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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

'Gone fishing' - almost !

Hi Everyone
Another lovely bright morning today. Much warmer than recent weeks.Great.

I'm still catching up with 'life' after our family birthday last week. I also need to help out my Dad today, so not much time for work. I will work this evening instead.
Last night we had a fundraising meal with some friends and one of the boys won a great mug in a raffle - here it is. The box has some great images too. So, the evening produced ideas for work as well as having a good time !

I'm reviewing my mini project(s) today and still working on the tartan buttons - I'm aiming to complete them this evening.
The buttons need several layers to seal them and as you see there is a packet to complete !!!! I know, I will use some buttons for a mixed media painting and I want to keep some on a few little cards (to be a real buttons) for later use or for the shop.

The other project of the moment is making an 'apron'. I did have hopes of designing and creating my own fabric - I will do this (Ive already got a few fabrics available for sale via Spoonflower) but to get things moving and get myself a new apron Ive been looking for a ready made fabric. I've seen a great fabric

It's just what Im after, other than the colours. I think I can do something with this. I'm not stopping at one apron, so lots of opportunity for making more and finding more fabric. Love this girl fishing. I'm also inspired to use the idea of the image to incorporate into my next painting. I've done some little sketches and will produce something on the beach/fish scene. The mug stuff will be in there somewhere too !

That's my update for today, bye for now.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Fish etc.

Hi Everyone
It's a lovely sunny day, windy but warmish. Hope this is the start of a change in the temperature !

I've been tied up with family stuff and missed Fridays blog but will aim to include my usual die cut later in the week.
This weeks inspiration for me is going to be the SEA. This is prompted by my little boys birthday theme which was 'fish'. We had a small hotel tank for a day or so and now have a bigger, final home for the fish. More work to the decor or 'acquascape' of the tank as the 'fish people' call it. We may also have another cabinet for the tank but for now it's lovely to sit and watch the fish.Here is a quick snap.

On a similar 'sea/water/fish theme, I saw these great little boats on Etsy - they are table decorations but they would look great anywhere. I love the shape. I'm inspired to draw them. I have another boat waiting to be drawn too. I'm going to get the two boats into my next painting.

The second boat is on the cover of a leaflet I picked - the original boat is partially fabric and some free form machine stitching - love the style. Not sure about my painting yet but something will develop.

I've also been neglecting crochet lately and saw this great cardigan in a magazine. I would love to make it

It's very ambitious ! I'm going to practice some options ! It's almost fish like and it could be used as a very expensive fish net. Just to make sure all my blog 'snippets' are linked.

Bye for today.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Birthdays and FISH

Hi Everyone
It's raining ! No more to be said on that.

It's my little boys birthday today so am fully immersed in birthday cakes and bunting. No time for me or work today.
However, a little peak at my birthday 'art-card'. I've given up on the standard approach for family cards and all are designed to be hung on something.

The theme of the day is 'fish'. My baby wanted a fish for his birthday so we have a family of Zebra Danios. They are very small and live in a fab little hotel at the moment. We are considering buying a bigger tank but for now this is OK and quite stylish. I've never been a fan of the bog standard fish tank (as an item to be admired) but there are some much more attractive tanks these days.
My created artcard has a fish hanging on the hanger looking in at the Zebras'. I created and painted the larger fish with a little message on the back.

The scene on the card is supposed to be inside the hotel. The big fish would like to be in the hotel but is too large !! I like this story which is featured on the back of the card - Ben likes it too (despite much mocking from our 'teenager').
I love watching the fish and want them to be happy and well cared for. We will learn more about what they need to be healthy/happy and then make a decision about their permanent home. My little boy is thrilled and enjoyed feeding them this morning - his job. My job (obviously) will be cleaning their hotel and worrying about their welfare.

This photo is from the box because I couldn't get a decent picture of the tank and the fish this morning. Will get one later and post. The fish are very active and swimming in a group - looking through the windows but hide every time I come near. Will let them settle and try again later.

That's it, enjoy your day.

Bye for today.

PS Here is a little peak of a few of the fish. You can see them reflected in the glass of the tank - if you look closely. They are so tiny at the moment.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Miss Mitchell Brooch News

Hi Everyone
It's raining this morning, very lightly and maybe the sun will appear soon ? The temperature feels much warmer which is a big plus for me.

