Sunday, 4 May 2008

May already

Doesnt time fly when your not looking....I'm still living upstairs, builders may be within a month of finishing downstairs but they told me that during March and April I dont hold out too much hope!

Being cooped upstairs here, I seem to have lost my Muse...........shes gone walkabout on me...... but I did today make a wet felted cone, to see if I could make one! Beaders on a yahoo group were buying Artgirls felt cones and had begun to turn them into beaded cone dolls. Buying them from the US, makes them more expensive for us here in the UK, so I figured I could make one instead...and it worked! Maybe it's not destined to be another my challenge Hole in the World piece is so I said, I need my Muse to return.....

This touch of despair has much to do with the builders and now, the car is in dock......and may cost several hundreds of pounds the garage man
Head gasket and heater matrix...........and both just sound expensive don't they!
AND I have to have my foot operated on again shortly, so another 6 weeks of inactivity and weight piling on.....!

But, hey! Spring is sprung, the swallows were flying over Spurn Head yesterday, if they have arrived, we must surely be in for summer! Mind you, they may have been swifts...I'm never completely sure which they are, as they fly so fast overhead.....
A pal and myself went to Spurn Head and walked about 4 miles or so, half of which was on sand so seemed longer!
We saw a dead seal cub sadly, pretty much decomposed and also a good sized seal bobbing up and down in the water off the beach further along.
I so hope that wasn't the cubs mum, come looking for her baby...... but no mammoth tusks to be seen, as someone recently found whilst walking that stretch of beach!
I was very good, Val's car is so much cleaner than my own, so I didn't fill it with driftwood or stones........... lol

Short and sweet this entry, will try again when I'm more tuned in!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Challenge Art Doll

I am taking part in a challenge to make an Art Doll, well a what ever takes your fancy actually, since it doesn't have to be an Art Doll. I'm making a doll, because I am! This has been organised within the Artist Matrix Yahoo group that I am a member of. The idea is to illustrate the following words . . in whichever way the Muse takes you . .
which should bring forth some
interesting ideas!
" There's a hole in the world tonight tonight, there's a cloud of fear and sorrow;
There's a hole in the world tonight, don't let there be a hole in the world

The pics above show the figure in embryonic form! The initial armature (on the right) being made with strong stems from discarded fabric flowers that were donated to our next jumble sale! The stems were already covered in a plastic finish, ideal to prevent any internal rusting. The flowers and leaves were stripped off, then I manipulated the several stems, into a shape that I liked and that would also stand alone.
The armature needed an overall cover, so I opted for some stretchy, hospital hose! (obtained from our local 'Scrapstore' and all unused!) The picture on the left shows the figure next, with a layering of Modroc, to give her strength and stability, for when the North Wind doth blow.
She was quite likely to keel over before!
She's patiently drying at the moment, whilst I gather in tangles of vine growth from 'Old Man's Beard', found in the hedgerows nearby. Not sure what the real name of it is, but it's part of the Clematis family and commonly known as ' Mile-a-Minute-Vine', because its growth is rampant!
I want to dry some of the vine and then incorporate it into the figures clothing later. Though I have an idea how I am going to form this figure, don't hold me to it! She's morphed already from the original picture in my mind, and then each time I look at her, 'Creative Gene' suggests another little twist! So she's evolving, rather like our world.

The builders have overrun my home this week and I'm forced to stay in and monitor things, but the good news is that, I've caught up on some braille for work, so feel less guilty at having to take time off.

The red bag I was knitting is completed, but I want it to have one final wash, now it has handles and inner pocket in place, before I picture it as a finished article. I have wrapped the handles in the same yarn and made a huge pink flower to go on the front, so if it survives another wash, I will record it on here.

Monday, 10 March 2008

New medical condition, 'Builders Rage'

You know, I have had my day to day life completely undermined this
past 7/8 months.

The excessive rains of last summer here in the UK, caused such havoc to areas that hadn't flooded before, and yes sadly, to areas that are at constant risk of flooding.

You can only marvel at how people go through this truama, more than once!

From Tewkesbury, Malton and York, those places you hear about, year after year, suffering loss and upheaval, they have my utmost respect!
And what about the Third World, where they have so little to lose in the first place!

