Thursday, December 20, 2007

Log Cabin Bag

I was looking at Carol Casper's fab patchwork blocks the other day and telling her about my struggle with log cabin patchwork.
I enjoy patchwork but I'm not that good at it.
However, I have finished my project - yippee!
Well I still want to add some buttons to the bottom of the handles.

The bag is to carry my over large cutting board and quilters rulers.
I am very happy with it despite it not being perfect.
Some blocks are a little twisted and there are a few gathers in the quilting.
But hey, it is mine and a labour of love and no body will get it mixed up with their own ;0)

By the way I'm not apologising for the bad photos - they hide the bad workmanship LOL!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tis the Season

Our swap on Unlimited Textiles this month was themed "Tis the Season"

Well, although we don't get as much as we used to here in the UK , I think of snow at this time of year and making snowmen.

In fact I think of the snowman we made when I was about 9 or 10.
We lived in a group of about 6 streets and we rolled a snowball round the streets gathering more and more snow.
In fact I think it got so big it couldn't be moved, but hey, maybe that is just childish, wishful thinking.
Whatever, this sticks in my mind so my 5ins quiltie just had to be a snowman!

My tree decoration is a little box about 1 1/2ins cube.
I fused lots of sheer and glittery fabrics using Misty Fuse to Timtex. I learnt how to make this box from Sue Bleiweiss on one of her wonderful courses.
I was really happy with it and nearly kept it for myself ;0)

Happy to report both my partners were happy with their swap items - Yay!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Merry Christmas

Isn't it funny the way things have a way of taking over your life. Even though you know something will take up a lot of your time it can still escalate into something you never envisaged.
This has happened to me of late and culminated in me doing something I would never do under normal circumstances and something I am not altogether proud of.
Another side of me emerged that I don't really like. I have pushed her away now and hopefully I am myself once more.
So I just wanted to get that off my chest!

Well it is that time of year again, it creeps up on you from behind and you find that, even though it comes every year, you are never ready for it!

We are going to have a very family filled Christmas this year. Laura and Toby are coming home for a few days, I always love having them here.
We will be going to my brothers for Christmas dinner and the day will be filled with nephew's, niece's, great nephew's and great nieces. There will be lots of noise and laughter.
Just what the doctor ordered.

I hope all your Christmases will be a lovely as I expect mine to be.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Autumn Quilties

These are the little art quilts I made for the November swap on Unlimited Textiles.
The theme was Autumn and they measure 5in square.

I had great fun with these.
I grabbed pieces of fabric, paper and painted paper towel.
They were in a box that I keep if pieces that are too small to make something with but too large to throw out.

I kept in mind the challenge I had done a couple of months ago and put the pieces on to my backing and leaving them, not moving them around to see where they lead me.
I stitched a large leaf shape over the fabric collage to tie it all together.

I'm happy to report that my partners Claire and Sandy liked them ;0)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Page for Emmy

My partner at FAF this month is Emmy.

Her theme is Mandalas and she wants to know the meaning of our mandala's.
Here goes:

As you can tell colour is very important to me and these colours are usually in my work.
Pink to be playful.
Purple is a sacred colour and appears in many of my favourite flowers. It is also a romantic colour.
Turquoise represents femininity and water - the sea for me, I love its changeable nature.
I have used strong colours to represent strength of course.

The spiral appears in my work often is a symbol of rebirth and represents my journey thorough life - never straight forward is it!
The little doll in the centre represents me. She is dressed in turquoise for femininity.

The rest represents the influences on my creativity.
The beach and sea. Nature and in particular flowers.
Music - I never do anything with out music playing. I think I may have told you before I have very eclectic tastes.
I sing a lot, it raises my spirits. My neighbours hear me singing anything from opera to pop! Poor people ;0)

I hope you like it Emmy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fabric Pages

On Fibre Art Friends we will be swapping 7" x 7" fabric pages to make a fabric book.

This month I was to send to Carol T.
She had chosen "Sumptuous Surfaces" for her pages and said it didn't matter what we chose to do as long as we tried something new.

Well goodness I have a dabble in almost everything when it comes out ;0)
The only thing I hadn't been brave enough to do was to melt plastic bags.
So off I went shopping.
Well I had to get some bags didn't I?!

