27 August 2015

Alpaca love postcard

Here's another postcard for summer postcard club. This was for Helen, who loves cats, alpacas, rainbows, cherries and wildflowers. I used a photo I took in Peru of an alpaca munching on some greens, and replaced those with cherries! Behind this I placed a large rainbow, and then, just because it seemed to need it, some stars and hearts.

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25 August 2015

Parisian cat postcard

Here's another of my postcards for Marceline's postcard club. Alison's interests are CATS! And birds, books, flowers, scenes from Paris or London or Tokyo or India, and her favourite colours are purple, red and black. I designed her postcard with a very romantic cat, holding a flower in front of the Eiffel Tower, on which a bird is perching, and I used Alison's favourite colours of purple, red and black.

23 August 2015

Space beach bunny postcard

Here's the next of the postcards I sent for the postcard club, which was to Marceline who organised the club. Marceline's interests are bunnies, space, Japan, yellow and the seaside, so the postcard I designed for her is of a bunny on a yellow beachy planet, with a background of my favourite planet Jupiter!


21 August 2015

Groovy cat postcard

The first person on my list for Marceline's Summer Postcard Club was Storm, whose interests include rock music, cats, Finland, cats, purple and British Racing Green, cars, fountain pens and calligraphy. Here's the postcard I designed for her, with a cat listening to music, purple and green, and some hand-cut lettering.

19 August 2015

Summer Postcard Club

When Marceline announced she was organising a summer postcard club, I was really excited to take part, because I love sending and receiving (and collecting) postcards. I then promptly forgot all about it, until she put a final announcement on Twitter, so I ended up joining at the last possible moment!

When I received the email with the interests of those I would be sending postcards to, I had a quick look through my postcard collection for anything appropriate, but then decided it would be much more fun to design my own personalised postcards! And besides, I couldn't bear to part with any of my collection!

I sketched some rough ideas, then made all five postcard collages in one afternoon! To make things a bit easier on myself, I decided to use some black and white printouts of photographs in the collages. The photographs of the cats and alpaca I used were my own photographs, but unfortunately I didn't have any photographs I'd taken of Tudors or space, so I had to use some I found online (I'm guessing the Tudor ones will be out of copyright anyway!)
After making the collages, I scanned them in and sent them off to Moo, and it didn't take long for them to arrive. I also decided to buy my stamps online, because my local post office didn't have anything interesting, so I had to wait for them to come before posting my postcards.

As well as writing on the postcards, I used as many stickers and rubber stamps as I could!

I'll be showing you all the postcard designs over the next week and a bit!

17 August 2015

Calton Hill walk

When I went to the marbled scarf workshop I passed Calton Hill, so on the way back, seeing as the weather was nice, I decided to take a walk to the top for the first time since my student years.
The views from the top are amazing in all directions, over Edinburgh and Fife. And there are lots of interesting buildings up there too. The one thing that put me off walking up the hill was the fact I didn't have my good camera with me, but it was a great chance to try out the panorama function on my phone, once I figured out what way up to hold it when doing so!

The weather was glorious, and I was so pleased that I'd made the effort to go up the hill. Mind you, I did get completely drenched in torrential rain later!

15 August 2015

Christmas Stamp Cards

I mentioned earlier this month, when I told you about my postcard collection, that I love the stamp cards issued by the Royal Mail. I was buying some stamps online, and noticed the stamp cards of last year's Christmas stamps, and I just had to have them! 

The 2014 Christmas stamps were my favourite Christmas stamps for decades, and it was the retro style of the illustrations that appealed to me. In fact, I was thinking of using them as inspiration for my Christmas cards this year, until I had another idea! So you'll just have to wait until December to see what that idea is!

13 August 2015

Purple potatoes

A competition started at work last year - buy a potato for 20p, grow it, and photograph your crop of potatoes and the dish you cook with them. I didn't do it last year, but this year I decided to give it a try, and one of the varieties of potatoes available was this lovely purple variety.

I'm not really someone who goes in for spending a lot of time on my garden, so all I did with my potato was to shove it in a plastic trug of earth, heap a little more on when the stems began to grow, and I watered it about twice. The instructions said that the potatoes would be ready for harvest in September when the leaves began to go yellow.
My potato plant grew big quickly. Then, in July, it rained heavily for about two weeks. The earth was sodden. Every day I tipped out the excess water, and tried to decide what to do - there was nowhere I could put it that was sheltered and had light. And then it looked like it was dying, so I was ready to give up hope of getting any potatoes - I was sure that any that had started to form would have rotted!

The very next day, one of my colleagues posted a photo of her crop of purple potatoes! I realised there might be hope for mine after all, so I dashed out to the garden and clawed through the waterlogged earth. And I found potatoes!

They varied in size from the size of a small pebble to the size of an average potato, and there were enough of them to make two meals!
I roasted the potatoes with a chicken leg, lemon, olive oil, garlic, thyme and rosemary. And they were delicious! I served this with some ranch salad.

11 August 2015

Marbled scarf workshop

On the 25th July I headed to Edinburgh to the Festival of Making at Edinburgh Contemporary Arts. I had booked the Marbled Scarf Workshop, which was taught by Hazel Lethaby. The walk to Process Studios from the station was a lovely one, taking me past parts of Edinburgh I hadn't been for ages.
There were four of us in the class. Everything was set up, so we were able to get started quickly. The acrylic chiffon fabric had been pre-treated with alum. A substance called Methocel had been added to trays of water, and onto this we dripped acrylic paint which had been mixed with Golden GAC 900.
After dripping various colours of paint on the water, we used a teaspoon to create the marbled pattern. Then, with two of us holding it, the fabric was lowered gently onto the water. It was then rinsed and left to dry. I made three pieces in peach and mint, and another in pink, mint and yellow. While our fabric was drying, we all went off to explore all the other things that were going on in the building.

When the fabric was (more or less!) dry, Hazel placed it in a hot press machine for a short time. Then were were able to go upstairs and sew our pieces together (the size of them was limited by the size of the trays of water). I made my first ever attempt at French seams, and used an overlocker for the first time to finish the edges.

Here's a video of the marbling process!

09 August 2015

Bodnant sketch

I bought these Conte crayons recently, and I might use them on my holiday to Italy later this year. I wanted to try them out, so I drew this building which looks a bit Italianate. It is at Bodnant Gardens in Wales, somewhere I visited a few times as a child and have great memories of. I saw a TV programme about the gardens recently, which made me think of them even more than I usually do (in fact I often have dreams about Bodnant!). I think I need a bit more practice with the Conte crayons before my holiday!

Also, here is how I'm storing the new pens I bought - in a Godiva chocolates tin I bought years ago for keeping pens or pencils in, and have been using instead for vintage buttons!