Saturday, 29 December 2007

All sorts - not liquorice

Bits of all sorts today - working on several designs at once. Machined out 3 digitised images in white on white ready to paint and then highlight with a gold leafing pen. They will form the head of a tassel type hanging.

Then I began a layer for another piece - staining some paper with a sepia stamping ink pad then overstaining this with walnut ink. I then created a page of hieroglyphics and printed them over the top of the staining. This sheet will be torn up into small pieces to go behind some motifs when I decide how they will be created.
Then I digitised some text and machined each letter out to make mobiles for the hanging. I still have one letter to stitch out.

The next bit is for Sharon.
The thread I told you about is around £7 - £7.50 (<1000m -20g) per reel for the lge size and £2 -£2.50 (200m) for the small reel - depending where you buy it.
Here is a close up of a tassel top I made for some themed tassels - still to be completed. I have created winter and the oceans and this one for autumn where you can see that particular thread.
As you can see - it is perfect for autumn and in particular - oak leaves.

Saturday, 22 December 2007


Many thanks Lynda, Karen,Sharon and Vivien for your kind words. I am wading through the document and will be talking to the editor after the Xmas break. Will know more detail then about any changes they want me to make etc.

Have been getting on with my current piece which is now in the next phase. I am now in the process of building up layers of stitch. One of my favourite stitches - Sorbello - which is so effective when layered up -stitches on top of stitches in different textures and thickness of thread. There is a lot more to do - swathes of gold stitches from the scrim and off onto the borders and lots of clusters of beads. Here's a close up of the Sorbello st.

Now must away and wrap some presents to be delivered tomorrow.

If I don't manage another blog - merry Xmas to all.

Friday, 21 December 2007

It's here at last!!

My BIG news - the contract from the publisher for my book arrived today - all 16 pages of it.
They did say that I would receive it by Xmas - how close is this!
I think I believe it will happen now.
Nice Xmas present.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

What to do??

Once again - decisions !!
Tried out embossing a patina metal shim over a rubber stamp to see how detailed it would be. It embossed quite well considering it has a paper backing (the shim is self adhesive).
Cut it out with a random edge and now????
Found some of the old faithful tea dyed scrim still to use up (last bit!) and now it is a case of laying it out with different fibres and bits etc. until something rings design bells and then ' go with the flow' again. A material led piece.

My daughter is getting me some artificial grass bits to glue and sprinkle around the bottom of the trees I made yesterday and then they can be wrapped up for Xmas.

I spent ages this morning choosing colours of metallic paints from a place I know who has a man who mixes them and can mix a colour to order for a lot less than the big names in acrylic paints. Had my list and request for a few extra colours if he can manage to mix them - phoned - closed for the Xmas break - back January 2nd - anticlimax! (that's polite for the word I wanted to use)
Not that I NEED more paints - just would LIKE more paints.
Will try again in the new year unless I am over that compulsive urge to add to my stockpile. This has arisen from buying Sherrill Kahn's latest book - Creative Embellishments. Colour, colour , colour springs to mind.

Can avoid it no longer - must get back to the decision making thing.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Trees for Christmas!

Have just finished making some trees for my grandson's model railway. They look very effective.
Will make the rest as and when and my grandson can help. I think he would love to sprinkle the leaves on.
A couple of them need to be straightened up - storing them laid down isn't good for them.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Finished book and other things

An up and down few days.
I have now finished the book although I don't know what am going to use it for yet but that doesn't matter as it is part of my Ancient Egyptian project.
It has turned out really well considering that it began with a printing test. The rest is another 'go with the flow'.This is a close up of some of the detail. The tags were finished at about 2.30am and the lining paper chosen and applied this morning (after a sleep!!!)

It was my grandson's birthday yesterday so we had a family party. I made him a card with a clue on it for his present from us. He worked it out pretty quickly. Unfortunately the weather and road surfaces are still heavily covered in ice so he can't try it out. His granddad made a stand for it so at least he can sit on it. He's coming to sleep over tonight instead of last night. We are going to put the tree and decorations up together.

