Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Something Different

Ok so now I am only 6 swaps behind :) but by the time Friday comes around another deadline looms :( I guess it just serves me right for signing up for too many swaps :) I can't help it they are addictive!

Well here is something different. For a 'Circles and Curves' swap I decided to make the whole card a circle. Not sure how these will go down as I know that some people really just like their 6 X 4 cards but I did check with the list owner first so hopefully they will be ok.

I used some of the fabric that I microwave dyed the other weekend and added some fab sequins that I bought from a great US online store Cartwrights. A great place for sequins and beads and super fast and friendly service too!


It's only a few days now until my holiday and I am still 7 swaps behind. I had hoped to have been caught up way before now but what with Dad and the hospital panic last week I have slipped further behind. Looks like I will be burning the midnight oil for the rest of the week.

Here is a card that I made for a hearts swap. For some reason it hasn't scanned very well and the colours of the embellishments look somewhat strange. If I have time later I will try and get a better shot with the camera instead.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Here are some cards that I made for a 'Blue' theme swap on the yahoo group BQLPC. Since I have started making postcards I have been saving all sorts of small scraps of fabric in a box saying to myself that I will find a use for them some time but have never actually raided the box to use them.

I thought a colour theme swap would be a good opporunity to do just that and these are the results. I am pleased with the majority of them, there are a couple I am not so keen on but it was fun to rumage through the box and to see what I could come up with. I will definately be doing it again soon :)


I mentioned in my weird week entry that I did a lot of packing for Dad in preparation for his house move next week.

One of the jobs we did was to go through a stack of bags which had old photos in. Most of them were actually my Great Aunt's photos, and there were some amazing vintage images that I have kept from these that I might be able to scan and use in some altered art projects in the future.

There were some of our family photos as well although the main albums Dad thought had already been stored somewhere safe in a box.

Here are a couple of photos that I rescued from the rubbish pile. Dad didn't want to keep them as the actually images of us are very small on the photos but I loved the images and knew that I caould scan and resize them. I guess I can only have been a couple of years old here. My Dad looks crazy pulling faces and having a lark and this is how I remember him always to be when I was growing up. He also had all sorts of wild hair days (before he went bald, giggle!) and crazy moustache's. My Mum looks so young here I guess she must be around 25 here. It's odd as I can't quite remember her ever looking like this but then I guess we don't retain that many clear memories from when we were 2 more impressions, I think she looks beautiful. I miss her everyday.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Inspite of everything that has been going on I haven't been idle on the creative front. Before I left for Stevenage I packed a box of sewing projects to keep me going and made sure that I spent at least an hour each evening working on things for me.

I finally got round to putting together the totem project which was a wonderful swap hosted on the FiberArtTraders yahoo group (see links) a while ago. Everyone created 5 totem pieces, kept one and sent the others to be traded with other players. Here is my finished piece.

I used multicoloured ribbon to attach them altogether. I am pleased with the way it has turned out but may go back and shorten the ribbon pieces as it has turned out to be longer than I had anticipated and when hung it is within cat reach, so I don't want to come home one day to find that one of the little monsters has been using this wonderful artwork as a plaything!

Snake - Made by Angela Hart
Frog - Made by Kim Bowman
Bear - Made by Ellen Bayliss
Robin - Made by Judith Clarke
Wolf - Made by Tina Lynch

Weird Week

On Tuesday I got a call at work to say that my Dad had been admitted to hospital with stomach pains and would likely need an operation. So packed up and rushed back to Stevenage in a panic. Stress levels were high thinking what would happen, what was wrong with him? What about the family holiday we are all going on at the start of September? What about packing up Dad's house ready for the sale completion on 30th August?

After plenty of poking, proding, and tests Dad was eventually sent home with a bunch of pain killers and no clue as to what had been wrong. Thankfully he didn't have to have an operation but he was advised to take it easy so I spent the best part of the week there helping him pack and getting rid of a load of junk ready for his move.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Fun Afternoon

Emily and I have spent a fun afternoon creating today. Apart from helping me out with some cutting and bits for a few of my postcard swaps Em hasn't really done much art or craft. Anyway I think she is really taken as she created several pieces of paper art today!

