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Friday 26 August 2011

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Trip to Bookham Village

I need to get out of the house today so decided to go to Bookham (Surrey) because there is a delightful little clothes boutique there called the Sweet Pea.  What I didn't know was that it is closed on Wednesdays (sigh).  However, they also have the Patchwork Cabin which is a must visit and a another charming little sewing shop called Granary Crafts which is in a little cottage covered in ivy (picture from phone):

Then it was on to Mimi's Teas and Gifts and a wonderful piece of cake and tea.  I settled in here for a while to do another sketch for my online course.  One of the signs to buy on the wall was 'Scatter Kindness' and I thought that was lovely so I added it to my drawing.

Oh and I stopped by a shoe shop which I thought would be too conservative for me but they stock some great German make shoes that are so comfy and I ended up buying a little off-white pair.  Also stopped in at the little charity shop and bought a large format puzzle for Mom - £1 - a real find.  Finally I bought a little fabric bag for my drawing/watercolour bits and bobs from The Grange shop which supports people with disabilities to become independent.

All-in-all, a very successful morning!

Monday 22 August 2011

Drawing in Ripley

Our latest drawing assignment was to find a little cafe somewhere and draw our plates/cups/surroundings and I had the perfect place in mind....

Ripley Village in Surrey is one of my favourite places and especially now that a little cafe/shop has opened called the Nest which, if heaven was to open one, this would be it.  The attention to detail is wonderful - down to the little house door stopper and the fabulous array of eclectic teapots that they serve you tea in.  I really didn't take enough photographs and have not done it justice.  You will just have to go along yourself to feel the tranquility and delicacy of the place.

Saturday 20 August 2011

Another Day of Fabric Printing

I have been busy doing a new picture quilt and I needed some fabric to go around the edges so set up designing fabric in Photoshop Elements in the right colours.  It's hard to believe that my original pictures/pattern were these:

These are the printed fabrics:

Just a tip - never throw out blurred pictures that you think are useless.  I use all my dud photos as backgrounds!

Thursday 18 August 2011

SVG Dog Stencil

I got such an amazing response to my puzzle I thought I would upload my svg dog stencil.  So to download this stencil go here.  To read about how I created it go here.  I added a little shiny spot to the nose which you can't see here.

Wednesday 17 August 2011


Finished my first assignment.  Next one to have more of a journal quality if I can - something I'm not good with.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Mom's 90th Birthday today

It was my mother's 90th birthday today so I had her around with some of her friends for a tea party with sandwiches and cake.  She is gluten intolerant but I managed to get some gluten free cupcakes so here is her birthday 'cake'.

Think it's an early night tonight.

Signed up for an Online Course...

I'm so busy at the moment that I can't believe I signed up for an online drawing and watercolour course with Jane LaFazio.  Actually I know why.  If I don't commit myself to doing a course I won't get any drawing and painting done - it always goes to the bottom of the heap!  So I've done the drawing for my first assignment now I have to find the time to do the painting!
And guess what, I took off some keys because there were too many on the keyring to draw and then I rushed out of the house to make supper for Mom last night and when I got back - oh hell, I've locked myself out.  My husband thought it was hilarious.  Fortunately he was on the train home and I only had to wait half an hour.

Friday 12 August 2011

117 Piece Jigsaw puzzle

You can download the 117 piece jigsaw puzzle svg file from here.  I have taken the lines and extended them beyond the edge so that the ends are clean and sharp:
To use this in SureCutsALot, go to the menu and select Import.

Patterned Fabric

Been experimenting with pictures to make patterned fabric with the intention of possibly quilting them into small bags.  I created a pattern out of the fur and used it as a background then smoothed the animal into the pattern.


lion cub

To create a new pattern in Photoshop Elements:
  1. Open the picture you want to take the pattern from.
  2. Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool (press M)
  3. Select area that you want to make into a pattern by click and dragging around it. Move the selection as required.
  4. Go to the main menu and select Edit>Define Pattern....
  5. Name the pattern and save.
Here are the original pictures that my husband took at a game reserve in South Africa:



Tuesday 9 August 2011

More Pics...

