Monday, March 2, 2015

Happy to be settled and working again

So here we are at last in Cornwall, well nearly.  Our house sale fell through so we had to put it on the market again, luckily its all go again,  but it has delayed us settling as we are still travelling to and from Weston-super-Mare quite a lot.  To say we are tired is an understatement, but hopefully all the travelling will stop soon and we can get into a much better routine.  We are managing to be in the studio 4 days a week which is good.  

The best thing is that the studio is looking quite nice.  Some great friends from Wight and Wight  came and helped us build the studio. We are so pleased.  Most of the materials were re-cycled and the wood panelling on the front was an amazing find.  

The counter is made up of 3 sections the two side ones are attached to the walls.  The centre section is free standing so can be moved out when we want to add some more tables for teaching sessions. and the the two gates either side will open out . the middle section is also designed very cleverly to be able to change the display in it as often as I like .   

 These gates are of course to keep our Fin in .  He does want to greet everyone who comes in, I am not sure they are all pleased to see him,  but he loves it.

We have managed to get drilling some sea glass for jewellery and you will see the results soon on our folksy shop.

but we have been concentrating on getting some leather goods made,  We are trying to get ahead for the easter rush ( hopefully) 

and if you look closely you can see a sneak preview of my latest painting.  Its nice to have a brush in my hand again.  but more on that soon

Take care and catch up soon

janice x

Friday, January 30, 2015

Our New studio space

It has seemed like a long time coming but it is finally here, we move in on Monday.  Scary and exciting :-)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2015 and New ventures or should I say Adventures!!

Wowee!!   What a funny old time we have had since we last spoke. So here I am to give you a quick update.

2014 was not my favourite year, so I am hoping that now, we can get on with a year that will be kinder to us and our family.   Such a lot has happened but I shall give you the highlight,  Mr Wellydog is now unemployed.  

We had hoped to move to Cornwall in a year or two but had decided that as we had just got ourselves into a comfortable financial position for the first time in our married lives, that we would do some travelling and just live it up a little before getting serious and looking at retirement.  Well that didn't quite work out the way we had planned, but we are happy to be in such a fortunate position that we can move into the house in Cornwall.   Very sadly we have sold our current home and are in the process of packing up and moving... I know... I know,  no one feels sorry for us HAVING to moving to Cornwall, but we will just have to make the best of the situation !!!!

Mr WD has been in a very stressful job in the last few years so its actually a relief for him to be able to take some down time, relax and recharge his batteries, but not for too long............. because I have got him working for me!!!   well I suppose he would say we were equal partners, but we will fight that one out much later!!  hehe!

We are about to take up residence in a craft unit at Heartlands in Pool, Cornwall.  Its a visitor attraction about 18 miles away from our house.  It has a bit of everything, adventure playground, gardens, artwork, a Tin mine and visitor centre, weddings and community events, why not check out their website

This is the unit we are taking on 

No 3 Artist Muse

the view from the window, we are not moving in yet but it has been used for storage, so will hopefully be empty when we arrive on the 1st Febuary to pick up the keys ( or probably the Monday , the 2nd).

Mr WD coming from a business and finance background, will be getting my pricing sorted and help me get my artwork properly framed.  I will be experimenting with my Seaglass jewellery a bit more and we will both add some handmade  leather goods to our stock list.  Mr WD is currently working on some beautiful photography to also bring in and sell as prints and maybe the odd canvas or two.  

He is amazingly organised and is already bringing in a whole new feel to Wellydog.  We are hopeful for a bright future but we know it won't come without a lot of hard work,  so sleeves rolled up and business heads on ,  we are packing up, shifting out and well.... the sky's the limit!

Happy New Year everyone,

Janice x

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Moved to Cornwall :-)

Taking it easy for a while will update Dreckly :-)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Exhibition plans

Last week I was sketching with friends,  such a lovely way to pass a a day and I thouroughly enjoyed it and felt very relaxed.

There was sketching at the wonderful Tintern Abbey.  My hubby took some lovely photos, but you will have to pop over to his Facebook page to see them.  He's a bit reluctant so only a couple there so far but I am hoping to convince him to be brave and post loads more.

Before that I was a Clevedon Pier where it was very peaceful until we got invaded by about 40 school children on a school outing

But I have also been doing some leather work.  I made this custom designed Dice cup 

Then I bought some lovely soft leather and made loads of notebooks.  The cup has gone to its new home but the notebooks you can buy from my folksy shop.

 Then I took up the challenge on Facebook to paint this little chap.  I don't really know why as he won't have a home  :-( as I don; know who's cat it is, but I did enjoy the challenge.  So any suggestions as to what to do with him please let me know.

and finally I couldn't resist, I just had to paint some more sea.  This was finished today and is off to  its new home in Cornwall at the weekend

So all in all a very productive week.  

But thats not all...........I have plans,
  I have this week arranged to share a venue for North Somerset Arts week in May 2015,  With the fabulous Wight and Wight 

Sarah makes stunning silver jewellery and also makes lots of other crafts and they are all very very fabulous.

I will update you when we have the venue finalised .  I also have to finalise a venue for my solo exhibition September 2015.  It will be in Cornwall and I have provisionally called it 'Watching the Sea Breathe".  I expect you guessed it might involve paintings from the sea, but just in case there was any doubt I thought I would go for a name thats sums up my obsession for watching the Sea.

