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Friday, 24 July 2015

Completely Different Art

Hi Everyone
I've been particularly naughty and have allowed myself to be distracted again ......... My intention for this week was to work on my Eyes Project (read back for details) but .............. !
However, I've especially enjoyed myself and that's what it's all about ! I've been making little beaded bracelets. I had this idea for a Making Framework Workshop a few months ago and thought I would prepare some samples and get supplies etc. Somehow, I needed to get going yesterday.

There are a few ways to make the Daisy flower shape but the simplest way (for me) has worked a treat. I've made a few single strands in various colours - just using beads I had in my very large stash. Many of these beads have been in the drawer for years and I'm never quite sure what I've got. So - most pattern combinations made themselves as I found beads. 

Having made a few single strands I think I will combine a few strands and made a multi strand bracelet with a single fastening.
The fastenings are the tricky bit for me. I like a simple clasp and am never sure about how to attach clasps in a clean and secure way. However, I think I've found my way with this. Several bracelets use a single bead as a form of jump ring and others have a silver spacer bead. I've used sterling silver findings (made by me) and I think the silver really gives the simple beaded bracelet a lovely finish. The clasp is a simple shaped hook - this hooks over a split jump ring. Hope you are inspired to make one. There are loads of YouTube videos showing the technique - check them out. I will do a more detailed technique blog in a few weeks for the Making Framework and look at making the findings.

Thanks for reading.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

A Different Art Project

Hi Everyone
I've hit a bit of a distraction ! How did that happen ?

Instead of keeping up with my self imposed schedule, I'm developing ideas for a new project (for Sep in theory) to make some ART Dolls. I've had some ideas for a while but this is the way I'm going at the moment. The sketch is an idea for a style and will be made from a range of mixed media. The doll, named Vita, will be paper mâché and I'm going to prong some fabric for various other bits. I hope to add beads, paint, metal etc as I go. I'm quite excited about this project, I've  not made any dolls for a while and this is a completely new take.

Without further a do - here she is :


I want Vita to stand up, so will develop some kind of stand as part of the design.

Hopefully, I can now get back on track with the Eyes project today. My only issue seems to be packing for the Grand Tour - the holidays are very quickly passing by ! - we are usually last minute in the packing stage and it stresses me out completely. This time, I'm hoping to be more relaxed about it ! 

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Make Art - Eyes Project (2)

Hi Everyone
I'm reporting on the Eyes Project again - it's the second episode. To distinguish each post in the Project, I'm going to use the number sequence. The Project will last all Summer so there will be lots.
I've almost decided on the eyes for each doll. I'm still not done on the detail of the eyes and am trying them out (drawing) in different sizes. I eventually decided creating further eyes would be just adding to further decisions (this had been my intention yesterday). So, I'm going for what we have. Each eye will get more detail and all will be larger size in the next round. In my sketches, I'm going to decide which bits of the eye are specific to each character and why ? Not sure why this is important but I do feel eyes really define the face and allow a particular characteristic to be seen. I'm not even sure how this will work ? Will update you tomorrow.

Here are the dolls with their proposed new eyes :



Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Make Art - Eyes Project

Hi Everyone
I'm on track with the project - Eyes 4 is here today.


Next time, I'm going to review each doll and decide on a temporary eye. So far, I have 4 eyes and want some more to choose from. 
I will develop another today.

Thanks for reading.
Bye for today.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Make Art Monday - Holiday Edition

Hi Everyone
It's the very beginning of The Big Summer Holiday today. The first day of the school holidays marks a change in routine and a general 'lazy' approach to life ! Not sure we can get much more lazy, I've been practicing for a few weeks now, already !
However, having said that ..... this Summer will be one project long ie Where are we now ? I've been featuring this project on the Make Art Monday Series so it's not new but I'm going to spend my precious ME time on this project. I will dip in and out of other projects but 'the eyes' thing will be the thing. Here is a little update on where I am with the project. 
Here is a look at the original four dolls at the centre of the piece as they are now :


The dolls all have a name and they are begining to have some new eyes. Here are the eyes I have :


and here is another eye - yet to be named 


I'm almost convinced this eye will be for Alison.

