Following my Heart – who needs easy?

It’s been almost a month since I posted my first acrylic paintings…

There’s a very good reason why. While I was working on the beach hut I started two other paintings. But once I’d finished the beach hut, I couldn’t get the oomph to work on them. After they’d sat untouched on the kitchen table for about a week, I packed everything away.

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To be honest I’d known from the first strokes that I didn’t like acrylic painting. Too splotchy IMO and although I do have two beautiful acrylic painting I love, they’re the exception. I’m rarely drawn to acrylic (or oil) paintings.

So why did I choose to explore acrylic? I hear you ask.

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Because people who knew more about art that me advised that  if I wanted to bring colour into my work I should try acrylic first; much easier than watercolour. But when did I like easy?

However while I wasn’t acrylic painting I’d had been working on my graphite pencil portrait of Harry. I’d loved working on all that detail and wondered if I’d be happier working in coloured pencil, but I knew I wasn’t keen on the look of coloured pencil. While I explored the coloured pencil market, wondering if I really wanted to buy an expensive set of colour pencils, I spotted Derwent’s Inktense watercolour pencils. I then began to wonder if they were what I wanted.  While I dithered, a beginners’ watercolour workshop was posted at art group for February.

I love the look of watercolour. Working on all that detail on Harry had made me realise how much patience I have for this, how much I love learning more complicated things. So how could I ignore a beginners watercolour workshop?

I bought some paints last week. Watched a heap of YouTube tutorials and had a go ahead of the workshop (long story here about trying to stretch paper when I didn’t have any gummed tape, which is why the edges are rubbish) …

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Wet on wet single colour gradient
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Wet on wet, two colour gradient
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Wet on wet playing with dabbing various colour.
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Bird on a tree

They might not be very good, but I loved the technique, the way the watercolours behave and that there’s so much to learn and master.

Who needs easy? Not me when it comes to painting.

Until next time.

Bekki x

Following my Heart 2020 – Fear and Art

I have to admit to a degree of fear of the blank page over starting this painting malarkey. I spent plenty of time phaffing and way too much time YouTube tutorial watching before I started.

But being a former creativity coach, I knew making a first mark on the paper would be a big step to overcoming this. So I detached from caring about the outcome and followed a very quick lesson in painting your first painting in two colours and ended up with this…

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Although I’ve added the link above this is the video of his you should watch for this YouTuber –  nothing to do with painting, but it could save you a lot of money..

I digress…

I then set myself a goal to paint a picture for my friend’s birthday present. With her birthday being 11th of January and the present needing posting this forced me to get on with it.

My dear dear friend is the closest person I’ve got to a sister and she definitely appreciates handmade. So that took away the fear of not being good enough, as I knew she’d appreciate what I’d done, even if she wasn’t so keen on the picture. And anyway, she could always use the frame for something else.

She loves the seaside and has a very seasidey house. With my lack of skill, I knew I had to pick something simple, so the subject matter wasn’t hard to choose. I got going quickly and my first goal for 2020 was completed before I even blogged my 2020 goals list. 

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The process has certainly sparked some interesting thinking, but I’ll save that for another post.

Until next time,

Bekki x

 

 

 

 

Are you setting goals for 2020?

It’s at this time every year I hear the debates about whether we set goals or not. I didn’t set any goals at the start of last year. 2018 had been a difficult year and all I knew at that point with any certainty was that I wanted another dog in my life. The universe  quickly obliged and on January 12th Harry arrived to live with us as his new forever home.

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Harry’s arrival meant we had to quickly cover my lovely Laura Ashley settees with boring plain throws.

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Knowing they would be there for the long term, I wondered how to make my settees a little more attractive. I thought a quilt would add some interest, but I couldn’t possibly start making a quilt unless I finished the king size quilt I’d started two years earlier and abandoned. Finishing said quilt involved a lot of free motion quilting.

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I absolutely love it! This led to me dabbling with free motion embroidery…

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But I grew frustrated at my inability to create the images I wanted to. And so I decided to learn to draw.

I loved it!

I loved it so much that I forgot all about FME and focused on drawing.

After nearly 3 months I was ready to add some colour to my pictures. On advice from Lovely Eldest about the best medium for a beginner to try, Santa obliged with some appropriate presents.

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So this is where I’m at at the beginning of this year; about to head out on a painting adventure. Should I set goals for what I want to achieve in this (and elsewhere)? Or should I just go with the flow?

Going with the flow last year took me in an unexpected direction. But maybe if I’d set goals I’d have set one to finish the king size quilt and ended up exactly here anyway. Or maybe if I’d set that goal along with others I would have had the other goals calling me so hard I’d wouldn’t have ended up here.

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And wherever I’d ended up, who’s to say if it would be a better or worse place to be in? (This certainly isn’t a bad one.)

Every day we make a many many decisions. Even the smallest seemingly most insignificant can change the course of our lives forever.  IMO there’s no point looking back and wondering if we made a right/wrong or good/bad decision; we just took the choice we thought was right at that time. And for me, there’s no right or wrong in choosing to set goals; it’s whether we feel we need/want to set them or not, and how we chose to use them if we do.

