Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Soap and Stuff

This has only just occurred to me: I haven't told you about Brighton Craft Guerrilla, have I? Duh. Well, Sam and I have taken over the Brighton arm of the Craft Guerrilla movement, which pretty much means we get to play about with soap and dye and fabric and other awesome things like that. We have a blog, and there's also a button to said blog in the left hand column there. We're aiming to do a "Crafternoon" (I LOVE that word!) once a week and blog about it, along with show-and-tells, tutorials, links to fab crafty blogs and sites, and much more besides. I blogged about last week's soap-making escapades over there this morning, so go check it out.

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Sunday, 28 March 2010

Just to Let You Know...

I've updated my Folksy shop this afternoon. There's the 2nd Edition Wolf prints, of course (hurry - I've sold two of these this afternoon already!!), plus some badges and bracelets and the odd apron. I'll be putting some more brooches and button bracelets up over the next week, too.

Getting Bigger...

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This was actually taken a couple of days ago; my baby salad sprouts are even bigger now! Wish I could say the same for the tomatoes and chillis, humph. There are a few signs of life in there, but not enough for my impatient gardening nature. In the kitchen, the pot of oregano seeds is slowly starting to yield some action, but nothing yet in the pots of either mint or sage. Grow, babies! Grow!

I'm in the unusual position of having a whole Sunday to myself. This hasn't happened for AGES. I don't tend to like Sundays on my own, but I think I may use this one to finish up some sewing/knitting projects while working my way through whatever I've missed on iPlayer recently. And I should pop out for a walk; we need some eggs. I had a lovely walk yesterday after work. I just struck out in the general "right" direction from the library (I don't know the surrounding area that well. Only what I've seen from the bus) and had a very nice, mostly gently downhill stride down to the Old Village and then onto the main road where I persuaded the bus driver, who was just leaving the bus stop as I rounded the corner, that he really did want to let me on while he was waiting at the traffic lights. I think, when the weather is nice, I'll try to do that walk every time after work.

As you can see from my new, nifty three column layout, Blogger has just updated their templates and the ways in which you can customise them. I hope everything is viewable on your screens OK, I know my screen is huge compared to others. Also, you won't be able to see everything properly if you are using IE6. I have no idea why on Earth you'd be using IE6 (as IE in general is total suckage), but there you are. Get yourself some Firefox action. Apologies, anyway, if it all looks a bit odd to you.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Mr. Fox Postcards are Here!

After only five days, these babies have arrived:

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Good, old Vistaprint.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Hufflepuff Socks

I can't believe I'm about to confess to this, but it's taken me nearly a YEAR to knit these socks. But, finally, they are done. Woo!

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It's a plain toe, then a K3 P1 rib on top of the feet (plain underneath for comfort) and up the leg, with a K1 P1 rib cuff, and are knitted from the results of my first ever dyeing session back in February last year. They're christened "Hufflepuff". This is the yarn in it's un-knitted glory:

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 I'm hopefully going to be doing some more dyeing next week; no doubt it'll take me a year to knit that yarn up, too!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

End of Week 12

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I LOVE this one. Coincidently, Adrian Johnson was one of the part time tutors when I was at uni. He did those awesome Robinsons adverts:




* Just edited this post as I just realised the original video wouldn't play unless you signed up. This one is from good, old YoooooTooob.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Mr. Fox

So, here he is:

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Here's all the blurb on the London Book Fair website with the other winning entries. The competition was judged by Chris Riddell and Bruce Ingman, both author/illustrators; and Deirdre McDermott, picture book publisher at Walker Books. Apparently, there were over 50 entries but only ten winners. Woo! I get to go up to the fair on 20th April for a big schmooze and have my photo taken with the other winners. I've just ordered a shed load of Mr. Fox postcards, so I'll be handing those out left, right and centre to everyone in arms reach, if I haven't died of fright and started whimpering in the corner, that is!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

First Attempt at a Dress

Last Monday I spent the day making this:

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It's a pattern from Sew U Home Stretch by Wendy Mullin, which has three basic patterns and then loads of ideas on how to customise them. This is the Baby Doll Dress. I'm pretty happy with it - surprisingly it's even wearable! I chose purple thread as I thought the contrast between that and the red fabric (which is a jersey, by the way) would be nice, but it just looks a little too messy. Next time, I think I will make the neckline come in further at the shoulders as it's flashing my bra straps a bit too much right now and, although you can't see it here, the back neckline is a little baggy, but I think that's where I must have pulled the elastic under the collar too tight as I was sewing it on. I sewed on a black ribbon for a bit of a belt, but I think it needs something thicker - an elastic belt maybe. I also need to sew a bit further away from the edge of the fabric; I was forgetting my quarter-inch completely!

