Monday 30 July 2007

Artwords - Candid (& Other Assorted Stuff!)

This piece is for the Artwords Theme this week of "Candid". Pictures of people sleeping are about as candid as I can handle so I thought I would use this favourite reproduction image (this one is from a sheet of decoupage paper). The texture in the background is created via dry brushed gesso over a crumpled decorator napkin glued to the canvas board. I have been a bit slack and just scanned the canvas and the big beads on the tulle curtains make it too dimensional for a good scan but the camera is not nearby.

Once again we had a beautiful sunrise here this morning. My camera is pretty basic but you can see how lovely it was. The second shot shows the sky reflected in a window - I love reflections - you turn your back on beauty and it finds a way to remain in your sight!

We had an even more spectacular sunset this evening. I think it was mainly the result of very interesting cloud formations but unfortunately I was driving Zach to soccer training and didn't have my camera with me. It was so dramatic that I saw one young guy pull his car over so that he could lean out the window and take a photo using his mobile phone.

I had a wonderfully creative weekend, especially yesterday, but I didn't get many pieces actually finished. It was lovely though to work on several pieces and to move between them as they either dried or I worked out "what next"! Sometimes you really get that flow happening. Then of course I kept going too late and botched a perfectly okay ATC by deciding it needed some last minute trimming (it is now seriously sub-standard in size and destined to be "converted" to something else someday).

Saturday 28 July 2007

A Nice Surprise!

I think I have mentioned that I had a magnificent lot of mail this week and in amongst it I received a complimentary copy of the Stampington publication "HandCrafted Volume 3". I thought it had been sent to compensate for a complimentary Gallery Issue that has never arrived. I was quite happy to receive it instead as I hadn't seen the first two volumes. Anyway I have been reading it the last couple of nights and really enjoying the range of articles and projects that are included but this morning I got to the last section which is a "Reader's Gallery" and lo and behold (I love that expression - just had to use it) there was a page with one of my pieces on it. It is actually one of my favourite collages so that made it an even nicer surprise.

So tooting my own horn here I suppose, but here is a scan of the page - my piece is the three tag collage at the top of the page. I have also included a scan of the cover of the book because it has a magnificent piece on it by Beryl Taylor and it is now only 10 days until the first of the three workshops I am doing with Beryl in Perth!! I can't wait and I just know I am going to come home bursting with ideas and enthusiasm!

On a completely different track, this morning I saw this link to a line of French leather handbags where you can buy extra "skins" to completely change the look of the bag - what a fantastic idea - some of them are really nice, as of course is the price tag! It made me think about ways to incorporate the same principle in handmade bags and totes etc which seem to be huge on the Etsy scene at the moment (along with retro aprons).

Last night I started working on a couple of pages for a hexagon shape book that I need to do this weekend and I was looking for a bright looking background. I found this piece of cheap watercolour paper that I used underneath some Color Wash / Moon Glow spraying that I did recently. I think the mop-up piece is nicer than the "real" pieces actually so I have cut a couple of tag shapes from it and done some soft background stamping on it. I've used my favourite and still relatively new Fancy Pants swirly flourish stamps as well as text stamps. The background colour is quite uneven as I was working on a plank table outside and the paper was very wet. These are scans of the piece before cutting and after stamping. I'll post the final results once they are finished.

And now I had better get into my craft room before the day is gone!

Friday 27 July 2007

Artwords - Numbers

This is my entry for this week's Artwords prompt. The theme is Numbers and these Altered Book pages were done some time ago as part of a wonderful round robin I participated in with a group of lovely Queenslanders! This was Marji's book and it was one of the relatively few times I have created a window between pages (mostly because I don't like the cutting part, especially in a book belonging to someone else!).

Thursday 26 July 2007

Blue Inchies

As mentioned last night, yesterday I received 54 delicious little fabric inchies from 6 different fabric artists - Jody Abel, Jenni Strachan, Kathryn Robertson ( our wonderful hostess), Diana Hess, Annette Sibson & Marina Kitto.

A scan is not the best way to show them because some of them are quite dimensional but you can get a pretty good idea of how fabulous they look! They will look great mounted (63 of them including my own set of 9) in a frame of some description. I really found these so addictive to make and I can't wait for the next exchange which I am hoping will be themed "Green"!

