Sunday, 31 October 2010

Happy All Hallows

It's the start of the pagan new year and I'm deciding on a year of change, well that is my plan at least. I feel like I may be coming out of a somewhat dark hole and I have to assert some changes and positivity into my life in the coming year to make a difference and make things happen in moving forward with new projects and goals.

I am looking forward to a Halloween buffet of spooky food at my friends later and so I have made this little Halloween pixie for sitting on their buffet table. Got a few sweeties to take too and made some scary orange & dark choc buns.

Waterloo concert

Last night I went to the theatre to see Waterloo, billed as the UK & Europe's biggest & best live Abba concert show. I don't normally go to the theatre as I'm not into musicals and the like but this was pleasantly different. It was basically a concert of Abba songs and the performers and costumes were very good so it made for a pleasant evening out with my mum & sis.
Don't worry we didn't show ourselves up in silver platform boots and shiny lycra but plenty of people had got togged up in the gear.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Sorting out fabric stash

When I was at Ikea I bought these large blue zip up bags which fit onto a trolley for storage. I have decided to sort my material stash out into them. Don't think it will all fit but I'm putting the best stuff in and I have taken this photo to record how tidy it looks before I start using it!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Gallery on the Wolds, Bainton

I did my one day stint manning the gallery yesterday for the Art in the Garden exhibition. I was disappointed to see I haven't sold either of my Sledmere pictures but then only 6 pictures in total have sold and it finishes at the weekend. My friend has sold her lovely picture Pans Green Peace which is to the right of my 2 pieces on the top photo. 

The bottom photo is an Art Challenge piece of work. Basically numerous artists each painted an individual square canvas without knowing what the final painting was. They were given a colour photocopy of the bit they had to reproduce and this is the result, it's quite impressive and a fascinating project.

Ikea fabric

I was at Ikea the other day and couldn't resist buying a few bits of their fabric.
They had some great new designs but with a lot of them the design is so big that to appreciate it you would need to be making curtains or something large to see the pattern. Most of the designs are not suitable for the small craft things I make.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Spoonflower contest - nature items, result

The results are in and thanks to anyone who voted for my design as I've had my best result to date in the Spoonflower contests. I came 14th with my Velvet Leaves design which was over 300 votes so I'm happy with that.

I love the winning fabric, its very clever.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Seaside poster competition - reveal

Back in June I entered a competition to design a seaside poster for Coast magazine. The idea was to take inspiration from the travel posters of the past and create your modern day version of a coastal spot which means something to you.

This is exactly the type of design work I enjoy so I had to enter, even though it cost me a bit as they wanted  a print outputting at 70cm x 50cm so having only got an A4 printer I had to pay for a large one off print.
I did one of my digital collages of Spurn Point, some bits hand drawn and used some of my photos, see below.
Of course you get no confirmation that they receive your work so you just live in hope until they announce the winner (and hopefully they are sending the artwork back).

So, it's 4 months later and the 3 winners have been revealed in the current Nov issue of Coast, and guess what, I wasn't one of them!  Damn & drat, curses!!!
However, it's not all doom and gloom because on their website they have uploaded a gallery of the top 10 and I'm delighted to say I came in the top 10. I have to say that I actually prefer some of the runners up to the winning 3, no sour grapes intended, just my personal opinion, probably cause I'm a fan of the traditional style of travel poster.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Spoonflower contest - latest entry

I have entered another Spoonflower fabric design contest. This current one was to design a fabric with the theme of a scanned nature item, I used some fern like, velvety leaves I found growing in amongst the patio and up walls. 
Here is my design. If you like it and fancy voting for me then here is the link, all votes are much appreciated.

I should say that there are about 9 pages of designs to click through, you can choose more than one and you submit your choices on the last page.

York - Vintage Fair & Coffee

It's not been the best fortnight ever what with work & stress levels running high, health issues and generally feeling miserable as the weather turns cold and there's the prospect of a long 6 months before spring is on the horizon again.

So with that in mind I ended this week on a good note by visiting the Vintage Fair in York today. I found the most amazing fabric / haberdashery stall where a lady had some rolls of fabric in excellent condition and reasonably priced. I bought the very groovy 1960's floral barkcloths and the 1970's blue & green fabric is a thick cotton, all these were £5 a metre. The 1940's fabric is more of a sateen and it cost £6 a metre.
This lady is going to be at a vintage fair in Ilkley towards the end of the month, well worth going if you like vintage fabric.

