Saturday 22 December 2007

My Last Post for a Little While...

Just want to wish all my blogging friends a wonderful joy-filled Christmas and a great New Year. We are "on holidays" now and leave tomorrow for Perth. I'm driving back on the 2nd of January so I will be back blogging that night probably!! (I'll have withdrawal symptoms by then I expect.)

Yesterday's mail brought this gorgeous card and stunning silk postcard from Sue Smith - just beautiful Sue! I probably shouldn't have scanned the card with some rust fabric behind it(!) and the silk was so reflective the scan is hopeless but believe me when I tell you it really is a beautiful brown silk and not a rainbow pattern!!

Last night, when I should have been packing and/or wrapping presents, I got this overwhelming urge to have a play with a background for an autumn themed art quilt I need to have finished by the end of January. I don't know whether I will actually use this piece for it but I was really happy playing around with the technique!

(The left side is just the tissue paper in its original but crumpled state
and is there just for comparison in the scan)

The result is quite leathery looking. It is a variation on a technique I have blogged about before which I learnt from the wonderful Dale Rollerson - it is based on tissue paper and cotton quilt batting. It is very soft and pliable and will be great to machine or hand sew onto. At this point I am imagining adding some applique, hand stitching/quilting and some beading.

So now I am off to pack and wrap and clean and generally get myself ready for 10 days away from home. As much as I love holidays I miss my home when I am away, especially all my art, craft and sewing supplies! As this holiday involves some relaxing I need to pack some things I can work on, but of course I can't make up mind what to take and will probably do what I usually do and take nothing other than reading material!

Thursday 20 December 2007

Wonderful Christmas Mail

From Barbara

From Kari

I have received some wonderful handmade Christmas mail - from Barbara in Germany, Kari in the US and Kate Palmer on the other side of Australia! Aren't they all wonderful. I feel very very blessed, especially as I haven't made cards again this year (that is so bad for a stamper, you know!)

From Kate Palmer

And look at these great Christmas napkins - won't they just be wonderful in mixed media art!! I found them tonight at a great little gift shop - imagine using them for your fingers!! What a waste...

And this is the rest of the jigsaw pieces that I finished on the weekend and fully intend to get in the post tomorrow.

Wednesday 19 December 2007

More Jigsaw Pieces

Vintage Bathing Beauties for Elaine

Well I am now in panic mode - I can't believe Christmas Day is only 6 days away!! We leave town on the 23rd and come back on the 2nd of January so I am trying to get my act together so that there are some remnants of sanity left by the 25th.
Vintage for Jen

The result of course is that I am having to restrict my nightly creative time as there is so much else to do that really is much more urgent and probably more important too. So I have just uploaded some more close-up scans of the jigsaw pieces and hope that you enjoy them.

Vintage for Sarah

Tuesday 18 December 2007

A Northern Hemisphere Christmas Postcard

Today's post brought this wonderful mixed media Christmas postcard from Kate North - it is just gorgeous! Thanks Kate.

I have been posting here recently about my first attempt at the January Postcard for the Calendar Girls challenge and this is my finished effort. The beauty of starting early is that it gives me a chance to reflect on it and do another one in January if I get some better ideas! Since the last picture I have added beading to the flower centre, glossed over the whole flower with Antique Dimensional Magic and added backing and finishing to the edges.

And as I am celebrating the completion of the jigsaw, here are scans of some of the pieces:

"Beauty" for Lexie

My "Vintage Dressmaking" pieces

"Vintage Children" for Marg

Monday 17 December 2007

The Jigsaw is Finally Finished!

Well yesterday I managed to finally (!!) finish my second lot of jigsaw pieces for the swap that I messed up first time round. Fortunately everyone has been very patient waiting for me. This is a blurry photo of the finished pieces altogether. I will upload scans of the individual pieces tomorrow. I am so relieved to have them finished - the need to do them has been hanging over me!

Other things I finished yesterday - a Lutradur/Lace and Beading ATC for a trade with Bina in Israel (at the bottom of this post), the tag to go with Vicci's Square Deco (back above, front below) and my January postcard for the Calendar Girls (which I will post tomorrow). I am away for a couple of weeks over Christmas so unfortunately will have to skip the various blog challenges for a while, particularly as I just don't have any spare time this week before we go away.

Sunday 16 December 2007

Sunday Underway

Once again I just could not think of a good blog title!

