5 things I liked this week – 7.10.16

1. The cake Girl Lacer made for Boy Lacer’s birthday was thankfully much better than my cupcakes. She used a slightly adapted Nigella recipe.
Cake made by S

2. Sometimes it’s the small things but on the way back from an appointment on Monday, I stopped off at Morrisons (we don’t have one near where I live) and had the most gorgeous wrap from their choose your own fillings sandwich bar. They’re incredibly good value, under £3, I’m so used to London prices now, I’d more expect something like that to be a fiver, as the wrap had about six fillings in and was so big it was a struggle to fit in your mouth. The fillings were good too, much fresher looking than a certain well know sandwich chain which is a soon to be teenage favourite of Girl Lacer’s.

3. I went to see the lovely doc who did my op back in June, I hadn’t seen him since then and I made him laugh with the amount and nature of the compliments I have been getting since. The second stage of the op has been booked now and will be towards the end of this month. I have been extremely lucky to be so well looked after.

4. I went to see the Opus Anglicanum exhibition at the V&A and well, just wow! An exhibition of medieval English embroidery, it is mainly religious stuff (apparently lots of stuff would have been embroidered back then but the religious embroideries were more carefully looked after) and religious stuff isn’t really my cup of tea but, oh wow, the pieces are just so well preserved, I had to keep looking at the labels and reminding myself that what I was looking at was 800 – 900 years old and the needlework, oh my goodness, was amazing. Everything is obviously under glass but you can (with the glass between you obviously) get pretty close, so to see how intricate the stitching is, well, it got this embroidery geek pretty excited. I loved how all the exhibition labels said what stitches were used and I loved how although this stuff was 800 – 900 years old, the colours used and the illustrative work, heck, it would look good if it were done today. So, if you like your embroidery, you have to see this.

5. Somebody once said to me, that I don’t have very many positive, older role models in my life and although there are a few, a lot of older people I’ve known in my life, well things didn’t end particularly well for them. So one of the many things I love about living in London is that some of the older people here, they rock, at least of the stylistic stakes. So a big thumbs up to the very elderly guy I saw on the bus, who seemed to be having trouble walking but still rocked a pair of crisply turned up jeans, a buttoned up denim jacket, a crisp blue shirt and a thickly knotted yellow and black stripy tie, with a record bag slung over his shoulder. He was a street photographer’s dream. You couldn’t help but look at him and think that he must have lived an interesting life, if I had had the nerve (and not the worry that I might have freaked him out), I would have loved to talk to him.

The WIP report – August 2016

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It’s been a bit of a strange month, I’ve still been recovering from my surgery, which has limited me in some things, I also had a long weekend away (where I got more craft done, probably, than I had for the rest of the month) and we’ve been swapping bedrooms around, which means that most of my stuff has been in boxes this month (and still is).

I’ve made a bit of progress though with my diamond hex quilt, although I’ve realised with my ongoing bedroom cum ‘craft room’ organisation, that this project is literally taking up an entire shelf of some very limited craft storage. I’ve never really had a deadline for this project, happy to always have such a pleasant, calming craft to go to and I plan that the finished quilt will be BIG, so I knew it was going to take a while but still, craft storage is craft storage.

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I’ve also made some way more interesting progress than just blue sea (which it has been for the last few months) on my Mario cross stitch.

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But Mario has had to be on hold for a while, whilst I work on a currently secret special project (excuse the bad photo). I had hoped to have got this done by 1st September but nope, it will get done this month though (it has to be), so watch this space!

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I did actually, sort of manage to finish something this month but with the move around, I couldn’t find my iron to iron off the Frix-iron pen, we’ve since found the iron, realised that we desperately needed to buy a new one, have bought a new one but just the thought of trying to manhandle the ironing board up in our messy flat at the moment is just too depressing, so it has yet to be ironed. (Also manhandling ironing boards is probably still really against doctors orders, it’d count as too heavy). I will iron it this month though and will blog about it properly then but until then, it’ll just be a glimpse. (The pattern is by LiliPopo.)

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I’ve also been doing this August’s #cbdrawaday, which was art journaling with  Dawn DeVries Sokol, I liked this one, as it encouraged you to go with your own ideas and to use lots of different media. I’m feeling a little disenfranchised though with #cbdrawaday as a whole, as part of the initial fun was seeing everyone else’s work on Instagram but the #cbdrawaday hashtag has totally been taken over now, particularly with spam for bloody vaping. I’m not saying I’m never going to do #cbdrawaday again but I think I will have to really like the look of the prompts.

