Thursday, 28 February 2008

Gothic Arches for Caryl

By coincidence, Caryl and I are also paired up for the monthly Gothic Arches exchange in the OhMyGothic Yahoo Group. Caryl had no theme so I just went with images that sort of grapped my attention as I was leafing through my collage sheet collection, and this is what I came up with.

The first arch, called She was loved! is made on a background of brown velvet which I machine quilted with one of the decorative stitches on my machine. I added a lovely picture of the Madonna, not because I'm in the least bit religious (I'm not!) but because I love the painting this came from. The image is a fabrik paper one from Bmuse. This was stitched on with gold thread. I added a lovely vintage blue trim and a vintage blue velvet flower (both from LostArtCreations). The star charm at the top is also from LAC. I then mounted the whole arch onto watercolour paper and stitched everything together with a zigzag stitch and turquoise tread. I added gold beads around the edges. I realized when the arch was finished that the colour combination is brown and blue which is also the next one for the Colour Groupies ATC exchange next month. I've made these ATCs already (pictures at a later stage!) and that must have influenced this arch subconsciously.
For the next arch I came across a rather severe looking woman on one of my Paperwhimsy fabric sheets. She looked so serious that I just had to have some fun with her. I added the top hat and the shoes which both come from a Paperwhimsy transparency and found the text La Valse excentrique ( which translated means The eccentric waltz). It came from a paper text sheet from European Papers. I'm sure she is definitely not amused by her arch but I hope Caryl will be! This arch was finished like the one above and I also added a Swarowski crystal at her neck (from Austria like the waltz) and a flower on her head. That bit of orange was just what the arch needed to make it look complete.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Queen pages for Caryl

Today I started work on my pages for Caryl's Alphabetica album. Caryl's theme is Queens and her preferred colours are rich and deep. I was SO pleased to get to swap letters E and F with her. If I had been made to choose I would have selected them.

E is of course for Queen Elizabeth I, and due to the fact that she wore magnificent, embroidered gowns, I had a wealth of images to choose from out of my various embroidery books. I finally settled on one which I liked best, specially as the colours of her gown were red and gold and as luck would have it I just bought a sumptious matching fabric from Cabbage Patch fabrics last week. This was layered up with wadding (batting) and machine quilted with gold thread. Queen E was printed out onto self-adhesive fabric sheet (from Crafty Computer Paper), stuck on top of the background and machine stitched with gold thread around her perimeter as well as on her gown where I used a decorative machine stitch. I added several jewels i.e. beads. The really glittery ones in her headdress and decolletage are an amazing buy from a Creative Stitches Fair several years ago. I had not quite realized how expensive they were till they hit me with the total when it was too late as in my mind I already owned them. I use them on very selective and special projects and I know Caryl will love them.

Then it came to the F page and after Viva la Frieda yesterday this proved yet another temptation too far for me. I have a collection of Frida Kahlo fabrics (you might guess why!) and I used my very favourite one so far, which I layered up with felt and machine quilted in a variety of coloured threads. I also added beads and sequins and provided Frida with a crown and a rose in her hair. The additional image of her as well as the Mexican wall tiles are from fabrik paper collage sheets by Bmuse. I added a red plastic Day of the Dead skull. The words Viva Frida come from another of my Frida fabrics and I added the word Queen as well as the additional E in the middle of Frida. These pages took me all day to do and were not what I was meant to be doing today but somehow they took over and I had so much fun with specially the Queen Frieda page that I could not bring myself to stop till they were done! After all, it's not every day you can turn yourself into a Queen!

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Viva La Frieda tablecloth

Sorry about it in advance, but this title proved irrisistable to me. It's also a first for me as I'm not exactly known for making usable items. Most of the time it's art for the walls only, or for one of the round robin albums, or swaps.

