Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

It's too hot...

...I need something to make me feel cool! These photos of Jude and Max are just the job. The first one was taken in the garden and the second in the Dingle, in the late 1970's. I miss weather....

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Crazy Quilt ATC

After a spell of Blog-hopping yesterday, I was inspired to try crazy quilting with embroidered embellishment. Start small I thought, ATC size, then if you take to it you can try a set of PCs...

This is my first. it is rather like free-form Iris folding in reverse. Start in the centre with a focal point, then stitch strip by strip around the shape working out to the sides. Add embroidery, lace and beads where you think best. On full size quilt blocks, this seems to be over every join and seam, but this would be overwhelming on an ATC, so I just did Bullion stitch buds with space dyed thread on the dotty cotton, and fly stitch with beads over one seam. I used a piece of wide curtain tape as a backing, as it happened to be lying around and was exactly 3½" wide, but next time I think I might use face wipe as a backer and then attach to the tape when the embroidery is finished, to cover up all the loose threads and give me a clean surface on which to write the details. This one will have to make do with a stuck on label. I seem to remember I promised a reader a patchwork ATC, so this one will be put in the post next time I head into town. If you would like to see more crazy patchwork, visit this Blog and follow some of the links.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


I know...I haven't blogged for days, but each time I come to log in, I can't resist clicking on one or other of the links at the side, and then I click on another link on that blog, and before I know it, I'm on the other side of the world.

So what have I done this week? For pennies I have shortened two dresses and a pair of shorts, and repaired a pretty multi-coloured chiffon dress. I wish I could have been shortening this dress, as I really coveted a bit of the fabric...

On the fun side I have made four fabric postcards for a swap on Art We Mail. The theme was "Quilter's Delight" using any quilting method. As the suggestions given were "foundation piecing" or "crazy quilting" I took this to mean that quilting equaled patchwork rather than the actual process of stitching the layers together, and used this as the basis. Some months ago I experimented with using fabric dye felt tips to dye cloth rather than just draw patterns on the surface. Not having used large pieces of material, I cut the dyed cloth into strips, stitched them together and made a bargello cushion-top. This has been sitting around ever since, so I separated it into 7x5 inch blocks, then used the flower stamps we had carved at Craft Club last year to stamp a flower into the centre of each square. I left this overnight to dry, and then ironed the ink to set it. The next afternoon I sat and watched the Tour de France mountain stage while I basted batting to the blocks and did a little top stitching through all layers using threads I had dyed with the felt tips. The postcards have to be 4x6 inches when finished, so I cut a hole this size in a piece of card and placed it over the front of each block until I was happy with the part that showed, put a pin in each corner, then flipped it over and lined up a 4x6 inch piece of pelmet vilene with the pins and ironed it into place with wundaweb. The next stage was to machine around as close as I could get to the edge of the vilene, trim back the block to the edge using a rotary cutter and a ruler, and the final stage was to put a close zig-zag stitch around the card to finish off. I have yet to experiment with a pen on the pelmet vilene. I need to find something that will write legibly and not run if it should happen to get wet in the course of its delivery. Yes, these are postcards; they are meant to go in the post as they are, stamped of course, and hopefully hand-franked rather than fed into a machine, but we shall see how the local office copes with my request.

They look rather flat and uninteresting in this scan, and the colours look muddy, but I am hopefull that they look better "in the flesh".

It is nice to find something addressed to "Totty" in the postbox. Yesterday it was these two ATCs from Renske. The black and white fish were in exchange for my goldfish, and the Geisha a thank you gift for the extras I sent with it.

Not such a fun project was to make a Sympathy card for Bubs on the death of her mother. Losing our Mums seems to be becoming a regular occurrence on CardScraps. Another sign that time flies..

