Monday, November 27, 2017

Monday morning.....

......and I have a stack of ironing to do.  No not the boring kind this.....
deep in the depth of my freezer I found a packet of Summer Fruits, now the summer for this particular pack passed long ago, I was just going to out them when I had a little "I wonder?". I thought I may be able to make some sort of pink paper (not something I really feel a lack of) but no nature and chemistry produced purple.

I put the berries  in the pan, added water and boiled them for about 15 minutes. I squashed the berries to extract as much colour as possible and then I strained them and put the juice in a foil baking tray. I then added a stack of assorted papers, one sheet at a time making sure each one was fully immersed. When I was nearly at the top I spread some of the pulp in between and that produced the pink   I left them overnight.
Not a nice day today so no hope of drying them with solar power so I popped them one sheet at a time into a low oven which is why they are a bit crinkly.
The variation of colour is interesting, the darkest ones are tracing paper and the lightest ones were only left for a few minutes this morning when I had taken out all the others.

What fun, now to do the kind of ironing I don't mind.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Winter Journal........

.... finished I think, only every time I look at it I add a little more.  I made it as a journal with plenty of space for writing and I have tried to use my own photographs and "artwork"

This is the cover,
it actually came about by accident.  The letters and tree are made out of plain old kids foam sheets The cover is scrim adhered with Golden Matte medium which I am discovering makes a wonderful glue. (Late to the table I think).
This is the first page and I may still add another pocket on the cover
 The card in the pocket is made from a happy swoosh and the first stamp I ever bought on my first trip to America many years ago.
A few of my favourite pages.
The ponies  are a photograph I was lucky to snap and the leaves are a digital collage/
Distress Oxides on the tag (did I mention how much I love them) and the grasses are printed onto tracing paper.

Another serendipity page, a gessoed book page which I had used to make some die cuts  and then used to try out some paints.  Turned into a tuck spot.
End of the first signature. One of my photos and an old encaustic wax experiment plus a bit of paint play.
Just a few more.

Loved making this one, though it has taken a long time.   Now for the Book of Trees, As I mentioned I have started the backgrounds but I am finding it difficult to move on, I selected some of my photographs (who knew just how many photos of trees I have) but I want it to be something more than pictures stuck on a page so I will take it slowly and hope. In the garden yesterday.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


........where was I?  I have just spent a lovely long weekend with my sister-in-law.

We took a trip to the ICHF supposed Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycraft show at Excel.  Never again. The "free" Christmas show consisted of a woman demonstrating a £400 exercise board and some very dubious foods. The rest was mediocre to say the least.

Monday we went up to town to "see the lights", on the whole the Christmas windows lacked imagination. These were probably the best at Ralph Lauren in New Bond Street.

Am I wrong or were the Christmas shop windows designed to delight children(eg ME) as well as sell.
We had a little adventure when we were invited into Southeby's to look at Winston Churchill's last painting and four Lowries which are about to go on sale.  I explained to the charming doorman that I didn't have Southerby's kind of money but he explained that these exhibitions are open to all  Who knew?

My next journal is nearing completion, pictures soon and I have started my "Book of Trees" workshop with Roxanne Evans Stout here

So far I have only had time to prepare my pages.
 but I am looking forward to filling them.  I love trees (the only thing I can draw) and this time of year makes them even more appealing with the colours and the falling leaves.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Annual pilgrimage........ the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally. There was a time when we used to spring lightly up the hill and steps, now we take the courtesy bus and I imagine one day we will crawl up the steps  on our knees.
I enjoyed the show this year, bumped into a couple of friends and was delighted to see Lynda Monk, she has a new book out which to her surprise is proving popular with the cos play generation,
Two of the exhibition we particularly liked were Haf Weighton

 and Ann Small                                            

 On the home front I have finished another journal which I am calling Aux Plaisirs des Dames as the inspiration was Au Bonheur Des Dames by Emile Zola which was  also the  inspiration for the TV series The Paradise .
It is quite chunky so I won't bore you with every page.

Now I have 4 projects in mind and a few hundred other things I would like to try. I love it when there are things to learn. Have a good week.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

I didn't realise........

.......this afternoon I treated myself by downloading the "It's better with a band" album by Barbara Cook and that reminded me of perhaps my favourite Barbara Cook song "Ice Cream" from "She Loves Me" and I while I was searching I was sad to find that Barbara died in August this year.
I was fortunate to see her and her pianist present an evening of songs to a packed Barbican Theatre. I was in the front row and I'll swear the woman never breathed. Song after song, apparently effortless singing
.  It was a wonderful and memorable evening and then a little while later I was even more fortunate to attend a Masterclass she gave, again completely memorable. I am sad but I am happy that I was given these opportunities to see and meet this wonderful artist in person.

