Sunday, 26 February 2012

On giving in - not giving up!

Can you identify the packaging?

There are times when you just have to give in - and having shingles is one of them. I had no idea it was so debilitating and so vicious - or that it would last for so long. I have heard the horror stories, 2 friends of mine have had it recently, 1 on the bra line and 1 on the unmentionables but I guess until you have it yourself you can't understand what it is like.
I am lucky I got the anti viral drugs early enough and I am starting to feel better, there is less pain everyday but the rash and blisters are still spreading, but more slowly now. I may have to design myself a stunning yashmak if they don't start to clear up soon - but I can't go anywhere or see anyone as I am still contagious - I feel as though I should have a bell to ring . . . . . 

This will pass - I have to remember this is just one tiny part of my life and there are far worse worse things (though on Friday morning at 6am I would have disputed that). The recovery is obviously going take a long time and because of this I have had to cancel my 2 workshops at Foredown Tower this week. Even if the blisters had gone - which is unlikely - I still wouldn't have the energy to teach. I am still having to sleep during the day as well as at night. This is one thing I can't sort out through sheer force of personality.

You must recognise this one???

The illness has thrown up an interesting question which I regularly pontificate about when asked - " how do you keep being creative when you are feeling low - whether through grief or illness"?
My, has it been put to the test in the past few days!!!! My theory has always been that as you start to feel brighter in yourself, to just play with materials, not have any pressure on what you are going to do at the end of it. The ideas will come eventually as you work through your basic processes. My recipe seems to be mindless layering. I can't manage my heat press at the moment but I can use the iron for 30 mins or so.

So it's back to what I feel most comfortable with - heat, food packaging, painted Bondaweb and of course - newspaper.

I am working on very small samples 5" square, they are less threatening that size! While I was layering on this scale I remembered some tiny printing blocks I had bought in Sydney Museum when I was last there and of course have not thought about since. So tomorrows exercise will be to print onto my small samples with tiny printing blocks.

The blocks are no more than 1" square and are hand carved.

I have no idea what it will look like - but if you don't try . . . . . . 


My thanks to all of you who have emailed and sent messages. Many of whom I have never met. It is through friends, family and the kindness of strangers that we are able to keep going - I know that sounds soppy - but it's true!

More tomorrow if I can find the energy to lift the iron and the printing blocks . . . . . "How are the mighty fallen"!!!!!


Thursday, 23 February 2012

Laying low . . !

Fabulous bright colours - just what we need to lift the heart!
Old plastic bottles, painted and turned into lights.

This is just a short post to say I will be laying low for a few days. I have shingles!!! On my head and neck - ouch! So orders from will be taking slightly longer to get out - they are getting out - just more slowly than usual . . . Hope to be back up to normal deliveries next week.

At least it has happened now and not in three weeks time. 
I will still have time to recover before I leave for Australia.

Take care all of you,  x x x

Monday, 20 February 2012

Get this book . . !

 Sarah's new book

The first day of Craft, Hobby and Stitch International was very busy and there was a lot of interest in the new iron-on interfacings  'Decovil 1' and 'Decovil light' on the Freudenberg Vilene stand. They are fabulous products, particulary good for making bags and book covers, just the right support with out being too stiff.

The highlight of the show for me is being given a copy of Stitch, Cloth, Shimmer & Shine written by Sarah Lawrence. I know many of you are still coming to terms with Sarah's untimely death, we are all missing her like mad! This book will be a great comfort - IT IS FABULOUS!!! Get it! I have spent 2 evenings devouring it and stroking the pages.

The photograhs are excellent, particularly the ones of the more developed projects at the back of the book. Sarah takes you through all the processes you could possibley need for applying anything twinkly to your work. From gilding flake and heat transfer foils to working with metal and stitch. Whatever your experience level - you need this book. It is a book you will delve into again and again .  . and again. As you would expect, Sarah has been generous with her information and how she creates her beautiful layers of colour and texture. . . .as usual, she has held nothing back! have copies availabe now - for £15.99


It is great meeting so many of you at the show and I look forward to seeing more of you over the next 2 days.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Girly AND dainty!

