Wednesday, 25 May 2016

WOYWW 364 Completed Projects and Our 30th Wedding Anniversary

As is often the case, I am between projects as we come to another What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday when we bare all and show our messy (or otherwise) creative spaces.

Mostly just stuff dumped at the moment.

WOYWW 364 25-5-16

A closer view. The multi-coloured sheet is my latest scratch sheet, where I clean off my brushes rather than waste all that lovely paint in my paint water jar, which you can see on the right, looking remarkably clean for me! This sheet will eventually be used for other projects.

WOYWW 364 25-5-16 Desk Close-Up

On top of it is lying my sad heat gun which has given up the ghost. It started fading in and out a while back, and now it won’t work at all. I am intending to take it apart and see if there’s a loose connection that I can fix, but if I can’t find what’s wrong, it will have to be ditched. The blue one on the right is my old one which I am having to use for now – I don’t like it so much as it’s a bit fierce.

On the left is a piece of roofing felt which I was experimenting with – ironing it. It didn’t work nearly as well as Tyvek, but I think I can still probably use it for something. Above it are some spare flowers from my latest project.

I thought I’d really bare all this week and show you the chaos over the other side of the room, which I never seem to get round to tidying up. My sewing area is officially on the left where the sewing machine is, with storage around it, and on the right is supposed to be my drawing and fibre area but as you can see, not much of either has any chance of being done at the moment! On the floor are the three flower boxes with the narrow boat painting I’ve been doing, drying after their final coat of varnish. On the far left are the little silk flowers that will go in them.

WOYWW 364 25-5-16 Messy Further Side

Here are the finished boxes in all their glory!

40 Three Completed Boxes

And here they are, finally in situ on the front of the summerhouse.

01 Flower Boxes on Summerhouse

Yesterday was our 30th wedding anniversary, and I made this card for my hubby.

09 Completed Card

In the evening we went to Yum Sing, our favourite Chinese eatery. Yum Sing means “Cheers” in Chinese. Sitting on the table between us is Yum Sing (named after this place) – the baby panda stuffie my hubby gave me on Valentine’s Day. I had to guard my food or he’d have been after the bamboo shoots in a flash.

02 Us at Yum Sing

Health update: I’ve got an appointment with my oncologist on 2nd June, and I have to go to the GP’s surgery on Friday to have blood taken in advance of this appointment. The appointment with my surgeon went well, and as expected, he is very pleased with my recovery. They want me to have another CT scan at the end of this year just to make sure I really am cancer-free. I am feeling pretty good – generally a lot better than I’ve felt for years, now the ulcerative colitis is no more, but I have had a couple of bad days with my M.E. this week because of overdoing things.

On Thursday (my hubby’s birthday) we went to the County Show and had a wonderful day out – so much to see and do! I took loads of photos.

Have a great week everybody, with lots of creative flare and fun. Happy WOYWW!

Monday, 23 May 2016

30th Anniversary Card

Tomorrow is our 30th wedding anniversary. I cannot think where the years have gone! Sometimes it seems like yesterday, and yet we are rapidly approaching the year when I will be able to say that I have been married to my lovely hubby for half my life!

So – today, I made him a card. I departed from my usual thought that man cards never have flowers on them, and decided to celebrate my hubby’s love for our garden and its flowers.

09 Completed Card

I have been so inspired by the work of Diana Taylor of Velvet Moth Studio that I took a leaf out of her book, having been completely bowled over by her recent tag in browns and creams. She used a flower stamp set which she recommended to me a while back, and today was the first time I had used it.

The background had been sitting in my backgrounds folder for several years. It was a bit of an experiment when I made it and I had never found a use for it, but thought it would be ideal for this card. It was made using a Tim Holtz Texture Fades embossing folder with a dark brown Core’dinations card which I had sanded after embossing, to reveal the paler colour underneath. I had then added some clear embossing powder around the edges. It is pretty dark and grungey and I thought this would offset any femininity that might attach to the flowers.

01 Embossed Background

This is the Heartfelt Creations Botanical Rose stamp set, as recommended by Diana.

02 Heartfelt Creations Floral Stamp

I stamped the flowers twice on a piece of scrap white card, using sepia archival ink.

