Small things artist trading card

Back in the autumn Ali at veryberryhandmade announced she was hosting another atc swap. I’ve loved every one I’ve participated in so far, so I signed up immediately. The theme this time was small things. I like to use making these cards as an opportunity to try a new technique or experiment more with something. I knew I wanted to try embroidery this time, after seeing some amazing work on instagram.  Therefore I kept that in mind when I was planning the design. I had two ideas in mind, things that grow and all the small things by blink 182.

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This is how I plan

In the end the all the small things idea was too captivating, and as my partner in the swap hadn’t given me any directions, I went with my heart. I took one of the lyrics from the song as my inspiration and wanted to embroider roses on the stairs. I’m not an artist so it took me quite while to work out how to make it look in proportion.

I used satin stitch for most of the background. I started with the stairs, where I used a mixture of colours to help with the shading. I then randomly stitched roses all over the stairs. This was a very fun part, I like the playing with colours and sizes.

It took me quite awhile to figure out what to do with the background, and which way the stitches should go. I’m glad I did it though because it really helps with the proportions.

 

Every time I make these cards, I use a different construction technique. This time I needed it to have a fairly stiff structure so the satin stitch stays in place. I used a sort of English paper piecing technique, I based the front and back onto paper pieces but then left the paper in when I whip-stitched the two halves together. It worked pretty well.

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My completed ATC

Hopefully my partner liked it. In return I received this beautiful ATC. It depicts a little manchester bee.

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This is number four in my collection 
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2017 reflections, 2018 goals

It’s been a year of flux and waiting for me. I’ve started a new job and left London and then been waiting for my partner to finish his PhD and see where his job search would take him. So while my own circumstances havent changed since the spring, it feels like we’ve been dealing with a different set of circumstances every other month. Its now looking like we’ll  be much  more settled with us properly living together next year, so I’m looking forward to less change. Although I’ve probably jinxed it by typing that sentance.

So for 2017, I finished approximately 21 different projects, learnt 4 new skills and have only carried 5 projects through the year.

My new skills were English paper piecing, resin casting, knitting with beads and bead crochet. I haven’t really taken to the resin casting but all the others I will be carrying on with.

I can’t really pick anything as a favourite make this year, I think the cross stitch along with friends was possibly the most fun.

For 2018, I really want to knit a garment, but my blanket takes precedence. I’m trying to learn brioche knitting. I would also like to get my sewing machine up and running again, but let’s see what happens.

For December 2017, I did quite a lot of stuff this month due to the holidays.

  1. Beaded handbag – I did a couple of inches
  2. Quilt – no change
  3. Lip balm cozies – no change
  4. Heat packs – no change
  5. Beaded purse – no change
  6. Beaded case for business cards – no change
  7. Purple blanket – I’m now using 5 circular needles like double pointed needles.
  8. Epp – I have 4 complete stars
  9. Bead crochet. I completed the stringing.
  10. Bead crochet. I have completed the crochet but it needs some hardware before it’s complete.

I’ve had one finish this month, a netted bauble. I made this up as I went along and it required a few goes to get the last bit right but it looks lovely now.

The final feature image of the year is from the coast near Edinburgh where I had a short holiday at the beginning of the month.

 

Christmas cards

I’ve been making Christmas cards for a few years now and I really enjoy the process. I have a few tricks to make it an easy and enjoyable task:

  1.  I only make a few, typically around 20 and my list is ordered by importance so if I dont make as many that year then some people can get shop bought ones
  2. I try and start early i.e. September
  3. I look for patterns that require materials I already have.
  4. About half are a simple pattern that can be repeated in different combinations (I have a tree template that gets cracked out every year)
  5. I try and pick patterns that require a little prep and then I can complete in the evenings while watching tv
  6. I add in some more complicated patterns to keep it interesting
  7. It’s absolutely ok if they look handmade. They are

And for the moment this works for me.

 

Christmas decorations

I bought and decorated my first tree this year. Its the first time I’ve had the space and time to bother having a real tree.

I’ve been collecting ornaments for a few years now and have displayed them in some way or another. I’ve also made myself an ornament (or two) each year, so I have a lovely collection. And yet they still look a little sparse on a real tree, but I’m trying to build a collection of special pieces so I can live with that for now.

However this year, I wasnt feeling up to starting Christmas crafting in the autumn and as most stuff I do is fairly time consuming, I resigned myself to not having any new handmaded ones this year.

But actually between finishing something from last year, reapproriating old pieces, returned makes, some shopping and some grand plans which where scuppered by buying the wrong thing, I’ve ended up with 6 new ornaments this year.

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5 point star

I started this one as a four pointed star, two years ago and all it needed was the last piece to be zipped up. However when I tried, it just didn’t work. So I whipped up another square and now its a five pointed star.

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Ponsietta ornament

This ponsietta began life as a decoration for a hat for a friend’s wedding, but as it no longer lives there, I decided I needed some more colour on the tree.

These two snowflakes were made last year to help my sister do some fundraising. Unfortunately she only sold about half so she returned the others to me. I’ve been giving them away but we kept our favourite two.

I love the bath Christmas markets and this year I took a day off work to go and play. Going on a weekday was perfect as wwe had much more space to walk and lok at stuff. I like to buy a hand crafter ornament every year and the markets are a perfect place to look for things. This year I splashed out and bought two.

