Friday, 27 March 2009

bag workshop upate

The last bag making workshop went really. I am always really pleased when new people turn up and we made another 4 bags to add to the Sew n' Sew total.

Githa brought some lovely material and had some great ideas. In the end she settle on a denim bag with a panel made out of antique kimono. The denim was from an old skirt and we use the panels that it was made from a feature and guide for the panel. She also altered the handle length so it could be used over her shoulder. Putting a gusset in the bottom tested out combined knowledge and in the end I called the oracle. Getting 3D sewing instructions over the phone was just as much of a challenged!

Melanie brought an old sweat shirt, which we turned into a surprisingly nice bag. Stretchy knit material it not a good one to start with your unfamiliar with a sewing machine as it stretches, and it is definitely not what you want to use for handles! But with the addition of some cotton handles in a contrasting colour Melanie made a really fantastic looking bag and because the pattern used french seams it will be strong too.

We have been lugging the laundry down the garden to the line in a a variety of carries bags than never last long. So after everyone went I made a huge bag for laundry that is big enough to get in!

It was a really creative workshop with everyone making something new and bringing their own personality and flair to the bags they made. The shopping bag pattern is very versatile and I loved getting my brain round how to modify it and help everyone realise their ideas.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

almond face scrub

For some reason I have a spotty chin! I want remedy this so I looked for a recipe to make a face scrub but in the end I made one up.

I always loved face masks from Lush, they felt home made, which satisfied my need for natural, chemical free products, and they felt somehow luxuriant. Maybe that had something to do with the price but partly I think, it was because they were obviously made of 'real' things, like fruit and chocolate.

I've had a recipe book for making beauty product for a while and got another for chritsmas. Somehow I could never bring my self to make the products as it always seamed such a 'waste' of good fruit!

I have reframed my outlook on making beauty products over the past few months. I am enjoying the creation process as well letting my self use good quality food for cosmetics. Making this quick easy, face scrub, for a specific reason (my spotty chin) was a real eye opener. It is so easy and it felt very every bit as luxuriant to use as anything from Lush

This recipe is really quick to make and is made from ingredients you are likely to have in the store cupboard. It has honey for its anti bacterial action, milk powder for a moisturiser and almonds as a mild exfoliate to loosen grime and dead skin cells. It makes your skin feel really soft and smooth and if you have chapped lips you can gently rub this over your lips too.
  • level tsp ground almonds
  • level tsp milk powder
  • level tsp honey
Mix all the ingredients into a past (you might want a drop of water depending on how runny your honey is) massage into wet skin for a few mins and if you have time leave for 5mins then wash off with warm water.

If you want to make this as a real treat your could add a splash of rose water.

Friday, 13 March 2009

next workshop

sociable sewing

Come and learn how to make reusable shopping bags and recycle some old fabric while you are at it!

One cotton shopping bag can eliminate 100's of plastic ones over its life time. Bags are easy to make; I'll provide sewing machines, help and instructions, thread, material and cups of tea - you'll bring your self, a sense of fun, old material (if you have some) and some biscuits to share.

Saturday 14th March
Cambridge, UK
13:00 - 17:00

Leave a comment on this post and I'll send you details (if you don't want me to publish your details on the blog let me know)

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Silk Tie

Last year I got some silk paints for Christmas. I had a little play with them and have been looking for something else to try them out on. Marks birthday gave me the excuse I needed.

I had a blank white silk tie and an idea for fish, in a Japanese water colour style. So after researching some images from the web, I drew around the tie so I had the exact proportions and tried out a few sketches.

I wanted a flowing shape and the soft watercolour techniques work well with silk paints, but the paint spreads a lot so you need to use special outliner. It comes in a tube and stops the paint spreading. As I didn't want it to look like a kids drawing with a heavy outline, I thought about what parts of the fish I could get away with not outlining. The body needed to be out lined but the fins only needed a hint of shape, it wouldn't matter if the colour for them spread. In fact I let the spread of the paint dictate to some extent the shape of the fins, you can always add more details with the outliner once the paint is dry.

I penciled in the rough outlines of the fish then used the outliner. I didn't bother penciling the blossom as I was happy for that to be free hand. Start at the top and work down so you don't smudge it. When it is dry start adding colour into the fish. I tried out a few small fish on the back (thin bit of the tie) to see how it all worked!

The background was done with a big brush and I mixed the colours as I went adding water with the brush to dilute it in places. In some areas I sprinkled sea salt crystals over the wet paint to draw out the colour and give a speckled effect. I did the background pretty much in one go so I didn't get any hard edges in the colour.

Once it was all dry I added a few tiny details to the fins with the silver outliner.

I used a silver outliner for the fish and purple/silver for the blossom. I used only burnt orange and yellow for the fish, pink and a hint of lavender for the blossom, dark blue, green and burnt orange for the background water. The orange brings the blue and green down a shade and ties in the orange from the fish. The blossom was kept very pale.

  1. Draw the main shape very lightly in pencil
  2. Apply the outliner in long even strokes and let dry (be patient and resist poking it!)
  3. Apply paint, starting inside your shapes and with light colours, then moving to darker colours and the background
  4. Add any more defining detail with outliner when it is dry
  5. Iron on cotton setting. I put a cloth over the silk when I ironed the front to protect it a little. The heat sets the paint and makes it washable.
Before getting started I consulted the oracle as she had made some lovely ties as christmas presents. So here are her tips and some things I learnt along the way.

  • Dip your brush in clean water first then shake out. This stops the paint going up into the ferrule and being wasted and makes the brush easier to clean.
  • You can dip your brush in clean water and use that to "push" the paint around on the silk and dilute colours if need be. It can also make a nice dappled effect.
  • Colours can be diluted with water. Either mix them on a palette, use a wet brush to pick up the colour, or spray the silk with clean water first.
  • The paint spreads, so put your brush near the edge of the area to be painted not right up to it.
  • The paint will spread a lot further on wet or thin silk
  • Colours will bleed into each other and mix. So use an outliner to create clean shapes and keep colours separate. Use the bleeding to your advantage to create mixed colours and patterns.
  • Use small pots or jar lids to mix the paint in
  • If you use the outliner too thinly or there is the slightest break in it, the paint will bleed.
  • Wet on wet = mixing ie wet paint next to wet paint will bleed into each other.
  • Dry on dry = harder edges, let one colour dry before painting another next to it if you want harder edges without using an outliner. There will still be some mixing.
  • Use a fat brush for big areas
  • You'll find some colours act differently. My burnt orange has a high pigment and 'stays' put where as my pink bleeds and spreads not matter what I do.
Silk painting is like water colour painting, it is loose and fairly abstract so don't worry about it spreading into unexpected places, jut go with the flow!