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Saturday, 29 June 2013

Recycled Shoe Box aka 'point of sale display item'

Hi everyone
It's Saturday and not a usual thing for me to post - however, having promised to share some photos of the 'box stand' item (under development) and I didn't manage the photos last night. The sale happened earlier and these photos show development and the final thing as well as some photos of the box in transit. It was too busy to show the stand in action but we are going to use it again at another event so will get some photos in a week or so.

Little hooks for displaying small bags.

The last two are not good quality - taken with my very poor phone !!

Back on Monday - bye for now.

Friday, 28 June 2013

This is 'my way' !

Hi everyone
Disappointing rainy day to end this week - just showers but persistent !! Not sure what will happen later but the sky looks 'troubled' !!

My Die Cut Friday offer today is a link with the charity coffee event (Ive mentioned this a few times this week - read back a few days for more details). The coffee event is a sale of work or sale of anything else (that should cover that) for fundraising and Ive been dressing up some kits and craft elements. Ive completed the stuff to sell but thought it would look better and attract a bit more attention if it was presented nicely. I found an old box to keep the packets from getting damaged and have decided to dress the box and make a display from it. Im using some recycled stuff from my studio - also undergoing major reconstruction via The ORDER (look back if you have never heard of this project). I found some of these things - mainly from old Christmas projects and general leftover embellishments.

Im going to sort through and come up with a theme - it will be an eclectic mix ! The 'protective' box at the moment looks like this - not attractive.

Hopefully I can improve on that !!!
The dies used in the project are these.

I will use the Big Shot with the extended platform if I need to cut more. Im not sure what else will need to happen ? Maybe a few words ? - who knows at this stage. My plan is to complete the decoration this afternoon and when it's finished I will share a photo. Depending on how it goes, I may go into more detail - if the job is straightforward and obvious - there will be little to report. However, in my experience, very little goes without a hitch or a sudden 'creative brainwave' which creates several hours extra work !!! This is my way ! I will be back later and will give an update, regardless.

Bye for now.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

What exactly are 'micro' techniques ?

Hi everyone
Looks like an Ok day weather wise - the suns almost shining ! Say no-more !

Im still 'knee deep' in The ORDER Project - but weaving some new stuff in there too. Ive also spent time sorting my charity stuff for the weekend (its this Saturday and a bit more to do) but I keep going with my daily tasks too. Still no real order to report - in the 'physical' sense although Im working much better and I do follow clear daily workloads that result in planned outcomes.

My 'techniques Thursday' this week is looking at something I'm calling 'micro' techniques. These are similar techniques, to the ones Im using all the time, but ..... used to make 'little things' and 'very little things'. I know I talked about this earlier in the week but I wanted to explain what it all means.
These 'micro' techniques have been particularly highlighted (to me)through my pencil doll project. There are many tasks which are turning out to be quite specific when it comes to working with very small construction. Ive found that many of my crafting tools are often too big and cumbersome for a job. Ive managed to get around problems by making tools and adapting methods. Ive also found that I can make lots of extra embellishments because they are so small and I can find a wider range of materials more easily. The little booklet I started is about 6 pages long now and Im putting little diagrams and photos in there. I like the physical book but am also going to make an online 'e' version which will be an ongoing 'update- able' item. The booklet is for my own use but I will make it available to anyone when Im happy with it via the blog.

The project has given me a great sense of how to design small things. I think it's about simple construction (but it has to be exact) with limited embellishment styles. The quality of the finished job is on show - nowhere to hide mistakes. I like detail and sometimes felt in this project I was 'overdoing' a decoration. My rule is going to be no more than 2 patterns/shapes with a single theme.To illustrate - this is the final version of the doll

I like the hearts and the flower embellishments but next time I would keep to the hearts for hair, shoe and collar. The flower in the hand is Ok but it looks a bit busy with the impact pattern of the red dress. I think the same pattern fabric with the two colours works well. I'm quite pleased with the doll and have had great fun learning about how to decorate these little items. I think to be sure about these things I need much more examples and experiment with varied decorations. Perhaps, after The ORDER, I can do 10/12 dolls to compare and come up with some good common rules for 'micro' techniques.
The pencil doll (including embellishments )is quite robust and can be used as a pencil (not too heavy). Ive added a base to this one (its been great for supporting the pencil while working on it) and I think it's necessary for display - my version is not decorated yet (its going to be a mini garden) and Im going to do another doll with my newly developed skills. The next one will be better and will have a fully decorated base. Someone wants to buy it already - fab !

That's it for today.

Bye for now.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Is quilling OK ?

Hi everyone
The weather looks rather changeable this morning - one minute the suns is shining and the next it could rain ? Fingers crossed the sun comes and stays later !

