Friday, 2 October 2009

The hills are alive... with 50mph winds!

Today I went up Arthur's seat to be blown away by the wind, and on the way up I saw this lovely rainbow which you can just about see in the photo.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Rescue Mission

Tomorrow it is my Dad's birthday, and after his family, cake and honey the number one thing my dad loves is his allotment emporium. Originally he started off by tending my Mum's secret allotment, his empire grew to 7 at one point (helping other people set up and tend theirs) but now cares mainly for 2 charity plots for Autistic adults and his own.

But sadly, he has been very busy the past year setting up the charity plots and recovering a few dying allotments and so his own has been left to suffer. Therefore, for his bir
thday I decided we should spend a day doing what he loves and rescue it!

This is the before....
Poor sad allotment, I couldn't tell what was supposed to be here for quite a while. And this is half an hour later just as we went in to escape the sudden downpour.

We then did the second best task at the allotment, which is to sit in the shed making tea and sandwiches and talking nonsense. The idea was to wait until the rain went off, but it never did! So i cunningly suggested we should clean the poly tunnel instead.

As you can see, it's in a bit of a state. If I'd have taken this picture a week earlier you would have seen sweetcorn plants bending over and growing along the roof they were so tall!

We had a lot of rubbish so we made somewhere to put it, it's still undecided whether this is a compost bin or somewhere to dry out material for burning... we daftly but tomato plants in there and they are not good for compost...

So here is our invention with a swinging door! Ultimate recycling, i think these palettes where supposed to be for fencing but they have been there for months doing nothing. They look much happier now they have a purpose in life.

Our speedy work was then interrupted by thirst and Arthur (national newcomer champion!) so we had a (lengthy) chat about compost and welding, then went to get refreshment in the form of more tea and a biscuit in the shed.

If you have ever seen the movie "Grow Your Own" you will agree that it is very accurate as to it's depiction of allotment odd-bods, if you haven't seen it, DO!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

How I turned an old skirt into a new bag!

I had this skirt. This wonderful skirt that once was a wardrobe favourite and has since fallen into disuse. I had kept it for months because I couldn't bare losing it with all those beautiful colours! But I never wore it because I don't have anything to match anymore.

I tried to give it to a charity shop, I really did but some things just can't be parted with. So instead, having been inspired by a few refashionista articles, I made my self a new book bag for when I go back to Uni in a few weeks time.

I knew what I wanted to do, but actually figuring out a design took me a surprisingly long time, the main problem was that this skirt flared out a fair bit, and therefore I couldn't cut out a flat piece of fabric from it to make the bag body. I attempted to cheat by smoothing it out every way I could think of but in the end I had to suck it up and undo the seams of each panel (painful!) and sew them back together to make a flat fab
ric. The thought of ripping out all that thread made me want to scream, but once I'd made the decision it wasn't as emotionally draining as I'd thought it would be and I actually found myself enjoying this task! It also meant I had a chance to use the zipper from the side of the waist, I had hoped I could salvage this. I don't have a good zipper selection round here so when a cool one comes my way it's too precious to waste!

Next, after much thought as to what shape the bag would be and how i would construct and reinforce the handles I decided to go for a very simple rectangle big enough to get a couple of textbooks into and sewed up the edges nice and tight. It started to look like a bag!

I had bought this dotty fabric from my local fabric heaven for 40p. It was the last 50cm of the roll and was so beautiful I couldn't leave it there (especially not for 40p!) when I new it would come in handy somewhere along the line. Fortunately for me not only are the colours a perfect match, but it was also the perfect size to line my bag and make a handle! So I whipped this up nice and quickly! I also made a quick little zipper pouch using the original skirt zipper which I sewed onto the lining fabric to keep my keys and phone safe.

The strap is just a simple tube of leftover lining material which i then pinned in between the outer and the inner fabric where the side seams where. Two lines of stitching later and a quick reinforce of the bag straps and it's good to go! 

After all the effort I put into this bag, I am so glad I didn't get rid of that skirt. 
Now I can wear it forever!