Wednesday 25 July 2007

Wednesday Stamper & My Mail Today!

The current Wednesday Stamper Theme is an open one so this is my piece.

It is a collage on a canvas board and uses an Oxford Impressions stamp (Passaporto) and a Lazar Studiowerx image (the antique compass image that is cut into three pieces and placed around the edges of the canvas). The background is a copy of an old map (I forget what the process is called when you get the blue effect in the photocopying!) and I have uncharacteristically, and much to Joseph's distress, added white fibres around the edge. I have also added one of my favourite little metal rings as it makes me think of portholes.

(Jacqueline's wonderful package)

Today was a totally fabulous mail day - I came home to a wonderful selection of fibre ATCs, a tag and special embellished fabric piece for our latest exchange from Jacqueline, a wonderful box of things, including a great card, a packet of beautiful napkins and the cutest dress styled notepad, from my wonderful friend but non-blogger :(( Sue Smith in Albany (who incidentally has another great article "Rustic Charm" in the latest Stamping & Papercraft), my ribbon order from Really Just Ribbons, a gorgeous tag book for a round robin that I am participating in, my collection of "inchies" from the recent blue inchie swap, a bag of yummy stuff from the inchie swap and, to top it all off, a carton of champagne from my wine club. AND no bills!!
(Sue's card and gifts plus Inchie Goodie Bag from Pamela Gilfoyle)

(My ribbon and ric rac order from Really Just Ribbons)

Tomorrow I will post a photo of all the wonderful blue inchies - I want to assemble them for a photo as they are just gorgeous and look spectacular all together!

PS Last night I decided to try and work out the whole banner thing - I really wanted to use this piece of my artwork for Oxford Impressions and I think it looks OK although I will probably try and make it smaller (or maybe just go back to my plain header!). Whatever I decide I am glad I worked it out even if it did mean I didn't get anything else done!

Tuesday 24 July 2007

Think Monday - Think ATC - Holiday

Seeing I was the last entry for last week's Think Monday - Think ATC Challenge I thought I would make a super effort and make my ATC for the latest theme on the Monday!

The theme is holiday and in answer to the prompt "What are your thoughts upon hearing ‘holiday’?" my initial response is always to think about all the car travel involved over the last 14 years since we have lived here in Kalgoorlie.

Family holidays always mean at least a day, if not a day and a half, of driving to get to either Perth or Margaret River. While Josh and Zach have always been great travellers and able to entertain themselves during long drives, when they were young it was of course inevitable that "Are we there yet?" would get asked at some point on the drive! So my ATC relives those moments.

The main stamp used is by Tin Can Mail and I have only used a portion of it as it is a large stamp. The transparency section is by Design Originals. Other things used are a texture stamp, sequin waste as a stencil, walnut ink, scrapbook paper and my favourite Moon Glow Mist in Gossamer Gold.

Monday 23 July 2007

Think Monday - Think ATC - Asia

Well it is the last day for the Asia theme for Think Monday - Think ATC so I am just scraping in.

This is my ATC which is painted canvas paper stitched to felt. The stamping comes from the very large Asian script (Above the Mark) which is in the background and the main image is from a favourite decorator napkin - I love the transparency of napkins. This ATC is similar to some I have made before because I did a whole background sheet and I am progressively cutting it up and turning it into postcards and ATCs!

I worked on several pieces yesterday but didn't finish anything except the ATC so here is a scan of some of the tags I painted with Radiant Pearls - fabulous paints that I love but tend to only use occasionally as they are not sitting on my desk so they get forgotten a bit. Unfortunately the radiance and depth of the paints doesn't show up very well in the scan but they are beautiful in the real thing - the paints blend beautifully and dry by absorption so they tend to be slow drying if you are layering. I hear some people say they don't like the slowness but I think it really helps get the lovely blended look.

Now to go to work - last day of the school holidays for my son so no doubt there will be lots of doom and gloom around here this time tomorrow!

Sunday 22 July 2007

Artwords - Curl (& Harry Potter)

Artwords theme this week was "Curl" and this is my submission - referring of course to the curl of the lips! I love these shades of blue and I am finding I use more paint more and more these days along with canvas boards. The background text stamp is a favourite Non Sequitur image.