Finished off the day by purchasing a bag of Has Beans new espresso Kicker blend at the wonderful Harlequin Coffee house. I can't wait to try this blend as I follow the antics of Steve who runs Has Bean on his website and blog and Kicker is supposed to be quite special.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Skye Batiks - half price shirts, hurry!

If you are seeking something a little offbeat, original & ethically produced by hand, check out Skye Batiks as they currently have shirts at half price (approx £17).
I was in touch with my good friends at Skye Batiks the other week and was delighted with the 2 shirts which came winging their way down to Yorkshire.

These are the 3 button smock style of shirt and they wash so well and get better with age.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Art in the Garden exhibition 15th - 31st Oct

I finally have my AIG pieces of work finished and framed up this morning, ready to deliver to the gallery tomorrow. I'm trying to keep costs down with my submissions and have stuck to my maximum printer output size of A4 and framed the prints myself.

I am attaching the poster with details of the exhibition if anyone is interested.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Japanese paper beads

A while ago I found some lovely patterned origami paper at Hobbycraft. I didn't particularly get it for making origami models as its pretty versatile for using in lots of other crafts. Anyway I've had a quick go at making paper beads with it. I've started with simple lozenge shapes and have given them a coat of varnish so they are almost ready for stringing up into either a necklace or bracelet.

Friday, 8 October 2010

John Lennon on Google

Have you seen Google today? It's a special John Lennon graphic to celebrate what would've been his 70th birthday tomorrow.
So much has been written about him since his death that there is little I can add other than to say the world is a sadder place without the legend that was John Lennon.

Dalby Forest - N. Yorks

I had the pleasure of escaping my desk for a few hours yesterday afternoon to visit Dalby Forest. It was such a lovely sunny afternoon after all the dreary weather we've had recently.  I hadn't been since the new visitor centre had been built, it was quite an impressive building with a great view from the Tree Tops cafe.

I have to say the refreshments I had were not brilliant. The least offensive sounding coffee on the list was an americano so I went for that but it was nothing short of an over-boiled and watered down nescafe type offering so most of it got left. My cookie wasn't great either, it was apple & cinnamon and it had that sort of sweet but sharp, processed taste which didn't sit well together so I left half of that too. It's always a shame with these sorts of places, they are in such picturesque settings but I often find the eateries let them down which is a pity. They have a captive audience and yet the food is pretty ordinary and not the sort of groovy, organic, wholefoody stuff which I'd expect.
Still, view was nice from the cafe.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Fabric & Pencils in Cumbria

Have just been cataloguing my latest fabric purchases in Cumbria. There's a great shop in Keswick called Textures and I got the top shot of fabric from there. They now have a website since my last visit which is

I also visited Orton Grange farm shop which has a quilting place, Quiltessentials, also very nice fabric but not as cheap as my favourite shop in Scarborough.

Then there are pictures of a couple of pieces I got at a charity shop in Carlisle for just 50p.

My real bargain on this trip was when visiting another one of my favourite places in Keswick, The Pencil Museum. I stocked up on a few more Inktense pencils and I noticed a beautiful wooden pencil box which seemed very cheap. It was the only one of its kind and looked like it should've been about £20 but had the price £9 on it. Odd I thought, as a tiny box less than half its size was priced at £9. I thought I'd take it to the counter and if it rings through at more I'm not having it. Joy of joys it rang through at the £9 price but the lady on the till let slip it had the wrong price on but I could have it anyway. It was one of those lucky right time, right place situations so I was very grateful. I have enjoyed sorting my pencil stash into it, didn't think I'd fill it but I have.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Talkin Tarn - Cumbria

Escaped to Cumbria for a few days last week and it was rather wet, bit like last time I went. One of the days was lovely and it was quite spring-like pottering around Windermere and Keswick. I have visited some fabric shops and got some nice things so will display those later.

The particularly wet day was the day I went to Talkin Tarn, hadn't heard of it before but a friend recommended it and as it was near to Carlisle where I was staying it was worth a look. Got togged up in waterproof jacket but unfortunately didn't have waterproof trousers with me on this occasion so half way round the tarn when the heavens opened more and there was nowhere to shelter, I got pretty soaked to the skin. By the time I reached the little bird hide the rain had slowed up a bit but it was so wet I didn't even fancy the tea room as I'd be sat in a pool of water.
On a less wet day I could see the tarn would be a beautiful place.