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Disaster breeds innovation!

Today, after the second bread baking disaster within one 24 hour period, I decided I needed to so some crafting to wake myself up. I have so many unfinished projects (they even have their own special draw these days) that i decided they HAD to be finished.

I wombled over to my sewing machine to finish making my bunting. I had to do a lot of ironing and pinning and even more faffing trying to post string through the ribbon loop to get it done, but now that it is finished, it looks really cool! I'll get some photos of it once I've cleaned my bedroom/makers heaven enough to be able to uncover the camera. (Actually, that reminds me I still haven't unpacked my suitcase yet from my People to People tour... So THAT'S where all my clothes are!)

I still haven't decided what to make for my neighbours to celebrate their new delivery into this world (a baby boy!) I keep going from jumper, to hat and mits, to baby blanket, do I knit it or do I sew it?? Basically I'm in a creative code red. I got a book from the library the other day about quilting and patchwork so obviously I'm dying to get to grips with my sewing machine... but on the other hand I can't buy any new materials because I promised myself I wouldn't until I had dramatically depleted what I already have!

Dilemma aside, I figure a good way to use up the yarn is to make cushion covers. They are a nice easy way to use up lots of yarn in a functional yet cool way. So I put in a punch card into the machine to kill two birds by figuring out how this very useful feature of the knitting machine works and use up extra yarn! It is very snazzy indeed! But knitting 130 stitches and 200 rows on this machine is positively exhausting. I'm going to end up looking like Popeye because I tend to use my right arm all the time to move the carriage... Even at the loosest tension it doesn't seem to make it any easier today hmm...

Well, what with it being such a nice day outside I might just have to pause from my epic "project finishing" mission for a little bit and maybe start something new.... crochet sounds fun...

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

People to People People

Now, I'm not going to make excuses I'm going to write down what I've been up to!

First of all, there were an awful lot more scarves to make and they have finally been sent off to China! (As of yesterday actually). Bad news is that due to swine flu the volunteer group can't actually visit Mongolia... So instead they will be in nearby (ish) Beijing and the scarves etc will be sent on to them. This makes getting pictures of the kids somewhat difficult and possibly impossible.... There is the potential for a future trip though, so hopefully I'll get to see the smiling faces of children with warm hands necks and heads at some point!

Once the final shipment of scarves was out of the way I had a day or two to pack for my P2P delegation. (An american organisation that takes student ambassadors on educational trips around the world). They get to go to some awesome places, my trip lasted 18 days and we started in Ireland, moved through Wales, England, France, Belgium and Holland. I have absolutely no pictures as I was always busy phoning ahead to restaurants or trying to figure out where I was on the various maps I had which showed no knowledge of there being many hundreds of side roads that quite clearly existed in reality! So I finally arrived home (my liverpool home that is) on monday 6th absolutely knackered and since then I have been in a state of suspension i think. Not much is happening in my brain right now and I've achieved very little other than managing to drag myself back to Edinburgh last Sunday.

Since getting back here, I have managed to plant 2 blackcurrant bushes and one Gooseberry bush as well as retrieve a rose from my little, slightly abused, garden. As well as embark on a personal knitting project which is a pair of fingerless flap mittens. I'll get a picture up as soon as I've unpacked the camera from my suitcase which is still lying on the floor perfectly full of clothes and travel paraphernalia. They are really rather nice mittens!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Long time no see...

It's been a very long time since I've logged anything down, but for good reason! I've been very busy. 

The only project I've worked on properly has been the Charity Knitting for Mongolia project (I pumped out another 5 scarves this morning on the knitting machine!) but I've done a random bit of jewellery work, felting and silly magnet making from the eco-fi I bought some time ago.

