Archive for ‘things I made’

October 6, 2015

I, Cushion

I cushion on sofa

First A, then P, now I – only 24 more to go before the entire cushion alphabet is complete! And at this rate, it’ll be done by the time I’m 70.

This one is now owned by my new baby friend Ilithyia. About 80% of my friends seem to be dropping babies this year, so I’m miles behind with the gifts – Ilithyia’s came first because her initial has no tricky curves or diagonals.

(BTW parents, tell me if I’m off the mark giving cushions as baby gifts: I figure they’re ok, as baby gifts go, because everyone seems to receive a million quilts and onesies and toys. The babies can puke on them without the stains being too obvious, and if the babies/the parents really hate them but don’t want to hurt my feelings, they can pretend the cushions were destroyed in a poster paint accident/house fire/misbegotten fondue-dunk.)

Here comes the science bit: the front is some 16 inches square, made of hand-sewn one-inch cotton patches; I machine-sewed the border and back. I was trying to restrain my usual motley palette to blue and green, but of course strayed a little.

A few details:

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March 15, 2015

cricket dolls

My brother Andy is over in Australia and New Zealand at the moment, covering the Cricket World Cup for CricInfo.

You may notice that in some of his videos he is playing with dolls. Not Barbies – dolls of historic cricketers W.G. Grace and Fred Spofforth. Where does one obtain dolls of historic cricketers W.G. Grace and Fred Spofforth?

The same place one obtains dolls of Donald Rumsfeld, Robert Plant and Tony Benn.

As soon as I’d finished making them, they were stuffed in a suitcase and flown to Australia, so I don’t have very good photos showing the details, but the materials were felt, white bedsheet, and yarn – WG’s beard is knitted in garter stitch. Here’s one man and his dolls:

cricket dolls Andy

And here are the LADS enjoying themselves at a match:

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January 14, 2015

The Allusionist begins

Boggle logo yes

I am very excited to tell you that my new Radiotopia show The Allusionist – which many of you very generously Kickstarted last autumn – has landed!

It’s all about language – little documentaries about words and phrases, with etymological tidbits thrown in. Its online home is theallusionist.org, and the show is available via iTunes, SoundCloud, RSS and various other podcast-wranglers.

Upon hearing I was doing a show about language, loads of people asked me, “Will there be episodes about puns?” Well, guess what: the very first episode is about puns, so I could get the damn things out of the way. It features my punfortunate brother Andy (familiar to you Bugle fans), and the puntriarch himself, our father Zack. TAKE COVER.

I wanted to launch the show with a double bill, and the second episode is all about bras: blogger Lori Smith teaches me about the history of undergarments, while I wonder why we have so many synonyms for our knickers, but none for bras.


A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with the Radiotopian overlord Roman Mars, and he asked me how it was different starting a new podcast now to when Answer Me This! began eight years ago.

Here’s something which is the same: I don’t know exactly what my show is or how to make it, but I can only learn those things by making it and putting it out. One of the most important pieces of advice I give to people starting a podcast is not to publicise it for at least three months or ten episodes, whichever equals more episodes. They never believe me. But I insist that it’s a good move, because a show always improves, and finds its footing; and it’s not a problem, because when listeners do find it a little later, they are happy to find a backlog of episodes to binge on. Between you and me, I was hoping to follow this advice myself this time. BUT…

Here’s a difference: this time, people are listening. You can’t keep a Radiotopia production under the radar. And there was this very flattering review in the Allusionist’s debut week. Of course it is extraordinary to have listeners right from the start, but, given my statement in the paragraph above, it is also VERY DAUNTING. I was insomniac and crapping myself* for weeks before launching The Allusionist! When we launched AMT, I was totally gung ho: I had no idea what I was getting myself into, nor any relevant experience; and luckily our handful of listeners in the early days were very forgiving of these scrappy upstarts. Now, however, I have spent thousands of hours podcasting, so people expect me not to produce a sloppy bowl of shit soup. While I don’t think the first episodes are sloppy bowls of shit soup, I’ve never presented or produced anything like The Allusionist before – it’s a very different beast to AMT, or Sound Women, or live radio – and I know it will take me a few months to get to grips with it properly. So you’re very welcome to listen to the show now, but you’re also welcome to go away and come back in, say, September, when it is likely to be a fully realised audio masterpiece (or a tidy bowl of shit soup, at least).

Here’s another difference: I am now a full-time podcaster, and it is the best job I have ever had. Long may it continue!

