Monday, 22 May 2017

speed craft part 2

So it appears I haven't posted in nearly 2 weeks!  Do you want to know why?  I completely forgot!  Oh dear, I hope this isn't a slippery slide into old age....

In my last post I told you about the first half of the day at Speed Craft, you can read it here if you are so inclined.  I went with the lovely Jane from Loopy's Place.

Our fourth activity of the day was with Katie Almond, an incredibly talented ceramics designer who I've taken several workshops with.  I had a bit of a wobble when she asked if I'd left mum at home as mum usually accompanied me...  But I powered on and got on with the job at hand, the hanging plaque above.  This is the piece in wet clay and painted with the glazes.  I'll show you the finished item when it comes back from its firing.  I felt like doing a house in a heart to represent my renewed love for my lovely old Victorian house.

The last activity of the day for us was lino cutting and printing.  I've done lino cutting a couple of times now, having taken a class or two a while ago.  I decided to represent my current lifestyle and cut out a bottle (of vodka, I don't like wine!) and a cocktail glass.  I drew both freehand so they're a little rough around the edges.

We used the finished stamps with ink brayered onto tiles rather than ink pads as I've done in the past.  I printed on some book pages and we used the results to make a little collage.  Sums me up rather well!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Speed Craft part 1

I've written about the SpeedCraft events at Debbie Bryan's before, me and mum would go twice a year.  This year the first even was in April.  Me and mum had booked to go before we lost her.  I was all set to go on my own when the lovely Jane from Loopy's Place said she'd come with me!  I was so chuffed to have a crafting partner on what would otherwise have been a very sad day.

We started in style with Buck's Fizz.  As I'm allergic to oranges, I just got a glass of Prosecco!  It went down very well... especially as a coffee and cake were quick to follow!

The first activity was a mini mosaic brooch.  We didn't do any cutting, we had a selection of pre-cut tiles, broken china, beads and buttons to use.  We only had 45 minutes per activity so had to design pretty quickly before dying our grout.

The photo doesn't show it well, but my grout is a lovely minty green.  Here's the piece all grouted and ready to be dried before sanding.  Writing this, I realise I was suppose to sand it 48 hours later... ooops!  Hopefully I'll still be able to do it. 

Next was weaving which I first tried at the last SpeedCraft event.  This time it was circular weaving on an embroidery hoop.  We had a selection of yarns and fabrics to cut into strips to use.

I didn't get very far with mine, it still needs finishing off.  I abandoned my usual blue colour scheme for a palette of purple and grey.

Next was lunch, followed by cake, followed by paper origami.  This flower was not easy to make!!  We all struggled to get the shape right.  

The leaves are just glued on to the wire in this picture, the flower stem has been finger crocheted (a new skill for me!) and I just need to finish off finger crocheting the leave stems before sewing the leaves on more securely using a few big cross stitches.

I'll be back in another post to tell you about the rest of the day.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Bag Camp part 1

The lovely Samantha runs an annual Bag Retreat (she's doing 2 a year now!) at a beautiful hotel in South Wales.  The retreat ran from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon and was well worth the money.  We got 3 patterns as part of the package, all meals were included (and they were huge!) plus cake of course and coffee on tap, and a series of mini workshops talking about specific areas of bag-making.  If you are in the UK and like making bags, I'd definitely recommend it.  I've already booked for next April's retreat!

Please excuse the blurry photos.  Mr CA got the camera in the break up (it was his!) and my phone pictures come out really blurry.  They look great on my phone so I'm not sure where I'm going wrong.  

I was a bit lax on the old preparation front, but I prepared 2 of the bag retreat patterns.  The bag you are seeing here is the Fiesta Tote.  It's an easy sew, but it took me most of the weekend.  NOTHING to do with me drinking too much vodka, eating too much cake and gossiping at all.  Nor anything to do with the trip to Pendryn Distillery I took on the Sunday with a lady called Tricia and Janelle from Emmaline Bags.  No, of course I didn't come back tipsy!

I bought the bag bling (the Handmade plaque) at the pop-up shop run by Sew Hot who, very dangerously, let us all run up a tab all weekend and settle up on the last day!  Very tempting...

