Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Dewdrops and Playtime.

We were about to go out on Monday morning when I noticed the tiny droplets of dew all round each of these Alchemilla Mollis leaves. I just had to nip back inside for the camera as I knew they'd have evaporated by the time we got home again. Aren't they beautiful?

It looks as if someone has sewn minute crystal beads round each leaf.

Today I have been playing with Friendly Plastic and to begin with I recycled some offcuts and failures, and produced these first two pieces. Some of the colour shows from the original pieces and when I have decided what to make with them, I shall colour them with paint or foil.

I softened the pieces in hot water and rolled them together between two sheets of kitchen foil to flatten them out. I then resoftened the rolled out piece with a heat gun and pressed a rubber stamp into it and left it to cool before removing the stamp. I quite like the irregular and slightly ancient look.

This piece was similarly made using a different stamp. I haven't explained the process in any length but if you like the sound of this technique and product, Liz Welch's blog 'Rarelizzie' has amazing samples of all manner of things that can be made with Friendly Plastic as well as hints and tips on using it. She has written books about it and sells the product itself and other related items on her online shop. On her blog you will see that the most beautiful beads, items of jewellery, carnival masks and book covers are just some of the things you can make with it.

I joined two strips together to make this piece. It is actually black and I may paint it or just highlight the design with a gold rub-on cream.

This join is less noticeable and it is so easy to do. You simply dip one long side of each strip into hot water for a few seconds and then hold them together for a few more seconds. That's all it takes. I reheated the piece with the heatgun before pressing a rubber stamp into it, to get the design.

This was made using a piece of gold Friendly Plastic about 3" long, heating it and pressing an incense stick holder onto it. It has a medieval design running halfway along it's length which is mirrored for the other half.

These show up a little clearer.

Again I had to join two strips together and have used a dark green colour for this. I think that perhaps the design for this stamp is not really deeply cut enough for a sharp result but it has that antique look which I like and might end up on a book cover or box eventually.

I think I overheated the plastic for this attempt but actually like the distressed appearance it has. It saves me having to do anything else to it, to make it look centuries old! This is a very elementary technique but some of the more advanced ones give stunning results.


I must go and tidy up the mess I have made, and left, in the kitchen!

Friday, 24 June 2011

This and That.

I have been doodling with the sewing machine onto the embellished knitted pieces I made recently. These are the first two I have done and I am rather disappointed with them.

The colours of both are greener than they appear here, and the machine stitching disappears into the background too easily - something I should probably have realised from the outset. I might try a bit of hand stitching to see if that looks better.

This little chaffinch has been a regular visitor to our garden for a couple of years now. We had noticed from the start that he didn't hop about as nimbly as the other birds but could never quite see why. I managed to get this photo of him the other day, and his disability is very apparent. He still flies well, comes to feed most days and seems to be none the worse for whatever it was that caused his deformed leg. There has been a younger chaffinch with him sometimes this year with a similar condition but I haven't been able to get a clear enough shot of it.
I've got one eye on the weather, and if I'm lucky I might just get an hour in the garden before it starts raining again.

Have a nice weekend - it's supposed to get warmer - I'm still waiting for that date with the garden chair!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

A new addition to the family.

This is Chester - a Laza Apso/Poodle cross. (I'm not at all sure about that spelling). He belongs to out second youngest daughter and visited us for the first time a couple of days ago. He is utterly adorable, about twelve weeks old and so soft and cuddly though rather difficult to photograph as he's full of beans.

This pic is sharper as he was taking a break!

In case you are cold, like me, I thought these sunny photos might warm us up a bit. I took them a few days ago when it was trying to be summer.

Today it has given up again and the clouds are tearing along and we have brief sunny spells interspersed with heavy squally showers. Bad luck for summer weddings and all those village fetes, etc.

It is supposed to be a fine day tomorrow. If so, I have a date with a comfy garden chair sitting watching the weeds grow!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Two and Four-legged visitors.

It was a treat to see this young woodpecker and a parent bird on the birdtable the other day. I apologise for the rather misty photo but had to take it through the kitchen window and in great haste before they flew off.

The visitor above arrived by arrangement complete with her own bedding and toys. She is always welcome and is great company.

The furry fox was regularly 'killed' and well chewed ...............

................ and thoroughly shaken ....................

.................. and even worn around the neck incase the evenings turned chilly.

I was going to add more pics, but having had no Internet connection since Saturday and then been interrupted half way through this post with a message saying that the webpage cannot be displayed, I've been frightened off and I'm making this short and sweet.

Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Boots, shoes and backgrounds.

I have made another pair of fairy shoes and pixie boots. I posted the ones on the left in the picture above some weeks back, then decided to make some more. I didn't paint the insides of the latest ones as I couldn't achieve the degree of brightness with my metallic paint that Annette Emms got.

I tried to get a more interesting fabric by layering a sheer over fine cotton, but the effect seems to have been lost. I don't know how Annette gets the amazingly delicate effects her shoes seem to have - probably a trade secret.

I buttonhole stitched round the top edge of these pixie boots with a metallic thread ......

.................... and added a tiny metallic tassel at the back to finish them off.

I have been continuing my experiments with my embellishing machine with a view to making backgrounds for machine or hand stitching. It is quite hard to do good machine stitching on some embellished backgrounds. I 'stole' the idea of stitching daisies from Gina Ferrari's blog

'Fan my Flame'. She has done some beautiful daisies - in fact everything she does is beautiful. You may remember the background to my daisies from a couple of posts back - it was embellished onto Lutrador and then distressed with the heat gun. I cut it in half with a view of using it for cards. I have just quickly machined each one onto a piece of painted paper.

These next samples are my pieces of knitting which you have also seen before, some weeks back. I have worked wisps of silk waste into them, along with strips of dyed muslin, scrim and sheers.

This is the only one which had a backing of Lutrador which makes it flatter and firmer, and I think it will be much easier to stitch onto. They all look like landscapes to me, so trees will most likely be featured on them, but whether stitched by machine or hand I haven't decided yet. I quite like the idea of cutting these in half down the middle to make a tiny scene.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Free Gifts.

I was so pleased to recognise the leaves of these foxgloves earlier in the year, and hoped they would flower for me. The one above is just across the path from the other two. The path itself is invisible at the moment being completely hidden by all the growth that everything has made - finding it again will be my next job.

This lovely pale one is as tall as me - I love watching the bees climb up inside the trumpets, but there were no bees on these and as the lower flowers are beginning to fall I imagine all the nectar has already been taken.

This much smaller one is alongside. I have tried to grow foxgloves for years without success. I sowed seeds and bought established plants but none of them would establish for me. Suddenly this year up popped these three and I think there maybe another one in the front garden which hasn't flowered. Will they stay and appear another year? I shall leave the dead heads in place and hope they sow their own seeds and start a little colony for me.

The handsome teazle here has gathered water in the little 'bowls' created by each leaf where it joins the main stem. I love teazles but they are not suitable for a small garden and it was dwarfing my baby acer tree so I had to dig it up. I apologise to the goldfinches who love teazle seeds, but we do put out niger seed for them.

This pretty yellow flower grows profusely all over the place and I pull it up by the handful if it is in the wrong place, or leave it to do it's own thing. It tolerates quite deep shade and awful soil so is a godsend.

This wild fern will eventually hide the ugly base of the fence at the bottom of the garden. It too is growing where little else will tolerate the conditions so I am very grateful for it.

I have done so much work in the garden this week that I'm having a day off today to recharge my batteries. There are still some zinnias to plant out and if it was just a case of popping them into the soil I would do it, but the area needs to be cleared first so I'll leave that for another day. Have a good weekend.