Wednesday, 30 January 2008


"It is better to light a candle,
than to curse the darkness"

I read this earlier in the day and it seems very apt for me right now.

Following on from my last post - I am still sad for my youngest son, who is now travelling lighter than ever - as the burglars also took his suitcase!

But in "blog land" today I came across this on Monica's blog. (girl gone thread wild)

Monica is going to make a doll and a quilt from 2 inch squares sent to her by fellow bloggers. The square can be in your chosen medium, with a cloth base, so Monica can sew the square to the doll - please see her blog for inspiration.

The doll will be sent to Art Doll Quarterly, and then auctioned. The proceeds will go to help fight breast cancer.

The square must be with Monica by the 1st March 2008 - so there is plenty of time if you want to contribute. Do check out Monica's blog for all the information. HERE

I started my squares to-day.

2 inch squares - work in progress.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Please click on the images for a larger view.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

The Sun Came Out To-day .....

The sun came out to-day so I went for a good walk with a friend. Sunshine Exercise and Good Company - just what I needed.

There was a lot of water in the river, after the rains we have had.

I was so glad to see the sun.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008


Stressed today!

I am setting up an ETSY shop for Giclee Prints of my work.

In the past I have had giclees professionally printed of some of my embroideries. They generally tended to be steady little sellers at exhibitions and fairs. However now that I am not out at shows any more - I thought that ETSY would be the way to go.

It took me half a day to get one picture up there! Not because it is hard - far from it - really the whole process seems quite straightforward. I think I was stressing too much over whether the colour reproduction of the photo was accurate and trying to get the text correct.

Phew - well one up 4 to go! Anyway I wont direct you to my ETSY shop just yet -because "Cherry Toes" is the only thing there - but I will put a link up when I get it all sorted.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Work in Progress - Wolf Moon

I have started on a new piece of work - from the journal page that I did on the 8th January.
Yesterday I dyed the fabric, today I started laying on sheers and organza fabrics and tacking them down. The finished piece will be slightly bigger than this - approximately 12 ins x 12 ins.

I usually use a scoured felt - prepared for dying as my background fabric for a piece of work. Felt is a wonderful ground fabric when you are doing a lot of Free Machine Embroidery, and building up layers. I use heat fix silk dyes, and acrylic paint to add colour to the background fabric.

TIP - If you are tacking fabrics down before free machine embroidery - use a thread which breaks easily and is a good colour match to the overall picture. When you do dense FME it is impossible to get all the tacking out - especially if like me you work in layers. I tack fabrics down - and then overlay more fabric on top. If you use tacking thread that matches the picture - when you have little ends that refuse to come out - they look meant!

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Destroy to Create

Interesting day in the studio today - I really wanted to push the development of the images from yesterday and the day before - as a double page spread in my 2008 "Moon Journal".

I also wanted to push my sewing machine as well - because - as yet I have not had time to see what it will really do. I decided to see what the "built in quilting stitches" would do. And I really rather like them. The machine also stitched nicely through the layers - which were - woven paper, painted bondaweb, inkjet transfer on muslin, tissue paper and vyline.

I always find synchronicity interesting. I spent the day yesterday in the veg. garden sorting it out after the high winds and lashing rain we have been having - and I still didn't get to plant the onions. To-day I received a "planting by the moon" e-mail and low and behold - it is tomorrow that is a good day for planting onions!

The page developed further as the day progressed - there is still a couple of things I want to add - but the note about it being a good day to plant onions is down the left hand side - and next to it, is an abstract design I drew, painted and cut out from a sketch I did last summer - when my onions went to seed.

Purple Missus (Lynda Monk) left a comment yesterday - saying she would of been more than happy with the first image on yesterdays post - I think the sub-text of a lot of my work process is "Destroy to Create" and "What happens If ..."

Sometimes this doesn't work at all - but if you push and push - Sometimes the results are wonderful.

Is this is a wonderful page - No it is not - but it is a very useful page. It has some excellent starting points to build on. Which - for me - is a good reason to keep an "art journal"

My mind is buzzing with ideas to develop from what I did today. I know my machine just a little bit more - and perhaps - most importantly - I can plant my onions either to-morrow or Saturday!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008


Here are some developments on the picture I posted yesterday - with a view to using them as starting point in my art journal.

The picture above - is simply yesterdays image with the contents of my "to do" list scrawled on top.

I took this page and two photographs of onions that I took last summer. Then I cut these into one inch wide strips and wove them together to create a new back ground paper.

This back ground I will be working on further tomorrow - but I did scan it and alter it in photoshop, and type a journal entry for today on it.

Unfortunately - I have just slopped my cup of tea on my computer keyboard - so need to go and dry it out!

Monday, 14 January 2008


This is a very small detail of a development page of the wolf moon image posted a few days ago.

I was working on this image for the "travelling sketchbook" I do with Linda.
When I had finished the page - I scanned it to make a copy. But my scanner glass is so mucky with paint and fibre - that I had to edit it in photoshop to get rid of the bits of fluff around the edges of the picture.

As I had it blown up really large - I noticed this wonderful bit of texture. Sometimes little areas of texture blown up make wonderful starting points. I think I may print this bit off, to use as a background for a page in my art journal.

I want to thank Sharon and Shirley Anne for giving me a "You Make My Day Award" I am touched - and I appreciate it very much.

As I nominated a couple of folk on the 9th January post - I hope Sharon and Shirley will not mind too much if I do not pass it on at this time. But I would like to thank you all who continue to read and support my blog.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

The Sea ... The Sea

At the moment I am totally captivated by the new work that Vivian has on her blog. Her current art is speaking directly to my soul. It is also inspiring me to return to working with sea themes again.

