Sat 10th Sept
Got engaged! Jim proposed to me at his birthday meal at Darleys, a complete surprise :D Love you hun! x x x x x
For Jim’s birthday present I made him a cross-stitched QR code with a link to his WordPress. Neither of us actually have a QR reader so still no idea if it actually works, but I made one previously for our good friend Jj and his worked so fingers crossed! I whipstitched it onto white felt so Jim can attach it as a patch to his bag or scarf later on.
Monday 12th Sept
Made Jim a (late) birthday cake – apple and marzipan with some fun decorations. Still a newbie at cake decorating but getting fancy with squiggly glittery icing, although I wish it would set.
I also used some chess piece chocolates I got in the Christmas sale early this year to top some muffins. It turned out they weren’t full figures as I’d hoped but flat on one side, so I made half a set by glueing matching pieces together with icing on their flat sides. The King and Queen had to be mismatched but I don’t think they minded.
what you mean when you say, half-caste?!
The muffins themselves turned out a bit disappointing and soft, but I had my first venture into buttercream icing and had fun covering the tops, although I will be more adventurous and try a shaped piping nozzle next time!
Sat 17th Sept
Designed and cross-stitched a wedding sampler for my friend and ex-colleague Jenness who got married the next day to fiancée Franklin! I adapted the design from a set I’d done previously for a website so that bit didn’t take too long, but the actual cross-stitching took most of the day and I was happy when it was finally done and in its frame!
Sun 18th Sept
Wedding in the morning! Lots of singing, which was kinda fun, lots of talking about God, which was less fun as they were trying to convert us, but interesting nonetheless and one of the speakers presented a good lesson which can be applied to everyday life whether you believe in God or not. Basically, don’t lose sight of the important things. (Matthew 23:23)
Then straight to Sew Darn Crafty Craft Fair, where myself and the other girls (boys are allowed too but they’re apparently less crafty than us) set up stalls to sell our creations from the months before.
Everything was going well until it became apparent that we weren’t going to have many people actually coming, which was a shame as I’d prodded all my Derby Facebook friends as hard as I could through the medium of internet. It didn’t help that the football was on in the pub, so we were sat lonely outside with our tables while inside it was packed with cheering blokes who occasionally came out to smoke and not buy anything.
Plus a personal tragedy, I managed to choose the corner where the adorable pub dog apparently likes to wee, so I was stuck in a stinky spot in my wedding outfit trying not to feel too cold and disheartened. In the end I sold three things, so at least I came home with a tiny profit. A learning experience certainly.
stalls from Faybel Craft and Craftastic
Most of the others had done a craft fair before so they had a better plan of how to dress their stalls, so I have a good idea next time of how to not just have a bare table with stuff laid flat on it. Click these links to see Faybel Craft and Craftastic!
Mon 19th Sept
Took a train to Sheffield to collect my Crocollage set back from firing. The transfers seem to have faded a tiny bit and some of the paint apparently hasn’t adhered like I wanted it to, but really I still love my naughty kitties and I even had an enquiry to sell a couple of pieces, so I might see if I can go back and make some more :D
Tue 20th Sept
Decided to use the Bondaweb I’ve had rolled up in my stash for ages and finally experimented with some appliqué! I free-handed a fox onto a sheet of A3 and used some old clothes pieces to get the different colours. Bondaweb is actually very easy to use! The hardest bit I think is going to be stitching over all the edges to make sure it doesn’t start to peel off with wear. I have a wonderful boyfriend to do that scary bit for me but unfortunately he’s always mega-busy so I think foxy will wait a little while longer before he can ride my chest into the big bad world.
Wed 21st Sept
Glowing with appliqué enthusiasm, I patched a long sleeve top I’ve been avoiding wearing because I pulled a hole in it walking past a bush. I stitched the hole closed and stuck a rain cloud over the top to cover it up, with a few raindrops below to make it look like it was always meant to be there and no-one will ever know otherwise unless they read my blog. It’s only small so it wasn’t such a big task to secure the edges with stitching, so I finally have a piece complete! Yaay!
Later on it was time again for the fortnightly Sew Darn Crafty, and this time it was just myself and a nice girl who makes clay pendants for LARPers and the like. She suggested I try to sell my crafts at Pretty Things, a shop I’d never heard of in the Market Hall, so I made a note of it as I am a little unbalanced in the crafts made Vs crafts sold department. I passed the evening cutting and sewing a hanging heart decoration of the type I’ve been making recently.
white hanging heart decoration with red snowflake stitching
I got the snowflake cross-stitch/back-stitch pattern from CrossStitcher magazine, but I came up with the idea for the decorations and how to do it on my own. I will try to sell as many as I can but I won’t be too sad to have them for myself this Christmas!
