Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Poetic Inventions

Hi everyone!

       I am here to show you my DT creation for the new challenge at Sandee and amelies's steampunk challenge. This month the challenge is 'Inventors and Inventions'.

      I struggled with this challenge subject. As you know my Steampunk work tends to be a 'Twist of Steampunk' though I have been known to dive into the full works occasionally. I was so stuck on 'Inventions and Inventors'.....what shall I make?

      I was thinking about it for ages and by this point I wanted to make a notebook. I had seen Coptic Stitching and loved the idea and decided to see if I could do it. Who could the notebook be for? Well my daughter adores notebooks...she is of the opinion that having too many is never enough and she is always writing. She writes stories, but writing poetry is her main passion. Another notebook for her collection perhaps?

      And then I had the idea to focus on her poems as inventions. Perfect for the challenge....

    This was my second attempt at Coptic stitch...the first fell apart in my hands! It is very tricky to keep all the pages aligned and stitch at the same time (mine went a bit wonky, much to my annoyance....but practise makes perfect!)

     I began by using the signatures (the sections of pages) that I had cut out for the previous attempt. Cutting all the pages accurately is a bit of a nightmare as even a millimetre difference makes the pages look untidy...... 

- A good tip is to use a cheap kids sketchbook, tear out all the pages, divide them into groups of 5 and fold them. Use the cardboard backing of the sketch book, cut it in half and there you have perfectly sized pages and the cover ready to decorate. No measuring needed.....

     Like I said, I had cut the pages out already (and didn't want to waste them) So I cut out the covers from cardboard and I was on my way to making a notebook...

     I knew my daughter would like pink, and I chose her favourite shade 'Worn Lipstick'. I swiped some of the Worn Lipstick DS onto the craft mat along with Tarnished Brass DS and some Picket Fence DP. I spritzed with some water and placed some ordinary printer paper into the inky puddle. I picked up the paper and kept dabbing in the ink mixture until it was all covered. Then I placed the paper down on the mat and dabbed some extra Picket Fence DP over and rubbed it across the paper with my fingers, leaving streaks of white paint.

     When dry I covered the cardboard covers with the pink paper and then began stamping.

     I used a Tim Holtz stamp using Picket Fence DP...............

...........and then stamped some Tim Holtz butterflies with Gathered Twigs DI. 

I added some Cogs and a 'Create' stamp in the same ink.

I cut out some of the paper I made for the cover and stamped a flourish stamp on it in Coffee archival ink

 ........and used some letter stickers to make the word 'Poetic Inventions' 

I stuck the words on to the flourish stamped paper and then stuck that onto card that had been coloured with Walnut Stain DS. A couple of brass screw brads were added to the title.

I used some brass flowers with little watch gears in them 

and I added a brass tag with the word 'adventure' on it with a brass key.

    Coptic stitching can look pretty, but on this notebook it looked unfinished. So I made some faux leather card. I used Walnut Stain and Gathered Twigs DS that had been spritzed with water and scrunched some paper in it. When dry this was stuck both sides of a piece of card and cut to size and stuck to the edge of the book. 

So there is the 'Poetic Inventions' notebook......Hope you like it! 

Why not come along and play? We would love to see you there getting 'inventive' with Steampunk!

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Monday, 7 July 2014

Maid with love

Hi everyone!

         This wasn't a post that I had planned to do - but I am so proud of myself after two days of sewing that I just wanted to share....

     My daughter's school is doing an end of term show and in it her class are doing a Victorian feature. She has been cast as a maid and mentioned to me that she needed a mob cap and apron. I said I would like to make them for her....I am not sure what happened next, but she then somehow suggested I make all nine mob caps that were needed by the class....never one to shy from a challenge (and despite the fact that I had never made one before) I decided to give it a go...

    But how do I make one? The instructions I found on the internet were not very helpful and I got very confused so I went to a sewing expert - my dear friend Julia....she saved the day by finding me a step-by-step guide to making a mob cap that even I could understand. My daughter's teacher then asked me if I could make aprons too....Sure I can make them too.....I think!!!

    So yesterday I sat down to make all 9 mob caps and 4 aprons (I had done 5 last week) Cutting out 20" diameter circles was fun :o) How do you make an accurate circle pattern? Turns out there was a 20" cymbal as part of my husband's drum kit and that cymbal is currently staying in our living room at the moment - so I took the opportunity to use that!