I am angry with myself, that I am SO upskettled by my situation,
when so many farther afield have lost so much more, and won't have the benefit of an Insurance Company to assist them.
I didn't have water pulsing through my home downstairs, it was built up out back and permeated air bricks, it rose up beneath the floor boards, it didn't get as far as lifting them, but even so it will have thoroughly sodden the old houses' foundations.

The chaos has been caused by the frustrations of the renovations, since the rains.
The way in which it was all mishandled.

The house being left unlocked 7 times so far after workmen leave..............wonder what that would mean insurance wise, had I been burgled?
I doubt I would have been covered, right?
So do the building firm fork out?
Anyway, I am guilty of 'Builders Rage' at the moment, as in Road Rage lol
It isn't a nice thing to recognise in yourself, that you could cheerfully slap these brainless individual blokes with a wet fish or take a broom handle to assist them leave!
I sit here awaiting the Site Manager to vent my Rage at, yet he has been nothing short of kindly and accomodating, it's his blessed workmen who seem
consistanly brainless.
There's room today for an all woman building force!
We can't get much worse!

So thank goodness I am fixated on making things, creating.
The 'Creatives Gene' has come to the rescue!
Mind you, why I needed to make over 100 a lapel pins ( have started on my 2nd pack 100 pins backs already . . .) or fashion tea cosies, in an age when few of us use the teapot anymore, is anybodies guess!

Maybe it's an unconscious indication that we will all move back to loose tea leaves? I might start a new trend?
Or that hand crafted, designer tea cosies, will be the new 'Must Have' kitchen shelf ornament?
True most of my cosies can double as an Artly Beanie Hat, so maybe its a sign that crazy hats are coming back in?

I mentioned previously that we should maybe all wear lapel pins, like medals on our chests, (some chests more ample than others you understand) so that we might sell more of our pins?
Bring on the shoulder pads again I say, so even small breasted women folk might wear multiple lapel pins!

I have only a bed to sit/lay on, and a pc chair, here upstairs to relax on,(...hasn't done my back much good I can tell you lol) so whatever creative challenge I tackle must be something that can be spread around me on the bed. Maybe that's why I chose the obsession of lapel pins, small things that I can attack (lol) whilst the tv, radio or cd is performing away in the background.

Okay, now, taking control of 'Creative Gene' ( bless her!), I sat and wound up 8 skeins of bulky wools last night
( used the natty method of skeins round toes, back straight and wind, wind, wind!) so my next therapeutic voyage, is to make some more bags/purses. I get more satisfaction making up those, from scratch, no pattern to follow, just do what I feel is right for the wool at the time anyway.
I'd started the 2nd side of a bag by 1am!
I think the wool is 100% Lopi?
The mohair is 60% wool so it will be interesting to see how it felts up.
And eagle eyes amongst you, might notice the unusual pair of needles?
I have another pair just like it somewhere . . .

You see! I feel more positive already!

Despite now waiting 2 hours for the damned Site Manager!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

All the same family?

Okay I have had this thought . . .

recently on the Time Team tv programme, they tested the DNA of one of the team and found that he was descended from true blood Anglo Saxon stock.

He was thrilled bless him.

It made me wonder about this proven DNA identified link, that shows how we are all, descended from one of only about 6 specific women.........worldwide!

( all that 'begatting' I imagine, seems they were doing it way before biblical times)..........

Well maybe, we intuitive, compulsive and gifted 'Crafters' are all related!

What do you think?

We might be family! ( cue for song if I'm not mistaken)

We could almost be a unique family, the missing DNA link perhaps?

( It's not even been mentioned on CSI for goodness sake!)

It would explain why, on either side of the world, there are acts of intuitive telepathy, and Crafters, making similar things as each other, wouldn't it?

It explains the feeling of dejavu, when reading someone else's comments, in a book, online or in person.....and you recognise what you had been toying with, or had thought of too.

It's darn near proof positive of that innate, spiritual, contact we seem to have at times with strangers, folk you 'know' intuitively, are in tune with, as if you had known them for years.

You can see in their work, even online, that you have the same thought patterns, sense of humour and see things in such similar ways as they do.

It would explain the creativity we recognise in each other, the complete understanding of why anyone would want to stay up till dawn to finish a piece of work...........or conversely, why someone knows that something isn't right, yet they may not know what's wrong.

