Wednesday, May 18, 2011

somewhere between meh and yeah

I'm getting the feeling I might be the only one who's interested in quilling around here, but I shall carry on regardless and present you with the teatime quilling update. I think I still like it, but I'm foreseeing problems now. 1) How do I finish it? Quill tightly right up to the edges and leave no white space or try to be arty and leave loose curly bits? I think the second option would look better, but might be beyond my artistic inabilities. 2) I'm not managing to get decent photos of it (though admittedly it is practically dark today) and if I can't get a photo of it, I can't turn it into postcards. Waaah! I'll plough on. I'm really enjoying curling the paper and fitting it into little pockets of space so it's been a good day's occupational therapy even if we don't get anything out of it at the end. And we may still have an end product! I haven't written it off just yet!

It hasn't really taken me all day to do this. After lunch I went and pursued my latest hobby - afternoon napping. I've had a pretty decent nap every afternoon this week, I think. It started off when I had the cold and so had an excuse. Now I'm all better, but I just can't give up the napping. I don't know how I'll cope when I have to go back to the life of ten hour shifts in a few days' time. Now that I'm up and about again post-nap, I'm wearing clothes (obviously) with my slippers and my dressing gown (with hood up) and have a hot water bottle shoved up my top. I'm so cosy! I can't believe it's only taken a fortnight off work for me to get to this stage...

lunchtime quilling update

Here's my morning's quilling. I'm liking it, both how it's turning out and how much fun it is to do. There's something very satisfying about it and it is easier than I'd thought as the paper coils are very pliable. I'm looking forward to continuing with my second shade of blue after lunch. Yay for quilling!

more quilling in progress

Here's where I got up to with the quilling last night. All the letters are outlined in white, glued in place and dried to a surprisingly sturdy finish, and now I'm ready to go wild quilling with colours. Can quilling ever be wild? I'm starting to realise I have a serious quilling prejudice. Hopefully this project will cure me of it.I've had a few plans for thank you cards for absolutely ages. One plan is for some notecard sets to sell and the other is to have a range of thank you postcards to include with orders. At the moment I don't have any consistency when it comes to packaging and it would be nice to be more organised and make sure that every customer got a nice little treat with their purchase as well as a thank you. At the moment some customers do and some don't (get a treat, I mean - they all get a thank you!) depending on how much of a rush I am in to get to the post office and how accessible appropriate treats are. Hopefully this quilling will turn out pretty enough to photograph and send off to Vistaprint to be magically transformed into postcards, but we will have to wait and see.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

quilling in progress

In a totally out-of-character act of non-procrastination, I've made a start on my Yulia Brodskaya inspired quilling already. Woo hoo! There's a lot of glue where there shouldn't be, but I'm hoping that will be covered up by the colourful quilled bits when I add them. I'm very pleased with how it's looking so far. I was going to say it hasn't been too tricky, but it is very fiddly and I've just realised from looking at the time of my last post that it has taken me nearly three hours to do the outlines of these five letters. It didn't feel like three hours (I must have been enjoying myself) and I suppose that includes preparation time for making up the text and cutting the strips of white card. I'm not cutting the coloured strips by hand, thank goodness, I just thought it would be easier if the letters were outlined in card rather than paper, so I cut some for the purpose. I'm not sure if this counts as quilling yet, since I haven't done any curly bits, but I did use my twiddling tool, so I'm going to say that it does. I can't decide what colours/patterns to use and am a bit scared now because I like the way the white letters are turning out and I'm getting quite attached to it already. I hope I don't ruin it. Right, off to make a start on the Y-O-U and then maybe leave the colourful bit until tomorrow. Quilling! Who'd have thought it?

yulia brodskaya - quiller extraordinaire

I think quilling is a difficult item on my Craftathon 2011 list. I used to do quilling when I was very little, but it was the usual flowers and cartoon dogs and whatever else and always looked a little on the rubbish side.
It was only when I saw these amazing images in the Guardian by Yulia Brodskaya (apparently way back in 2008 - yikes!) that I was inspired to buy some paper strips and get my twiddler out. That sounds rude, but you know the thing I mean, right?
Two and a half years later, I still haven't so much as made a single coil. I thought perhaps I was intimidated by Yulia Brodskaya's greatness (who wouldn't be?) so today I had a look for other examples of quilling on flickr to see if I could spot anything that would give me a little spark of less frightening inspiration for a starting point.

