Category Archives: Art with a Needle

Autumn, Fairy Shoes and Ticking off lists

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I am entranced daily by delicious vistas of autumn light – and raindrops so big you could loose yourself in them.  The environment is exuding a wealth that beckons a generosity of spirit.  My world is alive with the magic of enticing colour, warm light & shorter days.

Within the art of  photography, there is a time of day, called ‘magic hour’ – without getting two technical the half hour after sunrise & before sunset    Light at this time is warm & soft & you can capture photos with good shadows & tonal transitions. Subjects look warm, saturated in color.  Autumn in our house has me dashing to our front verandah – camera in hand………the half hour before sunrise & after sunset the light is soft & rich & has the depth of velvet.   Shadows are deep, but the light is extremely saturated, which makes for amazing sunset shots – which we are ideally situated to capture.  Autumn is one of my great loves.

(if you’d like to read a little more about ‘magic hour’ you’ll find some good info here & here)

I have been creating a bit of art with a needle lately.  I am thrilled to say that our little princess’s quilt is finished (which you may remember was on my list at the beginning of the year)  She has just turned 2 & she is so full of exuberance & has just a mischievious little laugh.  She is a little magpie and her little nonsensical conversations and comments make you laugh out loud – such a joy!!  What’s the first thing you do when you are presented with an heirloom that has cost many hundreds of dollars & has taken 18 months to make – JUMP  FOR JOY OF COURSE!!!  LOL!!!  We love her to bits – AND OF COURSE – as her grandies – we ARE biased!!  Back to the quilt – it’s huge – it began life as a cot quilt, then transitioned (when DIL & I discussed how the precious cot quilts of the older two had become obsolete now that they were in ‘big beds’) into a single bed, then finally into a king single (when I realized that was the size they had bought for their eldest.  The final size was 66in wide x 77in long…..aka big & heavy to ‘man handle’…..but it’s done now & sick person that I am, despite it becoming a guilty obligation in the end – I am already looking to the next one!  It’s the euphoria of the finished quilt driving me – no doubt!  After the spectre of failure that makes me choke at every deadline is overshadowed by a success – I want to recreate it.

We have an event coming up at the end of May that I am creatively involved in & I have been painting, sewing & doing some watercolours, mixed media & digital work – all around the topic of feet & shoes.  I have had fun creating fairy shoes, sweet little booties, as well as creating artful invites & treasures to sell on the night.

I HAD intended to post up the patterns that I made for the shoes – but that didn’t happen, so it has to be next time!  Til then – take care………..xk

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Some Christmas Cheer, and published here!

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Christmas this year has been devoted to ‘art with a needle’ and although I have been doing a few pages in my latest art journal ‘A Different Perspective’, intermittently.  I posted some pics on my flickr site a few days ago, so you may have seen them, but I am hoping to do a post about the new pages in a week or so.  (here’s the link if you want a sneak peek at the pages)  We are having our family celebrations a week earlier than 25th as our son & his wife celebrate Christmas with interstate relatives this year.  I don’t mind, ‘cos I prepare for Christmas all year – but it does feel a bit of a crunch now getting to the ‘pointy end’.   I wanted to create some personal gifts this year for people I care about, so I have hand made decorations for our childrens’ own trees & for a few special friends.   Another project I have been working on is some additional Christmas stockings.  Our SIMPLY GORGEOUS Princess Ariel Faith, newborn this year needed one (pictured below) & funnily enough, all though all our children, grandchildren & DH have hand made & embroidered stockings, I have never had one myself.  I have only begun it in the last couple of days, after everything else was finished, so I am not sure whether I will get it finished or not – it depends how I go for time, especially since it will be needed a week early!  Soft moss green/murky olivey yellow being my current ‘to die for’ green (that makes sense if you read this story), but wanting to stick within the traditional palette, I have chosen ‘A Partridge in a Pear Tree’ as my own stocking theme.  I will post it (if I get it finished) next week.

as an end note, it was a nice suprise to recieve an email from my fav. mixed media publication – Somerset Studios – & to find out a piece I created a while ago has been featured in the ‘Winter Gallery’, which is great fun!   I was especially ‘chuffed’ to see that they are using it to advertise the magazine this time.  Woo Hoo!  (my work is the Alice Spool made on a vintage reel)  I can wait to see how they have photographed it, cos it WAS  a tricky one!!   You can get all of the collage images  and stamp sets  that I used from the fabulous ALPHA STAMPS (including some of my own Alice collage sheet designs) Unfortunately, the article is still referring to my blog as at ‘typepad’ – so spread the word & change the link!  THANKS for your support & encouragement guys!!

a printmaking update and a little quilt

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Impossible Loveyou know that it's been far too long between posts when you have to read your own blog to see what you wrote last! LOL!! Yep – tis been a while. I have the winter durge of thumping head & body aches & my 'aloe vera' infused tissues are my best friend, so regardless of my tardiness – i am posting mostly pics! We have had a little holiday, our 30th wedding anniversary & The Princess has turned FOUR! So a couple of things distracting me from THE MAIN THING – don't you hate it when life gets in the way of art?!   LOL!! 

