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Welcome Back

Firstly I’d like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. Regular readers will know that I don’t go in for New Years resolutions but instead for goals, things I’d like to try in the New Year. Stuff that will make me happy, rather than resolutions that always seem more about giving yourself a hard time.

So here we go, in 2014 I’d like to try the following

Dressmaking

Well making my own clothes. I’d like to make trousers that fit me as I can’t find them in shops, so if I make my own then I can get the fit I’m after, in fabrics I like. It would also be nice to try to make a few skirts as I seem to have reached the age/shape that can’t get away with wearing shorts anymore :( Bit of a dilemma, as I don’t have the feet that go with skirts but that is a whole different story.

This goal has started well, as I was very lucky to bag a dressmakers dummy on Ebay before Christmas so fingers crossed, that will help me sort out a fit for my clothes. I’ve also been collecting dressmaking books and later on last year discovered Threads DVDs, which are wonderful. Craftsy is superb but our internet connection isn’t strong enough to stream the video, so the DVDs from Threads and from Palmer/Pletsch have covered shirts, trousers and now upper body fitting too. Being a visual learner they have been fantastic.

Bring back Art

Doodling

On the art front, because I haven’t turned my back on that, just that my hands let me down last year, I’m having a go at doodling. Years ago I used to doodle quite a lot, but after seeing Zen doodling and Zen Tangle its renewed my interest. I’d like to find out a bit more about Tangling but it makes my eyes go funny, they remind me of optical illusions. That said, doodling shapes and patterns appeals and I fancy giving it a go. It seems to be a nice peaceful way of letting your mind wander and helps you relax. I still couldn’t quite get to grips with art journalling, either because I put too much pressure on myself, in the quest for the ‘perfect page’ or ended up with pieces I didn’t want to share online as they were too personal. So doodling it is, here’s to chilling out with art supplies. :) :) :)

Gelli Arts

The most burning ambition I have on the art front, is to try a Gelli plate. Other things kept coming up and taking the budget and I never quite got round to getting one last year. I had it in my head that I ‘needed’ the 8 x 10″ one, so I could make book covers and that the 6x 6″ plate would be too small. The price of the 8 x10″ one put me off, so round and round I went. I haven’t resolved those issues so when budget allows I hope to get a 6 x 6″ one and give it a go. In all honesty, I haven’t really the space to store a larger one anyway but it would have been nice to have more space on the plate to play on. There I go again DOH!!! Better a small space to Gelli rather than no Gelli at all.

In the meantime, until the light and my dexterity improves, I have my Christmas books n DVDs to read/watch so that will keep me busy. How about you, do you have creative goals for 2014? Do let me know what you would love to create in 2014.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

Today I’d like to share a picture of my creative Christmas gifts from my wonderful husband and friends.

Creative Christmas Goodies of 2013

Creative Christmas Goodies of 2013

Alison Smiths Dressmaking book has been on my wishlist for ages and there are some really good pattern designs in the back as well as all the helpful how too guides along the way.

The Threads DVDs are brilliant, I bought the first one in the series (ignore Amazon UK saying they are for region 1 only, our DVD player can’t play region 1 and they play fine.) They are NTSC but both our TV and DVD player can accommodate this. DH added to my collection with season two and three, have only had chance for a quick look but they are like the first season in that they take you from no prior knowledge of dressmaking and hold your hand along techniques and materials as well as a few projects to demonstrate the concepts they are showing. If you are new to dressmaking and feeling overwhelmed head over to Amazon or Threads magazine online.

The Calligraphy set is optimistic, I begged for the wooden box set when I first saw it as the inks work and dry over acrylic paint, so they will be wonderful for art journalling. The full on pen set is optimizom on DHs side. I used to do a little calligraphy but my fine motor skills especially after last years crochet incident make it beyond me (at least for now).

Really hoping that I can bring some art back into my life in 2014, I have sorely missed it this year.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Riding out the storm of 2013

Welcome Back

Christmas pretty much summed up the year, we were battered by the gales and took some damage but we are still clinging on. Luckily we are on high ground so we escaped the flooding, but our thoughts and prayers are with those who weren’t so lucky and faced Christmas in the dark and cold without power or worse still to be evacuated thanks to flooding. It really puts things into perspective, when the biggest thoughts in your head at this time of the year are; ‘Will we keep the power on and how much damage will we get?

