Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter....

or should that be Christmas judging by the fact that we woke up to snow this morning!! It hasn't stayed though. This morning I tried turning brown eggs into pasche eggs this morning and much to my suprise the results weren't too bad. Pasche eggs were what we had at Easter when I was little. They are actually just hard boiled eggs which can be decorated in anyway you think fit but my mother's way was to place a flower, like a primrose on the egg and wrap them in onion skins binding them with cotton. Foolishly I forgot to photograph this but you can see it here. The eggs are then boiled and when they are cool comes the magical moment of removing the skins to reveal the wonderful patterns and if you are lucky a perfect imprint of the flower.

In the Barrow in Furness they used to display the eggs in the window, I think there was probably a fair bit of rivalry over the displays. I couldn't find a picture so I had a go at drawing what it looked like.
This is just one window but the whole street would look like this.
There is further explanation of pasche eggs here and what they are used for here. We used to roll them against each other to see who had the hardest shelled egg.
I couldn't resist having a play in PSP with the two photos. This is after I ran the "art" script on them. What fun.

Happy Easter.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Wonderment and a Puzzle

Yesterday was a special day. DH, me and our two children(grown up but you know...)went to the British Museum to see the First Emperor exhibition and to wonder at the Terracotta Warriors.
This picture is from Wikipedia, no copyright breach intended, this photograph illustrates what was so wonderful, it is difficult to describe how the very stillnes of the firgures made them more life like There was one in particular that I gazed at for a long time, feeling that at any moment he would turn his head and smile at me.I so wanted to touch. The farmer who found the first head must have had a terrible shock. The expressions on the faces are a marvel, each so different on the ones on show and this apparently applies to the 7000 that they have found so far. The detail on them is also amazing,there are a lot of photographs on flickr by people who have been fortunate enough to visit the site in China. One part I wasn't expecting were the beautiful birds, cast in bronze. One bit that we all loved was exhibit which showed how the figures were constucted in an "assembly line", it was a truly special day.

Now can anyone tell me how it is that hens only lay brown eggs these days???? Young Mr Sainsbury didn't know. I went to buy some eggs to make pasche eggs, more of that at the weekend but all the eggs were brown and I wanted white ones. How strange!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tulips in March........

This was the Calendar Girls picture for March,
Lots to choose from. I had a play in PSP9. This is one I considered

but in the end I focused in on the tulip heads, altered them a little and then printed them onto cotton.
This is the first one which is on it's way to Jenny

Inspired by the talk by Carol Naylor we had at EG, see here
I decided to try some heavy machine embroidery.
This is my second take on the tulips,
just light FME but using the words alphabet on my machine, which I love.
Jenny mentioned that she had used the lilac as her motif, I had focused so much on the tulip I hadn't even noticed them. So thank to Jenny, this is my lilac done on the embellisher.

There is some stunning stuff on the Calendar Girls this month

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Match It for Pratchett........

In my last post I made a reference to Terry Pratchett, one of my all time favourite authors.I have laughed at his humour and admired his wisdom and his creation, Granny Weatherwax is my role model for my old age! In December he announced that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimers disease, a tragedy for anyone but for such an inventive mind as his....well as Granny herself would say..."Bugger". On Neil Gaiman's journal today I came across this link to Match it for Pratchett, which tells how you can donate to try to match the $500,000 Terry Pratchett has donated to Alzheimers research. This is an article in the Sun where he talks about the poor funding for such vital reasearch.

Could be a map of part of the Discworld but actually a kind lady at the EG brought me a piece of packaging which had been round some buttons and which she rescued from the waste paper basket because she thought I would like it. How kind. So I made her a couple of postcards to say thank you, just by printing parts of the card onto cotton and then adding a few stitches and buttons.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thank you....

to everyone who has left a comment on my March TIF piece. I have tried to contact each one but some of the links didn't work so if I missed you I'm sorry.

Here is a link that I have just found if you like books and Libraries. Cyndi of Layers upon Layers posted this link to Curious Expeditions who has some wonderful photographs of beautiful libraries all round the world.
This photograph is of the chained books in Hereford Cathedral, it says they were chained to prevent theft. Readers of Terry Pratchett know better. Oook!!

I am suprised the reading room at the British Museum doesn't seem to be there.
It did strike me that some of the photographs would make terrific basis for design and colour schemes.

Monday, March 10, 2008

It's the little things......

you do together, as the Sondheim song goes.Sharon's challenge this month, to notice the little things was another springboard for a lot of thoughts.

Here are some bits of the stream of thought bit....

A small crack might be the sign of a deeper rift.

A detective looks for small clues that will help complete the picture of the crime.

An artist or photographer will focus on a small part/area and transform that in to the whole of the work

A finishing detail on a couture garment may be an indication of the quality of the whole garment.

I didn't say they were earth shattering, it is just some of the things that came to mind!