(Of course it doesn't explain why I had a similar connection once, in Gander Newfoundland, with a RC AF Pilot of Helicopters ....but then I was a lot younger then. My spiritual powers were probably still under training and yes, I had been drinking.)

So, that's my gem of wisdom for this week, my thoughts on the meaning of the Creative it were...........and as an only child, even at 58, I'm chuffed to bits to have a extended family!

Please, don't all come for a cupper at once though, okay?

Now, since a post isn't particularly colourful without a picture, I will put one in and theoretically it should follow this sentence...............
Well, I suppose there's a knack to this photo placement and I've yet to, learn it!
The bag is my rendition of the English Garden Bag, so my sincere apologies to the incredibly talented pattern designer! I start a pattern off fine, then somehow, my Muse takes I invariably blame her! Of course it helps if you use the yarn and needle size suggested, maybe even the same amount of stitches in the pattern.......but I had a pair of handles dam near the same so........I was on a roll!
Keep well people, wishing you love, luck and laughter.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Ahhhh . . . that wasn't supposed to happen!
Simon says......lunge your head to your left and stare at the screen.
Now you will be able to see the earinged cat successfully!
However I accept no responsibility for stiff necks, damaged ligaments etc so please view sensibly!
If permed and frizzy hair is coming back in as they say on the radio today.....then how soon till shoulder pads are back in?
You know like the Dallas pack wore, making their shoulders extend 6" either side of the bodies beautiful!
Because then..............folk could wear several lapel pins, all at once!
You see!
I must have unconsciously anticipated these fashion revivals and that's why I've gone into overload making all these pins! ( don't hold your breath mind, since it may be a while for shoulder pads to filter through to the high street . . .)
Now, I wonder where you buy the brass gadgets that soldiers wear to hang all their medals on?
It seems to me that several pins together might as well, be one veeerryy long one!
Hold that thought...................Dad had one somewhere.................. I wonder where it is! lol


Is there any wonder I sit and make things when on my ground floor..........a scene of complete mayhem lurks! After the flood last summer, that only breached my air bricks marginally...............the insurers handling agents, sight unseen, ordered a complete ground floor gutting of my home.

They didn't answer any of my calls or emails, before the 'wrecking team' came in, so I had to turf out my suite, washing machine and fridge freezer, bookshelves and some other things..............since they wouldnt fit upstairs, even if Id been able to get them up there!

Had I only been told...........I could have had removal men and storage!

I have been living upstairs for 7 months now..........and boy am I tired of it lol

My poor dogs (2) and 3 of the 4 cats have been in care all this time.

Over half of whats been ripped out, needn't have been................and the agents surely rate as the daftest british firm Ive yet heard about!

So I sit and faff with fabric and beads, since thats all the stockpiled bedroom, Im living in, will allow me to do, so short of space am I!

Having said that, nothing moved in my room when we had the earthquake lol so guess thats one of those silver linings you hear about!

I bought some lovely Laura Burch fabric, fantastic colours and of course littered with cats! So here's what I have made out of some of it...yes, you guessed it..........more lapel pins!

These are copies of journal pages I made for a swap I was in last year. I have received my own journals back after they have travelled twice round the world virtually and am thrilled with them.
Sadly on one of the Round Robin's one member of our 10, collected 3/4 journals and did not send them on.
Now if she died, we'd all forgive her!
But she has failed to answer anyones emails or letters, yet we think she was still posting to another yahoo group,so no surprise that we thought badly of her.
Those folk that missed out sent out new journals for us to contribute to.
Then the swap Mom took ill and we haven't heard from her for months now in the 2nd journal once again, it seems one or more journals have gone astray. It is so sad that some will lose out, so all we can do is, make 'tip ins' for those that are missing journals and hope that they can stick them into new journals at home. Life or human nature seems to get in the way of kind thoughts and generosity of spirit!
The artwork within my own travelled journals has been varied and delightful, stunning and's like seeing several mini workshop techniques in effect! I truly feel sorry for those that have missed out.
I think RR's start out great but can so quickly get stalled when life gets in the way and makes havoc with our schedule!
Okay, it's late and I should be catching up on beauty sleep, since Im begining to look well past my age at this 1.15 in the morning! So night all! ( crazy that, saying goodnight to no-one there........maybe Mums schitzophrenia is in the genes afterall! :(
bad joke..................I know!