As you can see from the photo my son Zach did not appreciate me snapping this shot and I will of course be in big trouble if he sees this (fortunately he doesn't read my blog although he does occasionally look over my shoulder!). Yesterday the long awaited last Harry Potter book was released so as soon as Zach got home from his weekend job at Target at 1pm, he dragged all his bedding onto the couch (it was cold and wet here), made sure chocolates and a drink were handy and spent the next eight hours devouring the book. My job of course was to ensure adequate nourishment was periodically delivered. At 9pm Zach announced that it was an awesome read with some very intricate weaving of plots. He loved it! Now he will undertake the next read of the book which will be a nice slow read to savour all the details. There are some advantages to being able to read fast as he now won't have the ending ruined by anybody telling him before he finished!

The zipper pull in this photo was a present my sister Marrijane bought for me when she holidayed in Alaska recently (something about that place makes it seem to me to be so far away, which it is of course from Australia, but it sounds further than saying the US or Canada I think). I love it and I am thinking of making a zippered purse for my art pens just so it can be used in a way where I will see it a lot.

These two beautiful items (a shabby chic corsage and a sweet little felted brooch) were made by Carol (over by the Irish Sea) and accompanied some recent purchases I made from her Ebay store. It was a lovely surprise to receive such delightful "extras" and Carol's packaging and wrapping are just gorgeous - it felt like Christmas undoing them all.

Now to get back to all my works in progress from yesterday - I have several that should be dry and ready for the next step.

Saturday 21 July 2007

Saturday (yet another imaginative title!)

The leaf earrings in the photo are made by the talented France and were purchased this week from her Etsy store. I've used France's Etsy photo because it is so much better than the one I took. They arrived yesterday and I just love them!

Other purchases I've made recently but which haven't arrived as yet are some packets of white and black Misty Fuse from Catherine's Place and some ribbons and mini ric rac from Really Just Ribbons, so hopefully they will arrive early in the week as I need them for a couple of projects. I haven't used teh Misty Fuse before but I have read so much about it I have to try it! (and yes, Mum I will send you some as I know you will want to try it too!!)

I have two pieces in the latest Stamping & Papercraft Magazine which arrived here during the week - they were based around a Crafty Individuals stamp of two boys. The requirement was to demonstrate different ways the stamp could be used and it was interesting to see the variety of results the five participants came up with. I like all the pieces but especially love Jenny Crossley's shadow box - her work is so individual and so special!

I wanted to use the stamp on fabric so after stamping and stenciling on a piece of lightweight cotton, I backed the fabric with lutrador which I had painted - I really love this stuff, especially the heavy-weight white one. I backed it with a piece of the much lighter pink metallic lutrador which is marketed by Pellon as rainbowSPUN. I am trying to loosen up style-wise so this piece was a bit of an experiment for me and I really had to force myself not to keep everything rectangular, neat and tidy!

On my other piece I used my Making Memories Tag Maker which has been a rather under-utilised purchase. I love it and I am not sure why I don't think to use it more often as it makes great little metal rimmed tags. This time I didn't fight my natural style...

I am so glad it is the weekend - I am dying to do something creative! I have plans to do lots of different things and as it is a grey and somewhat wet day here I won't have too many distractions (other than a nice afternoon nap, maybe?).

Thursday 19 July 2007

Where to start?

Not sure where to start as it has been days since I could post - I have had blog withdrawal symptoms while I have been away. Monday to Wednesday was a work trip to the tiny little outback "town" of Wiluna. Always interesting and always very good to get home! I think I have taught myself the foundations of crocheting while sitting in my little motel room at night but I need to try it with a smoother fibre - the ball I took with me was way too lumpy for a beginner!

The photo is of a wonderful old car outside of Menzies (taken on the way home yesterday) - every time I drive past this car I think about actually stopping and photographing it but when you are going to be driving for several hours you tend to just keep driving. Yesterday was different for some reason and we took the five minutes to stop and take photos and to stretch cramped legs. Whenever I see an old rusted wreck like this I wish I could know its history and why it ended up where it did! Imagine the rusted fabric I could do on this wreck! (Which reminds me - my latest experiment with copper patina rusting is coming along wonderfully - I'll unwrap it on the weekend but it looks good already!)

(PS For anyone outside of Australia wondering about the background to the photo - yes that is what it looks like around these parts - lots of red dirt and some scrub - beautiful on a clear blue sunny but cold winter's day).

