Monday, 31 October 2011

Friends, Fun, Beer and stuff.

We spent the last few days at our friends' in Cheshire. This is an annual event and quite a retreat for us (not sure it's the same for them) The kids all get along great, and we put the world to rights and drink coffee by day and beer by night. This time we had some of John's home brew.
We had lots of walks out - visiting Jodrell Bank and Lyme Park. Neither of which I'd been to before and really enjoyed. Lisa shared the quilt that she is making with me - it's amazing. it must take loads of patience.

On Saturday we were treated to a surprise late birthday party. Off to Blaze farm to create our own hand painted pottery, eat hotpot and cake. I loved it - so did everyone else. I'm looking forward to the finished pots being delivered.(photos will follow).

Sunday we headed of to church with our friends. It was great to hear what they are all involved in! followed by Fish finger sarnies before heading back home.

So today, before heading off to work I did about 8 loads of washing, tidied and took my large paintings down to the Newbiggin Maritime Centre. ready for hanging tomorrow.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Beautiful tiles

On a brief visit to my sister in Buxton. I saw these original tiles outside a shop. There are loads of examples of arts and crafts items all over the town.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Working away quietly

I'm making progress. Yesterday I rescued the soap I made on Sunday that had gone wrong. I also began a blouse that i've had ready to sew for weeks. Just need to finish it now.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

From tat to glam

Earlier in the year we bought Bethan some lovely satin shoes to wear to a family party. She loved them (they were "high heels") and has worn them to the point of destruction. when It got to the point that I couldn't bear her going out in them anymore, and just about to throw them away, I decided to give them a make over.

I used PVA glue and tissue to patch the holes, having taken all the sequins and embellishments off. I decided to cover the whole of the shoe outer to give a good ground for the next stage.

I applied a layer of Rose coloured acrylic paint.

I then cut little squares for three different pink fabrics on the bias. and made bias strips with some black spotty fabric. I applied the squares to the shoe outer and heel and covered with a couple of layers of PVA. This is the PVA that is waterproof when dry - NOT the school version that would wash off.

When dry I trimmed the edges and glued on the bias strips to overlap the edges. Then I made long laces using a pink bias strip - the same fabric as one of the squares I used. I think I'll try to find some more of the black spotty as it would look much better.

Bethan loves her "new" shoes -what do you think?

Friday, 21 October 2011

Whoo Hoo Half Term

I am so glad it's half term. This week has been rather manic, what with parents evenings and INSET today (all at times I wouldn't normally work). I also helped out with Newbiggin Kids arts forum, which is run by a local painter, Brian, and he is helped by Lillian and Jane. He needs the help too - this is a popular group and the numbers seem to grow every week. There were 20+ Kids - all under 12 in a fairly small room, learning to paint with watercolours. I'd come along to teach them how to do batik. Taking a few at a time. this will be a slow process as we'll need to do the work over several weeks due to the numbers and size of the room. Hopefully I'll have some photos to share in a few weeks.

I'm working in a lovely school at the moment, just part time. I'm really enjoying it. 6 months ago I was depressed and stressed and I could not have faced going into a school, let alone enjoy teaching. But thanks to the grace of God, the support of my hubby and very good friends, and the humbling experience of working with the children in China. God is restoring me and my confidence. I'm not sure I'll teach forever - I'm just taking it as it comes and trusting God for the bigger picture of our family life.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Handmade Monday - art v craft v design

My head is full of many ideas at the moment, and I had fully intended to get on with some of them yesterday afternoon. However the teacher's recurring nightmare appeared - bad throat. and with it a sore head. So I spent yesterday afternoon watching Holes with the Kids (great film and book), and eating far too much.

I have some fashion design items going through my head at the moment. My Friend Jess is getting married next year and I'm doing her bridesmaid dresses, We spent Friday looking at fabric and dress styles, so I'm thinking about how I will construct them and doing a bit of research into the best type of boning to use in the bodice of an empire line dress. One of the fabric shops allowed us into their store room - loads of vintage fabrics from all sorts of companies!

I have the prints I started last Wednesday to complete.

And I promised to revamp Bethan's shoes. She had some "high heels", about one inch high, for a party earlier in the year. they were a pale pink satinised fabric, and are trashed, but still she loves them. so we are going to make them Funky high heels. - this didn't get done, and this week is shaping up to be hectic with extra time at work, I'm not sure when all the things I have started will get finished. Anyway, here's the prints so far...

Pop over to Handmade Monday and see what everyone else has been up to.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

What I did On Wednesday

Getting Prepared
I've been itching to do some visual art recently. I decided to spend Wednesday mucking about with some inks, oil bars and paint. Not my usual medium. I also fancied doing some landscapes - also not what I usually do.

So after cleaning the front room, doing washing I set up the inks and began. Two hours of making a mess and not a lot to show for it, as I was just creating base layers of printed ink. I was printing onto thick cartridge paper, which absorbs the oil in the ink to leave quite a matt surface. I really like shiny surfaces and and thinking about printing some base layers on some hot pressed board and paper. the shine stays on this type of board, but the paper tends to slip on the plate and lining up is difficult. (Perhaps I'll work into the base layers with pencil and pastel instead.)