I used a blue bag and a pink bag, cut them into strips and wove them together. Then I ironed them. They just looked flat so I zapped them
with the heat gun. They crinkled a little so that looked better. I put them on to some felt and covered with a painted nappy liner, stitched them together and zapped with the heat gun again. I loved the way they all melted into one another.

I wasn't sure however that it was a sumptuous surface.
I covered it all with a piece of gold, crystal organza and did some free machine stitching. I burnt out bits of the organza with the heat gun to allow the bags and nappy liner to show through. At last I was happy.

I added a border of hand painted cotton and backed the quilt with the same fabric.
I also wrapped some of the bag strips round a kebab skewer and blasted them with the heat gun to make beads.

Another great, fun project. Thank you Carol for pushing me to use up my plastic bags ;0)

Oh by the way, Carol/s picture of my page makes it look better so go look here ;0)

My theme is Egypt and this is the fantastic page that carol made for me.

Thank you Carol, I love it.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Birthday Presents.

The "Birthday Presents" are now on the way to the lucky posters.
Well all except Kim. Please email me your addy so I can send yours.

Hope you all like them.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thank you

When I started blogging I honestly didn't think I would keep going. I'm not one for keeping journals although I do do a little scrapbooking.

I never thought for one minute that it would become a great way to record the things I do or that I would love to share it so much.
Blogging has become part of my life and when, like this month, life takes over and I don't manage to write anything, or even more importantly, don't get to visit other blogs it makes me sad.

I love to keep in touch with friends this way and make new ones too.

More than anything I love the fact that so many of you take the time to read my blog, I love the comments you leave, you make me feel appreciated but, when I visit my counter site I am always bowled over by the number of you that visit and read.
I always try to answer the comments personally if I have your e-mail but, if you say anything or not I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there.

Big thank yous to everyone who left a comment yesterday and Annica, Susan D, Skippy, Sandy, Kim and Papoosue watch out for your birthday presents ;0)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Old News and a Birthday.

Well, I am quite glad that October is over. I seem to have been ill for the most part of it.
I know I've been busy too but, boy standing outside that Cathedral was soooo cold I caught a chill.
Feeling better now though, thank goodness.

I did however, manage this little knitted and felted bag.
Old news because if you visit my Flickr album you will have seen it before.
I am just so thrilled with it that I just had to show it off again.
Jan said I just had to have a go and she was right. I am hooked. I am felting my second bag as we speak and I have wool for a couple more and felted jester boots for my great nephew.
I love to knit and especially in winter as it keeps you warm at the same time ;0)

Birthday? Yes mine!
Tomorrow, the first of November I will be *1 (guess. No don't look at my profile first!)
So in fine blogger tradition I will give gifts to the first 6 to comment here.
(waiting fearfully in case no one comments and I find out they don't want my stuff)
Won't be a large gifty but hopefully you will like it.

Oh by the way 1st of November is All Saints Day O;0)

Monday, October 22, 2007


I don't do a lot of commissions. I have trouble with them.

You should know that the first thing I am is a scientist - Medical Physics Technician to be precise. Second I am an Administrator and third I am trained in Customer Relations.
So all my working life I was bound to accuracy and other people.

That is why in my fourth life as an Artist I love to go my own way and do my own thing.
This makes it hard to do commissions.
The customer knows what they want. It's like that thing you did last month with a bit of the thing you did last week with a bit of this one!!
Very difficult for someone who doesn't really like to do the same thing twice and the way she works couldn't do it again if she tried. I find that commissions take over my life.

But every now and then I come across a customer that makes me feel humble. This customer had some work from me earlier this year and asked me to do some invitations to a very special birthday and retirement party.
She loves what I do and thinks I'm clever!!?? Don't put her right please.
I asked what she wanted and she said anything you do would be great! Of course she did have some ideas about colour and the size of cards but that was it.
How could I turn that down??
I didn't.

I created a piece of textile art for her approval. She was very happy ;0)
There are 150 invitations so I scanned the piece and printed it for the cards.
I printed the insides too and all was put together by hand. I am actually pleased that she didn't want mass produced cards and chose me to make them for her.
She is a special lady and I'm sure she will have a great party.
Thank you Barbara.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Graduate

Laura Natalie Parkinson now has letters after her name.
She graduated yesterday and she is now:

Laura Natalie Parkinson B.A. Hons. (Ed)
Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Education.