03 Stamped Flowers

When I bought the stamp set, I decided not to buy the accompanying Botanical Wings die set because I thought the shapes were simple enough to fussy-cut and I could save myself the money. However, after spending quite a long time fussy-cutting all those flowers and making my hand tired, I thought it would be worth investing in the die set as well, so I have now ordered it. As well as dies exactly matching these flowers, there is also a butterfly included in the die set and one can never have enough butterflies!

04 Fussy Cut Flowers

After cutting out the flowers, I inked them with Gathered Twigs distress ink, using a home-made blending tool.

05 Inking the Flowers

I then hand-embossed the flowers using two sizes of embossing tools on a piece of fun foam.

06 Embossing the Flowers

The final touch was to add some gold gilding wax to the petals.

07 Gilding Wax on Flowers

I found a couple of leaf trails in my stash which I’d cut ages ago with Sheba, my Cougar cutting machine (must get her going again… I’ve made a start but need time to concentrate on that particular job!), and after colouring them lightly with some Old Paper distress stain, glued them down onto the background piece, along with a few strands of sisal (also recommended by Diana), using Scotch Quick-Dry adhesive.

08 Leaf Trails and Sisal on Background

Using the same glue, I layered the flower pieces and stuck them down over the leaf trails and sisal, and added a bit more gilding wax.

09 Completed Card

I mounted the piece on a piece of cream card and then onto an A4 white card base folded in half and cut down to 7 1/2 inches tall. I inked the edges with Gathered Twigs distress ink and spattered it with water, blotting it off to leave paler marks. I repeated this process on the inside of the card and stamped a “Happy Anniversary” sentiment inside, using sepia archival ink.

The final touch was to add a few spots of gunmetal Stickles glitter glue to the centre of each flower.

I am happy that I was able to make this entire card from stuff already in my stash, and using scrap card for the flowers. I’m also delighted that I have finally found a use for that background piece!

All ready for tomorrow. Talk about short deadlines… I hope he likes it!

(P.S. I think he’s forgotten it’s our anniversary tomorrow… lol lol!!! Shall I forgive him?!!)

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Narrow Boat Painting on Flower Boxes Part 2

For part one of this project, please click here.

It’s been a while since I’ve managed to spend enough time in the studio to get on with this project and I got the impression that my hubby was starting to champ at the bit somewhat, wondering if I’d ever finish them! So yesterday, taking an advantage of a window of feeling better after our busy day on Thursday at the County Show (I am feeling wiped out again today) I decided to get going and complete the job.

40 Three Completed Boxes

I took lots of photos to show step by step how this painting technique is done. It looks complicated, but like with Zentangle, if you take it step by step, the design builds up with very little difficulty.

As a reminder, here are the boxes as my hubby gave them to me – he’d already painted them red on the outside and orange on the inside. I painted a layer of clear gesso onto the front of each one in preparation for painting.

01 3 Flower Boxes Ready for Painting

My hubby got the little silk plants from Ebay.

This was the practice sheet I worked on. Yesterday I felt I had done enough practising and it was time to bite the bullet and paint the Real Thing!

11 Practice Sheet

I began by mapping out the placing of the main flowers using a white pastel crayon, and then painted on the base layer of the leaves. I forgot the two leaves at top centre on the large box, but remedied this later. I used acrylic paints throughout.

12 Large - Leaf Bases

13 Small - Leaf Bases

The next step was to add the leaf veins. I did this first with a lighter green and then emphasised them with some yellow.

Unfortunately this picture of the large box is a bit out of focus but you get the idea.

14 Large - Leaf Veins

15 Small - Leaf Veins

Then I painted the bases of the flowers, using red and yellow acrylic paint mixed to form orange.

16 Large - Flower Bases

17 Small - Flower Bases

The next step is to add the shadows to the flower bases. I used brown for this. At this stage you determine which direction the flowers will be facing. A smaller circle is painted towards the side of the large circle, facing in the direction you want the flower to face, and then add a crescent-shaped stroke on the opposite side. If you want the flower to be facing head on, you just do the smaller circle in the middle, and add two smaller crescents. However, to have them facing in a particular direction gives more dimension to the piece.

18 Large - Flower Shadows

19 Small - Flower Shadows

I did the leaves first so that the finished flowers would overlap them, which makes it a lot easier to paint.

