Sunday, 29 April 2012

House progress: front bedroom

I hadn't planned what was going to go in this room of my miniature house as it wasn't going to be a plot point for the narrative of the piece.
I thought about just filling it with little cardboard boxes and calling it the spare room but my friend encouraged me to at least put a bed in it.

Which I did, and then I added some shelves and drawers.
And then I needed things to fill the shelves of course so I made some tiny books and dvds, a laptop, and iPod and even a magic 8 ball.
A few posters on the wall and suddenly this room was a teenage boys bedroom.

So I guess that's him, with the purple socks, hiding under the duvet.
But what's he hiding from?
The answer to that is in the other bedroom.
Which you'll see soon enough.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Sewing shorts

 One of the things I love about being at home is that when I get an idea to make something I can just go ahead and make it, because a) I have the time and b) I have all the materials to hand.

So when I got the idea over Easter to make a pair of pyjama shorts I hopped to it and got them done pretty quickly.

I've had this pale green polkadot fabric for a while, I picked it up at a jumble sale for ridiculously cheap, and I suddenly decided it would make a cute pair of pyjama shorts.

I made the pattern pieces based on an existing pair of pyjama trousers and got sewing.
The great thing about pyjamas is that they don't have to fit exactly, which was a relief for me as I don't always know what I'm doing when it comes to garment construction.

I even got a little fancy and managed to sew this cute lace trim into the seam of the waistband.
I opted to tie the waistband with ribbon rather than elastic and managed to find some that matched the trim.

No parents, I didn't jump on your bed while you were on holiday...
I'm really proud of myself for managing to make these.
The same proud after making this skirt.
The shorts fit fine, are pretty comfortable, and are super cute.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Degree show tree progress

You've seen the tree I'm making for my degree show piece so now I'll show you some progress on the rest of the piece.

The tree slots into a hole in a piece of wood which is attached to a piece of MDF.
The MDF is 45x55cm which is the same size as the top of my plinths.

To make the mound which the tree sits atop a scrunched up newspaper around the block of wood and then papier mached over the whole thing to create a gradual slope. 
Then I put the whole thing in the airing cupboard to dry.

Unfortunately all that water and glue from the papier mache-ing caused the MDF to warp. All four corners were bending upwards.
Mega annoying.
To try and fix this I coated the underside of the MDF with watered down PVA and then balanced it on a roll of masking tape. I put stacks of heavy books on each corner to pull them down.
I did this a few times and it has helped, but it's still not perfect.

I painted the mound first with a mixture of brown paint, glue and dried tea and coffee.

I used this mixture to build up an area around the tree.
Then I painted over some of the brown with green as a base colour for the grass.

For the grass I bought some grass scatter from Ebay from a seller that specialises in model railway supplies.
Up until now I'd managed to avoid using supplies like this, but I couldn't think of an alternative way to make the grass.

Then I started making some tyre tracks.
Stay tuned to find out what that's about.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Plinths and podcasts

I've finally got round to painting the plinths I made last term.
It took a long time and I ache from it. And yes I will complain about it to anyone that asks.
Sometimes they don't even have to ask.

This shot was mainly to prove to you that I was wearing a skirt under that paint shirt.

As dull as this task was, I made it a bit more bearable by listening to some podcasts.
Here are some of my favourites;

I discovered these guys when I was on holiday in New Zealand in 2008 and they were on Rove.
When I got home I googled them and discovered their radio show and it's podcast.
It's not quite the same since they cut down to only one show a week, but it's better than nothing.
And they're coming to Europe this summer and doing a weekly show from London.
Must get tickets!

I got introduced to Dan Savage with this video when it was posted on Yes and Yes.
Then my house mate informed me he has a podcast.
He gives out relationship advice, but not for the prudish.

This comes from Alexi Wasser's, and this is another relationship advice show but more for teenage girls.
I tend to just stream this from my laptop and like having it on in the background.

I'm still pretty new to this podcast. As in, I've only listened to one episode. But it was a special 2 hour edition for their 100th episode.
These three brothers also answer listeners questions but unlike Dan and Alexi, they don't expect you to take their advice seriously.
These guys, along with Hamish and Andy, have made me perfect my giggle-disguised-as-a-laugh, for when randomly laughing out loud isn't socially acceptable.

For when you want to feel a bit cultured.
I pick and choose which episodes I want to listen to based on the topics, and use it as a break from the advice and the hilarious.

Are there any other podcasts that you think I should be listening to?

