that I am not naturally drawn to. It was interesting to learn that her quilts are around 5 to 6 feet in size, but her studio is actually quite small! Anne's fabric pallete is made up of fabrics from clothing she collects from charity shops and jumble sales. Most of the fabric is from children's clothing, and the resulting colours give a bright cheerfulness to the quilts.

You can see some of the quilts and even a photo of Anne in her studio at this blog.

Friday, 16 April 2010


Over the holiday, I also bought some fabric for some of the projects I am working on. Perhaps not an occasion to be marked for some, but I rarely buy fabric. Well, apart from lengths of calico, habotai silk, silk organza and other natural fabrics which I rust dye or do other things to. I have had a lot of fabric of various types given to me over the years, and I generally make do with what I have.

However, the Wendy House project stopped while I have been trying to track down a dog for the dog house. Also, the last dragon project revealed I have no orange and very little red or golden yellow. If I am to do dragons, I need those! I never used to use oranges and yellows, but having done some of the exercises with the Fast Friday group, I have learned where I can use them.

So, anyway, a trip to the fabric stall in the market did not turn up a dog, but did turn up a few fat quarters of red and red-orange. Eventually I found some dogs from Cotton Patch on the internet (I generally don't do internet orders). While looking, I saw their bargain fabrics had some red, orange and yellow, so that went onto the order, too.

Now I am all set for finishing the Wendy House and making dragons...although the next one planned hasn't got fire colours at all!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Here I am!

No, I didn't fall off the face of the earth!
I was having more and more problems with my computer, and at last my son declared I needed my operating system upgraded. (after being asked too often to help me work out how to sort what was wrong.) So, I turned the computer over to the resident masters and now it has been sorted. Well, it didn't take that long, but I decided to use the holiday I am having from college as a proper holiday, and took a long break.

I have not been idle. I have been reading, but I have been sewing, too.
I have been doing a bit of sorting in my studio (you wouldn't know to look at it, but it has to do with what was going on in the cupboards...or starting to go on outside of the cupboards because things weren't returned.)

3 basic skirt patterns have been determined to fit, fabric found in the stash, cutting out has been done, and sewing up has started.

batik - 8 gore, linen - 4 panel, gabardine - A-line

Also, I am nearly finished with the Staffordshire Hoard piece which has been on hold for some time.

I have been doing admin for the Thames Valley Contemporary Group and for the Coffee Morning I am to organise for the national CQ group at the Festival of Quilts this summer.

And I have started a Merdragon...based on a seahorse, of course. But it is not ready to show yet.
So, it has been a good break!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Button Blooms

Thanks for all the encouraging comments about the dragon! I am usually champing at the bit to do my other projects so I can get back to do another one. I am "nearly" at the place where I might even do a big one! (sucks in breath nervously).

Today I worked on developing the craft for the next Crafts @the Library workshop. Button Blooms
At present they are taped onto some bits of copper wire I have, but I hope to get some florist wire tomorrow in town. i need to pick up some buttons from the haberdashery stall in the market as well.

Some use for a gifted glass left from the Millenium!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Ancient and Wise Dragon

Here is the dragon I showed you yesterday. He has been quilted and bound round the edges with the same fabric as the background.

The Story?
As I said, he is an Ancient and Wise Dragon. These Dragons are often visited by all variety of dragons because of their wisdom. They are given honour and respect.

Ancient and Wise Dragons are also Memory Keepers. They are often associated with Fire Butterflies. This is because the butterflies are attracted to the memories held by the Ancient and Wise Dragon. Ancient and Wise Dragons use the butterflies to transfer memories they wish to record. Fire Butterflies thrive on the dragon thoughts and memories and can extend their life through experiencing the memories of the dragons.

Bet you didn't know that!
I didn't know most of it til I started typing it!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Fire Creature

I have been working on the fire creature I showed the other day. Although I worked on it while I demoed outdoors at Caversham Court, it was a bit too cold to work at it continuously. I did get alot of comment about it thought.
I finished the thread painting and then cut out the head and appliqued it to the background on Monday. Today I have been quilting it, but I will show you tomorrow when I have got the binding finished and the story worked out in my head.
Funnily enough, I started the other fire creatures off to be dragons, but they wanted to be fire creatures. (Fire Wolf and Lava Dog Retriever) Now, this one was started to be a fire creature, but seems to want to be a dragon.

I think it is an Ancient and Wise Dragon, but I am still finding out just why he has fire butterflies round his head. I think they have something to do with sending messages of wisdom or methods of communicating ideas. on the other hand, they may not be important at all.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Inspiration Monday

Smile !

Where do you find smiles?

Sunday, 4 April 2010


Easter Blessings!


Friday, 2 April 2010

a few more dragon inspirations

When I was at the British Museum last week, I saw photos on their posters of a double headed snake from Mexico. So, I went in search of it, thinking that the heads at least would be interesting to observe for getting dragon heads right.

While I was there, I also saw bits and pieces about the Aztecs. One of the statues looks like it might hold inspiration for a square-ish sort of dragon (as opposed to the European and Oriental dragon shapes.)

and then there are other sorts of fire creatures.
So those thoughts go into the percolation process of my brain. We will see what comes out as time goes on!
I am looking at frilled lizards and seahorses, too! Why not?

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Art and Leisure in the Garden

(What? sewing outdoors on 1 April?)

This is NOT an April fool's joke. New Directions did actually have an outdoor event with demonstrations of various courses they provide. And I DID actually sit in a VERY windy garden-type gazebo doing Free Motion Embroidery demonstrations with gloves on and several layers of clothing!

However, in spite of being chilled to the very bone, the heavy rain didn't start til about 3pm. We had high winds, but it was sunny even at 8:30 am when I got there to set up. It clouded over and we had a shower somewhere between 12 and 1. But we did have alot more visitors than you would think. And hopefully enough interest for my 5 week Machine Embroidery class to run in May.

The event was held in the newly refurnished Caversham Court, a public garden located on the north bank of the River Thames in Caversham, North Reading. The gardens are included in the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest as a Grade II landscape.

I had never been to the gardens, but found out that a private garden has been on the site since the 12th century when the rectory of St Peter’s Church was built, and many of its remaining features date from the 17th century. The house (now demolished) and garden were connected with some of Reading’s more distinguished citizens, like the Simonds family, as well as with some of England’s most significant historical events, like the Civil War and the Gunpowder Plot.

I think I will go back and explore someday...when it is warmer!