Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Best laid plans...

Thought I'd have plenty of time this week to get on with my sewing but the life and dramas of my family life have had me on my toes, on the phone and away from my sewing area. Well I did manage one Journal Page for the Surface Design Group 'Colour Composition - Perfect Circles' theme. This one is for Sandy Reis, I hope she likes it. Its a bit of a cheat really as we were supposed to use plastic washer type templates to create the perfect circles but I couldn't justify buying them. Instead I used the circle attachment for my 730 and using iron-on stabiliser as the back of the circles sewed away merrily. Once I had my circles I cut them out, very close to the edge, put a slit in the back of the stabiliser (I'd sewn them with the adhesive side outermost) and turned them inside out. Next step was to run a point round (I used an orange stick) the hem to take out any bumps. As the adhesive was now on the inside I ironed ironing them created neat, thin, circles ready to applique on to my background. I used a Floriani lightweight stabiliser but I've done this technique using lightweight dressmaking iron-on stabiliser.

The background looked a bit plain so using bubblewrap and acrylic paint I created more circles . The centre piece was the top of an old giant paper clip bought from Oxfam. I cut it off with some pliers and hand stitched it on. Well that's all the work I've done for the past few days but my postman was a very busy boy this morning, look at all the goodies he delivered.

First my Cyberfyber fabric postcard swap from Susan Lenz. I wish you could see the texture the photo doesn't do it any favours. It's number 2 on the list if anyone wants to check it out.

This kitchen tissue pendant from Dianne Ceray also arrived. I just love this, it almost feels like metal. Dianne you certainly made my day with this little beauty I'll have to think of something very special to do with it. Far too good not to be displayed or worn.

Next in the batch was Joanna Von Rit's "Laurel Burch Tile" piece. This is another really great piece, the eyes seem to follow you. A bit spooky but I love it. There are nine of us in this swap each of us making 9 5" tiles. So far I've received three but want to display them properly when they all arrive.
And last but not least the Surface Designer's Handbook arrived from Amazon this afternoon. I had completely forgotten I'd ordered it so it was a lovely surprise (too many books my dh would say, really must catelogue them). There are all sorts of techniques for dyeing and making designs on fabric. Some techniques are well known to me, others less so but is a beautifully presented book and together with the Painted Quilt should take me a long way (hopefully).

Off to line dancing in the morning I've not managed to get there for the last three weeks so I guess I'll be stiff later one. Then I really must catch up with some washing and ironing and frighten a few dust bunnies. There are only three permanent members of this household but it feels at times like we live in Paddington Station.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Shopping for fabrics

Why is it when you start a new project you NEVER have the colours you need.! Bit like shopping
for clothes isn't it. I needed some blue fabrics for my journal page mini quilt and I had nothing suitable so we decided to make a day of it and go to Whitby to Judith's Fabrics. Never been before but always game to shop and take in the sights. Ialso call into Leven Crafts at Guisborough to add a few more and this is my final selection of blues.

While in Whitby we wandered across the bridge into the older part of Whitby and at the bottom of the steps up to the Abbey we found this artifical flower shop in the shambles. Not a great lover of artificial flowers but loved the colours .

I've been toying with an idea for my March CQJP and decided to take photos of some older doors in Whitby. All Green Doors guess what colour my JP will be, probably won't have any suitable green fabrics either.

Found these little beauties up one of the narrow lanes leading up to the Abbey. Wanted to take some photos of the arches in the Abbey but the car park was full. Whitby was heaving with people today. Had some wonderful fish and chips before leaving for home. It was a bit grey coming back over the moors and the traffic was nose to tail. We were pleased to get back and put our feet up.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Getting on Well

Got this wonderful Arch in the post from Pam this morning, its a one-t0-one swap with the Textile Challenge Grouphttp://http://groups.yahoo.com/group/textilechallenges/

I've managed to get a couple more challenges off today, been quite quiet so could get on. I'm trying to get ahead of myself so I can go off on holiday and not worry that I've left myself too much to do when I get back. The landscape is for the Colour Composition Journal Page swap and this CC is 'Perspective' and will be going to J Morning Dove. I've tried to show the perspective by using size and colour. I drew the picture from a photo, stitched round the lines and coloured the cotton background using watercolour crayons, washed it with water. Finally did some fme and handsewing to try and emphasis the perspective.

