30 November 2014

How to slow down for creative types - find a slow sofa project!

I have never been very good at just sitting down, I'm one of these people who doesn't feel comfortable unless they are doing something, anything. Even now, when I am trying to give myself 5 sat on the sofa, after a day of work, I am both writing this and thinking 'I should be starting dinner' etc when I should just be taking it easy.

The problem is, now I am pretty much cemented in my third trimester my body is screaming at me to just stop, but my brain just can't handle it, there are so many more interesting things to do than just sit down and watch tv. I also haven't ever been any good at reading. Its not that I don't like books or can't read them its just that I would prefer to be creating something, whether that be a piece of art or a cookie it doesn't really matter.

So whats the solution? Well for me, I think I have discovered it is a little knitting project. Nothing too complicated, or too big mind, otherwise I am likely to get fed up and move onto something else... which doesn't involve sitting around! But just having a little bit of knitting on the sofa which I can sit down, pop the tv on and crack on with means that I actually have something which forces me to stop. This really has become a bit of a revelation for me and should really do me some good over the next few weeks. My only issue now is trying to unprioritise things like making mince pies and prioritise finishing off the little cardigan or blanket or whatever it is I am knitting up which is forcing me to be sat on my arse!

Do you have the same issues? I can't be the only one? What projects do you have which you find are perfect for doing whilst sitting on the sofa? I imagine a cross stitch or crochet project would work just as well. I would really love to hear other suggestions from you.


21 November 2014

Lino Printed Baby Grows

Bears..... aaahhhhh! Run for the hills!

Seriously though, I have a real thing for bears at the moment, Polar bears of course being the hands down winner ever since seeing the handsome fella below in Copenhagen, but grizzlies are just as cute as well. I don't know if its becoming a trend, or if its the influence of having my own grizzly little bear on the way, but either way anything bears is win for me at the moment.

So I wanted to have a dabble at making a lino print for printing on some baby grows. I have had a small experiment into lino printing before, and actually have some good supplies (seriously not an expensive hobby unless you want to buy a lot of inks). So I drew up a handsome bear and transferred the drawing onto a lino cutting block. Then, using the lino cutting tools, I carved him out into this fabulous looking block.

Here comes my warning about lino print carving... keep your fingers out the way! Yes I did slip and push the blade full force into my thumb, not so great when you are using blades which were found at a car boot... so be wary of this.

Once you have cut out your print you use printing inks and a roller to cover the image and pop it only your printing surface. After applying a little bit of pressure to the back of the block you can carefully lift it off and you should be left with a lovely relief image. There are a couple of really simple tutorials on youtube for this so I seriously suggest you go check out how easy this is.

I do think I could do with a bit more practice though! I managed to get a bit too much ink on my roller and it has gone into all the grooves of the print. Because I was printing onto jersey the fabric has gone into the grooves and picked up all the paint which was there, giving me the kind of opposite effect to what I was after, but this really doesn't matter, I think this version worked out great and I am really happy with his little smiley grizzly face :)

I hope you liked this little idea into decorating your own baby grows/onesies. If you want to give this a go yourself then don't stop there... you can use block printing on cards, invitations, t-shirts, bags anything so give it a go yourself.

Edit: I have just booked onto a short lino printing class with a friend as well so hopefully I will be able to hone in my skills and make some even better prints, I will let you know what we make on the night! 

14 November 2014

Fox Cub Hoodie

Well... if you are going to have a little fox cub you might as well dress him like one!

I am very pleased to show off this adorable little fox hoodie which I have knitting for the little man. I found the pattern on Ravelry and I just couldn't pass it up!  Its knitted in really chunky wool so it made up really quickly (unlike these darned 4ply baby knits I keep picking up!). 

The pattern was easy enough in the most part, but I had a lot of trouble with the ribbing cuffs etc. The pattern is translated into English so although it probably makes sense to the more seasoned knitter, as a bit of a novice I struggled with some of the sections. I still dont think I have the ribbing correct... I mean look at those sleeve cuffs, what are they all about? But I dont think it matters, it came out ok in the end and it should fit a little boy brilliantly. 

I made it for a 1 year old as the pattern was only for ages 1,2 &3 but at least he will have time to grow into it, hopefully by next winter when he starts needing new outerwear again. 

The wool is some very cheap Wendy Serenity 100% superwash which I purchased from what is fast becoming my favourite online wool shop www.loveknitting.co.uk. They are always doing 10-15% off something, email you free patterns and they send out your parcels in gorgeous little bags which arrive very quickly. You couldn't ask for better service. I just need to stop buying wool for projects before I am near to finishing the last one... oops!

I really have discovered I love a baby knit because they are so small, quicker than an adult knit, and easier to port about. I just hope I still find a little bit of time to do some more when he arrives as it would be a real shame to have to stop!

One thing I will say though it that I am really missing sewing my own clothes. I know I really should have done a bit more maternity sewing, but I had one of those bad experiences with some elastic (which seems to be in all maternity sewing patterns) and I just couldn't face picking it back up again. I have however already started shopping patterns and fabrics etc for when I do finally (fingers crossed) return to my old shape so I really can't wait to get back into that again. I really hope I can find some time (and energy) for it! I will just have to get Mr Fox looking after baby whenever I can!

But for now... on to the next knitting project! I don't like to blog about a project though as I feel like I get a curse and they never end up finished, so you will just have to wait and see on that front.

Have you got any projects on the go at the minute you want to share? Or do you have any baby sewing/knitting kawaii/fancy dress ideas you want to give me? You know I am always on the look out for more! Do feel free to comment and share away.

9 November 2014

Hand Printed Festive Wrapping

I don't know about you, but there is something very personal about being able to give your Christmas presents in some hand made wrapping paper. All that thought about the perfect gift is somehow much better presented wrapped up in something which was handmade with love and enjoyment. 

The most simple way to do this, which we have all done before, is of course with some brown paper and a potato! Potato printing is great fun and if you haven't ever had a go at making your own paper this way then I would seriously recommend it, especially if you have kids, what a fun way to get them in the festive spirit as well as keep them entertained. 

With all this in mind, myself and Ellen decided to make some paper in time for Project craft (which is tomorrow! Eek!) and I have to credit Ellen with the ideas for this.

So we did try to be a bit more sophisticated than using a potato. Instead we cut out stencils from acetate and used some really gorgeous wooden Christmas cutouts for relief and stamping (now you know what Mr Stag was being cut out for!) 

The painting and printing was then done using a variety of methods. We spray painted gold and silver, used sponges and poster paint and even some glitter gel to give the paper a really festive feel. 

We came up with 4 designs in the end, all of which you can see here and managed to get all the work done in the office surprisingly, though it was a bit messy it was lots of fun! I think we are both really pleased with how they came out. None of them had a distinct repeting pattern, it was all a bit freestyle, but that gives them a lot more interest. 

I really would urge you to have a go at printing some of your own paper. I am secretly hoping these don't sell out so I can repurchase a couple for wrapping my own Christmas gifts in! 

I would love to hear which is your favourite design, or see paper you have printed for Christmas, so please feel free to leave a comment. 

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