Sunday, 27 February 2011

Sketchbook Challenge - Opposites

The theme for the month of February is "Opposites". A good theme to do but finding the time this month has been really difficult! Very frustrating and I have a feeling that March is not going to be much better either, but we shall see how it goes.

The theme will change as we go into March but I shall stick with Opposites for a bit longer as well. I started by putting together a mindmap of different oppositesusing brown parcel paper, pens and white pencils.

My daughter also had her art stuff out on the kitchen table so I decided on a sort of collage page with a bit of rough, smooth, curved and straight lines all on one page.

On the next page I decided to carry on with the blackand white opposite theme and played around with textured paper, watercolour paints, black pen and straight and curvey lines. Just played around with the theme to be honest, no real plan in place at all.

Close up of textured paper and paints.

The final page that I have created so far is the one above. This is a mark making page using opposite shapes and trying not to put similar shapes near each other. Again the black and white theme has been used. I now want to move on to opposites using more colour within the pages and then move gradually on to the theme for March. I was away with freinds when I did some of this so I only had a few items with me but I think they turned out ok.

Well work for the day job is calling. More tomorrow. Must dash.


Saturday, 26 February 2011

Lost Villages........

We have just spent a few days with friends in Derbyshire. We arrived back tonight and have nearly finished unpacking everything.

Hubby comes from Derbyshire and still has friends and family there. it is a lovely area, with lots to look at and the chance to take lovely pictures.

One of the places which we visited was Ladybower reservoir. The picture above shows part of the dam. There is water flowing over the top into the lake below. This is one of several locations which were used by the RAF to practice for the WW2 Dam busters and was used as the location for part of the original film that was make re-telling the story.

It has been a bit of a funny week for taking pictures but the afternoon that I took these was one of the best ones. I used my new little Canon and it was the first time that I had used it for outside pictures.

This is probably the best picture of the bunch and it is looking back away from the main Dam itself.
What I had forgotten is that to build this Dam two villages had to be flooded. Derwent and Ashopton are both submerged below the water.

This is a picture of Ashopton with the building of the Viaduct going on in the background started around 1940. The viaduct is still in use and the remains of the village is now under the water right by the viaduct. Finished by around 1941.

This is another picture of the village.
There is additional reading here and it is really interesting and a bit scary that peoples homes were simply removed from them for a reservoir, but the water supply needed to be increased.

Above is the village of Derwent before the flooding.(1912)

Derwent Hall was also flooded as part Dam building. Quite a stately house at the time and had been built in 16 72.

There is lots of information on this topic and the picture of the half submerged church spire is very thought provoking. It was later demolished fully in the 1940's on health and safety grounds.

Three reservoirs in total were built between 1935 to 1945.

It took Ladybower reservoir two years to fully fill up. At very low water some remains of Derwent have been seen but Ashopton is so close to the viaduct that remains of that village are rarely, if ever seen. There is lots of additional information on the Internet about these two villages but also others around the world, villages that have disappeared for a variety of reasons.

I thought this might be of interest as to look at the water Sophie was astonished that there had been two villages on that site!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Vintage "Flower Power" Looms

Getting back to the vintage issue, the box above really is classed as vintage.
This belong to my Mum and quite a while ago when she was having a bit of a sort out asked if I would like it. I used it a bit and then it has just sat on the shelf in several houses we have lived in. It even ended up in the attic which is how I ended up buying the little pink version featured in the tutorial, I forgot that I had it. Tut Tut.

The kit is made by Ronco and I have tried to google it but I can not find anything up to date on them. It comes complete with instructions to make various items, a needle, crochet hook and three looms. I have looked everywhere and I can not find a date on it.

The looms included can make the shapes above. Some ask you to add an additional edging to the flowers once it has been taken off the loom. Here we have a chrysanthemum, Camellia, dahlia, orchid, daisy and a poppy.

The use of colour is key to these flowers, but it is also fun to see the combinations of colours, some are coming back into fashion and some that find hard to believe were ever in fashion in the first place!

