Wednesday, 29 October 2008

October TIF and more stitches

As normal Sharon's TIF challenge for October set me thinking. "How does your workspace make you feel?" Well I thought how does it make me feel. Frustrated, its so small and cramped, especially if I'm trying to paint fabric but no that's not true. I'm happy in my cupboard (its the dining room really) its familiarity has become part of me, like an adult security blanket. But my security blanket would have embroidery on it and perhaps something experimental. My October TIF shows my workspace wrapped in a blanket. The blanket is quilted with lovely familiar machine embroidery stitches and it has a photo of my workspace printed onto Lutradur.

I painted the Lutradur first with Inkaid as I wanted to try out this product. It worked fine, I also printed the same photo onto black Inkaided Lutradur and was surprise when it came out quite well. I decided to go with the white one though as it was clearer. My workspace is not neat and tidy so I burned wavy edges and cut outs, though they don't show up too well (the spaces on the shelving).

How do I feel about my workspace? I feel it is a place where I can be myself to create a mess or a masterpiece without fear of displeasing someone. A place where I'm wrapped in in colourful comfort. My space, my retreat from the world.
Over the past few days I've completed days 59 to 73 of the 100 Stitches in 200 days challenge on Stitchinfingers. Some of the seam treatments are very similar and when I tried to scan in the latest batch I couldn't find all of them. I've not sewn them in order on the blocks but sewed them wherever I felt they would fit in best. Consequently they are spread over the 8 blocks I've completed so far. I decided to scan in the some finished blocks, the ones I haven't done before. Some of Day 59 to 73 are on one of the blocks I haven't yet scanned in, this is because there are still a few rounds to be embroidered on it. I'll post this one as soon as I finish it.

Some of these 'seam treatments' may look familiar, that's because they were probably one of the earlier days.

I started off embroidering these blocks as though they were crazy blocks but it doesn't really work

You need to use the whole of the strips, ie sew down the centre of the strips rather than along the edge.

Otherwise gaps appear and it looks odd, I've had to go back and add stitches to finish off the ends on some pieces. The second block photo shows this gappy effect, I'll have to add some more stitches to that one.
Keith's been feeling the affects of his flu and pneumonia jabs today, he's stiff and aches all over which isn't doing his back much good. Hope he's feeling better tomorrow not sure I can cope with the silent suffering much longer.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Walking in the leaves

This is our morning walk you wouldn't believe its only yards from the busy ring road round the town. The colours have begun to fade now, wish I'd taken some photos earlier. Here's Keith doing his constitutional walkin the leaves. Actually the walk is strewn with chestnuts and acorns and can be quite dangerous underfoot. Someone said chestnuts if dried and hung in bags like those the washing powder come in deter moths from eating your clothes. I've collected quite a few chestnuts on our walks and am in the process of drying them. I hope it works, I hate the smell of mothballs and the dratted little things have eaten a hole in my good camel coat!!
This log we have to climb over every morning as its fallen right across the bridalway but I thought it looked a bit like smocking. As a child I saw faces in everything, doors, wallpaper, sky and this definitely looks as though someone is hiding here. Maybe its just the Halloween season getting to me.

The leaves are now thick on the floor and beneath these leaves lay dozens of chestnuts. I'm surprised the children haven't collected them to play conkers or don't they do that now. Probably been banned as dangerous.

I was asked to make these strawberries way back in the Summer but have only just got round to them. I made two - this one is beaded, the seeds on the other one were represented by french knots in a fine gold sewing thread. It took for ages, I was glad I was only asked to make a couple. They are a for a surprise so I can't say too much more about them -yet.

The Strawberry bowl is part of the same surprise, the strawberries go inside. There are three sizes, large, medium and small - this is the medium sized one. The green sepals underneath are made from layed and burned organza. Several people are making them and each putting their own interpretation on the bowl but the colours remain the same. I decided to mirror the inside on the back of the petals.

The centre is sequin waste with sequins and beads in the holes. I enjoyed making these but I'd had them so long I nearly forgot about them.

The postman brought me this lovely card from Carol Taylor. It represents The Maze by Kate Mosse, a novel I thoroughly enjoyed. The card is handfelted wool with handstitches and a painted straw bead embellishment. I love it and I love the colour.

