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Easter animals

So ok, it’s taken me a terribly long time to post this, but I have actually been making quite a bit of stuff (just not posting about them)

But here are three little embroidered animal decorations I made a month or so ago out of a kit in Mollie Makes…..

   
 
The kit had the animals drawn in in black lines, so all the coloured bits are my embroidery and then I sewed up the edges and stuffed them.

The stuffing is quite random actually, I had no actual toy stuffing anywhere and couldn’t think where to get any in a hurry since our local branch of Smiths had closed. So I used the scraps from my overlocker and the scraps from cutting out the fabric round the embroideries. I think it’s worked rather well.

I am also quite proud of my embroidery, even though it is very simple. It is the first time I’ve embroidered anything since primary school!

I went to a rather old fashioned girls prep school for my last two years at primary school. We had a mint green 1930’s style uniform, wooden desks with lids to store our stuff in, & an embroidery teacher. She  was meant to be teaching art, but because the classrooms were small and didn’t have sinks in, she had to teach stuff that wouldn’t make a massive mess.

So we learnt sketching and watercolours, simple woodworking and lots and lots of sewing.

I made a sampler into a work basket lid, which I still have, though it lives in my parents attic & we did embroideries of a flower garden which were made into a needle case for my mum.

Looking back I am quite impressed that a ten year old made that kind of thing, but I was always aware mine was a bit scrappy. I wasn’t great at selecting colours, my best friend at the time had a mother who was a seamstress and was always that bit better than me, & I could never get the hang of satin stitch at all. 

After primary school I never really had the chance to try it again, so I walked away, not thinking I was complete shit at it exactly, but that embroidery was quite hard and probably wasn’t for me.

Recently though I’ve been seeing all the beautiful subversive and artistic modern stuff going round the Internet and have been looking for an easy way in to give it another go.

So trying it as an adult I found Satin Stitch a lot lot easier. & I found the whole process so relaxing! The finished products have gone to live with my mum as they match her kitchen decor perfectly.

I know it’s only a baby project, but I’m quite excited at the idea of trying something else, & am currently looking for a slightly more advanced kit that sparks my interest.

I have a couple of projects queued up that I haven’t got round to posting about yet, so my blog shouldn’t die entirely. But at the moment I have become totally unexpectedly ill  with my mental health issue and I’m currently recovering in the countryside so the only creative stuff likely to get done at the moment is my knitting. However that is progressing rather faster than normal, so hopefully I’ll still be making things, albeit not sewing for a while! 

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Last make of the year and shopping in Lewisham. 

I made these a few weeks ago, but totally forgot about them till today, when I bought this months edition of Mollie Makes, but these are the pinecone Xmas decorations out of last months edition….

  

   
I am quite pleased with how they turned out, they look reasonably enough like the cover photo.

Although these were very easy to make they took a while as putting glitter on either side of the brown felt pieces meant leaving them to dry overnight twice.

I was also massively hindered by having not realised I’d run out of bead/fabric glue, so all I had was PVA, which worked, but it was much more of a pain than it would have been if I’d had the right stuff in the first place.

So anyway, I went to Lewisham today for a bit of a browse, & to buy Jon some new work shoes, & for once we went round actual shops instead of me just heading to the fabric stall. 

So first up we went to Tiger. Now Tiger is a relatively new import into the uk, it’s a Scandinavian homeware store that’s kind of like a cross between the small junk section in IKEA and poundland, only it’s really cool. I buy a lot of ribbon there for craft projects as it is £1 a roll, only they didn’t have any in today.

However I did buy some very cool stuff.

First up these china dinosaur planters…

   
  
They were £4 each! Bargain! They are going to be filled with cacti or spider plants as we have a really bad indoor plant survival rate.

I also picked up this book of random cool printed paper 

  
 
It has 12 different designs in it with several sheets of each. This deer one is probably my favourite, & they all look like cross stitch. I have no idea what the hell I am going to do with them, but they are really Mori Girl & vintage & I might just sit & stroke them occasionally.