This is my second page in Vicci's square journal - it is water colour paper with multiple layers of stamping and colour washes, another vintage image printed on inkjet fabric and a grungeboard flourish. Because the journal is so thick it was a bit hard to get a good scan of the page - it looks rather crooked but isn't really!

I'm planning on playing some more today with the grungeboard - it is incredibly robust and flexible and takes wet colour very well. I really think this will be one of those products that becomes a staple item for paper artists and not just a fad.

PS In case anyone is interested we had a lovely Christmas party last night - fortunately we all managed to stay warm enough to have a good time! And we have woken today to thunderstorms and rain which feels extremely bizarre considering what the temperatures are normally like at this time of year. Great for the garden!

Saturday 15 December 2007

Fabulous Mail & Grungeboard Too!

Yesterday I received this wonderful fabric postcard from Jhodi Bennett - it is for our "silk" postcard exchange. It is a lovely sensuous and rich postcard - very textural and just gorgeous.

I also received my first order of the new Tim Holtz Grungeboard and had a quick play with it last night before we had a power blackout (which lasted a couple of hours unfortunately). Everything I have read and seen about it is right - it is incredible stuff. I am doing my other square deco page at the moment and incorporating a grungeboard flourish on it so I'll upload that either later today or tomorrow.

We have our work Christmas party tonight. It is Hawaiian themed by the pool to go with the hot summer weather that we have here but of course the temperature has suddenly dropped twenty degrees and it is very grey. I don't think there will be too much Hawaiian happening (jeans and jumpers, more likely!). Champagne will be necessary just for warmth.

This is a card I made quite a while ago - stamped, coloured and then coated in Helmar's Antique Crackle medium. Brown oil paint is rubbed into the cracks to emphasize them. I notice there are lots of people raving about the Tim Holtz Crackle Paints but I am trying to avoid buying them at this stage as I am having trouble getting to my desk - too much stuff in the way! If they are as good as they seem I am bound to end up with some though as I love the crackle look.

Ciao for now...

Friday 14 December 2007

Mixed Media Monday - Words

This week's theme at Mixed Media Monday is "words". I included some words on this journal page I finished tonight for Vicci's square shaped book that I am working on as part of a round robin, so I am using this page as my entry for this theme.

The page is fabric (a recycled man's shirt) that I have sun-printed using champagne caps (or whatever it is that you call those little metal caps on top of champagne corks) and pink and orange glass paints. I have stamped in hot pink Fabrico ink using a flourish stamp and the end of a small cardboard roll. I've stitched a small piece of silk fusion fabric beneath the image which has been printed on an inkjet fabric sheet. To make the page more dimensional I have added fusible wadding underneath. And the beaded ribbon is much prettier than it looks in this scan.

A fun page to make!! I really do LOVE hot pink and orange together - I wonder what that says about me??!!

Thursday 13 December 2007

Gosh - It is Thursday Night Already!!

Nothing much to report - I have been very busy (in the rest of my life) and, very inconveniently, I have done something to my back so I am feeling very uncomfortable and restricted movement-wise.

I have started experimenting with my postcard for January for the Calendar Girls exchange - this is where I am up to at the moment - it is a stamped sunflower on mulberry paper (coloured with Adirondack Color Washes and Tombow ink-pens). The two pictures show it before and after stitching. If you want to see the original picture that is the inspiration for January's interpretation, have a look here.

The background is a cheap but textured water colour paper that has been coloured with multiple sprayings of the color washes, water and Moon Shadow Mist (Medieval Gold) and stamped with a favourite script image. I've fused some batting to it, added some free motioning stitching on the flower and some decorative stitching as a border as there was too much open space around the focal image. The stamped image really needed to be larger but this was an experiment. I will finish it off with some beading and finishing off the edges but it will be interesting to see whether my final January postcard bears any resemblance to this one!

Monday 10 December 2007

Inching Artists - Star Gazing & My Monday So Far

The theme at Inching Artists this week is "Star Gazing". I was planning on doing something more imaginative this week but I came across this beautiful piece of Peggy Skycraft paper that I bought some years ago at a Stamping Down Under Convention, in Sydney I think. Peggy does the most incredible things to paper! This piece really makes me think of a universe full of stars so I had to use it for these inchies. And of course then all I could think to add to it was stars!! I've used a Rubber Stampede dotty star background stamp that was one of my early stamping purchases. The embossing powder is gold pearl. I do so little embossing these days my antique gold powder has gone black!

