Saturday, 25 April 2009
In episode 2 Kirstie learnt how to make various candles - the ones I especially liked were container candles made in china cups. ( http://www.channel4.com/4homes/design-style/how-to-guides/how-to-make-candles-intro-09-04-21_p_1.html ) By the way, during this post I am aware that I may end up sounding like Kirstie's personal fan club / stalker, but I love her!
It looked so easy, so simple, and so fab for my whole 'recycled' craft thing. But I do think it will take a lot of practice. The problem with me is, when I get excited about an idea I have to do it NOW, regardless of what other things I have on the boil! Steve is going to kill me, our dinning room just keeps growing ever more into a junk shop and I have a horrible feeling it's not going to stop. Todays additions to the pile include these:
This is a box of shot glasses and a couple of china cups which I aquired for free. Since watching this week, I have been desperate to have a go. I have researched on the internet costs etc of wax and wicks, and its all very reasonable - this is assuming that the wax melts down to a decent quantity.
I thought these shot glasses would be a good way to test out my ability to create something functional and pretty. There are a few quite pretty glasses in the box anyway that should mask my crapy initial attempts!
There are also a couple of really pretty china cups, granted they have a couple of chips on the rim, but surely this is just another reason to recycle them into something useful?!!
As I have got my containers, this morning I thought I would go to the craft shop. There is a fab art store on the Chester Road, Boldmere (The Vesey) which has framed many of our prints and is a veritable aladdin's cave a crafty goodness. However, they didn't have any wax or wicks. The lovely assisstant had recently uncovered a box of 'random' bits which happened to have some candle dye. As it had been there some time, she let me have the dye for 75p! I liked her a lot actually, she had a similar aversion to Hobbycraft as I have! She too thinks they are vaguely evil and "not very nice!"
So I have my containners, I have some dye, I am still missing the all important ingredients of fire and fuel! I am thinking, to stick with my theme, I might go round the chairty shops this afternoon and see what tatty, old bits of candle I can pick up. However, I think it is only right I actually buy new wicks and wick holders! Not entirely sure I can get away with using pre-used wicks, it could be a unique selling point . . . but I doubt it!
There are some really fab websites with steps and advise for making candles, the best type of wax wick etc for the candle you want. This one I find especially good:
For me, as I am not particularly good with the whole maths thing, the most difficult part will be working out exactly which type and size of wick I will need. This is a good starting point I think:
However, I think this is going to take me a little time to perfect! I shall let you know how I get on with my experiments!
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
Monday, 20 April 2009
Instead, love is the many varied little (and big) things that make a difference, and as much as Steve will protest loudly againt this, I know he loves me! Yes, he does tell me, but theres those little moments that make it so much more. And over the last 12 months there have been even more suspicious clues that he may be in this for the long haul . . .
No, buying and house together with a joint mortgage, that wasn't it - terribly unromantic and financial! A business deal. But during one his cleaning fits he did weedle out all the duplicate DVDs in our now combined collections.
From this point things have gone further, after all he was the one who suggested and encouraged me to write and do something different for a while. On the back of this he bought me a dining table and chairs (which we have still to have a meal at - steve is refusing to have a dinner party!) so that I could do home tutoring to bring in a little money when needed. But the greatest offering of his love was last week when looking at my knitting!
The picture here shows my latest attempt at knitting - a much, much, much better effort - it even looks like it could be used for something. I aim to make this into a bag, hopefully one that someone would like to buy. I was thinking of using other bits of felt, wool and beads to decorate it up. will have to think of a design though . . .
Anyway, I digress. When steve saw my knitting he didn't say very much. It is knitting afterall. However, after a little pondering he asked if I would knitt him a scarf!!!!! Now that is love! He not only believes in my writing, in my methods of making some pennies, but now also in my knitting!! So, soon we are going to go and find some suitable wool for this project, and I am going to teach myself how to do tassles!! I am slightly concerned that this makes us a pair of old marrieds, but I don't care. It makes me floaty . . . oh, hang on, here come the fireworks!
I would love to live some where vaguely rural when I am rich and famous (ahem)! Somewhere close enough to civilisation, but small enough to feel at home. As much as I have loved living here in brum, its never quite felt just right. Work today proved it.
I have been having a few 'minor' stresses about work this year. I've out grown it. Just like I'm starting to feel like I've outgrown the city. Don't get me wrong, I am happy here and I have made some wonderful friends, but I need a change - hence the writing. I've not slept much in the last few days worrying about today. It was an INSET day in reality it's nothing, its easy, its not stressful in the slightest. I made it to 11.30 this morning before I burst out crying - I think thats a new record!! Go me!
Anyway, after a verbal slap from Erika to help get me back together, I saw things in a little more perspective. Its 12 weeks. 12 school weeks and I am free to do as I please for 12 months - WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!! lets just home I can do it some justice!!!
Anyhoo - heres 4 more brooches I made from random bits and pieces donated by my mum and grandma. Think a couple of these would make nice wedding corsages. Hope you like . . . .
Sunday, 12 April 2009
I made a litte knitted santa for the christmas tree which my mum still hangs every year. Actually, I feel she has no option. My brother and I would moan / shout / fuss / generally complain in protest every year when mum tried to put more 'tasteful' and 'decorative' items on the tree instead of the plastic tack and homemade gubbins we had loved and cherished from being tots. We did relent at times which strung beads and new twikling lights appeared, but the clinging santas, glitter stars, and my little knitted number remained. Even now when we have not lived at home for a good few years, mum is not allowed to change the angel despite the fact that she is very nearly headless, filthy and incredibly dented (and quite scary actually, its like something out of nightmares). No other angel will do!
