Monthly Archives: June 2012

Leaf cutting

Yesterday I stumbled upon the work of artist Lorenzo Duran. I have searched for a website or some such for him but can’t find anything official, so you will have to google him and see what you can find – search for leaf cutting artist.

Anyway, he makes the most amazing little artworks – from leaves! He does paper cutting, but on a leaf instead. It looks as thought it would be totally impossible to do, so I thought I would give it a go!! It is rather tricky, but I think it is worth it. I couldn’t get the details anywhere near as fine as I would like though, but have worked out if I cut fresh leaves and then leave them to dry I might have a better chance of some fine detailed work. Perhaps ther eis some way of preparing the leaf to start off with – although I am not sure I would be very keen on this, it wouldn’t seem quite right somehow – a bit like cheating? Maybe it is just me…

It was all just a bit of an experiment really. I would love to have more images to show you, but I did dedicate most of yesterday evening to this, when I should have been doping other stuff, so it will just have to do for now. I am glad I gave it a go though – now I know I can do it, I will think through some better designs and might come up with something amazing – you never know.

If you want to have a go yourself, I found the best thing was to iron the leaves first under a couple of sheets of tissue, and to use a brand new scalpel blade. Other than that, it’s the same as paper cutting really.

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War on Lampshades

War on lampshades – the title says it all really, well, kinda. This is the first in s a new series, the tile of which is ‘camouflage’.

I have had this idea rolling around inside my skull for some time now. Then a few weeks ago I got an itchy scalpel finger and did the cutting. The major problem then was finding some camouflage material. You have no idea how hard it is to find! I went to my usual fabric lady, who did have some but it was the wrong weight, far too heavy, and the light just would not come through. I tried several other fabric shops, but nobody had anything. Then I hit upon my grand plan – try the outdoors shops and see if I could find a cheap ground sheet or cagoule that I could cut up. You wouldn’t believe how many of these shops Worcester has on offer (think I went to about 6) but nothing anywhere. Then one drizzly June day I was driving up to the printers and spotted an army surplus store – I had never noticed it before. All sorts of camouflage!!! Most of it was too heavy, but I did manage to find some murky green knitty-netty type stuff plus a tarpaulin and a large t-shirt in camouflage. And so I was in business. Luckily the t-shirt was just the right size for the papercut. And here you have it – the first in the series…. check out the slide show at the bottom (sorry, I couldn’t work out how to put two slide shows on the same post!)

And there is a second shade in the series already. I found some lovely snuggly lightweight furry fabric and thought it would be fun to use. I spent ages thinking about the right word for this  camouflage lampshade. I wanted something fun, something fitting, and something not to……well…., the ones I thought of and discounted were ‘love to love you baby’ but the writing had to be big enough for it not to get blocked by the pattern so it wouldn’t work. Then I thought of ‘sexy beast’ and ‘wild thing’ but they were too brash for my personal taste (but I might do them at some point!) I hope I have managed to strike the right balance between cute and saucy by going for ‘Kitten’. I’ll let you be the judge…..

One last thing before you look at the pictures, I am thinking of some kind of competition for the ‘camouflage kitten’ lampshade, so if you ar interested in winning it, watch out for more blog posts over the next couple of weeks!

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Upton Jazz Festival

This weekend was the amazing Upton Jazz Festival. I had been so excited about having a stall here for ages, and even more so because I was sharing with a group of friends, The Pixley Crafters. We are a mixed bunch of crafters with a broad range of skills and experience, which is why I think we all work so well together. I’ll do another blog post about us all at some point.

Anyway, back to the festival. Well, we had been rather worried about the weather – lots of rain, lots of wind – not good for an open sided marquee and a load of non water-resistant stock! but we were lucky, very lucky. Only a few spots of rain, and lots of lovely sun.

As for sales, they were dismal – well, non existent. The layout of the site was pretty bad and there was just not enough footfall through our area. I understand it was partly due to another part of the site being flooded and a shift around of a few locations, but even so, you would have thought for a festival in its 27th year they would have been a little better organised. Oh well, I will know not to do it next year.

But, even though I didn’t sell anything and hardly gave away any promotional cards, I did meet some really interesting people and have lots of fun, plus listen to some great live music and drink some scrummy local beer (thank you Malvern Hills Brewery!)

So I would like to give a shout out to those that made it worth while….here we go….

Firstly, the chap who really lifted our spirits was Tom Spice – click on his name to check out his facebook page and songs.  We loved his cheeky grin, giggly mates, lively music and vulgar lyrics!

