Wednesday, 25 June 2008

My swap item for June 08

As many of you know, I belong to the most wonderful group of very talented artists on Etsy called Boomers and Beyond Etsy Street Team - BBEST for short - well, we do consider ourselves the BBEST!

The month of June approached and so did a new challenge for me! This time in the form of a swap. What we do is submit to the organiser, who in this instance was Alis from She collected all our names and snail mail addresses, jumbled up the names to draw out partners. Now, nobody knew who was sending them their swap; they only knew the person to whom they were sending their swap. This made it all the more interesting because as the group completed their swaps they posted pictures on flickr for us all to see. Now came the fun as we all tried to guess and hope which one would be coming our way!

The subject was 'Summertime' which could be envisaged in all sorts of mediums to suit different individuals. I chose to do an art textile picture. A little out of my box but still great fun to do!

It is such a broad subject that the hardest part was sitting down to think of a theme, idea... anything? Then, it came to me!

I picked up a piece of hessian onto which I could attach, embroider, sew or glue various embellishements.

Summertime, you have to think of flowers, insects, butterflies! Now, to look around to see what I can find in my stash of sewing items.

A couple of Suffolk puffs (fabric yoyos) could be used. I found a couple of vintage buttons which were sewn in the centre of each puff to create the flower. In addition I threaded some beads to make it more interesting. Another couple of vintage buttons which looked like small flowers themselves looked cute with some extra beads sewn in the middle.

Here you can see how stems have been added to the flowers. I used different shades of green felt. Now, what could be they be placed in? I know a vase or pot!

Using a light brown piece of felt I glued this to the hessian. For a trim I used some antique lace and a pretty yellow satin bow.

Butterflies flit around; one at the top of the flower and one sitting by the top of the pot. Extra beads were hand sewn to the spine of the butterfly.

A sprinkling of beads could be some seeds falling from the flowers in the wind were hand sewn to the hessian. All this was attached to canvas board to give a firm support which could then be framed if desired.

If you liked this why not come over to my shop and see if there is anything else that takes your fancy? I also love to create custom products and I am very user friendly!!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Mum? Can you make.....

I am sure many of you will have heard that little voice asking whether you could just make this or just create that? Well, my daughter's best friend is expecting her first child in a few weeks and a cot quilt is required!!

Of course, the only colour scheme for which I did not have enough fabrics was beige/white/cream/brown. So, after scouring Ebay and some of my other sources I collected enough squares to produce a small patchwork cot quilt.

Here I show the putting together of the squares. I chose a random pattern and laid them out on my work table. I would take them and sew them together in the order that they were laid out.
Gone are the days when I had time to sew each square together by hand.... now adays my trusty sewing machine comes to my aid!

Having chosen the order to the squares I always double check to make sure I am keeping to the original pattern. Yes, the reverse looks fine; what about the front?

Note on the reverse the seams have been sewn in alternative directions to prevent heavy ridges when the quilt is put together.

Now for the wadding I have used an organic cotton batting from the Heirloom range. It contains no chemicals, is non allergenic and softens more after every wash to produce a wonderful soft, antique looking quilt since there is always a little shrinking effect.

Once the three layers have been sewn together all that is left is to finish it off with some tie quilting. This I did with a cream coloured yarn which, again, when washed will simply look like a small soft knot at each corner of patchwork.

So, here is the finished product and everyone seems happy!!!!

Some little friends are giving the quilt the once over.

An ideal size to be used in a moses basket and later just for snuggling up or as a large comfort blankie.

Here is a view of the quilt folded up and ready for use.

Monday, 16 June 2008

London to Brighton.....

Sunday dawned fresh, sunny and no sign of the rain that was forecast!

We were actually away visiting another member of the family but were constantly thinking about our eldest son, our daughter and her partner who would be taking part in the annual London to Brighton cycle run. This event is in aid of a great charity, The Heart Foundation and usually attracts over 27,000 cyclists.

The route begins in Clapham Common, London, and takes you through Surrey and the South Downs to finish along the Brighton seafront. Sounds easy? The journey is roughly 58 miles travelling through towns, villages, countryside including many steep hills, tight bends and incredible congestion, in parts!

