Thursday 29 October 2009

I'm off

Before stocking up the fridge, I went to Barleylands to see if Kezzy had an art lesson today, just as well I did, as it had been cancelled. It would have been rude not to go to Craft Arena to see Denise while I was there, but she had popped out. I got the latest issue of C.P.S., which I am saving to read while I am at my Mother's for the weekend. After the supermarket dash round Asda, I found out that our postman is not on strike. The first item I opened was the book, 'Rook' that I saw on Carolyn's blog.I just love the pictures.

The next item, was the goodies that I ordered yesterday at 12.00 from Craft Superstore. I had never bought anything from here before, but my friend Bernie had sent me an Internet Gift Voucher for my birthday. WOW!!!! how was that for service.
I made a Scrumptious Slice this evening to take to Mums, it is very rich, but sooos moreish. Inside it has marzipan, apricots, coconut and chocolate. No dieting this weekend, as Mum has been baking and made made a carrot cake.
When we were driving up to Coningsby on Tuesday, I needed some hand stitching to keep me quiet in the car so I took a book cover I had started on a Francis Pickering Course quite some time ago.
The cover was to be made with craft vilene covered with gesso, and patterns stamped in to it. BUT, I had wanted to be different, so I went and collected some fallen Flowering Cherry leaves which I embedded in the gesso and then covered the leaves with it also. When the gesso was dry, I painted the background green and the leaves in the Autumnal colours with acrylic paints. When that was dry, it was given several coats of acrylic wax. The reason that I had never finished the book cover, was that as I hand stitched the background the following week, the leaves started to disintegrate revealing the white gesso underneath , even with extra acrylic wax.
So, it had been gathering dust, it was so nearly finished that I was loath to throw it out.
I had a light bulb moment. I covered the leaves with a fine sheer and machine stitched very closely around the edge of the leaf, and the surplus cut away with a soldering iron. I don't know whether it will work, but it is worth a try.

The cover is lined with Evalon, painted with Dynaflo, the pages coloured with Brusho ala Frances Pickering.

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Autumn cutbacks

No, not yet more Government cutbacks!
I spent the afternoon in the garden, putting frost tender plants in my greenhouse and thinning out plants and shrubs that have grown too big this summer.
This evening it was off to Judi's to wrap and embellish twenty eight bars of chocolate for the 'Little Stars' Christmas shopping night. Little Stars was started by my daughter and her friend a couple of years ago, they run it voluntarily every Friday, and the group is for mothers with babies and toddlers(pre-playschool age.) Every November they have this Shopping Night fund raiser, it is a lot of work organising it, but everyone enjoys the lovely atmosphere and a chance to get some hand made Christmas presents.

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Didn't we have a lovely time, the day we went to.........

For anyone who has a hubby or partner with an interest in planes, this is the place to go. Lots of jets taking off and landing, lots of noise the smell of jet fuel in the air. There were lots of men with huge cameras taking photos of all the action.
A quick cup of coffee at my friend Bernie's house, before she whisked us off to give us a guided tour of the area and a brief history lesson too. One of the places we stopped was at the Dam Busters memorial, just up the road from her village. Her hubby will be conducting a special service there on the 11th November (Bernie used to work in my school until her hubby trained to become a Minister and they moved to Coningsby with his job) Kezzy got permission from her ATC company to wear her uniform today. Onto Woodhall-Spa, where there is a really old fashioned cinema.

Then onto Petwood House, as it was known in WWII, but it is now a hotel. This was the HQ for the Dam Busters Squadron, we were able to look around the downstairs and go into the bar where the Officers met for drinks. Lots of memorabilia all around the walls. Alan couldn't believe his luck!This window says 'patchwork' to me.
This used to be the swimming pool, but is now a very large fish pond.

Lots of lovely fungi to take photo's of, it had me crawling on my hands and knees trying to get a good shot.

The colours on this tree were glorious. (I wont bore you with all my other photo's.)

Alan and Kezzy spent a couple of hours at the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Museum while Bernie and I went for lunch and a good natter.
Then of to Skeggy for fish and chips, we could hear but couldn't see the sea,as it was too dark. Nothing like a bit of sea air!

Going back to Coningsby next summer and staying for a few days so we see the sights properly.

Monday 26 October 2009

A bit of a playtime

As I mentioned in my post last night, I had to make my monogram for my lino printing course, so a sketchbook page of doodles using my new brush pen.

It wasn't until I started to carve, that I realised that I need to work on a slightly larger scale until I buy a very fine gouger. The samples below were printed on paper, the first two stamps I used a product I had bought years ago from Dick Blick and compared to lino, is easy to carve, UNTIL, I tried the Speedy Stamp, look at the 3rd image, so much better than the previous two. I shall buy some more of this for when I want to do some intricate work. A good lesson learnt!