It turns out I can't find a single example of quilling by anyone other than Yulia Brodskaya that I even remotely like, except for maybe this one which is very Yulia Brodskaya in style, and certain aspects of this one. (Please let me know if you have seen any quilling you think I might like!) So I'm thinking it's likely to be the high probability of naff that's put me off quilling rather than intimidation. My attempts are probably going to be closer to the naff side of quilling than the great side, I would expect, at least to begin with.
Anyway, having realised it's Yulia Brodskaya's quilling I like more than quilling in general, I thought maybe I should just aim high and start off with a Yulia Brodskaya tribute (rip-off?) and try to do something typographical.
I'm not expecting it to turn out all crisp and clean and stylish like hers, but it would be a good start and worth a try and, after all, Craftathon 2011 was meant to be about trying just as much as (if not more so than) succeeding.
p.s. I tried and failed some macrame today too, but more on that later, when I have the energy to fathom out how to do a pesky double half hitch.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Originally uploaded by { House } of A La Mode

Uh-oh! I hadn't looked at the Craftathon 2011 list for a long while and I could have sworn patchwork was on there. Turns out it isn't, but I've been thinking about patchwork a lot over the last couple of weeks and was pretty certain I wanted it to be the next thing I tick off the list. I even treated myself to a few nice little pieces of fabric in Scarborough. What to do? I think I'm going to allow myself to go ahead and patchwork to my heart's content, even though it could be a lengthy project as I'm planning on making a quilt of indeterminate size. Actually, my whole patchwork plan is fairly indeterminate. I have a little piece of patchwork that my sister and I started making over 20 years ago (will try to photograph with the return of daylight tomorrow) and I'm hoping to incorporate parts of that. It's hexagonal, so I'm going with that for the patch shape, but I can't decide whether I want to have just lots of random hexagons sewn together in a big mixture of a pattern or whether I want to sew them into flower shapes (one colour/pattern in the centre and six in another colour/pattern around it) and then join them together. Too many decisions! I was going to go for a nice red, blue and yellow theme, but I don't know that I'd really have enough red/blue/yellow material and colour co-ordinating is not my strength, so maybe using up my randomly coloured vintage fabric stash would be the way to go. Random clashing colours did work well for me on the old ripple blanket... This clearly needs more thought, huh?

Perhaps I should start with a nice smaller-scale project like this pretty little number to get my patchwork juices flowing. How cute is the fabric with the headscarf lady on it?

the hotel was grand

We stayed in the Grand Hotel again this year and really got into the cabaret. We went along most nights and had a great time. We even won the quiz one night. Woo hoo! The cabaret ranged from the not quite sublime (above) to the downright ridiculous (below).
This was the Bay City Rollers section of the '60s/'70s/'80s bonanza we saw on our last night.
The lady singer had her ankle bandaged all weekend, but didn't let it put her off her high heels and sequins. I'd say that image sums up the Grand fairly well and is why we love it oh so much.
Here's the giant staircase in the main lobby, designed to allow two ladies in crinoline dresses to pass. Crinoline dresses really must have been mighty wide because about eight people in modern attire can pass comfortably on these stairs.
Last but not least, here's a nice photo (although its a terrible photo of me) outside the hotel.

And that was our wee mini-break to Yorkshire. No Jimmy Saville sightings this year, but a lovely time was had nonetheless.