Huge up and downs with the web site. It was almost complete on Monday but I made some adjustments to it and messed up although my programmer friend said it was more DW trying to help and is often more of a hindrance than a help. He came to sort it and I have now practised some of the editing etc. and he is coming again to finalise it this weekend. He also wanted me to create a little logo - the kind you see at the start of bookmarks and in the address window to add to the site (finishing touches!!). He's getting carried away with it. They have to be 16 x 16 pixels and 16bit col. Very small but I have managed to create my logo on it. There is a final adjustment to make to the images on the first page which messed up when he programmed the text to wrap them and adjust whatever the screen size which is done and ready to upload when he has checked it - he doesn't like where DW puts the images - not good for the web he says (I need to see what he does with them and make a note for future images outside of the slideshows). He has also protected my contact link from being picked up by spammers.
I am now trying to pull back from saying -'is it possible to do.....' which it always is but with time to programme it.

I must begin making the trees and bushes for my GS's model railway - part of my Xmas present for him. Then I can get back to finishing my project. Only a couple more pieces to go.

PS - site is complete and running - at last -and I have learned a lot - a very steep learning curve and I am still near the bottom of the slope.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

New website!!! Hurray

My revamped website is now up and running although there is still some adjustments and additions to make. It can be viewed on the same link - It is basically a big gallery of my work. I hope people enjoy looking at it.

I have also finished the cover work for the dancing girls book cover. I made the background from dyed silk handkerchief fibres using acrylic medium.

The panel of dancing girls was then stitched in the centre and the borders stamped and stitched. It is supposed to look like the peeling walls of a tomb. I am now going to drill the small holes along the edges of the board before I stretch the fabric over it so it is ready to stitch the back, front and spine together.

It isn't finished yet - think I will make some tags and there is still the inside to complete.

Must print my grandson's birthday card today. He will be 8 on Friday - growing up so fast!!!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Dancers on Lutradur

In answer to the query - what do I intend to do with the tassels - well they are just part of a project. I often do projects on a theme and investigate how many different techniques, materials and mediums etc. etc. I can use to interpret the theme. It will usually include panels, boxes, bags, books, hangings, jewellery, whatever I come up with. I also include digital collages now and print them out onto appropriate surfaces.
I have produced in excess of 30 pieces to date for this project with a few more to go. These projects make very good sources for talks to embroidery groups as they include so many different techniques that there is always something to appeal to most of the members.

Which brings me to the current piece for today's blog. This was the testing of Lutradur for printing. Testing over, two prints are now to be incorporated onto a book cover having managed to blend them together. The photo was taken under a small table light and the reading was very slow in spite of the high iso setting etc to counter it - don't much like flash. I does show how nice the two images turned out which was the intention. I have free machined the hair and painted the robes with a pearlised medium which can be added to any paints to give a pearlised effect. Nice on it's own too.

Not sure yet how I am going to proceed and how much to layer up. They look quite nice as they are but I feel I need to do more. Will have to raid the store, lay some stuff on top and look at at it all for a while. Its decision, decisions again.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007


Have finished the Egyptian tassel and like it. The air dried clay makes excellent motifs and I am becoming very fond of these blues, jades and aqua colours.
The tassel head has two sides - one complete and one slightly distressed.
I used gold waxing over the painted clay but was too impatient to let it totally dry so when I had finished the tassel I had to apply the gold waxing again. It is now hanging up to dry thoroughly this time.

I am now going to play with my new printer and see what it can do. I use pigment inks in this printer so am going to see how it prints on Lutradur which will take pigment based colour. Then I can stitch and blast with the heat gun or more me - carefully with the soldering iron.
I have just embossed some patinated self adhesive metal shim which was a trial but has turned out so nice I need to use it. Not sure how yet.
I used this shim to make a necklace and it is really effective. Can't post a photo as it is in the book!
Hope to post something from the Lutradur trial ...... tomorrow????

