Monday, 31 December 2012

More Play

 I have been messing about AGAIN ....  I bought this long thin sketchbook from Oliver Twists in the Summer which had a plain grey board cover.  I have been meaning to do something about it ever since I bought it, but you know what it is like.

Whilst up in Yorkshire recently I called in at Embsay and found some small cardboard letters which are just right for collaging with tissue paper.  Having decided on a word I glued the letters to the cover with PVA, covered them with scraps of scrunched kitchen foil, pasted crumpled tissue paper over the rest of the cover and then painted the whole thing with various colours of Acrylic paint, rubbing some of it back whilst wet to expose the colours underneath that had gone into the textured surface.  Once happy, I added some Treasure Gold. It may yet get a final coat of Acrylic Wax to give it a bit more protection.  I use this little book for doodling in and trying out patterns, stamps and techniques.  The disc and tassel are the beginning of experiments to find suitable ways to embellish my pages.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Book Cover

Managed to finish a second book cover over the Christmas period - you can tell how exciting my Christmas was!!  It is decorated using variations of Sorbello stitch and odd pieces of fabric out of my dyeing bag.  Not sure which one of the two covers I will actually use for my 'Travelling Journal' now.

A bit of excitement last Saturday before we drove up to Yorkshire.  There was an heron stood in the flooded stream looking rather forlorn.  Cannot imagine what it was doing as the water was muddy brown so no hope of seeing any fish or crayfish in it.  Suspect it was a young one.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Winter Wonder

I was searching through my stored photographs for something 'Christmassy' and found this image of ice crystals on my car windscreen.  Not sure when I took it, but it could have been last year or the year before that.  Thinking about it .... it could actually be the headlight cover and not the windscreen.  So like feathers.

Worcester Pear

Popped into Worcester on Thursday for a couple of things and remembered to find this piece of sculpture and take a photograph.  You can just see the twinkling stars underneath. There were also some rather splendid larger than life in-flight robins hung from the roof amongst the not so nice large heart shaped decorations.  Tried to avoid getting those in my picture.

The pears were not actually black, it is the colour they are depicted on the Arms of the City.  The emblem dates back to 1575 when Elizabeth I is reputed to have visited Worcester.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Running Stitchers at Compton Verney


One member of our Venture Group took this seasonal photograph at Compton Verney when we visited.  We were just about to go home after a lovely day out  -  as there were ten of us in total I think the rest must have scarpered fairly rapidly when they saw someone with a camera!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Compton Verney

Spent some time doodling this week.  I hope to do some work based on an item from the Chinese collection at Compton Verney and I have been trying to work out the pattern on a large bronze bell (nao) from Southern China which took my eye. I am struggling at the moment.

It also has a fantastic patina which should give me some good choices for colour.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Travelling Journal

Apart from continuing to make slow progress on the roman blinds and curtains I am making I have also made a cover for my travelling journal.  I used up most of the purple bits from the dyeing day we had.  I even put a little pocket inside to store some 'treasures'.
The two fabric ties are to hold the book closed when it gets full of all the samples that everyone is going to produce over the next year!!  Which reminds me - I had better get on with my own contribution ....

Friday, 7 December 2012

New Running Stitchers Project

After seeing the Travelling Journals created by one of the EG branches at The Big Stitch held at The Ashmolean in Oxford last Saturday we decided we would like to start a similar project as part of the activities of our Venture group (The Running Stitchers).

I ordered some Pink Pig A5 landscape sketchbooks and, as they have now arrived, I have been playing around with the first few pages of mine.  I have added a page with my name as the originator, plus an address and telephone number to return it to should it get lost on its travels.  I then found extracts from a couple of poems(?) which relate to the word 'Resolve' as I thought the meaning of 'Resolve' was quite pertinent:-

Settle or find a solution to (a problem, dispute, or contentious matter)

Firm determination to do something

Also included a page with a list of the participants so that in future years I can look back at the contents of the book and remember the wonderful friends I have met through the Venture Group.  I might make a nice cover for the sketchbook with some ties to hold it shut ... and then of course I need to complete my two pages ready for our January meeting.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Oriental Inspiration

On Saturday there was also plenty of time to wander around the Museum whilst trying to locate all the people who were dotted about doing demonstrations.  I loved this sun - the distressed surface, colours and textures in particular.  It was hung over some Indian gods and had an element of quilting stitches applied to it around the edges.  I am afraid it is a little bit out of focus as it was difficult to take pictures in subdued light without a flash.

