Friday, 20 November 2015

It's finished at last!

Some time ago, I started a project with the intention of using up some of my Gelli Plate printed fabric. To do this, I started to piece together a  background of colour co-ordinated pieces with the intention of adding a contrasting bird to it. The bird was made from a pattern that I purchased from the very talented Steph Redfern. I love her work and knew that this bird pattern would be put to good use.

My A3 collage of textiles was hugely inspired by another talented artist, Hilary Beattie. Although this piece has been nearly finished for some time,I couldn't decide how to mount it. I finally decided a giant canvas could be the answer. After staring at it for many weeks, it was time to bite the bullet and mount it. Now it's mounted, I need to find somewhere to hang's rather large!!!

As well as using up my Gelli prints, I used lots of my PaperArtsy stencils and embellished the piece with a ton of hand stitching. 

I love how you can still see the flower design on the fabric, even though I've stencilled over it.

I added some little gold squares of paper to an area fabric that I had painted with Bisters.

So thanks Steph for the pattern, I love it and will definitely use it again and thanks Hilary for the inspiration.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Class Opportunity

Next Saturday (21st November) I am teaching my Meandering Journal class at Daisy's Jewels and Crafts in Coventry. The lovely Wendy informs me that there are still a couple of places left, so if you would like to join us for a fun class, click here to book or call Wendy on 07779 110813. I'll teach you how to create amazing an background for you handmade journal which will be embellished with my latest stamps. 

The journal is hinged in three places and unfolds as the photo below shows.

I'll also show you how to successfully paint your images with the aid of glazes.

What better way to spend a Saturday than creating something you'll be proud of and you'll be in the company of other crafters. There will be tea, coffee and cake as well as a lot of laughs. Hope to see you there.

Lin x

Friday, 6 November 2015

This weekend

I'm really looking forward to spending two days at Birds in the Barn, Marks Tey in Essex this weekend. The lovely Janet invited me back to demo on Saturday in her fabulous store, and to teach a class on Sunday. If you are at a loose end tomorrow, stop by and say hello, I will be demonstrating with tons of PaperArtsy products, including the latest set of Limited Edition paints. I'll be there between 10am - 3.30pm and it's completely free of charge and no need to book!!! Hope to see you there.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

What's been going on this week????

It's been another full on week in the Brown household. As well as looking after Callum, my regular Wednesday play date and going to Pilates on Thursday, we have had cavity wall insulation installed in the house and my greenhouse arrived. We were going to assemble the greenhouse today but the miserable weather has put a stop to that....hey ho.....never mind still lots of other things to fill my time. In the middle of all the chaos, I have been working on new workshop ideas. I really want to bring something fresh and new to my classes which of course means investing time in their development, so if you are interested in taking some classes with me here in Milton Keynes, watch this space, I hope to have details ready for you in the next few weeks.

Sometimes when I'm working on a class idea, I too, like everyone else hit a brick wall. It's then I know it's time to step away and do something else for a while. Recently, I had a small 4" x 4" canvas sitting on my desk that I had made, using the latest limited edition set of Fresco Finish paints. I really liked it and then promptly spilt tea on it!!! Don't you just hate it when stuff like that happens? Anyways, to try and ease the situation with my lack of inspiration, I decided to paint over it and start again. I've always been a believer in things happening for a reason and guess what......I actually like version No.2 better than the it was obviously, meant to be!

The flower is hand drawn which I sketched out in pencil over a painty background. Once the petals and centre of the flower were painted and completely dry, I kind of scribbled over the lines with a black pen and that's when it came to life........I really like it so I'll try hard not to spill tea on this one.

To finish off my busy week, Mark and I spent a fabulous day in London yesterday. We had afternoon tea at The Ritz which meant that we had to don our glad rags instead of our usual jeans and trainers. I don't very often wear a dress but it was such an amazing experience, it was definitely worth the effort.

It was all so elegant.....I loved it! 

The cake at the back was by far my favourite.......I'm probably showing my ignorance here as I have no idea what it was. It was filled with the most delicious coffee cream. I called it a Coffee Bomb, maybe one of you lovely people can tell me what it really is.

