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Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Update

Just when I thought the week had been wasted, I got some time and mind-space yesterday to experiment with fabric paper. This idea came from Beryl Taylor's Mixed Media Explorations book. This is not one of the books in my self-appointed challenge. I am getting frustrated with the format of my challenges as my attention keeps getting caught by other books and ideas! May not carry on with it the same way of before, maybe concentrating more on doing something interesting and creative every week out of any book of magazine I feel like at the time!

It was fun to make. I am not sure if I got her definition of 'muslin' right though, for the fabric base. Did she mean what I would call muslin, which is a fairly delicate cotton fabric, or what I would call calico, which is sturdier? I used muslin, and the result is very fragile. Fabric paper is supposed to be sewable through and I think mine would not go well with stitching. However I am pleased with it, I have learned what to do (or not do) next time, and I am going to use it as the basis for some things. I am considering making my first ever ATCs though not sure what to do with them. There is a swap on a group I have just joined but I don't know that my first efforts will be worth swapping. Maybe I will just have fun and see where it takes me.

I used white muslin, slopped lots of gel medium mixed about 2:1 with water all over it, added little cut-outs of vintage papers that I had copied and sealed to make them waterproof, plus glitter; then put white tissue paper on top of it and added lots more of the glue mixture. (Rereading Beryl Taylor's instructions, she actually said to put more glue on the FABRIC and then put the paper on top of it. Oh well, I don't see that it made much difference!) Then I dabbed on some watered down acrylic paint in two colours with a sea sponge, and left if all to dry. While it was still quite wet I decided to spray some iridescent ink on it too - this looks lovely and subtle and shiny in bright sunlight but is hard to see under any other circumstances. When it was properly dry I stamped in various parts using an ordinary black ink pad. Now I am considering what to add to sections of it to make ATCs or whatever. Anyway, it was fun!!

Never got to the cooking thing this week. Wombat has had a delicate stomach so no fancy recipes got tried out. Maybe next week, though George will be away so maybe it will be biscuits rather than the red cabbage dish I had planned.

I suspect the choosing a book a month thing (or other project) may be going by the board. Doing something creative every week, definitely!

To answer catdownunder's comment - yes, it was messy, but not quite as bad as wet felting (which I have only tried a couple of times, I loved it but my wrists are too weak to really do it justice, I am an RSI survivor). I kept plenty of paper towel and a bowl of water to hand and kept it under control. It was fun!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

8 Things Thursday

8 Things I really Dislike

Tinned beetroot
Sinus headaches
Cruelty to animals, children, anyone or anything really
Incompetence (see bureaucracy!)
Bitter tastes
'Reality' TV like Big Brother and The Biggest Loser

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Creative Tuesday - Socks, Ponchos and Shrugs

A selection of socks, ponchos and shrugs that I have knitted over the past few years. The ponchos and shrugs are to my own designs. The socks were adapted from a long-ago toe-up pattern found somewhere on the internet, now memorised in two versions of my own, one for George and one for me and Baby Bear (the only difference being size). The socks are all knitted in a variety of brightly coloured sock wools, and near the top there are a couple of pairs knitted from scraps. The red poncho is knitted from Noro silk garden, the pink one from Heirloom Harmony, I think it is called, not sure if that still exists. The pale pink shrug is knitted from a Colinette ribbon yarn, the blue one from something that Lincraft put out several years ago.

Monday Quote

.He danced with a young woman with no hair, but who wore a wig of shining beetles that swarmed and seethed on her head. His third partner complained bitterly whenever Stephen's hand happened to brush her gown; she said it put her gown of its singing; and, when Stephen looked down, he saw that her gown was indeed covered with tiny mouths which opened and sang a little tune in a series of high, eerie notes."
Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norre

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Update

It's been a bit of an unproductive week, really. A child with gastro and unpleasantly hot and steamy weather has left me feeling limp and uninspired. But not totally.

