Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Long time ...no see...

Yes, I know, it's been a while. Ten days more or less, but life intervenes sometimes, and sometimes life throws crap your way. I may write about it at some point on the Monkey Bus, but for today just a quick update on things crafty. The embroidered flowers above are from Dawn; "Wild Weeds" for the Anything Goes #3 swap on Artwemail. FME over silk flowers, with added sequins and dictionary definitions of the words Wild and Weeds.

The next two are from Jeri on Artwemail. The Autumn tree for the "Changing Season" swap, and the Flying Geese for the "Quilter's Delight" swap. The tree has a little bit of glitter that doesn't show up so well in the scan, and the geese are paper pieced patchwork. I haven't tried doing this pattern in that method. I must try, as it looks so neat.

On the postcard front I have completed my Changing Season cards and they are ready to go to the PO, and I have also completed this embroidered card. I won't show them until they have arrived at their destinations.

So what else? I have sent and received an envelope of bits to make an ATC for the FaPATCs Group. I received bits in two distinct styles, one modern, the other traditional, so I think I may make two cards as I can't figure out a way to combine them...I'm not sure if this will be considered cheating...

I have finished knitting another pair in the greeny-yellery-space-dyed yarn in a large enough size for Bossman to wear them as bed socks. I gave them a good long length of rib to roll over so they won't come off in bed so easily. I have also finished Red's birthday socks ready for him to claim when he comes over to visit. I still have navy blue wool left, so shall probably start another pair as I can now knit socks in my sleep...

Monkey Maker asked where we all knit. I did take some photos, and I do intend to post them, when I get round to cropping them a little, but for now, back to life...

Friday, September 14, 2007


I had two cards in the post yesterday. I put them in the scanner, then got sidetracked by a phone call asking me to make a birthday card for a 26 year old woman to be delivered by Monday. "Give me a clue!" I asked, but the response was to do whatever I fancied as long as it would fit in a standard envelope and go at standard postage to the UK. Well we all know I work best under pressure, so anything as free and easy as this throws me out of my comfort zone! I think I'll leave it until Sunday, so there will be a bit of impetus...I am using the same technique to make a card for 0j0, who arrives tomorrow and has a birthday on Sunday....

Back to the postcards that were still in the scanner. This one is from Pam for the Quilter's Delight Swap on Artwemail. How does she get her corner meet-ups so precise? The material is a very fine cotton? batik with a lovely silky feel to it.

The next one is a RAK from Sharron in Oz. The background fabric has gold veining running through it. She has then applied the Klimnt-like circles (they have gold on them that doesn't show up in the scan), added some pearly paint around them, then added some black pen work for added interest. The final flourish is the gold ric-rac braid stitched across.

When I was in town yesterday, I called into Fabrix, hoping that he would have something a little more economical than the 1€ a metre 7" wide pelmet vilene I bought last month. Hooray! He had 45" wide extra heavy, non woven interfacing for a €1 a metre! Now I can have a play with acrylic paint and other postcardy techniques...

I have not been paying much attention to what is happening outside; I had noticed it getting darker, but the heavens have just opened and there has been an almighty crash of thunder not too far away. Any minute now the power will go off, and I'll be on battery back-up, so I'll upload this while I can.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Another postcard from the "Anything Goes #3" swap. I have had it since last week, but as it came from Mary who is not in my group of 5, I have been hanging on to it waiting for instructions! The easiest thing seems to be for me to send Mary a card in exchange, so that is what I shall do. I still have a blue crazy block here that just needs some embroidery.

Good news on the postal front! Corina has now received the first naked postcard that I sent to her at the beginning of August. She has suggested that it will substitute for the postcard that I am due to send her in the "Changing Seasons" swap, as it marked a change in my life; starting to make fabric postcards.

"Road Trip"

...is the title of this postcard that was in my box today. The background is fabric. I am not sure if this has been printed by Jeri. I feel that it has but I have asked for confirmation! The red and yellow fibres of course, represent the roads, and the beads strung along them are the towns.

I had a successful visit to the Dog Shop this morning. I came home with a piece of dark brown vinyl for bag bottoms and handles, two sample lengths of material suitable for making ecobags; I am passing these out to my friends, but quite a few have said that, although they will use them, they still like to have plastic bags from the supermarket because they come in so handy for using as pedal bin liners!