I think first thing's first is the eco-fi! I was really excited when this turned up, just look at it! It colours couldn't be any more thrilling if it tried (I know, OTT). But I did that thing were you think "wow it's here! Yay! Now what?" So I just fooled around making some magnets. The original idea was to make magnets that kids could play with on the fridge so things like zoo animals, underwater scenes, garden creatures etc. So I started with a bee (yes, I haven't put the wings, legs or antennae on yet)

Then with some fruit (a strawberry and a kiwi fruit)

And also a clown fish for good measure. I think I'll carry on with the fruit theme, and maybe try to modify the bee a little bit. This would be really good if I could perfect a reasonably easy to produce but cute looking bee design because then they could be sold with my Dad's honey and beeswax candles! I also want to try to make some birds like owls, robins, blue birds, doves...

Next thing I want to share is my button jewellery. Sadly, I left my favourite bits at home. I'll put them up when I get them back, but I still really loved making these. This was very improve, I was so taken by an idea that I couldn't bare to wait and buy some findings, so I used staples instead! Which work really well actually, and look a bit different.

I had a bit of a felting mishap this week, I got really far to vigourous with a new (very large very pointy) felting needle and put it straight through my finger in a moment of utter stupidity. That stopped me knitting for a couple of days because it was right on the tip of my pointing finger... But nevermind, I got some very cute little critters out of the experience. They all escaped without being bled on too which was lucky!

Finally, the Charity Knitting. The deadline is looming and unfortunately I head off to my summer job tomorrow so I can't do much more knitting until I get back. But here is the fruit of my recent labour.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Northern Lights

I was given a skein of Kaffe Fassett's 100% lambswool Colourscape yarn in "Northern Lights" by my boyfriend's Mum for christmas last year, and have spent the last 5 months trying to figure out what to do with it. I wanted to avoid a traditionally "easy knit" because it was such a special yarn.

Naturally, it spent those first five months in the bottom of a draw collecting dust whilst I waited for inspiration to hit.

Finally, it hit me! But it wasn't quite the plan I was expecting, it was more like one of those plans that smack you in the face and seem brilliant for about the first hour (like clearing out all the kitchen cupboards and reorganising them- I've only tried this a few times, but I still feel like it might happen again one day), and then you think hmmm... Now that I can't avoid stopping because I've dug myself too deep down and therefore HAVE to finish, was this such a good plan afterall?

I had decided that I would stop being so pretentious and trying to think of something marvellously complicated to do (that I would probably never have finished) and I would take the easy route out.... I knit a scarf.

Worse than that, it wasn't even a vaguely difficult scarf... No cables, no fair isle motif, not even ribbing!! I made a scarf (far) taller than myself, and I didn't even purl.... not once...

Yep, Garter stitch.

So what do I think? I think it's amazing! The yarn itself is so special and has such exciting colours that by making it too fancy I think I would have ruined the effect! Plus, I found out part way through that the yarn thickness changes, so it would have made a fancy pattern look daft.

The photos don't really do the yarn justice but I tried to get decent ones. Now I have something useful (very useful in Scotland), in really cool colours that is super soft and warm, and is made from something I would never have chosen for myself! 

Well, that is my excuse for bailing out anyway....

I did once try to make this skein into a lightening bolt scarf, which looked pretty cool (I will do this one day) but the gauge on zigzags is bizarre, I would have had to buy another skein to finish the scarf and I didn't want to do that, so I took it apart to make this.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Mad Hatter...

The knitting machine is currently steaming with over use so i thought I'd give it a break for a minute and put some pictures of my creations up here.

These were my very first attempts at figuring out how to knit a hat on the knitting machine. I thought it would be easier to make the square hats at first, but actually the beanie thing is surprisingly quick! I need to make it a bit wider though for it to fit a broader age range. (The random clothes peg is for scale.)

This is how i've been making the scarves (which you can see below!) I knit straight stockinette stitch strips, then block them, and sew them onto what used to be a rather delicious black fleece blanket, but has since been transformed into many, many scarves....

I can't take credit for this final set, they were knit by a volunteer for the Mongolia Knitting Project '09 and I think they are very cute! I especially
 like the little scarf!

