Tuesday, 26 February 2008

The Darkest Hour...

... is just before the dawn. February is a bad month for me. It is the same every year. I have a few bad memories of this time of year which I try to forget but they manage to creep in anyway. The weather is usually horrible, work is non existent (people are paying off their Christmas bills) and everyone seems to be fed up and tired. This year even the snowdrops seem to be stunted. However, this week I was given a bigger shock when I found out a friend has been diagnosed with a malignant tumour. To say it is a shock is an understatement. She was the last person I would expect to take ill. A farmer's wife, she is always on the go, out and about. She has undergone surgery and now the waiting begins. My thoughts are with her and her husband. Unfortunately I also received a call from another friend and ex-neighbour. She lost her mother this week. She fell and broke her leg but the break was so bad that she did not make a recovery. I mention these stories because these are the moments when you realise how well off you really are. For all the feelings of sadness, worry and tiredness there are always others who are worse off.

So that this post is not too depressing I have added some pics of a few projects from this week. I got an order for some Easter cards which are mostly finished. They range from those for kids to older folk and are for men and women. I also altered a CD. Muted decorative papers, embossing and a sepia photo were used. The wording was a nickname given to Sam - one of those pointless collections of words given to those we love. It may look strange but it came from the heart. I also made some microscope slide collages. These are my first attempts. I pilfered the slides from my microscope - which is not very helpful when I am trying to study plant structures or animal hair. So I bought some more slides 'specially for making collages. I also discovered that if making a slide collage for sticking to a card, where only one side is going to be seen, a backing of sturdy card is a substitute for one of the slides. I used metal tape for edging my slides so when wrapping the edges with the tape you can take it all the way around the back, covering the backing card and round to the other edge. It just tidies up the back and make it more appealing.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Mother's Day approacheth

Mother's Day is hurtling towards us fast in the UK. March 2nd to be precise. Which means more gift buying for my Mum. She is a nightmare to buy for. My Dad likes reading and listening to music so at least there is something to fall back on if inspiration (or a gift list) is not forthcoming. My Mum doesn't have any hobbies to speak of and buying bubble bath gets a bit repetitive after 35 years. Even making her gifts is starting to make me look tight fisted. Never mind, something will turn up. Meanwhile, this is the card I made for her. Luckily she doesn't read my blog. The unfortunate thing is the vellum warped a little. I think it took a dislike to the double sided tape I used. I can't take it off either as I used the super duper sticky stuff. If it gets any worse I will remake the card.

Update - the vellum smoothed out perfectly and the card was a great success.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Lolly sticks

I am a bit of hoarder when it comes to anything that can be used in art. In one of my art drawers I came across a bundle of old lollipop sticks. Gloria Page uses what she calls 'craft sticks' (but I would call tongue depressers or leg wax spatulas) in her book, Art Stamping Workshop. She paints them then stamps them and uses them in projects. I figured that lollipop sticks would work the same. So I painted a few in bright colours, stamped with black Staz On and wrapped with wire and beads. Now I have to think of a project or two to use them with.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

On tubes of paint and an old rucksack

I made some polymer clay inchies this week. That was fun. Very different from my usual stuff. I used foils, impressing techniques, canes and paints.

I also had a couple of cards to make. From October until the end of March I have a large number of celebrations that require cards - birthdays, anniversaries and religious celebrations (Easter and Christmas) to name but a few. Those are not just cards sent from me either. Family members ask me to make cards for them. So not only am I busy but I go through a huge amount of paper and card too. Which is actually quite nice as I get to shop for new card once things have calmed down. You know, many women like jewellery, shoes, handbags, etc. I have little interest in those things. My 'handbag' is a second world war rucksack, the kind used by the Chindits in Burma. It has been everywhere with me and cost £2 (about $4) from an army surplus store years ago. However, I go nuts for tubes of paint, paper and card. I love to see the colours in the tubes of paint, the feel of them on my fingers and the way they move on the page. But then I guess there are quite a few people who read this that can identify with that.

So I have added a couple of pictures of some cards I made - one a very simple image on some coloured matts, the other a pair of embossed fish matted on some hand painted papers and cards. Sorry if the embossing does not show up too well. The embossing stencil is of koi by Dreamweaver. I hope you enjoy seeing them.

I made someone's day!

This week I had the honour of being awarded the You Make My Day award by Seth at The Altered Page (http://thealteredpage.blogspot.com/2008/02/go-aheadmake-my-day.html). This was a real treat for me as there are so many wonderful blogs out there. To have my blog picked as a one that makes anybody's day make publishing a blog worthwhile.

In return for this award I must pass it on to ten other people by e-mail or comment. This is what has caused the delay in posting about the award. As I said, there are so many fabulous, beautiful, informative blogs on the web that I had a HUGE amount of trouble choosing just ten. Choosing the last blog was a nightmare. However, some are not updated regularly, some are overtaken in popularity (unfortunately my time is not infinite), others have fizzled away over time. So I have managed to compile a list that reflects just a few of my favourites.

First on my list would be The Altered Page . It is always my first port of call when surfing blogs. However, as Seth was the one who gave me the award I have added another in his place.

Chrysti's Blog
Art Escapes
Tejay's Art
Jeanette Janson
Glenda Bailey
Fur in the paint
Ro Bruhn Art
Tracy Hall
Maggie Stiefvater

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Creative links

Here are a few web sites that might interest some of you who are into cardmaking, scrapbooking or who are animal artists.

These two web sites provide page layouts for cardmaking and other such crafts. I make alot of cards either because I am trying to exhibit my creativity as often as I can or because I am too tight fisted to pay for a shop bought card (the jury is out on that one). Still, there are many times when I have problems with finding a layout. I usually break out my copies of Somerset Studio for inspiration but these sites will certainly be a help too.

This next one is a forum for those who love pet portrait or wildlife art - mainly those who take part already or want to learn more. It is a fantastically friendly place full of helpful people. Click the pic to visit.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Happy Year of the Rat

It has been very spring like today. Warm and sunny, birds twittering in the bushes, a little spring cleaning going on and the windows open. We'll probably have snow tomorrow.
Speaking of tomorrow - it's the Chinese New Year. This will be the Year of the Rat. Being a rat myself (having been born in the year of the rat - not that I have a tail and fur) and with a love of all things rodentia I am quite pleased. However, I took a look at a Year of the Rat horoscope and discovered that it wasn't to be too great a year for us rats. Usually a specific animal year is good for those born in those years. In other words, it should be good for rats. But it isn't. And water rats (those born in the year corresponding to a specific element - water, air, earth, metal, wood) are to be worst off of all rats. Guess what I am? Yup, a water rat. Oh deep joy! One of these days my luck will turn and I will drop dead of shock. Lucky I don't pay much attention to horoscopes then.
Anyway, to commemorate the Year of the Rat I have made an ATC with a papercut rat. I have also included some pics of inchie designs I am sending out for swap.