We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
"Little Gidding"
T S Eliot

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

A good ol' yarn!

At the Ashtead Craft Club on Wednesday evening I will be demo-ing how to make yarn/twine flowers.  Very useful as decoration for cards, tags, pressies, and anything else you care to think of!

These are very simple to make.  First you create a loom with cardboard and pins.  The size of the flower is dictated by the size of the cardboard circles.  Instructions can be found here.

Two different sized looms used for this card, with some sparkly yarn. Then added a couple of buttons for the centres, and some thin wire for the stems.

I tried satin ribbon too, a little tricky as it is a bit slippy, but very effective.

Another raid into my mother's old button tin, and some scalloped die-cut circles from painted bookpages to finish.

I've tried all kinds materials; as long as it is pliable enough to wrap around the loom, it will work!

Happy wrapping!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Just by chance, this book came out of NOWHERE .....

The latest Craft Barn Q&L challenge words are HUG and NOWHERE.  I found this quote by contempory Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, from his novel 1Q84.  I've done further research on this author and his work, and I have put this book on my reading list!

That is one of the many good things that have come out of taking part in this challenge - I discover new writers (for me).

"Is it possible to become friends with a butterfly?"

"It is if you first become a part of nature. You suppress your presence as a human being, stay very still, and convince yourself that you are a tree or grass or a flower. It takes time, but once the butterfly lets its guard down, you can become friends quite naturally."

" ... I come here every day, say hello to the butterflies, and talk about things with them. When the time comes, though, they just quietly go off and disappear. I'm sure it means they've died, but I can never find their bodies. They don't leave any trace behind. It's like they've been absorbed by the air. They're dainty little creatures that hardly exist at all: they come out of nowhere, search quietly for a few, limited things, and disappear into nothingness again, perhaps to some other world." 

I've used just part of the quote on my page, which started with a sponged acrylic paint background.  I decided to try and print straight onto it, but as you can see, the printer ink has sunk into the paint.  I probably should have sealed it first - that's my impatience coming out!

Butterflies are Craftwork Cards stamps, also done with acrylic paint.

Time to make friends with a butterfly!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

A little bird told me .....

I've been working on this canvas, on and off, for a couple of weeks.  I've used my favourite wood canvas - my last one, so must get some more!

For the background I've used pieces of textured ribbon, with modelling paste and texture paste.

I also prepared some paper clay faces, using a mould, and hand cut neck and shoulders.

I then experimented with bits of fabric, and hand made papers.

I stiffened some loose weave fabric with Paverpol, but watered down PVA works just as well.

The handmade paper I have is quite soft and easily moulded, so used Paverpol on that too.

The hair is made from a selection of different fibres.

Everything is painted in neutral shades, but .....

..... to finish, I wanted a little bit of colour - so - and I am sure you can guess - yes - my personal mantra which I find hard to ignore - a bluebird!

I also added a little gold mica.

And I've still got another head and shoulders to do another canvas, - I can't guarantee that another bluebird will not  alight somewhere!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Mr Owl discovers his DESTINY .....

Can't believe it is the 20th Craft Barn Q&L challenge, and I've managed to stick with it, never having entered challenges before!  Words this time are GIFT and DESTINY.

Following on from my previous post about drawing and making stamps with funky foam (see here), I wanted to make some more (well, particularly an owl!).

I found this quote by William Shakespeare:

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.

I had already made the happy person stamp, but the brilliant thing about this technique is that you can make further impressions onto the stamp (with a sharp pencil), and I did that on the "clothing"!  I also made some stars, and of course, the owl.

An owl?  Well, firstly I do like owls, and secondly I think those are wise words from Mr Shakespeare .....

Um ..... that is either a giant owl (scary) - or little people!

And a conundrum - which came first - the owl or the quote!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Draw - Stamp - Wow!

At  last week's Ashtead Club workshop the theme was to create your own stamps. - and I had an amazing lightbulb moment!

Using funky foam, draw anything with a sharp pencil, and this is sufficient to make an impression for a stamp - what a revelation!  I had no idea a sharp pencil would create such an effect!

OK, the stamps will have a short life, but if you want to create a unique background, or have a stamped image look, then for me this is the way to go.  I immediately went out an bought a pack of funky foam (which is very cheap), and started drawing.

I also thought I would try mounting the stamps onto something for ease of use.  I do have a habit of collecting packaging, and it is always a good feeling when your hoarding instincts pay off!!!  I used that thick acetate packaging you get with a lot of craft supplies (e.g. embossing folders).

Here are my first stamps - the green ones I created at the Club workhop.

I cut outside the outer edge lines, so they would show up on the final image

In this photo just the bird is mounted onto acetate with PVA glue.

I wasn't very patient and started using the stamps before the glue dried, so there was a bit of slipping and sliding going on!  First results, using Distress Ink.

The word ART needs a little work, I made it too fussy.  The happy people need a bit more detail, but overall I'm pleased with the initial results.

Think of the possibilities .....
just doing a little dance of joy!!!