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Friday, 27 January 2012

Folk Art Dolls

Hi everyone
had a really busy day today and have only managed to wrap/make birthday stuff for our family birthday. We all plan to spend the whole weekend celebrating. Hoping to enjoy a huge treat this weekend. The weather has turned cold and it has started to rain (late in the day again) - there seem to be reports of snow !!

I've done a little review on my Shop Menu (work I will produce for sale)-  its actually just a bit of paper but has lots of revisions and additional ideas. I reviewed the sheet last night while waiting to pick the kids  from school. It was only about a 15mins activity but I did lots of quick thinking/notes. I often find these little snaps of work in a place other than my studio do pay dividends ! Now just need to produce the stuff.

Part of my review was to look at some of the folk art dolls I've already done - could they be developed into good paintings ?

The quality of the picture here is not very clear but the actual drawings have potential.
Have started to develop them already. They all have names - I'm not so happy with these original names so am now trying to find more suitable ones. I'm going to watch some tennis in a moment (Australian Open) and am thinking about using names of the tennis players.

Well thats about it for now.


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Valentine plus Little Houses = ?

thepapersac village houses
Winter Wood cottage

Hi everyone
weather poor today - mainly rain and so much colder !

example valentine card

selection of valentine cards

development of valentine cards and tags
Did hope to work on the house stuff but not happended, although, I have decided I will refer to the house stuff as thepapersac village and each item in the range will have an individual name eg Winter Wood Cottage etc.
I've been looking around Etsy and Folksy for similar 'folky' houses and there are an amazing number- here are three that caught my eye.

Have completed another batch of valentine stuff - sold out the previous batch. Here are a re fe pictures of the range. Thet should be in the shop either tomorrow or Sat.

Have not done much else in terms of work. Its Richard's birthday this weekend so am busy developing cards etc for him. Best not display here or he may see !

Bye for now.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Little houses

Hi everyone
weather report today is rather late to comment (its 9.45pm) - its so mild - every time I go out I've got the wrong kit on. Tonight, I dressed in a big duvet coat (my usual attire for a Wed pm 'pick the kids up' night) and had to take it off - unbelievable for Jan !!
Today, was quite productive - I didnt do the things on the list but did do a little painting for part of a new range. I need a name but the range is to do with house's ie New Home card or gift. The range will consist of my little cottage from the Christmas Wood and another few images - more 'architect like' drawings (yet to complete) and the ones I did today.
Bit more paiting required but am resonably pleased with how it has gone so far today. Still not well, so progress slow. I'm only working half time.

This is the initial background for the painting. I had primed a piece of wood with a weak wash of white. I added some watercolour colours - again a light wash of browns,greens,orange and blue.

Here, I've added some folk art houses and some detail - the painting will be a List It Tool eventually (for a friend) - will also make some more for the shop. More detail to be added tomorrow as well as the hardware ie hook and hanging tags. I like the round the corner element of the red house (on the top right). The other two photos (below) are showing the side views of the painting. I tend to continue the scene to the edge and around the side rather than using a frame.

left side view

right side view

Bye for now.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

'Leather Rose' - maybe ?

Hi everyone
weather report is very poor today - raining and miserable !! - say no more.

Its almost a week since I wrote my last blog - not been well again and have tried to slow down and get well ! Not sure I'm there yet but I'm back into nornal life. Had a lovely day yesterday with Richard - we did a bit of shopping and had lunch and a walk and cooked dinner together. Now its back to work.
Here's an update on a recent project. I had completed the rose ring and needed to try it out myself on Sat. - it got through the day until about 3pm doing general tasks - cooking etc and then the rose left the ring part !! Its not the 'best', most practical item - would probably be better suited to a brooch or hair pin.
Am thinking about another fixing for the ring, I have'nt given up yet. I did like the ring -  as it was, but am also going to try a slightly different shape ie flatter and wider (this will mean another rose). I feel this would reduce the potential for breaking or catching the ring while 'getting on with life' Will report back when its done and ready for another trial.
ring in action
 This is the broken top part ie the rose - you can see I have added a circle to try and attach the rose to the flat ring fixing - its not worked so I think it needs a wire to go around the ring fixing. Perhaps, I could add the pearl (in the centre of the rose) using a wire around the ring attachment rather than the card circle idea.  Minor in the 'scheme of  things' but a little problem to solve !!
card circle attachment for ring base

Elsie Larson leather pocket idea
 I am also interested in exploring the idea of working with leather. I have been thinking about this for some time and all of a sudden there are tips and ideas in my tweet list. Elsie Larson ( a true inspiration) has been giving tips and ideas for working with leather over the last few days. Here is an idea for adding leather pockets. Leather pocket project

 Another leather project and tips from Elsie

 Not sure what I can do yet but am thinking about something to do with the rose ring and leather ?
Take a look at Elsie's stuff, she comes up with some great projects.

