Wednesday, 29 April 2009

An Update on Yesterday's Post

After I posted scans of my fabric postcards last night I decided that the first one was a bit bland colour-wise on the flower so I added some more paint. I think it looks better but it is funny how I needed to see it on the computer screen to realise what it needed!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

A Couple More Fabric Postcards

Last night I finished up a couple more floral fantasy fabric postcards for the Unique Stitching Red Cross fundraiser. They were fun to make - the first one has a machine-felted background overlaid with angelina fibres and a painted paper towel appliqued fantasy flower. Some foiled squiggles, large hot pink sequins and a gloriously decadent button to finish.

The second one has a blue fabric base with a wispy angelina overlay which I've secured with a grid of gold machine stitching. Another painted paper towel appliqued fantasy flower and this time a gold foiled centre. Both are more sparkly in real life of course!!

And if you want to be in the running for some wonderful blog give-aways check out these great blogs (you need to be quick as they are finishing soon!) -

A special "Oxford Impressions" one at my friend Susie's blog

Monday, 27 April 2009

A Little More Marie...

Here is another little Oxford Impressions "Marie" card - I had so much fun working with a different colour combination (well, different for me!) - just loving my Stampin' Up scallop punch. I recycled the gorgeous little rhinestone buckle from a wedding favour and the ribbon from the wrapping on my recent Verdigris Rose purchase. The white lace is adhesive paper lace which is another current favourite of mine. I tend to find I use whatever is left on my desk from a previous project so maybe I should pull out some under-utilised supplies from their drawers and just leave them where I can see them - that way they probably have a better chance of getting used!

On this card I have masked the Marie image and over-stamped the text background which is from the Oxford Impressions "French Script" plate. The other decorative images are from the "Marie Antionette" plate (and there are lots of very versatile elements on that plate as well).

PS Sorry - I have just realised my scan is a bit crooked - the card isn't though!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Another Random Collection!

Such a busy week - I was away with work, first "out bush" and then for a flying visit to Perth so creativity time this week was rather limited. Needless to say I am loving being home, enjoying the glorious sunny autumnal weather (although I am surprised how quickly it is getting chilly here inland) and making the most of the weekend creativity-wise!

I decided it was time to revamp my blog a little bit so I am trying one of those lovely free backgrounds you can get here - I had to go for my favourite rusty autumnal tones. I had a lot of trouble editing my header though to fit the background format - one of these days I will actually spend a bit of time getting more knowledgeable about these things rather than just trying to do it when I have only got ten minutes spare. It isn't perfect but I am "settling" for how it looks at the moment.

The postcard at the top is my latest finished one for the Unique Stitching fundraiser for the Red Cross. This one has a fabric paper background which I have stamped and sprayed liberally with Moon Shadow Glitz in a gold colour to give it a lovely glow (which doesn't really come across that much in a scan). The other three postcards are coming along and I will do a bit more on those today probably.
Yesterday I finished off another two Oxford Impressions samples - the blue one is in the heavily decorated category and the pink one is in the simple and understated category. I even used two of my many but very under-utilised decorative punches. The stamped background on the blue one is a lovely image from the third plate (French Script) in the Oxford Impressions vintage french theme. I enjoyed making these and have several more in various states of development. (My temporary desk - a large trestle table - is covered with them and all the bits and bobs I have pulled out to go with the theme. I had to use the trestle table as my desk was too cluttered from other stuff and I couldn't cope with it!)

And then I have had beautiful mail - look at these gorgeous cards (which I have overlapped and trimmed on my scanner!) that I bought from my friend Julia (Verdigris) Rose over in Melbourne. I first met Julia at the Artistic Journey Art Retreat in Melbourne in 2008 and then got to catch up with her again at the start of the recent Creative Soul Art Retreat. The cards are prints of her gorgeous paintings and I am going to frame some of them so that I can keep them for myself. Julia has started up an Etsy shop and is just the loveliest person. PS I need to clean my scanner as the prints don't have those dots on them!!

