Crafty week four

Wow! I've reached week four and I can't believe I've achieved so much. Today I made several cards for forth coming birthdays. I can't say who for just in case they're reading.....

I didn't noticed when I stored these stamps that they depicted different stages of a flight of an owl. I love the motion that it gives to this.

In adddition to the cards the squares for  the crochet blanket continue, I'm completed 30 which for 2 weeks isn't bad! I'm hoping that completing a blanket will happen sooner rather than later.

And finally I've almost finished my scarf which I can now wrap around my neck and it's fairly long, however I think it needs one or two balls of wool still.....

So as we're in week four I should do a little catch up on what I've achieved in one month:
2 cross stitched initials (week one)
1 felt brooch (week two)
1 felt needle case (week two)
30 crochet squares (week three and four)
1 scarf (week three and four)
3 cards (week four)

Another achievement of the past month, and one of my new years resolution, was to read more and this month I've read three books which given I'd only read 14 in the whole of 2011 is not bad start. For those of you who don't know me I'm dyslexic so I'm not the fastest reader in the world so I'm doubly chuffed with this. And  the books in question are:

The Death Maze by Ariana Franklin
The Thread by Victoria Hislop
Snuff by Terry Prachett

Just looking at the above I'm exhausted! Luckily February is a short month but who knows what I'll be able to achieve....

Crafty work week three

I'm getting into quite a good rhythm of being crafty every week though this week I've been obsessed with crocheting squares. Last week you may recall I started a scarf. I went back to the haberdashery at my local department store (the fabulous Morleys in Brixton) to buy more wool for this project and became side tracked by purple wool. I had wanted to try and do a granny square but couldn't work out for the life of me from the ancient crochet book I had how to do this so started with one small square. One square soon became two then three then four.... OK  you get the idea! Anyway so far I've done 17 squares which is probably about 1/8 th of a blanket  at least. It's great as I can take it into work and do some at lunch time and it's very relaxing though I'm not sure how creative it is. But next week I need to make a few cards as birthdays and the big V day are looming so I'm not sure how much I'll get done next week. But here are some photos of the work so far

I'm seeing my mum next week at a christening (see crafty week on) who promises me that she'll show me how to do a granny square so fingers crossed! Onwards and upwards to week four. I can't believe I've done so much in just one month!

Crafty work week two

Blimey, I'd almost forgotten what it was like to do a full week at work. I had become so used to not have to think about real life over the Christmas holidays so this week was a bit of a wake up call! However I did manage to get crafty things done.

One of my favourite Christmas pressies were Amazon vouchers which I used to buy a big pile of craft books. The danger of buying lots of craft books is that you flick through them then put them back on the shelf for the longest time with the best intentions to do some of the projects but you never do. So this year I'm trying to combine crafty week with trying out new things in the books I have.

So this week was felt. I'd bought a book 'Super-cute felt' by Laura Howard. Now the title isn't really me (honest) but I thought it would give me the basics that I'd need and also give me ideas on what else I could do. And luckily Laura also has a shop on Etsy so I could order the materials I needed. Much cheaper than trying to buy felt in the shops, and they were sent out very quickly! So my first project was a little pansy brooch. I'm afraid that it's not the best picture....

It was great as it was so simple but so satisfying. I'd forgotten having done cards for so long how nice it was just to sew something. And so if I'm going to sew more (hopefully) I'll need a needle case... and as luck would have it there's one in the book!

I must admit it did take me a little longer that anticipated, however I was using a medium I've never used before and I don't think I've done a blanket stitch (if ever) since I was about 8! But I was pleased with both items.

Laura also has a fabulous blog called 'bugsandfishes'which I'm finding inspirational as well.

My friend Marcus has just returned from India and gave me a fabulous big bag as a present which I thought was ideal for craft projects. It's also the sort of bag which looks as if it should have wool in it so I've also started to crochet a scarf....
One day I may learn to knit but am finding crocheting this whilst watching tv very relaxing...

And so hopefully onto week three. Not quite sure what I'll be doing yet but will hopefully keep you posted next week! 

Crafty work week one

As I think I've mentioned before I've been looking at looks of blogs recently where the author has set themselves the target of doing something crafty everyday. Realistically I just couldn't do this due to a severe lack of time and also wouldn't want to rush things. However I've decided that I can try and do a project every week so here we are with week one! My cousin's children are being christened at the end of this month so I've made them the following as little presents to give:

I was very pleased that I could actually do both in one week though I was on holiday for part of the week. I've got things ready for project number two so fingers crossed I will be able to post something next week. Wish me luck!