While she was doing that I made the front cover for a book round robin that I am about to take part in. I'm quite nervous as I haven't done a round robin before and feel quite daunted by the fact that I will be working on something that really belongs to someone else.

I have decided that with my current obsession with mermaids that the theme of my book should be Merfolk. Anything that could be in the sea can be included, mermaids and mermen, sea sprites, nymphs and fairies anything goes. Here is the cover that I have created. The pages are 6" X 6". I used my new push molds to make the face and the netting down the side is made by knitting up a small piece of the wool that I am using to make a shawl to take away on my holiday.


It's 2:30am here and for the life of me I just can't get to sleep and it's driving me crazy as I know I will be miserable and tired all day tomorrow. I've been to bed but I just can't sleep so I've gotten back up again to try and make myself sleepy.

The problem is with Mark in bed and Emily and Tyler asleep downstairs there isn't really anywhere for me to go so here I am at the computer. I've occupied myself for a bit making some ATC's for a swap.

It's the first time I've attempted ATC's, these are paper/card ones and I'm really quite pleased with the way they have turned out. Unfortunately I can't post a picture yet as the scanner would make far too much noise so I will have to come back at a decent hour and add some photos then!

Ok well it's now 11:30pm on Sunday and thankfully I did manage to get some sleep at 4am this morning. Stayed in bed until about 10 so do not feel as tired as I might have. I finally juet remembered to take some pics of the ATC's that I made. 3 cats and 3 vintage. The middle cats hasn't come out very well though as I have totally embossed the front so it just kept catching the light.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Microwave Frenzy

Any long time readers of my blog will remember my microwave disaster when I first attempted dyeing, lol. Well since then I think (hope) that I have managed to perfect a technique which works for me and this afternoon spent a happy couple of hours dyeing away.

I have a Fabric and Rubber stamp coming up on my swap list for the advanced postcard group and thought it might be fun to use some dyed fabrics for that as it seemed to be quite a good combination for the mermaid card that I made recently.

Here are some of the results. All of the fabric pieces are bigger than show I have just scanned some of the most interesting patterns that emerged out of the dyeing process.

Snake Charmer

As we speak I am still 7 swaps behind, but I'm also still working hard to catch up. I really want to be all up to date by the time I head off for my holiday at the start of September.

Today I have been working on a swap for the Fabricards yahoo group. The theme was India. My first thought was an elephant but a couple of the cards that I have received so far have had an elephant theme so I thought I would go for a snake charmer instead.

I have never tried a silhouette before so thought I'd use that idea for this set of cards. I used fabric pen directly onto the orange background fabric and then stitched round the outline to make the shapes stand out a bit more. Quite simple but I hope effective, I guess I will find out what everyone thinks when the cards start arriving at their destinations.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Happy Birthday to me!

Celebrated my 30th birthday today with a trip to Bristol Zoo! Had a fabulous day laughing at the antics of all the animals (and Tyler!). Tyler was in charge of the camera so I didn't get many great photos, the above is one he took of me and Emily. I think you can just about make out that we don't really look much like each other.

The zoo have recently opened a new monkey enclosure and you can walk right through the Lemur enclosure and stand just centimetres away from these cute creatures. Definately my favourite bit of the day, that and watching the baby seal jumping in and out of it's pool.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Another mermaid emerges

Here I am still working on the swap commitments that I have fallen behind with. This one is for the canceledart group. The theme was Harpies, mermaids and tulips, I think after a recent exhibition at a gallery somewhere. (I will have to go backk and find out).

All along I was thinking that I would make something with a harpy design, but on Sunday I went to a rubber stamp fair and found this gorgeous creature. When I got her home I realised that she would be perfect for this swap. I stamped her onto some hand dyed fabric. I was going to add some fish beads but actually when it came to it I thought she looked rather good just sat on the fabric so decided to leave her as she was.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


A friend of my Gran, gave me a whole bunch of fabric and lace recently. The lace prompted me to post a Lace themed swap on the Artsinthemail group (see links if you would like to join this yahoo group).

