Wednesday, 27 February 2013

My Sketchbook Peek

13th February was a big day (or evening) as it was the deadline for AS Level Art Textiles coursework for my evening class.
I will not get it back until October so I did manage to take a few pictures before handing it in.
The above picture is a sample that I produced as part of looking at the work of other artists. 
I worked in an A3 hard-backed sketchbook and it went on for page after page after page........
So I am only showing a very small snippet.
This page shows hand made collagraphs for make prints.
Here I printed onto calico and then added wrapped cords to the surface and the sample on the right has been reversed appliqued to give texture and depth.
We had fun melting and weaving plastics.
I even managed in incorporate some simple bits of crochet with a different sample of plastics.  A part of this idea did get as far as being used in my final piece for assessment.
Using an A3 sketchbook meant that I needed make quite a lot of samples and use a fair bit of annotating to fill the pages.  I had been working on this project since the end of October!
The idea was to try out ideas using a range of media and techniques to explore those ideas and develop further.  It is quite normal not to really know where you are going!  This is a little out of my comfort zone as my training and background I need to know what I am designing and making as a client or need is stated in advance.
But I stuck with it.........
I really enjoy annotating the samples and this is where you get quite a few of your marks.
This is all leading up to my designs which run along the theme of Entwined from a list of themes that we were given by our course tutor.
I have a follow up post with more info and where this project took me as it then blend into my main coursework project which is being marked as we speak.
Have a good weekend.
We are off to The Eden Project for lunch and we are taking Sophie and one of her friends.
Take Care

Friday, 22 February 2013

Knitted Cowl Tutorial - OPAM February 2013

If you have been following this blog  a while you will know that I like a bit of knitting but I am not that great.  I am easily lost in amongst any pattern and often need bailing out.  In my youth I had a snood, (remember those?) and I loved it so I decided that I would have go at making one. 
This is my version for the one above.  I will confess that since taking this picture I have changed the way that I have stitched to two ends together, but here goes:
Materials for My Cowl
Pair of UK size 10mm needles  (US 15)
1 Bag of Patons BIG 200g   (There is likely to be a bit left over)
Wool hand sewing needle
Tape measure
Finished width: Approx 23cm (9.5 inches)
Finished Length before stitching ends together:  Approx 102cm (40 inches)

Instructions to make my Knitted cowl.
1). Using 10mm needles cast on 24 stitches
2).Row 1: *yo, K2tog*  
You will need to make sure that you begin each row with yo, otherwise the pattern will not work and you will end up with an odd number of stitches.
I simply repeated this very short pattern until the desired length which in this case was 102cm (40 inches).
I then cast off the stitches in the usual way.
In the picture above I simply stitched to ends together.  However since then I have unpicked it and instead put a single twist in the cowl ( as used in a Mobius scarf) and then stitched up the ends using ladder stitch. 
Ladder stitch
I then wove the ends of the wool into the stitched seam.
You do not have to add the twist at all, it is up to you.
Left Over Wool
With the left over wool I visited Youtube and made up a simple 5 petal crochet flower using a tutorial by The Crochet Geek.  
I then attached a safety pin to the back as a brooch back was too small.  This will enable me to put the crochet flower where ever I want it to go.
I am now going to make another but a bit shorter and in a lighter colour.

It has been ages since I put any of my knitting ideas on my blog and I hope it works, I had to keep it easy for me to do let alone anyone else.
Anyway, have a go and I am now off to make a few more crochet flowers.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Cupcakes All Round

After the unpleasantness of having my emails hacked yesterday it is good to look at something much nicer.
This is the Super Sweet Blogging Award kindly given to me by Ali over at Ali Bee Creations.
I have had to enlarge the image and so some of the text has gone very fuzzy.
It originally came from Christmas Pie Crafts and Ali was nominated by The lilac Butterfly.  I hope that makes sense.

Now, I know that some people can not stand blog awards at all, but I look at it this way, if someone who I have never met likes my blog enough to take the time to sit and include me in their blog post and say nice things about my blog then I will graciously accept.  There has not really been much of this type of thing going on for some time and I would like to add some new things to my blog layout.
There are five simple questions to answer:
1). Cookies or Cake?
My Mother-in-laws Christmas Cake!!  I do not like Christmas cake but whatever my MIL does to hers is a winner with me.
2).Vanilla or chocolate?  
Hmmmm, not easy this one as it can depend but I will go with vanilla this time.
3).What is your favourite sweet treat?
Easy peasey .......Chocolate Belgium Waffles!!
4). When do you crave sweet things the most?
When any kind of deadline is looming.
5). If you had a sweet nickname what would it be?
Cupcake -  as it does not imply anything too odd, but some would say Waffle!

