Wednesday, 30 November 2011

WOYWW 130

Well, here we are again, another Wednesday! For anyone who doesn’t know what this is all about, click on the WOYWW link in my sidebar, which will take you to our lovely Julia’s blog. She organises (??) us all each week and we share our workdesks with the world – mess and all – no shame!! So what’s on your workdesk this Wednesday?

First of all, a huge thank you for all the lovely comments I received this last week – if my recovery could be speeded up by the tide of goodwill I’d be 100% fighting fit by now! I’m still not 100% – I’ve got about half my voice back  after being totally voiceless for a week, I’m coughing, and feeling thoroughly wiped out after this ghastly infection, not helped, of course, by the M.E. Still, I’m on the mend, if slowly!

As a result, I’ve had another week of non-production in my ARTHaven. I did manage to get in there yesterday and have a good tidy up (it needed it) and managed to sort the credit card statement, but didn’t do anything Fun in there.

When I’ve felt up to it this week, I’ve been creative in another way. Last winter I bought a glorious rainbow jumper from Ebay – very cheap, brand new, pure wool and very warm, but it had no ribbing on the bottom or on the sleeves so it kept rolling up all the time which was a pain. The sleeves were also much too long. (Have I really got such short arms, or are the rest of you built like gorillas??) Anyway, last winter I tried to sort it out, and gave up when I was unable to find any ends to unravel from. I made 3 attempts at adding some ribbing to the bottom and each time ripped it out because it wasn’t right. In the end I dumped it in disgust.

I decided to have another go at it this week, with resounding success! Unpicking knitting from the beginning rather than the end is a pain because you have to pull the yarn through a loop at the end of every row, but I managed it, shortening the sleeves by several inches and using the yarn to knit some nice ribbing. For the bottom, I used 4 strands of my original wool that was much too thin for this jumper, mixing 2 reds, and it’s come out just great. Here’s the jumper with the completed ribbing:

and here’s a close up of the ribbing I’ve done.

While I was at it, I decided to have a go at another garment whose sleeves were far too long. This is a hand-dyed cotton crochet top that I bought more years ago than I can remember, and all that time I’ve worn it with the sleeves rolled up. I love this top! It’s a gorgeous murky dark colour.  It reminds me a bit of what you can do with distress inks! (Chipped Sapphire, Dusty Concord, Forest Moss…) Again, undoing crochet from the wrong end is horrible – far worse than knitting actually, so in the end I cut the ends of the sleeves off, and picked up the bottom loops of the next complete row with a row of chain stitch, and then added the finishing couple of rows to make the sleeves how they’d been before.

Here’s a close up of the edging I did on the sleeves.

Unravelling the cut off sleeve ends, I’ve got a nice bit of yarn. I thought I might make a few flower embellishments to go on the neck of this top. Anything left over can be incorporated into my next project (see below).

Both garments are now how I want them, and ready to wear! I’m really pleased with myself that I’ve finally got round to doing this.

I asked my hubby recently whether he’d give me Kim Thittichai’s “Hot Textiles” book for Christmas when he asked me what I wanted.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hot-Textiles-Inspiration-Techniques-Tools/dp/0713490403/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322605541&sr=1-1

This week, I found a link on someone’s blog (sorry, can’t remember who you are!!) to an amazing book on freeform crochet by Renate Kirkpatrick, and asked him if he’d give me this instead, and he said no, he’d give me both books! What a star. Here’s a link to that book :

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Freeform-Crochet-Beyond-Milner-Paperback/dp/186351385X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322603071&sr=1-1

She’s got an awesome blog too:

http://rensfibreart.wordpress.com/

Years ago I bought a cheap jumper from a catalogue which isn’t really long enough, isn’t warm enough (the sleeves are the right length though!) but which has such gorgeous colours that I can’t bear to throw it away, despite it’s being more or less vandalised by kitty claws over the years! I had it in mind to knit a new one following the same design, but making it longer, and out of wool, and then I saw this freeform crochet, and decided that’s what I’m going to make it from instead. I’ve started sorting a few yarns so I can begin making the motifs. I’ve wound a few small balls from some machine cones to make the whole thing more manageable, and I’ve got some black wool on a cone coming from Ebay in a day or two – I’ve used up all my black now.

