Sketch Sunday 51

We had a little afternoon tea of baked goodies kitchen warming party yesterday. I am in love with my new kitchen. There are no missing drawers! Two people can be in the kitchen at the same time! I can use the oven temp and cooking time for recipes and don’t get charred results! None of the cupboards reek of rotting vegetables and garbage!

The lovely Beky of Pivotal Xpressions brought me a bouquet of herbs from her garden, and it seemed the perfect subject of this week’s Sketch Sunday. After doing the linework, I decided not to colour it, and instead used cross hatching and a brush pen to darken the shadows. I love the contrast between the woody rosemary, frothy dill and leafy parsley.

A very silly sentence kept running through my head as I drew it: ‘Too late, Rosemary realised she had been a complete dill when she’d demanded a parsley with the pirates.’

Fob Watch Project

I’ve been exploring art journal and collage blogs and sites, and recently bought a copy of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. It’s all the different mixed media techniques for colouring and texturing paper that are fascinating me. So when the mag site offered a free eBook featuring four methods, on signing up to their newsletter, I grabbed the opportunity. One method in particular gave me one of those ‘of course!’ moments. Print with acrylic paint on watercolour paper and you can paint over it with watercolour washes without it dissolving or bleeding.

I wanted to try it straight away, of course. But I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by all the things I want to make or try lately. I’m in danger of starting too many projects and end up feeling pulled in too many directions. Then it occurred to me that maybe I can combine some ideas. I had another WIP going that this printing method might suit.

So I carved a stamp of a clock face:

Printed with acrylic on a scrap of watercolour paper, then coloured the paper with watercolour washes:

Cut them out:

Even the offcuts looked pretty:

Then I stacked some of them up inside this:

It’s an empty fob watch shell that I’d strung onto a chain with some bits and pieces, but didn’t seem like it would be a finished piece until I put something inside it:

The little circles could be like calling cards. Maybe I’ll write something like “chocolatetrudi dropped by today” on the other side, then draw in the clock hands at the time. Or maybe I’ll just leave them in the fob watch as a quirky souvenir for anyone who asks what’s inside.

London Underground Tea Towel Pillows

Last weekend I got another of my Projects for 2010 done:

I sewed up the last two pillowcases on Craft Day. The couch is rather full of pillows now, but we don’t use it – it’s there for guests who can make themselves comfortable with as many pillows as they need.

2010 is rapidly getting smaller, and I still have a few projects to complete: binding Paul’s Dad’s sketches into books, framing up some plaster moulds, painting the front door and turning some wooden bowls into frames. The binding project and wooden bowls are the ones I’m least likely to finish. The binding is a massive task, and until I have something to put in the bowl frames there’s no point starting that one. I can get the front door painted now that the weather has warmed up and being doorless for a day isn’t a problem. The plaster mould framing… the carpentry is a job for Paul, then I just have the painting to do.

I’ve finished lots of projects lately so there’s plenty of posts waiting to be published – and this should be the last sewing one for a little while. (Though I just bought a skirt and a shirt from the op shop to refashion, so that’ll be coming up in the next month or two.)

Refashion: Skirt into a Skirt – and Top

On Saturday I joined some friends for another Craft Day. I got stuck into the last refashion project I’d lined up for myself – turning these skirts into one less bulky, lined skirt:

Once I cut off the waistbands the skirts were crazy wide. I had to stretch my arms as far apart as I could to get the skirt stretched between my two hands! No wonder they were so bulky at the waist. A few snips later and I had cut both skirts in half vertically. Then I sewed a new side seam for both. I decided I didn’t need to add darts because the material is very thin and I guessed that I wouldn’t have the same problem with bulky gathers at the waist with half the fabric. So I put the plain one against the flowery one to form a lining, folded down the top to make a new waistband and reused a drawstring.

Ta-da! New lined skirt that, in addition, is shorter so I won’t trip up the stairs any more:

But that’s not all. I still had time to fill and half of both skirts’ fabric was left over. I flattened it out and did some measuring and thinking, and decided it was worth seeing if I could make a peasant top, using the plain fabric as a lining again. So I got cutting and sewing, and grabbed some elastic from my sewing box…

Wa-la! New top from the skirt leftovers. Comfortable and cool for summer:

The two pieces will be worn separately, however. Together, the effect is a bit overwhelming!

