Monday, 17 November 2008


Arrived home last Tuesday, having had a brilliant time cruising the Mediterrean and being thoroughly spoilt. Spent an awful lot of time here....... having found a 'good read' in the Library. The sun was really warm (in the eighties), fabulous food non stop, and young waiters popping up everywhere! You may be wondering where all the people are - I took this pic. on a day when most of them were off on excursions!!........
I did some watercolour painting during a couple of the days we were 'at sea'. There were Watercolouring Art Classes available (free - first come first seated so to speak) and this is what I managed ......

A sunrise (from a postcard) A sunset - also from a postcard
A 'storm at sea' from the same postcard - different colourway....

and a make believe scene, following the tutor's instructions, but doing your own colours. There was no 'pencil drawing first' on any of these, just straight in with the watercolours, which I found very similar to painting on fabric really, although of course the medium is very different. I am now ready to have a go in my sketchbooks, and have some great pictures to inspire me.
Here are just a few ..........

I shan't be blogging for a while, as I want to 'practice' a lot, and see if I can produce a Journal of my trip, as a memento. If I manage to create anything worth sharing I'll be back.

In the meantime, have a great Chrstimas, and thanks for dropping by - it is very much appreciated.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

We are off on a Cruise ..........

We are off on Monday on the last Mediterranean Cruise on the QE2 before she leaves for Dubai to become a floating Hotel. We leave home tomorrow (26th) for a stopover in the New Forest - just so we don't miss the boat on Monday!

We leave Southampton at 5.00pm and call in on Lisbon, Portugal; Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy; Naples, Italy; Messina, Sicily, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Zakinthos, Greece; Athens (from Piraeus), Greece and on the way back Girbraltar and Vigo, Spain, docking back at Southampton on the 11th November.

If you fancy a ride on the Bridge click here - the picture changes every sixty seconds.

I'm hoping to get lots of inspiration from this trip, so I'm loaded down with sketchbooks galore to fill up .............!

Hopefully I'll be blogging again in a few weeks time, but then maybe not. I may decide to stow away and go to Dubai ..........!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Soft Pastels Workshop with Vivien Walters

I went on this brilliant Pastels Workshop yesterday, tutored by a very talented Artist, Vivien Walters, who does the most amazing pastels of animals, and has recently added this pheasant to her tutorials. I came home with this lovely pastel that I had spent all day working on, learning all the time about how to use pastels, which was a first for me, blending colour, layering, building up the shape (he does have attitude doesn't he) applying strokes etc.etc. I can take credit for all of that appearing on the picture, due of course to a very good tutor, but I cannot take any credit for the composition! Let me explain .........

Vivien has developed a technique where she draws and paints an original picture from a photograph (taken by her husband I think!) then photographs it, puts it onto her computer, deletes all the colour and prints out a 'drawing' onto whatever type of paper her students will be using. She provides us with a printout of the original photograph for the true colour, and a copy of her original painting for inspiration, as we work.
We then start to add colour, building up gradually, under expert tuition..
feathers start to appear and his attitude begins to show itself more..
Finally we titivate and tease and layer some more on the background, never really knowing when enough is enough!
Me at my easel.......
It was a lovely day and I thoroughly enjoyed my first introduction to using soft pastels. The pheasant is actually printed onto velour paper, hence the softness to the look of it. It is a wonderful way to learn how to use a specific medium, and still come away with something to be proud of. Do visit Vivien at and take a look in her Gallery - she is an amazing Artist.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Dale's Workshops 5 and 6

Well, I didn't manage to create any 'finished' pieces, but I did manage to make a few more samples, following Dale's brilliant instructions. Here is a 'name' design, using my first name in handwriting and my surname in capitals, then joining all the lines, and filling in with colour. Can you still see my name?
This is a piece of 'fabric' I made using metallic netting with lots of scrap bits of everything layered between two pieces of netting and embellished from one side only.
This is some brown lace (put together rather like a double edged frill) that I embellished onto felt, some until it was flattened completely and some left with a bit of frill, then other fancy threads and coloured wool tops added.

