Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category

Finding My Mojo

January 19, 2014

Happy New Year!! I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year. Right time for an update on all things mixed media and arty.

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[Clockwise from top left: 2012 calendar title page, finished December 2012 page, January 2014 in progress, February 2014 in progress, Kate Crane Dvds in my new Brice Bross box]

2013 was a bit of a disaster from a creative point of view for me, I didn’t do a single month of the 2013 Calendar Challenge and only made a few birthday cards.  I did do some knitting and sewing but I didn’t play as much with paint and inks as I wanted to, so this year I’m determined to make up for it.  I got Kate Crane’s Art Journalling 5 & 6 dvds for Christmas and I finished watching them today.  Watching Kate make a junk journal using bits of cardboard, tags and other junk inspired me to finally sit at my desk and have a play myself.  So here we are with January and February 2014 pages in progress.  I used Japanese style papers for the days on February as I thought I should use them.  I’m very good at buying paper pads and then just looking at them, in 2014 I plan to use some of my stash of craft goodies – yarn, fabric, paper, ink, paint, ribbons the whole kit and caboodle.

The Brice Bross box was a present from mum, it’s my surname and she thought it would be useful for storing crafty bits in.  I’ve put it by my tv for the current dvds that I’m watching/going to watch.  I googled Brice Bros and it turns out it was a real fishmongers in Billingsgate Market in London.  Dad’s family is from Kent so they could even be related to us.

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[Clockwise from top left: Felt Snowman decoration, Knitted Moustaches, Christmas Pudding hat, Owl Cube Bag]

2013 sewing: Veil for my best friend’s wedding, laptop sleeve, snowman decoration, owl cube bag, felt bird decoration, Japanese owl, shortened two pairs of pyjamas and customised some shorts to go to see The Rocky Horror Show.

2013 knitting: Camelot shawl, teal socks, Calorimetry hat, Smockie dress, Christmas Pudding hat and knitted moustaches for Movember.

I also made some Alice In Wonderland themed stitch markers for my friend Alice, Japanese lino cuts that turned out quite useful for embossing paper in my cuttlebug.

I’m really proud of the knitted moustaches as I raised £35 for Movember by selling them to the girls in the office so that they could participate too and it was great fun.  Becky loved her wedding veil and wore it all day. But I’m NEVER making another one (sewing netting to a hair band is the most frustrating thing I have ever done and I was up until the wee small hours getting it done) it was so lovely seeing her wear it when she got married.

2014 is looking like it will be quite difficult at work (they have announced that the business will be closing in 2015) so I need to be creative outside of work even more to balance my life out.  I don’t really make new year’s resolutions but my plans for 2014 are to spend more time making art and playing with inks/paints and to have more fun!!


Columbus Day & Frome

October 18, 2013

Hello is there anyone there?

I know I’ve been away for months so you have probably all given up on me and gone home. I’m sorry I haven’t written since January, there have been a few reasons why but the main reason was that my archaic laptop just couldn’t cope with anything and I got fed up with it taking an eternity to do anything. To be fair, it has been very reliable but it’s just too old, I got it in 2004 which makes it about a hundred in technology years.

So finally in September I sorted my life out and ordered a new laptop which arrived this week, and you won’t believe how happy I am with it. It’s like Christmas and my birthday all at once!

It’s become a tradition that I take this week in October off work to do crafty things.  I go to the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace on the Sunday and then spend the week making things while I’m still in a creative mind space.

Ally Pally was as inspiring as ever, even though the weather was horrendous, and I bought some wool, fabric, lace zips, ribbon and spent the coach trip knitting socks.

On Monday I celebrated Columbus Day in the same manner as they did on The Big Bang Theory (series 3 episode 4) because I thought it was a fun idea.  I watched 4 films directed, written or produced by Chris Columbus and ate pizza.  It was brilliant, the films I chose were:

The Goonies – awesome and one of my all time favourite films.  Watching it always brings back memories of seeing it in the cinema when it was first released and seeing Jeff Cohen (Chunk) interviewed by Terry Wogan and talking about the Truffle Shuffle.

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone -my favourite because it’s the first time we see all the little details of the wizarding world. Diagon Alley, wizard chess, chocolate frogs, Quidditch and I love it when Harry goes to Ollivander’s for his wand.  Also, I love the soundtrack by John Williams.

Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief – reminds me of my job at Ottakar’s when I first read this book.  It’s a good adventure and I really enjoyed it.  I can’t wait to see the sequel.

Fantastic Four – chosen predominantly because it has Chris Evans (the sexy one not the ginger one from Radio Two) in and I like looking at him and because it’s a good hero action film.

The Columbus day marathon started at 1pm and we finished watching HP1 at 10.30pm which was the best film to finish on!

In Country Living (November 2013 issue) I read that Mary Kilvert had opened a shop for her sheep designs on Catherine’s Hill which is one of my most favourite crafty streets.  It’s a lovely cobbled hill in Frome, Somerset and it’s full of crafty, artistic shops.

St Catherine's

Clockwise from top left: spiral staircase, Herbs On The Hill, counter in Make And Mend Vintage, St Catherine’s sign, inside The Garden Cafe.