Sketch Sunday 50

One of the sketchbook artists whose blog I follow, Pete Scully, likes to draw fire hydrants. Lucky for him, he lives in a place where the fire hydrants are interesting. Here, the hydrants are uniformly simple, though I have always liked the little red seat-like top, and probably sat on hundreds of them as a child.

Looking back through old posts, I discovered that I started Sketch Sunday on the 8th of November last year. I knew I was one sketch behind, so I went for a walk yesterday afternoon to take a photo of a fire hydrant to sketch. But I must have I’ve skipped another week during the last year, as I’ll only be up to 51 when the 8th of November comes around again.

I’m going to see if I can fit in two sketches this next week, so I make it to 52 sketches in 52 weeks.

Sketch Sunday 49

When our house extension and renovation spluttered to a halt for most of a year, due to an unscrupulous builder, our garden remained a dangerous rubbish pile. I say dangerous, because I was walking over what I thought was grass, but turned out to be grass grown over accumulated dirt over discarded lengths of wood with rusty nails in it. I was lucky in that most of the nail I stepped on went into the inch thick rubber soles of my shoes, and barely broke the skin when it touched my heel.

Toward the end of that year, nasturtiums had self-seeded in the rubbish on one side of the house, and I came to love them for their ability to cover ugliness with fresh green and orange beauty. I saved the plant when the rubbish was removed and landscaping done, and it’s multiplied. Every year since I’ve gathered up the drifts of seed they drop and tossed them back into the garden bed, and every year they spring up more lush than ever.

T-shirt Refashion Done

Yep, the texture on the feature wall was done with bubblewrap! My dad thought it might have been done with shoe soles, and I love the idea Judy had of using one of those textured balls. I’ll have to try both some time.

I’ve had a sickie week this week, and haven’t got much done. Not much crafting, let lone work. As always, my default entertainment when sick is knitting and watching movies or tv series.

There’s still stuff to blog about from last week, however. I got the skivvies I wanted to refashion and cut off the collars. I laid out a fitted t-shirt on top to get an idea of sleeve length and neck shape. Then I got a-snipping.

Next I handstitched the hems, using herringbone in a contrasting blue thread for the black skivvy…

… and backstitch in a pale purple for the grey skivvy. I’d picked the colours from nearly finished spools from my collection of sewing threads, which is made up of inherited colours from two grandmothers, Paul’s mother, Paul, past sewing projects and what my mother gave me as a child.

I’m really pleased with my new t-shirts. They look great on. I don’t know what I’ll do with the cut off sleeves – probably just use them as polishing cloths. But the collars…

Turned out that they were the perfect size for headbands, so I’ve refolded them so the seam is at the back, and I’m going to press them that way next time the iron is out.

Fake Wallpaper

Back in December last year I set myself a list of Projects for 2010. One of them was to paint a frame, door and wall black in our living room. I’ve now done two of the three paint jobs. The frame was done a while ago. This weekend I tackled the wall.

I knew I wanted the wall to be black, but not just a plain black wall. I love the idea of gloss black on top of flat black, but what pattern? So I went looking for inspiration on wallpaper manufacturer websites and came up with this one by i.e… wallpaper:

(There are a lot of droolworthy wallpapers on that site.) I didn’t think I’d be able to match this pattern exactly, but it was about the right complexity and scale. After running the idea and a few pattern choices past Paul I did a bit of experimentation later and came up with an effect that was a mix of random and regular patterning and fairly quick and easy to do with materials I had on hand. I also decided on to paint the inside of the archway chili red (with leftover paint from our library) because we have a lot of red objects in our new kitchen.

Here’s how it turned out:

A close up:

From across the room:

Any guesses for what I used to make the pattern?


Paul and I walked past Smiggle the other day, and though I try not to look inside and be sucked into their tempting world of cute, brightly coloured co-ordinating stationary, I couldn’t help noticing this and then stopping to take a photo on my iPhone:

Okay, it’s not easy to tell exactly what it is so I’ll explain. It’s a book shaped box containing stationary, including a lockable diary.

As I said to Paul… how ‘analogue’.

You see, I can’t help wondering if there’s any appeal in a lockable physical paper diary in this day and age, when privacy is devalued and the tweens and teens this set is aimed at are probably oversharing on a daily basis on various social media sites.

What do you think? Are Smiggle a touch naive, or is there something clever going on here?

Sketch Sunday 48

Finally got the courage to draw strangers. Though I kinda cheated: I was at Armageddon, an event where people get dressed up and expect to be oogled at and have photos taken of them.

Still a week behind. Will have to see if I can do something about that this week.