Sunday, 30 November 2014

Sketchbook Sunday 2

I made some new Poppy seed head lino cuts at my Printing evening class last Monday and decided that perhaps they would make a good start for another Art Journal page.
Painted the page with Gesso to seal it and to allow me to use paint without it going through to the other side.  I think that I will have to start sticking the pages together as they are rather thin for this type of work.
I then added burnt sienna watercolour from a tube and painted both pages.
I also added some ripped sections from an old book to break up the painted [age but also to add interest.
I printed with the lino print and it possibly was not as clear as it could have been due to the uneven surface created by the contents of the previous page.
So in the end I re-printed it on to grey art paper and then stuck that on to my page to cover the not so good print!
I then added some white paint using a white paint pen and then white acrylic paint with a brush.
The other page was more successful.
With this side I added white and black pen with some mark making and more water colour paint.
I decided that this time I would add some writing.
"Happiness held is the seed, happiness shared is the flower"
I had bought some stamps when we went to Creative stitches in Exeter in September, so I decided to have a play with those too with some matching ink that I had.
This has perhaps turned out a little darker than I intended but I liked to two variations on the lino cut that i printed.  This is a slightly different direction for me as my sketchbooks are normally for recording rather than painting into directly but I shall keep going until I find a style and theme that I like and get along with.
I thought that over the coming weeks you might like to also see some of my evening class printing so I shall be adding pictures of those too.
If Art journaling interests you then do pop over to You tube as there are many good videos with links to blogs and websites.
Have a good week.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Sketchbook Sunday - on a Monday Art Journal Page 1

I do not know what happened ................first the post was there and vanished - along with my curtain pole rings that I can not find at the moment, but that is another story!
You may remember I bought this Fauxdori field note book and leather cover in the summer as I wanted a more portable sketchbook and I also wanted to venture into the area of Art Journaling.
I have found lots of inspiration on Youtube and spend most of my bed time reading time looking at the videos to get ideas. My first try shown above was ok and led on from an ATC swap that I had recently finished.  However, I wanted to do something a bit more abstract.
So going back to Youtube I stumbled on various art journalers and came upon France Papilion and decided to not copy as such but use one of her video's as a starting point.
I have only just ventured into the world of Gesso which is meant to make non-porous surfaces porous enough to take paint and I was a bit surprised at how grainy and rough it is when it dries.  I used ripped water colour paper and watercolour paints plus ink splats and inked paper edges to get the above effect.  I used Tacky Glue to stick it done and that is very good glue if you buy craft glue a lot.  You do not need much as it certainly sticks.
I felt it looked a little bare and I can not bring myself to actually write on any of my pages yet, so I went upstairs to see what else I could find in this colour scheme.
I took out some fabric that crinkled and would add texture plus some wool roving before it is made into felt.
I also found some pre-painted Tyvek left over from my A level and laid these on the page until I liked their position.
I put the wool roving behind the Melted Tyvek and glued down with the marvellous Tacky Glue.
The Tyvek has been painted with blue, silver and gold acrylic before heat is applied and crinkles the surface.
This picture shows more Tyvek but also the pre-crinkled fabric.  I have had it for years and used it for so many projects I sadly have no idea where I first bought it.  Very effective on these pages.
Shows up well in this photograph and that was the effect that I was after.  I like the abstract look of these pages along with one of my favourite colour combinations.  I want to give these pages a title or name.  Any ideas?
I was quite pleased with my first pages here and I have already started my next in which I intend on trying out my own idea straight from scratch now that I have had the guidance form France.  I want to create smaller sketchbook pages which I feel I can complete when I do not have much time, use up lots of scraps which my A level course generated and generally have fun cutting, sticking, painting and creating!
Hope you like this and I shall make sure that I press the publish key more carefully next Sunday.
Take care.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Web Shop Update

I have just added to following to my website.
 Beaded Keyring - £3.00
 Felt and brad Keyring - £3.00
Custom Made mini ipad dust cover - £10.00
Further details can be found HERE.
Back later with Sketchbook Sunday.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Santa Sack Swap is on its Way

