Monday, 18 August 2014

Creative Blog Hop

Good Morning Everyone

I've been invited by a good friend of mine, many will already know Di, to participate in the The Creative Blog Hop. I have to admit that until Di contacted me I hadn't heard of this blog hop but was intrigued enough to do a bit of research only to find that whoever was the originator appears to be lost in the annals of time. What I did discover, however, is that this continuous weekly hop, scheduled for Mondays, is enabling a host of talented and inspiring folk to reveal the whys and wherefores behind their blogs, and very interesting reading it is too :)  After finding all that out, I agreed, thinking it might be fun for you to learn some things about me, as well as get to know a few new bloggers too!

So, make a cup of your favourite brew, switch of the phone, sit back and take a moment or sixty to read this post.

My Tagger
I had the good fortune to 'meet' Di, Pixie's Crafty Workshop, a few years ago now, through the snippet challenge, which at the time was hosted by lovely Jules, now hosted by Di herself, and we quickly struck up a long distance friendship. She is a very talented card maker, with a marked penchant for pink :), who has been blogging since 2010. In 2012, I got to meet up with Di (along with Jan and Julia) for real and to my delight I found she is every bit as friendly and lovely in person. We remain firm friends and I am so pleased to be tagged by her.

My Interview
Oh dear, I have to interview myself and answer four simple questions. Easy, you'd think!  Well, maybe not! I have to admit I got a little nervous over the questions ... after all I really don't think of myself as an artist and I'm not sure I even have a genre. Instead of being allowed to take art class at school, I was sidelined into the 'art appreciation' class - no talent required!!!

some of my early crochet work still
in use today
I've been crafting since I was a tot, only I didn't think of it as crafting, still didn't think of it as that until recently. I come from a knitting dynasty. My great-grandmother, grandmother and mother were all knitting machinists who were also expert handknitters. At 4 years old I was taught to handknit by my grandmother, making tiny clothes for my dolls. At 7, I was taught at school to embroider, an aunt taught me to crochet at the age of 9 - I crocheted the doilies on the left more than 45 years ago -  and I think I may have learned sewing by simply watching my very talented mother make clothes for the family because not long after my son was born I began sewing little outfits for him.

my son and daughter wearing
machine-knit sweaters
When the children were young I worked from home as a machine knitter. A friend and I formed a partnership designing and producing bespoke knitwear. Unfortunately, I developed arthritis which made knitting difficult and I was advised to stop for a while ... it's now more than 20 years since I did any knitting! 

scrapbook Albums
However, I like to learn new crafts and will try just about any technique that appeals. As a keen family historian I was delighted to discover scrapbooking 18 years ago when on a study year over in the USA ... at last, a fun way of preserving personal and family history.

one of my first scrap layouts!!!
And what a revelation this form of scrap book was to me ... nothing like the ones I remembered keeping as a child, when it was my delight to collect pretty scraps rather like those in this illustration.
sample of an old scrap book
like the one I kept as a child

We didn't keep photographs in albums ... not that there was a lot of photographs to keep. My father had a Box Brownie camera but photography was an expensive hobby then and the few photos that we did have were kept in a box, not an album.
my first stamps and first card blogged
At the same time as I discovered cardstock and pretty patterned paper for scrapping, I discovered stamps. In a shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I bought three wood-mounted stamps and one black ink pad ... I treasure them still. Of course, I had absolutely no idea what to do with them but that purchase, together with the leftover scraps of paper and card, inevitably led to cardmaking.

More recently, I've taken up crochet again, and even more recently, with the acquisition of a lovely new sewing machine, I'm in the process of reviving my sewing skills.

I began this blog almost 4 years ago, initially to give me a place to record my craft projects but now it includes other interests ... family history, trips out to beautiful spots, holidays, visits to open gardens, my garden flowers, and even recipes for favourite dishes. When I’m not in my craft room, I can be found, weather permitting, in my garden tending my roses.