A quick PS : printed on Lutradur using both printers - one with dye inks and the other with pigment inks. Both printed.
The dye inks stay wet on exit but dry using the hair dryer - colour strong enough but the image is a bit fuzzy.
The pigment ink exits dry and the image is much sharper.
So - if you intend to stitch and zap - it doesn't really matter - does it??

Monday, 3 December 2007

Nefertiti bag

Finished the bag at about 2a.m. and it was bright enough to photograph this morning.

I think I always intended this panel to become a bag when I was stitching it. It shouted out BAG.
The fabric is a black simulated leather - lovely and soft.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Egyptiant Hangings

Finished a couple more pieces for the Egyptian project. Like one not quite so keen on the other.

Spent a lot of time preparing images for the revamped web site. Had to take some new photos as some of the ones I had were taken a long time ago and not of suitable quality to put on site.
Some could not be retaken as they were under glass and I did not want to open them up - I have enough work on without that extra task.

Had grandson sleep over and OH away at the NEC motorbike show.

I am also turning one of the Nefertiti bust profile pieces into a bag. Looking good so far.
Have also done prep to make an Egyptian tassel. This project continues to grow.

Brought in Workshop on the web last night or should I say this morning. Had a quick look at it - there's one article I particularly like. Have done something similar in the past but it has reminded me and I think it could come in for another Egyptian piece.

Back to the bag.....

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Web site!!!!!!

Well my computer and programming expert came last night and whew - my head is swimming. He is setting up templates for me to add my images etc. He does it all in code!!!! I have learned how to use layers/divs so that should make it easier. Sounds good doesn't it? Lets hope I can do my bit as well. He is coming back to finish it off and then......! Lots of images still to prepare.

Managed to photograph another piece this morning before the skies darkened again. Purely made this one up as I went along - rummaged through stock and just let it grow. Colour ruled this one I think - the only connection to Ancient Egypt are the motifs and stamping - could have been anything although I have used a blue background for the Blue Nile!!!

Back to some machining while there is some daylight and then on to those images for the web site.

Have redesigned my opening page AGAIN - think I will stick with this one - like it the best.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Not a lot

Haven't blogged for some time but have been busy. Most of what I have been doing has involved sheers which are difficult to photograph and don't show what they really look like. However - here is one piece which has lots of sheer layers, stitching and burning then overlaid again and stitched then some burnt away again. Doesn't really show up in the photo.
Will send some digitised images over to the embroidery machine now ready to stitch out - again on sheer sandwiches.
Will make a frame tomorrow to mount the piece I did today. Also have a decision to make as to whether or not to leave some threads dangling or cut them to the frame.
Must get on.....

Monday, 19 November 2007

More on the Egyptian theme

I was working on the clay motif's piece this morning and the more I looked at the clay pieces the more I kept thinking that the blue hieroglyphic motif would make a nice pendant. By lunch time I gave in to this thought and began to make a necklace.
My husband had to go into the garage and strip some cable to get me the thickness I needed to make the necklace.
By the end of the afternoon it was finished.
Not a brilliant photo - poor conditions and I didn't want to use flash with so much gold. Will have to retake it in daylight.
Back to the other piece which will have to be re-designed now.

My computer man didn't turn up so no help in the DW direction. So back to the hard slog.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Grandson time

Spent all yesterday with my grandson and in the afternoon we created a picture for his bedroom wall. I showed him how to mix the paint and create a colour wash for the sea then he added paint to stamps to add dolphins, starfish and waves to the background.
He came up with the idea of using several colours of paint on each stamp to add more interest - that pleased me.
He also had to learn to do the cleaning of the brushes and stamps - look after your equipment.
Hopefully in time we can build up to creating a larger mural of mixed media.
His parents came to collect him so I didn't get to take a photo.

