Thursday, 28 April 2011

A little corner of my studio

This little corner of my studio is so much busier these days so I took some more pictures.....
Remember my little shelves, they are filling up, not all are new purchases I might add, most have been hiding in drawers and bags and baskets now I can see them all and be inspired to use them more often in my work.

I added a little spice rack shelf, another charity shop find, painted white, it cleared the top shelf above, 

better used to store these little chunkier ones, perfect for mixed objects

I stole this idea noticed when I visited my sister Theresa in her little Bizzy Blue Bee studio she was using her mug rack to hang all her scissors on while mine was lurking under my jewellers bench looking, and probably feeling totally unloved and unwanted .... :)

its perfect and simple, they used to hang out in all sorts of places, around the sewing machine cluttering up the table, under fabric bundles in the thread caddy, or under the samples and stash in the shallow wooden tray on the table............. now I see them all....thanks Theresa x

I knew these boxes were perfect for my little scraps when I spotted them in Poundland

the lids are hinged too which makes it so much easier to access those little scraps
I'm thinking I need 2 more........ for my sheer fabric scraps and my lace pieces.

I'm using this space so much more now, I love it! .... and it keeps my sewing table free of clutter.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The Soul of the Rose

A beautiful title for this lovely painting by John William Waterhouse and one of my favourites by the artist. It perfectly describes the feelings it evokes when I admire it.

I have decided to work within the theme of roses on my experimental journey .....
I've been making lots of mess in my little studio......I'll show you a little bit of what I've been up too

 I wanted to spend more time exploring thread sketching. Some of you may have read my post here about my little play around after seeing it in issue of Cloth Paper Scissors.
So with my theme of roses in mind I had another little play around,
first some sketching.......

I used cartridge paper from a sketchbook
then I added some printed text paper to highlight

I then painted these with artist watercolours and free machine stitched, highlighting the shapes and lines.
 I used an embroidery foot, regular black sewing thread and dropped the feed dogs on my machine.
I forgot to photograph the roses before I stitched nor the stitching process, when I get excited about going on to the next stage I sometimes forget opps

 I also added some gold foil and coloured cellophane from Cadbury's roses chocolates
here are some close ups

textured paper

a leaf skeleton

embossed paper....

pink textured foil

purple cellophane sweet wrapper

I'm pleased with the results..............

here's a better view of the ochre one, I think the paint is a little thick on this, I might wet it and remove some..... see what emerges

 I like the shape and flow of this one....

picture is a bit blurry,

a closer view.

Its great fun to thread sketch .....have a go if you do I would love to see

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easter Flowers

I hope you all had a peaceful Easter Sunday

It was lovely and sunny here today in Fife.
 Our church alter was decorated with beautiful Easter Lillies. Spring green branches and daffodil bunches tied with white ribbon to the rafter supports added a beautiful simple touch.
After church our little one spent some time in the garden with daddy weeding and planting new things. It was lovely to see them both enjoying the sunshine.

This was a bunch of flowers which were showing signs of growing thin when I read Rhiannon's post about her flower table decoration I decided to do the same, I think it looked pretty.

I totally love this pale green vintage table cloth
 I picked it up at our local car boot sale last weekend for 50p!

Throughout the day I enjoyed working some more on my black and white quilt, but more on that tomorrow.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Happy Birthday April

Happy Birthday April
My daughter 19 today!

We enjoyed a family lunch together of dare I say ....Takeaway pizza!
yep no cooking...... great! and for afters,
I made this sweeter than sweet cake topped with loads of butter icing, sugar sprinkles, dolly mixtures and silver dragees, the filling was of Bon Mammon blacurrant conserve and yep more butter icing it was delicious and all gone now.....
Shes gone home now to have a party at her place, hope shes having fun x

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Songs Of Praise

How very fortunate I was, to be given the opportunity to sing in Dunfermline Abbey recently with Songs of Praise.

On April 2nd there was a rehearsal from 7pm till 10.30pm

The hymn books were handed out and as we sat waiting for the conductor and crew to begin the proceedings I flicked through the blue book. I was familiar with only two of the hymns and could sing only one of them without the book!