Sorry about the pathetically dismal setting for the photos (ie the broken office chair which i found in my room one day when i came home) Anyone who lives in Edinburgh knows that today the weather is delightfully damp with a beautiful muggy sky so the lighting is a bit bizarre too! 
But you get the idea anyway. 

I'm also quite proud of this which I hand knit yesterday (for myself!). 

It probably took around 5 hours, at a casual pace, using circular needles and dpns, and an oh so fantastic merino silk blend yarn I bought yesterday morning. In reality the blue is darker, and richer in colour. I started by using the purl beret pattern from the purl bee but altered it quite a lot because, well, because i haven't ever followed a knitting pattern yet, why would I start now?

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Be Frugal Cool

If you haven't already heard of  FrugalCool, check it out now! 

FrugalCool is dedicated to using recycled, natural, ecologically friendly materials to produce objects of beauty and use. It is also specific to the Edinburgh area, promoting the local craft scene and showing you that you can buy beautiful handmade items without breaking the bank.

I met with the founder recently as she was interested in Pretty Porcini and she purchased a good portion of my items to promote on the site. Some of the other stuff on there is fantastic, I especially love the LP clocks, and the felt jewellery, to be honest I had never seen the attraction to felt jewellery until I saw the stuff on FrugalCool. 

So take a look, especially if you live anywhere near Edinburgh!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Gumtree is the best thing in the world!

Today I did my usual Gumtree trawl for jobs and anything interesting in the community section, along with a quick "knitting" search to see what's around.

A *free* Brother Knitting Machine! I called up the person who owns it and I've arranged a pick up (an hours train ride away) so I can go and get it! I'll probably need to get it serviced as it's been unused for some time apparantly... Fortunately there is a shop called David Drummond in haymarket that does knitting machine servicing, the only place in scotland so it seems!

I know very little about machine knitting so this really will be an experience. I'll post pictures once I've seen it for myself!

I had it serviced, brilliant, because now it works but it set me back a fair sum! Now I have to master it and start making beautiful things for Pretty Porcini...

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Pretty Creations

I thought I'd post some pictures from my collection and some from my Etsy shop today to show you what I've been up to but failed to blog, so that I could explain a little something about how they are made or what I like about them.
First of all my peg magnets. These are a favourite little project of mine. They can hold things in the peg and under the magnet because they are such strong little things, and they just look so cute!
These ones have a paisley and flowers kind of design, and are topped with diamond glaze to make them sparkle. I've also done a few other designs which you can check out in my shop

The next thing I wanted to show you was my Pretty Pin cushions. These are made from leftover material from projects so not only do they beautifying your sewing table, they are saving beautiful material from going in the bin!! I made the pins too which I should be posting onto Etsy soon in packs of 20 in little pin booklets which co-ordinate with the pin cushion! A very cute gift idea for any level of sewer!

These cute little things aren't up yet but should be up on very shortly. At the minute the shop is offline whilst I build up a bit of a stock. The larger mushroom is actually a baby rattle, it has a bell inside so it tinkles when shaken, the smaller one was the original and more of an experiment so it is less functional.

The flower was made from an old abandoned earring of my mothers, and some purple dress lining. I made a selection of them which are fitted with a pin at the back so you can wear them as a brooch. I really like these and they can be made up from remnants which means you always get a different one each time. The others are on my Etsy site and are made with buttons instead of an earring!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The final verdict...

Ok, so I started this blog to keep myself occupied and focussed whilst waiting for my future to be decided for me by what i thought would be a panel of pinstripe suits... However, it turns out the teaching department is full of human beings! not only that, but human beings who have decided I have the potential to become a Design Technology Teacher. 

WOOHOO! I'm in!!

My interview was bizarre, i was put with a loads of postgrade people applying for a different course to me... but it was quite good fun really, and interesting to hear about their life stories having never previously wanted to be teachers until 20 years down their previous career path. They will be those teachers whose life stories fascinate students, and i'll just be another teacher trainee fresh out of teaching college! Oh well... 