Today I am having a day's recreation leave - it was a spur of the moment thing, fortunately I didn't have anything urgent or important happening at work and my boss was amenable to the short notice! So I have a whole pile of plans for what I am going to achieve - mostly things that I had hoped to finish over the weekend - I tend to plan way too much for each weekend of course.

So what is happening in my life creatively speaking - firstly I am very excited and honoured to be part of the 2008 Calendar Girls (nothing is posted there yet). This is a group of twelve women in the UK, US and Australia who are committed to a twelve month postcard exchange (any media) based on the inspiration provided by each month's picture on a particular calendar. Fortunately for me, one of the original group had to drop out and I got invited to fill the gap. I really want to stretch myself this year so I am going to be trying to use a wide range of media across the months and I'll be blogging about my progress and experiments. The exchange starts in January but of course I am busting with enthusiasm so yesterday I started playing with some ideas using rice and watercolour papers. You can see part of why I didn't get through all my planned stuff ...

I am also committed to the year long monthly Journal Quilt challenge on the Aus_NZQuilters yahoo group. My friend Annie is also doing it so we will keep each other inspired and on track with our Wednesday night get-togethers. I haven't done much textile work at all this year other than some postcards so an A4 size quilt a month sounds like a good way to get back into it. It might also justify the piles of fabrics I have accumulated. One of the really good things about this project is that each month there is a theme and a whole selection of techniques to choose from but none of them are obligatory. Apparently the 2006 Journal Quilts went on a travelling exhibition during 2007 - wish I had been able to see them. I don't know if they came to this part of the country or not.

I think I might have already mentioned that I am doing a small square quilt for the NSW CancerCouncil fund-raiser that Unique Stitching is organising - I have some ideas percolating away for that one too.

Joanna has now sent me the pattern for the little fairy slippers that we are making as part of an "out of your comfort zone" exchange so I am looking forward to starting them too. I have months before they are due but I like to start things straight away so they don't become a drag at the last minute. I say that but I regularly produce things under pressure at the last minute so maybe I am just kidding myself! These little slippers are going to be surface embellishment heaven with lots of beading and paint I think.

(Myra's Fabric Postcard)

And now to share some lovely mail I have received - firstly, a lovely package of ric rac and other yummy trims from the wonderful and very sweet Doreen Kinkade (who read my post about needing more black mini ric rac and decided to send me her supply!) and secondly, a wonderful fabric postcard trade from the very talented Myra (who also sent me some lovely extras). Many thanks to you both.

Sunday 9 December 2007

Gothic Arch - Winter

I seem to have trouble getting my Gothic Arches done before the very last day of each theme - I started it late last night but got too tired to finish it. The theme this week is "Winter" and of course it is the middle of summer here and where I live, summers are VERY hot so it was quite nice to think cold and frosty. I have never experienced snow but I love the idea (at least in romantic dreamy terms - not sure I would handle the inconvenience and resulting slush very well!).

I have used a nice very softly coloured and patterned white, lime and blue scrapbook paper as my background and then stamped all over it with text, postmark and snowflake images from the Winter Snow Oxford Impressions stamp plate. I've used beautiful (at least to me they are!) lime and blue chalk inks for the stamping. The very "rugged up" little boy and girl are from the same stamp plate. The black strip is the trimming off a piece of cardstock that I am recycling - the binder holes are an interesting pattern. I also added some leftover white snowflake eyelets that I had bought ages ago for a specific project.

Because I used semi gloss paper for the photograph stamps, my scanner did horrible things to the image so I have photographed it. I find it much harder to get accurate colour using my camera but this is pretty close to the real thing.

Saturday 8 December 2007

Think Monday - Think ATC - Alice in Wonderland

Another quick little post to show the ATC I finished last night for the Think Monday - Think ATC theme of "Alice in Wonderland".

The stamps are all from the Whimsy plate by Non Sequitur, colouring by Tombow pens, and an ancient piece of background paper from when I first started stamping! The plastic flower sequin isn't the right embellishment but that top left corner needed something and this was all I could come up with. Maybe I should have left that decision until morning when I might have had a better idea!

