Thursday, August 20, 2020

Jane Austen, French Knots and Small Celebrating Small Successes

Wayyyy back in May, I received a copy of "Jane Austen Embroidery" by Jennie Batchelor and Alison Larkin. It's super pretty and I was totally enthusiastic about stitching my days away, dreaming of Mr. Darcy (or Colonel Brandon if you please *swoon*) but honestly... life got in the way and I drank too much gin that weekend.

I am not a sewist or embroiderer, or in any way skilled with a needle and thread, but I do love embroidery and keen to try my hand at most craft skills. I thought I'd start with a little snip from one of the designs to sort of warm up before committing to a big project.

Those of you with greater needlework skills are probably groaning at my wonky work, but I was really pleased with that tiny hoop (which is 3" across if you were wondering). It's given me the confidence and desire to create a larger project from the book. With this tiny hoop I tried a couple of new techniques, and while far from perfect, I think there's charm in that not-quite-right thread.

Now, a number of the designs in the book included french knots, which have always eluded me. Many attempts have been made over the years, and I have always failed. I decided to try again, adding them to my wee hoop, and this time I would create a french knot before bed or never sleep again. And you know what? I did it! 

Were those knots perfect or dainty? Not in the least... BUT I DID IT! Dainty perfection will come with time and practice.

Until perfection comes, I've celebrated my small victory by making a charm with a group of the biggest chonkiest french knots you ever did see. Made with the chunkiest wool, in the tiniest embroidery hoop. 

It might look like a mess of lumpy wool to others, but to me that's proof of one small success, of victory, of the baby steps it takes to move forward.

Remember to love all your chunky knots, my friends. Take pride in every milestone no matter how wonky, or wobbly they appear.

I think I'm ready for that bigger project and some Colonel Brandon day dreams.

If you're interested in purchasing "Jane Austen Embroidery" please consider supporting your local independent book seller. It can also be found here on Amazon (direct, non affiliate link).

Monday, August 10, 2020

Ontario Landscapes

My kiddo got pick-up truck not long ago and, dare I say, he is in love. 

It's bittersweet. I'm not a fan of the fact that he's home far less often. I am excited for his newly discovered freedom.

Last week, after a trip to the grocery store he took me on a detour and we spied some pretty views.

I snapped a few pics and then painted up some ATCs to commemorate this sweet little memory.

To mark the pretty blue summer skies.

To recall the beauty of our rural surroundings.

Most of all to keep the memory of time spent with my favourite person. To remember this time when he's both so young, and so grown up.

*le sigh* 

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Irish Landscape ATCs

I was going through old pics of my trip to England and Ireland from a couple of years ago. I was looking for lush green images of the English countryside... but instead, a handful of Irish landscapes jumped out at me.

While Ireland IS lush and green, it is also a wonder of grey and black.

It is blue grey water.

Mountains and hills and near black rocks.

It is rocky seasides and beaches.

And ragged brambles and jumbles of plants jetting out from stony roadsides.

While I was dreaming of green English countrysides... these Irish landscapes yelled "NO! Paint me!"

And so, I did.

Hope you're well and dandy! I'm having a huge issue with spam comments at the moment so comments are being moderated (boo!). I WILL see your comments, it's just going to take a longer than usual. If you have a pressing question please feel free to email me directly. Cheerio, lovelies!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Marketing, Mushrooms and Blooms

Whenever I order biz cards, postcards and other promo material I am certain that I'll never ever get through it all. Then, one day, I'll be looking for a business card and realize I've burned through them all. This was me two weeks ago. Shockingly low on business bits I created some new work for marketing thing-a-ma-bobs.

My new bits arrived just in time! The graphic designer in me is absolutely miffed that the business cards have the wrong coating on them (I SAID MATTE NOT GLOSS YOU NINNY!) but I'll make due for now.

Two different collages to go out with different orders. The one above will mostly go out with orders for Tiny Tarot Cards. The one below will mostly pair with fairy things and wings.

Felt like ages since I've done any collage work, and doing these was a pleasure. I used old sheet music and paint for the backdrops. Some snips of scrapbook paper, a stamp or two and loads of bits from various collage sheets (see the bottom of post for specifics).