The above shapes are fun too, I think that the star shape is made using raffia. We had a go at making a flower with the smallest loom in the box and it was really tiny when it was made, cute, ideal for children's clothing.

These cushions would be good in another colour scheme and the book explains how you can sew or link them together with crochet chains. Must need a bit of patience to make that many flowers.

I really like this bag (yes, I know, another bag) as I could actually see myself using it. May be in shades of blue or purple and possibly with the flowers on the flap instead of the main body of the bag.......oh dear, I can feel another project coming on again. NO! I must resist as I have three on the go already.

Again, a lot of flowers to make for this. Preparing for the photos for the instruction booklet must have taken ages to get ready.
This shawl looks really warm to wear, such a long fringe on it too. My cats would have a field day if I wore this.

I do not think that this top would look out of place today with a t-shirt and a pair of jeans with boots. This book has used rather a lot of the mustard yellow in its examples so you need to see beyond that I think. Still, I quite like this example.

So, there you go, a vintage flower loom with pattern book of what you can make with it.

Brilliant. At the moment I am going to make some more flowers to go on my new display for KNITTING which I started to put up today at school. Some students are also bringing in items that they have made during our after school knitting club. Lots happening.


Monday, 21 February 2011

Flower Loom Tutorial

I have been showing my students how to use a flower loom. The loom featured in this tutorial is actually part of a kit that I found in a toy shop! You can buy them online. I have seen them advertised as Vintage and the idea does come from the 1970's and I shall come back to this point tomorrow. Many that I have seen advertised as vintage, along with a vintage price, is not always accurate and are in fact brand new. So do be careful and do a little price comparing first.
Materials and Equipment:
Flower Loom
Scraps of wool
Crochet hook or knitting needle

Using wool that you wish to have as the petals, leave a small length which will be used for securing off later and begin winding it around your flower loom. Most looms should come with a set of their own instructions which are not really very inspiring, but if not, then wind the wool in a figure of 8 using the pegs that line opposite each other. At the same time move in a clockwise direction.

Do make sure that the wool does cross in the middle of the loom as it gives a more stable flower when it is taken off the loom.

For this flower I went round 6 times, so that there are 6 loops on each peg. I then tied it off at the back with the tail that I left at the beginning.
Next, using a contrast colour, thread a needle and bring this up from the back of the loom.

Pull the wool up along the side of one of the loops and then down the other side.
Do see in the photo where I have placed the purple loop to secure the loop of pink wool. I will then take the purple wool around the back of the loop before moving onto the next pink loop.

These purple loops will prevent the flower from coming apart once taken off the loom.

Secure the contrast colour on the back of the loom.
I then decided to stitch another row but going through the middle of each pink loop and skipping to the centre of the next one as shown in the picture.

You can stop here but I like to secure the centre of the flower so that it could be attached to a brooch pin or stitched onto another project.

So taking another piece of wool I stitched from the centre out towards the purple stitching which formed a rough star shape. Next, take your crochet hook or knitting needle etc, and use this to ease your flower off the loom.
At this point you can add additional pieces such as buttons, beads or more stitching.
The loops of the flower can then be teased apart to show all of the layers.
You can use a variety of materials to make flowers like this, ribbon is a pretty good one to try. Or make them with different coloured layers of wool as you create the loops. Then stitch them on to your next project.

Hope this has been useful and you could probably make one of these with a piece of wood and tacks nailed into it, just make sure that they are long enough to take several layers of wool and that the ends are not rough or sharp.


Sunday, 20 February 2011

Collection update...

Regular readers will now that I have been collecting powder compacts for quite some years now. It all started off with a double mirror compact that I found at my very first Antique Fair in Plymouth. Before Sophie came along hubby and I used to like visiting Antique Fairs during a Sunday afternoon. Sophie enjoys them too now and again but time in general seems to be against us as well, so we do not visit very many any more.
At Christmas I was given a box filled with compacts that my Mother-in-Law must have spent hours searching, bidding, buying and watching out for the postman, so that I could add them to my collection.