The tablecloth was inspired by the fact that Alphastamps has started stocking oilcloth, as you noticed on the ATC posted earlier. Not just any oilcloth either, but from Mexico and as soon as I saw it I had to think of Frida Kahlo. I stocked up on all the patterns they have just now but I wanted a few more so I googled Mexican oilcloth and lo and behold, I found a British company importing the exact same stuff. The company is called Viva La Frida. Hence the name with the edition of the e to make it my own.

By the way, Frida Kahlo also spelled her name with the additional e (i.e. Frieda) originally but changed the spelling at the start of the First World War as she was appalled by the actions of the German nation at that time.

The tablecloth is fully reversible and here are the instructions should you want to make your own.
My tablecloth is exactly 40" square made to fit my outdoor table. You can make it any size you like by making more or less squares.

Make a total of 100 squares as follows:

From a selection of oilcloth fabrics cut out 200 3" squares. I used my rotary cutter and mat for this purpose. Layer up 2 squares in different fabrics, with the wrong sides together and straight stitch around the outside edges. Use a larger needle than normal. A size 90 worked well for me. For stitching on oilcloth use a walking or alternatively a non-slip foot on your sewing machine, and a slightly longer stitch than usual. If you make a mistake you will have to cut extra squares as you can't remove the holes made by your needle! Also remember you can't iron oilcloth (as it would melt!!) but you can stroke out any rimples by hand easily.

Once you have your 100 double-sided squares, arrange them in a pleasing fashion for the front (you can if you like also try and make sure the back looks good but I have to admit that I left that to chance!).

Than proceed to sew your rows of squares together and after that join the rows together too till you've formed a large square of 30" sq. To join the squares and the rows you have to butt them together and oversew both edges at the same time, using the zigzag stitch on your machine. I used foot no. 10 on my Bernina which made it a bit easier as this foot indicates the exact centre of the foot itself. Line up the adjoining squares so that this indicator is exactly in between the two. Make your zigzag about 3 mm wide. Zigzag quite closely together but don't use satin stitch. It would make the whole thing too stiff! Have a look at the detailed picture above to see exactly what I mean. I've used red stitching to give you a better look.

Remember that your stitching and thus the thread you use both for the top and the bobbin will be on show so either tone it in with your fabrics or use a contrasting thread as I did. These fabrics are so wildly patterned that you hardly notice an additional element in the form of a contrasting thread colour (just like Frida did in her paintings, really!).

Cut strips of 5" wide for the borders, 4 of one fabric and 4 of another. Two strips of every 4 should be 30" long and the other two 40". Sew strips together of the 2 different fabrics, again wrong sides facing as you did for the squares. Be even more careful, that one strip does not slip as you cannot pin the oilcloth. Sew SLOWLY!!

Sew the 30" long strips onto opposite sides of your 30" square (again by butting them together as above) and then sew the 40" strips to the other opposite sides. Make sure to do some backstitching at the beginning and end of every row to secure your thread.

I wanted to show you this tablecloth on our table outside but we have a fierce storm raging. Not the best time for outdoor photography so instead I'm showing it hanging up for now.

The front is at the top of this blog and just above is the back. Remember the front is planned and the back potluck! The tablecloth is completely reversible so it's up to you which side will be on top!

Monday, 25 February 2008

History Gothic Arch

The theme for the Gothic Arches Challenge this week is history. So it really covers a very broad area. I simply had a look at all my left over fabric/paper collages and found one featuring a view of a Paris bistro at around the turn of the century. What could be better? I love everything to do with Paris specially at that time of its history.

I search some more and found the image of the military look lady on a collage sheet from Divasdeste called Les Femmes de Paris.

The transparencies with Specialite and Paris came from Artchix Studio's sheet Classy Labels and the finishing touch proved to be the clock (to reflect the historical aspect of time passing) which I obtained at Ingliston from The Button Lady. Everything was stitched on with gold metallic thread for that certain va va voom!!

Sunday, 24 February 2008

An ATC for Alphastamps February Lottery and pages for Abby's Gypsy album

As an antidote to the windy and wet conditions here in Macbiehill I have made a very sunny ATC for the Lottery on the Alphastamps Yahoo group. When you win this lottery you get to receive all the submitted ATCs so fingers crossed!

