Thursday, 30 June 2011

Christmas Through the Year - June - Gift Tags

I'm a bit embarrassed by my paltry contribution to CTTY this month, but every little helps, right? And anyway this is counted thread embroidery and it takes ages. Well, it takes me ages anyway ;-)Eagle eyed readers might spot a few miscounted threads...I prefer to think of this as 50 stitches in the right place rather than 1 or 2 in the wrong place!

christmas gift tags 1

christmas gift tags 2

The trees were from a cushion pattern in an old blackwork book.

For some real inspiration, including Allie's super cute Christmas pudding decoration, head on over here.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Good Things

I've been keeping up with the Good Things:

good things wc 27 june

More words, not as many sketches this week...

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Positivity (Mostly)

This week, I've tried to make my ICADs reflect the positives of each day.

So Monday was the fact that I had got my hexagon project out again:

icad 20 june hexies

Tuesday was a celebration of getting these four drawing books from a charity stall for a £1:

drawing books

icad 21 june

Wednesday and Friday were celebrating being out in nature in two new (to me) locations:

icad 22 juneicad 24 june

And Thursday I was excited about black gesso:

icad 23 june

Today, erm, I am particularly grumpy and uninspired:

icad 25 june

Gee, I can't be a shining beacon of positivity all the time :-)

In other news, I hand quilted an orphan block left over from Waif's quilt, and am calling in my journal quilt for June (is that cheating?!). I used pearl cottons and edged with yummy jumbo rickrack:

Jazz House

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Good Things - Hexies

I've been feeling a bit sorry for myself the last couple of weeks cos I have hurt my back and it is restricting me in ways I don't want to be restricted! One of those restrictions is not being able to get on with machine quilting my friend's baby quilt; or indeed, doing anything for very long at the sewing machine ;-(


But then I remembered my hand pieced hexagon UFO. I worked quite a bit on this last summer, but then came to a bit of a standstill. You can see how it looked last year here. I had originally planned to make a kind of star shape with the hexies, but think puzzling over how to do that might have been what put me off continuing with it! So, I'm just going to keep adding rings of lights, mediums and darks until I get fed up of it and then call it a quilt :-)

Monday, 20 June 2011

Good Things

My good things spread for last week:

good things wc 13 june

Set myself the target of drawing all the "good things"...which is why they're a bit thinner on the ground than might otherwise be the case :-)

Sunday, 19 June 2011

ICAD Challenge - Sometimes it's hard to stop at one...

...well the paints were out ;-)

icad 19 june
icad 19 june think
icad 19 june squares
icad 19 june unravel

"I'm starting to unravel" is a line from current favourite song - "Bats in the Attic" by King Creosote & Jon Hopkins, rather than an indication of my state of mind...or the state of my embroidery floss. Though that too :-)

Friday, 17 June 2011

Just Show Up

I'm reading a rather wonderful book at the moment. It's called the Confident Creative by Cat Bennett and is a mixture of practical ideas to get drawing, together with insight into the creative process. A quote I love from the book so far is:

"Art, like life, develops organically. We can't rush it or force it; we just need to show up and do the work, pay attention to what's there, and respond to inspiration."

And in that spirit, I've just been showing up to do my index card each day, for the Daisy Yellow Index-Card-a-Day Challenge. Some days I've had a definite idea of what I want to achieve before I start; other days I feel totally uninspired but do it anyway. Making art is about practice; it's about just showing up.

I won't deny that there have been occasions when I've looked at the other index cards in the Daisy Yellow flickr pool and felt awe-inspired and totally outclassed and thought to myself "who do I think I'm kidding?" but I've tried to replace these thoughts with positive thoughts and just showed up to carve out my own 5 minutes of creativity.

So far, I haven't missed a day of the ICAD Challenge, and here I share with you my latest cards - the good, the bad and the darn-right ugly:

icad 12 june
icad 11 june1
icad 14 june
icad 15 june
icad 17 june

Monday, 13 June 2011

Ah, sewing...!

Regular readers may have been wondering what happened to the sewing part of the "Sew Much Progress"...but I have been sewing, I promise! It's just that it's mainly been hand quilting and that makes for sloooooow progress. But I made it!!! I finished quilting Gman's red and black quilt. I am waiting for a sunny day and a willing and able volunteer to hold it up in order to get a photograph of the whole thing but here's a little taster:


I went for fairly simple, unmarked quilting using pearl cottons and a big needle. I can't imagine going back to tiny between needles and regular hand quilting thread now!