Slip covers for the books that were pictured on the blog yesterday. 
Decovil - new iron-on interfacing, dyed and then decorated with layers of newspaper, painted Bondaweb and gilding flake.

First I was girly - and now I am being dainty - very unusual for me. I have managed to finish 2 book covers and make some more jewellery. I seem to have sold most of my first batch.

The cover on the left is finished with acrylic wax and the one on the right was covered with a sheet of Lamifix gloss, hence it is shiny and wipe able. Lamifix also comes in a matt finish if you don't want your work looking tooooo shiny.

Here is the dainty part - I have been drilling my jewellery pieces to make them into longer earrings with the tiniest drill bit. I have now managed to get it down to a fine art AND remember to breathe. 

Layered newspaper and painted Bondaweb ironed onto Heavy Pelmet Vilene Plus then cut to shape on a die cutting machine.

My lovely friend Jane Sadgrove who owns the shop Beads Amore in Sevenoaks has been helping me. Jane runs fabulous workshops in her shop and has the most amazing array of beads I have ever seen. I stayed with Jane when we both did the Bluewater show recently and she introduced me to oval jump rings - they make such a difference to the way your dangles dangle . . . .You may have seen Jane at some of the shows as she used to the 'show organiser' for The Beadworkers Guild and created amazing displays on their stands. What Jane doesn't know about beading isn't worth knowing.

I mustn't leave out a certain gentleman in the Portsmouth area who helped me source the tiny drill bits I needed . . . .

I will eventually add all kind of lovely beads and develop necklaces and collars, these are all very basic - but that won't be till after I get back from the Antipodes.

I made myself two brooches to go with the earrings - they measure 4" across, when you are a big girl you need large accessories!!!

 I have few more 'blanks' to play with - I am looking forward to making necklaces.

O.K that's the fun bit over, now I must get back to work and start cutting up and packing all the Heavy Pelmet Vilene Plus, painted newspaper and painted Bondaweb - for 60 people - aarrGGHH!!!

Have a great weekend - will post again when I get back from the show next week.


Thursday, 16 February 2012

1 step forward and 3 steps back!

A small pile of dyed iron-on interfacings - the new Decovil and Decovil Light on some particularly gorgeous newspaper.

You have it all planned - 4 days to prepare for a show with new samples and all the products dyed, cut and packed for 3 x workshops of 20 retailers - aaRGGHH!!! The exhaust fell off the car, loads of orders came in (I'm not complaining really) and piles of paperwork leapt out and needed doing  . . . . but I have finally knuckled down.

Even my sofa is covered with dyed iron-on interfacing hopefully drying ready to use tomorrow, I just don't seem to have enough floor space.

 I was hoping these books would be covered by now - tomorrow's blog . . . . .

I am getting SOME samples done. This is a wooden box that has been dyed turquoise - (it just happens to match my hair). Painted Bondaweb was then ironed onto it and decorated with gilding flake. The box was then sealed with acrylic wax.

 This is very subtle for me - Painted, then printed Bondaweb, torn, then ironed onto my favourite black Pelemt Vilene Lite.

So back to the paintbrush - I need to paint more newspaper and Bondaweb so they will dry ready to cut and pack tomorrow.

See you soon, x

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Girly Stuff and Black Craft Vilene

 Sequins on my cardi

I am not very girly - I am and have had to be very practical most of my life - so I take great pleasure the odd times I am required to dress up and be sparkly - but then what do you wear? 
I may have mentioned once or twice that I will be off to the Antipodes at the end of March. There will be several parties to attend and having gone through my very practical wardrobe I realised I needed a bit of glitz!!! So I have been sewing sequins and beads onto a back cardi that covers a multitude of sins and is very useful! (Being practical again) I am having trouble deciding when to stop, I suspect I may cover the entire cardi by the end of this week. A girl can't have enough sequins and I need to feel I am doing something useful when I watch Corrie and 'Stenders

 One of the parties has an award for 'The Most Fabulous Wearing of False Eyelashes' so I popped into town last week and picked these up - what do you think? I thought I might add a pink feather boa with black spots. I am having to travel reasonably light as I will be carrying my tools, I won't have tons of room for dressing up clothes. I tried to get a pair of turquoise lashes to match my hair, but I am coming round to the pink now . . .