Today, Wednesday, is my 'Doll Day'. I seem to have been talking about dolls almost every day for weeks ! Im still doing the pencil doll project for my charity sale, so lots of little dress designs and embellishment ideas are stacking up. The dolls for the sale will be very basic but Im building on my ideas and will be making more elaborate examples as a result of the initial project - I want these to go into the shop. Ive got ideas to decorate little wooden boxes which can be hung like a picture to give the dolls their own special storage or display space. The item then becomes more of an 'art installation' - sounds good anyway !

Moving on ..... yesterday, I mentioned making a little book, I called it 'a little book of MICRO TECHNIQUES. I made a cover (take a look at yesterday's picture) - unfortunately, when I printed it direct from my ipad it was cropped and I now need to work on it a bit more and resize - the upshot is, its still on the computer. I was also talking about getting the design on fabric ( I love this idea) but for now Ive decided to print onto card and make a little folder to hold the book papers. I do have some paper which is very like fabric in that it more of a canvas style card - perhaps this could work, I will hang onto this idea for future development.

Getting back to the dolls. There are an amazing range of fantastic little dolls out there. I constantly add to my Pinterest page - I must add a button on the web page, take a look on Pinterest, its great. The are quite a few tutorials on there too (on almost anything you can think of). While thinking about the pencil dolls I went looking for inspiration for hair/ face styles and came across this great resources of different heads - brilliant.

Im still heavily into The ORDER - still loads of mess and not enough 'chucking'. Another day and I should be seeing the difference ? - anyway, while sorting, I came across a little book which diverted me from the primary task .
Here is the book. The book came with a doll project - it's been used and sold but I would love to start at page one and do all the dolls.

I love ALL the little dolls in here and this book will be attached to me for a few weeks (for my coffee moments) for inspiration. This is my favourite from the book.

I love this one too - especially the hair !

I also came across this lovely book - it's all about quilling ! Quilling is one of those things (for me) which looks Ok some of the time but can look very dated. I think, done well in the right situation it's great.

I used to 'quill' lots of kids birthday cards years ago and had some good quilling experiences with children. My favourite was a birthday card I made with this little guy - I will try and dig out a photo of the actual card.

Im thinking I may do a little quilling for embellishments for the pencil dolls. I think butterflies would work well.
Something like these pretty examples.

So, will try some out. I also think some quilled dolls would be good too. It's the faces which are challenging. Here is an example from the book. The actual mermaid is good but I think the doll is let down by the face ? I think I can improve on that.

Well, that's it for today. Must get on, loads of stress re deadlines today. I should have prepared better !!! - story of my life !!!

Bye for today.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Pencil Dolls

Hi everyone
The weather is lovely today - bright sunshine and very warm - great !

Today is Mini Project day and Im focusing on the little pencil doll project. Im weaving this into my busy day with The ORDER but have the plan together.

The pencil doll has been a tricky project and Ive been trying to develop a series of steps which allow the basic tasks to take a short time but have flexibility and can be adapted to lots of ideas for developing new characters. Ive produced a prototype after several trial and error attempts. I wanted the clothing idea (dress or suit) to be a simple construction but look professional and be strong. Although the item is not strictly a 'plaything' which is intended to be undone ie dressed and re dressed etc., it does need to stand up to kids 'fiddling' and if its going to be used as a pencil it will need to be robust. My feeling is that the embellishments (whatever they are) can provide features which are ornamental and a bit more delicate.

I mentioned yesterday that I am going to produce a booklet for myself re using micro techniques and Ive started to write little notes about such techniques and tools which are part of the job. Im also deciding (for myself) my own interpretation ie. exactly what a 'micro technique' is and why it's different from any other. Im using the pencil doll to illustrate my techniques and have listed materials, ideas and sources. Ive made a little cover for my booklet - at the moment it's in paper but Im going to turn the cover into fabric (with paper inserts), Im using the pencil doll as inspiration and illustration. Here is a quick peak of the draft cover.

The cover is showing my little doll (so far). Im adding more stuff today and will package her up, ready for sale. I was going to make two dolls for a charity sale on Saturday but I think it's quite a quick job now and may do a few more. I like the result and the item is quite pretty.

On that note, I need to get on.

Bye for today.

Monday, 24 June 2013

'Micro' Techniques ?

Hi everyone
Is a dull day today - feels a bit like rain and sadly, it's quite cool - not 'cold' as such but disappointing. Perhaps, the sun may breakthrough later ?

My weekend, as usual, was much too short and Im not sure what we did ? Never mind, lots to look forward to this week. The ORDER, is ongoing - as ever ! I'm hoping the studio will be ready to decorate next week. I've got lots of boxes going on but mostly each box is organised (I know what in it - same thing !). My planner is in action and I didn't need to refer to my 'how to plan' the planner list - so, in my world ... I'm there on that one.

Today, my two jobs will be another shelf and my desk. I'm losing my desk and had thought elder son may like it - NO ! He likes his current desk and he is not taking any of my rubbish. So, that's that. It will go into garage storage for now. I think there will be a big change once the desk is not there.