This is a general picture showing how the congestion can force everyone to dismount their bikes and walk!It is reckoned that on average the journey should take about 7 hours. Well, our eldest is extremely fit and cycled with a few of his friends and colleagues from work. Being lads, it became a little bit of a race although the organisers do stress - this is not a race, more of an endurance test but the important thing is to complete the finishing line and collect your medal!

Well, he did it in about 4.5 hours!!!! They set off from Clapham Common around 6.30am. I think he said in the time he was cycling he managed to drink 3 litres of liquid just to stave off dehydration since the sweat was pouring of them in buckets! His personal challenge was to cycle up one of the most grueling hills, of the course, Ditching Hill leading to Ditchling Beacon which is said to be 813 feet high. He actually did it!!!! The reward to be able to freewheel down the other side into Brighton. The last few hundred yards along the sea front caused them to have a last sprint, against the advice of the marshallers, but boys will be boys!! One thing his boss did say..... next time you go to the Company Christmas party you are not to suggest such foolish ideas again!! Who me?

Meanwhile, DD and her partner set off from home in Crawley on their bikes at 05.30 am to a rendezvous with other work colleagues to drop off their bikes and catch a ride in a coach that had been organised to take them to Clapham Common. They were not to start until 09.00 am so it was much more congested. In fact it took them 2 hours to do the first 14 miles just to get out of London! A sense of humour was never far away, thank goodness! A couple of times DD forgot that she had bicycle clips or toe clips on her pedals so whenever she stopped she realised she would keel over - it got to be quiet an art after awhile as she shouted for a friend nearby to straighten her up!!

Her partner suffered a puncture! He was lucky that he only encountered one since many others had multiple punctures. Still, DD had to make the decision, walk with him whilst waiting for help to come (all this was so organised with regular patrols of teams ready to help out) or just to head on out and continue knowing he would eventually catch up? Guess what, she went on!!! Why wait when she could be getting closer to the end?

Again Ditchling was the killer! There was no way, they were going to be able to ride up it so they walked. By now, DD was determined to finish as soon as possible so got into her stride and nothing, but nothing was going to stop her!!!! She made it! Sweat pouring off her, red faced with exertion, she was not looking her best.... but, she only had the down hill freewheel ride and the mile long journey along the sea front to the finish line. Both of them completed the challenge and collected their individual gold (!) medals!!! BRAVO!

All competitors were sponored and although this year's figures have not yet been released, I believe last year over 3 million pounds were collected.

Today, the day after... no side effects. If only slight tingling across the back, arms and hands there is no evidence of a punishing regime of yesterday.

I do admire them all, there is no way, I could envisage doing anything like it but it is a wonderful charity to donate to, so that is my contribution.

I can only say a huge, WELL DONE to all the entrants who participated!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

YARD SALE? Nooooooooo a YART SALE!!

Well, you have heard of a yard sale and done quite a few I imagine? Well, a group of sellers on that wonderful site for quality handmade items decided that we should do a count down to the official 1st day of summer and in celebration hold a YART SALE - a take on the word YARD + ART!! This is going to be an annual sale so being the first one of its kind, this makes it special.

Anyway, many are participating and if you go over to the Etsy site you will see a number of shops displaying an avatar with the words YART SALE 11 - 20 June!

I couldn't resist it! Why be left out when all my BBEST friends (those great folks in Boomers and Beyond Etsy Street Team) were joining in. So check out my shop which has a special section for the YART SALE - whilst there you might as well have a look around the rest of the shop and see what's on offer!

Don't forget I have a sister shop called On A Whimsey - where you can delve into an adventure in encaustic art.

See you there!!!!

Sale Corner!

Occasionally I will show items that are for sale from me direct which can be paid for using Paypal. Always check to see shipping charges which will need to be added to the item amount!

For regular prices check out my Etsy shop, as well as my sister shop on Etsy which also sells encaustic art

Some paintings can be bought directly from my website

Some samples of my present & past work to give you inspiration for that special gift!
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