Beowulf and The Pied Piper

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Craft Day 1/365
Hubby’s just made me a prop for school where I will be teaching Beowulf along with other myths and legends. He drew out the shape on some ply after a bit of research on the shape, then cut it out. He left the decorating for me to do!
I have painted the Viking broadsword using metallic paint for the font to add a bit of shine to it in the light and outlined some of the lettering with ink. I particularly like celtic patterns or those which interlock. One day I hope to have a go at silver jewellery making. The first piece of jewellery I designed was when my first baby was born and I wanted her to have a keepsake for when she grew up. Although I designed it, I commissioned a jewellery maker from famous Glastonbury in the UK to make it.
Regarding my class, all about the age of 12/13, they were thrilled that we were going to create a wall display of our work on myths and legends. After the focus on Beowulf, we moved onto The Pied Piper and the children’s task was to then write their own epic poem. My youngest daughter is always inspired by the ideas I plan for my lessons and wanted to take part even though she’s younger and attends a different school. She drew me a picture for a slide on The Pied Piper, having already studied it at school!
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Wristies – made in an evening

OK, hi everyone! Yesterday was my birthday and what better way to spend it than my DH and daughter taking me to my favourite craft store (with its very own cafe) for breakfast with my son home from uni)?
While we ate, I glanced at the rainbow selection of wool stacked from floor to ceiling and racks of ribbons in every colour under the sun :-). There were yarn bombs decorating the indoor pillars and a delicious variety of books to suit beginners and experts alike. So, what did I buy?
My youngest child wanted me to crochet her some wristies (she’d seen the ones I made earlier in the week). She chose some wool – blue flecked with silver and a grey for the stripe. While she browsed, I flicked through the books. One caught my eye and made me giggle: a book on pipe cleaner pets! Not seen one on that before! I resisted buying the book – for now – but for anyone interested in trying a new craft … It’s also available on Amazon:

Maybe this is something to try next year on Squarebird?
I then found some pretty pink and grey yarn which was perfect for my friend. This evening, after watching the indoor sparklers flicker on my birthday cake (bought for me by the colleague I’d made the red wristies for earlier), I crocheted another pair of wristies for my friend.

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Now onto making some for my daughter!

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Wristies

When a colleague asked me to crochet or knit her a pair of wristies and gave me free reign over colours/style and pattern, I checked out a number of patterns and basically it evolved from 38 chain. I modelled the size around my own wrist and hand length. She hasn’t seen them yet (I said I’d have them ready by Friday), so hope she likes them now they’re finished. I enjoyed making them so much, I’m going to make myself a pair!

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The wristies consisted of mainly trebles, so the pattern grew quickly – if I’d opted to do some knitting, they could well be waiting until after Christmas!

Writer badges

Hi all :-)

I’m so excited! My twelve-year-old has just finished writing her first novel and when I asked her how long it is she replied, “47 chapters”. I mentioned in an earlier post that she was busy writing one, while I was taking part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) last month. I haven’t been allowed to read it as she wanted to show it to me when she’d finished it. So last night inspired me to get out the frosty shrink plastic and I made us a pair of a typewriter badges! First I sketched out typewriter using my stencil I made a few weeks ago as a reference:

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I majorly shrunk it down to fit a circle of shrink plastic measuring 8cm across. Once I was content with the black image on the frosty plastic, I baked it in the oven under 175 degrees until it shrank to the size of a ten pence piece. Next, I found some glitter glaze and painted on the reverse before adding a brooch pin to the backs. There’s enough space on the typewriter paper to write her name using a permanent marker (particularly as she has an unusual name spelling).
Cute don’t you think?

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The ties arrived in time :-)

How about a handprinted tie for Christmas? My dad always had to wear a suit and tie to work and I can remember as a kid going into a tailors many years ago while he was measured up for a tailor-made jacket. He also used to traipse across town in search of leather-soled shoes so they lasted. To him, that was money well spent. My mum would also painstakingly iron his shirts and fold them as if they’d just been bought so that they could neatly sit inside the wardrobe piled up on the shelves rather than be hung up on a hanger. Likewise, I seldom saw my grandfather out of a proper shirt; he always dressed for dinner.
So, I thought long and hard what I could buy my dad for Christmas this year. He, of course, dresses up in shirt and tie for restaurant meals, but when I saw him yesterday he was wearing a thread-bare sweater and jogging bottoms – his garage clothing. Hmm, should I fork out for something he’s unlikely to wear? Should I invest the next two weeks into trying to knit a new sweater for him (impossible) or handprint him a unique tie that he could wear on special occasions, such as my daughter’s forthcoming birhday?
I chose the latter and ordered five plain white silk ties (well, some might not turn out quite right). Then I added some fabric paints to the list began considering designs for it.
This is what I came up with – a handprinted silk tie – this is one I sold today at an orchid and craft fair :-). The other is off public view as it needs to remain a surprise!