Now I'm fairly certain there is a clever way to shimmy my Angel of the Night round, so she's stood upright...........but I havent found it yet!
So 'our lass' as they say in Yorkshire, is upskettled abit!
Anyway she was my first ever Altered Art Doll and now resides in France.
She was a result of my antipathy towards the standard Xmas Angel a Phantomesque, Angel of the Night evolved.
I was pleased with her for a first attempt, but its her hair I was most fussy over! I wanted to achieve the 'picaninny look' and stumbled on a black and cream rafia shopping bag. The black bits, unravelled, much like knitting undone, came out all kinked and textural.........and then when chopped up into pieces, were just what I'd been looking for!
Her wings are hand made wet felt with a black chiffon trim at the edges. I have hung with stitching, assorted vintage and modern bits on her body.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

This pin, sorry pic abit recycled fabric with silk ribbon and roving embellished on it, then it was manipulated abit. The beads are vintage from somewhen or other, partly enamelled I think.

This is another one of several I have made to sell, testing the waters, as they say, at craft fairs this year.
Infact the owl is set for the stall too.

Mothers Day

What a lovely day this has been......hope yours was as ggod.
Bright sunny weather, with a fresh and furious wind to be fair but not cold.
I had a sleep in,then LD ( Lovely Daughter Tylah) arrived home from a night out and needed to be taken to work lol
Called for her pal who was sound asleep in bed still!
These nights out with alcohol on pay day, are all very well, if they can get up the next morning, for work! Anyways, a huge hand tied bunch of thread carnations, lilies and orchids with a stunning card............sucha fabulously thoughtful wording in it too...........and a cd!
EB (Evolving Bloke, my son) text me at 3pm to say Happy Mothers Day mind you lol
He did offer me a meal out, but I talked him round to caulking the bath for me and fitting a ceiling light!
Will be just as pleased with that done in truth.

I dared the breeze and hit the car boot, and found very little this week but, having said that I did find some wooden door wedges for 20p each. They look like little figures so will take before and after pics, when I get round to altering them.
I may well use one as a door wedge, novel eh?

The pic above is a lapel or beanie hat pin, will post afew more of what Ive been playing at making, when I have collecetd said LD, from work............
Her name by the way is my own creation.........Tyler the lads name,
which I had quite liked but wouldnt have chosen... in the unlikely event, I thought then, of having a girl...wouldnt it be nice and feminised by adding ah, instead of er... so Tylah it is. Fortuneatly she likes her name and both her Dad and I loved it.
We had both agreed on our son, the EB, being called Mitchell and he likes his name too ....phew!
Well it's alot to saddle a child into adult with isn't it, if they hate it!

The pin above is recogniseably retro fabrics I think you'll agree!
I have a mountain of pieces of similar fabrics that cry out to be in your face and I admit to becoming obsessed about making them at the moment.

Saturday, 1 March 2008


I have made quite afew AtCs, most of which I haven't taken photos of as yet.

These two were for a Swap_Bot playing card 'faces', swap a while ago.Years before, I had bought a pack of cards whilst in Denmark. Not that I play cards, but these had the most wonderful King, Jack and Queen cards I have ever seen!
I mean have you ever seen such a glamorous Queen and a more Kingly head! Naturally they cried out to be altered!
I have 2 more suits and the other individuals to alter yet too lol
Tommorrow shall take afew photos, samples of the lapel or beanie hat pins I've been making most recently, to sell at Craft Fairs.
Then Sunday I will be up early to go to the local car boot sale, which is a hive of tatt and rubbish...that I delight in trawling through lol
Much of that tatt, desperate to be 'Rescued and Resusitated' so again, proof positive of my ethical journey and yes, of my innate need to hoard . . :)

Friday, 29 February 2008

Black Gesso Sampler

This is my foray into useing black gesso. I attended a workshop with Josie Storey and the idea was to embed string, net, scrunched up fabrics etc in gesso, on a cheap and cheerful canvas.

I had done this myself before but knew I would pick something new up and enjoy the workshop experience in any case.

Josie is a enjoyable tutor and was kind enough to let me use her black gesso, something I hadn't played with before!

I covered the canvas with a liberal coating of the gesso, sprinkled on some small squares of cut vertical blinds and then brushed over them too, with the gesso.

The canvas is about 8" x 6" and the squares were about 1 cm ..... (you work the math out!!)

