Peeps

There’s a Twitter account called Philippe the Peep.  It’s about Philippe, who is a peep, with many peep friends.

Peeps, for those who are unaware, are these horrific looking marshmallow things from America.  They’re supposed to be chicks, hence the peep.  But they branch out into other shapes.  Like bunnies, which are not horrific.

And the bunnies are where they’ve gone for the plush merchandise they sell.  You can buy all types on the Peep website.  They look soft and fluffy and adorable.  Three attributes that I look for in a soft toy.

So back to this Twitter account.  I love the account, and some of the posts are hilarious, some are cute.

I’ve been envious of Phillippe and the peeps, and I’ve looked several times into the website to see if I could perhaps encourage a peep to come live with me.  Unfortunately the travel costs across the Atlantic are a little prohibitive.  So I decided that perhaps one might manifest in my home, with the aid of my many craft skills.

The first, and most obvious option, is to sew one.  Some fluffy material, a sewing machine, some stuffing.  Et voila.  And so “make a peep” sat on my very long and extensive to do list for months.  Until I was sat watching a movie with my friend, idly playing with some yarn, and I decided I’d knit or crochet one instead.

Step one, find a pattern.  To Ravelry!  The expansive website for knitters, crocheters, and other yarny crafts, has many many patterns.  Free patterns, paid patterns.  And a comprehensive set of search options.  I started with “peep”, and after I’d filtered out the patterns that cost money, and the ones that were clothes and other items with the word “peep” in, I looked at a few patterns and settled on this one.

It’s by a lady called Rebecca and the Ravelry pattern page is here.  The pattern link leads to her blog Schnicklefritz, where you can find a simple, clear knitting pattern to make a peep.

And I knit myself a peep.  Meet Phoebe.

While I was knitting her my friend Cayden decided to have a go too.  He decided to crochet his, using the same pattern.  This idea had never occurred to me, but it was simple enough.  The instructions worked really well for  a crochet pattern too.

And so I had to crochet a peep.  It ended up a little larger than Phoebe.  I used a thicker yarn, and maybe crochet uses more yarn.  A row of crochet stitches is bigger than a row of knit stitches.  I didn’t have enough of the yarn I started with to complete him, so he ended up with multiple colours.  Meet Rufus.

Rufus is a tiny bit larger than Phoebe.

And of course I couldn’t stop there.  At Christmas I decided I’d make a candy cane striped peep.  I may have been selecting the yarn in a room with bad lighting.  I’d stitched an entire side before I realised I was making a hot pink & cream peep instead of a red & white one.

But I carried on regardless.  Until I ran out of stuffing.

So I currently have two and a half peeps, while I wait for more stuffing to arrive.  But you should definitely go check out Phillippe and say hello.

Pokemon Fan Art

It might have skipped your notice but a couple of weeks ago (February 27th) was Pokemon Day, which is the anniversary of the original game’s release.  On this day Nintendo announced a new set of games called Pokemon Shield and Pokemon Sword.  This game will introduce a whole new generation of Pokemon, and the starters were revealed.

starter pokemon
As with 90% of the Pokemon, these little pocket monsters are absolutely adorable.  And the deluge of fan art was quick to begin.  Some of my favourites include these girls by Goo…

 

…these adorable ones by Gloria…

…this one by Kitsune257 on Deviant Art…

Ruby and Scorbunny

…this set by VT2000 on Deviant Art…

Pokemon Starter

…this Sobble-in-action by Winterfaux on Deviant Art…

Sobble // Protecc

…and this Grookey by Bashven on Deviant Art.

Grookey Gang

There are so so many more.  You could look them up forever and never see them all.

Naturally, I had to have a go myself.  I did an image of Sobble on Pokemon Day.  I actually did two.  Sort of.  I really wasn’t happy with the colour I’d picked for the first one.  I tried to perservere and finish it anyway, but then my second colour just dried up on me.

2019-02-27 21.08.29

I was much happier with my second attempt.

2019-02-27 22.20.17

But of course I had to do one with all three.  I did a sketch I was really happy with, then inked in.  Then I decided that I’d get really fancy and do a foreground and a background as well.

“I’ll ink the foreground in a thicker line and the background in a thinner line.”  I said to myself.  Then I made a mistake and started the foreground with the thinner line.

2019-02-28 23.25.35.jpg

Then I got all confused and thought maybe the foreground should have a thinner line.  I asked the Twitter art community for help, and was advised to do the thinner lines in the background.

After I’d finished inking I decided I’d wait until I’d ordered my new set of markers to colour it.  I have a lot, but not nearly enough different shades.  Luckily that was going to be in a few days.  And so here it is.  I’m very happy with it.  Maybe this should be the first piece I sell prints of?

2019-03-14 15.30.49

 

 

 

Choosing Colours with Colormind

One of the things that tends to stump me when I’m doing an art piece is the colour palette.  So I’m always interested in resources that help.  I can’t remember where I found out about it, but for a while now I’ve been using a site called Colormind.  It is, as the site itself says.. “a color scheme generator that uses deep learning.”