Must get on.
Bye for now.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Tag development FROM SCRATCH

Hi Everyone
weather report today is great - sunny and dry - earlier this morning it was raining quite hard - what a change !!
 I've got a few snaps of the Valentine range tags - most are dressed up now but I'm showing the From Scratch development approach. As with my painting yesterday, I thought I would do this more often ie show the development of the items I'm making. I think, all these tags are now sold but will do some more for the shops. All my papers here are bought but I will be using my own art when Valentine (my new doll paining) is complete. I have pondered several days re her name and keep coming back to Valentine. Its a lovely name and am now thinking of a surname to compliment the Valentine name ! It will come to me , today.

initial collection of card 'cut outs' and papers
For the tags, I've developed a range of shapes and sizes and tried to co ordinate the patterns with my card designs (some still under construction).
Each tag has developed (in design) a little further, with additions and adaptations. I will take a few designs and show this over the next few days. I find the thick board card used (as a base for each tag) give the tags a special tactile quality, which I like. The other key material for me, is the choice and colour of ribbon.

For these tags, I have used ribbon from a large stock of ribbons (collected over many years) so did'nt go out and buy any. I think this has a bearing on design and gives me a sense of satisfaction using a limited choice - this tends to make for a more imaginative design (ultimately).I do think the ribbon makes a statement about how the tags can be used. The more 'fluffy' the ribbons the ribbon, the more 'girly' the tag while the sam tag can be given a string/flax string and be great for a masculine feel. Will hope to demonstrate this with my tag examples.
card and paper combination - pre 'dressing'

stage 1 and 2 of development

The pictures give an idea of stage 1 and 2 of the tag development. Stage 1- I am calling cutting out the basic shapes (using a sizzix cutter/dies) with papers and some heart embellishments. Stage 2 is sticking the card and papers together.
I spend time getting the sticking process as exact as I can - I find the detail important and dont like to see glue marks or shoddy lining up of papers.

Thats it for today - more development pictures tomorrow.

Bye for now.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

New painting and roses

Hi Everyone
weather warned up considerably today. No white covering of frost this morning. Bit damp.

Been starting a few new paintings alongside lots of other tasks. The Valentine stuff is moving on and the ring rose has moved too ! - I've strenghthend the rose by adding another layer of paper on the outside, stuck in the pearl and given the whole thing a coat of varnish. Just looking at it again - I think another varnish would be good. It feels strong and is very pretty. I've also ordered the new ring style (to attach the rose), so am waiting delivery of that - then the whole thing can be assembled. Fingers crossed. I do want to wear it on Valentines Day. I have decided I do like it.
 I've just placed it on my finger here to show how it should look. The other shots show the back and the progress to date.
back of rose

post varnish

initial development- before shot
The before shot re the rose development, does not give an idea of how things have moved on - it looks exactly the same ! I did'nt take a side shot showing the initial paper layer - I'd taken the trouble of printing a delicate pattern on it. C'est la Vie !!

Now, news of a new paining. I thought I would show the development From Scratch. The idea behind the painting came from a pretty girl/hearts picture  and a photo from an old holiday (look back a few days for the detail). I sketched out the images onto plain paper using a graphite pencil - then started to add colour. There will be a few days of adding colour, using wax Prisma coloured pencils in a variety of shades. My starting colours will be red,titan buff (acrylic paint for later) and flesh colours. Each session will add and adapt to how I think it should go. Here is the point at which I am now. The drawings are currently all on one page - I will keep them there until I am happy with the colours. They will then get cut and stuck down on a prepared background. I have a plan on the sketch - difficult to see but bottom right of the sketch. Will make this clearer as the painting develops. I aim to make a skirt from some fabric and you will note the legs are not connected. The arms will also be adjusted and maybe the head position.

The face of the doll looks a bit odd with very little detail - will develop this alongside the shading. The doll needs a name ! I think it will be something to do with valentine - the hearts will be a 3D thing - not sure exactly how yet. Love this part of a paining ie 'just' as the doll is becoming a personality (in my head).