This fabric postcard serves two purposes, first its my response to the Choosedaychallenge group's February theme of 'Acid'. I've named the card Acid Rain. Secondly its the card I'm sending to Susan Lenz for the Cyberfyber Exhibition http://cyberfyberexhibition.blogspot.com The card is made from one of Stef Francis's experimental hand dyed fabric and thread packs. Its mainly silks with a bit of cotton (muslin) to bond the silk and velvet panel. This was made by cutting strips of silk dupion and silk velvel, bonding them onto the cotton background, cutting and reassumbling the pieces time and again. They started off about 2cm wide strips and got down to about 3mm pieces. You have to be careful or you loose them!!!! I've done this technique a couple of times , once with Maggie Grey and once with Sandra Middleton. I think Sandra calls it "Fractured colour" and she does workshops. Believe I learned it first with Maggie and took it further with Sandra.

Only got one or two outstanding items to complete before now and the Nile just so long as I can resist signing up for something else that takes my fancy. So outstanding items are:

CQ JP's Jan, Feb and March - I have done some of the design work for the first two, in fact shouldn't take too long to put them together. Finishing them will take longer. I want to use the theme of colour and song and have a list of titles a mile long, problem is deciding which and how to do them. One more CCJP to do, this one is perfect circles and I should be able to do that today, got the pattern developed using EQ6. Not sure how others learn new software but I need to have something to do to motivate me. Really can't be bothered fiddling along trying out all the lessons, too impatient. I want to use it. Last but not least Toras birds, got the pattern know where I'm going with that one too. Finally tissue paper pendants, still working on that one.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

TIF February Challenge

When SharonB asked (for her TIF February Challenge) what our earliest memories were I thought of tramcars, riding in a pram eating the corner of a loaf of bread, getting my ears boxed for doing so. But my overwhelming memory however was of the hated liberty bodice with its rubber buttons and the dark green interlock knickers with the pocket in the leg. I'm sure there are lots of us out there with memories of those intimate items so that's I decided to portray them, perhaps I'll exorcise the ghost of the rubber buttons.

I collaged some old photos and an advert for Liberty Bodice, tried hard to find an image on the web of those pocketted knickers but without success. The back of the journal page also has the same image and a photo of soldiers, another of my early memories. My dislike of those rubber buttons has lasted a lifetime I still shudder if I see one, let alone touch one.

I joined the Cyberfest swap but have had real difficulties getting through to Susan Lenz. At last though after several emails we finally got together and I am swapping one of my cards for her number 2 card.

Temperature here hasn't risen above freezing all day. This morning when I was going across town to my mother's the trees looked beautiful full of frost. Mind I didn't want to get out of the warm car to take a photo!!!

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Cold Weather Sewing

The weather today has not risen above -3C and I've hardly poked my nose outside the door. The frost stayed on the garden all day.

One good thing is that I've finished my Arch for the one-to-one swap with Carole of Textilechallenge fame. I hope she likes it. I've done this arch so many times in my mind that it should be a ruin by now. Carole wanted a garden but my mind kept seeing it at night, slightly sinister. The image of a folly we'd seen when Keith and I went out for a walk the other day kept insinuating itself in my mind. Another insistent image was A Midsummer Nights Dream. These became tangled in my thought process and this is what I ended up with. Midsummer Eve through the Arch with Puck sitting in the tree. Its not at all like the idea I started with which was wisteria trailing over the arch and a background of a cottage garden, maybe next time.

Finished my Laural Burch inspired Tiles for Surface Design today. I've had several starts at this one too. First I scanned and printed the Mother Earth design (permission given in LB's books to do this) with the intension of using a light box to transfer the design and paint them or perhaps applique some of the design elements. Didn't like them, ended up taking parts of the design into embroidery software and digitising them. To begin with I used satin stitch for leaves and petals but they turned out too heavy. Next I used the outline of the design and painted the elements, like a fabric colouring book. Some I stamped flowers on but I finally got them where I was reasonably happy with them. So now they are all done and ready to go out in the post tomorrow.

Still got TIF Challenge, Cynotype cards to embellish, two 6" square JP's and the CQ2008 12" JPs to do. I've cut done on my swaps etc for the next month so that I've not got lots to catch up on after the holidays.

On a more personal note Mum's back home again and fighting fit, I've got the family (all 14 of us - thats the whole of our family) booked in Sunday Lunch (too late for evening meal for Mum) for Mum's 92 birthday on the 8th March. Keith belongs to Hotel Chocolat 'Tasting Club'. Every other month we get a box of designer chocs through the post.

Sadly we've decided it'll have to stop, being diabetic I can't (but do!!) eat them and Keith needs to loose quite a lot of weight.

Tomorrow is line dancing and as I've caught up with all my household chores I can sew for the rest of the day. Bliss.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Tired but Happy

It's been a very odd sort of day, hanging around waiting to see if the hospital would discharge my mum and booking a holiday. Hospital - had to ring them three times before I got an answer, finally went up to see my mum on the ward and arrived after visiting hours - staff just love me!! Mum's looking quite well in fact I think she's actually enjoying the attention. She's to stay in until tomorrow because she won't stop touching her nose to see if its still bleeding. Each time she does this she moves her nose and there's a danger it'll start bleeding again. Honestly its just like having a small child around.