Planning for lots of creative stuff this weekend - in between domestic responsibilities of course - so I expect I will be posting again later today.

Friday 7 December 2007

Mixed Media Monday - Wings

I can't believe this week went so fast - I didn't get anywhere near enough creative or blog time!!

This week's theme at Mixed Media Monday is "wings" so I thought this little canvas would be appropriate, especially given that it is so close to Christmas.

The little angel is a paper napkin (well crumpled), the music sheet background is coloured with Adirondack Color Wash in Butterscotch and there is black fibrous "paper" added as well to create some texture on the left side. The word stamps are all by Oxford Impressions and are stamped on torn tissue. The gold sprinkled in the sealing coat (diluted PVA) is Schmincke Tro-col.

Tuesday 4 December 2007


I have just received a wonderful needlefelted ATC trade from Ev Watts - it is so luxuriant and vibrant and gorgeous - I love it Ev!! And thank you Ev for the bag of wonderful tiny sequins as well, I thought I had some tiny ones but these ones make mine look small rather than tiny. The way Ev has incorporated beads and sequins on the ATC is amazing!

I also received my challenge "material" for the Unique Stitching Art Quilt challenge that is raising money for the NSW Cancer Foundation. It is the first time I have ever participated in something like this and I am really looking forward to it. The challenge will be to incorporate the mystery material (visibly) in a square quilt (between 10 and 12 inches) made on the theme of "Australian Autumn". It is not due until early February so I have plenty of time. I am thinking this will be a good project while we are away over Christmas/New Year.

Despite my excitement about getting something included in the next Somerset Studio I decided not to do anything for the latest theme of "heroes" - for some reason the theme just didn't inspire me and the only idea I had was to do a piece about my Dad, but I just couldn't get motivated to actually DO IT! I am trying to go with the flow a bit more these days so when I really have to force myself to do something I am interpreting it as something I can skip. Hope that isn't just a sign of a weak character!

So to finish off tonight, here are a couple of pages from a colour based journal exchange I participated in some time ago - fabric, paper, fibres and beading.

PS Check out Lisa Vollrath's site for her Christmas countdown with free (linkware) printable images.

Monday 3 December 2007

A "LOVE" Inchie etc...

This is my little "LOVE" inchie for the latest theme at Inching Artists. It is a square inch of fabric fused to felt. I have added a puffy gold star (cut from a Christmas garland) and then sewn on seed beads to the remaining surface and finished it off by painting any visible fabric with gold Lumiere paint.

This is what the finished silk fusion postcards look like. I used a favourite Anais Nin quote - "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are". I'm really happy with the way they turned out.

I have recently joined a "out of your comfort zone" exchange on the SurfaceDesign Yahoo Group and my partner is Joanna who lives in New York. She sent me this beautiful package of goodies this week as part of my challenge (I love pretty mail!). I will report progress on the challenge once we get underway - we are making little fairy slippers (yikes that is seriously out of my comfort zone). If you want to see some, have a look at this post on Val's blog.

Sunday 2 December 2007

TMTA - Headwear (& Other Assorted Stuff)

I had a lovely day - Joseph made me breakfast in bed so I started the day with a leisurely read of the latest Quilting Arts and Issue 2 of Fibre & Stitch. Both provided heaps of inspiration for the day which was a much nicer day, weather wise - sunny but not too hot. Josh and I did some cooking but I also had lots of time to play in my sewing and craft rooms.
So first off, I made my ATC for the current Think Monday Think ATC "Headwear" theme. It is based on a scrap of paper that was underneath another paper when I was spraying Color Washes. I love these colours! I dyed the white ric rac using a Starburst Stain. The text image is an Oxford Impressions stamp that I use a lot and it is stamped with a Versafine Blue Lagoon inkpad. The paper heart lace at the top is self-adhesive and comes in packets of four designs - a brilliant idea I think.

I also finished a couple of postcards. The first one is based on some of my rusted fabric and is a DAK (deliberate act of kindness) for Anna who has been doing a lot of give-aways on her blog. It is stamped using Fabrico ink and the image is printed on fabric.

The second one is for a trade with Val. It is silk fusion in a pink/orange mix with some gold angelina. It is stamped with an Acey Duecy text image and I have added some lace I dyed/painted, another fabric image and a few beads.

