Sketch Sunday 66

On Thursday, after a big lunch in the city, Paul and I headed to a camera shop he likes. Seeing this park opposite the store I thought ‘Great! Instead of standing in the shop feeling bored, I’ll go do a sketch’. So I settled in and got to work. But within a few minutes Paul was out of the store, and I’d barely got started with the paint. So I finished it in a bit of a rush.

Bet he’d have taken three times longer if I’d gone into the store!

Sketch Sunday 65

The year before last (is it really that long ago?), while on holiday in Canada, we went to an Ethiopian Restaurant and had a fabulous meal. The dish we shared with our travel companions involved a big platter of injera – moist crepe-like flat bread covered in spicy meat and bean sauces that you eat by hand. I decided I had to try making it one day. When I got home I googled some recipes, but a few of the ingredients were going to be hard to find here so the idea slipped to the back of my mind.

Recently some friends of ours have been hosting dinner parties trying out social ways of eating food, like ‘steamboat’. They’ve inspired me to finally try those Ethiopian recipes. A few days ago I bought a spice grinder so I could make Berbere sauce (though the recipe I used is more a spice mix than an actual paste). Yesterday I got out our rarely used slow cooker and made a lamb sauce which included the Berbere spices, and then last night I whipped up the injera and we got nomming.

It went better than I’d expected. The sauce was fabulous. The injera was a bit bland, but I suspect that’s because I used ordinary wheat flour rather than traditional grains – one of the hard ingredients to find. Still, it’s better that than the other way around. The injera is used to mop up the sauce, so the sauce tends to dominate anyway.

Tonight I’m going to try 100% wholemeal flour and see if that makes a difference. In a couple of weeks I’m having one set of friends around to experiment on, and I’ll try two more meat sauces. Yum!

Sketch Sunday 64

On Saturday morning I found what I thought was cat vomit on the floor in the middle of the lounge room, except it wasn’t. It was water, and the wet patch kept growing and growing. The strangest thing about this was that, while it had rained hard overnight, it was petering out by the time this happened. We could see no entry point, and since the water appeared around the seam where the original house slab had been added to long, long ago, it looks a lot like the ground got so saturated overnight that water began welling up through the seam.

How the heck this can be fixed, we have no idea. Hopefully it’s a freak occurrence due to the crazy weather we’ve had lately. Lots of people were having much worse flooding problems than us. We managed to get a carpet cleaner before they were all booked out. They spent ten minutes sucking up the water remaining after I’d soaked up as much as possible with towels, then left this giant hair dryer for us to run overnight.

Sunday we had big stains and were resigned to replacing the carpet. Yesterday they came back and cleaned the carpet again and I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the stains went. We can probably hang onto the carpet for a while longer. Parts of it are worn out anyway but the thought of the upheaval it would mean to replace it all has us covering our ears and going ‘lalalalala’.

Mind you, if we get flooding rains again, we may get more seepage. Then we’ll have to rip the carpet up to find out where the water is coming from anyway.

Sketch Sunday 63

A couple of days around 40 degrees C have had me spending a lot of time huddled under the airconditioning downstairs in the lounge, knitting, reading, watching dvds and listening to podcasts. Nothing around me inspired me to sketch, so today I grabbed a book on Australian birds.

I also found this little box set of mini sketchbooks, sold as a sampler kit at my local art store. So cute I couldn’t resist.

All kinds of paper, from thin paper for drawing to thick watercolour stock, canvas paper for oil painting and even tracing paper.

I also bought some rolls of cheap ‘newsprint’ paper. I’m starting life drawing classes this week.

Sketch Sunday 62

I’m deliberately late posting this, because it really needed to come after the silk dyeing and scarf tying posts. I was inspired by the brochures to sketch my favourite way to wear a scarf – The Noose. There was also a variation of it in one of the brochures which involved twisting the scarf rather like making a skein, so I called it The Skein.

Sketch Sunday 60

A sketch of my paint box. I’ve replaced one of the blues with cerulean blue, because I missed it and the previous light blue just didn’t make the right hue I wanted. I also miss paynes grey for shadows. I’m sure I could mix up decent shadow colours, but the point of on-the-spot sketching is it’s fast, and for that paynes grey works just fine – as well as being a good quick grey in black and white sketches.

I did this sketch to test out the colours I have, and see if there are any obvious choices to swap out. At first I thought it was a toss up between the light green or mid brown, but once I did this sketch I could see that three shades of blue is more than I need.

Trouble is, I have been trying to get a hold of paynes grey, but every time I’ve been near an art store they’ve either been out of stock or closed.

Year in Craft – 2010

This blog’s former incarnation was a knitting blog, and at this time of year I used to do a bit of an overview of the projects I’d finished the previous year. I thought it might be interesting to do an overview of everything I completed last year, not just the knitwear.

First, for old times sake, the knitting (and crochet):

Knitting & Crochet:
Josh Socks (gift)
Cherie Amour (op shopped)
Bean’s Monkeys (gift)
Pussy Cat
Origami Bolero
Beky’s Socks (gift)
Argyle Vest (winner)
Bramblewood (op shop)
Emma’s Socks (gift)
Mossy Mobius Scarf (winner)
Donna’s Socks (gift)
Possum Mobius Scarf (winner)
Lion Jacket (winner)
Alison’s Socks (gift)
Piper Hat
Dad’s Socks (gift)
Purple Jumper
Glitzy Mobius Scarf
Toast Wristwarmers
Leafy Wristwarmers
Slinky Ribs
Argyle Vest #2 (winner)
Touch Yarn Socks
Sideways Stripe Vest (op shop)
Loom ends scarf (gift)
Dad’s brown socks (gift)
Owls Hat (gift)
Navy Crochet Hat (gift)

I did a second Socks For Others Club last year. That, for new visitors, was a sock ‘club’ in which I knit socks for other people rather than myself, because I now have not just an overflowing sock drawer but a growing stockpile. It was great fun and by having people put their hands up for socks I ensured my knitting had an appreciative recipient. A win for everyone!

