Tuesday, 26 June 2012

30 Days of Creativity - Days 18 to 26!

Eek! Where has the last week gone!?!

This isn't going to sound like a very impressive list for the past 8 days. I have to admit to not being quite as creative as I would have liked this week. I've been a bit all over the place, to be honest, and am only just managing to get myself back on track. 

I've been pretty busy, don't get me wrong. Unfortunately, I don't think I can count the hours spent putting together an order from a craft wholesaler (catalogues are dangerous things...). Nor can I count the time spent on paperwork/budget reorganising/filing. 

I took a visit to Woodstock, on Thursday last week, with my sister. Woodstock is an historic town in Oxfordshire, probably most famous for Blenheim Palace. We didn't go into the palace itself, just had lunch and a wander around the town (between showers). There was a huge amount of very attractive iron-work on display on houses and other buildings.


I love the symmetry and grace that has been given to this robust material. On Friday, I had a go at drawing some of these swirling patterns. I am trying to draw with confidence: drawing the lines in one movement rather than in sketchy, short lines. I don't find this easy. Although it is much easier when drawing geometric patterns. 

I'd like to have a go at stitching some of these patterns soon.

Later on Friday, an order came in for 2 personalised elephants so that dictated the direction of my creativity for the weekend! I finished them on Sunday night, ready to photographed and shipped on Monday morning. They are to be well done gifts for finishing exams. 

There is one more photo, which shows the embroidered names, but I'll leave that one off until I know they have been received - just in case it spoils the surprise!

I think that's about it for this week - unless I suddenly remember something I have forgotten to show you. Only another four days to go so I think it's time for a final push towards the finish line!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

30 Days of Creativity - Days 16 and 17

As you may have noticed, I didn't get the bear finished on Friday. Or yesterday either, if I'm honest.

The setback of the wrong joints completely put me off the whole idea. I hate making mistakes. It irritates me beyond measure. I don't mind mistakes that happen while I'm learning something new - those are a natural part of the learning process. But mistakes that happen because I wasn't concentrating, was trying to rush or simply wasn't in the right frame of mind infuriate me. 

I knew it would be a little while before I could face working on the bear again.

So I spent Saturday procrastinating instead. 

In a creative way of course!

I made bread: a loaf and some rolls. Our bread machine is broken so I made it by hand - more labour intensive but just as tasty. I made some oat and raisin cupcakes. I made some paneer (indian cheese) and a spinach curry to put it in. I omitted to take photos of any of these creations before eating the loaf; filling and freezing the rolls; freezing the cakes; and eating the curry!

And I made a gingerbread man. I have plenty of time to photograph him, since he is inedible. 

I have plans for this little fellow, but more of that in another post.

Today I determined to overcome the annoyance and frustration and forced myself back to complete the bear. Grudgingly, I restuffed the limbs and closed the turning/stuffing holes. Feeling slightly less grumpy, I attached the limbs to the body and tightened the joints. I stuffed the body with only a few muttered comments and closed the final seam. 

At this point I confess to breathing a sigh of relief and started to put the whole sorry experience behind me.

Ears, eyes and nose followed quickly after that change in attitude and, after a good brush, the little chap was ready for his photo shoot. 

And here he is...

 ... I say "he" because they usually are, but I can't quite make up my mind.

I am sooooo glad this bear is finished and none the worse for the traumatic joint experience. 

I will have to make sure I take my time and concentrate properly on the next one.

What do you do when a project goes wrong? Do you find it easy to just unpick and carry on?

Friday, 15 June 2012

30 Days of Creativity - Days 11, 12, 13, 14 and probably 15 (sigh)


This week's gone so fast! 

And, to be honest, I don't seem to have achieved much.

I started the week with the best intentions, a deadline of sorts and what seemed like plenty of time.

I was hoping to show you a completed teddy bear today, but more of that later.

So what have I been up to this week? Well, let me show you.

Day 11 (Monday) went pretty well. In the time I had allotted myself, I managed to prepare a piece of sparse 5mm German mohair fabric, mark out the pieces and cut them out.

This bit always takes longer than I expect. You have to be really careful not to cut the hair while cutting the backing fabric. Bald bears don't look so good.

Day 12 (Tuesday) also went well. I pinned all the pieces ready for sewing.

This makes life so much easier, even on such small pieces. It's very easy to match the pieces up incorrectly and end up with a crooked arm or a mishapen head. 

Although the sewing thread does love to get caught around the pins.

Which is infuriating.

Anyway, I started sewing on Tuesday and by 

Day 13 (Wednesday) I had finished sewing all the pieces. Even the dreaded foot pads.

