Saturday, 31 October 2015

Elephants :: Halloween

End of the month elephants is back!

And what is a more elephanty theme than Halloween!?! To be honest I'd prepared a whole different set of elephants for this month, but when I went to schedule the post and saw the last Saturday of October was Halloween, I knew I just had to have a look on Pinterest to see whether 'Halloween Elephants' threw up any search results.

And guess what, it did...

I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of Halloween, but if you're on Pinterest you can't help but get a glimpse of some very creative Halloween costumes and pumpkin art, which is what my selection below is made up from.

1. Take 6 pumpkins of different sizes and a knife and you can make yourself a pumpkin elephant
2. If you don't want a full on Halloween costume, try this arm puppet made using a couple of paper plates and a leg from a pair of grey tights
3. These felt masks are wonderfully detailed - there are loads of plain elephant masks on Pinterest but this is just beautiful
4. Who knew you could get yourself an elephant trick or treat caddy?
5. There are a few elephant costumes around, but this seemed the most sophisticated!
6. I'm not quite sure of the purpose of this, but hey it's an elephant with a Pumpkin head (for some reason this is giving me a bit of a flashback to watching this as a kid)
7. When you absolutely positively need to embarrass your kid in 20 years time
8. Very cute and intricate carving, but surely carving a pumpkin is supposed to produce something scary?
9. Dogs have to embrace Halloween too

For more elephants visit my Elephants board on Pinterest.

All links above are to Pinterest as a number of the items pictured are no longer available at their original link.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Inspiration :: Bilbao

Each year since my other half and I have been together for our Summer holiday we've done a mini inter-rail trip - there is something magical about traversing Europe on the train.

This summer we inter-bussed (due to poor rail infrastructure) from Biarritz to San Sebastian to Bilbao and finally Santander (primarily Santillana del Mar). I've been wanting to go to Bilbao for ages to go to the Guggenheim and San Sebastian for the food - the start and end points were selected due to the price of flights but were great additions to the trip.

Whenever I travel I get inspired by what I see. I have notebooks full from a round the world trip from spending hours in museums. My other half doesn't tend to want to spend hours in museums studying crafts so I take my inspiration from other sources now such as the architecture of Bilbao.

What's not to love about the Guggenheim Bilbao building? I particularly liked this angle as it reminded me of silver beading such as this piece that I started a couple of years ago.

This floral puppy sculpture by Jeff Koons at the Guggenheim Bilbao reminded me of a patchwork toy such as Abby Glassenberg's patchwork elephant. I do love the random nature of the colours and made me want to experiment further with the beaded patchwork design that you can see a glimpse of in the header for my blog.

This building is on the opposite river bank to the Guggenheim, a bit closer to the old town. The colourful windows were beautiful and the white stone a great contrast to the bright blue cloudless sky. It got me thinking about bright and colourful crochet blankets such as the one below from According to Matt.

Opposite the entrance to the funicular railway was this mish-mash of a building. Art Deco, Moorish and modern architecture all in one space. The art deco curves reminded me of the beading on 1920s flappers dresses such as the one shown below.

Do you get inspiration for your crafts from your travels?

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Work in progress :: Sixth time lucky ...

I like knitting (although I prefer crochet). And at this time of year, for the past few years, I've dusted off my knitting needles and started work on Christmas pressies for one or both nieces.

Last year I made this dress - Meredith knitting pattern (Ravelry link). I originally printed it off when it was a free pattern on Let's Knit Magazine website. It's now available as a paid for download from the author.

Beautiful (if I do say so myself). Very intricate lace pattern at the top and bottom of the dress makes it look very girly. But it took me several unravellings and re-starts to get past that bloomin' lace section.

This time I picked a much more clean, classic and straightforward design - the River Dress by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne (Ravelry link).

Photo: Nadia Crétin-Léchenne
Or so I thought! The challenge with this pattern is the way it is written. I think more experienced knitters than me will find it really straightforward. The instructions such as "After 19 raglan increases, there's 58 stitches for the front" make it seem really simple, but raglan increases with a pattern on the front isn't that easy, or at least it isn't that easy for me and I ended up not knowing whether the number of stitches I had was right or not!

After five attempts I sat down and wrote out row by row the number of stitches for the front, back and two sleeves. I also knitted a swatch just of the pattern as that was causing me problems too.

So sixth time lucky and now it's growing nicely!

Update :: Back to blogging

At the start of the year I set myself a challenge/New Years resolution to get better at the crafts I already practice.

For my first craft of the month I did try some new techniques, stitches and projects. Whereas for my second craft of the month I struggled. This was partly down to April being a busier than expected month at my day job meaning I worked a couple of Saturday's which significantly ate into my crafting/blogging time. But what I also found was I just couldn't find any new projects for my designated craft (bead weaving) that excited me.

What I also learned that forcing myself to do a particular project at a particular time just doesn't work for me and I lost my blogging mojo because of the expectation I'd put on myself. I also lost interest in Instagram and in Pinterest (yes it is possible).

I already knew that I'm not a big fan of New Year resolutions, again because of the somewhat forced nature of them. I prefer to set those challenges at a time that feels right such as learning to drive or buying a house - which coincidentally both happened at about this point in the year.

I haven't stopped crafting over the past 5 months, just blogging about them. But after visiting the Handmade Fair last month (blog post to come) and attending a great super theatre talk about craft photography, I'm now inspired to blog about my projects again. So coming up over the next few weeks will be projects that I've worked on during that time.