Sunday, May 27, 2012

My most embarrassing roadside find

I'm not one to pass a hard waste collection without looking.  I have been known to rearrange car seats to fit in furniture, rope in passers by to help me lift things into the boot, and even to partially dismantle furniture in order to fit it into my station wagon.  However, as I was inspecting my latest pick-up a couple of months ago I felt that I'd reached hither-to unseen levels of embarrassment for my family (I even felt a tinge of it myself).  The reason?  I'd never picked up fabric off the side of the road before, what I was picking up looked like someone's painting drop sheets at first glance, and I was picking it up literally around the corner from our house.  I can see their place from my bedroom window, and it felt just a tad close to home.  The prize?  A mint-condition (once they were washed) set of king size Sheridan sheets.

By way of background, I'd been looking for a grey fabric as backing to this quilt top, but to no avail.  I wanted something with a bit of a fleck to it, rather than solid grey, and was discovering that grey is not exactly popular at present.  The plan was to applique an Eiffel tower onto it to make the quilt truly reversable.  Even from the car, the colour of these sheets were enough to make me stop on my way home and check them out.  They proved to be unaffected by paint, or anything else that I could work out.

In the end I changed my mind a little, and have managed to produce this doona cover for the Schoolboy from the flat sheet:

A little patching was required on the back, covered by some strategically placed red stripes:

I made the matching pillowslip from the leftovers, cut the back of the quilt from the fitted sheet (even this showed no signs of wear - I'm assuming the grey didn't fit with their newly-renovated interior any longer), and have some fabric left over for another project.  Not bad for 3 minutes of cringing by the side of the road!


  • The Schoolboy's declared this the best and most comfortable doona ever, but is consistently sleeping with the Eiffel tower facing down?!?
  • The Kinderboy's now decided that he needs a black doona cover with a Kiwi on it.
  • I'm wondering if either of them realize that we're Australian!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I finished something!

I'm feeling a bit 'stuck' craft-wise, so it was great to finish my Vogue artwork last night.  Here it is:

Hmm.  Slightly twisted on the page, but I can fix that up when I frame it.

I used two layers of tracing paper - the top layer has most of the drawing, plus a small amount of colour:

The layer underneath has most of the block colour, and some of the writing which I wanted to tone-down the colour of.

I used a mixture of ink (the black), coloured pencil and coloured card stuck down with double sided tape.

Inspired?  Want to make one?  It's really simple, so if you're planning to do something similar I'd recommend choosing a simple line drawing, and making a few copies of it at the size that you're after.

Your first step is to trace the line drawing - primary school stuff right?!  

And now some planning:
  • If you're planning to use a texta for the line drawing, do a trial to make sure that it won't smudge! I had planned to use a marker for the red highlights, but found that the one I had on hand was going to smudge and switched to pencil instead. 
  • You'll need to think about how you adhere the layers together.  I learnt from my son's Big Ben poster that double sided tape doesn't look that good stuck on the reverse side of tracing paper.  So, rather than stick the blocks of colour to the back of the first layer of tracing paper (which is what we did with the Big Ben poster), I stuck mine onto a second layer of tracing paper.  This way I could use my tape where it wouldn't be seen (I plan to join all of the layers together at the edges under a framing mat before hanging it on the wall).
  • Check out what your planned colours look like underneath the tracing paper.  The red I used is a lot more orange than I originally intended, but it looks heaps better (and less orange) under the tracing paper than my first preference.  On a similar vein, I used a coloured tracing paper for the girls' blonde hair, but the adhesive 'Jac' paper I used to stick it down altered this to a solid colour, which was a bit disappointing at first.
  • I used two layers of tracing paper, and would highly recommend it as opposed to attaching your coloured shapes to a solid background.  Using the second layer of tracing paper allows you to stick down your coloured card without having double-sided tape showing from the front, and allows you to line up all of the layers more easily than if you only have one layer above the solid background.
Your next step will be to cut the blocks of colour from coloured card/paper.  To do this accurately, place a copy of the picture over the top of your coloured card and then cut around the shape you're after (this is why you'll need a few copies of the picture).

I'd recommend cutting two layers of paper together where you have intersecting colours. For example, to do the socks and shoes I:
  • Layered black/red and white card on top of each other, then put a copy of the picture over the top of the lot, 
  • Cut the whole stack around the outline of the sock and shoes together (you have to be careful none of the layers move).  
  • Removed the white/sock card, and cut the picture and the black/red card around the shoe outline. 
This way there is no gap between the sock and the shoe and there's no little bit of sock showing where the sock and shoe aren't cut exactly the same (hope that makes sense, I found it impossible to take photos while I was cutting!).  You might be able to see that I didn't use this approach for the intersection between the little girl's hair and the middle girl's dress, and there's a bit of a gap there.  Minor gaps are less visible once you put the line drawing over the top, but I know that if I think about it too much this bit of the picture will bug me!

I couldn't find any polka-dot paper, so I used
coloured pencil on the trace to make my own.
Finally, you can fill in some details with coloured pencil - I used pencil for the middle girl's shoes, the lighter sections on their toy (no idea what sort of animal it's supposed to be), the detailing on the smaller girls' dresses, the middle girl's headband, and the word 'pattern'.

Oh, and if you don't want to have to deal with it later, make sure that your drawing is square under the tracing paper before you begin!

Thanks for sticking with me all the way to the bottom!  If you do decide to make a tracing paper artwork I'd love to see how it turns out - leave me a comment with your link.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Vogue 2651 Wall Art

As I mentioned, I was inspired by the Schoolboy's Big Ben poster, and immediately pulled out one of my vintage Vogue patterns.  I enlarged the envelope illustration, and made a start.  It didn't take too long to work out that the texta that the Schoolboy used was way too thick for my purposes.  Fast forward a week, and after spending way too much time faffing around with my Rotring pens, I finally came to the conclusion that leaving them sit for 20 years and then expecting to resurrect them was asking a bit much!

I ended up using a 0.5mm 'Pentel for Film' marker that I thought I'd lost.  The actual drawing was quite quick, and here's my drawing after stage 1:

I'm finding it harder to find time to keep going than to actually do the construction, so here's where I'm up to now:

Here's a peek at how it looks underneath the top tracing paper layer.  The process's quite simple, but I plan to show you more of a 'how to' once I'm finished...

I'm off to sign up and check out the new 'creative spaces' over here and here.  I know, I know, if I did less of that I might be finished the picture by now, but I do love seeing what everyone else is up to!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Inspired by the Schoolboy

The Schoolboy's doing a 'show and teach' on Big Ben to his class tomorrow.  He was determined to draw a picture of it himself.  His control freak of a mother was a bit worried about what that'd look like (he's brilliant, but most of what he draws is about 5cm tall and full of minute detail - not really visible in a classroom setting).  This is what we came up with:

The drawing isn't actually 'his' - its a tracing of an enlarged version of this colouring page.  He's done a brilliant job though, and using architectural tracing paper allowed him to add colour to the drawing from behind, rather than having to colour it in / trace using coloured paper.

I'm so impressed I think I'm going to have a shot using this vintage pattern, which you'll have seen before. (although now that I'm looking at it I'm torn between this one, Vogue 2678, and Vogue 2650).   I have a million things to do first, but I'm 'home alone' with the kids tonight, so I can see the priorities being shifted a little, provided of course that I can decide which pattern to use...


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