For the background I used a piece of their new oilcloth fabric, to be precise the turquoise one with the oranges. This stuff is really gorgeous. It's meant to be used for wipeable items such as tablecloths for both inside and out, beach bags, tablemats etc. and the ones Alphastamps has in their stock come from Mexico and are ever so bright and cheerful. I layered the piece I had cut to ATC size up with white felt by stitching around the perimeter. Use larger stitches than usual and a walking foot if you have one. Stitch a bit slower than you usually do and things should be fine. I used a size 90 machine needle.

I glued on an Alphastamps image which came with their free gift sheet in Spring 2007 of a Mexican looking lady, holding a bottle (more cheer!) and a headcovering featuring oranges too. To this I added an orange artificial feather and the text The Broad Sunshine of Life.

I also finished my pages for Abby's TipTopJournal which has the theme Gypsies. Abby has invented an entire imaginary world for her Gypsies and I tried and incorporate as much of this information as I could on the pages. The background I used was the fabric/paper collage I used for my May Journal Quilt last year as it was so bright and cheerful and featured several images very suited to the Gypsy theme, such as people singing and dancing and playing the flute.

I printed out the scanned in collage onto canvas. I learned this from Abby so I wanted to use this on her pages. The Gypsy girl images come from collage sheets from LostArtCreations. The text was also printed onto canvas and stitched on. I added the beading and and the Life sticker as well as the rose on one of the Gypsy images. I'm really quite pleased by these, very cheerful and sunny looking pages.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Windows on the World

Today was the Spring Quilt Fair in Ingliston and my little (24 x 24") quilt Windows on the World had its first outing in public so I can also show it here on my blog. It's going to the Quilt Championships in Sandown in June and will travel around after that. Those of you who are reading this blog regularly will notice that it has quite a resemblance to my Journal Quilt 2007 for Houston. I loved making that and wanted to do it again on a slighlty larger scale.

The background is a gorgeous indigo dyed piece of fabric from Africa (bought from the African Fabric Shop) and I like it even more than the brown background I used for the JQ. I layered this up with wadding (batting) and quilted it with a decorative stitch on my machine. I also put on the binding before I added the inchies (which are all left-overs from past paper/fabric collages) by straight stitching and I then came to my favourite part, putting on the beads.

I have been quite a good girl at the show as I did buy things that I actually needed such as gold thread, a backing fabric, a lovely selection of buttons but managed to contain the fabric buying! A good thing too because wherever you go in this house, fabric winks at you. My studio is overflowing with it so it has started to accumulate elsewhere too!!

Friday, 22 February 2008

Published in ArtSpecially

Today I was surprised by the arrival of the latest issue (no. 3) of the Art Specially for You magazine. This is a Dutch publication (although you would not guess this from the title!!), dedicated to all things to do with stamping and related arts. I'd written a small introduction about myself and my fabric art for them and it really looks gorgeous. The text, needless to say, is in Dutch which is my mother tongue although I haven't spoken it regularly for years now and writing in it presented quite a challenge. All those dictations in primary school proved to have been totally in vain!

The quality of the pictures is really good and I'm providing you with a taster of my pages above.
It looks way better in the actual magazine, in which I have to say all the illustrations are of superb quality. The editor insisted on photographing the art in house and I can now clearly see what a difference this makes to how the pictures look. You can buy the magazine here.
Hope it won't all be Double Dutch to most of you!!

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Journal Quilt 2008 February

From the sublime to the ridiculous or maybe that should be from the ridiculous (as the squirrel made me laugh) to the sublime (at least that's what I hope!). I've been working on my Journal Quilt for February 2008. This one is for the Contemporary Group of the British Guilters Guild and we're making them sized 12 x 12" this year.