I didn't even have to wait for notice by mail or anything, my interviewer told me then and there that I was in! Which was very kind of him, I'd already spent enough time worrying that I wouldn't make the grade.

Now I really do have to start doing regular fun and crafty projects so that I can put together a portfolio!!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Cuddly Cord Mouse

I really enjoyed working with the green cord for my cushion a few weeks ago, but I didn't end up with much left. From the few remnants, I made a quick simple unlined bag out of it for scissors, stitch-picker etc and a little flower for embellishment. Then my heart dropped because it had all gone. 

So off I went again, this time I had a different plan which required light brown cord...

I had been reading a book called "The Crafters Companion" by Anna Torburg. It's basically a compilation of interviews with designers and crafters finding out why they craft, how they started, showing you some of their creations and their workspaces, and then they each give you one of their favourite projects to work on. Most of it is, as you can imagine, fairly tedious artsy stuff detailing their inspirations and lots of phrases like "well I grew up in a creative environment and my creativity was always encouraged". But some of the pictures give you really nice ideas. 

I've always loved making toys, I still have the first toy I ever almost made which was a cat, but as I was hand sewing it, and it was my first project as a child with no one showing me how to sew, I promptly gave up. By the time I had the knowledge to do it, I realised how ugly the cat was, which is why it is still in pieces... But the countless dolls and animals and other such things that came after the cat have been much more successful.

Several of the crafters also made toys like rabbits, mice, dogs and cats. I wasn't too fussed about the cat idea, but I think mice are really cute!

With no pattern, but plenty of enthusiasm I set about making a head. I used some scraps from a floral dress I made for a 1940's party weekend for the ears, and the light brown cord I had recently procured for the rest. 

At first it looked a bit plain, but once I sewed on a couple of buttons and embroidered a nose it took on a real personality! (If you have the deft eye of an unforgiving perfectionist, you'll notice the nose and eyes aren't lined up properly, but if you're a kind unforgiving perfectionist, you won't point it out like a certain boyfriend I could mention!)

I forgot to stuff the ears so they are a bit on the thin side, but it's barely noticable. Next time I would get some batting though. I then had to stop and think about how it was going to come together... I had to make legs, arms and a tail before I sewed up the body because otherwise I wouldn't be able to attatch them the way I wanted to!

I wanted the feet to bend, which meant a lot of faffing around with darts and figuring out a way to include floral foot pads instead of just plain cord. Eventually I got it right... only to realise that one leg was bigger than the other. Nevermind! I made a new (matching) one and decided to keep the other leg for a future toy!

Arms were much simpler. No darts, just little floral pads. The tail however, was a 3 day brain twister. I couldn't figure out how long, which material, how fat, how do I make it look cute, tightly/losely stuffed??? argh!! So in the end I just experimented until I got that tingly feeling deep inside and went with that tail.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Working with Disco Butterfly

The past week I went back home to the Wirral to work with a designer and long time family friend Anna Shepherd, of Disco Butterfly (Check out her stuff on

After quitting her job as an Art Technician at a local high school just days before the world economies tumbled down around us, she has built herself up using the garage and utility room of her home as her studio and workshop and is now one of the leading sellers on NOTHS and has featured on their catalogue cover!

Her inspiration was taken from a students project which she helped with whilst she was a technician. Printing tiles. The designs coming out of the local schools technology college were pretty abysmal, and so were the ones available on the commercial market, which is what inspired Anna to make her own! From tiles she moved onto mugs, now her biggest seller, which she personalises with her own designs, as well as coasters, luggage tags and a few other bits and bobs such as designer birdhouses and box frames.

I wanted to get some experience with new materials and processes before (hopefully) starting my new course in september '10, and I've never worked with ceramics before so this was perfect. I was expecting to just help out with orders, see how things worked and get an idea of what it was like to start up your own business, but in reality I got so much more out of it. Not least 4 mugs, 12 coasters and 8 tiles! 

