Friday, 30 March 2012

Photography: My wee dog

Last week I was given the awful news that my wee little dog has probable Leukemia and is in the stages of progressive heart failure.  She is also deaf and has cataracts.  It shouldn't have been such a surprise as she is 13 1/2 years old but it was.  She has been part of my life for so long that I can't imagine life without her.  (These photos are from throughout her life so not all of these are taken recently.)

Kara is a King Charles cavalier Spaniel with the most gentle and wonderful temperament. She has never bitten or growled at anyone until lately and that was how I knew something was wrong.

She has always been a truly happy wee dog who has given love to every one no matter what.  She has always seemed to find a way to comfort those around her and give them support as needed.  Dogs are so wonderful for that.

She has eyes that make you melt and feel so sorry for her that she hasn't had a pat lately or hasn't had a cuddle. 

My kids have really enjoyed her and hve really loved her a great deal.

I am probably going to have to make a decision soon on whether we need to have her put to sleep and it breaks my heart to think about it.  I know what is best for her but I love her so much it is hard to make choice like this.

Life's choices can be difficult sometimes.  Even when I know what is a right choice is, it really doesn't make it any easier.

I am enjoying the moments I have left with her and enjoying the cuddles. I am quietly thanking God for letting her be in my life and for the blessing she is.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Sketchbook challenge

This week I have playing around more with my stencils and different colour ways. 


I played around with textures and pinks and purples. 
These aren't colours I use a lot so I found this exciting to try.

This page I was exploring depth through the use of different tones of colour,  placement of shapes and the detail of the pen work.

I tried a new medium on this page... a twink pen.  It made a wonderful white edge.  I think I will be using a twink pen more. 

Monday, 26 March 2012

New piece of work

Last week I posted a blog on a new small piece of work I was doing. 

Well I am finished.  I entered in into the sketch to art quilt challenge in the quilting arts magazine.  I didn't make the cut :( I know it wasn't anything to do with how bad the piece was but it was still disappointing.

Rejection is hard but it is one of those things you get better at the more you get.  I am getting quite good at it now :) if you get what I mean.  The page above is the sketch I used to design this art work.  It is a collection of sketches drawn on a day on the beach. 

I used textile paints,  shiva paintsticks and seed beads. 

I painted white fabric with textile paints and then machine quilted the cloth. 

I love the beach.  One day (if we get rich enough) I would love to live by the sea.  I love the way the moods of the beach change so much.  One day it is calm and tranquil and the next day it can be rough and loud.  I love the way the beach recharges my soul and spirit. 

Collecting shells is one of my favourite pastimes.  This art quilt is inspired by mussel shells.  I love the colours of them.  Each shell is different and unique.  The colours are all beautiful and special, just like people different but unique.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Photography this week

This weeks photos for your inspiration were taken by my 15 year old daughter on a field trip to Rotorua.  Rotorua is a geothermal region in the North island of New Zealand.  It is a fascinating area full of bubbling pools of mud, geysers and steam.  There is also an amazing building in town that is unusual in our architectural landscape of this country.  My girl took some lovely pictures of this building and it is these I want to share with you today.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Skechbook challenge: 7 days of drawing

I have experimented with the same stencil as my last page.  I really like this stencil.  It is really only a loose representation of a flower but is one just the same.

This page has been created using metallic paint, acrylic paint and white pen.
I have used 9 or ten different colours and a few different stencils to give depth to the page.

I explored the same stencil again on the second page of the week.  i used a completely differnt colour way.  What a difference it makes to use a warm colour.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Quilting groups

I have been a supporter of a few quilting guilds over the years.  The work many people do is inspiring and beautiful.  But most of it is something I want to 'admire and not perspire' over.  Traditional work doesn't get me motivated to quilt.  Don't get me wrong though it is very beautiful and I really appreciate the work that goes into each piece it just doesn't grab me when I create.  I still love going to these groups though and will still continue to go as I appreciate the friendships and relationships that grow in these organisations.