Now it was time to start adding the petals. I did all the large petals first, to show the progress of the design step-by-step. I used chrome yellow acrylic paint, which had proved too transparent on my practice sheet, so on the suggestion of Diana of Velvet Moth Studio (whose work I greatly admire – hop over and be impressed!) I added some titanium white to make it more opaque. I had thought it might make the colour too light, and on my practice sheet I added some more yellow on top, but in this case it looked fine so I left it.

The first stroke, forming the large petal, is painted between the small circle and crescent of the shadow.

20 Large - First Petal

21 Small - First Petal

At this stage you can already see the direction the flowers will be facing.

The second petal is painted opposite to the first, by making a smaller brush stroke.

22 Large - Second Petal

23 Small - Second Petal

To complete the flowers, further petals are added. These are longer and narrower, tapering off to as fine a point as possible, and alternating.

24 Large - Completed Petals

25 Small - Completed Petals

These narrower petals form the base of each rose, and in the above pictures you can see that the roses follow the direction of the curve over the arch of the large box, and point outwards from the centre of the motif on the small boxes.

To add a bit of contrast, I painted some daisies. To begin the daisies, you need to paint a small round spot of colour – I used orange. You can see that I have placed them below the roses on the large box, and in the centre of the motifs on the small boxes, with additional daisies to fill the corners of the arch.

26 Large - Top Daisy Bases

28 Small - Top Daisy Bases

I also painted a row of daisies along the bottom panel of each box.

27 Large - Bottom Daisy Bases

29 Small - Bottom Daisy Bases

The next step in the daisy painting is to paint a circle around each spot, using blue paint.

30 Large - Top Daisy Circles

32 Small - Top Daisy Circles

31 Large - Bottom Daisy Circles

33 Small - Bottom Daisy Circles

Now it was time to finish the daisies by adding the petals, using titanium white acrylic paint.

To start, you paint petals at the four “compass points” and then fill in the gaps. This helps space them evenly. Each petal is created by a single brush stroke, starting at the outside and tailing off to a fine point at the centre, overlapping the blue circle. To keep the size consistent, I drew a circle with the white pastel pencil first, and began each brush stroke from this line.

I’m afraid I got a bit carried away at this point and forgot to photograph this step by step, and by the time I remembered, the boxes were complete!

Here is the large box.

34 Large - Completed

35 Large - Completed Top

You can see that I have also added some more small circular spots in white, to embellish the design. I have also added a highlight in white on the rose petals to make them stand out more.

Along the bottom panel, the daisies didn’t look quite right, so I added leaves vertically in between, with a horizontal leaf at each end. It was at this point that I completed the leaves I’d omitted from the top panel of the large box.

36 Large - Completed Bottom

Here are the pictures of the completed small boxes.

37 Small - Completed

38 Small - Completed Top

39 Small - Completed Bottom

To remove the white pastel guide lines, I used a moistened cotton bud (Q-tip).

Finally, here are the three completed boxes, with their little pots of flowers.

40 Three Completed Boxes

All that needs to be done now is to finish the panels with a few coats of clear varnish to protect them, and they will be ready to hang on the summerhouse. Watch this space for more garden photos, when you will see the boxes in their new home.

When my hubby came home and I’d finished them, I invited him in, told him to shut his eyes, and I guided him over, and when he opened his eyes he was sooo delighted! He said they were much better than he’d expected! He said he thought I might paint a single flower on each one, and he wasn’t expecting this level of complexity. To see his face and hear his reaction was reward enough!

Devon County Show 2016

Warning – long post, picture rich.

On Thursday it was my hubby’s birthday and we went to the County Show. We missed it last year because I was ill and I really did miss it! I love going, and it was great to go again this year and get my “fix.” This year was the first time we’d taken my small buggy, which goes in the car – this made life a lot easier for both of us because even with power assist on my wheelchair, it is still pretty tiring propelling myself all day, and on previous occasions when we’ve gone, the battery has run out before the end and my poor hubby had to push me all the way back up the hill to the car park! This year I just sat there and moved around in comfort and there was still battery power to spare at the end. It was great.

Even though I was able to get around with very little effort, yesterday I suffered severe payback and had to crash out and rest – there was a great deal of mental stimulation. However, it was worth every minute and today (Saturday) I have been feeling better again and have been able to catch up with a few things at home.

As usual I took tons of photos at the show, so fasten your seatbelts and prepare for the ride!!

