Saturday, 27 December 2008

closest book and a bit of knitting

I saw this on Anna's blog

How to play:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence along with these instructions in a note in your BLOG.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual... Use the CLOSEST

Cont in patt until back measures 14(16:19:21)cm/5.5(6.25:7.5:8.25)in from cast-on

from Junior Knits by Debbie Bliss. It was abit difficult to do. I wasn't sure when the sentences started...

I'm actually knitting a bolero for Toddler Girl which is on page 70

since her chocolate brown shrug turned out too small...

Cardboard kitchen - summary

  • I bought the plans from fortytworoads on etsy. Cost £4.30
  • collected cardboard and glued some together to get required strength
  • cut out shapes and notches
  • assemble
  • cover with gummed tape to tidy edges etc. Cost £1.50
  • cut hole in oven door and use a poly pocket as window, use handle from old drawer unit
  • add square baking tin as 'sink'
  • add knobs. Cost £6
  • add hob plates (cardboard with string painted black)
  • add curtain wire and make curtain from tea towel. Cost £0.75
  • paint and decorate using leftover emulsion paint
total cost £12.55

Cardboard kitchen - finished!

I was still painting and gluing at 11pm on Christmas Eve but it was all finished and secure by the time Toddler Girl came downstairs on Christmas morning.

The oven door is still abit wonky, but the velcro works well. It only catches a little so she can open and close the door with minimal effort. I was abit worried that she could pull the whole door off trying to open it.

It has so far survived a very large water spill - inside the oven and all around the sink.

I will need to seal the edges of the hole I cut for the 'sink' as any water spillage will weaken the exposed cardboard. I'm also not sure how long the cardboard hinge will last on the oven door.

But so far so good....

The big test will come when she makes 'cakes' using all the new cooking equipment she got for Christmas...

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Cardboard kitchen - update

I've had to add an extra bit to the oven door as it was very very squint, so its abit behind schedule. It does have a window and a hinge.

I also had a problem with the hook for the curtain under the sink and I had to secure it with glue, hence no curtain in this picture.

The hob plates are stuck down. And all the knobs are screwed in place and are turnable.

Still to do
  1. repaint oven door and add handle and secure
  2. add H for Hot and C for Cold on the taps and maybe something on hob knobs
  3. add oven knob on front panel
  4. decorate utensils tin and suitcases
  5. add bunting!
  6. add further decoration... panels of colour or flowers...

Monday, 15 December 2008

Studio Journal - cupcakes

My colour scheme for the cupcake shelf on Toddler Girl's cardboard kitchen.

Studio Journal - two pockets

I haven't spent any time decorating my sketchbook. I find it too much of a distraction. A lesson I have finally learned after procrastinating over what colours to use and what technique to use and what to do aaarrrghhhhhh.

Studio Journal - Location Location

Last month I bought the new book by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn - Location, Location.

It came after I had made a proposal to be part of an exhibition in Dumfries of books made by artists to be held in May/June 2009.

The brief read like this...

"We are inviting submissions on the theme of PLACE, IDENTITY AND MEMORY. The Exhibition's theme is one, not three, but it is one that is reached by three initial routes, which are often seen in isolation. Where Identity, Place and Memory meet, mingle and reflect each other is a fruitful territory, one that is sometimes expressed particularly potently in the book form. We are intrigued to open out the visual poetry in this theme. All submissions must be centred on books or projected books, but can include clearly associated art works. Submissions can be of an existing book or books, or a proposal for a new work, backed up by evidence of previous work. Related ideas for book events, workshops or installations are also encouraged. We are interested to present each artist in a context if possible, so multiple exhibits by each artist are acceptable."

At first I thought, "eh?". But after some time I realised that my work on my cafe exhibition was a starting point.

My idea came out looking like this...

And my text...

"My proposal for Place, Identity & Memory is to create 3 unique books using mainly fabric. These books will take the style of a journal using St Monans and my own journey as an artist as inspiration. My aim is to convey my feelings for the place I have made my home and where I am raising my child. I want to explore the landscape, seascape and architecture of the village. But most importantly I want explore what it means to the people who live here - in a village that changes dramatically with the seasons. Not just the weather and the light but the residents too. The books will include hand stitched images and include additional attached items. I want the books to feel like a collection of items bound together as one, perhaps dated like a diary. All the books can be handled freely. I also want to include the design work which leads to the finished pieces. I work with paper sketchbooks, which are sometimes handmade. These contain samples, photos, notes and ideas. I hope that by showing the supporting design work with the finished fabric books I will add to the viewers understanding of the journey I (and the village) have taken."

