Looking Back

The end of the year is only a short while away.  Soon the book will close and can no longer be opened.  What an interesting year this has been.  How will you remember the year?  Have you recorded it in any way?  Have you recorded it the way you would have wished?

If you are looking for a new way to keep a record of next year you may like to consider something like this

‘This is a year-long time-lapse study of the sky. A camera installed on the roof of the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco captured an image of the sky every 10 seconds. From these images, I created a mosaic of time-lapse movies, each showing a single day. The days are arranged in chronological order. My intent was to reveal the patterns of light and weather over the course of a year.

This video is designed to be viewed in a large format, so it’s best viewed in full-screen mode at 1080p.

More information on the project site:

If you view it in full screen mode you will notice that the time of day is noted in the bottom right hand corner.

Today’s 365 Days of Colour

Today’s Just Snaps


Do it Yourself

What do you do when you run out of Gesso?

Make your own!

2 parts PVA glue
1 to 2 parts pigment. (I use either black or white acrylic paint)
2 parts talcum powder. (Baby talc works too)
1 to 2 parts water. Use enough to create the consisteny you need.

Mix everything together. Keep mixing until it’s smooth. Use a container that you don’t need to re-use for food.

Just Snaps
365 days of Colour

Old and New

The sky was blue, and the sun shone.  Yesterday was the most beautiful of days, but we had to work!  I enjoy my work, so it was no real hardship, but it would have been good to be able to take advantage of the sun.

Our journey to Wiltshire begins on the motorway.  We travel the road often, so the journey is timed to perfection.  No need to speed, it helps to conserve the fuel anyway.  Cars overtake us, many doing over 90, and occasionally we notice that one is being followed by an unmarked police car.  Sometimes we pass them, now stationary, on the hard shoulder, usually they are gone – into the distance before our junction.

Once away from the hustle and bustle of the motorway our journey moves on to the old roads.  Some of them originally tracks across the Salisbury Plain.  The views are stunning.  Old earthworks and ancient hills can be seen for miles around.  Yesterday was particularly striking as the sun rises later now,, and the shadows were long in the bright morning light.  This emphasised the shapes of the hills and fields in a new and exciting way, one which had changed by the time we returned, the sun now higher and even brighter.

This photograph gives nothing away!  It was taken last year in early March, from a moving car, and as a design source for a workshop.  However, it gives an impression of the distance.  The whiteish blob on the hillside is, in fact, a white horse carved into the chalky hillside near Pewsey.

Equally fuzzy, and again not giving much away, this next photograph was taken for the same reason on another date.  It shows the other side of the road.

The final one is a little clearer, though.

This last one is the best of a bad job (actually, it was a good job, because each one illustrates the point I wanted to make on the workshop).  Salisbury Plain itself disappears into infinity.  No chance to take a better shot of this, because at the time we travel, regardless of the time of year, all shots would be directly into the sun.

Today’s photograph
Today’s artwork
Today’s colour fix

Scary, or exciting? Thursday Theme – writing implements

The blank page.  What does it mean to you?  Is it a scary canvas that has to be tackled at some point, or something to be viewed with excitement?

How about thinking laterally, and using something intended for another use?

Be bold, and write BIG

Add some water and sprinkle on some colour

Then wait for the magic to happen and voila!

You’ll find another Thursday Theme here and a third here, and lots here

The (im)perfect answer

Yesterday I told you that I was  looking forward to some crafty time with my little grandson.  Well, we did have fun, and here’s a bad photograph to show you how we got started

This poor quality snap was taken without him realising, and it would have been impossible to do so later on in the session, so this is all you will get.  The page is about a quarter of the way through, and he painstakingly completed it and then two more.  Such concentration!  He learnt the important difference between firm and gentle too, and I was amazed at how he continued with that during the whole exercise.

So, he now has a new journal – and proof that he can make purple, green and orange.  He was delighted to see them transform before his eyes, and couldn’t wait to pass on the information to his little sister.  She was more interested in his wellington boots, however, but did show some interest when told they were made from blue and yellow!  (Again, apologies for the bad picture)

The comments on yesterday’s post posed an interesting point, and I’ll endeavour to throw some light on it.

Mike10613 said ‘I’m confused now. First I thought how does a television do all the colours when it relies on RGB (red-green-blue) as it’s primary colours. then I thought red and yellow make orange, but your red look pink to me. then I thought. Am I colour blind?’

Yes, television does use RGB, but we weren’t using technology.  We were using pigments, and the primary pigments are red, yellow and blue.  If you think about  the inks printer use (which are used to produce colours on paper and not on a screen) – you will see magenta, cyan and yellow, magenta is a type of red, cyan a type of blue, and yellow – well, that’s yellow!  LOL.  So these are the types of colour we used.  All these pigments can be combined to make the colours of the rainbow and more.  They can be mixed to make the secondary colours, green, blue and purple (that’s by just mixing one with one of the others) or further mixed with both in varying quantities.  Hopefully this helps with the question.  If you need further clarification, just ask.

Incidently, every monitor interprets colour differently, so the colours that you see on the screen may not exactly match the colours we used.


Another glimpse

Most of my forays into dyeing are with chemical dyes.  Yesterday I shared a glimpse into my journal, today I thought I’d show you a quick glimpse into one of my adventures with natural dyes.  If you look for examples of natural dyeing on the web you will find that most examples are of wool, and occasionally silk.  Well, I couldn’t just leave it there, so I prepared some samples just to see what might happen.  The results are interesting, and worthy of further investigations when I have time.