But generally not bad for a first attempt, eh? I've got myself some more jersey in emerald green with tiny white polka dots, more red with larger black dots and a pale grey with darker grey stars. Plus matching threads this time! Not sure when I'll get a chance to sew this week, possibly Thursday now the IT courses I was doing have finished and I can have my Thursdays back.

Tomorrow I'm off to make soap with Sam, so I'll have a few photos of that to share!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Screenprinting at Home!

Check out this baby:

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This is something I've been wanting to put together for quite literally FOREVER and today all my screenprinty wishes came true.

I says to Boyf back in the summer: "How easy would it be to put together a home screenprinting table using a board and some kind of hinge-and-clamp arrangement?" Says Boyf: "Pretty easy, if you have the right parts." "Get to it, then", says I. Boyf goes away with set square and steel rule and Google and draws up lavish plans. Said lavish plans then sit on my "To Do" pile for over six months until I come back from the printroom this week with the news that the place is definitely closing for TWO WHOLE MONTHS for a refit and jig-about. So, off we go to get "the right parts".

And here they are: The base board is a glossy cupboard door which was on sale at B&Q. Underneath there are four little rubber door stoppers for feet, and the awesomely perfect clamps are made by Speedball and are here on Lawrences' website, which is where I got them. Screw on feet, screw on hinges et voila: a portable screenprinting bed. The screen frame will have little rubber feet, too (4mm thick or thereabouts), to level it off and give it a bit of "snap". (Technical term meaning a bit of a gap between the mesh of the screen and your paper.) The screen itself is from a System 3 screenprinting kit which I got for Xmas, like, three or four years ago, and haven't actually used yet. It's still in the plastic bag. A-hem. (I'm also pretty sure it was nowhere near as expensive as it is now. I think it was only 30 quid at the time.)

So special thanks need to go to Boyfriend for putting all together for me, in that uber-meticulous way boys do, with precise measurements and pilot holes and everything. I would've just put it roughly in middle, judged it all by eye and marked the holes. Apparently, that's not the proper way to go about it.

I'm going to use my lovely new set-up to print up my work for the Open House at Jubilee in May. Just got to actually put the idea down on paper....it looks great in my head!

In other printing news, after six long and backbreaking hours in the printroom on Wednesday, I came away with 30 new Wolf prints, 25ish of which I think are good enough to sell. I'm aiming to put them up in my various shops in the next couple of days and will flag it up here when I'm sorted.

(Also, I've had a faff with the settings of the blog, resulting in each column being a bit wider so I can stick in my 500px wide photos without having to resize them. I hope it still all fits on your various monitors OK.)

Friday, 19 March 2010

So Middle Sister Came Good...

... and sent me a few photos of the Alice clip frame purse and fabric-covered badges I made for her. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, 16 March 2010

More Pursey Goodness

Thanks y'all for all your congrats. At the moment, I'm having hassles uploading my piece to their ftp server, so I may have to resort to putting it on a CD and sending it to them by Special D. How awfully Old Skool.

Anyway, to take my mind off that while I wait for Boyfriend to get home and hopefully help me sort it all out, I'm going to show off my latest batch of purses, which I made for Steph for her birthday this weekend:

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Cool, huh? The Russian doll badges I blogged on Sunday were for Steph, too. The lovely Japanese fabrics are from beautifulwork on Etsy. They only took 5 days to arrive. From the other side of the world. Royal Mail, take note.

I made Middle Sister a clip frame purse out of the Alice fabric, too, but, of course, forgot to take a photo of that. She is supposed to be sending me one.... (hint, hint, Furze, this is a message for you.) I did get around to sewing myself up a dress yesterday, but I'll share that later in the week.

In other exciting news, I'm finally back off to the print studio tomorrow to crank out a few more Wolf posters. I keep getting emails asking if I have any more, so I think a 2nd edition is fully justified. Not only that, but there's going to be another staff art exhibition during the May festival, so if I'm going to sell any of the Grandma and Woodsman prints I have left there, I do rather need some Wolf to go with them. I have a twinkling of an idea for a new piece for this time round, but I need to find out tomorrow when the print room is going to be free throughout April.