The rest of the time was spent preparing images and thumbnails for my website.
I did get some time to start building the layers of another piece.
I had applied some tea dyed scrim to a sheet of thin card with pva. I am now using a darker stained scrim to create pyramids and texure in the background ready for the painted model magic clay accents which I posted a few days ago.
It is looking promising so far.

Oh and on Friday we went out to do some photography and took a series of photos to create a panorama.
I managed to stitch them together today - 6 of them - this CS3 is brilliant.

I took some very useful photos of beech trees now in full copper dress. Looking forward to using them.
When I was opening the raw files I increased the black to give the views into the woods a more dramatic and mysterious effect. The sun was streaking across at a low angle keeping the floor a rich copper colour. A good days results.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Is it or isn't it??

Well I have done more work to this piece and I think it is finished.

On with the next one for now while I deliberate.

Just visited Lynda Monk's blog and what a busy lady. Some fabulous sample backgrounds.
Wonder if I should do more creative work and give the web site a rest - it would be more productive and satisfying.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

I step forward, 2 steps back

Spent all day on Dreamweaver thinking I was winning .Some bits have come together but then I get stuck on something spending hours trying to solve it - getting nowhere.
Very frustrating.
Anyway, posting a picture of finished piece.

As to the other piece I am on with:
I have wrapped the pipe cleaners with tea dyed scrim and cut some pieces of scrim to put under a few of the accents/patches. Now need to decide on how I am going to do the stitching.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Decisions, decisions again.

Have managed to do some work today even though I have had my grandson and my hairdresser here today. Did some cleaning too!

Have played a bit more putting more bits onto this panel - the pipe cleaners are to be wrapped (mummies link!!!!) but still deliberating.

The silhouette of the gods piece was actually finished just half an hour ago but will wait until tomorrow to photograph it. I did, however, take a photo of how I was tackling the overstitching. I didn't want to stitch directly onto the piece in case I didn't like it and to pull out stitching would have ruined it so this way I could see what it would look like. I did like it and the net hardly shows.

Not sure whether I should do this but had a request so here goes.
I am redesigning my website and have designed some new opening pages to see how I want it to look. Now I have to chose which one unless I design more of them!!

The 'Enter' word will be a link to the next page when I discover how to put text over an image - all of these were created in Photoshop as images and I am struggling at the moment to put text over the top of these images and to place images just where I want them. Will persevere though and by the time I can lay out pages in DW I will be ready to choose which style I want to use.

Have painted the clay motifs/patches/accents - whatever people call them - and I like them. Now to decide how I am going to use them!! I have a vague idea for another piece

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Bit by bit

Today's post will be an ongoing one posting bits as I do them.

Have taken photos - then found it wasn't convenient to go visiting (new gas lines in progress so no access), then we were going to go out to do some photography - the sky blackened and the rain came down so will get on with the Egyptians.

This is the one I am pondering about. I was thinking of stitching line drawings of each of the figures over the top or off set. Or stitch line drawings on a sheer and overlay that.
This piece wasn't really planned - I had these outline shapes left when I cut out the figures for the box and didn't want to throw them away so I used them as stencils.
A bonus piece.

This piece is building. I will go with the flow on this one. I have an idea in mind how it will look but......
These clay patches are drying nicely and should be ready to paint today. One is already destined for the other piece and is in situ. Watch this space for what happens to them next.

Thanks for comments about sticking at Dreamweaver. I have a book to 'learn it the quick and easy way' Hmm - I'm beginning to think I'm as dumb as - not getting anywhere at the moment. But.. will have another session and see if anything clicks.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

A productive day

No pictures today - by the time I was ready to photograph the light had gone.

