Monday, April 14, 2014

Blogging Burfday . .

Today it is two years since I started blogging on this blog . . . there have been highs, there has been lows . . there has been drivel. A lot. But overall it has been exciting and opened up my world of Monkey to you, my peasants fellow followers.

To celebrate this magnificent achievement I have decided to run a leetle competition. The prize will be a skein of yarn - Merino and Nylon from my beloved self striping stash. (It was going to be something else but SQM made me give a decent prize)


The colourway will give you bold stripes in Chocolate Mint! Yum!


If you are *really* lucky you may also win a banana from my banana groves - yes, this was the original prize I had thought of. Generous to a fault!

To enter all you have to do is answer the following easy questions and post your answers in the contact form on the right hand side of the blog, under the picture of the crystal. Just fill in your name and email addy and post your answers in the message part.

Questions


1. What 2 stitches makes up stocking stitch or stockinette?
2. In knitting what does TBL stand for?
3. When it says YFWD does it mean hold the yarn in the knit or the purl position?
4. What is my new favourite heel for socks called? I have blogged about this.
5. Who is your favourite blogger?

Answer these questions and fill in the contact form with your answers. The competition will be open until Friday 18th April and the winner announced on Saturday 19th April. The winner will be the person that gets all the answers right. If there is more than one correct entry then names will go in a hat and the lovely Miss M (SQM's grand daughter) will pull a winner. Open to anyone and I will post the prize anywhere in the world. I may eat the banana though . . .. SQM will help adjudicate and her decision is final.
The winner will have the weekend to claim their prize. If I don't hear from you another winner will be drawn on Monday 21st of April - so do check on Saturday to see if you have won ☺

Small print.Contest is open internationally. One entry per household. No purchase necessary to enter. Winner will be selected who has answered all the questions correctly and their name will be posted on this blog on Saturday 19th April. Void where prohibited.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Normality resumes . . . sort of . .

 . ..  or what passes for normal on this blog! I have been doing my tapestry, (only one square left now) and I have really missed my knitting, so in an explosion of joi de vive I cast on for some socks. Tis a free pattern form a knitting website and they are named after the four musketeers, so there is one design for each of them -  Athos, Aramis, d’Artagnan and Porthos. The ones I picked to do are Porthos. They have a lovely basketweave design on them and I decided to do them in a new-to-me yarn called Definition Sock Yarn by Artesano.


Amazingly enough I realised that I don't have any socks in lime green so I decided to remedy that pronto. The colour is called mushy peas. And is gorgeous. And just like the name it has a fab definition of the stitches. Progress piccies . .

Arty farty close up.

I love the leetle bands of squiggles which I have decided look like worms, so I am calling them my worm socks! They are made by the basketweave stitches pushing them out of sync - no cabling involved!

And then in another blinding moment of madness I spied a shawl on a knitting website and fell in lust. It is called Winter Shadows Wrap. 

Picture courtesy of the designer Louise Zass-Bangham

It is a rather ingenious mix of worsted and mohair yarn in bands that looks fab! I rooted through the stash and found some Malabrigo Worsted in poirple and then I bought some hairy yarn as I didn't have any in stash - fancy that! Progress piccies . .



The needles are a smokin'!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Mad Happiness Continues . . .



Art Journaling is really propelling me creatively just now....painting, glueing, drawing, doodling, rummaging thru the recycle bin to see what I can salvage and turn into something else.☺☺ I've been happily slapping paint on one background after another with the full intention of using them in my Gypsy Girls Cereal Box Journal

Today I had an 'Aha!' moment when I realized I've been working on at least three different journals at once, and so far not one of them will be the signatures for the Gypsy Girls Cereal Box Journal. Hahahahaha....☺☺☺ It really shouldn't be a surprise because I worked like this when I was knitting a lot; at least 3 or 4 projects going at once. Not a huge epiphany, just interesting to me to look in from outside the process and see how the work progresses.
So here's some progress photos of some of the work I've been doing:
Gypsy Girls Cereal Box Journal Front Cover:
Crumpled paper, gesso, acrylic paint, paper, stitching, Mod Podge, coloured pencil, ink, stamps, copper foil tape
 Gypsy Girls Cereal Box Journal Back Cover:
Crumpled paper, gesso, acrylic paint, coloured pencil, glue, ephemera, eyelets, silver paint pen,  white paint pen, copper foil tape
 The photo mount on the back cover is a piece of painted cardboard from a spaghetti box. I love that the spaghetti boxes have the little acetate windows in them; perfect for just this sort of treatment. 