Today, Im picking up on the mini doll brooch mentioned last week. Here is a photo for reference

I've been waiting for some extra bits to start my project - the extra bits have arrived so I'm ready to go. I bought some great little charms for the feet.
The little ballet shoes are just right for Miss Mitchell. I've also noticed the hands are a 'right' hand only and looking closer at the project picture, I think it's the same in the original project. Perhaps, only right hands are available !!

Miss Mitchell face is to be based on this one.

Her head will be made of white clay. In the original project the heads are covered buttons but I wanted to use clay. This clay is a new product for me, so that will be interesting to see how it works out.

This is a microwave (10mins.) or air dry clay. I will try both methods and then paint the features onto the clay. I will stick the hair in place. There will be lots more to do these are my thoughts pre-planning stage.
The dress is very simple and I think I need to find some nice silk fabric with some pretty lace - not sure ? At least one doll will be dressed in Tartan. There is much preparation !! - I think I will start with the face which will give me time to source the dress fabric. I like to make little sketches of each phase of my projects and I will do this again. It's difficult to anticipate all events when starting a new project but I find drawing out each stage cuts down on any big problems - not all ! However, I don't always stick to the plan and often, its just a framework.

I'm going to make several dolls - at least one of the dolls will be up for grabs (as a random pick from a comment on the blog) I will give lots of notice so keep looking.

That's it for today.


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Buttons followed by APRONS

Hi Everyone
Quite a promising start to the day - suns out (now and again ! ) but it's coldish !!!

I still haven't caught up with my jobs this week (panic).We also have a family birthday, so all my efforts are on making birthday things - cards, tags, cakes etc. I've got everything I need - now I need the time to create. I will share the results after Thursday. We have 'Fish' theme going on.

My current 'mini project' is the tartan buttons. Very little progress on that one. I have got some tartan pattern going on but no varnish yet and they look and feel very 'raw'.

I plan to add a few more layers of paint to highlight the colours and try to give depth to the button surface and theres the back too.I need a few more sessions to develop the final surface finishes.

I mentioned 'aprons' yesterday, I think this will be the next mini project and I have a few examples to start my inspiration (along with Cassandra from yesterday). Which one do you like ? Let me know.

Go to my Pininterest page on Aprons for lots more examples of the styles I like. In this batch, I especially like the second photo of aprons but in a more fitted form and brighter colours. This photo does not do the design justice. Will need to ponder this one. I don't want to stop at one, so there's no problem with developing all my ideas (eventually).

That's all for today.

Bye for now.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Talking Aprons

Hi Everyone
It's a bright and sunny day, quite 'breezy' but OK.

Hope you all had a great weekend. We did, even got into the garden for a re development of my strawberry patch !

It's also Monday again ! Life is moving too quick for me ! I'm so tired today. I've been suffering with shingles for a while and it's taking its toll. I'm trying to catchup from last weeks work this week and am not taking on any new stuff. I didn't manage to finish my Friday's packaging things - so that's my first task today. Look back to Friday for details. It's real life work so no getting out of it !!! I need to produce the packaging (urgently) to get my new jewellery out to customers.

However, I still have an inspiration going on. This week it's going to be a painter called Cassandra Barney. Here is her self portrait.

I love her style and her symbolism. In real life she has a great blonde, short hair cut and is very pretty with lovely printed skirts and little cardigans. My sort of style completely. I like her sense of humour but most of all, I am truly inspired by her painting style. She does some great YouTude videos giving a glimpse of her world,take a look. I think the self portrait has great eyes and a 'dreamy' feel. The mouth (for me) reflects her 'presentation'. Its precise but slightly large (in the self portrait) and the shape is playful and sophisticated. The tone and shades of the mouth give shape and depth to the whole face. I am going to incorporate such a mouth in my next doll (I can try anyway !!!)
Cassandra also deals with 'aprons' both wearing aprons herself and using them in her work (if you're interested look at the You tube video). I love aprons and am inspired to get some going for myself. I love the idea of wearing very frilly, 'over the top' aprons for painting. My current painting apron is a plain black apron with my name on it. This was created by one of my close friends - not for painting, its more of a cafe style. It's got lots of paint on it and its great but I like the idea of more and varied aprons which I can wear to create an extra dimension to my 'state of mind' at any one time. I believe in this 'state of mind' stuff and can almost transport myself if Im in the right costume ! So, I'm into thinking what to do next about the apron. Watch this space.

That's it for today.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Tags for my new stuff

Hi Everyone
Fabulous sunny day today.
I'm rather late in posting because Ive been off with a friend visiting a new (to us) bead shop in our area. Lovely basket of stash later and lots of the day has gone ! Great - that's what life's about !!