Made some clay embellishments with Hearty - they are drying ready to paint.
Painted and stencilled another piece but not sure what to do next on this one. Like it as it is but at the same time I want to do more on it - dilemma.
Stamped the painted background from yesterday. It is now ready to embellish with all sorts.
Think we are going to visit relatives tomorrow so hope I can do photographs before we set off as it will be dark by the time we get home.

Not doing very well with Dreamweaver - very tempted to go back to Front Page.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Completed tags

The Tags piece is finished although not quite as I had envisaged. When I laid out the tags to look at them - I did it on my window ledge and so they were side by side - I liked the way they looked so decided to keep them that way. The header was made to fit this arrangement.
I couldn't blast it with the heat gun as the fibres were synthetic and would have melted so I removed some of the sheer carefully with the soldering iron and a large pin. Could have done this better if I could have found my glasses and magnifying lenses. Searched the whole house for hours. Today my husband found them - inside one of my bead storage boxes!!!! The age thing again.
As each tag has a back as well as a front - so it can also be hung as a mobile.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Photos & design

Finished the tags and have designed the header for them which I hope to make tomorrow. There are too many to post all of the photos - here are a few of them.

They have backs too and they will be hung from a main piece all at different levels. There are 9 altogether.
The header will be layered up with fibres, sheers, stamping, maching and then blasted with the heat gun. Hmmmm - hope what is in my mind works out.

I have also created more possible opening pages for my web site. Once this decision has been made it is all systems go to begin Dreamweaver proper.
I have decided to scrap the spectrum logo and designed a simpler one.

Here is a photo for Sharon. My husband took 2 photos side by side and I made them into this panorama using CS3. I cropped all the upper areas and some of the foreground of the photo to make it a letterbox panorama. An impressive piece of software isn't it? I used to do it the long way - stitching and blending the two which I had done so I was able to compare the two and there was almost no difference so I was very impressed with the software.
I am off to set up the header for the tab hangings now ready to stitch out tomorrow.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Busy, busy - too many things I want to do

Haven't posted for a few days. Have been busy with my latest piece which has snowballed a bit and I have been enjoying getting on with it. No photos yet - will take some tomorrow. It is actually a series of little pieces - they are tags which will be hanging from a main piece - now that part may pose the problem as I haven't given that one any thought yet. - Just had a thought - wonder if it will work?????

Have also spent time learning to use Dreamweaver to revamp my website. It is time consuming with not much to show for it yet. Have made a layout of my opening page but cannot decide whether to have a bold theme or a gentle one. My husband says to go bold. Will create a few and then decide.

This is one idea.
Back to the tags - was having a problem machining a piece of gold leather then realised I hadn't put the embroidery foot on - feel such an idiot sometimes. It's an age thing!!!!

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Dreamweaver - dream on!

Well piece number 23 is finished. I thought it was finished yesterday and was waiting for daylight to photograph it when I realised that the metal panel in the centre was 'wonky'. I am hopeless with the vertical - everything looks either 2 mins to or 2 mins past - and yes I did measure but somehow it must have moved.
Came up with an idea to camouflage it which had been part of the original design and dropped but now I had to use it.

I think I like it.
Back to my vertical problem - when I used to display on my classroom walls it was evident that I had this vertical problem so I always had a plumb line handy similarly at home when hanging my work. When things are actually vertical they look 'wonky' to me - must be my eye perception that is at fault.
I well recall one incident when my daughter and I had just brought home her chosen wedding dress and she was trying it on to show her father. When I came in the room they were standing there arm in arm as they would walking down the isle but they were both leaning slightly over - 2 mins past - as that was my norm!!! Funny Ha Ha.
It isn't so funny when I have finished the stitching or mounting work and it is wonky as with this piece. Grrrr

Anyway - at last the book to help me learn Dreamweaver has arrived so I have spent a couple of hours starting at the beginning. I think it is going to take a while. So lesson 1 over - I have familiarised myself with the interface and know what all the tabs and bits are - I think!
Will sit and make some sketches of how I want the pages of the site to look and how many new images to prepare. Fancy including a slideshow. How ambitious is that????