Secondly, the fab people at the new venture Lovers Orchard – a Worcestershire based company promoting local arts and crafts. THey are due to laugh this summer and have a huge range of art, gifts, homwe-wares etc all hand picked by the two lovely ladies in charge. I shall let you know when they are up and running.

Thirdly, another new company that we were next to – Pump It Up Events who do zorbing – it looks like immense fun – I want a turn! Have a look on their website to see what it is all about. The chaps who set it up, Sean and Jason, were just lovely – we were so lucky to have good neighbours for our pitch!

Finally I met the vetran stall holder Stella Draper, who also produces a great Jazz guide magazine, also available online www.jazzwestmids.co.uk – if you like Jazz, it’s the best place to check out what is going on locally (well, if you are in the West Midlands!)

As for the music, you have to check these Dutch guys out – amazing, and so much fun! Lamarotte Jazzband

The other upside of being so quiet is that I got take lots of photos – want to have a look?

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putting up the tent thing

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mrsmcindoe stall

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The Pixley Crafters – Jill, Jenny, Naomi and Phil

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Jenny in a hat made by Jill

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Jill Peer giving an Indian head massage

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Morgan at Upton Jazz

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dancing girls

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Lamarotte Jazzband

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Jazz Vetran

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cheeky chap

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Amazing Jazz lady

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Jazztastic

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one man and his brolly

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Vulgar Lyrics from Tom Spice, much appreciated by Jill!

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the Tom Spice support band

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Tom Spice entertains us

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view to the East

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relax

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flags

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mrsmcindoe at Upton Jazz

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Upton Jazz after the parade

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New Orleans Parade Band

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mrsmcindoe in print!

The title may be slightly misleading, nobody has actually written about me, but I am in print – well, some of my designs have been! I found a really interesting print experiment over on Pintrest, requiring nothing more than I already had at home (so kind of free, right?!) I thought I would give it a whirl, what was there to lose? I have been most excited by the results and I think I may very well become addicted to printing.

So, I’ll start at the beginning – firstly, go and check out this fab blog by Cassie Stephens. In it she tells of a fab way to so printing at home. It involves gelatine!

So  the set up is this – a baking tray, some paint or ink, some gelatine. Basically, you make up super strength gelatine and leave it to set overnight. They you spread the surface with in (in my case I used fabric paint) and you should do it with a special roller but I rubbed it around with my fingers.  Then I placed my papercut onto the ink. I made sure it was flat, and then put a sheet of fabric over the top, gave it a rub around, and then lifted off. You can then remove the papercut and take another impression. I even experimented with a two colour one – it is quite tricky to line it up properly for the second colour.

Have a look at the results – what do you think?

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Now I know they are a bit scruffy, but I think for a first ever attempt at printing, and in my kitchen using what I had with a two-year old running around, it’s not that bad! I am going to continue experimenting and see what else I can come up with.

I also have to think what to do now with the bits of fabric!

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Lampshades as Wedding Presents

Seems to be a popular choice, at least for some, fortunately! Would you consider a custom-made lampshade a suitable wedding present? It is certainly unique, and perfect for that enviable couple who already seem to have pretty much everything they could possibly need or want.

I have done a few commissions for weddings now, and I have to say, there is something very special about it, knowing that I am playing in a role in conveying how much love and understand one friend has for another, to commission such a personal item for such a personal occasion. I have to say that it is also rather daunting – I mean, who wants to be stuck with a naff wedding present that they hate and have to display for  years because a good friend gave it to them?! For those of you that are married, you know what I am talking about, right?! Don’t deny it! You know as well as I do that there is something you would like to get rid of but can’t!!!

Anyway, back to lampshades. Below is the most recent wedding lampshade. The couple had written a poem which was at the top of their wedding invite, so that is what I cut. I cut all the letters freehand, which may sound a bit crazy, but I find if I write them out first before cutting they lose some of their natural flow and just don’t look right. I did draw lines fo the text to sit on so that it wouldn’t wonder up or down a the ends. So, here you go….

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Happy Birthday to meeeee!

Yay, it’s my birthday! 36 years…..young or old?!

Look what my lovely children and husband gave me…..

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Postcards, London, Lampshades!

Well I have certainly been busy, but not as busy as I should have been! Let me explain…..

Firstly, I have been sorting out some new postcards – postcards to use instead of flyers and business cards. When I set up in January I got some business cards made and at the same time had some postcards done, as I thought it looked quite cool! Well, I have given out almost all of the postcards and hardly any of the business cards! The reason is twofold – firstly I prefer to give them out, it feels less formal than business cards, and so I feel more comfortable. Secondly, I think people like a postcard rather than a business card – as you, dear reader, are ‘people’ perhaps you could tell me if this is the case or something I am imagining!

