Thursday, 16 November 2017

Spicier Life blanket

Hello everyone, after a much longer break than anticipated, I'm back!  It turns out that breaking your shoulder (particularly if you do it in 3 places) is a really daft idea and takes forever to heal!  I'm not completely better, I have no strength whatsoever in my right arm (luckily I'm left-handed) and don't have a full range of movement, but I'm getting back into life again.  Going out and renovating my house have both resumed (OK, full disclosure, I went out partying several times with my arm in a sling!), and a small start has begun on crafting.

The first thing I felt up to doing was crochet.  I crochet right-handed as it was much easier to learn that way, but it does mean that unlike most crocheters, I pretty much hold the hook still in my right hand and use my left hand to wrap and pull.  Good when you've broken your right shoulder though!

On a whim, I decided to join in with the Spicier Life CAL at Cherry Heart.  I think I joined in on week 2, but all 6 parts and the border have now been released!  I don't care that I'm behind, and even with a fully-healthy arm I doubt I would have been able to keep up with schedule as there were a lot of rows each week.

This is where I am after week 1.  As you can see, I am making an effort to weave in the ends as I go otherwise it would be a daunting task - plus the ends get in the way.  I didn't buy one of the special yarn packs, I didn't buy any yarn at all.  I have tons of the stuff, full balls, partial balls, donated balls...  I had to decide which weight - DK or Aran and, thinking I had more Aran than I do, I chose that.  Unfortunately I don't have that much and so am using some DK too, it just means a bit of stitch adjustment.  I don't really care about the colour palette, my aim is to use some of this yarn up as I am drowning in it!

I'm not sure how regularly I'll be blogging just yet, I've got a horrible cold and cough, so I'm resting a lot, and renovating the house is taking priority as I lost 3 key months over summer... I should have 4 rooms finished by now!  I did attend a class (yes, with a broken shoulder!) and will blog about that soon.  

Monday, 14 August 2017

Why i am an idiot...

So I haven't been blogging much recently and I've just dropped by to let you know that I likely won't be blogging at all dor the next 8 weeks or so.

I fell over on Saturday and broke my arm! It's my right arm (luckily I'm a leftie) and it's broken right at the top just under the shoulder. That means no cast, just a sling. It is very painful and all the little every day things are so hard to do with one arm.

Silly, silly Wendy!

Monday, 31 July 2017

Garden bench

I recently explained I haven't done much crafting this summer as I've been working on my house.  I really hoped to have a bathroom update for you by now.  I had a new suite fitted, but painting the room is taking a lot longer than anticipated!  I generally have one or two hours a week during the evenings to work on the house, and often I have a few hours or even a whole day on the Sunday.  It doesn't add up to much!  I took last Monday off work to work on the bathroom, but was struck down with a horrible bug and ended up spending three days lying on the sofa.  I did put a few stitches in a cross stitch piece, but not much really!

Anyway, that was a long winded introduction to a post showing you my garden bench as I don't really have much else to show you!

I bought my house over 10 years ago and mum and dad bought me this bench not long after I moved in.  As you can see, I never varnished it!  I hate the look of varnished wood so I'm glad I didn't, but it was time for some TLC.

Sanding took ages, and made a right mess!  It became easier when I discovered the seat is removable.  Then it was on to painting.  I used a B&Q outdoor paint and it took three coats.

Much better!  I also got rid of Harry's old hutch and the spare hutch, creating loads more room in my tiny yard (UK version of yard - concrete area behind my house).

The paint was left over from painting my back door which I did a couple of months ago and which kick-started this whole renovation business in the first place!  I still have over a third of a can of paint left... garden gate is next up!

Monday, 24 July 2017

The anklets of doom

A bit of a dramatic title perhaps?  Hmmm.  For some simple stringing to make some simple jewellery, it's been a right palaver!

It's summer and, for once, we're having a hot one in England!  OK, not every day, but some days.  And that's enough for me.  Because of the nice weather, I've been wearing cut of trousers with my usual trainers.  I needed a bit of bling on my ankle.  I found these flower beads in mum's craft stash, added some Swarovski crystals, some beading wire, crimp beads and a clasp.  

This was made in the same way with a variety of beads: cheap crystals, millifiore beads, drops and some cool black nickel donuts.  I had everything in my stash and it took minutes to string.

Then I wore them.  And the crimps came undone.  And they fell apart.  

So I restrung them, this time using nymo thread and knots.  

And the flower one stretched and fell under my foot.

Back to the drawing board....

