Sunday 27 May 2012

a good day

I've had a good day. The laundry basket has only one item in it; made a very tasty loaf of sour dough bread in the steamer; and finally got around to doing this: Scanned Image  0121

Something I'm finding interesting about blogging this art journal project is that scanning and displaying the images makes me see the work differently. In the last scan, I didn't like how the dotted horizontal line just stopped, and so as you can see above I continued it across the other page. Not a big thing, but it makes me like it more.

I've still not made a habit of working on the journal, but I read a bit of the site mentioned in the annakatta blog. It was a bit too happy-clappy for me, but evidently one of the tricks to forming habits is to attach them to habits you already have. Surprisingly, I do have an almost daily habit of doing 30 mins of WiiFit (no, I really don't know how I have kept that up), and so the new plan is to get the art journal out after that. It worked this evening.

Also, I finished un-picking one of the pillow cases this weekend, and the next one is in my bag, ready for tomorrow's commute.

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Embroidery done

While ironing the shirt, I found 2 more stains to cover over, and I did end up adding a bit more embroidery to the front of the shirt as well, but now it's finished (and in the laundry pile):

mostly mended shirt
I opted not to put on the extra tatting, mainly because it would need to be tea dyed and I just didn't want to wait for it to dry. I've put it away for later, along with the extra dyed threads from this project, neatly tucked into a labeled ziplock bag, and shoved into my ribbons box. It kind of makes sense to store them there, as it's where I'd keep lace or fancy strings; at least it makes more sense than storing them in my needle bag.

My new bus craft is sort of boring, but it's just one part of a big, exciting project! I've gone off having decorative pillows on the sofa, but we have some nice pillowcases made from what I think is handwoven fabric in some sort of South American design, very bright and colourful. For years, I've been meaning to try making a quilt from them, to use as a throw on the sofa, which is totally different from having pillows on the sofa, honest. Planning the layout of the pieces was always too difficult, but on the weekend I came up with this: Scanned Image  0120
My P said the diagram looks like something from the Voynich Manuscript. Still, it feels like enough of a plan to get started on, so I'm un-picking the pillow case seams on the bus. Yes, that's as exciting as it sounds. Hopefully when I've finished that step, I'll have collected together the other fabrics to piece with the pillowcases, and the project won't come to a sudden halt like so many of my endeavors do. I'm trying to keep track of the time I'm spending on this project, mostly as a way of keeping the project on track. And of course, having the blog should help with tracking the project, too. (I feel like I've not been using this blog very well, but that's a big, exciting project for another day.)

Saturday 19 May 2012

An update

At last! An update on the art journal:
Scanned Image  0118I haven't been making a habit of working in it, but at least I've done a bit. The right hand page just isn't working for me, even though I really like the things on it. Maybe I can build up some momentum on it this weekend.

There's no photo, but trust me, I've also been working on the shirt. I think all the stains are embroidered over, but now I'm wondering if I should continue to use up the rest of the thread; and while going through my craft supplies yesterday I came across some more tatting (what was past me thinking, putting it in with my needles?), so I'm wondering if I should add those as well. My next step is to iron the shirt and see how it looks when I'm wearing it.

Going through my craft supplies has left me feeling a bit overwhelmed. There's so many things I want to try, but I know I don't have a good record on finishing projects.

Saturday 12 May 2012

Tea dye

I've been especially lazy on the bus this week and not much livelier at home, so no progress to report this week. Instead here is a rather low quality photo of the tea dyed string and the un-dyed versions of the thread. IMG_1237
The tea dyed sections (the vertically wound bits) were left in a mug of tea with a bit of soymilk for a day, then taken out to dry without rinsing. Even in this poor photo, I think you can make out how the pink is tinged brown while the darker green is mostly the same colour but without the slight glossiness. The pale green is also tea dyed, but I couldn't remember which lot of embroidery thread I snipped it from, so there's no "before" to compare it to.

The tea dye seems to just sort of dull the colours a bit, and that makes the string work better with the shirt fabric. Or, it would work better with the fabric, if I ever get around to embroidering with it. Maybe next week.

Monday 7 May 2012

Not the end of the art journal

I am a bit of a worrier, and one of the many down sides of that is the worries become excuses not to do stuff. This is an example of how silly I get: after only 7 spreads, I was worrying about how the art journal would end, would it just finish or would I have to figure out a good ending? would it be consistent with the start? oh, dear, oh dear. (My thought processes aren't always grammatically correct.) I was reluctant to use up images too soon, reluctant to start a new page without knowing where I was going with the entire project.
This worry has now been completely overcome by doing this: Scanned Image  0117

After seeing lots of Japanese books/manga/magazines, it occurred to me that I was thinking about the art journal in a very limited, linear way. Instead of worrying how it will end, I've made a second beginning, at what I usually think of as the back of the book. So, there's now two beginnings that will meet somewhere in the middle. It's turning out to be a challenge to think of the pages running right to left, which is probably good exercise for the brain.
Also, sort of fitting for a new beginning, I'm changing my work habits. On the bus, I'm going to focus on mending and embroidery for a while, as I had been missing the needlework, but to keep the art journal project going, I'm aiming to work on it 30 minutes every(ish) evening. Let's see how it goes.

Thursday 3 May 2012


This morning, a girl sat down next to me on the bus, took out a handful of 1 cm paper strips and proceeded to make the cutest little paper stars! I was too shy to ask her about them, but as she made at least a half dozen before getting off to go to school, I had plenty of time to learn through observation. On my lunch break, I made a few from scrap paper, and though mine aren't as neat and tidy as hers, I think they are pretty cute! It's also one of those things I want to try in differnt papers, foils, fabrics, etc. Endless possibilities! I feel bad that I didn't thank the girl and share my enthusiasm for her craftiness, but on the plus side, I didn't freak her out either. (As an aside, why does my autocomplete suggest 'firearms' instead of 'cuteness'?)

stars and tatting

In addition to the paper stars, this is also a picture of my current bus craft project. I have this stripy shirt that I love; the feel, the fit, and how it used to look. It was also one of the first fair trade fashion items I bought, so it has that ethical feel good factor as well. It's about 8 years old, and the collar wore through a while ago, so I decided to unpick it and re-stitch it without a collar, using a chunky running stitch as a way to acknowledge that it was no longer a smart shirt, but still a funky shirt. There's a long story to go with this, but to cut to the end: I was really pleased with the mending when I finally finished it, but then I noticed that my perfume had leaked and stained the shirt. Now, I am the sort that happily wears stained shirts, but this was too much for me:

stained shirt

I still loved the shirt though, so I kept it in one piece and eventually decided to use some tatting I had bought from a fellow embroiderer to cover the worst of the stains. The tatted flowers were too bright to go with the shirt, so I used some tea to dye (yes, stain is the more common term) them, just knocking the colour back a bit. My plan also involves some running stitch around the flowers, just to make it all a bit too fancy. That may involve some tea-dye on embroidery thread, if I remember to make an extra cup tomorrow morning.

Oh, and the art journal is not forgotten! I'll try to update my progress this weekend.