*Not literally, thanks for your concern.

May 22, 2014

the Bank of Zaltzman

If you are going along to the Edinburgh Fringe this year, do attend my brother‘s show at The Stand: it’s called Satirist for Hire, and whereas most Edinburgh shows are written and honed over the preceding year, he’ll be taking requests from the audience for topics they want to be satirized, and writing new material every day accordingly. He operates at his best close to a deadline, so it’ll definitely be worth seeing.

Anyway. As in previous years, Andy asked me to paint him for the show’s posters, and since I wasn’t very happy with how some of those turned out, I wanted to try something different. Lo:
AZ banknote

I had only intended to do his face in this style, but once I’d started, I couldn’t leave the rest of the note unfinished.

Inspiration:

inspiration

Look carefully at one of Her Majesty’s banknotes. There are layers upon layers of detail; it’s a truly beautiful security system. Lines and curlicues are formed out of tiny words. Patterns overlay patterns. The shading on the Queen’s face isn’t even straightforward cross-hatching – it’s rows of little brick shapes. I borrowed several of the design elements and deployed my limited drawing skills on A1-size paper (without a watermark of Andy’s face, sadly; that would have been a nice but completely unnecessary detail).

Weapons of choice:

ink

I love Windsor and Newton drawing inks without reservation. I drew the whole thing with that tiny dip pen, which was used by my grandfather or great-grandfather at school! I’m not usually a retronaut who gravitates towards needlessly old-fashioned tools – no cassette Walkmans for me, I spent enough of the early 90s rewinding tapes by spinning them on a pencil to save batteries and never intend to go back – but something about a dip pen suits me, possibly the scratchiness, possibly the minimalism of the implement that feels like you’re barely holding anything. I’m not so keen on its propensity for ink splotches. Hence the Tipp-Ex.

A few details:

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I hope I don’t go to prison for counterfeiting.

Whenever I draw Andy, I feel a bit like I’m drawing my own face after I’ve just woken up. If I’d gone to sleep wearing an orange clown wig.

Click on the image for a bigger version:

AZ Satirist For Hire Banknote

March 17, 2014

entry-level patchwork

Here’s why I started doing patchwork.

It was almost exactly three years ago. My wedding was a month away, and I was going nuts – from the venue going bankrupt; from the fact that nobody had had a wedding-free conversation with me for nearly a year, aside from the brief respite when I served on a deadlocked jury; from the general hatred of wedding planning I’ve mentioned before.

Crafts are soothing. Crafts are mood-transforming. Crafts are a good way to avoid doing the tasks you’re supposed to be doing. Thus, having not done any patchwork before aside from one single small log cabin block, I began to sew a flurry of tablecloths, scaling up traditional designs for some, going off-piste for others.

Afterwards, I gave them all away to friends and family; but recently I had to borrow back a few for something. It was nice to see them again, although I can’t look at them without thinking about what I’d do differently now, which is why I give away all the things I make.

That said, I’m feeling reluctant to return this crabby tablecloth to my shellfish-loving sister-in-law with whom it now lives, because I WANT IT:

tablecloth crab

It’s a massively simplified variation on a Log Cabin: just a central crabby square surrounded by strips of other fabric.

A brick pattern is very easy for a beginner because it’s all straight lines and you don’t even have to match any corners. It’s even easier at this size: the whole thing is about six feet square, so the bricks are about 12×16″:

tablecloth bricks
tablecloth hangers detail

Next: some random stripes, trying to make pastel chintz peacefully coexist with bright African wax prints, old pyjamas and Ikea cotton:

tablecloth stripes

Zigzags! Made up of 10″-square two-colour pieces, which are a cinch to make: lay two squares face to face, sew around the edges, then cut diagonally across from corner to corner, thus begetting four two-coloured squares. This is much simpler than matching up triangles and trying to get the fabric grains to cooperate. I vividly remember watching Babette’s Feast and Infamous whilst making this. (Also, once you get the impression that the maroon and pink print is a bunch of dicks, you can’t unsee that.)

tablecloth zigzags

This one barely counts, as it’s just three teatowels and a vintage tablecloth joined with yellow and blue herringbone stitch. But I like it.

tea

tea stitch detail

There were around a dozen tablecloths in the end. Here they are in action on Wedding Eve. The amazing marquee was from Hector’s Haus.

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January 3, 2014

P is for…

…patchwork, and also Pepper, my three-month-old babyfriend. She is the daughter of my friend Amy, recipient of the 2012 A quilt; so, hellbent on filling their house with alphabet patchwork, I threw together this for Pepper’s Christmas present:

P cushion

(Modelled by the Veronica Mars blanket.)