I have also been dabbling in a bit of arty stuff. I painted another spread in my old Eagle annual:


This is made of layers of gesso and watercolour paints. The buildings were constructed by scraping acrylic paint using an old credit card, then details added with a variety of markers. Something was missing so I highlighted a selection of random words from the story underneath and quite like the effect:

cityscape close up

I completed the next week's spread in my Good Things Moleskine:

good things wc 6 june 2011

And, of course, there's been more index cards for Daisy Yellow's Index-Card-a-Day challenge. Here's today's:

icad 13 june

Friday, 10 June 2011

Have you taken up the Index-Card-A-Day Challenge?

If not, what are you waiting for?!?! Visit Daisy Yellow to find out more about the challenge, and for lots of prompts, inspiration and linky loveliness.

I have created an index card a day every day in June so far (and so have my two boys - you can see some of their creations on our home education blog) and it's been a blast. Here's a few:

icad 10 june

icad 8 june1

icad - 7 june - v

And just to prove that you can fit index-card-a-day in with your other summer plans, here I am, having created my card on the train yesterday:

choo choo

Yes, I know I look like a complete nutcase. The camera does lie. Sometimes.

You've got until 15 June to get started ;-)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

This Is It and All At Sea

I am finding that my art journalling is greatly influenced by what I am reading. It's a kind of way of putting things into my own words and pictures to help me to understand and digest them.

At the moment, I am reading Jon Kabat-Zinn's "Wherever You Go, There You Are" and have been inspired to put together these two spreads. The first is in my re-purposed Eagle annual:

all at sea full spread

all at sea left hand side

all at sea right hand side

These pages were put together in several layers, including watercolour paints, dip-dyed kitchen rolls, marker pens, collage, stamps and crayons.

The second spread is in my regular art journal and uses gesso coloured with chalk pastels, then a layer of acrylic paints spread around with baby wipes together with collage elements, stickers and writing.

this is it art journal page

Monday, 6 June 2011

Good Things

Recently a friend lent me this book:

illustrated life cover

It's an inspiring and fabulous collection of a variety of artists' sketchbooks. An idea from it that I was particularly taken with was from Christine Castro Hughes who creates a "Good Things" journal for each week, she says to "remind myself what is good and beautiful in the world".

illustrated life good things

I think this can be something we all too often lose sight of in our hectic lives. So I have decided to undertake this process too, and here's my first week's spread:

good things 30 may

And a couple of pics of some of the good things:

Gazanias opening up in the sunshine


Indigo fabrics flapping about on the breeze:

indigo in the breeze
indigo close up

Here's hoping this week brings many more good things!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Planning Big

Since finishing off three bed-sized quilt tops earlier in the year, I have been working mainly on smaller projects - journal quilts, name panels, fabric postcards - but now I am yearning to get my teeth into something a bit bigger again.

Last night I sat and did a rough sketch of a quilt that's been brewing in my mind for a while now, and which I am calling "hug a tree" :-) I am thinking something a bit Gwen and Freddie, but with a mixture of liberated piecing and applique. My idea is that the quilt will be made up of different trees, all on yellow backgrounds and with the trunks made up of black and white fabrics, and the tops various bright colours - hot pink, lime green, polka dots, swirls... To give the eye somewhere to rest between all this I am thinking black and white sawtooth and flying geese strips. Oh yes, and a big smiling sun somewhere at the top :-). Here's a very rough plan of what I have in mind:

hug a tree sketch

Once I'd made the sketch, I raided my stash to see what suitable fabrics I had, and put together this little pile:

fabrics for hug a tree

The top row will be the tree tops, the middles for the trunks and borders, and the bottom row of yellows the background fabrics. Yum yum.

Can't quite believe I already had all of this fabric in my stash *blush* - that's what comes of having multiple hiding places storage areas for fabric I guess ;-)

Meanwhile, I have been steadily hand quilting Gman's red and black quilt and am confident that this will be complete by the end of this month. Watch this space.

And the whole family's been getting involved with Daisy Yellow's index card a day challenge. Here's one I prepared earlier:

index cards - 2 june1

The others (including ones the boys have doen) you can see in my Flickr set here: