Sunday, December 11, 2011

MAPS Chunky Book-2

Here is book 2, Maps, in the Chunky book swap with the sketchbookproject Yahoo group.  The first was in October and that was Music.  Uncertain what to do i found the ditty from the song "over the river and through the woods" doing a number in my head.   So I sketched it out not once but twice,  
  over the hills

And through the woods

To family, friends and home

By the time i had completed the first set i was having so much fun and so created set 2, just a little different

Across the river
And through the woods

to our happy hideaway
  then I reduced the drawing in PSP and reproduced them, (apologies to Lydia Maria Child,  i think it is in iambic pentameter which is why it can hook into the brain) . My words were written out on scraps, then words and pictures were glued to a fold-out book; a painted strip of Tyvek  was glued to the cover and called The Journey.  the background was a map from Taos NM on the reverse side parts of the USA were glued down( the base was a beer mat).   The title is not printed on my book shown below, have to find the wite pen!

It was so much fun to make and makes me smile.  There were 11 people in this swap and I had to make 11.  The lesson learned is I need to get a Die cutter if there are to be this many participants or my hand will drop off.   This is by far the best swap i have participated in because we have to make them almost the same.  Lorena, the moderator, doe not need to decide who gets what, we get one of each and everyone is quite spectacular.

The next theme is celestial  currently mind is a blank. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

A coat for Ella

Here is the fur coat i made for Ella.  I mailed it today.   Lets hope it fits and is fun to wear.

It is Simplicity 3940. it is a swing coat. The pattern did not call for a lining.  it really needed it as the backing of the fur is a knit, not pretty and possibly scratchy.   Neither is it thick. I lined it with silk dupioni that was in my stash.  The inside is really a bronze color and because there was not enough for sleeves they are burgundy.  The burgundy was a far superior silk but in the sleeves it will not be seen. the coat is a faux fur velour.  The pressure on the pressure foot had to be reduced and the stitch length increased.  This was discovered when the armhole and sleeve would not fit.  otherwise it was very easy to make.  i spent about 10 days making it.  the buttons are square and are really ornamental as the coat is snapped shut.  The buttons have hanging thread as we thought they looked like cat whiskers and after all it is cheetah skin!

This is one of the first images taken with my new Canon Elph 310 camera.  It does just about everything except improve my photography.  This coat had a nice texture.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chunky Book Swap Music

The October chunky book swap theme was music.  I wanted to create it in paper and have a fold out.  i printed out  a figure of a conductor from something in my files of inspiration.  (It was at this point i decided i really need to spend time, yet again, learning Paint Shop Pro).  i ended up cutting and coloring the figure and scanning it in, then printing it out.

The fold out was painted old sheet music that sucked up the paint.  it folds in to look like a book. the fold out represents the idea that music makes your spirits soar and spread your wings. 
On the reverse side i made a fabric pocket and added the music tag with the information about the swap.

We had to make 11 of these and send them off 10 to Lorena in Hawaii and she sent us one from each participant. 

 This is the front, made before counting my music charms when I went to add them there were not enough for the other 10 cards. 
The November swap is maps.  Somewhere you had to use a map.  I managed to go off on a tangent then later seeing some very inspiring ideas online.  

Saturday, November 5, 2011

My gorgeous Day Of the Dead Book

After i posted yesterday my friend Liz in Chicago sent this photo taken in "Tlaxcala during Day of the Dead and the whole town square was full of spectacular ofrendas."  So here is a real one!

yesterday i showed a glimpse of my book made in the paper bag swap.  here goes

This is pages 2 and 3.  I made page 2 and Janet page 2 and one side of her inset sticking out.  this goes in the bag opening

Page 4 is janet, don't you love that tortilla maker.  page 5 is the outside of Arlene's bag
 Arlene pages 6 and 7 she did not glue down the bag flap completely so it forms a pocket and has a label pushed in it.  great way to make it and i love hidden compartments and pockets.  The texture of page7 is enhanced with dyed cheese cloth and to the right is a glimpse of her inset into the open bag side.

here is one side of Arlene's insert card.  love those images

Now here is where the scanner was supposed to separate these two but it did not.  the left is side one from Arlene and the right is side one from Janet on page 3.

this is the other side of Janet's insert.  it really is lovely 

here is page 8 Arlene and page 9 Janet.  this is where scanning is a pain as it was too long for the scanner bed and I could not pull the tab  with heart back where Janet placed a pocket and image under the tab and I cut off the last image.   So have to look for a camera.

below is Janet page 10 and my page 11.  I made an ofrendas (Sp?) to honor my mother who died this year.  the food offerings are more like an English feast with a ham, lots of pastries and champagne.  The yellow scrunched paper at the top represents the flower garlands and lots of candles to light her way to us.  And what sort of celebration could we have without the sugar sculls.  Very surprised that there were none available in San Antonio.   It goes so well with Janet's dancing couple.

And finally my insert.  