Samples below printed on unbleached muslin with Prussian Blue acrylic paint (looks more like black here though). Still working to get the paint the right consistancy. I had promised myself I would try and paint one of the leaves I collected last week.
I used my H2o's, I need to get a set with reds in for my next attempt at leaf painting.

Today we have been to the doctors and hospital to try and sort out Kezzy's knee and teeth. Also started making another sample for my fourth vessel.
Tomorrow, it will be an early start as we are going to Conningsby, a good three hour drive from here. I'm meeting up with a friend and Alan and Kezzy are going to the Battle of Britain Flight Museum. After, we are the going to have a fish and chip meal at Skegness, it doesn't look that far from the museum on the map, and I have never been to Skeggy.

Sunday 25 October 2009

Sunday's efforts.

Why is it, that just as you start to get an idea forming in your head, it is time to feed the family? I have been working on lesson 2 exercise 1 of Dijanne's lino printing course. We have to design and print a monogram. After two attempts, I was feeling quite frustrated as I kept messing up the 'S's'. After a rethink on my design and cutting into speedystamp, I am much happier with the resulting stamp. The proof will be in the printing, which I will do tomorrow night. Cutting into speedy stamp( I purchased the speedy stamp block several years ago when I was doing my C&G. I knew it would come in handy one day!) is like cutting butter, sooo easy.
I was going to start stitching my rust vessel this coming weekend when I go to my mothers, but I felt the need to do some hand stitching, my equilibrium has been restored.

Did you know that........

On Friday, I had to go to Chelmsford to get some fabric for Nickie off the market. While I was there, I went to the cheap magazine stall, 3 for £1.60. I wouldn't normally look at the painter magazine, but thought it might be useful for Kezzy. When I glanced through it, there is an article on silk painting, using Inktense pencils. I bought some after being on a course with Francis Pickering, but didn't know they could be used on silk. Hmmm, something else to try in a spare moment! I did lots of cooking Friday, a special meal for Rhodri's birthday, and then start preparing a meal for four of Alan's friends who came for dinner last night.
The menu was 'Teabag Stew' a.k.a. Beef Carbonade ( it was nicknamed teabag stew by the children when they were young, because they saw the bouquet garni going in it. Root vegetable gratin( this is a tasty meal for a veggie), roast potatoes, peas and broccoli. For desserts I made, Tiramasu, Raspberry Charlotte, and what should have been Spiced Apple and Blackberry Pie but ended up being called Ramsden Mess, because the fruit made so much juice, the pie disintegrated when I moved it from the baking tray to the serving dish. Quickly made a Apple and Pinenut Crumble instead.
I was hoping by doing a lot of the cooking Friday night, I would have some time to do a bit of stitching yesterday, but due to a problem in our en-suite, that idea went out of the window. Luckily Alan was able to sort it out, though I was a bit worried when water started leaking through the dining room ceiling!
This morning Nickie came round to collect a 'doggy bag', as I promised her any left overs from our meal. She ended up with only two puddings, not living up to her nickname of ' three pudding Nick' from when we had a meal at the Hilton several years ago, and she couldn't choose which pudding to have so had three!

Thursday 22 October 2009

National Portrait Gallery

I have just checked out the details of the 'Beatles to Bowie' exhibition. It is free to get in to see other exhibitions but for this particular exhibit it will cost £12.10, maybe I will go on my own, I don't think Kezzy will appreciate this, now if it was 'Pink' that would be a different matter.

Rustle Crow.........

Is finished and ready to wing his way to Lincolnshire on Tuesday. I have also started making a few samples for my next vessel, will post these when I have reached a conclusion. Moved things around my play room in an attempt to make more space to work in.Due to a bad accident on the M25 today, Hubby was very late getting home from work, too late to take Kezzy to A.T.C.'s. so I had to take her. I found these wonderful leaves where I had to drop her off. Kezzy has to draw some leaves for her art homework and I am sorely tempted to get my paints out and join her. (Colours are brighter than in the photo) Nickie has sent me info on a 60's exhibition at the National portrait Gallery 'Beatles to Bowie', I wonder if I can fit in a trip to London next week?

Wednesday 21 October 2009


While I was at Barleylands, getting Nickies shopping, I stopped to watch the glass blowers, their work is so amazing. This glass bowl, had thin black stripes going around it.After Barleylands I went to Basildon and found something for my sons birthday, then off to meet my Grandson, Josh, from school. He looked so grown up. They had lots of fun jumping in puddles, in fact my youngest Grandson, Zac, got so wet, that when we got home and took his boots off, there was a puddle of water from his boots on the floor.
After cooking the evening meal, I was able to print my latest block. I need to cut away a bit more of the background as it had a few high spots.

Also let my introduce you to Rustle Crow, the gift I am making for my friend up in the wilds of Lincolnshire. When I was in Craft Arena, I found a lovely Valdani thread for stitching his tail feathers that was just the right colours, a black/grey/blue mix.

