Sunday, 27 April 2014

Did it!

Yay, I managed to take a decent picture with the Kindle!    Now I have a painful hand from trapping it in a drawer... don't ask. 

So this was my afternoon.  I finished off the Lace Mandala.   I thoroughly enjoyed putting this together,  I will be looking for more lace to cut up.  The dylusion experiment continued, I added more dylusion and redipped the lace,  some I left overnight, they are the darkest.  I used some ric rac to define the circles, finishing off with the lace border.  Now I have to start the cutting for the next one.   I'm hoping they give us a large canvas, otherwise my idea may not work.   Had news on the camera,  well sort of, word has been passed onto the tutors to see if they picked it up, fingers crossed.

Another decent sleep last night,  I did wake up but managed to go right back to sleep and snoozed on till 6.30, had breakfast in bed (again, very decadent) and continued my snooze until 9.30.  Then it was up and at em,  kind of.  First task was to tackle mountain of ironing, that was after I'd woken up with my usual two cups of tea and a peruse of the crossword.   And boy was there a lot of ironing, most of my summer togs had been in the wash for a freshen up, plus bedding.  Next job was to dye my hair, I'd left it au natural,  or greyish,  but I decided yesterday that I should go back to the hair dye.  So I have gone pink!   Just joking,  its dark blonde,  much more me,   tho it is a bit darker than I thought, but it has some nice highlights.   Then it was bacon butty time, well earned after all that activity,  also needed the energy to do all the washing up.  I can never figure out how one person can end up with a pile of dirty dishes.   With all that done, I enjoyed a mini walk to corner shop, saw the Liverpool fans heading for the pub, wondered whether to shout 'come on Chelsea',  perhaps not.  And then it was back to the craft table,  everything was dry having been left in the sun,  so it was out with the glue to put it all together.   It is now hanging in my bedroom.  The intention is set,  so I will start meditating upon it.

All for now, hope you've all had an enjoyable weekend.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

What a plonker..

Me that is,  for leaving my camera behind at art therapy!     I felt sure I'd put it into my bag, but I was a bit flustered.   I'd not had a very good few days, and was very tired from lack of sleep, the class perked me up,  but the brain was very definitely NOT in gear.  I left a little early, so I am hoping that someone saw it and is keeping it safe. 

It is frustrating to be without a camera,  yes I have the phone but no cable to upload them.  Kindle has a front facing camera,  which makes is very awkward to take pictures!  

I did manage this,  my lace,  drying after being dipped in dylusions and water.  Yes you are asking yourself why...

Well the new project for art therapy is to make a mandala.  On Thursday we made a collective one, and had I remembered to put the camera back in my bag you could have seen the lovely pics I took!  Next week we begin to make our individual mandalas.   I wanted to really make a mandala as they should be made, with reverance and that it has an intention.    I was wondering what to use, I don't want to simply use paint,  and whilst getting dressed I spotted the piece of lace on my craft desk.  I took a more careful look at it and realised I could cut it into sections,  rather like you can with the Tattered Lace dies.   So I began experimenting,  well after I'd got my shopping!   I came up with three patterns,  then had to consider how to colour them, and what colours I'd use.  The use of colour in a mandala is important,  each colour expresses something.  I chose Blue - for emtional healing, inner peace and meditation,  Green - for love, intuition,  Purple - spiritual.    The dylusions worked a treat,  I had to experiment to see which ratio of dylusion to x parts water worked best, and I could make them a little darker.   

I had a square canvas, so I drew two circles, and have begun to form the pattern.  It was immensely satisfying.   I've go another idea for the one I'll do in class, and for that I need to get the Grand Calibur out!   Ooh, glad I did this blog, cos the rest of the idea for the second one has come to me, now need also to cut a lot of letters!   I am going to be seriously challenged methinks.

I went to the follow up class to art therapy, I just popped in to introduce myself,  didn't have any ideas as to what I wanted to do, and wasn't sure I was in the mood to stay for the whole class.  I'd been edgy all day,  I'd almost decided not to go, only my friend rang to say she was.  I'm glad she did as I needed to get over the hurdle of actually getting myself there.   The tutor was lovely, she could see that I was ill at ease, so we had a chat and she told me not to feel silly, and that everyone worries.  Actually everyone was very nice, I got offered sweets, tea and some scrumptious looking choccie biscuits.  At least now I know the etiquette,  bring choc biscuits, sweets etc.  I will go next week, and I'll stay. 