I made good progress on some other things as well (including the long overdue replacement jigsaw pieces so I will post them as soon as they are finished) so all in all, a nice relaxing but productive day! Pity there isn't a public holiday tomorrow - I feel as though I am on a roll...

Mixed Media Monday & Wednesday Stamper

This is my entry for two challenges this week - the Mixed Media Monday theme is "Gold" and the Wednesday Stamper theme is "Words" so I have combined the two in this piece.

It is a small canvas board which has been painted black and then covered in black lace strips. I've added a walnut ink stained shipping tag that has been stamped (mostly Oxford Impressions and one from Lost Aussie Designs) and stitched. The whole thing has then been coated in beeswax which holds the dried fern leaf and tiny dried flower in place. It has then been sprayed lightly with Moon Shadow Mist in Medieval Gold and dry brushed with Lumiere Sunset Gold, emphasizing the canvas edges. There is a small metal spiral pushed into the wax over the tag hole. Because the canvas is my "ode" to Paris I have used the word "dream" to finish it off (I can but dream of Paris!).

Saturday 1 December 2007

Gothic Arch - Chocolate

Just a quick post to add my "Chocolate" Gothic Arch before the changeover of theme tomorrow. This is a very simple arch based on a small version of a gorgeous reproduction poster my Mum brought home for me from one of her trips to Europe. I've added some text stamping (Oxford Impressions), walnut ink and gold german scrap as it makes me think of chocolate boxes for some reason. This was actually about the third attempt at this arch so I decided not to fuss as that was how I messed up the first two!

I'm about half way through the third book in the trilogy I am reading and it is taking up any spare time I have at the moment (plus some of my sleeping time as well) but I should be finished it tomorrow and things will get back to normal blog-wise!

Wednesday 28 November 2007

A Work in Progress

Not much to report at the moment - I have been very busy with my non-creative (but still very fulfilling!) domestic responsibilities this week so have been doing more baking than sewing or stamping! I have also lost myself late at night when I should be sleeping in reading Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy which I originally bought for Zach but which I have lost myself in (on Zach's extremely insistent recommendation!). I don't normally read fantasy but these books are intriguing.

Anyway, I have good news to share - I received an email from Somerset Studio yesterday saying that I am being published in the Jan/Feb issue. That email is making me reconsider making something for submission on the current "Heroes" theme!

The scan at the top of this post is a "work in progress" picture of the silk fusion postcards I am making for an exchange with Sue Smith and Jhodi Bennett. Jhodi chose the theme silk so of course I had to use some silk fusion paper I had made in lovely autumnal colours. I have stamped in turquoise Neopaque ink using a very large Fancy Pants swirl/flourish image and added a vintage image printed on inkjet fabric sheets. I have washed the image with diluted Antique Linen Distress Ink and done some free motion stitching on the postcard. I am now awaiting inspiration for the finishing touches...

Monday 26 November 2007

Inching Artists - All That Glitters (& Wonderful Mail)

I think I am becoming addicted to inchies - they are such a good way of using up some of those small strips of cardstock and fabric (trimmings!) that I just cannot throw out!!

This week's theme is "All that glitters" on the Inching Artists Challenge Blog (we need more players - come on, join in - inchies are easy and quick - and you even just do ONE!). I mean, how easy is that?

I have used gold webbing spray on black cardstock (pulled already sprayed from one of many "trimmings" boxes) with a large gold sequin topped by a smaller but still big pink sequin with iridescent gold flakes (what on earth did I buy them for anyway?) glued on top. I have outlined the edges with a pale gold Krylon pen. They will look good mounted together in a strip (instead of the crooked line-up above). They are very glittery although of course this doesn't show up very well in the scan.

And today I received a wonderful envelope in the mail from Andrea - she had enjoyed receiving an envelope from Australia and she very rightly guessed that I would love one from France! Andrea has sent me a wonderful 2008 Marc Chagall calendar and the sweetest knitted brooch which will look just perfect on a fabric journal I have been planning to make for myself. And look at those wonderful French stamps - they caused me as much excitement as the contents, especially that amazing large Bibliotheque one! Thanks so much for everything Andrea.

Wednesday Stamper - Diamonds

Just a quick post - this is my "Diamonds" piece for the latest Wednesday Stamper challenge. The diamond background stamp is one I love but don't seem to use that often. The little girl is of course an image from the new Oxford Impressions Winter Snow plate - she is so cute!