'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Tuesday 31 January 2012

Here and there…

is where I’ve been this week.image

Some theres have been better than others.

The highlight was a visit with our own little lambs to the local agricultural college’s lambing weekend, where a good time was had by all. 



image With the possible exception of the ewes.

‘First you give birth to them and then they walk all over you’.

There were also horses, which of course Babybel loved, and cows, though we didn’t get round to them. All well organised and well worth a fiver a head.




In between all the other theres, I’ve made a few more samples – this time of distressing techniques – if you know what I mean. Liming wax at the top, sandpaper, PG tips and bleach left to right across the middle,and beeswax at the bottom. All good in their way, but the beeswax was difficult to get even – anyone know a better way than heating it up and painting it on with a brush?






And I had a go at the tube picture frame which seems to be all over the net – this is my brown paper and corrugated card version. It’s a definite ‘maybe’ but in the process I may have discovered the answer to my glue prayers – Power Pritt – if only it wasn’t so !”£%$£^%£!$3 expensive. It stuck instantly – we will see if it stays stuck after it dries out.



The samples box is looking a little full. image Maybe it’s time to stop sampling, pick on one of the half formed ideas I have wandering round my head, and actually try making something…

Friday 27 January 2012

More samples.



Mostly plastic, a few fabric, and the paper ones I forgot last time [apart from the doyleys which I couldn’t find – and I think they are probably a wee bit naff].

Love the bubble wrap, but it doesn’t really say anything to me.image

Then I decided to get nasty with my favourite samples, in an attempt to age them prematurely [premature compared with sticking them out in the garden for 6 months, that is]. This is known, technically,  chez Cheese, as adding crud.

The top lot met puff paint, UTEE and a heat gun. I found there was a fine line between puffing the paint and burning the paper, but this is not a problem. [Hey, I could cut out the middle process and just burn them!]

I’m not sure about the overall effect – the UTEE is a bit blingy [which is a problem] but the puff paint alone looks a bit like bird s**t – which isn’t.

The middle group are bleached – lovely, lovely, lovely. I particularly like the effect on the brown paper, which ended up looking a bit woody – perhaps it could do with some bird sh – puff paint?

The bottom group is my attempt at rusting. Now I think I was probably the only textile artist in the world who had not yet experimented with rusting, so I had to consult the members of a Yahoo group I belong to for advice on how to do it. Plus there is a general shortage of rusty stuff round here [I think Wensleydale was a bit offended when I asked] but with the help of some good advice, some old keys [so-so] and some wire wool [brilliant] the attempt was made. The best one was, of course, the bit of copy paper I put in because it happened to be lying around.

There is another problem you may have noticed. I rusted the edges of  flat paper and there was a certain amount of deterioration of the cheaper stuff. This is not necessarily a bad thing – but how am I going to roll and glue it? Answer – roll and glue first, rust later.image

Photography and envelope rolling have also continued. Despite a falling off in post since Christmas, POT is now 2.6 metres long and weighs a healthy 1.5 kilos.







And my new photographic subject is beginning to think about flowering. 









In the middle of all this I went to see the doctor – which means I have now seen a doctor more in the last 18 months than in the previous 18 years – well, almost. Turns out the reason I have been feeling so wobbly is that I have an inner ear infection, so I now have some ‘granny’s little helpers’ to control the more anti-social aspects of the problem. The drawback is that I can’t drink while I’m on them. :>(.  And as they make me sleepy, I can’t drive either. :>((

Saturday 21 January 2012


image and here’s the proof. A box [made from a recycled mailer, naturally] containing various sizes of tubes made from almost every type of paper I could think of, labelled with important details. ] It’s a workbook, as I'm sure you realise, for Module 15, ‘Fabric/Stitch Trials’.

[Bother, I forgot atlas pages – and book pages. Doyleys? Or is that a bit naff? Doyleys over brown paper might be interesting.]

It was a useful exercise – as well as my old favourites, newspaper and brown paper,  I'm excited by the possibilities of single layer corrugated card, and some black paper I bought to make book pages  until I decided it was too shiny. I am also semi-excited by wallpaper but it is a b****r to roll and an even bigger b****r to glue – although I confess I wasn’t using wallpaper paste, only some sort of gel stuff I bought in my continuing and so far unsuccessful search for a half-decent glue. [I have a hate-hate relationship with glue – which I may have mentioned before…]

But then, does it matter if they aren't stuck down properly? Would sticky out flappy bits be interesting, especially if I'm not tying them together but making free standing pieces?

And looking at the box gives me an idea for a piece – a box full of tubes? the bad photo i took of it before upping the exposure and using the flash had a gentle golden glow, which might be quite nice.

Tomorrow I intend to pay around with some plastic and possibly some fabric – although I think I’ve got enough ideas just from the paper, you never know, After that, I’ll look at ways to colour/distress the tubes, or add lumps and bumps. I have several ideas, and I know once I get going others will appear. Trouble is I've only got 6 months…

So apart from the continuing cold, which has turned into an ear infection which is affecting my balance – things are going well.

Thursday 19 January 2012

I am officially fed up -

fed up with this cold

fed up with blowing my nose – I’ve emptied at last 4 boxes of issues over the last 11 days

fed up with the cough which kept me awake most of last night, despite the Lemsip, Benelin [sp?] and Vick

fed up with feeling as though my head and ears are full of cotton wool

fed up with the headache

and fed up with not being to taste or smell anything. Apart from oranges. Riverford’s organic oranges have been the one bright spot – well, W. as well, of course.