I enjoyed embellishing the denim shirt so much that I decided to do another repurposed and embellished item, even though I had completed the two that fulfilled my personal challenge terms for the month. I cheated slightly by buying a new top, which isn't really what repurposing is meant to be about, but it was 20% off in a sale, so I hope that counts!

First of all, though, I spent several satisfying hours organising my button collection into colour groups. This was largely inspired by seeing my MIL's collection at the weekend, neatly organised into old Twinings Tea tins and carefully labelled. Then I sewed blue buttons to this white top.

Over time I have bought a few packets of themed buttons in patchwork shops, and most of the buttons for this top came from one of them. The heart-shaped button in the point of the V, however, came from old stash and I think was left over from some top I made in the past.

I have added to my personal challenges for the year, too, though this one is not time critical. The other day George pointed out that I might have to cull the cookbooks in order to fit in the newer ones. He is probably right, but I decided that before I cull anything, I will cook a recipe from it. Not necessarily once a day or once a week or anything like that, and I am not aiming to do a Julia Child here! But before I get rid of a book I want to see if there is anything in it that at least three out of the four of us will eat. I will post something about any such recipes/books each Friday here. I have chosen a recipe for next week, though admittedly it is from a book I bought Baby Bear so it won't be thrown out anyway.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

8 Things Thursday

8 Things I Cannot Resist Spending Money On

Sock wool
Craft magazines
Cooking magazines

Wordless Wednesday

Creative Tuesday

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari
Glass Japanese and Czech seed beads, nylon beading thread, polymer clay faces, Lacey’s Stiff Stuff, ultrasuede, metal findings
A box framed beaded picture inspired by the 1920s German film The Cabinet of Dr Caligari
Created 2008

This was one of the pieces I made for my Graduate exhibition in November 2008 when I finished my Diploma of Textile Art. I have always loved the early German film that this was inspired by, and I had ordered these faces off Etsy or Ebay at some point not knowing exactly what I was going to do with them. The two ideas came together wonderfully. The shapes in the background beading are all based on the look of the film, which is very angular in places and also has some amazing windy paths in other places.
The actual materials are given above. I did the beading onto Lacey's Stiff Stuff (which is tediously difficult to get in Australia, so you have to plan ahead - I need to restock), with the outline drawn onto the A4 size sheet. Then I glued the faces on and drew the rough shapes of the areas I wanted to bead. Then just went for it! Originally this was going to be a necklace. I finished it then glued it onto a sheet of Ultrasuede (for supplies of that in Oz, see comment on LSS!) with the intention of cutting the two out and beading the edges and attaching findings. But it looked rather wonderful just on the Ultrasuede and I thought it looked like an ancient artefact sitting in a museum case. So I got it framed in the box frame so that it looked something like that.
It didn't sell at the exhibition, hardly surprising given that I was shoved in a poorly lit corner that no-one could even get into properly. (Not impressed with Box Hill TAFE's exhibition space that year, that we were allowed no opinion on). It hangs on my wall and I love it dearly though I would also love it dearly if I could sell things like this and make some sort of living out of them!
I haven't done any big pieces like this since then but I must do some more, they are what I like doing best in the whole world. Trouble is, they are expensive in terms of both materials and time and if I cannot sell something along the way it is hard to justify them. Yes, they are beautiful, they are art, but I have to earn some money somewhere! And issues with Wombat make it very hard for me to earn money outside the home. Enough grumpiness, I am starting to plan my next extravagant bead embroidery piece.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Monday Quote

A time capsule buried at Jersey Zoo in 1988 contains the following popular quote by Gerald Durrell, often used in conservation awareness campaigns:

We hope that there will be fireflies and glow-worms at night to guide you and butterflies in hedges and forests to greet you.
We hope that your dawns will have an orchestra of bird song and that the sound of their wings and the opalescence of their colouring will dazzle you.
We hope that there will still be the extraordinary varieties of creatures sharing the land of the planet with you to enchant you and enrich your lives as they have done for us.
We hope that you will be grateful for having been born into such a magical world.

