Sunday, 27 April 2014

lino prints

Having lots of fun at the moment playing around with lino prints, something I'm very new to.
 Here is a photo of five cards I put together yesterday from the printed hearts. Really enjoying this, and having another play this morning.

These hearts are built up from several prints, using a heart template to encase the print. I think these look lovely, especially the purple one! It would make a good background to a poem! More fun to be had with these and other ideas. Coming soon!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Easter fun

We had family staying with us for 5 days over Easter, 8 all together, 4 youngsters (aged 18-23) and 4 adults/parents. We had a few plans involving craft activities (mainly found on pinterest) and trips out to the river at Appletreewick and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. There was lots of cooking and baking and a birthday to celebrate! Lots of games as well as an Easter egg hunt (aren't they getting too old for this now?)
Our first activity was a pinterest idea that didn't work, but looked good while we making them. The idea was to blow up a balloon to an egg shape, pop a couple of wrapped (mini) chocolate eggs inside then decorate the balloon with thread soaked in glue. When the glue dries you pop the balloon and should have a really interesting egg shape.
 You'll see from this photo they look really good while wrapped around the balloon, but unfortunately when the balloon was popped the thread stuck to it and collapsed with it! We ended up with some pretty egg nests but not the desired effect.

With the help of my sister I started piecing together a quilt from squares and rectangles that had been hand sewn by a variety of people, many teenage girls, probably about 6 years ago. But I'm going to save that photo until it's finished!
Next is a collage of our trips out combined with our first, and I have to say very successful attempt at Hot cross buns!

And finally, we had a go at lino cuts, with some very soft and easy to cut lino blocks. Here is my attempt, which I am rather pleased with!

I had a special trip out today to buy the ink pads and am awaiting the delivery of some more of the lino block to have another go but for me this is a new and rather exciting craft which will be combined in my handmade cards, and probably other things as well. So many possibilities!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Coloured glass

Something I haven't done so much recently but used to do a lot of is make my own jewellery, especially necklaces and bracelets. Mostly using glass beads as there is something about coloured glass that I really like, the way the light catches it or shines through it is so exciting for me. As I write this I'm looking round my room and realising I have quite a few pieces of glass hanging in the window or sitting on the mantlepiece, lighting up the room. So here are some pictures.
Beginning with
 necklaces and 

Then these are some of the decorative glass items that adorn my living room.
 This began as a Christmas decoration for the tree but was hung in the window afterwards and has stayed there ever since. In the background you can see our door reflecting the same sort of theme.

 A gorgeous purchase from Art in Action ( last summer. These were bought individually from a lady who puts clusters of glass leaves together as lampshades. 

 These next two were purchases from France many years ago, from a random French market in some seaside town, can't even remember where!

 This glass heart was something I bought for my husband from a quirky shop in York, but somehow I think I appreciate it more than he does!

These delightful little dishes (only 6cm across) and the hanging bird below were Christmas presents from my daughter.

 And finally a tea-light holder made by a friend of mine who puts broken glass into the base before firing. Enjoy!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Another handmade book

Here are some photos of a book I made on a special retreat recently. It was called a Makers retreat and we had the opportunity to have a go at calligraphy, pottery, printing, Sumi ink work and knitting. Having decided beforehand I wanted to try lettering in clay when we got there I was inspired by a book my lovely friend had made and decided to have a go at this instead. I stayed with this the whole weekend and came home with only the cover to finish off.
This is the front cover, so you'll see it's a long thin book, which is quite a change for me.

And here are the inside pages, sewn together to match the style of calligraphy. This style, which looks like an embroidery stitch, is what attracted me to the idea in the first place. And the words are just beautiful! 

And here is the book open. As there are magnets at the spine as well closing the book it can either open like a normal book or spread out completely so you can read the whole piece in one go. (too wide to photo though!)

Friday, 4 April 2014

Handmade books

I love books! All sorts of books. When I was young I spent a lot of time in my local library which was a gorgeous house in its own grounds (sadly sold off since then and replaced with a hideous looking building!). I wanted to be a librarian and my sister and I converted our books at home into library books, each with their own sheet at the front for the date stamp, and fold-over for the ticket. Am I showing my age? This was before digital bar codes and 1 plastic library card, then you had a card ticket for each book borrowed!
Anyway my love of books continues and over the past few years my brother, sister and I have explored book-making (not the bookies!). Last autumn we went to an exhibition of artists' books in Sheffield and were incredibly inspired by the innovative and delightful books on display, and especially with the fact you could touch them, handle them, open them. We each decided to make our own book, but not just an empty book. I proposed mine would be a book of some of the poems I write, and theirs will be printing, photography or some other artwork. At Easter we are going to have a show-and-tell so you'll have to wait till after then for the photos. For now here are some photos of books I have made.
Here's a tempting stack of the books. These ones are all quite small, the biggest at the bottom is 14cm tall. They are delightful little hand-sized books.

This is the front cover of one of the first books I made with a hard cover and spine. And it fastens with magnets, a great discovery my brother made in Sheffield.

The inside of the embroidered cover book, plain pages torn to give a rough edge.

These two books are both made to the size of the felt squares I've used previously and again close with magnets. Also featuring some hand embroidery, another love of mine.

And here they are showing the inside. Simple calligraphy. This one features a verse from Thich Nhat Hanh, my Buddhist teacher and one of my favourite  teachings. "I have arrived, I am home, in the here and in the now. I am solid, I am free. In the Ultimate I dwell".

And this one features the words of another favoured teacher, a guru from India called Swami Shyam. "I am not born, I do not die. I am pure space, just like the sky. I do not come, I do not go. I am pure, free forever, the one who knows".
And that's all for now, but you may have spotted there are other books in the pile, so more to follow another day! :)

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Pearl buttons

Here's a tasty view of my latest purchase from Ebay, pearl buttons in 5 delicious shapes just sitting there waiting for inspiration to kick in. The buttons may be combined with these samples below, which are from a sewing project a group of us started a few years ago with the intention of joining them together to make a quilt, but this is as far as they got! Hmmm, I can feel some grey cells starting to whirr into action!! I'll keep you informed :)