I've been using 12x12 linen textured card stock to paint the backgrounds on. At first I thought perhaps I would fold them in half and use them in this journal. The more of them I've painted and folded the more I want to cut them in half. I keep thinking about how to bind them together in this journal. I could use spacers between the pages, and I still might do that. So, I think I will just cut them in half and let them tell me what to do with them.

Here's a couple of photos of some of the backgrounds I've been painting:



I've also been painting 8.5x11 card stock, and 4.25x11 pieces to use up the extra paint in my brushes. I love how this one came out in the end; plenty of room to write something or put some ephemera on.
At 1st I used a fuschia coloured paint in the lower right hand corner and I loved it. Then I took some teardrop shaped ink pads and started a flower shape in the corner with them. I hoped the fuschia coloured paint would glow thru, but it didn't. I hated it after I inked it because it obscured the glow of the paint underneath. But after I used a marker and a brush pen to outline the petals I loved it again. You can't really tell in this photo, but some of the fuschia coloured paint comes thru. Like Jennibellie said in her Inspiration video, "Just keep going." I used a rubber stamp with eggs and some script on it, on this page as well. I inked it with a medium blue ink.

I used the same stamp and ink on these tags, which are cut from a painted spaghetti noodles box:


I love them.
Off to cut some pages in half and paint some more spaghetti boxes.
Cheers everyone,
Sally♥

Friday, April 4, 2014

Found a New Tangle




I've returned to another artful passion that I have; mixed-media. I found some videos on YouTube that inspired me, and I joined the Journal Workshop Ning Ring. The Journal Workshop Ning Ring has a Monthly Challenge group. This month's challenge is: 
Messy Monochrome, Black and White

I really wanted to try a piece with Zentangles in it. I haven't done any work that included Zentangles before, but I thought this would be a good project to give it a go. As it turned out I didn't have any black paint, so I went with what I do have, namely markers and pencils.

1st iteration:
Drawn with Zig pens 01, 05 and 08, and a big Sharpie on white card stock.
2nd iteration:
The challenge includes adding one or two colours to your work. I got carried away a bit.


 I really disliked the addition of the yellow water-colour, so I changed it.
 
3rd iteration:
I glued some b&w paper that I had over the Flux pattern with the yellow water-colour:
This composition felt incomplete to me so I added some bubbles to journal in. It also felt overly textured on the left hand side, so adding back in some negative space seemed to balance the piece better.


Finis:
The words are from an old Three Dog Night song. I used Faber-Castell PITT artist pen big brush in black, and white to write the words, even though the white bit looks blue. It's just my lack of good photographing skills☺.
 
The left-hand edge is a piece of fabric I stitched on the sewing machine. I enjoyed this challenge a lot. Really got into the Zentangles. 

The Zentangles I drew are:
Knight's Bridge, Poke Root, Festune, Hollibaugh, Isochor, Printemps, Flux, Purk, Florz, Keeko, and B'Tweed. B'Tweed is my favorite Zentangle. 

I intend on gluing another piece of card stock to the back of this piece as the Sharpie bled thru to the back in a couple of places. DH has a book press and I'm hoping putting it in there with the extra piece of card stock with flatten it out again.

Cheers, 
Sally

Friday, March 28, 2014

Caveat Emptor . .


UPDATE - the tale has been updated at the bottom of the post


 . .  or Buyer Beware. Yes the Monkey speaks Latin! When needed! So today we have a tale of buying on the inter'web. As you know if you read this  drivel excellent blog I have been madly decorating! To finish off a room I was looking for a new Roman Blind. A friend recommended a company to me - they had ordered a blind and received it with no fuss and muss and the quality was excellent. So I promptly went to have a look. They offer a free sample service whereby you can order samples of the fabric that takes your fancy before making the plunge. I duly did this. And thank the Royal Monkeys that I did.

The samples arrived and I made my selection.Metro Moonlight - a sexy leetle number in a shade of blue. Yum!

I then waited for it to turn up - and 10 days later my blind arrived. The excitement in the castle was palpable. The fur on Puddy's tail was stood on end. I opened the box and . . . ..