Friday Update

It's been a bit of a manic week. We had a long weekend so I am still feeling a day behind. And then there was THE STORM. Supposedly the worst in 100 years, or forever, or something. Hail the size of .. take your pick of a large spherical object. We personally were lucky, no damage apart from another fallen limb from the eucalyptus that isn't (lemon scented gum - apparently now no longer a eucalypt in scientific terms), but George has been phenomenally busy since. Which, given that he was already doing too much work, has been a bit of an issue.

I have been repurposing a shirt. But decided yesterday that it was just not working, and ditched it. No pics of the failure, I am too annoyed with myself for not putting more thought into it. Last week's worked so well that I think I am suffering from hubris right now!

So last night I sat down with a denim shirt that I had also intended to chop up and be clever with. Feeling crestfallen after the failure, I stuck to embellishment instead, and I'm delighted with the results! I will probably wear it open over a white singlet.

This means that I have finished my craft challenge for March! As half of April will be taken up with school holidays I thought I might make an early start on something for the last two weeks of March. I;m not sure what yet but will blog about something next Friday.

And no real progress on the visual journal, though I have printed out two images to use as backdrops which will need sealing before I do anything on top of them.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

8 Things Thursday

8 countries I want to visit but have not been to yet:


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

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Creative Tuesday

A collage of sundry beaded brooches I have made over the past three years or so. Some have been sold, some have been given away as presents, some are still urking around somewhere. This one of my favorite things to do, ever. I haven't done any for ages because I have been trying to find other things which sell, so far not with a huge degree of success. But I do love doing these and will do more.
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Monday Quote

'Inside the room, the Skinless Boy grinned and let the illusory flesh that covered half his body slide away to reveal the red ochre bones of the skeleton beneath.'

Drowned Wednesday, Garth Nix

Friday, March 05, 2010

Friday Update

I exercised my prerogative to change my mind and substituted an activity not on my original list of challenges for the year. I decided to spend March attempting to alter at least two op shop (charity/thrift shop) finds into more interesting/better fitting clothes that I would actually wear, hopefully only using things from my stash.

I have made excellent progress! In fact today I am wearing the first item. I bought a skirt that I really liked, that already looked like altered art but was a bit too snug around the tummy/hip area for me to wear.

So I cut it down one side seam and chose something to insert there. I had originally planned to place insertions on both sides until I realised it was asymmetrical, so decided to make the long side longer. I did stash dive and almost settled on some fabric but it was the wrong colour, weight and too frayable, so did another op shop trawl and came up with a pair of jeans with side decoration that looked very 80s as jeans, but would work with this skirt and leave me plenty of denim left over to do other things with.

Half an hour on the sewing machine, et voila!

I tried to get a picture of it hanging off the hanger but the denim bit doesn't drape nicely that way. It looks nice on but I am not prepared to do model shots!

The original skirt cost AU$7 and the jeans cost the same. So for AU$14 I have a skirt and left over denim for other projects.

So I am very happy with my progress this month. I haven't started the latest two page spread of my visual journal but have settled on the images for it, which are an important part of it.

And as Tuesday Artist is proving to be a bit time-consuming, I will be substituting it with Creative Tuesday in future, where I show a picture of something that I have made, at some stage, either brand-new or in the dim distant past.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

8 Things Thursday

8 photos from my 1989 honeymoon in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia. All taken on actual film and scanned into the computer - the colours suggest 20 year old film, don't they!!
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Wordless Wednesday

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Monday Quote

'Well he would, wouldn't he?"

Mandy Rice-Davies, on being asked in court if she was aware that Lord Astor denied sleeping with her.

Quoted in 'The Trial of Stephen Ward' by Ludovic Kennedy, 1964.