I found this pretty little hand embroidered sachet, full of handkerchieves, all of the "present for Grandma" type, and many still with their stickers on. Then I came across this little machine embroidered cloth, just the right size to make another one. From a basket of oddments, I collected three linen napkins, two printed napkins, two lace doilies and a chiffon scarf. I left these at the desk with the Manageress, Linda, exchanged medical updates on our respective husbands (the only places we seem to meet are the Dog Shop and the clinic) and then went further into the shop to check the book shelves and the wool baskets. There I found my friend Ann, sorting out a box of china. She had walked into the shop this morning to ask if they needed volunteers at the moment, and had been put straight to work! I would love to do the same, and maybe when I get my wheels, I shall be able to. I arranged to meet Ann this evening down at the Winter Club; the AGM was yesterday, so tonight is the first night. We can catch up with everybody who has been away for the Summer. I went to pay for my purchases, and had to pay the magnificent sum of €2. I asked if that was enough, and was told that it was, as I was a regular customer, and anyway had refused my change last week! There was a time when this shop was the sole support of the local dog rescue kennels, but the Council has now taken over responsibility for the kennels, and provided two dog wardens and a van. The money from the shop goes towards vet's bills and transport costs for the large number of dogs that are sent to Germany for re-homing. The Council has a strict policy about how long they will keep dogs and so young healthy animals are sent North if they have not been claimed by their owners or adopted here.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Always the Bridesmaid..

This is the second card for the Wedding Swap. I don't think my partner reads my blog, so I'm showing it. I did think about doing "the Groom", but couldn't find any suitable material lying around, and the thought of having to move things to get into the big cupboard didn't really appeal. The bag of chiffony bits was handy under the sewing room table, so I had a rummage in there and found this strip of pleated dusky rose that I think came of someone's sleeve. I stitched it onto a pelmet vilene backer, then added the flowers and beads. I hadn't noticed until I scanned it that I haven't removed the straight stitching along the top edge.

As previously reported, I've struggled with these ATCs, but here is what I've come up with.The first one is smooth and shiny, because each layer was put on with clear wide packing tape. The tape is only two inches wide, so I had to juggle each layer and the direction of the tape so that all of the playing card was eventually covered. I liked the effect, especially on the first two layers, as the images was torn from a magazine, and the thin torn edges blended smoothly into the surface. The upper layers were cut out to give more definition, so there is a very slight ridge around the edges. The second card is very rough and textured. The background is crumpled paper with a rollered on layer of "Grease", and the top layer has strips of duct tape. I suppose I was trying to contrast the smooth men of the first card with a bit of rough...
On a technical note, I shall use the power tape method again, but next time I'll try with the sticky-back plastic used for covering books. I can cut that to size. I also might try making a mask of release paper, wetting the back of the magazine image after having put it on the tape, then rubbing the paper away, just leaving the image..I'll report back.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Off the needles

Jude's scarf is finished, and as predicted is on the short side, but it is long enough to cross over itself and be held by a brooch. This is the largest brooch I own. I found it in a discard bag from the local charity shop when I was rummaging for bits for a rag rug. "Take what you want and then put the rest in the clothing recycle bin" said the shop manager "save me a job". The brooch was on a turquoise, 1950's style, swing back coat, and had been stitched into position over the top buttonhole, making a lapel. I took the brooch back into the shop on my next visit. "Good Lord! Keep it!" she said...."Nobody would wear that!" I guess that makes me a nobody...

Just in case anyone wants to put a bid in, I'm showing a sock. Strange colourway, but if you want them as bedsocks...who cares? One pair is finished, the second pair is on the needle.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


I have really struggled this afternoon, trying to make two ATCs for the Men Theme. They are done, but when I look at them again tomorrow, I may bin them. Next month I am definitely not signing up for the Swap until I have the blighters made...

I have the glimmering of an idea for the second of the Wedding cards but that's for tomorrow.

The damson scarf will be finished tonight as I only have half a ball left to knit. Jude was happy for it to be on the short side so she could use it to display part of her brooch collection, although it would have to be a large brooch not to disappear into the undergrowth. Kez the Fez had an easy night of it last night as all fur balls disdained to keep me company, and the yarn flowed unmolested from the hole in his head. Next door's catling did pop in to raid Charlie's biscuit bowl, but didn't stop to say hello. K & C haven't owned a cat before, and I don't think they realise just how much teenage feline's eat!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Surprise package...

Carol's tatted rose card for the CS September Swap

When I opened my post box this morning, slotted between the car insurance renewal form and the September Swap card from Carol, was a Post Office "wipe clean" notice card informing me that I had a package too big to fit in my box, so I joined the queue to retrieve my parcel. It was a jiffy bag containing a cone shaped object with a squishy large end...I recognised the writing on the packet as Jude's, but had no idea what she had sent. Inside was this postcard, from one of
her exhibitions, and on the back of it was her request that I knit the enclosed purple eyelash wool into a scarf, as "damson is the new black", and that she hoped that I would like the presents she had sent. The cone shaped object was a "very un PC" as she described it, wool holder, that she hoped would stop assorted fur babies from being tempted by the fluffy yarn as I knitted it, and two "hair bungees" that each had a mass of tiny translucent plastic tags that she was sure I would find a use for. My offspring know me well.....
My camera doesn't do blues very well; the yarn is much more towards the purple range than this photo shows.
Edit; Just found a wool holder with a green fez on Ebay...1 bid £3.99...2 hours left to bid.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Something old...something new

I left the Weddding ATCs simmering on my brain's back burner, and something floated to the top. Years ago, I used to do alterations for a Bridal shop, and being the hoarder that I am, kept all the bits that I trimmed off or removed. Somewhere in this building I should be able to find a plastic bag full of net, organza, tulle, satin and white lining...but where?