So it is that little piece of inspiration that is aired annually which has led me to knit again. There was no general point for this other than a mode of relaxation in these stressful days. I figured that I would enjoy it and potentially be good enough to make things for others some day, after all my santa has survived nearly 20 years and still looks splendid!! However, my first attempts at a 'bag' where not particularly fruitfull . . . .
I don't know what happened!! Some how i managed to double the number of stitches I needed within 5 rows! Not quite as spectaular as one would have hoped! Never mind I thought, its wool. I will just wash it really hot in the machine and turn it into felt which I can then create all manner of things from, waste not want not, make do and mend!! Hmmm. Don't buy cheap wool and trust the lable. It would appear that it is not actually wool. I have now made this into what can only be described as a flamboyant version of Rab C Nesbit's vest. Not ideal. So any ideas? I shall endeavour to conquer this and create something fabulous from it! maybe.
So, today's craft (as afterall it is sunday!). The good thing is people are alrady watching my brooches on ebay which were listed last night - hopefully that will convert to bidders and buyers, but its promising to say the least. The bag? nout yet.
Today I have two more bags made from recylced bits and bobs . . .
The above is made from some of that wonderful lime satin mentioned in the previous blog and heavy duty upholstery material retrieved from a set of curtains. The fabric on the outside is so fresh and summery, and hard wearing!
The above bag is similar to the previous blog bag too, however, this has purple satin from an old skirt as the lining (unmarked - looks lovely!) and some handmade flowers made using my flower loom!!! I would advertise the flowers as being woollen however I seriously doubt it now following the disgrace that is my first knitted piece!
I have, however, begun another knitted piece which so far (fingers crossed) looks like a fully capable human being may have been near it. I think my plans for this evening now, whilst full of roast easter lamb, will be to flump infront of sunday night telly and knit away to my hearts content! I am a little worried I may be heading down the path of a tea cosy wearing, unpleasant smelling, multi-cat-collector. I'd be really worried if it wasn't for steve!
Saturday, 11 April 2009
So here we go . . . .
I was actually quite proud of this - a reclaimed fabric beach bag. The outer is a heavy cotton style fabric which was previously a very poor 'sheppherds' costume at school. It was recently torn apart to make bread bags for Hansel and Gretel. The rest had been left for throwing out. Not in my classroom!
The lime lining was the end of a roll on Birmingham's Rag Market that the stll holder was throwing underneath his stall out of the way.
The paper flowers attached on the front are remnants of card making motifs.
Brooches and Corsages
These are three of the four brooches I made this evening whilst watching Britains got Talent! See multi-tasking!
All three of these are made using bits and pieces left over from my Mum's wedding in January. In fact, most of these odds and sods came off her wedding cake (which I hasten to add she made herself from the alcohol soaked fruit to shiny beaded flowers adorning the tiers - a very talented lady). Sadly, there is no icing or marzipan remaining on the pieces.
Each piece, ribbon, flower, bead etc, has been taken apart and remade into these brooches / corsages, which I am actually really chuffed with. It started today because I had bought myself a flower loom! I had one as a kid and used to bore people to death with knitted flowers made for no purpose and no one, I couldn't even pass them off to old people as coasters! But I figured with me rejuvinated love for crafts (and the fact that I have been given my Grandma's entire knitting drawer of goods recently) I could put a flower loom to good use. Therefore I have spent the day wrapping and twisting, coiling and stitching wool and fabric around several little pegs which kept pinging out of place! Steve bless did try to show an interest in what I was doing, and to be fair did a bloody good job of being enthusiastic about, lets face it, the outcomes of a girl guide's attempt at her handmade crafts badge.
Well, as I have another week left until I have to go back to work, I am sure I will find some time to write a little more nonsense and share with you my next creative attempts.
Happy Easter all.
Anyhoo, this is a very different type of blog.
Many things have changed in my life in the last few months and more changes are to come in the next few. The credit crunch has hit certain places and areas hard and you would think in these times I would be sitting smug with my teacher job knowing the world couldn't touch me. Knowing that I am financially secure no matter what the bankers want to do next. Knowing I had a job for life. Well, in these times of relative financial chaos I have done the complete opposite.
As of July I will be leaving the teaching profession for 12 months to follow my writing ambitions. I want to be an author. I can't promise I am any good at it, but I (with thanks to my incredibly supportive boyfriend) am going to give it a bloody good go!
However, you may think that this is what I will be blogging about, and yes I suppose it will be mentioned along with all my other ramblings. I would imagine over the next few weeks I will swing between shear excitement and complete panic about my destiny - there is more than every expectation that this won't work as planned!! No, I wanted to blog mainly about my attempts to make a living from anything but teaching.
Obviously, the major downfall of a career change is that I am leaving an incredibly good wage. I am also not a saver - I am pretty poor with money, but I am learning. I have recently taken to trying to make money through selling junk on ebay - it is truly awesome what some people will buy. But I have been more taken by something which my Cie ( http://secondhandshopper.wordpress.com/ ) was talking to me about the other day - make do and mend! With the world rapidly running out of seemingly everything, from unrenewable resources to money, from polar ice caps to penguin biscuits (they just don't seem to be as popular these days) and with the worl rapidly increasing in endless streets of charity shops and jumble sales, I figured why not combine the two?!!
Therefore my aims: To save the world, the poor and needy; make money so I don't end up homeless and in a gutter (not too good for writing kids books); make some pretty things for all the girlies who are mesmerised like budgies by the shiny shiny things!
So, I am going to recycle, remake, mend, adapt, change, alter - all these things, not only in the junk that I find, but hopefully in myself too.
Wish me luck! Oh God. Gulp.