Monday, 27 November 2017

Calligraphy class

Oh dear, I'm not doing so well at getting back into blogging, am I?  Life is so busy this year, I work long hours, I like to spend time with family and friends and much of the rest of my free time is taken up with decorating.  I will have a completed room to show you soon though and I'm hoping to finish another 3 over the Christmas break!  Things are helped by the fact poor Colin is ill.  He's my last remaining bunny and he's now 9 and a half.  He's gone blind and has a problem with his eye which could be something serious, I take him back to the vet on Wednesday so should find out then.

Back in September, when I still had a broken shoulder with my arm strapped to my body, I went to a calligraphy class held by Jane Lappage at Created by Hand, a gorgeous hand-made shop which holds craft workshops.  I had signed up before the accident and I called the shop to check I'd still be able to take the class, Jane was confident I could manage it.  I scrounged a lift from my dad and off I went!

We were given the nib and nib holder to use during the workshop and then take home.  Jane had calligraphied all our names, isn't it beautiful!  This class was modern calligraphy, rather than the traditional italics.  Have a look at Jane's website for beautiful examples.  Also pictured is a pot of ink that I bought to practice at home and the pigment that everyone else in the class tried.  I wasn't able to as it required 2 hands!

Here are some examples of the work I produced in the workshop.  Blogger is being its usual annoying self and putting pictures where I don't want them to excuse the sideways photo.

The nib is split in the middle.  Ink doesn't flow through as it would in a pen, rather you dip the nib in ink.  Firm pressure causes the two sides of the nib to separate and creates a thicker line.  We were practicing thick lines going down and thin going up.  As you can see, I didn't quite get it!  The ink blots were a result of the paper we were practicing on.

I can see an improvement over the different pages of samples, but I definitely need more practice.  I struggled a little in the class as I had to have my paper taped down, so couldn't move it as I worked.  I also strugged with being in pain from a broken shoulder and being on hefty painkillers!  I really should give this another go and find out if my broken bones are just an excuse!

Monday, 20 November 2017

Spicier blanket... again

After proudly telling you about the blanket I'd started whilst broken-armed, I went home, prepared to work on it more and discovered something...

See that?  It's wavy.  Frilly even.  I have no idea how that happened, I'd been carefully checking it as I went along to make sure this didn't happen!

After ripping back a couple of rows, I realised that it starts a long way down, see the picture above...  I'm not ripping all that back, it's a blanket after all, not a work of art.  I'll try and crochet the next rows a bit tighter and use a DK yarn, maybe I can switch to my DK stash instead...

I blame old age.  I turned 40 just over a week ago.  I had the best weekend ever and I got the most fantastic present - a kiln!  Probably not the best timing as I'm also renovating the dining room where it will live, and I need to get some supplies, but hold tight for some kiln experiments coming soon!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Spicier Life blanket

Hello everyone, after a much longer break than anticipated, I'm back!  It turns out that breaking your shoulder (particularly if you do it in 3 places) is a really daft idea and takes forever to heal!  I'm not completely better, I have no strength whatsoever in my right arm (luckily I'm left-handed) and don't have a full range of movement, but I'm getting back into life again.  Going out and renovating my house have both resumed (OK, full disclosure, I went out partying several times with my arm in a sling!), and a small start has begun on crafting.

The first thing I felt up to doing was crochet.  I crochet right-handed as it was much easier to learn that way, but it does mean that unlike most crocheters, I pretty much hold the hook still in my right hand and use my left hand to wrap and pull.  Good when you've broken your right shoulder though!

On a whim, I decided to join in with the Spicier Life CAL at Cherry Heart.  I think I joined in on week 2, but all 6 parts and the border have now been released!  I don't care that I'm behind, and even with a fully-healthy arm I doubt I would have been able to keep up with schedule as there were a lot of rows each week.

This is where I am after week 1.  As you can see, I am making an effort to weave in the ends as I go otherwise it would be a daunting task - plus the ends get in the way.  I didn't buy one of the special yarn packs, I didn't buy any yarn at all.  I have tons of the stuff, full balls, partial balls, donated balls...  I had to decide which weight - DK or Aran and, thinking I had more Aran than I do, I chose that.  Unfortunately I don't have that much and so am using some DK too, it just means a bit of stitch adjustment.  I don't really care about the colour palette, my aim is to use some of this yarn up as I am drowning in it!