Another piece of art I love that the postman brought me today is this art doll 'wild woman' from Charleen Pawlik. She's beautiful and best of all Charleen's address was on the envelope so now I can send her mine. I was getting a bit worried about how to get it to her as I'd inadvertently deleted her address and email addy.
I'm getting well on with my 100 stitches challenge, I'm up to day 73 and Susan has just posted Day 74 wheyee I'm not 10 days behind any more. Still got my TAST stitches to catch up with and my TIF challenge but know what I'm going to do for that and will make a start either tonight or tomorrow. But tomorrow I must go and see Mum she hasn't been too well over the last few days.
Its freezing here tonight and I've promised my son mince and dumplings so better go and make them.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Early start to the weekend

On Friday both son's were home together with their respective partners it was lovely having them all up together and made for an amusing start for the weekend. Problem is I kept thinking Friday was Saturday and today it feels like Sunday. I'm not sure what day it is now but I did get some sewing done. I have a confession to make, I made this Wild Woman pin as a swap with Charleen, its one of Sarah Lawrence's designs. Now Charleen if you read this blog I've lost your address. The email you sent it in I deleted before I made a copy. Sorry about that but could you resend your address please and I'll send "Lily" to you.
This is my Lesson 4 journal for Sue Bleiweiss's "More Journalmaking" course. Its a wrap-around journal with 3 paper signatures and three corner pockets. The pockets are like little triangles across the corners of the wrap. Two on the inside and one on the back. The lining is plain black the pockets are flowered on the inside plain black on the outside.
On the front of the book is a flower I made from some leaves I picked up on one of my walks with Keith. While we were walking I started fiddling. Like you do sometimes with receipts or bus tickets, and it grew before my eyes. Its a bit dried out now but I might make a few more to make a bunch don't know if anyone else has made leaf flowers, if so how do the last.
I'm cathing up nicely with all my tasks for this month, which is just as well seeing we're nearing the end. I still have my TIF, TAST and 100 Stitch challenges to complete and an mini quilt for an art quilt swap organised by Kate North which I hope to finish next week. While I've been working I've been listening to James Rollins novels. I've finished Black Order and am two thirds of the way through Judas Strain. James Rollins is the author who wrote the Indiana Jones novels and these two are just as rollocking.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Sept Journal Page

Well here it is at last my September Journal Page for the CQ JP Challenge. I name that tune "Lily the Pink" sang by The Scaffold, why did I always think it was the Beatles? This is the second one I've made but the last one I destroyed by painting over it. I used a cheap metallic paint instead of an acrylic or emulsion paint and it looked as though I'd dipped it in a chip pan. I'm happier with this version and I also to to try multipage printing. That is creating a large image and telling the printer to print it over four sheets. I was really pleased with the way it came out. I used commercial fabric for the printer which is a bit expensive so I sent the sheets back through the printer using space on the pages to print out the text. I actually printed out the whole verse but couldn't fit on the last line ("most efficacious in every way") onto the quilt without spoiling the layout. All I have to do now is decide on this month's JP theme. It looks more mauve/lilac here but it is actually pink. The last two grid cards came in this morning's post - Suduko by Brigitte and
a revealing grid (reveals a fabric print) by Christine. Brigitte must know I love suduko but I don't like to spoil the card by filling in the blanks. Christine always manages to come up with something different and its a real fun card, I want to poke my fingers in the holes - slap those hands!!!

I've got so much work done today because I haven't been out walking with Keith today. I declined in favour of catching up on some sewing. Tomorrow is Jan's appointment with the gynaecologist and biopies. Hope its not another week of waiting for results before we find out just what is wrong with her. Keith also has his appointment tomorrow with the physiotherapist and he has high hopes that they'll let him do more than he can at the moment. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that its good new for both of them.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Slow Progress but getting there