I absolutely love how this bag came out.  I bought the outer fabric and the lining at the Hobbycrafts show in February at the NEC with this bag in mind, but I have no idea what either of them are, sorry!  It's been my main bag since I made it and it's holding up really well.  I even closed the turning gap!!

I think my one criticism would be that I needed one more zip pocket inside, but then I could have added one, I know how to do it!

I had also prepared the Toiletry Tote, another bag retreat pattern, and I took along the materials for the Starlet Clutch from the Bag of the Month club, but I hadn't had time to prepare it and I didn't get to it at all.

I did start the toiletry tote, but didn't finish it and ran into a few snags (see above re: vodka) so I still have to finish it off.  And I will!

I stayed over at the hotel on the Sunday night, then travelled down to Devon the following day with my family to scatter the rest of mum's ashes.  We had a lovely time but it was tinged with sadness of course.  In all I was away for over a week, then there was a bank holiday weekend which goes to explain why I a) haven't been visiting your blogs b) haven't been responding to emails c) haven't been posting and d) haven't made anything to post about!

I'll come back with a post about the toiletry tote when I finally dig it out and maybe even finish it!

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Stringy birds

April's Christmas Craft Club was held at my house and it was great fun, and very noisy.  We decided to have a go at string art.  

Whilst cleaning out the hall cupboard, I found a bit of wood.  That did as my base, I painted it white about an hour before my guests arrived, so it was a bit tacky to work with!  Nothing like a bit of preparation...

I drew the bird templates free-hand (as you can probably tell!), cut them out and knocked in nails around the outline.  I then took 3 shades of yarn (one with tiny little sequins) and wound, and wound, and wound.  It was pretty easy, unless a bit came off a nail and then the last 5 minute's work would all unravel.

I have no idea what I'm going to do with it but it was good fun!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Mellerstain Parrots #8

Another 3 weeks, a very busy 3 weeks, another paltry progress on my SAL project!

Here's where I was:

Ready for a game of spot the difference?

How about a close up?

I finished the fourth and final tail feather and started on the wing...  hmmm. not great progess there Wendy!

I'm stitching along as part of a SAL where we all work on our WIPs, you can go and see what the other participants have been up to here:
AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaSusanKathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLindaCatherineMary, Margaret Timothy

If you'd like to join in, please contact Avis

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Candle jars

Ooops!  It seems I completely forgot to blog!  I have been really busy recently, a day embroidery class, 3 days at the Bag Retreat with Mrs H, then a week in Devon with my family saying goodbye to mum.  It hasn't left much time for making, blogging or reading blogs.  I'm behind by 10 days on my reader and I have scores of unanswered emails in my inbox... I hope you'll all let me off this time!

I've mentioned before that a friend of mine has started a Christmas Craft Club, well we had another meeting earlier in the month and made candle jars.

We used sticky-backed plastic to mask of the areas we wanted to keep clear and then painted the jars.  I decorated the top of this one with some jingle bells on wire, and a bit of lace that I threaded ribbon through.

I love the colour of this one, it just has a simple ribbon topper.  They are for using with little tea lights, no idea if the ribbon is dangerous!

It was really hard to get the paint on evenly - we used acrylic paint which probably isn't the best kind of paint for the job, some of it is scratched off already!  I tried a two-tone effect on the blue one - probably not that successfully!  

I'll be back on Sunday with a SAL update - if I get a chance to stitch!!

Monday, 10 April 2017

improptu felting

I felt a little down one night, so I went to see my friend after work.  She soon sorted me out - she got out the felt and got me working my arm muscles!

She had bought me a notebook so I can do some journalling and had intended to make me a cover, but decided I could do it myself.  The above arrangement is the wool and tops laid out in my chosen "design".  I went for really bright colours because I love them!

Then there was rubbing with hot water and soap, more rubbing, turning, rubbing, turning rubbing, then rolling, rolling, rolling, rolling....  When I got home I soaked it in a little vinegar to get rid of the soap and laid it out to dry.  

It is still laying out to dry.  It IS dry, it's been dry for ages... I just haven't had the time to make it into a book cover yet!

Felting is so good for stress release, and I'm sure it must count as exercise?