Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lost Pages Revamp

Years ago, I had writer's block in a serious way; and so seeing I was painting a lot, I thought to do a painting about it.  And so, 'Lost Pages' was created.  However, I have found - years later - that it was rushed even though it's mostly finished.  So, I've decided to get stuck into it over the next few weeks and see what I can do with it to complete its colours, texture and feel.  
Now, it's got a very basic message:  Writer's Block sucks.  And it does.  But I really wanted to say it in a very graceful way; however, it doesn't look all that graceful and on closer inspection I've found that the painting doesn't have the polished look it could have had.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Scrounging Pieces of Work

One of the most fun things I love to do in my spare time is to go scrounging when it's Council Pick-Up time.  People can have the most fascinating things to throw out.  I once saw a broken up stereo system and grabbed a piece of it, brought into my place all because I saw a $2.00 coin stuck in the back of the mechanics of it!  Yep, I was money poor and needed the cash, but I pulled it apart and got that coin out and put it away the Sunday paper the following week.
Most times, whenever there's scrounging to be had around a unit complex, we have people who do what is commonly called 'a runner'.  It's where they haven't paid their rent and are in trouble with the law and they don't have any money to move their stuff, so they just leave everything - but their clothes - and the rest of us grab what we like from the car port (once it's all out there).
Another time - this year in fact - I was walking down Kingston Road and found a bag full of books sitting outside somebody's house.  I checked the whole bag and found it was just books - and nothing else (as these people have little kids and I didn't wish to have their old toys mixed in) - and so I bundled up the books and took them home with me; leaving them just inside the front door before I went out again to go grocery shopping for the day.
One time, one of my friends (they've moved since), minded some furniture for a flatmate in their car port.  They covered it all over with a tarpaulin and made sure it was secure.  When they hadn't heard from him in a month, and tried to contact him and found that he was nowhere to be found, they let everyone have a go at his stuff.  I scored a little black coffee table and two nests of 3-legged shelves.  The rest of the stuff vanished within the weekend of it being a free-for-all!  A week later, he came back and was shocked they let his stuff go.  They did explain that they couldn't find him... so he had to start over again with furniture; unfortunate but true.
The old black coffee table I've had for about 5 or 6 years.
The new coffee table I found outside a house at Keperra yesterday
Over the last year or so, I've been looking for a coffee table to replace the little black one I've had for around five or six years - since that time of scrounging from that car port of furniture and only needing that one thing - and yesterday, I spotted the new one I needed!  It was sitting on a footpath outside a house at Keperra and Mum and I drove past it!  And being the kind of person I am, I spent about half and hour at my brother's house before I walked back to the house and found it still sitting there waiting for me!  Yay!  I looked it over - and made sure it wasn't damaged or had any broken rungs - before looking around the street.  Once I knew the coast was clear and nobody was coming out of the house to stop me from taking it away (as some people do), I picked it up, balanced the top of it on top of my head (with the legs sticking up skyward) and began walking back the way I had come.  Yeah, I looked peculiar with a coffee table on my head, but it was the best way to travel seeing nobody else came with me.  So, there you have it, my most recent find!  What have you scrounged lately that has made your place look great - and you'd swear it looks a million dollars?  Leave a comment and let us all in on your secrets?  Until my next post, keep creating!

Monday, October 17, 2011

From Prototype to Finished Product!

Not long ago, I put up a prototype of a book baggie for the protection and safe transportation of any beloved books I happen to borrow from my friends on Bookcrossing or family; and I thought to show some of my great friends on to see what they thought.
I received wonderful reviews from all of them.  A few of them saying they'd buy one off me once I got the bugs all fixed in them.  Well.... guess what!  I ran the design by my Mum (who knows a little more about sewing than I do; as I'm really rusty at it) and she suggested a few small changes; I took them down, changing how the whole bag looks and feels.  And here are the first two baggies I've made for a birthday gift for a friend on Bookcrossing.  Now, I may have wrecked part of her birthday gift; but I'm really eager to have the opinion of my followers and friends on this.  Then, I'll get in and make some for anyone who wishes to own one of these (or more) for Christmas.

See how you can fit more than one book inside the baggie.. great, eh?

and it closes comfortably too...
I found with my prototypes that when I took one of them places, people noticed how nice they were - even if they were made from cheap material - and they were bright enough to ensure I didn't leave my book somewhere it wasn't supposed to be.

My First Sewing Project - Finished!