I will keep going for a few weeks on developing eyes and will plan for an eye - a day. However, over the holidays we tend to be busy and who knows what will happen ? My posts will hope to be more photo stories although they sometimes get difficult if/when we go away to remote places. I will try my best.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Recommend a Blog Day

Hi Everyone
It's Friday again and I'm recommending a website style blog today rather than a standard blog. The site is the Martha Stewart site. She has a blog attached with interesting pieces but the web page is full of amazing making projects. Many of the projects which I'm drawn to have short video links and Martha uses beautiful colours combinations and lovely simple techniques.
One of the projects which caught my eye a few days ago was a dye project. The dying featured is in my favourite blue colour and is vaguely in a Shibori related style. I'm obsessed at the moment with dying and Shibori. Check out more of my recent blogs on this subject, particularly Tuesday's and The Making Framework stuff. I also have a growing Pinterest Board just for Shibori. On Martha's  site a simple dye project shows how dip dying works check it out here

This dip dying project is one of many ideas and I love the way Martha's  videos show the processes. Next to each project you are directed to more ideas linked closely to what you are watching. Many hours can be lost on this site.
The site features cooking recipes and home makes as well as craft. It's almost like a regular short TV programme which you can dip in and out of. I visit often and find myself inspired each time, hope you will be too.

Thanks for reading.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Imitation Game

Hi Everyone
I'm still working away with the Carved Collection (still need a better name). I've tried the carving process straight from the freezer (read back to last week for details). The clay behaved better ie firm and (for a short time) easier to carve. However, it's still not there. My next approach is to partially bake the beads. Normally, I would bake for 30mins at the required temperature (check on clay packaging). So, I'm going to try 10mins and try to carve and return to oven for 30 mins (just to make sure the clay is properly cured). 
The beads I've carved from the freezer are not what I want. I'm going to cure them and ink each bead, this will highlight the carved edges and will give a better idea of how they look. Here  are a few photos before curing.
As you can see I've used a craft knife with a very sharp (new) blade and a toothpick to both make the hole and hold the clay while carving. My idea here was to help keep the clay cold and stop the heat from my hands transferring. This sort of worked !


I'm determined I will get this technique ! I'm quite optimistic about the next experiment. Will report my findings next time.

In the meantime here's a great item which I would love to be able to produce :

This fantastic necklace is produce by some called Genervieve Williamson (an e friend) for Anthropologie. I love her work but this is a real masterpiece when you consider the carving technique.

I will keep going and dreaming - one day I will get there !

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

From Scratch - Making Kits

Hi Everyone
Today's kit is a sewing kit - making knickers. It's not quite From Scratch but I will be using my Trixie Lixie Kit to develop a new kit which will be modified and therefore From Scratch. I've been tempted to get one of these kits for ages. I love the idea of making my own knickers and am keen to try a range of fabrics. My first try will be Cotten because that's what's in this kit. I'm hoping to makeup the knickers in one session so should have them to share next time.
Here is my kit waiting to start :


It all seems pretty straightforward  ! Famous last words !!!! I hope they fit.

Wish me luck.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 13 July 2015

The Making Framework

Hi Everyone
It's a workshop day today in The Making Framework. It's the second in our scrap booking/journaling series. We are currently developing the scrapbook/journal double page using a little exercise I've devised for the purpose ( read back to Tuesday blogs for more details).
I used the exercise to develop my own content for the first few pages and will use it to go for another page in the workshop today. My new page will be about The Making Framework and will help me to present the idea to potential funding groups over the next few months. I want to make sure the exercise works so will use the workshop opportunity to refine the process and take feedback.
Last week I mentioned developing a cover for the scrapbook. I've developed my cover and here it is :

I've also developed my double page from last week by adding new elements and changed lettering. I feel it's almost there. I will add detas in the workshop today and feel it's often a good idea to develop scrapbooks and journals over a period of time. The value of review is important for me - I usually make a much better job if I review several times.. Here is a look at where I am with the double page.

I will post my changes after the workshop today as well my new page. I'm  not sure what will turn out ?

Thanks for reading.

