Tuesday 27 July 2010

Budgeting for art and craft work

It is getting harder and harder to make the pennies stretch and when I have to choose between Groceries or art I will always choose the groceries. How can I still do my art in this present economic situation.

Over the next few weeks I am going to present different ways to save money in art work. I have found a few great practical and easy ideas on how to do this. For the second week of our journey I am going to look at ways to save with.......


  1. Use second hand clothes.  Not only does this save money but it also is environmentally friendly.  I have found so may fabrics that you can no longer get.
  2. Old sheets make excellent backings for quilts. 
  3. Old cotton sheets are also great for painting or dying.
  4. Buy all your backing fabrics on sale.   You really don't need to worry what the fabric looks like as no one will see it.
  5. Go to garage sales and yard sales for offcuts of fabric.
  6. Check the fabric off cut bins at fabric shops.
  7. Go to curtaining,  upholstery and dress fabric shops to look for fabric.  they are often cheaper than quilting stores and have a different selection of fabrics.
  8. Only buy fabric on special.  I try and check out the fabric bins and then think of how I can use those fabrics rather than looking at what I want.
  9. Keep all scraps of fabric and make new fabric from them.
  10. Experiment with old fabric you no longer like.  Try dyeing,  painting,  stamping and changing the surface of the fabric.
  11. Have a fabric swap with fellow art and craft enthusiasts.
  12. Use all wipe cloths for future work.  I have got some lovely pieces of fabrics this way.
  13. Keep all your batting scraps.   Great for small pieces of work,  journal quilting,  and stuffing.  You could also stitch pieces together for larger work too.
  14. Buying white pure cotton high count sheets on sale for painting or dying is much cheaper in New Zealand than buying Ready to dye fabric. Just remember to wash them first so the dye or paint can take.
  15. Find a dress maker who has off cuts they could let you have.

Sunday 25 July 2010

Photography-telling a story

It is lovely to get nice portraits of your family and friends.  Special occasions call for these types of photos like a new baby,  a wedding or the yearly Christmas shot.  But the photos that really capture my attention are photos which tell a story and show expression.  Like the frustrations and joy of learning to ride a bike or the pleasure in seeing a child succeeding or a expression of love with eyes.  To capture these sorts of photos I like to take a lot of shots of the sequence of events unfolding. 

The Praying Mantis

The Praying mantis

The look of wonder on his face

Finding the right location for a safe new home

The examination of the bug.

Letting the praying mantis go.

The joy in watching the praying mantis settle in

A new distraction!  Goodies from the garden.

These are not award winning photos or photos that need a specialist camera but they are a wonderful story of the day in this little boys life.  I like to get the person in the photos to write their own captions or a story to go with their photos so that they can remember what happened that day. 

When doing a collection of photos like this take photos from different angles,  distances and try and to capture the emotions in the persons face by getting down to their level

See who's story you can 'write' this week!

Friday 23 July 2010

Budgeting for art and craft work

It is getting harder and harder to make the pennies stretch and when I have to choose between Groceries or art I will always choose the groceries. How can I still do my art in this present economic situation.

Over the next few weeks I am going to present different ways to save money in art work.  I have found a few great practical and easy ideas on how to do this. To start off our journey I am going to look at ways to save with....... 

....The printed word

  1. Instead of buying books check out the local library to see what they have.  Most of my learning comes form library books.
  2. Ask the library to purchase book you want to read. They are usually more than willing to have guidance in good new books on the market. 
  3. Buy books and magazines from second hands stores,  flea markets,  garage/yard sales and flea markets.  I have found some excellent bargains in these places.
  4. Have a book swap with other artists/craft people.  You can get rid of books you have read to death and get new reads for you.
  5. Use old magazines and books for collage,  mixed media work, and design ideas.
  6. Use used printer paper/photocopy paper for baking to stabilize applique,  drawing on and making patterns with
  7. Share a subscription with a friend or group.
  8. Share books and magazines.  Pass them around to other people you know that might like to read them. 
  9. Recommend books and magazines.  It saves people a lot of money not having to buy books and then find they weren't what you were really looking for.  Also read reviews to make sure your getting the best for your money.
  10. Get books and magazines that talk more about techniques than just patterns.  Techniques can be used again and again,  one pattern can't always be used to many times.
  11. Research the web for information.  A lot of information online is free.  Even some patterns are free.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

