Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Nailed It

I first saw the marbled nail technique on The Cheese Thief, but it was a while between seeing it and actually trying it.

My first attempt, without checking the tutorial, had some good results...

...and some hot messes.
After looking at a couple of different tutorials I realised where I went wrong.
When I put my nail in the water to get the polish I pulled it straight out again, bringing the rest of the polish with it. What you're meant to do is keep the nail under the water, clear the surface of the water, then bring it out.

I did remember about Vaseline-ing around my fingernails though. That is an important step.

This was my set up for attempt #2.
I thought a bigger receptacle might be a good idea, since the first time I was just using a Petit Filous yoghurt pot.
Red solo cup, you really are my friend.

This attempt went better.

But because I didn't want to re-do the nail polish in the water ten times, I put four nails in at once which resulted in only a subtle pattern.

This brings me to attempt #3.
I still haven't got it totally right, but I'm learning from my mistakes.
Look at that pinkie finger. Beautiful.

The fourth finger is cropped because I smudged it while it was drying. Argh!
But the one next to it is a beaut!

Have any of you tried this nail technique? With good or bad results?
Any more tips for getting it right?

Sunday, 28 July 2013

This Week I...

...went to see The World's End, the new Simon Pegg and Nick Frost film.
What makes this so special is that most of the movie was filmed in Letchworth, which is, like, the next town over from where I live. It's also where the Letchworth Arts Centre is ('s in the name) which is where I've volunteered/worked/interned for a while.
I saw a lot of the filming equipment/setting up when they were filming last winter, and a few people I know are extras in the film.

I saw the film at the Broadway Cinema in Letchworth, which is actually one of the locations used in the film; The Mermaid nightclub. They handed out these maps of the town which are replicas of the one used in the film.
Fun fact: the second to last pub, 'The Hole In The Wall', is actually the train station.
The screening had a special intro from Pegg and Frost and the director Edgar Wright which was very exciting. Simon Pegg has 'a lot of love for Letch'.

Also this week I got some mega-bargains as my favourite clothes stall at my local market was selling everything for £1.
So I spent £6 on this lovely lot.

And I just got back from what I'm calling a Cupcake Blitz!
My sister - that's her holding all the cupcakes - is a wedding coordinator and one of the couples who recently got married left 40 wedding cupcakes behind! They didn't want them so we drove around to our friends' houses to spread the cupcake joy.
I even made her a cupcake crown for the occasion.

How was your week? Did it feature that many cupcakes?

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Passport Cover

This is another Scrap Store creation.
After scoring some wonderful bright pink leather I googled around for ideas of what to make with it.
I found this tutorial on Design Sponge which led me to this one on Poppytalk, and using a combination of both I made this passport cover.

I used a modified template from Poppytalk and cut out all the leather pieces for my cover.
I found it much easier to cut the leather with a craft knife and metal ruler instead of scissors. 
I glued the pieces in place a little bit so it would be easier when it came to sewing.

The tutorials suggested using a stitching spacer and I remember I actually had one from a cheap sewing kit.
The dots it made were quite close together so I used my pokey tool (yes, that's what it was called on the packaging) to make a bigger hole in every other dot.

Then I sewed around the edge using bright pink embroidery thread.
The technique is to have two needles going at the same time, crossing over each other. It's better explained in the tutorials I've linked to.

I thought a matching luggage tag would be perfect so I made one in a similar way.
I put a slip of lined paper with a piece of acetate on top in the tag.
The side nearest the strap is left open to get the paper out.

And now I'm all set for a holiday abroad.
Except I don't have anything booked...
But the next time I do, I'll be ready!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Initial Necklace

I don't have a lot of name related jewellery.
Given the choice I'd rather have a random word than my name on a necklace.
But I'd seen some cute little block letter necklaces around and thought I would try making my own. 

I started by making an L shape out of Sculpey, with a hole through the top, and once it had been baked I sanded the edges to make them super flat.
It's a good job my name doesn't start with an S.

Then I painted the letter with silver acrylic paint. It took a couple of coats.

I covered the front side in PVA glue and sprinkled on fine silver glitter.
Once it had dried I shook off the excess and gave it a coat of clear nail varnish to seal the glitter.
I've tried varnishing with PVA glue before but it just dulls the shinyness of the glitter.

Then I put some wire through the hole with loops on each end and attached jump rings, then attached a chain.

And now I have a simple little, very shiny, initial necklace.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

This Week I...

...had a birthday!
I got this card from my sister. Pretty darn cool.

I went to the theatre twice this week.
The first time was on my birthday to see Once, which was my present from my parents.
Then on Saturday I went with my family to see The Amen Corner at the National Theatre, which had Without a Trace's Marianne Jean-Baptiste in it.
Both productions had really awesome staging and singing.

Before the theatre on Saturday we went to the Tate Britain to see the Lowry exhibition, and then to the London Film Museum which was so good!
There were loads of props and costumes from various films, including a corridor right at the end full of oversized props from The Borrowers.

How was your week?

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Bag #2

After the success of the first bag I made I thought I would try making another.

I got this awesome plastic fabric from the Scrap Store.
In fact everything I used for this bag, with the exception of the black fabric on the bottom, came from there; the straps, the lining fabric, the binding, and zip.
I love that place.

