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Biscuit tube tutorial

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Some wonderful well meaning relatives came over to visit us recently, and brought a mountain of ginger nut biscuits to me as a gift!! Well not many biscuits left, but the carton tubes which contained them are still around and here is what I have done with one of them. A pretty container to use as a special gift wrap, or perhaps to store my crochet needles inside.
Well, go collect the tutorial for yourselves but you will need to eat your biscuits first of course ;)

Day for toting

houses-tote02Well this is only half the story… the bottom half in fact! One of my recent shopping adventures produced this fun fabric in very dark grey with fun stylized houses printed all over it. I knew I wanted to use it for something a little unusual, but just needed to think about it for a short while before true inspiration hit me.

And what emerged? A big, fun and very roomy tote bag with exceptionally long handles to pass across your shoulders leaving all hands free to deal with stroppy kids and/or wayward shopping carts. I even added a rigid fabric covered base (recycled card) so that you can safely carry that ready cooked lasagne over to ma-in-law’s when you want to make a good impression! Then remove the base and voilà…a pure cotton, eco-friendly bag to roll up and tuck into your handbag for those surprise shopping sprees which seem to affect us women so often!

ps. Got to use one of my gorgeous little embroidered “handmade” labels for the first time. Unable to find anything locally, I’m afraid these were sourced in Germany from what is fast becoming one of my favourite ribbon suppliers.

Lino cut prints

I had intended to do these the other day, but a few other things cropped up that needed my attention more urgently, so it was only this morning that I finally got working on my lino prints.

They actually take quite some time individually as the mixed media all dry at different speeds (inks, acrylic and tempera) meaning that I only manage to do one print at a time and then have to wash the lino and brushes – dry everything before moving on to do another print.

But I just love the muted shades which emerge for each print. Every single one is always different as it is impossible to produce the same effect every time. They really are unique and always a surprise, however well I think I know how the colours will combine!

Now I have to put them all inside their ivory coloured cardstock frames

Still no time to cut any new lino, but I already cut about 15 different subjects, so there is quite a good selection of local monuments for people to choose from…

Digital darkroom florals

pink-collageThought I would take a break from the glue gun and the sewing machine, and put to rights a few images I had waiting for some digital darkrooming. I think it was last year (or maybe earlier) that I built up quite a collection of my photographs of flowers which got used for various things, including calendars – but I still had a collage collection to complete. Here you can see one of the set of five from the collection. I like the vibrant colours and the slightly different treatment – this sort of puzzle effect without the wonky edges.

You can support my creative inspiration by purchasing these cards through my Red Bubble account >>>

Recycled music

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Every now and again I make an assault on my collection of books in an effort to organize them a bit better. Don’t usually have much success as books are one of my great weaknesses and Amazon frequently drops a few more onto the doormat – vicious circle really.

But this one caught my attention and I thought I would bring it in here. It has been used quite a few times surprisingly enough in spite of its ‘unusual’ content.

I belong to a non-profit association, and have done for some 20 years now. As inspiration strikes, each of us over the years has suggested various activities which we prepare for the ‘locals’ of all ages. Maybe it’s down to my cultural background and traditions that my events are often considered ‘strange’ but are usually embraced with bemused enthusiasm by the rest of the team.

And this is where this book comes into the story, because one year I convinced everyone to collect ‘rubbish’ for a couple of months – clean rubbish of course – from the kitchen roll carton tube (no loo roll tubes thank you), to the empty coke cans, to the corona bottle caps, to the old inner tubes, saucepan lids, shells etc.etc. We had mountains of the stuff – and we made a sample series of musical instruments using what we had found with the addition of some dry lentils, beans and so on. Then at Carnival time, we set up a local hall with tables all around the hall with mounds of the ‘rubbish’ and all the tools necessary to create and decorate the ‘instruments’ – and then waited for the onslaught of kids and adults which followed. Where there is free food and drinks and a party, very few people hold back!