This is a piece of wet felting I made when Carol showed me how last month(which to my amazement only took about 20 minutes). I then embellished this thick wool over it in a grid, hoping to fill the areas, but didn't get around to it. I will though, eventually, as I have plenty of samples I can cut up, and hand and/or machine stitch into further. It would make a super cover to keep samples in (if I have any left!)
This is an experiment I did in Lesson 2 I think, but I've put it here, as it was the technique I used for completing the postcard below, that is using the Embellisher from the back. This is a piece of black felt with a dyed piece of cheesecloth to cover, then embellished from the back pushing the black felt through to the front. (I then did some stitching on the 'trunk of the tree')
This is the postcard I made for Calendar Girls for September, and I used the above technique to get the green felt that the white hand painted silk is free stitched onto, to come from the back to the front to cover the silk. (I must add the beautiful painted flower was not done by me, but by a friend of a friend's Mum)
I've thoroughly enjoyed following Dale's Embellishing Workshop over the six week period, and understand she is planning more Workshops for 2009, details of which you can find at
I've now returned the Embellisher to my friend Janet, but she has said I can borrow it again, any time isn't that so generous!!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Naughty but Nice - two more spreads

I really am enjoying digging into my stash of lace and stuff, looking for just the right thing, trying to 'catch the mood' of the picture, but not overdoing it!!
After the red plush atmosphere of the spread above, I thought I'd try a softer approach for this one. I think it has come off, but I may go back to it....
I'm off on holiday for a couple of weeks, and really must see if I can catch up with Dale's Workshop, so will not be posting again for a while.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Dale's Workshop - Lesson 4 - using knitting

First of all there is the weaving piece from Lesson 3 I revisited!I've added some flowers from a piece of embellishing fabric I made with black chiffon and wool tops. The wool tops were embellished in roundels so I was able to cut out sections, squeeze them up into petal shapes and embellish more, then added them to be weaving. I think it looks a lot better with, than without! Now to the knitting .......
I embellished a piece of knitting (in circles) I tried a piece all over but couldn't really see any difference - here you can see the dark circles are where it is embellished. I then cut it into a flower shape (see below) and it almost fell to bits!
However, I quickly embellished it onto this background of chiffon (I like the way you get a chevron pattern when you go up and then come down) which caught most of the pieces! I then free machine stitched it with metallic thread to define the shape and added the centre. This was made with a circle of embellished knitting trapped between water soluble fabric, and stitched with metallic thread.

Here I've made a sample using some thumb knitting.....

Monday, 1 September 2008

Dale's Workshop - Lesson 3 (and some postcards)

This week we did 'weaving'..... I decided to use some printed chiffon, variegated blue/green silk and very dark green polyester velvet (as above). I tore the chiffon and the silk into strips and embellished them alternately into the velvet, then I cut the piece into three quarter inch strips, diagonally, then wove them together.
I then embellished the woven piece together, and embellished it onto a piece of dark blue felt. The cord weaving around the piece is made from very thin strips of the chiffon, twisted together.
I have realised over the last three weeks that the pieces we are making certainly need further work to become 'a finished piece', and this weaving is no exception. Next week we are embellishing pieces of knitting, so perhaps .............

I have received some love postcards recently:

This beauty is from Debbie (my friend Dot's Sister) who is actually on her way to Australia with her family to live. She made this for me while staying with Dot, who lives in Falmouth, as you can see. Sailing boats, sea and sand. Wonderful.
Very remiss of me - this one is from Joanna, and is my Calendar Girl Card for the month of July. Joanna used ink and fabric paints to re-create the flowers and vase from the calendar inspiration, and the background is angelina. Gorgeous!
This fabulous one is from Lynda (purplemissus) and is my Calendar Girl Card for the month of August. It has three layers of rustdyed using the caustic soda and ferrous sulphate method. Bottom layer is handmade paper, then tyvek, then the flower which is made from lutradur. You can see all the wonderful cards the ladies have made by clicking on the Calendar Girl Logo on the right of my Blog.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Naughty but Nice - another Altered Book

I'm off again - altering another book! I'm inspired by lots of blogs I visit (aren't we all!) and for more than a year now have been drooling over Debbi's artwork. So when a friend offered me this little book, which has LOVE embossed on the front in gold lettering and is covered with red suede, I just couldn't resist having a go. Again, I evenly tore out some of the pages and stuck others together. Sealed the pages with gesso and gave them all a yellow wash with dye. Debbi gave me this link to find some suitable pictures and I was away. This is the first spread ......
and this is the second spread, and I have six more to go. The book is only 4"x5" so it doesn't take forever to complete a spread.
I'm off to start another one ......

