It’s Never Too Late #2

Hello friends! It took a while to get back to you on this subject. I spent a fair bit of time wondering about which particular tag to apply to each of the rotund ladies, interspersed with quite a lot of socialising and reading – though not at the same time. Plus of course the particularly thrilling evening when the aged electric fire blew up, taking out all my technology with it – luckily only temporarily …… but that caused a few heart stopping moments I can tell you. Still, there’s a lovely new little fire in situ now thanks to the Queen’s Birthday Weekend sales and silver linings. Don’t we love those silver linings!

Anyhoo, you may remember this was the only finished beauty

But eventually I settled somewhere and went with the ones that follow.

No-one actually came up with this one exactly, the closest was Norah

This one was offered by Jenny, the Ginja Ninja

And this is mine, though of course, before it was mine it was Fleetwood Mac’s and I had temporarily forgotten that. I do hope they won’t mind

I was so pleased with myself, when this phrase popped into my head. I had completed two cards before I realised the song playing in my head was Stevie Nicks singing the words…….. I do sometimes wonder if I’m losing the plot!

So Norah and Jenny, please contact me (form is in the ‘Contact Me’ page found under the header picture) and a pack of four prints will find their way to your letterbox before too long.

Thank you to all who played, it was really hard to choose and some of the suggestions are so good they may find themselves attached to future cards made especially for them.

Let’s finish with a pic of Siddy who apparently wanted a ribbon in his hair too after his groom today and his pal at MudPuppy can never say ‘no’ to him. Posing sleepily and serendipitously in front of the new fire.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

Painting a Teddy Bear

March is my month to get back into my art. I have challenged myself to practise sketching daily and to complete a painting every week. Last week an owl appeared. This week it’s been teddy bears – and a dragon or three, but they can wait.

Two Teddy Bear sketches were made in my A4 sketch book:

A plump Teddy Boy was quickly followed by an equally round Teddy Girl

I thought they had potential – so I went on and made another, smaller, sketch of the girl, which in turn, went on to become a watercolour painting. Here she is, about one third of the way through

Of course, being me, I forgot to record anything else til she was

Finished

Painted on an A5 sheet of 300gsm watercolour paper using watercolor paints, graphite pencil and white and black pens. The balloons are finished off with a little touch of the shimmery stuff……..

I then had some smaller prints made and turned them into cards. A fortuitous mistake by the woman at the print shop gave me a bonus close-up image

I’m also pleased to report that this week saw the completion of a wip that has sat in my basket for two years. I’d kind of forgotten about it for most of the two years. Two years!! (hangs head in shame) In the end it took ten minutes to finish the row of daisy stitches I had decided to do on the back yoke. This is my first garment made using Tunisian crochet and vaguely following a pattern in my how-to book. I am rather fond of the weave like texture you get from this technique.

The photo on the left is closer to the true colour.

I also framed the owl as a frame makes anything look better. Also, in my house it’s hard to capture anything without the addition of a few sparkles from a light catcher …….

Here’s Siddy caught watching something interesting on TV. Orlando doesn’t care about it.

PS If you can’t figure out which way is up on Siddy there is an explanation in my response to Tialys comment……….

So, that’s the second week of my March challenge completed. Thanks for coming by today, I’m happy that you did!

Two for January

I’m just going to squeeze in another post for January……..  Even so, I can’t be accused of being a prolific blogger  🙂

I haven’t achieved much in the art room, but did settle for a bit to play with some inks, pens and a little stamp.  Clearly early morning walks by the ocean are having an effect

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these first two are blurry thanks to my inability to keep the phone still……

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It’s basically playing with colour and shapes and doodling.. Like everything I do these days I tend to make two or three at the same time and then turn them into cards.   So…

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And just to change it up a bit I did two of these, but one has gone away already

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I love the colours of them all – inks are so much fun – the watercolours and acrylics are still languishing…..

How has your January going, going, gone?  It’s either overly warm here or it’s – not.  It’s hard to make plans for a picnic that’s for sure.   Siddy and I continue to pursue our daily goal of leaving random people happier for having met us on our walks – he has such an assortment of fans it’s quite delightful.