And we are just so proud of her.

The blue hood on her gown here says that the awarding body is Southampton University and the pink stripe donates the honours.

The ceremony was in Winchester Cathedral and was lovely.
Everyone was so excited and happy to be awarded for their 4 years hard work. The cathedral was full, there were televisions positioned along the aisles so all could see the proceedings.

All the officials came in in their regalia and processed down the central aisle. We were unable to take photographs in the cathedral so I can't show you that but the procession was beautiful and sombre.
After opening prayers and speeches the awards were given with the graduands being called in groups of 3 or 4. Much clapping and sometimes cheering accompanied them up to the Chancellor to receive their certificates.
After the awards the choir sang a beautiful hymn and then the officials processed out of the cathedral accompanied by the now graduates and lots of smiles and waves.

It was wonderful to meet the girls Laura had gone through the 4 years with and to chat with other people that have touched Laura's life.

Of course, not only are we proud of Laura, we are so proud and grateful to Toby.
He is such a lovely man and has supported her through all this - not an easy task. Laura is her mothers daughter and as such is demanding and opinionated. Toby has had a lot of hard work!!!
He definitely deserves honours too.
It can't have been so bad though as they will be getting married next year so our baby must be doing something right.

Well done to you both and to all the graduates and friends we met and applauded yesterday.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Flower

The main inspiration for this piece was the gorgeous clematis in my garden.
Its lush purple flowers are fading now and are paper thin. It is not hard to imagine that you can see my lovely Cob wall showing through the petals.

The fabrics are all painted, dyed and stamped by me - such fun ;0) - and pieced together in a crazy manner on batting, with the flower machined over it all.
Little buttons symbolize the falling blossoms.
I mounted the crazy quilt to some gorgeous navy velvet and made a machine wrapped cord from sari silk to hang it by.
The crazy quilt measures 7.5ins x 9ins the whole quilt measures 10.5ins x 11.5ins and its hanging length is

Do you remember the exercise Sue Bleiweiss set and I created the crazy backgrounds?
Well I tried to do a similar thing here. Not quite the same I know, I gathered the right colours together this time but I did just put the pieces on to let them have a life of their own and I left the edges raw with no or very little tidying.

I think the quilt does have a life and the edges seen to echo the feel of Autumn in its "aged" look.
Roger thought it had a Cubist look to it hence it became the "Picasso Garden"

You can find this piece for sale at my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Feeling Blue

Feeling Blue is the theme for our swap on Unlimited Textiles this month.
I had in my mind some lovely clouds that I saw earlier this year and was eager to use them as my inspiration for this swap.

How to create the look and "feel" of clouds?
I have a Clover needle felting kit and thought I might be able to get the look I was after using it.

For the quiltie I started by needle felting wool tops and scrim to Lutradur. I had already painted the scrim and Lutradur.

I loved the movement created using this tool. Next I used some blue velvet as the background and machined some lines and added strips of Lutradur to the piece.
I then used my soldering
iron to cut pieces away to show the velvet. I also added some little beads - I think they look like rain drops.

This bookmark was done the same way but I used painted Pelmet Vilene as the base. It has made a lovely sturdy bookmark.

The second bookmark was needle felted to blue felt I also added a piece of painted lace. This is cotton lace and is quite heavy. I couldn't felt it to the background so I covered it with a piece of chiffon and felted round it.

I backed the bookmark with another piece of felt with some Pelmet Vilene sandwiched between them. I stitched thorough all the layers and it turned out with a lovely texture.
I did some running stitches, in the same thread as the tassel, instead of beads. It doesn't show up in the photo very well but does look good on the bookmark.

Oh by the way you can see the clouds here

Monday, October 01, 2007

Oh Boy!!!

The craft group met at my house last weekend.

There are 3 young people who come along. They are growing into lovely young ladies very quickly.
But put young people and dogs together and you have a whole lot of fun and mayhem.

Fred has always loved them coming to play.
Up to now he has had boundless energy and they have kept him busy.

But Fred, like the girls, is growing up and none of
them play as mad as they used to.

Of course there is only one Fred to the 3 girls.
They have learned to take it in turns playing with the dog. He, however, has not learned to stop. Well that's not true actually. He did hide under the desks for a while until he was spotted and off he went to keep someone else happy.

