Creative ideas come "out of the wild" growing like yeast. Enjoy a meander around my creative pursuits - art printing with stamps, sketching, photography, baking, gardening...

26 September, 2012

WOYWW No 173. The Parlour Pussicat.

I bought a couple of cats stamps from my paper arts shop. They are Memory Box cats and I was playing with the alley cat stamp in a recent post. This one of the Parlour Puss seemed to need wall paper so I started with a marbled background stamp with DI pinks and aged mahogony at the edges. 

The cat stamp is heat embossed with fine detail black and then lamp light is blended in with mustard seed, using a mask. The lamp and table are painted with Twinkling H2O colours and I embellished with punched tiny flowers and a corner punch for a more ornate matt.

Design notes and stuff. See the freesias and bluebells at the back on the left?

Here's the Parlour Puss ready to go. I like using Darkroom Door string sentiments stamps.

Hope you like the finished product. Sorry I missed out last week but life was sooooo busy that I neglected my visitors and followers. Thank you for your lovely messages the week before. Still not an idle moment, but doing more of what makes me happy this week.

If you're wondering why I would publish a desk photo, there's a funny little crowd of us who log into Julia's
Stamping Ground and then visit all the other Wednesday desks. Hop over and have a peek.

Have a great week everyone.

25 September, 2012

Sunshine came softly through my window today...

Remember that Beatles song? (edit: it was Donovan actually. I woke up just now with that insight, and Sue said the same. Thanks for that.)   The Spring day today was just bliss on a stick!

Had lunch at a local winery to celebrate a family birthday. The food was gorgeous, the service excellent and the view across the lake a Spring symphony. Thought I'd share a few garden photos.

Looking towards the front gate, here is a patch of freesias that have fragrance to make me bliss out.
I call this the tree fern garden but it's quite English. In the centre is a tree fern surrounded by spring bulbs and other small precious locals like a ground cover we call running postman. There's a crab apple showing first leaves top left and at the back, the trunk of a very old banksia.
This is a native hibiscus. The flowers are lovely and remind me of floppy silk flowers. Behind it is a cherry ballart, a native cherry that only grows in symbiosis with the roots of other trees, usually eucalypts. One can't plant them; rather just be happy if one arrives.
Hope you enjoyed a little look at Spring delights. Here's a dark secret to share now...

Portobello mushroons living in the mostly darkened space behind the laundry basket. They have given us three tiny harvests in recent days and are now going like the clappers.
I'll be around tomorrow with the Desk hopping regulars at What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday.

'Til then,

13 September, 2012

WOYWW No 171.

Greetings to all my WOYWW friends. I'm late this week and was pretty sparse with my comments because of all the busy work happening last week. Glad to say that my major project is now done, and perhaps there will be an opportunity to use it again down the track. Thank you for your comments last week and looking forward to seeing you later.

My desk this week uses a couple of the things I bought at Paperific and just some fanciful play with bits that came to hand or came out of a long period 'lost' in the cupboard.
Working late today - note that the tea cup is now a scotch glass.
On the left is my new storage box for blending sponges, coping with expansion. Clockwise from there is a collection of glue, reinkers, clock, cleaners, spray bottles and so on. Closer to me is the (empty) scotch glass, the distress inks, little tapestry stamps, tape, scissors, tweezers - I use tweezers a lot, being an old stamp collector. It comes very easily to me and helps me to place things accurately with my eye not to mention preventing burnt fingers or buckled surfaces when heat embossing.

The little panel is chicken wire stamped with silver ink and embossed with Judikins pastel EP which is effectively a resist technique. Enjoying a little rediscovery with the pastel powder. The little bird house is from Marianne I think and the bird is a Memory Box die. I stamped and stencilled leaves and berries then sprayed with Perfect Pearl. Will put up the finished card tomorrow. 

Happy WOYWW travelling. Start over at Julia Dunnit's Stamping Ground if you'd like to see more desks around the world. 
Miles of smiles,

06 September, 2012

Gloria's First Birthday

Before I get to Gloria, I want to thank everyone who mentioned 'good luck' messages about the high winds. Amazingly, we were quite sheltered here although the Manna Gums across the valley were swaying in a very fancy tango. The worst parts of Melbourne to be swept up in stormy gusts were the east and south suburbs. If I was still living in my old place, it would have been more of an adventure I think.