Monday, 15 March 2010

+++ STOP PRESS! BREAKING NEWS!! +++

My Fantastic Mr. Fox illustration is one of the winning entries to the London Book Fair Children's Illustration Competition I entered t'other week! Woo! Beyond excited! I think I'll be definitely allowed the share the final image from the next Monday, so I'll stick him up then.
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

End of Week 11

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This has scared the bejiggery out of me all week. Blerrr.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

My First Quilt

I made this tied quilt for Youngest Sister's birthday last month:

Front:
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Back:
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I pretty much followed this tutorial on The Purl Bee, bar the buttons and with only one section of stripes. I have to say I found it fairly straightforward and a lot of fun! Even Boyfriend helped me sew on a few of the buttons, which, of course, means he made it all himself. I just have to psyche myself up to tackle a "proper" piece of quilting, which should be easier with my new sewing machine. I think I'll start small and use some of the left over fabrics from my purse-making to do some placemats or something. There's loads of inspiration in this Flickr group. Yummy stuff in there.

Now all my birthday present crafting is over for the time being (more pictures to come), I think I'm going to make a dress. I got some fabric this Monday, so hopefully come next Monday and my next full day to myself, I can get the pattern out and get cutting! Eek!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Thursday, 4 March 2010

It's World Book Day today!

Which means we can talk about stories and dress up as fictional characters and get free books. My kinda day! You can find out all about WBD here. Two years ago, I went to do an author/illustrator talk at Steph's school. It went quite well, even if it scared the bejiggery out of me! This year, no class visits (thankfully), but I did join up with The Author Hotline, an official WBD 2010 partner, which aims to be a one-stop shop for schools wanting to organise a class visit from a story-maker. I have a lovely button there on the right hand side which you can click and go straight through to my profile. It's a great resource, I think, and loads of work has gone into it from its founder, Anthony Lishak. A big thumbs up, Ant.
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Speaking of stories and the like, my FMrF illo is finished and emailed off for the competition. Here's hoping. I'm going to get him printed on some postcards, too, to mail out as a promo thing. Just got to think of something to put on the back...those poor, soon-to-be-eaten birds, I think!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Clip Purses: First Attempts

I've graduated from zip purses up to clip frames. It's been a bit of a jump. Thankfully, this tutorial (in fact, the whole site) held my hand through the tough bits. It's the first time I've made up my own pattern for anything and used interfacing, so I'm rather proud of myself. I did (do) worry about the close proximity of something that has taken me a good hour to cut and sew, really sticky, strong glue and my clutzy fingers; but I managed not to get glue all over the fabric, which surprised and delighted me. (On the frame is OK as it just peels off the metal.) I did, however, glue the first frame on back to front, so it only opened half way. Duh. Had to pull it all off and re-glue, but it doesn't look too bad for the ordeal.

This was my first go. I followed the U-Handblog tutorial pretty much to the letter, but I put too much fabric in the top edge, so it needed to be gathered quite a bit under the frame. I've slimmed the top part down now, so hopefully any future purses made from this pattern won't have the same problems. I also forgot to cut/square off the corners of the lining on this one, but it's not too big a deal.

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This grey and yellow one is my second attempt.

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Better in that I didn't have too much fabric under the frame and I remembered to square off the corners of the lining, but I really needed to trim off my excess seam allowance, as it got tough to turn the right way out. I also think this shape would work better with only one layer of interfacing rather than two. Other than that it's pretty OK, but I do think it looks a little lopsided. Probably just me.

But I'm getting better, you must admit, and really enjoying the process. I think I'll try this sort of shape next, but obviously much bigger!

I've not given up on the zip purses, though. Also on the U-Handblog is a great zip purse tute (although I didn't stick the clear pocket on the side) with the best way I've found for attaching the zip. I've always managed to put the zip too far in so it catches on the lining, but with this method it doesn't. I've also been experimenting with interfacing in these. And now I'm all experienced with squaring off corners, I'm going to give this one a go, too. (I've also been jonesing to make myself some kind of dress/long top, but that'll have to wait. I know if I get the fabric now I'll just leave my poor purses by the wayside!)

Right, back to Fantastic Mr. Fox. He's for a competition entry with a deadline for this Monday coming, so I'll be able to show him off soon.