Wednesday, August 6, 2014

always secret crafting

Here we go again, I'm writing one of many secret crafting blog posts, only this time I'm writing before the big reveal.

When you quilt, you constantly come up against a tension between the traditional and modern, and although it's a tension I love to embrace and explore in my work, when it comes to quilting and blogging, the tension is quite hard to balance.  Bloggers need things to blog about, but very special, long-term projects don't produce the kind of exciting tidbits and progress updates that suit a blog. Inside you are dying to share all those little things and anecdotes about your work, but because you are working on a gift it is all top secret!

It can also be very hard to remember to share my many thoughts and ideas when I'm working hard and purposefully keeping my head down so as not to arise the suspicion of the soon-to-be recipient of the project I am working on.

So without giving it all away, I've been busy working on a very special project the last few months. Really it is a project that has been 10 years in the making, but I've only been properly working out my ideas in the last six months.

The project has been a tough one that has introduced a few new things into my repertoire:

1. Mastering curves (yikes!)
2. Completing some New York Beauty blocks (double yikes!!)
3. Designing my own fabric (what the what!?!)

Am I up to the challenge? A new york beauty piece from Canoe Ridge Creations
Number three really hits the "traditional meets modern" nail on the head. Get me - I've had a go and digital fabric design! I've designed with illustrator before with my own laser-cut patterns for my Bristol Cityscape coasters and mobile designs, but I felt very overwhelmed at the task of taking my skills further design fabrics.

Fabrics are so much more layered, colourful and complex than simple line drawings, but to ease myself into it, I kept it simple - using my experience with line design to draw some constellations and create some custom fabric. I am desperate to show it off to on the blog, but the design would be a dead giveaway for the person I am creating the quilt for, so for now I'm going to have to be a textual tease.

I ordered my fabric through Spoonflower, but have since discovered that there is a range of fabric printers here in the uk: check out these listings at the Sewing Directory.

Have you designed your own and had any fab or tragic experiences? If yes, I would love to hear about them. Comment or drop me a line or two and I'll work them into my "big reveal" post which should be coming in about two-weeks time!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Craft fuel: Coffee - DIY Nespresso Capsule Holder

It's been a very long time since I did a 'craft fuel' post and as I write this it has occurred to me how strange it is I have never posted about the most important craft fuel of all: coffee.

Those who know me well (and anyone else who has seen me before 8:30 on any given morning) know that coffee is a big part of my life. I'll admit it is not the healthiest part of my daily routine, but given that it is my only true vice I give myself a pass and allow myself to indulge in a few cups a day.

Sometimes I have a treat with it, some cake or a nice piece of dark chocolate, but even on it's own it is a delightful little indulgence and comes with a perfect little pick me up that when tempered correctly lends a bit of oomph and focus to my crafting.

Now I've been through all the coffee machines out there: I have my toddy for deliciously smooth iced coffees in the summer, I have a siphon for a strong but sweet brew and more recently I set myself up with a Nespresso Machine so that I can enjoy the full range of lattes, cappuccinos and on my last rockstar-of-a-new-year's-eve: boozy frangelico macchiatos!

I love my machine, so much that I've upgraded to a 'Latissima' and at my old job I conspired with colleagues to establish an at-work machine as well. As much as I love the sweet brown nectar that flows from those capsules, I've always been foiled when it comes to storing them. Yes, there are boxes and racks and containers and lovely glass jars out there designed for them but they all come at a high price and none of them have ever really appealed to me that much, so I set out to make my own. Check it out:

DIY Nespresso Capsule Holder

- 7 strips of balsa wood (15mm x 5mm)
- thick double-sided foam tape
- magnetic tape
- 1 magnetic note board (IKEA)
- washi tape for decorating

Here's how I did it:

Testing my layout and cut balsa to size with craft knife.
Trimming magnetic tape to 1/2 width.
Attaching magnet strip to wood with double sided tape. 
Cover each strip with Washi Tape
Assemble, and Ta-da!

The capsule holder in situ at my coffee corner.
Mmmm double latte!