This is the first exhibition I have made a proposal for. The first written statement, apart from my ramblings on here...

It was rejected.

But I still aim to work through the proposal. I need to focus on one idea and explore it fully. A New Year resolution for 2009.

And so I have closely read my new book, Location Location...

Of course all my doodles, mindmaps and ramblings are noted in my sketchbook.

Studio Journal - random pages

I started a sketchbook back in June for Sharon B's Studio Journal class.

I'm still using it... shock horror.

After humming and hawing I settled on a landscape A4 hardback spiral bound euro sketchbook, bought directly from Seawhite.

This is the type I used for my C&G course.

I like its flexibility (snipping the pages and reordering them) and the thickness of the paper.

I have photographed some of the pages to show how I'm using the book. Given my limited creative output in recent months its really become a catch all...

A collection of a perfume bottles. I aim to sketch these. I like the shapes...

A collection of clothing from Boden catalogue for inspiration... if I ever get around to embroidering Toddler Girl's t-shirts.

Recipes to try.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

2008 Resolutions - end of year review

This is my 2008 resolutions review (in bold)

Take it Further - Sharon B's 2008 challenge. Haven't attempted any of them. I will print out the final list and add it to my sketchbook for future reference...

attend a stitch group every Tuesday night in local cafe. Its for stitchers and knitters. Not every Tuesday but at least 50% of the time. I've knitted 2 cardigans for Toddler Girl, a shrug that didn't fit, several scarfs etc. And I'm currently making some clothes for Baby Annabell.

continue to work on my fabric book. no progress. Its definitely on hold. I'll maybe make use of what I have done and give up on it...

blog at least 2 times a week - Monday and Friday. I hope this will stop me surfing under the pretence of blogging and encourage me to produce something to blog about (over the weekend and through the week). nope. I only blog when I have something to show.

reduce the time wasting! No progress on this one. Maybe I should ban my laptop...

Sharon B's Visual Journal course. I'll post some photos of the sketchbook I started for this course. I'm now using it as a catch all...

Exhibition 2008 - 8 pieces completed on time. 2 sold, 3 re-exhibited in St Andrews, 1 taken apart and 2 others reused... (I'd like to make a cover for a new needle book with one).

Other stuff done...

  • I collected all the letters of the alphabet.
  • I've knitted:-a blue cardigan and a pink cardigan and a brown shrug. 1 hat and 1 scarf. and some doll clothes.
  • discovered that the backside of my stitching is often more exciting...
  • rediscovered my love of Klimt
  • some ideas... scattered pom poms, mushroom spore prints, knitted sculptures, seaweed, shingle box,
  • hopefully finishing a cardboard kitchen...

Stitch Explorer 2009

Sharon B's new challenge... Stitch Explorer 2009. Starts January 15th.

I have signed up. I'm not sure I'll manage all, most or even any of the challenges but I'll have a go...

"Each month on the 15th of the month I will post details of either a slightly unusual or lesser known stitch, or a style of embroidery. Please note I will be looking at embroidery styles as well as stitches. Sometimes it will be both. Sometimes it will be one or the other.

I think anyone who did or watched TAST quickly realised that although a stitch can be worked in a traditional manner if you look at the structure of the stitch and its use the stitch can be changed completely. Looking at how a stitch is constructed and adapting that makes for some interesting discoveries. The same holds true when we look at different embroidery styles. Looking at how and why a style might be worked in a particular manner and investigating that, makes many styles more versatile than people realise.

Each month I will provide readers with enough information to enable them to explore, investigate and or adapt the stitch or style. Readers can use the challenge stitch or style on any project they choose. This means people can adapt the challenge to their needs. "

I'm interested to see what Sharon presents and how it is interpreted...

I didn't manage any of the 2008 challenge. I had intended to use her monthly 'prompts' in a visual journal but I didn't find the time...

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Cardboard kitchen - update

The cardboard kitchen has been taking up most of my creative time. That and another cold and a Toddler Girl who no longer takes an afternoon nap no matter how tired she is. Oh, and online Christmas shopping and now wrapping....

So, its white...

I have decided to place the hob knobs on top of the cooker and just place the oven knob on the front panel.

I hummed and hawed over whether to fit a sink. I tried a round deep pie tin but was unconvinced. Then I tried a square cake tin and it looked better. I am worried I have limited the work surface space but as Karen, the professional artist, pointed out she can still make stuff in the 'sink'.


