Friday, 29 April 2011

light as a lino feather

So this is probably the most detailed lino stamp that i did while away at easter (in the camper - it was heaven! full of beaches, lakes, waterfalls, icecream, chocolate and sunshine!)
I'd like to put black feathers all over some teal fabric i have for a 50s style dress i have in mind. I need to take a raised bit off the stamp can see the little smudgy bit on the fabric at the bottom.
This lino is a 4mm block and, not being the SOFT stuff, it was pretty difficult to cut cleanly. If it cooled down at all it started to tear the lino and not cut it, which was a bit of a nightmare. Luckily it was a lovely day and we were all sitting outside in the sun which was warming the block and making it a lot easier. However, every time the sun went behind a cloud, almost immediately the block cooled down and i had to use the great tip from Jezze's blog where she recommends sitting on it for a while to warm it up!
I got there in the end, the SOFT stuff is a lot easier...but perhaps not as durable?? We'll have to see how they last.

wine charms

So with all the lovely wine i've been making coming to fruition, i've started to get down to serving it. This poses a small issue in that i have used old wine bottles which we have diligently emptied and enjoyed (and then washed and sterilised of course) to bottle my homemade varieties, and so the wine label doesn't correspond to what is inside and very often there is nowhere to write clearly on the bottle what fruit was used...i have made a variety of types including blackberry, plum, grape, apple etc. I could stick a big label on them...but that kindof ruins the look in my opinion. So i made bottle charms!
These are little charms made from salt-dough using a cool rolling pin that my mamma has, that is supposed to be used for patterning shortbread. I'll have to make a lot more, now that i know that they work out ok.
I just stuck on the ribbon very messily with hot glue...nobody will see them back will they??! to try them out properly, i'll have to hold a dinner party! yay!

plant labels

we're having a competition in work to see who can grow the most and biggest chillis this season. We've all chosen different varieties and currently they're all relaxing in my greenhouse until they're mature enough to make the trip into work with me.
A super-simple paper craft to make little name badges for each of the contenders...this one's mine "Come on hungarian hot wax!!! Mamma's hungry!"
One of the varieties is razamatazz and it produces purple chillis! cool huh?
The winner (or should that be loser?) has to make food for the rest of us using their chillis...i can hardly wait! yummy!

Pamela's posit-it holder

Another craft that Pamela suggested was this quick but effective little book cover. Using lots of cool paper pieces and cutters from her stash i threw together this little springy-themed card. See her little quilling flower, she cuts slits in a quilling strip and then rolls it up before splaying at the little petal pieces - good idea isn't it?
And it's put to good use holding the crucial memory aid that is the block of post-its (Post-its are stuck all over my life - seriously, they're everywhere!)
Thanks Pamela!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

cheers to chocolatiering

So superD let me buy a cool little gadget that should come in useful particularly at this time of year! An easter egg machine!!! All you do is melt the chocolate, and pour some into each side of a little mould...then snap the mould shut and place it in this weird contraption.
Then see the little handle?....wind that for 3 minutes while the mould is being twisted through full 360 degrees in all directions (in all planes for the engineers among us)...or you could do that by hand...but for sure it's not quite so magical as winding the neon plastic handle of the ratchet machine of chocolatey wonderment.
Then put in the fridge for 3 hrs, turning each half hour. Then take out of the fridge and leave for 1 minute before popping open your mould.
Look - isn't it cool? I also did a couple of chocolate mini-bears with the left over chocolate. Then pop it right! I gave up the turning-every-30-minutes after the first time so actually this egg is very thin chocolate on one side and totally solid on the other!!! lol
Then get decorating! I got lots of cool little shapes with the kit, like hearts, flowers and butterflies...
...but my favourite has got to be the big bear on the right....cute!!!

little lino birds

So i brought the lino with me on holiday at easter so there are a few more stamps that i managed to do. This one i thought would be nice stamped round a band at the hemline of a big skirt, which i might just have to have a go at. Again, my printing skills could be better!
These are so quick to do, they're a very satisfying craft i have to say.
I used the same SOFT lino block for this one, and just tried to cut as deep as i could so that none of the grooves would pick up the paint. It's so easy to cut the soft stuff, and those big deep gouges are the stuff of stress-relieving dreams!

easter egg basket

Easter crafts of course are on the go at present (or they were last week if i had managed to photograph them in time). This is a really easy paper craft taught to me by the fabulous Pamela who makes lots of great creations: cards, quilts and paintings to name but a few.