It really is a beautiful celebration of the hereafter.  

Friday, November 4, 2011

Awful week or two

Over the weekend of October 22 we headed north to Dallas so I could attend the Bead Fest at Arlington Convention Center.  it turns out that the rangers were in the world series so the roads were a night mare.  We learned that this was a baseball game!  The show was lovely but marred by the loss of my canon point and shoot camera.  Once home it was laser eye surgery over a two week period, quick and easy and then I had to do something about the increasing tinnitus and decreasing hearing in my ear. In the affected left ear, the tinnitus was so bad it was drowning out all speech.  iPod ear buds at least allow me to listen to TV but socializing is painful and even ever patient Chris was getting exasperated. I was put on Prednisone to try and cut the inflammation in some area where this all happens although no-one is quite sure where it is happening.  Menieres remains a mystery disease even after 35 years.  At least Serc controls the vertigo and my doctor said that Serc only helps one in nine people.  At least one break.  

Prednisone is both a savior and a terrorist.  Too much and bad things happen.  I switched to taking it in the morning, today, as it causes sleeplessness.  It is a 20 day course now, started with idea of 14 days and he switched when he saw the hearing graph.  It is now going into my right ear.  

Then a neighbor and friend of DH had a stroke.  A really fit guy who exercises and does not over eat.  horrible shock, happily he is improving quickly and will get a stent early next week.

good stuff.   A few weeks ago i mentioned the Day Of the Dead swap.  it is a paper bag book swap.  we make 3 bags into 6 pages and swap 2.  Crazy crafty Anna organized it at Sketchbook project.  She is truly incredible and as well as mother and wife raises goats and make soap from goat milk.  

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS is celebrated in most of the Latin American cultures with Indian populations.  In  the Aztec world death was not thought of as the end but rather the beginning of a life, free from the hardships of earthly life.   once a year the dead return to earth.  the Catholic church messed with the dates so that it coincided with All Saints  and all Souls days.  Alters (offrendas) are set up in homes or in country at the cemetery to welcome the dead home.  Their favorite foods, drinks and interests are proudly displayed on the altar.

traditional crafts were central to the decorations and festivities.  Sugar sculls, special bread, paper cutouts and sculptures features happy skeletons and catrinas.  IT IS NOT TO BE COMPARED WITH HALLOWEEN, a commercial driven party venture of scary creatures and fear of the dead.

Here is the first page made for the swap.  It is a water fall book that means each bag is cut so that they increase in size.  Page1 for swap  and a card sticking out of the pocket.

inside page two and three.  On three i wanted an altar and ussed tissue paper to represent the flower wreathes they make.  the candles are to light the way for the loved ones to find their way home.

backside of bag of DOD fabric.

bag two is a photo from the DOD collection my friends the Llanos a sculpture in a box.  

page two and three of bag 2.  the card sticking out has a recipe for cookies.
Since I do not have a camera I am relying on the scanner to show the bags received in the swap made by Janet and Arlene.   This was a fabulous swap and i love everything about it.

This is my completed book and i will create a post of it so here is just a taste of this fabulous work!  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

busy week

Yesterday, I made chutney after leaving it overnight to blend the flavors, cooked it this morning.  Regrettable I did not give it a good stir and placed it on the burner to bubble up and cook down .  As a result half of it was stuck to the bottom of the pan and despite filling 6 jars I think it is compromised; that means the flavor is of burnt toffee and vinegar.  We shall have to wait for the next episode of "Death by chutney" 

What a busy week. Tuesday was art day with Deanie in Boerne.  She was working on creating crazy quilt squares  from her stash and i played with paper dyed a month earlier. Chris had a colonoscopy on Wednesday and that meant Tuesday was upside down as he could only have liquids and jelly(jello).  Wednesday, I also had laser eye surgery for glaucoma on my left eye, my right eye will be fixed  in 2 weeks. It is the inherited type.  What an incredible procedure.   

For the past 6 weeks my tinnitus has been so loud that I have problems hearing.   It makes life so difficult.  Not that I have let it get in the way of producing art and crafty things.  Working on the November chunky book swap, theme is maps, and several other things that I will post photos of later, a great reveal.  I finished the Royal ring it is meant to be a copy of the Princess Di engagement ring in beads. 

(i seem to spend my life looking for downloaded photos lost in my incredible and forgotten photo organization). 

My week ended on an up beat note, a party with old friends and neighbors.  Good food, incredible whiskey and fine companions what more do I need!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ring finished

In the Nov/Dec issue of Beadwork, there is a ring pattern by Nancy Cain. Finding the large focal triangular crystal was a real challenge so the idea of making it was dropped until September of this year when finishing things became an obsession.  Pamela at Bello Modo was a great help not  only does she carry the the crystal she has a great selection of 23mm trivolis.  She then helped me with the choice of beads to make the ring.  Unlike fabric you really have to see the beads to get it right.  It is gorgeous !

  i am really pleased with it but I need more practice.  Tightening the thread is hard as my right hand is not very strong and good at gripping the thread but it is really satisfying to make these little baubles and wear them.   So now to the next one.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Where does the day go?

