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1  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Festive Felt Goodness on: November 27, 2012 02:46:39 PM
I recently participated in the Sweat Shoppe Ornament Swap Round 3 and my contribution was a felt ornament (my partners have all received so I can safely post here). I've been interested in creating felt ornaments for a while now, and have been scouring pinterest for inspiration so this is what I have been making.

A little group shot of the recent additions to my yuletide tree. As you can see I have been focussing on the folksy.

These were technically my second design, a double-sided star, white with red, and a sparkly green button.

Some simple hearts, in a lovely deep magenta with white and a silk bow

My rustic tomte/nisse style gnomes - the same magneta but with a tealy blue base. As with all of them, the ribbon is white rickrack and I've attached mini-bells.

Finally, my first design, what started this all off, the festive felt poinsettia slippers from my swap.

Hope you all enjoy them, comments most welcome
Happy Crafting
2  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / No more naked books! [pic happy] on: September 22, 2012 02:01:42 PM
[I'm not quite sure where this should go, so please move if not in the right place Grin]

I'm a signed-up, card-carrying bibliophile. So much so that I almost exclusively purchase hard-back books because I love everything about them: from the typeface and paper to construction and of course reading. I have a favourite second-hand store in Greenwich that I splurge in regularly (they're 1 each), but they don't always come with their dust jackets. And because dust jackets are not only pretty, but also protect the spines from sun damage, I thought I'd better give my "naked" books something to cover up with.

So here is my stash-busting, but rustically/haphazardly sewn fabric dust jackets:

I say rustically because whilst I am conscientious when sewing for others, for myself I kinda just throw things together by eye. Please don't look too closely, you'll see all the mistakes...no, really...

As you can see, I like to use up all those little bits left over from other projects, including lace, ribbon, home-made bias...and because this is a stash-busting exercise, I have to made do with the sizes that the left over fabric comes in - this one was from some cushions for my brother (two different sets but really nice brown Designer's Guild fabric) and some vintage blue fabric picked up at a church fete.

Word of warning though, if you are going to re-purpose men's ties, I recommend to measure and cut precisely first otherwise you have dodgy pleats on the front and seams at an angle.

And final picture: look how happy Ms Du Maurier is now, toasty warm with all her siblings....  Cheesy

As always, comments extremely welcome
Happy Crafting
3  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Skull of the 6x6 Swap on: September 20, 2012 03:12:05 PM
I think I can safely post this here now my partner has received.  Cheesy

I'm in the More Art, Less Craft 6x6" Canvas Swap and this was my contribution to the gallery of 6-inch awesomeness. Whilst waiting for our partners, I wondered how I could combine imagery from my recent travels through Austria and my impending partner's taste. Lucky for me, my partner said she really liked skulls and strangely enough one of the pictures that I took was of a marble skull wall plaque detail, which inspired this creation:

Its mostly acrylic, with a little pearlescent medium, PVA glaze and spray paint thrown in for good measure. The canvas has a 1" box edge, so the artwork wraps around the edges.

This is the sculpture that inspired the painting:

Its from the St Peter's Abbey in Salzburg. As you can see, the painting is not an exact replica but I am happy with the way it turned out.

I hope you all like it too, comments most welcome.

Happy Art-ing and Crafting
4  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Advent Bunting..tree style on: August 27, 2012 04:11:48 PM
I've been thinking about making an advent calendar of late, but I have not really wanted to do the box or bag on a board thing. I've also had a bit of bunting fetish this year so what could be more natural than to combine the two?

However, as we all know, flags aren't particularly festive, so how do I make standard bunting more appropriate for Yuletide? After much thinking and absolutely no research (why make it easy for myself?), I decided the best way was to invert the flags and turn them into simple Christmas tree shapes. That way they are not too complicated and I could use the "base" as the pocket for the advent treat. So here is my version of the advent bunting calendar...

All the fabric was from my stash, *but* I didn't have enough of any one Christmas themed fabric, so I created "cool" colour bunting for the even numbers and "warm" colour bunting for the odd numbers. The base pockets were cut from small different fabrics that matched (sort off), with 4 different bases for each set. The ribbon is just bias tape I had lying around, double stitched for strength.

The pockets are just large enough for a few coins (in this case, Swiss Francs), a chocolate or a very small toy. The lettering was cut from felt that I had lying around. It was a super stash-busting exercise, I didn't buy anything for it. Yay! Cheesy

They are rather rustic, but I like them. As always, comments extremely welcome, and if anyone does their version, I would love to see it!
Happy Crafting
5  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Bunting Cushion Cover Extravaganza on: July 16, 2012 03:11:06 PM
I recently completed the crafted cushion cover swap and my partner had pinned a bunting cushion cover on her pinterest, which being a Jubilee year, I thought was rather appropriate to make. I had so much fun making one for my partner, that I made two more. Without further ado, I present the peek-a-boo bunting cushion covers.