Thu 22nd Sept
Was proactive and loaded up my bag of unsold crafts from the craft fair and took it into town to show to Pretty Things. Turns out the guy who owns the shop is a lovely friendly chap and he took most of my stuff (after a little self-editing; “Don’t have that, it’s actually a bit crap”), I signed a contract, and all is good :) This really gives me peace of mind to just get on with the fun making bit while he does the hard selling bit, and to be honest the 35% commission I will pay on each item is probably comparable to the amount I’d be spending on stall hire elsewhere. Hurrah!
I also found an open call for illustrators to do some free work for Derby University, so I got in contact with the guy responsible and he’s given me a graduate booklet to illustrate! Unpaid of course, but this will be good for my CV and it’ll be nice to see my work in print. Haven’t started on it yet but there’s a couple of weeks yet until the deadline so I shall finish my current creativities before I concentrate on that. Is this the attitude that resulted in me constantly working til the last minute at uni? It may well be. Ho hum.
Jim’s last day of employment before he goes freelance next week. Exciting and nervous times ahead. He has a few jobs lined up already so fingers crossed we can keep paying the bills!
Another burst of appliqué, I made a ‘sex kitten’ t-shirt for Jim as I had tried to make him one years ago using Coventry University library printing services and it turned out crap, so this is an owed present from then really. When I came to design ideas for it I couldn’t actually think up much that I would be comfortable with. How are kittens sexy? They’re not, they’re loveable though. I didn’t want to start drawing a provocative kitten, that would just be too weird to wear on a t-shirt. So I settled on a cute design focussing on love instead, with two cats making a heart with their tails. It is still awaiting the final step with the sewing machine but it’s looking pretty wearable so far ^__^
In the evening, Derby Festé! We wandered out to see the Fire Garden, which had some awesome burning sculptures and flame poi/fan/staff dancers. My favourite bit by far was the Mechanical Menagerie by Alfonso Milanos, which was a cart pulled by a skeleton on a bicycle and driven by a tiny skeleton, with funky music booming out and two flaming blasts issued periodically from the roof.
More Derby Festé events, and this time we headed to the town centre to see the wonders on the Cathedral green which included a huge inflatable pig with a show inside, which unfortunately we didn’t get to see as there was a long line of parents and buggies outside and they could only fit ten viewers at once. No matter though, because we got front row seats (well, pavement) to the Grimox Brothers’ amazing ‘Les 3 Points de Suspension: Journey on the edge of the end of the world’, which featured a man being fired by a catapult twice (!!), acrobatic stunts and evil magic. Click here to read Jim’s account of it too :D
Jim and I went to a wedding fair to start gathering ideas with more seriousness now that WE’RE ENGAGED!! *ahem* We tried lots of cake and I was even refusing cake by the end as I was getting too caked-out, but it helped us get more of an idea of what we might go for (nothing too rich or moist!) and the styles we like. We’re considering a slightly Victorian/steam punk theme so I found these perfect cog icing shapes which I could cascade down a plain white cake base, and maybe have cog shaped cupcakes for individual guest portions. This will of course involve lots of home-baking experimentation and practice, which will be terrible :D One thing I know I want (but can I afford??) is a photobooth for everyone to get fun photos on the day, and glue into a guest book! Our friends Tom and Naomi had one at their wedding and it was such a good idea and fun to get people involved so I really hope we end up with one.
My arty friend Sally was taking part in PixelSynthesis #3 so I went along to watch the art unfold and make some doodles of my own. The other artist was Glenn Millington aka pictographik, the guy behind PixelSynthesis, so it was good to see what his art style is. There were a few technical problems at the start so I used the time to practice my drawing with the cup of tea I bought from Quad.
coloured in later with Photoshop
The theme was ‘Sequence’ which I think suited Sally as she is a comic artist, and she used a tablet to illustrate a three-panel story showing a lady writing on a typewriter.
Sally Jane Thompson at PixelSynthesis 3
Glenn had taken a photograph of a blazing sunset and used Photoshop to rotate and repeat sections so that it curved into a large S that filled the screen.
Glenn Millington at PixelSynthesis 3
Very different styles and approaches this time. Check out photos from the event here.
A few years ago I made my first crochet scarf and it turned out all different widths as I didn’t know when to start a new row. It was nice and long and dark green though so it served me well last winter, but now that my crochet skills are a bit more sound I decided to pull it apart and remake it better. So far I have made a tiny scarf which I am planning to add duplicate bits to so it’s a bit ‘Frankenstein patchwork’, but I soon got distracted and started on something else. I had an inspiration to try making wristwarmers with some lovely variegated acrylic wool I have several balls of cheap from a charity shop, and made up button holes by leaving a gap of chain before attaching again to the rest of the material. It worked pretty well! Here’s my first one :D
Walked up to Markeaton campus of Derby uni where they had some craft stalls and picked up lots of leaflets for various uni things I might be able to get involved with despite not being a student. Plus I got a free goodie bag containing a rice krispie square, a cheapo energy drink, tetley tea and sanitary towels. Score! My life is all about the free stuff.