I made the first of several trips to the Post Office today with my Santa Sack Swap parcel and it i snow on its way to North Wales.  We know who our partners are and we decide on whether we would like a stocking, sack or tote then add additional handmade items to go with it.
Joanne does visit my blog and she will be opening the main parcel and the sack which I wrapped and then forgot which one it is so someone may have to peek inside for her so make sure.  Here is a little taster.....
I hope you like them all on the Big Day Joanne and thank you for being my Swap Partner.
I am bringing back sketchbook Sunday tomorrow  so please pop back.
Take care all.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Softie- Felt Bear for Flybe

Part of an earlier order was to create one of my felt bears but with a Flybe uniform.  Well this turned out to be quite a challenge and rather fun to do!

The jacket was the really hard bit here, especially the sleeves and I think that I am going to need to alter the pattern slightly to accommodate ideas such as these.
I kept in contact with my customer and made sure that I got the uniform colours right because if you Goggle Fly be uniform there appears to be more than one option.
He is cute and I was rather sorry to see him go. I now have another bear order with a different outfit.  
I did make some girl bears about 2 years ago but it is defiantly male versions that are most popular.  The felt bears are not toys but for much older children or softies collectors.  They are really fun to make and Sophie would now like one with  Hogwarts school uniform!
Any way this little chap is now on Guernsey and I think is going to be given as a Christmas present.
This order also included a mini ipad cover as well.
I made this with double layers of felt with a fleece interfacing to add strength .  It is used as a dust cover and needed to go over an ipad with one of those roller style overs.  My hubby happens to have one so I modelled it on his and then followed my customers specification.  heaps of fun to make this ans it was sent off along with the bear.
As I said, things have picked up gradually and it has been a pleasure to make all of the items that  Ihave shown you over the coming week.
I have now completed my Santa Sack swap items and I intend on sending it on Saturday.  Sorry no photographs until after my partner has opened it!  Drat but those are the rules and it would be awful to ruin the surprise.  I wanted to also do Chookyblues Christmas swap but I do not like spreading myself too thinly so I may do that next year instead.  
Well it has been a very busy and rather mixed week so take care and I hope to have some posts with a different theme later this week.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Felt Keyrings go to a new home!

 To continue my website interest I sent these colourful key rings off to a new owner at the weekend.
They will have a specific job to do which will be to look after two sets of keys for two holiday cottages so that the sets can to told apart from each other.
I made the green one to order as I had in fact sold the original just before the website order and due to its new job I made the keyring a little larger at the same time.
I have put aside two more that I have made  and will list these this week but I can make these to order very easily.   You could even email a design and I will do my bet to copy it for you. I also have three bags, two of which are what I call "sample bags" which are to test out an idea or pattern so they will be sold at a lowwer rate to reflect that.  They are one-offs and nothing wrong with them, however, they may not have stiffening or lots of think interfacing so that are more of a soft bag but ideal for travelling and they iron easily if yo want to.

I have nearly finished a Christmas swap, just trying to get some fur!  Then I have another commission request to follow up.
I love this, making items for others to enjoy.  I have even managed to make to Christmas presents this year already.  I said that I as hoping to find some work-life balance this academic year and I think I ma gradually getting there.
It is not affecting my job as I have have just flown through my performance management review as well!
Have a good week.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Emerald Bag - Website sale

I have not really plugged my website here on my blog as I do not see my blog in that way but I am so pleased that over the past four months things have slowly started to pick up that I am going to pass on some of this news here as it links with the making and craft which is at the heart of this blog.
This  lovely little bag, which I really enjoyed making,  started with the brooch in the middle.  I do not really wear much green but I  liked the brooch too much to keep it in a box.  It was a present so not second hand but it certainly wanted a new home.  I spent ages trying to find what I felt was the right fabric and then the navy blue lining.  All lovely thick cotton fabric and special plastic to maintain the shape of the base.
There are inside pockets, a "D" ring for your to clip on your keys and I even made a handmade zippered purse to go with it.  
There is also a magnetic fastening which is pretty strong.
So this cute little bag now has a happy new home in Yorkshire to a lovely Blog friend who was in fact one of the first to leave a comment when I started my blog in 2007 so I was delighted to see her name on the order. In fact this is the second purchase from this lady.
So thank you very much and I hope you enjoy using it or giving it as a present.
I do in fact have three bags upstairs waiting to be added to the website and there are several there that would make ideal Christmas presents.  I generally only make one of each fabric combination unless a custom order is asked for, maybe for a bag that has already been sold. 
However, I rarely have enough of the same fabric to make more than one bag but there is no harm in asking just in case.
As I said earlier, I have been busy since August and now that they have arrived at their new homes and I have a gap in my work for the day job I shall get around to showing them here.
Guess what?  I have just had a text through  with another order enquiry, honestly what is going on?  Take care all

