Happy Saturday! It’s been super-busy around here lately so I’ve been a bit slow with posting. I’ll catch up…
I’ve been toying with the idea of old-looking games for a while now; they’re brilliant for live role play. We went to the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green and had such a good time. So much fun! There’s a lot of inspiration there too, I recommend it. It got me thinking.
We have quite a few branches stashed in our garden for slicing into rune pieces and game pieces, so I burned some and whipped up a lined bag with the game embroidered on the front.
It works a treat, and there’s room in the bag for a deck of cards and snack too. I’ve had a few requests for Nine Men’s Morris, I’ll have to make one so I can learn how to play 🙂
Enjoy your weekend! Walk in peace.
Yesterday I broke the rule. The one about not starting Shiny New Projects until you’ve finished at least three…but rules are meant to be broken, yes?
Paul asked for a bag for his new birthday present. He said he wouldn’t mind a drawstring bag, but as he picked out this rather fabulous tie-dyed denim, I thought it may be a bit stiff for pulling a drawstring tight. So off into zipland we went, and I lined it with white cotton too.
Now, if you’re going to make one bag, you’re probably going to wish you’d done a second one to carry around that lovely hardback book on photography, too.
This is what he’ll keep in his bag. Lovely new tai chi shoes, just in time for the championships.
I’ll admit to a moment’s panic when I handed it over – oh, please tell me it came out the right size!
There are a few other things in the pipeline, if you’d like to follow what else I’m making you’ll find me posting work in progress at
See you there 🙂
Hey! How’s life treating you?
We’re settling into a routine after all the hoo-hah last month with builders and pipes and other unappealing problems, I’m happy to say. In hindsight, I think it was a good time to implement Fallow January.
What’s Fallow January? Exactly what it says on the tin. It’s my decision to have a month off from normal life, from now until forever. I used to be swept up in the New Year, New You, make some resolutions, get cracking, sort out your life kinda talk. Well, it just doesn’t work in the long run (for me anyway) so I’ve decided to take my lead from the trees, this January and every one from now on. Get off the merry-go-round, allow ideas to percolate, wrap up warm, read, drink tea and talk to friends. I still have to go to work and we have all the usual household business to attend to, but the non-essentials? Let them wait. Rest. While I’m at it, I’m cancelling most of December too. With the best will in the world, I always get behind with Christmas and birthday preparations so we might as well be realistic. December is now officially about baking, giftwrap, festive films and sparkle. Excellent. A ten month year has a certain pleasing quality, wouldn’t you say?
The close of Fallow January falls in line with Imbolc. The pagan new year comes in early February, when the sap is rising and we are starting to feel the first surges of light and growth. I think it makes much more sense to start the year as the earth wakes. We had a beautiful little celebration; candles and evergreens, salt and incense, water and written intentions that we planted in the garden. And so the next cycle begins, and I feel clear-headed and ready for it. Plans are afoot. Let’s get to work. Starting with a new wardrobe for these guys…
…because I’ve started volunteering at Wicksteed Park, where it’s not just about litter picking and directing traffic. Oh, no. There’s a world of adventures there for my creative development, in a land full of trees (which I truly love) and a programme to develop local and traditional craft skills (which I truly love). Watch this space! It’s going to be a fascinating year!
We’re attending a Christmas craft fair next month, and these little redwork feather bookmarks will be part of our entourage. I’ve been toying with the idea of small embroidery for a while, as we don’t want everything we display to be expensive. Who doesn’t love a stocking filler! It’s also nice to make small things sometimes. Cloaks take up a LOT of lounge floor, and you can never, ever find your scissors while you’re playing Dressmaking Twister.
I love feathers, and I’m loving the redwork and blackwork designs that I’ve seen. So inspiring…I love the idea of turning a doodle into machine embroidery, or screen prints.
I kinda like ’em! I might just have to make myself a purple one.
Paul’s been on about a tree surcoat for his larp character forever. Well, maybe about a year. There was a long debate about fabric. Many sketches ensued. He spent hours and hours getting the design right, and to his credit it’s turned out nicely. I can’t bear a tree with droopy roots…
We had lots of fun and games getting the embroidery machine to play ball. We spent an entire evening tearing our hair out, wondering what was amiss. Turns out it was a dodgy spool of thread! Once that was sorted, it was onto the coat design. The basic coat shape came from a Simplicity pattern. I had made one mandarin collar before, but for a different sized coat, so it was literally back to the drawing board.
He wanted side flares to give more swoosh (I reckon he wants to smuggle things. I think smuggle might be my favourite word). Another learning curve for me. I think most of this year has been curved 🙂
He’s happy. I’m happy. The embroidery machine is happy. Everyone’s happy! Happy Sunday!
Make 34 was exciting…people, we’re going to paint a watercolour scene. With no sketch. That’s right. You have an hour to:
Paint a sky. Dab out some clouds with an increasingly manky piece of kitchen roll. It’s art, dahling.
Apply masking fluid with a paintbrush, four seconds at a time before your brush becomes utterly unuseable. That joke you just made about rinsing your brush in your tea just cost you a brush, moron. Also, do not rinse your brush in your tea.
Apply masking fluid to the foreground with a credit card, preferably somebody else’s.
Recover consciousness. Masking fluid honks.
Paint a foreground. Rub a candle over the top of the foreground to resist the later wash. Do not worry about the fact that you have No Idea At All where the wax is on the paper.
Paint some trees. (Lollipop trees do not count, apparently.)
Add a mountain, even though you thought your tree line was finished, Because Your Teacher Told You To. I must have been looking too cheerful.
Rub off the masking fluid, trying hard not to think of sunburnt skin.
Paint the centres of the daisies. Do Not Paint Them All Stood Up Straight. Unless you want to paint a field of fried eggs.
And there you have it. (Someone’s having a campfire in the woods. I didn’t smudge it. Honest.)
You never see that on the Krypton factor, do you?
Make No. 33 combines two of my favourite things: Gelli printing and feathers.
The feather was collected by a close friend, which made it extra special to work with. I adore blues and greens…peacocks and oceans, dragonflies and magpies, and there’s a magnificent unpredictability about Gelli printing, especially with organic materials. You never know exactly what you’re going to get, and even the not-so-good bits make stunning backgrounds. Not everyone likes that flavour of makery, of course; in last week’s art class I heard an outraged “I can’t bear watercolours, they just won’t do as they’re told!” I did actually laugh out loud. That’s what I like best about them…
The card was for my friend Splendid Emma. Happy birthday, lady 🙂
Make it a wonderful day.
Walk in peace.
This one was a leap in the dark for me…texture paste? Never heard of it.
This term, art class is about the Victorians. Our brief was to make five botanical drawings from seed heads and to translate the shape of one of them into four different tiles, using different textures and relief. It was a surprisingly challenging project, and involved some painting of spaghetti and split peas but dammit – I did it. It highlighted my deep issues with Randomness (which is strange, considering what comes out of my mouth). It is not my favourite piece of work, but it taught me tonnes. And that, I am assured, was the point of the exercise.
Next week we’re starting with oil paints. I think I used them once, about 25 years ago. Good heavens above. Three, two, one, rags at the ready…