Tuesday 29 April 2008

A Whinge & Wednesday Stamper (Insects)

This is my Wednesday Stamper contribution this week - the centre of the ATC is made from frosted shrink plastic which has been stamped with a large Stamps Happen image (Bugs Galore). I had coloured it on the back but I glued it on with Dimensional Magic and of course most of the colour dissolved! Wasn't thinking, that's for sure. I love that protractor image too - always makes me think of the cycle of life.

PS And now for The Whinge!! I know everyone that adds word verification to their blog comments does it to avoid spam but it really puts me off commenting as I have SO much trouble reading those little strings of letters!! They all bump into each other and a "l" followed closely by a fat round "o" really looks to me like a "b". Sometimes it takes me three goes to get it right! Am I the only one having this much trouble??? And I am the only one that gets really really long strings of letters??? So time consuming when all I want to do is read more blogs...

Monday 28 April 2008

Postcards made & a lovely ATC received!

Yesterday I managed to finish my "music" themed fabric postcards for a small exchange group. I used silk-like fabric I "painted" a while back (it is the third one pictured in that post), stamped music and text images, lovely organza ribbons and some large gold charms which I have "toned down" with permanent black ink. The stamped music is pretty subtle but I know it is there!

And late last week I received this gorgeous ATC trade from Susan Shepard - it is so bright and cheerful (and came accompanied by a delightful bright collection of arty goodness) - thanks so much Susan!!

Sunday 27 April 2008

Home Is Where The Heart Is

I'm in a small fabric postcard exchange group with a few other Australians and the current theme is "home" and despite trying to do something avant-garde or even experimental, I have been drawn back to a sweet country look again!

I am really trying hard not to buy new fabric (remnants from garage sales / trash n' treasure markets don't count of course!) so I have made my postcards with some Daisy Kingdom fabric I have had for at least 10 years, probably longer. They were actually a lot more time consuming to make than I expected (mostly from trying to fray long strips of fabric) but I am happy with the result. I stamped the sentiment with a set of tiny rubber alphabet stamps and the little hearts on the lace are Scribbles dimensional paint.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday! The sun is shining here and I am off to cook breakfast before an art filled day.

PS Finally tried my Dremel yesterday - I have only had it for several years but been to scared to use it (it was all the safety information that put me off - I had visions of body damage)! Still not confident but at least I've got it out of the box and had a quick run through with my 17 year old son (Zach). The reason for this massive effort - I have foolishly signed up for a Nina Bagley workshop next month at the Art Retreat in Melbourne and I need to drill holes in stones. At the time of registering over a year ago, I thought it would be good to push my boundaries, but now that it is only a few weeks away, I am thinking this was not such a good idea!! My other workshops are with Misty Mawn (and I can't paint faces so that is going to be interesting too!!) and Traci Bautista, so it should be an awesome weekend if I can get my act together! Only 5 more days of work before I have a whole three weeks of holidays!!!!

Saturday 26 April 2008

InchyByInch - Word

The new Inchy challenge blog InchyByInch has started with the challenge to include a word. I decided to make my word "wish" and then I thought it would be nice to display it on an ATC for a change so that of course led to 3 wishes. Wishes have to be bright and cheerful to my mind so I've used some very old paste painted papers, a little Collections stamp, a few of my punches and of course my favourite white gel pen!

Pop over to InchyByInch - Fiona has a giveaway happening to start it off and of course everyone is welcome to join in. Remember too that inchies are very small and CAN be very quick to make - just use your paper or fabric scraps!

I had a great couple of hours browsing at the book sale yesterday but it was agonizing choosing when there were so many beautiful books that I would love to own! I ended up with two collage books that I have previously borrowed from the library and loved - "The Art & Craft of Collage" by Amanda Pearce and "Collage Art" by Jennifer L. Atkinson, a terrific Virginia Cobb book called"Discovering the Inner Eye - Experiments in Wet Media" and a fantastic book called "Embroidered Flowers" by Pamela Watts. The title is misleading as it is so much more than embroidery and is full of gorgeous surface embellishment ideas.

