Thursday, 27 December 2012

I made a Crafty Christmas.

In November I signed up for  Crafty Creatives boxes. The boxes arrive monthly and contain surprise themed crafting materials as well as a kit for making a complete article. My first box was vintage/Christmas inspired. I made these from it adding materials I already had.
We received a bundle of cinnamon sticks. I used some satin and gauze ribbon to tie them up for the tree.
We also got two plastic hoops. I wrapped one in white ribbon and glued gems around it to create sparkle.
This one is wrapped in red ribbon and has silver metal snowflakes from a broken earring suspended in the middle.
The wings on this angel card for a friend were made from icy sequins contained in my my second box themed on frost and snow.
Finally my craft work for Christmas included these items I made as gifts and for my online shop Teeny Tiny Textile Art

 These hearts were personalised by embroidering initials and adding bells (from November Crafty Creatives box) for those for my grandchildren.
 I had already regained my creative mojo but I'm looking forward to my future Crafty Creatives boxes.

From now on I am going to...

Return to my belly dancing class.

Spend time each week making my tiny pictures.

Walk on the weekends.

Read part of my book everyday.

Make mindfulness part of each day.

Thank those who help me.

Continue to help those who need it.

Take NO notice of the naysayers.

Dance as if no one is watching.

Sing as if no one is listening.


Live life as if each day was my last.

Friday, 21 December 2012

The story of a Teeny Tiny Textile Art picture.

I thought it might be fun to show you all a story in pictures showing how I go about making one of my pictures.
 First, here is my work space.

 Next, I choose a piece of felt for my background. Sometimes I know what I want, other times I just look until I get an idea. Today, I knew what I wanted.

 Then I get out the resources I think I might need.
Embroidery thread
 And the tools I use.

I decided to make a picture of a rock pool. So I began by making the rocks by needle felting two colours of rough carded wool.
The two colours of wool on my foam felting pad.
The needle is extremely sharp and barbed, as it is pushed in and pulled out the barbs catch in the fleece tangling the fibres.
The wool becoming matted by the movement of the needle
This is the 'wrong side' of the felted wool showing how the needle drags the fibres through.

Here I have added extra colour.
Now I have made my 'rock' I can start creating my picture.

Natural raw fleece is used for 'sand '.

The fleece is felted into the background.

The elements start being drawn together. The rocks are felted in place and I've used some brown fleece to represent seaweed.

Although I never try to make nature accurate pictures I sometime look in a book to check I have the right sort of colours. Here I checked in a Collins book of the Seashore.

With this guidance I added these to my picture.
Starfish and anemone.
Then I added some further embellishments. Can you spot them?

I added a tiny shell with a pearl. Several clear beads as air bubbles, a striped bead as a sea snail. There are highlights of green fleece and metallic thread too.
 I hope you have enjoyed this insight to my work.
This piece, and the others I have made can be seen and purchased at Teeny Tiny Textile Art

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Autumn walks

Wellies on.
Walking pole in hand.
Clump of boots and tick of stick.
Striding out along the path.
Down the hill.
Buzzards wheeling above the trees.
Rooks cawing in protest.
Along the footpath,
squelch and slip.
The mud reveals the
night time visitors to this field.
Deer, badger and fox
trod where I now tread.
Golden leaves hang and shake
as gold coins on a dancing belt.
Here, I see the fieldfares
feasting on nature's berry bounty,
hips, haws, blackberry and rowan,
Trip, trap over the bridge.
No trolls here.
Water taking my path as a short cut.
Along to the spinney marvelling
again at waters power,
where the brook cuts the clay.
The spinney path is still frozen from yesterday's frost,
crystals decorate leaf and blade.
The sun never sees down here.
The brook again,
The water runs into the sinkhole,
disappearing down to the rock below
to appear once more as a spring down along.
Spring Wood covers the hill top,
and I turn away, up the valley side
towards home.

Monday, 23 July 2012

100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups – Week#51

I have not written for weeks. However, tonight I have time before I begin my internet sabbatical.
The prompt from Julia is …. the line was drawn ….

It was time...