I also gave in & bought an adult colouring book from Smiths :-s

  

I got one called enchanted forest & so far I am very much enjoying colouring it in & the illustrations are all forests & castles & houses in toadstools so it’s very much my thing.

I thought they were not really for me, but I am currently trying all kinds of stuff to keep myself off the internet when I’m at home on my own during the day. I’ve lined up podcasts for when I’m sleepy & I’m buying magazines, & hopefully a colouring book will help too, well it’s worth a try!

Anyway, Jon & I are not going out tonight, we were intending on going to a hipster artists warehouse party in Peckham, but we are both tired, so we are staying in & listening to vinyls and drinking the odds & sods from the back of the booze cupboard instead. But whatever you are up to….

Happy New Year! 🙂

red punk rock skirt and random necklaces

I have decided to take a break from bloging about London Edge, partly cuz I’ve actually made stuff, and partly because I’m currently working on something really complicated, so I’m going to need stuff to post next week. 🙂

Anyway, I finally finished the skirt I’ve been working on for pretty much the best part of a month. But life and random colds and stuff got in the way. Its here now though….

red houndstooth skirt

 

Now this doesn’t instantly look very punk rock, but I was suffering from a massive neither-of-us-can-be-arsed-to-do-the-ironing crisis on Sunday when we took the pictures, and as Jon is away pretty much all week, there was no real other opportunity to take photos for several days. I did however wear it to a gig on Friday night and it went down a treat.

Close ups of the shape and the fabric will show what I mean…..

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It’s houndstooth! No attempt at pattern matching was made as I had less than a meter and a half of the fabric so was squeezing the pattern in any way I could manage. It is however slightly longer than I would naturally wear with a skirt of this style, because it is made out of stretchy wool and lined and designed to be worn in the middle of winter basically.

I did alright on the inside.

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Nice ribbon round the waist band so that it doesn’t itch and my little label thingy so that it does anyway thing going on.

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Also a double layer of venice lace round the bottom of the underskirt . Partly to use it up as it was cheap and crappy and there are not many things it goes with, partly because I had to slightly shorten the underskirt as the lace dangled out from under the skirt a little, so I stuck the second layer on to hide the tuck where I shortened it. The second layer also goes for a bit of a walk up the underskirt at one point, but as its an underskirt you can’t really see that. My perennial issue of trying to sew when I’m feeling tired and ill though.

Anyway I am really pleased with it, so have another picture of me wearing it….

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Also in the last couple of weeks I mended some necklaces, one of which I made a couple of years ago, one of which I made a few months ago, but I haven’t ever really blogged about my jewellery making attempts, so I thought I’d post them here….

First up…

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A steampunk necklace I made a while back. The beads are grey pearls and garnets, all the charms and findings are antique brass off etsy, and the cabochons have closeup images of fungi inside them.

With this one it needed a new clasp as the clasp decided to break.

Here it is worn….

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The other necklace was a lot more recent, and I was most annoyed as it caught on something in my toilet bag and the plastic thread snapped, so I had to restring it entirely….

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The big beads I was told was jasper, but looking on the internet it looks nothing like, they are really strange though, they have this crackled leather or coal effect on top, and when they warm up the paler ones go sort of transparent and really warm. The small beads are onyx.

Anyway, this is it on….

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Its kind of my default black necklace at the moment.

 

Anyway, no more sewing stuff for a bit as I am working on quite a big project, so need to make mock-ups and stuff. However hopefully it won’t take me too long, and other stuff in the meantime. 🙂

china lady, dr who,another ladybird top and vexatious overlockers!

A while ago I know, but last time I posted I mentioned the necklace and the ceramic bust of a woman I was massively regretting not picking up from the charity shops in Beckenham. So early last week I went down there, the necklace had gone, which is sad, but I can always find another one I guess, but the woman’s head was still there…..

