Wednesday, 19 October 2016

WOYWW 385 - stitching and scrap paper

Morning everyone (or afternoon/evening).  If you want to join in with the weekly global hop around crafty workspaces, go to Julia's Stamping Ground for more details.

A quick post from me, as I had a slow morning (since stopping taking the codeine painkillers I am a lot more sleepy in the mornings, so I am listening to my body and adjusting my routine) and got a lot in my head to do today (with family visiting tomorrow I need to tackle some housework downstairs!).  I may well fail to get all of that list completed, but it is pushing me at the moment to get away from the computer.

My crafty table is showing signs that I have returned to finish the handmade journals I started back in July.  Two more to stitch up (and I have done the practice stitching for the first one) and then the set of four will be complete.  I am loving making books in this way.  Very satisfying.

There is also an increasing pile of scrap papers, ie paper that has been used to 'mop up' spare paint etc when doing other projects, plus some printed out photos (just on copier paper) to be used eventually - and my 'practice' journal which I use for first time experiments with different mediums/techniques.  This pile will have to move into a box this week, as it is getting out of hand on the table.

I plan to visit as many blogs as possible this week, but Happy WOYWW to everyone anyway.

Ali x

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

WOYWW 384 - daily crafting for distraction

I am admitting that I am typing this on Tuesday afternoon, as I hope to be driving myself into town on Wednesday morning and my limited energy may well be completely gone after that!

WOYWW is 'What is On Your Workdesk Wednesday' and you can join in at Julia's Stamping Ground.

Here is my 'crafting' desk (the other one is mainly used for PC stuff).  Crafting actually in progress (see my post for today - Subtractive Pear - for details).  It started off as my 'Just 15 Minutes' piece, but will definitely take longer than that to finish.  An interesting technique that could be used with different mediums.

On the kraft mat is the Subtractive Pear - well the beginning of it.  Mine is not going to look anything like the example in the project booklet!  The usual scraps of paper above, and you can just see the journal covers in the top right.  There are some sweet wooden buttons which I found in my button jar, and will be used on some canvases soon.  A single robin button on the glass cutting mat, which is destined for a Xmas card probably.  The piece of watercolour paper that I am using for the 'waste' acrylic paint from this project.  Nearly covered it now and will be fab for backgrounds.  Paintbrush and palette knife.  Above those in the middle are the contents of the Golden Sample Box - some fab colours and different mediums to try.

It is fantastic being back to daily crafting - this 'Just 15 Minutes' is a miracle way of ensuring that I don't tell myself that I don't have time to craft.  One of the best ways of coping with chronic pain.  I often get up from my desk and then realise how much pain I am in.  I am still doing the Pomodoro Technique a lot of the time - 25 minutes of activity and then a 5 minute break - and that helps to pace my day.

Happy WOYWW to those I do manage to visit.

Ali x

ps  Another reminder that registration is now open for Life Book 2017.  I am really excited to start on 1st January.  Click on the link in my side bar to join in.  I have just been told that a 20% discount is being given using the code FIREWORKS2017.  An even more brilliant reason to sign up!

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Subtractive Pear - a new technique for me

No - I had no idea what that meant until now!  I bought a starter set of Golden Acrylic Colours and Mediums, and it came with a little project booklet.  I was looking for inspiration for my 'Just 15 Minutes' today and saw this project - which only used 3 of the paints, so would not require me to spend all day at my desk.

(Sorry, you cannot see all of the mediums included - but it gives you an idea of the range of products included.)

I started with brushing on the 'High Flow Fluorescent Pink' onto my piece of paper.  This is more of an ink texture and I needed a fair amount to cover the paper.  Dried quickly.

Then a layer of 'Fluid Iridescent Bright Gold Fine'.  This had incredible pigment - one of the best golds I have ever used.

Finally a thick layer of 'OPEN Phthalo Blue/G.S' using a palette knife.  An amazing colour with green undertones.

I used the tip of the palette knife to draw the shape of the pear.

The rest of the process will involve me using other tools or a soft cloth to take away other areas of the top layer, which they said may take 2 days to dry completely.  

It is like posh scratch art!!

I am thinking of using other colours to make some Christmas cards.

I am going to get my WOYWW post typed up now and scheduled for midnight.  I am hoping to drive myself into Haverfordwest again tomorrow, so I need to spread my jobs out in order to have enough energy.

A reminder that registration is now open for Life Book 2017 - a year long mixed media project with amazing teachers.  Click on the link in my sidebar to join in.