Friday, 22 August 2008

Dale's Workshop - Lesson 2

This week we are working on scrumptious backgrounds... This is red felt (I have yardage of this - can you tell!) layered with fusible web. gold foil, snippets of various yarns with red chiffon on top - then thoroughly embellished.
This is some of the same piece but hand stitched with thick cotton thread, narrow ribbon, thick shiny thread, some unwound dressing gown cord(!) etc.
This is a patterned piece of chiffon, top half is embellished on white felt, the top right hand side also embellished from the back - the bottom half is on black felt, with the right hand portion embellished from the back.
This is torn strips of organza embellished into a weird piece of fabric (you can see at the sides - thickish polyester of sorts) It is embellished until it all lies quite flat.
This is some of the same piece but has been embellished from the back as well, and then strips laid across and just embellished down the centre - the edges are still free.
The Challenge this week was to work a landscape using a photograph (either your own or from any other source available to you)
This is a photograph of a sunrise I took last November from my back garden, so I thought I would have a go ......... The colours are not bright enough of course, as the wool tops I have kept disappearing into the felt! Anyway, I embellished in layers onto lilac coloured felt, then added some torn painted fusible web along the bottom and ironed on some cut threads from the brown unwound dressing gown cord (see first piece above) to represent the bushes and trees, and finally added some machine stitching to create some twigs onto the branches. Job done! The finished piece is 6" x 4" postcard size.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Dale Rollerson's Workshop - Lesson 1

Tuesday the 12th arrived at last (actually Dale sent the first Lesson out Monday evening UK time) and I was finally able to get stuck in. I did a sample using lumpy wool, then fibres on felt and embellishing front and back then I embellished torn strips of silk onto red felt (see below) I then covered it in emerald green chiffon and embellished again .... The piece below is red felt embellished with pieces of torn silk and dyed scrim pulled into strange shapes as I embellished it. The piece below is similar to above but has red chiffon embellished over it and half of it has been zapped with the heat gun.....

This is a piece of red dyed scrim with lots of different colour wool tops pulled out very thinly and laid on the scrim in layers (first layer going one way second layer going t'other, so to speak - four layers I think) I then embellished it from the front and then the back. This piece is wool tops laid on an undyed piece of scrim and embellished front and back, then overlaid with a lemon coloured chiffon and embellished again, then zapped with a heat gun. I did get a bit carried away - hence the nice pale brown colour in places - just as well you can't smell it!
Below is my completed Challenge piece ...........
The samples I used for this was the background of torn strips of silk, having zapped it first with a heatgun. This released a lot more of the colours through the green chiffon. For the flowers I used the sample of silk and scrim scraps (no chiffon) and of course Dale's pattern. Once cut out, I embellished each flower from the back to give it a red centre, and then decorated each centre with 'metallic' bits from recycled necklaces. I was surprised how the red felt background gives the flowers that red edge - and are very dimentional.
I have really enjoyed the week and look forward to Lesson 2 - thanks Dale.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

More Embellisher playtime ...

I've had a great time over the last couple of days ....... I embellished a few bits of lace onto a piece of white felt, and then zapped it with the heat gun, front and back ..... when I do it again I shall leave more space between the laces so the felt can disintegrate easier!
I then painted it with BLACK fountain pen ink, which dried blue. I did think it would dry a grey colour, maybe. Perhaps I should have watered the ink a bit ....
I then painted a yellow on it, and got this suggestion of green. Quite nice - make a pretty book cover maybe?
This is a piece of hand dyed silk I embellished onto felt in a random manor, leaving odd spaces. It is amazing how this texture reminds me of my swimsuit, when I was little!!
This is silk, wool and nylon tops pulled out into wisps and embellished on dark green polyester velvet. I am enjoying this ..... looking forward to Tuesday!