I've started to get used to the size but will readily admit that I much prefer a vertical orientation. It will be hard work to make this size work every month. My theme for the entire year is Venice and this month I have concentrated my efforts on only one building in Venice, but what a building it is: the Ca d'Oro or House of Gold. My starting point was a vintage photograph taken in the 1880's which I obtained on Ebay. I scanned this into my computer at a very high resolution so I would get all the details. I then resized this into two different sizes and printed these repeatedly out onto self-adhesive cotton sheets (from Crafty Computer Paper).

These were placed on a background of a furnishing fabric (in my possession for more than 15 years but it came up trumps eventually!) in lovely faded stone colours. I had layered this up with wadding (batting in US) and backing fabric and machine quilted it with gold thread.

To the mix I added another version of the same photo. This time I altered the colour to give it a more stony look and I printed it out onto Extravorganza sheet. I overlaid it onto the previous images at the right hand side. Then I started to add embellishment, in gold of course. Gold trim, gold beads and a vintage fabric piece with crocheted edges (top right) and I added a decorative cotton with gold and brown for the binding. The name Ca d'Oro was also printed on the Extravorganza sheet and added together with 2 golden tassels.
You may have noticed that I've also treated myself to an A3 scanner so that I can capture these JQs and other 12 x 12 pieces of art in their full glory and without any photographic distortion. Just a pity I can't use it for my king-sized quilts!!

Squirrels at Macbiehill

I was idly watching our bird feeders while contemplating what to do with a piece of art I'm working on and what did I see???
Our very first squirrel here at Macbiehill. We've never seen any sign of them before in the 13 years we've lived here. No idea where it suddenly came from but it seems to like our bird feeders!! It's a grey squirrel rather than a red one but I don't mind, it looks so soft and cuddly. It will mean the nuts consumption will rise but who cares!!
Only problem is there is a white greyhound with her nose pushed hard against the glass of the door looking at this new creature with way too much interest. I can only hope that it will be too fast for her. I'll try and keep a look out whenever we go out but there is bound to come a day when squirrel and greyhound will come face to face.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Pink and Orange ATCs have landed

The 4 ATCs I made for my fellow participants in the Colour Groupies group have all safely arrived at their destinations in the U.S. and Canada which means I can now reveal them here.

But first of all I just had to nip outside for a minute and take this photograph. It's stunningly cold but I had to capture it for posterity. What a beautiful planet we live on! Can you believe the colour of the sky? And it tones in so well with the orange bit of our colour combination this month. Hot pink was the other ingredient. Very suitable for Valentine month.

All the images I've used are from Bmuse and are printed on fabrik-paper which is still paper but which can be stitched and used as fabric. I've coloured in the images with colouring pencils. The background is my hearts fabric/paper collage specially made for this love month! I did some hand stitching on the cards. I also added an orange vellum flower (also from Bmuse) to every card as well as a self-adhesive sparkling heart (from Paperchase).

I can't tell you how much I enjoy these colour swaps every month. My fellow players are all so wonderful and this will probably be my favourite swap in 2008. I hope we can keep going after that too!

The Note of a Bird ATC

Made for a swap at the Craft Stamper Magazine with the theme of Flora and Fauna. I'm almost out of time for this one but hopefully I will manage to get this to them before the end of the month. I used a left over piece from the fabric/paper collage I made last year for my August Journal Quilt. It features a vintage image of a landscape with a sun shining above it. The rays were emphasized with gold stitching and over the landscape I stamped the image of a raven (from Alphastamps).

At the bottom I added a transparency (from Alphastamps Parrots sheet) of a bird carrying a rose in its beak, thus covering both flora and fauna in one fell swoop! The quotation: The Note of a Bird was added and the whole piece was mounted onto watercolour paper and stitched around the edges with zigzag stitch using gold thread.

School Gothic Arch

Here is my Gothic Arch for this week. The theme on the Gothic Arches site has been set as Old School. How good does it get!! After working on the Alphastamps kit we received as members of the Alphastamps Design Team I already had bits left of a paper/fabric collage I had made with this, which incorporated into the background stamps from the Pen and Ink Clear Stamp set.