The excitement drizzled out with a sound like a wet balloon. Yes - it was a different colour! Beautiful quality it must be said, but totally not what I had ordered. I rang the company and they said they needed a picture. No probs - I sent this one to them. BUT the email wouldn't open for them and they needed to send it to the IT dept. So, after promising to ring me on Day 2, I waited and waited. Eventually I rang them and yes, they had opened the email and seen the picture and so now they needed to send it to their service dept to work out whether it was a wrong sample sent out/batch colour or whether the wrong fabric had been picked. They would phone me back. They didn't.

Day 3 dawned and I phoned them back - good thing it was a freephone number - and yes, the wrong fabric had been picked in error. So they could fast track me a new one ASAP. When I casually mentioned a refund to test the customer services water an offer was made to the Monkey that I would have been somewhat foolish to turn down. Yes, take the fast track 2nd order and I could keep the first blind free and gratis for the disappointment. So I opted for that. And fitted the blind into a different room.

The new blind was duly fast tracked - took a week from Dubai, yes I has discovered from one of their agents that the blind was made there, they make no claim on their site of where they are made but I had just assumed it was in the leetle ole UK. Don't assume.

The new blind arrived yesterday - the excitement in the castle was palpable. The fur on Puddy's tail was stood on end. I opened the box and . . . .. ever had deja vu???


Yes, it was the first blind. AGAIN! Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! So now I have 2 blinds of the wrong colour, a swatch and a headache. I rang the company to apprise them of this development, and was given 3 choices.

1. Fast track another blind because the wrong fabric had been picked - deja vu again! And wait another week to 10 days.

2. Draw a line under it all, order new samples and have a completely different colourway.

3. Have a refund. BUT if I voted for a refund I would have to give them BOTH blinds back. Yes, they wanted back BOTH blinds so they could throw them away, as they couldn't resell them because they are cut to size. Yes - you read that right - they want them back to throw them away! Take down the one they had gifted to me and send it back!

THUD

No amount of logic and reasoning would persuade them any differently, even when I pointed out how petty the decision was - cutting off their nose to spite my face. Even though I am entitled to a refund under the long distance selling regulations act and under Paypal regulations - the order is not what was promised to be.

I did order some new samples - but they are not the colour I had picked/wanted and I refuse to be bullied into buying something I am not happy with just to appease them, and so this morning I rang them and asked for a refund. I have arranged for both blinds to be picked up. Who knows when I will get a refund.

So a salutary tale. Order samples. Prepare for a loooong wait if something goes wrong. And assume all promises are empty - from phoning you back to keeping a blind. And so the Caveat Emptor award goes to http://www.blinds-2go.co.uk/ .



They are slick alright. It will be interesting to see when the refund turns up. I told them today. Friday. I have high hopes - and look a squadron of pigs flies overhead.

THUD 

UPDATE

A very nice lady called Toni called and after listening to my never ending tale of woe, Blinds2go have now processed a refund, (huZZah!) have said I can keep the 2 blinds (yes, both!) I was incorrectly sent, and have made a promise to try and source a blind in the fabric I wanted! I am almost, almost too tired to care - as I explained to Toni, it is sad that it got to this stage before anything sensible was done and she agreed. So I am now relieved and much happier than I was earlier!


Anyone want to buy a spare blind I have?? Lol!

Monday, March 24, 2014

To all the peeps that regularly follow the blog . . and I know there are legions of you, I must apologise for the break in the regular scheduling of posts. I want to say I have been ill to garner lots of comments and sympathy BUT then my tongue would turn black and fall out, as well as my slim leetle fingers that type this tripe abstruse and arcane esotoric news of great interest. I has been pooped from all the decorating . . . not enjoying myself in my new hobbies . .


 Sheep wrangling . .

And swimming . . . like the hat?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Swimming . . with armbands


After all the decorating the brain has switched off (could be down to the fumes) and so I am relaxing and doing a tapestry. When it is finished it will be made into a cushion for the boudoir. I got it from Jolly Red who, not only having some lucious designs are a local firm to me . . just down the road from the castle. Always nice to support local businesses.

So here is Hearts & Flowers. The design is printed onto the canvas and as you keep going you gain more confidence, so I can almost wear my beauty eye mask and do the squares. Puddy is coughing in the background in disbelief! ☺

I am also rather partial to the Union Jack Russell's design - just love Jack Russell's.

Anyone else do some stitching?