Thursday 22 January 2015

Now for the tricky bit.

Here are the final pages for my book, in a rather raw state although the decorative bit is finished.
I feel I want to put them under the carpet and walk on them for a few weeks to get rid of all the wrinkles and creases.   I have pressed them carefully with an iron and it seems to make little difference.
I am considering cutting them from their current background fabric and mounting them on fresh material.
Some pages are worse than others - it would be nice for them to look alike.
I usually have trouble in ending up with pages of similar measurements - no matter how carefully I measure and cut - so the next stage will be very traumatic as they need to be exactly the same in order to be placed back to back.   I hope the next time you see them they will be looking far neater and bound into a cover.  I may be gone for some time!

Thursday 15 January 2015

Taking advantage of the grotty weather.

The edges of our lawns look like this, so trying to get out to do any work in the garden is a waste of time.
The borders are waterlogged and so I have been enjoying some guilt free creativity until things improve.

I think these two pages are complete.   For the thrush page I have used a piece of dyed silk carrier rod down the left hand side with a strip of photocopied medieval text and two very narrow strips cut from a wallpaper border and coloured to match, framing it.  The squares are cut from cotton fabrics backed with iron on Vilene and their edges dipped into melted embossing powder.  They were then stitched in place and a running stitch worked round the edge.    The blackbird has a background of pieces torn from music patterned wrapping paper with part of a dictionary page in between them. These were machined onto the calico background using an automatic stitch.  I used little squares of cotton fabric again here applied by hand and circled the word Blackbird with a black pen.   I wrote the name of each bird onto small pieces of pelmet vilene and stitched them to the background.   (I don't know how I managed to move this photo to one side and can't get it back again!)

I think these two wagtail pages are finished but need to look at them a bit longer to be sure.
Slightly different elements were applied in a similar way to the previous pages.

The woodpeckers are 'work in progress' but are not far off completion.

My sparrowhawk is waiting for his nextdoor neighbour.   I must look for some different embellishments for the rest of the pages as I am in danger of them becoming samey.  I am finding the whole process very therapeutic and as long as I choose the components for each page before the daylight goes, I can then have a relaxing evening putting each page together.

I start off with a nicely ironed piece of fabric but as you can see, by the time I have stitched everything in place it looks pretty dreadful!    I could do with one of those tiny quilter's irons.

I hope you are all safe and have suffered no damage from the gales we are experiencing.  We lost part of our fence in last winter's gales but so far this winter have only had the green wheelie bin blown over.  The snowdrops are taking their time to come into flower - very wise - I think they know a thing or two.

Saturday 10 January 2015

Are you sick of birds yet?!

I have finished the drawings I want for my book,

so the book can go back to the library, 

and I can now work out who goes where and begin the lengthy task of sourcing the various bits and pieces I shall need to complete the collages.   I tend to get carried away with enthusiasm and then each page begins to look like the next - I want to avoid that.

There are probably a few other birds which could have been added to this list, but I think 24 is a good number and I am happy to leave it at that.  I am trying hard to ignore the fact that I have seen a blackcap, redwing, fieldfare and probably some others!

What a wild night it has been - last night the wind was so strong it sounded like thunder at times.  I hope you are all safe and sound, and have incurred no damage.  Everywhere looked quite normal here this morning apart from loads of leaves and twigs everywhere.  I have just realized how quiet it is now the wind has dropped - and the sun is out!  It will be nice to have the window open again tonight - I always sleep better with some fresh air coming into the bedroom.

I have just realized how well/badly situated my laptop is.  As I type this, I have my back to the rest of my workroom which is in dire need of being tidied.   I can't see it, but one day I will want to use the worktop under the window which has all but disappeared under piles of stuff.  The job of tidying it is on the pending list but will soon have to become a priority.

Monday 5 January 2015

Look what arrived today!

These are my ill-gotten gains from my recent online shopping spree.   I already have a 6"square Gelli plate but thought a small 3"x5" one would be useful.   Here it is sitting on a pack of deli paper, which I keep hearing about but have never found.   It is like a very superior greaseproof paper and takes ink and paint well, so I'm told.

I also stocked up on Khadi paper - a pack of A4 sheets and a little square book all ready for printing and stitching.

These are the recommended paints so I splurged on a set.

And rollers to apply the paint to the plate.

A little free pack of decorated papers came with the khadi paper book.

And finally some Manutex for thickening the paint for different print effects.
It will probably take me a couple of months to pluck up the courage to try it all out but when I have done something worth seeing I'll let you know.

In the meantime I am still drawing birds.   I think I have worked through about half of those on my list and I must get a move on in case they wont let me keep renewing the library book I am copying from.

I am absolutely exhausted today, having put Christmas back in the cupboard for another year. I'm not sure which is the more tiring - putting up the decorations or taking them all down.

Saturday 3 January 2015

Promise not to laugh?

Among my lovely Christmas presents was this felting kit.  I have never tried this way of felting before so approached it with trepidation.   My poor hare looks very much the worse for wear and there are all sorts of things wrong with him, but I found making him quite a therapeutic process.  It would have been nice to have some spare fleece to practice on first, and although the printed instructions were very clear, the photos of each stage of working were so small - only about an inch square - it was difficult to pick up on any detail.  

Now, you aren't laughing, are you?!!

Our impatient cherry tree is already putting out little clumps of blossom, as is the forsythia.  Apologies for the poor photo but I couldn't walk on the lawn for a better shot as it is waterlogged.
The spring bulbs are all pushing up and yesterday I saw buds on early daffodils and a clump of primroses in bloom.  I know we still have a couple of months of winter to get through, but it lifts the spirit to contemplate the sight of all those lovely spring flowers to come.

I have been very naughty and enjoyed a bit of online shopping for craft materials.  If you remember me saying that I am not buying anything else until I have used what I already have - just forget it!  I'll show you the goodies when they arrive.

Until then, keep dry, and warm, and well.