My Calendar Girl postcard for April also arrived this week from another lovely lady - Doreen over in Canberra. Once again my scan doesn't do this card justice - there is so much texture and depth in it. I really feel as though I am in the middle of birch forest when I look "into" it. Look here for the picture that was used as the inspiration for this month.

And finally but in no way least, here is the last of the little houses from the Creative Soul Retreat Exchange. The wonderfully talented Annette was not able to come to the Retreat but participated in the exchange and her gorgeous little "glass house" arrived here this week. This will be joining all the others in my collection here next week. I couldn't resist using a house shape for the scan!So I am going to try and stay away from the computer as much as I can today as I have lots of plans for baking (the requests so far include chocolate chip muffins and a cinnamon apple cake) and sewing and painting and stamping and reading, oh and of course some sudoku and if I have any time left, a fast walk on the treadmill!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

A Random Collection - What I have Been Making!

Stamps by Oxford Impressions - from the new Marie Antionette & French Script plates

Exactly as per the blog post title - this is a rather random collection of things I have been working on and actually finished plus a couple of lovely ATCs that I received this week.

A little quilted hanger for a good friend (featuring fabrics and lace from a lovely bundle she gifted to me!)

The first of my Red Cross Fundraising "Floral Fantasy" fabric postcards - this one has a stamped silk background, silk paper and a flower made of painted vliesofix on script printed fabric. It has a beaded centre and I finally christened my "bejeweller" and used some hotfix rhinestones!

Another quilted hanger - similar to the other smaller one above - for my Art of the Month partner, Kasha. It was too big to fit properly on my scanner and it really is a bit wonky. Don't the buttons look like smiles!!

Technique ATC from Rosaland Hannibal - uses painted Misty Fuse and other delicious little bits!

And a gorgeous Autumn ATC from Carole - love the leaf print!

I am away from home this week with work so I am packing a whole pile of little projects I can work on at night! Hopefully I will have something finished by the time I get back Friday night. Wishing you all a wonderful week.

And The Blog Give-Away Winner Is...

Thanks to Random Org we have a winner - number 38 of the 41 comments and emails I received:

AND the funny thing is that Hilary has said she is getting ready for a house move and is cleaning out her supplies so she has gifted her prize to Doreen - such a nice thing to do!

And I just know how much Doreen loves napkins/serviettes so I will definitely be sending some of my collection with the stamps!

Thanks to everyone that entered - I wish I had more of those stamps to give away as I know you all loved them. It has also made me want to do more give-aways - it was fun and I loved finding new blogs to read as a result!

I'll save my arty post for later today - I have a few things I need to finish off first! Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Some Days You Just Have to Get Dressed & Go to Work!

(Dressing Warm by Jessie Wilcox Smith - thanks to Karin!)

Easter was so lovely - what a great four days - full of relaxation, (including some overdue blog-reading and You Tube watching), celebration (Joseph's birthday), love, some creativity (lots of cooking too) and some reorganization (of my sewing room mainly) as well! But today the working week was a reality and I had to get dressed and go out there!

(Red Cross Fundraiser Fabric Postcards under way)

Despite the best of intentions I didn't actually finish much of what I was making over Easter - I have two small fabric collage type quilts for friends underway, at least five postcards started for the Red Cross fundraiser and several Oxford Impressions cards in the making.

I played around colouring tags (using Distress Inks and Moon Shadow sprays) and also experimented with my new Tim Holtz and Heidi Swapp mini masks. So far I am not overly impressed - the HS one that I tried (damask) is OK I guess but the TH flourish is too big for anything I am making or likely to make. Of course I could just use a portion of it. The other two packets I bought (borderline and timeworks) will be more practical I think. I loved the Tim Holtz video using the masks so I probably had/have very high expectations!