It is a little smaller than I thought so only my teeny tiny hat will fit it, but it is settling in nicely on my mini hat shelf….

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i thought that was it for charity shopping for a while, but our as I passed our local British Heart Foundation the other day I spotted a load of Dr Who DVD’S in the window for 99p each. There were some old series and some new series, and at first I thought each dvd was one episode they were so cheap, but for the new series it was 2 and the old series it was a complete story arc! Now I don’t mind watching Dr Who, which given I can’t really be bothered with TV is enthusiasm from me. Jon however loves Dr Who massively. So I bought them all….

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Turns out when I got them home and did a little digging on the internet, that they originally came with one of those monthly magazines, called the Dr Who Files . Anyway, when I went back the next day there were 40 odd more there. So I bought all of them! I don’t have photos cuz they are in a massive bag waiting till we can find somewhere to put them. but Jon is completely over the moon, and we are looking at it as a long term investment! 🙂

Also end of the week before last I sewed up another ladybird top….

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Same fabric, same pattern as last time….the ubiquitous Sewaholic Renfrew. Long sleeved version this time though. I’m going to try a couple more adventurous knit problems next time, however I didn’t manage to get any momentum going as despite it only taking an hour and a half to make and looking amazing on the outside, the back side of the overlocker stitch was looping/bubbling and no amount of fiddling with the tension settings would tell me what was wrong. So I left starting the next one for a week whilst I researched on the internet. Finally I found a couple of blogs which suggested the problem probably was one of the threads wasn’t between its tension plates properly (as opposed to every other blog which said rethread it entirely with  multicoloured threads and fiddle some more…not if I can get away with it!) and looking at it closely, yes one of the threads was out from its tension plates. So I’ve fixed that!

I have no idea if it has worked yet though, as the builder came yesterday to sort us with new radiators and put a power point in behind the table where I sew so I don’t have to keep long and dangerous extension cables winding across the floor to plug the machines into. So I had to put the machines away on a shelf and hopefully when I get them out again the overlocker will have been sufficiently un-jolted it will work and not need rethreading anyway! :-S

However when I got up to get a glass of water a few minutes ago I had to peel myself off the seat I’m on, so I’m not going to try anything potentially very frustrating in this kind of heat!

felt deer, mini hats and arty photographs.

I was doing really well for sale shopping till Wednesday. I’d spent 30 quid on t-shirts in Primark (Deep Purple, Roxy Music and My Little Pony and stuff though!) and had managed to avoid the sales along Oxford Street, despite going up there twice for various things.

Then Wednesday lunch time I met my parents in town for lunch, and my mum ended up persuading us all to go round Liberty and look at stuff we couldn’t really afford. So it was all going fine, luckily I’ve gone off Tana Lawn as a sewing material, its too fine to be use for anything apart from sundresses, so we got through the haberdashery without any mishaps. Then we went upstairs to drool over the arts and crafts furniture and saw a sign to a Christmas Shop sale area, so we went in, not really expecting to find anything major.

And thats when I saw him…..

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He was sitting on a trestle table along with 10 or so others, some smaller ones made of brushwood and a load of artificial greenery. And he was £34….down from £115.

It was, I admit, a bit of an impulse buy. But to be fair I’ve been after some kind of felt deer ever since I saw this artist at a craft exhibition a couple of years ago, I just thought it was something I’d never be able to afford, or would have to wait till it was long out of fashion for.

He is rather rustic for a felt deer, the one I bought is all in one piece, but several of the others had antlers a bit loose or stuffing coming out, nothing that couldn’t be fixed by a tiny bit of remedial sewing, but they are obviously rather delicate. Also when I tried to hang him on the wall, the loop to do so was in the wrong place so he leaned forwards rather than up and out like a real stags head.

He also looks a lot like someone has shoved antlers on a battle droid when viewed from the side!

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Having failed at hanging on the wall, luckily all was not lost as I knew exactly where to put him.

 

This is my mini hat collection…

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I have taken some beautifully arty photos of it in the past….

