A Different Perspective

This week, the theme for the Creative Challenge at Slamseys Journal has been “A different perspective” so I’ve spent the week trying to look at things differently.

taking out the empties

When your daughter buys gin in 1000 litre IBCs, taking out the empties takes on a different perspective.

field beans


This field of beans looks quite different when viewed from the ground, instead of looking across the field. Not quite Jack and the Beanstalk.


Sketches from a different perspective

Sketching on a small scale, looking at detail and trying zentangle.

Lino print green background with white flowers in front of blue wall and stack of books


I’ve tried a different way of printing. Instead of my random jelly printing, I’ve been lino printing. In my head I can execute a beautiful print, but my planning is poor and I fudge lines when I draw the design onto the lino, somehow thinking that I can work it out as I go. Believe me, it doesn’t work. At least, not at novice level. This time I was determined to do it properly. I sketched, transferred the print to the lino and even painted in the sections to be cut out. Sadly, my cutting didn’t quite tally with the lines and I discarded the lino. I made another attempt but realised that my design was just too fiddly. I quickly drew a simple design freehand onto a new lino block, cut it out and made some prints. It’s very simple, but it works.

embellished jelly print

And then I embellished some jelly prints, which I wouldn’t normally do. I don’t love the technique but it’s good to try something different. I found the easiest way is to photo the print with my ipad and then use a paint program to draw in the details. That way, when I make a hash of it I still have my original print.

Try the Slamseys Creative Challenge! I say challenge, but that’s a very loose description as it’s just some ideas for being a bit creative over the summer (or winter depending on where you live). Read about the challenge at Slamseys Journal.

bunch of spring flowers

Diary of an Essex week

The Essex House at Wrabness

Sister has rented the Grayson Perry designed House for Essex for weekend and invited selected persons to share experience. Delighted to be one of said selected persons and sally forth to wilds of Wrabness. Amazed and entranced by house. Ponder ways of introducing infinity mirror corridor and moped chandelier into own house.

House party sets forth on walk to Mistley for lunch. Soon realise that map dismissed as unnecessary would be quite useful and inadvertently blueblaze the Essex Way. After few miles, decided not to follow leading sisters and cousins through marshy ground but lead renegade group along byway. Slightly surprised later to discover that sisters hadn’t immediately noticed their slightly ancient mother was no longer following. Less surprised when passing zorbing activity that mother expresses interest in having a go. Noted for future days out. Finally reach destination, meet others who had to retrace steps and are now behind us, have delicious lunch and catch train back.

Later in weekend, discover others have spent Saturday night ramming farm gates and thieving. Consult with neighbouring farmers and discover we were not sole targets. Much swearing and denouncing of certain sort of person. Considerable time spent by all over next few days dealing with consequences and building up further defences.

Relieved that expiring central heating boiler in house is replaced as enormous new red monster burner finally fired up. Downside – can hear money burning as each wood pellet pings into burner. Upside – house is warm. Charming young man explains thermostat programmer. Tells me he has set temperature low and I should turn up thermostat over coming days until comfortable ambient temperature reached. Spend next few days turning thermostat down and still hit by bank of warm air when opening door to sitting room. More fine tuning to do.

spring flowers lino print

Join Ruth on tester printmaking course. Told to arrive with nothing more than open mind. And, if time, please bring cake. Spend two days day making artful displays with flowers, drawing, mixing colours and printing. End course enthused and brimming with ideas for future printmaking. Make Steller story of experience. Ruth very critical of efforts and redoes story.

Upset today when Bill finds one of the guinea fowl has been run over and left dead on farm chase. Not overly surprised as guinea fowl have tendency to run towards and not away from oncoming vehicles but would prefer the driver had stopped or swerved to avoid it. Rather wish it had been the jay that wakes us every morning as it bashes its beak on windows around the house. Resolve to have stiff words about road safety with remaining guinea fowl when shutting them up tonight.



You can read the Steller story here.

Anyone for a Trolley Tea?

Over winter, the extra time inside has led to a build-up of general clutter and “things” until I could stand it no longer and decided to sweep through the house getting rid of the excess. Out went the fiction books that will never be re-read, the clothes that won’t be worn again and things that I don’t like but have kept simply because somebody gave them to me. The office cupboard was emptied of (what seemed like) miles of electrical and computer cables all safely kept even though the original equipment has long since gone together with a box of floppy disks and old program disks that only work with Windows 3. Several trips to charity shops and recycling centres later and the house is beginning to look better and it’s easier to find things. So long as I haven’t got rid of them.

I haven’t done the kitchen yet because I’ll wait until I spring clean the cupboards and pantry (whichever year that turns out to be) but I’ve started to sort through the fabric, yarn and craft things. This is much more difficult. Will I use those odd balls of yarn? And all those scraps of fabric. Will they ever get made into a patchwork quilt or givewraps?

The pile of paper generated by my slight obsession last year with jelly printing has at least been put to use for making little books that I give instead of birthday cards. From a single sheet of paper, a little folding and cutting results in a booklet with pockets into which I can tuck things. Instead of stuffing a gift card or money into an envelope, I can slip it into one of the pockets and add a little momento or photograph.

afternoon tea
The newspaper cutting from my grandmother’s recipe book inspired a tea themed booklet complete with a copy of the article tucked into a pocket. I’d never heard of Tray Tea or Trolley Tea.

tea themed book with pockets

With tea bags tucked into the other pockets, appropriate for Tray, Trolley or High Tea it makes an interesting addition to a food hamper.

booklet made from map
An old map makes a Bon Voyage card.

book made from single sheet of paper

You can make these booklets with or without pockets, or with pockets on half the pages.Put a hard cover on the outside and you can make a more durable booklet, perhaps sticking a folding map or note to the back cover.

If you’d like to know how to make one of these pocket booklets from a sheet of paper, click here for some instructions. You just need a sheet of paper, a sharp knife and a dab of glue.

I can think of all sorts of ways to use these little books: party invitations with a map and list of accommodation tucked into the pockets or make them for children to take on a walk so they can collect feathers and the like as they go. You could tuck a key into one of the pockets with mysterious instructions or maybe a ring …

What would you tuck into a pocket?

Jelly printing with a gelatin plate

How to make a book from a single sheet of paper