(This was photographed under ordinary artificial light, not Purelite, and the blues are actually more turquoise than this.) I think this will make up beautifully. Juicy colours, aren’t they.

This week, God willing, I shall be well enough to get back in my ARTHaven and get the wretched Christmas stuff out of the way. I’ve got so many plans for next year and want to start thinking along those lines, developing my mixed media skills and doing some more 3-D work if possible. Why do I always have to get ill when there’s so much to do??

Have a really great week, everyone, and thanks again for all the lovely comments! I’ve felt carried along by a huge tide of love and goodwill. (((((Hugs))))) to you all!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

WOYWW 129

Thanks as always to Julia for organising our weekly nose around into each other’s tidy (or otherwise) work desks. To find out more details, click the link in my sidebar and come and join the fun.

I’m afraid I haven’t got a photo this week. I have only been in my ARTHaven to dump things. Last week you may remember I was wondering whether I’d make it to the group to do my Bible teaching as my throat was starting to feel a bit sore. I did manage to go, and we all had a great time together, and the meeting was a huge success, I’m happy to report! However, immediately after it was finished, I started to feel very unwell indeed, with the shivers, and my throat feeling a lot worse, so when I got home I had a bath, which failed to warm me, and took to my bed. By the evening my voice had completely departed, and it’s now back by only about a tenth! I’ve had a temperature most of the week, and my throat is still very sore, as have been my ears and my neck, and also an almost constant headache, which all would have been an awful lot worse if my wonderful hubby hadn’t plied me with Lemsips, and my next door neighbour turned up with a bottle of glorious home made spiced elderberry cordial! I’m now coughing which hurts, and doesn’t do much good.

So… I have done nothing creative all week. Wonderwoman, my home help, is coming in first thing tomorrow to give me an extra hour this week, to do the ironing for me!

As a result of all this, I’ve been even more hopeless than usual at following up everyone’s blogs – I’ve managed to visit a few, and thank you to all of you who popped over to mine and left such nice comments.

Have a great WOYWW everyone, and let’s hope for better things this coming week!!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

WOYWW 128

I know we all say it, but goodness, where has the last week gone? thank you, Julia, for organising us once again for our weekly Nosey Session to see what’s on our desks midweek – if anyone doesn’t know what this is all about, click on the WOYWW logo in my sidebar and hop over to Julia’s for a look.

In between some pretty rough days health wise this week, I’ve been pretty busy, but managed to have a few sessions in my ARTHaven, continuing to work on the set of birthday cards I’m making for my mum for Christmas. I’ve decided to make a whole lot, to fill up my card stash so I can relax next year and concentrate on doing the sort of art I “want” to do, and less of what I “have” to do!

On my main work table this week, here are the Cuttlebug-embossed Core’dinations sheets I’ve done over the past couple of days for further cards, distressed round the edges and some matted ready for making up. I have used a range called “Whitewash” on the left and “Gemstones” on the right. The latter do not sand particularly well so I didn’t bother – the core is so similar in colour to the surface, which just has an iridescent sheen on it. The Whitewash ones, however, work beautifully, and I particularly like the script embossing done this way.

At the back of the table are some more that I did on black Core’dinations card which has an orange core. After embossing them (the 2 on the left are Cuttlebug “Ornamental Iron” and the one on the right is a Tim Holtz Texture Fades folder with a wood grain effect) I sanded them, and then added some embossing powders, the one on the right with a little clear embossing powder around the edges, and the other two with some bronze and gold mixed, around the edges, and then some black Distress Embossing Powder, to give them a grungey blackened effect. I thought I might make these up into more “man” type cards but not sure what I’m going to do with them yet.

On the left, at the back, you can just see the corner of my new art doll faces mould that I bought on Ebay this week. Jo of Jozart (thanks Jo!) inspired me with her gorgeous angels last week and I asked her about the faces, so I had a look on Ebay. No chance to try them out yet.

On my brown table you can see the additional cards I’ve made since last week, including (far left, 3rd from left) ones embellished with bits of cut up doily after I’d used the doily as a stencil – I thought it looked really pretty with ink on it, so decided to use some of the doily motifs, adding dots of Stickles in various colours to give a bit of bling. The one on the far left has the doily stencil piece I showed you last week, as a background. The pink card (2nd from left) is another one using the doily as a stencil – after inking, I went round the edges with a white marker pen to add definition and make it look more like lace – this has a slight shiny texture which has turned out nicely. The turquoise one has stamped images with clear heat embossing as a resist, and inking over them with Distress Inks, using my Inkylicious Ink Dusters. I love this technique! I may do some more of these.

