Saturday, September 30, 2006

Lynne Perrella

I mentioned Lynne Perrella in my post yesterday. She is a mixed-media artist. I had first discovered her journals and sketchbooks, but she also draws.

I had a quick look at her website yesterday, and I recommend you have a look too. There are gorgeous drawings, collages, and ideas of all kinds in there.

The picture I've included here is one of her drawings, which I find absolutely gorgeous. I must find out more about how she got this effect. She mentions an "oil transfer" technique, but I have no idea what that actually means.

If you use this picture anywhere, please make sure to credit it to Lynne Perrella.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Communion Dress

I found a blog called "Try it Tuesdays" that has techniques for painting interesting backgrounds. This one I tried is in acrylics. You paint a layer and you let it dry, then you add subsequent layers in a different colour, and you spray the page with water before the acrylic paint has time to dry (it dries very quickly) and you wipe out some of the new paint with a tissue. It reveals the first layer nicely. You can then add stamped elements (dip the stamp in white gesso, and paint over this when the gesso is dry)

So, I've started experimenting with this. It wasn't entirely successful. I used an acrylic canvas textured paper, which was very good. It holds the colour nicely and doesn't buckle. But my colours were quite muddy, so I'm going to have to try again.

But, rather than throw it out, I decided to experiment further with what I had. Here is what I did:
  • I scanned a picture in black and white and glued it to the painted page.
  • When the glue was dry, I added transparent layers of colours to blend the picture in with the background.
  • I used an old stamp I had. It was originally a Bourgeois tattoo stamp (which I had never used, needless to say), representing 3 little stars. I dipped the stamp in white gesso, and applied it over the painting. I added more layers of colour to blend the whole thing in.
  • Then I used a gold paint marker to add a few accents around the photograph.
  • And, finally, I added some text with a stamp set I got recently (I need to practise more with these - the result is quite blotchy)

All these techniques were inspired by a book I got a year or so ago, called "Artists' Journals and Sketchbooks, Exploring and Creating Personal Pages" by Lynne Perrella. This book has wonderful ideas and techniques to explore your creativity through the medium of a journal. It's a great tool to use when you're stuck for ideas or if you want to experiment with different techniques

And here is the result (special prize goes to the first person who can guess whose picture this is):

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Green Over Water - II

I had promised myself I would take another stab at Green Over Water. I wasn't entirely happy with the result - the colours were too harsh, and the dark greens were not realistic at all. I haven't had much time lately, but I managed to fit in half an hour here and there, and here is the result - the colours are much more subtle, and I achieved a good dark green by adding a couple of washes of yellow ochre over the vanadium yellow and phthalo blue. It takes the blueness out of the green and looks much more natural I think.

You will notice a few splashes towards the top right - Well, that's what happens when you drop your paint cup! I managed to mop up most of the damage, but there were a couple of spots that got enough time to dry!

And here is a detail that shows the different shades you can achieve by layering 3 colours. The trick is to not mix the colours on the palette, but to apply them glaze after glaze, patiently waiting for each layer to dry.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bread and Butter Pudding, without the butter

The new dish in my expanding range: Bread Pudding - without butter. Another Aine McAteer recipe. And YUMMY it is! It's very easy to prepare, the ingredients are not too exotic, and it is delicious. At this rate, Brendan and I will become fatties like Willow! Tonight, we're trying it with hot custard!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ryder Cup Madness

We called around to Niall and Rita's yesterday afternoon. Brendan and Niall went off to the pub for an hour. According to Brendan, the pub was full of middle-aged men sporting their Ryder Cup jumpers, bracelets, and entry badges (around their necks still!)
Granted, tickets to the Ryder Cup were like gold dust. So, having managed to get there is not only a badge of wealth, but also of business and social status (nothing to do with an interest in golf)!
Will these men's wives ever tell them to grow up, or were they themselves busy shopping with the WAGs???

Saturday, September 23, 2006

New hair cut

I was in town on Tuesday morning to pick up a Serial-USB adaptor from Maplin. I had taken the Luas, as parking in town is fraught (it was less than 24 hours since I had been clamped, remember?). I was making good progress, walking back towards St Stephen's Green via one of the back streets parallel to Grafton Street when a young woman approached me and asked me if I wanted a free hair cut.

As it turned out, I was in bad need of a hair cut, but I was in a hurry, so I hesitated for a bit. But she twisted my arm with a story of her model not turning up, and she was nearly qualified and there would be a supervisor... so I went in.

It took a lot longer than the 45 minutes she had estimated. I was in there for 2 hours! I guess that's the price to pay for a free hair cut

As it turns out, it was a Toni & Guy salon, and there was a good supervisor who checked on her work at every stage. And I was very happy with the results - though I have to say that I'm having difficulty in achieving the same look when I blow-dry it myself. Brendan is giving me those looks that mean "I love you dearly, but your hair looks completely mad. Surely it can't be that hard to get it to sit nicely like it was when you came home from the hairdresser's!" Unfortunately for me, it is that hard! My hair needs the weight to sit properly on my head. The layered cut makes it too light and it has a tendency to stick up. I should remind him of the Iroquois look sported by Erika, Laura and Sander at about 6 months!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I got clamped!

I was in town on Monday, setting up a computer for a customer who has an office near Merrion Square. I parked on Upper Mount Street and put in money in the pay&display machine for 2 hours. But when I came out 3 hours later - the job had taken longer than planned - I found a big yellow clamp on my car, a sticker on the side window and the little blue note on the windscreen (it was in a plastic pouch - just as well, as it was pouring rain). I rang the number on the little blue note, talked to the very friendly guy at the service centre and gave my credit card details. He told me that their customer charter is to have all clamps removed within 1 hour of payment. 10 minutes later, the clampers were there to remove the clamp for me, and I was on my way again.