I found out how important it is to log your creativity in some way, for example sketch pads, or through collage. I'd never really thought about these before and always just explained them away as something arts students have to do to pass their exam, but they really are relaxing to produce and clear your head up wonderfully. I sometimes feel a little guilty when I put buttons or other cute little pieces that I've collected throughout my life on a page and glue them down forever, because I always had such different plans for them and they all had their own little stories... But being in a sketch pad is as valid a use as ever I guess! 

Developing my designs was something I always found hard, once I had a design I li
ked I normally find it really hard to sway from it at all. My only design experience is having a real world problem and needing to come up with the most efficient, hard wearing, functional and practical solution so doing something that was purely aesthetic pushed me totally out of my comfort zone. This experience really helped me to adapt how I design and think in a modular way so that I could take elements of my designs and combine them in different orders, patterns, sizes, etc. I even allowed myself to change the colour-scheme!

Figuring out how to use photoshop was a major bonus and I have to thank my future graphic design genius sister for my photoshop crash course, if only I had the software back here!

Anyway, here's some of what I made:

These are my first 6 coasters, forgive the poor quality I took the photo at night with a "well-used" point and shoot, under ecologically friendly lighting conditions... 

They are are 9x9 cm and they were made by scanning in a collage I did, and selecting parts of it. They are all a bit similar and a little bit busy which is what made me think about altering my design a bit. I thought it would be good to work with one design but alter it so that they maintained a theme but were not the same.

Which is why I then went on to try these coasters:

 I think the ones with a central circle and corner pieces are quite cute but a little bit "Rosie and Jim" so I decided to take the one on the far right further to use on my tiles etc.

I think the blank space on the final one is a little easier to digest and looks like the balls are alive because they are bouncing part way up the coaster. (If you mentally rotate it 90ยบ AC.)

One of the main themes you can see running through Anna's designs (and in fact, her whole house) is birds. I never got the chance to ask her "Why birds?" but I think it's fairly obvious that they are neutral little creatures, often beautiful, always full of personality and somehow very attractive to us. Maybe it's because we all wish we could fly too, or at least I wish I could! Whatever the reason, a lot of designers go through a bird phase at some point, but I think only a good designer can see the bird phrase through and make it seem somehow different from all the other bird related designs out there. 

I wanted these little dots to be my main feature throughout this project, but I wasn't really sure on a theme yet. Should I do just patterns? Or make them into flowers? Or dragonflies/butterflies? So I did my usual my just wombling on through until something appeared out of the ether. Which (fortunately) it did!

I decided to try one or two tiles with the bouncing balls effect and they worked really well. I especially like the teal colour in the background (I just played with the hue and saturation on photoshop) green is one of my favourite colours. I just love really deep, rich, powerful greens that conjure up images of precious stones, fine velvets and luxury. So it's very lucky that photoshop was playing nicely! 

I was starting to feel unnervingly satisfied with myself and my designs, so it was time to change them again. They all looked quite like flowers from the beginning, so the next obvious step was to give them stems! This was a quick layer faff, and drop shadow affair and I had my flower design. I think it's really quite cute and on little girls mugs, on greetings cards or in a photo frame it could work really well.

Finally it was time to go onto the mugs... I made four and wanted to make them all different so you could see different elements of my design in each one. Apart from one laptop screen to reality differential, they worked really well! (I was hoping to get a green one but it came out kind of blue.) This ultimate idea was to sell them, but I can't really bare to part with them, especially the mugs! So at the minute they are being used to house part of my ever growing craft stash.

Now, every time I look at my shelves and see my mugs over flowing with scissors, pendants, needle holders, and ribbons I can't help but feel proud of them!

Monday, 12 January 2009

First things first...

OK! So I got my new sewing machine and then suddenly thought- "Oh... what am I going to make!?" My trusty old dressform (and I mean OLD, 1940's stock) was back home on the Wirral, as were all my threads, tools, fabric stash, buttons etc. Not ideal...