Make Art Monday

Hi Everyone
It's Monday again - the new version of Where Am We Now Series has started and work is underway. Read back several Monday's for background on this feature. I've sourced the size of paper which will inform the size of the eyes which in turn will size the face and ultimately the doll. At this stage, I think another seperate collective work will be produce a new Where Are We Now as per the original.
I've started the work with some eyes for Yvonne, although I may possibly change the recipient doll at a later date, if the eyes suit someone else. I've done a couple of sketches but will work on them again today. The general shapes and sizes are there, I just need to decide on the most suitable to develop. I've created two different styles and at the moment the bottom left eye is my favourite for Yvonne. You may remember that Yvonne only has one eye in the original and I did think about a profile idea. I quite like this and will try out some experiments today.


Here is Yvonne in the original painting. As mentioned, Yvonne has only half her face on view in the original. I will definitely develop a whole face for her.


The new eye on the right is probably closest to the original. Yvonne looks very sad and I would like to give her a more optimistic look, I'm hoping I can develop a little smile in her new eyes.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Recommend a Blog Day

Hi Everyone
My blog recommendation today is a great blog from a company called Paperartsy. This blog has several sections which focus on rubber stamping and craft supplies. This site has a certain style, which I like, and the range of stamps is extensive. The site also has a number of YouTube videos showing how to use many of the products, I especially like this aspect. I really like the stamp and die cut items and use them often. Here's a quick view of how the site looks which gives an idea of their style.


I'm signed up to receive a newsletter style updates and news, again full of advice and tips on using the products and new items to be available. The company produces their stuff here in the UK and they sell via the online shop and in a number of selected retailers all over the world.
I also read their blog ,lots of wonderful ideas and photos of how to create lovely items using the Paperartsy range. I've bought a number of stamping sets and use them often. The quality is good and the images have a great style.
 I've often considered buying a range of metal crafting items - thin metal sheet and associated tools. The Paperartsy blog features this material/tools regularly and I'm tempted to buy, every time I see it. The only thing which stops me, is the huge amount of stuff I already have. I would need to buy all the bits available to make the most of the metal crafting ideas. I'm not far away ...... the next time I have some spare cash I will be tempted again ! Not sure how long I will be able to resist.
Another great resource from Paperartsy is their Pinterest Board - there's a link from the website. It's full of amazing ideas and inspiring collections of work. 

I hope you will be tempted to visit the site and the blog.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

The Imitation Game

Hi Everyone
It's Imitation Game Day today and I'm sharing a photo of the whole Starburst Collection. I've not completely finished because I've been waiting for some additional (possible ?) spacer beads to add to at least one of the colours. I thought, perhaps, the yellow bracelet needed something else and I wanted to make a faux chain from the same spacer beads. I will experiment.
Here is a look at the Collection showing how I've used the different canes.


Over the last few weeks I've focused (each Thursday) on specific coloured canes and the beads I've produced - look back for more detail and more photos. Next time, I should have all items in their prototype packaging and ready for production.

Moving on ....... I have a new Imitation Game called the Carved Collection (not happy with this name and still can't decide on a replacement ? - I need to consult my team !)
So far, I've had a disaster with my carving. I'm not very good with the carving process and have ended up with a complete mess. The carving process looks easy but it's incredibly difficult to get the look I want. I've tried in 3 seperate sessions to find a way and am ready for another having put the prepared round beads in the freezer overnight. I've also read about examples of using unprepared clay (straight from the packet) but this doesn't appeal. I'm sure unprepared clay will crack and be rather weak. Here is another look at some Inspiration stuff from Pinterest. You can find the details about each photo on my Imitation Game Pinterest Board.


Wish me luck today with my carving ! I will report my success ! ........... next time.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

From Scratch - Kit Day

Hi Everyone
I'm looking at a Mini Scrapbooking Kit today. The scrapbooks featured in the Making Framework from yesterday's blog episode. These little books (22x16cms) are made from scratch using various sizes of card and covered with a needle felted removable cover. 


The pages are sewn together with embroidery floss and decorated with polymer beads. The beads are included in the kit but you could always make or add your own.
Each kit is colour coordinated, at the moment we have two colour ways - blue and rich pinks. The kits include two patterned papers sheets to get you going with a double page for 'scrapping'. The sample cover  is shown in the blue colours and I've added some additional felted flower elements to decorate. You can obviously make your own design and embellishments.