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Desert Island Disks

For anyone who listened this morning and felt as nostalgic as I did, I have put some links over on the Monkey Bus.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Yesterday it dawned on me that I had promised Renska three Sunflower ATCs for her swap, so for inspiration I searched in Google images, and the first one that caught my eye was a photograph of three sunflower heads against a brilliant blue sky. I decided to go with fabric as a trial run for the PCs, and on my sewing table found the sleeves from Jude's shalwar camise, still not ironed and put away in the blue bit-box. I cut out rectangles and pressed them over a playing card to get an outline to work to, cut out the leaves from a bit of green cloth with Bond-a-web on the back, and ironed the leaves into place before doing a bit of free-hand machine stitching for the veins. The flowers came from a bag of loose flower heads I found a couple of years ago in Domti. I removed the plastic centres and did some circular free-hand stitching to hold them in place, finishing them off with a circle of machined daisy stitch. I was undecided about how to finish them off; should I stick them to card, or go the whole hog and make fabric backs and whip stitch around the edges? So far I have stretched them over playing cards, gluing the spare material only on the back. I left them overnight to dry, and this morning thought they needed some definition, so I have rubbed a bit of darker blue felt-tip around the edges. I think I've decided to glue another playing card on the back to cover the raw edges, and shall then add a label with the details. That all sounds quite easy and straight forward, doesn't it? But it didn't happen quite like that...after ironing on the leaves, I carried the stack over to the sewing machine and had to search through the clutter on the table to find the box with the feed dog cover and embroidery foot. Then I couldn't thread the needle and had to search again for the tiny box that holds needle threaders. I stitched the first and second set of leaves down without any problem, but then couldn't find the third set...because I had picked up two layers together and the third set was now stitched underneath the second OK, I needed an excuse to put a new blade in my scalpel, and I only nicked the blue once, and it was on a bit I could hide under a leaf...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

More knitting..

One of these days I'll find out how to edit a posting after I have published it, meanwhile, I'll just continue the last posting here. The next little jacket was knitted with wool given to me by Betty. She is expecting a new grandchild, and had been happily knitting all sorts of baby clothes, only to be told by her daughter-in-law that "Nobody puts their babies in knitted clothes any more." Betty was quite hurt by this and took her efforts to the charity shop, where the ladies were delighted with them, and promised that they would be priced to reflect all her hard work. She had 2 balls of wool left, and passed it on to me. It was a lovely shade of ivory, in a weight about the same as 4ply. Not knowing how far it would go, I decided to knit from the yoke down, adjusting the length of the jacket to suit the amount of wool.

I thought it might be an idea to knit the sleeves first. I thought about knitting the raglan shaping for the backs and front at the same time, but chickened out, but next time I might do it that way, leaving only the underarm seam to sew. I do like to use my brains to save me doing things I dislike, and sewing up knitting is not one of my favourite things.

As you can see, it would have been quite straightforward. At the end of the raglan shaping there are 3 stitches to cast on at each side of the sleeve, and I would cast on 6 matching stitches as I knitted front, back, front.
I ran out of wool an inch below the sleeves. There are short jackets and there are short jackets...I took a ball band into Violetta's shop, and she had the same colour, but a different dye lot, so I took a chance, thinking that I could always do a row of eyelet holes or garter stitch to disguise the colour shift if it was too obvious. I am happy with it, but now have half a ball of wool left. Do babies still wear bonnets?


This morning I got round to finishing off some of the bits of knitting that are hanging around. The blue baby jacket was knitted in garter stitch using odd balls given to me by Dolly. There wasn't quite enough, but I found another half ball in the charity shop, and I can't see any colour difference. I think Domti DK must be dyed in large batches. I hadn't knitted any buttonholes, as I thought I would crochet loops with the tail of wool. Since then I have seen some knitted embellishments and I decided to use them to make a fastening.

I knitted 2 i-cords with a leaf at each end, stitched one cord to the front, making two loops with the cord, and stitched the centre of the second cord to the back. to fasten the jacket, you slip the leaves of the back cord through the loops of the front cord, and tie a simple knot.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Head like a sieve?