I really have alot of art to catch you up on, but I thought I might catch you up on some of my recent printmaking & the joys of creating mono prints…………..or should I say pleasure & pain of creating monoprints? Like all printmaking processes – looks easy peasy – deceptively tricky to get a consistantly good result.

This awkward looking thing is an attempt to break out of the 'fine arts' mold of print making and think outside the square a little to combine processes.  I hope to use some of my prints in altered art and book projects & am still finding my way with the whole art/craft thing.  This is a monoprint, that has be overprinted with etchings.  There were many failures along the way, in an attempt to get a result I was happy with, which in practise means there were many hours spent, with not a whole lot to show for it.The ReaderFlying High  The etchings below were created using aquatints – which to the non printmakers – is like using UTEE as a resist to create a mottled Botanica Ibackground, which is etched, and deep tonality is achieved in the 'divits' that are etched into the plate.  Kind of a primative way to describe it, but hopefully you kind of get the idea.  If you are interested in the aquatint process you can read more here.  These are all relatively small plates – about ATC size, but each one represents about one whole day in the studio to get it to a printable form.  There's no quick road to becoming a printmaker – it's a long hard slog!

On another subject, while we were away, I took a 'handwork' project with me & commenced a cot quilt for our Baby Princess'  first Christmas.  I am using primarily olde worlde rose & floral theme (as I know my sweet DIL is not really a 'pink princess' girl) and basing it around the tones in this TOTALLY GORGEOUS flower fairies fabric by Michael Miller.  The detail and crispness of the print is beautiful and it has just a tiny bit of glittery stuff (don't actually know what it is) – and ALL Princesses need a little bling!

computer woes

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Christmas has come and gone & I am sorry peoples – despite my best intentions – I have something wrong with my 'puter & it's NOT well!  This has stopped me from posting my promised freebies, it has a pending appointment with the computer doctor & I am unsure how long it will be away – SO – I will post some images for you for use today (as a separate post) & hope to be able to have a concurrent give away in a month or so.

A couple of good things happening in the art world – AlphaStamps has some GREAT "9 Days of Giveaways!" give aways happening right now on the blog, along with a big post Christmas sale.  Lots of chances to win but its already day 2 so hurry over and see all the great goodies you could win. For full contest rules, click here

For all you art journallers out there – we are starting a great new art journal project at Paper Traders which will run for several months & have a combination of prompts, techniques & challenges.4-227 Tote Bag_resize

I have been continuing with my EDM drawings, albiet, not daily, as I am also doing a little patchwork. (more about that later)  I have scanned all of my EDM drawings to date & they are in their books on my Flickr site – if you click on the drawing above, it will link you to my site, if for some reason it doesn't – here's the link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thecolourguru/collections/72157608675713059/

I used to patchwork & quilt alot however it really took it's toll on my arm & finger joints, particularly coupled with working on a computer in my work-a-day life.  I made quilts when the grandbabies each arrived, and it is with hope that I have started another one.  I am hopeful in annoucing that we are expecting another little one in April.  I have waited this long to announce it because of the two little loves we sent to heaven in the last year, as each week goes by, (currently 23 weeks) we are more and more hopeful that this little one will be with us.  If you click on the image it will take you to my Flickr site where I have posted the other blocks I have completed so far (each block is 15" square)

Nurture_resizeMiss 3 has lots of wisdom on this, when discussing the prospect of a new little one she said:

'Nonna, Aunty is having a little girl baby,' says she with a very serious face.
'How do you know? I asked.
'Well, we don't want any more boys around here!' she replied completely nonchalant, and continued with her playing……further pearls of wisdom were revealed a little while later, when she said

'Nonna, God sent me, to you to love, didn't He?'
'Yes darling,' I replied with a cuddle……
'And for icecream' she added…..

