Monday 30 March 2020

Keeping Busy

 I have been keeping occupied quite well over the last week or so.  Above is a pearl necklace which I re-strung for my mother-in-law as the catch was broken.  It took me several attempts and a bit of choice language to get there.  I have decided I need to practise with the pearl knotting tool,which, when I have got to grips with it, will make the whole process so much easier. When the necklace was strung before, it was knotted in groups of six pearls.  I have re-done it with one pearl then a knot.  It means if it does break (I hope it won't), only one pearl will be lost and it also keeps the pearls from rubbing against each other.  It does look nice now.
 In another jewellery project, my friend Rachael asked if I could make her a necklace for her birthday incorporating three charms she had been given.  I had a bit of a think and came up with this design. 
 I used wrap loops to join all the parts together for added stability and longevity. 
 I chose aquamarine, jadeite and labradorite as the gemstones and you can see the little charms here.  I made it just longer than a choker length and I hope it will be comfortable to wear.
 Last Thursday, I decided (on a bit of a whim) to tackle the patio and release the chairs and table from their prison of plants and pots.  They had been at the back of the patio for at least ten years and we weren't able to actually use them.  After a lot of sweeping, moving pots from here to there and re-positioning, we can now sit down.  Of course, the weather has been too cold since then, but they are ready for us.  (They also need a bit of TLC and repainting, but that's for another day.)
Finally, here's tulip Brown Sugar again, enjoying the sunshine, when we have had some.  It does complement the brick wall, I think.

Tuesday 24 March 2020

The wonders of nature

 As we are staying at home as much as possible for the foreseeable future, it is rather kind of the weather to be giving us such sunny days.  (We have had some frosts overnight though).  I have been enjoying being out in the garden even more than usual and I think it will become more important to me this year.  Above is Clematis Rosy Pagoda.
 The ever faithful Lathyrus Vernus which I love to see every year.
 A double camellia given to me by my mum a while ago.  Although it may not be so good for insects, it still earns its place in the garden at this time of year.
 The beautiful blue sky behind the unfurling lilac and magnolia.
 Tulip 'Brown Sugar' getting ready to flower (this was last Saturday).
 Tulip Negrita also getting ready to flower.
 Brown Sugar today.  I would have liked to buy more of these tulips, but for the last two years they sold out before I could get to them.  They have lovely strong stems and (I will have to check) I think they are scented.
 Tulip Negrita today.
I was also rewarded by seeing this little ladybird enjoying nectar/pollen (my knowledge of ladybirds seems sadly lacking) from this rather bedraggled and nibbled Scilla.  (I was really pleased that my sometimes a little unpredictable camera produced this image.) 
Just a reminder that those little things that are so important and which I have rather taken for granted are still there, if I care to look and enjoy.

Thursday 19 March 2020

Good advice and Art Journal 2 (part one)

 Before I start, just to say that I hope all are well out in blogland and that we will get through this.  The advice on the mug above seems particularly appropriate at the moment - I think a lot of crafters will be doing just that. 
Huge thanks to all the workers who are continuing to keep the country going too, in very difficult circumstances. 
I won't dwell on the situation but will post about my second art journal instead.  I made this journal out of recycled packaging and have used stamps, paint, paste, stencils, pens, glitter, embossing powder and anything else that took my fancy.  It took me a year to finish, doing a bit as and when I felt like it.  Here are some of my favourite pages, with more to come in the second instalment, which will follow shortly.
 The front cover is all about lines - scaffolding or buildings? 
This page was made after watching Creationsceecee on youtube, who made something similar but using watercolour.   My version is acrylic paint and stamps. This was a bit out of my comfort zone as usually I like busy pages!
 This page was inspired by Kate Crane who uses bright colours and mark making but then will break the backgrounds into strips or smaller shapes.
 This page uses a dramatic Visible Image stamp as well as texture paste and gold embossing powder.  The eye was stamped onto tissue paper and then glued onto the page, so that the background can still be seen behind it.
 This is a Woodware stamp which I heat embossed in gold and then painted in.  The background has hexagon shapes of card on it (leftovers from another project) and lots of stamping.
Finally for now, a page which for a long time had only the background on it as I wasn't sure what to do next. I stamped patterns and added some of my collage sheets - the figure, the circles and the patterns in the top right. 
I so enjoyed creating these pages - they don't necessarily have any meaning and the process making them is as important (if not more so) than the finished product.  If I don't like a page,  it can always be painted over and that is very freeing.
I look forward to sharing some more pages with you shortly.

Thursday 12 March 2020

Latest card making

 Here are a few of the cards I have been making so far this year.  Above is one for my brother-in-law, using gilding flakes which was fun to make, but a bit messy as the flakes can go everywhere!
 Here is the one I made for my colleague at work who is very creative.  It took a couple of goes to get it how I wanted, but I got there in the end.
 Decorating the envelope and the inside of the card was enjoyable too.
 This is for a friend's birthday at the weekend.  This is a gel plate print in the background and a white die cut front.
The final card for now is a stencilled image which turned out well.  I am now working on Mothering Sunday cards and then it will be Easter cards...
I have also started my April ATC today and so far it is looking nice.

Sunday 8 March 2020

Almost Spring?

 I spent a very happy couple of hours in the garden yesterday, pruning, cutting down, cutting back, having a good look at plants and then tidying all the prunings.  You could be forgiven for thinking that it might, just might, be almost Spring.  I'm not convinced Winter is quite over yet though.  Above is Camellia St Ewe, bought last year.
 It has a vibrant combination of bright pink flowers with egg yolk yellow,  almost orange stamens.
 Cardamine Quinquifolia is settling in and starting to spread, but as it is so pretty and delicate, I am happy to let it do just that (for now).
You can see the five lobed leaves which is what the 'quinquifolia' refers to, I think. 
The hellebores are still flowering too and are such good value plants for this time of year.  This is Harvington Pink Speckled and it is making a lovely clump now.  The others are getting there, but this is the first one I bought. 
 A primrose, albeit a little nibbled by something, but a joy to see.
Crocuses too, looking a little battered, but with some lovely stripes and a vibrant combination of purple and orange.
 Tete a tete daffodils bringing their welcome splash of yellow.
Crocus Jeanne D'Arc, in a pot.  It has a delicate purple stripe down the inside of the petals, probably to guide the bees.
I love seeing these plants in flower and despite it being a little cold, I had a very enjoyable time yesterday and came in feeling I had actually achieved something.

Sunday 1 March 2020

March Artists' Trading Card (ATC)

 Here we are on the 1st March.  Storm Jorge (pronounced Hor-hay) has blown over, bringing wind, rain and hail.  Here is my ATC for March.  It is a little more subtle than January or February, but still has texture paste, glitter and foiling as surface decoration.
 The background is meant to suggest 'breezes' and the hare is for 'Mad as a March Hare'.  The gemstones are sky blue apatite, aquamarine, peridot, white moonstone, clear quartz and chrysoprase.  There may be some prehnite in there too (I really should note down what I use).
The back doesn't have texture and you can see the swirls which represent the breeze a little more clearly. The blue paint background has some white marks made using a tool meant for icing. There is a daffodil too, from a napkin.
I hope that March's weather is a little kinder to the country and indeed the world.