Have you chosen to set goals this year? And why did you chose/not chose to set them?

Until next time (when I may or may not be setting some goals)

Bekki x

Sunday Sevens 2019 Best Bits

At the end of every year I like to revisit my Sunday Seven’s photos. Here’s my favourites from 2019…

January – Harry came to live with us as his forever home…

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February – Harry’s first snow with us…

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March – Friends from up north visiting for the weekend…

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April – friends teaching us to dance in Clumber Park…

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May – a visit from our great nephew…

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 June – Our holiday on the west coast of Scotland. Not only blessed with gorgeous weather while the rest of the UK was under flood warnings, but there were genuinely three breath taking moments amongst many many many wonderful ones…

The view from the top of the hill above Inverary…

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Alone with Harry on the edge of Loch Fyne at 6am…

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Sanna Bay…

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July – Harry on Rock Beach…

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August – Broom Hill Hotel sculpture park…

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September – Perranporth beach with our niece, great niece and her husband…

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October – Visiting Lovely Eldest in Utrecht…

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November – Harry and Baxter on Perranporth beach…

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December – Christmas!

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All in all 2019 has been a good year for LH and me, but I know this last year hasn’t treated all my friends and family so kindly. My love and best wishes go out to them for a much better 2020 and here’s to a happy, healthy 2020 for everyone.

Until next time,

Bekki x

Taking Stock of 2019 – Stash, Scrap or New

As the year closes I’m looking back and reflecting on my achievements and my learnings for 2019. As some of you know, for a while now I’ve been trying to work on projects that recycle and use up scraps and stash items, whilst keeping purchases of new materials to a minimum.

In total I’ve completed 24 projects and I’m very pleased to say only 4 have been made new from materials bought for that project: the baby sweater, floral quilt, my K6 sweater and the elephant quilt. Unfortunately no pics of the K6 sweater, but it is finished, I promise.

I’ve made 8 projects from stash yarn and fabric:

Flower Valley shawl, Heartfelt cardigan and a teapot sweater

The pinwheel baby quilt – which did include some scrap fabric too…

Pinwheel Baby Quilt

My PJ bottoms and ticking shorts...

The yet to be named mitts and mittens

13 From scraps:

Chamomile Stump work embroidery and new home cross stitch

Ratty and Baby Beanie Hat...

Santa Sacks, Christmas Fairy and Christmas cards

Dog Bandanas, summer top and Christmas stocking

Free motion embroidery cards and key rings

And the Angry Bird golf club cover

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All in all I’m pretty pleased with the balance of scraps/stash vs new materials used. Completing 24 projects averages out at 2 a month – given some are far more time consuming than others and that I’ve been focus on drawing too for the last 3 months – I’m also pretty pleased with that.

Hope you’ve found plenty of time for you creativity this year.

Until next time,

Bekki x

 

 

Scrap Happy Christmas – December Part 2 – Patchwork Christmas Stocking

The great thing about these patchwork Christmas stockings is that you can make them work for whatever size pieces of scrap fabric you have.

Start by drawing a template of the stocking you want to make – you can do this freehand or by drawing around a Christmas stocking you already have.

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Gather together your Christmas fabric scraps and decide on the combination of fabrics you would like to use.

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Cut your template into pieces so that each piece is the size you would like and that will fit on the fabric you have with a 1/2″ seam allowance around their edges.

Sew the patchwork pieces together – using half inch seams…

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Press the seams toward the darkest fabric…

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Use the completed patchwork as a template to cut out a piece of wadding…

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(My wadding was from part of the piece left over from making my floral quit.)

Also use the patchwork as a template to cut a back and two pieces for the lining. These all need to be exactly the same size as the patchwork.

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(The red fabric was left over from my pinwheel baby quilt and the cream some left over curtain lining from my kitchen curtains I made six years ago.)

Apply the wadding to the back of the patchwork and stitch in the ditch along the seams.

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If you’ve added a plain panel at the top for a name, embroider it on…

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With right sides facing, sew the back and front of the stocking together and the lining pieces together, leaving the top of each unseamed.

 

Clip the front curve of both stocking and lining …

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Turn stocking (only) out the right way and press then slip the lining inside.

 

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I used a piece of scrap felt to bind the raw edges. If you’ve more stamina than me, you might want to use binding.20191214_18183000I also inserted a scrap piece of ribbon beneath the binding before I sewed it on to make a hanging loop…

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Once the binding was secure, I sewed the edge down using the same stitch I had sewn in the ditch of the patchwork…

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All I need now is for Santa to put some gifts in it…

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If you like the idea of using your scraps, click on Kate or Gun (first two names in the list  below) and join us on the 15th of every month – or just those months you feel like joining in.  Here’s a list of both frequent and occasional Scraphappiers (?) if you want to see what everybody else is doing.

Kate,  Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn , Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJeanJohanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

Until next time,

Bekki x