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but recently the collection has grown a little bit out of control and has mostly been a bit of a messy pile!

So the perfect location for one felt deer looking for a new home and occupation as a hat hanger than 🙂

 

This is a panoramic photo I took of what the mini hat storage area looks like now…

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so much better!

 

And here are some arty ones I made with my favourite iphone apps….

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tinted deer hats

 

I am quite pleased with how they’ve turned out, and can’t wait to take some more when it gets summer enough to not need artificial light!

The deer is very happy in his new home, I think he’s gorgeous and  Jon really likes him too, so not so bad impulse sales shopping.

In sewing news, just before christmas I won some tickets to the scifi weekender at the end of February. I went once before 3 years ago, and although books rather than comics or TV are more my thing am really looking forwards to it.

Despite my love of dressing up, I am totally not a cosplay person however, partly because I am usually double the size of any of the characters I’d be dressing as, partly because I find pretending to be someone specific, as opposed to vampire princess, which I have to admit I aim for a lot of the time, really embarrassing! No idea why.

However this year several of my friends are going one of whom is a similar size to me and a complete cosplay queen, so I have agreed to give dressing up a go :-S also if I dress up Jon will, and he is blonde, considerably thinner than me, in his early thirties and fairly muscular, so I am keen for him to give it a go as by scifi con standards he completely looks the part for a range of superheroes, and he’ll regret it if he doesn’t.

I am making myself one costume from scratch and constructing two others from premade bits and a bit of crafting.

I am constructing one for Jon and hopefully making one for him from scratch.

I am nervous about this, the sewing involved is not too taxing, but I have my first cold of the year already and only two months to do it all. I am not good with deadlines. 😦

So we shall see. Obviously no sewing piccies till its over, so will have to find something else to blog about….

 

obviously all photos are copyright to me and if anyone steals any I will be most displeased!

Dare to wear

Today my Mum came down to London to take me out for the day and I decided it would be a good idea to take her to see Dare  To Wear at St Pancras Church in Euston.

I’d heard vague things about the exhibition, and it’s only just opened, but I saw a picture of this necklace…….

 

I think its by  Tatty Devine, and the premise of the exhibition was put this way in promotional material…

“We join 26 visionary artists exploring the wardrobe conundrums:  ‘Will flamboyance set you free?’ ‘Will wearing beige really kill you?’ and ‘What should we wear on the way to the afterlife?’.”

So I thought it was worth a look.

The exhibition is in the crypt of St Pancras Church, which is probably the second most weeping angel infested place in central London (apart from Kensington Gardens)….

 

….and not really somewhere I’d go at night.

But its a really atmospheric venue for what is a totally amazing exhibition.

As soon as I walked in I saw more rhinestones and fake jewels, dismembered barbies and shop mannequins than I’ve ever seen in one place before and I got really excited because if I was going to set the criteria for my dream art exhibition those would be somewhere on the list.

It was also quite freaky as it was kind of like walking into a collage or a shrine from Rookie Magazine!

Anyway…this post is about to get seriously picture heavy, and I am ashamed to say they are not very good pictures 😦

This is because my camera is on the blink and totally refuses to change flash settings, it also has a ‘helpful’ face finding auto focus tool which is great if you are trying to take quick snaps of your friends but if you put it in a room full of things that look like faces but aren’t quite it throws a complete wobbly and refuses to focus on anything, or focuses on one irrelevant object and totally ruins the photos.

It knows it’s getting binned as soon as I can afford a new one! >;-)

However, enough excuses…the pictures……

 

This artist (I didn’t have a chance to take down names 😦 ) put mobile devices with videos playing into their work…..

 

I think all these were by the same artist…they are incredibly detailed traditional embroidery and textile art…I am super impressed because given my incredibly slow attempts at tapestry I know how difficult this is to do!

 

Someone left a costume from Game of Thrones lying about!

 

Totally amazing collage/shrine work….this is the bit that really made me think of Rookie!

