Thursday, 23 October 2014

small bags for not-so-smalls

Before I went on holiday at the beginning of October, I had a look at my list of "travel items to make".  Yes, I have a list for that.  I have lists for everything, who doesn't love a good list?  One item was bags for used undies.  I like to keep them separate in my case and as I always take enough undies for a month (you never know what will happen!  OK, I haven't been forced to change my pants mid-day since I was a child, but you never know!) I needed a bag, or two.

I made  simple drawstring bags and I made them reversible.  Clean undies when the patterned side is out, dirty undies when the undie-themed fabric is out.

I used the blue and purple fabric as the casing for the purple bag and vice versa.  I found some glitzy cord to thread through, though I'm not sure how that will bear up in the wash, I probably need to take it out.

They are about 12" square, so plenty of room for one of my mammoth-sized bras along with the smalls (or not-so-smalls in my case).

And as you've never seen a draw string bag before, I thought I'd better take photos of them closed so you can see what they'd look like!

Do you have a bag for your dirty smalls/not-so-smalls/down-right-huges or is it just me?

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Vintage lace style necklace

Last month, before the excitement of the Manor House Hotel, me and wonderful mum did a class at The Bead Shop Nottingham.  It was a beadweaving project using half Tila beads along with seed beads and Swarovski bicones.

Normally the word "vintage" in a title puts me off, but this time I went with it. The necklace was called "vintage style lace necklace".  I used black seed beads, jet bicones and the half Tilas are a lovely black but with shimmery iridescence on them.

I have to pat it all down flat when I put it on, I just couldn't get it to sit right in this photo!

It only took a couple of hours to make and I bought some copper beads so I can make another version in copper.

I had never worked with half Tilas before, I didn't even know they exist. Tilas are a square bead with 2 holes running through parallel.  half Tilas are the same, but they are half size so are rectangular.  I do love all these shaped beads that are coming out.

I had some time left at the end, so I whipped up a matching bracelet!  

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Manor House glass painting

This is the last post about my trip to The Manor House Hotel with my mum, and I feel sad writing it!  We had such a good time that I'm sad it's all over and I'm back home and back at work.  

The final class we took was glass painting.  I don't think I've ever shown any glass painting on my blog before and I can't find any examples of my work, but this was something I used to do a lot of in my late teens.  I even took it up again when I lived in Poland - I would paint on empty vodka bottles!

We were given free rein in this class.  The tutor gave her talk and showed us some examples and techniques and off we went.  I'd just been silk painting and wanted to use the same flower motif as I'd found it easy to draw and very effective too.  I chose a short square vase and used a Pewter relief.  The relief forms a barrier for the paint and stands up above the surface.

I gave it a quick blast with the hair drier before painting in the flowers and little leaves.

I am very pleased with it, but when I gave it another blast with the hair drier so it was dry enough for me to carry back to the hotel room, the paint blobbed a little.

Having finished the vase, I started on a candle glass.

This time I used a pearl relief and really like the colour, though I think the finished item looks better when you look through from the other side to the back of the work.  I did the flowers freehand though of course you can trace a pattern.

I already knew I loved glass painting before the class and I did enjoy it.  I have no idea why I haven't done any in years... I feel a new hobby coming on!

The next day we drove home.  It took me 8 hours of driving, including 3 stops as shortly after setting off I had a panic attack.  I couldn't shake the anxiety so it was a thoroughly horrible 8 hour journey with me having anxiety attacks the whole way home...  Such a shame to end the holiday on that note.  I had to rest all day Saturday as I think the episode really shook me up.  7pm on Saturday saw me asking Mr CA if it was bedtime yet!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Manor House candle making

Thursday was a sad day as it was our last day at The Manor House Hotel.  We only had two classes, though we also sneaked in 2 sessions of silk painting and a massage.  The first class was candle making.  There were two techniques, the first of which was dipping, which is why they had this great set up.  A big table with vats set into it holding wax of different colours, and cold water for setting the layers.

We took an ordinarly taper candle and dipped it in clear wax for 30 seconds to soften everything up.  Then we dipped in a colour, then cold water, wipe the water off and repeat for a total of 6 dips per colour.  It was good fun.

This candle had a layer of each colour, then I went back and dipped again, but didn't submerge the candle all the way, just enough to leave a band of each colour at the top.  It came out really dull and mottled which was a disappointment as the waxes were so vibrant.

I had to cut the bottom off and you can see the layers of colour better here.

I had a go at carving for my second dipped candle.  Again a rainbow of dips, then carved with a knife and twisted.

Hmmm, not brilliant.  We only had an hour for this class and the room wasn't left open for us afterwards which was a shame (health and safety I assume), as I'd have liked to try much more carving but I just didn't have time.

The second technique was container candles.  I've done that before of course, but wanted to try a technique she showed us where she made decals from wax poured onto the table top.  I cut the wax with biscuit cutters and stuck the warm decals to the glass.  

After a short while in the fridge, it was time to fill up the glass.  I chose yellow.  And made a right mess!  Luckily it can be cleaned up easily when it's set.  I put it in the fridge and we collected them the next day when it was nice and set.

Unfortunately wax dips as it sets so there is a dip in the top.  If we'd have had a longer class, I could have remedied that, but there just wasn't time to leave it an hour then top it up.

The next post is the last one for the Manor House Hotel and it's about glass painting.