I also created two new collage sheets for these pieces.

BLOOMS is packed with old fashioned vintage flowers. The mess of colour and texture is really fun and packed with life.

I also made up a sheet called TOADSTOOLS, bursting with red spotted Fly Agaric and loads of other mushroom goodness.

Here are the bits I used which might be helpful if you're looking for pics to snip and paste.

Blooms Digital Download

Monday, July 20, 2020

Cottage Garden ATCs

Experimenting with colour and pattern, I made a bunch of ATCs with a cottage garden theme. I like them, but they definately felt like experimentation or works in progress. So I whipped up a second batch and added some bumblebees (and one cabbage moth).

I'm pretty happy with where these are headed. Definitely not there yet, but I like the sweetness and day-dreamyness of them.

These make me want better paint. I've always been pretty comfortable with shitty quality acrylic paints... but perhaps it's time for an upgrade.

But I do like the looseness of them. The splotchy smooshy-ness of the flowers and fuzziness of the bumblebutts.

These fellows are not for sale. I'm probably going to trade them, making them true ATC's.

What have you been working on? Have you been keeping busy? Hope you're safe and well!


Friday, July 17, 2020

Bird ATC's

I've been plugging away on this and that for a while but haven't really had anything 'finished' to show off. Mostly I've been keeping house (don't be fooled, it's still a mess) but in those moments I've been in the studio, I've been working on old dollhouse furniture kits sent to me over the years. There is a literal stack of little furnishings on my worktable. It looks like a fairy sized storage facility.

But yesterday... well yesterday it rained and the weather cooled and I hid away in the studio with the windows flung open. Paint was opened and before I knew it the whole day had passed and these fellows had appeared.

The backing is thick card covered with sheets from vintage hymnals. They each measure 2.5" x 3.5", yer standard ATC size. The paint is acrylic.

I tried to stick with birds that have been visiting my yard. This year I've had a couple of red-winged blackbirds. They aren't uncommon but they usually stick to the marsh that's not far from us so seeing them around lately has been a treat. I just love that shock of red and yellow, like a badge of honor.

Chickadee's, of course, who are just so plucky and fun. I love their fearlessness (perhaps only matched by hummingbirds, but I'm convinced their courage comes from being a little mad.)

Yellow Finch - Unavailable

Yellow finches which just make me happy to look at. They're like flying feathered sunshine. 

Robin's are one of my absolute favorites. I believe with my whole heart that they are in cahoots with the faeries.

An unusual number of sparrows have taken up residence here this year. Normally it's all robins, woodpeckers and chickadees, but these guys have snuck in and made themselves comfortable.

Finally, a wee wren. I was looking for a sweet looking wren as a reference pic but almost everything I came across was a cross looking. While I think something cute and sweet would match it's song (which is beautiful!) they are ALWAYS complaining at me when I'm near so the grumpy face is pretty perfect.

Watching and taking note of the birds in the garden feels like such an old lady thing to do. Don't care. Call me an oldie. It's a joyous thing.

"Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings." ~ Victor Hugo

Monday, June 29, 2020

A simple thing-a-ma-bob

Last month when I made this Mermaid Silhouette Luminary, I had an extra frosted vase that demanded a little attention.

I grabbed a few supplies and ended up creating something very pretty and elegant in no time at all.

I simply painted pieces from the Mini Birds & Nests Shape SetScribble Frame Leaves, and a sentiment from the Word Tags Travel set, with a healthy layer of white acrylic paint. Then I added three white paper flowers.

Self adhesive foam squares provide a bit of depth to the layering of the different elements.

Now, I've called this a 'something-or-other' because you could use this as a candle holder, vase, center piece, and I'm sure a slew of other things. I think they'd be super pretty for weddings or showers, christenings, or even as a hostess gift. And while I love the all-white look, you could totally change this up to match your colour scheme.

Here's what you'll need to recreate this look:
• Mini Birds & Nests Shape Set
• Scribble Frame Leaves
• Word Tags Travel (coming soon)
• prepared glass vase
• paper flowers
• self adhesive foam squares
• glue

Note: if you'd like to see the vase being frosted, pop over to HERE to see last months tutorial