Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Adventures in Modern Calligraphy #2

After being pretty pleased with my attempts at modern calligraphy using a felt tip pen I decided to try using a nib pen and ink.

From what I read on the internet I thought using this kind of pen would be difficult for me as a left-hander, but I was suprised to find that wasn't the case. Perhaps because I learnt a long time ago how to hold my pen so I don't smudge the ink. (I was taught by the guy in the Left Handed Shop in London which I'm not even sure exists anymore. It's where I bought my favourite left-handed scissors and a left-handed ruler).

Like my first attempts, I practised by copying calligraphy alphabets. I drew out guidelines in pencil to help me with the sizing of the letters. I love how these joined up ones looks.

To apply what I'd learnt I wrote a simple phrase and then painted a watercolour wreath around it because the internet is all about these at the moment, right? I can see why though; it looks so cool!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Owl Doorstop

This is my my latest craft project; an owl doorstop!

The idea for this project has a little story behind it. When I moved in with my boyfriend I brought a few pieces of furniture with me as his place needed some extra storage. One piece was a pink ottoman that'd be great for storing my shoes in. The only problem was that it wouldn't fit in in his monochrome bedroom. So I set about finding a grey blanket that I could use to cover it so it would be accepted. This was harder than I thought it would be, but eventually I settled on this fleece one from IKEA (which I bought via Ebay because IKEA's postage prices for cheap items is ridiculous).

My Mum helped me cover the ottoman and there was still quite a lot of blanket left over, as well as the scalloped edges which I immediatly looked at and thought 'owl!'

To make the owl I cut the front and back pieces from left over blanket and some spare white fabric, using a hand drawn paper pattern.

Before sewing the scallops I dabbed a little PVA glue to hold them in place. Then I could machine straight across a whole line of them.

 Just as I'd imagined it when I first saw the blanket!

I found some matching patterned fabric in my stash, which is actually from an old dress of my sister's, and used it to make the eyes along with some white felt.

When raiding my button box I found a wooden toggle which would be perfect for the owl's beak. I drilled a hole in the middle so I could sew through it.

I used zig-zag stitch to attach the eyes - something I'd never done before, especially on a curve - and added buttons for the pupils.

The main characteristic of a doorstop is that it's got to be weighty so I bought a 1kg bag of Tesco value rice to fill the bottom of the owl. I sewed a fabric pouch for the rice by sewing around the edge of a fabric circle and then pulling the thread like a drawstring bag.

The wings are blanket material on one side and patterned on the other with a layer of wadding inside. I hand sewed the top of the wings to the body of the owl.

The base of the owl was the most difficult. Once I'd figured out what shape it would be I cut the piece of patterned fabric and machine sewed half of it to the body, then I put polyester stuffing and the rice pouch inside, and a hand sewed the rest of the base.

I'm so please with how this turned out and because it's made from a fleece blanket it's so soft! Not that I've cuddled with it....

Sunday, 12 February 2017

This Week I...

 ...took the Year 11s on an art trip to London to visit the Tate Britain and the Tate Modern. It was my first chance to check out the new bit of the Tate Modern which includes a viewing platform on the 10th floor which gives you a pretty good view of the city.

It was back to London on Saturday to start half term fun times with my boyfriend. First stop; the Natural History Museum. Have you guys seen all the variations of elephants there used to be? Tusks in all kinds of places!

In the evening we met up with my sister to go to Nashville Nights. It was Andrew's first time and he fit in very well in his plaid shirt.

What did you get up to this week?

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Cornflake Cookies

For Christmas I made my boyfriend an advent calendar using variety pack cereal boxes, which meant we had 24 little packets of cereal.
The Frosties soon disappeared over a few mornings as my boyfriend's breakfast and we've made one batch of chocolate crispie cakes (and we'll do more once Tesco decides to restock it's own brand milk cooking chocolate). But that still leaves us quite a few little bags of cereal.

In order to try something new to use up a few bags I found this recipe for cornflake cookies. I looked through a few recipes online but chose this one as it put cornflakes in the cookies mixture, not just on the outside so I thought that would use up more, and because it included chocolate chips and sultanas for extra flavour and what's not to like about that?

Once the cookie dough is made you roll blobs (technical term) of it in cornflakes. I found this part a bit tricky. I wasn't sure what kind of coverage I was meant to be going for and maybe my mixture was a bit wet as a lot of cornflakes stuck to it.

Regardless of the correct cornflake corverage these cookies were yummy and did not last long. The cookies have a bit of a cakey texture - not a bad thing - and the cornflakes become chewy rather than crunchy. The chocolate chips and sultanas are welcome additions and I even think I could've done with putting more of them in the mix.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Adventures in Modern Calligraphy

 I think it's fair to say the blogosphere is a fan of modern calligraphy and it's all over Pinterest. So I wanted to give it a try because it looks so cool. I started by googling 'modern calligraphy alphabet' and copying the letters.

I did a bit of research and watched a few youtube videos before making my first attempts. The method I chose to use is a two-pen approach. This was due to lack of proper equipment more than anything. First I draw the whole letter with a fine Berol marker, then I go over the down strokes with a broad Berol marker, to emmulate the way a nibbed pen and ink looks.

I roughly drew out guidelines in pencil which helped a lot. I drew three lines; one for the letters to sit on, one for the tall letters to go up to, and one for the 'tails' to hit (I'm sure there are proper terms for these elements). It kinda took me back to handwriting practice in Year 4. 

 I copied a few different fonts. My hope is that with enough practice I'll be able to form fancy looking words without needing to copy. Studying other fonts helps me get away from my own handwriting which isn't fancy at all!

 I also wanted to try out joined up letters as I think words look better this way, especially with flicks and flourishes on the ends of letters.

Time to apply my practice to a quote!

Next I need to look at fancy capital letters and maybe I'll get on to using a proper brush pen or nib pen.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Felt Cactus Pin Cushion

A felt cactus pin cushion is not an original idea. Just google 'felt cactus' and you'll see what I mean. But it is a fun, and pretty useful one.
The tutorial I used for reference is this one. It's in German but the pictures are enough to go on.

I started by cutting three pairs of pieces of green felt using a paper pattern. I sewed each pair together using pale yellow thread. I chose yellow, instead of green to match the felt, as I wanted it to resemble the markings some cacti have.

Then I stacked the pieces of felt and sewed them all together with one line of stitching down the middle.

 I filled each section with polyester stuffing, making the cactus take shape.

I made the soil by cutting a CD sized circle of brown felt and doing running stitch all the way around the edge. I pulled the thread to gather the felt and filled it with stuffing. I then sewed the cactus to the top of the soil.

The felt soil nicely wedges in the flower pot so I haven't needed to glue it in place yet. I picked up the pot from the Scrap Store. I may re-paint it at some point but for now I quite like the scratched up gold look.
With my felt cactus complete all that's left to do is add my pins and start a new sewing project!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

This Week I...

...finally met up with my friends for the first time since Lizzi's wedding. We went to Cafe Rouge for a breakfast that lasted 3 hours. Bacon and pancakes!

As we hadn't seen each other since before Christmas we used this opportunity to exchange our Secret Santa presents. This resulted in the table being covered with glitter. You're welcome Cafe Rouge.
My other slightly Christmas related activity this week was making cookies with my boyfriend using the leftover frozen dough from when we made Christmas cookies back in December. Using just four coloured icing pens limited our decoration options, but they don't have to look pretty to be delicious.

How was your week?