Thursday, 30 September 2010

Conker beetles

This is how it started:

An abundance of beautiful conkers from the park. What to do with them? Eva naturally started to play with them: counting, arranging, touching and, ahem, licking.

They seemed so shiny and beetle-y, so that is what they became.

I used a mixture of enamel paint (the little pots used for model-making) and ready mixed poster paint. The enamel paint gave a fantastic finish but took ages - at least 24 hours - to dry, whereas the poster paint took a couple of coats and dried quickly but also chipped easily. Nail varnish would be good, or some sort of coloured lacquer, if such a thing exists.

I made a nice box for them to live in and some grass to munch on. We took them back to the park. They went on the roundabout:

 the little elephant ride:

and then had a rest on a bench.

Eva wanted to sleep with them, a seal of approval if ever there was one. I am so pleased with how these turned out, they brought so much colour and play to a rainy gloomy day.

{the fab eleven}

Monday, 27 September 2010

Mary Jane shoes

There is a chill in the air and summer seems like a memory. But that is fine because I love autumn. It does present sartorial challenges though. My baby is five months old and needs something warm for her A/W 2010 footwear collection. She's got a beautiful pair of bootees thanks to a friend but they don't go with everything, some sort of oversock in a neutral colour was needed.

So here they are:

Her own little Francesca Woodman homage. I love Mary Jane shoes. I had a solo show last year at Prick Your Finger in Bethnal Green called 'Who Is Mary Jane?'. I listened to a lot of songs about Mary Jane and made little dolls each with their own pair of crocheted Mary Janes. It was such a lot of fun, an indulgence of my two great loves: making things and listening to '90s hip hop. You can see it all here.

The pattern was from an old crochet patterns book and then adapted to fit. So versatile for the baby girl about town and most importantly quick to make, these were done in only two episodes of Mad Men.

Friday, 24 September 2010

And for the new baby

A sleepsuit. Or a daysuit. He's two weeks old, he can mix it up a little.  Freezer paper stenciling is brilliant: quick, easy, cheap and addictive. At first it was hard to get hold of the paper and I eventually found it on ebay. It seems it is much more widely used in the United States.

What you are doing is making a stencil on the matte side of the paper, ironing it face up so that the glossy side adheres to your canvas, creating a very user-friendly stencil for you to paint on. 

So without further ado I bring you the first ever a year above the shop tutorial: 

Making a freezer paper stencil and print.
You will need:
Self-healing cutting mat (not essential but it makes life easier)
Freezer paper
Item to be printed
Fabric paint

1 Make your design. You can print on freezer paper so the possibilities are endless, but I think freehand is best, this is handmade after all.

2 Cut. Keep a firm grip on reality as you turn positives to negatives, discarding where the motif will be. It sounds fairly straightforward but strangely it isn't. Keep your islands (in this example, the spots on the toadstool) safe. I find it easiest to use both a scalpel and a small sharp pair of scissors.

3 Iron your stencil to your base. This is the time to position the islands. It will look like this:

4 Paint. Put a piece of card underneath to prevent the paint seeping through to another layer. Leave it to dry for a few hours as per instructions. If you can bear to wait, leaving it overnight is best. Iron to fix the paint, again following instructions.

5 The best bit: peel off your stencil and ta-da!. Now is the time to do any touch-ups. 

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Shipshape and Bristol fashion

A little boy I know became big brother last week. A great excuse, as if one was needed, to make something. To mark this momentous occasion I chose to make him a pillow. I got this lovely soft cotton flannel printed all over with cheeky pirates from bread and buttons, and it seemed to want to be bedlinen. 

One woman's clearout is another's sewing project. It is essentially one long strip folded over and sewn up the sides. I did not follow a pattern, I just sort of felt my way through. This is my way mainly because everything I make is in a hurry. Oh, and I love instant gratification.

Sweet dreams, big brother Louis.

a year above the shop

a year above the shop