I had a much better night last night, slept all the way through till 6,  had breakfast in bed, and snoozed on till 8.30, a result!    Just had a relaxing day,  think that was all I needed. So just a supermarket trip,  not as mad as last week,  in fact very civilised.   Just had to deal with an idiot driver on the way home who decided to slam on at the zebra crossing,  no idea why, a woman had appeared to walk towards it,  I'd noticed her but then I could see she was waiting to use the ATM.   So shopping got sent all over the back of the car!   At home I could only find one bottle of wine...  now how could a bottle of wine disappear in a car?   Checked under the seats, nope, not there...  had I left in supermarket, nope, remembered packing the two bottles into the bag.   Had a cup of tea, some lunch and tried again... it was there, it had somehow found its way over to the passenger side and was nestling under the front passenger seat.  Phew, crisis averted. 

So this week will be thin on blogging...  hope normal service will be resumed on Thursday when I get my camera back.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Another day, another picture

I sat down early at my craft desk.  The canvas was already prepped,  now I just had to sort out what was going to go on it.   I'd had this postcard, it came with some stamps, and I've never known how to use it.  So that was to be the main focus,  just needed to find what would enhance it,  felt that less would be more.  So after trying bits and bobs I'd nailed it all down, well not literally.  

Next task, to make a blue poppy.  I took a bit more time with it,  going for soft shades, and remembering to curl the petals!

And here is the finished pic.  I dry brushed some white onto the blue, used a scrap of decopatch,  painted a flourish blue, then gave it a coat of glossy accents,  cut the birds on a wire, and added the sentiment:

Memories make what we are
Dreams make what we'll be

Which I got off an internet site.  At first I tried the TH words, but couldn't find all the words I need in white!  So just printed it onto some card. 
Already planning the next pic! 

Thought I'd share some close ups of the embellishments I got yesterday. They are by DoCrafts,  I thought they were plain, but in fact they have some lovely detail on the reverse side.  I've taken a liking to these wooden embellishments, and are reasonably priced.

These are the keys and padlocks, just chipboard but that means lots of scope for decoration.   

I had a busy day today,  up early,  but I had a decentish night's sleep.  I tackled some ironing, not all of it, I've risked getting out the summer togs,  all the T shirts need ironing!   After that I cleaned the car, with my new spray and go, well that is what I'm calling it. Just spray the stuff on, and wipe it off, and the car is clean.  Brilliant, beats all that washing lark.  I also had to give some of the outdoor plants a drink,  sadly one rose bush has died, or it is dying, I'll have to take it out.  No idea what has happened to it.  Everything else has come back, even one plant that I really thought was dead has bounced back.   I'll have to think about bedding plants soon, do I chance some busy lizzies?     Have no idea if I am getting a new fence,  no doubt the first I will know about it is when they turn up to do the job.    

Well all for now,  thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Oh dear...

The new Hobbycraft opened today.  I was hoping to be there early, but those plans were scuppered by my Housing association who needed to look at my central heating... so had to wait in.   Luckily they turned up at 11, and only took ten minutes, bad news is that they need to replace the boiler, bother! 

So it was off to Hobbycraft! The place was packed, as was the car park.  I had a good mooch about, and picked up a few bits, two packs of decopatch, two dies, couple of packs of embellishments, some TH stuff, and a pot of black embossing powder.   The dies I got are at the front of the picture, I've got two birds on a wire stamps, but still liked the die,  then I spotted the Susan's garden die by Sizzix,  just couldn't resist this.

Here it is opened, I was impressed that it had instructions and the handy pocket.  The dies cut really well, and it has all you need to make the flower.  There was also a rose, which I'll get next time. 

I cut it using white card, then used my promarkers to colour it.  I may also try painting one to see which works best, but I was very happy with the results.  Not use the bird on a wire die yet... but will get round to it soon.

I could have spent a fortune,  my one gripe with them is that they have none of the recognised glues, or many stamp sets, love to see Indigo Blu and others in their stores. 

This is the finished flower,  the colouring needs work, but I was being impatient. 

I won't be deserting my other craft shop, they are more specialised and offer me more choice in stamps, ink pads etc.   I'll be going back, but when it is a bit quieter. 

