Saturday, 26 May 2012

It's Grand by the sea

I have had a few problems with Blogger this week. If you have tried to comment and it hasn't appeared, then please accept my apology. I received quite a few e-mail notifications that never made it on to the blog. I observe that I am not the only one, as there have been a few blogs that I follow that have had the same problem. Let's hope it sorts itself out soon!

In the meantime, I have had my head glued to the screen following lessons in Illustrator. As in all things, it is magic when it goes well and hugely frustrating when it doesn't. Still, as they say, 'Rome was not built in a day'...

Every Wednesday, I look after my grandson. Our activities depend very much on the weather and this week it was perfect for a day out. Our closest (and favourite) beach is the one at East Head in the Witterings but as my grandson often goes there, I decided it would be fun to visit another favourite place, East Beach at Littlehampton. It is about a half hour car ride, and my grandson had a little nap on the journey and was raring to go when we got there. By the beach is East Beach Cafe. Prior to the architectural wonder that now houses the Cafe, there used to be just a small run down kiosk. With imagination and the foresight of the need for a cafe to serve both the local community and visitors, the owners have now provided a landmark that stands proud when either viewed from the shore or from the sea. It looks like a piece of driftwood. It truly is remarkable. Go take a look.

 Click on image to enlarge

I have used a digital template, journaling card and elements from Project Life purchased at  When I commenced my digital journey, the first classes I took in Photoshop were with Jessica and I have never looked back. If you are nervous about taking those first baby steps into digital scrapbooking (and more) then I can think of no better place to start. The stripy paper behind the photographs is one of my own 'beach' papers that I am presently working on. I can spend hours choosing colours...

It is incredible to think that during next week it will be the end of May. 'Time flies when you are having fun'. I think that is enough of the idioms for this weekend. My head seems full of them at the moment. Must be all the trips down memory lane for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. More on that next week.

Have a great weekend.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Patchwork Post

Hi everyone, hope you are having a great weekend.

This week, Alexa over on Trimmingthesails shared another free download. It's a digital postage stamp into which you can place a photograph. You can download it here together with a PDF of instructions and her TOU. I really enjoy joining in when she shares her downloads and I think you will too. Alexa explains how to use the template in her usual concise way so, even if you are not really Photoshop proficient, I am sure you will be able to follow her instructions quite easily.

As you probably know from my previous posts, I am getting heady with design work. Sometimes it is all I can think about (apart from the family!) and for the past weeks, I have been involved in making designs that I hope will be suitable for paper and fabric. I was very excited how things were progressing, pulling on my previous quilting days for inspiration. You know how it is when you think you have an original idea...  Well, one minute I was up and the next I was down. On Friday I saw something similar on the internet with almost the same colours. I could have wept. I know there are no new ideas really, just a different slant or perspective was what I hoped I had achieved. So, back to the drawing board for me. 

However, rather than file it away in a 'what might have been' folder, I am using my design on Alexa's stamp just to give it an airing.

click on the image to enlarge it

I do take away something though from this experience. The many hours spent learning how to use Illustrator will never be time wasted. Just look, I managed to add stitching around those polygons. Now that was an achievement in itself!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend. x

Monday, 14 May 2012

Play time

I have been playing around with patterns and following some of the tutorials on my course The art and business of surface pattern design (see link on my side-bar) and attempting repeat patterns. I have always respected how designers can place together patterns and colours and now find myself admiring them even more. Learning Illustrator is an ongoing process for me; as yet nothing comes naturally and I have to keep reverting back to the course notes. But I will persist, because the satisfaction when it all goes well, is immense. Here is a sample of some of my latest efforts.

If I tell you that I have fallen in love with gingham, would you be surprised? I have made it up in every colourway possible. There is something so 'fresh' about its appeal whatever fashion dictates. I am going to play around with it a bit more, maybe place it behind some of my flower drawings. I was a sucker for seersucker when I was young. I wonder if I can replicate that in Illustrator? Watch this space!

Back to the drawing board for me. Enjoy your day. 

Friday, 11 May 2012

Birthday Time

Today is my son-in-law's 36th birthday. He is the husband of my eldest daughter and the father of my two gorgeous grandchildren.

I am most fortunate to have him in my life. He really is a family man. He loves my daughter (what more could I ask) and is a terrific daddy to my two grandchildren. He is a very hands-on dad, a 21st century one. Cooking is one of his great loves and, over the years, I have been the happy recipient of some amazing meals. My daughter met him at University in their first term and they have been together ever since. There is not a day goes by that I am not thankful that he is part of our family.

My lovely daughter and son-in-law are expecting their third child in November, another happy event. There is much to celebrate today. 

A very happy birthday to you!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Time to be Bold

Last month, I didn't manage to join Storytelling Sunday. If you pop over to Sian's blog, From High in the Sky, settle yourself down with a cuppa or maybe something stronger (!) and enjoy a jolly good read. You might even think about adding a story or two of your own? You will be very welcome I am sure.

This week, as I have adjusted to my younger daughter's departure to her own home (she is doing really well, in case you are wondering), and getting back into full granny mode, my thoughts have turned to a story for this Sunday. It is about myself.

I have a confession. At the age of 66, I have decided to become a surface pattern designer. I joined an e-course The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design run by two wonderfully talented ladies, Rachael Taylor and Beth Nicholls. I cannot begin to tell you what a fantastic experience it has been. I have always loved patterns; from those I first stitched as a small girl, the shape of letters, book covers, those drawn by nature, all the incredible bolts of fabric lined up on the shelves, especially those used for quilting, all stationery. You get the picture. But the course is about so much more. The nuts and bolts of the surface pattern industry are fully explained, lots of insight into designers and their studios, links to more than I could possibly have imagined when the course began. Rachael and Beth are so sharing. Each week, there have been bonus technical workshops that have blown my mind. I have previously only worked with Photoshop and had no experience of Illustrator. These flowers represent my first attempts at using the pen tool. I have lots of drawings too that I am learning to trace and use as surface designs and will be sharing those at a later date.

Now here's the nitty gritty of the confession. For some reason, I have not felt able to share any of my designs and drawings here on my blog. I think it is about time I did. If I am to get anywhere with my designs, I must overcome the fear of feeling inadequate, an impostor among my peers. This isn't the first time in my life I have felt such incompetence even when people have told me that they love things I have made. So, I have reasoned that there is no better time than when among this friendly blogging community to make a start and and sort out those gremlins for good.

What do you think?