Had an assessment interview at Pride Park Stadium for an admin job in one of the offices there. There were about 80 of us in the room vying for 4 jobs, and as they took us in groups of 10 to do the first exercise while the others waited, it took ages to get through it even though according to the itinerary it should only have taken about half an hour.
The task was to choose from a long list the ten items we would choose to help us survive and get rescued after a coach crash in the central African jungle. Some people in my group who hadn’t read the brief tried to argue that we needed life jackets, even though we weren’t anywhere near water. And apparently a single pack of cream crackers was more crucial than someones contact lenses, but there you go. A guy at my table told me after his turn that lots of people in his group had been arguing to take a bible. Srsly. I suppose if you believe in God then that might seem sensible, but considering He doesn’t seem to intervene much anyway I don’t think reading from the bible would be any more effective than just praying in your head.
After hours of waiting… I got through the first cut! Woohoo! More than half of the candidates left and suddenly my table was very empty. Apparently that round was to find people with the right personality so there you have it, proof that I have shiny personal skills!
The next task was an individual one, to present in front of the six assessors in another room on a subject from a choice of four. I chose the first one, which was to describe an event or achievement that I was proud of, which I did about the time in junior school where I made my teacher actually listen to me play recorder since I was sick of being stuck in the beginners class with all the newbies screeching through A, B and C. This time the wait seemed even longer, as they had about 30 people to get through individually, and I went about halfway through. I spent the rest of my time chatting to the guys on my table and drawing the water jug.
Next cut…. I didn’t make it. But that’s ok because only 7 people did so I guess they were getting more serious and I was happy to finally be free after six and a half hours there, only 15 min of which I had spent actually being assessed. Plus I got free sandwiches. Yay!
In the evening there was Hatch’d Out at Quad, a monthly networking event for local creatives. I only stayed for a short while but I was really impressed by Elly Lucas’ photography and embroidered appliqué, and I met Heidi who does amazing freehand facepainting with her company featurefaces, and she kindly put some awesome on my face :D
I managed to smudge it, of course
Fri 30th Sept
Got The A-Z of Wedding Wisdom out of the library to get some tips for a trouble-free wedding day, and found some beautiful buttons in the local haberdasherers for christmas crafting!
Also popped in to Pretty Things and the guy informs me that he has sold a couple of my zip rose brooches, hurray! (To see how it’s done, check out my how-to)
Sat 1st Oct
Looked around Derby museum to see what new was on offer, but wasn’t too impressed. Went afterwards to the gallery space at Quad and was much more interested in their Ha-Ha Road exhibition which was exploring humour. To be honest, there wasn’t much that I found funny, but one clever person had rearranged anagrams of food tin labels with such results as ‘danger peas’ made from ‘garden peas’, which my brain thought was spiffing.
There were quite a few films to watch but they were all so slow-moving and boring to watch that I wonder if anyone waited around long enough to see if they were funny. I watched a man sit down with a cello… and stand up again. This took about twenty seconds and I was buggered if I was going to waste more of my life on it.
One other thing I did like though, and you might be a little suspicious of my motives on this, was a vending machine that automatically vended free food whenever it found a news story mentioning the recession. I got a pack of prawn cocktail crisps. Art ftw!
Sun 2nd Oct
Car boot! Spent £2 on ten vintage buttons that I can add to my future craft creations and hopefully make people go “oooooh vintage I’ll buy that!” (Well it worked on me!) I also bought a ladle for 10p and scored some free butter knives, spoons, chess pieces, kids party bags and a canvas bag that would have otherwise ended in the compactor bin. Good times!
Jim and I then went to see Arrietty at Quad, and despite being a CineKids screening we weren’t too disturbed by wriggly shouty talky children. The film itself had some beautiful scenes and the style was recognizably Ghibli, but the story was a little too basic in places and unexplained in others, and there was one cringeworthy part where some environmental morals were randomly shoehorned in. Overall though it was a very fun watch and it had me in tears at the end, in a good way.
Mon 3rd Oct
Further experimentation with crocheting, I evolved the wristwarmers into a mitten with a very rudimentary thumb hole. This one fits my left hand, I will try to make one for my right but I am under no illusions that they will look anything like a pair, I am still very much making things up as I go along.
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Phew! And thus concludes the massive catch-up! This is what happens when you put off updating because you don’t have the photos taken yet.
Events that are coming up in October: