Paper Nostalgia

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The subject of a blog post about paper sent me wondering where I would find the roots of my interest in papery matters. And I find I can lay the blame fair and square on three books. The yellow, red and blue “Grabbleton” books- which translates as “Lucky Dip”.

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These books ended up with me via my Great Aunt known to all as “Iekie”. She had been a primary school teacher with what seemed like an endless supply of things to read or make that might appeal to a little child. But once she retired these books were in my home and came into their own when I’d been off school sick and was recovering. I’d pore over them and choose something to make. The supplies were usually simple and close at hand, after all, these were intended for use in schools in the first half of the 20th Century. Wool, matchboxes, scraps of fabric and most of all paper.

I dug them out a year or so ago and made an updated version of something featured there – using a simple “fortune teller” paper fold to make a picture frame. To refresh my memory I had another go at it today -shown in the image at the top of this post. this time with pages torn from an “old but not precious” atlas. I tried a version with a map section and another part using the index which makes a nice black and white frame. Last time round I used brightly coloured origami paper and a lot more washi tape – so there are endless variations. It frames these little images perfectly and would be a nice lightweight item to post. One of these days I will size the original square so that a Polaroid image would slot straight in.

I like the thread of connectedness that looking at these books gives me, letting me tap into a family story. As an aside, Iekie was also an accomplished amateur photographer ,developing and printing her own work. Cropping was done with a guillotine that I now use myself- after 80 or so years it is still going strong.

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There will soon be a new range of prints, including some of the mini sizes shown here, coming to my shop – if you’d like to be tipped off about new products and behind the scenes snippets I’d invite you to subscribe to my studio newsletter.

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The PaperLove Blog Hop is a celebration of all things paper! Follow the links to discover more bloggers who love paper and use it to inspire and delight. And if you want to explore a whole world of paper, and stretch your paper passion further with a host of creative projects, why not join the innovative new online course PaperLove (starts March 31). Led by book artist Rachel Hazell, PaperLove is a five week creative adventure for paper lovers. Find out more here.

Participant lista paperlovebloghop_200

Majo Bautista / Tona Bell / Louise Best / Cathy Bluteau / Jennifer Bomgardner / Giova Brusa / Lindsay Buck / Beka Buckley / Joanna Caskie / Jonathan Chapman (Mr Yen) / Halle Cisco / Sarah Clare / Cathryn Clarge / Dawn Clarkson / Rhiannon Connelly / Jenny D’Fuego / Molly Dhiman / Ian Dudley / Ayisatu Emore / Akmal Farid / Monika Forsberg / Claire Fritz-Domeney / Louise Gale / Chrissy Gaskell / Julie Hamilton / Emma Hawman / Rachel Hazell / Holly Helgeson / Claudine Hellmuth / Kim Henkel / Sarah Hoffman / Joanne Hus / Paula Joerling / Beth Kempton / Julie Kirk / Eos Koch / Katie LaClair / Kristy Lankford / Michelle Manolov / Doreen Marts / Rosie Martinez-Dekker / Tori Mears / Maria Mederios / Lise Meijer / Debbie Miller / MaryJane Mitchell / Suzy Naidoo / Grace Noel / Hannah Nunn / Camilla Olsson / Jo Packham / Rachelle Panagarry / Monette Pangan / Melanie Paul / Nicole Piar / Jen Pitta / Liz Plummer / Julie Reed / Michelle Reynolds / Lisa Rivas / Angee Robertson / Natalie Ryan / Aisling Ryan / Elisabet Sapena / Kyrrha Sevco / Jamie Sprague / Elizabeth Steele / Terri Stephens / Juniper Stokes / Mary Tanana / Maike Thoma / Linda Tieu / Gabrielle Treanor / Tammy Tutterow / Deborah Velasquez / Jordan Vinograd Kim / Cat Whipple / Brooke Witt / Katie Wood / Amelia Woodbridge

Early Flowers and an Update…

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This winter has been so mild and today even has a bright blue sky hinting that spring might be on the way. But there is always the thought that there might be a cold snowy snap still lying in wait. The flowers in the garden are starting to peek through , and not just the snowdrops . Crocus are up and lots of the bulbs are starting to push through little green points.
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As most of my flower phtography has been happening inside until now, and I thought I’d post a little round up of the most recent ones here. I am missing the Dutch flower markets at the moment – at this time of year the tulips are starting to be in full flow – but even more lovely are all the branches of different types of blossom. I only rarely find them in the florists here. Time for a trip perhaps ?

“Normal blogging” is a bit disrupted at the moment due to the upper floor being renovated. Sounds quite nice and contained , but in fact means that all the stuff from up there is filling every available space. Once the joinery has been done it will be time to spring into action with a paintbrush, so Starrybluesky matters are on a bit of a go slow. I do have a lot of plans bubbling so hope I will manage to keep on track with them all the same.