The gales are still going at the moment and more on the way for Monday, so we are holding tight and hoping for the best. Hoping you all had a wonderful Christmas and that the weather was kind to you or alternatively that you could stay safe and warm in your alternative abodes.

We had a very quiet Christmas just DH & I, the original plan of going to MIL on Christmas day went out the window as  we have both had stinkers of colds and we didn’t want to inflict them on the others. Luckily DH sisters kids were bug free and were able to spend the day with her.

Lets all pray that 2014 will be kinder than this year.

Best wishes

Billie

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Welcome Back

Wishing all my readers a Happy, healthy and wonderful Christmas. Your visits, comments and company mean a lot to me and I hope you have enjoyed what you read here and will continue to visit in 2014.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you in the New Year

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

Thank you for your patience while I gave my hands and brain a blog rest. It gave me some thinking time and now I’m back in love with the blog and bursting with ideas. Its amazing how many ideas that came to me, while I wasn’t actively searching for them, they just flowed. I guess stopping to smell the proverbial roses from time to time is a good idea.

Budgets being what they are for us all, there aren’t the funds for lots of new stuff, so I have started a new challenge I’m calling Stash Dive. This isn’t a new concept on the internet or blogland I know, but its new to me.

The idea behind stash diving is; that I’ll have a rummage through my stash and make myself a kit, a bundle of items that I want to use to inspire me to create that month. We are all guilty of rushing at the latest thing and forgetting how much wonderful stuff we have, just waiting for us in the cupboard.

Here’s my stash dive for September

Stash Dive #1. September 2013

Stash Dive #1. September 2013

Ok bit of a confession, in that the book is new (break your own rules much!) but I took online classes AGES ago with Julie Prichard and gathered a lot of materials that have been neglecting, so a nose through the book will re-inspire me. I also want to give art journalling another go, for too long I’ve been over-thinking it and its put me off. So I took some watercolour paper cut it to a comfortable size, not too big to be intimidating, single sheets so if I hate a result it doesn’t have to go in the final book.

This art journal will give me somewhere to do what I love, make backgrounds, I LOVE making backgrounds and experimenting with colour, so I’ll share my progress with you here. It will be so good to get back to paint, colour and paper, fingers crossed the hands will let me play, even if its only for short periods.

Chronic pain sucks and is so tiring you don’t have head space to be creative. I’ve put together a happy box, books and magazines to enjoy when I get stuck in days/weeks/months of pain with no use of hands so I can still be inspired. If you too suffer one of those conditions that leave you stuck in all sences of the word, make life a little ligher by gathering some of your favorite items, things to keep you entertained and give you something other than the pain to think about. It might not ease the pain but it sure stops your head getting quite so sad about it all.

I’m making the most of any opportunity my body gives me to create and enjoy the wonderful materials I have before the cold weather kicks off.

Links

Art Journalling

Have you always wanted to art journal too? Check out the tutorial I wrote last year for tips on making your own journal and we can play along together on the stash dive.

Remember keep it simple, it only needs a few sheets of your favorite paper, borrow the hole punch before the kids go back to school with it, and punch the pages. If you haven’t got book rings you can always use ribbon or string to tie the pages together. Now you can take a page out to work on it without fear of damaging the other pages around it. Have fun, I’d love to see your journals and lets see what painty, inky, fun we can get up too.

Hope you all had a wonderful summer and look forward to seeing and hearing what you have all been up too as well.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Anyone else keep seeing lovely sewn projects and wish you could play along? Zips terrify me, I know I can do them really as I made a zip up cushion cover in school but I’m really bewildered by the process. I’d heard about Craftsy online classes from a sewing forum so I tried them out. Here’s my first finnished zip, I’ve left in tacking stuff so I can write notes how I did it. I did iron it but then forgot about it and put it in the cupboard so its a bit… distressed hehe

Centered zips, after doing the Craftsy class.

Centered zips, after doing the Craftsy class.

You do need to join to have access to the classes but this zip class is a freebie and its WONDERFUL.

Links

There are other classes on the site that are paid for, and with those you get downloadable PDFs in some cases, some offer patterns as part of the class price. The tutor answers your questions online and you can post pics of your projects to share with fellow classmates and for feedback. I’ll do a fuller review of Craftsy next month, but if the good weather has got your creative juices flowing, check out craftsy for sewing, sugar craft, knitting & crochet and much more. Just found out they do all kinds of classes including art, papercraft, jewellery making etc. Check the link below for more details.

