Thursday, 30 June 2011

Bookmarks the spot

Why is it that there is never a bookmark when I need one? I had two books on the go recently (a bit naughty since I'd vowed to stop trying to read more than one thing at a time - I get confused and easily distracted!) and I realised I always seem to be using random things that are near at hand to mark my place. I'm not even just talking about paper-based items, like receipts. I mean combs, emery boards, plasters still in the packet... This might give you an insight into how disorganised I am.

I decided, then, that if I wanted a ready supply of bookmarks, there was no reason I couldn't make some myself. I had some greetings card blanks and decided they would do, and I got out my pencils, pens and crayons, stuck some music on, and had a doodle.

I drew around the only bookmark I have that I seem to be able to keep track of - it's the one that came with my Moleskine Passions Book Journal. I like the shape of it. I filled in four of the blanks while watching mindless telly, and then today I coloured them in while listening to Patrick Wolf. Very relaxing!

This was what my desk looked like when I'd finished!

And here is a closer look:

I liked the rounded corners. And the 'flights of imagination' one is my favourite. I think I would like to make some more, but in different shapes this time, maybe like Kawaii characters or some such.

At least now I won't need to look for a nail file when I finish a chapter!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Having a go at granny squares

So despite the fact today has been the hottest day of the year so far, my thoughts have been on how I'm going to do what I can to get my poor little house liveable when we're at the opposite end of the year and I'm freezing my nuts off every morning and night when I'm not at work. What is that fable about the grasshopper that sings all summer and then freezes to death in the winter because it didn't work hard when the sun was shining? Well, I don't want that to be me, so I have designs on making a great big crochet blanket.

I'm still a relative newbie to crochet, my biggest project to date being a baby blanket and hat which I made for a colleague who was going on maternity leave. It was pretty straightforward, and that's how I like my crochet. I think my fingers are a bit hammy so it helps if it's not too fiddly!

I decided to have a look at The Happy Hooker, and learn how to make a very basic Granny Square, and here is what I came up with:

I made three, and decided to make them all different. It said you could make lots of variations on the basic design, so I changed up the colours for one, and used treble crochet instead of double for the other

I didn't bother to tidy them up as they were just a practice run made with super cheapy wool I picked up in Wilkinson's of all places - who knew? The blue wool looks so much nicer in these pictures than it does in real. Hurrah for Photoshop because the colour is actually a mucky sort of petrol-y/teal-y blue and I don't like it, hence it being condemned to be used for practices and never the real McCoy!.

I think it was a fairly successful first attempt. If you know of any good books or places for more exciting square patterns, do let me know!

Picspiration: jellyfish

Some pictures, I look at and get a rush of inspiration to create something based on them. My recent interest in the world of Karl Pilkington and his bizarre thoughts about jellyfish reminded me that on a trip to Scarborough's Sea Life Centre last year I took a great many photographs of the things.

I am that annoying person you can't go anywhere with because they stop every two seconds to take about a hundred photographs of the same thing!

Looking at these pictures almost takes my breath away. Not because I'm a skilled photographer (snort) but because they are so beautiful and ethereal. When I was at school, pastels were my favourite medium, and I am now desperate to get my hands on some chalk pastels so I can recreate these images. Oh, I do love a project.

Sunday, 26 June 2011


A friend of mine is organising a charity event and she asked me recently if I would mind lending my crochet skills to her project. I was a little concerned that she over-estimated my ability, but when she clarified that she just wanted me to make some little flowers I thought I'd give it a bash.

The pattern is for little Forget-Me-Nots, which are really quite cute. Each guest will get one. Well, that's the plan anyway - so far I've only made ten! My first attempt was with a 4mm hook, and it was far too big. I haven't any photos of the evidence as they were so bad I disposed of them! I got myself online and picked up a 2.5mm hook, and the result was much more positive:

It's much more fiddly than I'm used to - my crochet experience at this point is pretty much limited to that 4mm hook and double-knitting wool. It's getting easier by the flower, though. And it's been a nice confidence boost! I'm growing a little garden on my desk!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Starting at the very beginning: project desk

Before you can start to be creative, you need a space to do it in, right? I have a desk which has just served as a clutter magnet for the last four years since I last used it as a student. The poor thing has been so neglected, it practically cried tears of joy when it found out I intended to clear it out, give it a bit of TLC, fill it with lovely things, and then actually use it!

Here is how my poor little desk used to look:

The wall has also attracted random junk - postcards, fliers, photos, cards, you name it I've blu-tacked it to the wall. It's been like this for years, these things are barely sentimental any more!

A couple of days later, and here is the space now. It's been re-vamped and filled with all of the creative tools and materials I could possibly fit in:

And the wall got some attention too, all the old rubbish being scaled back and cut down to just the things I think are beautiful or inspiring, and a couple of bits of my artwork:

I also cleared out my desk tidy. This might not sound like a big job, but I had three pencil cases and a desk tidy filled with pens of many varieties, and I laid them all out on the desk and weeded out the broken or empty ones and organised them into different types. The regular pens, fountain pens, pencils and micro-pencils made it into the desk tidy. The magazine box has folders I keep my work in, and whichever rough writing pad I have on the go:

My crochet bag doesn't have a home yet. I only just nominated it as a crochet bag! It's just a bog-standard washbag from Boots which came in a set of three - the other two are both red but it was this one I bought the set for as I thought the pattern was really pretty:

The top drawer now has functional stationery, including my long ruler, calculator and DL envelopes. The boring, officey stuff that everyone needs now and again:

I like this drawer. It has my A5 and A4 sketchbooks and pads, and my most prized colouring materials: a set of watercolour pencils and some brushes, a 36 pack of Crayola pencils, and my beloved Staedtler sets:

This is my notebook and writing drawer. It has some of my many beautiful (and as yet unused in some cases!) notebooks, a project book and some old notes and plans:

This shelf has my cameras, sewing box and correspondence box:

I have a few art box style sets with sketching materials, watercolours, oil paints and charcoal. I also have my more used beautiful notebooks for Japanese, poetry, writing and (in the case of the gorgeous brown one) admiring!

Compartmentalised storage! I love it. One of the blue ones currently contains the overspill of pens and coloured pencils and the clear one is empty right now but I intend to put some card-making paraphernalia in it. Unless I think of something else in the meantime! I also have my address book on here, which is handy:

I was really excited to start the clear out and be able to use my desk. It's given me the chance to see where the gaps are in things I need and also to get rid of a fair bit of junk. I've already spent a happy couple of hours setting up this blog while sitting at it! And I hope that now I have a lovely area to work in there'll be plenty more coming for me to put on it.