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Old paintings and an interview

First up, Tera Sue interviewed me about being an art student over on her blog.
Feel free to have a read

And now on to regular proceedings.
I usually show you guys new paintings, but how about some old ones.
I've been looking through the archives (archives = random folders dotted around the house) and picked out some beauties.

A fireplace.
I think this was the first painting I did with my new fancy set of watercolour paints. I was 10.
I painted it completely from my imagination. I know, impressive right?

And here is photographic proof of me doing the painting. Note the fancy set of paints.
I think a photo of me painting now would look a lot similar, same set up, except now I wear my paint shirt the right way round, not buttoned up at the back like a dork.

These two are still life painting from around the same time.
Get them to the Louvre.
What masterpieces.

This one I actually am proud of.
I mean my parents framed it and it's still hanging in the house.
I was 14 when I did this using chalk and charcoal which I used to love using. Maybe I should pick it up again once my degree show pieces are all done and out of the way.
Oh, and it's a random javelin man from google. I have no idea why I decided to draw it.

If you want to see some more of my artwork from way back when then look here and here.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Peanut butter's new best friend

We all know peanut butter and chocolate is a winning combination but what about peanut butter and orange?

What about peanut butter and orange in the form of a cookie?

My sister made these cookies many years ago, just once, but I never forgot about them.
Then when I was looking for a recipe to make these biscuits I came across the recipe for the peanut butter and orange cookies.

It's from the W.I. book of biscuits from 1986.
I'm sure they won't mind me sharing it with you.

Delicious, just as I remembered.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Crop top

I got the idea for this crop top from Sara on Prairie Hen. Check out her blog to find out how to make it. It's really simple.
She made hers out of an old dress whereas I made mine out of a net curtain.

Luckily the net curtain went through the sewing machine fine, otherwise this would have taken a lot longer to make.
I tidied up the neckline by sewing on some lace trim. I think it looks cute.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Flea market find

I recently picked this up at a flea market in Norwich.

It's a key cupboard.
Except I don't have enough keys to have a cupboard devoted to them.
No, I need a bracelet cupboard.

The first thing I did was change the picture on the front. Nothing against those flowers but this shell image is much brighter.
I've just slipped it in the frame so I can change it out when I feel like something different.

I also changed the paper on the inside to liven it up a bit and fit the decor of my bedroom. Which is basically any kind of pink.
I hardly ever wear bracelets because I keep them in a box and forget about them, but having them on display here means I can't help but remember them.

I stuck some photos on the inside of the door and instead of just blu-tac ing them on I used some lace trim and double sided tape for a cute play on washi tape.

Re-purposing stuff is fun.
Have any of you done it recently?

Friday, 6 April 2012

Degree show tree

In addition to the house I'm making for my degree show, I'm also making a second piece that features a tree.
I've made a tree before and I was pretty proud of it -someone even bought it- which is why I thought I'd be able to successfully make another one.
Confirmation on that statement is still pending.

Here's how it's going so far.

I started with a lot of wire wrapped round a piece of wooden dowel which then branches out into..well..branches. 

I bought a whole heap (yeah, that's a technical term of measurement...) of Sculpey for this project, but only ended up using a quarter of it. More Sculpey for me!
I covered all the wire in Sculpey and I added some foil around the trunk before adding the Sculpey to bulk it out a bit.
Then, as you may know, Sculpey needs to be put in the oven to harden.
My tree only just fit in the oven! I had to take all the shelves out and was then worried that the tree would tip backwards into the flames.
The required time is between 15 and 30 minutes but when I opened the oven door after 6 minutes to check on it, a lot of smoke came out. So I thought I ought to abort the mission.
The 6 minutes was actually enough time to harden most of the branches but the trunk was still squidgy.
I put the tree back in the oven twice more with the door slightly open, but the trunk didn't get any harder.
So I gave up and went straight to painting it.

As I was painting it some of the bigger branches near the trunk started to fall apart a little bit.
Slight panic, but then I grabbed some small strips of newspaper and some watery PVA glue and papier-mached the tree Neil Buchanan style

The Sculpey is still squidgy under the newspaper, but at least it's not falling apart and I was able to finish painting it.

I'm not sure if the colour's exactly right yet, it's looking a bit grey, but trees aren't exactly brown. I like the texture I've got going on. 

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Pink bows

 I really like my black bow necklace but everyone always refers to it as a bow tie when I wear it.
So I thought I'd make one in a different colour to make it less bow tie like.

So I picked pink of course.
This stripy fabric is from an old pillow case.

I also made the bow smaller than the black one.
I think it's dainty.

I actually made seven little pink bows in one sitting so I put these three block colour ones together and added a long chain.

I like it.
Now, what to do with the other three bows...