When I got home I found that I had received the first two pieces for my jigsaw swap. This is an exchange where 8 of us each decorate 2 large jigsaw pieces for each other so that we all end up with a complete 16 piece jigsaw puzzle on our chosen theme. The beautiful and very clever pieces that are pictured are by the very talented Annie van Leeuwen who is organising this exchange and whom I hope to meet one day (soon would be good!!). My theme is "Vintage Dressmaking". I just love them and it has reminded me that it would be a good idea to get a move on with my pieces for everybody! I still have a couple of months but I know the time will go and these are a bit fiddly ...relatively speaking...

The last photo is a piece I received back from Somerset Studio today - it was published in the Summer 2007 Gallery issue and has been through the whole quarantine inspection process on coming back into Australia so the box was covered in tape and notices advising that "no items had been removed'! So much for "soaring"!! Anyway I have made a couple of life type decisions today so I thought it was apt to post a photo of this piece which hopefully symbolizes my new intentions.

Sunday 15 July 2007

Weekend Report

So this was my weekend - woke up Saturday still feeling a bit off so thought I would delay housework until Sunday apart from doing the washing. That way I could indulge myself with some creative activity. Unfortunately feeling a bit off also affects creativity so I now realise I would have been better off doing the housework yesterday! I did get a bit done - I finished my Beeswax Rome ATCs (picture above - they are in their plastic sleeves so the scan is not brilliant), made a fabric ATC for Diane M (pictured at the bottom), started on some napkin/fabric postcards and read lots of blogs! In the late afternoon I went outside and enjoyed the winter sunshine while I painted some fabric and dyed some muslin (yes I was using my favourite Adirondack Color Washes!).

(This is the start of my napkin/fabric postcard - the original napkin is in the left corner and the rest shows the napkin once it is adhered to felt, dyed and partially stitched by outlining the flowers. I love these napkins!)

Today I was back to normal and after a good sleep in and a lovely cooked breakfast (a Joseph speciality) I went to the Boulder monthly markets to see if the "bush scavengers" were back selling old rusty bits and pieces. Unfortunately they weren't there so I went to the craft shop instead and bought a large crochet hook and a few bits and pieces, along with some lovely flower sequins and scrapbook papers from a cute little scrapbook shop (I must post a photo some time as it is the tiniest sweetest little shop). I have decided I need to learn to crochet and as I am going to Wiluna again tomorrow for work for a couple of days I thought I could use the evenings productively by teaching myself. I have gone to the library and got a book on huge crochet hooks so hopefully I will be well underway by the time I get back on Wednesday.

(Re the fabric ATC - the pink beads are stitched into holes that are melted into the fabric sandwich with a wood burning tool - the backing is painted lutrador which shows through the holes behind the beads.)

Today I did do the housework and then spent the late afternoon again outside but this time I was painting canvas boards and lutrador. I could do that for hours! So I didn't really finish a lot this weekend but I have quite a lot "underway"!

Saturday 14 July 2007

Think Monday - Think ATC - Faces

I like the idea of getting back into making ATCs regularly so I am going to try and do at least one a week by joining in the Think Monday - Think ATC challenge! Not likely that I will actually get it made on the Monday though.

This is my ATC for the current theme of "faces". I have used Dimensional Magic all over the card to get a glossy finish and to adhere the three little sequins. It intensifies the colours nicely (the colour being Adirondack Butterscotch Color Wash on a softly coloured scrapbook paper).

I love this image which is from Stamp Francisco - I have only used a portion of the whole image as it is a large stamp. Here is a photo showing the whole image - from an altered book page I did some time back (and I might have shown this page before!).

Friday 13 July 2007

Artwords - Grunge

This is my submission for this week's Artwords theme "Grunge". I think it would have been better with a bit more variety colour-wise but I enjoyed doing the grungy bits with Peeled Paint & Soot Distress Ink Pads (using the edge of an old credit card as well as "direct to paper") plus an Autumn Leaves Flourish stamp. The rest of the stamps are all from the Time to Stamp "Photo Booth" plate (a very versatile plate of small photo images and a few quotes).

I've been working on finishing my beeswax ATCs and a few other bits and pieces but I'll post those tomorrow - I'm bushed and looking forward to an early night so that I can make the most of the weekend!