Ali x

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Tangles and Smashed Background

I am finally returning to the Journey Within 2016 3rd Quarter, which I started in July, did quite a lot of it and then put it to one side.  (The final quarter has just started and you can sign up any time before the end of the year, including a special offer if you want the entire year of classes.)

One of the teachers for July is Sadelle Wiltshire.  Click here for her website.  She is a Certified Zentangle Teacher and her teaching style is wonderful.

She was very generous and created 3 separate lessons - one basic Zentangle tile, a journal page and then a bonus tutorial for creating our own labryinth.

I did start doing some Zentangle a few years ago, but it had literally been pushed to the back of a cupboard, so it was wonderful to be tangling again.

Here is my basic tile (the tangles are Hollibaugh, Twiggee, N'Zeppe and Sampson).

I have also started the journal page (our theme for July is Sanctuary & Silence).  I will be returning to add more details/colour/shading - but it is ok for now.

Sadelle showed us the Smashed Background technique, where you apply a medium directly to your craft mat, spritz with water and then press your paper down onto it.  I used watercolour pens to put the colours down.

Here is the initial effect (I used the left hand page to mop up some of the remaining colour).

I then started to use a Micron pen to create areas for tangles.

The sort-of finished page

It felt great to be back working in a journal. but I do tire easily and that is enough for today.  I know that I will be doing Zentangle regularly from now on.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

WOYWW 383 - I hope the worst is over

Happy WOYWW to you all.  Go over to Julia's Stamping Ground for more details about this global tour of crafty workspaces.

I am on Day 20 of codeine withdrawal now and really feel that the worst is behind me.  I am back to my usual routine of constant/varying pain, fatigue and other symptoms - but it is great to know that I am coping without the prop of a codeine tablet.  I am resting more and taking less steps each day (aiming to keep below 10,000 which is really difficult when I have housework/gardening/animal care to do).

A new daily exercise of "Just 15 Minutes" is helping to distract me and create new healthy habits.  Read my post from yesterday which explains all and gives you the links - Just 15 Minutes.

My 15 minutes of creativity today is shown in my photo.  In my exploration of mixed media artist websites/blogs I found a lady who shares a photo of a sidewalk each month.  She encourages you to print it off and then just create with whatever you see in that picture.  I printed off the one for September, but had not got round to doing anything with it - so have cut it into two 5x5 pieces and used the first piece today.  I saw a landscape through a window, and used my new Derwent Line Painter pens to doodle over it.  Very child-like - but there is nothing wrong with having a young mind (and artistic ability!).  When I can remember which website I got this from, I will come back and post a link.  It would be something fun to do with non-crafty friends/family and children, or as a warm up in a workshop.

The image before I attacked it with pens.

The finished piece - plus the pens in their funky storage case and the usual baby wipes/scrap paper etc.  (Please excuse the paint blots - I obviously need some more practice with using these pens.)

The morning is almost over here, so I had better get this linked up and tour around a few blogs before it is lunch.  Busy afternoon ahead - helping to move our heifers to a new field on the other side of the farm (involves some roads) and then taking the farm van for its MOT (hoping to persuade hubby that we can go and get fish/chips afterwards and walk the dog along a beach).

ETA - Registration is now open for Life Book 2017 - click on the image in the side bar to join this exciting exploration of mixed media.

Ali x

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Just 15 Minutes

Hi, everyone.  I am actually starting to feel more like myself - whatever that is!  Day 19 of withdrawal from codeine, and most of the symptoms have gone.  I very proudly drove myself to town yesterday (about 25 minutes each way) and managed to walk around a supermarket.  Exhausted afterwards, which meant that I did not sleep well last night - but that was a big milestone for me without any painkillers.  Yes, I still do automatically think about taking a tablet sometimes, especially when I am really sore, but I have never got close to actually getting the box out of the cupboard.  I am not surprised that I am coping, but have had to reduce the amount of activity I do each day.  My average steps used to be above 13,000 per day - but aiming to keep that below 10,000 most days.

digital art by Sebastian Michaels, Phototshop, 21 days, creative abundance

I am taking more time to be creative now - on a daily basis - which is just wonderful.  The main push for me was the invite from Sebastian Michaels (I signed up for his Photoshop course many years ago - and been getting inspiration from him ever since - as per the picture above) to take part in his 21 Days to Creative Abundance e-course.  A large part of this is the 'Just 15 Minutes' practice - where we are aiming to sit down/stand up/kneel down for a minimum of 15 minutes (you will probably end up doing more as you get focused) and just create.  I am incorporating my love of handmade books into this, by using a 5x5 piece of paper each day, and will then make them into a book at the end of the month.  I have completed 2 days so far (see my Instagram for the first piece).