Gloria is my sourdough starter, and about a year ago, after about a week's gestation, she produced her first loaf. Since then, she has been fed and nurtured and has returned full measure of home-baked bread most weeks of the calendar. Here's a little photo essay to celebrate her success...baking with sourdough is something I've never managed to do before.

Gloria and her family of ingredient for two fruit loaves and one light wholemeal.
Gloria is in the red bowl, ready to make the leaven in the little buckets at the bottom right. Notice how bubbly she is! And she smells gorgeous too. Three cups of fruit - dried pears, apricots, peaches, cranberries and crimsons which are like gigantic sultanas, are all soaking in boiling water for an hour or so then drained in a colander. The leaven is made in the small buckets with starter, flour and water adding up to 400g for each loaf. It has to double in size before mixing and what a merry fizzy mixture it is.

After the first proving over night. Sourdough flavour is better for a long rising period. 
Almost my favourite thing is knocking down the dough when it's grown so fat the next morning.  Kneading it is gorgeous because it's soft and very elastic - as it should be. The bread dough on the right has a soft grain mix through it and about 100g wholemeal spelt added to the unbleached strong flour. Oh yum.
After the second kneading, slashed, sprinkled with fine semolina and ready for rising in the tin.
Semolina allows me to handle the loaf without the slashes sticking  together and  closing
It's about 8.30 a.m. and here they are tucked in the oven on the proving setting, warm and humid.
This means they will be ready by lunch time. 

Cooling for the shortest possible time before "testing".  Can hardly wait.  Waiting for lunch be blowed.
Isn't Gloria a star? Some of you may not know that starters are often given a name and provided they are looked after and used, they can last for thirty years. I might be dead by then. Fancy being out-lived by a bowl of yeasty cement. Yes, it is cement and it flings itself around in the most unlikely places. By the way, Gloria's red bowl is a microwave rice cooker which has a valve in the lid. That's ideal because she grows and produces gas which would blow the lid off without the valve. Just imagine an explosion of cement in the fridge.

I hope you've enjoyed this little kitchen story. I regard making bread as part of my creative activity and just love my other workshop, the kitchen.

Miles of smiles,

05 September, 2012

WOYWW No 170.

Hello WOYWW friends.

First I must give a big apology to those dear folk who visited me last week but had no reply from me in spite of best intentions. Please forgive, and thank you for your lovely comments. In case you are wondering, this is a Desk Hopping Day - What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday. The starting place is Julia's Stamping Ground so follow the link to enjoy (and maybe make sense of it ;-)).
I had my nose to the grind-stone in preparation for the U3A workshop on Monday. Happy to say it went well and all the participants left saying "See you next week" - always a good sign.

Next was the Paperific Show which I was determined not to miss so disciplined myself to work around it for Saturday. It was very worthwhile going, and fun to meet quite a few chums there. I spent quite a bit, some on new things and some filling some gaps for example, I added a couple of alcohol ink colours, bought envelopes and card stock, and added some Liquid Pearls. Here are a couple of interesting bits and pieces though.

Some new dies from Memory Box, Hero Arts and Cottage Cutz.
I've decided that the Memory Box system of putting small flat dies into envelopes is workable so have taken up the idea for other dies. At the back of the craft mat are three that I bought at Paperific and that I've just put into packets.

This is Spring Vine Wreathe with envelop ready. I find a glue stick and fine tweezers are great for placing tiny pieces.  

Michael Powell stamps are new to me.  Thought this one would be fun for Christmas.
I think this stamp promises to be very versatile and could be used whole or segmented to make three other pictures. What fun!

Today is wild and windy with the State Emergency Service on alert for fallen trees and lost roofs. What a contrast with yesterday which was sunny and full of green and yellow around the garden and the roadside verge. The sea is full of white horses and looks wonderful – I love the contrast of white and slate blue-gray.

Miles of smiles,