I have started the oven door. I have cut a window and will fit a clear plastic 'window' (a poly pocket!) I think I will use cardboard to make a hinge and I need to fit some velcro to keep it up.

I started to make a little curtain for under the sink, but I found some cupcake tea towels in Woolworths (I will really miss it when its gone) and I have used half a tea towel to make a curtain and also as inspiration for the decoration...

I also used some paper string to make hob plates and then painted them black.


a close up of the cupcake shelf...


Still to do
  1. finish oven door by fitting window, hinges and painting inside white and securing
  2. paint hob knobs green and oven knob green and fit (allowing for turning!)
  3. glue down hob plates
  4. secure blue taps and add H for Hot and C for Cold
  5. paint cupcake shelf
  6. create a utensils tin in matching colour scheme
  7. add tea towel holder
  8. think about a clock?
  9. add further decoration... panels of colour or flowers...

Monday, 24 November 2008

Quality Street

Sweetie wrappers + glue + glitter + Toddler Girl = a really lovely collage

Cardboard kitchen - update

I've used gummed paper to tidy up all the edges. I do like the look of corrugated cardboard but because I had to glue board together to get strength and thickness the edges looked untidy. The gummed paper works really well. I also used it to tidy up the joins. It has given it even more strength.

I added a panel for the hob knobs and I still need to work out how to strengthen and fix the oven door. I want to cut a window in it too. I need a handle as well...

I also need a 'sink' and I think I will paint the two large wooden knobs silver for the taps.

The cupboard under the 'sink' needs a curtain.

and of course the whole thing needs painted...

Since these photos were taken, I have covered the whole thing with gummed tape. I hope this will give an even surface on which to paint.

It is slightly higgledy piggledy but I think it adds to the charm.

I want to get it all finished for Toddler Girl's Christmas...

How many days until Christmas?

another new book

Location, Location by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. Book 21 from Double Trouble Enterprises.

I've looked through some of the books in this series and although they looked lovely and inspiring, they didn't 'speak' to me...

This one does. Hopefully get some ideas down on paper...


a new book

lovely ideas and all for £3.75 from

Friday, 21 November 2008

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Friday, 14 November 2008

Baby Annabell Project - a hat!

I used a modified version of this pattern. I knitted it flat and fudged the decreases but it looks ok. Especially with the addition of a pom pom.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Baby Annabell Project

Baby Annabell has been with us for nearly a year now. For her 1st birthday (and Toddler Girl's Christmas) I'm knitting some clothes...
  1. a hat
  2. a cardigan
  3. a skirt
Some improvisation may be necessary, as I'm not keen on the lacy frilly knitting patterns which seem to be available for dolls. This may take a while...

Cardboard kitchen - update

I need to get this project going again.

To do:-
  1. cut lower cardboard piece
  2. strengthen middle section
  3. strengthen shelf
  4. make oven door - include a window
  5. acquire 'sink' and cut hole
  6. make curtain
  7. decide on hob plates and taps
  8. paint the whole thing! Think I'll do it in white.
  9. install 'sink', taps and hob plates
  10. hang curtain
  11. blackboard on side?
  12. hanging hooks for utensils?

Sunday, 9 November 2008


I have finally found an inexpensive practical and reasonably faltering new parka type coat for winter and so I was able to pack away the totally inadequate and rather ugly jacket that I've had for the past 4 years.

Whilst folding it up, I heard some loose change. When I searched the pocket I found £36.50.

I'm not sure why I had £36.50 in cash or indeed how I managed to leave it in the pocket of a jacket I haven't worn in at least 2 months, but it was a very very pleasant surprise.

Friday, 7 November 2008


probably late as usual with this! Think this beta version went live in July. Looks interesting, some lovely stuff.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Snowdrop Exhibition at Cambo House

There is an annual art exhibition on a snowdrop theme at Cambo House, near Kingsbarns, 31st January - 8th March 2009.

I think I might submit a piece...

photos taken February 2006

Knitting - Toddler Girl's shrug



Knitting - my scarf, another one

9 rows of fishnet lace and 6 of garter. Wisp from Knitty

Bead Loom

Look what I found in a Cancer Research shop in St Andrews...

for £2! Bargain


I have just added the followers button to my right hand side bar.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

a really long list - update

1. Work through my colour wheel exercises (using my watercolour pencils and stranded cottons).
2 Finish my Christmas shopping.
3. Make some cards using materials I have to hand and do 2 things - talk to a local shop re selling them and photograph them and list them on Etsy.
4. Rework 3 pieces from my recent exhibition, i.e. take them out the frame.
5. Knit or sew some clothes for Toddler Girls babies.
6. Plant 165 free spring bulbs.
7. Finish the cardboard kitchen for Toddler Girl.
8. Finish my wisp scarf that I knitting with my Noro Kureyon sock wool.
9. Help Hubby set up his business!
10. Complete a marketing course through Aberdeen College.
11. Finish knitting Toddler Girls shrug... just some ribbing to go...
12. Use my Procion Dye.
13. Start my random piece...
14. Start reading books again
15. Download some new music...
16. Finish painting the kitchen door
17. Get my hair cut.