I posted the bird ATCs today, then remembered I hadn't scanned the last 2, so hopefully the recipient will scan them and post on the Group. I didn't remember to scan the Seaside cards either. What am I like? I decided to do a Series of the Lovebird ATC. I labeled them as belonging to a series of 5, so that gives me the option of doing 2 more if anyone takes a shine to them. Each bird has a different shape body and a different shape tail, and the colour varies as well, but the heart punch shape is consistent, as is the use of black pen.

I've just been checking the size of envelopes that the Spanish PO considers "Normal", after a difference of opinion between me and the girl behind the counter. First of all she tried to charge me the higher rate for the small envelope containing the Bird ATCs. I could see the weight was less than 20gms, so asked why she printed out and stuck on a stamp for €1.29 when it should have been 78¢. She told me the envelope was too small. I asked what the "Normal" size was, and she said that it had to fit between the smallest and largest rectangles drawn out on her blotter, and proceeded to prove her point by placing the envelope on her drawing...only to find that it matched the smallest size. Looking very disgruntled, she informed me that anyway, the second envelope was definitely too big. I didn't argue the toss over that one, I just said I had been using that size envelope for the past 4 years without complaint, but as I knew it was over 20gms, I would have to pay the higher rate anyway. I've checked on the official site now, and drawn out a diagram like hers, but I'll keep an eye on her...she charged me the higher rate for a DL card last week, but I didn't challenge it because I didn't see what the weight was.

I called into the charity shop today to look for "ingredients", and struck lucky. I found 6 lace doilies for 20¢, two large remnants of very bright flowery material at 50¢ each, and a couple of metres of black, white and grey patterned chiffon. Poking around on the shelves behind the leather coats I found a plastic bag that wasn't there last week containing a square metre of Penelope canvas, a couple of half metre pieces of evenweave linen, and a started cross stitch table runner of Aida cloth. At the bottom of the bag was one of those steel sheets with long strips of magnet that are used to keep your place when following a pattern. Linda let me have the lot for €3, so I was a happy bunny. On the way to meet Bossman for a coffee, I called into Fabrix and bought ¼ metre stiff white net, and another ¼ of soft white veiling. I plan to have a go at colouring it using felt tip pens and the squeezy rubber air-spray doofer that Jude bought me years ago.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fabric Postcards

I've been blog-hopping looking for basic instructions. The most entertaining was Deb's on Red Shoe....I've put a link over on the right under "Pages I visit" if anyone wants to have a look.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Pink to make the boys wink

Today Janet posted this scan of the pair I sent her, so I thought I would add it here. On the left is a simple collage of recycled greeting card with the addition of a wire word made with the help of a jig and attached with a brad. The second is a little more intricate. Graduated pink card has an overlay of white vellum, embossed and cut into a curvy swirl. On top of this a pink vellum heart with bow, and punched pink vellum blossoms, their centres embossed from behind and attached with silicone to keep the centres raised. Very saccherine, but then pink so often is, isn't it? This was designed to be seen in a horizontal orientation, but I'm too idle to open PS just to crop and rotate Janet's scan, so flop your head over to the left and you will get the idea.
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Saturday, July 07, 2007


I have completed 3 ATCs for the Bird Swap. I am undecided as yet if I shall send a mixed bunch or a series. As this is a Hosted Swap, and the hostess will redistribute the cards, it won't really matter if I send 3 similar. If this is my decision, it will probably be a series of Lovebirds, as this will be easy to reproduce. The hearts are punched from magazine pages, and the body and tail shape will probably turn out different each time. I must thank shisomama for the inspiration.

"Paddling Furiously" I shan't be able to reproduce, as I only have one duck sticker. The background is watercolour. I paint onto 3½" wide strips of watercolour paper, and then cut them into pieces. This is the last of my stash, so I must think about doing some more.