It’s a 16-inch cushion formed of 1-inch handsewn squares, like last year’s 100% OK piece. Accidentally I kept slicing slivers off the edges of my card square template, so cut smaller and smaller patches that didn’t line up properly. Not that Pepper will care; she’s currently more interested in chewing her own fist than criticising sloppy patchwork.

Details:

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November 28, 2013

The Peckham table

Here’s an easy DIY furniture hack you can do:

• STEP 1. Step into your time machine and move to Peckham from 2004 to 2006.

• STEP 2. On the corner of Bellenden Road and Chadwick Road is a junk shop with some excellent furniture outside (don’t go inside, because it absolutely reeks of dog piss). Buy a large wooden toolbox for £5, because soon that junk shop will be replaced by a key-cutters that does not smell of urine, but is otherwise nothing to be excited about.

• STEP 3. Note how people flytip the good stuff by the big tree at the corner of Chadwick Road and Lyndhurst Way. One night, pick up a black footstool. Rest your feet on it for several years until it starts leaking yellow foam all over the floor.

• STEP 4. Return to the present day.

• STEP 5. Remove the remaining foam and shreds of upholstery from the stool’s top, avoiding all the rusty nails because you don’t want to contract a blood disease.

• STEP 6. Sand the stool legs, then paint with emulsion – I used two coats of Habitat’s Kingfisher. Finish with clear varnish.

• STEP 7. Plonk the toolbox on top.

• STEP 8. Plonk other things on top of your new side-table.

Peckham table

June 16, 2013

100% OK

In this post last year I proclaimed that I was too pathologically lazy ever too make patchwork out of small pieces.

So why did I just end up hand-making a quilt out of 462 one-inch squares?

Because I hate myself. It’s the only possible explanation.

But perhaps my self-hating streak knows me better than I know myself, because it turned out I LOVED working with the tiny patches, and I also love the result:

quilt wall

This is a present for my friends Racton and Eleanor. ‘100% OK’ is a stock phrase of Racton’s, a synonym for ‘whelmed’.

One of the delights of small patches I discovered is the opportunity to play around more with prints. In patchwork I’m always seeking a slight jarring effect between one patch and the next, and when there are 462 patches, that’s a whole lot of potential jarring for me to enjoy. There was room for far more variety, making fragments of prints appear out of context. Plus, if I found one patch boring, I knew another would be coming along within ten seconds.

Here are a few details:

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I mentioned before that whatever I’m making becomes forever associated in my mind with whatever I was watching whilst making it. In this case: Arrested Development series 4 and series 3-6 of the American Office.

100% OK quilt

statue hides

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April 1, 2013

painting and dEGGorating

Do you understand the point of painted eggs? Nor do I, but some people seem to take the art very seriously (especially the Ukrainians, golly). And since I spent Easter with some friends who are both arty and eggy, it was time to give it a try.

First step: blowing eggs. I’d never done this before, and until we found a bigger pin with which to make the holes it was quite taxing. And gross-looking.

Second step: busting out the gouache, acrylic ink, felt pens and gold paint, and filling the eggspanse.

Egg no.1: Terror lurks in the sky for the innocent herbivore…

eggstinction herb

…and for the carnivores!

eggstinction panic

They’re right to look a little worried, for EGGSTINCTION is imminent.

Egg no.2: EGGTOPUS. Click for bigger.
eggtopus

November 29, 2012

crappy crafting: sock gloves

It’s cold in here. Too cold even to type. Fortunately, just about uncold enough to grasp scissors and socks, cut ten holes, and lo –

TYPING GLOVES!

Even when they’re just made out of an old pair of Primark socks, wearing elbow-length gloves is very fancy. I feel like George Peppard’s cougar ‘decorator’ in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

October 30, 2012

chromatography quilt

In October, the darkness and greyness really sets in. A colour hit was necessary. Enter the Chromatography Quilt.

chromatography quilt

At junior school, when the science teacher was bored and we’d already set fire to all the available magnesium ribbon, we’d be told to make chromatographs. Did you ever make them? You cut two parallel slits to the centre of a disc of filter paper, dab a droplet of ink in the centre, then leave it with the stalk dipped into a beaker of water and wait for a spectrum to spread itself across the paper.

If you’re wondering why that was considered a treat, bear in mind we only had four TV channels at the time.