Watch this space for more details 

Janice x

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Long time no see

Wow-wee its been ages hasn't it??  It was the very beginning of July since my last post,  but I am here now to put that right x

For those who don't know, I lost my Mojo, after my Dads death in January, it had been a hard few years once the dementia took hold and I was so upset when he died but at the same time so pleased he didn't  have to suffer any more, and I have been struggling.  I guess that showed in my lack of ability to painting anymore and  I just couldn't get back on track,  well after a few false starts I am painting again and happy.  I suspect I  will still have some ups and downs but for now things seem to be getting back on track.

So many things have happened to help that,  so where should I begin?

In July  my lovely youngest daughter got married to her partner at Bristol Zoo,  we had an amazing day and everything was just perfect.  They both did a wonderful job of organising it and didn't she look amazing :-)

and as all this was happening, we also bought a holiday Cornwall!
With a some money my Dad had left me and some spectacular financial jiggery pokery from my eldest daughter ( absolutely amazing how she sorted us out) we moved in the week after the wedding :-)

Its been bliss, relaxing, calm peaceful, friendly and felt like home ,the minute we walked through the door.  As you can imagine we have been there loads and I have even been down on my own, with Fin for company. So how could I possibly not paint now!!  

So life at the moment is amazing,  I am very fortunate, I have a fabulous husband and 3 amazing children, who I am so very, very proud of.  So for a while , maybe forever,  I am going to kick back and appreciate them and this wonderful gift my Dad has given me .........

and of course, enjoy painting again 

Janice x

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Quilting by Internet learning

I have often maintained you can learn anything theses days off the internet.  As a teacher,  I can't emphasis enough the importance of a face to face class,  but if you can't get one, for what ever reason, then the internet is fantastic.

I have wanted to make a quilt for a very long time,  but having a sister and a sister in law who are both fabulous quilters, then I have always been a bit put off as I have been told accuracy
 is the key and I am really not that accurate and attention to detail is not my forte.

I did make a rag quilt out of old jeans some time ago but I just threw that together and not much thought or accuracy went into it

But I really really wanted to make a proper quilt so I decided.....why not?  and if I was going to do it, lets not dilly daly with little bits to practice, lets just go for the double size quilt, as I may never make one again.

It started because I found this picture linked from Pintrest to a flickr photo

There was no pattern just a brief description

I don't neither have a pattern nor the measurements anymore. But it's a simple log cabin block, starting with a square, I guess about 5", and than adding to strips to the left and right, each about guessed 3" and then another two strips on top and bottom of the block, again 3".

The fabrics alternate with each block, one time white is in the middle, prints are the strips, next time the other way round.

Setting of the quilt is just alternating these blocks in rows and columns, use as much blocks as you need to get the desired size.

So I set about learning to quilt.

I started off by reading this great blog

Then I picked a couple of water looking fabrics from a local material shop,  but she had no picture patterns and I wanted a seaside theme.  So I looked up local quilting shops on google and I found a hum dinger.  

Midsomer Quilting

Not only did they have a very wide range of materials,  they had classes and most importantly they made my husband a coffee and had he not been interested, then he could have sat and chatted.  But actually he loved helping me pick out patterns.

I wanted some white material so I bought a 1.5m off cut from Dunlem in a kind of linen material,  ( this was probably the biggest mistake I made,  but more of that later.)

I also needed a few basic bits of kit, a rotary cutter and a quilting ruler /guide.  I already had a cutting matt, sewing machine and so thats all the equipment I needed,  in all honesty you could have cut by scissors and a ruler but it wouldn't have been as accurate or as easy.

I worked out a paper pattern and started cutting squares.  I  realised the paper pattern I used was no good as I hadn't made any allowances for the seams.  Mr WD and his lovely maths brain worked out how to cut the most out of my material ( turned out to actually cut a 11" square out, then I could get all my bits for each block out of two of these one in the coloured fabric and one in the white.

I then had to work out how to keep my seems the same,  I could have bought a special foot for my machine but I found this article about seem allowance accuracy  and used a bit of masking tape to mark it on my machine.

Sewing the squares together took a long time,  but I soon started using the chain piecing techniques described here 

another great tip I picked up was to have your ironing board set up by your machine so that you could press seems quickly without having to move all the time.

Wow all those squares, 42 in total.  I  layed them out on the bed to try and sort out the pattern,  it was more  difficult than I had expected but actually made  a huge difference to how the quilt looked.

I bought the quilting material and was going to buy a few yards of sheeting material to back out with,  but I found that it was quite a bit cheaper to actually by a double sheet which needed no joining and was the perfect size.

I wanted to try the scribbly quilting I had seen on the original picture.  I made up some quilting squares to practice on .  I did ask my sister to meet me and to show me how to do free motion quilting but she was busy and couldn't do it for a couple of weeks.  Anyone who knows me, knows I have to get on,  I have no patience once I start a project,  so I ploughed on ahead, andf found this interesting little video

A solid 4 hours practice and I thought I was up for it,  so I  pinned it all out and started quilting ......  so nervous after all that work.

This is when i realised my mistake on the material I had bought as remnant.  It was too think.  it had been fine putting the blocks together but the seams on some edges were so thick with all the layers, the material would not go through the machine smoothly.  I just had to accept a few long stitches and also i did try and manipulate the pattern so it didn't need to go over theses seems to often.

Phew that was a mammoth task,  but one done very rewarding.   I had a couple of hoc ups and had to unstitch,  thank goodness for my seem ripper/un-picker!  

Then onto the edging,  this was a brilliant tutorial and I watched it as I was actually sewing the binding to the edges.  I was particularly taken with the final bit about leaving the batting to make a fuller edging

So here it is , my final quilt, certainly not perfect,  but I am pleased with myself,  just not sure I would put it to close to one of my sisters or sister in laws!!