1. What am I working on now?
Oh dear, the short answer is LOTS! I always seem to have several projects on the go at any one time. For example, this is what's on my desk today:
I recently enrolled for two online classes; one a video based scrapbooking class, Return to the Collection run by Shimelle Laine. I've gone through my stash of papers and put together my own kit for the class. This part-finished layout is based on ideas from the second video. I should say that I am the slowest scrapper on the planet. However, with a photograph collection like this:
three drawers packed with photos
I'm always on the lookout for ways that will speed up how I deal with all the photos and information I have gathered whilst reseaching the family history. Recently, I've been trying out the Project Life system in the hope that it will help me get it all in order quicker.

The other class is Watercolor for Cardmakers. Again, my progress is slow but I'm thoroughly enjoying experimenting with techniques for using watercolours :)  Other techniques that have been keeping me busy recently are Gelli plate printing and Creative Palette printing. These are similar but different.
It's all in the quest to create beautiful and/or interesting backgrounds for the stamping and stenciling I like to do. Until recently I was able to create backgrounds by sponging inks on to card but the RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) I've developed from years of banging away at keyboards has become an increasing problem so I'm trying out these new methods - so far, so good :)
As well as making cards, I make tags and even ATCs, and sometimes I even alter items too - like the large letter 'E' here.

Now that I've revived the skill, I always have a crochet project on the go. Currently I'm working on a throw I've designed myself in the colours of my grandson's favourite football team, Celtic :)

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?
I'm not sure that I can claim that my work fits into a particular genre. I have eclectic tastes and I think this is reflected in my work. I find inspiration everywhere; books, magazines, YouTube demonstrations, Pinterest, the many other very talented and inspirational artists who are also bloggers ... the sources are endless. 

3. Why do I create what I do?
Because if I didn't, I'd die of boredom ... it's as simple as that! I need to be doing something, preferably creative. Before retiring I was a workaholic ... I loved my job and being freelance I tended to work long hours just because I could and I was in no hurry to retire. However, ill health forced retirement ... time to find new challenges. Creating projects that are beautiful is now part of who I am ... it's my way of  expressing myself.

4. How does my creative process work?
Well, I wish I knew. I don't sit down with more than a vague idea of what I'm going to create but whatever it is, it will usually begin with a stamp, a paper, a background, some pretty fabric or yarn. Of course, there are the deadlines, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and so on, that can fairly concentrate the mind and sometimes I'll create something for one of the challenges I participate in but more often than not I just make something to please myself.

Phew! I'm sure after all that, you'll be delighted to know, that's me done! :)

What happens next:
It is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to the three fantastic bloggers, two of which I've tagged, and the third I so wanted to tag but someone had beaten me to it. The first two of these wonderful artists will continue the hop next Monday, August 25th. Please make a note to return to their blogs and follow the hop next week!

In no particular order we have:

Charlotte of The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady: I chose Charlotte because her patchwork and quilting is beautiful and I find her blog, which she has been writing since early 2009, is highly entertaining ... especially when she is regaling us with tales of domesticity and her proposed new home :)

This is what Charlotte wrote:

My name is Charlotte and I'm a quilter.  For other quilters that probably says it all:  I'm addicted to fabric, colour and texture; I love thread in all its glorious weights and I have far too many projects on the go.  I make quilts that double as art pieces, they hang on the wall and beg to be touched and I make more traditional quilts that go on the bed or couch and are perfect for snuggling.  I design, make, write and teach and it's my dream to do it all for a living one day!  Somewhere in amongst the fabric is my family.  We live in rural New Zealand and our current exciting project is the renovation of an old Navy minesweeper boat - shortly it will become our home!

Cindy of Plant's List. I chose Cindy because she creates the most fantastic and varied artwork using a variety of techniques including altered art and mixed media. She also has a great sense of humour which shines out from her blog.

Here's what Cindy wrote about herself:

My name is Cindy (well that is a joke in itself because that is actually what I wrote in the box when I set my blog up many years ago. But it amuses some people so I have left it.)