The Big Stitch

Six members of our Venture group (The Running Stitchers) had an outing on Saturday to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford for The Big Stitch.  We all caught the train at various stations and managed to locate each other so that we could sit and chat on the way there.  It was a very enjoyable day out and was well organised.

Several stitchers were demonstrating at various locations throughout the museum and there was something for everyone to see.  The exhibition 'Threads of Silk and Gold' was outstanding.

These two banners were displayed by the Oxford branch of the Embroiderers' Guild and we also took on board a 'Travelling Sketchbook' challenge that one of the branches had been participating in ... it may be something we will start in the New Year so watch this space for further details.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Venture Group

This lovely A5 winter journal was what I received as my Secret Santa and it is really lovely.  The cover and inside have been hand decorated and will make a lovely little sketchbook for all the ideas I come up with over the next few months.  We all had fun trying to guess who created each item.

This was the one I made

Compton Verney

What a fantastic day out today.  The sun shone and we managed not to get lost on the way there or back, which makes a change!!

We went to see the Tapestry Exhibition - "Tapestry: Weaving the Century at Dovecot Studios 1912-2012" at Compton Verney.  We went as 'Running Stitchers' which is the second Venture Group attached to Worcester branch of the Embroiderers' Guild.  There were ten of us and we had a guided tour followed by lunch in the restaurant.  We had all completed 'Secret Santas' and they were all beautiful.  The group is a wonderful way to get to know people, exchange ideas and learn new skills.  The exhbition ends on 16 December and is well worth a visit, however the guided tour makes it much more interesting.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Secret Belgian Binding

This week  by stitching in the signatures we completed the Secret Belgian Binding that we started last week.  It is a lovely method for creating a book and I am sure that I will use it again.
The cover paper was something I created a couple of weeks ago using a mixture of acrylic inks, children's textured sponge rollers, Quink Ink, Treasure Gold and Stewart Gill paints on crumpled paper.  I think it also got a rinse under the cold water tap somewhere during the process!!  (I really should make notes as I go along - will put the lack of them down to the spontaneous nature in which I often work). Just before using the paper I added a coat of Acrylic Wax to give it a bit of protection.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


In between joining fabric for my curtains and unpicking them several times yesterday I also managed to play with these 70 cm squares of cardboard.  I glued small cardboad shapes to the surface with PVA before covering one side all over with crumpled baking foil, leaving a margin all round to turn to the back.

They were then painted with a combination of acrylic paints - black as a base and several of the quinacridone colours - definitely Nickel Azo Gold  I think there was a bit of turquoise too.  I was very pleased with the result and they will make some nice little book covers.
Just looked outdoors and see that the stream has now burst its bank in the middle of the Dell.  We have had heavy rain all night and it still persists.  This must be the third or fourth time this year the stream has been over the centre of the Dell.  At least I have got used to the speed at which the water travels and am amazed how quickly it comes up and goes down again once the rain stops.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Transfer Paints

I had forgotten all about this piece of polyester cotton fabric I had been playing with until I saw the latest post on the Pannal Textiles Blog.  I was messing around with some transfer paints and crayons and several huge leaves I had picked up whilst in Malvern.  I was not happy with what I produced so kept sticking more colours on top of each other.

The fabric was one of DH's old shirts he had ripped a hole in.  At the time I was not sure whether it was 100% cotton or not, but almost certain it is not now.  I tried burning a bit to see what happened but was none the wiser.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Crossed Structure Binding (2)

Fitted in some more bookbinding this week.  I used an old space dyed blanket for the cover and added a few beads whilst stitching the spine.  Afraid the beads are a bit woggly. Really pleased with the outcome though and the book is lovely to hold.  It has a soft and comforting cover.

This is the front.  I have got one more book to finish and it is nearly completed ..... just got the buttons to stitch on.

I have been very naughty this week as I am meant to be making curtains and roman blinds.  Ah well ....

More Funghi

What a difference a day makes! This is the Shaggy Ink Cap one day on and it has grown a long stalk and spread out its top.  You can see the hole has now almost disappeared as it has stretched and grown.  I used the mirror technique again to get this image.
These small toadstools are growing at the bottom of a pile of hardcore in what used to be the drive.  I think they might be growing from an old tree root, of which there are a plentiful supply in the front garden.  Once again I deployed the mirror technique - goodness only knows what the neighbours thinkg.

I actually took some photographs without the aid of 'smoke and mirrors' and this is one of them.  It shows the lovely textured top of the Shaggy Ink Cap - a mixture of what looks like tar and silk.