It was fascinating to watch (and help) as the parents, with a little assistance from ourselves, helped their kids make all sorts of instruments over the next couple of hours, and then join in as our guest percussion band taught the kids to ‘play’ the instruments.

Great day – and my suggestion is, if you have anything to do with children as teachers – or just as parents, this is a great party piece and I’m pretty sure that you can find a similar book in English. If you want any specific ideas about the instruments, just give a shout. Some of them are pretty obvious, like hammering saucepan lids with wooden spoons, but there are others which are a bit more complex …

NB. Not much of the material is suitable for very small children as a lot of recycled bits have sharpish or jagged edges – just think of drink cans or bottle tops for instance. Adult assistance is essential for this activity.

New frilly scarf

argentina-frillsJust added a new frilly scarf to the collection. The yarn for this one is a little different, though still with that lovely lacy effect, this one also has minute pompoms along the edging in a coordinating colour. Nice combination here of a dark mauve with the pompoms in a light grey/mauve. Very tempted to keep this one for myself!

Out stashing

little-drill-300x193Feel almost bad about having had such a good day yesterday – we went off early morning on the bike and only just got back indoors in time for evening meal.

Visited a big regional market where I bought some nice yarn and haberdashery bits – and we picked up some nosh which we ate on a park bench – then we visited an ‘outlet village’ where hubby hoped to pick up some Timberland flip flops, but we were too early seasonally speaking.

Then we went to visit our favourite Guzzi agent, and then found a big hobby/craft/DIY store where I stocked up on a stash of seemingly useless bits which I am certain will inspire me for weeks.

My face is even burning from all the sunshine!

So briefly, what is in the stash …

A couple of big canvases for my paintings
some braid yarn – not quite sure what to do with that, though I do have a couple of ideas buzzing around
a handful of polystyrene eggs
a cork board for pinning when I create decorative knots
some super glue
a little squeedgee (spelling???) roller and tray
some large silver coloured rivets
30 meters of beige cord
10 meters of heavy beige braid
and last, but not least, some super glue

And now I have my thinking cap on!!!

Getting knotted

Been getting myself tangled in Celtic knots to produce this attractive upcycled knotted brooch, created using industrially upcycled fashion fabric yarn. Set on a felt backing with metal closure, I added some hand beading with glass Rocaille beads. For the time being this is the only colour available – a lovely brick tan with black beading. I’m sure others will follow.

Painting with glue

metallic-leavesRemember the post I put up about checking out the dustbins some while back?

I mentioned some salvaging I had done – or rather – my husband had done on my behalf – of display items which had been thrown out by a local store – they never actually went in the garbage by the way! Well I have a dozen of them sitting in my craft room, and this weekend I decided to put one of these boards to the test with paints and heavy colouring treatment to see how well it survived.

I’m actually quite pleased with the results even though I consider this to still be a work in progress as I am not 100% satisfied with the painting – there are still a couple of areas I will be giving my attention to – a few more details to be added. I have included an image here anyway so that you can see for yourselves the direction the work is taking.

I knew I was going to be using metallic paints and inks, so I wanted the base/background to have a sort of grungy copper type effect with a touch of ‘verdigris’. That was achieved using an earthy/orange coat of paint and a dark umber, both of which were brushed on with a large brush in a very irregular manner. I then used my brayer wrapped with randomly wrapped string to add streaks of turquoise. When everything had dried nicely I used a background stamp for adding minute gold details.When all the upper layer 3D details (created using my hot glue gun) were dry and painted, I sponged the whole painting with black shoe polish and quickly rubbed away some areas to reveal the gold details below.

Great fun, though very smelly! Make sure you keep your windows open if you try this.

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Made by Hand

When you buy something from an artist, you are buying more than an object. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experiments. You are buying days, weeks and months of frustration and moments of pure joy. You are not only buying a thing, but a piece of heart, a part of the soul, a moment in the life of someone.

by Giacomo Cinque
'La Sartoria Antica'

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