Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Innocent Smoothies : The Big Knit

Every Year, Innocent Smoothies send out a call for tiny little knitted hats.
Yes, you did read that right.
Each of these little hats are placed on top of one of their bottles, and 25p of each sale goes to the charity Age UK, supporting projects to keep older people warm during the winter.
They're very simple, and even a knitting novice can make one (my sister has been knitting for less than a week and even she can make one). I encourage you all to try! They're very quick, and you can have a lot of fun! Take a look at some of these examples:
I'm planning a few fun ones... Strawberries, R2D2's and Daleks anybody?!

It's a simple Pattern: 28 Stitches, 2 rows of rib ,12 rows of Stocking Stitch, and two rows of decrease before sewing up the sides. Add a pom pom and you're good to go!
You have until Monday the 1st of October to knit your hats, and send them to their address, which, along with the patterns and more information, you can find:
If you do make some hats (I'm sure crochet would be acceptable too), send me a link to your amazing hats, and I'll make sure to make time to gawk at them.
And remember, it's all for charity! 

Monday, 27 August 2012


With this post, I reach my 100th.
That's quite good, isn't it? I am proud of my little blog, created out of boredom in last year's summer holidays. It has become an essential part of me. I'm never bored now.
If I'm not working, I'm crafting, and if not crafting, I'm writing here - storing up a load of drafts, tutorials and art presentations. So yes. I have written more than 100 posts, I just haven't gotten round to sending them out yet.
But this, I have come to realise, is not just my blog, something to come to when bored. It is yours as well, the reader. I have very few readers, 5 following by google, and 28 on HelloCotton. 33 Followers in 1 year. Not bad I'd say.But it's then a matter of how many of you actually read my blog on a regular basis. That number is much much fewer.
My main traffic comes from CraftGawker. I can tell when I've submitted something - stats usually spike, before sinking back down to hover at around 15 views per day.
I don't mind though. It is those who read that I care about. So, with this 100, I'm going to be asking you some questions.
What do you want the next 100 posts to be about?
More Tutorials?
More Art?
More Knitting?
More  Sewing?
More Harry Potter?
More of me?
I don't know... what say you?

Sunday, 26 August 2012

DIY: Winnie-the-Pooh Card

This is the card I made for my correspondence with a friend in Yorkshire. This technique does not specifically require to be Winnie-the-Pooh; any stamp could apply.

Stamp and ink pad of your choice
Silver line stickers
Base Card
Complimentary/tonal card scraps
1) Fold an A5 piece of card into a blank. Turn this horizontally.
2) With your card scraps, stamp your chosen design, and cut out.
3) Matt the design with a second piece of card. Attach this to a Larger piece of card, an inch wider than the design, making sure to line it up with the right hand side.
4) With silver lines, mark out first the centre, then one inch to the left. With a third line, border the large matt card on the left hand side.
5) Position the layered piece so that the border line lines up between the middle of the two others on the card blank.
Tada! It's simple, it's quick, and it's effective. Not bad for some card, a stamp and some stickers...

Craft Review: Weeks 32, 33, 34, 35 : Sunday 29th July -Saturday 25th August

Wow. It would appear that I haven't done a Review in 4 weeks... THAT'S BAD!
Although, I won't count the last two weeks. I've been entertaining friends, and I've been to Sicily. That deserves some slack, right?
But anyway, this is what I have done in my absence:
I knitted a hat and I'm just finishing the scarf, both for my sister for Christmas....

More of My Ravenclaw Scarf - Less than 100 rows to go!
Innocent Smoothie hats - Post to follow....

I did make a Birthday card, and knit a cherry blossom brooch and bracelet for a friend, but I forgot to take a picture of it....
A Weasley Jumper Christmas Ornament for Mum....
A Make-up bag for my sister for Christmas, which I will fill with some goodies from Boots most likely....
I also missed this blog's first anniversary... 15th August, as I was away in Sicily.... But, I'm nearing my 100th post, so I'll celebrate that instead....
Oh, and just in case anyone missed - I got an A in Art! All of that hard work paid off! Now it's just off to A-Level in September... Just over a week to go now.... Panic!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

GCSE Results - ARGH!!!!!

Today is the Thursday when all 16 year olds in the UK who have taken their GCSE's wait and ponder, hopeful and worried, laughing and crying. Or, in my case, hyperventilating and fainting. And accidentally biting my mother's finger....
To illustrate  - quotes from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 5
"Don't, don't, don't!" said Hermione, flapping her hands hysterically." I know I've failed everything!"
This one day can either give you that sense of satisfaction over the work you have put in for two whole years, or it can leave you feeling utterly wasted.
Hermione's hands were shaking somuch she was making her whole owl tremble.
Of Course, everyone is different, and I in no way intend to brag here, but these are my results and I am proud of them. This is a monumental occasion, and I wish to share it with you.
Harry read the parchment through several times, his breathing getting easier with each reading.
 Here they are then, what so much worrying, stress and hard graft have created:
Geography A*
English Language A*
English Literature A*
Additional Science A* (for which my two exams were 100%and 99%(miffed at that one mark!))
FRENCH A* (yes, really didn't expect that one)
Maths A* (which, out of 400, I only dropped 15 marks)
Religious Studies A
Art A (A*'s are like gold dust, so I'm pleased)
History A
Adding to that:Core Science A from last yearStatistics A* (taken two years early)
I'm very pleased. Not the top, my best friend beat me by 2 A*'s, but these are my results, and we took different subjects. There are some I am immensely proud of, and one incredulous, and I think we all know that I hate computers. And I mean, come on, I’ve got to find something to be miffed about?!
(Note: GCSE's - General Certificate of Secondary Education. Equivalent to Harry Potter OWLs - Ordinary Wizarding Levels)
Three vaguely happy looking girlies (we're not very photo- friendly)
Harry looked back down at his results. They were as good as he could've hoped for.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Saturday 4th August :The Olympics

Arguably one of the Greatest days in British Sport.