Click to join Paper_Traders

Click to join Paper_Traders

finally emerging from a blur

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I think that this is the longest timespan I have ever had between blog posts, since I began blogging 3 years ago.  The legacy of preparing to evacuate 3 times, packing & unpacking, commencing uni and ongoing problems with my knee have left me rather despondant and not particularly communicative.  It's times like this that I hermitize.  So I apologise to anyone that was wondering.  I am still here – just a little caught up iwth myself.  Thankfully – our state is no longer on the high alerts we lived with for the last month……it has been both exhausting and mentally & emotionally draining not knowing if you are safe, being in a state of panic & the adrenaline rush as you once again try to prepare for the worst.  Then the drain from all of the heightened emotions kicks in which has left me feeling not very creative.  Anything I create could be burnt tomorrow – or next week – I haven't even been drawing (which is sad after faithfully drawing everyday for 7 months!) Thankfully we are all safe and without loss.  Regretfully – so many others aren't.  Tragedy is all around and there is a pervading sense of loss and disbelief.

IMG_0009_resize My 'creating' over the last month has been sporadic – I have commenced my course – which is an adventure of itself – but have been mostly working night & day to get some 'wares' prepared for my little market stall at the Soul Arts Retreat.  These are some little 'cupcake' pincushions I have for sale, which were fun to do – but VERY time consuming – if I was paid an hourly rate – they'd have to sell for about $80!!  I know – few people actually MAKE money from art – it just doesn't happen.  OK – working on NOT being cynical – it's difficult to recoupe a reasonable rate for the hours it takes to make something!  It's late & I'm tired – I just wanted to break the ice & write something – I hope to talk more tomorrow.

partidges in pear trees

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this weekend saw the culmination of a couple of months work as I collated a whole lot of bits & pieces I had prepared for my IMG_1314_resize'partridges in pear trees' for a Christmas gift exchange.  You saw the watercoloured cards I did a couple of weeks ago – well – they were to go with these little treasures.  Firstly I created a pattern for these little felt partridges.  After trialling several design shapes & styles, I settled on this look & went about making them.  They are only about 1.5" long and tall, so as you could imagine – it was pretty fine work creating them.  They are embroidered with my own hand dyed threads and gold filament. After I had made all my little partridges, I needed a IMG_1324_resize'truckload' of pears & some leaves for 'pear trees'.  Fortunately I was able to pick up some quite small ones, already cut from chipboard – first I painted them in ochre & then sponged on moss green, so they had a yellowy green look, but I wanted them to be extra special - so I also added gold leaf.  After painting the leaves with several colours of acrylics – they had a little dust of Moon Glow so that they didn't feel like the 'wall flowers' next to the golden pears!  I made labels & tags, lined the boxes – more Moon Glow – more IMG_1310_resizewalnut ink….TIME to assemble the trees & add the pears & in some of them – leaves and leave to dry – NEXT – oooooooo…. then I made lovely wrapping paper for them to be wrapped in.  I used some of my lovely pear stamps – NOT Christmassy – but all about the PEARS!!  Then sprayed with Moon Glow & Walnut ink.  The colours I used for this project were Burnt Umber IMG_1419_resize(which has a rusty red shimmer) and Desert Moon Tumbleweed Sage (which has an olive green tinge)  Both of these tones are really subtle – but I was ACHING to use 'bucket o'blood red' - it's divine!   I DESPARATELY wanted to have 'brown paper packages tied up with string' however our post office people (whom I MIGHT add are not REMOTELY friendly or helpful to someone who regularly sends and recieves overseas parcels) REALLY frowns on string, protesting that it gets caught in their sorting machines and 'COULD' delay the parcel – can you see the luminous sparkles????  It's the Moon Glow – I SWEAR I IMG_1414_resizeshould buy shares in that company – I LOVE this product! (see IMG_1381_resizeProduct Info

& Reviews to learn about Moon Glow).  Then it was time to 'build' the nests for my little partridges.  I used some old chicken coup IMG_1398_resizewire from dearest Jenene (thanx J - more supplies needed now please!  LOL!!!)  I used a domed bottle top to create a cupped shape & shreaded a whole lot of fibres that our little birdie might have collected along the way.  THEN – finally – time to put it all together – each one is different and has it's own unique watercoloured card.  Thanks to all the others that participated - it was a big effort, but I know it will be a fun time recieving the parcels from the other artists in return.  IMG_1379_resize