I am very confident that all four are going to give me a lot of ongoing pleasure and of course be great reference tools. I also bought a lovely book for my Mum (who is hopefully going to come up and stay with us for a while in June) and four very cheap foreign language books for my collages as I love using different text, especially as backgrounds. One of the books is a Chinese book full of coloured botanical drawings - really pretty even though the paper is thin and unfortunately printed on both sides. Now to go and have some breakfast...and read some blogs - I love Saturday mornings!

Friday 25 April 2008


Today is ANZAC Day here in this part of the world (Australian and New Zealand) and of course it is not the sort of day you celebrate so much as commemorate. I am planning spending the rest of the morning playing in my art room and then this afternoon browsing at the State Library book discard sale which is occurring here this weekend. This visiting event occurs every couple of years and with 30,000 books available at excellent prices it is impossible for me not to attend. The last couple of times I have come home with whole piles of wonderful books but I don't have any book shelf space left and all the book baskets are full too, so some restraint will be needed!

While I am playing in my art room I will be reflecting, I am sure, on the meaning behind today's holiday and thinking about all the family members who have been a part of the armed forces over the years. It is my paternal grandfather that I think of most when I think about ANZAC Day as his experience is the most real to me as a result of having his medals, his bible from when he was prisoner of war in France in WWI and the little Madonna medallion a French nurse gave him during that time. His eventual wife, my English Nanna, lost her fiancee in that war and I can only imagine how awful that would have been and how wonderful that she later found love again with my Australian grandfather when he was recuperating in England after the war.

And to make this post a little bit art-oriented as well, I have included some altered books pages I did quite a while back.

Tuesday 22 April 2008

Tuesday Evening Reflections

A little update - wonderful mail yesterday and again today, some fun last night furthering my "home" postcards and starting my Aus-NZ Quilter's April Journal Quilt (not that March is anywhere near finished) and a headache all day today (not associated, or at least I don't believe they are!). Haven't decided what to do tonight but I believe an inchie is needed ( Inching Artists has closed and InchByInch has filled the gap!) plus an engagement card for a work colleague and then of course there are the unfinished projects from last night (although I think an early bedtime is probably best!)

So to my mail - yesterday I received an amazing package of goodies from Joanna van R - we are trading paper for fabric and she also included my lovely Calendar Girl Postcard for April as I am her partner this month (pictured above on beautiful text fabric that was included in the package!! So yummy - both of them!) As certain teenagers I know would say - "a totally awesome" package. I particularly love Joanna's hand-dyed silks - they are SO vibrant - she is very skilled at this dyeing business.

And then today I received these gorgeous postcard and ATC trades (above) from Karen Stiehl Osborn - I love text and so does Karen so I just love these! Karen is an amazing artist.

Anne Lugherini (no blog unfortunately) is a pleasure to trade with - her work is so detailed and the stitching is stunning. Today I received a really sweet ATC and a delightful set of stitched inchies from Anne and they came accompanied by cross-stitch patterned notepaper! Talk about attention to detail! Fabulous.

And this is what I have been experimenting with - painted vliesofix - it is the technique to incorporate in this month's journal quilt. Needless to say I have painted a lot extra and I am showing small sections in the photo here. I have used diluted Golden Fluid Acrylics and the Fine Pure Gold has given the whole lot a wonderful gleam!

I've also been making collage backgrounds on canvas - this technique was in an early Cloth Paper Scissors magazine - basically glue down a whole pile of paper scraps, lightly gesso and then wash with diluted paint. The pink one is a whole sheet and the green-gold ones are "slices" of three a4 sized pieces. I'll post pictures once I use them on something!

Sunday 20 April 2008

April Take It Further Challenge - Change

As mentioned back here, the April theme for Sharon's Take it Further Challenge is change and we were challenged to represent how we think about change in creating our piece, whatever the media.

I am using my little tree quilt as the whole time I was making it I was thinking about how it mirrored my thoughts on the subject! I've made some little changes to the quilt from when it was first posted - partly to try and fix problem areas (!) and also to make a stronger connection with the TIF challenge.

The tree represents nature and in nature change is inevitable. We really shouldn't have so much trouble accepting what is effectively inevitable. But I was also thinking about how there are times when we are better off initiating the change rather than waiting for it! This can mean leaving a safe and secure place (or comfort zone), going it alone (just like the fallen apple!), trying something different.