When you go to the homepage you get a fairly simple interface, with a colour scheme already there.  You can click “Generate” to select a new one.

2019-02-20 14.39.26

You can click on an individual colour and adjust it.

2019-02-28 21.40.42

You can lock a colour to remain in the next set when you generate.

You can move a colour to a different position in the palette.

2019-02-28 21.41.41

You can give the generator perameters to start with too, like picking and locking the first colour, the first and last colours, and so on.

There are other functions, like seeing the palette applied to a landing page..

..and extracting palettes from images…

…but I mostly use it for generating random palettes.

2019-02-20 14.39.34

And then of course the next step is swatch my markers.  I like to pick a darker shade for each colour as well, for adding shading.

2019-02-20 14.54.31

In this case I ended up with a mix of brands, nearly all the brands I own actually.

2019-02-20 14.54.49

And when I apply to a drawing, I end up with a colour scheme.  Simple 🙂

2019-02-20 16.02.59

 

 

 

Making a Macrame Masterclass

If you’ve been around for a while, you know that there’s a big craft show nearby that me and my friend Cayden like to go to called Make It.  It’s actually two combined shows called Make It, and Knit & Stitch It, but it’s a whole lot easier to refer to it as Make It.

We didn’t go last year because the event was changing to a new venue that wasn’t quite built on time, and so it was cancelled.  Naturally we were very excited to go this year.  We booked our tickets, booked an Encaustic Art workshop with Kazie’s Magical Designs, and we booked a Macrame Bracelet workshop with Riverside Beads.   We saved lots of pennies to spend.  We were all set.

Then a week before, Cayden had a minor traffic accident and has a badly bruised ankle.  He’s fine, but that much walking wouldn’t have been good.  We waited a few days to see how quickly he’d heal, but it didn’t look like an option.  So we took advantage of Amazon Prime overnight delivery, ordered ourselves some supplies, and we had our own little workshop.

We ended up buying paracord, because it’s something we’ve both wanted to use, but paracord bracelets are made using knotting and braiding, which is essentially what macrame is, so it all counts.

We used a whole bunch of sources online but we mostly used YouTube tutorials from the fantastic Bored Paracord, The Weavers of Eternity, and Everyday Knife Guy.  Everyday Knife Guy actually has a three part Intro to Paracord series that we followed.

 

 

 

 

Lots of really good information.  The second video shows some basic knots: snake knot, barrel/noose/sliding knot and a celtic button knot.  The third video shows how to make some little fobs.  We watched, pausing and restarting, pausing and restarting, whilst watching Project Runway.   We have no fashion sense whatsoever, but we love Heidi and Tim.

The first thing we did, which you can probably guess from the horrendous tension, was the Snake Knot.

2019-02-24 16.49.07

The second one was a square knot, which was relatively easy for me because I use the same kind of layering in my origami bows.

2019-02-24 16.46.44

The third was a version of that knot, but with the direction of knotting changed, which makes it a rounded spiral.  Very pretty.

2019-02-24 16.47.39

We looked for tutorials for a paracord bracelet and found this one by Bored Paracord.

 

 

 

It was fun to do – and used the button knot which we’d learned with the second video by Everyday Knife Guy.  The actual bracelet part is super simple – it’s just a wrap.  I didn’t completely cut off the excess of mine (that’s the bit I’m attempting hide with my hand), because I wanted to test it’s quick deploy-ability.  It really does just pull apart.  And then I got to remake it.  Bonus fun!

2019-02-24 16.47.04

After that we searched for some actual macrame bracelet tutorials, since that’s what the originally planned workshop was, and we found this one.

 

 

It uses a square stitch, not to be confused with a square knot.  A simple stitch I’d tried in the past.  And the clasp is just a couple of square stitches over both ends.

2019-02-24 16.48.49

I made a second one of these using one of the buckles that came in the kit we bought from Amazon…

2019-02-24 16.46.06

We looked for more macrame videos and found this one by Sarah G.

 

She demonstrates in terms of wall hangings, which we didn’t get into but probably will soon, but the knots were interesting to learn.  Especially the Right Twisting Half Square Knot – which is what it sounds like.  Just half of the square stitch, repeated.  Which makes this really awesome spiral.

2019-02-24 16.47.23

It was a really good session.  We learned lots, and did lots.  And I’ve been doing more knotting since.  Mostly just repeating stuff, and muttering to myself to remember which steps to take.  It’s kinda soothing.  I will definitely be doing more of these.  I want to try a wall hanging at some point, and I want to try with thinner cord.  I’m also working on a long hanging piece that demonstrates all the knots/stitches I’ve learned.

Here’s some of what Cayden made:

2019-02-25 23.26.45

2019-03-02 22.48.29

Shading Makes a Difference

Before I decided to learn to draw, my 2D art consisted of zentangles.  I love zentangles, they’re theraputic and pretty.

But something I never did was shade them.  I couldn’t get to grips with the shading, so I just avoided it.  The stark look is fine for zentangle pieces, though.  I love the way my zentangle pieces look.

When I was just doing colouring, I rarely did any shading there either.

And I’m really happy with those pieces.