As the evening of song began we worked our way through all 10 hymns with the conductor Gordon Stewart guiding and entertaining us in the most amusing manner.

There was no filming on this evening only singing. We were told that they had decided to make a few changes to how they normally do things, so with us we had this extra practice evening and then there would be two evenings of recording live five hymns each night. Apparently in previous recordings they would record the singing and then the congregation would sing or mime to playback. So we were the first to do this all live! Quite exciting really
The two evenings of recording and filming took place on Friday and Saturday (15th & 16th April)

From 7pm till 10.30pm on the Friday and a little earlier on Saturday from 5pm till 9.45pm.
The Abbey is stunning, it was lovely to be there and the lighting was beautiful.
On the Saturday evening we were accompanied by Alba Brass who were excellent
There was also a children's choir but I didn't catch where they were from and forgot to find out.

We had to wear the same clothes on both filming evenings and sit in the same seats too as the hymns will be played over 3 shows in August (7th, 14th & 21st)

I feel very privileged to have been a part of such an enjoyable and spiritual event, made all the more so by Gordon Stewart a very distinguished and accomplished concert organist, teacher and conductor among other things. Born in Dundee, the son of a minister, he has conducted Songs of Praise many times and at many memorable events such as, the opening of the Olympic Games in Athens and also in Johannesburg, South Africa at the end of apartheid. He has played Celebrity Concerts in such places as St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral to name a few.

During the course of the 3 evenings he told us many humorous and uplifting stories of his travels and some of his father who was a minister. If ever there was a person perfect for such a job it is he. There were moments throughout when we had to wait for lighting, cameras and crew to fix problems, change positions, re-take and run through films and sound to get things right, each time he was there with another timely piece of humour to keep us entertained and relaxed. He talked us through each hymn, made us think about the words and feel them and sing from our hearts, he reminded of why we were all there, to sing in praise of God and to give his message to those who faithfully watch the program, those who may be unable to attend church or would not be able to experience these beautiful hymns of praise in such a wonderful setting.

At the end of Saturday evening, my arm ached from holding the booklet up, my legs were tired and my vocal cords were feeling a little achy and overstretched but none of that mattered. I came away with a feeling of great fulfilment, a heart full of joy and song! It didn't matter that I didn't knew the hymns because by the time we had finished filming I knew them all...I am ten hymns richer!

When everyone was heading for the door, I seized the opportunity to speak to Gordon, to shake his hand in thanks and tell him what a wonderful experience the 3 evenings had been and one which I will never forget. I asked him to autograph my ticket as a little memento and he happily obliged.

It was a huge time commitment and I was very fortunate to have been able to do it. Thanks to Kevin I was able to take the time out of family routine, leave him with it all.... the dinner, the mess, getting Charlotte settled for bed, the bedtime stories and the tidying up, it’s usually very much a joint effort in the evenings as we are both tired from our busy days. So a huge thank you to you Kevin x
When the shows go out in August I will be watching, but not to see if I can spot myself in the crowd. I will enjoy hearing the hymns and remembering the evenings I spent in the presence of God with my fellow Christians from churches all over the area, Gordon Stewart and the wonderful people who work so hard to bring Songs of Praise to a worldwide audience.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

More thoughts

A big Thank you ladies for your lovely and encouraging responses to my last post. I really appreciate them all and thank you for taking the time to read and respond.

I hope I didn't put anyone off opening an online shop. I will keep my shops open as I still have items for sale in them but not sure I will re list when they run out. I wont be making or designing specifically to sell but if by exploring and creating I might make a bit of art along the way, it may end up in my shop for sale.

