Friday, 21 December 2012

Organised Scatterbrain

This evening saw me finishing my Christmas crafting for this year! It feels slightly strange that I don't have to make any more Christmas cards for at least 9 months. I tried to keep the cards that I had made for craft fairs in their plastic wrappers and made extra cards for me to send personally.  

I came home from university last Saturday with my crafty stuff in tow. I had left packing really last minute and as a result, have left various bits and pieces in my room. Including my glue stick. And my cutting mat. And my metal ruler. I am therefore reduced to using the back of a sketchbook and my scale ruler (I bought my self a new PritStick this afternoon - you can never have too many!) so it's just as well I didn't have much more to do!

Well, now that I am - nearly - all ready for Christmas, I doubt I will have another entry before C-Day so . . . .

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Hope to see you all in 2013 (assuming the world hasn't ended! Sorry, couldn't resist!)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Paper Pieced Pictures: Past, Present, Future

In this post, I wanted to write about my paper pictures. I realise that I have mentioned them several times before but wanted to give them a proper entry seeing as I am making quite a few of them these days.

So, first up was of course, the best Doctor ever to travel through time and space. I think I was actually watching the most recent Weeping Angels episode when I was putting this one together! I really do love this one and the black pen makes it look as if he's just stepped out of the glossy pages of a comic book. I now have several jealous friends but I feel it is my duty to keep the first - and tester - one. I tried to layer everything in this one so each part of the suit is on a different layer to really make it stand out from the frame.

My second was a birthday present for my room mate who would probably be Mrs Jack Skellington, if only he was real! I took ages drawing him out in my sketchbook - not because it was laborious, just because I didn't know when to stop shading! I remember I messed up slightly with his tie - I think I got the layers mixed up a bit - and I could have done more to stick it down firmly but I am happy with him. White pencil on black card will always be something that I enjoy doing and the look is so effective. I probably should have done him a little bit smaller so I didn't have to squash Zero into the top corner.

Iron Man was on my list nearly from the beginning. This one was based on the comic book character although the original inspiration came from the films (Who wouldn't be inspired by RDJ!). Honestly, I'm not overly happy with it. I just couldn't get his shape right but, again, love the black pen detail. I remember this one being quite fiddly to do because of the yellow parts fitting in to the red but the starry paper background really finishes it off. This frame was one of the four that were made for the Victoria Baths craft fair and one of the two that were sold. I may have to make this one again and, now that I have seen The Avengers and Iron Man 3 and The Avengers 2 coming out in the new year, I will have to have a go at some of the other characters . . . . 

Alice in Wonderland has been a running theme throughout my crafts this year, possibly because it being Jubilee year and Alice and Tea Parties being quintessentially British or because of the amount of artistic licence, either way, it is probably one of my favourite themes. These two frames, like Iron Man, were made for the Victoria Baths craft fair. I was inspired by the original illustrations from the book but I didn't want to just copy them. A few years back, I got some Kate Knight papers which were absolutely perfect for this project. The bright and almost garish colours and patterns were definitely Wonderland-esque while I was able to use some more toned down colours for Alice herself. Again, my black pen makes an appearance to add the final details.

I used a bit of recycling in the Cheshire Cat picture; the tree was made out of the paper that filled the frame when I first bought it - fun fact #1!
Fun fact #2: For the Caterpillar's shisha pipe, I used thread, wrapping it all around the picture. It was a bit of a pain to do but the best way to do it and it gives a nice finishing touch I think.
My sister, who funnily enough is also named Alice (all the jokes have already been done!), was eyeing up the Cheshire Cat picture before it was sold at the fair. Sorry, Alice!

I couldn't very well leave my guitar silhouettes out of the picture - no pun intended - so I picked myself up a smaller frame and had a go. Using silver with the black and white works so well and maybe once I manage to sell this one, I'll make another!

