Monday, 31 December 2012

In with the new

Hope you had a happy and peaceful Christmas. At our house a good time was had by all even if some of us slept through the best bits!

It was wonderful having everyone together for the big day but after all that cooking I really love Boxing Day when we can sit back, relax and live on leftovers! It's also a time to finish off bits and bobs of projects that have been hanging around making me feel guilty they weren't finished sooner.

Amelie's Christmas cardigan will now have to be her New Year gift! All I have to do is knit the rest of the collar band that goes all round the edge to join itself at the centre back. I'll do that tonight in front of the TV. It's a really easy Debbie Bliss pattern that I'm sure I'll do again in a larger size for the spring.

I've had a lovely time in my workroom this morning. I love it when it's raining hard on the glass roof - somehow makes it really cosy to be inside. This may become my favourite T shirt from now on. It's a Burda pattern that is so easy it can be made in about half and hour if you have an overlocker.

There are only two pattern pieces and four seams. The back is cut to lay flat and the front is slightly oversized so the front neck drapes. It's cut wide so it looks like there are cap sleeves. Good for women of a certain age! What makes it even better is I bought the jersey fabric as a remnant for £1 on the Rag Market! I am wearing it as I write this and you can expect to see me in many variations of this top!!

Happy New Year to everyone who reads this column. I really appreciate your visits! I hope that 2013 will be creative for you all and you'll achieve whatever you set out to do. Right now I have to get back in the kitchen - today's bread is ready for the oven and we must remember to feed the body as well as the soul! Bye for now - Linda

Friday, 21 December 2012

All the latest

What's happening lately?

I haven't blogged for a while - my excuse, like everyone else who has good intentions that don't come to fruition, is the hectic run up to Christmas. Here at DesignMatters there's always a lot of admin to deal with as soon as everyone realises the holidays will start any minute now! With all that finally up to date our own preparations for Christmas are well under way. In true Kemshall fashion the first two batches of mince pies have already been eaten and I have to confess we sampled one of the Christmas cakes this morning when relatives dropped by unexpectedly. It's no good saving everything for one day is it? The tree is up and decorated but Amelie seems more interested in cuddles than twinkling lights.

It's unbelievably distracting to have a new grandchild but I am still making a few of my presents. Whether this rather fetching leg warmer will become one of a matching pair by Tuesday is in doubt! I may have to giftwrap it with an IOU.

With more important things in mind, we recently started a new Creative Sketchbooks course. Some of you reading this might be new to my blog having signed up since enrolling. A warm welcome if this is your first visit. I tend to chat in general about stuff I'm working on at the moment but from time to time I'll also be posting occasional words of wisdom about working into a sketchbook and illustrating them with examples of wonderful work produced by our students. I hope that this will be of interest to everyone whether you are a student or not. If you're taking the course, all you have seen so far are our sketchbook pages - I'm sure you're dying to know what everyone else is doing! I'm not mentioning individuals' names alongside the pictures but many thanks to all who share their work here.

For a number of reasons the first module is probably the hardest. Unless you have taken an online course with us before you don't know us yet and are probably wondering what we expect from you.

There is no right or wrong way to work. I recognise that there is a big emphasis on drawing in the first module, and that is intimidating for beginners, but there are also little tricks and cheats that will enable anyone to create an attractive sketchbook page. If you are prepared to have a go and try things out you will eventually find your favourite methods and media.

With any sketchbook work you have to begin with an idea. That may be the first stumbling block if you're not used to working in this way. A cutlery drawer or the contents of a kitchen cupboard may seem unusual subjects but they are familiar, available and a challenge to draw!

Whatever your level of experience, most of all we want you to have fun!!

Often people feel the need to know exactly where they are going with a project. They want to know what the finished thing will look like. I know this of myself only too well! If you can try to relax and go with the flow, I think you'll find it will be a more interesting journey!

I hope this post has been useful or at least you are interested to see some examples of the sketchbook pages. from Module1. I'll sort out a few more for next time.

Thanks for dropping by - I'll be in touch again soon. Linda

Monday, 3 December 2012

If she can do it so can I

It's not that we're competitive you understand but when Laura says anyone can find 10 or 15 minutes a day to do something creative you just have to rise to the challenge don't you?

OK so it's only a couple of luggage tags but by Christmas I'll have 25 of these to string along a ribbon kind of like paper bunting! I've used oil pastel with a wash of concentrated watercolour paints and added a few gold dots with a metallic pen.

It takes way less than 10 minutes to paint a load of gesso onto an altered book page.

I'm adding some feather drawings to the Eggs and Nests book I'm altering.

I like the way the brushmarks in the gesso add character to the pencil drawing.

I'm including some birds too. This was meant to be a Jay but sadly looks more like a demented Kookaburra. Ah well, back to the drawing board - more than 10 minutes definitely required for this!!

Bye for now,