I don't seem to have done much over the past few days, other than walk. Keith is definitely on the mend, his legs still give him some discomfort but not enough to stop him walking. He's gone from not being able to do much over 100m without having to stop to walking a couple of miles two or three times a day. And he drags me out with him. He is keen to go walking 'proper' so is pushing himself. When I ask if he thinks he's overdoing it a bit he quotes the bit on the back of the leaflet he got on leaving the ward. It says "you cannot overdo the walking" my knees say you can. This month's theme for the private swap is 'Grids' and the green and pink embroidered grid is Cindy's postcard. It's very pretty and she's made good use of the checked fabric.
These are mine. My 'grid' is metallic fabric and the sequine waste with beads. I thought I'd continue the autumnal feel with these velvet backgrounds. I've had this fabric for quite a while and unfortunately there was only enough of the bronze velvet to make three cards. I dug around in my bits and pieces and rediscovered this really sumptious purple shot velvet. It doesn't show on the photo but the colour is purple and when you move it you can see the green 'shot' in it.
I added metal flowers from coloured shim which also had been knocking around for quite some time in fact I'd forgotten I had it.
This piece is a bit of an experiment. I had a small piece of painted vilene, about 1.5" x 4.5" and was going to throw it out. At the time I was holding a paint brush with gesso on it when I remembered Maggie Grey in her new book has several pieces where she's used gesso, paint and stitch. I swiped the gesso paint brush over the vilene and left it to dry. Later I sprayed it with with colour wash paints terracotta and pesto. When it was dry I fmed it and resprayed. Next I sewed beads on, boy were my fingers sore it was stiff going stitching through all that paint and gesso. Finally I coated it with acrylic wax. It has a lovely leathery feel to it so I'm going to save it to put in the centre of a postcard. Maybe you'll receive it one day.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

All in a days work

Have you ever had days when you should have stayed in bed? The last couple of days have been those sort. It all started when I slept in yesterday, I should have gone with my mil for her hospital visit to see the gynaecologist but I didn't get up in time. IKnowing her nurse from the home would be going with her I didn't worry about it and instead I went for a walk with dh. Keith who can't sit for long has to walk as much as he can.

When we got back there was a message on the answerphone from mil consultant asking me to ring him. I did and it wasn't good news, the outcome of which is she goes back again next week for biopsies. As she has alzheimer and can be uncooperative they'll have to be done under anaesthetic. In the afternoon I had a meeting when the message came through from the hospital asking me contact them. I left early and worried myself all the way home only to find it was a duplicate message.

Today she became ill with pain, so much pain that the ambulance was called and the paramedics administered morphine before taking her to A&E. Several fruitless and frustrating phone calls later I find out she's been sent home with antibiotics for a urinary tract infection. Guess we'll just have to wait and find out what happens next week.

There is a French Market in town at the moment and Keith decided he'd like to walk into town to see it. There were lots of olives, sausages, sweets and nuts not to mention handbags to see but someone bumped into Keith quite hard and his back hurt him so we phoned Sy and he came and picked us up.

I did though manage to get Lesson 3 journal done before Lesson 4 is published tomorrow. This is Sue Bleiweiss's More Journal Making Course. This is my concentina back journal. I want to give it as a stocking filler for the partner of my son and she likes pink. The fabric is one of Kasse Fassett design, border prints.
Journal front
Journal back
Inside journal, it has two envelope signatures and one book signature in the middle. Looking forward to tomorrow lesson.

Monday, 13 October 2008

All stuck up

At last I managed to have a play with the glue gun and embossing powder and got myself all stuck up in the process. This is a follow up from our Serendipity playday last month we made a pact that we would use the technique to make each other an atc. These are my contributions. The two blue ones are on a background of Abacca tissue the other three are quilted backgrounds (all recycled backgrounds). The postman also brought me this beautiful felted landscape from Maggie Harris. I love the hand embroidered flowers in the bottom corner, lovely touch I though they also give a sense of perspective.
The U is umbrella that are not only used in the rain is from Barb Engvalls, love the fabric and could just see myself sitting under it on the beach.
This third card is actually a pale green linen and the twin needled grid was done by Jennifer Cormack. Jennifer has put rhinestones in some of the grid boxes its a lovely neat card in a typical Jennifer style. Jennifer is part of the private swap group.
Finally but not least is this card from Candi Harris, Stitchinfingers Postcard group (see link on side bar). Candi's card is silk patchwork pieces in beautiful autumnal shades with hand embroidery and beads. Its a real stunner and looks even better in real life.