My Jane Austen designs are my most recent and I hope to make some more of these. The first one I made featured a quote, which just happens to be one of my favourites, from Pride and Prejudice. These were a bit different from my original frames as they aren't layers as such, just decorated. I felt that I couldn't really do any novel for my second one other than Emma and I admit I did have to look up the quote on-line - but only because I don't have my books with me! (excuses, excuses, I hear you say) My next step with these is to work on my font, maybe even get out the ol' calligraphy set, and get a list of suitable quotes written down.

The last one I want to talk about can't really be talked about so shhhh! This one is my first commissioned piece so it's all very exciting but I can't really say more than that. Here's a picture though to get you thinking, but if you know what it is, don't say anything!

I still have plenty of ideas to be put down into paper and I think I will be having a go at some of these in the new year but because I'm such an awesome person, I am going to give you some ideas of what you'll be seeing soon.

More period costumes. Computer game heroes. Pie makers. Paranoid Androids. Steam-punk  Nerdy roommates.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Coordinating Christmas

No, this entry isn't about getting organised and sorted for C-day - trust me, I am a long way off!

I want to share some of my Christmas card idea. In particular, those I have made using patterned papers. One of my biggest problems when walking into a craft shop is the inability to leave without finding a new pack of paper that I just have to have. I now have 3 big packs of Christmas themed paper: traditional (the usual suspects), modern (blues and purples and whites - probably my favourite of the three) and cartoony (so really bright colours and bold patterns).

 My first card is one I made with the third set of paper. This paper was covered with penguins and I decided to make them the feature of the card. I used a strip of the paper but cut around the penguin and instead of just gluing him down with the rest of the paper, i used sticky pads to make it look as if he was sledding out of the card. I then finished it off with a tree from the paper and a seasonal greeting.

This one is a design I did a couple of years back and will do it again. I used the modern papers for this as well as some dark blue paper I had lying around. I cut a strip away from the front of the blank, adding paper to the  inside and over lapping the star and the handwritten message. 

This last one was just made using patterned paper as it was. Again, from the modern paper, I cut it to shape, letting some of the pink card blank show through before finishing it with glitter glue snowflakes.

Hope I have managed to inspire some quick and easy cards!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Craft Fairs . . . . A Learning Curve

Yesterday was my third craft fair but unfortunately, it wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be. Like the one in Prestwich, it was fairly quiet and the venue wasn't as conspicuous as Victoria Baths which is a shame but The Jellyfish Rooms is an up-and-coming project so hopefully, the next one will be even more successful.

This one was a bit different as well. At the other two fairs I attended, the tables were provided - which made my life easier. They weren't today but disaster was averted when dad bought up an old camping table and a Christmassy table cloth for me to use. 

So with my table over my shoulder and carrying my wheelie suitcase behind me, I set off on a surprisingly not frosty December morning. I got to the venue and found my spot.
The great (and annoying) thing about doing craft fairs for the first time is that it is a learning curve. It doesn't matter how many blogs etc, that you read about craft fairs, there is always more to be learnt at the next one that comes along.
Yesterday I learnt that having your table right by the door, despite me thinking that was a good thing, isn't that great. People who stopped to look were then blocking the entrance (the fair was in a couple of small rooms). I also noticed that the first thing most people did when they entered the room was look behind the door. I guess this could be to do with the fact my stall could be seen from down the corridor whereas you couldn't see the other stall until you actually came into the room. I think the phrase my primary school would use is 'letting the cat out of the bag'. 
Sitting by the door also made me the information point about there being more tables upstairs and normally by people who had just walked straight past my table without so much as a glance. I'm not bitter. Much. Seriously though, it would have been nice to sell more but I guess I'll do better next time. I would love to hear about other people's craft fair learning experiences!


I do have a few commissions to be keeping me busy though. I won't go into too much detail but I have had my first paper pieced commission recently. I will also be working on a couple of new ideas in the next couple of weeks. Now that I don't have any more craft fairs coming up, I can concentrate on crafting MY Christmas cards and, like every year, its December and I still haven't started. Some things never change!