Central Portugal – Off the Tourist Trail

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No more chocolate…please !

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I hope you had a lovely Xmas, what ever you were doing. A friend and I  have spent the last 5 days house  and dog sitting for some friends.

We spent Xmas day and Boxing day eating and drinking far too much, whilst overdosing on satellite tv . It was a real novelty, but after 2 days  I could feel my brain starting to turn to mush from too many episodes of Morecambe and Wise, and my stomach was pleading  for a rest from cakes, biscuits and chocolates.

The Xmas overindulgence is now over, and I am looking forward to getting my body and brain active again.

Tomorrow I am off for a nice walk through the woods, followed by my Portuguese lesson on Live Mocha , a healthy lunch, some jewellery making , and  in the evening a play on my new toy from Father Xmas !  ( see photo !)



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Paints + fimo = peace . Website tutorials+jargon = headaches !

I have not been posting much  the last week as I am in the process of making a simplified website. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not that great when it comes to understanding computers, and so it is a bit of a slow and painful (headache)  task.  

I am  creating a site for all my arty-crafty” stuff” , printing, polymer clay, leather work, mosaic, jewellery, etc. It will be set up more like a web site, with a blog page within it.

Well thats what I hope !

Although I have put a few creative posts on my Portugal blog, I don’t feel it really works on the same site and I want to separate it, with maybe a link between the two.

Hopefully it will up and running by January 2013.  I will continue to post every thing on this site in the mean time.

When my head has felt ready to explode trying to understand the difference between static pages, posts, nested menus and other jargon, I have been dabbling with my printing inks and polymer clay, to keep myself sane.

So here are a few photos of this weeks more creative, and relaxed moments.

Monotype using oil paints n glass

Monotype using oil paints n glass

Monotype SAM_0054

 Textured polymer clay

Textured polymer clay

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Getting creative – Block printing


I can’t believe where the time has gone this week. I have been getting carried away drawing mushrooms and leaves, and messing around with some stuff called Adigraf ( a plastic/ rubbery material) and lino, all week.

I know, its a tough life !

I want to start learning more about  different types of printing through the Winter. It is a bit cold in my workshop for cutting and stitching leather ( and a bit risky using such sharp tools with frozen hands), so I thought printing is something I can do in my  living  room, with the wood burner to keep me warm on cooler days. I managed to get my hands on a piece of adigraf and lino and a few cheap throw away cutting tools, when I popped to Coimbra the other week, so I decided to start with a bit of block printing. I have to say the cutting tools are pretty useless, and out of the six I bought, only one of them manages to make a reasonable job of cutting. However, one was enough for me to at least have a go at the basics. I wanted to try and get my head around something called reduction printing.

Reduction printing is when you make a print with 2 or more colours, using only one piece of lino. Although I understood the idea, it is something I could not picture in my head, and so I had to try it to get to grips with how it works. I cut out a few leaf shapes in Adigraf, and gouged a few vein patterns in them, before printing them in a light coloured ink. I then cut out a second set of veins, and using a darker colour printed over the top. The leaf then became the second colour, apart from the veins I had just cut which were the first colour. I did this one more time, and so ended up with three different colours on my leaf . It was great fun, and the leaves came out better than I expected . Of course once  you make the second lot of cuts it is never possible to go back to printing more of the first stage, and for this reason reduction printing is also called suicide printing .

I then did the same thing, using some mushroom shapes .This time I  used some old oil paint mixed with a printing medium . I only had 3 colours , and so the colours were  a bit limited, and I was too impatient to let the first stage dry before printing the second, so the colours were a bit merged, but I understood  a lot more about reduction printing, which was the purpose of the exercise.

Once I get a few decent lino tools and some  printing ink I want to make some prints of the bridge, and church in Gois.

First I will need to sketch them out, and find a composition I like,which will keep me busy for a while.

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The other day on my morning walk through the woods to Alegria, I took some photos of all the different mushrooms that I saw along the way. It has been quite damp, so the conditions have been perfect for them to flourish, and i spotted quite a few.
My next door neighbour often pops off to the woods on a Sunday to pick some mushrooms for breakfast, but even if I liked them ( and I don’t,they make me think of fried  slugs for some reason) I would not have a clue which would be edible and which might kill me !
When I got back, out of interest I checked out some mushroom and fungi  websites to see if I could identify what I had seen. Although I learned a lot about mushrooms, I had no idea whether any of the ones I saw were edible.
I imagine picking this free food might be tempting to a mushroom lover, but it must be a bit like playing Russian roulette, with fungi instead of bullets. Scary !
It is no wonder people die every year from eating poisonous mushrooms. So many  of them  look similar to each other, and whilst one is ok, the other is a killer.
          Unless you have a nice neighbour, ( who you trust to know his mushrooms from his toadstools ) or a way to get them tested, I would say leave them growing in the woods, and buy some  from a shop !


Or draw them… thats what I am going to do !