Thursday 12 July 2007

A new day...

This morning's dawn - a reminder for me to see each new day as something to be lived abundantly! I woke up feeling out of sorts and headachy - wanting to stay home and to do some creating rather than going to work and struggling with my new role. I really like change (although not when it has no purpose or reason!) but I have problems letting myself grow and learn without wanting it all to happen very quickly so that I can feel confident and in control. Anyway I am of course off to work shortly but thought I would read a few blogs and entertain myself for a while first.

In terms of creative stuff this week - on Tuesday night I made good progress with my beeswax Roma ATCs and last night at Annie's I actually managed to make something! It is a piece for this week's Artwords theme of "Grunge" but it needs "something" so I won't be sharing it until tonight when I work out what that something is.

Last week Lynne L in Perth emailed me to let me know about a new online ATC Weekly Stamping Challenge and I meant to make something for it last week but forgot, so tonight I am planning on making an ATC on this week's theme of "faces". Should be easy as I have tons of face stamp images. I haven't been making many ATCs lately although last year it was a major passion. The photos today (sorry about the lousy crooked scans) are of a few of my favourites. Now I had better get moving and get to work.

Tuesday 10 July 2007

The Monday that was...

Problem: Yesterday morning I decided that I hadn't got around to a whole pile of things (including several "life" type things as opposed to "creative" type things) on the weekend that really needed doing. Solution: Create a list. Downside: I can now clearly see how little I got done from the list in the last 24 hours! Upside: I feel more organised about what is not getting done.

So, while I should have been making travel bookings for my August trip to Perth, organising and filing paperwork, doing some of the gargantuan ironing pile etc etc, I had fun making some Adirondack Color Wash backgrounds for a beeswax ATC exchange that I need to get mailed in about a week. I love the way you can blend these colours! The theme is "Roma" so I have stamped one of my favourite Lazar Studiowerx collage stamps (Roman) on lemon tissue paper and I think the background will show through the tissue paper nicely once it has been adhered with the beeswax. I plan to do some more on these tonight.

I started this post this morning before rushing off to work and now it is lunch time. It is a very cold grey winter's day here so I have come home to check the mail and to make a nicely decadent toasted cheese and ham sandwich. I've got the heater on and a nice cup of tea as well so it is going to take a lot of will power to go back to work in a little while!

But the best part of coming home was that Lynda's stunning textural fabric postcard was sitting in the letterbox waiting for me - it is just beautiful and it is the first "naked" fabric postcard I have received. And it has travelled half way round the world and arrived in pristine condition! I add too many lumpy beads and things to risk it I think but it is much more postcardy this way!! Thanks so much Lynda - it will be on my inspiration wall tonight - I love it!

Sunday 8 July 2007

Fragments - some fabric postcards

I made the most of a relaxing day and had another go at my fabric postcards for the "Fragments" theme. I started them last night and if I hadn't been so tired I might have thought it through a bit more but I decided to stick with them today and to see how they turned out.

I have improvised along the way as there were a few challenges but I am happy with the end result. They are made up of torn "fragments" of scrapbook papers laid on felt with a layer of pale organza randomly stitched on top to hold the pieces together. Floral/text images torn from napkins (decorator serviettes) have been glued on top with diluted PVA. When they were dry I used a wood burning tool to melt back some of the organza and to bond the edges a bit. The whole postcard was then lightly coated with more diluted PVA. When they were dry I stamped some swirls in sepia ink and added a strip of lace before doing the backing and edges.

I've also continued with my tissue paper collages but I am not sure that I am terribly enamoured of how they are going. They might be another project that gets put aside and replaced with a fresh start!

I am getting pretty excited about my holidays in August - I am taking some recreation leave so that I can go to Perth to do three workshops with Beryl Taylor. They should be terrific - I am doing one on embellishments and a couple on fabric paper. I don't know if anyone I know is going to these but I would imagine they will be very popular so if you are going let me know! I am planning on staying in Perth for the best part of a week to catch up with family as well and to attend a couple of days of the WA Craft, Quilt & Stitch Fair at the Claremont Showgrounds.

P.S. I wish tomorrow was a Public Holiday - I would love another day of creative fun!

Saturday 7 July 2007

A week in review...

