a handmade journal

Now that Christmas is over and the new year well and truly begun I can show you the journal I made for my daughter.    For obvious reasons I couldn’t show it before but now . . . here it is!  And very pleased with it I was too as I entrusted it to the New Zealand and Australian postal services.

Paint applied to calico with a roller, embellished with stitching, washers and beads.

Paint applied to calico with a roller, embellished with stitching, washers and beads. Bound with waxed hemp thread.

Interior page with commercial paper strip sewn on.

Interior page with commercial paper strip sewn on.

Interior pockets with tags and single page signature sewn on

Interior pockets with tags and single page signature sewn on

Small page insert with tab.

Small page insert with tab.

I really enjoyed making the cover, just stitching, embellishing and letting one addition dictate what would happen next.  And while my bullion stitch bridges are a little wonky . . . I’m rather pleased with them.  No doubt I shall improve with practise now that Karen Ruane‘s course Swathed in Stitch has begun . . . I would imagine it isn’t too late to join in and I heartily recommend it.

Most importantly, my daughter was impressed with her present!

it’s raining

That straight down, slightly chilling, but not enough to light the fire kind of summer rain.  The rain that quenches the garden, that makes you want to curl up with a good book (I have one), the rain you don’t want when you’re on holiday and camping under canvas but are tents ever made of canvas these days?

On Saturday at the beach, a dog that my grandhearts had thrown sticks for on a pervious occasion, walked past and the youngest threw her plastic spade into the stream and yelled ‘Fetch!”  Unfortunately the dog didn’t have its scent and perhaps didn’t even see it being thrown such is the pace and attention of a dog enjoying the beach.  A 6 year-old with a good arm can throw quite a distance so it ended up in an inaccessible part of the stream . . . inaccessible because the water is still very cold and the far side of the stream a tad swampy.

Three days later the spade was still there but I’m afraid this rain will wash it out to sea where it will join all the other bits of plastic . . . and I’m feeling guilty because I didn’t want to get cold and muddy.

When I explained that dogs need to be forewarned about sticks (and spades being thrown) my grandheart said no-one tells her these things and cried . . . and I’m feeling guilty.

Tomorrow, or when the weather has cleared, I will go on a spade hunt but I think I have left it too late . . . the opportunity, and the spade will have gone for good.

There is a lesson in this for me . . .

Rombuk, Tibet. June 2007

Sometimes you have to make an effort to go through a doorway.   Rombuk, Tibet, June 2007.

retirement?

I’m fed up with being asked, have you retired?  I’m not sure how to respond . . . it’s easier to say yes but that’s far from true.  If I say no, I have to explain and I have an intense dislike for explaining or justifying myself.

When you check the definition of retirement the meanings are all basically the same . . . no longer being involved.  Whether it’s going to bed, retreating from a battle, leaving your job or withdrawing for rest and seclusion it’s all so, so similar . . . so no, I haven’t and won’t be retiring any time soon even though I have chosen not to work at the job that gave me so much satisfaction for most of my working life.

Just because I decided to become gainfully unemployed for the time being does not mean I am retired.  In fact I’m not withdrawing from anything, rather I am propelling myself toward so many new adventures, some of which may yield income and some not, that I’m spoiled for choice!  I still have an interest in education (my former profession) but my focus is now, quite simply, elsewhere.   I am not financially rich neither nor financially poor . . . I’m somewhere in the middle I guess but I am richer now in ways that I never have been before in my life.

“The cure for boredom is curiosity.  There is no cure for curiosity.”   This wonderful quote by Dorothy Parker seems to indicate I have a condition for life . . . no retirement for me!  So no, I have not retired and while my brain functions, my heart beats and a desire to be creative and curious continues to be part of who I am, I never will be.

When I now longer act or think creatively . .  perhaps I will have retired.

When I no longer act or think creatively . . . perhaps I will have retired . . . and perhaps not.  We will just have to wait and see, you and I.

3 in a row

It’s most unusual for this infrequent blogger to post three days in a row however here I am again reporting on my monoprint adventures.

Therewasn’t so much time to play today and there wasn’t as much success.  One thing I have discovered is that as much as I adore Hundertwasser’s paintings and architecture I think I have a long way to go in learning to manage strong and contrasting colours.

My successes came in the subtle colours or in the use of texture with bright paints.  That being said it is on the scrap paper where I rolled off the excess paint that I found small sections that delighted me.

Some of todays results:

A small secton using bubble wrap to create texture . . . I had painted the primary colours on the plate.   I can see I'll use sections of this and the one following but I must admit I'm not that keen on them.

A small section using big one-inch bubble wrap to create texture . . . I had painted the primary colours on the plate.   I’ll use sections of this and the one following but I must admit I’m not that keen on them.