"Totem Bird" was inspired by Barbara Hanselman's "The Birds and the Beads", although hers are 3 dimensional, and large outside objects. This is a collage of bits cut from my closely guarded stash of Sunday supplements, brought out by 0j0. Seeing it here, rather than in the flesh, I can see it needs some shadow paintwork to give it depth. I'll leave that for tomorrow. The heat from the computer fan is building up, and I really need to move the desk in order to open the French window and let the wind blow through. I haven't done it yet because of the unsettled weather we have had lately. A sudden rainstorm means a dash to move the desk again to keep the rain out, and that is a major undertaking. How I wish this room had sliding doors instead of hinged doors that open inwards!

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The Mountainear link... now working. A little sloppy copying and pasting on my part I'm afraid, so I apologise to anyone who tried it. Please try again! The Monkey Bus Widget link works, but I have yet to work out how to have the latest photo at the top...

Friday, July 06, 2007


I've added Mountainear to my links. I've been reading her blog for years, and I love her photos. We are connected in a way. Her husband started the ad agency that 0j0 works for. He is retired now, but 0j0 trained their son (H) when he started work, and they are still good friends.

Briggsy's Seaside ATCs..

...are finished. They just need labels on the back. I won't put any pictures up until she has received them, but I must remember to scan them when the glue is dry. I forgot to scan Janet's
Pinks before I posted them..

When I emptied the waste bin in my sewing room today, I thought it a shame to throw out all the tiny bits that were in the bottom, so I made this simple fab. I glue-sticked the first bits to piece of face wipe, and then stitched that onto a playing card. As usual, the fab was pulled out of shape by the top-stitching, so I had to add a bit down one side, so although it isn't really lop-sided, it looks as if it is. It needed embellishing, so I looked through my do-dads and found the love, then made a wire heart to go with it.

On my to-do list for this weekend are a set on a bird theme for FAPATCs, the fab I promised Roz, and the July card swap for Sue. Let's hope I don't gey sidetracked..

The Monkey Bus Pass has been overhauled

You will find the link bottom left. I may widgit it later...

The morning after...

The curry was fantastic as usual, and as usual I ate far too much. We got home at 11.30pm in time for me to see the second half of Grey's Anatomy, and then to watch Question Time. Davina McCall on QT??? I only twigged at the end when Dimbleby said the whole programme had been arranged and produced by students.

I toddled off to bed, but not to sleep! I gave some thought to the other Blog and decided to keep it, but to remove most of what was already there and start afresh. It was started back in 2004 as the repository of a lot of whimsy generated in late night email conversations between me and my cousin John, (well oiled with whiskey on his side) with additions of a Heath Robinson nature from Red Ted.

What might require some explanation is the Blog's title; Monkey Bus Pass. Have you heard the saying "As much fun as a bus load of monkeys"? I possess a small collection of toy monkeys, and over the years they have been used as actors in a series of desktop entertainments, along with other small characters I have rescued from extinction. The monkeys have become the alter egos of friends and family. I'll introduce them to you gradually dear reader, but what about the bus pass? Cousin John was looking forward to the day when he got his bus pass and could join us on our jollies full time. Sadly he didn't make it, but hopefully I shall when I claim my prize in December!

I'll try to clean up the Bus today, and when it's all ship-shape, I'll post a link here.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Who would have thought that it would take so long to add a widgit? I added Roz's blogger without any problem, but when I thought I had added one of my own for other people to use, I ended up with a second version of Roz's! I eventually discovered that I needed to got to widgitbox and create my own here it is for those who are interested.

My next decision is if I should resurrect my original blog and use that for social stuff, leaving this one dedicated to ATCs and craft.....I'll sleep on it....if I get to sleep...I'm just going out to friends for a curry, and I know I shall eat too much...I always do, but David's prawn curry is yummy, as is his chicken curry AND his beef curry..

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Someone who saw my Shubunkin asked if I would had already gone, so I did this for them.
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