GA – Tag…

This week Nancy, (Gothic Arches),challenged us to make mini-arches and put them onto tags! Okay!! Still stitching, mixed media-style, here’s mine:

The arch is cut from the fabric/paper quiltie, attached with the oversewn net to the handpainted tag (from last year!!). I have been playing with glass cabochons over text, so I added one to the tag to see if I like the effect. I used red metallic thread to stitch round the netting, which looks really cool IRL – shame it doesn’t really show on the scan… ah well!

I’m off to work now, but happily I have Monday/Tuesday free for gardening, errands and car washing, provided the weather holds. I have to take advantage of getting the house in order while the weather’s good and I have a little time off – don’t we all?!

To tell you the truth…

…I had illusions that my style and my art had really changed significantly in the last 12-18 months. I used to believe that looking back at previous artwork gives you a sense of your journey, your artistic evolution, etc. So for this week’s Open Theme at Gothic Arches, I decided to revisit some of the arches I have so enjoyed making.

Imagine my surprise when I came across these two…

"Jolly hockey sticks"

This was loosely based on my old Grammar school – The Green School for Girls (pronounced gels !!), in Isleworth, Middlesex – green flannel knickers for PE and sports… and of course, the tiny bell rings!! It probably came off a chocolate bunny!! 😉


I don’t know exactly when I created this one, but I stitched that by hand – not in my nature to suffer, so maybe before I won my sewing machine!

This shows me that the style, or what makes my artwork mine, hasn’t changed all that much, I just find it easier to use all the techniques that I have learnt and I probably incorporate a lot more layers these days, but I haven’t changed much, have I? *grins*

Both of these have handmade backgrounds, a bit of paint, grunge, stitching, staples and dymo… and humour (but that’s always present)! If you have a look at my sidebar, I have been adding links to some excellent blogs I keep discovering – I can’t say “randomly”, because The Universe doesn’t roll that way, does it? It’ll come as no surprise that quite a few are mixed media and fiberarty!

The All-Seeing Eye vs The Coffee Mouse Bandidos!

It all boils down to your perception really and I never tell you what to see or think, but today I have to make plain a few details or you may well think I have finally lost the plot! Bear in mind that this arch was created for “Wild and Wacky” – Gothic Arches and also “Party Animals” at Mixed Media Monday and you may understand a little better!

Caution, Coffee Mice approaching...

Many moons ago, there was a small group of mice living in Chelsea, in the basement of Whittard’s Packaging and Distribution plant. These mice loved the smell of the coffee bean sacks and quite naturally, made their homes there. Inevitably, one thing led to another and they found they’d developed a taste for the bean itself.

One day, one of the mice overhead an ‘office-bod’ lamenting the shortage of Guatemalan coffee beans. He feared they may well have to discontinue selling the brand because of the theft of beans from the bushes in Guatemala… Concerned by this news, the mouse ran back and told the rest of the group.

They decided to make contact with their cousins in Guatemala, via Mousebook’s social media networking platform, to see what was really occurring. News soon filtered back that there was a group of mice known locally, in Guatemala, as The Coffee Mouse Bandidos, who were stealing the ripe beans from the Platinillo Estate, before they could be harvested and sent to Chelsea for Whittard’s…

A few texts and Mousebook messages later, the problem was resolved and the CM Bandidos elected to go further afield for beans, out of respect for The Whittard Cheslea House Mouse Consortium. Aaahhh, the power of social media networking is indeed, awesome! 😉

NB: No mice were harmed in the telling of this tale. The mice are from the original coffee box given to me by a friend who knows what a complete hoarder I am! I have indeed sniffed the box before cutting it up for this project!

(Steam)Punkin’ Miss Edna May!

Gothic Arches – Guest hostess Martina – very talented and super-creative lady, chose Steampunk for us this week. Aha! It’s all a bit beyond me, really, although I do admire that style. I just have metal and a Victorian-style photo of Miss Edna May to share…

Steampunkin' Miss Edna May!

I always enjoy the challenge of stitching, but this was a bit tricky as it’s a metal snake-chain length… and I did manage to bend a needle – see the culprit watchface, bottom right? Really, the culprit was me, of course, sailing too close to the wind again!

I have been all day creating this arch due to the fact that I thought it’d be a good idea to rearrange areas of my creative space, mount some artwork for the Gallery AND complete (well, almost), an assemblage – also for the Gallery, all during the day!!

See, I just can’t settle at the moment. I have a pasta bake in the oven, DH is due home soon and then we have to pop out again to collect some odd bits of tackle that someone rang up about yesterday. Luckily, that’s locally in Bude, so we shan’t be out for long!

NB: Sometimes, when I look at what I’ve written, I realise why I’m tired!

Calculating crackles…

Just for fun! Gothic Arches this week – “crackle” is the theme, think paint, peeling and/or crackle paste. Here’s mine, leftover from the shabby chic challenge and ’embellished’, if that’s the right word for it!!