Secondly, we have bene up to London to visit the Queen! Well, have a little look at the outside of Buckingham Palace – the Queen was there, as it was trooping of the colour, but we didn’t actually see her. My daughter is doing a project on London at the moment, and we were also invited to go to a party, so we made a proper trip of it. I have to say, it was lovely going out in London on Friday night, and talking about work things, with work type people (it was a party for my mother in law, who has just retired from an architectural practise she helped set up many years ago). Managed to catch up with some family and friends, and also make some new friends. On the Saturday we managed to do all the things my children wanted – travel on a tube train, travel on a double-decker bus and sit on the top deck, see Buckingham Palace, and go to a Museum (well, it was the National Gallery – daughter feel in love with Van Gough’s Sunflowers and son now a big fan of Rousseau’s ‘Surprise!’)

And yesterday I managed to make a new lampshade, in a new design. The design is something that has been in the back of my mind for some time, and I think being in London has given the final creative push for the design to be born (does that sound terribly arty-farty? Sorry!). And here it is…..

What do you think of the picture? The lamp base is new. I have spent ages trying to find the right kind of base to display my lampshades, and the only ones I can find that I like are super expensive – always the way! However, I managed to find some very cheap bases, and am rather pleased with them – do you like? Who can guess where I got them from?!

And now the reason I should have been more busy – I am having a stall at Upton Jazz Festival next weekend and I have a huge amoutn to do to prepare for it – and so I will leave you, and get cracking – better get my skates on as there are only a few days left to prepare.

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Versatile Blogger Award

Wowsers – I have been nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award!

For those of you who have not come across this before, it is where a blogger somewhere out there has found your blog site and decided its pretty groovy, and then nominated you!

My nomination came from the lovely Natalie, who has a pretty impressive blog herself – Free Spirit Designs go and check it out! Thanks very much for the nomination, it means a huge amount to me, a relatively new blogger, and especially from someone who writes a much more professional looking and entertaining reading blog than mine!

Anyway, back to my award – how exciting!! A grinning like a Cheshire cat here! Well, there are various rules around this award, which I will lay out for you below and the try to follow!

The Rules

1. Add the award to your blog.
2. Thank the blogger(s) who gave it to you.
3. Mention 7 random things about yourself.
4. List the rules.
5. Award to 15 bloggers.
6. Inform each of those 15 by leaving a comment on their blog.
OK, well number one and two are easy as I seen to have already done those! So we will go straight to number 3.
1. My favourite cheese is Petit Reblouchon.
2. I have birth marks in my eyes – little black dots in the iris.
3. I once ran away from home with my brother – we took snacks, our teddy bears, and the bathroom stool. We made it as far as the top of the road before running out of snacks.
4. I love Wes Anderson films – Rushmore is my favourite.
5. I have never used/played a slot machine or arcade game.
6. I am afraid of the dark, although I try very hard not to be!
7. I have never been to the Lake District – I would love to go!
Wow – that was hard to think of things to put there!
And now for the bloggers I would like to nominate – here we go, in no kind of order at all…..
Soooo – that should keep you all busy for a while, checking out all those blogs above – they are all well worth a read.
Crikey, you would not believe how long it has taken to write this post – I am off for a well deserved pint (please note, I am not drinking in the morning, it is 9.30pm here, my eyes can’t take any more ‘screen’ today and so Iw ill proof read and spell check in he morning before actually posting!)
Would love to hear back as to which of these blogs you like the best!

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Someone Elses Blog!

So thrilled to have been mentioned on someone elses blog – all about lampshades – by Mad About The House

Lots of other intesteting design items on this fab blog, so you might want to make yourself a cuppa before checking it out (or poor a large glass of wine, depending on what time it is!)

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Seeing Stars

Stars – all I can see is stars – I seem to have been staring at them for days. It started off with an innocent enough little bit of cutting one evening, and then two days later we have a lovely paper cut and two lampshades – that’s just how it goes sometimes! Well, I had a little time on my hands, waiting for the right sized ring set to turn up to make a commission, and so I was able to play around and cut whatever I felt like, and I have been mostly feeling like stars, so there you have it.

Take a look at the photos – I would be interested to know which you like best – the plain stars one, or the one with the text. The text says ‘star light, star bright, first start I see tonight’ – I remember it from a Madonna song in the 80’s, but I think it is originally early 19th century American (if my googling is correct!). I may do the full verse on a larger lampshade at some point (the end is ‘I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight).

Anyway, here are the pics…

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