Sunday, 31 May 2015

We have the cure for jetlag!!!

Hi there!
I know. Late again. 
I will get my act together again from tomorrow.
But I've locked Wurka and Hollick in the suitcase until then.

Just spent an amusing hour with Grace and Dave, watching last month's TV show. 
I very seldom watch myself on telly. 
I did do back in the beginning, to see what could be done better.
But then I stopped. Not because there was nothing to improve on! Good God! 
But I just decided not to spend 2 hours going over what I had already done,
and what I had spend a week of my life gearing up to!
Watching them trying to work out how the DVD player worked was pretty amusing too.

Romeo the cat trying to help too, of course....
Anyway, I watched from the sofa, and knew better than to interfere.
Finally, I went upstairs and got the baby TV which the kids used to watch DVDs on.


Tiny telly, but hey. And the big telly is not very big! Haha.

So yeah. We are chillaxing. It's good to get Grace's impression of her Mum's TV Sundays.
She only gets to watch sporadically, and I value her input greatly.

We went to a 60th birthday party yesterday evening. One of Dave's old friends. To be perfectly honest, the last thing I fancied was a night in a village hall with a load of strangers and a couple of Dave's Ex's.
But a gal's gotta so what a gal's gotta do, and Grace was up for it, too.

So after flying 12 hours or something, spending a good hour looking for Purple Parking at Terminal 2, and sitting in traffic on the M25 for hours, we had a cuppa, got our glad rags on and headed off to Dorking for a ding dong.
Jet Lag? Pah! We danced all night. We were the first on the dance floor, and didn't miss a single dance. Grace got collared by some bloke who fancied himself as a bit of a John Travolta...

Got home at 2 in the morning. And slept through until 2 this afternoon. Wow! 12 hours!

Jet lagged? Whatever. 
Just had the holiday of a lifetime, sitting cuddled up with Gracie, watching Into the Woods, a delightful film with a quirky spin on the Grimms Fairy Tales.

And tomorrow, it's back to work. 
Actually really looking forward to getting back into it. 
Glad of the break.
Glad of the work.
Tomorrow begins the countdown to the New Parchment Product being launched next Sunday morning on TV.
The very first TV show I ever did was on a Thursday morning, the 7th May, 2009. 
Funny how you never forget the first time....

Back to the woods.....

Much love
Barb xxx

Saturday, 30 May 2015

A welcome couch potato...

Hi there!
Thanks for popping in. 
Not much artwork going on here today folks!
Had a looooong trip home from America. 
Don't know who was more of a fidget-arse - me or Dave!

But look who we hooked up with at Heathrow, and brought home?
I love it when it works!
Grace came in on a Virgin flight from the Big Apple, and landed an hour before us.

Straight in the back door, shoes off, sofa dive and snuggled up.

And I think I shall join her.

So have a great day. We will - jetlag? 
Nah. Good excuse for a nap and a cuddle xxx

Lots of love,
Barb xx

Friday, 29 May 2015

Albuquerque Turkey!


Took a while to get to you.
Been packing and shutting up the house,
and now we are at the Albuquerque Airport, 
waiting for our flight to Houston, Texas.

What a magical place this New Mexico is.
The Land of Enchantment.
Even the airport is delightful.

In fact, they call it the Sunport.

Fabulous art everywhere.
It’s more like a gallery than an air terminal!

What’s even more interesting though, is that
although I have been through this Sunport many many times,

this was the first time I really consciously soaked up all the 
beauty and style.

There was even live music...

So getting back to my awareness; 
I had decided to blog about it on the way here,
and straight away I was of course looking at it 
through YOUR eyes as well as mine.

Saw this tin clock for the first time in the centre.

Look how long it has been here though!

Have seen this magnificent bronze dozens of times-

today was the first time I discovered it is call 
Dream of Flight.

So you see, that’s what blogging does for me.
It actually makes me look at what I am seeing.

I love the word Albuquerque, too!
So much so,
I even ordered an Albuquerque Turkey sandwich!
Makes me smile...

See you on the other side !

Lots of love

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Coming back to Blighty. A step by step cottage stencil project.

Hi there!
Thanks for stopping by.

Thought I’d make a simple stencil picture for you today.
It’s getting pretty late for you, because of course, 
it’s seven hours earlier here in New Mexico, but hey! 
Better late than never!

Our friends here know we are leaving tomorrow, so there is a constant popping in for coffee and to say goodbye.
It’s great.

So before Nancy shows up,
let me write out the instructions quickly!

I used :
Thought I had better start acclimatising 
and getting back to the English cottage...

Using a piece of masking tape, 
attach the inner part to a piece of water-colour paper.

Load a Clarity stencil brush with black ink (I used Black Archival) and brush outwards from the plastic stencil.

Use the brush all the way round,
then add intensity to the edges by dab dab dabbing ink around with a make-up sponge.

So you have this:

Tear a hill out of torn copy paper, 
replace the stencil,
slide the torn paper in under the stencil,
and brush Lettuce into the hills.

