Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Links’ Category

Welcome Back

In today’s post, as part of the online workshop; Adventures in Acrylics, I will be reviewing; Royal Langnickel: 6 Piece Flexible Palette Knives.

Royal Langnickel Flexible Palette Knives

Royal Langnickel Flexible Palette Knives

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Royal Langnickel
  • Item number: RD70
  • RRP at time of writing: £1.99

Purpose

The packet says Quote” Ideal for all arts and crafts projects. Use for maxing paints canvas painting and all creative texture applications. These knives are made of flexible plastic for ease in mixing oil or acrylic paint.” End quote

Reason For Buying

There are a bewildering array of shapes and sizes of palette knives to choose from. I wanted this kits as it has 5 different knife styles to experiment with. Also being plastic, they won’t ruse of be as scratch as metal knives that I’ve seen in the past can be.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Good choice of styles in the pack to experiment with
  • Light in the hand
  • Easy to clean
  • Very affordable
  • Comfortable to use

Cons

Just a niggle, sometimes these knives can be a little too flexible. I was trying to stir gesso and they were bending more than they were moving it. Not a problem with the paints or thinner mediums. Can’t complain, given the price point. I’m still happy with them.

Build Quality

Fair for the price.

Value for Money

Excellent. A great way to experiment with different designs of knife, to see which you will use the most.

Would I buy it Again?

Maybe, but just for spares

Summing up

Royal Langnickel Flexible Palette Knives

Royal Langnickel Flexible Palette Knives

I have another set which look identical to these bur are un-branded. My unbranded ones are a better quality and have a smoother finish and are a bit firmer. That sais when you don’t want to spend a fortune or ruin expensive knives to stir up paint/mediums/ gesso, then these are fine. Ideal to experiment with, but once you find a style that you like, upgrade to the metal versions. I’ll be reviewing the Royal Langnickel metal equivalents soon.

Links

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

Are you trying to choose between bamboo knitting needles and birch ones? In today’s post I will be comparing the two types, hopefully the results will help you choose which kind will be right for you. 

Product Details

Manufacturers/Brands;

  • Brittany; Birch knitting needles

    Brittany; Birch knitting needles

    Brittany; Birch knitting needles

  • The Retro Knitting Site; Bamboo knitting needles

    Bamboo knitting needles

    Bamboo knitting needles

RRP at time of writing:

  • Brittany; Around £5 per pair, depending on needle length and size number.
  • The Retro Knitting Site; Around £3.20 per pair, depending on needle length and size number

Needle size

  • For a true comparison I’m reviewing the same size and dimension of needle across the brands; 4mm/ UK size 8/ USA size 6. The needle length is 10″ long.

Reason For Buying

I like knitting for the calming effect, (if the pattern is simple ;) ) However RSI means my hands quickly lock up and hurt. Although wooden needles won’t cure a condition like this they do make a difference and are well worth trying especially if you have dexterity problems.

Pros/Cons

Pros

Birch

  • Light weight; 1 gram as opposed to 9 grams for a metal needle the same dimensions.
  • Warm to the touch
  • Smooth finish
  • Beautifully turned ends
  • Made from birch from sustainable source
  • Yarn glides across them like it does with metal needles

Bamboo

  • Light weight; 1 gram as opposed to 9 grams for a metal needle the same dimensions.
  • Warm to the touch
  • Smooth finish in the hand

Cons

Birch

  • Haven’t got any

Bamboo

  • I found the yarn didn’t glide as well on the bamboo. The knitting experience was more like that with a plastic needle for the yarn drag.

Not a con but something to consider; Wooden needles need to be treated gently and stored carefully to prevent damage as they are more delicate than plastic or metal. That is a general rule though not specific to this brand.

Build Quality

Brittany; Birch knitting needles. Detail of the turned ends

Build quality can vary between different brands in the same materials.