Feeling excited about the next art therapy project,  it is making a mandala!  I'm partly responsible for the choice,  because of my glass painting, and cos I'd showed the tutors a book I'd got on them,  that proved inspirational to one of the tutors who bought it.  Now I can't wait.

Feeling much better now,  mood has really improved and I've had a bit more energy,  helped by getting some sleep.  All for now, hope to have more pics tomorrow.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Seriously challenged.

The swap challenge for this month (in our online craft group) was this prompt: Art for a Cause.  The idea came from Journal 92, and I suggested it to our group.  So what happened?  My mind went blank!  So I did what I usually do, pushed to the back of my mind until the deadline was looming and hope I got an idea.  

I did finally get an idea, to make a tag for CRUSE, the organisation for the bereaved as they do fantastic work.  I even went as far as making the tag using the new set of stamps from Get Stamping. I toyed with a few layouts, and the stamps, I was semi happy with this but it wasn't grabbing me.  Though you can see it is a lovely set of stamps.  So it was back to the drawing board, this tag could be used if I failed to come up with any other ideas.  Luckily my depression kicked in,  yes odd thing to say, but it reminded me of MIND, and then in the paper today there was an article on them, so took that as a sign and got cracking.

First task was the capture the slogan that MIND are going to use in a campaign:  Time to Change. So it was obvious - a clock.   I had the Tando shapes,  and chose this alarm clock, which I painted with the decoart metallics, then added some black stones.  That was set aside to dry, while I thought about the background and colour.   I chose to stick with a tag,  there was some nice blue card laying around, and white card, then I spotted a strip of washables...  right that was the card sorted.  Now it needed to be altered, embossed and stamped on.

I used a range of stamps, Indigo Blu,  and a Kaiser background stamp, did toy with the notion of some TH stamps, had them handy just in case.   I did second generation stamping with a Versamark archival inkpad.  Then I used some distress inks, two blues and a yellow, just randomly as was my fancy.

It was looking good,  I trimmed the washables, cutting round one edge of the diamonds.    Tag is 20cm by 11cm.  Then it was time for a cuppa, and to think about what to put on it.  I also got caught up in an FB conversation with a friend, she was feeling a bit down, she's often come to my rescue so I was happy to return the favour, and we ended up arranging to have coffee next week.

Then it was back to the tag... what would look good on it?  A flourish,  maybe, I had the clock,  it didn't need too much...

Sorted, two hinges, one big and one small.  I covered them with white embossing powder to make them stand out. Then added a few gems to represent the screws.  It was starting to develop nicely.  Next task, to sort through my 'letters',  now in a small drawer, just had to hope that I had all the letters in the right colours.   It took a while but I managed to get all the letters, phew.  Time to put it together.

Fiddliest bit was sticking the letters on, and of course trying to keep them straight.  Just abotu managed it.  Yep, like this, I punched a hole and found some nice yellow ribbon. 

Funny, I don't use yellow much in my work, but it made a nice change.   The blue and yellow match my mood,  it has been very up and down for the last week.  At the weekend the wheels came off, and I had a real downer.   It was caused by my increased anxiety at having to get my unfit note renewed.  I made an appointment on Friday, but when I arrived at the surgery I realised the doctor on duty was the one who'd upset me last time, so I cancelled the appointment.  I was lucky that the staff know me, and know that I am not prone to cancel appointments like that.  So I had to go back, and of course in the back of my mind was the prospect of having to see this doctor, he is a locum, I had to hope that my usual doctor would be on duty come Monday.  I just let myself get wound up.

On Monday, after a sleepless night, and looking like death warmed up I was back at the surgery, luckily it was my usual doctor. He was lovely,  and very caring, we had a nice chat, I asked for more counselling and he was happy to grant my wish.  And he gave my my unfit note with no problem or silly platitudes like the other idiot.   The afternoon should have been pleasant as I was booking on an art therapy outing, but I was so tired and still wound up that I didn't enjoy it.  I couldn't join in the chat,  just had no energy.   Then I panicked, remembered that my note was due on the 11th, and it was the 14th, did the unfit note have the right date?   I had to get home,  yep it had the wrong date, back to surgery, left note for doctor to change.   More worry,  phone call at 6pm, receptionist telling me that my note was in date, no change was needed, thanked her profusely.   Today I woke up refreshed, took some Nytol last night, desperately needed some sleep.   With the sun shining I decided to head out for a walk, had to post a few letters,  so off I went.  Felt much better for being out in the sun and fresh air. Sadly my back wasn't agreeing, it didn't like all this nonsense and soon began complaining. 