I'm still not back at work until next weekend so hopefully I'll make some headway in a few Craftathon 2011 activities. I haven't been as craftily productive as I might have liked in my time off so far, but the freezer is now full of home-cooked meals, the charity shops have been well and truly visited, the Eurovision Song Contest has been watched and my nasty cold is on its way out (touch wood) so no more excuses!


Since we had an extra day in Scarborough (it was cheaper to pay for an extra night in the hotel than it was to travel on a Friday - bonus!) we decided to do at least one day trip. I really wanted to go to Hornsea to visit the pottery museum, but this turned out to be a rather lengthy journey by public transport, so we went to Whitby instead and both loved it. Hooray! It is such a pretty town.
Chalky the mermaid shows you the way to a beer garden.
Nautical images are everywhere, but you can never have too many nautical images as far as I'm concerned.
The nicest ice-cream van ever, with free Dracula's blood on every ice cream. Graham was very confused by all the gothic stuff going on in Whitby. Turns out he didn't know about the Dracula links. I really wanted to go into the overpriced tack of the Dracula Experience because they had Christopher Lee's real Dracula cloak and claimed it weighed over eight stone. Sadly, I was overruled, so we went for a pint instead.
This sign looked truly ancient. All the fabric was worn away behind the glass. Very lovely though.

Other Whitby highlights included a crazy knitting shop with a lovely display of the different Guernsey patterns from the surrounding areas and a pram full of four-week-old kittens who turned out to be orphaned. So cute but so sad :( Their owner was hand-rearing them and had a tiny bottle of milk with him for when they got hungry.

return of the dropstitch (oh yeah!)

I'm back! Did you miss me? In case you couldn't tell from this photo, the cats certainly did. We've actually been back for nearly a week (after being away for five whole days) and I still can't get a moment's peace. Lola is waking me up at least three times a night by purring in my ear, scratching my face/arms/back, combing my hair with her claws and chewing my fingers. She sits on my shoulder as I cook and generally lets me know she's there a lot. It's kind of adorable, but she's rather large and hard to ignore. Anyway, a lot has changed since I last blogged. I've been back to sunny Scarborough, I've turned 31, I'm covered in unsightly cat scratches and I've had all my hair chopped off, among other things.
We had a great time in Scarborough again, but I probably shared most of the sights last year, so I thought I'd just pop in with three posts of some new/random sights and share them at high speed. Here's some nice graffiti.
I spent most of my actual birthday in Peasholm Park. It was such a lovely day. The geese had been busy hatching out their super-cute fluffy babies. They were adorable, but the nesting geese were scary! At one point we thought we would be trapped by one particularly aggressive goose dad who would not let us pass at all. There was much hissing and flapping of wings. At one point I was stuck on one side of the goose with a random man while Graham was stuck on the other side of the goose with random man's wife.
Last year the geese were nesting on the bridge which meant you couldn't get across to the Oriental island with it's beautiful gardens and waterfalls. This year the geese had nested in more sensible places, so we were able to explore the island properly. It was so nice! Other birthday activities included eating cake, riding the miniature railway and generally milling about. Oh yeah, and being stuck on trains/buses for about six hours as we travelled home. Boo! Fortunately, there was some lovely birthday mail (and non-birthday mail - thanks, Marceline!) waiting for me when we got back to the flat to stop the day ending on a real anticlimax.
Right, back to the high-speed Scarborough roundup. Here's a nice RSPCA collection box.

Scarborough seemed to be absolutely full of ladybirds this year, hardly surprising when you realise how much ladybird humping was going on. Apologies for the graphic nature of this image, but check out how tight he's holding on to her shell!
We couldn't very well NOT have knickerbocker glories from the Harbour Bar, could we? Just as good as I remembered.
And I can't believe I missed this memorial bench last year. How lovely? It makes me wish I could have known Maldwyn Edwards. I wonder what his tapestry was like.

I'll be back with two more high-speed holiday posts imminently.