Greg Rutherford in the Long Jump

Jess Ennis in the 800m conclusion of the Heptathlon

Mo Farah in the 10000m

I had a great night with my family, the sport was amazing, and it made me proud to be British. The way the stadium would erupt.....
This is only a selection of my photos, I took many more, so if you'd like a post on the experience, let me know... There were lots of pretty gardens!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Final Piece - Surfaces

My Final Piece idea was actually given to me by my best friend. The concept was to paint a Greek pot, but instead of it conveying a traditional mythological story, I would depict one of our favourites.
This relates to surfaces as, on a first glance it could be perceived as just another ancient  pot, but beneath it, there is that link to present day.

This was my design idea. From this, I realised just how much I needed to work on the form and proportions of the pot. I've tried here to link as many sections of my studies and experiments as I could, from the History, to the silhouettes, the storytelling and the Greeks.

This is the double page spread that drawing belonged to, exploring the various different options of finishing for the foot and the lip.

Here, returning to my love of maths, I mapped out all of the precise details and proportions to ratios and measurements so that the image would fit the canvas that I had bought. I planned colours and the symmetry, all so that I could get the curvature and details correct.

This was essentially my 'final draft'. A quick experiment to see where I was going on,and what more I could do to improve it before starting on my canvas.

And here it is! It's only an A2 canvas, which is actually quite small now that I think about it. I spent hours layering for the orange mid section (which is less red in real life) on its own! I used acrylic paint, with a watercolour background, and overall it's quite stylistic.

At the time I remember being very proud of it, but now that I have grown as an artist, I'm not as pleased as I was. I see all of the mistakes, things that I could have done a lot better. It's a very personal piece, and wouldn't be to certain people's taste, and in a way, possibly childish.
But those are just my thoughts. What do you think?

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Sgraffito, Silhouettes and Story-telling

I'm realising now that I started to flit around a lot at the end of this sketchbook... This post is a collection of me finishing up all of the ends of the book.

Sgraffito - isn't that a cool word?!
 These here are a selection of studies that I did experimenting in the sgraffito style. Here's how you do it:

1) Paint a block all over the paper. You then leave this to dry until you could essentially sandpaper with it and no paint would transfer (but I would not advise trying that). The best thing to do is to leave it overnight.

2) Then, very quickly, paint another layer of paint over the top,making sure that none of the bottom colour is visible.

3) While that top paint is still wet, use an implement to scratch and take away the top layer, leaving the base exposed.

There we go. Very simple,but a bit time consuming. The effect I created was very similar to the red figure Greek Pottery,and I became particularly fond of the bottom pattern...

Then, at this particular time, silhouette cameo's were in fashion, So I took a look at the history behind them, creating a few examples in different styles of my friends. I used traditional paper, then acrylic paint and oil pastel as well. The pastel one adds more texture, which is very nice, but is not keeping with the tradition of being a plain shape. The paint was the easiest of all,and also had a very good finish to it.

Storytelling was the final idea I took a spin at, inspired by the stories conveyed through the Greek pots. I looked at several more artists, and chose to create my own version, with a more modern story that will and has travelled through decades.

I started off by looking at storytelling in art, being directed to look at Tracy Emin. Once again though, I had extreme problems actually liking the work. I could see how it worked, but I didn't necessarily consider it nice or good. I did however, set up my own version and took photos of my revision.
I then started to look at stories being told through people, by emotions and their body language... taking inspiration from both Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings.

Here is a greater development on the study of the LotR photo, explaining its meanings and my attempts to draw them myself. I did a paper cut out, and a pencil drawing. Unfortunately,with the cut-out, I forgot that if you turn things round,everything will be backwards... so now the Fellowship is walking in the other direction....

Bent backs, faces pointed down; tired, dejected and scared. The body language of the Fellowship says it all. Also, their order shows the rolls of each of the group. Gandalf the Leader, Aragorn the loner to say but two.

These last page was focused on showing how colour can affect the mood of the painting. This is an oil painted study of one of Picasso's Sorrow Paintings. The image is done in various shades of cold, icy blue, depicting a man that the viewer can immediately see is sad.Those colours heighten this, making for a rather depressing picture. My study,however,I was particularly pleased with - I am very proud of the undulating waves of light and shadow on his cloak/blanket.

Well, nearly there! That is most of the prep done, now comes the final piece!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Vase Studies

After exploring the world of Greek Pottery, my teacher urged me to take a look at modern versions, at flower vases and jars, also so that I could experiment in shaping the ellipses and curved surfaces suitably.

Here is the still life drawing I did. The varying differences in height, size and shape make for an interesting composition. As I had previously looked at the warm, earthy tones of the Greek's pottery, I chose to use colder, icier colours such as white, greys and blues for this study. I used oil pastel as my media, as I find they are easier to blend and give a smoother surface.

This picture is of the page in my sketchbook, including an additional study, picking out the highlights in blue across one of the vases. This one grew on me over time.

I also had to look at a modern day clay pot artist, so I was given Grayson Perry to contrast and do some research on
Now.I have this thing about modern art.I hate it.
It's disturbing, it's weird, and it practically never makes any sense and is often quite disgusting.Which is pretty much what I said in my annotation. That, and that my study was thankfully done in charcoal so that I could stop drawing it quicker.
So yes. That is my exploration into modern pottery.