Featured Artist!

Do you ever do anything on the spur of the moment?  Is there ever a time you’ve woken up and decided ‘yep, I’m going to do this today!’? 

Well, I did just that on Saturday.  I woke up and announced to my youngest that we were going on a train.  She didn’t react with the same kind of enthusiasm: ‘But, I’m busy!’ she groaned, not even bothering to ask where the train was heading. With a little … OK a lot of persuasion … we caught the train with five minutes to spare and she finally cheered up when we arrived at our destination two and a half hours later in Portsmouthnd I managed to squeeze a drawing in, using my 6″ x 6″ sketchbook on the return journey.

  
 We were met with glorious weather and a bear hug from her big sister.  She bounced out of the station and took you straight to a massive ice cream parlour.

   
 It’s been an exciting week.  Not only was I featured in an eco e-magazine sharing about my art and creativity using natural products for painting and my passion for recycling, upcycling and using items found around my home to create, but I am this week the featured artist over on an amazing Facebook group site called DoodleArt 😀

How did this happen?  Well, I posted one of my forty-five minute doodles of my OH and the cat, Nikon onto the page challenge: portraits.  It was selected as receiving being among the top three with the most ‘likes’.  The group runs a different challenge a month, so there’ll be a new challenge set on June 1st.

The irony of the icecream parlour visit and eating in a restaurant, aptly named Giraffe, was that my latest doodle depicted both icecreams and a giraffe all painted using naturally made inks from coffee, tea and strawberries!

  

Advertisements

Elephants Never …

Good morning everyone!  Have you ever had to do something in secret?  Have you ever had to go ‘undercover’?

image

Yesterday was Mother’s Day in the UK and sadly I didn’t get to see my own mother.  But it got me thinking this morning about the time i helped a neighbour secretly arrange a surprise birthday party for her.  In the week leading up to my mum’s birthday, I made my excuses and popped around to my neighbour, Sheila’s (who incidentally told me she’d always wanted a little girl, but couldn’t), to bake.  In previous posts, I’ve revealed that I dislike cooking, mainly because my mum was a qualified chef and a perfectionist.  Anything I did had to be perfect, so I didn’t like baking cakes with her …

in the space of a week, Sheila and I prepared trifles, traybakes (flapjack), a birthday cake and savouries so colourful that there was no need for a table cloth!  I faced the complaints by my mum as I kept asking to go over to Sheila’s.  We fell out over it, but I couldn’t tell her what we were really up to.  That’s a hard thing to do when you’re ten years old!

On the day itself, my mum had to eat her words (she’d said some spiteful things in that week) and I watched as her mouth fell open in amazement when she saw the spread of food.  It was a good celebration, but I still hate baking!

Hurtful words linger and dig deep; they create invisible scars.

One person posted a quote and image on Facebook (the social networking site is usually littered with them).  I’m not sure where it originated, but on a search, it informs me that it was written by ‘Anonymous’

“One day someone is going to hug you so tight that all your broken pieces will stick back together.”

I wish I could have hugged my mum yesterday, especially after the weekend I’ve just had.  I hope she’s enjoying her holiday.

Random Craft Swap

How much do you love receiving gifts in the mail? Do you clutch the unopened envelope for ages and try and guess what’s inside? What about receiving something handcrafted? The person sending has taken a lot of thought into creating something special and unique. They’ve considered what the other person might like. When I started on a craft to swap I went over to Gladeridercrafts blogger’s page – check it out as there’s some gorgeous stitching on there! We did a random craft swap this week and I was so excited when my craft packet arrived.

IMG_4670

Isn’t it lovely? Thank you so much Gladeridercrafts 🙂

Also this week, I opened the post at work to find my OH had sent me a large padded envelope with the word fragile written on it! I would never have guessed what was inside…a box of Matchmakers – I love these chocolates!

It made me giggle just like a few years ago when I had a postie calling card to collect a packet from the depot. When I arrived with my ID, the postman looked at me apologetically as he handed over the mail.
‘Should it feel like that?’ He asked.
I admit it did feel as though the contents had smashed. Also, as I hadn’t ordered or been expecting anything, I had no idea what it was. The contents shifted and chinked beneath the padded envelope. I gulped.
Finally, As I sat in the car, I opened the packet to find 200 buttons of all different colours (nothing broken or smashed) inside. Lovely!