Half an hour later I ran it to earth at the back of a cupboard in the sewing room. Next stop the bead and sequin box and a hunt for a beading needle, and here is my work so far. The bottom layer is lining, and the vague line you see about an inch up from the bottom is a net ruffle I have stitched to the lining. Third is organza. The bottom edge is free, and has its original hem. The tiny sequins are very very pale pink, and came off an Indian patchwork bag I cannibalised years ago for its beads. The tiny embroidered flower has been floating around in my lace and ribbon drawer for at least 20 years, and it is held in position by more of the sequins and some AB beads. The tiny red spot on the hem below the flower is my blood. My eyes didn't pick this up until I saw the magnified picture after I had loaded it, so it is too late now to use the seamstress's trick of spit and cotton to remove it, so I shall leave it...it can be the something borrowed...
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The stranded cotton doesn't seem to run when wet, so I shall use it for postcards, ATCs and stitched cards. As you can see, it has dried slightly lighter. I had Photoshop open when I scanned it, so I couldn't resist a quick play; if anyone wants a teabag tile, background pattern or whatever, please snag it.

I have finished the first pair of space dyed socks. I did a simple 3/1 rib on the instep and leg, and only used two balls of wool, so have enough for another pair. I cast on and knitted up to the end of the toe shaping of the second pair last night, or should I say early this morning, as I stayed up to watch Enigma, and it didn't start until 11.30pm. There was continuous rubbish on TV last night. The Eurovision Dance Contest kept me enthralled for all of 30 seconds, and I was not at all surprised to find that UK came next to last and Switzerland came last...I'm sure we have better things to do....I for one have to decide which lacy pattern to use on the next pair of socks. Something easy to remember without having to look at a crib sheet 5 times a round...

I've made a couple of cards this morning. Variations on the Geisha girl I did early last month. I still had the second sheet that I printed then, having not checked the size of the image (US letter) against the size of the printing paper (A4). I disguised the fact I had cut off one side by putting it tight to the left hand edge.

I am struggling with this months ATCs. Theme one is Weddings and theme two is Men - for or about. I don't want to go down the "stick bits of paper on" route unless I get really desperate, but it may come to that. I have been stuck before, so made the decision that it might be a good idea if I made the cards before I signed up for the swap each month. I did this last month...made the cards, then forgot to sign up...

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Yesterday's post moved from the Bus by the magic of C&P..

....and a new use for spent computer ink cartridges. It takes a good rub with the pumice to get this ink off the skin, so I thought I would try it on thread. I damped the yellow hank, put it in a plastic tray, and then left a magenta and a cyan cart sitting on it for a while. I'll let you know how it looks when it is dry, and if the colour bleeds after a running over with the iron. If it bleeds, I shall use it for paper embroidery cards, as they usually get binned eventually, anyway. The brown patch on the right is where I put cyan on over magenta, as I thought it needed toning down a bit. I must take a closer look at my camera...I hope those white spreckles on the photo are reflections off the plastic tray and not dead pixels...

H is for Holes by Kate N.
My name came out of the hat on her Blogversary postcard draw. The stamp on the back has been cancelled normally, but the Irish PO has added an extra franking to the front. I thought about trying to remove it with a magic sponge, but have decided I quite like it!
Ancient Love by Michelle for the Anything Goes #3 Swap on ArtWeMail.

This was sent in a clear cello envelope, but the stamp and cancellation were on the PC itself. I don't know if Michelle had the postcard hand franked before she placed it in the envie, or whether the US post office removed and replaced it, but I had to smile, and thought of the person who last week reported receiving a PC in a cello envelope where the franking was on the envelope, but the stamp was on the postcard. She suggested that she might remove and use this stamp in the same way, and see just how many times the same stamp could be re-used!

Last, but not least, an altered postcard from Lauretta on FaPATCs. The front appears to be painted/dyed kitchen towel layered over the yellow card circle, the back feels like brown mulberry, and the edging is metal foil tape. Again, you can see a distinctive franking mark on the face of the card. The stamp on the back has not been franked, but that may be because it is attached to the bottom right corner, rather than the top right, where the franking machine would expect to find it. I could end up with a collection of unfranked US stamps to send to somebody on the other side of the pond!
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