I'm not sure how regularly I'll be blogging just yet, I've got a horrible cold and cough, so I'm resting a lot, and renovating the house is taking priority as I lost 3 key months over summer... I should have 4 rooms finished by now!  I did attend a class (yes, with a broken shoulder!) and will blog about that soon.  

Monday, 14 August 2017

Why i am an idiot...

So I haven't been blogging much recently and I've just dropped by to let you know that I likely won't be blogging at all dor the next 8 weeks or so.

I fell over on Saturday and broke my arm! It's my right arm (luckily I'm a leftie) and it's broken right at the top just under the shoulder. That means no cast, just a sling. It is very painful and all the little every day things are so hard to do with one arm.

Silly, silly Wendy!

Monday, 31 July 2017

Garden bench

I recently explained I haven't done much crafting this summer as I've been working on my house.  I really hoped to have a bathroom update for you by now.  I had a new suite fitted, but painting the room is taking a lot longer than anticipated!  I generally have one or two hours a week during the evenings to work on the house, and often I have a few hours or even a whole day on the Sunday.  It doesn't add up to much!  I took last Monday off work to work on the bathroom, but was struck down with a horrible bug and ended up spending three days lying on the sofa.  I did put a few stitches in a cross stitch piece, but not much really!

Anyway, that was a long winded introduction to a post showing you my garden bench as I don't really have much else to show you!

I bought my house over 10 years ago and mum and dad bought me this bench not long after I moved in.  As you can see, I never varnished it!  I hate the look of varnished wood so I'm glad I didn't, but it was time for some TLC.

Sanding took ages, and made a right mess!  It became easier when I discovered the seat is removable.  Then it was on to painting.  I used a B&Q outdoor paint and it took three coats.

Much better!  I also got rid of Harry's old hutch and the spare hutch, creating loads more room in my tiny yard (UK version of yard - concrete area behind my house).

The paint was left over from painting my back door which I did a couple of months ago and which kick-started this whole renovation business in the first place!  I still have over a third of a can of paint left... garden gate is next up!

Monday, 24 July 2017

The anklets of doom

A bit of a dramatic title perhaps?  Hmmm.  For some simple stringing to make some simple jewellery, it's been a right palaver!

It's summer and, for once, we're having a hot one in England!  OK, not every day, but some days.  And that's enough for me.  Because of the nice weather, I've been wearing cut of trousers with my usual trainers.  I needed a bit of bling on my ankle.  I found these flower beads in mum's craft stash, added some Swarovski crystals, some beading wire, crimp beads and a clasp.  

This was made in the same way with a variety of beads: cheap crystals, millifiore beads, drops and some cool black nickel donuts.  I had everything in my stash and it took minutes to string.

Then I wore them.  And the crimps came undone.  And they fell apart.  

So I restrung them, this time using nymo thread and knots.  

And the flower one stretched and fell under my foot.

Back to the drawing board....

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Mixed metal bracelet

Silversmith class is now on a break for the summer.  I managed to finish off a piece I was working on before we broke up.  Originally this was going to be a necklace, but it morphed into a bracelet.  I am NOW working on the matching necklace!

I showed you in a previous post how I made these rings.  I made soldered rings in copper and silver, then make a series of jump rings from 1mm silver and copper wire to join them together.  I have not copper plated the solder on the copper rings (it would copper plate the silver too!), but I don't think it's that jarring.

I made the toggle clasp from a piece of 2mm square silver wire which I left unhammered to create contrast with the hammered rings.  I soldered half a jump ring on the back and attached it with rings.  It slips through the end circle on the bracelet to do up.

This is the second bracelet I've made from large links and I love it!  It goes very well with my Adidas Superstars which have copper stripes!

I've assembled most of the necklace I'm making, I'm just soldering the jump rings (and there are loads!), but it won't be touched again until September.  Hope I don't forget about it!