I also bought the Decorative Corners Glimmer Screens from Tattered Angels and used them at the Art Retreat on my Art Journal Covers. They are just gorgeous and I think I should have invested in the complete pack - they are more like a stencil and quite a firm plastic. I can see myself using them a lot! I am off to work some more on my postcards so that I can do some hand work on them at Annie's tomorrow night.

PS If you haven't already joined in my blog give-away - see here for details! I am really enjoying blog hopping as a result of the links I am finding from this (something else I did a lot of over the weekend).

Monday, 13 April 2009

A Little Bit of Marie Prettiness

Suzanne at Oxford Impressions has recently produced three plates of unmounted stamps on a Marie Antionette/vintage French theme and they are just gorgeous! I have the first two plates so far and have been playing around with the images a bit over Easter. Quite a different style for me to use and a lot of fun.

I am really looking forward top receiving the third plate "French Script" as it has lots of background and text images - my idea of heaven in stamps! This collage (above) uses images from the "Marie Antionette" and "Beau Monde" plates. The tinted silver doily behind the "doll" was one I had used as a stencil in a Traci Bautista workshop and it had a lovely bluish-pinkish hue so in the true spirit of Marie extravagance I stuck it on and added rhinestones as well. The white lace is real and the black lace is that beautiful self-adhesive stuff that you buy on a roll.

I have started so many different projects this weekend - so far most are only "underway" and will get finished off after work this week hopefully. One of the things I am working on is some "fabric" postcards for Cecile at Unique Stitching's "Floral Fantasy" Postcard Fundraiser for the Red Cross. If you are interested in participating, see here for details. Cecile is offering great prizes to encourage us all! "Fabric" is being loosely interpreted for this event which suits me fine - it means I can use my fabric paper and some of those gorgeous serviettes that I "collect".

PS I can't get over how much quicker it is to blog, when you only add one photo to a post!!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

A Little Blog Give-Away

As previously mentioned I had the good fortune to win a prize for my Skinny Book at the recent Creative Soul Retreat and there were two sets of Autumn Leaves Clear Stamps included in tee prize. As it turns out I have one of the sets already so I am offering the spare set (Flourishes V:I by Rhonna Farrer) as a give-away. These are lovely stamps to use - very versatile and pretty.

Just leave a comment by next Saturday (the 18th of April) and I will do a random draw on Sunday. If the winner likes decorator serviettes/napkins as an art supply, I will also include some of my napkin stash with the stamps.

Please make sure that you include your email address if you don't have a blog OR if your blog profile doesn't automatically link to your email address (and so many people don't which I find very frustrating when I want to reply to comments!!)

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Easter - I am having a doubly special one as it is Joseph's birthday today. Needless to say it is day of making sure he knows he is special so I am off to make some of his new favourite banana muffins!

Friday, 10 April 2009

A bit of a mixed bag!

Tonight I am sharing a bit of a mixed bag - firstly the "autumn" themed ATCs I have made for Carole and Annie (as above). These are based on a decorator serviette that I adhered to felt and coloured with Adirondack Color Washes. I stamped them with a text stamp and added some moon shadow mist. The leaves are formed from acrylic painted lutradur which I have "cut-out" using a wood burning tool and then stitched to the ATC down the leaf spine.

On Wednesday night Annie and I played with Susan Scheewe Wax Resist Sticks. We drew freehand backgrounds on various grades of watercolour paper and then did washes over the top. The sticks are designed for creating special effects on watercolour surfaces (such as sparkle in waterfalls or the sun's reflection on water) but we were just after resist effects. The sticks worked great and we had a lot of fun. These are some of my results and I can see that with a bit of planning you could really make a very interesting background!

This week I received my March Calendar Girl postcard from Susan Davenport - Susan painted her "take" on this month's calendar page and a lovely result it is!

And then I received another of the Technique ATCs in the Surface Design swap - this one is from Elizabeth Woodford and uses wax crayons.