For now - preparing my next piece.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Digital imaging

I have finished piece number 23 of the Egyptian project that I was working on - I think!!! I keep looking at it and think it is finished then I look at it again and think I could do more on it. If in doubt - leave it out. Will go with that for the moment.
I'l take a photo tomorrow in daylight and post it on my next blog post.

Meanwhile, I have had a play with some digital imaging. I came up with this one and have played further with the colour sliders to create three more.

I may use it as a base design for a piece of work. It lends itself to stamped images, fibre felting, free machining and a machined overlay of the fancy lacy design. A quilted piece perhaps.

I used the colour sliders and sliding the blue to its + max gave another nice possibility similarly with the red and blue sliders together to their + max.

Some time ago I did some more digitial imaging from a photograph of a rhododendron bud. It involved a LOT of layers.
One of the designs was given a coloured gradient background and the other a monochrome background. Can't decide which I like the best. I think I will have to print both of them.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Starting a new piece

I have changed the image of the final Egyptian Eyes piece posted yesterday. I didn't like how it looked using flash and hung against the white wall. It looked really nice on the wall but didn't photograph well. I have now photographed it in better daylight and on black which looks much better - more how it really looks. Have a look at yesterday's post.
Thanks for your comments Sharon - re: hanging the piece - I have attached a cord on the back stitched to the fabric so it will hang as it looks in the photo.

I have begun my next Egyptian project piece. Some time ago when I bought InkAID, I did lots of experimenting and the centre for this piece is one of them. I printed the image onto gold metal shim and embossed it afterwards. it turned out really well so I decided to use this for the centre of the next piece.

First I cut a piece of fabric and this is a fabulous find - to me anyway. Many years ago when our daughter came caravanning with us, she slept in an inner tent in the awning. It was, however, still cold during the early hours so I bought thermal curtain lining. It is a fine weave fabric coated on one side with a white substance and reminded me of the coating of gesso I put onto fabric I am going to paint. I decided to try it and see how good it was when painted. My fabulous find - it paints and takes inks brilliantly just like a gesso coating. Ready done. Now my daughter no longer needs this inner lining, I have a large stash of this canvas weight coated fabric which stitches easily. I used it for the last piece so from now on.....

I painted and stamped the fabric background Stage 1. I made all the stamps used on the piece.

Next I laid the metal shim image and some threads over the surface as I will now let the piece develop. I have only a vague idea of what the end will be.

Back to work.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

The finished hanging

Well, the piece is finished. Made some last minute alterations - didn't like the radiating lines on one of the squares so unpicked them and used some seed beads instead.
I looked at it for a while before I decided how to mount it.
I decided to make it a hanging. It is in essence a sampler of techniques using the Egyptian eye as the theme.
Difficult to photograph - dull days so had to use some flash - a lot of shiny surfaces there.
This is a replaced image to the one posted originally.

Time to plan the next piece.

A bit further on

I have managed to do some more work on the 'Egyptian Eyes'. It is building and getting closer to what I envisaged it to be but not there yet in this photo.

Since taking the photo I have now almost finished the piece - ready to take off the frame and decide how it is going to be mounted. The colours are more vibrant than those I visualised and it looks better for it.
Have wrapped some rather bright metallic braid with tea dyed scrim then machine wrapped them with a variegated thread which had most of the colours in the piece. These will be stitched down the vertical joins leaving some of them loose and overhanging top and bottom as per my original sketch..

An unexpected free day today as my grandson's dad was at home so he would not be with me today - miss him - but it is best he spends time with his dad - he doesn't see enough of him due to work demands. So I hope they had a good day together.

Went to the camera club last night for 'Digi night'. Apart from a couple of things not really anything new to me but I enjoyed it and met new people.

Read some blogs and posted some comments. Now back to the Egyptian eyes.