This week is also the start of Wimbledon - as you know, I love watching or listening to tennis. I've got my plans in place to watch while I work. Heaven ! No more to be said on that, Im accepting my work level will drop - fine for me (its only two weeks).

Back to this week - my inspiration is going to be - 'micro techniques' for decorating things eg. little wooden dolls.

I know Ive introduced the decorating of little pencil dolls last week but I need to decorate a couple for my 'soon to be here' charity sale (next Sat) and I need to find stuff in the studio via The ORDER (project) for ideas. So, Im using the opportunity to focus on what Im calling 'micro' techniques - I will include lots of little items/ideas I can find in this idea. I plan to produce a little booklet for myself on the subject - for future reference. I will share this when its done. I've done some development on the decoration of the pencil doll and have struggled with constructing the embellishments eg adding something around the top of a tiny dress. These pencil dolls are very small and Im learning about these micro techniques which I can apply to many of my future projects. The process is giving me lots of ideas already. I have a need to produce a neat, efficient and professional finish to the decoration (both seen and not seen). My Grandmother taught me the importance of 'finish' (ie the inside and outside of made garments being perfect)on all things sewing, it's something ingrained in my approach to creative stuff generally. Thank you Granny. I get great pleasure from this attention to detail. The negative side to that is that I take an age to make anything ! Such as life !

On that note, I need to get going.

Bye for today.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Is ONE bag of die cuts enough ?

Hi everyone
What a disappointment ! - it's raining and very dull. Not sure if the sun will be out today ?

Friday again ...... Wow ! Where did the week go ? I'm obviously having a such a great time sorting out my studios/life ! Ive successfully brainwashed myself but when my troop arrive home this evening, they will see chaos - much greater than earlier in the week. One of my kids and hubbie have been away all week and my other boy doesn't notice his surroundings as long as there is a screen available. I've got to figure out how to make things superficially OK without messing up The Order Project.

Some great news from The Order - I started talking about a painting inspired by some storage crates - see 19/6 blog. Well, Ive made an initial sketch of one of the guests. Here she is :

She is called Rebecca - partly because she represents the red box, now storing my PRINTING stuff. I plan to base each guest on a box and its contents ie colours, size etc. I prepared a couple of shapes based on the crates and cut them out. I will use these templates to provide a framework for developing the characters and their clothing.Here are the templates.

I'm not sure about the faces, can't decide if they need the details ? I could just leave them faceless ? Will decide later. I'm hoping this painting will be painted on a large wood frame with some clay crockery and extra's (not yet imagined). This little idea has makes me smile every time I think about it. What a great result from The ORDER. I'm listing all these positives - as I go.

Anyway, it's Die Cut Friday and Im way down the blog already ! So, Im on to the subject - her we go with die cuts. Another find from The Order is lots of bits of die cuts left over and stored in little boxes or bags. I've spent time sorting and throwing many away, however, the remaining die cuts are either thick card or flexible shapes or unique. I guess you could apply that description to most die cuts, what I mean is, I can, personally,see them being used in many different circumstances.
Here is the stuff Im left with :

I think I can organise some of the shapes and bag them into useful little scrapbooking embellishments for sale at my 'soon to be' charity sale (mentioned this yesterday). I will also commit to keeping this single 'see through' bag quantity of left over die cuts - anymore and it's not useable or 'findable'. I like the idea of taking some shapes and using them in lots of areas of my work. Sometimes little embellishments can direct a piece of work into a great direction. So, generally, I think keeping a single bag of die cuts is good - subject to regular review, of course !!

Yesterday, I managed to get live tennis going on the PC in the studio while sorting - heaven ! I also managed to drink gallons of coffee and eat bags of chocolate or yogurt covered raisins !!!! My aim is to do this again today. However, I need to go and get some family food in a moment. However, before I go I need to flag up how well The Order Project systems are going. I've sorted out the daily list approach and the review procedure - it's a quick 2/3mins job and my mind is now ordered for the day (in this limited context you understand - obviously not for general life itself). Here is the working document in progress:

Have a great weekend. Back next week.

Bye for now

Thursday, 20 June 2013

'The Squatter'

Hi everyone
It WAS a lovely morning (very early) - now ...... It's turning dull ! Now and again the sun is shining through but it's definitely not what 'it' was.

I'm feeling very excited today - it's all to do with finding huge inspiration via sorting with The ORDER. There is a story to tell. Yesterday, I came across a crate (this crate is not invited to tea - read earlier in the week for background on this). I'm going to call this crate 'The Squatter' - I wasn't entirely sure what was stored in The Squatter but it had been there for several years, deep in the Studio. Once evicted, I emptied it out and found some rubbish but also stuff worth saving - this is one of my major weaknesses, finding 'stuff' and then storing it, then forgetting ! However, I have several new ideas ! - another one of my problems.