At the top you will also see another Alphastamps images (from the Chalkboard sheet) which I antiqued and printed out on my inkjet printer. Without setting the ink I then incorporated it into my collage so that the wetness almost washed out the colours. I love how this worked out. You can see the image but it fades away into the background. This won't work with the actual sheets from Alphastamps as they are simply so well set that the ink won't run!

I stamped the alphabet with images from The Alphabet stamp sheet, also by Alphastamps, onto a transparency and stitched it on. The text School is from AS sheet Animals in School
Some iridescent glass spheres (2mm) from Alphastamps were the finishing touch. You can see them at bottom right.
The arch was stitched onto a background of Blue Felt so that I can incorporate it into my blank board book (mentioned in earlier posts!) in due course!

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Blue Waves Quilt stolen 2 years ago

Exactly 2 years ago today I heard about the theft of my quilt Blue Waves. Although I don't expect to see it again, I'm determined to keep its memory alive by commemorating this fact every year on this blog. It was actually stolen a few days earlier in Northern Italy near Turin. but the circumstances surrounding this sad event are far from clear, even at the time. I hope that by keeping up the publicity about it, even on this small scale, will mean that should it turn up sometime, somewhere (such as Ebay or other auction sites, or at a quilt exhibition some place), someone will recognize it and hopefully contact me.

If you would like to read the entire story about the theft, you can check it on on my website in the Blue Waves album. Any information will be most gratefully received!

Friday, 15 February 2008

My Valentine flowers and ATC no. 81

I thought you might like to see my fabulous Valentine flowers. I like my roses best on actual rose bushes growing in the garden so John found this wonderful alternative. They have such a rich, deep, mysterious blue/purple colour, I could look at them for ever!

I had a heavy cold, the first one for years and years. I take being ill as a personal insult and really hate giving in but going to bed early yesterday did the trick and I feel 100% better today. A good thing too as I'm teaching tomorrow. I was not in the mood for much arting but managed to spend the day making ATC no. 81 for my 100 ATC project. It's called Beauty is its own Excuse and has a rose tinted paper/fabric collage in the background, overlaid by a transparency from Artchix. To be honest I originally intended this for the lottery on the Artchix Yahoo site but I'm so chuffed with it, that I'm holding on to it and adding it to my 100 ATC project. You will see that roses figured in my Valentine's Day after all!

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Just in case you've not received any Valentines, enjoy this one. It was my Journal Quilt for February 2006!

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Alphabetica Album Cover

We have already started our Alphabetica album Round Robin. For this project we keep our albums at home and participating artists send the pages to us. Every month we swap partners and make pages for each other. We're all working in the 5 ring, 8 x 8 7Gypsies album to make things easier.

I had managed to make my own A and B pages but the album looked really bare without a front cover and I thought I would rectify that, specially as Alphastamps produces such gorgeous ABC Books collage sheets.

I selected a furnishing fabric for my background. Conveniently it was divided into little rectangles already which were green velvet on a ivory ground. I layered this up with batting (wadding in U.S.) and machine quilted it with green metallic thread along the straight lines both vertically and horizontally.
I stamped The Alphabet (from Alphastamps) on a piece of hand-painted cotton, using green Fabrico (now called Versacraft) ink and heat-setting it by ironing. This was stitched onto the background in the top left corner and I went around it 3 times straight stitching with the sewing machine. I added the fabric images in the top right (from Alphastamps ABC Books#3 collage sheet) and bottom left (from Alphastamps ABC Books #2 fabric sheet). In the centre I added the large ABC (also from ABC books #3) and to the side of this the smaller ABC (from ABC Books #2 again). Have a good look at the picture to see the various position. I've simply stitched these on using a straight stitch and green metallic thread.

I stamped the letters of the alphabet (from AS The Alphabet sheet) onto a transparency sheet using black Staz-On ink and I overlaid this in the centre of the spread, again by stitching. Have a look at the detailed picture of this section above.