Ladies and gentlemen. I give you Barbara Cook.

There's always something..... haven't seen before.  As you may know I am a huge fan of the Australian Masterchef Series. 
 (I had to get this link almost without looking as I don't want to know the result of this years competition.) For me, it is much more entertaining than the English Version and it always have a section where they travel.  In the episodes I watched this week Heston Blumenthal was the guest chef they went on a road trip through Victoria and visited one of these amazing works of art on the Silo Trail
This is the one the visited.
Brim Silo Art, Grampians, Victoria, Australia If you have ever seen a grain silo you will appreciate the size of these wonderful portraits who are all people who live and work in this area. Amazing.

I have finished/not finished the book I started in Seth's workshops. Not finished because I may add more to it in the future but finished for now as I would be forcing it if I tried to just fill the pages.  As it is it turned about a bit more scrap booky than I would have liked.  No disrespect to scapbooks but I would like to get my collages to look as though they have grown out of the page instead of having things stuck on. Because I had made a page with Me
and my mama

at the workshop I/it decided to add my father

 and my siblings.
My sister
and my brother
This is the first page
and the cover, burnished up a bit.
It was fun and now a permanent memory of a very good day.

Great finish to a good week watching my old AmDram society's excellent production of Singin' in the Rain.  Lovely to see it flourishing.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Just saying.......

...........I don't want to get into a list of superlatives but if you ever get even half a chance to take a workshop with Seth Apter.....grab it.

Yesterday was such a treat. The workshop was called A Book of Moments and it was organised by The Birds in the Barn, near Colchester Essex. .It was one of the most well organised workshops I have ever attended. The attention to detail was faultless. Every table was covered and had a waste bag attached, on the table were baby wipes, kitchen towel, a box of things that might come in handy and at each place a gift or cards and a goody bag.
Another table was full of items that might be useful; during the day, collage papers, brads, string, everything you can think of.
So generous, there was even a box of old books. There was a pop up shop of very tempting supplies, tea and coffee available all day and lunch was delish as was the lemon drizzle cake which appeared in the afternoon.
There were a lot of us too,  so it must have taken a lot of hard work to organise. 
Seth taught how to deconstruct a book so that you can use the covers and then how to build a new, different kind of spine to hold the pages. My book was already in pieces
A Rochester junk shop find from a while ago.
When the spine was in we started on the pages and Seth told us he thinks there are two kinds of people who collage, the Auditioner and the Committer and urged us to try identify which one we are and try the opposite.He is a Committer,  I am definitely an Auditioner, freeing up is hard. 
Seth in demo mode.

The time went so fast but this is what I had at the end of the day.
 The cover, not quite finished

The pages are not attached yet as I will complete all and arrange at the end. The background on this one ancient gelli plate papers

The background on the right is an Citrasolve experiment 

 This background is town paper collage
The photograph  is the one of me the family call Keep Death of the Road.

And finally, my present to me my own tiny piece of original Seth Apter. It is called September. Scan doesn't do it justice.


A superlative day.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Where am I????????????

??? ...was my thought as I emerged from  Victoria Underground Station.
This is an area of London that I is not very familiar to me and the last time I was here, this wasn't.  They are upgrading the Underground station and the whole area has been transformed.  The old Victoria Palace Theatre looks as though it is being completely rebuilt to house "Hamilton" late this year, very late by the look of it as the moment.
The theatre was in need of a re-vamp I saw the Crazy Gang there in about 1956 and it was dingy then. When I had orientated myself I found my way to Shepherd's Bookbinders which used to be Falkiners and near the British Museum and much easier to find and with a lot more character.  There was a group of ladies waiting for a class on coptic binding which I heard one of them announce was the "in Thing", that's me out of it then. The tutor was late presumable still orientating herself.
I bought some hideously expensive linen tape and a few nice pieces of paper.
then it was off to this
Which was fun. My day was made when Osi Umenyiora
and Jason Bell
appeared on stage. The NFL show on the BBC is one of the highlights of my week, along with Mark Chapman they present a funny and informative programme.  Osi and Jason didn't disappoint yesterday.
Look who stood next to me. They were tall.

As I said a lot of fun, as was this.

Flag football is a way of interesting young people in the sport. These guys were really little but enjoying it so.
 the young man in the "hoodie" was enjoying it so he kept taking turns in both lines and he was really good, I may have seen a future star.
I took my "proper" camera yesterday, I haven't used it in a while and I am seriously out of practice but two photographs I liked, the first I am calling  "Conversation piece".
 and this was while strolling through Green Park
Remarkable because there were so many tourists around outside Buckingham Palace a few yards away that  I thought something was happening.
A good day.