Holiday whoopee we're of for a cruise down the Nile mid March. We just decided to book one between bouts of hospital phoning. I'm really looking forward to it it starts at Luxor and ends at the Aswan Dam. We've decided to go down the day before and stay overnight so its not going tobe too much of a rush getting to the airport., same on the way back. Problem with getting back is that we don't arrive home until 6:30pm and Keith has to go to work 4 hours later. He's going to see if he can get an extra days holiday.

Done absolutely no sewing, just looked at what needs to be done. I'm not in the mood tonight to use the machine so might just do a bit of hand embroidery whilst doing the couch potato thing.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

This is my bag for the BQL Bag Challenge, first time I've done shuttlework on the 730 it was easier than I expected. I tried to use the BSR foot but I simply am not getting away with it but I'll keep on trying.

These are cards I've received from Christine, Jennifer and Brigitte for the February "Africa" theme. All very different but equally creative. I like them all.

Valentines Day Surprise

Keith and I had decided we were past the Valentine Day ooha so we'd just ignore it. Imagine my surprise therefore when I got up this morning and this beautiful book awaited me. I was over the moon with it, I'd been drooling over the photos in this book for a while now but as it was a bit pricey thought I would never own it. Roseberry Topping is not far from where I live and a favourite walking area for us. It fascinates me everytime we go past it. I'm not up to walking to the top any more, something we did quite regularly when the family were young. The North York Moors are also one of my favourite places and the book is absolutely brimming with Joe Cornish's wonderful photos of the Topping and the Moors. My last lot of embellished landscapes were based on the colours of the moors in September. This is just one of the stunning photos in this book, look at those colours aren't they to die for! I've been lucky enough to see the sunset over the topping like this.
To top off Valentines day my mum was taken back into hospital tonight, again with a nose bleed that wouldn't stop. I had to leave her there sad and a bit apprehensive about the future as it appears her arteries, at least in the nasal area, are fragile and liable to 'pop' as the consultant put it, anytime. We're all a bit worried about her, just 3 more weeks and she'll be 92 and I've been charged with organising her birthday lunch.
This is my Triad colour composition Journal Page for the Surface Design group, the colours I've used are purple, green and orange. The colours are a bit off, probably because I scanned it rather than take a photo and the lid wasn't down properly because of the beaded tassel.

After waiting several days for the sun to come out so I could do some cynotype printing it eventually arrived. I painted the fabric with the chemicals, then read the instructions, it had to dry, in the dark! Why did I believe you had to put the resists on when the fabric was wet!! Where was I going to dry it, our house faces south west and gets the sun all day. Airing cupboard was no good as it was full to overflowing. I finally put some in the garden shed, some in the broom cupboard and one piece I left in a the gas meter cupboard! By that time the sun had gone in and I was left with yellow/green fabric dripping all over the kitchen floor. The next day though they were dry and I could start to sunprint the fabric. My first experiements with plants didn't turn out too well they smudged as the sun exposed parts underneath the bits not pinned down. Probably because I had to put the fabrics on top of my garden swing - it being the only usable surface in the garden. The garden table having my dh's tools on it and covered in potting compost. My next try was with the metal shapes I use as templates when burning with the soldering iron and these came out beautifully. Next step is to embellish them. Haven't a clue yet what I'll do.
Hearts atc for the UKEmbellisher group mainly knitting yarn and fabric with a cardboard heart and one of the left over lavender hearts from the recipe JP.

I also finished my February BQL Bag but Blogger wouldn't let me upload another photos so I'll post one next time round.

WIP - Arch for the TextileChallenge group, TIF challenge and January and February Journal Pages for CQ2008 still to do. Guess I won't be bored.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

I ate my first Dragon today!!

I saw the Dragon Fruit in Tesco's and loved the shape and colour of it. I'd never seen one before let alone taste one but both Keith and I were intrigued and decided to pay the £1.79 for it. I didn't how to eat it, did you cook it? but a quick check on Google put me right. The Dragon fruit is the fruit of a cactus and when you think about the colourful, exotic flowers some of these bear I suppose a strange fruit is not unwarrented. I just love the colour. You eat it by cutting it open and scooping out the white, seed dotted, flesh. It tasts a bit like kiwi fruit but not quite as sweet. Keith and I cut it with ceremony and ate it with relish. I'd buy another one but perhaps the price will need to be lower.
Dragon Fruit

Inside the Dragon Fruit

Finished my February swap for Christine Davey's private group, this months theme was Africa. I found this piece of fabric in my stash, didn't know I had it. I machined lines of pattern on the background fabric, appliqued pieces of the Africa fabric onto the background then quilted the pattern. These went out this morning so the recipients should get them by Monday. Also finished the landscapes, got the backs on and all labelled up and when I went to check on the addresses found I only need one. I really must learn to read properly!! Guess I have two to keep - lucky me.