In September I want to do so much craft! The kids will be back in school, I’ll be more on the mend and I might just have cleared some boxes, so a) I’d know where all my stuff is and b) possibly have some space! I did start this month (not mentioned above, as I only got as far as washing the fabric and sticking together the pdf pattern pieces), the skirt version of Sew Over It’s Rosie Dress, as Girl Lacer was going to a ’50s party (she’s been now, she ended up wearing a pair of ridiculously cute on her (but she wasn’t keen on) denim culottes I got in the M&S sale for £7 – which was considerably cheaper than the fabric I bought for the skirt, which was late being posted out to me, which delayed me even further) and I will make it this month, as Girl Lacer would still like a swirly skirt. I also want / need to do so much sewing to help with storage for mine and Mr. Lacer’s new bedroom, I need to make a bed pocket, as there’s no room for a bedside table on my side of the bed and I want to make some fabric boxes to store some of my fabric scraps. I also, finally, want to start updating my own wardrobe, I have so many plans!

I’ll also continue working on my daily drawing practice, without a #cbdrawaday this month (there actually isn’t one, they’re having a competition instead – which is open only to US residents – boo), I’m probably going to work my way through some more of Creativebug’s art classes, I quite like the look of this one.

I also would quite like to do some more knitting, although I’m currently being so slow with my current knitting project – a Wool and The Gang summer top (some rows were knitted in August) which at this rate will be ready by next summer, I am trying to control myself not to start any new projects.

The WIP report – July 2016

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As well as finishing my embroidered pillows and the As If embroidery this month, I’ve done a little bit of the diamond hex quilt. It was just two big diamonds, the green diamond that has somehow got folded under itself in the photo and a blue diamond, two along from the aforementioned green diamond. Both of those were done in the last week, I wasn’t really up for anything fiddly before that.

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My lack of up for fiddly-ness can also be seen in my Mario cross stitch, with just about only another row done, although at least now I’m temporarily off the blue! Although to be honest, that’s what made me stop, it’s a lot harder to make a brain dead mistake when you’re just constantly filling in a single colour, than when you have to go and stitch another boulder.

I’ve mainly been doing quite a lot of drawing and all for trying something a bit different, I’ve made a little vlog about what I’ve been doing in my sketchbook this month, excuse the video quality, I made a total rookie mistake with my phone orientation and therefore I had to fiddle with it and now it’s just a square and the resolution isn’t great and a few bits are chopped off, think of it as a podcast with bad pictures! It was my first time using Adobe Premiere and boy do I have a steep learning curve.


Mentioned in the video:
Urban Watercolour Sketching by Felix Scheinberger
The Three Colour Drawing Book by Sarah Skeate
More Sketchbook Explorations, Intuitive Painting and Sketchbook Doodling from Creativebug
Gelly roll pens!

Plans for August, umm, I’m still not up to that much, so more drawing, hopefully more diamond hex quilt, I’d like to start another embroidery and well, anything else is a bonus. I’d love to do some machine sewing but it’s not going to happen.

Embroidered pillow cases

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I actually finished these quite a few weeks ago, I finished most of it before I went into hospital and finished the last few bits after. The patterns are from Sublime Stitching.

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My favourite one is the camping one, my least favourite one is the bunny rabbit one, purely because I hate the colour palette I chose. It’s all well and good using colours you don’t normally use in your work, to change things up a bit but sometimes there’s a reason why you don’t use those colours and I guess I’m just not a pastel girl. Also, as the other three pillow cases are very definitely not pastel, the rabbit pillow case looks very odd next to them.

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I bought the patterns as a .pdf, with each patterns split into two (so they could fit). I printed the patterns on Sulky Solvy and as you can see with the bee hive pattern, I didn’t quite join the two pattern halves together well. Still, I’ve been meaning to embroider some pillow cases for ages, so I’m glad I finally got round to it!

As If

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Yay I’ve finished an embroidery! This one is part of the Feisty pattern set from Urban Threads. I realise that the ‘as if’ is meant to be ‘as if’ as in ‘Yes, I’m going to be Britain’s next top model . . .  as if’ but as I was stitching this, the ‘as if’ reminded me far more of this Neil Gaiman quote from Make Good Art –

And if you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise, and then just behave like they would.

