Monday, July 30, 2012

a card for hope

it is so long since I started teaching card making,,,,about 12 years ago in fact. It was not a popular craft at that time and I think I was the only listing for workshops in Crafts Beautiful Magazine - at that time the most popular crafts magazine in the UK. I met so many fabulous girls and we had so much fun thinking up designs and creating our cards at a diverse range of locations from tiny church halls to the poshest hotels in town.  I even landed up showing how to make cards on Scottish Television and the BBC! 

Now of course card making and scrap booking are so popular and the range of products is immense.

It does take a lot longer but is, I think, a lot more enjoyable to design your own projects rather than simply sticking a topper on a piece of card. Some of the cards and scrap books that are being made now are beyond words and so beautiful. Also the internet allows us to share projects and source product from around the world. Tell me a crafter who doesn't love Pinterest?

....enough of my history and back to the present. I have been making a card for a very special friend who is about to go in to hospital. I don't want to post it online as it is obviously personal,  so have made a second, somewhat similar one


I printed off the background (from Karen at The Graphics Fairy) on to paper and attached it to the A5 card with double sided tape

Next I printed the beautiful ballerinas image (also from Karen's site) on to linen and gave it an aged effect by brushing coffee on and then spattering stronger coffee over it using an old toothbrush (my best tried and tested way) - just dip the brush in water and flick over with your thumb  (also works as snow if you use white paint).

I then added a little swag of twirled roses I had made with my hand dyed ribbon



and finally a little poem I wrote a couple of years ago - I hope  the words will do just that. Please feel free to use it


I have had a problem with my blog this week - I inadvertently asked Google to divert it to my website and it just didn't work out. Soooo I have had to start this new blog & paste and copy every posting. Hope this works and I make sure I press the right button in future



Romantic baskets & ribbon roses


my creative fairy has decided to stay and I have been making some ribbon roses

I started off with plain pink ribbon and dyed it with Pebeo Setasilk



and hand rolled the inner roses and added individual petals with stab stitches.




Once they were added to the basket I embellished it with some lace ribbon,  hydrangea I had previously  painted on linen and a little tatted butterfly


..............another basket
with a crochet doily, vintage French ombre ribbon leaves and hand dyed ribbon roses -

These baskets are available on Etsy or to order - they  are perfect for storing crafting goodies, toiletries, accessories in in or for the wow factor on holiday.

EACH ITEM IS UNIQUE

Cushions or pillows?


I guess it depends which side of the pond you live on....

Ribbons

I have had so much fun this week dyeing lots of different types of ribbon -  seam binding, pure silk, polyester and silk taffeta. I really enjoyed seeing the results when the ribbon has dried - that is, unless I have hung it out to dry and there has been heavy rain; actually, even then, the results are interesting



and linen

  I love pure linen and usually buy some when we are in France at Le Grenier du Lin in Hondschoote. It is a beautiful shop and the first time we visited Hondschoote the owner kindly spent over an hour showing us around  his factory where the flax from the local fields is processed ready for export around the world. 




on another trip we stayed at a farm in Normandy  call La Ferme au Filles des Saissons it was idyllic and even had a linen museum which, of course, I loved




 I have  painted cushions using DecoArt So Soft paint


now...............back to ribbon embroidery

drip



dry






sew

my project






Ribbon embroidery is so much easier than it looks and I am glad I bought "Roses" by Di van Niekerk - it is a beautiful book and so inspirational.; she has some fantastic  videos on Youtube.

tomorrow I must return to the garden and the battle with the slugs - this has been a really wet summer, some reports are saying the worst on record, and the little blighters are out in force. Why do they not feed on weeds?



Roses linge et une ferme Francais


Ribbons

I have had so much fun this week dyeing lots of different types of ribbon -  seam binding, pure silk, polyester and silk taffeta. I really enjoyed seeing the results when the ribbon has dried - that is, unless I have hung it out to dry and there has been heavy rain; actually, even then, the results are interesting



and linen

  I love pure linen and usually buy some when we are in France at Le Grenier du Lin in Hondschoote. It is a beautiful shop and the first time we visited Hondschoote the owner kindly spent over an hour showing us around  his factory where the flax from the local fields is processed ready for export around the world. 




on another trip we stayed at a farm in Normandy  call La Ferme au Filles des Saissons it was idyllic and even had a linen museum which, of course, I loved






now...............back to ribbon embroidery

dip


dry



sew





Ribbon embroidery is so much easier than it looks and I am glad I bought "Roses" by Di van Niekerk - it is a beautiful book and so inspirational. You can also find Di's videos on Youtube.


tomorrow I must return to the garden and the battle with the slugs - this has been a really wet summer, some reports are saying the worst on record, and the little blighters are out in force. Why do they not feed on weeds?



roses roses roses


 I love roses - I love the shapes, the fragrance and the colours. I love the poem by our bard, Rabbie Burns





O my Luve's like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve's like the melodie
That’s sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only Luve
And fare thee well, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.


I have been painting roses for about 12 years and have enjoyed teaching  others. For some reason my passion for painting has faded away and I hardly ever pick up a brush although, I must admit, I still have about 250 brushes! the main reason is that I don't have a studio any more and this means I can't "slaister" about with paint as I make too much mess in the house!