Today, is Die Cut Friday. I'm thinking about packaging today and finding some good designs for making tags for my new stuff. This new stuff are jewellery items inspired by Miss Burton - here she is for reference.

I thought I would look at a range of dies that I could use as tags. Some dies are specifically designed as such but there are many more possibilities which could lend themselves to the job. I have a board of ideas which I put together for a friend who was selling bracelets.

We looked at a number of shapes and sizes and came up with a smaller selection to meet the design of each bracelet. These were the basic tags which eventually were decorated and became part of the 'look' or identity of the product.

I'm not sure exactly what I want the packaging to consist of but Im starting with the ideas I have here and the inspiration of the artwork linked with my jewellery (rings and beads using polymer clay).
I think I will create gift pockets using Miss Burton for the basis of the artwork. These pockets are very simple bits of thick paper. My size is approx. xxx. I like the idea of a very large tag for the package which could be a gift tag, so I don't want to over publicise me or thepapersac as a brand. I want the brand to speak for itself via the painting and the quality/style of the tag. Some of the tags in the previous photos are a little small for me but Im not ruling anything out at this stage. Miss Burton has various characteristics which could be highlighted eg music, roses ,red, black etc. she also could have a very simple tag with a printed image of her. I've decided to do a mind map exercise to develop my ideas. I've printed some papers to look at sizes of images. I hope to complete my job later today and will post my process and findings.

See you later .......

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Making rings

Hi Everyone
Much brighter today and almost warmer (I think ?). Unfortunately, it's very lightly raining. Just short bursts at the moment. Fingers crossed that the sky will clear.
Thursday blogs are all about 'technique'. My technique of the moment is to develop my skills in using and applying polymer clay. I want to add some elements to my monthly painting for April. I've got some ideas about how to go about it but not sure of the items I want to produce. The dolls I mentioned yesterday will also use clay - I have several clay products and am hoping to understand which to use by experimenting. My experiments will aim at producing jewellery - mainly so I can wear it and make use of the end items. I would like to make 3 rings and have done lots of research via Pinterest as well as some project books. My 'ring' page on Pinterest is full of fabulous rings. Take a look. My inspiration for the ring 1 is the two examples in the photos here.

I also particularly like this paper ring and will try and do something similar for ring 2

I'm hoping to produce clay canes to develop the ring 3 - mentioned on Tuesdays blog

and will use slices of the cane on my painting for April.
I will take lots of pictures of production stages and give an update each Thursday until Ive got my basic 3 rings. I aim to review the clays used and give any tips based on my experience. I will also write notes as I go re the aspects of the photos which I take as ideas which will illustrate my design process. I want to develop an approach so that my designs 'work' as a wearable piece of jewellery. Ive made many jewellery items in the past which look great but are not practical or comfortable when worn, usually its to do with weight and breakages.
There will be some clay left so will experiment further as I go - who knows what will come out ? This is an ambitious project but Im optimistic I can make something which is 'wearable'.
Must get on with it.
Bye for now.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Making a Miss Mitchell Brooch

Hi Everyone
It's raining this morning ! and there is a rather depressing 'feel' to the day. I'm hoping the forecast will be right and sunshine is on its way.
Today, is Doll Day and Im looking at making a mini Miss Mitchell. It's long been a dream of mine to see Miss Mitchell as a doll - I'd like to make one suitable for children but that's a different idea altogether. The Miss Mitchell doll of the moment will be a brooch and is inspired by polymer clay (this weeks inspiration theme).
I've recently celebrated my birthday and received a book about making art dolls with some great accessible projects.

This book has given me a way into making an art doll. I've spent lots of time just looking and reading up on techniques. Now, I think, Im ready to 'dabble' in the real thing. It's such an art - my attempt will be experimental but I have high hopes and am aspirational (as ever).
The dolls I would like to be able to make are dolls like these, made by Sarah Strachan. Check out her site for more of these lovely items Here

My dream doll would have a clay face with lots of detail such as the pretty face with the castle.

However, lets get real !!
Here is a quick look at the plan for me - the photo shows my book (present) with the project and of course Miss Mitchell.

The project uses some charms as hands and feet (ordered) and the head in the project is a button but I will use clay. I will make the dress from fabric and am looking for tartan (still not over tartan). I'm really excited about this project and am going to make three dolls - I will be offering one of them in a blog draw. Keep calling in to check the details of how you can win a Miss Mitchell brooch. Hope they turn out well.

Bye for today.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Button Project

Hi Everyone
Very breezy this morning but bright and cheerful weather.