So, what have I posted out this week? Well two lucky people received handprinted fabric goodies: an ATC

IMG_4672
and an expanding notebook

IMG_4671

That was fun 😀

Pepper foam stamps

This was interesting: carve into a foam cube and hope it looks like something once ink has been applied!
I chose to do a set of peppers. One whole one; one cut in half plus some chilli peppers. On another side I also sketched out some peppers growing among leaves, but for now this seems a bit complicated to cut out with the tool I have available.

2015/01/img_4540.jpg
Will share some more pictures tomorrow, but before I say goodnight, how about this for making prints

2015/01/img_4295.jpg
My daughter didn’t seem all that impressed when I asked if I could borrow her shoes to do some prints of the sole!

2015/01/img_4304.jpg
This imprint was spotted this morning on my driveway after a frosty start. I think it would be a bit excessive to remove a car tyre just to make a Gelli print. What do you think?

Drawing and story a day #3

Ever forgotten something on a really important day? How about forgetting to put a 35mm film in the camera for your engagement party? We did. Many years ago my father gave me a Fujica camera for my birthday while studying for my ‘A’ Level art and design. He’s an avid photographer who likes to do nature shots of flowers and he’s got a multitude of boat pictures in his collection of slides and displayed in photo albums.
When it came to the momentous occasion of doing a studio photo shoot for my future husband, one of the 35mm reels of film jammed in the camera and without a darkroom, my future father-in-law thought he was being helpful by opening up the back (big no-no as the light destroys the film). Both my boyfriend and I stood mouth agape at the unravelled roll dangling from the back of the camera like the intestines of a cadaver during autopsy.
Later, during our engagement party, we snapped away photo after photo of the cake and the riotous game of skittles only to find that we’d forgotten to include a camera film when it was too late. The drawing of the Fujica camera was an attempt at creating a picture without removing the fineliner pen from the page. There were occasions when I did have to lift the pen though, such as for the lettering to be readable! It was tricky gauging the right dimensions and trying to keep to scale (reason for wonky lens).

20150104-212209-76929654.jpg
My son, now also an avid photographer, enjoys using the Canon and I’ve watched him create and delete photos he’s not happy with and I’ve observed the glee on his face when he’s captured that perfect moment: sunsets and portraits, deer feeding while surrounded by ground frost. I wonder how he’d get on with a 35mm film in a camera where you can’t check the shot and then have to wait a fortnight for it to be developed and printed like back in the 80s? I hope he likes the rubber stamp I cut this evening for him. He can use it over and over again on letter heads or business cards … Or he can use the eraser and gradually the camera will fade away! Lol!
Meanwhile camera fans who read this blog might appreciate a photograph of my son’s kitten he named Nikon, after another camera. Here she is playing around with the dismantled Christmas tree …

20150104-215230-78750243.jpg

20150104-215417-78857338.jpg

Wristies – made in an evening

OK, hi everyone! Yesterday was my birthday and what better way to spend it than my DH and daughter taking me to my favourite craft store (with its very own cafe) for breakfast with my son home from uni)?
While we ate, I glanced at the rainbow selection of wool stacked from floor to ceiling and racks of ribbons in every colour under the sun :-). There were yarn bombs decorating the indoor pillars and a delicious variety of books to suit beginners and experts alike. So, what did I buy?
My youngest child wanted me to crochet her some wristies (she’d seen the ones I made earlier in the week). She chose some wool – blue flecked with silver and a grey for the stripe. While she browsed, I flicked through the books. One caught my eye and made me giggle: a book on pipe cleaner pets! Not seen one on that before! I resisted buying the book – for now – but for anyone interested in trying a new craft … It’s also available on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Making-Pipe-Cleaner-Design-Originals/dp/1574215108/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1419136495&sr=8-1&keywords=pipe+cleaner+pets
Maybe this is something to try next year on Squarebird?
I then found some pretty pink and grey yarn which was perfect for my friend. This evening, after watching the indoor sparklers flicker on my birthday cake (bought for me by the colleague I’d made the red wristies for earlier), I crocheted another pair of wristies for my friend.

20141221-044310-16990184.jpg (photo by my daughter)
Now onto making some for my daughter!