A calculating man

Image from Crafty Individuals miniatures…

Gothic Arches – Shabby chic…

That’s the challenge today on GA – Nancy chose “shabby chic” and to be quite honest, I went OTT with the shabby… well, there was so much paint around this morning, and you know what I’m like when I get paints out!


I’ve been seeing quite a bit of the corrugated cardboard around again late last year and now too, so in an effort to be good, recycle and declutter, I went looking for cardboard this morning. This was one of those boxes you get catfood puches in – nice cardboard, but tricky to dis-assemble without tearing… unless you poke the tine(s) of a fork in a groove, push and flick! Push as far as you can and the top paper lifts and you can tear it up nicely without ripping all the layers. Great texture! [The gold spots are simple round paper fasteners].

Once I’d done that, I gessoed and painted it, naturally! Lots of dry brushing – oh and in the interests of science, or the need to experiment – playing what if? – I used a toothbrush to paint with. This toothbrush has uneven lengthed bristles and so you get a more random texture and stroke…

While it was drying (before I cut out the arch), I used the remaining paint plus, in my altered book, preparing a piece for tomorrow [Mixed Media Monday]. Then I decided to see whether I can paint a picture on a bamboo placemat, with a toothbrush… it’s coming along nicely! I bet some people reading this think I’m demented – using a fork on cardboard, painting with a toothbrush, covering textbooks with paint, trying to paint on placemats, etc. It’s just having fun and I can’t stand waiting for paint to dry!

The image I used for the arch is from my seemingly never-ending stack of Miniatures by Crafty Individuals, which I love! I see they’ve brought out some new papers and stamps recently… I am tempted but my pockets are “to let” at the moment, which is probably why I’m experimenting so much! 😉

Marina, aquamarina…

Today’s Gothic Arches theme is Birthstones. I’m a Pisces, born in March, and I’ve never been particularly sure about my birthstone, so I went online and looked it up! Aquamarine… sea water blues/greens. Apparently, the preferred, and most valuable aquamarines are sky-blue. Well, not for me – no, my choice is blue-green, or sea water!

Interestingly, I started humming, “Marina, aquamarina…” from the kids’ programme of the 60s/70s. I could be wrong, but I think she was a sea  creature, like a mermaid and Scott Tracey was secretly in love with her. It must’ve been Thunderbirds, or I could have it completely wrong! In any event, I have given Marina a makeover:


I was upstairs, thinking about this arch, not sure what I wanted to do and randomly (or not?), squirting little globs of watercolour paint/pigments into my porcelain palette!! Still unsure, I played around on several surfaces, the first being a sheet of paper from Crafty Individuals, not that it’s recognisable here!! Then I put some washes down on a text page, followed by a variegated wash on a 7″x5″ sheet of watercolour paper. I nearly ruined that because I was too impatient to let it dry before going back in again!

I also have a watercolour abstract in progress which is layers of colours and drips. I am using that as a kind of “controlled experiment”, which is fun and interesting at the same time. At the very least it will be an awesome background! So anyway, a bit of painting through punchinella, a small magazine image, some text and colour-combined doodling, and that’s how Marina came to be!

I hope you don’t mind reading what goes through my head and onto my surfaces as I explore my painting? I think blogging about it is as important as making journal pages, in that, unless you are looking over my shoulder (difficult, unless you can fly, as there’s no space for two of us to sit upstairs!), you’d have no idea how I arrive at a piece. If I did share every step, this post would be twice as long and you could probably read it to put you to sleep!

Now I shall go see all the other entries, feed the dogs and prepare dinner for us. I might even get time to continue with one of the other pieces I left drying upstairs!

Regal Ladies…

This Sunday’s Gothic Arch theme, set by Nancy. I had cut my arch from chipboard and used the off-cuts to decorate the arch!! The lady is from an old Majica Trading card and I cut a metal flower in half to make a crown for her…

I rather like her! Little face stamp from Third Coast RS. Thanks Nancy, for a fun challenge!!

Gothic Arch Shrine, or is it?

Nancy set us a 2-week challenge to create a shrine for our gothic arches… I started prepping a large cigar box and then changed my mind! That happens a lot, especially if I’m not really sure what I want to do…

So I took a deep frame and played around with that. I used paint, wax paper that had paint on it, more paint, layers of shimmering paint, dictionary words, gold spray paint (just for fun and experimentation!), and then I got out the 2 wooden seahorses and painted (again), the arch under the sea… and added woolly strands of seaweed, some netty waves, more paint and fish round the outside… oh and some glitter, in 3 shades of blue.

Top half…

See the back of the arch they are swimming past?

Shame about the flash, but it’s really pretty – promise!!

Orange & Black

Gothic Arches theme this Sunday. Great contrasting colours, aren’t they? The background here is left over paint from backgrounds I was painting for my art journalling class. No spare cardstock goes unpainted when I paint – any surface is fair game not to waste paint. The stamps are all handcarved by me and the image is from Crafty Individuals Miniatures. I used thin copper wire to attach the image and the metallic elements – no glue! Here are the pics…


“You do not realise how far you have come, till you look behind.”


A brass nut, and some tube beads…


Wrapping it all up…


Little spiral to finish, plus an orange seed bead!