My first time carving candles and making wax decals, so I'm linking up to Something New for 2014

Celtic Thistle Stitches  

Friday, 17 October 2014

Manor House picture framing

Wednesday at The Manor House Hotel was busy, a full morning of pottery and a full afternoon of picture framing.  When I saw this advertised in the brochure, I knew I wanted to make a frame for my crewel piece.  It's not an unusual size, so I'm sure I could have found a pre-made frame to fit, but I like the idea of making my own for it.  After stuffing ourselves with a buffet lunch, we toddled off to the picture framing room.

We started by chosing which wood we wanted for the frame, and which mount board for the mount.  Then we worked in pairs to cut the wood to size and mitre the edges.  We used this piece of kit.

It's a great big saw set up on a mitring-template-type-thing.  I should have asked Mr CA what it's called but that might have ended in a 3-hour lecture on types of saws...

It was manual and it was HARD work.  My arm went dead towards the end and I could hardly get any power from it.  Or I'm just a wimp.  You decide.  Here are my pieces mitred.

When the pieces are cut, you use a jig, a tiny spot of wood glue and some special V-shaped staples to hold the corners together.  I enjoyed this bit.

And ta-dah - sounds quick but actually took hours! - a finished frame.

I forgot to take photos of the mount cutting.  It is done with a cutting mat and fixed ruler and a special 45-degree knife.  I did nick the corners a little, but I'm pleased with it anyway.

Mr CA said my mitres were "very good".  High praise indeed from the wood-worker extraordinaire.  

I wanted to show you a picture of the embroidery in the frame, but alas, I haven't got round to lacing it into the mount board yet.  I'll try to remember to show you when it's done.

There's a special stapler-type machine to put those lift-up thingies in with.  See how I've got all the technical terms down?

Next up: candle making.

As before, I'm linking up to Something New for 2014 and taking over the whole linky party! 

Celtic Thistle Stitches  

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Manor House scroll saw

After pottering and silk painting, it was time for a wood work class at The Manor House Hotel.  We were to use a machine to cut out a piece of wood.  This is a scroll saw.  Mr CA (who is a trained wood machinest type person) says it's not a scroll saw, it's a fret saw.  I don't care what it's called.

It is not a machine that you programme, then sit down with a cuppa, it's a hand-guided machine. Much like a sewing machine except there is no foot pedal, the needle is a blade and no thread is involved.  It's bloody good fun.  We started with practice pieces, triangles and curves.

Then moved on to our patterns.  I chose a bunny.  What a surprise.  The pattern was spray glued to the wood, then it put it in the machine and followed the line to cut it out.

Simple!  Actually, it was.  I found it quite easy and was pleased with what I did.  Mum wasn't so happy with it and screamed "help! help!" the entire time the machine was running!  Here's Mr. Bunny.  I tidied him up with some sandpaper.

Then I oiled him with Danish oil.  He's made from poplar and I chose a uniform piece as the colours vary through the wood from a light wood colour (descriptive, I know) to green.  The tutor then drilled a hole through him for me.

He gave us some clock parts and I put him together when I got home.  How cute!  I think I'll hang him above my computer.

More woodworking in the next post - we move on to picture framing.

First time on a scroll saw - so I'm linking to Something New for 2014

Celtic Thistle Stitches  

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Manor House silk painting

Tuesday was a busy day at The Manor House Hotel.  After a morning of pottery, a buffet lunch and a quick trip back to the pottery studio to take the pieces out of the moulds, we headed to a silk painting class.

I have had a silk painting kit for many years, but for some reason I'd never tried it.  It's now been dug out and is on the dining room table waiting for me as I loved silk painting.  The class was only an hour and a half, and although you can stay after class and use the facilities for as long as you like, we had another class to get to, so I chose something simple.

This was a set of 3 pre-gutta cards.  Gutta is a thick liquid in a tube which is applied over the design lines.  It dries flat and acts as a barrier to the paint.  It comes in various colours, but these cards used clear gutta.  The paint comes in gorgeous jewel-like colours and is easy to work with.  You apply a little to the silk with a brush and it expands and spreads right up to the gutta lines.  It doesn't go over the lines, that only happens if you put on a second coat and paint too close to the edge.

The gutta lines are easier to see in these two cards, they are the white areas.  I chose my favourite pallet of Mackintosh-esque colours and I love the way they work together.  These photos are close ups so where the paint looks mottled, that's just a trick of the camera.

Although they were sold as cards, they are 20cm squared and so I think I'll frame them and hang them up somewhere in a little group.  I'm that taken with them!

On Thursday we had a bit of time in our schedule so we went to another silk painting class.  The rooms and the paints are available at any time, but the silk items are put away so you can only get them during a class.  The way it works is that you only pay for materials, and they are quite cheap, so you could paint whatever you like and you just pay for the cost of the silk item, all the paints and equipment are free of charge.  I'm sure if we'd asked we could have taken some items to paint from the cabinet too.  Anyway, I chose a plain item this time.  I chose invisible gutta again as I love the effect.

This is what it looks like.  If you've ever done any glass painting, it looks just like Cerne Relief, though it is a little different.  I chose a 20cm plain suncatcher and, based on a design on one of the examples, I drew in free hand flowers.  I was very chuffed with them.

We went off at that point for a massage and came back later in the day after our last class to finish them off.  I chose the same pallet as it really is my favourite, and if you see the glass painting post later in the week, you'll see I got hooked on this design and pallet!

I did two coats of the grey.  It dries so very fast that by the time I got back to an area I'd already painted, the paint was bone dry and so a line formed.  I thought this would be a problem, but actually, when held up to the light you can't see it and it looks good.

I really enjoyed silk painting, you will be seeing more of it on this blog! 

The next class, and the subject of my next post is woodwork using a scroll saw.

Yep, another link for Something New for 2014

Celtic Thistle Stitches