I decided to make a thank you card for Evelyn using some of the things she sent so here it is. I am really pleased with the way it turned out and will be making some more of these for the lace swap.

Mother Nature

My mother nature cards are finished! I complered the sewing up of them this evening. I was feeling really tired after driving to Stevenage and back this weekend to pick up my sister and nephew and wasn't thinking of doing any sewing but with everyone else just sat round watching TV I knew I couldn't do that for long without falling asleep so decided to finish these up instead.

They are almost a month behind which I feel really badly about but I am doing my best to catch up with everything. I know I over committed but having semi-permanent house guests isn't helping either as I just don't get as much me time these days.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Tree Spirit

I'm very excited to be embarking on my first online workshop. I wanted to do something that was a bit different for me and wandered across the perfect thing. A beaded tree spirit doll. Here is a link to more details.

Well all the directions were posted yesterday and I have my kit so am ready to start, I will post pictures as I progress on my tree spirit journey.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

New Toys

I've been looking on in wonder at some of the fiber and mixed media dolls that I have seen around lately. Particularly wondering how people manage to get the face cabs, while I was surfing round yesterday I found the perfect thing. Some push molds.

Can you believe I ordered them yesterday and they arrived today. It's too late to play now but I can't wait to start experimenting.

No doubt I will now be producing a glut of cards and things with these wonderful faces on.

Anyone in the UK wanting fast, efficient service, I would highly recommend craftynotions. What more can you ask for but next day delivery when you are excited about receiving a new product.

Colour Challenge

Today I completed a colour challenge postcard swap. Each of the participants had to choose a colour and everyone else in the swap had to make them a card in their chosen hue.

I just had to have another go at using the skeleton leaves so here are my cards. I like the idea of using one leaf in a frame but I'm not too sure that I am altogether pleased with the way the cards turned out overall. I still think there is plenty of mileage to be had out of these delicate leaves so I think I will keep playing around with some more ideas for them, and hopefully the next batch will be an improvement.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Mermaids are ready to swim

My mermaids are finally ready to go out. My first attempt at using oil pastels on fabric. The pastels don't seem to have completely dried (not sure that they ever will) but I figure that if I post them in a clear envelope that should protect them from most forms of damage.

In the end it took me so long to get these painted and the sequins sewn on to the tail, I decided to keep the background simple. I used some fabric that I dyed myself in the microwave and added a few cute fish beads.

I couldn't get a good photo of the finished thing though as they all seemed to come out pretty dark. Here is the best that I could get. I also thought it would be fun to show you the original sketch that Mark did for me and you can judge for yourself whether you think I have done his cheeky mermaid justice in my fabric interpretation.

Secret Sister!

Wow what a delightful package I received in the post today from my FGM Secret Sister Brandi. I was really spoilt this time round. Not only did I receive 3 huge pieces of kitty print fabric but also a beautiful cross stitch kit too. What a wonderful start to the day. Thank you Brandi!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Four Elements: Earth

Today I finished up a set of 4 postcards that I have been working on this weekend. The swap is four elements: earth. I decided to 'borrow' the idea from the mini block swap I did a while back and adapt it for a postcard.

I fused the layers of fabric and then secured them with blanket stitch in a lovely varigated perle thread. I add some sequins for a bit of sparkle and then seed stitched round the edges and added a few french knots. Quite a lot of hand work but I like they way they turned out. I don't usually work mant abstract designs so this was a nice change for me.

UPDATE: Well you might be wondering what has happened to my other works in progress. The mermaids are almost ready to be satin stitched and sent, phew, I am almost a month behind with these now and am feeling extremely guilty.

All of my mother natures have been painted I now just have to decide what backdrop to add them to so hopefully they will also be appearing shortly.

Experiments with my camera

After I had admitted defeat and was sitting by the roadside waiting for Mark to come and fetch me in the car I had little to do but mess around with my camera. I am not a particularly good photographer and have inherited Mark's little digital camera as he has recently bought himself a digital SLR (Check out some of his photos at

Anyway I discovered a couple of neat settings which allow you to take photos in Sepia and black and white which I thought was pretty nifty as I know with some cameras you have to mess around in photoshop to get these effects.