As usual there were lots of stands run by companies and individuals, displaying and selling their products and services, including this one, supplying bespoke wooden furniture and joinery. Gorgeous four-poster bed, and I do like that spiral staircase!

01 Bespoke Joinery

The man with the Russian dolls was there again. He said his wife is Russian, and they import the genuine article – not just the beautiful matryoshka nesting dolls, but also painted boxes and other artefacts. Aren’t the colours just gorgeous!

02 Russian Dolls

As usual, the blacksmiths were there in force, and you could hear their hammers from some distance away! Alongside the forges was a tent with the ironwork display. Here are some of my favourite pieces in the collection this year.

03 Decorative Iron Latch

04 Dragon Door Knocker

05 The Couple Candlestick

06 Chess Board Coffee Table

I thought something along the lines of this design could be cut in paper. I love the different colours of the metals, and the fact that the trees overlap one another.

07 Tree Panel

08 Iron Flowers

09 Fire Grate

Outside this display tent was this incredible life-sized bull made entirely from wire!

10 Wire Bull

A collection of garden pavilions, all very pretty.

11 The Far Pavilions

A participant in the equestrian events.

12 Dressage

Magnificent bulls.

13 Bulls

The angora goats, which produce mohair.

14 Angora Goats

15 Angora Goat with Kids

What magnificent horns!

16 Angpora Goat with Magnificent Horns

The Corrymoor Socks stand. Corrymoor are there every year with their prize-winning flock of angora goats, and they make socks from the mohair. I have been wearing these socks for years, and have a whole drawer-full of them in different colours. I think they are the best socks in the world – warm in winter, cool in summer – they wash extremely well and I haven’t worn a pair out yet. I showed the lady on the stand my green Corrymoors that I had on, and sang their praises, and another visitor to the stand said that once you’ve worn Corrymoors, you never want to wear anything else!!

17 Corrymore Socks

Jan Tillett on her stand with her textile arts.

18 Jan Tillett

19 Jan Tillett Embroidered Panel

At the show, I always love to see the very serious farmers in their spotless white coats, showing their cattle and other animals.

20 Judging the Cattle

In the large tent with the angora goats, we also found these Gotland sheep.

21 Gotland Sheep

The Gotland stand had beautiful fleeces which were incredibly soft to the touch.

22 Gotland Sheep Display

A display of beautiful lacy knitting which looked as if it had been made from hand-spun wool.

23 Knitting

Jazz band.

24 Jazz Band

The fish finger stand where we got our lunch. These were very posh fish fingers in a bread roll – with mine I had green peas mashed with fresh coriander and lime juice, with some tartare sauce on top – a winning combination!

25 Finbars Fish Fingers

Wood-burning pizza oven.

26 Wood Burning Pizza Oven

We met this lady on her funky buggy and I suffered from buggy envy! An all-terrain heavy duty job in army khaki – it turned a lot of heads!

27 Buggy Envy

Spa baths. I’ve always fancied one of these…

28 Spa Bath

…especially if one could have one looking like this.

29 Half a Spa Bath

The entrance to the Young Farmers’ tent. Note the wooden cut-out sheep.

30 Young Farmers' Tent

Samples of silage being judged! I think I’ve seen everything now…

31 Judging the Silage

Around the walls was a series of cube-shaped boxes containing displays by the young farmers.

“Home Sweet Home.”

32 Young Farmers' Display - Home Sweet Home

Dartmoor. Note the clapper bridge. These are very ancient stone bridges on the moor, many of which are still intact.

33 Young Farmers' Display - Dartmoor

Another clapper bridge, this time with real water flowing underneath it!

34 Young Farmers' Display - Clapper Bridge with Running Water

“Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.” A favourite theme of mine.

35 Young Farmers' Display - Seaside

“On the Farm.”

36 Young Farmers' Display - On the Farm

Another seaside-themed display.

37 Young Farmers' Display - Another Seaside

Outside again – the stand for South West Seeds, which included the display in the foreground, of wild flowers.

38 South West Seeds

Denis the Dustcart, a regular feature of the show.

39 Denis the Dustcart

A display of cars.

40 Sports Car

41 Vintage Cars

A stand showing high-quality chicken coops and other animal houses. I particularly liked the hen house with the proper roof and window box!

42 Fancy Hen House

The egg lady! I was delighted to find her again, in the craft tent. I always love looking at these exquisite decorated eggs.