I dry brushed Stewart Gill paint onto the small higgledy-piggledy squares to get that irridescance.......reminiscent of the gleam on fresh bacon! (apologies to the vegetarians amongst us ) Then I lightly painted on a clear sparkly top coat paint, from the DIY store, a much better buy!

The flower I made from fine voile and dampened, moulded, sinamey and hand stitched it into place. The central 'stamens' are simply grouped bunches of embroidery threads and silvery thread interspersed within. Afew silvery cross stitches amongst the background and it felt finished.

So give that black gesso a try next time you see it on the store shelf!

And the small squares of vertical blind? I got them at our local 'Scrapstore', which is an Aladins Cave of clean industrial waste materials for Clartists like me.....Oh! and the various member groups like Play Groups and Schools, Child Minders, Community Clubs etc.

Find out if you have one within striking distance!

I enjoy making up these books, especially knowing that a teachers aide will assist a child to appreciate an authors narrative and hopefully enjoy 'reading' a book.
Something we with sight, take so much for granted of course.
Most of the children I make these resources for are pre school or early years, some are in special schools with other health issues as well, but most are integrated, successfully, within state schooling.
I am employed by the Council and count myself as very lucky to do this for a living.

I have written original stories myself, and have tactile copies with Grade 1 Braille, which are for sale upon request. They should however always be used under strict adult supervision. Since we all know how innovative small children are at swallowing things they shouldn't, or sticking things in their ears or up noses!
I take no responsibility for unsupervised use!

Most recently I dressed a Barbie doll in period costume, simulating the pantaloons, chemise, corset, underskirt, day dress, button boots and shawl that Florence Nightingale might have worn.
I also recreated a tactile copy of the Florence Nightingale Medal awarded to Nurses for bravery beyond the call of duty.
All to ensure a child with no sight, could take something other than verbal information from a lesson.
I make what a peripetetic teacher feels might enable a child under their care, to access the curriculum easier. If I can think laterally and devise and make something 'outside the box', as it were, then that's a great challenge for me and I have the satisfaction of knowing it may well help that child understand and hopefully enjoy a lesson.

I'm making cvc word dominoes at the moment, so it's a varied workload!

Daily work

My daily job is simply wonderful for someone who loves to craft.

I devise and make tactile learning resources for visually impaired children primarily.

These could be anything from a 3D model of a volcano to a tactile version, with braille, of a particular book.

I must say, I can only make a tactile and brailled version of any book, because a specific child is in need of an accessible version of that book, for educational reasons.

Copyright being what it is, I would not be able to just make a copy and say sell it!

I make an alternative version of books that are being used in a classroom, where one of our supported pupils is being taught. That child may have no vision at all and have no braille skills or possibly have slight or distorted vision. So each version made is specific for that childs use in class. So they have the opportunity to follow the story, by touch and with braille text to read, in some cases.

The pictures here show the kind of thing I do......this is the delightful story,

'One Bear at Bedtime' by Mick Inkpen and the book's illustrations are so wonderful.

I try very hard to honour the illustrators artwork and in practice, the sighted children within the class, also get the benefit of the tactile version, which I like to think, re-inforces the authors story.

liniecat at large . . .

Okay, so I have taken the plunge and started a blog . . . despite saying I would never need one, have time for one . . . and what was the point of one anyway.
(Whose a Smart Arse now then? Yes, point taken. lol)
So dear folks, if you pop in , this is ME!

Who am I?
I'm in 'muddleage' but quick witted, and not-that-half-daft a woman, who has had a fascinating life, been round the world twice and many off route places in between . . is happy in her own company ( especially since divorce, sadly)
and mother of two wonderful offspring.

I'm a 'Creative'.
Not an alien life form no, rather a person who HAS to make things.
I HAVE to, I don't choose to exactly. It's an intuitive need within me, that's been there, fermenting away since I was a lonely, only child.
Creativity is, I have come to realise, my Companion, my Therapy and my Muse
and as far as company goes . . . I am thankful for it's inspiring companionship.

So bear with me, Dear Reader, for I am learning as I go and will divulge as I progress no doubt, so you get to see the Creative within.
This Blog is to show and tell I suppose really . . . settle down Paparazzi . . .
I was thinking more of showing my crafts and achievements lol
along with the inevitable things that went wrong along the way, I'm sure too!