On the far left of the table you can see the pile of cards I showed you last week, and between them and the new ones, tucked behind, if you look carefully, you will see the lid of my favourite teapot which I dropped in the sink the other day and… broke! Grrrr. I am hoping to be able to mend it.

In front of the cards is a piece I’ve made by gluing my offcuts to a piece of plain white card – bits I’d trimmed off the sheets so they’d fit in the Cuttlebug folders. They looked too pretty to throw away. I’ll think of something to do with them!

This week I’ve also been preparing for my Bible teaching session on Thursday – I am supposed to be doing a demonstration of the Passover for them, but today my throat feels odd, and I very much fear I may be coming down with a cold (or worse still, a throat infection – I am prone to these, accompanied by a temperature and flu-symptoms when colds are going round) – my hubby has started a cold so the outlook doesn’t look good. If it does develop, it will be in full swing by tomorrow. (I’m typing this at 12.30 a.m. Wednesday, so about 36 hours to go…) I am Really Fed Up about this. The group are so lovely and they have reassured me from the outset that if I’m not well enough any time, there’s no pressure, and they’ll just do something else, but I hate letting people down, especially in this case, when various different people have been doing things to help prepare for the session.

Sorry I didn’t manage to get round many desks this week – it’s hard to fit it all in. I’ve had a few really rough days and needed to rest, and I’m also trying to archive a whole lot of magazine articles which takes a lot of time, and continuing to work on the word book pages for my friend (only 4 more to go!). Thank you, those who visited me and left comments – always much appreciated! Happy WOYWW everyone!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

WOYWW 127

First of all, thank you everyone who commented on my blog last week – I so enjoy and appreciate all the comments I receive – they are so lovely and encouraging! I feel as if I’m getting to know some of you a bit better now, and making new friends. A big thank you too to our lovely Julia who organises this voyeuristic jamboree around our desks in their various states of tidiness (or otherwise!!) – heaven for all nosy artists and crafters out there! (Click on the WOYWW logo in my sidebar for more info.)

I haven’t been on my blog since this time last week. It’s been a busy week – I was invited to do some Bible teaching at an awesome local group on Thursday and it was a totally brilliant experience! They seemed to like what I did because they are clamouring for me to go back! I am going next week, and after that I’ll probably limit it to once a month because much as I enjoyed it, it did take a lot out of me and I had to rest for a few days.

This meant, of course, that I was away from my ARTHaven – not a state of affairs I particularly enjoy!! Anyway, I have managed to make good progress on the birthday cards I’m making for my mum for Christmas. Here’s my main work desk:

On my desk you can see that I’m using a doily as a stencil, inking it with Chipped Sapphire Distress Ink using an Ink Duster. I’m doing it on some printed scrapbooking paper which has an overall pattern in one colour. Beside it you can see an experimental scrap piece on top of one of my cards, inked with a variety of distress inks using ink dusters – I love this effect and use it a lot.

The next picture shows it with the doily removed. I’m quite pleased with this – I deliberately decreased the intensity of the ink as I moved down the paper, but I’d have preferred it not so centrally placed. I may cut this piece up.

After using my distress inks, to clean up, I spritz the craft sheet with water, and when I remember, soak it up with small pieces of card to use as backgrounds later – much better than just wasting it on a bit of kitchen roll! You can build up with different colours and no two ever come out the same – once dry they make fabulous backgrounds! Here are some I’ve made recently.

This is what’s on the brown table this week – piles of different papers so I can choose what to use to make my various cards. I’ve been busy matting and layering, and I think I’m finally getting the hang of this and not getting them crooked all the time!!!

On the right you can see my smooshed backgrounds on top of a pile of scrapbooking papers which have some interesting colours and fairly random backgrounds in single colours, which are quite useful (can’t remember where they came from – Ebay, I think!). In the centre are my Core’dinations stacks in various sizes and colours, on top of some Tim Holtz and other papers.

Finally, here are the cards I’ve done so far, in various stages of completion.

