Friday, 29 March 2013

Sorry - No Pictures!

I am recovering from the exertions of emptying the living room for the carpet fitters to do their stuff, including helping my husband take up the old carpet and underlay.   He cut the carpet into three sections to make it more manageable but even so it was so heavy.   I was very envious watching one of our grandsons blithely toss each section into the back of his van as if it weighed nothing!   We had had offers of help but when the time came our son-in-law was ill in bed and our son was helping his son move house, but we managed and took our time with rests in between.   I'm amazed at the amount of disruption just redecorating and carpeting one room has caused.   I don't think any other rooms in the house escaped being affected by it, barring the bathroom and downstairs loo!

We are delighted with the room - it looks so light and fresh now.   Almost everything is back where it belongs and I have had a lovely clear out, so the cupboards are tidy and the charity shop has benefited to the tune of three boxes of 'stuff'.  

The last time I was as tired as this was when we moved to the Bristol area nearly 38 years ago and our youngest daughter was a month old!   Not recommended.    However, it is good to know that I must be fitter than I thought.  

I had a piece of exciting news the other day.   I opened my emails to find I have won a place on the 21 Secrets workshop.  There was a giveaway for one workshop place on Ro Bruhn's blog and I left my comment and thought no more about it.   I was almost in a state of shock when I read that I had won and it took a while for it to sink in.   It begins on April 1st and luckily I can work at my own pace as I still have 2 modules of my Sketchbook course to do.   As far as I understand, the 21 Secrets workshops are given by 21different mixed media artists so it will be very varied and I hope to do them justice.  I know I shall learn a lot more than I have been able to pick up from books and magazine articles.  I can't wait to start and am trying to finish all the other things I need to do first.

I have almost finished my daughter's wedding skirt - it has been a beast as the fabric is lovely but so slippery (cream satin) and I don't really like dressmaking anyway.   I keep telling myself 'I am making this with love' but it's through gritted teeth!   I think she will be happy with it and that is what is important.   I wonder if the weather will have warmed up a little by April 13th.   If not, quite a few females present will feel rather chilly.  I hope there is room for a thermal vest under my outfit - just in case!

I hope you have a lovely Easter weekend, germ free if possible.   Keep warm and don't eat too much chocolate!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Chaos reigns today.

What a difference a day makes!   Yesterday was my birthday and I was thoroughly spoilt with gifts and visits from all my children, except one who is not well enough to come out.  Below are some of my pressies - bath gel, embossing folder (which will work in the pasta machine), key paper punch, all nine Beethoven Symphonies and a perfumed room spray.  I have placed them on some lovely handmade wrapping paper which will no doubt find it's way into some of my work.

Below is the Green Man painted glass panel which was another gift.   When life returns to normal I will hang him the kitchen window so that the sun can shine through.

I woke up nice and early this morning which was good as there were still a few things to be done to clear the living room for the decorator who arrived promptly at 9am. Now I am ready for a lie down and it's only 10am!   The sun is shining so I might hang the washing outside to celebrate.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

It's Official!

Spring has arrived!   The frogs told me!   In the middle of last night I woke to hear them singing loudly in our garden pond and this morning there was our first dollop of frogspawn for this year.   I was beginning to wonder if there would be any at all as they are much later than usual, but obviously they have commonsense and were waiting for conditions to improve.

While I was outside I couldn't resist taking another picture of these little daisies which have been flowering their socks off ever since I planted them out last May.  I think just about every seed in the packet germinated and they have been such good value for very little effort.

I have been going round the house turning radiators down today.  Can it really be only two weeks ago that we called the boiler man out to check that it was running properly as we couldn't get warm?

Chaos and mayhem will reign next week and beyond as we are having the living room redecorated and then new carpet put down.  We have too much 'stuff' and I wish we favoured minimalist decor - it would make life so much easier.   I know it'll take me ages to find where I  have put everything and get it back to where it belongs.  The present carpet has been down for 25 years.   The cost of the new one comes to about the same amount as the price of our first home!  It doesn't do to have a good memory for some things.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Another week gone - another month gone!

I seem to be as busy as ever but with not much to show for it.    However, I have completed another chapter of my course work and just begun the final one for this module.   For this chapter I have to alter a book.   In case you don't know what this means, you take an unwanted book with a strong cover and good binding and remove about half the pages, strengthening those that are left by glueing them together in pairs.   I am using an old year book featuring healing plants which I no longer want and it fits in quite well with my chosen theme - the garden.   When the pages are reduced and strengthened the next task is to paint gesso on them to cover or obscure the text, though it looks quite good showing through in places, and any illustrations that there might be could be made use of too.

My first task was to tackle the end papers and for this I used my own rather wonky handcut rubber stamp of daisies.

The book's existing end papers are a soft green and I stamped my daisies using a slightly darker soft green ink pad.    They looked a bit too subdued so I defined them with a slightly darker green pen and used a white pen for the petals and a yellow for the centres of the flowers.

I have stitched round most of the pages to strengthen them further and then started to draw my designs working through the year from early January onward.   Here are my snowdrops and crocus pages.   It is quite nerve-wracking drawing directly onto the page - well it is for me.  I have used water soluble crayons to provide the colour and I love working with them.

   Some pages will have their edges cut out into leaf, flower or other shapes, and others will be extended upwards or outwards.   I might also use decorative paper punches to cut out suitable shapes down the side of a couple of pages.

  Once I get the bit between my teeth I want to keep going but my eyes cry for mercy!    This is just a taster and the rest will eventually appear on my other blog for my tutor to see when the book is complete.   Only another 32 pages to do!   And the cover, of course.