Yes, it was time the line was drawn under the whole unfortunate affair. Quite how Esme and Beatrice had managed to escape their Nanny will never be known. What persuaded them to acquire the toad is also veiled in mystery.
The bald fact that Grandmamma is still sniffing on smelling salts as if her life depended on them is inescapable. However, there is no point in carrying on as if the world has come to an end when it has not. They are naughty, naughty girls.
It was very funny though I should not say so...
Grandmamma has a very loud scream!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


The weather has exerted more influence this year than I can ever remember. I experienced the drought of 1976. We all stood fully clothed in the rain after weeks of baking sunshine.
The tremendous irony of being under drought restrictions as the heavens opened in cataclysmic style escaped no-one. All around me were jokes about the rain. Now all drought restrictions have been lifted. We all long for a prolonged change in the weather so that we can dry out literally and metaphorically.
However the plants and trees have been enjoying their prolonged drinking session. As I drive the country lanes the verges are blowsy with overgrown sappy vegetation. Our lawn became a meadow, Mr G has resorted to a sickle to lower the height of the grass. As he commented sickles can operate in ALL conditions. His sickle was purchased at a market stall specialising in old hand tools. It has been honed to razor sharpness and now the meadow has been mown.
Today the sun shone though. As I stepped out into the garden this afternoon I could hear the bees buzzing in amongst the lavender and fox gloves. Their relief at being able to forage in the warmth was almost palpable.

Photo from here

As I write the clouds are gathering once more. Through one window the sky is blue with powder puff clouds. Looking the other way, the window frames an all too familiar picture of lowering rain filled clouds. It looks like it is raining in the valley.

For those awaiting a new piece of Teeny Tiny Art, there is a new very different piece, still in my style, at planning stage.  A completed piece will be going to a lovely person before the end of the month. When the originals are safely delivered to their new homes I will publish pictures of them here.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Time flies...

Time flies...
I made this picture last night. I had wanted to make it all week but work needed to take precedence.
The idea came from this picture I took earlier in the year.

To make the picture I chose a piece of handmade felt in  a blue green colour way.   I placed the piece of stockinette tube to be the stem for my dandelion clock. Next I used  the plaited cotton thread to represent the grass. I wanted to give the illusion that the back of the picture was in focus but the foreground is out of focus. I carded three shades of green merino tops to blend the colours then laid them at the base of the picture. I secured the wool by needle felting along the bottom and sides. I created the dark centre to the dandelion clock by needle felting a ball of brown merino tops. I hand stitched the clock with a single strand of white embroidery floss. I had originally planned to stitch the entire clock but decided to make it look as if some of the seed had flown.  I then embroidered the individual seeds in the corner, as you can see in the detail below.

Next I stitched the white and pearl seed beads to represent a cow parsley type of flower. I joined these using a tiny chain stitch.
Finally I decided to add a snail to the foreground. I used a pretty green and white glass bead and added the snail's 'body' using three strands of pale grey embroidery floss.

Had I  taken longer with this piece, I feel that my execution would have been better. However, I am pleased that I was able to realise the idea in textiles and I have definitely honed my skills through making it.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Our green and pleasant land.

The beauty of the English countryside has never been more apparent to me. All around me the cow parsley lace edges trim the velvet green of the fields. The shorn sheep seems to glisten purest white as the scudding clouds allow the sun momentary access to the fields. Spring Wood plays hide and seek behind curtains of rain. When the weather really closes in I cannot see much beyond the garden fence, it is as if we live on the edge of the world. The field beside the house rolls like the sea, as the crop moves like waves before a storm.
Yesterday, the little birds fluttered around the seed, today they are nestled in the grass gleaning the fallen morsels. The hedgerow is adorned with rich pink hawthorn blossom and the fragrant platters of elderflower.

