Little larp make: Noughts and crosses game

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.

 

Noughts and Crosses embroidered larp game

 

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.

Crazy golf, big skies and new leaves

Last weekend was a complete gift. Warm, sunny, begging to be enjoyed outside. So off we trotted to Wicksteed Park, where we played crazy golf with our friend Adam. All of us are well past the 40 mark, which might explain why the man with the clubs and balls wanted to know who would be playing. I think he was expecting kids. He was looking at them. It was really fun…made me feel ten years old again.

I’ve been waiting for a chance to get some photos of skies, for next term’s art classes. We’re going to be experimenting on a large scale and need some reference material, and yesterday provided some great opportunities to build up the photo stock.

 

Wicksteed Park Cloudy Sky

 

Yep, I think that counts as a Big Sky. There’s going to be some serious blue mixing going on.

 

Wicksteed Park Railway

 

I love the green lines emerging across the lake. Spring has sprung!

 

Wicksteed Park Alpacas

 

Popped by the new arrivals to say hello….

 

Wicksteed Park Ponies

 

and to see some old friends.

 

Wicksteed Park Blossom

 

Sunshine yellow erupting along the lakeside…

 

Wicksteed Park Willow Avenue

 

This magnificent corridor of new leaf makes me a bit giddy. You just can’t beat the feeling of sap rising and life bursting from the earth.

 

Wicksteed Park Mountain Ash

 

I can feel nature calling…”here, check this out…and you thought I was sleeping!” 🙂

 

Wicksteed Park Pine

Wicksteed Park Cherry Blossom

Wicksteed Park Pink Cherry Bloom

Wicksteed Park Boathouse and Boating Lake

 

There might be a painting in here somewhere…

 

Wicksteed Park Lake

 

Or maybe here?

I went home knowing what a pear willow and a tulip tree look like. Seriously cool, If you’re a treek like me.

Have a great week! Keep an eye out for those skies…

 

A demo, a quiz and a John Piper project.

 

Hey 🙂 How’s your weekend going?

It’s gone crackers here again, springtime is always full of upcoming dates and schemes. Great stuff…but a little daunting if you haven’t got your ducks in a row from the outset. Deep breath…

Yesterday I went to see a local artist demonstrating Daler Rowney acrylics and the many marvellous additions you can buy to make your paint shiny, grainy and slower drying. I learned quite a bit, met a lady from his art sessions and may well pop along to one of their art group meetings before long. They’re walking distance away…funny how it takes so long to find out what’s on your doorstep.

In a similar vein, I only knew about the local annual film and TV quiz in aid of muscular dystrophy through our lovely postman at work. I went along with a couple of friends last night and we had a ball. So funny! By the halfway mark the whole hall was singing along to the theme for Only Fools and Horses. A lovely atmosphere, and a good amount of cash going in the direction of a worthy cause. Hats off to everyone who contributed their time, what a fantastic effort.

So, what’s the John Piper project I hear you ask? It was an opening exercise in this year’s art term, looking at the style and evocative technique used by John Piper to document the war through buildings, stark contrast and mixed media. This sort of thing…

 

John Piper painting

 

Although I prefer this one…

 

John Piper Painting - ruin

 

I chose Angkor Wat in Cambodia as my subject, I’ve never been there but I love the temples and mad trees.

 

John Piper inspired drawing - Angkor Wat archway

 

I’m not a loose painter, as a rule. Being undisciplined is a discipline, and we had a go at allowing pure colour to suggest shapes – as I learned through this project, The Line Is King. Your eye will always defer to it in times of doubt.

 

John Piper inspired Angkor Wat painting

 

A bit of this, a bit of that. This is where it’s at right now. I may tinker with it a bit more, but only when I haven’t looked at it for a week.

 

John Piper inspired Angkor Wat mixed media

 

Or possibly three.

 

The biggest pencil cases you’ve ever seen.

 

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.

 

Tie-dyed denim zip bag with strap

 

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.

 

Tie-dyed denim zip bags

 

This is what he’ll keep in his bag. Lovely new tai chi shoes, just in time for the championships.

 

Tai chi shoes

 

I’ll admit to a moment’s panic when I handed it over – oh, please tell me it came out the right size!

 

Denim zip bag with tai chi shoes

 

Perfect.

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

https://www.facebook.com/NixieInTheMakery

See you there 🙂

 

Fallow January and the fruits of Imbolc

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…

 

Wicksteed Park Punch And Judy Puppets

 

…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!

 

 

 

 

 

Make 35: Embroidered Tree Surcoat

 

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…

 

surcoat-3

 

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.

 

surcoat-1

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 🙂

 .                     surcoat-2

 

He’s happy. I’m happy. The embroidery machine is happy. Everyone’s happy! Happy Sunday!

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Make No. 34: Watercolour Daisies at 100mph

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.)

 

daisies

 

You never see that on the Krypton factor, do you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make No. 33: Gelli Feather Print Card

 

Make No. 33 combines two of my favourite things: Gelli printing and feathers.

 

dscn2317

 

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.