Thursday, 29 September 2011

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Summer's End

Summer is definitely over here... I shall be going back to my degree course next week and won't that feel strange after such a long break.  Almost like starting all over again... without having to do fresher's week though, which is a definite advantage... Freshers week: the definition of how to make your mature students feel really really old and out of place!

So, I won't be blogging anywhere near as often.  I am aiming for once or twice a week, we shall see how I do!

For this last week before my life is turned upside down again I am having a last stab at decluttering... of course I haven't finished all of what I had aimed to do over the summer but I've made good inroads, so I won't beat myself up about it.  Plus I've made a useful addition to my uni fees fund by selling my Liberty fabric stash!  The bookcases are coming along but I am going to have to sand down the first one and repaint it having decided that non-drip gloss paint and books are never going to live happily together.  The paint is still sticky after all these weeks.

And as you can see, I am still dealing with apples... I have made apple cake, and stewed blackberry and apple for crumble and the freezer, and blackberry and apple jam, and chutney (with apples in), and today I am stewing plain apple for a change.  Phew!  I am determined not to let so many go to waste this year, usually they rot faster than I can use them.  My task has been made more difficult by the bumper crop though, and it has been difficult to give them away because everyone else has had a bumper crop too!


And for these last few days I shall be trying to spend less time on the computer and a bit more time enjoying the unexpectedly lovely weather.


And cooking apples.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Folksy Friday

Moody blues and greys found on Folksy... hover over the image for more information; click to go direct to the Folksy listing.

Maggie Jones enamels David Barber Pottery
Candyfloss Beledien

And... my last Sunday's Etsy treasury is on the UK Etsy front page today... thrilled! Thank you Etsy!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

My creative space - tiny weavings again

Since I cut them free from the frame, these tiny weavings have been waiting for me to do something with them.  So, finally, the blue one has been turned into a brooch with seaglass accents.  To me, it looks like a seascape with little seaglass 'islands'.  I'm going to find it hard to part with this one...


And the pinky-brown one is well on its way to becoming another brooch, with the addition of a couple of vintage buttons.

They will both be turning up in my shop soon.




See what other people have been doing in their creative spaces here.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

New stuff

I've been photographing new stuff for both my shops today!

I have some new flower colours - the first for a while.  I've made some in lime green - I love lime green, I don't know why I haven't done it before!  And also some of the bigger flowers in a pretty coral pinky-red, one of the colours for the season, apparently!  They look rather good together too!  I'll be listing them in my Etsy and Folksy ffflowers shops over the next couple of days.

New ffflowers - coral and lime

And I've listed the first of the prints that are left after the exhibition in my hypsela shop.  There will be a few more to come as well.

original collagraph print

And I will be listing some new brooches too - pictures of those will have to wait until tomorrow I think!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

End of the Day

Its been another grey day here but the evening has been an improvement - here's hoping for better tomorrow!

Sunset

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Days off

I was chatting the other day to Mel of feltmeupdesigns about the necessity of days out doing something nice when you are on your own working from home much of the time.  And I thought about how bad I am at taking my own advice... there is always so much around the house that I think I ought to be doing but I would much rather be doing something creative so I end up procrastinating and not doing either.  And certainly not going out anywhere nice for the day because of all the other stuff I should be doing.  Hmmm.

Well, last week I had actually planned a day out so I have awarded myself a pat on the back!  I took a trip over to Manchester to the Special Collections space in the MMU library to see the current exhibition which is by Kirsteen Aubrey, one of the MMU glass lecturers, entitled The Glass Journey.  The exhibition was small but beautiful and she had all her process and workings up on the wall too like a giant sketchbook - absolutely fascinating.  The exhibition is on until 16th December and well worth a visit if you are in the area.

I managed to to choose the only nice day we've had for weeks for my day out - bonus!  So after I had seen the exhibition I wandered into the centre of Manchester (without getting too lost - it's not a city I know all that well) and had a look around the lovely craft shop at the Royal Exchange Theatre - mostly looking at the glass pieces and how much they were selling for - important research don't you know!

After that, a bit more wandering around the centre and I managed - quite by chance because I had totally forgotten where it was - to find Paperchase.  The top floor of the Manchester Paperchase is a wonderful place - all those lovely papers.  I didn't spend too much...


A couple of sheets of gorgeous handmade paper which may end up as book covers and some lovely square pieces of Khadi cotton rag paper for printing on.  And some paper string I couldn't resist, maybe for weaving, maybe for collagraphs.

All in all a lovely day out, very inspiring.  I must do it more often!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Folksy Friday

More lovely things found on Folksy... hover over the image for more information; click to go direct to the Folksy listing.