Moving on .......... alongside The ORDER, I have lots of other responsibilities going on and one of them is to prepare some things for a charity sale next week. Fantastic, here comes The Squatter to my rescue. I have identified stuff from The Squatter for the job but ..... the stuff needs some attention and I need to spend time and effort designing and making products for the sale. I love recycling - gives an added 'value' for me. At this point, I need to inject 'realism' re time - I have very little time, especially at the moment and I don't want to loose sight of The ORDER. I need to complete The ORDER, no matter what !!

Having said all that, back to the exciting bit - one of the things in The Squatter was some pencils with some little people blanks on the end - a craft item for kids to decorate. I had used these pencil blanks for various events in the past and worked some kids parties using them. Mostly, I found kids are not able to handle the degree of skill needed to do a good job without lots of support and ideas and tools/ materials etc. - as a result, I have not used them and these pencils blanks have ended up in The Squatter.

Not sure why ? But Im drawn to the blanks and want desperately to make them 'brilliant' !! I could just chuck them or give them away but I think they would make great dolls on a stick - forget the pencil bit (too heavy for kids to write with anyway,when laden with elaborate decoration). I've done a bit of research and have found some fantastic examples on Pinterest. Here is one of my favourites

I know, these dolls are 'real pegs' but you get the idea. I am much enthused by my find. Getting back to the real world, I will probably make some very simple versions for the charity sale and then move on to do some good ones (post The ORDER).

Thursdays usually deal with a technique on the blog and the story Ive told today is a good example of today's technique. Im calling the technique my 'review procedure'. I mentioned using SMART tasks earlier in the week and I like the SMART approach but .... I've decided to adapt it. So, in summary my technique is about the process of incorporating review into each days SMART outcomes. I'm sounding like a management textbook here - I know Ive been there too ! It's an instant 'mind closer'.However, in my defence, it's simply to do with checking Im spending my time doing what's needed to be done - in order to complete the whole project. Another little story here for context. Last night, I found myself waiting to be a taxi for one of my kids and had an hour to pass ....... in that time, I wrote some notes in response to yesterday's tasks. I was in a space with no distractions and only a notepad and pen.
Here is a copy of my pages - there are more but very messy :

You probably can't read the detail but I will review the piece and develop it for my book. Linking the process to yesterday's outcomes re The ORDER, I have a clear, targeted action for the next task. I'm going to draw up these little tables each day in my Work Journal (the only way I get anything done any day !- if it's on the list it got a chance of getting done).

The only thing is, my outcomes don't deal with The Squatter et al (my most important session of the day) - they need to ! I need to plan action for the stuff Im going to keep and decide if this stuff can fit into the space/ future work ? In this case ie the pencil/peg dolls - I WANT it to feature and I need to consider how I can make it work. I'm now getting into the detail and I feel this is where I can find solutions of how to weave my way of working into my life. It's what I am and how I want to be.

On that note - hope you are still with me ! Wish me luck for today.

Bye for today.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Guests for 'Afternoon Tea'

Hi everyone
Another slightly 'dodgy looking' sky this morning ! It's warm again and every now and again the sun shines brightly - good for me.

Here we are again and it's Wednesday already ! Last week, I had a great idea when washing some crates for The ORDER. These crates have been rescued from our garden shed - I love the recycling bit, they almost went to the tip earlier in the week. Anyway, the sun was shining and I was cleaning the crates with a big bucket of mild soapy water on the patio and hosing down to rinse with the hose pipe (collecting the water for the garden). To dry the crates, I sat them on some plastic garden chairs - there happened to be a little table in the middle and it did look like the crates had come to 'afternoon tea'.This bizarre, little view gave me a creative idea - I will take the idea of the crates as a body and develop some 'crate characters', having afternoon tea. My characters will be slightly different depending on the colour and style of the crate - all the crates are similar but have minor characteristics which are different eg cracked edge or different moulded side. Ideas about faces and limbs, hair etc came flooding in. The more I think about this idea - the more inspired I become. Most of yesterday's thoughts (while sorting The Order) were concerned with this new painting idea. I love the whole idea and am now playing around with different types of little cakes etc. I'd like to make the food/other details from polymer clay and attach to the painting. So, that (neatly)gives me, my link to the usual Wednesday Doll Day feature. Lots more thinking to be done and I will spend a little time later (after my allotted two jobs for the day) doing some initial sketches.

I've also spent some quality time making pretty labels for the crates - this is in line with my policy of making all the jobs in this project important. Here are some photos to get familiar with these VERY important crates !!!!

The label in the centre is for completed shop items (other than prints) - I have another idea for storing this. I think it's going to be a large flat box with a lid - yet to be decorated.

The crates are now in use and I will spend more time today - filling and chucking. I plan to spend 30 mins sorting as job one and job two will be organising paper - Im thinking, I need a specific storage idea for papers. I will only know when I have it all separated and can see the quantity. The paper is currently all mixed (on virtually every surface).
Here are the crates having 'afternoon tea' (imagination is required here ) -

I need to do some work on my presentation of afternoon tea (not sure I would be excited about afternoon tea on this image) however, you get the message. I still think its a brilliant idea and Im sticking to it ! You will agree when the painting is complete.

