Tuesday, 16 September 2014

In Dawyck with Lenna


Lenna arrived this morning with her plane landing 15 minutes earlier than expected, and it was so amazing to see her appear in the Arrivals Hall. Finally after knowing each other for about 10 years we could give each other a hug.

Lenna really wanted to visit Dawyck after seeing my many pictures of the place so that is where we spend the afternoon!

The colours have started to turn beautifully and it was pretty breathtaking to be there together for the first time.

I won't be writing very long blog posts this week as I want to spend time enjoying Lenna's visit.


Monday, 15 September 2014

Star Book

I have had several projects on my desk which I finished quite some time ago but that I haven't blogged about yet and this star book is one example. It's one of Kiala Givehand's free videos on YouTube in a monthly series on book making. This was her June book. I didn't make her May book as it involved a book binding machine and I don't have one (although I'm thinking about it!). Kiala made this star book without content using gelli plate printed pages but I wanted to add text so instead I used coloured craft paper. Above is the front cover.

This is what the book looks like from the top and it explains why it's called a star book. I haven't added a closure and when folded the book is flat.

However when it is open it acquires the star shape and as a consequence is difficult to photograph. Above and below are some of the pages. I have used printed versions of my own photographs inside (printed by Printagram from my Instagram pictures) and on the front and back cover used two of my Polaroid pictures.
I also wrote a poem for this book using sentences from a vintage book. Here is the full text spread out over the pages:

For what then was I born?

The day-dream of deep thought

Shall all things else be in mystery.

The vision was sealed upon my soul

How small the glimpse of knowledge.

I saw, and asked not its name.

Reflection is a flower of the mind.

The glance of recollection.

As you can tell below on the back cover, I finished this book back in August and I love the shape although next time I would make a separate cover to go with it and a means of closing the pages.

I won't bore you with the power upsets we had during the night. Poor John was still awake and dressed well past midnight (2 am in fact) to accommodate 2 Scottish Power engineers who fixed a loose connection on the electricity pole replaced back in July. Ever since then our lights have been flickering but despite reporting it to inspectors nothing had happened. Last night the flickering became non stop and we called out an emergency engineer who discovered that a fault had been made installing the connections and had we not called them out last night the entire pole would probably have gone up in flames. Between the pole being erected and last night we have had engineers looking at it three times and all were told about the flickering! None took any action. Glad to know we are in safe hands with Scottish Power!!!

At least that has now been fixed and we're left with our ongoing telephone saga. Is it really possible to call out a British Telecom engineer and end up with a worse line than before. Yes, it is! More engineers will be arriving to work on the line tomorrow. Fortunately I will be doing lots of fun stuff with our visitor and will leave John in charge which I have to say is lucky for the engineers in question. I'm a much harder task master than he is. And far less polite!

And they talk about an idyllic life in the country.


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Feather Page

There is not much time for art at the moment but I did manage to produce my page for week 38 of The Documented Life Project. We were told to: Draw, paint, doodle, sketch a feather, or use a real feather on our page. As you can tell I used a real feather from one of our chickens that is conveniently moulding. She has lovely speckled feathers and I found an almost perfect example.
For the background I used a previously made gelli print and I found a matching bird transparency (from Alpha Stamps). Both the feather and the transparency were sewn on as you can see in the detail above.
I added a detail from a French dictionary page about the definitely of bird (oiseau), which mentions that these are "couvert de plumes", or covered in feathers. I added three more bird transparencies and stamped some leaves at the bottom of the page and antiqued the edges with a vintage inkpad. and did some outlining with a sepia pen. And voilà, the page was done!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

All good things must come to an end

It was both a happy and sad occasion when I gave my very last talk/workshop to the Borders Textile Group ( in Foulden, near Berwick. They are a great group and I have enjoyed visiting them regularly so it was sad to think it was the final time. On the other hand I have had many far less pleasurable experiences travelling the country as a jobbing quilter and the thought that I will never again have to make my way home, driving for hours through the dark, snow and rain is a huge relief.

