30 Dec 2008

EDM 204 - Frosty!

Had a think about this challenge when I went for a walk in the frosty fields this afternoon. It sort of grew organically from thinking about how deep last night's frost was and how it wraps itself around everything above the ground. It turned out looking a bit evil I think but that wasn't intended!

Liquid acrylic paint.

Storage jars

I was finding my PITT artists pen was giving much too thick a line for this type of sketching, even using the fine tip, so this time I used a Rotring technical drawing pen with a 0.25 nib. I think it's going to be much more useful and have ordered a 0.13 nib for an even finer line. The ink flow can be a little tricky until it gets going properly but you can't beat these types of pen for really fine drawing.

It's such a beautiful day outside - deep frost and bright blue sky - so I'm going to take Misty (Irish Wolfhound) out for another walk. Don't think I'll try any plein air drawing though - fingers would be frozen stiff within seconds!

18 Dec 2008

Autumn Leaves Embroidery Sampler

This is the last of my samplers for the first module of my City & Guilds embroidery course. I still have to put everything together before I send it all off and try to mount everything in an attractive way! And answer some questions about the dreaded health & safety! Because common sense is apparently out of fashion and people have to be told these days not to swallow needles because it's bad for their health!!

17 Dec 2008

Olive Oil and Lemon

Yes - more food related scribblings. Must stop this and find some other subjects. Maybe a self-portrait - oooh, scary! Or a portrait of my Irish Wolfhound - she'll never stay still long enough. Actually, I'm rubbish at people and animals so may try these out off-blog.

16 Dec 2008

Coffee and Jam

This is THE MOST IMPORTANT piece of equipment in my house. I can't do without my coffee and am really fussy about how it's made. Instant coffee is a complete no no. Filter coffee is so so (OK at work). Cafetiere is good if it's just been made and the coffee is a really great one.

But above all those is coffee made with my bean-to-cup machine. I've listed some of the coffees I love and am always open to suggestions for others (as long as they're good, strong coffee).


And this is my favourite jam. What could be better than a warm croissant spread with apricot jam with a great cup of coffee? Complete heaven!

10 Dec 2008

EDM 201 - Stapler

I think I have a long way to go. Trying to do at least one sketch a day because I'm sure it's the only way I'll learn.

Red's my favourite colour!

I really did have a sore eye when I painted this and since I wear contact lenses and had one out I was getting some very funny mixes of perspective. It's OK again today though so I won't have any more excuses!

F-C PITT artists pen again with watercolour.

8 Dec 2008

My Keys - EDM 37

I drew this again with Faber-Castell PITT pen and added some watercolour this time (see, I can do colour Filtil). It's pretty cranky still but I'm just enjoying it so much that I don't really care.

Now I'm going to start a proper journal so everything I do is in one place. Torn between wire-bound or stitched. Aarghh - so many choices to make!

4 Dec 2008

My Kitchen Windowsill

This is the first of what I hope will be lots of pen and ink sketches (maybe with colour washes later) that are supposed to demonstrate my improvement from this to... wherever I end up. I've been reading The Creative Licence by Danny Gregory who reckons anyone can draw with enough practice! Well... we'll see.

Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pen and NO ERASER!

Please don't read anything into the fact that I have Omega 3 supplements on my windowsill!!

I've just noticed that my keyboard, which has a sort of soft-feel black finish, has a fine sprinkling of gold dust over it. Seems to be everywhere - must have been left over from my dingbats project. Very Christmassy!

27 Nov 2008

From dingbat to design

This started with a dingbat which I magnified, traced and placed randomly on a page of my journal. I filled the shapes with masking fluid and then painted and splattered with acrylic inks over the top plus a generous sprinkling of bronze powder. I think this may become some sort of a stitched project in the future but haven't quite figured out what. For now I just like looking at the cheerful colours - and we all need cheering up just at the moment, god knows.

Happy Thanksgiving Day to everyone in the US. I really hope you serve bread sauce with your turkey over there, or is it just a British thing? Turkey ain't turkey without bread sauce!

31 Oct 2008

Landscape Sampler

This is my first attempt at painting fabric and stitching on top. The painting bit was difficult (I used silk fabric paints on calico) but there may have been some treatment on the fabric and I didn't wash it first (life's too short!!).

I have one more sample to do and that finishes the first module of my City & Guilds course.