      Once the 18 circles were all cut out it is just a case of sewing two together, leave a small gap and turn inside out. Then sew a circle 2" from the edge (leaving a gap - I forgot on three of them!) and then sew a complete circle about half an inch in from that. Thread elastic through the gap and feed it through the narrow strip made by the two circles of stitches and sew together at the end and - you have a mob cap!

 I decided to make it easier (?) for myself my doing each stage through all the mob caps, sewing all of them, then turning all of them, then ironing all and so on and so on......I tell you, by the time I was threading the elastic through No.7 I was really sick of them!!!!

     The apron was much easier and I am afraid I did it in a way that will make all talented seamstresses cringe....

I simply cut the material so it had a seam already at the bottom. Folded over the side edges once (yikes!) and stitched them. I folded the top over leaving enough space to thread the ribbon through, gathered up the material slightly and then sewed across the ribbon to secure it in place. Not a technically correct job, but it looked nice.

     My daughter complained about the white shirt that had been requested as part of the maid's uniform. She said it was too boyish and she hated it. I know her passion for pretty things, so I suggested we glam it up a little with some lace. Using some lace from my craft stash I sewed it onto the cuffs and collar.

 The skirt was one of mine that I didn't like anymore - It was brown so I dyed it black and took it in...again not a technically correct 'taking in' and I won't explain what I did for fear of hearing screams of horror reactions!....it fitted her and that was a huge relief!

     I certainly went through some rough patches. I can sew, I know some sewing bits and pieces, I can work a sewing machine, but I am in no way a seamstress (I really wish I was - my daughter would love me to make clothes for her) Halfway through making the mob caps my vintage singer sewing machine decided it was going to throw a wobbly and began making an awful mess of the bobbin stitches...a couple of hours were spent just unpicking the horrible tangled mess.

    Despite the problems I encountered (and it is all a learning experience) I loved making these items for the school and I am really proud....proud that they will be used in future plays by other children and I am proud that I made them despite not knowing how to. However, the best moment (to repeat the word 'proud' yet again) was when my daughter gave me a huge hug and kiss and said "Mummy, I am so proud of you for making them so brilliantly"

      So that is my daughter's costume (and 8 more mob caps and aprons) made in time for the performance on Friday. Some of you may wonder why my daughter looks a bit sad in some of the pictures - she isn't. She is just a very serious student of history who likes things to be correct. She knows that Victorian's didn't smile for photos and she insisted that it wouldn't be right for her to smile in these Victorian themed photos.....

  .........didn't last long though......!!!

    Thanks so much for being here to see my attempts at sewing......hope to see you soon!

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Friday, 4 July 2014

Lifelong Friends

Hi everyone!

     Over at Our Creative Corner there is the first Sponsor Spotlight of the month! Nicecrane Designs is our sponsor this month and I had a lot of fun using these gorgeous pictures....Here is a little sneak peek for you...

     Why not hop over to see the whole creation!......

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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Tussy Mussy

Over at Our Creative Corner Astrid is hosting a really gorgeous challenge

It being the middle of Summer here in the Northern hemisphere I thought I would challenge you to create flowers, in anyway you like, and to compliment those, please dye some ribbon too and make that part of your project. And of course if you live in the Southern Hemisphere you can play too, wintry flowers are some of the most beautiful

Flowers and ribbons - I am sure you will all know how thrilled I was when I found out about this challenge! This one is so much in my comfort zone I feel like I am wrapped in a warm blanket with a mug of hot chocolate! While hunting for some ideas of what to make I came across my wedding mood board on my computer - there were some pictures of tussy mussy's (which I had thought about having for my bridesmaids) - Now I had an idea for my creation....

For those of you who haven't heard of a tussy mussy (or spelt tussie mussie) here is a picture and an explanation.........

A tussy mussy is a Victorian-style bouquet where a small group of flowers is placed in a metal vase specifically designed to be carried. The term can refer either just to the metal holder or to the entire bouquet.

 In the Victorian era, a tussy mussy was a popular gift to a lady from her suitor, and typically incorporated the language of flowers to convey the suitor's sentiments and therefore may be used to send a message to the recipient. A red tulip was a declaration of love; a sprig of dogwood returned by the young lady was a sign of indifference; a variegated pink meant that she rejected her suitor's affection.The word "tussy mussy" probably comes from an older word "tus" meaning a cluster of flowers. 