Now for my bakers dozen of lovely blogs:
* Smile at the flowers - Carol
*Little Red Hen
*Little Cottage Comforts - Pomona
*Happy in Quilting - Peg
*Brynwood Needleworks
*Clares Craftroom
*Jennibellie Studio
*Krafty Panda

There is no obligation to accept this at all but I really do love looking at these blogs and many many others.
If you do wish to accept then you might want to get the original badge from one of the above links rather than the version here.
Have a good day and I am off to have a go at some marking.  I also have a crafty post to write.
Take care and thank you for your understanding about the email issue.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


Within the last 30 mins I have had lots of emails sent out which have not come from me.  It seems that my email has been hacked and as a precaution Hotmail has locked me out and I now have to prove who I am.  I have had this account for over 13 years and some of the questions they are asking I may not be able to remember.

More importantly...please do not answer or open any emails which appear to have come from me this evening Wednesday 20th February.

I am sorry about this and rather annoyed as I was asked to change my password before Christmas by Hotmail to support the security, now I am wondering who actually asked me!

Keep a close eye on your own emails too.  Some of the comments are very odd and clearly do not come from me.  They are accompanied with an attachment.....DO NOT OPEN IT!!!

Many thanks to Toffee Apple for texting me to find out if something was up.  My blackberry is ok to use and I have verified my Blog too via Blogger.
Excellent....guess what we are doing this evening!!!
Take care all
It is all sorted out and I have tried to email everyone in my contacts.  Many have been bounced back so I am assuming that they are no longer used and have been changed by the original users.  If you are ever asked to set up a recovery procedure for your  blog or email etc do it!  I set it up last time something like this happened and even though it did not stop it happening again (differently mind you!) did does make it easier to sort it out.
Phew!  Hope it has not caused anyone else any problems.
Another update:
I have just had an email stating that someone did not like me sending a warning email as it may have exposed their address to others in my contacts and that I should have used a blind cc (whatever that is)  but was quite happy to reply to that same email and happily put their website on said email to be exposed  to everyone!  Sorry folks if I upset anyone but I was more worried about your computers being damaged or a virus getting in as I did not know what the cause was.  I have never emailed this person and they were not in my email contacts but I have left a comment on their blog ages ago, so a link must have been made when they replied to it.  So unless you are family I have deleted everyone from my contacts and I shall try to keep the contacts box empty from now on.  If I need your email then I shall use the old fashion way of writing it down.

Again.  Sorry.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Wax Batik Workshop

Each year we have taster sessions at school so that students can make informed choices for their options.  This year I decided to offer two activities.  The first we shall look at here and it was Wax Batik.  Above shows my sample on canvas.  I decided to use canvas so that once finished it could be taken straight home.
This is the Batik wax pot before it has been switched on.  We use small wax pellets.
This is the Tjanting tool and the liquid wax is put inside and comes out of the spout.  By using the spout you can control the was flow.  It does take a bit of getting used to.
They are available in different sizes.
Having a little practise on paper or card is always a good idea. We used silk paints on this occasion because they are very bright but also dry quite quickly.
I blended and mixed some ATC's at the same time.  Of course the wax tends to sit on the surface rather than soak in but this can add to the effect.
The silk paints can be blended with a wet brush and then dried even faster with a hair dryer if time is not on your side but you must be careful not to melt the wax with the heat of the hair dryer!!
The students could do anything they liked and due to the fact that they only had 30 mins for this activity, I think they did really well.
It was interesting to see what they all came up with.
There were 15 girls all chatting and looking at each others work and really having a lot of fun.
The colour combinations were very eye catching.
This is just a small sample.  I managed to take pictures of their work before they left and word soon got round as to what they had been doing.
I shall post about the other activity next time plus the outcome of the taster sessions.
There are loads of Youtube tutorials if you wish to have a look at Wax Batik  more closely.
A lot of fun with stunning results.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Happy Valentines Day

It has been a lovely sunny day today complete with bright blue skies.
Many thanks to those of you for your words of support concerning my hospital appointment and Hip update.  It has not been a bad week and today I have spent several hours having iPad training. More of the same tomorrow then it is half term and a much needed rest for said hip, but above all a mental rest and a visit to see my Mum over near Cambridge.

So, Happy Valentines day everyone and I thought I would show you a fabric heart that I made for Sophie last summer.
Hubby gave me a lovely card and a lovely silver necklace with filigree on one side of it on a short chain so suitable to wear everyday. In return a book on 1970's vintage cars. He loved the cars featured in Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes and he was thrilled with it.
Have you all noticed that it is getting a bit lighter in the mornings and evenings........

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Did not see that coming!

Image found on Google images
Hubby drove me to my hospital appointment and Monday.  It was a bright sunny day with blue skies, lovely!
We did not have to wait long and due to the early hour, all was very quiet as well.
I had an appointment in January and previous GP appointments and I was told that for my age I should not really have any problems as such andt smoothing out this slight bump on the ball joint which showed up in an x-ray would probably solve the pain etc. forward 6 weeks and now the slight mis-shapen of the ball joint will not make any difference if smoothed off, I now have arthritis in both hips and the left one is the worst one.  Everything is too far gone for any treatment including keyhole surgery!
I have three options
1). Soldier on as I have done!
2). Have a cortisone injection into the hip, which may or may not work, you can not have many of them, they do not always work each time.
3). Have a hip replacement, but at my age (43) I am likely to have several in the years to come as they can have a life span, some last for 5 years some can last for over 30 years.

