Getting my Gelli on

Gelli printing plate that is….

Gelli Plate

 

One of the funnest things to hit mixed media for a while, I have been waiting for them to become more easily available over here in Australia. I finally got mine last week, and then had to buy a brayer because the one I thought I had suddenly couldn’t be found anywhere. However, today, between the camp drop-off and the Chiropractor, I suddenly had a few hours with nothing but some dishes to do, and decided that I had waited long enough.

Edited-0665Here it is, the calm before the storm. This lasted about 30 seconds before I realised that I was going to get paint absolutely everywhere. And I had the best time doing it.

Edited-0668 Edited-0666Invest in lots and lots of baby wipes. They get the acrylic paint off really easy. I loosened it up with the wipes, then a quick squirt with a water sprayer and dab with a clean rag and we were good to go. Although the final clean up did take an hour in the end. I was glad that the brayer I bought had a roller that popped off the handle which made washing up so much easier! The big stack of paper you can see at the end of the table there is all test prints and warm ups.

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I spent the last week saving all my “business” envelopes for practice printing… all those security patterns are just so pretty. I’m going to cut these up and collage them together.

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I also went through some of my 6×6 inch Scrapbook paper collection looking for ugly paper that I knew I wouldn’t use the way it was…. perfect as a base for printing over, and a bit sturdier than envelopes.

Finally, my 3 favourite pieces, were a little bit more of an experiment on watercolour paper. Much heavier texture again, but it has taken the acrylic paint and the stencilling so beautifully. All of these will make stunning backgrounds, they are miniature works of art already!

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It was definitely a learning experience today, working out what stamps and stencils had the best effects and which didn’t work as well, and how fast the paint dried – super fast. It was really very freeing actually because there was just no time to sit and ponder over what was going where. If I took too long to think, it was dry, too late, and roll out some more paint!

I definitely want to expand my stencils, I have some fabulous ideas for some more hand cut ones, which I still need to photograph and share with you, and spend a bit more time making patterns and drawing into the paint. I will definitely be investing in some larger tubes of student acrylics though, as I went through a LOT of paint today…. and most of it ended up on the baby wipes!!

But seriously, just wow. I’m so glad I invested in a Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate. I bought the 8×10″ size, which seems to be a good fit for me right now. I had heaps of fun printing, and ghost printing, and re-printing and over-printing as you probably can tell. It’s also infectious, after posting a shot to instagram, I had a friend on the phone wanting to know when she could come around and try it out too!

So, what new and amazing toys have you tried out lately? Show us what you’ve been up to!

 

 

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Posted in Art, Inspiration, mixed media, painting | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Etsy shop May update

As we are heading into May, I just thought I’d stop by and show you some more prints that got added to my Etsy shop over April. I’ve also started adding some larger versions (8×12 inch) of some of my favourite photographs. By the number of treasuries and hearts they have been getting, they seem to be popular with you as well!

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I would love to pick a favourite out of them, but I’m afraid that would be like choosing a favourite child! To get a closer look, click on any of them to go straight to the listing in my shop where you can see each individual print.

I was also really excited to be included in the Mother’s Day gift guide put together by the very discerning Mia on the MossyJoJo blog. To see all her suggestions  broken down by “Mum category”, check it out here.

And here are a few items that have made it into my favourites list lately…..

Cori Dantini Owl Print

Cori Dantini Owl Print

Sterling Silver Earrings

Sterling Silver Earrings

Vintage Bird Print Whimsical Art

Vintage Bird Print Whimsical Art

Mini Floating Feathers Re-usable wall stickers

Mini Floating Feathers Re-usable wall stickers

I’m noticing a bit of a bird theme here…. and a lovely fresh turquoise colour running through those picks as well. I’d love to hear what’s inspiring you at the moment – feel free to share your latest finds, or blog about them and link us up!

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Making do and mending.

As with any family, we pass our clothes around. From friends, to friends, from older sibling to younger sibling. At any given time there is usually a stack of clothes somewhere waiting for someone to grow into them. Except for DS1 who is now bigger than the boys in our circle of friends, so he is at the start of all the chains rather than the end anymore.