Oh the last pic, well I couldn't resist using the topper as I like the sentiment, so I put it on the back of the tag, I used blue card and it was embossed with folder.   And there you go.  Stuck in tomorrow, have to wait for a man to come look at my fence, then on Thursday had to wait for another man to come assess my central heating.  Hope the latter isn't late as I want to go to the new Hobbycraft.

All for now folks, enjoy the sunshine, it isn't going to last!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Art for arts sake

The other day I was prepping a canvas  and I flipped it over and thought - why not use the back?  So I did! 

I had to prep it all first,  and decide what sort of picture I'd do. I had some shells, so I played with them to see what pictures I could make with them, they made perfect flowers. My next dilemma was how to disguse the nasty bits,  cardboard!   I cut some strips of cardboard to form a frame, then mitred the corners - I even remembered to number them so I'd know what went were.   Then I had to leave it for a day as I had made arrangements to meet up with a friend.  It was no bad thing as it meant the canvas would be nice and dry.

So today I was back at my craft desk.  My first task was to strip back the cardboard and paint it.  I wanted the picture to be  light, so I chose a cream, with gold and white, and used a dry brush technique.  They were left to dry while I masked the canvas.  I wanted to just use a small area.  I used the same cream and then dry brushed on some white.  Next I had to arrange the shells into flowers, for the stems I twisted 3 strands of gold wire together.   And the finishing touch was the two butterflies.  This will be hanging in the living room.

I went to the Tate in Liverpool yesterday.  We had lunch first, now they used to have a really lovely restaurant, note the past tense!   Now they sell overpriced sandwiches,  and some hot food.   We went round the exhibits,  I don't mind modern art, in fact I like much of it, what I don't like is being insulted, and some of it was very insulting.   I think I can't paint, but when I see stuff like I did yesterday then I think - I can paint!  There were other works that, well, didn't work,  we discussed what we'd do with the various bits,  other stuff just made me laugh because it was all so high and mighty.   I see better art work on many facebook pages, and from my friends.  I'm always reminded of the line in the Dire Straits Song: Up in the Gallery,  it goes:  He took and empty canvas and stuck it on a wall. Someone did, and some idiot bought it for a few thousand pounds, like the Emporer's new clothes. 

I've also got some disruption to look forward to,  apparently our housing association are upgrading the central heating - joy.   They fitted a new system in my neighbours flat,  only took them a day and they made no mess, just hope they do the same here.  I also asked for a new fence,  which they dithered about,  it is their property,  and the fence is over 30 years old, and unlike some tenants we've looked after the flat.

I'll have to find something else to do tomorrow.  

Sunday, 6 April 2014


Today it was back to the box.  I'd 'finished' it, and yesterday my armchair arrived, so it was complete.  Except.... I wasn't happy with it.  So guess what - I started again!   Well it was partly the fault of the armchair, the one I liked is a bit big....  so things had to be changed in the box.  So I stripped it right back, gave it coat of gesso, then papered it, and left it to dry overnight.

I was at my craft desk at 11.30,  very early for me, but that was because I'd woken up at a stupid hour - again!    I watched Barbara Gray, whilst ironing, was washed and dressed before 10,  then had brunch at 11, two veggie sausages, they were delicious!

So with the box dry I chose to do some stamping, my mum loved flowers and she always wanted a garden. So I used my Sheena stamps on one side and the back, and on the other side used the Clarity bird house.  I did debate whether to use coloured stamps, or to use the promarkers, but I stuck with monochrome.  It was starting to shape up now.  Next I needed to do some measuring, and fit in the pretty pin paper on the inside of the box.  Then it all got a coat of a gloss medium.   Time for a cuppa while it dried, and a peek at the Davis Cup, oh dear...

Next step was to sort out the shelf, the first box had two shelves, but with the armchair and little table I could only have one shelf.  I put together a new shelf,  and fitted the supports.  Then went digging in my toolbox for a hacksaw!   Toolbox is in cloakroom, and is buried under my stash...   Needed the hacksaw for some cutting, you'll see why in a moment...