Finally I added a glitter A , three black A, B and C and 3 large ABC letters by glueing them on.(with Judikins Diamond Glaze) The large letters were blanks which I coloured using Golden liquid acrylic paints. All the letters are from Doodlebugs. I added Diamond Glaze to the top of all the letters apart from the glittery one.
A vintage trim was added at the bottom and a green eyelash yarn was stitched to the other three sides. Finally I added gold beads around the edges of two of the images and green ones at the top of the trim.
Still the inside front page and back of the album to do but at least it now looks like a proper album ready to receive new pages!

Monday, 11 February 2008

Gothic Arch for Mandy

One of my regular inchie swappers, Mandy, asked if I would like to swap an arch with her. I'm really quite keen on the arch shape and I love her work, she's a great stamper, so I did not have to think for long!!

I finished it today and the picture is a photograph rather than a scan as the blue rose is very 3D and this means that the scanner throws everything else out of focus.

I started the arch with a fabric/paper collage featuring stamps of birds and nests in the background as well as a lot of green and vintage texts etc. I used the Gothic Arch template from Gothic Arches challenge and cut it to size. I added the advert image which I obtained from a decoupage site on Ebay using Fabric ModPodge both to glue it down and over the top. For good measure I also sewed it down using green metallic thread.

I added another bird image to go with the birdies in the background. It's a piece of German Scrap which my mother gave me. She thinks I just accumulate things, rather than use them so this proves her wrong!

At the bottom is a (Mostly) Metallic Jacquard ribbon from Alphastamps which was stitched down. I found a suitable text: The amorous bird of night, and added beading around the advert, a large bead for the lady's necklace and the blue rose. To finish I added watercolour paper to the back and stitched it all together with a green metallic satin stitch. This will be on its' way to Mandy soon!

Silver Inchies

I've been hosting a series of colour inchies swaps on the ATcards website. The silver inchies are due at the end of this month so it was about time to get on with making my own ones! I had made the background for them quite some time ago but other projects took over and they were lingering in my not yet finished pile.

The background is made from a piece of silver lame which was ironed (use a cover sheet so the lame does not melt!) onto Fast2Fuse. I added the sepia vintage images, which were a gift from one of my inchie swappers, by glueing them on. I let this dry and then added silver acrylic ink on top of the images and also beaded around the edges with size 15 seed beads.

I ironed a silvery fabric onto the other side of the Fast2Fuse to form the backing. I again used silver acrylic ink to brush onto the edges of the Fast2Fuse.

Valentine Gothic Arch

Our theme for the Gothic Arches challenge this week is of course Valentine. Great, as I already had the fabric/paper collaged background to use as a base. You will recognize it from earlier post. On the background I had used stamps from a variety of sources, among them Alphastamps.

I added two transparencies from Alphastamps Kisses Sheet. I did some hand stitching in gold, to outline the various heart shapes in the background and added some golden kisses in the form of cross stitches. Before I sewed on the backing watercolour paper I also added 2 red German scrap wings. On top I added the text Love with Wings which I rubbed with a pink rub-on. Two shining self-adhesive hearts (from Paperchase) formed the final touch.

I just adore love and romance so this was an arch after my own heart!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Ink is Dark

I've finished another page for my blank board book. At the moment I'm leaving all the pages loose till I have enough to fill the book so I can arrange them best, with suitable pages which compliment each other together. I'll just keep making them and enjoying the process.

This page is based on a haiku I wrote recently, inspired by the fact that really our modern world would be impossible without the written word, whether that is on paper or on a computer screen. Of course as a librarian this fact was never lost on me, anyway!