On my quilt I have used a twill tape that has been printed like a measuring tape and I thought that was quite appropriate - firstly because it reflects measurement (how much change) but also because it also has associations with growth and to my mind, change and growth are very much associated. The tape is used as a border though to also represent the boundaries that we create and the limitations we place on ourselves.The little file label has the word "journey" in it as our lives are a journey, a journey of growth and change!

For me this was the first time I have painted, stamped and stitched on a canvas panel as part of a quilt so it hopefully reflects my urge to try new things and to expand my mixed media experiments.

And now to get back to some "home" fabric postcards I am making for an exchange (one of my favourite themes but they are bringing out the country in me!! Seems to be happening a lot lately...)

And to finish - here is a shot of a small patch of dry earth somewhere between Meekatharra and Wiluna in the Western Australian outback. I took my camera with me on a "pit stop" on my recent work trip as the texture of dried out ground fascinates me. Just had to share (and yes this shot was taken on the way back to the car!!)

Saturday 19 April 2008

Think Monday - Think ATC - Zentangle

This week's theme at Think Monday Think ATC is "Zentangle". Now as I love doodling I had to make one (which I did while chatting at Annie's on Wednesday night)! I found it hard to work on the ATC already cut to size - I am used to doodling on bigger pieces of paper so next time I will do that and then cut it to size! Good fun even though I can of course see so many things in this one that I'd do differently if this was a planned composition.

A bit of This and a Bit of That!

This is one of "those" posts!! The only art I have been making all week (other than my Zentangle ATC for TMTA which I will post separately) has been Oxford Impressions Design Team pieces and I can't share them yet. But what I can share are these pictures of a sunrise I witnessed over my side fence this week (it was even prettier than it looks in the photo as it looked like flames of pink and apricot).

This week I also received my prize from UniqueStitching for the Cancer Council Art Quilt competition and I am thrilled! Cecile has sent me a whole pile of stuff including some things I haven't previously tried. It is all in a lovely rich red / merlot colour scheme - mulberry silk cap, three gorgeous colours of Angelina fibres, dyed silk rods, dyed cocoons, dyed silk hankies, dyed sericin fibres and Textiva Fusible Film. I feel some experimenting coming on!

Suzanne Clarke sent me this lovely ATC trade - the scan is lousy as the sweet little embellishment (all the way from Suzanne's travels in France) is very dimensional. The ATC is a lot more sparkly and textural than it shows on the screen.

This morning I got up very early to make sure I won some US Ebay auctions for some out of print copies of the wonderful Quilting Arts Magazine that I have been chasing for quite a while. They are so good nobody ever seems to sell them! But I had success today so I am now down to needing just one more - No 2 - so if anyone wants to sell theirs, let me know!! (Real likely I know, but worth a try!)

Today I am cleaning my house (and boy does that craft room need some work, this week's efforts have left it looking like a bomb site) and then I am working out a list of all my art commitments for the next month as I have a feeling I have lost track of how many I have before the Art Retreat in Melbourne (which is now only a matter of a few weeks away!!). Lucky next weekend is another Long Weekend in Australia!!

Wednesday 16 April 2008

Wednesday Stamper - Arrow

A quick little ATC for the Wednesday Stamper theme of "Arrow". Arrows always make me think of challenges and effort, hence this ATC. Good fun to use a whole pile of background, textural and geometric stamps that don't often get used, especially not as the focal image. Had to add the extra sparkle to the arrow as I wanted to try out my new Signo Sparkle Gold pen - very glittery and lovely to use.

Tuesday 15 April 2008

Something a Little Different!

I have been very lucky to trade postcards recently with Shirley Sherris over in the UK - this wonderful textural postcard arrived for me last week and is a replica of one that Shirley has made for the body of work she is making on an Egyptian theme. Shirley's postcard is not as dark as it looks in my scan but I gave up trying to get it accurate!

I have made these two for Shirley - wasn't convinced the first one was dimensional enough so made the second and then decided to just send both in the hope that she likes one of them. Both were experiments for me -

This one is fabric I have coloured with a variety of colouring mediums until I was happy with the vibrancy (the sparkle comes from the Glimmer Mist and the gel pen highlights). The two focal images are separate stamped images which I have then masked and over-stamped with the hieroglyphic background. I discovered this is a lot trickier on fabric than on paper! Another dilemma is getting a clear and dark enough stamped image. I outlined stitched the images and couched the postcard with a cord and velvety fibre.