What would you most like to make if you could create anything?

Best wishes and see you soon

Billie :)

PS. The Craftsy platform works best on Google Chrome or Safari browsers, and you can choose the quality of the play back if your connection isn’t the best. I found IE gave a fuzzy picture and Firefox kept stopping or only showing a bookmark strip about an inch wide of the videos.

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Welcome Back

Got a bit behind with posting, the pollen count has gone mad here, so much so that you could write your name in the pollen on the cars! Fogging my brain big time.

Time for a quick round up of whats been happening at Billie’s Craft Room

  • The Craft Room Clear up

Over the last month I’ve been having a real blitz on the craft room. It has needed doing for a couple of years, now the weather has warmed up and I can move at bit, I’ve been tackling a small amount at a time and have been getting on very well. Went through boxes and anything in the wrong place got pulled out. Had a life laundry where only kept stuff I loved, or needed. From that selection it got separated into Materials, Tools, Surfaces, Finished objects. Now I’m in the last stage of sorting through those boxes to re-home ie-put back where they should be, anything in those boxes.

It has taken ages, you do need the space to make more mess before it gets better but it has been so worth it. I found my BELLS!!!! Having decided to put bells on my Cable keys for interchangeable needles I promptly lost said bells! Irony eh! but they are back in the room and back in the drawer where they live.

  • Art

Ok between sorting out, so I know where stuff is and hay-fever I haven’t had the energy or brain power to actually create anything arty at the mo. I’m hoping that once I’ve finished the clear out, I’ll have surfaces and know where things are so I’ll want to get painty again. Found some ATC sized card I cut ages ago, so that sounds like a good place to start when I get going.

  • Yarn

Have new pattern, the last one I gave up on. Being newish to knitting and with the dyslexia I find it hard to work out what the instructions are asking me to do. So when I get a pattern I write it out in longhand, each new instruction seperated so I recognise it and know what I’m doing. People say its nuts but it works for me, so its worth it to me. Well on this occasion I’m even more glad I do this, as a third of the way through the instructions had error in them that I couldn’t work out. A pain after all that writing but far better than discovering this after months of knitting!

So started with a new pattern, no more details I don’t wanna hex it. Will give you the full story when its done ;) {tease much!}

Got very excited with a new crochet magazine called Simply Crochet. Bought issue 4 as it had some nice projects and I needed a shawl pin after creating all those shawls. Its really good, home stuff, mandalas, garments/accessories, toys so something for everyone and at the back there are how to tutorials so you can get started right away.

Issue 5 of Simply crochet has features on Granny Square, ohhh love them, love mandalas. The good thing about crochet is as long as you know where you are in the pattern you can stop anytime :) Probably not the ideal way to do it, but when your hands lock up, at least it means you don’t have to battle on to the end of a long row ;)

I’m very boggled by the instructions in the magazine tho, its the brackets that are throwing me. Anyone else got this magazine? Followed the link to one of the designers blogs OMG such pretty things!!!

  • Textiles

After getting very excited watching the Great British Sewing Bee, I bought some patterns when Simplicity had a half price offer. Hoping to make a skirt! Another one I can’t say too much about for fear of jinxing it, but will shout when I get stuck ;)

Invested in a small amount of pattern drafting paper so I can either trace the pattern I have so I can make alterations to it without wrecking the original, since I don’t know what I’m doing yet. Also hope to have a go at finally drafting my own pattern. I love my book Sew What skirts and have fabric, thread and elastic good to go, just needed paper big enough to create a pattern onto. WISH ME LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Spent yesterday going through some books with the Brother (BM2600) in front of me. Made button holes, a casing for elastic (which I’ll need for on of  my skirts).

Talking of The Great British Sewing Bee, after a good look at the book IRL, I bought the sewing bee book from Amazon for £10, I’m happy with it for that price but there are a lot of very valid issues readers have brought up on Amazon about the book, which I agree with. Will review it, once I’ve had a better look through.

Ohh eck! Its a bit of an essay without pictures isn’t it. I have pictures but none that were sorted for the blog, so thought it best to just let you know whats happening.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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