I seem to have spent all day chasing shadows and getting no where so I hope tomorrow I'll stop running round like a headless chicken and get down to some work. My CQ Journal Page for September ended up in the bin and I've restarted it. I then have to make a start on this month's and as if I don't have enough to do I need to make a start on my quilt for Kate North's ALQS challenge.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

More 100 Stitches

I haven't managed to get much done this week, been playing ministering angel to Keith. I have managed to catch up with quite a few of the seam treatments challenge on the Stitchinfingers group "100 stitches in 200 days" while sitting talking to him though. Here's a sample of those I've finished this last week. Day 51 - ribbon stitches, French knots and beads.

Day 53a - Straight stitches, beads and sequines.

I did two slightly different designs for this day making the design go round two sides of the log blog. This was because the original one done by Sharon Boggon was stitched over lace and I'm quite short on suitable lace pieces. I keep looking but so far I've only found the cheap nylon type. I did buy some last year when we went to Vaulkenburg for the Christmas Markets but can I find it.......
Day 55- stitches - straight, buttonhole, oyster, french knots and beads.
Day 56 - Stepped running stitch laced with ribbon, running stitch with laced thread, cast-on stitch and beads.
Day 58 - Chain, detached chain, French knots and beads.

If you are interested and would like to see all the samples I've done so far for this challenge they are on my Flicr account .

I have got up to day 60 now but day 54 is missing. This is because it involves buttons and I still have a phobia about buttons. I am getting better and can handle the new pretty buttons that are around today but old ones, ugh my fingers just refuse to touch them and my toes curl up (I have the same reaction to slugs). Pity as there are some really lovely ones. I'll have to find some suitable new pretty ones for day 54.

As for Keith, he's doing quite well. His instructions are not to sit for more than 20minutes as his back will begin to ache and he'll be in danger of bending forward too much. He keeps getting up and going out for short walks which is a novelty to him as he's not been able to do much more than 100m without pain. However, he tends to overdo it a bit and I'm afraid we have had words about it. Last night I changed his dressing and the bruising is beginning to come out, his posterier would match my 100 stitches log blocks!!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

The Patient is back home

Just a quick word today as Keith has been in hospital for the last couple of days undergoing spinal surgery for his trapped nerves in his spine. He had his op yesterday and today I brought him home. He's got lots of 'don't do's' of which the major one is 'don't bend forward' 'don't pick up anything from the floor' don't life anything heavy. He asked what they considered heavy and was told "a half filled kettle". He hasn't to sit for more than 20 mins at a time but he can stand, lay down or walk around as much as he likes. Guess I'll be doing a bit of running around for the next few weeks. We're really hoping this will resolve his pain problems so keep your fingers crossed.

I've tried to do some sewing but have failed miserably as I just couldn't concentrate. Better give it a try now.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

I think I need to go to Specsavers

I woke up this morning and felt in the mood to do some cleaning (not something that happens very often). I also thought doing something physical might entice my muse to return. The last couple of days I seem to be looking at stuff but not having much idea what to do with it.

I set off with a will to clean the house. I cleaned the windows, inside and out, my cooker, the unit fronts, my Horn cabinet, two settees and a reclining chair, the carpet. Then I started to shake, got very hot and dizzy and felt a bit fuzzy. Hmm I thought better check by blood levels and yep I was in hypo state with blood glucose well below 3. I shove down glucose tablets, milk and had lunch and a rest. Then I went back and washed the kitchen floor. It was after I'd done this that I decided I should have gone to specsavers. I'd added bleach to the water I washed the kitchen floor in. When I threw the empty bleach bottle in the recycle bin I noticed the label - "Mr Muscle Drain Cleaner" but the kitchen floor is very clean.

I have manage to do some sewing for the 100 Stitches in 200 Days on Stitchinfingers though. These seam treatments are my Day 47 to 52 - I haven't done 51 yet as I didn't have a suitable space to put it in.

Day 47
Day 48
Day 49
Day 50
Day 52

One exciting thing did happen today, my copy of Maggie Grey's new book "textile translations" mixed media arrived in the mornings post. I made myself leave it and do the cleaning maybe I should have curled up with it. There is an on-line class with Maggie for anyone buying this book, you the details are on the D4Daisy site, just follow the links.