Here is my swap cushion cover:

My partner liked strong, autumnal colours and I found this brilliant fabric that looked like a stain glass window for the reverse. The "peek-a-boo" was a different fabric with a sewing theme. I "hid" a zip on the reverse using black bias tape.

Then I was visiting a friend in the US, so I thought that I could make here a bunting pillow as a thank you present.

This one I make a feature of the zipper tape and the peek-a-boo was a nautical themed, which went nice with the beach hut fabric and blue colour ways I have been hording.

So today, I finally finished my pillow, using fat quarters that I have squirrelled away over the years.

I used a gardening fabric for the peek-a-boo, and this was the first time I did a proper "hidden" zip.  By proper, I mean not using bias tape. I didn't do any machine applique to the reverse of mine.

All the covers fit an 18" square pad, and I added a (rather rustic) patchwork border around the original 14.5" centre panel. You can find a link to the tutorial that I sourced for the panel here.

I would love to hear all your thought and comments. And of course, to see any bunting pillows that you have made. Peek-a-boo bunting is seriously addictive to make!

Happy Crafting!
6  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects / Jugs... the reduction print [pic happy] on: January 31, 2012 04:44:55 AM
You may have read from my other post that I recently went to Cornwall and did a printmaking course Grin. It focused on tecniques that could be replicated easily at home, and it was there I discovered the wonderful product that is polystyrene boards. These boards allow you to make multiple print runs in a similar fashion to etching but, due to the fragile nature of the material, it does not allow for large print runs. However, you don't need a press so can do this very easily at home with minimal mess and hand-burnishing. Grin

We had a lot of fun experimenting with this, and one of our tasks was to print from still life. Any one who has used polystyrene for printing knows that once you make a mark, that's it, so printing from still life is not a particularly easy task. Anyway, no pain no gain, so here is what I came up with. Its a little smaller than A4 but larger than A5. We were printing on coloured A4 sheets of paper. These are my two favourites:

The yellow one is missing a red colour phase, that you can see on the black. I did 4 colour phases in total (cream, green, red and purple), with the last phase being a cut out (so no prints from that block).

This is the block before the last phase, essentially I just kept drawing over the same lines (we used pen or pencils to make marks) and adding a few tweaks.

Its a very quick, and satisfying way of producing prints and I like that they are quite graphic, rather than my usual more painterly prints.

Comments and criticisms are most welcome and appreciated. I would love to see how other crafty peeps are using this polystyrene for printmaking. Cheesy

Happy Crafting!
7  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects / A bit late...the 2011 reduction print yule card on: January 31, 2012 03:45:34 AM
As some of you may know, I really don't like buying Yule/Christmas cards Tongue, preferring instead to make my own unique cards each year Cheesy. As I recently did a printmaking course down in Cornwall, I thought I would do the simple technique of reduction print using those polystyrene boards (like polyboards but without the paper) and water-based inks.

It may be a good time to point out that not only do I not like buying cards but when I do make cards they have to be 1. cheap (I already had the red card and printing ink), 2. easily reproduced (I make 30-40 so cannot spend a lot of time on each individual one) and 3. I can do at home in the middle of the night (this is when I get my energy burst) Cool.

So without further ado, here is the Yule card for 2011 (sorry for the wonky photo)

The basic print has three colour layers (baby blue, white and green), then I decorated with flicks of silver drawing ink (using a toothbrush to spray) and finishing with a gold star from an eraser I carved (to use on the present wrapping actually, but we are all about re-using and recycling here). This is what the polystyrene board looked liked after I finished with it:

And this is the way that I got the print. First a baby blue square:

I wasn't worried about the ink having solid coverage, the speckled look actually works when you are aiming for a "snow" feel. But we did have to put snow on the ground, so I cut around the tree to create a sky and impressed the rest in white:

Its quite pretty at that stage, but I'm never one to leave things alone so I chopped the tree out of the block and printed that on its own with green ink. Then, once I've added the silver "snow", gold star it was a matter of adding the inside paper (with a stamped "merry christmas" greeting of course) and its all done:

What do you guys think? I did hand-burnish every print so not one has the same coverage, but I like that they are all kinda unique. Any comments and criticism (or indeed helpful hints with home printmaking) are most welcome and appreciated.

Happy Crafting!
8  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Chrissie stockings for my unsuspecting work buddies on: January 08, 2012 03:46:43 PM
I haven't sewn a stitch for such a long time Cry, but when one of my work colleagues said in passing that her OH had accidentally broken their son's birth year ornament, I knew what I had to make her for Christmas...

So without much ado (really, there is not much at all), this is what I whipped up using fabric and notions entirely from my stash (this does not even dent my enormous stash)...