You will see that I have done some Cuttlebug embossing on Core’dinations paper (I’m really getting to like this now, after rather a rocky start with it), and I’ve also made some paper flowers from stamped images that I’ve painted with distress inks, layered and added some Stickles for a bit of sparkle. I’ve added some of my hibiscus flowers to a sprig I drew with water-based marker pens, and I’ve cut an oval with my 5-in-1 shaper punch, and I’ve done lots of ink blending with my Ink Dusters. I’ve added ribbon to some of them. Most of them still need work – I’ve got to cut some “Happy Birthday” sentiments on Jiminy Cricut and maybe use some peel-offs too, and most of them still need a sentiment inside, and some need embellishing further, but I think you can see I’m making reasonable progress.

I may keep some of these cards for myself and not give them all to my mum – I am going to try and build up my stash while I’m at it, and as nearly all our family and friends’ birthdays come in the first part of the year, it would be nice to be organised before Christmas with this – I always find myself focusing on Christmas and then when that’s over and I’m exhausted with it all, suddenly remember all the birthdays crowding in and demanding attention! So Shoshi’s going to try and be organised this year!!

Sorry I didn’t manage to get round many desks this past week. It’s been very busy and I’ve been too tired in between to do much. Now there are so many of us, it’s virtually impossible to do a proper job with it!

Hope you all have a great WOYWW and hope to see a few more this week.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

WOYWW 126

I’m ashamed to report that the only thing I’ve done in my ARTHaven all week is to use it as a dumping ground!

If you look closely you can see that on my actual work table, absolutely nothing has changed since last week!! On the brown table, however, there’s a lot more stuff – I’ve been dumping things on there that need sorting out – stuff that arrived in the post, paperwork to do, etc.

There is one interesting thing there, however – on the left of the pile is a bag of poultry grit that I bought yesterday when we went to our local country store. Why? – you may ask? I bought it to use for gorgeous texture in my mixed media projects! I’ve seen this done online and it’s really cool. This stuff is little bits of broken oyster shell which chickens actually eat (hard to believe, isn’t it! Isn’t God’s creation wonderful?) to help them form shells on their eggs. It’s really lovely with lots of interesting textures – some of the pieces are smooth, and others have lovely ridges on them. Hopefully I’ll soon have something to show you where they have been used.

This week I have been really busy with things that don’t show in my ARTHaven. A friend asked me to redraw some cut files she’d bought by mistake (she actually wanted pdfs and bought gsds instead) – I’ve made good progress these week and am now up to letter O in the alphabet. Once they are done, she will have the complete alphabet of word book pages. It’s fairly time-consuming, but I’m so enjoying it, and the best part is the pleasure it gives me to help out a friend.

I’ve also been busy archiving magazine articles – I’m trying to cut down on the huge amount of stuff we’ve got in this house, and I’m tackling the boxes of old magazines and printed articles I’ve got, and typing them or scanning them into the computer so they take up no room at all, and where I can easily find them once they are filed in sub-folders under category. Some of these magazines have only one thing of interest in them, so they are taking up a lot of space for no great purpose!

In addition to this, a friend has asked me to do some informal teaching sessions at her local Bible study group. I haven’t done any teaching since I’ve been ill (2006) and it wasn’t an easy decision to come to, as I’ve learnt by experience that it’s easy with this condition to agree to things too readily, and then end up letting people down because I’m not well enough – it’s difficult to make commitments to anything when the M.E. is boss… However, they are very understanding and said that if I am not well enough on any given day, they can just do something else, and there’s no pressure! I used to teach a regular group (at one time two sessions a week) and I know how much work is involved in preparation, quite apart from the session itself.

I’ve prepared some material and am giving my first session tomorrow morning, all being well – and if, of course (big if!) I can get myself up in time! With my sleep patterns being what they are at the moment (rubbish) that’s a very big if indeed. My hubby says he’ll come and boot me out of bed!!!

So – not too much to report creative-wise this week. I look forward to seeing what all of you have been up to in this wonderful opportunity to pacify the nosiest urges of artists and crafters which our wonderful Julia is so gracious as to satisfy – click on the WOYWW icon in my sidebar for more info if you’re not aware of what’s going on, and have nosy cravings too. (Thanks, Julia!) Thank you, everyone, who left such lovely comments on my blog last week. All very much appreciated!!