The results are clear to see. After saying goodbye at the door Fred flung himself down with a big sigh. He looked more disheveled than usual - and that's saying something - and hid his head in his paws. A definite "leave me alone, I have a headache" look.

Fred will be "pleased" to know that the girls are coming to play again this weekend!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sirena Queen of the Mer-People

Meet Sirena.
She is my first fabric Art Doll.
She was made for a swap on AlterNative UK

I used to make rag dolls that children could play with and I have made paper art dolls, but this was so different to do.

I knew I wanted to do a mermaid as I am certain I will see one on the beach one day but how to go about it?

I had a couple of drawings of mermaids that I have been working on for a while - I'm not fast with a pencil ;0) - and wanted to use those ideas.
I didn't want her tail to point straight down I wanted her to look like she could swim off at any moment.

Well now I know why most mermaid doll's tails point down!
Roger is usually the best champion of my work but every day he would whisper very quietly "sorry love but this bit isn't right" and another draft pattern would hit the bin.
Then one evening in he came ready to whisper his fateful words and...... complete silence.
"You've done it!" he said giving me a big hug - yippee!

I played with the idea of making a "proper" doll and sewing right sides together and turning her but told myself she is an art doll and decided to sew round the edge on the right side - phew, no resizing of the draft pattern!
Next I drew the outline onto heavy cotton and painted her.
I used some felt behind the tail pieces and quilted the tail, I put the two sides together and stitched round the edge. I made a little cut in her belt and stuffed her.

This is where I think I made a mistake as I lost definition of course.
Her face and neck run into one another and she has a flat chest! Next time I would use layers of felt and quilting to get the look I want and probably not stuff the doll.

I enjoyed beading her and adding her wild hair.
It was quite hard to leave the raw edge and not do the finishing I have done in the past but I am really pleased with her and I am happy to report so was Jo my partner.

Monday, September 24, 2007


These are my pages for the September Chunky Book swap on AlterNative UK.

The theme was metal.
The backgrounds are book pages on watercolour paper. They are ripped and distressed and then I used ink and embossing powders to create colour and texture.

The silver paper is scrapbook paper.
The gorgeous shiny coppery paper with purple and pink wax was obtained in a background swap on ANUK sometime ago.

I can't remember who I got it from but I wish I could as I love it and really enjoyed putting it on these pages.

Monday, September 17, 2007

We are back.

Well, we are home from our holiday.

Am I glad to be back?
Well there is nothing quite like your own bed is there? And I did miss my sewing machine, desk and paints.
But, we had the most wonderful time and yes, I am glad to be home.
Not happy that The Man is off to work again but, hey you can't have everything.

This was where we stayed. It was idyllic.
Massive inglenook fireplace in the lounge, antiques everywhere you looked and apart from buying food and your own clothes there was nothing else you needed. Luxury everywhere.

The garden was so very beautiful, enclosed by a fabulous stone wall and safe for the babies.

Through the gate was path that lead to the other cottages in the row (3 including the owners), croquet lawn, country walks and the most gorgeous rose garden.

We visited lots of wonderful places and just chilled out in the garden.

Our batteries are recharged and I am looking forward to playing with my toys in the studio.

Off to get the sewing machine out of bed now ;0)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I have joined the Vintage Circus Quilt Swap on Art-e-Zine Cafe.

Here is my quilt. It measures 5" x 7"

I used some of my crazy piece from the Artists Muse Challenge as the background.
The image and letters are printed on cotton and attached with beading.
I'm not sure now where I got the buttons but they seemed just the right colour for this piece.

I will be sending it to the hostess tomorrow and hope when my partner gets it she will like it.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Cool Cats are Here!

It's official, we are the new kids on the Etsy block.

The Boomers and Beyond Etsy Street Team is born today.
We have been working really hard to get this team going and are very proud of our baby boomer.

We are a vibrant group of Etsians over 40 years of age who are dedicated to Etsy. Our team provides a place converse, create, assist and support other Etsians. We promote our shops; assist each other with business and marketing solutions; collaborate; support Etsy and make friends along the way. We are from all walks of life and all parts of the globe.
BBEST has a
blog, website and message board providing avenues of contact.

Requirements for membership: If you are at least 40 years old, have a great personality and are willing to support others, come join our team! You must either sell or buy on etsy. The first step for membership is to join our message board here. Please provide your etsy username and an email address. Then activate your message board account (an email will be sent to you to activate the membership). You will be then be added to our web and blog.