So far this week I have not finished anything but a good book! (Anita Shreve's Body Surfing). I have worked on prepping chipboard with gesso (for a special project for my sister Marrijane), making fabric postcards and ATCs (all unfinished) and experimenting with tissue paper collages (also unfinished), so the photos today are all of works in progress, except for the piece above which is now on display (Just joking!! Read the last bit of this post for explanation!).

The first is of the collection of tissue papers that I used to make the 6 inch square collage background in the photo below. I added liberal sprays of Wild Plum Adirondack Color Wash and now have to decide on the specifics of the next layers of paint and stamped images, given that for this exchange the tissue paper is the focus. Once I am happy with my result I'll make the other five along the same lines.

The next photo is of another sandwich of felt, organza, ribbon and mesh snippets under a layer of organza which has then been free motion stitched. I haven't decided whether to burn holes in this one or just use it as it is for a fabric postcard background. These are so much fun to do, I can see I could get quite addicted to layering fabrics!

The next photo is of the fabric postcards that I started this week - the theme is "fragments". I dyed the fabric (first with coffee, then with rust and then with walnut ink and Color Washes), stamped it with text, stitched organza to very old book pages, cut them up and then stitched them to the fabric/felt sandwich. They didn't look interesting enough so I tried stamping on one (don't like that either so that one will be cut down to ATC size) and I also tried spraying them with Moon Shadow Mist and more Color Washes. Quite like the darker colour but I have decided to just leave these ones for the time being and to try something else in a completely different colourway! That is what I am going to do when I finish this post (I've spent the day so far doing the house cleaning and making the most of the beautiful winter sunshine by hanging out seven loads of washing so far.)

I also just came across this site that helps you turn your own pictures into interesting things - so here is the fabric postcard from my last post gone circular and at the top of this post, a fabric postcard now on display as large format art! If you haven't tried it you should - it's good fun.

Monday 2 July 2007


First off I am sharing a photo of a beautiful scarf my friend Adam G in Melbourne knitted for me. Not only is it the most beautiful shade of green (a favourite colour of mine!), it is lovely and long and very warm. It also has a lovely long fringe which I think makes a scarf feel really decadent and luxurious. The scarf arrived in the mail last week and today I wore it to work - it passed all scarf tests - it was warm but not itchy (I am allergic to lots of fibres including most wool and a lot of synthetics), it looked great with my black clothes (what I mostly wear) and to top it all off, the lower portion survived - unharmed - the drive to work hanging out of the bottom of the car door (lucky I am only a very short distance from work and I didn't drive through any puddles!).

Note to myself for future reference - check whereabouts of all extraneous extremities before closing the car door. P.S. If you write scarf more than three times in quick succession it looks really really weird by the third one!

And now to a creation of my own - while I grew up in a household (or was it just the era???) where we made clothes and learnt to sew, I am very new to fabric surface embellishment of the experimental type. It has become a real addiction in recent months and I am gradually trying new things and adding to my repertoire. The scan above is of a fabric postcard that I made on the weekend for an exchange with Purple Missus - it is a sandwich of blue felt, random scrap threads and snippets of organza with a layer of blue organza stitched randomly over the top. On the lower half I have then added a pink organza triangle again randomly stitched. I have used a wood burning tool to burn holes in the pink layer and then added sequins and seed beads to embellish it. I have backed it with painted heavy weight lutrador. I love the resulting colours and although I was planning to try a lot more techniques I decided this was enough on this one - plus I didn't want to wreck it by that "one last thing"!

I received the latest Somerset Studio magazine today and found my two tags in the Expressions section - they are coated in beeswax, another addictive technique - I love the smell - maybe because my name (Deborah) is Hebrew for "bee"???? I really love the way they (SS) photograph artwork! On a good news note, I also got a couple of emails late last week to let me know that I have a couple of items in "Sew Somerset", a new biannual publication which comes out in October, so that is a real thrill. Mind you, I got very excited a couple of years back when I was told that a piece I had made using a transfer of a photo of my maternal grandparents was going to be in Somerset Wedding but I don't think it actually got in there as I never heard anymore (and I certainly didn't get a complimentary copy).

So now I am off to attend to domestic stuff (food primarily) and then I am going to "progress" a set of six fabric postcards that I thought were due at the end of July. It turns out I lost a month somewhere along the way. Thankfully I am not alone...