Amazing - nature is so cool.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Autumn Funghi

Lots of mushrooms and toadstools are starting to appear about the garden and in the dell.  Thought I would use Chris Packham's 'top tip' to photograph this Shaggy Inkcap.  I used a mirror tilted.  It was a bit damp out there so I did not spend much time making sure that you could not see the original toadstool (bottom left).  Thought the cobweb was fun.
This is the otherside of the above toadstool and the mirror revealed something I had not spotted - a hole gnawed away in a perfect circle.  Would imagine it was a slug as there are plenty lurking in the garden.  There were two inkcaps and one is not the original they are both reflections in the mirror.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

More Lotus Books

These were my first attempt at making the lotus books and utilised some lovely newspaper which I had waxed with a melted candle.  I was surprised that I was able to glue the waxed paper.  The newspaper was something I had used to protect the table when painting and printing at a workshop with Joan Newall some time ago and it had the most wonderful marks on it so I kept it.  The wax made it semi translucent.

The other problem I found with these little books was that I could not get the cords hidden in the cover, although I did try cutting a groove in the board, but the cord still showed through the end paper.  Perhaps a narrow flat ribbon would have been better?

Lotus Books

Since we had the talk by Alysn Midgelow Marsden I have been trying to make a Lotus Book.  I have had a lot of problems with the uppermost edge which has not been opening out properly.  I think I must need to have my inner papers exactly the same size when folded as the cover board.

I got a bit carried away with sponging and printing randomly on some cartridge paper.

 Apologies for the background on my Blog!!  I was trying to experiment with the file size and I will change it when I find something more suitable.

I coloured the inner papers of the book and then realised that you cannot write anything on it ... suppose pictures could be added?

Crossed Structure Binding

This was the crossed structure binding we did at last week's creative bookbinding class.  For once I was really pleased with the result.  Everyone else used leather, but I wanted to try something different so this is a piece of Pelmet Vilene covered with various things, including some foil.  I have got a piece of dyed blanket to try too and think it should work rather well and give the cover a lovely soft feel.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Evolon and all that stuff

Reversed text laser copy painted with Transfer Dyes and ironed onto Evolon
Did a workshop today with Wendy Cotterill using spunbonded fabrics which included Lutradur, Evolon and Zeelon.  Learned some new things and enjoyed everyone's company, but I think the day confirmed that I do not really need to be doing workshops I just need to get on with some of my own work!!

Print-Aid applied to a foam stamp and then printed on Evolon prior to colouring with dye based sprays
Evolon painted with dye based colour spray and then stamped with a foam block treated with Print-Aid
Finally, I had to have a mess about. A piece of Lutradur had stuck to the paper from which I was lifting the transfer paint because my iron was too hot.  Once I had ripped it from the backing paper, I soldered it to one of my pieces of Evolon.  I poked holes in it with the tip of the soldering iron and put a bright colour underneath just to show up the holes.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Athletes of the World

No .... these are not the 'Athletes of the World' these are members of our Venture group the 'Running Stitchers' (think they were being a bit shy!!).  We had an outing to see the postcards on display at Artrix, Bromsgrove which finishes this weekend.  They were wonderful and there was so many of them.  Lots and lots of interest in them, even men.

Here are just a few that took my eye.  There were too many to choose from, spoilt for choice.

in the style of EffieMirofanis
Lovely Blackwork
Cacti in 3D

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Wax Workshop

First attempt plus enhancements
On Friday of last week Worcester branch of the EG had a workshop with Alysn Midgelow Marsden which was called "Antiqued Stitched Papers".  I am afraid my efforts were not very good and I have just started to stitch one of the three pieces I managed to create with a view to improving the three pieces I did make.

We used candle wax to combine layers of scrumpled papers which were then enhanced with Markal oil sticks and Treasure Gold.  I just could not get my creative juices going I am afraid.

Second Attempt
Perhaps I had been doing too much all week - had Venture Group on Wednesday when we were dyeing and transfer dyeing all day and I came home with a huge pile of bits of fabric ready to do something with.  This week we are having an outing to Artrix in Bromsgrove to see the postcards created by members of the EG nationally based on the countries participating in the Olympic Games.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

If you go down to the woods today ...

Another surprise today .... after doing the usual exciting food shop at Sainsbury's in Worcester I needed some PVA (and a cup of coffee at the Deli!!) so stopped off in Malvern and parked near the Splash.  Walking back through Priory Park what should I find but this lovely specimen.  Think it is a Fly Agaric.  It was quite large.

But that was not all ....

There were lots more and although I believe they are poisonous, something had been nibbling one of them.