 

various objects….so many rhinestones! 🙂

 

an example of my camera playing up, it decided to focus on the lamp behind, which is a lovely lamp, but not the point!

 

lots of plastic people!

 

this is the best idea ever!


Fun things to do with Barbies. 🙂

 

This reminded me of Grayson Perry for some reason….actually if you like Grayson Perry this is a good exhibition for you.

Anyway…I could post photographs for ever and totally ruin the exhibition for everyone else….so go and see it!

Actually with a functional camera its also an excellent place to to take photos, so many cool angles!

I have come home all inspired and am going to dig out a fascinator made out of a dolls head I never got round to finishing a few years ago..and I may start adding too many rhinestones and pompoms to clothes I make for a bit.

 

 

blackberries and diy

Haven’t posted in a couple of weeks as Jon has just had the week off work so have been horrendously busy.

Behind our block of flats is an overgrown patch of wasteland that used to be the carpark for the block before the council stopped maintaining it. We have lived here for 3 years and it has never been remotely useful for anything like that, and for most of the year I ignore it, except looking out the kitchen windows occasionally it is a lot prettier than a carpark would be.

However towards the end of august each year we go on an expedition into it because the entire patch of land is utterly covered in brambles, which means blackberries, lots of blackberries as no one else ever uses it.

 

Out of these we made blackberry gin and a blackberry and apple pie! 🙂

 

We got just over a litre of gin in total and the pie was yummy, although its a bit rustic looking as the sink blocked half way through what was meant to be our cooking evening, so after two hours of dismantling the u-bend I was too tired to make it pretty looking.

A couple of days later we were passing the station on our way for a walk and spotted there were a load of blackberry bushes hanging down from the viaduct, finishing just above head height, covered in blackberries and no one had had them yet!

So we popped home (its really not far from our house) and came back with a step ladder…..

 

This is Jon up the ladder picking the blackberries. I added a black border to the photo, but the light and the general graininess are genuine, I used no effects on this photo at all! 🙂

We used this second lot of blackberries to make sorbet, but it took a couple of days to freeze and then got half eaten pretty much immediately, so there was no chance to take photos!

This week whilst Jon has been off we have been doing a load of long term tidying and sorting jobs, and going to the paralympics.

Probably the most impressive job we managed was making over this chest of drawers….

 

It was Jons when he was a little boy, I have no idea how old it is, I suspect only 30 years or so, but it is reasonably solid construction pine. The problem was it had these really ugly wooden knobs, half of which had fallen off, making two of the drawers virtually unusable. The knobs were attached to big metal spikes that didn’t look to be coming out very easily, so we couldn’t just put some pretty crystal knobs from John Lewis in their place.

So about a year ago I found these antique/vintage square handles on ebay, bought them and have been waiting for the opportune moment to swap them over ever since.

It took us half an afternoon and all the next morning. Some of the metal spikes came out relatively easily, but 3 of them just wouldn’t and Jon ended up having to saw them off and file them bak flush with the wood so we could get the new handles over the top.

We gave it 3 coats of wax and putting the new handles on was really straight forward.

 

This is it afterwards, looking much better! 🙂

 

And this is the drawers back in situ in our bedroom, I think they look a lot nicer, and now we can actually access the bottom two drawers we’ve been able to have a good clothes tidy out.

Talking of clothes, I got two of the 3 garments I was intending to do last month finished, but have stalled completely on the third garment.

I am attempting to unpick, turn into a pattern and remake and old h&m cutsew I bought about 7 years ago that has been worn so much it is no longer black but grey and dropping to bits.it is taking a lot longer than I had anticipated, unpicking overlocked stitching is murder, and I am having to take notice of the construction as i am going along. But it is my first time trying to draft a pattern this way, so I am learning a lot from it, and if I get it right   I will have the most amazing pretty t-shirt blouses ever. However it is driving me up the wall and I really need a load of long sleeved tops for winter, so hopefully I will crack it soon!