I have been working on making some cards with my new Oxford Impressions "Marie Antionette" and "Beau Monde" stamps and will post them as soon as they are finished.

PS A little blog give-away happening here this week!! Details tomorrow!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Calendar Girl Postcards - March and April

This is my March Calendar Girl postcard.

Despite thinking March's postcard was going to be a breeze (as I loved it and all the other earth from the air pictures that I looked at here) I struggled with it! I think it was partly because I made the mistake of looking at the rest of the group's efforts before I had properly settled on an idea...
The original calendar page inspiration

I really wanted to use a piece of heavier weight lutradur that I had previously painted in shades of green so I scored lines in it (to imitate the boundaries of the fields as seen from above) using a wood burning tool. I didn't worry about trying to replicate the actual picture - just the basic idea of fields of various sizes. I then over-painted some of the fields with browns and lighter greens. It needed "something" so I sprayed it rather liberally with Moon Shadow gold glitz (just love that stuff) so that it is quite sparkly when viewed at the right angle! I considered layering dyed gauze over it but it just didn't look right. Likewise all my other textural ideas -microbeads, utee, tiny fabric remnants etc.. none of them seemed "right".

Progress shot

So in the end I just added some black and grey shadowing with ink pens, backed the lutradur with Pelmet Vilene Plus, wrapped the postcard from the back with some hand dyed muslin (I think it is called something else in the US), frayed some edges and stitched around the edges. It is a little bit too much on the under-embellished side for my taste but nothing I contemplated adding worked, so I decided to try and adopt the "less is more" principle.

April's inspiration was this gorgeous calendar image (don't worry about the month - we are free-wheeling this year with images and ignoring minor details like months). I was reading one of my friend Annie's new textile inspiration books last Wednesday and saw a sun-printed fern that had been stitched in metallic thread and immediately thought I would do something similar for my April tree trunks postcard.

So on Saturday I did some sun-printing (yesterday's post shows all the other bits of sun-printing I did ) and for this postcard I used a piece of cream coloured cotton with a mixture of inks and dyes in green, rust and butterscotch shades. I cut tree trunks from the release paper that backs "Wonder Under" and pressed them into the wet fabric using pins to hold them in place at each end. I was really happy with the results as the plastic-ey paper worked well to resist the ink. It was hard deciding which portion of the fabric to use for the postcard but after "auditioning" various sections I took the plunge and cut out a 4 x 6 inch section.

Final April Postcard

When I came to stitch it though, it looked too plain so, in addition to the felt backing, I added a layer of Misty Fuse and some super fine gold-brown tulle over the top of the postcard before I machine stitched up and down each "trunk" in a metallic greeny gold thread. It still looked a bit under-done so I added some hand stitching on the trunks and some machine stitched coppery metallic lines between the trunks. I added a Pelmet Vilene Plus backing and edged the postcard with the same coppery thread before deciding to also add shadows and markings to the tree trunks using ink pens. I finished off with sprays of Medieval Gold Moon Shadow Mist to give sparkle and a more mottled look. It looks livelier than in the scan above (really)!

I quite enjoyed using both calendar pages as inspiration but without the requirement to replicate them in fabric. Both have ended up with a connection to the original but that is about as far as it goes and luckily that is all that is required!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Sun Printing Results from Yesterday

Just a quick post to share the results of some of my sun-printing experiments yesterday. It was a perfect day weather-wise, sunny and breezy rather than windy. Apart from a specific piece that I wanted to make for my April Calendar Girl postcard, I just wanted to try out my new plastic lace tablecloths.

I have been trying to find some of these for ages but haven't had any luck until we dropped into Spotlight last weekend while we were in Perth. I always think of old ladies and fussy houses or old fashioned but practical country hotels when I think of this plastic stuff (with apologies to anyone who actually uses this stuff for its intended purpose) but it works an absolute dream for sun-printing and is much quicker than arranging individual objects on the fabric.