Half a Mile to Pittenweem

Fife Art Exhibition is on at the Kirkcaldy Musuem and Art Gallery until 28th November.

My picture is up and it is in a brightly coloured room! I'm very pleased with it as it holds your eye in a crowded room.

Next year I'm aiming for the BIG picture room. I'll need to create something at least 75cm x 50cm, preferably over a box canvas...

I'm thinking of something random (is that possible for me?!?!?!!?) and highly textured and not as pictorial as my previous submissions... my box of beads is calling.

Artist Statement

I have updated my profile...

I mostly make pictures using threads and I stitch on fabric or paper. I am inspired by my home village of St Monans, in the East Neuk of Fife. It sits between richly coloured agriculture land and the water of the Firth of Forth, both ever changing. I am attracted by textures and shapes around me and I represent these patterns and there repetition in my work. All my work is hand stitched and is usually of a small size, no bigger than 15cmx15cm. I sometimes use paint to colour the fabric, and I sometimes hand dye my threads. But I’ll use whatever I feel works within a piece. Including paper, beads and found objects. My fabric can be handmade paper, calico, old clothing or handmade felt. My most recent work has been framed behind glass and hung on a wall which has, in some cases, left me dissatisfied. I am attracted by the tactile qualities of the fabric and thread and the inherent warmth of the fabric. I want the audience to have some sense of that too. This has led me to explore non framed options like fabric books. To engage the viewer and allow them to interact with the piece.

Sunday, 19 October 2008


Anna at Serendity has been posting samples inspired by Klimt. It reminds me of how much I like his work. I must look out my book and postcard collection...

a really long list - update

1. Complete Half a Mile to Pittenweem for Fife Art Exhibition (1st Nov - 28th Nov at Kirkcaldy Museum & Art Gallery). Completed!
2. Work through my colour wheel exercises (using my watercolour pencils and stranded cottons). Doing it.
3. Apply for a Visual Arts Award. Deadlines 3rd Oct 08 and 6 Feb 09. Nope, couldn't think of what to apply for. I need time not materials.
4.Write my Christmas list - one where I spend no money, one where I spend a little money. Only 6 presents to go.
5. Make some cards using materials I have to hand and do 2 things - talk to a local shop re selling them and photograph them and list them on Etsy. Nope.
6. Rework 3 pieces from my recent exhibition, i.e. take them out the frame. Nope.
7. Knit or sew some clothes for Toddler Girls babies. Nope.
8. Read through all my bookmarked business links and make another list of things to do! Yep.
9. Plant the 325 free spring bulbs I've just ordered and clear the garden of the summer annuals. 100 planted, 225 to go.
10. Make a cardboard kitchen for Toddler Girl. Nearly built, need to think about decorating it.
11. Knit a pair of socks. I have wool.
12. Perfect the art of mineral powder foundation. Think it looks ok...
13. Help Hubby set up his business! On going!
14. Complete a marketing course through Aberdeen College. Starting this week.
15. Finish knitting Toddler Girls shrug and hoodie. Gave up on hoodie, shrug on going.
16. Use my Procion Dye! Nope.

Cardboard kitchen - update

Pom Poms

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Half a Mile to Pittenweem

Finished. I am entering it into the Fife Art Exhibition which is at the Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery (1st - 28th Nov).

I'm really pleased with it. I had intended to use finer threads for a more impressionistic effect. But when I started stitching, I liked it chunky. More sketchy. And bold.

I wish I had taken some WIP photos. As usual I stitched then unpicked then stitched and unpicked (several times). I liked the colours and the contrast immediately but the weaving/darning technique took some trial and error. Especially the green field.

I still want to do more with my colour experiments and stranded cottons.

I entered Patch of Sea last year. It was a piece developed as part of Sharon B's Sumptuous Surfaces course on Joggles. The brief was to use neutral tones, which is not a colour palette I usually use. I was really happy with the result but at the exhibition it was hung in the neutrally toned room. Next door was the big bold colourful room. THAT is the room I want this year! Although Half a Mile to Pittenweem is only 10cm x 10cm.