Then there was the tea. Mark has to be the biggest tea drinker I know, I dread to think how many cups he consumes every day but it has to be the regular variety like PG Tips, it has to have milk and a little sugar so I was a bit worried what he would have when I saw the list of all the beautiful, speciality teas on offer. I needn't have worried, he found something that would work for him whilst I sampled the Passion Fruit and Orange tea. Oh my word!!!!! This is the nicest tea I have ever tasted. I had two pot fulls, all to my self (that equates to six cups!!). I was in serious competition with Mark and I think I may well have won.

Mark will probably kill me for posting this but I had to prove that he was with me and that I didn't eat all those cakes myself.

In the afternoon, we took a trip up The Shard to check out the view of London from over 1,000 feet. It was a bit gloomy but we manged to figure out where some of our favourite landmarks were. You could just see Ally Pally in the distance. We worked out where the O2 is, we had a great view of the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St Paul's Cathedral, the building that looks like a walkie talkie but best of all for me was spotting the area where I was born and grew up. Having figured out where Battersea power station used to be, I could work out where Clapham Junction was located and that it where I spent the first ten years of my life. After that, we spotted Crystal Palace and from there, worked out the location of Tooting which is where my parents still live and I lived from the age of 10 until I left home at 17!!!! So many memories came flooding back......I'll always be a Londer at heart.

So a huge thank you to our beautiful family as our day out in London was courtesy of them....what fantastic gifts.....we had the best time.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Review of the past week

Wow, it's been a whirlwind of a week. It all started early last Saturday morning when I headed down to The Craft Barn in Surrey for their demo day. A fun day was had as is turned out to be an interactive demo too. I shared a few of the techniques I use to create backgrounds, then a group of lovely ladies sat down and made a background for themselves using Fresco Finish paint along with PaperArtsy stamps.

Here are a few of my finished samples

And a couple of my background demo pieces.

Following the busy demo day, I had two full classes on both Sunday and Monday where my fabulous ladies made one of my meandering journals. We made the book from scratch using fabric as the hinges and grey board for the covers. We used my demo techniques to create lining pages for the journal which was decorated with stencilled burlap. Everyone worked their little socks off, it was a lot to achieve in a one day class. Here are some photos of work in progress as well as a couple of finished journals.

It's not at all easy to stencil on burlap but I think you'll agree, they did an amazing job.

I look after my youngest Grandson every Wednesday and this week, I'm pretty sure he called out Nanna for the first time. I know I'm a softy where my babies are concerned but those moments do make my heart melt.

On Thursday, I drove down to Ally Pally with Karen to visit the Knitting & Stitching show. This has always been one of my favourite shows but I can honestly say, I was very disappointed this time. My only purchases were two pieces of black fabric from Art Van Go. One muslin and one organza for bleaching or using with discharge paste. There were lots of people there, in fact the show was heaving with people but there just didn't seem to be anything new and exciting to tempt us :(  Never mind, it's always nice to have a day out with Karen.

On Friday, my lovely, lovely friend Julie Hickey came for a play day in my studio. We have been trying to organise this for more years than I care to mention.

It was such a fun day, catching up on each others lives whilst creating something with all my favourite things.....paints, fabric, stamps and stencils. I showed Julie how to make a small journal, which was absolutely beautiful. Sadly, I didn't take a photo of it and we won't mention will now be a wall hanging, not a journal.....but that's another story!!!

And now it's the weekend. We went for a walk in the woods today with my daughters and four of our grandchildren. It's always nice to go for a stroll in the woods, the children love it. They made a camp, which is always a favourite thing to do but oh my goodness, it was chilly today!!!!

Phew, it really has been a full on week but I loved every minute of it!!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

I'm back

I'm just back from a fantastic month of holidays, so at last, my poor neglected blog is at last getting a little attention!!! Mark celebrated his 60th birthday this month so we began the celebrations with a family holiday in Norfolk.  By family, I mean our three children, Kelly, Sarah and Alex. Their husbands/partners, Jim, Chis and Tiff plus our five grandchildren, Ronnie, Amillie, Isla, Seb and Callum. We found a lovely log cabin set on the waters edge of Pentney lakes. Such a beautiful setting but the weather was pretty rubbish. Still, it didn't stop us from getting out and about and having an amazing time together.