I've had my Elna 1000 Sewing Machine for a little under a fortnight now and I've already finished my first project around the house.  It's a cover for my turntable.  I've had a stereo system - with a separate turntable - for some years and it's always sat in the sun.  So, I made a calico cover to protect the plastic lid and so it didn't become brittle over time.  This was supposed to be temporary; however, it stayed for more than three years!
This year, I hunted around for a nice fabric and found some at a fabric store at Logan Central for $4.00 per metre and it's purple with musical symbols all over it; perfect for what I want it to express.  So, I took off the calico cover, unpicked it, and spread it over the wrong side of the purple fabric and pinned it on each corner and one pin on each side.  Then, I cut it out. 
This was my first attempt - hemming the whole thing up with pin first.

My second attempt - not hemming it and sewing it inside out.

I love the contrasting white stitching.
At first, I pinned up a hem and thought about sewing up that way.  However, Mum suggested that I just turn it inside out and pin the corners at the back and fold it in at the front and sew it all inside out and see how it goes.  So, I did; and it worked out fine.  Besides the white stitching showing (and really I don't care if it does), it looks as good as I thought it would.  Until my next post, keep creating.

Monday, October 10, 2011

New Techniques

When I went to Chris Zantis' Workshop at the Logan Art Gallery, I learnt a few new techniques in knitting that I could work into my own style.  In the last couple of days, I have been working on trying them out.

The first one was knitting a cord.  Now, how you do this simple.  What you need is a pair of double-ended needles and some yarn.  Cast on 3 - 4 stitches, then, instead of turning the needles around, you push them to the other end and knit them.  Then push them to the other end and repeat.  Keep doing this until the cord is as long as you need it to be and you've made a cord; as you can see in photo.  If you use a tri-coloured yarn, it turns into strips; very cool!
The next thing I learnt is how to knit with Cinderella Yarn.  This yarn is corded yarn - instead of wool - that has pom-poms attached to it to make knitting a challenge.  Now, at first, this made knitting too hard for me; and I didn't know how to get into this yarn; not until I went to Chris' workshop.  I was advised to knit the cord and not the pom-poms and to make sure the little pom-poms are kept to the back of the front needle (the one you're knitting onto in your right hand).  Otherwise, keep an eye on how many stitches are on your needles and take your time as it can be really hard to begin with.  I'm on my second attempt right now and it's going okay.

So, what have you learnt recently that you'd like to pass onto us?  Leave a comment and let us know.  Until my next post, keep creating!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Old Hobby Returning

When I was a teenager, I went to night-school and learnt how to sew.  I did this because I was failing high school; and didn't want to look like I was flunking out of everything.  Now, back then, we had to obtain the permission of the school I attended for me to go to night college/class to do this.  Nowadays, our teenagers can go and just get their parent's permission because it'll add to their overall score.  
Well, last week, I celebrated my 38th birthday; and Mum and Dad thought it was about time I owned my first sewing machine.  Now, I used to sew and could follow patterns easily a long time ago; but now, it's a matter of re-learning how to make a template, measuring the fabric twice, cutting once, then pinning and hoping I get it all correct.  
Today, I made my own custom-made Book Baggy.  It's a smaller version of a pillow case and it looks good.  here's the photos of the first one for my journal so I can leave it out and yet nobody will know what it is.

It's a little bigger than I thought it was going to be... but I guess it just needs tweaking.  Oh well, I guess it's all to do with how people start out in designing things.  Besides, it's a new thing for me to begin with.  So, what do you think?  Nice or not?  Would you use one?  If not, why not?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Leaps and Bounds

Since the ending of the Name That Painting Competition, I have been working hard on the finishing touches on 'Flower Power'.  It's been coming forward quickly and very well as the week has passed by.
I've been adding details to the petals of the flowers and dimension to the flower centres to make it really jump from the canvasboard.  Here are a few photos that I have taken of its progress.

I hope to finish it completely within the next week and sign it; then move onto the next painting to fix up from my archives.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

And The Winner Is.......

As you may have noticed, the polls on the 'Name That Painting' Competition have closed; and a title has come out on top as a favourite.  And it's a great title too; very 1960's, very lovely and wonderfully retro.  I do love it as well. 
First things' first though, you're all wondering who came up with the title, I'm sure.  After I posted this competition here, I went onto Bookcrossing (as we have some artists there) and put the competition up there; and I had an influx of suggestions and titles come in.  

'Flower Power' was the winning title by far with 56% of everyone's vote.  Thank you all for taking the time to vote with your mouses... and having a look at the painting as well.  It means a lot to me.  This painting will be a part of a future exhibition I'm hoping to be accept into in the next few years.  So, keep your eyes peeled for that.
As for the person who came up with the title?  Well, their name is:  


Thank you again so much for taking part in this competition.  I did have a few favourite names, however, this one really took in the feel of the painting completely.
I will be conducting other similar competitions in the future as I work on other older pieces of work from my past - some to bring new life into, while others to finish them completely.  So, keep your eye on this blog for another Name That Painting Competition, it may come around sooner than you expect.  Until my next post, keep creating.