 Black Pelmet Vilene Lite with strips of layered newspaper and painted Bondaweb

The black craft Vilene is now on the website - £3 per metre, 30cm wide. It is softer and thinner than the usual Pelmet/Craft Vilene. I already sell this weight in white and they are both called. Pelmet Vilene Lite


I'm off to sew on more sequins now - I am getting quite addicted!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Patchwork Professional Magazine

 The cover of Patchwork Professional Magazine

You can just picture it can't you - me sitting here at my computer in my bathrobe writing this with blue dye on my hair being incredibly excited about my second article to be published in a magazine - I feel so grown up!!!

Patchwork Professional is a very beautiful German magazine the promotes all kinds of quilt art and associated textile techniques and skills. This issue has featured me as an artist and a workshop on how to use my lovely Hot Spots!

I have been given permission to scan in the cover of the magazine and two of the pages from the article.
As they are scans they are not perfect but the images give you some idea. The shaggy newspaper pieces and the 'Blue Cross' image are based on the detritus that gets caught up in the steel work under our West Pier in Brighton.

The 4 foot vessel on the right is one of my pieces created from CS800 that has been dyed, zapped and layered.

The top image is a piece named 'Capstones' and is based on the wall capping stones on a dry stone wall in Devon. The colours of the rocks are SO amazing there. The wall piece is 7 foot wide and is constructed with Craft/Pelmet Vilene dyed and painted and cut to shape. The rock shapes were then machine stitched onto a firm black cotton background.

I have just sent off the next article that will be featured in the next issue of Patchwork Professional which is on - Bondaweb!!! Of course it is - it is the best product in the world.

I must go and wash the dye off my hair now . . . . 
I'm still very excited  . . . 


Monday, 6 February 2012

NEW! Black craft Vilene

 My new black (well charcoal really) pelmet/craft Vilene decorated with painted Bondaweb, foils and gilding flake and then cut with a soldering iron and bonded onto the same black pelmet/craft Vilene. FAB!

 ooooohh!!! It's chilly! Have you got snow too? This is the third year in a row we have snow in Brighton - most unusual.

We also had snow at Bluewater so Sunday was a very quiet day. The first three days were fabulous though. None of us were sure if anyone would come to the show as it was a new venue, but we needn't have worried - you all came in your droves. Thank you!
It was great to see so many of you there and you seemed to be having a great time. It was fabulous meeting you all and catching up with friends who also had stands at the show.

As it was a bit quiet yesterday I had the chance to play with some of my new products that I will launching on the website in a couple of weeks time. I am just having them cut and priced then I can let you all know what I am up to.

The new black (nearer charcoal) sew-in interfacing is about half the weight of the Pelmet/Craft Vilene. I have been selling the white version for while as Pelmet Vilene Light and have been encouraged to add the black version. It is soft, firm enough to stitch into without a frame and cuts beautifully with a soldering iron. It also makes a fabulous background to decorate with painted Bondaweb.

 'Decovil' iron-on interfacing decorated with strips of dyed newspaper, painted Bondaweb, gilding flake and mica flakes.

While I was playing I tried out my new 'Decovil' iron-interfacing with my layered newspapers and painted Bondaweb. I need to make some covered books for the trade show in a couple of weeks. I must say I am very pleased with it. It is firm but pliable - perfect for book covers and bags. I will post some images of the books when I finish them later in the week. I have lot of paperwork to catch up before I can play -.!$%^&*£?

Wonderful texture . . . . and form and repeat shapes . . .

Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that my stand was next to Mike who has the chocolate stand - aARGGHH!!!! There is no hope for me. I'm just a girl who can't say no! As my friend Lee Brown says - I have will power, but no won't power! How am I going to fit in that aeroplane seat?


I am home for 12 whole days - Bliss! I have loads of orders to get out and I must finalise all the deliveries of materials for Australia and New Zealand.
Lots to do but at least I can do it from home. I've promised myself that if I am very good girl this week I might have a little R & R in the Portsmouth area at the weekend . . .!!!!!!

Keep warm.