It is strange - that now I am living about 5 minutes away from the beach how little sea imagery is in my work.

However - when I was living away from the sea - my work was about the sea. I missed it so ......

In 1988 - when I was doing my City and Guilds in Creative Embroidery. My part two theme was "the sea". One of my major pieces was a coat, which had seaweed and sea horses as decoration.

My father - who lived by the sea, sent me regular parcels of sea weed - so that I could draw it. How brave was the post man who delivered it!

Then in 1998 I was doing a lot of shows and exhibitions - the sea and all things watery, featured strongly in my work - again I was living a long way away from it and missed it a lot.

However here I am now - returned to my soul home, and prompted by Vivian I am pulled once more towards the sea.

The joy of having a theme that returns time and again over the years (decades) is that you have the opportunity to revisit the theme with new eyes and new perspective.

During Part 2, City and Guilds - my sea themes were large.

In 1998 my sea images had a melancholy - which perhaps reflected where I was in my life at that time.

And now - 20 years down the line - although the water and the boats appear from time to time - I am edging towards doing another body of significant work around the sea and my life beside it.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

You Make My Day

Judy gave me a "You Make My Day Award" yesterday - which was lovely!

Here are the guidelines for this:-

Give the award to up to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about Blogland! Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so that they can pass it on. Beware! You may get the award several times!

Some of the folk that I would pass it onto - also got it yesterday too!

I have decided to very selective about who to mention and pass on this award too.

There are so many of you out there who "Make My Day" Blogland is a wonderful place - and in my experience such a supportive community.

I will give this award to

Sharon Young
Because I enjoy her blog - but also she is a wonderful reader of my blog and so many other blogs. She also takes the time and trouble to leave comments. Her questions set me thinking, and her support is great.

The other blogger I would choose is

Catherine Kerr
I have only recently discovered Catherine's blog and I love it. For me it is a gentle reminder every morning to live a soulful life - and for that I thank her

Here is my second to last doll - This is for Denice - who signed up for the PIF - way back. As I didn't have a picture of her - I transferred a picture of a Venetian Mask to the doll. I had hoped to get it to her for Christmas - but time ran away with me - so she got it today!

One more to do - hopefully tomorrow.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

New Year - New Art Journal

Journal page January 8th

A New year and a new journal.

A journal for me is different from a sketchbook - this is where I start with a theme and see where it leads and this year my theme is the wheel of the year as defined by the full moons. (Actually it is the wheel of the year every year!) The journal is where my themes and ideas for significant pieces of work gestate

My sketchbook is just that - sketches and drawings - very rough, samples and ideas, thoughts about techniques. Colour notes, reminders, "what iff's" and so on. I suspect the main difference is that the journal is rather inward looking and the sketchbook is looking out and observing the world. Of course the two feed each other - for how can you draw a wolf moon - unless you have stood under the night sky and truly looked at the moon.

Judy has left a comment giving me a "You make my day Award" which is delightful and I will be following up on this tomorrow. Thank you Judy.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

What I did Next

Printed image and "shrinked" image

For my three girl-friends here in Wales - I decided that although they had their own doll - they could also have smaller versions of their two friends to hang on the Christmas Tree!

(Although one of my friends has such a tasteful Christmas tree - her decorations did not make it onto the tree!)

So I photographed the finished doll. and printed it onto "shrink paper" for an ink jet printer.
After a few trial and errors - I printed the image nearly the full size of an A4 paper, and as you can see from above - I really lightened the colour - because during the heating process the colours darken.

Close up of the Christmas Decoration!
Size approx 3 ins high
The images shrink a lot during the two minutes that you heat them in the oven. I also discovered that they don't shrink evenly - so if I printed figures sideways (landscape) on an A4 sheet - they turned out small - but slim!

However portrait I could do bigger figures - but they were slightly "well rounded"

Anyway - it was fun and I have wanted to try shrink plastic/paper for the inkjet printer for ages.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Another doll

This was the only "boy" that I made!

I was trying to do a gingerbread man - but he looked a bit strange - so I had to give him "Christmas trousers" and a bow tie!

I made a doll for Judy as a PIF - and the photo she has on her blog is better than the photo I took - so if you want to see Judy please click here

The paper mountain is slowly decreasing! I want to get it done and dusted so that I can be in the studio with a clear conscience otherwise it sits like a grey cloud in the back of my mind and I get grumpy.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Happy New Year to you all

Happy New Year to you all. I apologise for not blogging for ages - there were two reasons for this.

The first was the dreaded vertigo - which - fingers crossed, for the most part is better.
I have been seeing the osteopath, and she has really helped however the process of recovering
from the vertigo gave me a very uncomfortable back - so I could only be in the studio for short bursts of time!

The other reason is that I was making "art dolls" as Christmas presents and for the PIF exchange and I did not want to post pictures until I was sure that all of those dolls were in their new homes!

They did prove to be slightly more time consuming than I first thought - although they were not really very complicated - just fiddly. The hardest part was turning the doll right side out.

However - they were a joy to make!

I will post more pictures over the next couple of days - as they are not all in the "group photo"

Here are links to two more fun tutorials on art-e-zine;- for making this type of doll which caught my eye when I was first thinking about making "fairies" for my friends Christmas Trees.

One of my resolutions this year is to try and stay on top of "paperwork". I seem to have half a Brazilian Rain forest of papers and "stuff" to sort out. (I think I say that every year) So no studio time for me until I have made some inroads into my paper mountain.

So I wish you all a wonderful 2008, thank you all for visiting my blog and all your comments and e-mails.