I used another fab colour to add shade :

So now we’ve got this:

Time to add the moon.
Our set of masks is brilliant.
A got-to-have in your stash!

Middle moon works best.
Add Tumbled Glass to a fresh brush, and sweep in the sky.

So now it looks like this...
Add a little shadow to the orb with a make-up sponge.

I think this makes a difference, so humour me!
I want to add a little shade to the lower part of the moon.
So replaced the mask,
dabbed a little amount of black ink to the mask, and then lightly swept it below the mask with a make up sponge.

See what I mean?

Now it’s coming together...

I replaced the centre mask and then brushed all the Lettuce 
which was left on the brush around the black.

I used a Micron Pen to sharpen the outline in places.

The Micron Pen is a great way to add crispness.

Now for the challenge.
I don’t have a craft knife here,
so decided to throw caution to the wind and cut the piece out roughly with scissors.
I then roughed the edges up with the scissors.

If I had some Kraft card, 
this would look great mounted on that natural card.

Do you like the hallway floor here?

I am sorry to be leaving here tomorrow.
I am happy to be coming home.
Work that out.

But one more day to go, and not to be wasted!
Ooh! There goes the doorbell again!

See you on the flip side.

much love,

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Mindful Wednesday and Sticks and Stones.

Hi there!
Thank you so much for popping in.
Wednesday is our Mindful Blog, right?


On Monday, we looked at some lovely artwork created 
using peas, rice, lentils and beans.
It occurred to me that it would be a great creative exercise 
to make something arty out of nothing.
What I found, as I was searching outside, was that I was 100% focussed on the activity of searching.

In other words, my mind was totally on the task,
not back home at Clarity Towers!

Now be warned.
What I have made is not what you are expecting, 
but here’s the thing:
I spent a very happy, peaceful afternoon here in New Mexico,
trying to make a piece of art which reflected what I see around me. 

And what I experienced first hand, 
is that staying with your hands,
keeping them busy and in tune with your creative head 
is very, very rewarding.
Made all the more apparent by using pretty much nothing to be creative, and yet experiencing the same sense of accomplishment as I do when I make a cool piece of stamped art.

All I used were:
a load of dead branches and twigs I had gathered in the yard,
some string,

and some fragments of old pottery I also found in the yard.

I saw a lamp in a gallery in Santa Fé, made just with twigs.
It was very beautiful, but it cost thousands!
Perfectly crafted of course, but I decided to run with the twig idea.

So how to tie them together...
thinking, thinking...
I made a base like an old fort, 
tying the twigs at four points with the string.

I held it all together with a piece of ribbon 
while I was knotting and weaving.
It was really wobbly, because the branches were very tall!


In fact the whole construction was a bit unstable,
but I didn’t want to use anything other than twine.

Thought a cross base might work, but nope.
Mmm....thinking some more....
BUT only about what I was actually doing.
How to make this very wobbly construction more stable....

Then I carefully gathered the four tall branches
and tied them together at the top,
and as soon as the four parts were joined,
it became stable.

Very symbolic...

Next came the old pottery fragments.
No Dremmel drill at the ready, and again, 
I wanted to keep it as authentic as possible.

Much to my delight, the tips of the scissors were sharp enough and strong enough to pierce the stone - after much boring!

Probably didn’t do the scissors much good,
(scissors, paper, stone springs to mind!)
but hey! 
This is true art, man!! 
And I was on a mindful mission...

My brother settled in to help me boring holes too...
We spend an hour together, just boring away.
It was anything but boring!

I kept telling him it was fun,

but he wasn’t convinced!

Mission accomplished. 

Wasn’t sure where I was going with this now,
but I wanted to hang the pottery fragments in the branches.

It was very simple.
The large piece was the pendulum in the middle,

and the smaller fragments were tied in rows.
I didn’t even want to attach too much symbolism to it;
just wanted to make it look good.

Can you see the large one and the two rows?

The cross twigs I had rejected earlier now came back into the frame - literally.

I found an old postcard I had picked up 
in the Georgia O’Keefe Gallery in Santa Fé years ago,
and tucked it into the base.

Nobody sees a flower - really
It is so small
We haven’t time - and
To see takes time.
Like to have a friend
Takes time.

Georgia O’Keefe

Then, in my mind’s eye, the piece was complete.
Stands about 4ft tall.

The structure is strong and stable enough;
I mean you wouldn’t employ me as a house builder 
or even a Tee Pee erector!
But I like it!
The large fragment in the middle swings like a pendulum.

I have the perfect place for it in the living room.

Branches, twine and broken pottery.

What shall I call it?

“Sticks and Stones”

The point of this?
A perfect example of how staying with your hands,
keeping busy
and doing something which requires a little focus
can keep you completely lodged in the HERE and NOW.

Just like making art 
as we Claritystampers and cardmakers and artists do, 
but with next to nowt.

Many of you have sent in photos of your 
Made with Nothing creations.
Please get inspired and please send me more! 
I have a plan...

lots of love,