This first one is by KIGU and I a gold tone compact with a very detailed pattern on the lid. It has a good clip and is perfect inside.

As you can see it is lovely inside, it looks almost new!

Now, this one is very unusual indeed. It is a musical compact which shows a water wheel and wheel house set in the countryside. There is a little texture on the lid when you touch it.

Again, the inside is excellent and you can see the winder for the musical part of the compact. Then the lid which would contain the powder. This compact is made by Glover, a make that I have not heard of before. Could be one to research into more.

This silver tone compact has a very unusual pattern on the lid.

On the inside the word Mexico has been stamped into the compact which is hallmarked as silver on entry to this country. There is a number which might be worth typing into Google. The decoration is carried on inside of the compact too.
The pattern is even on the under side of the powder lid too. This is an extremely nice powder compact, it is quite heavy but fits nicely in your hand to use, (and I have quite small hands). a lovely addition to my collection.

I bought this guide to collecting years ago and it has been really useful to spot items at Antique Fairs or online. Many of the makers names of the compacts that I was given are in the book, but not any of the actual compacts themselves. I did see one once at a Fair but it was in a dreadful condition.

This is just a few of the contents of this lovely present. I shall add the rest tomorrow, I need to change some of the pictures and I am quite keen to go and google the Mexican compact. I shall be back tomorrow and maybe with some additional information.

Have a great week.


Saturday, 19 February 2011

Crazy Crochet Ideas

I love looking at Craftzine and over two years ago I subscribed to it online so that alerts are sent to me to go and see new articles. I would never have thought in a million years to think up this idea for bikes. They look so colourful and I would love to know what they look like when the bike is moving, a bit like a colour spinner perhaps?

Now this idea looks like a real possibility for me actually making one. I have a stool very similar to this which is quite uncomfortable to sit on after a while when sewing, so a cushion was always in the pipeline. I really like this crochet version, I have never tried granny stitch in a circle. I may just crochet a circle in a variegated wool or stripes. Cool though, I really like it.

I found this picture months ago on google images. Must have taken ages to make this. It is very elegant and seems a pity that it may be rained on. I love the interent for finding this kind of inspiration and see what others are creating.

I am still crocheting my smaller blanket and I really must try and finish it this week so that I can move onto the two quilts that are half made.

I have started the flower loom tutorial and I bought some wool today to begin the bag that I am making along with some of my older students at school. Lots of WIP's....again but it keeps me out of trouble!

I am sitting at the kitchen table as I type this whilst my daughter and two freinds are making jewellery using Hammer beads and watching Octonoughts on childrens TV. There is dough making in the bread maker and then they will make their own pizzas for tea. Followed by playing and eventually, sometime, they will fall asleep. I wish I was 8 years old again.


Friday, 18 February 2011

Beaded Watch Tutorial

Take two identical watches. One has been fondly used for three years but the face is chipped and cracked. The second (replacement) is only about 6 weeks old, the second hand fell off and has jammed up the hour hand!! The back can not be removed to sort it out. A couple of little gems missing on both.
After much searching I found this new watch face on Ebay and it is from Sanctuary Beads. It is slightly bigger than the original watch face and is more silver looking whereas the other was a darker bronze.

So I collected the flat backed beads and sorted out the best from both. Plus some stretchy clear beading cord.
I threaded on one of the grey round beads, which is magnetic, and put it through the loop of the watch face then added another grey bead on the other side of the watch face loop.

That gave me two lengths of cord, one following the top row of holes and the other through the lower set of holes.
The cord is easily threaded through the beads holes without the need for a needle. Once the two ends met I then tied them together tightly and the knot settled into the centre back of one of the oval beads. Hidden quite nicely.
I have been wearing it for several days and the only tricky thing was to try and get it to fit properly due to the new watch face being a different size for the number and size of the beads, but got there in the end.

What do you think?

Much cheaper than buying a new watch, recycled the beads.


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