Could I make my own from card? Well, there is only one way to find out.....

I had bought some tin foil sheets ages ago and they sat in my art cupboard. I had no idea what to use them for and I sadly lacked motivation to try and find something, so for a while they were forgotten. Eventually I asked my sister-in-law Alison (butterfly) if she could emboss them for me - I was hoping that that would inspire me. In the embossed collection of foil paper was a beautiful ornate pattern - perfect for the tussy mussy...

I began by forming a cone out of card

Then I drew a circle the same size as the top of the cone on a piece of card and drew a circle around it (about 1cm width) 

The inner circle had lines drawn to mark out segments.

Then I used a craft knife to cut the segments

I then pushed them up

And glued them into the cone

These pictures were actually taken after I made the tussy mussy - I was too involved in making the actual one to take photos! So these photos were recreated afterwards using scrap card. When making the tussy mussy I applied the tin foil sheets to the cone before gluing it into the cone shape and I also attached the foil to the circle before cutting the segments.

I curved some 2mm aluminum wire around a paintbrush as this helps form a neat rounded edge.   I twisted the ends using some jewelery pliers. This formed the handle for the tussy mussy

I wanted a vintage tussy mussy and the foil sheets were too new looking. So I got out my alcohol inks and using Ginger and Espresso alcohol ink on the pad I began to dab all over the tussy mussy. I then added some blending solution onto a clean pad and dabbed over again to remove some of the ink, leaving a rusty tarnished look.

 Well - that looks like a tussy mussy to me! I was thrilled to have made it and finally used some of the foil sheets too!

Now to get onto making the flowers. I wanted a crescent style bouquet using vintage peach and cream tones with some greenery....first I wanted to make some little white blossoms

I used a small flower punch and punched out many of these small flower shapes

I then glued between 3-5 of them together (depending on the required size of flower)

I stuck a pin into the flowers making two small holes

Then inserted some fine silver wire through

Twisting one length around the other to secure it

 Adding a drop of glue to the flower I then began to fold the petals in

And there is the white blossom

I made various sizes

 Now they needed some leaves and I couldn't leave the stems silver! I painted some leaves with a mix of Hey Pesto and Toad Hall Fresco paint. I also applied some of this to the stems...

 When the leaves were dry I dabbed some Aged Mahogany DI around the edges.

 After attaching some leaves to the white blossoms I dabbed the petals with Antique Linen DI

 Now onto the roses....I used the Tattered Florals die cuts. and used Tattered Rose DI

 After covering each flower with the ink I did some spritz and flick with water

 I cut all the flowers up so I had the parts to make up the roses

 Waiting for the glue to dry!

 The finished roses......needs something else....

 A dab of Vintage Photo DI around the edges

 The leaves that had been edged with Aged Mahogany DI were now scored with a craft knife to give leaf veins

 So pretty!

 Now to work on some greenery. While I was doing this I also did some other flowers - and forgot to take any other pictures of them. You can see them here sitting in the stain 'bath' They were two flowers glued together with an ivory seed bead as the center. 

Here I was focusing on the ivy. I used Antique Linen DS and left it to soak in a puddle

 I used Peeled Paint and Forest Moss DI

 I dabbed the inks onto the craft mat and spritzed with water

 Using Peeled Paint I painted in the center of each leaf

 Then I painted some of the darker green in the center of each leaf and also over the stems

 Because the DI's are translucent, and I was using opaque paints in the bouquet, I decided to spritz the ivy with Dylusioins White Linen Spray. This wasn't intended to make the ivy white or gave a splattered look. It just added a more opaque look to the finshed leaf...

 This was the final piece of foliage - This was painted in Hey Pesto, Toad Hall and Mocha Mousse Fresco Paints

 And last, but by no means least.....The Ribbon! I used some white organza ribbon and swirled it into Antique Linen DS that had a tiny spritz of Melted Chocolate Dylusions spray in it. When the strips were dry I folded them up into three loops and secured the ends with wire. These were then included in the Tussy Mussy bouquet.

And here is the finished bouquet....

Hope you like this Victorian Tussy Mussy - Thanks so much for being here to see it!

Why not come along and have some flower and ribbon play with us! You could be our winner and find yourself in the Top Talent Spotlight! There is also a prize from Nicecrane Designs who is our Sponsor this month! Come and join in the fun!

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