It seems to have been a very busy week or two or three.  It is the time for the semi annual medical and since everyone specializes it feels like doctors take over life. it really is not that bad.  The time eater is the world of online.   

Two weeks ago the swap bug hit and I joined two swaps and decided to make a set of birthday cards.  The latter proved to be a gluey mess.  After this battle I switched to the  Day of the Dead swap.  Research is one of my favorite activities for a swap and the internet is brimming with wonderful photos and information of this Hispanic festival.  it is far more complex and interesting than Halloween. My friend Kay mailed me photos of their collection of dancing skeletons and  Mexican folk art.    This was a paper-bag swap.  Amazing how you can turn three paper-bags into an album. I will post it all later when it is mailed out. Next it was to work on the chunky book swap.  Since this swap has 11 participants it required a more organized approach.  The theme is music and my image collect yielded some excellent ideas.  Unfortunately I have once again forgotten how to use Paint Shop Pro so had to work in print master.  But it is working out quite well.

 This is my work table.  I am one of those people who requires everything to be on the work surface and the thought of putting anything away fills me with horror.

Despite this frenzy of cutting stamping, painting, sewing, gluing, redoing, a calamity with a bottle of glue, water sprays and a Pearl X'd cat all is on time and almost complete.  Also found time for lots for cooking as the weather has cooled off and squeezed out about 3/4inch of rain.

This is a summer pudding made with stale bread, and cooked plums with a splash of Cassis. It has to be weighed down for a few hours.  It was very good.  Always forget to photo food as we are always ready to eat and have had a glass or two of wine. 


Saturday, September 10, 2011


Yesterday i felt like a comment I made on-line in one of my groups was censored.  So I decided to make a page for a journal.  i gathered all the material and off i went.  

Then I decided it was an excellent way to  to complete some lessons in Raw Art Journaling and to try out my new printer ( an Epson Artisan 725 Arctic Edition). This did not scan as i expected they became one whole image instead of 5 and I do not know how to get the image to come up the right way without going into PSP.

So now I have to go find the manual and see if it can be done from the scan screen.   I was sure there was a way.

Well the gremlins are waking up and making the words jump around the screen.  Chris just called and is on his way home.  I now remember I was going to empty the washer, make some jello and figure out tonight's menu.   that was before I moved this into my studio and decided to do a post. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Orange week

This week meant a birthday for me and the opportunity for a couple of friends to go orange, for me.  Sue with this incredible flower arrangement, well really a sculpture that receives no justice from my photography.  I just sit and stare at it as it is so lovely.  happily monster cat has not discovered the vines that trail out.

  Kay came up with a wonderful selection of orange gifts and of course my favorite is the slap watch.  gosh i have such hip friends.

Please note age is not mentioned here as i go into shock every time I hear the figures and have to be revived with Makers Mark resulting in me wondering what happened to the computer screen.

Next year i think it must be an orange food celebration.  This year it was very mundane, steaks, quinoa and grilled veggies as the heat makes cooking a test  by more heat.  The cake was a no bake, made with layers of cream whipped and divided into toffee, espresso and chocolate.  The base was digestive biscuits;  these are what was used in Prince William's famous no bake chocolate wedding cake.  That recipe was considered but it used raw eggs.  

Here is Ian trying it out.  I will have to try and make it look better.

The rest of my week was spent trying to finish a beaded bangle copied from a pattern in Beadwork magazine by an English beader Jean Power.  It worked out pretty good and I learnt a lot.

Then i made a ring using the crystal discarded as the the stripes on the bezel went the wrong way. (you can't see it)  it was my first attempt making a ring.  it fits so well it may never come off.

So now to cleaning up the bead things and trying to work on a journal or maybe dinner.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ella's Dresses

Here is Ella in the dresses I made this year.
This is my favorite.  It is from a Daisy Kingdom dress pattern by Simplicity.  The pattern was created in the 60s. they have started printing them again and you really need to follow the instructions very carefully.  All of this series of patterns requires yards of fabric. The fabric is a tutti fruiti seersucker that is made in Japan. it is really easy care and wonderful to sew on.

The skirt is a fairy fabric and the top is a companion fabric called morning frost.  Searched the internet for the fairy fabric.  the print is  from a children's illustrator popular in the 1920s.  As you can see i am also into making fabric flowers.

Ella is five and very tall and skinny.  She is very pretty. 

this is a dress made from Tutti fruitti fabric but I had a hard time finding a contrast.  It is a fabric that vanishes from the store very quickly.

here is Ella at the fairground in Southend with her brother James. this is a popular seaside resort in England quite close to London. He is a lovely polite sweet little boy. 
James is 9 this year.

the Blogger gremlin is giving me a hard time so I had better go and make the pizza before he discovers the outside world.

Great job with the photos Laura.