More kits will be available but each kit will have a predominant colour scheme throughout the elements. Instructions on how to build the book and the cover will be included as well as tips and exercises to get you going with scrapbooking. Kits will go into the shops shortly but if you are interested in buying a kit please contact me via the blog comment or on Facebook. Kits will start at £6 plus post and packing. Hope you are inspired to scrapbook.

Thanks for reading

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Making Framework

Hi Everybody
The Making Framework continues today with the second episode of a scrapbooking/Journalling project. Last week we created the actual book and pages of the book were stitched into a card cover. Along with creating the content, I'm developing a felted cover for my scrapbook. At the moment, it's in development phase but I've taken inspiration from Shibori (read back to last Friday for more on this subject). It's not Shibori at all (no dying involved) but I'm playing with the idea of the patterns. My fabric for the cover is too small and I need to develop another section. I will use this as a design opportunity, I did know the size would be tight. I'd like to be able to make the cover into a removable sleeve. I've used a piece of pre made white felt with a needle felted layer in blues and whites. I think I will try and use the Shibori patterns inspiration to extend the size of the felt by felting extra piece to each side.


I've also created a small flower to add to the project - not sure how but I see it as an addition to a bookmark style item.


We talked, in the workshop session last week, about the process of scrapbooking and the possibility of a structured exercise to allow for new scrapbookers to confidently start their pages. As a result, I've come up with a little exercise which can begin the development of a page(s) around  a specific memory or subject. The exercise can be used a few times (as a learning tool) or can be a standby checklist each time a page is created. I strongly feel that there are no rights and wrongs when scrapbooking but sometimes a practiced 'procedure' can help creative ideas flow. Many people seem to get a 'block' when trying to decide how to get going. My exercise starts with the idea of 'inspiration' - this is what I'm calling the subject/content of the  scrapped page. The exercise is a questionnaire style sheet with some spaces for answers. 

These answers, then form the content of the page. I've added a page of notes to accompany the exercise with more information and examples so hopefully the sheet can be used by anybody (in or out of the workshop). The exercise is effectively a plan and as such is subject to review and changes. It's simply a 'tool'. As you can see from my sample featured above, I've crossed out and added notes as I used the tool. It was helpful in completing the detail on my first pages. I will be adding the tool to a scrapbook kit to be featured tomorrow. Read more about this, tomorrow.

This project will keep going for a few weeks and will develop as I work on it. I'm quite excited about my little scrapbook and will enjoy developing the content.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Make Art Monday

Hi Everyone
This is the final part of my current Eyes Series for Make Art Monday. I've been featuring a painting with four 'dolls'. The painting original is a wide piece  measuring just over a metre - I especially like this shape long but  narrow ! I'm developing four new painting which will feature each of the dolls and focusing on their eyes. I think each doll will be recognisable but I will change colours, patterns and sizes. The last doll in the series is called Yvonne. Here she is :


The dolls together, I think, work very well but I think each doll can be better and I'm looking forward to developing them. This will be my Summer ART project  and I will take the whole Summer to work on this Collection. I'm planning lots of eyes sketches as well as some printing ideas for backgrounds and fabric development.
As you can see, Yvonne has only one half of her face and I think she will end up in a side profile ? - just an idea. Here is a quick look at all four dolls together as they appear  the original painting.

Each doll has some kind of issue with her shape and collectively I hope they ask some questions. The title of the piece is Where are we now ? and this fits well with my new ideas. There is is personal story behind the piece and I will work with this to guide my new developments. I'm planning more than four new paintings with new ideas for cards, prints and fabric. Watch this space for updates over the next few weeks.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Recommend a Blog Day

Hi Everyone
My recommended blog for this week is Etsy Blog. I love Etsy generally (I have one of my shops with Etsy) - they are amazing in the breadth and quality of their resources.Etsy is a marketplace where people around the world connect, both online and offline, to make, sell and buy unique goods. There are ideas and conversations published from many of the shops but also lots of DIY projects with advice and tips on making stuff. I've highlighted a particular DIY piece which caught my eye a few weeks ago. It's this item :


I'm quite keen to try out Shibori - read all about it in the blog. The only thing that's stopping me trying out the dyeing technique is the mess it will make. Every time I see Shibori in action , it's either in a messy workshop or outside. However, the final pieces look amazing. I love blue and the patterns are so me. Most of my wardrobe looks like it's been dyed using this method. I'm convinced it's worth a try - I will just need to work around the mess and make some outside workspace.