Before dyeing of any sort can start the items have to be prepared.  Fabrics etc are washed to remove all traces of ‘finish’.  It is possible to buy fabrics that are ready prepared, but in my experience taking time to make sure is well worth the effort.  Threads too have a ‘finish’, often a resin, so these need careful preparation too.  This is just part of my everyday dyeing, so everything I’m showing you has previously been through these processes.  The addition of a mordant is also required, but I won’t go into the technicalities here, there is some good information here.

One of the easiest natural dyes to use is Persian Berries and that is what I’ve used to produce this lovely selection of yellows.

The photograph is a little out of focus, apologies, but it will give a good idea of the different colours available from the same dye bath.  Silk and Wool are both animal fibres.  I didn’t use wool, but the deep Old Gold at the top on the left is silk.  The rest of the items are also natural fibres, but plant based.  There is cotton of various weights, including the thread that you see at the bottom.  The pretty mid yellow at the top is a fabric woven from 70% silk and 30% cotton, it’s interesting to see the difference between the pure cotton and the pure silk.  At the bottom is a scrunchy, texture fabric.  This is viscose, again made from plant fibres, it has taken the dye in an interesting way which isn’t fully visible on screen.

Indigo is probably the best known natural dye (see here also).  It produces blue, but unlike other natural dyes does so with a succession of ‘dips’.  Woad is a form of indigo, and by clicking the link you will find a comparison between the two.  The additional threads I’m showing you in the next picture were dyed with indigo (left)  and woad (right), then dyed again in the same dyebath as the yellows above.

The silk thread was included in the bundle as a ‘control’ and you can see by my placing that the colour is similar.  Look closely and you will see subtle differences in the blues and greens.  In each bundle the darkest had 5 dips, the lightest only one, and the mid-range colour was dipped three times into the respective indigo or woad.

I’m about to embark on a project using them all together.  I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.  You can buy material for natural dyes from various sources, but personally I would prefer to buy from someone that actually uses them.  This source in France is highly recommended.  They do good courses too, and if you are looking for a UK source, you can’t do better than this one.  Other places may be cheaper – but you will miss out in the long run.

(If you would like to see an offer you may not be able to refuse take a look at this post here)

A Glimpse

I don’t often let you see inside my journal!  It is a collection of sketches, art effects and bits and pieces, usually purely a working surface for a variety of reasons.  Today, I thought I’d show you just a quick glimpse inside as you saw the beginning and inspiration in yesterday’s post.

You will remember that we visited Bramshill House, and I showed you a few pictures.  If you clicked the Wikipedia link on that page, you may have travelled further along the investigative trail and seen that the House is renowned for secrets, including ghosts.  It just so happened that I had all these bits to hand this morning, so this is the result.

It is a mix of printing, collage, ink, paint and words.  It features hidden images and writing, and I’m not sure it will display well on the screen.  It is a reminder that no matter how big or small the house or poor or wealthy the family there is always the probability that there are secrets behind closed doors whether of our homes, or thoughts.

One day all our inner thoughts will be revealed.  Are you ready for that?  I’m not sure I am…..

Displacement Activity

So, are you reading this because you have nothing else to do – or is your visit to avoid doing something else?  I’m writing it in my scheduled time, but that doesn’t mean I may not take a break and look at something else while I’m here.

I’m sure we all have reasons for displacement activities, but I realised yesterday that I am more likely to indulge when there is something I don’t want to ‘face’.  I’ve been feeling really unwell for a while.  I kept pushing it to the back of my mind and that was fine while we were preparing for the Festival of Quilts, there were plenty of things that had to be done to a deadline.  After that, though, things quieten down, and I’ve spent the week realising that I must sort myself out, and so that is in hand.  However, I don’t want it to play on my mind, so I thought I’d better find myself something to do, then, I realised that I had already been doing it!  I had already found a way of not thinking about it!

What’s my displacement activity for these circumstances?


The more I thought about it the more I realised that I had embarked upon a series each time I had been ill.  I don’t mean each time I caught a cold or cough, but each time something was rearing its head that needed sorting out.  So why am I surprised that this is the case now?

You may think that sticking bits of paper onto a background is not exactly a displacement activity, but  let me talk you through the process.

First gather and colour your papers.  Yes, you can use shop bought ones, and you can use those from magazines etc, but it is so much more satisfying to colour ones own.

Don’t presume that you know what papers these are!  They come in all shapes and sizes and qualities.  Mine always come from a reputable source.

It’s also important to note that you can never have enough!  I don’t just use them for these little collages, I stitch into them too, so the textures that are created are just perfect for something

The next step is to grab a few and just tear.  There is no point in being too precise if it’s a displacement activity!

And then, all that’s left is to stick them down.  There is a certain amount of thought to this, but as I’m limiting myself to 20 minutes there is no time to ‘um’ and ‘aw’ for too long!

Yes, today I was heavily into Green!

Looks as though someone forgot to shut the barn door.

(By the way, my ‘real’ displacement activity is Sudoku!)

One a Day

Always read the instructions on the label!  If the medication is ‘One a Day’ make sure that’s what you take.  You know it will do you good.  The same applies to ‘One a Day Collage’!  Yes, I’m still at it.  Here’s today’s…..

If you would like to see what you have missed you can find them here and even keep up with them hereOne a Day blog posts does you good too!  You should think about joining in.  Let me know if you do.