Thursday, 27 August 2009

Sea Fever

As I shall be away on a residential retreat with my textiles group for most of next week I decided to write this post now.
We are given a challenge each time we go, which we try and complete ready for the next time.
Last time we were given the poem Sea Fever by John Masefield and these two photos of the sea. We can use any media we wish.
I initially wanted to experiment with different types of image transfer and make a book cover, but time was not on my side so I picked up some glittery foam letters from my local Hobbycraft store (sorry, I forgot to take pictures of them in their "raw" state) .and altered them.

I made a piece of fabric paper using the Beryl Taylor technique. I embedded tissue paper, dyed scrim, netting, organza, some eyelash yarn and glittery fibres along with printed extracts of the poem. I then heat embossed over the wording to create a resist before applying colour. For the sky and sea I mainly used dyes and the rocks were Lumiere acrylics - particularly the halocolours.

I then traced the letters onto the back of the the fabric paper and cut them out. I then bonded the paper onto Pelmet Vilene, although with hindsight I think this was unnecessary.
I free machine stitched in a linear pattern across the sky and the sea with a variegated thread and used a circular motion for the rocks.
A mixture of buttons, small beads and sequins were hand stitched to the rocks and the sea spray was just some glued down fibres and glitter.

I then glued the pieces to the foam letters and painted them. It will be very interesting to see how everyone else interprets the challenge,I'll let you know at the end of next week!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Paper Punching Book

Ooh! Look what the postman brought this morning!
Although I'd seen loads (and I mean LOADS) of edits via email, I hadn't seen a hard copy of my book until it arrived in the post this morning. I just love the quality. Magmaker have done a really good job on these, and for £4.95 I think they are a real bargain (but then maybe I'm a teensy bit biased?).
I was lucky enough to see all four titles and everyone has done a great job. I know just how hard everyone worked on their own title and how many hours we spent sweltering in a tiny photography studio during the only heatwave we've had this summer, but suddenly now it all seems worth it.
I guess if I've got my copy they are generally available in most craft stores, but if you are having difficulty finding it you can buy direct from Magmaker at

Since finishing the editing I've been giving myself a few relaxing weeks - knitting and sewing in the sun ( well I couldn't be too picky about how much sun there was - if it wasn't raining it was good enough for me) but I guess its time to get back to some proper work now. My relaxation finished on a high note with a visit to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham on Thursday. I spent a fortune of course but came back with loads of inspiration and ideas for new stitchy and mixed media projects, so its back to the "too many ideas, too little time" scenario - but I'm not complaining - its all just such good fun!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Hexagon Quilts

I've just taken a wonderful trip down memory lane as I read Posy Gets Cosy's last post about hexagon quilting. If you are, like me, somewhat older than a "spring chicken", do take a look. If you crafted as a child, the chances are you had a go at this.
We always had one of these types of quilts on the go during the summer holidays. As it was hand sewn in small pieces it was the perfect activity to do whilst sitting on the lawn in the sun. We cut the hexagons from old magazines and used all the dressmaking scraps to make the quilt. I remember there was a half finished one in my Mum's wardrobe for years. I guess it must have been thrown out when she was no longer able to sew - what a shame. Seeing her post has given me some great ideas though - the sun is shining - so guess where I'll be this afternoon!

Saturday, 1 August 2009

New era, new book

I enter a new era of my life today - my children's friends start getting married.
That makes me feel sooooooo old!! It only seems two minutes ago that they were phoning each other to check on school homework and arranging parental lifts to places, etc. Now we are guests at the wedding. Where does all the time go?
So, yesterday afternoon was the usual last minute panic to make the wedding card. Fortunately, oh so fortunately for me, the girl in question likes plain and simple styles, and I knew the colour theme of the wedding so I was able to make it really quickly. I did want to make sure there was a little stitching on it, but then stitching is like yoga to me. It allowed me to slow down and get into the right frame of mind for a relaxing weekend. I just about had enough time to take a quick pic for you - so here it is.
The cardstock is DCWV Luxury stack. It is pearlised and metallic, so that saved me loads of time. Normally I would have enjoyed spending time creating my own background, but I have been busy on other things, and at last I can share with you what that is!
I have been busy over the last few weeks editing the book I have written for Magmaker, the same company that produced the Making Cards for Children Special that I co-wrote with Laura. They are producing a series of four books. They go to print very soon, and you will be able to buy them via Magmaker (see the link on the right hand side) and in most good craft stores. My book is on paper punching, Lindsay Mason has done one on rubber stamping, her sister Heather Fenn-Edwards has written about beading, and Amanda Fowler's is on decoupage.
So with the editing in hand and the wedding card made, I am now going to totally ignore the awful weather we are having and enjoy myself reminiscing about "How tall they've grown" and "Do you remember when....."at what I guess is just the start of the "children's friends' weddings" season. I guess I just have to stop feeling old and embrace it!