Both the Retro Knitting site’s bamboo and the Brittany birch needles were beautifully made and finished. They were also true to size when put into a sizing guide. Helpfully both brands had the sizing paragraphed into the needles, this should last well and helps identify the needles size.

Value for Money

Excellent. Not the cheapest materials to buy your needles in, but for the quality of production and finish they are well worth it. You will invest a lot of time in your knitting, why not invest a little in some quality needles too.

Would I buy it Again?

So far because of my own dexterity issues, I’ve chosen the Brittany birch needles because I found them easier to use. I found the drag on the yarn from the bamboo strained my already weak hands. In fairness to bamboo needles, it has been said that their smoothness improves in use as they pick up oils from your hands. On a forum I saw people mention that they applied oil directly to their needles to improve yarn glide.  For some people the slower movement of the yarn could be an advantage.

You need to try them, to see what works for your own style of knitting.

Summing up

As with all things a lot is down to personal preference, your own style of knitting and in this case your own dexterity issues. I struggle with plastic needles as I find the yarn drag hard work. The bamboo needles gave the same kind of drag on the yarn. If you like the yarn to move slower, they would stop the stitches getting away from you so you may prefer them.

I adore the Brittany knitting needles! These birch needles won’t cure my RSI or the issues it causes, but they sure make knitting more comfortable than any other material I’ve tried. They are beautiful, the lightweight aspect and the warm to the touch feeling as you use them does indeed make them more comfortable to use. The super smooth finish means the yarn glides effortlessly across them without dragging or catching. It’s not hype; lightweight wooden needles really are more comfortable to use if you have stiff sore hands.

How do I choose, which will be best for me?

If you need more convincing here’s what to do next.

1. Find in your knitting bag or buy one pair of needles in each of the following materials; plastic, metal, bamboo and a pair of Brittany ones. Choose a size you will use a lot so extra needles won’t be a waste.

2. select a yarn you like to use (which will help you choose a needle size).

3. Don’t try anything fancy, just your favorite stitch pattern for about ten stitches and knit up a square.

4. Repeat this process for each of your needle types and you will find what works for you.

A lot of knitting is personal preference, if you like the slick of metal but find your hands lock up on you, try the birch needles. If on the other hand you prefer plastic needles that hold onto the yarn more, then try bamboo.

The manufacturer’s website recommends the Brittany needles if you have dexterity problems, my issue is RSI and I definitely recommend others to try them too. They are a joy to use.

Links

Manufacturer:

  • Brittany Makers of  natural birch wood needles for knitting and crochet. Look at the turned ends, aren’t they just stunning. The single point needles are available in 10″ and 14″ in a variety of sizes as well as double-pointed needles too. Find out more about them from their website.

Retailers;

I’ve purchase from; Norfolk Knits and also Yarnia Needle Crafts.

These are other online sellers of Brittany needles.

Check out my Yarns tab for links to more knitting related information.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

Internet issues  earlier, sorry for the late posting. First a thank you to Seth Apter, where a link to my work was published on his blog yesterday. I took part in his art colaboration The Pulse, this latest section of which is called; Technique & Tool and is about what techniques and tools you cannot live without. Head over to seth’s Blog to find out more.

Also today I’d like to share a download and a couple of  video tutorials to help you create your own handmade Holiday Gift tags. They are quick and simple to make, if you have crafting CDs with images you would love to get more use from, dig out your favorites and try these out.

  • Quick & Easy Tags Part 1. VIDEO. In this film I’ll show you how to make a selection of gift tags. Follow the link for written details of the project.

Decorate the front of the tags using your favorite designs of papers & stamps. You could also use printed toppers from a craft CD. Here are my finished tags, decorated with images from Joanna Sheen’s Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady CD.

My Finished Christmas tags for 2010

Hand made, elegant and not that time-consuming ;)

  • Quick & Easy Tags Part 2. VIDEO. In this film I’ll show you how to decorate the plain tags created in part 1. Follow the link for written details of items used, from my original post. 