If you want to make sure you stay “in the know” you can subscribe to my Studio Newsletter here.

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Etsy shop – last day !

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I’ve had a few questions about why I’m closing my Etsy shop so I thought I’d just expand on that a bit. It is something that has been brewing for a little while, in fact , ever since I opened the shop at my main site over at www.rhiannonconnelly.com . It has just seemed a bit confusing to have two places selling work based on similar images. In order to make things a bit more streamlined I’ve decided to close my Etsy shop, review the range I was selling there, and add an edited collection to the Rhiannon Connelly site.
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So a lot of the items currently available ( for one more day ! ) will be disappearing once I close the door.
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I will admit to feeling a bit sad about the huge policy changes that Etsy have made in the last couple of months which has completely changed the feel of the site and it is no longer the resource for hand made products that it once was.

That said, I do still feel very attached to the Starrybluesky name, after all, I’ve been working under that name for quite a few years. So I may well revive it for another project in the next few months. I’ll need to wait and see how things evolve.

If you’d like to make sure you are kept informed about any changes or studio news you are welcome to subscribe to my studio newsletter.

January Colours

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I’m joining in the latest of Stephanie Levy’s online courses – this one has a seasonal flavour. And this week she encouraged us to take a walk around our neighbourhood paying particular attention to colour. Well, I am always walking and snapping, looking at colour and pattern . But it is interesting that when you really focus on one element the subtle differences seem even more pronounced. I was surprised how many variations I could even find amongst the brown shades ( a colour that I have been known to call “not a colour” ). Luckily the day I picked for this was one of those crisp bright winter days. Others have been posting lovely snowy images but if it had been white here there is no way I would have managed this route as there is a steep hill at both ends of the town.

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Also, wee reminder that there are only two more days to pick up a bargain at my Etsy shop before I close the doors. I will be discontinuing a lot of that range in their current format – although some images will find their way over to my other shop at www.rhiannonconnelly.com A few people have been asking me more about why I’ve decided to do that , so will address that in the next post.

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January in Pictures

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This is how South Queensferry looks on the first day of the year – the participants in the Loony Dook marching down the High Street , led by the town crier.

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And Queensferry on a quieter day.
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Looking back at the town from the harbour.
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Wintery skies on the edge of the town.

Although I’ve taken this month quite slowly on the blogging front that doesn’t mean that there has been no picture taking going on. Here’s a little round up of the year so far – part two tomorrow.

And a wee reminder that my Etsy closing sale is running until Saturday.

Time for changes – Closing Etsy shop

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Hello ! An unintended blogging break but one that just happened naturally with the change of the year. I hope 2014 will be kind to you.

I’ve had a less reflective start to the year than in the past, having opted for more of a review at the end of October. And that seems to suit me much better than examining things in the middle of winter.

Nonetheless some changes do bubble up to the surface if you take a bit of time to be still. And what emerged for me was that it was time to close my StarryBlueSky Etsy shop. I think its a little confusing to have similar photographic work in two places even though they are on paper and textiles. So the time has come to wave goodbye to this little shop in its current format. I do still feel very fond of the StarryBlueSky name so that may well re-emerge later on in another form. But for now, I’m having a sale until Saturday and the shop prices already reflect the new half price offers. When they’re gone they’re gone !

Crafty Christmas DIY

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I’ve had the notion to have a go at colouring these trees for a couple of years now, but have never managed to spot the trees at the right time. This time I got a tip off from Yvonne’s Yvestown blog where she did a quick tutorial on how she transformed some trees that she bought at Intratuin.

Originally I had intended to have a go with actual bottle brushes and bought a few in readiness. But when I realised that I would be able to pop past an Intratuin centre on my last quick trip to Holland in December I picked up a big bag of assorted trees.

If you look online you will find quite a few tutorials on how to bleach and dye them , but it is quite a straight forward thing. The post on Yvonne’s site will keep you right.

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I decided to keep a few trees dark green, bleach some to a light green shade and take the colour out of some completely. You just need to keep an eye on them in the bleach bath and fish them out at different intervals.

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I’d planned to dye the trees a few colours but in the end, pressures of time won out and I just used the pink. Again, just trial and error to see how deep the shade is that you want. Either dunk the whole tree in or just dip it from the tip or roots. You can give part of the tree a deeper shade by adjusting the dipping times. I prefer the look with the colour deeper at the foot of the tree but there are no rules.

The dying did remind me of my very early forays into textile work – dip dying and tie dying cloth to make into scarves and pillow cases – I was probably around 8 and it was during a summer school workshop. It reminded me how satisfying it is to see something change colour like that. I’ll be looking for a few pieces of clothing to give a new colour to with the left over bags of dye.

Have you had a go at colouring trees ?