We had a wonderful lunch in The Garden Cafe (brie, cranberry and celery toastie and lentil & spinach soup) which is an eclectic cafe at the bottom of Stony Street that sells artisan bread and organic veg.  As the name suggests it has a nice garden and they even supply blankets and throws so you can sit in it when it’s a bit chilly.

Frome craftiness

Clockwise from top left: Marmalade Yarns, Frome flag holder (or possible Christmas Tree holder as we saw a few of them), Millie Moon, haberdashery section of Millie Moon, Hunting Raven Books, lovely autumn foliage.

Then after lunch it was down to the main reason for our visit, all the lovely shops in St Catherine’s.  I bought a 5 inch charm pack of Moda Road 15 fabrics from Millie Moon Haberdashery Boutique & Sewing School and a fat quarter that looked like a map of Manhattan.  I don’t need more fabric but I just couldn’t resist the Road 15 fabrics.  I plan to just sew the 42 squares together in a 6×7 rectangle and make a hanging of them, nothing too complicated or I won’t get it made!!

We had a look in Marmalade Yarns but didn’t buy anything as mum and I had both bought yarn on Sunday.  The lady that runs it is really nice, last time we were in she recommended a wonderful local butchers that sells Tomato Sausages just like mum used to get in Lancashire when she was little.

And then we found Mary Kilvert’s shop at the top of Catherine’s Hill, it’s a lovely shop and her husband was really helpful and friendly.  Mary was apparently preparing lots of stock for the Country Living Fair in London at the end of the month so we didn’t see her.  But we did get a card of her Colourful Sheep that mum wants to frame.

The last shop we found was Hunting Raven Books on Cheap Street, it’s a wonderful independent bookshop, with a brilliant Children’s department.  I always judge a bookshop on the children’s and craft sections and Hunting Raven did not disappoint.  It’s tiny but is absolutely crammed with shelves and books and obviously has a someone who loves books doing the ordering.

It was a really lovely day and I must remember not to leave it so long before we go again!!  (and I won’t leave it so long to blog again!!)

Happy Halloween weekend!!

October 27, 2012

I am still alive, I just haven’t done my September or October calendar pages yet. They are both started but not anywhere near finished and I can’t believe it’s November next week.
I have been knitting and sewing but not done any playing with paint/ink recently. I’m hoping to do some tomorrow though so watch this space!!

Crafty goodies

June 23, 2012

I haven’t done much playing with paint this month since my calendar page, the lack of sunshine seems to be really affecting my creative mojo. I have part knitted 3 socks and they are all up to the cuff now.
I did receive some fab crafty goodies for my birthday at the start of the month, including the wonderful Cloth Paper Scissors book and Mixed Media Explorations by Beryl Taylor.  Both are really inspiring and full of techniques I want to try.  I also got 3 back issues of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine including the Jan/Feb 2012 one that has the word birds by Ann Ellis that Kate Crane made here.
Mum and I took a trip to London and went to visit Blade Rubber Stamps near the British Museum. It’s a lovely shop filled with loads of stamps, inks etc but most of all I loved the fact that they have loads of inspiring magazines that I can only get by mail and I so much prefer to have a flick through before I buy a magazine! I just wish I lived closer as I’d love to go and do a workshop there. We also visited Liberty’s and oooo’ed and ahhh’ed over the haberdashery, yarn, fabric and the Manolo Blahnik shoes!!

I have bought myself a small “kraft A5 landscape  scrapbook” from Paperchase, as a cheaper alternative to a SMASH book and I SMASHed pages for the trip to London, my birthday and a pretty tea bag from a meal at Wagamama’s.  If you haven’t heard of SMASH books (and I hadn’t until the end of May when I read about them on go to the link and click on the video.  It’s pretty much a no fuss scrap book for all those little things you like to keep i.e. cinema tickets, pretty leaflets, labels from clothes that are nice, all the little bits and bobs you usually just chuck in an old shoebox.  Well now there’s a place to SMASH them without some of the planning involved with scrapbooking.  They have pages with designs and print on already and come with a pen/glue stick for smashing on the go but I decided to try it out with a plain book before I splashed out the cash on a real one.  I will try and post pictures of my pages soon.  But now I need to go and get inspired about my July Calendar pages as it’s only a week until the first!!!

Playing with paint

February 25, 2012

I had a lovely time today, a friend came round and we got all my paints/inks/stamps and crafting stuff out and crafted together. It was really good fun. I made a creative mess with some paint and ink and Emma learnt how to emboss with my heat gun. Let’s just say she’s hooked and a heat gun may be on her birthday present list….
I haven’t finished my March calendar page quite yet so I’ll post a picture of that soon when it’s finished. I do have 4 days to go so I should be ready for Thursday.
Knitting group tomorrow so I’m looking forward to making progress on my knitted spats although the weather seems to be warming up so I might not get to wear them. I have bought buttons for them that are just perfect so I can’t wait to sew them on.

Happ-bee birthday!