Obviously I have to get selected first. I maybe shouldn't be so picky about how it is hung...

The inspirational photograph. Taken half a mile to Pittenweem, from St Monans.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Artist Statement

I plan to apply for some commissions/exhibitions in the coming months.

I need to write an artist statement.

oh dear. Help is only a google away.

Molly Gordon
Art Business
Artist Foundation

Thursday, 16 October 2008


I found Reuben Miller's 22 alphabets via Crafty Crow.

There are alphabets made from hair, elastic bands, backend of lorries, hands, people, meat etc etc. Great ideas and I love how some are presented. Maybe mess about with my own found letters in the street.

My favourite has to be the sign language alphabet.

Cupar Arts Festival 2008

I went to the preview evening last Friday. It was pouring with rain and it was dark. The exhibition includes pieces of art inside and outside. So it was maybe not the best time to go!

My friend Karen (the professional artist) had 2 pieces in a narrow claustrophobic close. She had already decided to remove the artwork each night as it was vulnerable to damage. However, given it was the opening night they were still hanging at 9pm. Sadly (unbelievably, annoyingly, frustratingly aaaarrrrrggghhhhh!!!!!!) the main piece - Banana Split - had been smashed. Between 7.45pm and 9pm the glass was smashed and it had been yanked loose from the wall. The actual banana piece wasn't damaged and she was able to re glaze it and hang it again on the Saturday. It is now taken down at 5pm each night!

It is a wonderful piece. Combined with its companion - Little Girls Flower - it suits the narrow dingy close. With the added sound effects of rowdy neighbours and pouring rain it is an unsettling viewing.

And she should feel very proud!

I'll reserve my opinion of the festival until I see it again in daylight. The outside elements seemed to lack something... not enough of them maybe... maybe I just don't get some of them.
There is a wonderful room at the YMCA which charts the drawing skills of children. I found it especially interesting given Toddler Girls mark making.

Knitting - my scarf - FINISHED!

its a HUGE 3.5m long.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Cupar Arts Festival 2008

My friend Karen (the professional artist) is showing at the Cupar Arts Festival. It runs from 10th - 26th October.

Artworks are installed at indoor and outdoor sites throughout Cupar. They include visual art / public art, music, performance poetry, and workshops. has more details.

Hopefully take a photo tomorrow night at the preview.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Cardboard kitchen

After a couple of months collecting boxes, I've cut out all the bits to make Toddler Girl her cardboard kitchen.

I now need a stanley knife to cut out all the notches...

a sampler...

I made for my Mum in 2003. One of my first and last cross stitch pieces. I think the pattern is from a Jane Greenoff magazine.

a plate...

I made for my Mum in 2004 with the help of my friend Kate who had a pottery business. I can't take credit for the design idea or technique (my finger and the end of a paint brush) but I can take credit for the 6 hours it took to paint.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

I wasn't sure whether to post this, as it is not a list or arty related.

It is very personal, which is something I avoid on this blog. But, its a marker.

I'm no sure what will happen to my lists after this. Perhaps no change, perhaps a new sense of purpose, or perhaps less activity... but its a marker.

My Mum died on 19th September 2008

I miss her.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Sculpture Diaries

Waldemar Januszczak's Sculpture Diaries

I've just watched this programme (which is available on demand for the next 7 days on Channel 4 website).

Tonight it covered Land Art and showed the Sun Tunnels by Nancy Holt. They looked amazing sitting in the Utah desert but the care and attention to their positioning makes them even more impressive. You can read more about it on Wikipedia

I was first struck by the giant structures framing the sun (they are placed as a X along the lines of the winter solstice and summer solstice) and the holes drilled through them which projects a constellation inside them.

The tunnels themselves offer shelter from the desert sun but also allow you to walk amongst the stars.

I love discovering new art!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

stranded colour wheel

Using stranded cottons in 6 colours I'm stitching a colour wheel, mixing the 6 colours to get 12.

I'm just using straight stitches and I may try darning too...

I like the overlapping straight lines... reminds me of my frottage mat.

Knitting - Toddler Girl's shrug

4ply stocking stitch marathon... only another 20" to go...

Studio Journal - colour schemes

I've done some more 'formal' colour schemes in my sketchbook. Inspired by exercises in Sharon B's Studio Journal class and my Half a Mile to Pittenweem piece.

I love the intensity of watercolour pencils, although my purples look very similar!

Studio Journal - another colour pile

this time from magazine cuttings. This is quite therapeutic and addictive. I can see me adding to this..

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