At least the sore throat’s gone. The cold is not anywhere near as bad as the  chest infection from hell, but I slept through most of that – sort of. I’m awake enough to appreciate this one in it’s full glory – and if W. is anything to go by, I’ve got at least another week to go.


I did manage to stagger into college yesterday morning, to get the details of the final 2 modules [‘Stitched Samples’ and ‘Final Body of Work’], plus the module I’d missed [‘Sketchbooks’].

I think the overall reaction was ‘Is that it?’ – more of the same, only more focussed. However it did motivate me to think about getting started –as you may have noticed, I've had rather a long hiatus. I was intending to start sampling tubes today, but I was so tired after a really c****y night last night that it didn’t happen.

However, I did manage to add a couple of envelopes to POimageT, photograph everything, and make a sketchbook and a work book Nothing can start till I have the right book. The usual recycled Amazon mailers – quick, easy, and fairly strong.

[I thought I’d already made some, but can’t find them – that cottonwool-head effect again.]



I also made another bib. I had only intended to make two, but last night I stumbled oimagen this pattern which I think looks great for little boys. [OK, that’s sexist – it would probably look equally great on little girls.]

It was very quick to do, even after I’d adapted it slightly as I wasn’t convinced about my ability to add poppers that wouldn’t come off. We’ll have to see which one the VHC and his mummy prefer tomorrow.

Saturday 14 January 2012

Cheese Acres are alive…

with the sound of coughing and sneezing – a cold which the VHC kindly gave to his granddad, and which his granddad equally kindly passed on to me. Wensleydale, being Yorkshire bred, had soldiered on – I retired to the sofa on Tuesday and stayed there till Thursday. occasionally lifting a hand to my pale brow, dozing and whinging. Why not take advantage of a good opportunity?

I stuck it out till Friday when I decided I had to get a grip and went  to the gym – where I was gently told off for going :>(

After that we took Babybel to playgroup, while her mummy took the VHC to baby massage – where he took after his father by eyeing up the girls and then making his escape. Everyone seems to have enjoyed themselves and we will repeat the exercise next week, when hopefully we will all have recovered from our various illnesses [Babybel and her mummy were also off-colour].

I was so preoccupied with whinging I forgot to take photos on Thursday, and POT got neglected too. I made up for it this morning, which  meant I could take advantage of a wonderful frosty sky.


And there were other good things too.

image [I love timagehe film grain setting on my camera.]

POT is now 2.5 metres long and weight 1.4 kilos – a tad lighter than the VHC. Can you spot when Christmas was? Back to the boring standard sized envelopes now.

And this afternoon I decided to make a couple of bibs, as the VHC has outgrown the ones I made for his sister. Do you know how exhausting making bibs is? I had to give up and leave then for tomorrow.

I am feeling better – and I hardly cough at all provide I don’t stand up, sit down or [worst of all] lie down. W. is generally better during the day, which means he gets the treat of being kept awake at night by my coughing, but he hasn’t complained once, bless him.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Thursday 5 January 2012

What’s been happening around here?

Not a lot. New Year passed quietly, although we enjoyed the neighbours’ fireworks from our bedroom window. No progress has been made on the too-small-to-see canvas work – or much else for that matter. I even had to unpick several rows of my ‘Killing’ sweater, when I realised that the ball of wool I was using was a different shade of natural [not red] to the rest of the sweater. Fortunately I have another ball, and I will be knitting quickly to get to the end before it runs out. [Wish I was as skinny as Sofie Grabol, then I wouldn’t need nearly as much wool…]

We have been to the theatre with Babybel and Mrs Cheddar to see ‘Wind in the Willows’ – as usual at the Watermill, excellent music and a had working, accomplished cast, but I think it was a little too old for Babybel, who was coming down with a bug anyway. [Like her little brother and her Granddad.] She did enjoy Mr Toad dressed up as a washerwoman though – and a squirrel trying to stuff a very large conker under her seat.

College restarted yesterday – we had an entertaining talk from Maggie Grey and I increased my collection of D4Daisy books [now there’s a surprise]. No new modules to work on, though we did get an outline of what they are – apart from scary…

Thursday is, of course, photography day. We’ve had a couple of very windy days, and this necessitated a series of ‘interventions’.

‘Plastic’ had fallen down again, so has been provided with a stronger string and rehung …

P1030233 CG1, which continues to disintegrate nicely, was getting friendly with a branch …


And P&P were getting friendly with each other [I don’t seem to have taken a colour photo for some reason].

P1030257All  were restored to what passes for normality at Cheese Acres.

POT weighed in at a healthy 2.3 metres and 1.3 kilos…image


and I started a new weekly series of photos, but not of a new piece, just my cherry tree. [Long term readers will know that I am rather fond of my cherry tree.]

Some bloggers seem to have flowers on theirs already, but mine, as you can see, is bare. Watch this space.



As we got Modules 10 & 12 back at college on Wednesday, I decided to ‘put them away’ – i.e. stick most of the bits in the heap on, under and around the spare room bed and hope no one comes to stay. However this led on to some semi-advanced tidying, so the bins are now full and, as W. said, you can see my workroom floor. My plans for throwing some paint around - in the interests of doing something other than draw tubes in my sketchbooks  - went for naught. Maybe tomorrow…