Saturday, 4 July 2015

Highs and Lows

We went from one extreme to another here in the Scottish Borders. After a sizzling day yesterday we woke up to torrential rain this morning and a temperature difference of more than 10 degrees. Nothing to be done about it but make the best of today by catching up with indoor activities such as a bit of stitching. I ventured out briefly (and was stung no less than three times by the ferocious midges who contrary to humans enjoy these damp, humid conditions). The first rose (Zephirine Drouhin) is out as you can see above even if she is looking a bit bedraggled.
The mauve poppy I photographed yesterday for the blog post is no longer looking her best either! It seems to be their lots that as soon as they are out either the wind or rain (or both!) hits them.
In stark contrast I'm showing you some images that I took late yesterday afternoon when the conditions were tropical and the sun hight in the sky!

Grasses by the summer house

Lupins and the Summer House

Gunnera Leaf

Wild White Rose.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Sparkle Journal Quilt

The good weather has meant getting behind in posting art on this blog as in all honesty when the sun shines I simply have to be outside. It has always been like that. I'm a sun worshipper! Of course I wouldn't get behind as much if I stopped making art and working in my sketchbook, but it's just so much fun and when things dry quickly I can keep in what most artists call "the zone".

Only thing to do is try and catch up as best I can and I'm making a start by showing you the 6 x 12" journal quilt I made for July inspired by that element that is seldom missing from any of my art: sparkle. The size for the journal quilt was set by the Contemporary Quilt Group and I decided to dedicate my journal quilts this year to words.

The background for this one was a piece of gelli plate printed fabric that was hand quilted. The letters were cut from a very sparkly fabric (I think it was originally meant as a christmas one) using the Brother Scan'nCut machine. They were machine appliquéd onto the background. I then went to work with the sparkling embellishments, adding sequins and beads to the letters, glass buttons at selected places as shown and finishing with silver seed beads along the binding.


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

It's Hot

Finally the heat has reached the Scottish Borders and we are making the most of it. I'm throwing paint around, weeding and sun bathing. Wish every day could be like this!

Back outside again now for more sunshine.


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Garden Delight


It might be called a heatwave further south, but even up here it was pretty warm and the sun even made an appearance occasionally. So tea was served in the garden and my visitor and I also had a walk about to see the chickens and the plants

That bit of warmth has made the plants perk up no end.

And the lilac is in full flower! Such wonderful scent came wafting from it.


Monday, 29 June 2015


It's time to share with you my latest project for Stencilgirl. They were kind enough to ask me to be their occasional Guest Designer and I'm having lots of fun producing new spreads for them using their gorgeous stencils. I have designed for a variety of companies in the past and will only take on such challenges if I genuinely love the products they make. And I completely LOVE Stencilgirl's stencils. You can find the step by step instructions on how to make this spread on the Stencilgirl Talk site here.

That leaves me free to talk about some details here starting with the title, and how randomly unconnected things come together in a miraculous way, with synchronicity.

I wanted to use some vintage collage in the background and I have a whole pile of vintage text and image pages in a big box. From there I usually just reach in and grab enough to use on any particular spread. And I did that for this page.

The pile contained dressmaker's paper and also a page from a song text book dating back to the late 19th Century. As I was tearing up the page my eye fell on the text and suddenly I knew that I didn't want to waste it on the background but that it was meant to be the star of the show. So I purposely tore out the Laugh words to make it the title of the spread and then randomly glued bits of the page on as you can see on the picture of the entire spread at the top.

It was only later that I discovered that the text that landed on the figure's clothing reads: "in-side is grie-ving", and yet it so suits the figure's generally melancholic look that's it's uncanny! Meant to be, you could say. But that begs the question: Who meant it?  It wasn't me! Such co-incidences happen too often on my pages to be random but on the other hand I simply don't have any explanations for it either. Lenna and I were exchanging e-mails about this phenomenon and we agreed it's magical!
The other detail I wanted to share was the gold that you can just about see sparkling away on her outfit. This is mica and cames from Perfect Pearls Mists, in the colourway that they call Sunflower Sparkle. It's pure gold and I value it above rubies! Almost all of the spreads I make in my sketchbook have an element of sparkle to them (as do my quilts!) but sadly it's very difficult to catch that with the camera. However I think I have managed it on this occasion.
The figures I use in my sketchbook come from all kinds of sources but very often I indulge and buy a Vogue which I only start reading when I'm cutting out what I want. This particular figure wasn't randomly selected. She had that air of sadness around her that made me cut her out as soon as I lay eyes on her, in the hope that I would soon find a spread to accommodate her. And this proved to be the one.

Remember step by step instructions and more detailed pictures are here.

Sunday, 28 June 2015


Our last challenge for June was announced on The Documented Life Project 2015. We're still travel journalling (even though I seem to have lost sight of that fact in my spread!), while our art challenge was: photo and words, and the journalling prompt: a picture is worth a thousand words. It was the latter that took me on the road that ended in this spread. For the background I started with Brusho paint powders. I have been reading lots online about a new product called Color Burst and thought it sounded familiar somehow. Eventually I remembered the Brusho powders and began one of those epic searches in my studio eventually resulting in the location of the little box full of powders. It has been in my possession for more than 20 years but the powders were still in excellent condition and worked fine. One thing to remember is that they are water soluble so if you add wet layers such as inks and acrylic paints the colour will move. But it's worth working with them as the colours are so vivid.

The journalling prompt made me think of the song IF, best interpreted (you can't call it singing!) by Telly Savalas (yes, I know, I have mentioned him before and it's because I love the deep sound of his voice, and he didn't half look badly either!). The song starts with the words: "If a picture paints a thousand words", and I enjoyed getting re-acquainted with it. And you know what, I even loved seeing Telly with a cigarette in his hands. Very politically incorrect nowadays but it brought back the 70s so vividly. I might even get some of Telly's CDs (Amazon, here I come). It is honestly pure coincidence that the chap in my image has a bold head ala Telly!

The song was the starting point for finding the imagery I used. All the stencils used in the background are from Stencilgirl, apart from the large triangles. I made that stencil myself for a class in Life Book 2015 I showed here recently.

I used a crackle image stamp designed by France Papillon for Stampotique and a text one (miraculously oh so suitable for our challenge) by Tim Holtz for Stampers Anonymous in the background. I also added a flower patterned paper napkin.

Quite a bit of Pearlescent powder was added for a bit of sparkle and I hope you can see the effects on the above picture.

The call of my Dylusions art journal is very strong in me at the moment and I want to lock myself in the shed and just keep going. In fact when I wake up in the middle of the night I find myself seriously contemplating sneaking in there, grabbing a few stencils and paints and playing away to my heart's content. Perhaps I should simply do it!



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