Yello and red, mixed on the plate and pounced with a plastic bag for texture . . . close but no cigar.  Don't think I'm giving up with the bright colours, it's just a matter of cutting some more paper up and taking some time.

Yellow and red, mixed on the plate and pounced with a plastic bag for texture . . . close but no cigar. Don’t think I’m giving up with the bright colours though, it’s just a matter of cutting some more paper up and taking some time.

Using shades close on the colour wheel worked best for me . . . and the ghost prints were most appealing.

Using shades close on the colour wheel worked best for me . . . and the ghost prints were most appealing.  Lime through to turquoise was my favourite place to play.

The next two are sections of the large piece of paper used to catch the excess from the roller.  I really like them . . . the colours, the way they lie over one another, their transparency and the lines from tilting the roller to clean off the edges.  DSC00053 DSC00052 I would probably not have put these colours together on purpose . . . but I will now!  I’m not one to give up when there is so much to explore and so much fun to be had!

still smiling

I’ve continued playing with the Gelli Plate and each time I’ve tried to be deliberate in what I do, the more likely it has been that it’s gone awry . . . the story of my life, I should act intuitively more often.

Results have been mixed and although the primary colours were a bit messy, the earth tones worked well.  There is one stencil (Crafters Workshop, Peebles) and a couple of my own that were really useful.    Today’s results:

The primary colours print I like best.  The line across the middle is not really turgquoise, it's more of a washed out green . . . my camera leaves a lot to be desired.

This is the primary colour print I like best. The line across the middle is not really turgquoise, it’s more of a washed out green . . . my camera leaves a lot to be desired.

I like the cell-like appearance after taking a print, removing the stencil and then taking this last print.  Whatever paints I used . . . I liked the effect.

I was intrigued by the cell-like appearance after taking a print, removing the stencil and then taking this print, sometimes there was a really nice ghost print however they didn’t photograph well.  Whatever paints I used with this stencil . . . I liked the effect.

Just grey . . . with the peebles stencil.

Just grey . . . with the pebbles stencil.

I hadn't cleaned the plate off so there are scraps of colour . . . I love it.

I hadn’t cleaned the plate off, nor the stencil so there are scraps of all the paints . . . I love it.

I kept a piece of paper handy to stamp off the excess of paint on the stencil . . . a happy accident.

I kept a piece of paper handy to stamp off the excess of paint on the stencil . . . a happy accident.

Now, if I can just organise the ‘accidents’ to happen when I want them . . . and perhaps decide what I’m going to do with all this gorgeous paper!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

the fates are smiling

Do you know what it’s like when you go to the supermarket and all the wheels on your trolley work together . . . when usually one of the wheels keeps flipping out at 90 degrees at the most inconvenient moments.  Life isn’t like that right now.  It’s as if the fates have decided that I’m to not only have everything run smoothly, I’m  to be on the receiving end of some amazing generosity . . . and I have been.

On Facebook recently I was bemoaning the expense of getting some of the supplies I lust after here in New Zealand and I was thinking that I would just have to wait to buy a Gelli Plate until next July when I make a trip to the USA (I have a list forming and will need an empty suitcase).  I have previously made a couple of printing plates from gelatine and was thinking about making one using glycerin so it wouldn’t go mouldy, but because of the unexpected generosity of a wonderful woman . . . I HAVE AN 8 x 10 inch GELLI PLATE!   Quinn, you are a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool, darling.

Like the shoemaker who had those elven night time visitors, I left everything set up before I went to bed so that the very next day, all day, I could play and experiment.  My results were mixed and often my best results came either by accident because I tend to over-think things, or from a final ghost print.  For the most part I limted myself to 4 or 5 colous and I used a quieter palette that I would usually work with.  So with no further ado . . . some of the results!

Triple printed using a commercial stencil by

Triple printed using a commercial stencil.  The Crafters Workshop: Pebbles.

Print using home made masks.

Overprinted using home made masks.

Overprinted using a hand made stencil.

Overprinted using a hand made stencil.

Overprinted using hand-made stencil.

Overprinted using hand made stencil.

Overprinted using a hand made stencil.

Overprinted using a hand made stencil.  Rather too much paint but I like the effect.

And next up?  Stamps, scraping, and printing painterly layers.

yesterday was a busy day

I finally got out the paints . . .

Grumpy Mud Men

Grumpy Mud Men

And then a needle and threads, some unbleached calico, a few washers and, most important, a paint stained baby-wipe.   It all just started from there really.

Once there was a baby-wipe that had aspirations of being on the cover of a journal . . . her dreams are coming tru.

Once there was a baby-wipe that had aspirations of being on the cover of a journal . . . her dreams are coming true.