There has been crafting aplenty!

I’ve been doing an art class this term, on my day off, and it is SO MUCH FUN. It’s a perfect reason to get up, get dressed and leave the house. We laugh a lot. We play with colours and shapes and patterns. We sometimes make things we’re amazed by.

Here’s the sketchbook I made in the first week. Acrylic paint, finger and the edge of an old credit card:WP_20160115_002


And here’s the first pages of the sketch book, done the following week. Drawing ink and the wrong end of a paintbrush: wp_20160122_14_28_28_pro

This week we were making patterns:




This wasn’t in the art class, this was a screenprinting workshop I did a couple of weeks ago with some friends. Everyone made something really beautiful and they were all completely different. This was my giraffe. It’s called “Giraffe”.


Finally, I have finished this embroidery based on a doodle by a friend of mine. I sent her the finished piece as a surprise. I don’t seem to have a picture of it when it’s finished, so you’ll have to use your imagination.



At half term I went up to Chester one day for an RSN workshop at the cathedral. We were working on silk shading/needlepainting/long and short stitch, which is a technique I’ve never really got good results with before. I think I am starting to get the hang of it. This is how far I got during class:


And last but definitely not least, I AM DECLARING SPRING. Today I did a little bit of garden tidying and planted some spring flowers.


Phew. That’s a lot more than I thought. I’ve also been making some progress on the doll’s house – I’ve rehung the front so that the door is on the same side as the stairs which makes a lot more sense to me. I’m working away on my knitted hoodie, and I’ve started a new embroidery project.

Spring organising

I am pretty much at the end of the Great Spring Clean and Clear Out 2015. Actually, I more or less finished a couple of weeks ago, but inevitably sorting and clearing and tidying left a few organisational gaps which I have been filling. I have finally found a suitable bin which fits in the only good, but tiny, spot for it in the kitchen area. And I have cleared a space for a recycling bin, so that I no longer have random bits of cardboard and plastic bottles lingering on the floor by the front door. I’ve put up hooks to hang my brush and mop out of the way, and done the same in a different place for my apron and carrier bag holder. This all means that entering the house is a much more pleasant experience. You still do come through the Cleaning Zone but it doesn’t all fall down on top of you.

The Cleaning Zone:

After the cleaning zone, on the right is the kitchen. This is what the kitchen looked like after my friend Dawn came to clean it for me:
Two weeks on, it does not look precisely like this any more, but it is not far off. Just a bit more lived in. ;)

It is the rest of the room that’s had the major makeover, though. I took 4 car-loads of stuff to the tip, plus plenty went straight in my bin, plus some was given away. This now means that I can see through my French door, rather than having piles of boxes in front of it. And if I put the heater on, I can feel the effect, because there isn’t anything piled in front of it. My 4×2 box storage is full of fabric and yarn, but it’s all organised and not spilling over. My fibre (for spinning) no longer resides precariously above my boiler, but in a nice wooden box which I use as a sidetable.

And my bureau. Ah, my bureau. Or as I now like to think of it, my Craft Centre.

bureau-004Above the bureau two shelves with boxes and tins, all labelled, and containing a range of different supplies – paper, stamps, glass paints, buttons, beads and so on. Then on top of the actual bureau, a selection of craft magazines and books (I have a whole lot more of these elsewhere), threads, other small items, dolls for dressing.


Inside, it looks like this. There is a surfeit of sellotape, mostly inherited from the chap who used to own the bureau. Similarly, I have an excess of staplers and staple removers. There are notelets, small notebooks and index cards on the right. The pen pots have been organised into: art, craft, colouring, small things and writing. With the lid down, there is plenty of space to work. You can’t really get into my bedroom when the lid is down, which is a good incentive not to pile stuff on top of it.


This is the top drawer with new organisational system. I am very pleased with these IKEA boxes with dividers. They have all sorts of bits in them – acrylic paints, glitter, crayons, balloons, elastic, velcro, pins, tape measures and so on. The middle section holds my glue gun and a few other bits.

Other drawers hold: sketch pads, colouring books and pens, and ‘things in rolls’ – wrapping paper, contact paper, and so on.bureau-005

To the left is my table, with a chair that can easily be used either there or at the bureau. There’s a hanging rack holding glue, paintbrushes and sets of artists’ pastels. Then there is my magnificent wall-mounted pincushion. This is where I sew, and my other pincushions always end up on the floor or hidden under fabric. This one is so handy. A magnetic strip above it holds a few postcards. The hanging rack is brilliant for keeping scissors, rotary cutters and unwieldy items like the bag handle and quilting loops in place. I like to have a tape measure there too, where I can get to it quickly.  Underneath this I am going to put my latest organisational kit:bureau2

It’s an IKEA spice rack with jars, filled with embroidery threads sorted by colour. I love this! I actually need to get another one, I think. There are some extra jars tucked in on the big shelves, but I’d like to have them all on racks. They’re so cheap – £3 for the rack and £1.50 for 4 jars – that I think it’s worth it.

I have also cleaned, tidied and sorted out the bathroom and bedroom but there isn’t much exciting to see there. The best purchase was some new anti-slip stuff for under the bedroom rug. The previous stuff had entirely stopped working and the rug regularly got caught under the door, making it tricky to get in or out. I did make some new wall art for the bedroom, out of some canvases I bought cheaply in The Works closing down sale, a couple of bags of sari scraps I picked up at WonderWool, and some gold acrylic paint:

17114034998_1488e1b189_z 17095224277_06ece43b32_z 17108899249_199b6583dc_z


The office has had lots of attention too:

11196274_10152799427636048_5448383157494945929_nWith some motivational chalkboard art.

11200896_10152799425611048_1196687321611198417_nAnd a new desk tidy.

So, that’s it for the moment. Next big project: the garden…