A piece of my work has been featured here


Another piece of design work from Missenden that I didn't post on Sunday, I have done a bit more drawing on it and started to fill in the background.
My vessel waiting to be stitched together, this time the lining is Evalon. I used System 3 and golden paints to colour it.My decoration that I made last night, the photo as promised.
Today I am going to:-
Have a go at finishing my lino cut so that I can print tonight.
Go shopping for Nickie and also I need to but something for my sons birthday on Friday- what? I am not sure.
Pick up my Grandson from school, my first chance as I am normally at work.
Do some more work on a present I am making to take to my friend Bernie, who I am visiting on Tuesday in Conningsby.

I wonder how much of this list I will achieve today!

Tuesday 20 October 2009

This 'n' that.

Had a lovely evening with my daughter and friends making a Christmas decoration. I will post a photo of it tomorrow when it is dry. The kitchen looks like winter is here with glitter everywhere!
This afternoon was spent stitching the lining onto the pieces for making my 'rust' vessel. I am saving the construction of it to take to mums next weekend, so that I have got some hand stitching.
I have also started cutting my next lino print for exercise three. I was very undecided as to what pattern I wanted to create. After the weekend at Missenden, I have decided to use something from the 60's as my inspiration.

Monday 19 October 2009


It was a busy night in our household. While I was at our Embroiderers' Guild A.G.M, Kezzy was getting enrolled at the A.T.C's. (Air Traing Corps) Alan said she did well and didn't fluff her words.
She was very disappointed to be sent home from her Duke of Edinburgh Award camp at the weekend because of problems with her knees on the hike. She has been told that she can have another go in April, I am taking her to the doctor on Monday to get her knees checked out as the problem keeps stopping her from doing anything too energetic.
I have not manged to get much stitching done today, finished stitching the lining at last for my rust vessel, I had found it hard deciding what stitch pattern to do. Also did a bit of colouring on one of the design sheets I did at Missenden which I forgot to photo and post yesterday.
When Nickie and I were at Missenden, we saw these great Pentel brush pens being used. Well, we had to have one, with one of these in your hands you can draw! As Nickie's personal shopper, I managed to source them at a local art shop and saved £3 per pen on the price I was given from another art dealer.
Off to Craft Arena for Nickie on Wednesday as she needs some chiffon scarves.


Having had such a good weekend at Missenden, I have just booked for Nickie and I to go back for Hilary's final course in June. We would have loved to do her course in February, but we need to watch the pennies!
It is Embroiderers' Guild tonight and our AGM, so off to do some paperwork. Instead of having a speaker we are doing a show 'n' tell.

Sunday 18 October 2009

Shaken out of my comfort zone.

What a great way to start my half term holiday, than a weekend at Missenden. Nickie and I were on a course with Hilary Bower. It was a bit of a shock to find we were in 'the big girls' class. Apart from one other lady, everyone knew each other and had been coming for years. We started the evening off with drawing natural objects or getting on with a project that you had on the go. While everyone was busy, Hilary started going round giving tutorials. She is a very perceptive lady and summed Nickie up very quickly, showing her the link between her work that she hadn't realised!

This is the dear little cottage that Nickie and I stayed in to save the drive backwards and forwards to my mothers. Anne was a lovely lady and made us very welcome.
I just love the beehive in the front garden!Nickie had a problem setting the alarm on her phone yesterday, it went off far too early so she went for a walk across the fields behind the cottage. This morning I woke up to a lovely sunrise, what a good start to the day!

I have never seen a well like this one.
Gillsew and Art Van Go came to the Abbey yesterday, and I found a few different bits to experiment with.

This model railway enthusiast (he was on a model engine building course) was phoning home to find out if his wife wanted any threads, isn't he well trained?

In our lunch hour we had to go to Rainbow Silks, it would be rude not too! I found these lovely fibres and a stencil.

One of the design exercises was to draw with a charcoal on a stick, Nickie enjoyed this and had two attempts at it.
After my tutorial, it was suggested that instead of continuing to work on the natural objects, I use some of my 60's fabric images and draw those instead- aaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!
This is the finished artwork, I then had to tear or cut it. So, after photo copying it, in positive and negative, the image with the white background was cut up and I decided to stick it onto black card. I them had to draw into it. I was really surprise how much I enjoyed this exercise, cant wait to do some more. I now want to paint this design onto fabric and embroider and embellish it. Watch this space.
What to do next? Cut up positive and negative images and weave together Very 60's! After another tutorial, my challenge is to TRY and put famous faces of the 60's into the pattern. I am not sure if I am clever enough to do this. As the photo copier was playing up today, I could not start on this.

Nickie and I had a good journey home, no hold ups on the M25, and planning projects all the way back to Essex!