43 The Egg Lady

44 Egg with Butterfly Wing Opening

This was a very unusual one. It is beautiful on its tall slender stand.

45 3-Stage Opening Egg Closed

It contains a surprise! Not only does it open, but it opens in two stages.

46 3-Stage Opening Egg Open

More eggs.

47 Collection of Eggs

48 Collection of Eggs

49 Horizontal Eggs

This pink rose egg was particularly lovely.

50 Pink Rose Egg

On to the felting stand. I loved these soft pastel-coloured felt pebbles.

51 Felt Pebbles

52 Needle Felting

Lace making.

53 Lace Making

Two years ago I was intrigued and delighted by the Bonsire display. These are miniature bonsai trees made entirely from wire. I took a lot of photos last time but the camera was playing up and nearly every one was out of focus, so I was hoping for better results this time.

54 Bonsire

55 Bonsire

56 Bonsire

57 Bonsire

58 Bonsire

He said he got his rocks from tropical fish suppliers.

A display of fitted kitchens. I love this blue one.

59 Beautiful Kitchen

In the large craft tent, there were crafts at one end, and a large tea area in the middle, where we decided my hubby needed a break – sauntering around can get very tiring – it was fine for me as I was sitting down all the time! We sat and had a nice cup of tea and at this point the rain started, but by the time we went out again it had more or less stopped so we hardly got wet at all. We were very fortunate with the weather, and the two days following our visit did not have such good weather.

At the other end of the tent was the floral display. Many nurseries and garden centres had set up beautiful displays, and there was also a flower arranging competition. Although I am what my hubby calls a “plonker” – yes, I know, how rude!! – what he means is, when it comes to flower arranging, I just “plonk” them in the vase and that’s it! – I’ve no patience with it – but I always greatly admire the work of others, especially when it is to as high a standard as this.

60 Garden Display

Lovely cactus display, with many of the plants in flower. I love the lettering on their sign!

61 Cactus Display

62 Garden Display

A white flower arrangement.

63 White Flower Arrangement

Another beautiful white one.

64 White Flower Arrangement

White roses.

65 White Rose Flower Arrangement

A spiral arrangement. As you can see, some of these arrangements are quite large.

66 Spiral Flower Arrangement

One of my favourites – inspired by an artist’s palette.

67 Artist's Palette Flower Arrangement

68 Globes Flower Arrangement

A tiny garden with a water feature.

69 Flower Arrangement with Water

70 Tree Flower Arrangement

71 Flower Arrangemnet with Textured Panels

72 Palm Tree Flower Arrangement

Bird of paradise display.

73 Bird of Paradise Flower Arrangement

A garden layout with winding paths.

74 Winding Garden Path

Beautiful dahlias.

75 Dahlia Display

A display on the theme of “The Hungry Caterpillar,” a popular children’s book.

76 The Hairy Caterpillar 1

What the hungry caterpillar eventually turned into!

77 Thr Hairy Caterillar 2

A display of Japanese maples.

78 Japanese Garden Display

Baskets of mini-roses.

79 Baskets of Roses

More roses.

80 Roses

Coming out again, we found these unusual sculptural spoon-shaped seats which intrigued me.

81 Metal Spoon Seats

A miniature pony with her even more miniature foal.

82 Miniature Pony and Foal

A display of funky industrial lighting. This style is very popular at the moment.

83 Funky Industrial Lighting

Heavy horses pulling agricultural machinery.

84 Heavy Horses

Carriage driving. I didn’t sit and watch this this year as it was a bit wet. Lovely to see it, though – like many things at the show, this is the only time one gets to see them!

85 Carriage Driving

86 Carriage Driving

I liked the way they created an arched entrance into this area full of agricultural machinery.

87 Farm Equipment

Battle re-enactment buffs.

88 Battle Re-enactment

That just about wraps it up for our visit to the County Show this year. Here are some of my purchases. I decided to invest in a new set of kitchen knives, and these Swiss ones come complete with their own individual knife-sheaths. In the foreground are three kitchen gadgets I bought on the same stand – extremely well designed and I am sure I will find them easier to use than my current ones.

89 Knives and Kitchen Gadgets

I hope you have enjoyed your virtual tour around the Devon County Show. There were lots of things we missed but there’s just too much to do in a single day!