So there it is. After a long time of juggling with capsules, I've made my own capsule holder. The nice thing is that it was very cheap (all materials under £15), and it is completely changeable! I can create a new layout or change the colour of my washi tape and create a new look whenever I want... but for now, I'll just admire it while I sip my coffee.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Creative inspiration: Ken Stradling Collection

As a part of my resolution to get back to blogging, I'm hoping to document some of the creative places I come across in hopes that I might share a bit of what gets me inspired! Last weekend I found a little creative refuge in Bristol when I attended the opening of the Ken Stradling Collection, a new collection and study library that is now open to the public every Wednesday in Bristol.

A new (but seasoned) addition to the Bristol design scene

With links to his professional history with the Bristol Guild, Ken Stradling has built up a very personal collection of 20th and 21st century ceramics, furniture, glass and more.  Now with thanks to Heritage Lottery Funding and the Gane Trust this remarkable private collection is open to the public.

Tucked away on Park Row, this eclectic collection is displayed over three floors. Because it is so varied, with everything from large pieces of original furniture to charming little one-of-kind ceramic works, the collection will appeal to a broad range of visitors. From designophiles to one-off browsers, the collection boasts plenty of design eye-candy for everyone... and if the objects aren't enough, it also hosts a design study centre for visitors to pursue their interests further.

My fellow opening attendees - getting serious about design 
A busy opening!

Though Ken Stradling has been collecting since the late 1940s, the collection is very much in its infancy as a display. It is refreshing to see that there is room for such interesting and personal collections in the Bristol scene and though the works on display are so varied, his passion for design visibly ties them all together.  I expect that this very personal angle will make the collection accessible to a wide range of people, from those unaware that home design has a fascinating story to seasoned design aficionados whose work has shaped the history reflected in the collections.

The photos show off the wonderful range of the collection:

The collection promises to display a regularly changing selection of work and also boasts a digital catalogue of significant items on their website. You can now visit the Ken Stradling Collection Wednesdays from 10 until 4, at 48 Park Row in Bristol... do pop in and check it out!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

on to new things!

I'm not sure if you noticed, but there was a bit of a post '52 weeks 52 crafts' lull here at Lazy Crafternoons. I have been quite busy behind the scenes, but my 2012 challenge must have really knackered my blogging skills because 2013 was consequentially quite a quiet one in my little corner of the world wide weberverse.

2014 will be all about balance for me. Trying to find a way to juggle my craft life and work life (a new full time job at the end of 2012 may or may not have also been keeping me quite busy). 

Total blog posts in 2012: 79
Total blog posts in 2013: 1

I'll aim for something in the middle this year. Hoping to post more patterns, updates, and pieces on what inspires me to get crafting. I think 40 posts is reasonable, don't you?

In the mean time I'll post a few pictures of the projects I have been working on quietly this past year. A few major projects including two quilts: one for my friend's wonderful summer wedding (which I had the joy and privilege of officiating!) and another for my beautiful newborn niece in Canada.

Wedding Quilt.

I made this using some very bold fabrics from Tula Pink (Birds and the Bees collection). If you look closely, it starts with 1 inch half-square triangles in the middle and then the squares gradually increase, doubling in size towards the edges of the quilt until pieces make up 8 inch squares.  I like the way the fabrics draw inspiration from nature, with bold coloured fabrics which subtly work birds and bees in the patterns - both classic and modern, ordered and chaotic! Sort of the perfect fabric for my good friends who are getting married: bright and cheerful, outrageous and also structured - I knew it was the right choice for the project.  I didn't want to dilute the bright fabrics with other collections or solids and pale fabrics, so I chose a pattern that matched what I liked about the fabric. A patchwork that is seemingly unstructured, but when you look closely is actually quite orderly.

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Canadian Wild quilt.

I made this quilt using a mix of jewel and autumnal toned fabrics... and it represents my first foray into paper piecing. The quilt features Canadian animals, starting with a stag pattern in the middle which I bought and downloaded on Etsy and then using my experience piecing that together, I gradually drew my own paper piecing patterns to create the goose, beaver, racoon, fox, moose and bear.

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I've also had some smaller projects on the go and have started selling some small quilts and projects in my own Etsy shop, so go ahead and check those out.  

I'll be posting some new tutorials, tips and ideas soon! Happy (belated) New Year!