In all those 20 years I have never been late, had an accident or car trouble so I count myself very lucky.


Today too I was early and I took the opportunity to sit on a bench near the Foulden carpark, a spot blessed with glorious views over Northumberland. I could not help but think of the fact that by this time next week that might become a foreign country!

But no point in worrying about the future. Today I concentrated on my talk. It was, surprise, surprise about journal quilts. These were done in the year before and after 2012 when I did my weekly challenge, the 52 Journals now on show in Peebles.

I'm retiring to my studio from today onwards to do what I love to do best. Making my art. It soothes and nourishes my soul like this sunflower is feeding the last bees of the summer.


Friday, 12 September 2014

Right of Way

I was not going to get into a dispute with this big boy over who had the right of way, when I met him on the road back from Peebles. Instead we used our cars to manoeuvre him gently to the side of the road. Fortunately he seemed to be in a good mood.

We weren't quite as happy at home as after the visit yesterday from a BT engineer our phone is worse than before! There is no internet through the phone line and it crackles something awful. More engineers will arrive by next Tuesday with underground equipment. We were even told that having such a bad fault is a good thing as British Telecom will be forced to take action. I did think something when this was mentioned but fortunately I managed to shut my mouth before it came out!


Thursday, 11 September 2014

Touch the Dream Journal Quilt

If this looks familiar. it's because I have used this imagery before. It was my page for The Documented Life Project last week and you can read about it on a previous blogpost here. It feels a bit like cheating to use it again but hey, it's my own art so I can. The reason I went ahead with it is that I have very little spare time at the moment and even less opportunity for quiet thinking which is necessary to come up with new ideas. So when I read that the September theme on the Sketchbook Challenge site was: Words, and I looked down at my planner what I saw there were words on the page I made. It felt like it was meant to be. 
I made it very much like the Documented Life page but instead of paper used fabric. For the background instead of plain white I went for white fabric with silver stars which I love because it looks like a starry sky behind the trees. I used the same rubber stamps as for the page i.e. the trees, the birds and the text come from Lavinia Stamps and the Frida Kahlo image from Invoke. The trees and birds were stamped straight onto the background using a fabric stamping pad. The text and Frida were stamped onto white fabric and then adhered to the quilt after I had hand quilted the tree outlines. I stitched them on using hand done buttonhole stitch.
And then I had the opportunity to do something I hadn't done on the paper version which was to add beading and embellishment as you can see on the detail above. Three of the trees have acquired red berries. I don't really know what this symbolizes but I felt the piece needed it. I'm quite pleased the Words theme made me transfer my idea from paper into fabric as even when I was making the paper page I felt the design would maybe work even better in fabric.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Just another day at Macbiehill


We had a particularly tiresome day here. It was a gorgeous sunny morning and we had our breakfast outside when all of a sudden a bleeping came from our phone. And no, this time it wasn't the line but the power!

I left John to it while I went to the dentist (that's the kind of day it was!) and a power engineer came out. I won't ask you to guess what the problem was. You never would!

Apparently the Highland cows in the field with the electricity pole must have been rubbing against it thereby shaking the cables and they touched each other thus blowing a fuse! You just couldn't make it up!

Power restored and dentist faced I briefly called into the exhibition where all was well. On the way back I saw, oh glorious sight, a BT Open Reach van parked at the bottom of our lane. Needless to say I stopped and had a word! Fortunately he was on his way to us as I wouldn't have been responsible for my behaviour if that had not been the case!


He thinks he might have located the fault and will be working on getting it fixed in the coming days but at least the wifi seems to have returned. Now for a quiet and peaceful phone line! We're both feeling somewhat frazzled at the edges, made worse by the fact that the BT man didn't care for dogs.


What else could possibly go wrong?!

At least the sun was shining and autumn so far has been fabulous. I'm hoping with all my heart that this weather continues into next week for our American visitor, and will even put up with snow on the 23rd (that's when she will be gone again) if that would help! Hope the universe is listening!




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