Bumble Hole and Warrens Hall Nature Reserve

In July, I’m going to be spending three days with the wonderful Hilary Beattie, on a finding sanctuary retreat.

We need to bring photos etc. of a place that represents sanctuary for us. I’ve chosen Bumble Hole and Warrens Hall nature reserves. They are near my home, and my husband and I enjoy a walk there when we need to get out and de-stress.

I took some photos over there at easter, and I’m belatedly posting them now:
















It’s a lovely part of the world, sited on former mine and quarry workings, and a lovely mix of industry and nature.

Wraptious Competition

I have entered some images of my artwork in a competition run by Wraptious, an excellent UK based company who make lovely art prints and cushions, among other things.

I took a couple of my images of coffee pots, printed onto velvet and overdyed in warm colours, and edited them in iColorama, to make a set of three cushion images:

The competition is open until next Sunday, the 8th of May, and will be decided on ‘Likes’ and also cushion purchases, on a lovely vegan suede, which will go well with the visual texture of the velvet from the scans.

To vote for my entries, go here, and select the like options below the images:

Left cushion
Middle cushion
Right cushion
There are also lots of other lovely entries, do check them out.

Pink Pig Bargain Box

I seem to be going through sketchbooks at a rate of knots, so I decided to order a Pink Pig bargain box – at least 13kg of sketchbooks for £30.20, including postage.

I got 19 books for my money, £1.59 per book, including:

  • 1 X A5 fat portrait pig
  • 6 X A4 portrait pigs
  • 1 X A3 portrait
  • 3 X A3 fat portrait pigs
  • 2 X 12×6 inch portrait pigs
  • 2 X 16×8 landscape pigs
  • 2 X A3 landscape pigs
  • 2 X A3 landscape pigs with black pages

Apparently they are all seconds, but the only issue I noticed was that one book has a dinged corner:

This is my pile, I am looking forward to filling them with beautiful art:


Lunchtime Colouring

I coloured this sketchbook page at lunch.
From this:


(I’d already added shadow to the words and done a bit of the coffee pot before I remembered to take a photo)

To this:


I love my Pablo pencils- they really lift the piece and are so easy to use.

Apparently I really like the pink, turquoise and lime green ones:


Tip Ins on a Tuesday

I only got a bit of time to play in my sketchbook last night. I tipped in a little A6 card and its envelope; when I was printing and dyeing at the weekend, I made these pages and card to go together:

I also added some colour with Pablo colouring pencils, and dabbers:

This page was made with another tipped in card, featuring a thermofax screen of a feather, done in white screen printing ink and over dyed:

I also added some white colouring pencil over the feather on the right, to bring it up a bit:

This page was a hand print, because I absentmindedly squeezed the roller to see how much paint was left in it. Turns out there was quite a lot. It had a bit of colour added too:


Patching and Piecing

In order to start stitching into the pieces I made on the stitch retreat, I need to first patch up some of the gaps in the background.

When I bonded the background down, I didn’t realise, but I had lots of little gaps, which you can see in the image below, particularly at the bottom left:


The edge of the ruler in this image shows where the edge of the piecing should be; I’m a long way off in some cases.  
I bonded the back of two sheets  paper with bondaweb. The colours are a bit brighter than my original pieces, but I can work into them with crayons if needed.

Here’s the piece finished, with all patches in place – I just tore them to size and ironed them down. I checked it by holding it up to the light – as the backing felt is white, it is easy to see where the ‘holes’ are.  
Next, machine embroidery.

Sketchbooking on the train

Last weekend I went to the Isle of Wight, to celebrate my Dad’s birthday with my family. I took my sketchbook supplies to keep myself amused on the train.

I didn’t realise until I sat down that my favourite Khadi sketchbook isn’t really compatible with a narrow train seat!  

Luckily the people around me were very friendly, and I even made a new friend, as a fellow Embroiderers’ Guild member said hello, and we spent a good couple of hours chatting, sharing sketchbooks and talking about our EG branches.

I did all of this spread on the train – the flower punch was good in a limited space.   

I had a whole table to myself towards the end of the journey, so I could spread out.

I even brought a little film pot, so I could use water to smudge the gelatos.

I used the leftovers from the flowers to make this spread, a fun exploration of  colour:

I cut some shapes from a piece of paper, dictated by the print, and thought they looked like vases, so made this page:

On the return journey, I made this spread, taking the shapes of the pears and the onion skin stencils. I am not too sure whether I like it, but it has plenty of Neocolour 1 on it, including white on the printed pieces, which will resist dye well, so I will probably give it a coat of colour:

I also started this spread, cutting out the figures, and doing the outermost bits of both pages. I finished it on Friday evening in front of the telly.

On the way back I was sharing a table with 2 other people, with the wall to my right, so I ended up working on my lap, and cutting out was a bit awkward!



Altogether, an enjoyable way to pass the journey.

Further Forays into Altered Books

Having been inspired by Hilary’s lovely altered books at the stitch retreat, one about her trip to Harrogate, and one altering a plant book, with lots of lovely images, I decided to have a go at it myself.

Last time I tried, I was using cheap gesso and acrylic paint, as that was all I had, and every time I closed the pages, they stuck to themselves and ripped, very frustrating.

This time I have nice gesso (Pebeo, £4 for a 250ml tube) and just generally know a lot more about paint and what I like.

 Last time I shared my gelato’d backgrounds. Last Friday I set to making a collage, a little street of houses:


“All at once am I several stories high…”   It’s a tiny little book, only about 3″ square, so I expanded the page with tip ins.
I also played with my new Caran D’Ache Pablo pencils, they are lovely for detailed shading:


Day 174

A busy day, with an early start taking Simon to a train station, then work, home to pack 4 boxes of crockery for the upcoming move, then cooking a lovely pasta dish, with bacon and freshly podded peas in, so I did some colouring in in bed. I coloured this doodle from my mini sketchbook, using my inktense pencils:


Enjoyable and relaxing. I learned that the colours painted on the ends of the pencils don’t always match up to the leads, and that some pencils colour much more smoothly than others do.