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Mixed metal bracelet

Silversmith class is now on a break for the summer.  I managed to finish off a piece I was working on before we broke up.  Originally this was going to be a necklace, but it morphed into a bracelet.  I am NOW working on the matching necklace!

I showed you in a previous post how I made these rings.  I made soldered rings in copper and silver, then make a series of jump rings from 1mm silver and copper wire to join them together.  I have not copper plated the solder on the copper rings (it would copper plate the silver too!), but I don't think it's that jarring.

I made the toggle clasp from a piece of 2mm square silver wire which I left unhammered to create contrast with the hammered rings.  I soldered half a jump ring on the back and attached it with rings.  It slips through the end circle on the bracelet to do up.

This is the second bracelet I've made from large links and I love it!  It goes very well with my Adidas Superstars which have copper stripes!

I've assembled most of the necklace I'm making, I'm just soldering the jump rings (and there are loads!), but it won't be touched again until September.  Hope I don't forget about it!

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Cross stitch bird in tree

This little kit is on my 17 kits in '17 list.  It is, despite it now being July, the only thing that I have touched this year from the list!

I had made a mistake on the border, about halfway through, so I had to do quite a lot of unpicking to sort it out!  You can see the mistake in the photo above, the left hand side of the top line.  I was going to leave it but it bugged me, so out it came!

The stitching is now finished... now to make it up into a pincushion.  I think I'll schedule that for 2021 at my current rate!!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts Show

At the weekend I went to the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts Show at the NEC Birmingham.  I was given free tickets and invited to a Blogger's event. so I felt very excited and important (though clearly I'm not!).  We were given endless coffee, tea, croissants, muffins and food, and 2 craft activities to try.  I was lucky enough to end up sitting with the lovely Julie from Sum of their Stories, it was great to meet another UK general craft blogger.

The first activity was a tapestry brooch with Tina Francis.  This was the perfect stitching project as it was done in tent stitch and it's small scale meant that we could actually finish it at the event.

We were each given a kit with the pattern (erm no, I didn't follow it!), the brooch finding, a needle and some canvas.  There were piles of Anchor tapestry wool on the table for us to chose from.

Tina (who is fabulously friendly and helpful - take a class with her if you get the chance!) encouraged us not to think too much about colour choice, but to just grab something we were drawn too.  I started with a bluey-grey and added a reddy-purple.  This picture does NOT show the correct colours!

For my third colour, Tina pushed me towards an acid-green.  It was perfect.  I randomly chose orange for the final grid colour and I'm loving my choices! 

I managed to get the brooch finished, despite taking the time to drink about 6 cups of coffee, or perhaps because of the coffee!  Then I moved tables to have a quick go at the papercraft project of the day.

We were making paper houses with Cathie Shuttleworth (apologies, that's a Facebook link, her website seems to be doing something odd right now - but it's here if it comes back up).  We were given the templates and I got cutting out.

As the first group were still making theirs, I didn't hear the instructions and so just wung it.  Cathie would have, and did, help when I asked, but hey, I like to do my own thing!  This meant that I did the ribbon slot on the roof wrong and I also put the house together inside-out!

Ah well!  I didn't have too much time so the decoration is fairly minimal.  It would have been nice to have had a bit longer as there were some lovely papers and punches and papercraft bits and bobs to play with.

It's been a long time since I did papercraft and I really quite enjoyed it!

The top flap of the roof lifts off so it's a useable box, and ties with the ribbon.

To sum up the workshop - a paper house, 2 tapestry brooches (one was my friend Laura's, she'd accompanied me in her capacity as my "assistant" - i.e. pass me the coffee....) and a muffin!

AND... most excitingly, we got a goodie bag!  It's a proper canvas tote that I forgot to take a picture of, and it had all this inside!  Above is paper and card.

Beads, glitter, glue, dies, a papier mache monster (that I love!), liquid pearls and a block printing kit.  What a great goody bag!

I did a little, but not much, shopping.  My entire house is in disarray due to the renovations I'm doing and there is craft stuff everywhere which put me off buying more.  I did invest in a House of Zandra kit though.  I've wanted one forever and this was on offer for £15!  

Next we came across the Powertex stand.  I've seen this product advertised, but don't recall ever seeing it demonstrated at a show.  It was amazing!  Unfortunately, they wouldn't let us take photos (other than this mannequin), so I'd have a bit of a google as the stuff is amazing!

We were invited to add to the mannequin, I added this heart on her knee and also a W on her bum!  Forgot to get a picture of that...  I bought a starter kit as I have an idea to Powertex the side of my outdoor toilet wall....  watch this space!