Etsy has been featured in the UK press recently and is growing  in this country. There is a specific UK version of the blog which is interesting too. The Etsy website is huge, I get lost often and can't decide which bits are which ? It feels very much like an online magazine with lots of stuff to buy at the click of a button. The shops are organised into different categories which helps pin down what you are looking for. Many of the shops produce beautiful handmade items, unique and presented in original ways.

Get inspired and visit.

Have a great weekend. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Imitation Game

Hi Everyone
The Starburst Imitation Game is finally coming to the end ! It's been going on for some time and most weeks other projects have pushed the Starburst Collection to the edges of the work lists. However, all coloured canes - green, blue, red and yellow are now beads. The blue and green versions have done well and are now incorporated into jewellery but the yellow and red although formed into beads are not quite finished - today ! Look back on Thursdays for more on The Imitation Game. I will take some more photos when they are complete and share.

Here is a look at how the yellow beads have turned out - some small rounds and some chunky flat rounds. I went for the rounds because the blue version is so pretty. I also wanted to keep the Starburst  pattern of the cane , hence the flat rounds. I think a mix of both bead styles in one bracelet will be good.


I'm excited to announce the next Imitation Game which will be called The Carved Collection. I've been waiting to make some of these beads for some time and never quite found the space. Lots of people have produced lovely exampls using a slice/carving method. The most attractive versions (for me) of using these beads (so far ) are beads made by the polymer clay artist  Genervieve Williamson. This is a simple example of her work :


I like the round shapes of these beads and will try for a range of different round sizes to form single necklaces. I want to experiment with shades of colours so will mix acrylic paints to colour white clay. I'm keen to try out pinks, purple, blues and orange. I'm not sure about sizes (lengths) for the necklaces, I think a range of lengths would be good. I also want to mix the colours as well as the beads sizes. I will use elastic, ribbon and a simple bead fastening technique - to give  the necklace a clean look.
Ive already started to experiment. The Imitation Game is all about using an idea/piece as a staring point and developing my own version with a characteristic of the original rather than a copy. For me, the example above is a favourite because of the small cuts and the use of the coloured paint which gives a smudged, soft look. My plan is to take the colour idea a stage further by graduating the range of the paint mix with individual beads and combining them in one piece. The slicing idea looks very simple but is deceptively tricky. I've had a few goes and produced very poor results. I've decided the clay needs to be colder. I've made up some test beads and put them in the fridge, I will try slicing small edges and see where I go. Im hoping I will have something to show next time.


Thanks for reading

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Kit Day

Hi Everyone
Today, it's another Kit Day. I've chosen a mini embellishment kit for this weeks kit. The kit is called a Journalling Scrapbook Embellishment Kit. The elements of the kit are die cut letters (up to 25 requested letters), labels (10), circles (10), paper corners (5), buttons (5), embroidery floss (1m), kraftcard hearts (3), die cut paper brackets (3 pairs),paper envelopes (3), paper flowers (5). Each little pack is colour specific (5 colours) and all elements co ordinate with a mix of plain and patterned papers. I'm not sure exactly how to package the packs but I like the idea of a Pick & Mix idea. The identified element could be a range of options and personally packaged ? Here is an example gift pocket with the idea - 

 I'm in the process of producing little sample pages using the embellishments and will work on themed elements to compliment the next development.
These little kits are supporting some Making Framework Workshops and will create a number of larger kits (eventually). I'm also working on some starting scrapbook Journalling projects which give detailed ideas on starting and making a little book for the job. The Making Workshop (held today) experimented with making the books and everyone managed to get their book constructed. We will work on ideas for making a felted cover for the book and will include this in the various kits which will support the work. Next week, I will have some pages to share using the embellishments.

Thanks for reading.