I had an idea in my head of what I wanted the bag to look like and it took my brain a while to figure out how to translate that image into a method.
It was actually quite simple; two sides sewn to the bottom piece with the straps going over the patterns fabric and under the black. Then sew up the sides.

This technique for making the corners of the bag is my new favourite thing.
I originally saw how to do it on this blog post.

I thought this would be an easy way to add a zip. And I was right!
I sewed the zip to two strips of fabric which I then attached to the lining. This saved me trying to attach the zip directly to the lining.
I then added little fabric tabs on either end of the zip to tidy it up.

The inside lining is a little baggy but it works.
And of course I put an inside pocket in for those who always lose their keys at the bottom of their bags.

My Mum thinks the material I used for the straps is actually what they use for chairs to hold the seat.
At least I know it'll be really strong.
I used some black binding over the part where lining meets outside of bag to make it neat.

I got a lot of that plastic material from the Scrap Store, so I wonder what I'll make next.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Grand Ole Lisa

Today is my birthday!
And this is my birthday cake.

It should really say 'Grand Ole Lisa' cos, 23, yikes! Haha.

Something Nashville/country related was definitely a top option for this years birthday cake because I still love country music, this year I watched the first season of Nashville pointing out all the places I'd been, and I still start sentences with, 'When I was in Nashville...' even though it was September that I went there.

The main cake is a Victoria sponge covered in fondant icing with the Grand Ole Opry logo on it.
Cutting out letters is not easy. I printed out the logo, cut out all the letters and lay them on top of the icing then cut around them with a knife. I stuck them on the main cake with jam.

The cupcakes around the main cake represent the circle of stage that was taken from the original home of the Grand Ole Opry and put into the stage of the new place so everybody would be standing on the same floor.
I made the candles into the iconic mic stands using paper with the words printed on.

See my previous birthday cakes here, here, here and here!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

This Week I...

On Friday I had another dentist appointment in London so I took the opportunity to see this years BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery.

Kristy by Geert Schless
One of my favourites was this portrait of the artist's wife, exploring how a depiction of a person can still be recognisable even when you can't see the face.
I like the quirkyness of the image and that fact it's really well painted. The detail on the black bag is incredible up close.

Self-portrait by Daniela Astone
I like this quiet self-portrait of the artist in her studio, with the dark, muted colours, the subtle brush strokes and a composition which almost makes the artist equal to the curtain. 

Self-portrait by Ian Cumberland
I really like this artist's style of painting, and when I checked my blog post about last years exhibition it turned out I liked it then as Cumberland has entered the competition before which another notable portrait.

Turning Point by Richard Geraint Evans
And I like this portrait of Emeli Sande. I'm not sure why, it just stood out to me. The painting was made just after the release of her first UK single Heaven which marked a turning point in her career. The painting features lyrics of the song.

How was your week?

Thursday, 11 July 2013

I Made a Minion

Last week I went with my friends to see Despicable Me 2. I hadn't seen the first one but you don't need to to enjoy the film - because of these guys. The minions.
I think they should've done away with the main storyline and just focused on the minions.
Those guys are hilarious.

To make my minion I sewed a yellow felt tube with circles either end. I over stuffed it so the circles would dome.
Before I attached one of the circles I sewed some black embroidery thread, knotted on the back, for the hair.

Then I spent way too long trying to make the overalls, so let's just skip that bit.
For the arms I rolled up some yellow felt and sewed it down the side. The hands are two matching pieces sewn, and glued, together then sewn to the arm. To cover up the stitches I glued a strip of black felt around the wrist.

The legs are rolled up strips of denim with felt feet glued on. 

The goggles are gift ribbon (stroke of genius on my part) with a strip of black felt stuck all the way around.
For the eyes I just used brown and black felt tip pens on white felt. I think it would have looked better if I'd have stitched the eyes, but ain't nobody got time for that!

Then I used a Sharpie to put the finishing touches on the overalls.

Oh minion, I'm not sure what to do with you now.
Maybe I'll sit you on my desk and you can encourage me to fill in job applications.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Past Paintings

When my family were preparing for our garage sale a couple of weeks ago I spent a lot of time in the loft sorting through things. I re-discovered a lot of my old art work. Here's a selection:

These paintings were made as an extra piece for my portfolio for my university interview.
I remember being inspired by the work of Vija Celmins who would draw pieces of paper and the image on them.

This piece was made after a trip to New York with college during my art foundation year. Usually we would have been expected to make some kind of art while we were there but all our bags got lost so we didn't have  any materials. What a shame.

This is one of the many nudes I have from years of life drawing.
I think this is my best one. Drawing in charcoal was kind of my jam.
This one was from a session at college when half way through the model grabbed her robe and left the room because she thought she was going to be sick.
It was pretty warm in the room.

This painting was part of my A level work in response to a set theme that I can't remember. Something that I interpreted as time passing. Probably something like 'transition'.
It's of my Grandma and looking at the face I don't think I could paint it any better now.
The same can't be said for those grapes... 

This was my GCSE exam piece which was also on a theme that could have been 'transition'.
Oy, those trees!
I definitely improved when it comes to painting trees. I hope.

This was a support drawing for the project that culminated in the previous painting.
Clearly I didn't remember this drawing when it came to painting those trees.
This is another piece that I don't think I could do any better now.

And this is a painting from GCSE of jars of jam.
Cos why not!