You would not believe how hard it was for me to leave all these pieces sewn but not turned! I love the turning stage (apart from the ears) as this is the point when all the hard work begins to resemble something.

Day 14 (Thursday) started off fine, as it was turning time. I am always amazed at how quick and easy this is with larger bears. With the tiny bears it's excruciatingly frustrating but these pieces were very simple. 

I added the cotter pin joints and got started on the stuffing. I closed up all the turning holes and the bear was ready to assemble. I gave the pieces a brush to free all the hair trapped in the seams.

At this point, it started to go wrong. I attached the head to the body and tried to attach the limbs. And then I noticed a problem. 

The joints didn't fit inside the body. 

There just wasn't room for the discs to lie side-by-side inside the tummy.

I'd used the wrong size joints. 

This left me feeling utterly deflated. I knew I would have to go back a stage and undo most of the work I had done that day.

I made myself undo, unpick and un-stuff so I could change the joints...

...and then I had to walk away - before I did something I would regret.

So on day 15 (Friday) I return to the poor bear today having had a clear reminder of the saying "More haste, less speed". This is definitely a creative process that I should not attempt to hurry.

Hopefully, barring any further disasters, I should have a completed bear to show this evening.

Monday, 11 June 2012

30 Days of Creativity - days 9 & 10

A combined post today for the weekend's creativity. I've spent so long on the computer over the past week (writing blogposts and promoting CraftFest) that it seemed only fair to let my other half have a turn! So I had a good day crafting while watching the tennis from the French Open.

I have been making things ready to sell this weekend - a teddy bear for Tasmia Trinkets and Charms (but more on that when it's finished!), elephants and bracelets.

Saturday was bracelets day. Working with gorgeous Liberty bias tape; adding chains and charms. Part of the challenge is selecting the fabric to work with - they are all so pretty!

Here are the bracelets that I made...

... all of these will be available for sale, somewhere, at some point soon. Eeek! That was a bit vague wasn't it! :o)

On Sunday, I made some elephants...

... ready to become sets of three when I've made the other sizes.

I've also been finding "creative" promotion opportunities for my business. I have broken my target of 100 Facebook 'likes' and think I may finally be getting to grips with Twitter (up to 63 followers this morning).

So I think that may mean it's time for a giveaway - I'll have to see what I can find for an appropriate thank you!

Friday, 8 June 2012

30 Days of Creativity - Day 8

A super quick post today. Today I challenged myself to a spot of crochet. I'm a relatively new crochet fan (completely self taught from online tutorials!) and I am always looking to expand my skills.

So I decided I'd have a go at a pattern I've wanted to try for ages. Only problem with this particular pattern is that it's in French. Mum bought me this book a little while ago...

... and I've been wanting to attempt this pattern in particular...

...Irish rose buttons.

 Here is the finished article...

Front view

Back view

As you can see, it's not on a button. Reading the pattern in French beat me. I got the tension wrong so it's come out bigger than planned. I had to unpick and re-make several times before reaching this point. I just could not work out how to turn and do the reverse (which would have held it to a button). 

So I am left with a crocheted Irish rose. It's quite pretty though and I'm glad it's finished! 
(And before anyone asks, yes, I do know this book is available in English!)

See what everyone else has achieved here.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

30 Days of Creativity - Day 7

Just a quick post today. I am so busy with getting ready for CraftFest and with a custom order that has just come in. It leaves very little time for even small creative projects!

A little while ago, I ordered some of the plastic make-your-own buttons thinking that they would be nice covered with Liberty Fabric or a simple embroidery. As is often the way with me, they have sat forlornly in a box ever since. Yesterday, in search of a quick, simple project I thought I'd do a few practice buttons and see if it was worth having a proper go at. 


Here are the finished articles.

Couched embroidery cotton

Lazy-daisy stitch embroidery

Liberty fabric covered

Check out everyone else's work here.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

30 Days of Creativity - Day 6

Yay! Back up to date with the challenge!

Today I thought I'd use the penguins from yesterday in a new project. 

I have turned the penguin into a felt finger puppet. 

Having cut out the pieces, I blanket stitched them together. There is a small amount of stuffing in the head and shoulders but the rest is left unstuffed so that the penguin can be used as a finger puppet.

It's really hard to get good photos of this: the perspective is all wrong if I take the photo from the front but the wings don't show in photos from the side. Annoying.

Phew! All up to date now. Bring on day 7!

Check out everyone else's efforts here.

30 Days of Creativity - Day 5

I couldn't get this on the computer yesterday, so will do two quick posts today to catch up!

Yesterday, as I was travelling and visiting, I didn't get a huge amount of time. I did manage some drawings though...

...some very simple drawings, playing with a new pack of sketching pencils.

See what everyone else has been up to here.
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