The other challenge I set myself was the Bernardathon. I love the designs of Wendy Bernard, but though I’d had her first book, Custom Knits, for a while, I hadn’t knit anything from it. So I picked three projects and spent the winter knitting them. The Lion Jacket was a real winner – I wore it many, many times.

It was also a year of unintended stash reduction. I hadn’t put myself on a stash diet, but found I didn’t want to buy more. At first I just wanted to reduce the yarn so it all fit in the storage I have for it. And then I just kept going, only buying yarn late in the year when I had to buy some for a gift. I also culled the stash a few times, giving kilos of it away. The stash is now about 2/3 the size it was at the start of the year, and though I do now feel the occasional twinge of yarn acquisition temptation, I still want to continue using up what I’ve got.

Mt Pisa woven scarf (gift)
Red & White hand towels (winner)
Black & Grey ruffle scarf (gift)
Bamboo Scarf #1 (gift)
Twill Blanket #1 (gift) (winner)
Bamboo Scarf #2 (gift)
Twill Blanket #2
Denim Floor Rug #2 (winner)

I hadn’t noticed how much of my weaving I’ve given away this year. I don’t mind the giving, but I am noticing that a lot of my weaving is done to use up leftover yarn, in particular because I found it unsuitable to knit or crochet. The weaving yarn stash is growing, mainly because of this occasional overflow from the yarn stash. I don’t mind this too much, except that I’d like to be weaving yarn I selected for a weaving project more often. Or, in the case of rag rugs, weaving with something other than yarn.

Book Binding & Paper Craft:
Concertina Badge Booklet (winner)
Chain Stitch Sketch Book
Panorama Sketch Book
Bookbinding Class Book
Matchbook Notebooks (winner)
Doodle Book #1
Birthday Album (winner)
Test Book (now diary)
Fused Plastic Book
Palm Leaf Holiday Memory Book (winner)
Coptic Bound Travel Journal (gift) (winner)
Podcast Journal (art journal)
Denim Notebook (winner)
NZ Photo Album (winner)
Apple & Pear Book Sculptures (winner)
Dimensional Circle Ornaments (winner)
Mini Book
Smartie Book
Underground Book (winner)
Knitter’s Journal
Doodle Book #2
Book Pages Paper Jewellery (winner)
Security Envelope Paper Jewellery
Masquerade Book Mask
Brown Paper Sketchbook
Map Cards & Envelopes
Concertina Sketchbooks
Shopping Bag Booklet
Marbled Paper book
Discovery Channel Book

Oh, I had so much fun with book binding, paper craft and repurposing books this year! I particularly had fun using recycled materials in these projects. However, I’ve been doing less of it lately, mainly because I got all inspired by refashioning clothes.

Russian Book Bags (winner)
Mannequin Legs plant stand (winner)
Solar Dyed singlet top
Rusty Nail Dyed T-shirt (winner)
Mirror Frames from Junk (winner)
Portable Oil Painting Kit
Instant Scarf
Homemade Paint Box (winner)
London Tea Towel Pillows (winner)
Impromptu Skirt (op shop)
Blue Motto Top
Gauzy Motto Top
Doodle Shoes #1 (winner)
Not-Boring iPhone Cover
Motto dress to a top (winner)
Red skirt to a top
Cheesecloth top
Black & grey skivvies to tops
Black skirt slim down
Black skirt to a top (winner)
Fob Watch Necklace
Doodle Shoes #2
Foam Stamps
Denim shorts into skirt
Striped shorts into miniskirt
Oversized Shirt into Sleeveless Top (winner)
T-shirt into skirt (winner)
T-shirts into tube headscarves
Man’s shirt into a dress (winner)
Painted iPhone cover
Dress Form (winner)

2010 was a year of recycling and refashioning for me. Many of the projects I finished used recycled materials, or supplies I already had, or involved sprucing up something new. Even the duct tape dress form was stuffed with bubble wrap left over from mail-order parcels. I became addicted to New Dress A Day and went from tweaking a few garments I already had to buying them from the op shop or giving new life to Paul’s culled shirts.

Another challenge was Projects for 2010, which I’ve covered in a recent post.

It was also a year for sketching. I tried to do a sketch a week and succeeded (with a few catch-ups), posting them under the Sketch Sunday category. Looking over the year’s sketches, I’ve moved from pencil and charcoal to pen and watercolour as my preferred medium.

I finished the year with a growing interest in simple printing methods and painting. This year I have plans to return to art classes. Looking back on last year, I’m pretty chuffed at how much I made and all the new paths of creativity I discovered and explored. Who knows what other creative inspirations will come my way this year!

Sketch Sunday 59

A mask I made for a friend many years ago. The one I made for myself – a mermaid holding a veil over the wearer’s eyes – was way too ambitious and fell apart. I like the simple but effective burst of white, fluffy feathers on this one.

I finished a sketchbook last week, which means I’m rather neatly starting a new one for the New Year. However, that’d be more impressive if I only had one sketchbook going at a time. I carry another, smaller sketchbook in my handbag, and it’s still going strong.

The one I started today isn’t spiral bound. It appears to be perfect bound (pages stuck together at the spine with glue). That’s going to get a little annoying when I start sketching on pages toward the centre of the book. But I have so many small blank books waiting to be used, that I don’t want to go out and buy another spiral bound one.

The paper is nice, though.