I'm also working on my Studio Journals course and will post something from that as soon as I manage to make a page that isn't a total mess! It would be nice to blog the process of creating something from studio journal to finished piece. But that's for another day...

27 Oct 2008

Work in Progress


I had an idea that I would start a series of embroidery samples based on calligraphy. My inspiration comes from the illuminated manuscripts of such books as the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of Kells.
This is a very rough and experimental initial idea which needs much more working on. I love the idea of the gold splashes, as if the illustrator accidentally knocked over his gold paint on the page. I don't want to reproduce a stitched version of an illustrated letter, but a modern interpretation of the idea.
Very early days, but the seed has been sown.

20 Oct 2008

Crewel Cushion

I made this cushion years ago. My mother did lots of traditional Jacobean crewel - firescreens, stool covers, etc. - and I loved the fantastic creatures they depicted. So I decided one day to have a go myself. I think the first thing I did was the bird of paradise and I so loved the colours that my cushion became a little more colourful than traditional crewel work is. The pink cord round the edge was the icing on the cake!

I love this cushion and it lives on my chair in my study where I can always see it. One day I may do another one using stranded cotton and even brighter colours!

15 Oct 2008

Fishbone, Fern and Thorn Stitches

I'm not really sure if I like the variegated leaf - it looks totally implausible to me! But I did manage to find four variations of Fishbone stitch whereas there weren't really any variations on the other two to be found.

I had much more fun doing the Fern and Thorn stitches though - I think it's because they're grouped together rather than stuck on their own looking self-conscious!

That's it now for the stitch samplers in this module. Next up is painting fabric - something I've never done before and am really looking forward to.

Also, on 23 October I start Sharon's Studio Journals course with Joggles which is going to be great fun.

9 Oct 2008

Cretan Stitch

I enjoyed this one because I found so many variations of it. The hardest one to get the hang of was knotted (2nd row middle) because the only instructions I had for it were really difficult to understand.

I wanted to add the couching bit at the bottom because it's the first time I've done anything like this. From a distance it looks a bit like a hairy caterpillar!

I also had a couple of new threads which I used - one is a No.8 Coton Perlé and the other is a lovely fine wool - much more even than the Appleton's crewel wool. I think it may be an Aubusson wool but I can't remember where or when I bought it.

2 Oct 2008

Roumanian Stitch

I had a bad start with this one. The two leaves at the top are absolutely not Roumanian Stitch! I think they are something I've done in the past but I can't for the life of me think what it's called.

I found the apple difficult because I was using six strands of cotton and some of the strands pulled out, making it a bit messy.

I really enjoyed the freestyle with two textures of thread and can think of loads of uses for this. I also enjoyed trying to translate a scribble onto fabric at bottom left and tried to curve a couple of stitches which worked quite well.

Cretan stitch next!

26 Sep 2008

First stitching attempts




I've always been interested in stitching and textiles but have never really thought about developing that interest. My mother was a great stitcher and our home was always full of her embroideries; cushions, stools, pictures, napkins and tablecloths and more. So I decided now is as good a time as any to have a go and signed up for the first module of a City & Guilds accredited course with WS Touchbase. These are my first attempts at trying out stitches.

18 Jul 2008

The Fool

The fool is a madman, a lunatic, a jester. The fool is unwise and uncaring. The fool is stupid, oafish, silly; an imbecile, a moron, a simpleton.

Or is he?

The fool is standing on the edge; ready to leap into the unknown. An adventurer; open minded. Rash, spontaneous. Crazy brave with his imagination fired up, ready to take a leap of faith. He carries little baggage but a huge question mark.

Faith or folly?

5 Jun 2008

Twitter! For goodness sake...

The home page of Twitter's website states that "Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: 'What are you doing'?"

I have friends, or should I say acquaintances, who twitter. The whole time I'm with them they keep up a constant buzz of twitter. It's all rubbish and absolutely not worth listening to so I tune it out.

So why on earth would anyone want to exchange quick, frequent messages about what they're doing? Who cares what they're doing? Who cares that 'the dog's just having a poo' or 'I'm having a coffee'? If you want a conversation then have a proper one. If you want to have it on the internet then start a blog or join a group. If you want to talk to your family why not pick up the phone? If you want to talk to your co-workers then just shout across the office.

But for god's sake don't twitter!






14 May 2008

Haiku for Casey

Dandelion seeds rise;

Lifted on warm air to fly,

part, fall, become new.