Sunday, 27 February 2011

Thinking time

It is Sunday again and I really wanted to compose another post, but it has been an odd week. I guess it is spring in the air, the ending of one season and the beginning of the next, although I am sure winter has not finished with us yet.  So why has it been a strange week?  Firstly it has been a time of finishing.  I have completed my Daffodil book. Although I know many of you have seen pictures of it before, here it is finished.



I am also coming to the end of my third Art Journal.

I have been looking through the pages, seeing how far I have come on my creative journey.  My March calendar page is in my new journal - I will share that later.  
Staring a new journal has got me thinking about where will I go next on my creative journey. I am looking forward to my second Machine Embroidery Workshop on Tuesday and a am realising the potential of working with textiles. I am torn between continuing to flit between one new idea and the next and consolidating what I do.  I have been thinking about taking another OCA course, this time on textiles. But is is very expensive if you are not 100% sure the course is what you want .  I do want to be able to take my ideas to more depth.  To this ends I have ordered a couple of books and I have been trawling the internet so I might write myself a 'creative syllabus'. It is something I did  for my pupils when I was teaching. I just need to identify some goals for myself - easier said than done!  And of course I shall have to have the will power to see it through.  In a few weeks, the urge will probably have passed, which is where committing quite a few hundreds of pounds on a course acts as a real incentive! There is nothing offered at local colleges except the usual foundation courses, which would be lovely in different circumstances.  I need something I can keep control of.  If anyone has any ideas or can refer me to helpful books/websites I would be grateful. 

Meanwhile here is a page in my 'Honesty' book, which I have decided to fill myself.

I made a 'parchment sandwich' to look like a translucent honesty seed head which I stuck between a hole cut in a couple of pages.  It needs a bit more work on the page, but I think you get the idea.

This week I also went to see Matthew Bourne's ballet Cinderella at Milton Keynes with a friend. 

It was stunning, so if you have tickets, you are in for a treat.

Have a good week, and 'see' you soon!


Sunday, 20 February 2011

Another week, another project!

This week I have been mainly machine stitching. On Tuesday I went to the first session of my Machine Embroidery for Beginners with Marian Murphy at Art Van Go. Although I have picked some basic ideas from books and video clips it was brilliant to have a whole day with an expert. We played around with different tensions and threads and just practised free machining.  We then went through a couple of design processes. Marian's design book was an inspiration in itself and made me want to be more disciplined in developing ideas.   But knowing what a butterfly brain I am,  I don't hold much hope!  However the practice gave me the confidence to infil the petals and background on my daffodil book with machine embroidery.
I want to embellish it a bit more with some more hand stitching and beads as I want it to be quite 'rich'. I also prepared the inner pages today, tearing them to shape and leaving them stewing in a lovely Brusho mix of yellows and green. Unwrapping the pages is a treat and a surprise - I will try to remember to photograph them, but as it is a messy process the camera is usually well out of the way.

At the workshop Marian flipped through my 'doodle/ideas' sketchbook I had taken with me and spotted this doodle and said it was the sort of thing that could be translated into stitching so I thought I woudl have a go.

I traced off the face onto tissue to transfer the outline and then just tried to use the needle like a pen.

I was pleased with the result and could see its potential. I just need to apply these ideas instead of going off on another tangent. Here are some details.

I chose a few favourite areas and created a collage

I was pleased with the colours - I just had to work with what I had got, but feel there is potential for development.  There is a couple of weeks between the workshop sessions, so plenty of time to work up a few ideas.

Meanwhile here are some waxed papers I was working on. I may have a go at a couple more boxes/pencil pots!

On the homefront I have managed to wear my new shoe inserts all day and walk to the corner shop for the paper. It just feels like a hard ball of cotton wool in my shoe instead of a pebble, so things are improving ( I have given my feet the day off today) and Marvin the cat continues to live with his diabetes with no immediate problems.  Mr T is cataloguing his entire CD collection (He has hundreds/thousands) which is keeping him quiet. A walk round the garden in the grey dampness this morning revealed a few buds on the verge of bursting, so a bit of sunshine this week would really be good.
  Whatever you are doing I hope the sun shines for you, have a good week.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

A week in retirement

Dear friends, when I realised it was a week since I last wrote a post I wondered where all the time went so I thought I would share my week with you - well the highlights and the low lights at least.

I had my appointment at the orthopedic department to collect my new orthotics for my shoes.  I have a Mortons neuroma in my foot which is an enlarging of the nerve between the third and fourth toe.  As I have fallen arches it was thought orthotics would help take the pressure off the neuroma and prevent one forming in my other foot.  I am looking forward to being able to spend a day on my feet without pain.  However the new orthotics have a raised area which is agony ( as bad as the neuroma).  The doctor assured me that I will get used to them! But in the meantime this is what they feel like! 
When I asked if it was possible to order another set so I didn't have to keep changing them from shoe to shoe, I was told they cost £200-£300 a pair, so I had better persevere. I am wearing them an hour extra a day - just round the house to begin with!

A hairdressers appointment at 1.00 meant the morning was spent on domestic bits and pieces, but whilst I was in town I went to the local camera shop where a very helpful gentleman printed up a couple of my photographs on the A3 printer.  My friend got me some frames from IKEA so I spent a while deciding how and what I was going to frame up for the forthcoming exhibition at the Luton Hoo Walled Garden. 

A good chunk of the day was spent at Nutty Knitters, my chat and knit group, although not everyone knits.  Several of the ladies belong to the Artists Network Bedfordshire and the group includes spinners, felters, milliners and jewellery makers, so we always have plenty to talk about in Maxine's lovely farmhouse kitchen - and someone has usually baked cake of some sort - something I never do.
Meanwhile at home we were having our downstairs cloakroom - well as there is no room for cloaks, loo - refurbished.  I do hope the old one does not have to stay out behind the bins for too long!

Thursday can easily represented by this photograph of my desk! But some creative inspiration was creeping into my day and I started playing around with some daffodil ideas.  In the garden I saw a bumblebee so spring is definitely in the air.
We usually hit the supermarket on a Friday. I came home with a bunch of daffs and put them by my desk.
which really started the ideas flowing for ....

... another stitched book.

So here is what I did on Saturday.

 Please click on the pictures for some details.
What did I do on Sunday? Well, I took all these photographs and wrote this post.  Not a bad life, even if my feet are killing me!

I hope you have a great week, and see you soon,


Sunday, 6 February 2011

Did you know...

...that tulips keep on growing taller after they are picked?
Which is why it is best to put them up to their necks in a vase...

so as they grow taller, they won't droop.
I found that out from a friend who trained as a florist, but of course you may know that already ... which case I hope you just enjoy this group of photos from my archives.
I seem to be very busy so I'll keep this brief,   hope you have a good week,
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