And here we have the living room - not.  This si the bottom of the box, now resplendent with armchair and coffee table.  Oh on top of the coffee table is a box of wool, needles and some patterns, so cute!  There were even a pair of teeny tiny scissors which I glued onto the sewing machine.   I love that armchair,  wouldn't mind a normal sized one. I put the war time evacuee on the side, she was on a card that was sent to me.  I gave her a coat of clear utee to protect her.   I can imagine my mum looking like that when she was young.

Drum roll please.... the box!   Still have some stuff to stick on the outside, a few pics and words, poetry etc.  and put the handle back on.   The little gold badge is from the International Garden festival which was held in Liverpool in 1984.  I think we pretty much spent the summer at the garden festival, it was just so beautiful.   Mum loved going,  the site was huge, so there was always something new to see,  I took loads of pictures.  I may use some on the box.

So why all these things, I could have just stuck with photos. Well I wanted things that would remind me of my mum, she was always knitting, mostly toys as she got older.  And liked sitting in her armchair, I am going to put in a window on side as she was also nosy!  The sewing machine was in our bedroom,  the one I shared with mum and my sister, while my brother and dad had the other.  Yep that is what you did back then,  mum tried to get a council house for years, and only succeeded when my aunt (who lived in the upstairs bit of the house) became too ill.   Mum was happy to have her own home at last, she took great pride in it.  We lived on a new council estate,  it was nice when we first went, but as the years passed so the estate began to do downhill.   Mum became depressed,  and because we'd all moved out, she was able to downsize - she was so eager to move that we did so on Boxing Day!    I was home on leave, having had a car accident, and I was on crutches,  so I wasn't able to do much.   It was a day none of us ever wished to repeat.    So that is my box,  I'll keep adding bits to it during the week.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 4 April 2014

That Friday feeling

Yes, once again I was up before the birds.  Tried going back to sleep,  gave up and got up.  An hour later, after tidying up the kitchen I was washing net curtains and cleaning windows.  Well that did for my wrist... sat down, had a cup of coffee, indulged in an episode of MASH and The Waltons, then for some inexplicable reason I chose to steam clean the carpet, like my wrist and back weren't hurting enough.  But,  but... the carpet is looking clean!  Even managed to get rid of the spot where mum used to rest her feet, the pile was so flat... but I teased it all up.  So I have half a carpet that looks clean,  need to build up some energy for to do the next half. 

After that I felt I deserved some time at my craft table.  My current mixed media picture is ongoing.   Had art therapy yesterday, so I've not touched the picture since Tuesday.  This is how it looked then, just with stuff plonked on top of it.  This was me working out what worked and what didn't.  Liked the colour,  loved the bits of paper and cardboard,  not sure about the other bits.  Oh the organge bird house wasn't going to stay orange,  I was only seeing if it fitted.    More thinking time was needed....

Fast forward to today. Looking different,  bird house has gone,   not much is actually stuck down, so I am still at the playing stage.  And even what is stuck down can be removed.  This ain't working...   back to the drawing board!   I'm stuck between two ideas, so once I decide which one I'm going with then I'll be happy.  Think that is why I am feeling the need to clean things! 

Going to change the curtains in the living room, need some brightness in there.   Art Therapy was good,  many of the memory boxes were almost finished, we all had a few finishing touches to do to them, only two were unfinished.  One chap hadn't even made much of an effort,  in fact he hadn't made much of an effort in any of the workshops, he even said so.   I'm trying not to be annoyed with him as all of us in the group have depression, and that is a bastard of an illness. 

I got a few parcels through from ebay,  some TH grungeboard die cuts,  and some stuff for the memory box.  I'm just waiting for one more piece, then I can finish it, and take some photos.   No idea what our next project will be,  I asked one of the tutors, but he said: I have no idea.  I've joined the follow on group,  I start next week.  And I had a talk to one of the tutors yesterday, she'd noticed how 'down' I was.   I was ready for the anniversary, steeled myself for Mother's Day, but hadn't given much thought to the funeral date,  and that seems to have affected me the most.  I'm picking up now,  got things to keep me busy this weekend, number one being the picture!  

Thanks for stopping by to listen to my ramblings.... have a good weekend.