20141221-044123-16883061.jpg

Nano journey continues…

Just over 28,000 words and reconsidering the title of my draft novel. It’s definitely a journey and I’m encouraged by the fact my twelve-year-old daughter is inspired. She’s currently on chapter 30+ of a novel she’s writing using the Whatpad app. Her friends can log in and read what she posts daily and comment. They tell her how frustrating it is when she leaves the chapter on a cliffhanger! She’s learning fast. The only snag is she won’t let me read it until it’s finished (I’m hoping it’ll be complete for my birthday in December, but she tells me she has no idea how long it’s going to be).
I wrote my first ‘long’ story when I was ten. It was called Beno. I also began to write a long tale as part of English at school when I was in year 6. There was a number of us chosen in the class to write about an imaginary family. When I joined secondary school, my English teacher organised for me to meet the author, Jean Ure, who went on to read and comment on three chapters of a novel I was writing. I wonder if my youngest child is going to follow suit? She says she wants to be an author … So watch this space 🙂

Getting organised!

This evening, the desk in my son’s freshly painted room was set up and while he’s at university, I’m making good use of it! I set the sewing machine up and finally got around to creating some origami bags out of the fabrics I bought when we visited my son up north. Fabric is sold by the kilo. To me, this was unusual as I am more familiar with fat quarters and fabric by the metre 🙂

20141031-221914-80354541.jpg
There was enough to split the stash and give my mum some – not sure what she will create out of her lot, but I hope to find out when I catch up with her in the week. She knows I’m making items to sell at a craft stall on 15th November, so perhaps she will be able to contribute to the fundraiser in some way…

20141031-222137-80497505.jpg
Nikon decided to watch me sew and now and again would run off with a strip of material!

20141031-222220-80540734.jpg
My fabric envelope turns onto a cute origami bag (there is an earlier blog post of how I made them, if you’d like to find out and have a go yourselves).

20141031-222331-80611752.jpg
This one of my favourite fabrics – retro telephones. I wish I’d bought more of it now…

20141031-222552-80752058.jpg
This is a bag I made a few months ago.
What I like about these origami bags is that when you turn them around the right way you can opt to have several layered pockets on one side or keep it even with pockets both sides. The fabric I bought in Bolton is perfect for bags too as it’s quite stiff and therefore keeps its shape.

Chocolate coins

Christmas has arrived in the shops already and I’m on the look out for textures that might look great on a print. I came across a bag of chocolate coins and wondered whether the embossed detail would be strong enough to be picked up on a gelliprint.
There were issues with the coin wrappings sticking to the brayer as I applied the paint and had more paint on my fingers by the end of the session just by constantly peeling them away from the roller! However, with a bit of determination in the thirty minutes before it got dark, I managed a couple of prints. I think the solution will be glueing the foil wrappings to some card so they lie flat and I can apply the paint to that…we’ll see how that turns out in comparison to this:

20141006-220759-79679780.jpg
The autumn journal word prompt today was ‘might’ – you can see the prompts added daily on Myfanwy’s blog
http://fabrilicious.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/october-6th/
I stretched the word to mighty …a mighty stash of coins. I was reminiscing about the half pennies I used to collect at my Gran’s, using a spherical Smarties tube to hold them. Once the tube was full, we took the collection to the bank and changed the money. I think it was my Gran’s way of teaching my brother and I to save. Meanwhile, my Grandad emptied his pockets of copper coins into a dresser drawer. When we came to visit, we had the fun task of counting the coins and getting to keep whatever amount was in there. It was always a surprise as each visit amounted to a different sum.
I also remember way back going on holiday with my white piggie bank of coins. I obviously was very young as hadn’t learned the value of each coin, so regardless on whether it was a ten pence piece, a two pence piece or even a fifty pence…every coin was worth the same. For instance, I could have had ten coins:
Two x fifty pence (£1) to me: 2
Five x ten pence (50p) to me: 5
Three x five pence (15p) to me:3
Total amount in reality: £1.65
Total I thought it was: 10
It’s funny what I can remember doing and how daft it sounds now, looking back. 🙂

Just the three of us

20141002-224646-82006478.jpg

Two flew the nest
to taste the world
Trekking…expanding their circles.
Each footprint: history in the making.
Dust; confetti from the roads
peppering converses and jeans
between lectures and halls.
A hubbub of new knowledge
ssssstretccccched
down telephone lines and Skype
where chatter explodes. Bitesize
jargon: a foreign tongue to mum.
Three stayed at home; one too young –
waiting to follow fresh footprints.
Two perched on the edge of their seats
waiting for the others to come home.