Bye for now.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

More hearts and some trees

Hi Everyone
weather cold and frosty again - everything is white and crisp. Sun is hiding at the moment.
I've been concentrating on more hearts today - so far I've done about 40 (in various finishes).

 Here are a few images of the basic pieces. For some reason, they are uploading in a vertical position ? No doubt there is a simple fix but its not in my 'toolbox' !!!

I must try and solve this issue. Its only a recent development.

The papers used here are a very old range from Elsie
(Elsie's blog) Larson. If you look at her style generally, you will see images linked to the style to this day. I love the collage effect from the patchwork sample sheet below. The colours and style give a great fun approach. I've made some broaches from the folk heart shapes - I aim to attach to some of the cards which will be available in my shops - soon !

My roses for the rings (project under construction - read back for further information) are not going well. My choice of ring findings are not quite right for the roses. I like the first rose I made for this project and have added a little pearl style bead in the centre. I think the outer surface of the ring needs some attention too - it would be  fine if the rose is to be attached to a card or picture but when on a ring the whole rose petal part will be on view (and I like a bit more quality when it comes to jewellery - even if its paper !!) Will see what I can do. Will keep you up to date.

Yesterday , I mentioned our little family spent the weekend walking in the frosty countryside around our home area. I've managed to get a few pictures from both days. They are different places and days but do look very similiar.
Hulme Park in Alnwick
 I love the bark on these trees. The images have inspired some patterns which will find their way into a painting (just started yesterday). The colours are very distinct (in a good picture) - the bark is red and the branches have a silver green apprearance. Just lovely in the sunshine. The first two pictures were taken in Hulme Park, Alnwick (just outside 'the Castle' from Harry Potter fame)
Hulme Park

 The next few pictures are from Simonside - just south of Rothbury. The land here is much more rugged and forms part of a country park with miles of tracks.

climbing trees

 The last picture shows our boys deperate to find a tree to climb. They both declared they were too tired to go on - that is, until the tree climb and their run back downhill (approx 1-3 miles). I guess thats boys for you !

Bye for now.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Hearts and more hearts.

Hi everyone
weather been so cold and frosty today but lovely at the same time - we had lots of family time over the weekend and predictably I did no painting ( I took the decision to 'join in' rather than take my painting time - so will not moan about it !!) . As a family, we did lots of walks in the frosty sunshine. I took some pictures and will get them up here asap.

Life has passed me by for about three days ? not sure where its gone ?.
Big treat today, Molly Makes arrive. Here it is.

I love the lacy crochet things on the front - readers will know about my wish to be a skilled crochet person - these wrist warmers are lovely. I so wish, I could make them. I'm convinced I can't ! - this is odd for me as most things 'crafty', I feel are within my reach !. I must change my attitude about crochet.

The whole world seems to be full of hearts - they are everywhere. I'm debating which shape to make some hearts for the valentine collection - I can't decide if I should make them very round or 'folk like' or ? - perhaps, I should make a range of heart versions ? This will be my priority tomorrow.

I love this little picture - its inspired me to draw a doll holding some hearts (just like the ones I'm going to make - not in a jar ). I hope they turn out OK.
The hearts will be different and based on the picture below. Its a lovely photograph we took while on holiday several years ago.
While walking along a very pretty stream we came across these hearts. They were on a large rock . They looked perfect - no weather damage and simpy placed on the rocks. We returned to the same spot several times over the next few days and they remained in the same place. I'm aiming to use the idea in my painting. Somehow, the image give's me a feeling of being there for ever - undamaged and almost untouchable. We did'nt disturb them. It seems no one else touched them either. It was quite a busy walk in a popular tourist location.

Thats it for now.


Friday, 13 January 2012

Camera talk and the need to be creative.

Hi everybody
weather is great today - cold,crisp and bright sunshine.

I had a great surprise in the post today - a book about taking pictures. Even better !! the book was bought using a free voucher from some survey I did. Its FAB - loads of great advice and loads of great ideas for styling. I love it. There's too much to tell in the blog - you must take a look if you are remotely interested or involved in selling your stuff.
If you read this blog regularly, you will know how I struggle taking good pictures - all I need now is the right camera !!! - probably always been the major problem for me. Still, I will struggle on for the moment with my phone.

I also came across a lovely piece on Etsy about this seller. She goes by the shop name of

Poor Pitiful Pearl

I spent ages looking at her clothing styles and reading her blog. Its great stuff and uses recyled things. Take a look. She also has an Etsy Shop.