This is him at the window, greeting his two favourite special people  –

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Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did.

On Blankets, Birthdays and Endangered Parrots

It’s been a whole month since my last post , time keeps on zipping by me and although I’m not wasting any of it I have very little to show you currently.

I did get my Seaside Stash Busting Blanket finished – and absolutely love it!   Here is a pic of it spread out on my bed complete with the obligatory poser

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If you have a good sized stash of yarn – and even if you don’t – head on over to Eleonora’s place and follow her weekly installments, available on her blog under the header picture.

I did have an almost significant birthday a few days back and amongst the lovely cards and gifts was a most wonderful surprise from my youngest.   We will head off in a few more days to trek through the evening bush to visit with Sirocco, the world famous kakapo.

What?  You haven’t heard of Sirocco?  Where have you been for the past decade?  Come on, you are about to meet a pretty hilarious and amazing parrot!

Kakapos are another of our almost endless supply of nocturnal, flightless birds under attack from the almost endless supply of introduced  rodents and predators who have ravaged the population.   Here he is in a pic I pinched off Google, looking perkily ambassadorial

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Kakapos are the only flightless parrots in the world.  They are big, heavy birds who climb trees using their claws and beaks.  They mate irregularly and have a prolonged and unusual mating ritual that involves ‘booming’.  They were almost extinct and are being clawed back from the brink by dint of human determination.

Sirocco’s behaviour on Stephen Fry’s series of ‘Last Chance to See’ some ten years ago resulted in world wide fame and instant You Tube infamy and as a result he became New Zealand’s official spokes-bird for conservation and most importantly the conservation of our native flightless bird population – and even more importantly the kakapo of which there are now 149 up from their lowest point of just 25.  This short clip kind of sums it all up

If you are interested in learning more, the link below will take you to some relevant pages on Te Ara, the encyclopedia of New Zealand.  I’ve started it with the male Kakapo sitting in his bowl ‘booming’ his mating call out in the hopes some wandering female will pop by …….  He’ll do it for hours and days and it becomes pretty obvious predators aren’t the only reason why these quirky birds are endangered!

https://teara.govt.nz/en/video/10577/male-kakapo-booming

Kakapo generally have a reputation of being fearless, inquisitive and friendly birds.  An early Governor of New Zealand, back in the day when kakapo were still plentiful, was said to have been given one as a pet and compared it favourably to a dog.  Sirocco’s ill health as a chick meant he was taken from his mother and hand raised.  He imprinted on humans and, it seems, specifically the male of our species and as a result has no interest in ‘booming’ for kakapo hens.  He will boom for humans though.  Despite a couple of years in therapy and some training in acceptable behaviour (some of which you can see on YouTube if you do a search) he is not likely to assist in the increasing of the kakapo population, so Sirocco happily takes himself off round the country from time to time, sets up digs in a suitable outdoor hotel, is waited on hand and foot by his adoring servants and accepts brief visits from small groups of his adoring public  – of which I shall  happily be one.

Not many of us get to see a real live kakapo.  They now live only on two small islands that are kept scrupulously pest free – no rodents,  no predators of any kind.  The only humans allowed are those entrusted with their care and scientific research into their lifestyles.  Given those living conditions and the fact that they sleep all day we are really fortunate to have a bird who likes people and who enjoys looking at them as much as they like looking at him.

Any how, I’m really looking forward to it,  I just hope I don’t get lost in the bush on my way to my date with Sirocco   🙂  I’ll let you know how I get on.

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

 

 

 

Still June!

Oh, lookit me go!  It’s still June and here is my second post for the month  🙂

I celebrated the winter solstice by finishing two handcraft projects and thought I’d share them before the newest projects take over my attention fully.

