Sunday, 30 May 2010

24hr Cafe

I am in process of redecorating our kitchen. It really needs a new coat of paint and as I mentioned earlier, I wanted to change the colour as well. I was actually really happy with the burnt orange walls, but they restrict escapades to colourful kitchenalia. My only worry about the white walls is how long they might stay white. The orange walls hide to a large extent candle wax, food stains, snot...What? You don't have snot on your walls? Don't have anybody in the family sneezing at any opportunity?
So I went yesterday down to the paint shop with my chosen colour slip. They made a little pot of it, so I could try it in situ. And it was BAD. Not the effect I wanted at all. The gray tint in the white made my kitchen tiles look dirty. They are slightly off white and so are the cabinet doors. I decided that I needed another colour, maybe slightly yellowish. And that was luckily the right one. The white looks white, it just is the effect it has or rather has not on other things around it.
In the midst of filling the holes in the walls and calling the Electrical Elf aka husband to help with  moving a light fitting I had time to do a bit of preparation for the new bright colours that are going to invade the kitchen.
Truth to be told this little sign was a gift to Elf husband a couple of years ago as he always tastes new foods and especially cakes we make with "the cafe" in his mind. This is something he dreams of, although I have told him that he would drink all the profits making  all sorts of coffees for himself all day long...

Now the sign is nice (I of course forgot to take a "before" picture, so in the picture I have already started to repaint the sign), but I wanted brighter colours, so this is what happened to the sign:

 Rather funky or what? And it's really good that my Coffee Elf keeps the shop open at all hours of the day!

Friday, 28 May 2010

A Homage to Tingatinga Painting and a Craft Book

The time flies and I keep promising to myself to update the blog. A great deal of the time is going into gardening and sometomes it feels as if my other life is suspended.  Now, at the moment I am still engaged in the BIG present making and cannot show any of that as the receiving person obviously should be the first to see. So I think I need to blog about some older projects.
The picture above hangs on my living room wall together with this one:

They are painted by Tanzanian Tingatinga artists Mbwana and Hassani from the Tingatinga artist co-operative in Dar es Salaam.  I get immense joy of seeing them daily and appreciate them more than words can tell.

Around the Easter we went visiting down South and my sister-in-law S took me to a QD store where they had wooden boxes for craft use for sale. These ones were £2 each!

I really wanted a couple of them to put little items in and hang in my living room. I have painted one of them and the second one is work in process. I chose the theme of those two Tingatinga paintings by making "polka dots" on black background and painting the insides with bright orange. Painting outlines of the figures is typical of Tingatinga, so I decided to paint the self edges with white to imitate this.

Craft books are a tricky topic. As I don't want to own more than what I use and find inspirational, I am quite picky. I find magazines often dissapointing and rather keep my money to invest in a good book. This book came with the mail today.

I ordered the Green Crafts for Children by Emma Hardy after reading about it in couple of other blogs. It looks really useful and is pretty to look at. Some of the entries are old favourites, but it does not hurt to have a reminder of them. Older children can also do many of the activities by themselves. The pictures and the layout are really yummy and clear at the same time.
 I like the fact that the book's point of departure is using natural or recycled materials with a few widely available and cheap bought ones. Here are a couple of pages from the book for you to admire.

Go and borrow it from the library to see whether you want to own it. I think it will be used here in the hut and also when I am supply teaching and lacking something to do.

Have a lovely weekend and tell me if you have come across any lovely and useful craft books lately.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Notebook Frenzy

I am going on a course in the coming weekend. (Not craft related). The only "thing " we are required to bring is notetaking equipment. The idea of a personalised notebook has been lurking in my mind for a good while since I read Amanda Blake Soul's book "Handmade Home". I took the inspiration from Amanda, but decided against the spiralbounding. Instead I did some home devised bookbinding. I do not have a clue about real bookbinding, so I just figured out something I could do with my sewing machine. (Yes, the needle does need changing now).

I am not normally a "pink" person, but today it felt very important that this project was swathed in pink fabrics, ribbons and cute buttons.
I also filled the rather thin notebook with different colour pages and as it is for myself I added some pictures and slips of  edging for inspiration here and there. There is even a page of handmade paper purely because it looks and feels good. I don't think I can write on it!

After the weekend edit: This is one of those really odd things. During the weekend I took notes of the "balance" that I gave to my partner on the course and wrote them in this book. Next morning I had very strong urge to give the book to her, so I did. I think that I was actually making it for her, hence the pinkness of the project! The book was widely admired on the course and there were questions of whether I would make them for sale. I shall see...

Saturday, 1 May 2010

May and Potato Excitement

Oh my, oh's May already. If you are a dab hand at printing with stencils and screens and freezepaper, look another way. I got so excited when these pots came with the post.

They are six pots of textile colour I ordered from the Scottish firm Stewart Gill. Now I must admit that I cannot for my life remember that I have EVER done any textile printing. Not even in kindergarten with a potato.
I have plenty of ideas how I would like to use these lovely colours: I have plans of making t-shirts for Elf Boy, I would like to have a couple of new pretty calico bags for shopping and I think printing a small border on white napkins would be nice too.
I have also another project underway, which I cannot discuss yet, as it is a present. It involves an amount of different fabrics and I thought that a really quick way of trying my hand with prints would be printing a small sample to use in the project. I chose the old potato print method as it is quick and easy.

And here is what I did in the first sampler (far too small for my project).

The final pattern using the same potatoes:

My inspiration was a seed in a pod and as you can see I have interpreted it with a poetic licence. It was first in my second attempt that I had a towel under the fabric to make the printing easier. The differences in strength of the colour was an intentional effect and I am just itching to do more now...
Edit: I suddenly remembered that I have done printing before! I made some pillowcases when I was in the 6th form for Christmas presents for the family and friends. I have actually seen them kicking around when visiting. I can now remember that I used the book plastic for making stencils. And I think I printed Mick Jagger on a pair of sloggies for my stepmum (Great fan of Rolling Stones)!