Gooseberries and elderflower are a happy union of flavour and scent. Dunk the flowers in the still warm stewed gooseberries, the flavour improves and the delectable juice is decorated by the tiniest and prettiest flowers.
Even as the wind roars around the house, sneaks down the chimney, whistles at keyholes,
the ancient fields and hedges hunker down, for all the world declaiming, we've been here too long to be bothered by you.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Stone wall with Lichen

I finished a piece of mixed media textile art today. As this is a mouthful, I am going to call my works Teeny Tiny Textile Art.
Here it is:

This piece started from this macro picture:

I decided to create a piece with just a few stones. I used some small pieces of felt in five shades of grey. I padded each 'stone' with a little wadding. I decided to add 'mortar' to my stones. To create this I used space dyed floss in shades of grey with hints of green. I sewed a rough satin stitch to join the pieces, stitching in different directions to add texture and interest. To create the lichen effect I needle felted with greeny grey uncarded felting wool, highlighted with a vivid yellowy green merino wool tops. I do not have any mustardy coloured wool tops yet so used artistic licence. When I had finished the stitching I felt the piece needed 'lifting'. I added some very small beads to the 'lichen' choosing some which matched the colour of the wool and some clear beads which I added to some of the 'stones'. I wanted to give the effect of water droplets and I am very pleased with the result.

Detail of felting and beads.

 Further detail of stitching.

This piece has taken quite a long time to finish as it has quite a few elements in it. It has been a satisfying experience however.
I shall probably make my next picture one of the flower/leaf/seedhead macros I have taken.
I would really appreciate some comments on this piece.

Monday, 7 May 2012

100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups #41

Another week and another challenge from Julia
and this is our prompt...

As dry as a...

With a faint click, the last piece was placed on the work. Work, no, wrong word. Labour of love maybe...   This toil would be missed, the concentration, the planning, the execution.
He remembered when the pieces had seen the light for the first time in millennia. The breathtaking anticipation as brush and trowel revealed the almost unimaginable. His hands shook with the memory. His breath caught once more.
Now, he looked again at his gloriously created cairn of bones. How fitting, how marvellous, that these distant creature’s remains should stand in mute celebration of their lives.
He tiptoed silently away...

Monday, 30 April 2012

100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups #40

This week's challenge here, celebrates our 40th week. 
Our challenge is to write to the prompt - Ruby.

Cute as a button!

"Rubeeee, Rubeeee, where are you?"  
A tiny giggle emanated from the living room.
"Ruby, Ruby, where are you?"
A rustle of cotton against carpet.
"I'm coming to get you..."
A gentle plop is heard close to the French doors.
“Where’s my girl then...”
A gentle sucking noise adds a clue.

I lean over the back of the sofa.
“Ganny found me”
Said around a tiny thumb.
“Come on out my darling”
A gorgeous morsel crawls out from behind the sofa, stands,
holds my hand.
“Lolly, Ganny?”
“Yes, sweetheart, you may have a lolly.”
My Ruby, more precious than diamonds.

Neither of my granddaughters are called Ruby, but I love them just as much.

Monday, 23 April 2012

100 Word Challenge for Grownups #39

                                 ….I’m exhausted. Shut the door behind you….
                 Above is the prompt for this week. Here is where the challenge came from.

Darling ….I’m exhausted. Shut the door behind you…. we'll chat later.
Spent, she lay back, sinking into the womb like caress of her bed. She would give almost anything to feel right. What did right feel like anyway? The weeks were all blurring together. Each three week cycle etched into her brain a rotation of nausea, constipation and terrifying fogs that turned thought to mist.
Yet, this was the last. No more hours tethered to a beeping draconian master. A last bowing to an inevitability. Something shifted inside her. An almost forgotten sensation.  What was it?  
It was hope...

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Watching the rook highway...

From the back of the house we have a clear view across the field. Barley is the current crop which is flourishing now we have had some rain! As I have mentioned before we live at the top of the hill. The road down to the lower part of the village winds quite sharply down a number of metres. The valley at the bottom has a copse of tall trees just before the stream passes the back of the houses. The copse houses a rookery, and the rooks are currently very busy rearing chicks. The parents are extremely diligent, and this is where the rook highway comes in.

Scene of the Rook Highway - without a rook in sight. Got to love the birds!

The parent rooks fly obliquely up the hill past the back of our house and through a gap in the trees to some place across the road and behind the farm. There must be some amazing source of food there. I guess it may be fields with cattle in them. The rooks use a two direction route - low to the ground on the way out against the prevailing wind. They look like gangs of black rags flapping only a metre or so above the barley. On the way back they fly much higher, aided of course by the wind.
The only time they deviate from this path is when a red kite is about, then they all gang up to mob the kite, even though their babies are a mile away.