Very efficient service!! It cost me 80 Euro.

And that's why I don't normally take jobs in town!

(PS - the picture above is probably not the right kind of clamp - all I can say is that it was yellow. If you do a search on Google Images for car clamp, you will find that they come in many different shapes!)

Friday, September 15, 2006


Here is a picture of a poppy that we grew from seeds we collected in Airfield earlier this year. As we sowed them quite late, we didn't expect much, but we got a good crop, just from a small pot. They brought a nice splash of colour in our garden, when my petunias and lobelias were looking quite tired. Which reminds me, I'd better go in the garden now and pull these out. Summer is over, though we are still enjoying plenty of sunshine and nice temperatures.

And here is a detail from the same picture. I might try something abstract based on this at some point.

By the way, if you are wondering what project I'm working on... I've started another version of the "Green over water" project. I'm trying to keep the colours more subtle. So far so good. And I stretched my paper properly this time, so there is no buckling. I'm currently trying to figure out how to do the darker green. If I just add more phthalo blue, it will just look too blue. I think I will need to add a very small amount of pink maybe to give it a duller colour. But I will need to experiment before I start adding colour and mess it all up!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Quick Hello from MHBD @ PC Medic

I'm taking a quick break from my busy day at PC Medic! My Mum flew back home yesterday - all went smoothly - Ryanair flights on time, and no hold-ups at Dublin airport.
It's been a busy few days, but I've enjoyed having her over. She's very easy-going - when I was busy with work, she'd just walk down to Dundrum Town Center (warning - this link to will start playing music after about 10 seconds!) and potter around the shops on her own.

On Saturday, we had lunch in Bistro One in Foxrock. I had tomato and cumin soup, fish Thai red curry, and sticky toffee pudding. I don't think I ever had sticky toffee pudding before. I always thought it would be hard caramel and messy to eat. I was wrong. It was a gorgeous pudding with a soft caramel sauce (and vanilla ice cream), and it was to die for! Brendan enjoyed his mushroom risotto, fish red curry and almond tart with custard. And Mum had a melon starter, Chinese chicken and fried rice, and the almond tart. We all enjoyed our food and the relaxed atmosphere.

I've discovered a few new things which I'll share with you in future posts
  • an online keyboard to enter accented characters without the need to remember the ASCII codes or if you have a laptop and it's just not practical to turn NumLock on and off each time you want to type in an accented character. I'm pretty quick at typing ALT-130 and ALT-138 for the accented Es in my name, but on the laptop, it's just not practical.
  • Google Talk if you want to talk to your friends for free. And you can even leave a voicemail! Véronique left me a voicemail last week and that's how I discovered it. So, she gets the credit for this discovery!
  • Live Search from Microsoft - if you search for mhbd, this blog comes up first! Needless to say, I'm thrilled. I love Google to bits, but the same search brings me 11th in Google (although you'll also find a link to this blog from Yves's blog at Number 6)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

South Wall

The few of you who read this blog may be wondering where I've been - no post in a week! Or maybe you're enjoying a few days without having to keep up with my never-ending stories.

Well, I'm Back!

We have been very busy over the last while, and my Mum has arrived for a few days with us, so I've been juggling my priorities.

This morning, we went for an invigorating walk at the South Wall. The forecast is for hazy sunshine, but so far the sun has been struggling behind the clouds. There was quite a breeze at the South Wall, but it was mild and humid and we enjoyed our walk.

When we got back home, Brendan cooked a lentil meatless loaf. It was yummy. And now, I'm off to Dundrum centre for a bit of shopping. (Update after the shopping trip: found nothing I wanted! The only thing I liked - a top from Hobbs - they didn't have my size. There are a lot of wrap dresses in the shops, but it's a shape that doesn't suit me at all.)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Star Dolls

Remember the little paper dolls we had when we were young? The ones you used to cut out of a magazine or a book, with the little paper dresses and skirts and tops with the little tabs to attach them to the doll? In some way, they were a simpler (much simpler) version of Barbies. Well, I've just discovered! Most 4-to-7-year olds already knew about it, of course, but I didn't, being a little older than that. I was asked to put it on a computer's favorites by one of my customers, and show her 4-year old how to use it. The 4-year old in question being very bright, she didn't need much tuition, but we spent a great hour or so putting on dresses on paperdolls of all types. Her personal favorite was Princess Madeleine of Sweden. And you know what - there is a good likeness between the paper doll and the real princess Madeleine!
There are so few computer games designed for girls that anybody who can come up with a good idea to get girls playing on computers should do well! Think of the Sims!

I love my job!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Birthdays This Month

Only one birthday this month - Finbarr
I have been told by his brother that his name is spelt with rr. There are two spellings, with one r and with 2 rs.
If I've forgotten anyone's birthday, let me know. It's hard to keep up!

Not much to say today. I had a great time yesterday showing a 4-year old how to use But that's a whole post on its own, and I will tell you all about it some other time!

While I'm at it, a quick update on our garden spider: despite the pot falling over twice yesterday, and heavy showers today, she's still hanging in there, re-weaving her web each time it gets destroyed. You'd think she'd pick a less vulnerable spot - but on the other hand, the flower pots are attracting plenty of flies and bees and insects of all sorts, so there is a constant supply of food there. So far, Willow doesn't seem to have spotted her. A few days ago, he walked right under her web, destroying half of it with his raised tail. I dread to see the day when he notices her and wants to "play" with it!