This one has a base of a painted piece of a Lutradur type material but I can't remember the name (it is used in curtain making). I've stamped it again with the hieroglyphic background (which incidentally is a very large stamp) and then I have added a layer of papyrus which has been stamped, sprayed with walnut ink and gold glimmer mist and heavily crumpled until sufficiently "distressed" looking. I ironed it and stitched it to the background. The ankh is cut from painted lutradur and has been shaped with a wood burning tool - I love melting things!! Also love the textured edge that results. I added the beading and metallic stitching to the edges to add a bit of zing as it looked a bit flat.

All a bit different for me but it gave me a chance to use some of my Egyptian stamps which have been neglected for several years!

Sunday 13 April 2008

Mixed Media Monday - Paris

I didn't have much creative time this week as I have been away and had other commitments over the weekend but I have made a couple of quick little ATCs for the Mixed Media Monday theme of "Paris" - couldn't skip that one!! One day I might actually get there! Nearly all the stamps I used are from various Oxford Impressions plates.

PS Sorry about the uneven scanning! Rushing...

Inching Artists - Dotty

This week the theme at Inching Artists is "Dotty". I've made four inchies based on painted fabric paper and looking at the picture it seems the dotty bits are not particularly visible! Seriously though, there are a series of dots in the middle of the flowers and the background is covered in crystal gel (dimensional) dots - really!

Saturday 12 April 2008

An Embarrassment of Riches!

Isn't it funny how some days (or weeks) you just have an embarrassment of riches that come your way? This week was like that - Monday I was off work feeling unwell and very very flat and what happened? A huge padded envelope (probably more accurately called a sack!) was delivered to my door. I was a bit stunned as I knew I hadn't ordered anything as I am on an economy "use my stuff" sort of drive at the moment and I also knew I didn't have any swap or trade packages due to arrive and certainly nothing big. So I opened it up feeling very Christmas/birthday like and found four individually wrapped and numbered presents inside from my wonderful and incredibly talented friend Coralee Barker (who needs a blog!!).

I spread out the opening of the parcels over a couple of hours as I was so overcome with Coralee's totally over-the-top incredibly generous gifts. And this was all to thank me for being understanding when she had an incredibly difficult time in her life and couldn't work in my green journal in a round robin!! So you can see why I was so blown away - I had done nothing to deserve them.
Look at all these beautiful pieces of art!! I really love bird art so I am so happy that Coralee is really into birds and I now have a wonderful array displayed on my inspiration wall.

And look at all of these treasures!! So many possibilities are swirling in my head - I need to get to my desk and start creating - nothing like new stuff and a few days away to really inspire me.

And then to cap off the week Sephi awards me the Arty y Pico Award! Thanks so much Sephi - I am very touched. I normally really like to participate in these awards by passing on the award to some of the gorgeous blogs that I love but this time I want to say that there are just so many wonderful blogs that I can't choose! Hope you don't mind.

Wednesday 9 April 2008

Calendar Girl Postcard for Susan

This is my finished postcard for Susan for the Calendar Girls April round. I used a technique I read about in a Quilting Arts magazine - a batik fabric background with silk flowers trapped under chiffon (I also added a net layer for a bit of extra texture). I beaded the flower centres to give it all a bit more dimension but I like the way the flowers "puff up" with the FME stitching. The chiffon really toned down the brightness of the flowers and the fabric so the result was more pastel than vibrant so I added the blue edging to tie it all back to the original picture that was the inspiration for this month's interpretation (below).

I am off for a few days on a work trip so won't be blogging until Friday night. Enjoy the rest of your week.

Tuesday 8 April 2008

Wednesday Stamper - Trees

This week's theme at Wednesday Stamper is trees. I am going through a bit of a "country" phase at the moment so I have made myself a little homely wall quilt to celebrate this theme (it is also to address the Take it Further challenge this month of change but more on that later...).

