Tuesday, 20 May 2008


Time for another blog after spending a few days doing some sorting and reorganising. I did manage to throw some stored 'too good to throw out' stuff out. Not easy for a hoarder like me.
I also managed at last to photograph a tassel I made last week. It is a representation of a lotus flower. I digitised a petals and stitched out eight of them on white sheer fabric. They were cut out with a soldering iron and then stiffened with a clear stiffening medium.
Next I made the skirt of the tassel with a mixture of green threads - to represent the stalk.
Then I made a 'pom-pom' with a mixture of yellow threads to represent the flower centre.
With hindsight I think it should have been a little less dense and more straggly.
All the parts were then stitched together.

Today there were some dandelion seed heads out on the patio having seeded themselves between the paving stones. The sun was shining so I dashed out to photograph them. It was a little bit breezy and so I spent quite some time waiting for the breeze to die down or the sun to come back out from behind the clouds. I did get what I wanted.

Half an hour later this last dandelion seed head had blown away so there will be more of them next year.

At this point I would like to thank Lynda for her method of positioning the images without the long tedious drag from the top. It worked.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Tutankhamen then the Dales

First I would like to thank Pippa for her postcard AND its envelope. They are lovely pieces of work and much appreciated.

I have finished two more pieces for my project which is getting closer to completion although I have said that before haven't I?
I had coated some gold sheer fabric with InkAid and printed a digitally changed image of the Tutankhamen gold mask onto it. After much deliberation I eventually decided how to take it further. I decided to create a small quilted panel. I placed the image over the top of some ivory Thai silk but had to put a layer of deep gold sheer underneath the image in order to enhance the print. I used a layer of white fleece underneath to create the quilting.
The old Egyptian curse reared its head again as I had several rescues to make with this piece. Fortunately they don't show.
I created a 'distressed' look (the result of one of the rescues) to the background silk by gently finger rubbing treasure gold over the surface and stamping some hieroglyphs with antique gold paint. I wasn't too sure if I liked it as it looked more 'dirty' than gold but once the printed image was pinned in place I began to like it so I carried on.
I used several different threads to both hand and machine quilt the printed image in the centre. The idea was then to carry on the quilting effect over and outside the border, created by the surplus sheer fabrics, and out to the edge of the panel. I made a hanger using a kebab skewer painted with the treasure gold and a Krylon gold leafing pen and some silk fabric loops.
The embellishments consist of gold twist cord couched around the image and the outer edge of the sheer fabric to make a frame and some beads, copper and gold purl to create the necklace on the mask.

Many of the Egyptian images show the Pharaohs and their gods carrying something called a 'flail'. It was a symbol of power and looked a bit like a tassel on a stick. I used this as the design source for another tassel. All the flails had three dangles from a head. I made the tassel head from padded gold leather and used beads and gold thread to make the tassel skirts. The blue wooden beads and the gold and silver wooden bell beads were from my grandson's box of beads which he used to thread when he was a toddler to develop his coordination. Everything comes in useful in time and these wooden beads have come in handy regularly.

Today my OH and myself went for a day out to do some photography. We drove up into the Yorkshire Dales which are not far from where we live. I am not going to say a lot just put up some of the photographs I took and yes these were the greens that we saw.

These are the fields leading up to the moors on the way out of Reeth.

Couldn't resist this pose by this group of sheep.

All the following photos are of Hardrow Falls. A high waterfall which is reached by going through a pub and paying the fee at the bar.

It is a pleasant short walk along the floor of this valley to the foot of the waterfall. I spent some time trying to catch the water frozen in mid air. We were lucky that the sun was into the valley while we were there.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Woven text box

Well, all my family are on their way home and will arrive about Sunday lunch time. My OH from the Isle of Man where sadly the gear box on the rally car broke and they couldn't finish the rally, and my daughter and her family are on their way home from Florida so I have been watching the flight departures for any delays. I have been in touch with all of them the whole time they have been away. My OH by phone and my grandson and daughter via webcam so I haven't been so alone.

Strange how when you have time you seem to take more time to do things. The days have whizzed passed and I don't seem to have done all that much. I think more is achieved when under pressure to find time and get on with it. Now the family is home I will be sharing my time again.

On with the creative part of the blog.
I have finished the woven text box. It began when I saw a picture showing how the ancient Egyptians preserved their cats ! and wrapped them in bandages in a complex woven design. I didn't want to try such a complicated task so kept my woven design to the under over weaving we all did at school.
First I tea stained some beige felt and then using my embroidery machine created lines of text using the names of the more well known Pharaohs. I used variegated threads in different colour ranges. Once the machining was complete I cut the text into strips and wove them.
Before this stage I had no idea what I was going to do with the woven text but once it was woven it shouted out box lid (not literally!) So a box it was to be.