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First ever crocheted necklace

Over the year I’ve achieved several firsts at crafts:
Pewter casting
Patchwork chicken pin cushions
Toothbrush bracelet (yes, really)
Printing on a gelli plate
Completing a 39 square embroidery project
Painting a mural on a wall
Creating a magazine-rolled pen pot
Book sculpting
Holding my first art exhibition (outside of college)
Creating my first knitting pattern and publishing it
Taking part in the National Novel Writing Month, achieving the winner’s 50,000 word badge and working full time!
Stitched my first teddy bear out of a cushion cover …

…just to name a few! There have also been many crafts I’ve revisited and enjoyed very much such as drawing and sketching, book making, lino cutting and printing, pyrography and writing haiku. Time and again, I reminded myself that it would be a huge challenge to produce a craft a day as this blog suggests in its name. I mostly achieved that – and sometimes posted more than one post in a day – until I began to work full time and seeing my son go off to uni. It was only when we got to November I reasoned with myself that I could produce better work if I spent more time on it than pushing myself to get that blog post out before midnight!
There have only been a few days when I’ve not added a blog entry … that’s only recently. This is because I’ve realised there are some things that need to stay hidden for a bit so that ideas can grow and creativity can happen :-). Also, some opportunities happen when you least expect them … and aren’t even consciously looking for them (such as when I found the route to buying my first printing press) and having one of illustrations published (outside of the blogesphere) this week!!! That really was exciting!
Now, I have editing to do on my newly written novel – a creative journey in itself, so if this blog goes quiet you’ll know that I am still busy creating. But … I’ll be back and hope that you will drop by and say hello in the comments now and again.

Meanwhile, here is another first: I’ve never made a crocheted necklace or piece of jewelery before. I was inspired by a colleague wearing a knitted bauble necklace at work today. She had a lovely deep red jumper on and a long necklace. As I’m not keen on knitting, I decided to attempt to make one using a size 3 crochet hook and a ball of cotton string :-). I chose string mainly because I’m not keen on the wool colours I have in my cupboard; each of them were bought with specific projects in mind or I’ve been given random odd balls of yarn by my mum who knits trauma teddies for children who’ve been displaced through natural disasters. I’m also thinking that I might dye the string now that I’ve made the necklaces. What do you think?

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Still time to enter – free Christmas Giveaway!

Entries are being accepted up until midnight Friday 12th December. Thanks everyone who has entered so far – mostly on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/squarebird.co.uk
Tgis is just to remind you that entries are accepted here on WordPress too. All you have to do is comment on whether the limited edition print will be for you or a gift before the deadline tomorrow. Good luck.
Here’s a reminder of the prize:

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Lino print hare and free Christmas giveaway

Hi and welcome to my blog, if this is the first time you’ve come across squarebird :-). Hello to all newcomers and old friends in the bloggesphere.

Today marked the day when work put up the Christmas tree and so I decided to run a Christmas free giveaway! I’m also promoting this on my
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/squarebird.co.uk and my printing blog at http://www.theelevatorpress.wordpress.com

First let me show you the actual lino cut I sketched out and cut this evening, then I’ll show it to you inked up for the first time. Finally, I’ll show you the limited edition lino-gelli print you have the chance of winning for yourself or a friend.

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I chose to do a hare simply because I like nature and the hare is almost an iconic feature in the UK.

Once inked up with black, I found that I liked how the brown from the lino showed through against the acrylic paint.

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Finally, I began to play around with a Gelliprinted background and then printed the hare over the top.

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To win, all you have to do is comment after this blog post (or on my facebook page using the above link and commenting under the hare post) whether you would like to win it for yourself or if it will be a gift for someone. Entries will be accepted up until midnight Friday 12th December -all time zones and I will announce the winner (chosen at random) on Saturday.

Good luck everyone and thanks for stopping by :-)

Doodling on a print

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Yesterday I picked up a crocheted doily because I liked the texture and wanted to see what it came out like as a print.
I needed to apply a considerable amount of paint to start with, but was pleased with how these came out.

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This inspired me to start doodling in the gaps starting from the middle – quite relaxing on a Sunday afternoon :-)

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Christmas mini bobble hats

Today I took a trip to The Hive … A newly opened craft and wool shop which also has a fabulous cafe for knitters, stitchers and crafters to sit and chat among the gorgeous blends of woollen skeins, buttons and reels of cotton and reams of fabrics.
I went specifically to find some festive yarn to make a bobble hat garland – reason: we’ve decided not to put up a tree because the cat is so full of energy that she’s almost certain to pull it over – she’s already pulled the curtain pole out of the wall (we went through three trees with our previous cat one Christmas until she outgrew her kitten phase!). We’ve bought a six inch real tree for now, which might grow with Nikon

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There was one ball of Christmas wool left when I reached the shop, which I thought was perfect for the garland. Traditional colours of red, white and green with the added touch of glitter… what do you think? I have a few more to make before I hang them up in a line across the living room ceiling and next year they may adorn the Christmas tree!

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Nikon liked playing with the left overs from making fork pom poms too :-)

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Arctic Fox Fabric Christmas

This evening I took my daughter to see the movie Paddington and tried to share some of my childhood with her (my own memories of watching TV and the antics of a bear from Peru). I won’t give too much away, in case there are people reading this who have yet to see the film. However it did snow in London during some scenes so that had me thinking about what I could do next as a fabric Christmas card. How about the arctic fox in the snow?

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I made a mask of the fox shape first and then printed the background, then pulled the mask away to reveal a space for me to draw the fox over the top. Next thing is to add a few stitches to finish it off for that festive look! Hope you like it :-)