The 'valentine ing' stuff is coming on - some fabric came today and I will be able to incorporate this into my offer - some little hearts and I'm going to add some fabric to the cards/tags. Will share some pictures when I have a little display. I'm hoping I link the vintage look with the fabrics.

Can't believe its almost the weekend again - my life seems so hectic I feel I've missed the week ! - its all on 'fast forward'. My home is in need of TLC too - I've managed to ignore the cleaning etc all week. Will need to do a little later, unless I get too involved in creating ! I feel lifes too short to miss creative experiences ! (I'm sticking to this philosophy) . I'm missing painting too - I'm planning a treat for myself  this weekend - to paint. I asked for a 'painting time voucher' for christmas from my husband and he came up with three - I am going to cash in. The idea is that I get complete time out of doing anything (other than paining) for 1 hour per voucher. Here it is below :
Unfortunately, there will be much demand for me to do other things ! We will see.

Must get on
Bye for now

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Image transfer and tiny cakes

Hi everyone
weather report today is very positive - we had an early downpour but now (mid day here) its lovely, very bright and sunny. Makes me feel inspired about the day.
I'm deep into making stuff for valentine but am also searching for new and interesting ways to transfer images - you may remember, I have experimented with this kind of printing before (with great results last year - take a look through the archives). I have a book on my shelf (see it here) with lots of detailed techniques - they all appear to be using very similar methods but using slightly different materials and for different situations.  I'm going to try a few of the techniques and will share my results. My idea is to use my own original painting as the transfer material ie a copy of and am hoping to find the most appropriate method for me.I need to buy a few materials before I can start.
I also caught a short video via Tweet which is using polymer clay take a look - its so inspiring in a vey gentle/honest here .The artist is Karolina Kubik, a.k.a. LePinkChocolat - her site is full of lovely items. I especially like this its so cute and very clever.

I have dabbled with this craft a few times but find it difficult to get my final pieces appropriately baked. I'm not giving up - am going to give another go with the valentine stuff- so will report on my progress.
Must get on.

Bye for now

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Make your own personalised valentine card.

Hi anyone
weather poor today - dull and damp !

 I have a few initial pictures of my valentine offer - have used an old idea of mine (from 2008) to inspire the design but have tried to update with a 'vintage' look with colours/textures. Its a simple idea which lends itself to personalisation. My inspiration came from this card  - I made it for my husband (as a valentine card)  using a scan of an actual letter he sent me. I'm not sure why I like it so much but I keep it in a frame (usually) and look at it on a regular basis. I think its the colour mix and the stationary feel of it.I've written personal messages by hand and used initials on the front. You could do a similar card using an actual letter or note or anything that your valentine has written - could be a simple list or note.
inspiration card (meant to be turned 90 right)
My new look card takes the same elements but each card has a more vintage look - I'm almost thinking of doing another original design too ?

Not sure. Will always do something slightly different (seems to be in my nature !)
The heart thing is also (obviously) important to the valentine range and there is to be a little fabric heart collection - am waiting for a specific thread/ribbon to use with the hearts - will share the final thing after all the bits have arrived.

new design card (upside down)
The new range looks a bit white at the moment but I will add ink layers to age it (when complete).

close up of front 'mock address'
back of card
inside the card - frilly heart strip on right hand opening and additional heart inside
So many hearts everywhere !! - well it is a valentine thing ! I have some tags and simple gift pockets too - have not made my roses yet for the rose rings (see yesterday) hope to do that now.

Bye for today

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Rings and fabric bracelets

Hi everyone
very dull day today - mild (for January) but not inspiring !
ring findings

ring findings
However, what is inspiring is the ring findings which arrived to put the paper rose together - you will remember the paper roses (inspired by Kirsty Allsopp) -  look back a few blogs to see the detail. I ordered a few different types of ring findings (5) to see which would work. I'm still not sure exactly what will work. Will experiment.
The bag came with the order !
from RedMag daily site
Thinking about jewellery, I picked up a very cheap fabric bracelet (see below) from Fat Face a few days ago. The bracelet had been  approximately £5 and I think I paid £1.50 - bargain ! Its lovely to wear and is inspiring me to make a similar item. Just need to find some great fabric. Reading through my daily blogs I came across this example (left). Its from RedMag daily (online magazine).

my bracelet from FatFace

my bracelet from FatFace
I love the idea of  using fabric as a threading medium. I'm sure there are many more examples out there.

On the working front - I am getting to grips with the Valentine offer today - will have some prototypes by the end of the day -  so will share tomorrow. My ideas have grown today so have added to my initial list.