quilt challenge-52 cards in a year

Week 8

I came across an interesting printing method while watching a QTV show and decided to try it out.  It is a novel way to do marbling.  I laid a piece of plastic out and sprayed shaving cream over it.  Then I dropped textile paint on to it.  Using a stick I moved the paint around in swirl patterns , mixing the 2 colours together as I went. When I had the desired effect I laid a white cotton square piece of fabric over the ink and pressed lightly.  I left this to dry over night then rinsed it out.  The result was a lovely marbled piece of fabric which I stitched to create the look of water.

I used a variety of colours of cottons to create depth to the piece.

Sunday 18 July 2010

quilt challenge-52 cards in a year

Week 7

I read an article on abstract quilts this week and decided to use a photo I had taken on our farm and abstract it.

I reversed the image in my design,  simplified it and changed the colour scheme.

I then quilted it very simply by following the lines of the shapes.

Thursday 15 July 2010

photography-Choosing your subject

I think any thing can make a good photograph providing the photographer uses good light and good composition.  I also feel that it helps if the Photographer enjoys what he/she photographs.  I am fascinated by the details on natural objects in particular foliage and flowers. 

I also love to photograph portraiture.  It so rewarding to get a good
rapport with the model and to capture the person personality.

  architecture.  I love to create scale with pictures of buildings and the
feeling of the building touching the sky.

 and landscapes.  I love landscapes because I like to wonder what is over the horizon. 
 Landscape also offer the possibility to capture large scale beauty.

Whatever subject you choose take time to practice at all times of the day and night, 
different lights and conditions and when seasons change. 
If the subject is portable try taking photos in side or in a studio type setting.
Most importantly have fun! 

Tuesday 13 July 2010

quilt challenge-52 cards in a year

Week 6

This week I have experimented with thread painting.  My subject matter is the opal top shell from the Te Papa collection (the National museum of New Zealand)  This was the first animal to be scientifically recorded and illustrated  in New Zealand in the late 1700's. 

This piece was appliqued then thread painted.  Then it was quilted.

Saturday 10 July 2010

Quilting-Time saving tip #4

Making time for art and creating sometimes is a mind set.  I view other things in life as more of a priority.  A lot of Women and some men put a lot of other priorities above what is their passion.  I am as guilty of this as anyone else.  My children's needs and wants.  my husbands needs and wants and other peoples needs and wants seem to be more important.  So how do we change this mind set.  Some things that have helped me are.....

  1. Recognising that I am as important as everyone else so therefore my time to do things I am passionate about is important.
  2. Writing a yes list.  Every 6 months I write a list of 6 priorities in my life.  Making art one of those priorities gives me permission to create.
  3. Talking to all the members of my household about what I love to do and how important it is to me. 
  4. Setting a time for me to work sets boundaries for myself and for other in my house.
  5. I have a sign for my door that I use to protect my time.  It says studio in use.  I only use this when my time is interrupted a lot.
  6. I say to myself what do I want to remember myself doing when I am old.  Housework?  or playing with my kids and being creative?  I choose the later 2 any day.

Make yourself a number one priority and remember ....

if you are having visitors to your home
would you serve them from an empty soup pot? 
No you wouldn't but why do we serve people around us from an empty soul. 
We need to keep our souls full so we can give without going into burn out.

Thursday 1 July 2010

quilt challenge-52 cards in a year

Week 5

I read an article by Nikki Wheeler in an e-mail sent by the quilting arts team entitled Tips for Textural Mini Quilts. In essence the article showed artists how to use all those quilted scraps left over at the end of an art project.  I decided this week to use scraps I had been saving to make an card loosely based on the shape of a Fern leaf.

I cut the pieces into to finer strips and then stitched them together with a satin stitch.  I chose to around each of line of satin stitch with orange thread.

I wanted to experiment with a complementary colour scheme and to emphasise each ridge of the leaf more.  Down the centre ridge I used crayon to shade. 
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