First here, please admire the gorgeous Persian Tiles blanket being pressed for the last time by the equally gorgeous Orlando – still convinced I’m trying to steal his soul with that damned camera…..davThe colours are pretty accurate in the above photo – aren’t they fabulous!  The yarn is wonderful it’s Corriedale Wool purchased from The Wool Company which is based in Taihape New Zealand, but has a global reach.  My friend Jan from The Snail of Happiness  arranged a wonderful surprise for me back in February and it has all gone wonderfully smoothly – all I had to do was choose the colours and follow the pattern.  davThe colours are a little washed out in the second photo, but you can see the texture and the pattern.  The edging needs to be blocked to finish the thing properly, but that won’t happen until the weather warms up a little.

And now, let me introduce you to Miss Petui ButtonbottomsdrHer name grew organically as I read your various comments and proposals and suggestions in the previous post.   Karen said she needed to be a Miss and I agreed; Val said Petunia and Norah mentioned the same name, but was more connected to the ‘P’ for Pauline and et tu (you too) which she had jumped to from ‘etui’  I liked the idea, but in the end decided to stay with ‘etui’.  So you can pronounce it Pet-you-ee or Petwee as you please.  Her last name grew from Geoff’s suggestion of ‘Leadbottom’ which made me laugh, but you will see soon why I changed it a little.  (Sometimes it’s obvious even to me that I have way too many hours to wonder around in LaLaLand!)

Miss Petui stands just on 50 cm (15″) tall and her many pockets hold all kinds of toolsdavHere I can find pen, pencil, awl, ruler, thimble, measuring tape, needles of various sizes and sharpnesses, two pairs of scissors, quick-unpick, long vision specs and cleaning cloth, a variety of stitch markers, a reel of thread, a row counter and a small magnifying glass.davHer head scarf holds pins and unseen is a large amount of blocking pins hidden in her hair.  She wears my reading specs, always ready to do a bit of stitching, hooking or sewing repairs.

Have you wondered yet how she stands up so steadily?  Miss Petui has, hidden beneath her long dress and busy apron, a container of buttons.  I found a bottle of the right height very early in her creation and worked to its specifications.  The bottle is now filled with a selection of small buttons which keeps them to hand and gives her stability and weight.  I tried to get a photo but found it almost impossible now she is finished – not to mention somewhat invasive of her privacy!  You will just have to believe me, she really is ‘Miss Buttonbottom’.

You’d think that would be it wouldn’t you – after creating my very own etui doll from scratch with no pattern and only stashed materials.  But the minute she was pronounced ‘done’ I found myself with a tiny hook and some chocolate brown yarn making another lot of rounds, growing another head – much smaller, much neater – but definitely a head……  I have no clue what this will be, but I’ll keep you posted…… Maybe…..

Here’s  a cute shot of Siddy, just so he’s not left outReady to go home March 9

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

 

 

 

June Creations

While I think and muse and potter and walk and create and just be, time keeps on flowing by and my mind turns to the fact that soon – soon – we will be at the mid winter mark of the longest night and the light will begin to return my way.

I always miss the light the most when I am in winter.  I don’t mind the cold, the wet, the sleet even.  I mind the shortness of the days at both ends and I miss the feel of sunlight on my face.  I don’t miss the heat.  I quite like not having the energy sapping, robust glint of hot summer days.  But I miss the hours the sun stays in the sky.  Soon I tell myself, the season will peak, the world will turn and the sun will start to move back towards my hemisphere.   I walked in mist this morning thinking these thoughts of waiting.  And, as we exited the park and looked up to the hill ahead, the sun glinted off the windows of houses through the mist and made me a most delightful fairy tale castle of sparkling light to guide me on and make my waiting happy.  Later, at home, I realised that only in this season can such a wonderfully serendipitous meeting of mist and light occur at 9 am.  I appreciate the reminder to be okay with where I’m at!

But still I wait, and while I wait I hook.  My Persian Squares blanket is close to being finished.  Orlando has helped, oh such a lot!

davHe pretty much ensured every component of the blanket was pressed, whether I desired it to be or not.

 

As I write this one half of the blanket is draped over the back of a dining chair

btrIt ought to be finished but I got sidetracked.

I made this

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Now, here’s the story that goes with ‘this’.  Do you want to hear it?  (Err, come back – that was a rhetorical question folks!)