DS2 - 2011 age 11

DS2 – 2011 age 11

Saturday night saw me decide that DS2 needed to try on a new suit. We wear formal clothes to our bible meetings, and I love seeing our boys dress up in nice clothes every week. Finding suits for them when they are younger can be a challenge, as these days most people only buy suits for weddings or other super-formal occasions. So, I shopped our wardrobe stash and discovered the next suit in line for him. Size 12 jacket, perfect fit. Matching size 14 pants, um, not so much.

Step one…. turn up the hems. Thankfully they didn’t have rolled cuffs, and I didn’t want to cut anything off the bottoms as this was definitely not going to be a long-term hemming, I give him 6 months maximum before they need to come down again. Out with the black thread, and I neatly folded the hem up inside the leg and invisibly stitch away. Perfect. A little press with a cloth and steam and they are ready for action.

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However, the waist was a mile to big for my skinny little rabbit of a 13yo. He has no waist, no hips and no meat on his bones. Time was, I would have let him cinch his belt as tight as he wanted, and hoped his jumper or jacket hid the disaster that was his waistband, but I guess I’m getting fussy in my old age. Thanks to my recent obsession with “The Great British Sewing Bee” I understood a lot more about men’s tailoring and trouser construction than I ever had before. Did the waistband have a centre back seam? Check. Excellent. All I had to do was unpick the seam, curving it away to the seat of the pants, and then re-sew the seam taking in an inch or so off the seat and the waist.

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Yes, I was starting to get a little nervous at this point because it was Saturday night and I had just passed the point of no return, however, I had faith that I knew where all the parts went, and I persevered. I’m so glad that I did! After  a good press, I’d estimate that I took out about 1 1/2 to 2 inches. The seat doesn’t quite sit perfectly on him, but I wasn’t actually shaping for the seat, and the waist sat so much nicer that the belt was able to function normally and not like a mini-lasso instead.

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You can still faintly see the original seam line in the photo above, about halfway across the seam allowance that I have taken out. So if he grows again in the meantime, I can always reverse the process. At least I know how to do this in future, which is a very useful skill to have, as we have some rather diverse tailoring needs in this family!

Third project of the evening was to mend his book bag. I love this vintage bag. I originally picked it up in an op-shop for his big brother about 8 years ago. It has lasted very well, however the regular wear and tear had frayed the top stitching and the “leather” bound edge around the flap had come adrift. It looked very shabby having six inches of trim flapping loose, not to mention that it was only going to get further damaged the longer I left it.

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I found some linen thread in my stash, and carefully stitched it all back together. It was a bit tricky to get all the layers and holes lined up sometimes, but due to the age of the bag, making more holes would only have weakened things further. Although the new stitching is slightly obvious because of the colours, it certainly looks neat and strong and will last for a long time yet. The only problem I had with this project is that somehow I have never managed to buy a thimble, and boy, could I have done with one by the end of it! Lesson learned, I will pick one up next time I am at the fabric store, because I can tell by the other side of his bag that the same work will be needed sooner or later.

So, by being thrifty, passing down clothes (that I had been hanging on to for about 4 years at least!) making alterations and mending, he is neat and smartly dressed, and I have an amazing sense of accomplishment. Much more so than if I had run to the nearest shopping mall and waved my plastic cards for all new things. Even better? My DH was absolutely impressed. He just couldn’t get over what a difference an evening of alterations and mending had made, and he was really proud of the work I’d done. And that’s worth any amount of spending thrills in my book!

Just thought I’d also let you know, the biopsy did come back negative, like we were expecting. The radiologist was extremely confident, but he was also very thorough and wanted it for my peace of mind. Thank you to those who emailed (love you Sharon!) and commented and sent me happy thoughts.

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New mixed media supplies – vintage paper galore

On a regular visit to the local Op-shop, or Thrift store to our northern neighbours, I spotted this little gem of a book…..