I live in West London with my husband and son (now 20) and I also have a daughter who has left home (23) – I see her now more than when she was living here!!

I have had a few different jobs but the one I really loved was when I worked for the University of London at The Hammersmith as the Personnel and Training Officer. This century(!) I have been working as a Library Officer in Ealing and you will not be surprised to learn that I get to do lots of crafty stuff with the kids. In between somewhere I trained as a garden designer and ran my own company for several years, building (with help!) and planting (with rather less help - that’s why I know have a bad back!!) many beautiful gardens. Whether its mud and grass or paper and paint there’s nothing quite like looking at something you’ve created and thinking ‘ I did that!!’.

I have always been arty/crafty and I am a terror for looking at something and thinking – I wonder how that is done. The trouble is it makes me an awful dilettante because something else catches my eye and then I’m off in another direction and never really master anything. I initially got involved online when looking for people to swap cards with – I discovered an amazing online crafting community and was completely hooked. In addition to cards I have dabbled with ATCs, Altered Art, Mixed Media, patchwork and mosaic. I work in all different types of styles and I'll try my hand at pretty much anything. I’m still too scared to use the soldering iron though!

I did open an etsy shop last year with a few bits which sold immediately and haven’t had time to do much else since - something I really regret as I would have liked to see if that worked out long term. There are so many things I would like to try and never enough time. I would love to run a craft club or even offer kids activities professionally…. ......One day?

And finally, I'm breaking with the rules here in introducing Jan of Jan's Arty Junk. Jan is the lady I hoped to tag for this week only to find that someone had already spotted her talent and got there ahead of me ... way back in July before I'd even heard of the Creative Blog Hop. If you haven't read her post before, I urge you to pop over and enjoy finding all about her and the artists tagged in her post.

And finally, if you got this far, all I can say is that you have gone way beyond the call of duty and demonstrated amazing staying power - my grateful thanks and mwah, mwah, mwah!!!


Carole Pollard said...

Great blog today so interesting love and Hugs Carole x

Di said...

Wow Elizabeth - a great post! No fear of you ever being bored. Loads of lovely things I never knew about you and a bit of a walk down Memory Lane as well. Eg, in our loft I think we still have a knitting machine, long forgotten!

Hugs, Di xx

Sandra H said...

Wow Elizabeth so interesting what a fab post x

brenda said...

Great post Elizabeth and thanks for sharing your crafty world with us, afraid mine a couple of weeks ago was a little limited as it was a rushed scheduled post before we went away.

B x

Liz said...

Great post. It's so interesting to find out a little more about the lives of creative bloggers. x

Kim said...

So fun reading more about you! I love all your samples, particularly the Watercolor for Cardmakers...I was thinking of doing that one. I love the Gelli plate cards, and I think the frazzled crow is great!

Se you at WOYWW!

MaryH said...

A thoroughly delightful post, loved all the pictures that accompanied the process of learning who you are, who you've been, and where you plan on going next! Your gelli journey has fascinated me, (my gelli is over a year old and still in the package!) When I finish my computer time this afternoon, that is going to be my goal today! Your work is always so lovely, and I'm honored to have been included as a Taggee with you. Yes, you most definitely ARE an artist, and in so many genres! TFS & Hugs. Happy coming week.

Darnell said...

As one known for writing epic posts, I can hardly fail to read all the way to the end, Elizabeth, and I can tell you that the time passed in mere seconds as I was engaged from the very beginning!! Well done! It was so great to get to know you better! I'm impressed with your ability to have so many projects going at once ~ boredom does not stand a chance under your roof!! Hugs, Darnell

Hettie said...

Great post Elizabeth. I am in good company with things distracting me on my way to doing projects. That is how my post the other day came about!
I saw a pic on pinterest the other day that we should both have..."I was crafting before it was cool!!"
PS thanks for becoming my latest follower.