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Remembrance Day

Last year I bought a knitted poppy created buy a friend of a colleague at work.  I kept this in the back of my mind for a year and this year I decided to put my donation in the collection jar but not take a paper poppy but in fact make my own.
I thought that in keeping with my 2014 pledge to crochet more that I would use that technique and of course not copy the lady whom I bought last years poppy from.
So I used up the Red chunky wool left overs from making my infinity scarf last winter and then stitched in some black wool in the centre.  I did think about adding a leaf but I thought against it.
For Sophie's blazer I made a mini version out of double knitting wool and attached to the lapel with a pin on the back.
Sophie then went and handed in a donation at the school reception.  She has asked if she could wear it next year and just put her money in the collection jar again.

I was going to perhaps make more of this next year with my Textiles Club and perhaps my tutor group as well because they have commented on my hand made poppy.  They are not into crochet so I thought perhaps a lovely red felt and a black button or brad might be a good tutor group activity whereby more thought goes into the Poppy itself and then we will add a donation to the collection jar.

We have  carried out a lot of activities today plus getting the youngsters to think about what it all means and why.  I watched the Remembrance Festival at the Royal Albert Hall at the weekend with Sophie is old enough this year to really understand what it is all about.

The ceramic poppies at the Tower of London have been breath-taking.  Such a poignant idea and has really captured the Nation.  Some of my friends have been able to go to London to actually see them and have said that you can not really put it into words when they have them in real life.

I think that the 100 years anniversary has been justly recognised and thought provoking at a time when there is such unrest in certain parts of the world.
Take care

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Postage Costs

I am very happy to say that over the last three months I have had more interest in my website which has resulted in two commissions and a couple of sales.  As a result I going to be adding some items which I did have in my Etsy shop.  I have decided not to use my Etsy shop  at the momentas it was getting too expensive to list, pay a fee etc and sell nothing.  I had lots of enquiries which went nowhere.
However I have just been to the Post Office to send off my latest order and I had a bit of a shock.
A parcel weighing 0.260g "Small Parcel" to be signed for cost me £4.30!
On my website I have a flat rate of £2.00.  Now I am wondering if my flat rate postage of £2.00 will attract customers or if I am going to lose out seriously.  
I personally hate being ripped off with the postage both as a seller but also as a customer, so I am in a bit of a dilemma.
Hubby sent it for  me ( as I was at a nail salon with Sophie and two of her friends as a birthday treat for her) and he thinks that the signed for bit added to the cost.
So should I leave my flat rate of £2.00 (at least until the New Year) or should I increase it?
I am loathed to increase it really as every time you turn round the cost of things have gone up.  We like to spoil our friends (or ourselves) but a bitter taste of high postage costs does rather spoil the feeling, doesn't it?
I was going to sleep on it and I have decided whilst writing this that I shall leave the postage the same until January and think again.
What does everyone else think?
My website is not my main income (yet, but I hope it might be) but it is meant to be self financing.  For the past three years I have sold practically nothing yet the Inland Revenue have managed to get me to pay £35.00+ in Tax despite the fact that I have not made a profit at all.  My website costs £40.00 a year whether I use it or not.  Perhaps that is not very much but it is for a website linked to a hobby.
Does anyone else have a website?  How do you deal with this?
Feel free to leave a comment or email me as I am sure that costings is a top subject. Take Car boot sales as another example - the cost of a pitch has more than tripled over the last few years.  I seen it as high as £15.00!  You have to sell a heck of a lot to cover your pitch money when most people will only go with the change in their pockets, not their bank card.
Well I hope the deliveries are prompt and safe and it is not any ones fault although I do feel that the Post Office is out of touch.  Just think that if they made their costs cheaper we would probably use them more as they are losing custom to companies who offer low or free delivery when in the past they might have used the GPO insteaqd of other delivery services.
OK, time to get off my soap box now and have a cup of tea.
I must say that having some activity on my Website did give me a boost as I had such high hopes for a little fun with it and to "meet" customers along the way then 2008 came along.
I intend on using more online shops this year, espccially Etsy UK sellers as I think we need to stick together otherwise the individual creativity crafters could start to slip away.
I shall blog about the orders once I know that they have arrived safely and I shall also be adding some more items.  
Have a lovely weekend, it has finally stopped raining here.  What a difference in the weather compared to a couple of weeks ago.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

