Saturday 26 February 2022

What to say!

As the world and particularly Europe reels from the news this week that Russia has invaded Ukraine, I found it hard to know what to say or what to write today.

All I can say about it is that I will keep praying, joining with millions across the earth who are doing the same.

I hope you won't find this frivolous but in a darkening world we need to find some joy.

In other news I have prepared my planner for March.

Next Thursday is both World Wildlife Day and World Book Day.  As I had some book related washi tape I went with a book theme for the week.

Thanks for joining me today

Tuesday 22 February 2022

Really! Another month gone!

Can you believe we're in the last week of February?!  Almost 2 months of 2022 gone already!

Just a short planner/journal update todate.

All ready for this week.  I may have gone overboard with the stickers!

But when you have a week with not much on and therefore little to write about, then it's all about the stickers!

Here's my March calendar.  Hopefully the weather will start getting better and I can get out of the house more.

Thanks for stopping by

Saturday 19 February 2022

Canal pieces

As you know I like to make pieces about the canal, using fabric that I printed using the breakdown printing technique.

I finished this piece.

I cut up the remaining fabrics and reassembled them into these two rectangles and they were going to be made into rectangular hangings.

However, I felt that the rectangles were fairly static and that canals do flow.  Not like rivers flow.  Nevertheless the water does move particularly when locks are opened to allow boats to move through.
I cut the rectangles into strips the same width as the internal measurement of the bobbins I have stashed away.  This is the top rectangle cut up.

And this is the larger rectangle cut up.

I machine stitched this piece in slightly wavy lines.  I cut off the double layer of calico edges leaving all three layers with raw edges.   The top part.

The lower part

It's quite difficult to photograph.  I used the stairs so that it would undulate.  My plan is for it to be attached to the bobbins so that when the piece is exhibited one raw edge will be towards the wall.  The whole thing

I have stitched the second piece but haven't yet trimmed the edges.

Thanks for joining me today


Tuesday 15 February 2022

A Day Late

Yesterday was St Valentine's Day.  St Valentine was imprisoned for his faith.  He was beheaded and buried on February 14th 269 AD for helping persecuted Christians and marrying Christian couples.  While in prison he prayed for his jailer's daughter and her blindness was healed.  On the day of his execution, he left her a note signed: Your Valentine.

I rather like this prayer from Pete Greig (although I don't necessarily agree with the 2nd paragraph)

I pray today for those in love, those out of love, and those in between. I remember especially those who find themselves a little bit lonelier than normal.

I do not pray today for loved-up couples, exchanging overpriced flowers and foil-wrapped hearts, leaking pheromones like diesel fumes at candlelit dinners. I’m pretty sure, Lord, they will be OK (for now).  (I think we all need prayer, however 'loved-up' we think we are).

Instead, I hereby dedicate this happy-crappy day to all the brave teenagers who dared to send a card (hoping in vain with every fibre of their being for something back). Let them be a little bit more OK because I prayed.

I think of the mother, coping alone, who quietly bought herself flowers yesterday. Let her kids be kind today. Let her teenagers tidy their bedrooms. And if that's a miracle too far (I realise You've got a lot on in the world right now), could they at least initiate a hug at bedtime. And, Lord, let those daffodils she bought herself last longer and shine brighter than those overpriced red roses that also caught her eye.

Finally, I ask You to look upon the elderly gentleman gazing today at a fading sepia photograph in a silver frame of a wedding in another time. Look at him and look with him and be with him in the remembering and the unremembering too. 

King of Love, on this day named after one of your unmarried saints, embrace the unlovely and the unloving parts of the world and of myself today. 

Song of Songs, inspire surprising turns of phrase and simple thoughtful acts, scatter sparks and rekindle the fires of romance wherever marriages are mired in the mundane. Melt our tiny, tinny expensive chocolate hearts.

And forgive me today, I pray, for this cheap, gaudy, hysterical, isolating thing I have sometimes somehow tried to make of love and of You.

The cynical side of me feels Valentine is the patron saint of card factories and florists.  Despite that, for 40 years Roger and I have exchanged cards and he has bought me flowers.

If you didn't receive flowers yesterday, please share mine.  You are welcome to download this photo.

And if you fall into any of the categories in the prayer above, please know that people all over the world were thinking of you and praying for you yesterday, through the prayer App: Lectio 365.

Thanks for reading to the end.

Saturday 12 February 2022

Machine Stitching

This week we had the next session of Textile Explorations.  You may remember that at the last session I used cold water paste to stick lots of fabric leftovers together.

In this session I cut the piece in half - mostly because the size it was made it awkward to use with the sewing machine!

