Sunday, November 28, 2010

Snowed under.

I was going to post last night, but poor picture quality prompted me to wait until the next bout of natural daylight. This week has been a bit hectic for me work wise, and next week is going to be even busier, so don't be disappointed with my trivial offerings, ok?
These little guys aren't very well executed, but they did achieve my desired goal, namely, bringing some imaginative repurposing of otherwise useless materials into my crafting life. The shallow, clear plastic circles which provided the template for these were formally confetti containers.
The first one isn't too exciting - just buttons and glue, but I think it will make a fun badge, I was more hopeful for the other one, but it isn't everything I wanted it to be, for two reasons. I put a layer of fabric on the bottom to make it more interesting, but my sloppy work with the glue gun means the fabric is bumpy and uneven, while the layer of varnish I put over it significantly darkened the tartan pattern, making it much less discernible. Nevertheless, I am encouraged by this experiment and plan to massacre some appropriately shaped shampoo bottles in the near future.

This next thing wasn't really made per say. I've been looking at a lot of recipes for making soap online, but unfortunately, due to the dullness of pharmacies nowadays, have had trouble sourcing some of the ingredients. (Ironically, at work I literally have a cataloge from which I could order all the chemicals I need, but I don't think my supervisor would be too happy about funding my craft addiction). Recently I found myself in possession of an Amazon voucher, and decided to order some Melt and Pour soap. As the name suggests, this soap couldn't be easier to 'make' - you simply melt it the unscented, uncolored base, add any scents, colorings, treats that you want, pour into a mold and let to set. This did necessitate me buying some essential oils for scents, and as I'm trying to avoid actually spending money on craft stuff until I use up some of what I have, this is where I drew the line - the soaps would be colorless. These soaps are lemon scented, and alright to use, though they are a little bland and don't froth themselves into a luxurious frenzy. While I'm glad I got it, and while I will, in future, put more effort and money into jazzing up the Melt and Pour that I have, this really has just emphasized my desire to make the soap from scratch. I'm a chemist, and a craftster - this is what must be done.

Friday, November 19, 2010

So. It's been two weeks since my last post - as I warned you, last week I went home for the opening of the Carbon Footprint Project exhibition, which was a subset of the larger Lovely Weather project. You've already heard about the aims of the Carbon Footprint project, and the whole exhibition wad similarly themed around the notion of climate change, environment, etc etc. How was it? Well.....look. This is my blog. I can express my opinions, my honest opinions, which can sometimes be hard to express in person without being  unnecessarily rude and perhaps hurtful. I thought the rest of the exhibition was pretty crap. With the exception of one piece which had turf samples taken from different areas, different depths, and had some literature discussing how turf is one of our great natural resources and must be protected, I really did not get what the other projects were about, or how they were supposed to be illustrating the given theme. They had no literature or posters discussing the concept behind their pieces, and consequently I had no choice but to take them at face value. And at face value they seemed like not a whole lot for what I'm sure was quite a sum from the Donegal County Council. Some photos of people running around Donegal. Footage of seagulls projected against a wall. Woot.

The Carbon Footprint Project was definitely one of, if I hesitate to say, the most popular piece at the exhibit. As well as large posters telling you what the bleedin' idea was, the touchy-feely nature of the piece really grabbed people's attention, and it also had the benefit of being the very first thing you saw when you came in the door.

I think everyone who attended the exhibition, or participated in the project, or in any of the spinning, knitting or yarn dying workshops which preceded it, would join me in saying a heartfelt 'Thank you' and 'Congratulations' to one Ms. Ruth McCartney. Yes, she is my friend, but I can objectively say she put a sheeee-it load of work into this project, not only by spinning an awful lot of the yarn used in the project, but running the workshops, staying at the drop-in studio to educate any and all who were interested, as well as knitting up a storm. Indeed, upon entering, several ladies came scurrying up to her, gleefully pulling their knitting out of their bags, given that it was she who convinced them to participate, with her natural people talents and obvious enthusiasm for the project. Ruth, you played a huge part in this project, and me and the others you educated thank you!

Now we're entering the danger zone. Don't panic now, all I mean is that it's coming up to the big 'C', and like it or not, people are thinking about it. I, at least, have an excuse at least - given that I make an awful lot of my gifts, I have to get started early. This does mean that a significant portion of what I craft over the next few weeks will cruelly be kept secret, being intended for one of the few (but much appreciated!) people who follow my silly little blog. This does give me a good excuse to do some selfish crafting at least once a week though - heehee! Thank you little blog!

I returned to my heart obsession this week, although you may be relieved to hear not in necklace format. 
My embroidery skills leave a lot to be desired, but I like to have a go at it once in a while. The above piece did inspire and motivate me to have a go at some machine, well, embroidery seems like the wrong word, but artfully placed stitching.
I am super pleased with how this turned out, I didn't think it would work so well. I love how it looks like a pen sketch, I'll have to try and source some more plain white cotton type material to repeat this experiment.

And now. It is Friday. I am tired. But I have some delicious wine by my right, much adored company by my left - I am happy. I hope everyone has a wonderful week.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Spun into a frenzy

I really have to work on those titles.
This Monday I was delighted to receive a ginormous box of lovely. I didn't encounter the courier - my housemate did - and consequently I only saw the box when I was running out the door to work. And even worse, I work late on Monday evenings, so I couldn't tear into the happiness until close to 9:30pm. So what did I make this week? Well, my spinning wheel for one thing.
Unfortunately I didn't take a picture before I started but here's some 'Under Construction' shots.

And the finished article.
I bought my Kromski mazurka from the lovely people at Wingham Wool Work. No, I did not suddenly come into some money or decide to take out a high interest loan - just a bit of luck. The Wingham Wool Work website features a special offers page where, among other things, they occasionally sell wheels, discounted due to their previous status as display models. So they might have some evidence of usage, but apart from that they're all fine. This one in particular had been used for some time, but the page included this information, noting that they were technically classifying it as 'Second-hand', rather than 'Ex-display'. So it needed a tiny bit of attention - oiling the joints, sanding down the flyer to get rid of a bit of rust - but apart from that it's just perfect. Now all I have to do is practice my spinning so that I can do it justice. My first is shown below, along with the lazy kate which was included with the wheel. 

Not dreadful, but could use improvement.
Apart from my wheel (squee!) I finished my Carbon Footprint Mittens. In order to interweave the required concept of carbon emission and climate change, I made them decidedly quirky, with one mitten being longer than the other and the shorter one being fingerless, to hint at the fact that as our carbon emissions have increased (as illustrated by the longer glove) we have become warmer. Forgive the pictures - as I was taking them myself I could only take on action shot at once.

The exhibition opens next Friday in Letterkenny, so my being in attendance there will consequently mean I will not be attendance here. Yes, it's true, there are still some people out there sans internet, and my mother is one of them. I'll be sure to take loads of pictures at the exhibition (which you can find out more about here) - I'm really looking forward to seeing how different people interpreted the theme.

Have a great weekend everyone.