Thursday, 28 February 2013

Too scared to start?

Too scared to start?   That's the question asked in Frances Pickering's lovely book.

Painting the fabric 'pages' was the easy bit.  Drawing?  Yeah, that's scary.

I've painted six pieces of fabric now and they do dry out paler. As I'm going to write on them I think they need to be light for the writing to show.

I've cut them 14" wide, 10 1/2" length but they've shrunk a bit so maybe I should have cut them slightly bigger ( each piece of fabric will be folded in half to make 2 pages).

       My book is going to be like a nature book - it's a flight of fancy back to the things I liked as a child.
 I'm going to start with some teasels. Not sure if I've seen them growing here in N. I. but I think I've seen them growing in Donegal. They always fascinated me.
I read about teasels in Wikipedia and found out they used to be used to raise the nap on fabrics, particularly wool.  Well you learn something every day!

Time to take the plunge... I didn't take the scary option to draw straight on to my fabric, instead I made a stencil and used some gesso to give me the teasel shape.

I painted over the Gesso with the Koh I Noor dyes
I gradually added more colour

So, I've made a start and it wasn't that scary - not sure if I should stitch on this now, think I'll decide later.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Tea - Dyeing.

Out and about on Saturday and I bought 'The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady.'  It was 25p in a charity shop in Saintfield. A bargain, I thought! Full of nature notes and lovely paintings of birds, butterflies, bees and flowers. Just right for my fabric book project.

I cut some material for the pages.

I cut the pages from calico, linen and old cotton curtain lining.
painted calico and Bondaweb ready for the book cover

The pages in Edith Holden's book had an aged look so I did some tea-dyeing to 'age' my fabric pages.
I left the pages of fabric in the tea for 2 hours

then left them drip- drying over the bath

I bought a box of words a long time ago at one of our craft group sales.
There are loads of them. I'll never get them back into the box they came in!

I just picked out a few of them and gave them the tea-dyeing treatment too, but only for a minute.

I might use them in the book.

Friday, 22 February 2013

'If I were a butterfly'.

I'm thinking about my fabric book today while I'm mucking about at housework and ideas keep coming into my head.  I think I have a title now that will fit in with our exhibition theme 'Flights of Fancy'.

For my front cover I've decided to use a piece of calico that I had left over from a previous dyeing session .

              I painted over the pink calico with Koh I Noor - a dye based water colour palette.
              It looks colourful enough here but dries out much paler.

Still wet but I want to see if the colours show through the Oasis plastic bag.

My piece of calico dried out and I took it in to craft group for the experts to have a look! 
We decided the bag would look better without my colouring in (it looks gaudy). Disappointed!
I liked colouring in that bag.

I've been to the library, I like the illustrations in the children's books and thought they might help me.
Frances Pickering does quite a bit of drawing in her fabric books but I'm not too hot at drawing.

I thought I would add a bit more colour to the calico, to show through the bag, so I came home and painted it again.

I placed a piece of Bondaweb on top of the calico hoping it will soak up some of the dye.
I'm going to make a sandwich of the calico, Bondaweb and the Oasis bag and I might just colour in a few of the butterflies and flowers in paler shades this time.

                                         I love Bondaweb. Especially when it's painted!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Over the fields.

Dog-sitting for son 1 since last Friday. Visit from son 2  plus grandchildren on Saturday.  Helping with DIY on Sunday for son 3. All that means I'm no further on with my fabric book. I did write down a list of ideas as they came in to my head. The weather's been good for 4 days now so I took the dog over the fields.


rusty farm machinery

the moon's out

I liked these two photos -   the top one blurred in the foreground
I like the one below the best with the background blurred

blot on the landscape

I wonder what lives down this hole?

gorse is out

celandines just beginning to bloom

'Ballantine' housing development - looking towards the Belfast hills

Before they started building houses on this land it was covered in wild flowers and there were lots of well tramped trails. I saw wild orchids here. I'm going to put some of my pressed flowers into my fabric book.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Flights of Fancy.

Our craft group exhibition theme this year is 'Flights of Fancy' so I looked up the definition: an idea which shows a lot of imagination but which is not practical or useful in real situations.
Who ever follows the theme anyway?!
I'm making a start on my fabric book and I guess it's going to be flowers, birds, butterflies, dragonflies - things like that - but from my imagination.