That's it for today, Im feeling optimistic. Progress is slow and everything looks worse at the moment. I will take some more photos of the current 'disorder' to share.

Bye for now.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013


Hi everyone
The sky looks a bit 'troubled' - lots of round grey clouds in amongst much lighter ones. When I look up I am reminded of very large cotton wool balls, some full of grey paint. I can also see lots of bright blue behind the balls and sunshine breaking through. It could go either way !! I'm feeling positive so 'all will be well'.

My mini project this week is the little ORDER Project book. The book, physically, is still just a pile of ATCs with lots of little 'thought/feelings' notes and an outline of what should go into the final version.However, it's much more (in my head). The book represents my whole unfolding 'blueprint'. There is lots of work to be done in order to make sense of the 'book to be' but I like the process and will definitely use the development of the book for ideas in the future. I'm constantly trying new ways of recording the project activity and thoughts/feelings about the process.

The photos show the notes Ive talked about and I think the key thing (coming out of my thoughts/feelings notes) at the moment is something Im calling 'visualisation'. I have these little images in my head from time to time which place me actually doing activities in the actual spaces Im creating. All is perfect for creating (tools, materials and atmosphere) and the sun is shining in my visualisation. These thoughts are motivating and tweak the plans so have a huge influence on the job as a whole. I'm listening to my subconscious and I believe it's a way of growing self confidence in decision making - almost 'trusting' my instinct.

Down to practical things - my tasks today - Ive decided two specific jobs is good. This seems achievable for me in the time I have and somehow lots of pressure is off when I can complete my tasks for the day. The tasks need to be SMART ie specific, measurable, achievable,realistic,time-bound. This SMART stuff is a throwback from my corporate days in another life but it does seem to be relevant for me here. I will analyse today's stuff and report on how it relates to the ORDER for the book, I can then share my findings. With that I must get on.

Bye for today

Monday, 17 June 2013


Hi everyone
It's a lovely morning today - the sunshine is bright and it's warm !! I feel optomistic.

Im still heavily involved in the The ORDER Project and its going to be my inspiration of the week for a second week. I've been thinking all weekend about all the little details involved. I'm down to nice things like colour. I think, I want the colour scheme of the spaces to change regularly and have decided to build this into to my planning. I see the 'flexibility' as creating plain white or light neutral colour for walls/ floors and fixed furniture - I want everything else to be either changeable, 'paintable' or 'coverable'.
I like the idea of making over a space often, I tend to do this with paintings or other artwork but am open to all kinds of ideas. Again, with this in mind, Im building in display spaces and mini shelving for display. As I think of the detail, Im visualising the room/spaces in the house. I have decided that Im focusing on the studio and two areas of the house where I tend to work. I like the idea of moving around depending on a specific project or how I feel or how the weather is telling me where to work. I've come to realise how I'm especially influenced by the weather and I like to report the weather each day as I plan my working days. I think the weather influences me to prepare my state of mind and decide on where to work. This weather awareness issue has been a subconscious thing in the past but I do believe its a positive thing and I like to spend time on the mental preparation process which is key to my 'creative warm up'.

Just to summarise where we are with The Project - Ive divided my working elements into 8 areas - each area is a collection of tools and materials for a work discipline. The elements are :









Shop and finished items for sale

I've started to box each element and have several bin liners full of rubbish. In preparation for getting to this point, Ive made visual notes and have a little project journal going on (eventually to become a practical and emotional record of the project). Generally, that's where I am.

However, I realise as I re read progress to date - it doesn't sound much and I'm hearing the the voices asking "why can't I just get on and do it without all the fuss" !!!! Well, it's all about the 'state of mind' and this little project is about developing a blueprint solution for applying to all kinds of jobs or plans that for whatever reason - don't happen. Usually, Im talking about things which I (or others) want to happen but for some reason don't . I believe there is a reason and if I can find a way through by applying a 'procedure', I want to find a procedure which can make a difference and develop practical stages which can and will (every time) create the right frame of mind to tackle these seemingly undoable jobs. Such jobs as getting fit or loosing weight or decorating the house etc., things which generally require a change in lifestyle. Wow ! Sounds a big job. I think, it is a BIG JOB and deserves to be given the time and respect as such.

Without further a do, it's time for me to get going. My bit of the plan today is very practical, Ive done lots of thinking and I can now go into the studio and I know exactly what to do and in which order. I've written it down but I also have it in my 'mind order' (so important - Im calling it the zone ie this mind order thing) Im giving myself a very easy list of two things to achieve, even if I have more time I am keeping to the identified two tasks (only). My two tasks today are sticking labels onto my 8 boxes ( as per the list above) and my second job is to spend 30mins filling either a box or a bin liner depending on the item. At this stage there is no 'binning' as such. The bin liner will be further sorted - so there is a second and possibly third stage of sorting. I feel comfortable with this as Im not actually having to make a big decision at this point whether to chuck the contents or not. It's too big a decision while the initial sort is going on and why Ive not tackled the job properly before. I've been here ie this initial getting on with clearing out (sort of ) but not gone beyond. It's to do with not being sure if I need an item or not. By using my new organised, listed and disciplined approach, I have time and more structure to my whole plan. I know this is a 'stage' and its not overwhelming. I don't need to get emotionally connected to the process - it's simply 'a stage', for a given time (30mins) and then I can think and reflect on what Ive done and then how it fits into the whole job. Do I need to review my plans or can I proceed ? It's the time thing (for me) I need to feel separate from the emotional thing.