Back in the days when I was still intermittently going onto Facebook, I logged in and the first thing I saw was a picture of a crochet etui doll.  At the same moment that I was falling in love with it, facebook did that thing it does and updated my feed in a tumbling rush of alternate posts and I lost her.  I searched, wasted an hour of my life and didn’t ever see her again.  Maybe that was the moment when I decided to quit social media (except for blogging).  Any how, I searched around and had myriad conversations, but never found another etui doll.  Maybe they aren’t called that any way – but I don’t know what else to call them.  Then, one day, when searching through my stash of yarns for something else I found a bit of brown that said to me ‘I make doll!’  “Okay!” said I and gathered it up and off we went to Happy Hooking Land.

Now I have never made a crochet doll before, I have no clue how to make one.  But undaunted I set to with hook and yarn and made a head, the rest just followed along.  I also kept no notes of what I was doing, so now have no clue how I got from the first stitch to the last.  But I do know what I’d do differently.

I also took no photos until I got to the final stage of face features placement.  As you can see from that photo I used pearl headed pins to get an idea of placement and size – and grabbed the camera.  I had my reading glasses on and when looking for a place to put them down, realised she was, among her many other talents, the perfect specs holder!

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I’m just the teeniest bit in love with her

 

As you can see from the pockets close-ups she holds all things sewing and hooking related.  There is more to come and her face to be finished – and a name to be given of course – any ideas?  But this has to be the most fun thing I have made in forever!

So that is why the blanket hasn’t yet been finished.  Nor this – which insists on photographing brighter and lighter than reality, but gives you an idea that at least some progress has been made…….

davFinally, here’s Siddy in his posh winter gear to say “Hello!” or “Grrrrruff!” to you all, just in case you need that kind of puppy cheerfulness in your life…..

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Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

Handcrafting Happiness

Well my friends, March disappeared in a puff of smoke, snap, just like that and the first week of April has also hiked through pretty quickly.

I crocheted with my beautiful Corriedale Yarns  and formed the first Persian Tile after a couple of false starts just getting the colour relationships right

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With one down fifteen to go, I decided to streamline things and am now forming four tiles at a time

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If you read last weeks post you might remember I mentioned the colour of the pink yarn wasn’t showing properly – it looked red, here you see it actual shade – isn’t it stunning set alongside those blues!

I’ve been playing with my coloured pencils, my alcohol ink pens, distress inks and various other bits and pieces and making more cards.  Having a stash of cards to meet all possible festive occasions, or just to send little notes to friends, is never a bad thing.

I worked on some I had started earlier and felt needed a bit more work – it’s important they look as finished as possible.  These three are made using embossing folders and inks to achieve deeply textured, yet simple card fronts.  I need to make more that are suitable for giving to the male of the species.

These next two are the same idea, just bigger.  The textured background is inked and  silhouettes made from die cuts added.  A bit of bling and I have two A5 cards ready to go

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Using my Spectrum Noir colour pencils and Gamsol – which is a brand of odourless spirits – two more cards were produced.  The Gamsol acts as a blending agent with the colours and also can be used to blur the lines slightly, softening the effect, though I’m not that sure that I like it personally

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And this one, which like the last card above, was photographed in its cellophane jacket, hence the slightly blurred and muted aspect – sorry about that.

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Then I moved on to produce a couple of A6 size cards made with alcohol ink pens on Distress inked backgrounds

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Again a Distress Ink background with a die cut house.  The girl is stamped  and fussy cut and attached with foam dots slightly off-set from the background.  IMG_20180405_094442.jpg

I’m enjoying the vibrancy of the alcohol ink pens and plan on doing more cards with them.  Though really, I can’t say why I’m making all these cutesie girly cards – maybe I’m pining for my lost youth  🙂  (Where did I put him?)   All I can say is it’s a good way to bring myself back into using these different mediums and finding my feet again so to speak.   I’m hoping I’ll be feeling ready to make originals again soon.

If you have a favourite, I’d love to know.

And of course, we celebrated Siddy’s fourth birthday on the 4th day of the 4th month – most assuredly an auspicious occasion!

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Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!