We also have a great new Google page gallery.

So many places to check us out so what is stopping you? Come and meet us.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Challenged? You Bet!

On my to do list were Challenges 4 and 5 for the Artist Muse group.
I didn't think I had been putting these off, I had just had so much else to do.
Now I realise I had. Sorry Sue.

Sue Bleiweiss sets the challenges based on the book The Artists Muse.
She does a great job.
These chapters were basically about being free with your work and doodling and splashing paint around.

Now you would think for someone who always tells people she comes from the "old slappers

school of art" that it should be an easy project.
Huh, read on!

The first challenge was to gather 12 different fabrics.
OK the first problem came right here.
Good grief I think I am being brave using 4 or 5 colours in my art work!
In retrospect I should have picked different fabrics in similar colours but by now my brain was already in overload so I grabbed anything - this is me trying to be free!

Next we had to cut the fabrics into pieces and apply them to a background. Easy.
Well the pieces had to be in a bag so you couldn't see what you were picking then once you had
placed them on your background you couldn't
move them again.

Oh good grief, I spend days moving stuff around on my collages.
This was so hard for me.

The result was utter chaos. I put a piece of sparkley tulle on the top and thought, what the heck chaos it will be, and did some mad free machine embroidery over the top of that.
I put this to one side and started the next challenge.

We were given 3 choices and I chose the fabric weaving challenge - that should be OK, yes - no!
This time we could use 6 to 12 fabrics. I chose to use 8 and had learned from the last exercise to pick them more wisely.

Now to make the strips. We had to rip the strips not cut them. OMG! It had taken me 5 (yes 5) years to get to grips with ripping paper for collage!
We weren't even allowed to get rid of offending, dangling pieces of thread. (whimper)
I did as suggested however and carried on.
Once the weaving was done I covered the piece with a chiffon scarf and stitched a grid. I couldn't help myself, it just had to be a zig zag over those offending raw edges - sorry Sue.

Another piece thrown to one side.
I went to bed.

Yesterday I decided I would see how I could
make the pieces more to my liking - I know that wasn't the idea.
I decided the first piece was just too dizzy and stitched a grid pattern in silver. I think it has made it more unified. I am doing a circus quilt and I think it will be a great background for this.

In the Artists Muse book the 5th chapter is about splashing paint around.
My first idea was to couch some threads to the piece but instead I decided to play with my machine.
I do not have a good grasp of free style embroidery with the machine other than doing random spirals and vermicelli so I thought I would work in the squares and make patterns.
I had great fun and managed a few little flowers and am happy with this piece. I will make it into a cushion I think.

I know that if Sue, Jan or Laura had been here they would have said leave the pieces alone and learn the lesson that you can make something good from chaos and being free but, I think I actually learned a very important lesson for me.

I'm not such an old slapper after all!

Thursday, August 30, 2007


I know this is late but there is going to be more!!

Well, if you are in the UK the chances are you will have heard and maybe watch the One Show at 7pm weekday evenings.

If you do watch and saw on Monday - why on earth did they change the time that day? - you will have seen a new feature called the Complaints Choir.
This choir sings peoples complaints to get the complaint noticed.
It is funny, beautifully sung and works.
It was very popular and they will be back on a regular basis.

Why am I telling you this?
Well for one thing this choir is Chantage. They are the BBC Choir of the Year and were crowned last November.
But more than that Toby, my future Son in Law, sings with them.

Yes I am proud and yes I am showing off - wouldn't you?

Toby is in the picture on the back row, first on the left hand side.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Flower Power

We have been away for the Bank Holiday weekend. We went to see Laura and Toby in Southampton. It was lovely to see them they are so happy together.
I have photos and will share later.

I wanted to show you my latest organza flowers.

I just love to make these flowers and I love to wear brooches so I decided to combine the two.
Here are the results.
These are big showy brooches, almost 4 inches across.

They have the same heavily beaded centres as the flowers on my quilts and of course the little dragonfly but, now I can wear my art!

I'm really thrilled with them. I wore one on our little walk around Ilfracombe yesterday and had some lovely comments about it.
Big head now ;0)

You can see other pics of them on Flickr and my Etsy Shop.