I'd been havering a bit about joining the Contemporary Quilt (QG) Journal Page Challenge, not sure if I was up to it. I sent an email a couple of weeks back saying I'd like to do it but heard nothing so thought I was either too late, they had enough challengers or thought I was not ready for it yet. I got an email this week from Hiliary Gooding, Helen Cowans who had been heading up the challenge was ill and all the details had been passed to Hiliary. Guess I have some catching up to do but not tomorrow as I've decided I need a day off, Keith and I are going up onto the moors for lunch and a drive around, especially as it promises to be a sunny if cold day. Good day for walking I think.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Landscapes and fabric paper

Been line dancing today, exercise at last, I thoroughly enjoyed it even though have have two left feet. It's a very friendly group and I'm not the only one facing the wrong way! Might have undone all the good work with the tea and scones afterwards with friends.

Done a bit more on my landscapes for the machine-embroidery/embellisher group added a couple of machine embroidered trees and hand embroidery for heather and sheep. I made three and then read the list, I only need two so for once I've got one for myself. Problem I have now is once I've trimmed them I've no idea how to but the back on. Normally I zigzag them together but don't think this will look right. Thought about putting the backs on like a pillowcase and just sewing round the edge to hold it flat. I'm open to suggestions.

Landscape one, this is the one I blogged previously.

Landscape two, sheep coming down the fell side, it's got a little bridge too.

Landscape three as I've said before I never know just how my work will turn out it sort of emerges.

I can't decide which one I'll keep for myself, probably turn them over and pop them into their envelopes then look to see which one is left.

Finished the needlepoint piece today as well, all that line dancing I needed something quiet to do.

Tomorow's tasks are make a start on the February BQL bag, look at starting my arch page, got an idea I'm working on but not sure it'll work out. I'll blog that later in the week.

One thing I did last night was make some fabric paper hmm mine certainly didn't come out looking like Beryl Taylors, think it was the black tissue paper. I've rolled it up and put it with the rest of my dross stuff I might have a use for it sometime in the future. I think the secret is to choose your colour pallet carefully mine looked like I'd dragged it out of the dustbin where it had been lurking under the tea leaves!!

Monday, 4 February 2008

Challenges continued

Got the final challenge for mum out of the way - find her a cleaner. As mum is rather hard on cleaners, she's always been extremely houseproud and not being able to do her own work is getting her down. I just hope this one lives up to her expectations so keep your fingers crossed for me or my head will be on the block.

Talking about blocks hese are my blocks for the February Heart Block lotto on About.quilting they are the first ones I've done so I hope they are okay. All I have to do now is find out where I send them. The colours don't look quite as bright as in real life. I tried upping the contrast in PSP but it gave them all a blue tone so just left them alonge.
SharonB's blog a few blogs ago had a link to the American Needlepoint Group. Its a while since I did any needlepoint so I checked out a few patterns and started sewing. It's quite soothing to have this sort of thing to do whilst watching tv. It's a long way from finished and I'm not entirely sure what stitches a lot will depend on what threads I have and the mood of the moment.

I've also dug out my Babylock embellisher today, this piece is my start on a landscape. I've felted some wool tops onto a felt base and machined some contour lines. It's my intention to do some macine and hand embroidery onto the background but what, not sure. As you can see I've very much an instinctual, 'suck-it-and-see' sort of person. It nearly always comes out okay
These are the January Fairy cards from Christine Davey's private swap group. There are five of us, four from UK (although one of these is an American living here in the UK) and the fifth is Brigitte in France. I've not been doing many cards recently wanting to concentrate on a bit more experimentation and quilting but thought I could well cope with just sending out four a month.

Brigitte's card is the fairy with the rose and the wand and the fairy is wearing her face! It's really lovely to put a face to a name.

Got a day to play tomorrow, or at least that's the plan so far. I want to make some fabric paper I missed the challenge in the Textilechallenge group but I'm going to do it anyway just for myself. Bought a lot of sponge stamps today in the sales as they were only 25p each I got one of each thought I might try discharge stamping with them. On tomorrows list of to-dos is make a start on the BQL February Bag challenge just got to sort out the fabric. I ordered some feet for the bag and I'm hopeful they will arrive soon. Roll on tomorrow I'm really looking forward to my play day.