The birds in the garden are also very busy. Mr Blackbird nearly met his end today. He squared up to a magpie, who then started chasing him. Mr Blackbird, you are very brave but your babies need you too!

Monday, 16 April 2012

I made a tiny picture...

I finished my first multimedia picture today and here it is...

It is twice the size of a credit card. I purposely made it very tiny so that I could finish it quite quickly. The sheep  were made by using needle felting. I had collected sheep and lambs wool from the field. I washed and carded it.  The three sheep in a line were made with adult sheep wool. The sheep at the bottom of the picture is made from lambs wool. I embroidered the field using a single strand of embroidery floss in a colour close to that of the felt. The stone wall is made from a piece of ribbon sewn on using space dyed embroidery floss in shades of grey. Although you cannot see it well in this picture, the wall is sewn to represent blocks of stone. I needle felted the tree using wool tops in brown and three shades of green. Finally I embroidered the greenery at the base of the tree using three strands of floss in different shades of green. Here, I used a mixture of chain stitch, tiny lazy daisies and stem stitch.

Wool tops are often made from merino wool which has long even fibres. They can be dyed one colour or space dyed where the fibres (or fabric) is dyed several colours to create a tonal or multicoloured effect. There are also various different types of wool from rare breeds which I will also explore using.
I have collected quite a few resources now and have taken a lot of macro photographs around the village.

The other piece I have begun was inspired by a photo of a stone wall with lichen growing on it. I am using felt in shades of grey which I have sewn onto an Aida base. I am going to pad each of the 'stones' with a little wadding. I will embroider the lichen using embroidery floss space dyed in the various lichen colours. I'm not sure what stitches I will use yet, that will be a matter of experimenting first.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Wood, Wildlife and Wool.

I adore living where I do now. We are really lucky to have all the loveliness of living in the country, with town only 15 minutes away.
The wood, in my title, is cut and piled up in the lower part of our village. We'd driven past it when coming home the back way. The signs said there would be a Wood Sale at the village hall. We drove down on the appointed day to discover that the piles of wood belonged to a business dealing in decorative timber. The sawmill was in action and with an open mouth, I watched great slices being sawn off an ancient piece of walnut. The owner explained that the tree had been subjected to some bending during its life and that the trunk was riddled with shakes (small cracks). These greatly reduce the value of the timber but cannot be identified before being sawn. There was a stall selling carved apples and pears. I bought an apple carved from apple wood and a pear carved from pear wood. Mr G bought a piece of burr elm with which to make something lovely. There is to be another sale in May and we shall certainly attend.

                              My Apple and Pear

The wildlife is one of the main reasons for moving to our current home. Red Kites soar majestically over and around our house. We've seen the kestrel perch on one of the small trees on the verge outside the front of the house. Mr G said we'd had a Spotted Woodpecker on the fat balls on our bird feeding station. Since being at home, I've seen it every day. The mass of little birds whizz in and out all day long. We were standing watching the little birds, when from the side of the house, there came a dark grey streak, shooting through the air. It was a sparrow hawk. The little birds dove for cover and escaped that time. The sparrow hawk has returned regularly. The little pile of pigeon feathers on the lawn suggests that was one of its meals. It certainly caught one of the little birds the other day. However cruel this seems, it is the way nature is, and as such must be accepted.
                             The bird feeding station

I went foraging for wool yesterday. We found some in the valley where the sheep have lambed. I took it home and washed it, a very smelly task. Today I sorted it. I kept the pretty crinkly lambs wool, and carded some of the rest with a pair of small wire brushes. A lot of the wool was felted and I discarded it, but there was enough for me to keep to use in my mixed media textile pictures I have planned. This is both a new creative direction, and a return to an old skill. In my late teens I did several pieces of free hand embroidery, and became quite skilful with a needle. I intend to use this skill and combine new skills such as felting, collage and couching to include found items in my pictures.

                         A piece of my early embroidery