I was told quite categorically that I did not have arthritis as I did not have all of the symptoms (which have changed even since last summer!) and I was not the right age (too young).  One of my tutor group has arthritis so that is not strictly true.  He is 12.
So...what a choice.  Not what I was hoping to hear.  I am starting to get really tired and worn out with it and keeping up a full time job.  Hubby watched me get in and out of the car for the first time after school on Thursday and said that he did not realise how difficult I really was finding it after a full day on my feet.

So.......I have asked to be put on the list for a cortisone injection into my hip and this could take up to and beyond 10 weeks for the appointment to come through.  I will need to go to a hospital about 45 mins away and due to it giving you a "dead leg" I will need to have the day off.  It would not do to have me falling flat on my face in the middle of my classroom!
Today I have felt as stiff as a board and a little dejected as I have been told it will gradually get worse.  There will of course be good days/weeks as well and I know that it is not life threatening but when I have a house with stairs, a 10 year old, a husband to does work away and a full time job....I will not be able to completely ignore it.
So,  there I have it... time to move on and swap painkillers as my current ones do not really work at the moment.  Roll on half term next week.
Tomorrow I will be handing in my evening class coursework and I shall try and take some pictures as I do not think that I will get it back until the Autumn.
Have a good evening

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Keep your fingers crossed ladies.......

.......tomorrow at 9.20am I shall finally be talking to a consultant to see what can be done to sort out my hip, improve my walking and enable me to sleep more often without some form of pain waking me up.
Oh and to stop needing the painkillers that I have been taking since the middle of November.  Although I have only been taking one instead of two....could be a reason why the sleep is affected but I do not like taking tablets and nearly 4 months seems too long.
I am dreading being told, however, that there is.....

*nothing we can do
*it is not significantly bad enough for treatment
* come back and see us in 6 months/1 year and so on.
*You are not old enough for the treatment currently available.......

Hopefully I am worrying about nothing and a solution of some kind will be found.

So all together now.....
cross them now.....
(wish me luck)
Take care all

Friday, 8 February 2013

Valentine Giveaway

There is a lovely Giveaway open over at Brynwood Needleworks.
Click here to pop over and read the post to see how to join in.
Had a very busy day on a train to Bristol for a course for the day job.  My brain is fit to burst so see you tomorrow.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Wonderful Weaving - By Sophie

As regular readers will know Sophie loves her Arts and Crafts.  At the end of last week she brought home a lovely and colourful piece of weaving that she had created at school.
The rows had been really packed together and the final piece was very strong and had been finished really well.
The pleasure and pride that my little girl had on her face was a joy to see and I had one of my Slushy Mummy Moments!  This is why Craft and Making  skills need more promotion in education (not just the academic stuff) as it gives a glowing sense of achievement in a way that may be some subjects do not.
We are going to add a method of hanging and put it up in her room.
Well Sophie!
Weaving is a really fun and inexpensive activity which has great results.
I am off to Bristol tomorrow for a course and I am really looking forward to several hours of uninterrupted reading on my Kindle. Bliss!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Woven Felt Heart Tutorial

A little tutorial for a simple woven felt heart in time for Valentines Day.  I have seen these around blogland so I cannot claim to have come up with this idea.  This is just my take on it.
I have not yet got the template sorted out but I will, however, I thought you might like to see the instructions.
Using the above shape cut 2 out in red felt.  Making sure that the slits are the same length.
 They should look like this.
You then need to interlock the two shapes together by weaving the sections under and over each other.  A few pins here and there might help to keep it all in place and not slipping around.
You now need to stitch the weaving together  to give it strength and stop it from coming apart.  At this stage you can start to decorate you heart as much as you like.  I used white embroidery thread and running stitch through the layers.
I then added some pink heart buttons, but you could use any buttons that you like or perhaps beads or sequins.
In-between the button squares I added some double white cross stitch embroidery, again in white thread.
I laid the finished heart onto some spotty felt fabric and cut out the back of the heart and pinned them together.  This time I decided to use matching red thread to go around the outside.  
At the top I added a loop of red and white spotty ribbon and stitched this in as I went around the heart shape.  I left a small gap and added stuffing to the heart until it was quite firm and had a good shape.
This is the spotty back.
Hung up on my kitchen which is also red and white.
A little make for Valentine's Day which is ideal for creating in the evenings.
Took about 1.5 hours to make.
Hope you enjoy making this and let me know in the comments if a template would be useful or not and I shall add it to this post.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Sew Hip Magazine - More drama

Found this at my local garden centre. Cute eh?
Anyone, including myself, who were affected by the demise of Sew Hip Magazine might like to pop over and read this interesting update at The Sewing Directory.  If you are a member of Ravelry there is more information there as well.
I can not believe that a year after three of my design projects were used but not paid for, this sorry saga is still going on.
On a happier note...... I have nearly finished putting together a little Valentine tutorial for you.  Just need to get the template sorted out.
Happy Sunday.
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