Well being as I was at the side of the road there wasn't really that much of interest for me to take but here are my first experiments in sepia and black and white. I am particularly enamoured with the sepia setting, very victorian, and the vintage look is still very in so I might be able to capture some interesting images to use in my mixed media projects.

Camping in Herefordshire

This weekend we went camping in Herefordshire. We stayed in a little village called Mordiford just outside Hereford at the Lucksall campsite. It was sort of an early birthday celebration as Mark will probably have to work late on the day of my birthday itself, plus it was the only time we could celebrate together as Emily and Tyler will be back with us next weekend.

On Saturday morning we walked round the town of Hereford itself and found it to be a really lovely place, lots of things to see and do and plenty of shops to walk round. Here is a view of Hereford Cathedral taken from the River Wye which runs through the town.

We ate lunch in the cathedral courtyard, which had a beautiful flower bed packed with all sorts of different flowers all were crawling with insects and butterflies. I'm no gardener so I don't know any names but I particularly loved these yellow flowers.

In the afternoon we went walking from a village called Hoarwithy, mid point of the walk was to visit the remains of an abandoned church, it was so peaceful we were the only visitors. Apart from the church the walk was a bit of a disappointment, lots of country lanes and uninteresting fields. My legs were aching no end as we had already done lots of walking round Hereford so for the first time ever I had to give in. I couldn't make the last mile back to the car so sat by the side of the road and waited for Mark to come and fetch me.

Yesterday on the way back we stopped in Gloucester for the day, another cathedral city with lots of interesting things to see and do. We ate a wonderful lunch by the quayside and then took a mini boat excursion down the severn canal. What a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Finished Leaves

Yipee, I finished one of my in progresses today. The set of 6 leave postcards for the BQLPC swap. Here they all are.
I was going to add some embellishments after I had stitched down the leaves but actually after I had finished the stitching I decided that I liked them plain and simple. I thought that if I added anything it would be doing it for the sake of it rather than to enhance the effect of the card. I really liked working with these skeleton leaves, I've used them in the past in papercrafting but never on my fabric projects. I think I will be experimenting with them some more, so don't be surprised if they feature again here soon!
I am off camping this weekend, I plan to pack a few bits and pieces of hand sewing but whether I get anything done remains to be seen :)

In Progress

Well as I mentioned yesterday I am so far behind with my swap commitments its unreal. I have been working on several swaps at once this evening. The creative bug has really bitten today and I am feeling very motivated. It's just about midnight here and I am not ready to call it a day yet so I thought I'd share my works in progress.

First off here is the base for a 'Leaves' postcard swap on BQLPC. I have just taken a piece of muslin and randomly attached some skeleton leaves using a glue stick. The next step will be to stitch the leaves down so they are a bit more secure and then I'm sure I'll be adding some embellishment not sure what yet.

Next up is a swap for the advanced group, 'mermaids and mermen' I was thinking with going for a merman but kinda got stuck for ideas. As you might know I am not very good at drawing so I asked Mark to design something for me, he sketched this sexy mermaid. This is my first attempt at using oil pastels on fabric so I don't know what the end result will be like but I'm pleased with the way this is shaping up so far.

Finally I have also been working on another swap for the advanced group, 'mother nature'. I used a copy right free image for this and changed a few of the features. I've used fabric pens to colour her in and some tulip paint to add some detail to her hair, bodice and bangles. Again I've not entirely decided on all the detail that will go into finishing her, but so far so good.

I guess if there is any chance that I will be able to get up in time for work tomorrow I had better hit the hay.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

So behind will I ever catch up?

Well my visiting relatives have meant that I have had less time at my sewing machine and I find myself a whopping 11 swaps behind. Will I ever catch up? It seems as fast as I finish one swap another deadline looms. I will get their eventually I feel bad to be letting the others in my swaps down by being so late (I'm currently working on swaps that were due 15th July), but I will get there eventually.

Here is a postcard I made the other day for the Advanced Group. Theme of the swap was pond life. As you already know I am useless at drawing so used a copy right free clip art for the frog and just added some fancy stitches with my machine and some embellishments. I'm pleased with the way he turned out in the end.