But I have this Burda style account that I've never really used, being mostly down to my not having a digital camera because (guess what) it's on the Wirral, and partly because some of the stuff on their is made by truly skilled and talented people and I felt a little bit like a poser... Nevermind, it's time to make use of it somehow, someway! I owe it to myself and I have to justify having bought this gorgeous sewing machine.

Obviously I quickly experimented with figuring out what all the buttons did and made myself a needle booklet and a pin cushion. Nothing marvellous, just made out of some craft felt that I had lying around in a colour I knew I probably wouldn't use for anything else. Now onto something clever!

But what?? I had lots of cushion fillers hanging around the flat, so that seemed like a fairly obvious first move. My stash was reasonably limited so I had to formulate a plan! I wombled off to the local fabric shop and got some olive green cord which is just so soft and has this really nice sheen on it when the light shines on it. "Olive green cord?" I sense you think, it's not as dismal as it sounds, honest! Because as I say, I'd made a plan.

I had recently been to visit my boyfriends parents and his Mum (who is notoriously creative and always learning a new craft) gave me a weaving lesson. Her loom takes up most of their lounge and is 100% worth it, she produces the most wonderful cushions, bags, scarves, fabrics etc. It was a little odd trying to think of colours that would go together because as you are making the fabric, it can look quite awful (in my case anyway!). It only comes into it's own once you've finished it. I used a golden brown, and various pinks and greens. I had no set pattern in mind, I just wanted to try out some different techniques and patterns.

The patch I made was only small about 11" by 11". I felted it up as per my instructions and then spent a long time thinking "Oh but what can I do with it?". I wanted to do something special because She also gave me a really nice button to go with it in a sort of orange colour that really complemented the brightness of the pinks, and the depth of the greens. 

Surely you can see the natural train of thought from here on in proceeded rather rapidly along a fairly traditional route! A cushion cover!

So here it is, my special felted, woven-cord cushion! and the first proper creation with my new sewing machine.

I used the large button on the back to hold it together which I rather like because now it has a feature on the front and the back!

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Porcini Designs

It's my birthday today, so I am starting a blog for the first time ever, to go with my current life plan of having no life plan for the first time ever!

I'll hopefully use this as a log of random creative, crafty adventures but I can be a bit of a butterbrain so I might forget sometimes. 

The name Porcini was inspired by my Oh-so-adorable cousin Ruby Rose (Isn't her name perfect for a craftster? But I couldn't use it, it would be theft!) she loves mushrooms and everytime I see her she wants me to draw thousands of mushrooms which is where my little mushroom came from. Porcini (or Porcine) was just my favourite mushroom name.

To set the scene a little, I intended to study Chinese language and culture at university and to go on to be a teacher (because I love teaching and I love China!), but honestly, there are enough native Chinese speakers out there willing to teach Chinese that it seems kind of silly. Plus, I was getting serious withdrawal symptoms from not being within 30m of a sewing machine, with knitting being my only remaining link with the craft world.

So I quit. Applied for transfer to a Design Technology teaching course (because I still want to teach, I always have, I just want to teach something more creative) and bought myself my first ever sewing machine. 

I had always used my Grandma's or Mum's sewing machines before, but after having made several roman blinds for the new flat I'm living in, I couldn't bare the sight of those machines. I spent most of my time unpicking stitching and correcting it by hand as the machines would just jam and plough through my material with no consistent tension or quality. Those days are behind me now and as I type this, I can look at my beautiful Janome DC3050 glinting proudly in the sun and smile!

I'm renting a reasonably big room in Edinburgh at the minute, which I have now packed with 2 desks (one for working, one for sewing), my clothes (mostly in a chest of drawers but pretty much all over the place in boxes), several shelving units piled on top of each other brimming with my craft supplies and books, my trusty (only slightly temperamental) iron and ironing board, and a disproportionately large amount of chairs that I don't really want but that seem to migrate back to my room every time I remove them.

I have no idea what I'll end up doing design wise (or indeed in real life) and I don't get my decision about my teaching course until sometime in March. Nevermind, who needs a plan these days anyway?