Unfortunately I don't like the fact that I managed to sew the canvas centrepiece on crooked so I will be making some changes before this can be considered really finished. In the meantime, it is my entry for this WS theme. I cut a naive tree stencil (just using scissors and a hole punch with a sheet of acetate) and used it initially as a stencil and then I painted the back of it and used it to get a rough print. I've used a sheet of canvas for this piece and there are a variety of colouring mediums involved and a lot of background texture and text stamps. Lots of little buttons sewed on for fruit and a bit of quilting used glittery thread.

Fun to do!

Monday 7 April 2008

Inching Artists - Lace

This week's theme over at Inching Artists is "Lace" so I made a little set of inchies with some leftover brown paper "fabric paper" (that has been painted and stamped) from an earlier project. The lace is wonderful adhesive paper lace that comes in sets of four designs - I love it, very practical and easy to use. I've added a sequin and seed bead on each for a little bit of dimension.

Sunday 6 April 2008

Think Monday - Think ATC - Spring

Well it isn't spring in this part of the world but I am always happy to think spring and spring is the theme for Think Minday Think ATC this week!!

I set myself a little challenge to create the base using just things in my scrap box and it certainly made this ATC happen a bit faster than usual! Recycled trading card painted with acrylics, layer of lace paper and torn printed tissue with some paper lace, a ribbon pansy and a gorgeous butterfly eyelet. The pansy sticks out a fair way from the base so it is a bit hard to get a decent scan!

Mixed Media Monday - Believe

Thus week's theme at Mixed Media Monday is "Believe" and I thought I would post a scan of an altered book spread I did quite some time ago - I think it fits well with the theme!

This page is a favourite napkin image adhered onto a page that has been coloured with water soluble oil pastels. I love the way the text peeks through. The metal embossing was done with a stylus. A very simple spread.

Looking through my old scans I have realized it is absolutely ages since I did any altered books so I think I might just start again straight away. I love the way working with existing book pages takes you straight past the blank page syndrome!

Friday 4 April 2008

Highlights from my Week!

Well this week certainly flew by (again) and the wonderful mail continued! I received all of these beautiful ATC and postcard trades - it makes for a wonderful end to the day to come home from work and find exotica in the mail box! Thanks to Sharon, Albine, Dominque, Claudine, Suzanne and Rebecca - I just love them. Unfortunately not all of these artists have blogs but I have linked them where they do.

I have been awarded this award by my blogging friend Susan S (who has a great blog) - I am really touched as there are so many wonderful blogs! By the same token selecting a couple that I think are excellent is very hard as I read and love a lot of arty blogs ... but I'm passing it on to Viola (lots and lots of beautiful artwork!) and Sharon (lots of photos and artwork plus Sharon shares a lot about her techniques which I think is fantastic!). If you haven't been to their blogs before I really recommend that you visit.

From Sharon in the UK - a wonderful snowdrops postcard:

From Albine in France (embellished fabric base with a painted top piece):

From Dominque in France:

From Claudine in France:

From Suzanne in Canberra (the other side of Australia):

And from Rebecca Staunton in New Zealand:

In terms of my own creativity, I have been doing a bit of stitching on my March Journal quilt but this is obviously going to be one that extends well past the month as it is nowhere near finished. I have a work trip this coming week to Meekatharra and Wiluna but I don't think a white quilt and 14 hours driving in the red dusty outback are a good mix so I will have to take something else to occupy my hands (I am not the one driving this time).

The April Sharon B has announced the April "Take it Further" challenge so I am thinking about that one but haven't come to any decisions yet! As always Sharon has provided a colour palette (this one quite appeals to me as it is so nice and rich looking - see below) and a prompt/topic for us to choose between or to combine if we desire. The prompt is "With the arrival of Autumn in my part of the world and Spring in the Northern hemisphere my mind turns to ideas of cycles that involve change. Some people see change as positive while others are fearful of change...How do you see change?" This of course lends itself to so many different interpretations so I am going to ponder on this for a few days I think.

This is the colour palette -

I have heaps of art projects planned for this weekend so now I am off to get the domestic obligations attended to as quickly as possible. It is grey and drizzly here today so the washing will have to wait until tomorrow as we don't have a clothes dryer anymore - our old one died a few years back and we decided that as we so rarely have rain here on the edge of the desert, it was a bit of a waste to buy another until we move to a wetter location (in a couple of years probably).

PS Elaine Cooke - if you read this could you please send me your email address so I can make contact with you?

Ciao for now,