The style/shape is my own vague design with only the most basic of measuring, and I also used some felt to applique a snowman and the birth year on there (fortunately I remembered this bit of info). My colleague and her OH loved it, said it was much more roomy than the wee man's existing one (lucky boy now has two Cheesy).

But you can't just do one work colleague and leave the other's child out. As this colleague was away for the entire Christmas period, it was not so much of a rush and I finished it this weekend. Her child is a girl, so its a little more feminine.

I hope I remember the year correctly, its been a bit of a mission to figure it out. I put a tree on this one, but the star is a little lost.

I put bells on the handles, so they would jingle but mostly because I have a heap of them floating around the house. They were a pain to sew, as the amount of fabric because too much for my little machine to get through, and I could not do the french seams I wanted to do...but I am reasonably happy with them. Grin

Comments and suggestions are most welcome....

Happy viewing and happy crafting in this new year!
9  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects / bowls, mugs and the tiniest of bottles [pic heavy] on: April 04, 2011 03:31:42 PM
So endeth spring term of pottery class  Cry and I will be without clay until the weekend after Easter....so far away! But in the interim I thought I would share my latest babies...you know, the ones I didn't break before I got to photograph them! Roll Eyes

This one is a present for the bro, my baaa-mug. Its draycott white with dark blue glaze, wiped back on the outside.

And this paddled bowl is also of draycott white, but I double bisque fired it (the second time with tenmoku glaze on the inside) before glaze firing with buttery cream glaze. I love the way tenmoku and buttery cream pull together. Grin

I did a lot of thrown work using crank clay (including a cool oil jug I promptly broke after glaze firing) as I love the effect of the grog in the clay. Cheesy This particular crank had a nice red and black grog. On this piece I used the tenmoku/buttery cream duo, but reversed the positioning, and tried paddling six sides for a change.

This is just a small tea light holder, with danish blue on the inside and in the grooves. I spend a lot of time with wax and brush...

Probably as much time on this bowl...but you don't get the full effect of underneath; there are three of those charcoal glaze stripes underneath...

This is getting onto my favourites of my most recent pieces. Again in the draycott white, i was trying to practice hakame (but sans hakame brush) using white slip loosely brushed on and then glazed in a matt transparent glaze. The black marks are black slip, that has slightly pin-headed and so gives a really cool effect. Its something that I will practice more of...

And, of course, my most favourite piece...the tiniest of bottles made using the hakame technique. Its about 5cm high by 3cm diameter, and fits inside the saki cup above. Unfortunately the based has a hairline crack developed in the glaze firing so its only good for holding incense sticks now...but then again, it was never going to hold much liquid... Wink

I hope you enjoyed looking at my latest as much as I enjoyed making them. All comments are welcomed and gratefully received.

Happy Crafting! Grin
10  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects / Latest batch of pottery...pic happy on: February 20, 2011 10:10:58 AM
I have been doing lots of pottery lately, and by "lots" I meant I have enrolled in four Saturday courses over a total of 27 weeks - I would like to do more but unfortunately the bank insists that I pay the mortgage and work. Do they not understand crafting comes first???

I have completed two courses so far and have two to go. I am slowly getting more "discerning" when it comes to keeping work so I have recycled more than I fired. Even so, here are a selection of the best ones (in my opinion) from those two classes.

This one is a pinched porcelain vase fired to stoneware, made from two pinch pots joined together. As I'm sure most of you who pot know, porcelain is a 'mare to work with and this was no exception. Still it has no cracks, even if the celadon glaze turned out a little too kharki for my tastes.

This is a small pinched red clay footed bowl, fired to earthenware and glazed with tin white...the glaze is a little too thin but I like the delftware effect.

My second attempt at coil work. Made with extruded coils, with lugs for handles it is fired to earthenware with a tin white and lusty red glazes. I love lusty red glaze, but it never turns out the slightest bit red for me.

On to thrown work. This piece is made in the most gorgeous clay to throw with, millenium white.  Fired to stoneware, I glazed it simply in turquoise.

A little saki cup, made in draycott white, fired to stoneware and glazed with Danish Blue.

My first tea cup to survive stoneware firing with no cracks. Yay! This one was decorated with black slip and glazed with celadon. At least the celadon is not so kharki this time.

A coffee cup, made with draycott white. Some hairline cracks appeared inside after the bisque firing, so we used some mender to fix it before glazing in Lusty Red. I wiped back the glaze with a spong to reveal the incised image. Next time I am going to remove all the glaze on the outside.

Finally the last of today's photos. This is just a small dipping bowl, but I am so proud of it as it is pratically perfectly centred. Unfortunately you cannot see any of the slip decoration as the trans green glaze seems to have gone a little weird in the kiln, but I still like the way it turned out.

Hopefully no-one has fallen asleep by now. Thank you so much for letting me show off my latest babies. Any comments are gratefully received.

Happy crafting!
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