Anyway, after popping out to meet Liz for lunch and buying new boots and soap making supplies ( my next project), I returned home and began to work into the prints. Some are coming along nicely, but there are a few that need a lot more work.


Today I worked hard all day and then went to the NEATEN (North East Art Teacher/ Educator Network) meeting at the BALTIC. I'm looking forward to seeing the Turner Prize Finalists there in the next few weeks. Tomorrow I'm going with Jess to choose fabrics and designs for her bridesmaid dresses. What a creative week!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

I have an Idea...

One of my paintings
Well actually I have several. The trouble is working out which to do first. My brain is torn between creating Mono-types, paintings, sewing clothes for myself, sewing clothes for others, making Christmas items - not to mention doing all the other stuff that life entails!

John & Sock Monkey
Dress for My Mum

After redundancy I was really fortunate to be offered some part time work up until Christmas, which I am loving. At the moment I don't know if there is a chance that this will continue or not into the new year.

I've toyed with the idea of starting a business, and have a couple of ideas for that, but the thought of it scares me. I'd like to try to build something up from the work I do when I'm not at "work". So how do I go about it? How can I use my ideas to develop a successful business? Is there anyone in North East England that would like to employ me with my range of creative skills to do something creative? Have I got what it takes to be a successful designer/ artist on a more full time basis, or will this forever be my "other work"? Do I just carry on as I do now and hope it all works out? Can I make a difference to others in what I do? Any Ideas gratefully received.

Monday, 10 October 2011

It truly was WICKED

Well it's Monday morning and I'm just thinking about getting ready for work! I really could do with a day to myself as I'm shattered. If you've ever been for a few days in London, you'll know what I mean. John and I arrived at lunchtime on Friday. Popped over the road from Kings Cross to have some lunch at the Chop Chop noodle bar, then headed off to Camden market as we had an hour to spare before checking into our hotel.

John realised he'd forgotten to bring t shirts and so we ended up buying some from the market. (I think it was a ploy).

Our hotel was quite close to Camden, so we walked up and checked in. We stayed at the Britannia Hotel on Primrose Hill. Lovely staff, clean and comfortable and great breakfast, not to mention affordable! We headed off to Borough Market, marveled at the massive range of produce on display and bought cheesecake and Turkish delight. The Tate modern was our next stop where John was impressed by the photography, especially as there was an artist room full of Diane Arbus Photos.

We met up with a friend for tea and had a mooch around and a chat.

Saturday we headed to the V&A and I was annoyed that the fashion stuff was not on display, but the power of making exhibition was excellent. Due to works on some of the tube lines John suggested we use a London Bicycle to get to Kensington High Street to go the the Whole Foods Market. This was a great idea, we grabbed  bikes, rode to the market and deposited the bikes in one of the sections that are all over the city ( in my opinion it is a great idea - and Cheap). After lunch we went to regent street for a visit to Liberty (amazing building) and Hamley's (very busy), before heading back to the hotel to get changed and go to the theatre.

We had  pre theatre in Camden Market - Moroccan food, very nice - followed by a cake and coffee at Costa near the Theatre. I can safely say it was the worst Iced Mocha I've ever had! The off to see the show - It was amazing! not loads of special effects, but really well staged and the cast were excellent. I can highly recommend going to see it. I'd read the first Wicked book (not suitable for children!) but the show was based on more than the first book and the story was very well told (btw the show is suitable for children - I think my daughter would love it!).

And as for Sunday, we bought a few bits from Camden market, had coffee and a browse around the stalls (lots of stuff looked remarkably similar to items I'd seen in the Hong Kong markets in the summer), there was a good selection of old, new, vintage, food, t shirts, furnishings and a few very unique stalls. I think it's this mix that makes this such a nice market.

Home on the train, X factor and bed.

Monday, 3 October 2011

what a mess

I seem to have had a couple of weeks with little creativity. We're in the process of having some of the downstairs re plastered - it's a rather messy business and the furniture and computer are difficult to get to.
I'm constantly tidying up, and my creative day this week will be spent trying to tidy up after the work has been done and getting ready for the In Laws arriving on Thursday. They're coming up to look after the kids while John and I have a long awaited weekend in London.

I'm going to need to tidy the kids rooms to allow for change of accommodation. Find the extra spare king size quilt (John spilt coffee on ours the other day and it's at the cleaners.) and pack our overnight cases. no sewing this week then!

Can't say I'm too sore about it, as I'm really looking forward to the weekend. V&A, National Gallery, Tate, Markets and of course the show - WICKED!!!!!!
Now are you jealous or what?

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Self stitched September

Well September is over. I didn't do too badly. I wore home made clothes on all but 4 days - but there was lots of repetition, which I why I stopped listing stuff.

In total I wore : black spotty dress, Yellow 50's style dress, self drafted top, refashioned trousers, 2 different self made skirts, and a crocheted cardy - each many times!


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