I used to write a quote into a diary every day back in 2015, but had stopped before finishing the year, so I have gone back to that and adding again daily.  I use that quote to spark some sort of creativity.

The quote for today is - Start where you are.  Use what you have.  Do what you can (Arthur Ashe).

I can make a lot of mess in 15 minutes!  I used 2 different texture stamps by John Bloodworth/Gentleman Crafter, an acrylic paint and a chalk paint, and a fine black pen.  

Totally random result.

By the way - do not assume that Sebastian's course is just for digital art - I am using it purely to make creativity a habit for me again.  However, if you would like to learn to use Photoshop - and create digital art in a deliciously grungy way (or whichever style that you love) - then the original course, Photoshop Artistry, is a must for you.  The amount of material is incredible - I still receive bonus material/training regularly after several years - and I am also no longer using it with Photoshop, but with the cheaper/just as good Serif software.  Contact me if you would like further details on the Serif CraftArtist and separate photo editing software.

I plan to be back tomorrow for the usual weekly WOYWW post, but can never make any promises (busy day on the farm).

ETA - If like me you really want to learn more about mixed media and get lots of fab inspiration, join in with Life Book 2017.  Registration is now open.  

Ali x

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Daytime TV and Cobwebs

Time is very strange at the moment.  In some ways it feels like it is moving very slowly, but also I blink and another day has gone by.  Making the decision to take a break from professional life was relatively easy.  I simply do not have the energy to provide the service my clients deserve.  I will be honest and admit that I do not have a return date planned.  I will know when the time is right.

I could describe myself as housebound, as I cannot drive, hubby is too busy to take me anywhere (and I have not felt well enough to go out anyway) and we live miles from the nearest bus route.  However, I am outside at least 3 times per day - sorting out the animals and walking Buzz the dog - so I know I am lucky.  Things could be a lot worse.

dairy farm in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK.  Green field with grass and hedgerows.

I am on Day 9 of withdrawal from codeine.  I am tentatively saying that the worst of the symptoms have passed.  I have managed to sit at my computer for a couple of hours this morning (sorting through emails, unsubscribing from newsletters and cancelling any regular payments that are not totally essential), and now back on again as the rain storm rapidly approaches Pembrokeshire.  Taking a break from doing readings is enabling me to take the time I need to properly rest and eventually to spend more time doing things that make my heart sing (crafting, gardening ...).  However, my income is reduced and there is very little spare money once the regular bills are paid.  I could really do with winning the Lottery!

One of the reasons why I am back at my computer is that the daytime tv on a Saturday is rubbish!  I really got into the routine of watching the programmes during the week.  That is something I have not done for years.  For the first couple of days I felt the usual guilt for not being busy, but soon realised that rest is essential.  I now put my feet up whenever the essential chores are done, which brings me onto the second part of this post title.

Cobwebs - we have had some sunny days this week and this really highlights the result of my lack of energy and sickness etc.  Cobwebs are everywhere.  I managed to remove them from our dining room yesterday ready for a meeting - but the rest of the house will have to wait for a day when I can walk around with the big fluffy duster.  I love housework and home management, and always kept up with the cleaning by doing the essentials each day and then at least one extra task.  We have a big house and really I need to be spending several hours per day to keep it at the level I want.  For the past couple of weeks I have been doing very little and the dust/cobwebs etc are building up.  This is a side effect of chronic illness that most people wouldn't think about.

Life changes so much when a chronic illness hits you like a sledge hammer.  My world has literally shrunk.  I used to love travelling, but now I really prefer to stay at home (car travel is painful, I get nausea and coping with the movement/noise/lights etc is difficult).  I am hopeful that I can reduce my symptoms and get stronger.  Coming off the codeine tablets is the first step in a long journey.

I hope to blog tomorrow about the latest journal I am making.  Visit me again soon if you are interested in mixed media/book making.

ETA - I find crafting and also learning new skills to be a fantastic way of distracting me from pain.  I have joined Life Book 2017 - a year long mixed media class starting on 1st January.  Click on the link to read more about it and register.  It would be great to see lots of Spoonies there.

Ali x