What I'm letting go of it those thoughts of looking for ideas and making 6 of something or a collection of jewellery when it all just sits there waiting to be constantly re listed. Your right Wendie and Anne it does take the pleasure out of making things big time. I'm letting go of that pressure which I have placed upon myself . In the past Kevin has pointed this out to me before but I have always hung on to the feeling that things would get better and eventually the sales would go up and I would enjoy it but it never happens.
 I'm happy with the things I make I know they are good quality but the time and effort that has been put into them sometimes up to 4 hrs a piece seems wasted when they don't sell. I don't like to ask too much for my items but it was pointed out to me quite recently that they were perhaps priced too cheaply and this might be off putting to buyers, I felt that if my work was put at a price that most people would pay they would sell quickly and I could justify taking the time to design and make more. I was quite proud of my last collection, I felt it was a little bit different and that it might appeal to some who liked the vintage look with the vintage buttons and pearls and crystals, it got lots of views, got featured in a few treasuries and favourites on etsy and flickr but not one sale and I'm left wondering why? ...not to mention the disappointment I felt. ...gosh this is beginnings to sound like I'm having a good moan...!

Taken on one of our camping trips a couple of years ago, isn't it beautiful......

 I think Etsy and Folksy are great places to wander round and I have managed to buy some lovely things from different parts of the world.
I am sometimes surprised at the prices some people get for their things and good for them for getting the sales. I'm free of having to think all this through to a conclusion and free of the endless feeling of pressure I put on myself that I need to be promoting my work and shops all the time on other sites which I don't really want to spend time on.... its just not worth it for me. 

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

A Change in direction and Letting Go

I had a plan, that when I got past the 2 O'clock feeds stage with Charlotte that I would get back into my little studio and start creating, get my little business up and running, design new collections of jewellery and sell them in my Etsy and Folksy shops. The 2 O'clock feeds took a lot longer to drop than I anticipated, in fact she never slept through the night until she was into her second year. Many months of sleep deprivation is something that took me a long time to accept and deal with. I was lucky with my first 3 children all were sleeping through the night by 14 weeks even the 3rd who was breast fed, I now realise that I was a very lucky mummy back then.
I don't know whether it has anything to do with the age difference in me,  I totally love her, but at times it has been such hard work. My energy levels and my expectations of myself in being a good mum don't always match up. I try to be the best I can be and expect more of myself than is physically possible some days.
I know there are lots of Mums out there who do it, stay at home and be with their children, try to build a business up slowly as they go along, blog about it, sell online, sell at fairs and through shops etc and it works well for them and I totally admire them, but after months of trying, making, hoping, listing, waiting and talking things over with Kevin, I've finally admitted to myself that this isn't for me. It's not working, I'm not getting anything out of it.
So I'm letting go..... It seems that if you are not willing to give 90% of your day over to constant self-promotion online through facebook, twitter etc then your work is just not going to get noticed and I'm not willing to use my precious time in this way.
In my heart I'm an artist and that is what I'm going to concentrate on. I need to spend the time that I do have for me exploring, drawing, painting, experimenting with stitch, fabrics and thread. When you start making things specifically to sell something gets lost, forgotten, unused and I miss that ..... I want it back!

My first journal page, I can now understand how therapeutic creating a journal page can be!
So I'm going to do just that, ....get it back!...... forget about making to sell, spend more time exploring, being creative and enjoying the time that I get to spend in my little studio.

It's a new beginning in a way and I'm excited about it! It would be nice if you, my little list of 41 followers will stay with me for the creative journey.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Pincushions & Cake

I decided to add a flower to my apron after all

........ in the form of a pincushion.

Then I made some bigger ones ...

Peachy Pink Flowers

Pale Pink Rosebuds,

 Peachy Pink Rosebuds

...all available in my Esty shop shortly

I made a cake for Mothers day, I was not overly tempted by any of the cakes or deserts in the supermarket so I decided to make my own

Victoria sponge

..... topped with butter icing and pink caster sugar,

decorated with a sprinkling of silver dragees.

........ filled with strawberry formage frais and blackcurrant jam

Delicious it was...even if I did make it myself :)

12/04 Update : I should have got around to it before now but I seem to be saying that to myself a lot these days.

I took some pictures of the lovely gifts my four children gave to me for Mothers day

Wine, Chocolates, two beautiful plants, in colours I love :)

Can you see the beautiful pink glass plant pot just behind the chocolates

There was a chocolate orange too but we ate that before I managed to get a picture

and these are just so cute x
I feel very lucky and blessed to have 4 beautiful children


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