I've been looking at my new book 'Under The Cover' by Frances Pickering and she suggests starting off with an 'Ideas' book...well I already have collections of stuff that I keep and have ideas for!

One of the things I kept was a plastic bag from 'Oasis' thinking, 'I'll use that someday'. I liked the butterflies and flowers on it. Now I'm colouring them in with my Sharpie pens and the new acrylic inks.

After 'Ideas' comes 'Covers' and I think this plastic bag might just make a cover for my book so I've been doing a bit of sampling.
I coloured in a butterfly with Sharpie pens then fused it to my fabric with Bondaweb and a hot iron.
It bonded well to the fabric and I thought I could stitch on this.

I  was surprised when I peeled the plastic bag off the fabric  -  the Sharpie ink had transferred on to the fabric but also remained on the plastic. Two for the price of one.

I painted some yellow acrylic ink to the wing of the butterfly (below left) and liked the colours.. the yellow  rose in the centre is acrylic ink and gave a good print too - they seem to work better with Bondaweb.

So after my bit of sampling I'm thinking I could colour in my Oasis bag and fuse it to fabric, then I can stitch on it to make a hardwearing book cover.  I can also cut out individual flowers and butterflies from the bag to make small prints inside my book.
The next step is to experiment with some background fabrics and see how they look when the coloured plastic bag is placed over.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

British birds made from metal.

I've just made a stitched blue tit and I've been looking at birds that other people have made.

stitching my blue tit

Came across these British birds,  made by artist  Barbara Franc
Brilliant birds using recycled metal scrap.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

A book about making books.

I've just bought this lovely book by Frances Pickering. Its all about her work making fabric and paper books.
Frances was featured in the Feb/ March issue of Stitch magazine and it was just the inspiration I needed.  I've been thinking about making a book for our craft group exhibition in May.
I ordered her book from Amazon last Wednesday and it arrived the following morning.
How about that for service?

Frances had signed the inside cover of her book - I thought that was a nice touch.

This book is filled with all the things I love -- nature, wild flowers, birds, poetry and text.

It's more of a visual book, every page is a feast for the eyes.
However, if you are a beginner and want a clear step by step on how to make a book then I wouldn't recommend it.
It's great for tips, ideas, materials to use and it's full of inspiration but it doesn't have clear instructions.
I haven't seen Frances's first book 'Page After Page,'  maybe it would be better for a beginner.

I also ordered some Acrylic Inks from Amazon. The colours are gorgeous.
 I'm going to use these to colour in the birds on my Ikea fabric.

The fabric markers I was using to colour in the birds, they're not that good.
 I'm hoping the inks will work better.

The vibrant colours here are really what I want.

I'd like to use some painted birds in my book.

I just don't know how yet!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Blue tit (5).. and a little poem.


My skin is plain old cotton
And my belly's full of stuffing

My feathers are embroidery threads
With stitching, stitching, stitching...

I've glue and twisted wires
For my legs and claws and beak

I'm sensing that my time has come
To take a little peek

My maker stitched my beady eye
Then went and fetched a mirror

I puffed up like a proud blue tit
'Twas time for  - 'The Reveal'

She perched me on a mossy branch
My heart was all a flutter

"Now smile, say cheese,
Watch the birdie."

I peered out through my beady eye
And gazed at my reflection

For the handsome bird looking back at me

Well, you'd swear that he was real!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Blue tit (4).

Almost there. Sorry, I'm slow and methodical!
I oversewed the body leaving a gap under his belly for the stuffing.
Made the legs at the weekend from garden wire and I've wrapped them with thread and added some PVA glue to stiffen them. I had to cut them in half as realised I'd have to insert them through the body for the bird to stand properly .

I cut tiny holes each side of the body to insert the legs then glued the extra wire to the inside.
        His little beak is made from wire too and wrapped with a narrow strip of fabric and PVA, it makes it easier to manipulate and gives a realistic shape. I've painted it black. 
I mixed some PVA with the stuffing for his head hoping it would hold the beak in place.

I stuffed him with soft toy filling until quite firm and oversewed his belly.


He's almost finished. Looking quite like a bird now but his white cheeks are too big. 
I've added a bit more stitching on the wings and they just have to be attached.

                        Oh, almost forgot those little beady eyes!