Live, Love & Create Wonkylens
boo-bilooSilky Prudence

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Playing again

A few years ago I made a whole bunch of these...


I really liked them but I wasn't sure what to do with them... eventually I put them together into a series of mobiles which were shown in an exhibition with the textiles group I belong to.

Mobiles

They were well received at the exhibition, and then they came home again. And sat around in my workspace. The discs are not very robust so some of them got bent out of shape as they were moved from place to place. But I still really liked the individual elements - more so than the complete mobiles - so they stayed around.

I started to take them apart the other day and put some of the smaller elements together into 3-D forms. I'm not sure where I'm going with it but it is interesting to see the different character these strange things take on when put together differently.


I started off thinking I would make it into a sphere(ish) but it's beginning to look a bit like a football, so maybe not.  I dare say there is more taking apart and putting back together again to come!

Maybe I should go back to the mobile idea but on a smaller scale... The original mobiles were 6ft high, fine in an exhibition space but not so practical anywhere else. Certainly not cat-friendly! Or, a bit too cat-friendly, but cats would not be mobile-friendly...

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The appliest Apple Cake

I have a glut of cooking apples. We went out and stripped our tree at the weekend before the gales arrived and this is the result. Actually there was a washing up bowl full as well but I have managed to empty that, giving some away, picking some out for storage and making stewed blackberry and apple.  Still got quite a long way to go though!

So this morning I made my favourite apple cake and thought I might share the recipe with you. You will need...

4oz softened butter    (sorry, I still work in pounds and ounces for cooking...)
4oz demerara sugar
1 egg
6oz wholemeal flour (plain)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4oz sultanas
1lb (ish) cooking apples (weigh first, then peel, core and grate them)

Beat together the sugar, butter and egg. Sift in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and beat until just combined.  If you mix too much you will end up with one big blob here so less is more! 

Then fold in the sultanas and grated apple.  The mixture still wants to form itself into a big blob at this stage so a sort of cutting action seems to work best.

Pile the mixture into a 2lb loaf tin and bake for about an hour at 160C-170C (I have a fan oven which runs super hot so I bake this at 140C, adjust to suit your oven).



And there you have it!  The texture is really moist and squdgy, almost like bread pudding, and the flavour is very very appley.  Best eaten when it has cooled, although it is hard to wait I know.  It goes beautifully with a nice piece of cheese, cheddar, or lancashire maybe...  And as cakes go, it's pretty healthy - I'm sure a slice (or two) would count towards one of your 5-a-day...

Monday, 12 September 2011

Blackcurrant Daisies

I went to buy some A1 sheets of paper from my local art shop the other week.  The weather wasn't very nice (no surprise there!) so the lovely lady found me a great big A1 bag to put my paper in.  I was incredibly restrained when I saw the bag and resisted the temptation to jump up and down, merely commenting that it was a nice colour...

Blackcurrant Eco Daisies

I have only used the top third of the bag for these. What's even better is when I get down to the middle of the bag the writing is in gold. I'm trying hard not to jump up and down even now, thinking about it... all this over a plastic bag?!!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Weather

The weather is getting me down.  It's cold and grey or, like today, it's warm and humid and still grey.  This time last year it was


lovely.

And I'm sure the humidity is partly to blame for the fact that the paint on my bookcase still isn't properly dry.  I'm going to start priming the shelves for the second one today though and am hoping to persuade the eldest to saw the cutout bit to fit over the skirting tomorrow...  I'm happy to try most things but I'm not keen on too much sawing - a hangover from a nasty experience when I was a teenager I think!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Folksy Friday

Spotted some more great stuff on Folksy this week... hover over the image for more information; click to go direct to the Folksy listing.

Dig For Victory Astrid Weigel
Buzybee HouseofChintz

Thursday, 8 September 2011

My creative space - silk paper

I've been making silk paper (silk fusion) today.  Usually I try and make it as thin and wispy as I can but today I wanted to make it a little thicker.  The first thing is to lay out some silk fibres onto a piece of netting - I have 2 (ish) layers of undyed tussah silk fibres here.


Then another piece of net on top to hold it all in place, and rub dilute silk paper medium (you can use dilute PVA or wallpaper paste too) through the net so it soaks the silk fibres - I use an old stencil brush for this.  Turn the sandwich over and rub from the other side too until all the fibres are holding together.


I decided it still wasn't thick enough, so I folded it in half.

Once it was dry, I cut some heart shapes out of it.  I love the texture and sheen of silk paper - what I have in mind are some simple hanging decorations to show it off.


See what other people have been doing in their creative spaces.

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