Mark and I were only home long enough to unpack and re-pack and head off to America for the second leg of celebrations. We flew to Los Angeles and drove up the coast road to San Francisco. This is something we have both wanted to do for a long time and so were really excited to be able to tick it off our wish lists. Sadly, the weather for those couple of days was really murky and dismal so our photographs are not quite what we had hoped for but I would still recommend this trip to anyone, the scenery is fantastic.

We also got to see a whole beach full of these guys......there were so many of them and they were fascinating to watch even if they were very smelly!!!

There were many really funny things that happened on this trip, I'll share a few of them with you as it's making me giggle again just thinking about them. The first was a trio of breakfast incidents and because we were travelling a lot, we stayed in many different hotels so these happened on consecutive days but in three different hotels.

Day 1: Without asking if the seats were taken, a Chinese lady sat down at our table with the first of her many breakfast items that she had selected from the continental style breakfast on offer. It was a serve yourself style breakfast and she certainly tried pretty much everything on offer....she was such a tiny lady too. She started with her large bowl of Cheerios which she had filled with hot water.....yes, hot water, not milk!!!! The Cheerios were floating in a liquid that looked just like dirty dish water and them she preceded to add a dollop of strawberry jam to the mix and gave it a thorough stir. It nearly killed me trying not to laugh. Then she decided to pick up the bowl and slurp very loudly until the bowl was completely empty. This was followed by two slices of toast, an apple, an orange, two muffins, a bagel and a banana!!!

Day 2: I saw a lady sitting behind Mark with a slice of wholemeal toast, covered in Strawberry jam. She rolled the toast up like a Swiss Roll and promptly dunked it in her coffee!!!

Day 3: A man of sizable proportions ordered the biggest breakfast I had ever seen, part of which was a stack of six or so pancakes. He poured a whole jar of maple syrup over said pancakes and then promptly licked the jar!!!!!

I'm now thinking that you may not find these stories as funny as I kind of had to be there!!!!

We visited the Lick Observatory which was also fantastic. The journey up the mountain was incredible, just when we thought we couldn't go any higher, we turned another corner and the journey upward continued. I think it was about 7,000ft!!!

Whilst admiring the view from the top of the mountain, Mark and I were passing the time of day with a family and the lady of the family asked where we were from. Then, really randomly asked if I was at all interested in crafts!!!!! I of course said yes and she said that I may know of her brother. I asked his name and when she said Kaffe, I nearly fell over.....I was talking to Kaffe Fasset's sister.....unbelievable!!!!

Our next destination was San Francisco which was even better than I had hoped it would be. We had a trip over to Alcatraz....look at the colour of the sky......the bluest sky I think I've ever seen.

Mark will kill me for posting this picture!

You can't go to San Francisco and not ride the cable car......that was a lot of fun!

We took a couple of tours around the city, one during the day and one night time tour. It was one of those hop on/hop off style tours which is a great way to see everything.

The Golden Gate Bridge

We took a trip across the bridge to see the very tall trees at Muir Woods.

Across the Bay Bridge to Treasure Island

Then we headed off towards Yosemite National Park. We couldn't believe how hot it was 107F, it really was hot, hot, hot!!!

As for Yosemite, I have no words other than spectacular, I'll let the photographs speak for me.

The only sad part about this trip was that they are in the midst of a drought in the US and of course all the lakes and waterfalls were completely dry. Here I am standing in the middle of Mirror Lake!!!

During our slow drive back to Los Angeles, we had an over night stop in Pasadena. It's not every day you see eight peacocks just strolling down the road is it????

We had a trip to the observatory in Griffiths Park (if you haven't guessed by now, Mark is a bit of a star gazer). Sadly, the planetarium was closed that day, but the view of the Hollywood sign was pretty good. 

It really was a fabulous holiday, we did loads more than I've shared here but there's nothing more boring than looking at other peoples holiday snaps when there are hundreds of photos. Still, I thought as I have been AWOL for so long, you may have wondered what I've been up to.

After I've tackled the mound of laundry, it's back to normal life and it starts this coming weekend. I'll be demoing at the Craft Barn on Saturday and teaching a class there on Sunday and Monday. The demo days at The Craft Barn are always fantastic, I know that the classes are sold out  but if you would like to pop along on Saturday to see the demos, it's all free of charge and it would be lovely to see you.