I am finding though that my needs aren't being met so I have decided to start a new fabric art group in my area with the hope of expanding new ideas,  experimenting with new products and old ones and becoming more supportive of contemporary arts in the quilting form.  So if you are interested in coming and in South Auckland the advert for our first meeting is below

Quilting art group

Are you interested in experimenting with surface design,  new ideas and
contemporary approaches to your quilting?

Then this group could be for you.

I am setting up a group in
South Auckland of people interested in
expanding ideas and pushing
themselves within the context of quilting.

For expressions of interest contact
Catherine Parkinson
E-mail at

Our first meeting will be held on
Thursday April 5th 2012, contact above for details

I am really excited about this new venture and I will let you know how it goes :)

Friday, 16 March 2012

Photography this week

This week's photography is of some of the projects I am working on.

Fabric scraps,  paint, paint sticks,  gold textile paint,  embroidery and stamping

Fabric scraps, paint, paint sticks, gold textile paint, embroidery and stamping

Mono printing, quilting,  paint sticks,  textile paint

Stenciling, paint sticks,  textile paint, mono printing and quilting

My design board filled with projects and ideas.

In black and white to check the value tones in all the pieces I am working on.  This is a good way to check if your work will be balanced.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Sketchbook challenge

This week I am still experimenting with paint.  I have created 2 pages in quite contrasting colours schemes.

The first one is an analogous scheme with white added for value contrast.

I had fun using layers to create a background rich in texture. 
 I love simple flowers. Their simplicity is what makes them so stunning. 
I think it also reminds me so much of my childhood making daisy chains and collecting
'bouquets' for my mum which were always in jam jars or the lid if the stalks were cut too short.

My second page is in various tones of yellow and browns with gold added to highlight the page.  The flower is done with a homemade stencil.  I have used about 8 layers to create the texture on this page. 

So what do I use to make the texture in the background.  All pretty simple things that I have around the home or cheap craft items....

  • Bubble wrap (3 different sizes)
  • A Tupperware mat
  • Sequin waste
  • Lids for circles and scrap booking cutters
  • Corks
  • Homemade rubber stamps
  • Homemade stencils
  • Cotton reels
  • Toothbrush
  • Wire
  • Foam brushes
  • Foam rollers
  • Stamps
I use a different object and a slightly different tone for each layer until I have a rich and complex page.  Have a go and see what you can come up with.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Quilting this week

This week I have been working on a small art quilt.  I have based this quilt on the mussel shells which are common on New Zealand beaches.  It has been fun to interpret sketches I have drawn on location in my sketchbook.  I want to show you today they way I work on a new piece of work.

I first sketch on location taking down the subject and any ideas I have surrounding the subject.  In this case I sketched my own interpretation of seaweed,  mussel shells and grass.  I combined some of these elements into a cool bag design.

Then from this I made more sketches,  I chose this one to make into a small wall quilt.

I then sketched it up in my sketchbook and did a few colour ways.  This was the one I liked the best.

I collected some photos as reference for colour and for my palette choice.  i used these as a guide for my paint selection.

This is the finished top of my quilt.  When I get to this point I spend a few days looking at the quilt top deciding on quilting designs. 

The whole design board area.

 Hopefully this week I can get it quilted!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Photography this week

This week I have spent a lot of time at school watching sport events.  Photos of sports can be a challenge to take.  Most digital cameras have a sport mode button which you should try to use for fast action shots.  The photos will be clearer than on a normal automatic mode.  The fast shutter speed enables you to take photos of fast paced action. 

These photos were taken on my Canon SLR camera on sport mode. 


Waiting for the next race to begin

Finishing the race

Number one finish !!!


Close up of the facial expressions


Diving for the next race

Half way through a stroke in breaststroke

Water coming of his face.

Taking photos from different angles keeps interest and explains the story better,  it also gives you more of a chance to get good photos. 

Try to use you camera to take an action shot this week.  You might like to try one of these ideas
  • A sporting event
  • Children playing
  • Cars and machinery moving
  • landscapes while in a moving vehicle
  • Kids on a trampoline
  • Pets playing
  • Birds flying

Have fun experimenting with different shots.

P.S.  He got first in freestyle and backstroke and third in breaststroke and butterfly.  He got a certificate for being third overall in his age group.

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