Tuesdays, are all about 'mini' projects which will continue until complete and I will report progress each Tuesday. The current project is the paper buttons project. Not too much progress (my excuse is holiday break) but the buttons are primed and ready for final decoration with colour.

The buttons have been painted in 'pastel like' shades and are destined to match the tartan mini painting. The tartan design will pick up the deeper colours. I also have some little cards (to be) to mount my buttons. Theses cards will be created from the artwork in the painting. I'm thinking of more embellishments eg scalloped edges on the cards to make them look special with coordinating thread to attach. Here is a peek at the print I will use.

The idea of the mini project is to test out an idea for further development as well as learn from the experience. This project is a really useful exercise and the buttons have come out much better than I expected. I may think of covering them with resin to make them truly buttons. Further down the line I will make copies in polymer clay and possibly air dry papermache (another thing on my horizon). For me, the texture from the egg carton is brilliant - it's almost like PaperClay in appearance.
Here is a quick look at the original inspiration for my project, Im hoping to be complete for next Tuesday.

On another subject, I'm also currently obsessed with making a clay ring. I've done lots of research and am keen to try and do this.

I've admired this for a long time and with my current clay practice I think I can do something which may resemble this masterpiece. The ring is a project in a book by Donna Kato : The Art of Polymer Clay. I like the pattern but aim to complete my ring with 'the tartan' theme. It's an aspiration !!! I'm calling it a mini project but .......lets see how things turn out !

Bye for today.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Exploring POLYMER Clay

Hi Everyone
Holidays over and back to work today - always a bit unsettling for me. The regular routine had been shelved and we threw away the clock (for 2 weeks). Big change today and the alarm clock was in operation this morning. However, we did it and we are all back to work ! The weather is bright and windy. Clear blue sky with daffodils out in the garden (at last). So 'all will be well' - for the moment.

I've just done a quick review and have failed miserably to update my promises of photos of various events over the holiday.

A variety of issues such as just enjoying the experiences and chat of our family Easter Tea and our holiday (round about Keswick) without thinking about taking my camera, as well as a very poor Internet connection in most cases - ultimately, it got too difficult - I abandoned the photos generally ! However, we had a fantastic time, weather was great and we did some great walking. Our family visits Keswick most years at this time and we tend to do the same sort of things, which is strangely quite exciting ! One of the visits I always look forward to is our Derwent Pencils trip. There is a museum of pencils, a cafe and a shop. We always spend far too much money in the shop but the visit rejuvenates the family drawing and painting interest. We have lunch in the cafe and they provide pencils and lovely little cards to paint on. I always take drawing stuff everywhere (in the hope of art opportunities at all times) but the Derwent visit encourages the boys to get down to drawing and painting. I love them to share this activity with me, especially on the top of the fells. Generally,we had a great time.

I've been inspired by lots of things over the last few weeks and found it quite difficult to pin down my inspiration for this week. However, in the end it is POLYMER CLAY. I've dabbled in clay for a while. My huge problem was 'cooking' my creations. They all didn't quite 'cook' ! mainly because the temperature of my oven didn't stay consistent over the baking time. I have a dedicated small oven with a thermometer and have tried many times to make the oven suitable with various modifications. A few weeks ago, I decided to move the oven to a new situation, away from drafts and easy to use without having to move it - bingo ! It works. So, I'm off again. I need to develop my skills but so far Ive had some pleasing results. I have several books on the subject and have re read and identified some initial projects to develop my skills. You may remember, I did suggest a few weeks ago, making some Fimo tartan buttons. Another few days and I think I can do it. I've done some 'sort of striped' stuff. I've learned lessons about techniques and colours and baking with a few exercises and feel quite confident. I thought I would share where Im going with polymer clay over the week. Just to show where I am, here are a few photos of my efforts so far.

I think the first photo shows my best effort so far.

The photos (collectively) show 2 sessions of 'making' and all the beads use the same clay ie Fimo in pink, orange and brown. I've strung them on some leather and stretch thread for now but I hope to put them with some other beads to make up jewellery. The colours are inspired by Miss Burton (one of my dolls) so I will weave their development into her style. Here she is for reference.

My clay development was focusing on developing the tartan buttons. He is another reminder of the buttons Im hoping to develop. These ones are for sale on Folksy (by Pat Longmuir), sadly,Im not good enough yet !

That's it for today. Looking forward to exploring polymer clay further this week. My 'map' (ie mind map) on the subject is quite extensive !!

Bye for now.