    Decorating your tags for gifts

    Decorating your tags

  • Gift Tag BackersThese are Christmas themed backers to print. The co-ordinate with the Quick n Easy Tag video.

 I created a printable sheet for the back of the tags, which you fill in. It looks pretty good so I thought you might like to use it too.

Elegant Tag Backers to Download
Elegant Tag Backers to Download

Christmas Gift Tag Backers 2010 There are nine tag backers to an A4 page.

BTW: Your tag backers won’t have my copyright logo on the tags themselves ;)

All you do is click on the link and it will open a new window, the backer opens up a PDF which you can print immediately or save to your computer for later. The greeting on this backer is green, as my tags were green, if you ask me REAL nicely I might make you a set with the greeting in red.

These backers co-ordinate with the gift tags created in the film; Quick and Easy Tags Part 1.

Hope you find these useful, and I’d love to see what you make with them. The downloads are for your personal use only and not for re-sale.

Links

An early heads up, check out the free download of Craft Artist software over on Daisy Trail. I adore Craft Artist and will be sharing projects made with it, very soon. Download it now, for some great crafting fun for the long winter evenings. Don’t forget to add some of the wonderful digikits to play with too ;)

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing;

Pentel Water Brush set; Fine, medium and large brushes

Pentel Water Brush set; Fine, medium and large brushes

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Pentel Water Brushes
  • Item number
  • RRP at time of writing: £15

Description

A set of three mixed tip water brushes. Broad, medium and fine. The barrel of the brush houses water (or colour washes) which is supplied to the fibre brush via a valve. The flow of water is controlled by slight pressure o the barrel when the brush meets the paper. To clean simply apply pressure to the barrel and the dirty water will work its way through the brush. It is also ideal product for the water-colour pencil artist. Using a water filled barrel you create imaginative blends and washes with your watercolour pencils.

Reason For Buying

I had originally tried my husbands set, when we went on holiday as I wanted the option of painting but with as small amount of  kit as possible. I really enjoyed using them and now want my own set.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Reliable
  • Easy to use
  • Really helpful for newbies to watercolour helps you blend washes together
  • A joy to use for sketching trips –  no need for extra bottles of water and pots
  • I really love the feel of the brush fibres, the form a nice point and the flow of water is perfect
  • Good size, comfortable in the hand and in use.

Cons

No cons, they are fantastic! A wish list item for the makers if they read this, please can you bring out a flat brush to the range for sky’s and larger washes etc?

Build Quality

Excellent, Reliable water flow, no flooding. Comfortable in the hand, well-fitting lids. The brush tips appear to be nylon but perform very well and form a good point. An excellent combination between softness and firmness.

Value for Money

Excellent! They are a very well made reliable product. Using these means I can leave a whole lot of other things at home and will mean I’ll take my painting kit out more often now.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes. After only a brief try with these, I knew they were for me. Poor hubby didn’t get his back but I’ll be buying him another set. I live them so much I’m tempted to get a spare set as I’d hate them to be discontinued!

Summing up

LOVE these brushes. You NEED to try them. Perfect for sketching away from home, no need for loads of brushes, water pots and extra bottles of water. I filled my water brushes before leaving home and completed an A5 water-colour sketch and it barely used any of the water. A full barrel lasts ages.

Ideal if you are new to watercolour painting, they stops you using too much water and getting too washed out colours and also helps with blending.

If I could buy these in bulk I’d be adding Tim Holtz distress re-inker diluted with water in the barrels, for colour washes with them too ;) Bet they would be great for that.

Links

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

In today’s post I would like to introduce our Featured Artist, for October 2011

Seth Apter

The Altered Page, Seth Apters amazing blog

The Altered Page, Seth Apters amazing blog

I discovered his work thanks to Julie Prichard but for those of you who haven’t yet found Seth, here is a little more about him and his work.