On the left half I added foil.

On the other half I machined all over it with a preset stitch on my machine.

I cut the foiled piece into four pieces and put net over two of them and then machine stitched them.

I haven't decided what to do with these two pieces.

I cut two 10cm squares  from the right hand half after I'd machined it.

I didn't have enough of this piece to make 4 squares because of where I had chosen to cut out the above squares.  I decided to use the left over machined piece with some other leftover bits from the last session to make a long narrow piece which may become a scroll book.  The pieces are currently held in place by a small amount of Mistyfuse whilst I decide how I'm going to stitch it all together.

How would you stitch it?

Thanks for joining me today.

Tuesday 8 February 2022

A new adventure

Last week I was invited to show my work to a lovely group of ladies who make up the textile group Eclectica.  I have seen the group's work at various exhibitions over the last few years.  I thought that maybe now was the right time to apply to join them.

I was encouraged to take lots of work to show them.  I took them at their word and filled a suitcase.

The two display tables soon morphed into four!  I put my work together in groups.  This table had a variety of work that has no overall theme.

Here are my canal inspired textile pieces and sketchbooks.

Off now to another country!  And my work and sketchbooks based on Florida.

And no sharing of my work would be complete without Venice!

As I prepared to take all this work to the presentation, I realised that whatever the outcome it had been a useful exercise.  I have never put everything together like this before.   The sketchbooks usually live on shelves downstairs whilst the textile pieces are either piled on the spare bed or in bags for life in the same bedroom.

I found that after I stopped shaking that I enjoyed talking about my interests and my textile and mixed media work.

The day before I had been talking with a friend about how to be proud of your work without being prideful.  She sent me a link to a blog post by Ken Reid.

I like what Ken says: When you accomplish something and feel really good about it, that isn’t pride. It’s delight. 

Being proud of, or prideful about, your work means that you need everyone to know that you did it. Your delight is not in the work itself but in the recognition from others that you hope your work will bring. 

To have delight in your work is simply to enjoy it and be amazed that it came from your hands, or mind, or words, or what have you.

So whilst I am putting this blog post about my work out there, it's because I have found a delight in what I have done.  And yes I am amazed that I did it, especially the sketchbooks.

I'm also delighted to say that I have been invited to join Eclectica.

I'm excited to be starting a new journey with this group and will let you know how I am faring as the year goes on.

Thanks for joining me today

Saturday 5 February 2022

Planner mania

I feel that using this planner is like a mix of the journal I was keeping last year and the scrapbooking I did years ago.  I am finding it really enjoyable although somewhat time consuming.  But being creative is much better than scrolling Facebook and Instagram.

I showed you the setting up of my second planner in this post.  I am really using it as a journal rather than a planner.  And my diary/journal/planner featured in this post.

Today I am featuring my main planner/journal.

In last year's journal I put a photo in almost every week.  In this journal I decided I would use the last page of the month (which is supposed to be a Currently page for February), as a photo memory page for the month.

Here's the calendar pages for February.

This week's pages

And next week's pages in production.

I'm still watching lots of YouTube videos especially Planning With Bumble (MaryEllen) and Scrappy Wife (Elisa).

Thanks for joining me today.

Tuesday 1 February 2022

What a surprise!

I have been following along with Hilary Beattie and her Saturday Sketchbooks classes.  I desperately want to call it Sketchbook Saturday!  But either way on two Saturdays each month Hilary generously shares copious amounts of information about working in sketchbooks.

In January she suggested we recycled our Christmas cards into a concertina sketchbook.  I put gesso over the cards and some acrylic paint.  I also stamped on the background with wooden blocks.

Hilary decided to make an imaginary village but I decided to make a version of Venice.  Surprise! Surprise!  

I cut out the shapes of buildings and bridges.  I also made some trees.

There are a surprising number of trees and green spaces in Venice.  Did you watch the opening episode of Monty Don's Adriatic Gardens?

I used my gelli plate to print the buildings and trees.  I had made the shapes from textured wallpaper which made fabulous designs on the prints.

I glued the various prints using both the cut out buildings and trees and the pieces of paper they were cut from.

I gessoed and painted the reverse of the zigzag book. I used different stamps

I used the left over prints and the wallpaper masks to make a different version of Venice.

Here are some closeups.

The second side definitely still needs work.  And the above end piece needs some additional pieces.

But for now I'm happy with what I have.  Colouring in windows and trees can be a pleasant activity in between other larger bits of work.

Of course, a zigzag book like this doesn't have to be about buildings and trees.  It could be jugs, vases, dancers etc.

What theme would you choose?

Thanks for joining me today