Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Creating a Beautiful Mess.

Last weekend we set some time aside to be creative. John decided to brew. Making his first beer since October last year. My friend Alli, my daughter and I decided to have an arty day. Alli was keen to try some printmaking.

I cleared some space, put a plastic cloth over the table and set aside all other tasks for the day. We started with some simple transfer prints by drawing on a sheet of paper laid over a thin layer of ink, which had been rolled out onto a piece of acrylic sheet, and by impressing objects into the ink and then printing them. The technique is simple and if you are interested I can share a tutorial.

This feather print turned out exceptionally well.


We then started to paint with the ink, rubbing areas away, brushing inks on, adding textures and colours. I worked mainly with landscape images and Alli worked in a more abstract manner. We pegged the prints on the clothes airer, but soon hand more prints and they were laid out all over any spare space.


We used an oil based ink, which generally dries quite quickly, but some areas of ink were very thick and one or two prints are still drying. - Messy but fun and I think i'll work into some of the prints over the coming weeks.

I'm looking forward to trying John's Vanilla Porter, unlike my art work the results are not quite so immediate and it will be several weeks before it's ready to drink.

I'm also working on a series of portraits of family members, these are just the first studies and I may develop and work into them with inks and paint, but I haven't quite decided yet how I want to capture the personalities of each person.


I had left it way too long before having a totally creative day and need to do this more often. What do you find is the best way to stay creative? What stops you creating?


Friday, 9 January 2015

Re-Sew-loutions 2015 - just a little late.


Full of good intentions to post every week in 2015 and already I'm behind - Great start eh?

2014 was a strange year and although I made a lot I didn't post much of it. I just found the time ran away from me. I started a new job in September and it's going great, but i'm super busy andtrying to create my own art and sewing, while finding example and creating examples for my students is tough.

I have an exhibition in March and need to get worked prepped for that. I also want to keep sewing. I made a dress over the Christmas Hols, but more on that another time.

So my resewloutions for this year.
Its dead simple - one thing at a time.
I filled the jar with all the projects I want to complete, when I have finished one. I take out and complete the next one. Hopefully this will help keep me focused!

Now then - back to my drawings...

Soundtrack: Idlewild - The Remote Part

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Burdastyle #114 10/2011


Wow I drafted this post weeks ago and have only just got around to posting it! I was hanging on to get some better photos, but lack of natural daylight and shortness of time has led me to post the original snap I took on my phone. The top doesn't quite look as it does in the photo as I made a couple of changes.

I bought a beautiful lightweight printed cotton from the market a few weeks ago. I spent a while going through my collection of burdastyle magazines looking for the perfect pattern to use it on.

I finally settled on #114 from October 2011. Which was the first issue I ever bought. The style is a classic blouse with pleat front and Peter Pan collar. It has a bound neck opening and long sleeves.mits also a sewing course with this issue.

I did make a few minor adjustments to the pattern.

Firstly I widened the sleeves at the hem, to create a slim bishop sleeve and finished this with a bias bound hem. No placket. This makes the sleeves much quicker to sew.

I then sewed up the pattern as per the rather scant instructions, the construction of the pleated section is rather strange and there could be a simpler and easier way to do this. I found the bound slit at the back to be rather bulky. To be fair I don't like bound slits and find a faced slit is easier to create and creates a better finish, this was my second alteration.

I also ended up redrafting the collar as the draft did not lie correctly. To begin with I made the curved edge more rounded. Then I started with the collar. If you have ever drafted a flat collar, you will know that you need to take out a wedge from the outside edge to prevent the collar sticking up at the shoulder seams. Taking out this wedge helps the collar fit around the neckline more naturally. 

I initially used the pattern as it was, but once it was basted in place I could see the problem. I cut a slit from the outside edge to almost the neckline and overlapped by 1.5 cm, which was the amount I pinned out on the first collar. I then smoothed the lines and recut the collar. Success. I finished the neckline edge with a bias facing and used a hook and eye closure to finished the neck slit.

I was also not happy with the pleats. they are secured in the pattern and my photo with a couple of sets of horizontal stitching. This resulted in some gaping. I ended up stitching the pleats in place and the result is much better. I'll try to get chance to post updated photos nect time I wear this top.

I'm really pleased with the final outcome even if it did take way longer than planned. I just wish the collar draft had been more accurate. 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Room Revamp


So I have't been sewing much lately. I set myself a slightly more challenging task - to revamp the front room.

My Hubby has been away and I need to keep myself busy so I planned to redecorate.  The room has been looking rather sad for a while and the dado rail was coming away from the wall and some of the shelves were falling down too. The paper had been painted over several times and was also getting rather battered. Time for a new look.

Wallpaper Stripping

I prepped the room over the first two weekends he was away. One weekend I stripped the wallpaper and then filled the walls during the week. The following weekend I sanded the walls ready for papering. I had also been keeping an eye on Freecycle and managed to aquire a new to me sofa, which was perfect for our needs and would replace our rather battered leather sofa. A friend helped collect it and I waited for a week to get rid of the old one. The space was difficult to work around!

On Saturday, my Mother in Law and I went to South Shields market and bought the fabric for the curtains and some fabric for sofa throws; went to B&Q and bought lining paper and paint and we were ready to go.
Walls ready to paint

Sunday morning we emptied the room and set to work painting the ceiling and papering. Most of the paper went on well, but there were a couple of sections that i wasn't happy with the finish and I ended up taking them off and pasting some more on. just putting lining paper on made such a difference, lighter and brighter.

Alcoves and walls painted

Monday we painted. The alcoves were painted "Proud Peacock" and the rest of the walls buttermilk. both by Dulux paints. I used the spirit level to ensure all my top edges were straight. I have a fairly steady hand and only needed to touch up the white paint on the coving in two places.

Impressive art

Tuesday was spent making glossing the woodwork and making the curatins and throws and getting everything ready to dress the room before John arrived home on Wednesday morning. Unfortunately the curtain tape I had was faulty and it failed to gather and the threads snapped, which meant a trip to Dunelm Mills to buy more on my way back from picking John up from the airport on Wednesday. I also needed he assistance in hanging the large painting.

Freecycle Sofa and my painting.

He has said he wanted the walls painted orange, but I decided to include one of the large paintings I made for my MA. It's very orange and contrasts nicely with the feature walls. All in all a job well done, and a nice room to relax in.

Hearth and alcoves

The finished room.







Sunday, 12 October 2014

Bernina breakdown

My bernina has broken down. The other night it started running on its own. The problem was a bust capacitor in the foot control. 
So where do you find a replacement for a 50 year old part. Maplin of course. 
My hubby soldered the new one in and away we go, machine working well again. 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

LEGO life hack

Have you ever lost your keys?

It's a frequent occurance in our house, so yersterday John decided to solve this problem. He raided my son's lego box, found some blocks and a base block and with the aid of a small drill and a couple of screws, our keys are now to be safely found attached to this lego block.

I think the idea came from pinterest at some point, but I can't find the link. Simple and it works. I even have a huge set of work keys and just one regular block can hold them all. Genius!

Monday, 29 September 2014

Check Out these Amazing refashions

I came across this feature the other day and was pleased to be included amonst some wonderful upcycled ideas.
Pop over to Paris Ciel to see Amy's post. It's awesome.

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