I've been asked to share some photos of the studio to put all this into context. I do have some pictures to share. Im not sure if they convey just how bad it is. The desk gives more of a sense of the chaos. There does appear to be some sort of order because of shelves and boxes - this is an illusion - there is no order and Im not sure what most of the boxes hold without looking in them ! Also the room is quite small to begin with and is even more limited by the lack of organisation. This room is only part of The PROJECT - much of the plan is to do with using spaces around the house to compliment my way of working. Ultimately, although I will be able to work in the studios, I actually want it to be more of a storage space for me. I want my work to portable and flexible. It's a 'big ask' but I know I can make it work.

Im not sure if all is clear ? Someone will tell me if its not ! Im developing little mind maps and will have all my emotional notes etc so I will try and make more sense for the book (at the end). Ive also got some friends who Im going to try out projects of their own applying this approach ( they have agreed, so I will hold them to it). I'm already having creative ideas about how to represent some of these ideas into a painting. With that, I will get going.

Bye for today.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Using die cuts

Hi everyone
Not sure what the weather will do today ? - it's been so mixed and changeable over the last week. There is blue sky but lots of white clouds too. It's quite warm so that's my positive for the weather report !

Today is Die Cut Friday and Im still heavily into the ORDER Project. My die cutting for this week is limited to the little Order Memory Book (new name for the little book - Ive talked about this most of the week, you can catch up on the details if you want to by reading back a few days). My little book pages are made from the Sizzix ATC die. Here are photo's of the individual pages. I'm yet to decide on how the book is to be 'built' but I think it will need a spine or some kind of concertina style links ? Ive decided to bring all the material together (at the end of the project) before building the whole item.

My pages are using different types of white/off white card/thick paper.I have a feeling the book will end up being very thick !

My other die cut item for the project is a mini label which Im using for organising and listing the individual areas of activity that I see as my mixed media work (both techniques and materials).
I've made the little note for my BB and I needed some way of noting the various different aspects of my work. I decided to use little tags and add them to the note the areas of work.

I want to use a computer print for the word and will stick them to the tags.

Im using the traditional Sizzix thick cut die and the smallest tag. Im using some scrap fine card for the tags. While clearing and sorting I came across these little coloured rings - not sure why I bought these ? but I think they will be OK for the job.
Here is the progress to date.

I did intend to make another hole for the 8th note but am considering attaching it to the central tag. I will print out the labels and attach and then get on with the project. I will also decorate each tag as I go.

That's it for this week. Hope you are looking forward to the end of this project as much as I am. It's turning out OK as a job, better than I thought but I really want to get going with 'creating' in my new space.

Have a great weekend.

Bye for now.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

LISTS - do they work ?

Hi everyone
It's been raining earlier but quite light drizzle and although the sky is very grey with big bulging clouds it does look like the sun may appear soon.

The ORDER Project has stalled - I needed to do some pre arranged volunteer work yesterday and food/kit shopping needs to happen today. However, Ive located the crates for my 8 work 'elements' and that's progress - Ive also been thinking about how to go about the job - another positive. I knew it would be difficult and that's OK - so far.

Usually, my Thursday blog shares a 'technique' which Im currently using - the technique today is 'organisation and structuring '. In this case, Im referring to the ORDER Project and making the right decisions to create a good working environment. I want to have a blueprint which I can apply to lots of situations. I start with my work journal 'to do' list. Here is the entry for Tuesday :

Im also working through a 'diary' style approach eventually to be material for my little book - here is the starting point for the book.

I record actions, feelings and end results as I go and will then try and make sense of my data by reviewing and producing a checklist or some other more appropriate format ? for regular use in aspects of my work in the future.

Im still optimistic about The ORDER Project but every day there is a hurdle - my mantra is 'keep going, all will be well' ! On that note, bye for today.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Hi everyone
Today it's raining - very lightly and there is a feel that the sun may appear ....? . Im hopeful !

The ORDER Project is ongoing and I THINK I'm making progress ? Today, I'm going to load my work stuff into crates - Ive planned to have 8 elements and therefore 8 crates (optimistic). There is a need for organisation and it will be the first time I can bring lots of things together and call them 'organised' - even if its just in a crate. My very important note of the board has some little holes for each element and I will add a mini tag identifying each element/crate. I enjoy making these funny little notes from scrap paper and odd bits of leftovers. Im not sure anything in the note has too much significance ? ,although, I do like the scallops and the watercolour paint effects and I like the 'theatrical thing' of hanging tags from the holes. Im getting the impression my note is representing a 'stage' - which fits in nicely with the ORDER Project.