My first reaction on seeing the colours was "camouflage" and this resulted in this train of thought, camouflage, leaves on hats, ferns, bracken, the young fronds of ferns (bracken) which contain the form of the whole plant be it a small fern or a huge tree fern. I couldn't find the photograph I took of ferns so I looked in flickr and there I found this perfect picture. (which was much better than mine anyway)
I asked for permission to use it as a base and Nancy generously said yes. She has some wonderful pictures in her album it is well worth a browse.
I ran the photograph with the painted wood script in PSP9 to give it a more stitchy look and then printed it onto cotton.
Next step was it pick out some details to embroider. I used variegated threads to echo the lights and shadows of the original. The stems are couched and then split stitched. The insides of the curle are french knots, bullion stitch and detached button hole band (I didn't do TAST for nothing!!!)

At first I was going to make it into a post card but because I was stuck indoors with today's awful weather I played a bit. I dug out my encaustic waxes, at first I tried making fern patterns but it all loooked to heavy so I ironed it off onto a piece of material but then decided I like the remaing wax better so this is now the background for the piece. I found the whispy yarn and added it to give that tangly feeling you get when walking through bracken.This is the scan
and this is the photograph, neither are quite "right". Neither of them show the texture.

For me, just the word "bracken" transports me the Lakeland hills. Memories again!!

Friday, March 07, 2008

I have tried before to make journal pages but was never satisfied with the results. A couple of weeks ago Julie on The Land of Lost Luggage wrote a day by day tutorial and yesterday I sat down and had a try. I must say I am delighted with the result. I have a drawer on my desk where I stick bits and pieces and I just dibbed into that and let it happen. Page 1

Page 2

See that little tree, remember the cut out in my little book....well it just shows you should never throw anything away!!!!! The "doorway" came about because I was adhering the square with some interference white and when I tried to reposition it, it left a frosty "frame" which I loved.
I am still sewing as well and trying to notice details and come up with some inspiration for TIF but I really have enjoyed my paper based activities.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


In the previous post the first thing I meant to do was to thank everyone for their very kind comments on my books. I just couldn't get round to answering each one as I like to do. To answer Vivian the paper used inside the books was professional weight wallpaper lining paper. Apparently it can be bought in several grades. I bought mine, the heaviest grade, in a local decorating company Brewers and suprised the guy by asking for one roll ,when he was obviously expecting me to say 15 or something. I just love the way it takes the colour, it has an almost satin like feel to it. I am looking forward to some warm days when I can really go to town, painting outside. Some of the other girls had wonderful success with peacock blue and greens, really yummy.

It's been a funny week....

By the law of *"!! we have just arranged to have out living room and staircase etc decorated and carpeted, so what happens???? Last Friday the television died. Admitted it has been on the blink for a while,(people don't have purple skin do they???) but did it have to chose just now and now in another month or so? Monday DH dropped his pre-shave bottle into the washbasin washbasin required immediately!!!(Happily it was his turn I broke the last one dropping a heavy glass soap dish in it!!) Same day I started a drippy cold. Another drippy cold!!!!. Tuesday feeling much better I set out for a long awaited playday with some friends from the EG We were going to workshop an article by Kelly Rae Roberts published in Cloth Paper and Scissors. Apart from my drip, which worsened during the day, we had a great time, thanks girls, I was right outside my comfort zone with both with the painting and the size I chose. I don't usually do anything bigger that A4, this time the canvas was about
20" x 14".

It really looks better here than it really is, I rushed dying the background (there's a novelty) and I missed out a step before painting(there's a novelty) and I have cheated with a charcoal pencil instead of using a paint brush (open eyes totally defeated me)but I really am delighted with the overall effect and I have her standing next to the wonderful portrait of the Queen which I tore out of the magazine.(I thought they would like each other's company)
This is a close up

I wish I had thought to take my camera so I could show what they others time!
Wednesday was golf, and this is the card I have made for our new Lady Captain who drives in tomorrow.

inspired by Carol Naylor (see previous post)I printed a picture of our golf club onto cotton and then machined into it. I finished it off with a little hand stitching to give it some added depth. I also used this technique for a Calendar Girl card but more of that later and just to prove that I haven't been slacking I have been working on something for EG which will be revealed later, as it is for the area day in June!
New television arrived yesterday, a 42" plasma, the picture is incedible and I just can't wait for the NFL season to start!! Yes I can because it's not until September but boy, is it going to be good!. I watched the musical "The Producers" (one of my favourites) on DVD last night, it was nearly as good as being in the cinema.


that was my first reaction to Sharon's TIF challenge.(Well my actual first reaction wasn't quite that polite.......). These are Sharon's actual words."Do you ever notice the little things, the small moments, the details in life? This months challenge is to do just that, pay attention to the tiny details. Sometimes the small things become emblematic for something larger. That is it!" Microcosms... hmmm very deep. What fun. Off to think.