I'm doing some experimentation with printed fabric and Inktense pencils but not ready to show where I am yet so here are some pop art pictures that I was messing around with this weekend:

Pop Giraffe by ImageArtistry



Taking a Break

Spent yesterday evening just experimenting.  Nice to do something relaxing.  Not sure about the second picture - the balance doesn't feel quite right.

Sunday 7 August 2011

A jigsaw made - but not perfect

I finally got one done but it isn't perfect.  I had to use the Cricut on what is called a multicut and the second cut wasn't completely over the first cut.  I am not sure whether I will be able to achieve anything better with the Cricut machine.  I have spent endless hours on this and used up a fair amount of ink and cardboard.

The original picture wasn't of good enough quality so I put together a collage of birds my husband had taken.  It was quite tricky because the edges of the birds had to remain sharp so no blending, smudging etc:

Here are my findings:
  1. I think the card for a jigsaw has to be at least 700gsm thick to fit well together once cut.
  2. The card needs to be glossy otherwise the card absorbs the ink too much and is fuzzy.
  3. Glossy card really needs to be especially for photos.  The ink 'slid' on the glossy card I had.  In the end I used a plain paper setting and reduced the speed of the printer to allow the ink a little drying time.  It was still not nearly as clear as proper photo paper.
  4. Pasting proper photo paper onto card doesn't work - the paper tears when cut which is what I expected.
  5. The Cricut is limited in it's ability to cut thick card.  I would say 300gsm max.  If you put card in which is too thick you risk messing up the Cricut machine which I may well have done.
  6. I didn't put in enough contrast between the background and the birds.  Easy for me but not so easy for my Mom who has bad eyesight.
  7. I would make some of the circles that make up the puzzle inserts bigger so that they don't come out.  I generally did a good job of this but not always.
Is it time to give up?  Would so love to give a decent jigsaw to my Mom.  Maybe some more research.

Saturday 6 August 2011

It's been a long 2 days..

I am still struggling with the jigsaw.  I found a good size thickish bit of cardboard but when I printed on it, the quality was very fuzzy - even with various print settings.  I do think the quality of the picture is not good enough and I needed to try something else.  However, this was when my computer died...

The computer I have has the power switch on top and I have on a few occasions switched the computer off by mistake.  Well this time my foot pressed down on it and closed it off.  Next thing it won't reboot.  Windows has obviously become corrupted and it took me a long day to retrieve the C drive and recover my data.  To be honest I wouldn't have lost a lot because I save little on my C drive but I hate not knowing what I might have missed.  Even when I had repaired Windows it didn't feel right so I reformatted, reloaded....

Tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Jigsaw starting to look promising...

I am really pleased with my actual jigsaw graphic.  I  have been testing out cutting a small jigsaw of 12 pieces on ordinary paper and it works well.

I have spent the whole morning trying to cut my jigsaw on different thickness of card with little success.  However, a kind soul answered my plea on a messageboard and suggested I do a 'multicut' (cuts the whole pattern more than once) which I had tried before but with not enough patience!  So I tried again and it worked - it needed 3 cuts!  The card is quite thin but actually quite sturdy and because I am making a large format jigsaw to accommodate my Mother's eyesight I think it will work.  Dare I try the 100 piece jigsaw....

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Textured Pictures

Bought some cardboard today ready to test the Cricut tomorrow.  In the meantime, spent time trying out different Photoshop Techniques on my pictures of the Sacre-Coeur in Paris.

Monday 1 August 2011

Large Format Jigsaw Puzzle

Well, I am making progress on my Mother's jigsaw.  I now have the svg (scalable vector graphic) file created and ready to test on my Cricut.  Here's a view from inside Inkscape:

Tomorrow I will see if I have time to go shopping to scout for some suitable cardboard to test.  Will be interesting to see how thick I will be able to cut with the Cricut.