Now in my loft I save boxes of all shapes and sizes ready for such an occasion but this time there wasn't a box which was the right size to fit the woven text so I had to make one.
I covered it with some soft interfacing to give a softer feel for the covering fabric.

I made the lid first. I used some natural woven fabric and machined the woven text in the centre edged with a fancy yarn which had the same colours - (it is times like this when I can again justify my huge stockpile of everything). Continuing with the Nefertiti theme, I stitched out four of the digitised Nefertiti motifs using the same variegated threads. These were stitched in place using 'invisible' thread and it is exactly that - invisible - very useful but hard on the eyes trying to see it.

On the underside of the lid I continued the theme creating the outline rectangle again and another four Nefertiti motifs. This time I digitised her name and stitched it in the centre.

The seams were stitched , turned inside out and pulled onto the prepared lid leaving the hinge edge open.

Next I made the cover for the base of the box and made the lining out of a soft coffee sateen fabric stitched with the text of Nefertiti over the bottom to adhere it to the padding underneath. The inside walls of the box were padded with batting too.

I also stitched yet another motif on the front.
Using the covering fabric and the fancy yarn I made hinges which would hold a length of dowel. S ix of the hinges were stitched into the back edge of the base and five were stitched into the back edge of the lid. Very fiddly and I it had to be hand stitched.

It is a good sized box so I should be able to keep a number of the smaller pieces of the project in it.

Now I need some suggestions here.

Do you think the natural fabric of the box needs anything doing to it or should I leave it plain as it is? I don't want to distract form the text and motifs so not sure about it. Offers of ideas welcome.

Being such lovely weather I have been out in the garden doing some photography. How about this little chap who sat there defiant when all the other frogs had dived down into the pond as I approached.

I had to get very close to him in order to photograph the marsh marigolds in the pond. He 'frogged' out eventually and dived in.
Managed to get the shot of the flower I wanted.

And behind me was this - how about this delicious purple velvet pansy? Almost poetic! They keep reappearing from previous years planting so don't need to buy new plants this year. The tub is full of them.

Finally - does anyone know if there is a way of placing the images instead of them all coming in at the top and having to be dragged down bit by bit to the right place. It is so tedious. It would help if the window was bigger. Whinge, whinge.

Well looking at the clock - the plane should be taking off right now 10.20pm their time and 3.20am ours. Yes it is late but I am a bit of a night worker.
Can't wait for a huggle from my grandson and OH. Missed them.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008


Time for another blog.
I have been keeping in touch with my family in Florida via the webcam. It is so amazing to be able to see and talk with them when we are so far apart. My GS had his day swimming with the dolphins which he enjoyed telling me about today. They also swam with and fed the rays. he had a wonderful day.

I finally decided what to do with the prints I made. The first one I chose to do was a small quilted panel. I began with the image of Queen Nefertiti which I isolated from its background.

I took the image into Photoshop and played with some of the filters. I eventually settled on this effect with a graduated background.

I soaked some cream Thai silk in Bubble Jet so that I could put it through an inkjet printer. The silk was 505'd to a sheet of A4 printer paper which acted as a carrier for the silk as it passed through the printer. It was well smoothed and was flat on the paper.
Unfortunately, even though the silk was very flat and smooth when it entered the printer, it did form a wrinkle as it passed through and so it caught the black print nozzle and there was a black streak across the face in the worst possible place - the mouth.
Me being me, I had to salvage this disaster so I decided to paint over the fault. I mixed some copper and bronze acrylic paint to match the colour on the print and painted out the fault. I also dry brushed some blue metallic paint over the headdress as the blue wasn't as strong as it should have been. It worked.

Now I could do the stitching. I put a layer of white lining fleece behind the print to give a gentle quilt surface. Then I used a selection of seed, Delica and bugle beads to create the collar and couched metallic twist around the collar and to pick out the design on the headdress. I used different rayon threads to vermicelli fill the background. Finally the printed piece was outlined with another gentle variegated metallic twist.
It is a very stylised piece and OK but nothing more than that.

I have also been working on the woven text and it is now a box which I will post on the next blog.

Yesterday I went to visit a friend with whom I occasionally have play days and I took my Cloth Paper Scissors magazines and did a temporary swap for her Quilting Arts magazine. This way we buy one each but can read both. However, I am thinking of not renewing my Cloth Paper Scissors mag when the subscription runs out as I do not like much of what it covers any more. They seem to be going in a very strange direction. Not my taste at all.
I was out in the garden very early this morning doing some macro photography which I am going to look at now. The sun wasn't exactly where I wanted it to be so my OH had to direct the sunlight with a reflector. They do have their uses!! I will miss him though - he is off to the Isle of Man for four days crewing for a rally team for which he has been crew engineer for a number of years. This means I will be completely alone to do whatever I like for four days!!!! What mixed feelings.

I love the colours of this new growth on the Berberis.