Friday, 13 February 2015

A lovely surprise.

In this morning's post I received this beautiful initial H painted by my bloggy friend Gina Ferrari who has just taken a course in egg tempera painting.  My photo doesn't do it justice - the light picks up the gold paint in the central area beautifully and it comes alive.  Thankyou so much Gina - I hardly like to follow it with these paltry printing efforts.

I have at last tried out my Gelli plate and although I enjoyed  myself, I can't say I'm very pleased with the results.   I found it hard to control the texture of the paint and will have another go using acrylics from tubes.  I think the paint I used for these was a little too wet.
I experimented with various rubber stamps and moulding mats which are quite good once you have found those that give the clearest images.
Above, I tried using the 6"square plate to fill a sheet of A4 paper.  I sprayed it with a coppery craft ink but am not sure it has improved it, especially as the ink tended to come out in blobs rather than a fine mist.
 I cut out flower shapes with a couple of paper punches and kept the strips which I used here as stencils.   I like the bottom right sample best where the edges of the strip are broken up.  I think next time I will use found objects to create the patterns and maybe try a little doodling to make my designs more personal.

 I had been hoping to find some way of using this technique to make a lining for my bird book but in the end I decided that I wanted something fairly simple so drew a faint diagonal grid on a piece of fabric ironed onto freezer paper to stabilise it, and then drew the stylised leaves making a repeat pattern.

I stuck it down to the inside of the cover which you have already seen, and finished the edges off with buttonhole stitch.
As I had no soft fabric in which to hide the ends when I came to the end of a length of thread, I left 2 or 3 inches and tied a new length in, which gave me enough thread to hang beads in 3 or 4 places round the border of the cover.

There are two more beaded bits which loaded and then disappeared and I can't get them to load again.  However, you get the idea.   I have even managed to used some of my best beads.   I seem to have been saving them for something and thought it was about time they came out of hiding.

Friday, 6 February 2015

The cover.

Believe it or not, I was aiming to have a green cover for my bird book.
I took a folded piece of strong card and spread it quite liberally with gesso before embedding scraps of fine scrim, lace and any other bits I fancied into the gesso.  I then sprayed it with Quink ink which faded to a greyish blue.   I used three different craft sprays in shades of green and each time the colour dried to a rather nasty dirty pinky beige.   It was not destined to be green.
Finally I tried a brown spray and settled for this result, though it is very drab.

A gentle rub here and there with Treasure Gold has perked it up a bit.
I think I'll leave it at that.

I have been putting off using my Gelli plate for weeks now. How can a grown woman be scared of a Gelli plate?!!    I need some interesting paper to line the cover and see an opportunity to create something with the plate, so a lovely messy weekend is on the cards.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015


A quick update on our visitor.   I checked the photos we took with those in our bird book and it is definitely a rook.   It has the distinctive white 'face' and pale beak whereas those of ravens and crows are black and much heavier looking.   I phoned Secret World in Somerset this afternoon after checking that he was still in the garden!   They are going to send one of their volunteers out to collect him as he shows no inclination to fly.  He enjoyed some raw minced beef earlier and has plenty of other food and water at his disposal.  I shall miss him when he goes but at the same time be relieved that he will be cared for properly.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

This and That.

I took these frosty pictures last Friday.   So often I read that we should leave dead seedheads on our plants as they look beautiful in winter and so often mine just look drab and untidy.   Well last Friday they looked quite pretty, but only last Friday!  Since then we have returned to drab and untidy.

Some time during the morning this chap arrived and has spent the day in our back garden.  This photo has appeared where it should not be.   It was a late comer to this post as my daughter took it portrait fashion and I couldn't remember how to rotate it when I was loading the others.   A quick telephone tutorial sorted that out, but unfortunately it turned up in the wrong place.  It's a great photo nonetheless.

Back to the frosty pics.

There was ice on the pond too.

Everywhere was gently sparkling in the sunlight.

I love the shape of these heuchera leaves.   

Back to our visiting rook.  I have never seen one at such close quarters and if he'd turned up last week he might have made it into my book!   Sadly he missed the deadline.   He looked a bit stunned at first but has gradually begun to move about more easily, had something to eat and drink and generally made himself at home.   I say 'him' but I can't decide whether it is wearing trousers or coullottes.
 I put out some chopped up cheese which he liked and there is always some bread and apple out there for the other birds - he's been tucking in to all of it.

He doesn't appear to be injured and I am hoping he'll be strong enough to fly tomorrow, and that he wont be got at by a neighbourhood cat during the night.  He has walked all round the garden almost as if trying to decide if it is a safe place to spend the night.  So far his favourite resting place has been under the bench at the far end under the conifer hedge.

These little beauties are biding their time and not opening fully yet.   I wonder if they know there is a lot more cold weather to come.  Keep warm and safe wherever you are.