There are, however, many other crafts involving roses 

I recently dried some roses my daughter gave me



There are lots of ways to dry roses including including using sand, desiccant, silica gel, microwave (got to be careful) and freeze drying. The method I use is more simple and has a good success rate

1)  strip all leaves from the stems
2)  cut the stems so that they are all different lengths to allow warm air to reach each individual one
3)  wind an elastic band around around the stems about 1" from the ends (as the stems dry they will   
      shrink and so will the elastic band) 
4)   hang in a warm airing cupboard  for 1-2 weeks until they feel "papery" to touch




I added the dried roses to a concrete head I have in the hall (I bought it from a garden centre, painted it and added a vintage  effect in the crevices).

The hydrangeas are from my garden and were dried by standing in about 1" of water for a couple of weeks.  The ones pictured are about 2 years old but I really do like a vintage faded look.They should be picked in Autumn after they have flowered and, interestingly enough, hydrangea flowers are actually the tiny centres which look like stamens rather than what looks like coloured petals.



Dried hydrangeas and roses




Also  I have now discovered the beauty of ribbon embroidery, thanks mainly to the beautiful book simply called "Roses" by Di van Niekerk.  Her work is breathtaking and the photos in the book are such a delight to look at.  Di had very clear videos on Youtube and tutorials on her website.

and so...........yet another craft. This time the house will be filled with coloured ribbon in silk, taffeta, linen and more. I have some beautiful French ombre (shaded) silk ribbon and have waited a long time to find a use for it and now I have






Today I hand painted a batch of white ribbon ......




I;m going to use the top one to sew hydrangeas and the other for variegated leaves.

There is so much to learn in ribbon embroidery but that is what, I think, makes a craft worthwhile.



anyway........thank goodness for crafts - the weather here in Scotland is what we call dreich, in other words dull, grey and wet.  

Storage solutions - belts and evening dresses


things are almost back to normal and, at last, I have had the cast removed from my arm.  It's not easy being a crafter with a broken dominant wrist but everything passes and patience is a virtue.

The weather has been beautiful in Scotland and that's really good for the soul so....... 
I have been tidying out my wardrobe and drawers as I literally had to throw everything in when my arm was in the cast. Today it seemed a good idea to have a clear out and tidy things up a bit. I thought I would share a couple of neat storage ideas here. Because we travel in our motorhome much of the time I am used to using space to advantage although, I must admit, I don't take many belts or evening dresses when we travel. 

Belt up - this is one of those “why didn’t I think of that? ideas ”

this little trick was given to me by my daughter and she was given it  in a shop - I don’t know when and I don’t know where but  it doesn’t really matter - what does matter is that now, instead of having a jumble of belts looking like this 




I now have just one box which looks like this


and this is how it’s done:
  • place the cut end of the belt through the buckle from front to back

  • pull through
  • wind up from the inside until it is fairly tight
and...........like magic, the belt will stay like this until you want to wear it again. It will be curled under but will not affect the look when you next wear it.





this is a great way to hang  evening dresses or long summer  dresses which are so in at the moment

1) hang on a hangar as normal

2) pick up the bottom of the dress and place it over a second hangar

3)  hook the second hangar over the first


4) cover with a dress cover or large plastic bag with a hole made at the top

one of my favourite age old tips is to prevent heel blisters if you are wearing new shoes without tights or stockings - simply rub some washing up liquid on the heel and voila - pretty feet.

next I must tidy up my craft goodies.......back soon with some tips on drying roses and hydrangeas and to share some of my tatting efforts









.....breaking news


well that holiday certainly came to an abrupt end........

 When we left Calpe we drove up in to the Sierra Nevada mountains, with the intention of stopping for 1 night and then travelling on to Castro Verde in Portugal. The scenery en route really was stunning (a much over-used word now) but it was beautiful - the almond trees were in flower and the distant mountains still had a dusting of snow on the peaks.


We arrived on Friday, with the intention of getting a local bus in to Granada, but it was such a beautiful sunny day that we decided to relax and soak in the view.




Next morning we got up early and caught the bus to the centre of Granada, a city almost unrivalled for it's beauty and architecture.




  The entire city has been declared a national monument, and it is easy to see why.


We have visited twice before so  had already done a tour of the beautiful Alhambra (Arabic for "the red one").  With that in mind we walked up the hilly cobbles to the Mirador de san Nicolas to see the amazing view.



 By now there was a steady drizzle of rain which made the ancient cobbles wet and slippery. We made it safely to the bottom and decided to have morning coffee in a hotel whilst waiting for the bus back. It was then that I slipped on the cobbles with a bang! Bruised coccyx, sprained left wrist and broken right wrist. The rest of the day was spent in the local hospital  where I was x-rayed and had my right (dominant) arm put in a cast and advised to go home for further treatment.


The last night before catching the ferry we stayed at the aire at Gace in northern France.


 I love this little town which was  the birthplace of famous courtesan Marie Duplessis, a poor uneducated girl who became the most elegant and most courted woman in Paris. The novel "La Dame aux Camelias" by Alexander Dumas was based on her story and was later adapted for the stage.

 Unfortunately the museum in the chateau has always been closed when we have been there - I would love to see the actual dresses she wore to the opera





we had a 1,600 mile journey home which was most uncomfortable and very sore.


5 weeks later.....

I am  sitting here, unable to do any crafting, which is so frustrating. I am using my time planning more tatted jewellery, painting and building a supply of ribbons for my new obsession - French ribbon embroidery. I bought a beautiful book by Di Van Niekerk and can't wait to get started so watch this space.

I don't know what happened to my guardian angel on that trip (wrong choice of word), but I did paint a feather - a request from my friend Agnes



in 10 days I will have the cast removed and hope to be told the bone (radius) is healing well