You may notice that there are only 7 holes - I will need to make another hole ...... simple ! This is my starting point and I know I need to 'chuck' lots of stuff AND its going to be a cathartic process, eventually. I will record my thoughts on the subject as I go. This is the only bit of the sorting process Im looking forward to ie researching the mental journey. Generally, the thoughts of the disorder which will be created, is overwhelming for me - this is why Ive taken so long to get the project going. However, 'all will be well' as Miss Mitchell would say.

My artwork is taking a back seat for a week or so and although Im not physically developing paintings, I am thinking about my current work. Im going to display all the paintings 'under development' and surround myself with them for ideas - while I sort the studio. Im hoping the process will generate some new ideas.

Bye for today.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

ORDER + BOOK 'under development'

Hi everyone
A bit of a dull day today - the weather improved lots over the day yesterday so Im hoping the same will happen today.Fingers crossed.

Well, Ive got going with the project of the moment : ORDER. I've organised my little recording method ie my little book.The book will record my experiences within the project and Im hoping to link aspects with web links - perhaps little videos or picture book or ? who knows, whatever creative elements I can think of.Here is the book so far.

I've added a little decoration to my photo (just because I cant resist decorating things and making them pretty) but the 'under development book' is simply 21 pages of ATC cards ready for recording my project experiences. The pages are varied white(ish) bits of scrap from my shelf. Some bits have a little texture and are different thicknesses. I can make more pages if I need more but I will leave the building of the book until Ive finished. Im hoping I will be inspired to make something brilliant post project. Along the way,I will record little snippets of the journey to bring order to my living/working space. I've come to realise that both living and working are at one in my world. The two are interdependent and I need an equilibrium to achieve my 'perfect place'. Sounds a good aspiration to me anyway !!!

'The order project' as Im calling it, starts practically with reducing clutter in the widest sense - mainly from my studio.It's not just material things but Im including systems and organising too. As I spend more time thinking about this one, Im already opening up my mind to possibilities ( which Ive dismissed in the past). These 'things' and ideas are how and why I do what I do, I have a tendency to keep stuff that one day will be great for ? - the day never comes, of course and the 'stuff' muddies the waters and stops creativity rather than helping it. I don't even know what Im storing and It's all muddled so I can't find anything. Mostly, I don't like going in there, it's got 'negative vibes' .... ugh !
My art and ME move on everyday and I need to let go of things that have simply been part of my development. Im mindful that getting rid of everything is not the absolute and simple answer, it's about selecting what's important and what's just a habit or a comfort zone for me. Tackling the ORDER has been brewing for a while and probably hasn't got going because I haven't spent the time on thinking and planning properly. Again, with this in mind I'm taking my time and raising the importance of this task. Its now the most important thing and will keep being the most important work project until its done. It's in the middle of the Butterfly Board (my work schedule/system/organiser) having the highest priority. I want to see this ORDER project being an ongoing aspect of my work. As such I think the process needs to be integrated into an annual review ? - it's an idea I will keep thinking about. Im pleased to say, Im actually quite excited about this and am committed to working through the process. On that note, I must get going.

Bye for today.