20121030-120146.jpg

I wanted to play around with traditional Log Cabin patterns, so made four blocks three feet square then sewed them together. It was pretty quick to complete; I can’t imagine making a quilt out of normal, small blocks, because I’m so pathologically lazy I would never finish it.

Not sure why, but I hardly ever keep the stuff I make, and duly this quilt is now living with my friend Jim. For once, I think I’ll miss having it around the place.


October 15, 2012

A is for…

…a three-months-late birthday present for my friend Amy.

A quilt

This quilt is about six feet square and is composed of four-inch strip patchwork. ‘Strip patchwork’ sounds like a racy game that crafters play. It isn’t.

The ‘A’ material is a sheet that used to cover our toy snooker table in the 1980s. The rest of the fabrics include pyjama legs, my husband’s shirt, tablecloths, African wax print and a New Look dress (ie a dress from New Look; I didn’t cut up a piece of Dior’s New Look). This little lobster – cotton print from Ikea – is my favourite:

I intended to stick to a limited palette of red and blue shades, but failed by the third patch. As the front was so busy, I opted for all solid colours for the back:
A quilt back

Well, almost all.

This is a variant on the traditional ‘Chinese Coins’ pattern, which I could pretend I chose because Amy spent her formative years in Hong Kong rather than because it’s easy and nice.

The main thing is, Amy seems happy. And warm!

August 15, 2012

Wedding cake

Last weekend I made something I’d never attempted before. I turned this lot…

…into this!

That’s a wedding cake, in case you weren’t sure. Five tiers of chocolate sponge, dark chocolate ganache within, vanilla buttercream and raspberries without, as commissioned by my friend Clare. Clare is one of the only people for whom I would spend two days slowly mashing a cubic foot of butter into a sackful of sugar with a wooden spoon. I now realise that this laborious process is symbolic of marriage: the bride and groom, hitherto separate elements, are mashed together by the wooden spoon that is vows into delicious unity.

Over the course of the evening, the raspberries’ juice ran and made the cake look like it had stigmata. But at least it didn’t collapse, which was my main worry. I used lightweight cake boards in between layers, with straws for extra support. And there is a mug in the middle of the bottom tier. Luckily nobody accidentally ate the mug.

The groom is not a cake fan, so Clare bought him his own cake made out of something he prefers…

SCOTCH EGGS!

Isn’t it beautiful, like an eggy fractal? The big egg is an ostrich egg, and the small ones quail eggs with various different types of sausagemeat, eg black pudding, chorizo. Alas hard-boiled eggs are one of my never-foods, so I didn’t actually sample the w-egging cake; but it was certainly a treat for the eye. The nose too, if you are a person who finds sulphur romantic.

July 19, 2012

“It’s a doll lotta love”

How do you thank a friend’s mum who gave your husband three tickets to see Robert Plant and refused to accept any payment for them?

You make her one of these:

Here are the particulars of plush Robert Plant, from head to foot:

read more »

June 24, 2012

roast rhubarb and strawberry cake

“Why are you showing us a photo of a bowlful of square turd with blood clots, Helen?”

To which I say: shut the hell up! The above foodstuff might not be photogenic, but it certainly was stomach-genic; and as rhubarb and strawberries are both currently in season, it is expedient to make use of them. Together, they are an unlikely fruit powerhouse. A rhubarb and strawberry pavlova is a marvellous pudding, but if you can’t face the double armstrain of whipping egg whites then cream, I recommend this cake. Forgive me for providing such a slapdash recipe, but I’m confident that you are sufficiently independent to cope.

Roast rhubarb and strawberry cake

Serves 6 at least

TOPPING
• Oven on, 180c.
• Cut up a bunch of rhubarb (sorry, I didn’t weigh it beforehand – five sticks so approximately 400g I think?) into chunks. It’s very likely to disintegrate during cooking, so don’t waste your time obsessively cutting it into perfect neat cuboids.
• Spread the rhubarb out in a non-reactive oven dish; glass or pyrex is good. Sprinkle with soft brown sugar (about two tablespoons) or honey if you prefer. Grate a bit of nutmeg over it if you can be bothered. Then add some liquid: a glass of white or rosé wine is good. I also used a glassful of elderflower cordial, which I made a couple of years ago and it has been sitting in the fridge ever since, looking like a urine sample.
• Put the rhubarb in the oven, and while it is cooking, hull a punnet of strawberries (300-400g) and halve any gigantic ones.
• After 20 minutes, see how the rhubarb is getting on. It should be soft and starting to collapse, and more importantly, not burning. Taste the syrup, then add more sugar if it’s very sour, and another glass of liquid if there’s barely a suggestion of syrup in the dish. Chuck in the strawberries, then return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until such time as the strawberries have lost a little of their pert rawness and are looking more like an illustration from Brambly Hedge.

