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Archive for September, 2014

This is a piece of street art that I think you’re unlikely to see again.  We saw it going up on 24th August for the Notting Hill Carnival.  A lot of shops put up boards to protect their windows during carnival, and these days quite a few of them take the opportunity to decorate them and help add to the festive mood.  Coco nail bar (on Portobello Road), I salute your artistic endeavours!

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I’ve just got back from a two week holiday to the north of the UK, and it didn’t go quite as smoothly as planned…however here’s my travel journal for the trip, enjoy!

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At the start of August I thought I would finally take the plunge and learn Tunisian crochet.  I decided on this pattern (you’ll need to register to view it, but it will cost you nothing), and for the first time in ages I decided to go ahead and just use whatever yarn I happened to have spare.  It’s been a while since I didn’t buy yarn specifically for a blanket project and you know what?  It felt great.  There is something extremely satisfying about using up yarn that’s left over from other projects, it’s what blanket squares were made for!

I found it really easy to get to grips with Tunisian crochet, and it’s definitely something I will come back to (I might even make this pattern again).  The pattern itself was great as it comprises 9 different stitch types so making the afghan was a real learning process.

Here’s how it looked once it was all sewn together.

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Not bad, but I thought it was lacking something so I gave it a scalloped edge.  That did the trick.

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The squares are a little uneven in size although you can see that I did eventually get the hang of keeping my tension even.  If you look at the second photo the bottom half of the blanket is made up of all the squares I did first, the top half were the ones I did last – it’s very easy to spot the difference!

So it’s a little wonky, but I love the variety of stitches (nine different stitch types), and the fact that it used up a huge chunk of my leftover yarn stash was a bonus.  The finished item measures approximately 1m square, and it’s destined to be a gift for a friend.

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When the film Indecent Proposal was first released I fell in love with the bag that Demi Moore’s character wore.  It’s a sort of rucksack crossed with a jacket or waistcoat.

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Over the years my interest in this style of bag has resurfaced periodically, and each time I go searching to try and find something similar, with no result.  Until recently.  This time my online searching led me to Stand Up Comedy who have made their own conceptual version of the bag.

It’s a pretty cool version and I like that there isn’t any bulk at the very back of the bag (which always struck me as being a bit impractical for sitting down on)… but there’s no way I’d ever pay $555 for a bag.  I could win the lottery tomorrow and still not want to spend that much on a bag.  What’s a girl to do?  Make her own of course.

Now I’d be the first to admit that I’m not much of a seamstress.  Sewing really isn’t my forte, but as I was making this bag for me it didn’t matter if the stitching was crooked or it was a bit lopsided so I set my nerves aside and went for it.  I stared at the photos on the Stand Up Comedy page for ages (and I do mean ages) before grabbing some felt and making a rough version to check the shape and size.

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Yeah, it really wasn’t a complicated shape was it?  The next step was to choose fabric (I went for a medium-weight cotton canvas in a sort of hemp/stone colour), and also to do some hasty research on YouTube to find out how to make welt pockets.  I didn’t take any progress photos as I was too busy trying to get it all done in one day, but here’s the finished bag.

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I’m exceptionally pleased with my welt pockets, especially as they were the first ones I’ve ever made.  All four pockets are super roomy as I seem to need to carry more stuff around than ever these days (dog-walking accoutrements in addition to my usual tat), and the bag is so comfy to wear.  All the comfort of a rucksack, but with easy access to the pockets.  Plus it’s roomy enough to fit over even my bulkiest winter jumpers.  The best part?  The fabric, zips, and fabric stabiliser all together cost me less than £30.  Bargain.

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This little guy is awfully cute.  He was found on the canal towpath between Little Venice and Meanwhile Gardens.

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A simple one, but I really love this.  This elephant was found on (wait for it)… Oliphant Street, W10.

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A couple of years ago I blogged about downsizing my sketching kit to make it easier to carry around in my bag.  Click here to see the original post.

I mentioned at the time that my new paint box weighed an awful lot more than I had expected.  I fully intended to create a more lightweight version and I did… I just didn’t expect it would take me two years to get around to it!

I came across a little mint tin that seemed the perfect size.

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Let’s just take a moment to compare it to my current paintbox.

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So I had a think about how I was going to create the paint wells this time and after a bit of pondering inspiration struck.  Sugru.

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If you haven’t heard of Sugru before then click here to visit their website.  I was introduced to it by a friend, who also gave me the two sachets you see in that photograph (thanks Josh!).  I mixed the two packs together and then created little wells for the paint.

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The Sugru takes 24 hours to cure, so while I was waiting for that to set I painted the inside of the lid with enamel paint to make a mixing palette.

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Then it was just a matter of squeezing some watercolour paint in, and voila!

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It’s tiny, and wonderfully light, and I love it.  My entire sketching kit has shrunk quite a bit over the past few years as I’ve also switched to using a smaller sketchbook.

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Will I make myself another paintbox?  Quite probably, and I still intend to make one using an eyeshadow palette at some point but there’s no rush.  For now this one is the perfect size for carrying in my pocket, and it’s ready just in time to be used on my holiday!

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