Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Tag Tuesday-Opposites

On Tag Tuesday this week our theme is OPPOSITES.
My OPPOSITES tag came about by accident, as is often
the case! I found the Night Owl Ribbon whilst rummaging
through my ribbon stash, and that set off my train of thought.
I used Inktense blocks for the background, they give
great, strong colour, and it is easy to layer different colours.
My Night Owl was stamped with black ink, then coloured
in with felt pens. The Early Bird was done in the same way.
I didn't have an Early Bird ribbon in my stash, so I stamped
a plain one!
A line of stars completes my tag.

Monday, 29 September 2014


St-Antonin-Noble-Val is the rather poetic name of a medieval town in
France where we stayed in the summer. If you have just seen the film
100 Foot Journey you may think the town looks familiar, that is because 
it was filmed there! Coincidentally, we arrived there the day the film
 was released in the United States, and enjoyed watching it when it came
to the UK a couple of weeks ago.
It is such a beautiful place, nestled in the Aveyron Gorge, and the town 
has retained its medieval essence. Any renovations have been done
in keeping with the original styles. The house we stayed in dated from
the fifteenth century.  I was totally captivated by both the house and
the town, and everywhere I looked I saw ancient roofs and doorways, narrow
passageways, stone carvings and timbered houses. I did take a lot of photos, but I
am only posting a selection .

 Looking down on St-Antonin-Noble-Val
The view from the C15th house where we stayed 

Stone carving on fireplace

Narrow street leading to the belfry

Stone carving

Little passageway

Old inn

Friday, 26 September 2014

The Needleworker's Dictionary

For the past few weeks I have been engrossed in The Needleworker's Dictionary,
which a friend has lent me. I am pretty sure that I will have to buy a copy for myself!
The book is far more than a dictionary, more like an encyclopedia. It is arranged in alphabetical order, so you can look up anything related to needlework, but the range of information is astonishing.  There are definitions of stitches, embroidery terms, the history of needlework, foreign terms, ethnic embroidery and so much more. I particularly like the number of illustrations, an unbelievable 350 photos, 300 drawings and 56 colour plates. It feels like strolling through a museum. A fabulous book, to pick up time and time again. It is hard to believe that it was written in 1976.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Tag Tuesday-Danger

Danger is the subject for this week's Tag Tuesday.

I struggled with finding an idea for this tag,
 but eventually came up with forest fire danger.
 I stamped a forest onto a background of
textured handmade paper, which I painted with metallic acrylics.
The flames are made from tissue and crepe paper.
I have to say the flames didn't turn out the way I thought
of them in my head, I imagined them creeping towards
the trees. It does give an overall impression of fire, but
is executed rather roughly.

Monday, 22 September 2014


Last month we were in France. It doesn't feel that long ago.
In the Pyrenees we drove up the Col d'Aspin , a well known 
steep and winding climb in the Tour de France.
We passed quite a lot of cyclists in the car, and it seemed a 
very long climb!

Friday, 19 September 2014

A Parcel of Stencils

I have been posting a lot about stencils this week! 
Once I had made my Stencils tag for Tag Tuesday, I got
interested in trying out different ideas with my stencils.
 Then I decided I needed some more stencils to try out new ideas. This morning a parcel arrived from The Craft Barn containing these stencils!
I can't wait to try them out. Watch this space to see what I do with them!


Thursday, 18 September 2014

Experiments with stencils

Stencils was the theme for Tag Tuesday this week. You can see my tag here in an earlier post. I found that once I started playing around with my wild flowers and butterflies stencil, that I wanted to go on experimenting. I have tried different media and background papers. 

Some old sheet music made an interesting background.

 I used acrylic paint, which was a bit patchy, but it might work better with a  watercolour wash over the top.

I have used tissue paper and watercolour here.

 This is a negative stencil, done on a gelli plate, using metallic acrylic. I don't think this is effective, but might look brighter combined with another colour or with further layers of paper .

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Tag Tuesday-Stencils

Our theme at Tag Tuesday this week is Stencils.
We are still enjoying our "Indian Summer" here. It made
me think of using my butterflies and dragonflies stencil.
It was fun experimenting with different media and
 backgrounds. If you want to see the variations I came up 
with, you can see it on my blog here.
The background is made from collaged layers of tissue paper, Japanese newsprint
and serviettes. This was then painted with watercolour. The stencils were
 applied with acrylic paint. I went over the shapes with gel pens and also used 
some oil pastels.

Monday, 15 September 2014

September at Harcourt Arboretum

September has brought with it such warm and sunny weather. 
I went for a walk at Harcourt Arboretum this week. It looked
wonderful in the sunshine, and it felt so peaceful.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Binding on Sashiko Sampler

The thing that has caught my eye this week is Susan Briscoe's blog, 
I am enjoying Susan's photos of Japan, where she is at the moment. 
There are lots of beautiful photos of places she is visiting, and a lot of 
Japanese stitching exhibitions of Sashiko, quilting and
a variety of other things.
Reading about Susan's trip to Japan reminded me that
back in March 2013 I posted about finishing my Sashiko sampler.
 I have since completed the binding, and backed it
with a checked cotton.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Tag Tuesday-Fairy Tales

This week on Tag Tuesday our theme is Fairy Tales.
I couldn't settle on an idea for a Fairy Tale tag, but eventually
 decided on The Frog Prince for my subject.
The images are from my favourite graphics site, The Graphics Fairy.
I placed the frog between two water lilies and sprinkled the background with sparkling gems, and added a lace border and a crown button.

Monday, 8 September 2014


We had a lovely time in the Gascony region of France.
 There is so much open countryside, very little traffic, and we saw birds of prey and deer every time we went out.  Wonderful food and drink to be had too! 

We stayed in part of this sixteenth century farmhouse. 

There are so many enchanting medieval towns and villages all over this part of France.

 I love this building. 

Covered market place.

Friday, 5 September 2014

New Ideas from Books

The local library is a great place to go for ideas and inspiration. This week I found two books which interested me, and I couldn't wait to get them home and start reading and looking at the images.

The first is Crafty Birds edited by Kristy Conlin. I was immediately enticed by the cover of this mixed media book. It has articles about jewellery, collage and mixed media, written by various contributors. I liked the interesting mixture of subjects, and found some good ideas, beautifully illustrated with clear photos. As a bonus, I was the first person to take the book out of the library!

 The second is Inspired to Quilt-Creative Experiments in Art Quilt Imagery by Melanie Testa.This book is about the process of art quilting. Melanie Testa gives lots of ideas, exercises to follow and advice about creating art quilts with a variety of methods. I really like it, and have had it out of the library a couple of times before!