Take a square of card (5.5"x5.5"), clip the corners and score fold lines as shown in the pic below. Make 4 cuts to reach the edges of the centre square as shown. Cut yourself a nice long handle piece.
Then fold in the corners like this...and secure with a staple when you're happy with the shape, catching the edges of your handle.
See? Like that. Feel free to decorate as you go!
Then quickly fill with Lindt mini eggs and run like the wind to hide them in your sewing room to give much needed sustenance during those long crafting marathons!

i love you in lino!

So i did say that i wanted to have a go at lino printing on fabric. For the first stamp i chose something easy to cut. You can see that i'm not that great at the printing stamp fades out at the top and one has a big line through it where i was stamping over a groove in my table!...o well, live and learn!
I'll be printing up some fabric with red paint using this stamp and will be making a pair of shorts for the summer...i just have to decide on the perfect shorts pattern to use.
The lino i used here is a 5mm SOFT lino block and i used the standard carving tools that are available for purchase online. I found the instructions on this cool printing blog really useful for getting started. I did one thing differently though and used dressmaker's carbon paper in white to transfer the design - it was super quick and easy!
o yeah and credit goes to superD who stopped me from cutting out the WRONG WAY ROUND (the text must go backwards to make it stamp properly in order) ... that gets me every time! - will.i.ever.learn????!!!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

tangerine tartaned toosh

So to go with my new top I decided to make another version of the Jenny skirt, this time in an uber-70s orange tartan pattern wool blend. I love this skirt pattern, the skirts are soo comfy.
True to form i was already getting grumpy with the photo-taking stuff (i'm rubbish at posing for these photos) so i've cut off my grumpy face in this photo as i'm telling SuperD to "stop adjusting the zoom and lighting and take the photo already!!!!"
Instead of the simple slit at the back as per the pattern, i added a back vent using this tutorial, and this one. I also made it quite high as you can see below, which gives a brilliant range of movement for getting in and out of more "riiiiiiip"!!!, which is always a good thing.

One amazing thing that i've noticed is that this material has some magical's like one of those magic-eye pictures where the objects seem vastly enlarged....yep all this to say that this fabric and pattern combine to bestow on the lucky wearer the largest butt on earth...use with caution!!!

dunja goes dark

o dear...with bridesmaid dress sewing taking up my every spare moment, all other crafts are suffering!! However i took a break to try something different. You know the dunja top that i made in neon yellow?....well turns out i wasn't getting as much wear out of it as i hoped...i mean, who knew acid yellow didn't go with everything??!!

So i made another version - pattern found here on the trusty Burdastyle website - this time in back cotton shirting.
I kept the ruffles but made them much smaller (6" circular with 1.5" height) and dropped the neckline at the front and back.
I used buttons instead of poppers (snaps) because quite frankly i hate poppers! I hate sewing them on through the stupid little metal holes, i hate the little sharp metal edges (i hate the plastic ones even more - totally useless!), i hate the way if you use too much thread they won't "pop", i hate the way you have to stick you nail into them to open them (gives me the chills)....but most of all i hate the way that when you put any strain on them they "unpop" loudly as if you've just split a seam!!! anyway, rant over...i used buttons!! ( i buttons!)
O great this photo looks like the neck is reality it's symmetrical, i just checked.
I've a feeling i'll be wearing this one a LOOOOOOOOT more!!!