BASE
I used a Prue Leith recipe for rich almond cake, which I think is available in this book. Next time I’ll experiment with other recipes, as I thought this one was a shade too eggy and sweet, but nonetheless it was perfectly tasty (“Of course it bloody was!” shouts the redoubtable Prue). If you have your own trusty recipe for ground almond cake, by all means do deploy it. Nut-avoiders could make a polenta cake instead.

Prue Leith’s rich almond cake, AKA Pain de Gênes:
• Oven remains at 180c. Grease and line an 8-inch cake tin.
• Melt 85g butter, and while it is melting:
• Sift together 55g plain flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and a good pinch of salt. Stir in 110g ground almonds.
• Whisk together 140g caster sugar and 3 eggs.
• Fold the flour and almond mixture into the eggy sugar mixture, then fold in the melted butter ‘with the minimum of stirring’ (disobey Prue at your peril!).
• Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is brown and springs back when you press it lightly with your finger.
• Cool in the tin for five minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.

ASSEMBLY
• Put the cooled cake on a plate, then stab it all over with a fork. This is to help it become as saturated as possible with the fruit syrup.
• Spoon the rhubarb and strawberry mixture over the cake, feeding the sponge with as much syrup as possible before piling on the fruit.
• Serve with cream, if you’re into cream.
• The cake should keep well in the fridge for four days or so. In fact you may even prefer it after it has had a day or two of soggification time. Don’t be alarmed if you have more of the fruit mixture than the cake can handle; consume it later with Greek yoghurt or vanilla ice cream, or mix with sparkling wine to make a lumpy summer cocktail, or use it in a trifle or Bakewell tart. It’s a fine problem to have.

May 16, 2012

Watercolour is too damn watery

The order of a spectrum of pigment pans; the disorder of the paint splatters; the neat tin with fold-out palette: this sight is pleasing to me.

A less pleasing sight is what I am capable of painting with it.

Here’s the galling thing: I was better at watercolour when I was nine. (I was better at most things when I was nine. Peaked too early.) My school art teacher taught us the main watercolour techniques with a classic newbie watercolour exercise: making us paint pictures of a tree on a hilltop, next to a piece of broken fence. Somewhere my parents have a stack of my pictures of trees next to broken fences, and I dare say Monet’s mum got a bit sick of looking at his poplar paintings too.

Anon, I grew up, and put away such childish things. I didn’t paint much again till my mid-twenties, whereupon I was on a far more cartoonish streak painting in acrylics – I will try to dig out some pictures of these sometime.

Anyway, for some reason, after some twenty years not missing them, I chose to use watercolour to paint my brother’s Edinburgh poster last year. It didn’t turn out terribly well, albeit with mitigating circumstances as I mentioned, and it reminded me that actually I quite hate watercolour. How are you supposed to exert control over something that is so damned runny? How are you supposed to love a medium that won’t let you cover up your mistakes? An even bigger problem for me is reversing the mindset I got into through acrylic and oils, with which you add light; watercolour is all about taking away light, which necessitates too much forward planning for my tastes.

But I can’t put away the watercolours quite yet, in case I just hate them because I’m crap at using them. Hatred is bred of fear. I MUST BEAT MY WATERCOLOUR FEAR.

With postcards.

20120516-130342.jpg

Watch out, friends! If you invite me over for a meal, three days afterwards you’ll probably be assaulted by a practice watercolour postcard depicting something that cropped up during our discourse.

For Catherine, who cooked us Sunday lunch, the swan above. After we ate, she took us for a walk along the canal, and waited patiently whilst my husband spent an inordinate amount of time trying to take Instagram pictures of swans grooming themselves.

Then we were fed supper by Racton and Eleanor, who wound up with:

20120516-130326.jpg

I can’t remember why Robert Evans came up in conversation, but the caption is from our friend Amy’s bravura recreation of The Kid Stays In The Picture. If she ever decides to go professional with the after-dinner speaking in the manner of 1970s Hollywood producers, I’ll let you know, because it would definitely be worth the fee.