Art Apra

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This weekend our princess did her first collage.  Quite tired of boring old pencils & Img_2163_resizewax crayons, for sometime now, she has wanted to explore a bit further in Nonna’s art studio…. we discovered Sharpies, however after 2 ruined outfits, Mummy banned those – next thought was highlighters, but they went the way of the sharpies – a high shelf!!!  Then (as I described in an earlier post) we moved on to ‘painting’ with my dirty painting water. For some time now we have been ‘playing’ with various punches, I on this particular day, I thought, what the heck – I cut up some coloured scrapbooking paper strips and gave them and a couple of punches for her to play with.  Her little hands found the ‘squeeze’ punches a bit tricky, so she needed some help with that, and of course, I needed to put the paper in the ‘mouth’…….but soon we were pasting away with Matte Medium.  Mind you (the mimic that she is); she wasn’t happy using it off a piece of waxed paper – she wanted it straight from the bottle! (she would have only ever seen me do that on a couple of occasions as I primarily lay it out on waxed paper.  Once those were on, I presented her with a selection of paints & she chose metallic gold & deep crimson red…………it’s not a Mona Lisa in anyones language, but it is a priceless treasure to me & I will frame it……The next time that she Img_2180_resizevisited, she was barely in the door with her Mum & she was saying this new word that neither of us understood, anyways, I offered her my hand & asked her to show me what she wanted.  (usually she takes our hand to pull us to what she wants).  She went to my studio door & started patting at my art apron that was hanging on the door, saying ‘Apra Nonna,’ & patting it some more.  I got the message, she wanted more art!  Unfortunately during the ‘water painting’ episode I had discovered that her plastic coverall bib didn’t fit her any more & I needed to get her a bigger one.  So here it is – an Apra for a Princess!  (and of course, the princess herself, checking out what fits in the pocket)

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Oil Cloth & other Interesting things

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Img_1948_resize NEWS FLASH – IT’S OFFICIAL – World, I am to be a Nonna again!!

WOW, that makes 3 times in 3 years!!!  (I am kinda cheating a bit, cos our first two grandbabies were only a few months apart both born in 2006!)  We were very excited to find out today that our son & his wife are to have another baby early in the new year…….thrilling news for any Nonna.  Babies bring such joy & it is so lovely having them in our lives again.  (yes – though I am 47 yo – I am STILL clucky!)Decal_ruler At the moment they are hoping for a sister for darling little Toby, but I think as time goes on, they’ll be wanting the same as most parents, a healthy baby!  I have been busy, busy with work stuff this week, and sadly, not alot of time for art.  I have been ‘forced’ to bring out my old sewing skills though to make up a new art apron for the Princess. (I’ll tell you the story later)   Last weekend she discovered ‘painting’ (with my dirty water from artwork), & I discovered how much she had grown when she was NOT happy squeezing into the ‘coverall art smock I have had for her for a little while. I later realised was actually only a size 1 – not good considering she is quite a tall almost 2 year old!  Alpha Stamps have some great fabric in stock called ‘oil cloth’ (scroll down the page a bit, there are some great colours & patterns – I have no idea why it’s called oil cloth though), it’s printed fibrous fabric that has a plastic coating – JUST the thing for a toddler’s art smock!  The good thing about it is that it doesn’t fray, so I have gotten a deckle (patterned) edged ruler & am making a ‘scalloped edge’ to the apron by just marking out the template from the ruler then cutting it out.  COOL HUH?! Img_1981_resize

Autumn is beginning to fade and blow away as we start to head into winter.  The mornings are very cold, often around freezing point here in the hills….and we are having some short bursts of intermittent rain.  Oh how our country needs rain – we have been in severe drought for several years now.Img_1985_resize

i AM an embellisher!

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This was destiny for me – I am now an EMBELLISHER.  I have on, I am one.   Really – everything I do is in my life is embellishing – I embellish houses by decorating them & making them lovely – I embellish papers & journals by altering them – I create embellished paper in collage form……….I embellish life by teaching & sharing in many ways.  It all started when a few people start asking questions about felting & embellishing.  As you would be aware from posts of last year, I adore the work of Annemeike Mien, (google her she is A-MAZ-ing) conversations & questions fly back & forward across the world – inspiring sites & blogs are discovered & before I knew it, I am caught up in a whole new fascintation that is the world of was caught up in the art of embellishing & felting.   It is an extension of a  look that I have always loved.  I used to create it using hand dyed fabrics & threads, but my hands are not comfortable doing long hours of embroidery any more & my eyes also feel the strain.   Here are some of my NEW fav. links
Sara; Dale;

I’m a big Softie

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Rosy_monkeyI Rosy_face_detail_1am – REALLY – this weekend was spent recycling interesting old clothes into ‘Softies’ for my Grandies for Christmas……it was really lots of fun……..I have a background in cloth doll making, & I really found the ‘whimsical’ side of creating these little creatures really fun.  Rosy Monkey is a real mischief – she has a tummy made from a scarf, her arms, ears & tail made from an old jumper, her inner ears & back of her head made from an embriodered doily.  I have used odd antique buttons for eyes & an old pair of cords for her legs.Rosy_back_head_detail_2 Angel_matthias Angel Matthias is a real groover in his red bow tie & antique buttons……his wings are piped around the edges so they can be ‘sculpted’ to shape.  Sorry that the pics are really bad, I will try to get some better ones tomorrow.  Matt_face_detail