February 18, 2012

This is the card I made for my mum’s birthday earlier this month.  I got the idea from the February Craftstamper which was perfect as mum really likes bees.  I changed it a bit by doing a painted/stenciled background and the top right bee on the hive is 3D – I stamped his wings on acetate.  And the hive is sparkly as I used gold ink spray by Dylusions.

It was really fiddly cutting out the bee’s legs but I think it was worth it.  Mum loved it.

This is my new cloch hat called Escargot, it’s a pattern from the Winter Knitty and I love it.  It took me four attempts to knit the crown but that was more my fault than the pattern.  I finished it two weeks ago and have worn it pretty much constantly ever since.  I love the spiral and the construction is really clever.  It’s knitted in King Cole Bamboo Cotton DK leftovers from the two lace-backed tops I knitted.

February Calendar Page

February 4, 2012

Well so far I’m keeping up with the challenge.  And I’ve started on my March page already! This one was done with Barn Door and Worn Lipstick distress inks, crafters workshop spiral stencil, free heart stamp from Craft Stamper Feb 2012 issue, a border Daily Junque stamp by Pink Paislee and various hearts drawn by me.  The big heart shapes in the opposite corners were masked with heart shaped post its and I coloured my squares with a baby wipe and pink ink.  I think the colours are a bit predictable for February but if I do this again next year I’ll definitely avoid the valentines theme!!

I have made some other cards this week and have 3 finished knitting projects from January but I’m off out to see a play in a minute so I can’t post about them yet.

Thank you for all the comments about my January page, was lovely to know people are reading my blog.  It’s another reason to like art journalling/stamping!!

Dank u wel!*

June 19, 2010

Look! Tall skinny houses with gables and hooks for loading things in through the windows – it must be Amsterdam.  I took this photo while on a canal boat tour.  I loved it, Amsterdam is such a cool place to visit.  I went to 7 museums and saw lots of amazing paintings by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Van Der Ast and many others.  I even went to the Tassenmuseum and saw the most amazing collection of vintage and modern handbags – funnily enough I only saw one man in the whole place. 

And these were everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE.  This was the most extravagantly decorated bike I saw but there were millions of them.  I quickly learnt to look both ways at junctions of pavements and roads, not for cars or trams which move quite sedately in the city centre, but for bikes.  The riders of which seem to do everything they would when walking including using their mobiles, holding umbrellas and most people cycle one handed permanently.  If I go again I am definitely hiring a bike for the day just to experience life in Amsterdam from that point of view. 

On my first evening I headed out across the city to De Jaren eating a cone of chips ‘met fritsaus’ (which is with mayonnaise but it’s not the same as mayo you get here and instantly brought back memories of eating chips in Germany when I was about 7 years old) and joined the Amsterdam Stitch n Bitch group.  I really enjoyed meeting them all and had a lovely time knitting some socks I had cast on especially as my holiday knitting. 

All in all, I can happily recommend Amsterdam for a visit, it’s small enough to walk all over but there is plenty to do to keep you busy if you want.  If you want to just get a coffee and sit by a canal and watch the world go by (probably on a bike!) then there’s tonnes of opportunities for that as well.  The only downside is they don’t drink proper tea there so if you want tea TAKE TEABAGS!!!

* thank you very much – pretty much all I said in Dutch as everyone speaks amazing English.


June 5, 2010

Look what I got today!! It’s so awesome. It’s a copy of Really Wild Tea Cosies by Loani Prior. And even if I never knit any of the tea cosy designs I still love this book as it makes me smile. The designs are just really good fun. I only have a small tea pot and I have made it a very functional cosy but I am really tempted to make it one of Loani’s now. But which one? there are too many to chose from. I may end up making some of them into baby hats instead as they don’t care what you put on their heads!!

I also got this wonderful bag made by my mum.  I chose the fabrics from her huge stash and she’s made it for me.  It has pockets inside for my phone and iPod and loops to tuck pens into so they don’t disappear to the bottom all the time.  I chose a turquoise lining so that I could see inside it –  I hate it when bags are all dark inside and black straps so they won’t show the dirt. 

It’s got a strip of multicoloured scraps down the middle that are a mixture of modern and older fabrics.  One was from a dress mum had, one used to be a shirt and there’s even a piece from a dress I had when I was little.  I can’t wait to take it to Amsterdam on Monday!!


May 8, 2010

Since my week off I’ve started back at college on Tuesday evenings doing my sketching and drawing – this term focussing on my mark making and possibly doing some linocuts.  I’ve started a course on Thursday evenings at the local arts centre learning to make silver jewellery and have made a simple silver ring already.  I’ve had a stinking cold and felt completely crap. 

I’ve just finished reading Beads, Boys And Bangles by Sophia Bennett, which is the sequel to Threads. Two books about Nonie and her friends and how they discover Crow a young fashion genius. I loved the first book when I read it last year and I’ve just read the second one today and love it just as much. Nonie’s best friends are Edie who wants to save the world and join the UN, and Jenny who has just become a famous teen actress. But what is great about them is they are normal teenagers who have to go to school, do their GSCEs, have boy trouble and mum’s who say they can’t stay out late. I love Sophia’s descriptions of Crow’s designs and all the fashion. I wish I had read these books when I was at school!