A sign of Winter

I took a group of Art textiles students to Heligan for a field trio to create first hand drawings and take photographs for their current project.
I was standing by the Italian pond and happened to look down.
See who was watching us, perhaps hoping that we had some food perhaps.
I remember seeing a Robin for the first time as a child and loving them straight away with their bright red chests.
I also remember much colder winters and Kent was prone to bitter winds, rain and snow in the winter months and these bright little birds stood out in the gloomy surroundings.
I thought he had gone and then..................
I was really pleased with both of these pictures and he seemed very keen to have his picture taken as it took me some time to crouch down (hip not good that day) and take time to get it pretty much in focus.
He is a very well rounded little chap and all of the students were fascinated by him and all thought he was very cute.  It was lovely to see teenagers impressed by the nature around them on that day.

We spent the rest of the day in the pouring rain trying to keep our paper and cameras dry and at the same time create some work to take back to school and put in their sketchbooks.
Some how we actually managed to do just that but I have not been so cold and wet since the  awful trip to St Ives when I think we had some of the worst coastal weather ever to hit the area that particular year!  I was soaked right through to the bones that day.
We timed it just right to see the marvellous pumpkin display ready for Halloween.  I never realised just how many different kinds there are!
There were many different elements to the display including some dried flowers.  The theme of the project is Close Up , hence the zoomed in pictures.  These are all my photographs which I take to add to my lessons and visual resources.
I always hope that one day I will have a picture that I feel is worthy of entering into the annual Country File Photographic Competition which raises money for Children in Need..........well may be one day.
Anyway I digress.
Lots of brightly coloured vegetables. 
Lots and lots of lovely plants looking green and healthy after the spot of rain we had.
Plenty of bright colour to be seen in many of the flower beds in the walled garden.
It was a hard working but good day had by all and the work produced since has been fantastic!
Best wishes

Saturday, 1 November 2014

OPAM October

I can not show everything as some of it is for the Santa Sack Swap but I can reveal these.
 I started off the month
 With my entry for the Mix theme for Le Challenge with my mix of Blues and was meet with lovely comments.  I always have had lots of positive support from the Le Challenge group.  I will have to miss this months due to other swaps etc.  Not enough time for it all sadly.
The above is part of a commission that i have nearly completed.  I shall be offering mini ipad cases made in Felt once I have sent the order off and added a button to my website.  I have nearly finished the other half of the order which has been really quite a challenge but the deadline is Christmas and I shall be sending it off next weekend.
Now here is my latest make which I only just squeezed in to October by completing it on Halloween Night whilst waiting to issue treats.  Is a lovely fluffy loop scarf for my God-daughter.  I asked her Mum of she still liked pink and I thought a loop scarf would be more in fashion.  I have one and it does not slip or move around like conventional scarves do.
I also made an item for the Santa Sack swap but I shall need to keep that a secret for the time being.  I also have a cover cut out for Toffy to have a new bed and my curtains simply must be made in time for Christmas!!
I would like to make a few more presents this year but I can not think about that until after my Performance Management lesson observation on Wednesday.  Hopefully it will go alright, I did get an Outstanding by Ofsted in April but that was then and this is now, if that makes any sense.
Anyway, off to sort out the ironing.
Take care.
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