Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fabric Beads.

I made these beads a couple of weeks ago. I used stuffing for the middle, wound strips of  a beautiful red and green African fabric (bought here) around the stuffing, pinned, and then, with a needle, worked with a contrasting colour thread round and round and through the bead to secure. I have made a necklace and a bracelet.
I admit that they look a bit scrappy on the photo, but they actually look rather nice when I wear them.

We are now entering the critical last phase for the two books that have to be submitted in the first week of January. As I still haven't received ANY text for the second book, you can imagine that I am more than a little stressed. I will probably be eating my Xmas dinner with a red pen in the hand ... rolling my eyes and singing mad little songs to calm myself down.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Japanese slippers.

About a year or two ago a dear friend of mine, who is a crafty soul mate, made beautiful little Japanese slippers for babies. I fell in love with them and have always meant to have a try at making an adult pair for myself. I found a description online on how to put together the baby slippers, but unfortunately there was no proper pattern. So I just put my feet on a piece of newspaper, drew around them, leaving ample allowance for sewing up, and then kind of guessed what the dimensions of the top bit would have to be, and cut it out from a piece of newspaper, freehand nogal*. I then draped the top piece around the sole part to check the proportions, and snipped away at the pattern until it looked right.

I must say that I am pretty proud of them. They even fit!! And I also like the two cotton fabrics and denim inner that I used (all car boot sale finds).

Although they fit, I haven't really worn them, as the bottoms are quite slippery. I don't really want to break my neck in my quest for recycling bits and pieces, do I? Now I need to find out where I can get thin rubber soles to stick onto the bottoms ...
nogal*. In slang usage this is an expression of surprise, meaning "of all things", or "can you imagine?"

Monday, November 19, 2012

Yellow necklace.

I have never been a big fan of yellow, but I realised some time ago that it looks really good with grey. So before the current trend for yellow runs its course, I thought I should make myself a bright yellow necklace to wear with my grey tops.

I made the pottery beads myself, had them fired, then painted them with yellow acrylic paint. Finally I varnished them and strung them on a black leather cord. To tie a sliding knot, see here.  (I subsequently redid the knot to balance it more evenly between the two smaller beads and make the necklace a little shorter.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

See No Evil.

Something I started on a few months ago. It is meant to be part of a series of three, but the second one (Hear No Evil) came out a bit of a disaster and I am still deciding on how to rework it. Also, I can't find many pictures of people with their hand(s) over their ears (that is the reason why HNE was a bit of a disaster), or over their mouths. I can't draw from my head, so I need a photograph or something to refer to ... sigh ... This one is from a European fashion magazine. I lightly sketched with pencil on the fabric (an old linen table mat), and then madly stitched it with Mr Darning Foot.

This one is not quite finished yet - I am now going to hand stitch with coloured embroidery yarn to fill in the background and a few other areas.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sitting pretty.

I have two large cushions that I like sitting on. But I needed to make them look a little more interesting. So I dyed some vintage doilies, collected from car boot sales, charity outlets and junk shops, and sewed them onto a continental pillow slip to make a cushion cover.
At the same time I also reworked the cushion with the fabric yoyos that I made ages ago, as it was becoming a bit tatty. Took them all off, washed them (as well as the cover) and restitched them with embroidery yarn

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Eye of God.

I saw this a while ago and thought it was lovely. It is a Mexican symbol called ojo de dios - the Eye of God. I made one using sosatie sticks, black wool and the leftovers of my grey merino wool. Quick to make in between editing.

Then I decided to use my beautiful coloured bamboo cotton and make a bunch of them to use as Christmas decorations.

Aren't they pretty?
And then, being in a philosophical mindset, I started wondering what it all meant? Does it mean God has many eyes, a bit like a spider? Or does it mean there are many Gods? And if so, do they each have one eye, like a cyclops, or two eyes? Or more? And what if there is not only one universe, but a multiverse, what then??
The mind boggles.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


An experiment from a few weeks ago.

I read about this method in a book (have forgotten which one now, but if anyone is interested I will go through my pile to see.) I like it because it uses plain old gel medium instead of the special transfer medium which comes in expensive small bottles.
Simply slather on gel medium on the surface to which you want to transfer (I used a piece of unvarnished wood) and lay your picture (this is from a magazine) on top with the image facing the wood. Smooth out the air bubbles as best you can - the vertical stripes you see in my example are the result of air bubbles. Let dry for at least a day. When completely dry, dampen the paper very lightly, and start rubbing it off with your fingers. It is a bit messy, with all the frumples of paper (that is my own word, in case you were wondering) but I love the result. Also works on canvas fabric, and with images printed on my inkjet printer, but the result is a little more blurry.
This one is going to become part of a mixed media assemblage with some found objects. It has not quite come together in my head yet, but as soon as it does, I will let you know!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Food for thought.

I read this book recently. It confirms what I have always believed about happiness, but says it so much better than I ever could.

Another excellent read  - a treatise on the way we make judgments and decisions. We feel that our choices and decisions are reasoned and logical, but it turns out that this often is an illusion.

Here is a quote:
"Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense, rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance."

And lastly, some TED talks that I viewed in the past week and that I can recommend:

Dan Ariely on how we make decisions - nicely fits in with Kahneman's book above.

Dawkins on why our universe seems so strange. It is because we  live in Middle World!

Brian Greene on the multiverse. Now you can understand it too! Or perhaps not.

Jane McGonigal on living 10 years longer. Although it seems to be about video games (which I am not into), the message is universal and can be applied to your life  even if you do not play a single video game ever.  I really enjoyed it.

Monday, November 5, 2012


For her 3rd adoption birthday Snous went to Art in the Forest. After looking at the beautiful ceramics exhibition (me) and a taking a muddy little walk (Snous and L'USband), it was time for a photo opportunity in the forest.

After that, we went to Groot Constantia for lunch under the trees ...

and ended the day by chasing squirrels.

Happy Adoption Birthday, my Bestest, Most Beloved and Most Beautiful Doggie in the Whole Wide World!
Make that Multiverse.