Monday, 23 April 2012

Been Doing My Homework

But first I had to make a journal to put my homework in.  Whilst I love making journals I think it's probably more of a reaction to when I was at university and we were told what size sketchbook to use and we weren't allowed to decorate them which was crazy beings as we were doing a creative degree.  Enough said, rant over.

The theme for this term's embroidery class is Summer so I immediately thought of gardens (and daytrips to cemeteries) so I used pages from old gardening books and some of my stash of floral wallpapers.

I began playing around with fabric transfer paints.  When I was in class a stray thread had got in the way of the transfer but I liked the happy accident so decided to explore that further, using threads, lace and gauze as masks.

 I also painted a clematis design and transferred that to cream poly-cotton fabric, ready to embroider. 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Journals in Progress

I'm working on a little journal in which there are five sections, one for each of my cats. So when someone says 'Do you have any photos?' I'll be able to whip out my little decorated journal, well, that's the theory, my handbag is already full to bursting most of the time. It is based on my recollections of a tag book I saw online a while ago but I forgot to note the link. So if you recognise it let me know and I'll link it.

I was then looking at the small scraps of watercolour paper I had left over from a making another journal. If I folded them I would have a very tiny signature indeed so I decided to make fabric spines for them.

I just have to figure out a way of binding them and attaching a cover that doesn't cover up the fabric as I rather like it showing.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Trip to London

I've been endulging my passion for victorian gothic cemeteries again, this time with a trip to Nunhead in London. One of the magnificent seven cemeteries that ring the capital. (Only another 3 to do, Norwood, Abney Park and Tower Hamlets and I'll have visited them all).

As with the others I've visited they have seen better days. There are lots of trees that have been allowed to grow up and disturb the graves, alot of vandalism and neglect but this cemetery still has a lovely, calm, peaceful feel to it. I could have stayed here all day, soaking up the atmosphere and the sunshine.

It was like walking through a woodland only there were gravestones everywhere. Green parrots and jays were chattering and flashing their plumage high in the canopy. Ivy scrambles everywhere and spring flowers adorned banks and graves alike.

Nunhead is high up and there were clear views over St Pauls and the London Eye from certain parts of the cemetery.

In this cemetery there were not that many angels when compared to say Highgate or Brompton but I still managed to find some and get some photos for my journal.

After Nunhead we headed back into the city and made our way to Somerset House on the banks of the Thames to see the installation of thousands of ceramic flowers. They made a really stunning display.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Catching up with Billyboy and friends

All that blogging yesterday and I didn't mention my boys once - shock, horror. That will never do, so without further ado may I present little Billyboy!

He's having a bit of trouble out on the mean streets and in the garden, some cat is picking on him and he ended up at the vets with an abcess under his chin. I think the expression says it all, he's ready to leap from the basket, invincible now he's had his shot of antibiotics. Let me at him!

I thought I'd try to capture a few spring shots in the garden but this is the only one he'd pose for

then he was off, too much to do to be posing.

Someone mention posing??! Is the camera on? Point it my way!

Merlin is always up for a pose, pass the shades please :)

The big old boy, Mickey, is notoriously difficult to photograph as he is mostly curled up like a big russian hat, snoring but managed to catch him showing his fangtastic side with a cat nip bag.

Is it safe to come out yet? Hutch is still shy and nervous but he's slowly getting more adventurous.

He's a super old boy, cheeky in a very quiet way and keeps me company watching the tv at night. Absolutely loves his cat milk and he very nearly runs for it, he just manages a quick waddle, he really is a complete pudding of a cat.

Archie was 4 last weekend and continues to be a delight and a total gent. I still can't believe someone abandoned him, he's a super cat.

Talking of abandoning things, the needlepoint cushion at the back of Billyboy was put in a rag bag for disposal! Ok, it has a small stain on the velvet back but really! Luckily my sister-in-law knows how I love recycling old fabrics and saved it for me.

I was going to applique the floral design to a denim skirt but then thought it would look good on the cat chair in the garden room.