The haiku reads:

Ink is dark and true
A pen is a mightly weapon
Black words rule the World

The background for this piece is muslin (or calico in U.K.) sprayed with a variety of colours of Moon Shadow Mist. I then added a piece of fabric featuring books (from Equilter), at the right, which was stitched down in the lines separating the books. The Haiku was stamped on plain muslin, using individual letters and sepia coloured ink. At the bottom I stamped Alphastamps Penmanship stamp using black Versacraft ink. I added an image from Alphastamps Chalkboard paper collage sheet, layered it up with blue felt (also from Alphastamps) and stitched this down in position. I added scrolls from Self-Adhesive felt scrol in black.
In the middle I added the words Modern Sunday School, which come from an actual Sunday School book and were applied with Diamond Glaze which was also added to the top.
I stamped the pen (from Alphastamps) on a transparency using Blue Staz-On and stitched it on at the left side.
Finally I added two self-adhesive flowers from Wild Saffron Felt Flower Stickers (also from Alphastamps)

Friday, 8 February 2008

Alphastamps Circus Collage

I had such fun making this collage as it reminded me of childhood visits to the circus and also of carnaval, which was celebrated in style in the South of The Netherlands. I can still remember all the colours and the wildly moving shapes of all the attractions. I've tried to capture all this in the collage.

To start I made a fabric/paper collage for which I first of all stamped the muslin (calico in UK) background with a diamond shaped stamp as well as various star stamps. There is not much sign of these, they just add to the multi-layered effect. I added a variety of wildly patterned napkins (serviettes in U.K.) to the mix in all kinds of colours. Somehow yellow got the upper hand, probably because I love it and it makes everything look so warm and summery.

From the collage I cut an 8 x 8" piece which I layered up with white felt by stitching around the outside edges.

First of all I found 4 lovely clowns performing tricks on a transparency from Alphastamps Circus Clowns #6 sheet and stitched them on by machine using orange thread.
The next addition was the picture of the clown and his lover (from Alphastamps Art Deco Valentine fabric sheet). Just above their heads a heart was added (from Paperchase). I went to the Borders Bookshop yesterday as they have a Paperchase franchise in store, to stock up with these hearts (and other shapes too!). I wanted to have more figures as my subconscious mind told me it used to overflow with funny and strange people and other creatures when the circus was in town. I found two fun animals playing the fiddle (from Alphastamps Circus Animals #1 paper sheet) . I added beads for their buttons and rubbed-on some gold to integrate them better into the background. To balance them and following on from their diagonal line I added another small fiddler from Alphastamps Circus Clowns #6 transparency. Following the patterns in the background I added star and round sequins with seed beads in a mix of colours. The text The circus has come to town was made using my Dymo writer and stitched on and further text A good time was added at bottom right.

The bottom edge was finished with a (Mostly) Metallic Jacquard ribbon from Alphastamps which went so well with all the colours in the collage. The other edges were finished by layering the piece with watercolour paper and zigzag stitching the edges while at the same time couching down a crinkly yarn with lots of colours picking up those from the collage.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

An ATC for my 100 ATC project

Finally I've found a free moment to add another card to my 100 ATC project. Making them is getting ever slower but I'm determined to get to the 100! This time I was making cards for my fellow ColourGroupies. The colours for February are Hot Pink and Orange. I'll show you those cards later, once they have arrived at their destinations in the form of Caryl, Debby, Lenna and Tristan.

I made a totally different one for the 100 ATC. This is no. 80 and is caled Beauty is Eternal and unusually for me it actually features a child image. The transparency is from the Enfants Charmants sheet from Altered Pages. The background is a fabric/paper collage I made specially for the Colour Groupies cards. I hand stitched and added the transparency by machine and then beaded around the edges. I also added a sparkling heart from Paperchase. I really like these and am running out fast. Time to restock!! The edges were finished with satin stitching using orange thread!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Alphastamps Tallulahs Postcard Swap

This swap is run by the very creative, wonderful Lenna who like me is also a member of the Alphastamps Design Team. You can read all about her swaps and sign up for them here.

I've finished my cards today. They are all more or less the same although they use different images, all from Paris Showgirls I and II. The particular one above uses an image from I. The background for the card was a black velvet with gold streaks in it. I layered this with black batting (or wadding in U.K.) and quilted it in straight lines, using gold thread. It's barely visible but you can catch a sparkle now and then. Once I had quilted the background I cut it to 4 x 6" size.