Who you are: 

Seth; Seth Apter from The Altered Page.

Where you are (which country you are based in)?

 Seth: I live in New York City in the USA.

What you do:

Seth: I am a mixed media artist, blogger, soon-to-be published author, and collector of too many doohickeys, thingamajigs, and whatchamacallits to count.

An-Object-Found; by Seth Apter

An-Object-Found; by Seth Apter

What got you started in your creative journey?

Seth: A serendipitous meeting with an artist named Patricia Larsen in Vancouver, Canada. She owned a gallery at that time and although it sounds somewhat dramatic, my life was forever changed after I walked through her door. I was creative in many ways before that moment but never in the visual arts. I met her at a very transitional time in my life when I was completely open to discovering new options for myself. Patricia unlocked the artist in me and has fully supported my creative journey ever since.

What inspires you? 

Seth: Like many artists, I can find inspiration in almost anything. I think my biggest inspiration though is New York City. Everywhere I turn, I am surrounded by creative fuel. Of course there are an endless number of museums and galleries where I can experience the work of both emerging artists and famous masters. But more than that, I am inspired by the people, the architecture, the window displays, the graffiti, the design, the food, the style, and the never-ending energy of NYC.

Catori; by Seth Apter

Catori; by Seth Apter

If money,time and obligations were no object, what you would most like to do?

Seth: I would travel all over the world, set up a temporary studio in every country, absorb the local culture, and create. 

What do you enjoy most about your creative work/life?

Seth: Art for me is like a pendulum, swinging from completely isolated to socially stimulated. At one end I can get so lost in the process of creating that I lose complete track of time and become unaware of everything going on around me. At the other end, I am deeply connected to other artists through my blog and social media sites.

Blending both these extremes has brought a sense of balance to me. And that balance is what I enjoy most about my creative life.

Soar by Seth Apter

Soar by Seth Apter

Links

To find out more about Seth and his work, please visit his blog and website, details below. 

Thanks to Seth Apter for being our Featured Artist of the Month for October 2011.

Check out my dedicated page to the Featured Artist of the Month, to find out more about other artists who have been involved in earlier interviews.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

 

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

As a break from tradition, I thought it might make a change if I shared some sites that I particularly enjoy visiting with you.  Next up is Leonie Pujol, before you say ‘Who?’ You do know her, she’s on Create and Craft and was previously on QVC. I adore Leonie she is so inspiring and isn’t afraid to give things a go.

Leonie Pujol; Life’s About Sharing

It’s coming up holiday time and the good weather means long tutorials are not likely to go down well at the moment as either everyone is just going or coming back from holidays or battling with their over growing gardens.

Fear not tutorials will return, and this will give me time to create some crackers for you for the later months of the year ;) In the meantime if you are missing your tutorial fixes, check out the Tutorials Tab at the top of the blog for goodies you may have missed from the archives.

Do stop by and have a look at Leonie’s wonderful site, leave her a comment and say who sent ya if she asks ;) Her spirit and ideas make you feel so happy and want to create.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

As a break from tradition, I thought it might make a change if I shared some sites that I particularly enjoy visiting with you.  Next up is Sew Mama Sew. This is a great site if you are into textiles, there are tutorials, a forum, projects and places to purchase from. Take a beverage and get cozy there’s a lot to see at;

Sew Mamma Sew

It’s coming up holiday time and the good weather means long tutorials are not likely to go down well at the moment as either everyone is just going or coming back from holidays or battling with their over growing gardens.

Fear not tutirials will return, and this will give me time to create some crackers for you for the later months of the year ;) In the meantime if you are missing your tutorial fixes, check out the Tutorials Tab at the top of the blog for goodies you may have missed from the archives.

Do stop by and have a look at Sew Mama Sew’s wonderful site, leave them a comment and say who sent ya if they ask ;) This site always makes me want to create.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 257 other followers