I used a variety of fabric dyes (the ready mixed sort) and some Tsukineko All Purpose Ink and a variety of new and recycled fabrics. Very happy with the results.

I also tried plastic shelf lace that I had bought in the craft shop in town here and that worked fantastic too.
As usual I forgot to use gloves so I have rather hideous looking hands and nails again...

One of the mopping-up cloths that turned out rather nice!

Saturday, 4 April 2009

A bit more catch-up!

As I have mentioned before, at the Creative Soul Retreat many of us traded little houses (made of chipboard and individually decorated) and I have now assembled my collection on the ledge of the whiteboard in my office at work. They look fantastic altogether.

These photos showed them propped on the ledge but I have since added a tiny blob of blutack behind each one so they stand up straight and don't get knocked off the ledge. The beauty of the blutack is that I can rearrange my little village whenever I want!

Carol Taylor was my partner in February for the Calendar Girl Postcard exchange and this was the postcard she was inspired to make. It is so gorgeous and textural!! Check out my earlier post here to see the picture of the unicorn that was the inspiration for February's postcards.

Yesterday I received another of the Surface Design Technique ATCs - this one is from Judy Alexander and she, like me, based her technique on puffy paint but what a different result. Love those swirly shapes. You can read about Judy's technique here.

Just a quick post as it is a glorious sunny autumnal day here and I want to go outside and do some fabric sun-printing. Going to make the most of the weather and have a dusk barbecue tonight. I am hoping tomorrow is sunny too as it is the monthly Trash and Treasure market day and I love a bit of a fossick!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

A Week in Reflection

I thought I would get to post here as soon as I got back from Perth but I was just too tired and now days have passed!! The wedding was terrific - perfect weather, gorgeous bride and groom, terrific company with fantastic food and wine as well!

Josh - Friday night

We made the most of the trip and squeezed in a lot - we bought an old wooden letter writing box (the double layered hinged sort!) at the antique shop in the little wheatbelt town of Kellerberrin on the way down to Perth on Friday, then had a great Indian dinner with our son Josh that night, followed up by a lovely relaxing morning on the Saturday with Jacob and Melanie and the two delightful grand-daughters.

Josh - Saturday afternoon (and hating the whole Mum wants ANOTHER photo thing!)

Evelina (now 7 weeks old) was available for cuddles and some awake time so it was just perfect! Really took me back to the wonders of little babies and even though it is only 18 years ago for me I had forgotten how heavy they get after a while!

Me and the gorgeous Evelina

Joseph (Grandad), Skye and Evelina

The wedding was Saturday afternoon and for anyone that doesn't know Perth (the state of Western Australia's capital city) it is a wonderfully scenic and very beautiful place with a fantastic park (King's Park) that is on much higher ground and overlooks the river and the city. You can sort-of see from these photos just how gorgeous the view was (from the the wedding ceremony).

The reception was in the Old Swan Brewery down on the river's edge and that was equally stunning. Sunday was spent driving back to Kalgoorlie - normally coming home seems quicker than going, but after a couple of full-on days, the seven hour drive seemed like a seven hour drive!! We were in bed early Sunday night as I had to go to work on Monday. Joseph was a lot luckier as he is on holidays.

Late afternoon view back over the Swan River from the Old Swan Brewery

I haven't down any art this week - I am back on my treadmill after work each day trying to get back in the pattern of regular exercise and it is feeling good! Last night at Annie's I really just talked and looked at lovely books etc other than finally finishing off my art journal from DJ's class at the retreat (I got around to beading the binding strings). This weekend, though, I have lots of arty intentions!

So to make this a bit more visual and arty, here are some terrific ATCs I have recently received. The first one is from my friend Annie (isn't it gorgeous - it is based on a terrific water soluble crayon technique) and the others are from the Surface Design Technique ATC Exchange.

From Jan Ziebol

From Aynsley McKay