1972 Almanac

 

A 1972 Almanac, about 3 or 4 inches thick at least. Filled with the most glorious vintage sheets of text, charts, and page after page of information. Everything you may ever want to know about Britain, the empire, or even the world, all just crying to be turned into marvellous artwork.

After coming home, and sleeping on some ideas, I went back the next day with an extra pair of hands in tow. We picked up 2 more Almanacs, although one was in fairly poor condition.

Mixed Media BooksWe also collected 2 beautiful vintage Atlases  as well as a small encyclopaedia, complete with exquisite sheets of colour illustrated plates. These are too good to chop up, and will definitely be scanned in. This book is from the 1950’s. I even went back for a third trip for one more atlas, and a “ready reckoner” which is vintage book that acts as a pre-decimal version of a calculator. All those columns of numbers made my little imagination go giddy! Although the lady at the counter was sadly horrified when I confessed I was going to destroy the book. I’m sorry, but there isn’t much use for pounds, shillings and pence around here anymore…. hasn’t been for well over 40 years!

I had also ordered online a copy of the latest Somerset Studio magazine, which arrived last week. I particularly wanted this issue as it was full of Mixed Media whimsy, including a lovely article on the talented Juliette Crane. I also enjoyed the cover article on Cori Dantini. I have been so inspired, I think I might need to have a regular subscription to this magazine!

Somerset Studio

So, there is plenty of inspiration abounding here at the moment…. I am just waiting for the fog of pain to lift so that I can create. I tried some sketching on Sunday night, for about 5 minutes. It was not very comfortable but a beautiful girl just leapt into life in my book fully formed…. I can’t wait to move her onto a canvas!

 

 

 

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Great British Sewing Bee

Wow, I know that I am often a little behind the times, but if you like sewing, love all things British, and are sick of b*tchy reality tv shows, you have to check out the Great British Sewing Bee!! Episodes 1 through 3 are up on YouTube in their full glory, and I have just watched all of them.

BBC's Great British Sewing Bee

BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee – Season 1

I have to admit, the Savile Row tailor, Patrick Grant, who’s a bit dreamy, has some wonderful words of wisdom as far as perfection in fitting, whereas the other judge, May Martin is much more realistic in terms of home sewing and what’s achievable. The challenge is to find Britain’s best home sewer – not fashion designer, not professional tailor. Home Sewer. I tell you, my mother would have kicked butt on this show. Although the other contestants would have probably lynched her by the end of the first day.

I won’t share too much about what has happened so far, as with all reality shows, otherwise it will spoil what’s happened and who’s been sent home already. After only 3 episodes, we are already up to the final 3 contestants, so this show doesn’t mess around, but the challenges are sensible and practical, although the time limits give me hives.

I would like to point out the following garment to Patrick, not that he’s reading my blog. But just so he knows that there are some out there that can pattern match with the best of them….

This was a very simple cotton voile I bought on clearance, I have worn this top to death this past summer. The original pattern (New Look 6803) was a straighter and fuller than this, the side seams have had a lot of sculpting and tweaking.

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Sadly, the centre back seam is curved and not dead straight which meant that perfect pattern matching wasn’t possible…. however I did match up all the rows of pattern. There was a moment when cutting this top out I looked at the fabric and asked myself what WAS I thinking…..

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However, the side seams certainly matched up beautifully also…. these complete flowers are even on the same row as each other under each arm.

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Can you spot the side seams? You just can’t fluke that kind of pattern matching. Yes it took a little longer to do. And no, I probably wouldn’t do it voluntarily without a really good reason, but it was really satisfying in the end.

The reason I mention this you will have to discover by watching the Great British Sewing Bee, and learning the laws of pattern matching. Yes, Patrick Grant is watching, and details do matter!

So, I must love and leave you there. I would love to be industriously slaving away at my machine now, however I have had a sick headache mainly in my right eye for the last 4 days. It is slowly easing, however not entirely and my painkillers are calling my name. Please, let me know if you caught some of this lovely show and how you enjoyed it!

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