I ironed Wonderunder (or Bondaweb in U.K.) to the back of a red fabric and drew hearts on the paper side of the Wonderunder. The hearts were cut out and applied to the background, following the manufacturers' instructions. I also straight stitched around the outline of the hearts with red thread by machine. The fabric images were then cut out from the collage sheets, leaving a narrow outline around the figure. I stitched it down in this outline, again with straight stitching. Position the lady so that the figure partly obscures the heart. I added red felt heart shapes (from Alphastamps Die-cut Self-adhesive felt) towards the bottom bit of the figure.

The red heart at the top was beaded with size 11 red seed beads. At the bottom I stitched a red crushed velvet ribbon, also from Alphastamps
I then printed out onto cardstock a vintage postcard backing. I scanned this in using one of my vintage postcards and added the text in Photoshop Elements. This was layered as the back of the postcard and after straight stitching the edges I finished them off with a transparent ribbon (from ThreadArt)

Monday, 4 February 2008

Purple Passion Gothic Arch

The theme this week for the Gothic Arches Challenge is Purple. Gorgeous! I've combined this challenge with our February Lost Art Creations challenge where Terrie from LAC given us an image to download which we then use to make a piece of art with and upload it for our February competition. The image she gave us this month was us a beautiful vintage couple. I manipulated this digitally in Photoshop Elements to change the colours. By adding equal amounts of extra blue and red I ended up with the same image in glorious purple and I printed this out onto photopaper.

The background is a piece of purple velvet decorated with machine stitching. I cut out a purple heart from a purple flower fabric, stitched this on and added the couple also by stitching. I added beads to the heart. I also added a sparkling heart (from Paperchase) and a lovely purple rose. A vintage trim was stitched at the bottom as well as a purple postage stamps. The text Purple Passion was added with my Dymo writer. The back was finished by ironing on a purple backing fabric using Mistyfuse and zigzag stitching around the edges with purple thread.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Alphabetica pages for Heather

I've finally gotten to grips with these pages. Heather selected as her theme the universe and after a lot of deliberations and buying of suitable fabrics I finally settled on these 2 pages as my contribution to her Alphabetica album. This month we are working on the C and the D .
C is for Children of the Sun. I picked up a strange book somewhere sometime, which is called The Book of the Heavens, written by Mary Proctor and published in 1924, in the series: The Romance of Knowledge. This title was probably what attracted me to it. It's absolutely amazing to see just how little was known about our universe in 1924 and how many planets were still unknown and how many facts wrong in this book. And 1924 is not really that long ago. Anyway, one of the chapters is called Children of the Sun. I selected one of my fabrics bought specially (from Equilter, of course!), which is gorgeous. I printed the start of the chapter on fabric and stitched it on. I used the Corner Frame stamp from Alphastamps, which I stamped onto a transparency using blue Staz-On. They are the children (really cherubs) in question. The finishing touches were the sparkling C and a sun charm.
For the D I again had a good look at the book and came up with a demon star, what else!! I selected a starry fabric and added a print-out (0n fabric) explaining the demon star from the book mentioned above as well as a detail from a booklet called Ephemeris of the Planets' Places. I also pirnted out the exact position of this demon star from the other book. To put emphasis on the demon element I added a transparency from Bmuse and a devil from a fabric basesd on the Mexican Lotteria. Very different from previous round robin pages but I hope Heather will like them for her Universe!

Lost Art Creations Pendant Swap

I've finished my Lost Art Creations Pendant swap today. It's a 3 for 3 swap and I made them using 2 x 2 pendants. I painted the outside of the pendants with Adirondack Alcohol inks and an acrylic gold on top. The images I used are all from the Vintage Beauties vellum collage sheet and the backgrounds are left overs from my paper/fabric collages. The text is again from vintage LAC Wuthering Heights pages. They are rich with meaning in every sentence. The final LAC art bit I've used is the ribbon like fiber at the bottom. I've temporarily hung them from one of my own fancy yarns. The sparkling hearts are from Paperchase.


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