I'm still collecting flower paintings for the garden room, getting quite a collection now, but still plenty of wall space to go :)

A quick shot out of the french doors from the garden room. A lot of tidying and prettying up needed in the garden but lots of plants coming up, bursting forth. I'm hoping to spend some time out there at the weekend when hopefully I'll have finished decorating the bathroom. Gosh I ache, some of the positions I've had to get into today to paint behind the bath you wouldn't believe, lol. Hope you've enjoyed this furry update, happy purrs till next time!!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Pssst........ like a sneaky peek?

My other journal is really turning into a labour of love. It's getting even fatter but I don't think it's ready for binding just yet. I thought I'd share just a few pages with you.

I want to use this journal to house some of the many photographs I've taken of cemetery angels and gravestones. Another trip planned soon to Nunhead, one of the big seven Victorian gothic cemeteries that ring London! Can't wait, hope it's a bright sunny day :)

My New Journal

I've made myself a journal in the Full Tilt Boogie class run by Mary Ann Moss. She is one lovely lady, full of great tips and humour and she really gets you going, hence the title. So in no time at all I whipped up this journal.

I love the recycling aspect in her classes. For this journal I used the covers from an old sunday school book that was falling apart. It was dated 1907 and had been awarded to some lucky lad for good attendance.

I used old book pages from books found in charity shops; a gardening encyclopedia, a book on cottage garden flowers, old song books, floral scrapbooking paper and pages from an old Sarah Raven gardening catalogue - she always has such wonderful plant photography in them.

I really like taking old pages and fashioning them into something new.

I left some pages short so I can add papers, photos or embroidery to it in the future. Incidentally my next embroidery class has the theme of summer so I might use this journal as my sketchbook for it, with it's wonderful flower pictures already in there to give me some stitching inspiration.

I also used pages from an old teachers book, which had this pre-raphelite image in there as a descriptive english exercise for the children.
I hope these pages give you a flavour of the journal.

The binding took time but was really easy to understand so I can see alot more of these journals being crafted in the future.

Well, where do I begin?

How about with something I've finished. I made this little needlecase for a friend's birthday and now I want one! I got the idea from this little one on the Angel Eden blog

Think I might make myself a matching pin cushion as well - watch this space :)

I've been enjoying my embroidery night class and particularly the needle felting. I just love painting with the felts, such saturated colours and I had a bit of a play with this piece. It's been such a fun class that I've signed up for the 10 weeks after easter as well when we'll be learning different ways to put images onto fabric.

Ok..... a rather strange, non-descript photo you might think but I'm just so excited! My very own freemotion/darning foot, on my machine!!! I really thought I would have to save up my pennies and buy a new machine but then I met a wonderfully knowledgeable man at Fabric Guild and he found me a new foot. No stopping me now, I can write, well ok it's more like a scrawl for now, with it. I really love the look of sewing machine 'hand-writing' and hope to incorporate it into my journals.

Now a work in progress. I finally stripped back and old lampshade and have wrapped the frame in fabric.

I need a new lampshade for the dining room and I have a vague recollection of seeing a lampshade frame covered in rags, sorry I can't remember where. But I like that because then I don't have anything to follow and I can just get on with doing my own thing. I'm back at the pondering stage now, I could
  • make some yoyos and use them like flowers on it
  • make some fabric birds
  • string some beads and dangly bits such as glass chandalier pieces
  • or a mixture of all three

I'm not sure yet so in the meantime

I've been getting on with decorating the bathroom. Here I am trying out different arrangements for the floral china display I'm going to have on the wall in there. I knew there was a reason I was collecting it, lol. 'Country Living' photos of the bathroom to follow when I've finished it. Why does it always take longer than you think, still all the emulsion now done - white and Paradise Green (yummy colour honest) on the woodwork to do now, oh and the curtains, and another coat on the floor and something dangly and sparkly on the lightfitting I think. Hope you've all been doing something nice this Easter!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Have a Happy Easter Folks

Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy
Just popping by to wish everyone a very Happy Easter wherever you are! I'm decorating my bathroom, a fairly typical bank holiday past time, lol, but then I hope to get on with some other creative goodies :)