I think there is a lot to be said for acting ‘as if’ you have a trait that you would like if you’re not feeling confident; such as acting as if you’re an old hand at doing speeches, behaving like someone who has run their business for years, instead of is only just starting up, etc. etc.

Anyway, I enjoyed embroidering this, even though I literally had to take long breaks between each letter, leaf or petal, as my arm was getting tired, it was worth it.

The WIP report – June 2016

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Not that much crafting was done in June, the diamond hex quilt continued.

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And I carried on working on my Sublime Stitching pillowcase border patterns, the one in the photo above is the last one.

I have also done a bit more knitting on the Farrah Top, although you’ll have to trust me on that, as I can’t currently get it down off the shelf to photograph, but I think you can probably imagine what a few more rows of the bottom of a jumper looks like. The fact that it’s currently stuck on a shelf is probably not a good indicator of future progress (although of course, if I do want it down, I can ask Mr. Lacer, he’s doing a very good job of looking after me right now, it’s just that interrupting a game of DOOM, so that I can have something off the shelf to photograph, even I wouldn’t do that).

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I have also, in a spot of wardrobe reorganisation prior to my op, finally cut into the old jeans I’ve been hoarding for a few years now, as they were taking up a lot of space and cut into pieces a bit more ready to use, takes up less space. I have enough denim now to make a picnic blanket (which has pretty much always been the plan). I had hoped to make it before the op but I ran out of time, I almost certainly won’t be making it this month.

Oh and of course, I did complete something, the kimono from the previous month’s Mollie Makes.

In July I’m not sure how much crafting is going to get done, just typing this is a bit tiring (but I am soooo bored already). I will try and finally finish the pillow cases (I did manage to do a bit of that when in hospital) and some more diamond hex quilt. Meanwhile, I’m itching to do some machine sewing, which I can’t really, unless it’s something small that involves only small amounts of cutting (no leaning over / scrabbling round the floor cutting fabric for me). A side effect of the surgery is that I’m currently having problems with the ulnar nerve in both arms, it is getting better but too much crafting would probably not be good.

#30DaysWild 25 – wild crafts

A confession, I’ve prepared this one in advance, as I won’t be in a position to blog today but I will be out there, thinking wild thoughts …. But in the meantime, here are some of my favourite wild crafts.

Wintercroft masks

Wintercroft make amazing masks you can print off at home, stick to an old cereal box or something similar (so you’re recycling something old into something new too!) and then construct yourself. They have a wide variety of masks but a lot of them are based on animals, such as this gorgeous stag mask.

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Image credit – Wintercroft

It looks a bit complicated but honestly it’s not, it just takes a bit of time (I’ve made their skull mask before).

Embroider a floral motif

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Image credit: Polka and Bloom

Embroidery is a fantastically easy hobby to pick up (check out Sublime Stitching for some tutorials, it was a Sublime Stitching book that helped me start stitching many years ago now, they also have some lovely wild patterns, such as their Birds of Prey pattern sheet). It’s also an extremely portable hobby, so it’s great to stitch outside too!

Polka and Bloom have a fantastic range of floral motifs, such as the floral motif pictured above. Or if you like your embroidery a little more complicated, Follow the White Bunny has a fantastic shading course, where you can learn to shade the outline of a bird or a bear with an umbrella.

Cross stitch some creepy crawlies

If your needlework is more towards the cross stitch variety, Floss & Mischief have some fantastic creepy crawly cross stitch patterns, such as this death’s head moth pattern.

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Image credit: Floss & Mischief

Or if you like your creepy crawlies more monochrome and a bit more buzzy, What Delilah did has a lovely bee pattern. She also has many other nature inspired patterns, I am very tempted by the magpie pattern.

 

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Image credit: What Delilah Did

 

Knit some faux taxidermy

Actual taxidermy is of course a bit yeugh but knitted faux taxidermy, that’s quite cute. I don’t feel confident enough yet with my knitting skills but Louise Walker’s Faux Taxidermy Knits is lovely to look at and I think celebrates our wild animals, I particularly like her moose head.

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Image credit: Louise Walker

And finally Paint some wild

Creativebug has a fantastic range of art classes, many of which look at natural subjects, such as in Lisa Congdon’s Sketchbook Exploration class.

 

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Image credit: Creativebug

 

Creativebug is a subscription service but you can try any of their classes out on a free trial.