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Sequined bauble

I’ve been considering doing some sort of bead covered bauble ornuament for several years but never bought baubles to do it with. I finally ordered some, thinking that if nothing else I could take some of my random bits of beading and hang them inside. What I forgot to consider was the size of the opening, so of course nothing fit. I’ve since Google it and you can get baubles that clip open so I may purchase them next year. This won’t stop me doing the fancy beading but I was disappointed that I wouldn’t have a quick new bauble. So instead I searched for things that would fit inside the bauble, and found some sequins. With the addition of some pva and some time spent twirling the bauble while it dried, I have a sparkly bauble. My collection is low on actual baubles so I’m glad to have another one.

There is still one more week to Christmas and I have packed a lot of beads so who knows what might happen.

December 2017

This month I’ve mostly knitted. Im starting to get a little angsty and wanting to start something new but I’m trying to be good. Oddly I’ve not started anything Christmassy and havent had much of an urge to yet. Lets see what the next month brings.

  1. Beaded handbag – no change
  2. Quilt – no change
  3. Lip balm cozies – no change
  4. Heat packs – no change
  5. Beaded purse – no change
  6. Beaded case for business cards – I’ve finished the 1st repeat and started again
  7. Purple blanket – I’ve done quite a lot. I’m a much quicker knitter than when I started the original blanket. I reckon I’m on half a ball per hour now. I’m also at the stage where it’s too big for my circular  needles so I need to adapt.
  8. Epp – I sewed one star together

I’ve had two finishes this month

  1. The beaded scarf. I wrote about this and many of my other recent finishes here
  2. My artist trading card for the swap hosted by Ali at veryberryhandmade. I’ll tell you all about it when its been recieved.

The list could look quite different by the end of December, I have a good amount of holiday so plenty of time to finish things (or start new ones). I’ll also hopefully have a few posts for you this month.

The image this month is from the fireworks display we went to. Bonfire night is my favourite of the festives at that time. I don’t normally take pictures of fireworks, and I only took them for the first few minutes so I’m pretty impressed with this picture.

Recent Finishes

I’ve been trying hard to take slim down my list a little bit and finally finish off some of the long-timers. I think I have managed one a month so far, although I’m pretty sure I’ve added at least that many things to it but at least they are new projects.

I’ve been all over the place for a few months so haven’t had much time to write them up so here is a wrap up post of everything.

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In progress

The most recent finish is my beaded scarf. This was my first attempt at knitting with beads after seeing Laerke Bagger on Instagram and being hooked on the idea. I used a DK wool and size 8 seed beads. This was a pretty snug fit, and meant that all though the beads fitted on the wool, they didn’t slide along it, so I had to shuffle them along the wool manually. This took quite a long time. I put lots of beads on the wool at the beginning and then just pushed them up the wool leaving some behind in rough gaps. The scarf is just basic knitting with three beads per row, on one side only. I spaced the beads randomly and just mixed it up as I went along trying to make it look evenly placed but not still random. I’m pretty happy with how the beads look. It’s fairly narrow so I made it pretty long and it wraps round twice. When I do it again, I’ll use skinnier yarn and/or larger beads so they slide around. I really want to try more densely packing the beads and playing around with patterns in the beads, but that can wait for a little while (although I did start to buy larger beads already).

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Finished

My finish in September was some cards. I’m trying to get into the habit of making them a little more regularly, especially the embroidery ones as they are enjoyable to do and can be pretty gender neutral. I experimented with a whole range of new patterns this time and some have worked better than others. I really like the graphicness of the black on white one and the purple triangles and copper triangles are also one’s I’ll repeat. I’m less sure on the colour of the triangles in a circle and I think I went for too many sections but I might play with it again. I’m less fussed with the other two but they are fine and I’m sure they will be used.

 

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In progress

The other unblogged finish is my Ivy trails necklace. The pattern is from my beadandbutton magazine ( edition) and as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to make it. I think I bought the leaf beads the same week I saw the pattern. The pearls (swarovski) are from my stash and were bought with my store discount while I still worked at the bead shop. I then ordered the majority of the other components, so that it was a coherent piece. Its a stunning piece and pretty eye catching.

 

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In progress

While I was waiting for the beads for the Ivy trails necklace to arrive I made this necklace. The original pattern is from another beadandbutton magazine but because I only used bits from my stash, I had to modify it a little. Its a good colour match for my wardrobe so gets worn a fair bit.

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Finished

I’ve actually ticked off most of the easier long term projects but that just means I’ll have to make some headway into the others. Hopefully I’ll be back soon to tell you about the next one.

 

November 2017

It’s getting cold here and the dark evenings are taking their toll. I’ve started taking my vitamin D otherwise I seize up. I’ve mostly been knitting this month (and starting things – shussh)

  1. Beaded handbag – I did a tiny bit while visiting my parents
  2. Quilt – no change
  3. Lip balm cozies – no change
  4. Heat packs – no change
  5. Beaded purse – no change
  6. Beaded case for business cards -no change
  7. Beaded scarf – made a good headway this month, hopefully I’ll finish it this month
  8. Purple blanket – I’ve done a bit but not much
  9. Epp – I started a new epp piece with diamonds and fussy cut snowdrops. Its going to look lovely but I have no idea why I’m doing it
  10. ATC – veryberryhandmade is running another artist traiding card swap and I’m taking part again. The theme is small things and I’ve gone for a fairly niche reference but I didn’t have any pointers from my partner so I’ve gone for it

My only finish this month is some cards. They are sewn ones I had prepped a couple of months ago but not got round to. Unfortunately I was a bit ill for a couple of days so didn’t do much and just sat on my sofa and slowly sewed.

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My feature image this month is from Prague, which was the last of my foreign travels for the year. I actually think my partner took this picture but it has some beautiful colours.