Monday, 10 June 2013

The ORDER Project

Hi everyone
The sky looks a bit 'heavy' today - it's not raining but it could - any time soon ! Quite bright all the same. Bit like my thoughts at the moment !
It's Monday already ! - can't believe where the weekend has gone. However, here we are and another week to look forward to. Today, my inspiration for the week is ORDER ( and all things which contribute to it.) This is a strange one but its quite an important subject for me? I've been struggling with trying to get order in my life for decades. Im not quite sure why this is so important but when everything looks chaotic or very untidy, Im paralysed - I literally wander around 'lost'. The chaos seems to turn into a kinesthetic thing and all of a sudden I feel very disturbed, translating into 'inactivity'.
On a practical level, most of my 'disorder' could be sorted by 'chucking' a load of unnecessary 'things' out. I think, my order issue is to do with my home/space being ordered - not 'superficial' but deep into the cupboards and storage. I recognise Im a bit of a control freak - but I like the idea of knowing where everything is and the contents of the house being 'good' to look at and use. 'Form' is key but 'function' needs to be there too. However, there lies the problem - not letting go of certain (unknown) 'things' and wanting to be sure I don't need them. Most of these 'things' Ive forgotten I have or ever had anyway !!! I probably need very few 'things' but certain things would make my existence more enjoyable than not (I think ?). I realise this sounds completely bonkers and some would say I have too much time on my hands !
Ive had several attempts at de-cluttering in the past but it's now got to crisis point and its time for action - hence, my inspiration for the week :ORDER. I've got a few plans about what to do next but am open to changes and new ideas. I know, Im not alone on this one, if I ever mention the 'order' issue to friends, almost without exception everyone has a view on it and most people launch into anecdotal tales on the subject. This makes me feel Im not having some kind of mental breakdown and its OK to be pre occupied with the order thing - to a point !!!
This 'order thing' came to a head over the weekend and it got me wondering about this idea of disorder and almost the 'need' for some people to have order in their lives. I do have friends who seem to cope with much more disorder than me and there must be people who don't care about such things - my kids when quite young were good examples of this. My teenager, although creates lots of mess and rarely tidies things, does prefer a tidy and ordered space (in his bedroom) my younger child of 10 - doesn't care too much and almost likes to be literally surrounded by his treasured things - scattered and in piles ! I hate this mess of course, so spend my much of my time trying to tidy and make order. Maybe, there is a developmental or maturity thing involved ? although my husband (could be described as mature), is very untidy and leaves stuff everywhere but he does like a tidy space too and craves the same order as me (in the bigger picture).
Thinking about all this order stuff also made me think about artistic responses to order and there must be lots of examples out there of great works which look at the order and disorder thing. I have tried to find some examples (didn't spend much time on this ) but could'nt find anything obvious. There are examples such as the Edvard Munch painting of The Scream Here
which is a sort of chaos theme and there must be many other paintings which could be interpreted as such. My own attempts at making art are quite structured activities where I am able to control what I do and undo things I don't like. Im sure lots of artists follow their own structured creative exercises even if the end result looks chaotic - maybe not ? I like the discipline of developing systems (creative or functional) and then adapting or dismissing certain elements of my system. There seems to be no obvious conclusion to my thoughts on the order thing in my world and maybe the order or disorder in artistic works is all to do with creating 'emotions' about the piece ?
This brings me back to my own ORDER issue and my current need to have a very functional response to it. I need to apply myself to sorting and chucking out stuff. I thought I would explore this experience this week with a little creative exercise that will eventually by Friday form a mini journal (and maybe have my artistic answer) which I can record the progress and include any emotional consequences along the way. While Im engaged in the practical sorting, I will have space to think and consider what and how my journal will/can 'be'.
This weeks exercise is so important as without my 'new order', I am not working as I want to. I'm hoping my 'space ordering/cleansing will help with a new creative ordering/cleansing for my work. Each day, I will aim to update on the 'experiment' with some photos and thoughts. Im not looking forward to this 'project' as I know even more chaos is needed before order is possible !
Bye for today.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Handbags and Shoes and Surface Pattern Designing

Hi everyone
What a lovely day - lots of bright sunshine and warm too ! Ive been out on a run this morning and it was just magical - it was VERY early but only a couple of other runners and the birds were around. Im not necessarily an early riser and can't speak until about 7.30am at the earliest but it is a different world out there before most people are up and about.

Here we are with another Die Cut Friday and today Im taking a different tack with die cutting. Im using very small die shapes to create a surface pattern design. I've done this before but have not really given very much thought to how the pattern will work on different surfaces. my experience has been to simply make a background for paper with die cuts. This time, I want to consider using the finished pattern on a few different surfaces. My primary working surface will be a painting on wood and I want to print the pattern onto either fine cotton or paper cloth and then stick to the wood - not sure which (depends on how well it turns out !). The painting is Bernadette and I've chosen to use small shoes and handbags in appropriate colours. I plan to do a few versions of the surface pattern to choose from, so am preparing lots of shapes to work with. These are the shapes Im using :

Here is another look at Bernadette for reference. I think the shapes will work well with Bernadette's 'look'.

I've narrowed down her body design to include a coat with trousers and some shoes similar to the die cuts. This painting will be quite big - the head is only just short of a real head size. I like to play with proportions, so maybe the body will not be in proportion - lets see how it goes. Im not rushing this job although I will keep momentum and hope to complete a single (tiny) element each day (yet another strategy to my 'working style' !!).

I want the pattern to be useful for fabric production too and will have it printed up by Spoonflower when Im happy with it. I love the idea of wearing my patterns or images. I have some Miss Mitchell fabric which is almost a skirt - I started it last summer and didn't finish it - may be soon !!

Back to the die cut job : the colour scheme is orange, white and navy and I will try and keep this throughout. I have some ideas of the painting background being the surface pattern design completely or perhaps filling in a shape or landscape with the pattern. All will be revealed in time. My next task is to cut out lots more shapes and develop some patterns. I will make a small square (size will depend on the design) and create a digital image followed by a bit of photoshop work. I will then produce an A4 size sheet(s) in various colours for use with the painting. Im hoping the development of Bernadette will influence the pattern and vice versa. Im also planning to make a few different versions of the two bag styles and will make a larger version for Bernadette - I quite like the large one myself - maybe ? I think this project will last a few weeks so will report my progress next Friday - I should have quite a bit of progress to share next Friday.

That's it for today. Have a great weekend. Back next week.

Bye for now.