Fragile Days

I was reminded towards the end of last year of my love for Studio Ceramics. I used to work for the Crafts Council many moons ago (as the book buyer in the shop) and I was always drawn to the ceramics and even invested in a few small pieces by Sally MacDonell, Chris Keenan and Elspeth Owen to name a few. So last year the fabulous BBC4 did a Handmade in Britain series which charted the history of ceramics which reinvigorated my interest. I have also been following the recent programmes on Grayson Perry and his exhibition at the British Museum.

So just before Christmas I had a day off from work and decided to go to the V&A then the Grayson Perry exhibition. I took my small point and click camera which didn't get great images. I also felt I rushed round the V&A so yesterday I returned with the digital SLR and below are the images I took.

Firstly I'll mention the Grayson Perry exhibition. This was possibly one of the best exhibitions I have ever been to. From start to end it made me smile. And he didn't just use ceramics, the variety of materials he worked in was mind blowing. The premise was that he would create pieces inspired from the BM collection and they would be exhibited alongside original artefacts. At times it was hard to see which was the original and which was the Grayson Perry. Pure genius!

Annoyingly you couldn't take photos but outside the gallery was Grayson's bike which he rode  to Germany on a pilgrimage with Alan Measles, his teddy bear (watch the Imagine programme and it will all make sense).

The following images were taken at the V&A Ceramic galleries where I could spend hours and hours....

This was an scary close up of a statue

 Lucie Rie's original studio, one of the best potters of the 20th Century
 Philip Eglin who gave me a small tile as a leaving gift from the Crafts Council
 I hadn't realised how pornographic ceramics could be! This reminded me of a piece in the Grayson Perry exhibition....
 This is a tobacco jar by the Morris Brothers. I've only ever seen them on Antiques Roadshow before. They are amazing and make me smile. If you owned one I think you'd be smiling all the way to the bank!
 I found three of four rooms that had ceramics floor to ceiling in glass cabinets. Mind blowing!

More of the same but still amazing...
 I love early medieval imagery

These little guys just made me smile. I think they were chess pieces!

I hope you enjoyed this post. First new blog for 2012 and hope that they will be more regular. Now does this count as being creative....

New Year New Year

OK so it's the New Year and it's meant to be a time to make resolutions. So far I have resolved to cut the amount of sugar in my coffee from one and a half to one. So far so good but it's hardly revolutionary is it! I'm never sure if the New Year is the time to start new things so my hopes rather than resolutions for the New Year are:

  • To be more creative
  • To blog more
  • To laugh out loud more
  • To read more

I fear that O.H. already thinks I do alot of the above so perhaps I'm cheating but I always feel I can do more!

I've been reading a lot of blogs about people who have been doing something crafty every day of the year but how do they have time? It baffles me.... so I will try and finish something creative every week and we'll see how that goes.... fingers crossed! And let's hope my time management improves!

52 weeks til Christmas

Blimey, only 52 weeks til NEXT Christmas, however before then a delated share of our Christmas. This was my first in London for about 16 years but I was really looking forward to it. I normally go up to my folks in Cumbria, aka the Lake District, but after three years of severe weather and engineering works we thought it made more sense to go up in November. And I must admit it was really nice not to have to stress about going anywhere!

So O.H. and I had our first Christmas together and how spoilt was I! We started the day with cava and these fabulous flowers that my friend Cathie bought me from Lakeland. They are hibiscous flowers in syrup. You pop them in the bottom of your glass and they expand. Once you've drunk it all you can then eat them! Can honestly say they are brilliant and one of the best gifts ever!

O.H. gave me a portable photographic studio so soon I will be taking lots of photos of my creations and hopefully they'll look great! New Year's resolution, try and  take more photos of things I have made then put them in the blog!

As you can see Bert was getting into the spirit!

Marcus, my next door neighbour, came over for dinner. Bizarrely the last time I had Christmas in London Marcus came over for Christmas dinner that year as well. We were both living in different places (but still in the beloved Brixton) and at the time Marcus was a vegetarian as was the person I was seeing then so it was nut roast all round. But thankfully we are all now meat eaters so it was duck for dinner.

Now I've never cooked a duck before in my life, and neither has O.H. but thanks to tips from my dad it came out quite well I think!

And we all said it was one of the best Christmas dinners we had!

The following day Bert was still in the mood for Christmas having changed outfits! And now the count down must begin for it to start all over again for next year. Must try and start making Christmas cards earlier for sanity's sake......