March 15, 2012

Button it

A very basic bit of making this week:
old buttons + earring backs + Superglue = earrings

All components made by somebody else (I don’t fancy my chances at brewing my own Superglue), so my role was about as creative as assembling flatpack furniture. But, I’m going to a wedding on Saturday which promises to be very spangly, and I needed some mock jewels in a hurry.

Living in Crystal Palace, I have a magnificent source for old buttons: the Haynes Lane Market. Tucked away behind the Sainsburys, it is the kind of place that is virtually extinct now, a scaled down combination of the dear departed Kensington Market (now a PC World) and Greenwich outdoor market (now a boarded-up building site). In summation, it is a two-storey treasure trove of random old shit.

If you’re ever in the neighbourhood, withdraw a fistful of cash then pop in there for a rummage. There are so few places remaining where in one sweep you can snap up 1960s teapots, Georgian fishknives, Deee-Lite shoes and Arctic Explorer outfits for Ken dolls; so let’s support them while they’re still in business.

January 5, 2012

Keep your laptop warm all winter

This isn’t the most exciting or original thing I’ve made, but it turned out quite pleasingly so here it is. It is my friend Miranda’s birthday this week, and I received word she wanted a laptop sleeve. Mine not to reason why, mine but to do and…do. Here it is:

Miranda is an academic, so the exterior is corduroy, the second most academic of fabrics (the first being, of course, tweed).

But inside…

…hot pink silk shantung!

It was extremely simple to make, but if you’re too time-poor to expend 3 seconds thinking how to do it, here’s a ‘tutorial’:

1. Make a paper template approximating the following shape. Miranda has a small laptop, so I cut mine 27″ long plus seam allowance, but for a bigger computer, 30+ inches would be necessary. Approximately, the template needs to be thrice the length of your laptop and a couple of inches wider than its width, plus half an inch of seam allowance all round. Use the template to cut three pieces of the same size: one of each of your outer fabric, lining fabric and thin batting.

20120105-175453.jpg

2. Sandwich the right sides of your outer and lining fabrics together, place the batting on top, and sew around all but one of the edges, as marked in the photo above.

3. Turn the right way out; tuck in the raw edges, then sew the open edge closed.

4. Fold up the bottom edge to a height appropriate to your laptop’s comfort, and sew up each side. I oversewed them by hand, as my sewing machine refused to penetrate the combined six layers of corduroy, batting and shantung.

5. Attach a little loop of thin elastic to the underside of the top flap (if I make another one, I’ll remember to sandwich this between the layers of fabric before embarking upon stage 2) and firmly sew a nice button towards the bottom of the sleeve.

I don’t know about you, but I tend feel that the objects I make are a little redolent of whatever film or TV programme I was watching whilst making them. For instance, the oversized patchwork on my sofa = Babette’s Feast and Infamous. So, sorry, Miranda; your laptop sleeve is imbued with the essence of Revolutionary Road and the Marilyn Monroe episode of Quantum Leap. Happy birthday!

Laptop not included; for demonstration purposes only.

December 27, 2011

Lobster

Yesterday I promised to post about the best Christmas gift I made this year. (Best in my own opinion. Opinion of the recipient: difficult to gauge.)

Here it is:

20111226-121021.jpg

It came out nearly twice as big as I’d anticipated, at almost three feet long. A three-foot lobster is quite creepy-looking, even when made out of a material as innocent as red felt.

20111226-120944.jpg

Exoskeleton.

20111226-121001.jpg

Beady eyes.

December 26, 2011

patchwork dog

Alas I only had time to make a couple of Christmas presents this year. I’ll post about my favourite one tomorrow. This patchwork Scottie dog, which I gave to my sister-in-law Kate, I do like well enough; but because I used a pattern and didn’t invent it myself, it didn’t involve the three-act drama I enjoy so much during my improvised crafting endeavours: first act, optimistic experimentalism; second act, panic; third act, relief/horror at the end product.

Anyway, if you want to make your own patchwork dog, you can find the pattern here. Behold my effort:

20111226-134045.jpg

I’ve never done patchwork with small pieces before, but it was very quick to sew by hand. Plus it was pleasing to work in some of my sillier fabrics.

20111226-134122.jpg

I deviated from the pattern by sewing a border strip out of 30 squares instead of one fabric, which meant the dog could have a rather apt piece for its mouth:

20111226-134029.jpg

And, entirely by chance, it ended up having quite an apt little bit of pattern at its far end too.

20111226-134017.jpg

UPDATE: here’s another for the litter. A gift for a Philly girl, hence the map patch.

Different colour scheme for the flipside:

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