But since I started the sketching, and the inking, and the colouring, I’ve learned a thing or two.

Flat images are great.  They look good.

2018-12-30 15.20.38

But when you some shading, you get a whole different effect.

2018-12-30 15.55.41

Shading is awesome.  I shall do more.

Bath Bomb Debut – featuring Makerly

Makerly is a monthly craft subscription box and it’s been on my wishlist forever.  Now that I’m not super super broke, I’ve set up a subscription.  I did get a one off box for Christmas, and that’s sitting on my desk waiting for me to get round to it.

When the February box arrived (monster sticker covering my address was not included)…

2019-02-20 17.37.23

…it was heavy and had a vague wafting scent which intrigued me.

When I opened the package there was an allergen notice, which doesn’t affect me specifically but I love that Makerly included it.

2019-02-20 17.37.34

Under that was the welcome leaflet, and confetti.  You gotta love confetti.

 

I’ve never made bath bombs.  I don’t use them, and the craft just never appealed to me.  But having a kit right in front of me, I was excited to try.  And so the box did not get relegated to my to-do pile.

Makerly includes a full page, detailed, colour instruction page, with photographs for each step.

 

Inside the pretty pink tissue paper is a set of different ingredients, all clearly labelled – and some in very cool spotty bags.

2019-02-20 17.39.37

As well as the things needed for the bath bombs there were a couple of shiny freebies.

 

Step one: combine all the white powders into a … well a bigger white powder.

 

Step two: pour out oils.  This was a little tougher than you’d think because the bottles had those droplet lids, but it was still easily done.

 

Step three: add the dye.  This was where I encountered my first issues.  The lid of one of the bottles cracked and dyed my fingers, and then the dyes were water based and didn’t properly combine with the oils.

 

Step four: dye the powders.  The instructions never actually told me to split the powder into two bowls, but I read between the lines.

 

Step five: don’t add too much.  I did hear quite a lot of fizz, so I was a little concerned.  But I managed to get to the clumpy consistency.

 

Step six: combine the two colours – which should be pink and blue, to make a purple.  My pink was more of a purple, and my combination was a purpley blue.  But I had three colours, which was fine.

 

Step seven: the smushing!  Smush, layer and add confetti.

 

Step eight: rub the two hemispheres together until you can close the mould.

 

Step nine: pray to the crafting gods, and remove the mould.

 

Step ten: repeat for balls two and three.

 

Step eleven (not in actual instructions): run out of powder before you complete the 4th ball, scoop up what’s dribbled out during the rubbing of the hemispheres, barely manage to squeeze enough in, but successfully create a 4th bath bomb.

 

I put my little balls aside to set for 24 hours, and got on with clean up.  Which was really easy, given that I’d done everything on the pretty pink tissue paper.  There was a small puddle of powder from a little tear, and a tiny oily smudge.  But clean up was super quick and super simple.

 

24 hours later… well, more like 48 because I forgot about them.

2019-02-26 17.56.06

Um, yeah.  They kinda collapsed.  They’d sort of moulded into the plate.  And together.

2019-02-26 17.56.23

All except this half, which solidified itself to the plate.  I could not pry it off.

So I ended up just putting the whole plate in the bath.  The good news is that it was very fizzy, and it fully fizzed.  There was no residue or anything.  And it smelled awesome.

2019-02-27 15.49.15

I don’t think I’ll be making any more bath bombs, but I’m really glad I had the chance to try them out.  They’re really cute.  The kit was just about perfect.   In the spirit of SaltECrafter, here are my cons and pros.

Con 1 – the instructions didn’t tell me to get a second bowl.  This is a really minor nitpicky issue though.

Con 2 – the bottle cap split, but it wasn’t an issue of Makerly, or even the production.  Both bottles were sturdy and secure, I think it was just a fluke.

Con 3 – the dye didn’t properly mix with the oils, although the photographed image seemed to be fully mixed.

Con 4 – the pink powder ended up more of a purple.

Con 5 – the oil bottles were a little hard to pour out, but easy enough to squeeze.

Con 6 – there was only one glove included.

Con 7 – the balls collapsed, but I don’t know whether that was something I did or the kit.

Pro 1 – there was the perfect amount of ingredients.  No measuring, no leftovers beyond a dribble of oil.

Pro 2 – the scents weren’t personally to my taste, but they were really nice.

Pro 3 – the theme was awesome.  Who doesn’t love a good galaxy?

Pro 4 – the instructions were concise, clear and well photographed.  In colour too.

Pro 5 – shiny freebies, that fit the theme.

Pro 6 – the allergen notice.  As I said, it doesn’t affect me, but it will definitely affect some people out there.

Pro 7 – the packaging.  It was all very compact and cute.

Pro 8 – the price.  I don’t know how much a bath bomb kit costs, but the Makerly subscription box is £15 a month with free postage.  It’s a good price, for a different craft every month.

Pro 9 – everything you needed was there.  You just need to provide spoons and bowls.  And a bath.

Overall I’m really happy with the kit, and the result.  And I can’t recommend Makerly enough.  You should definitely go check them out.

2019-02-20 18.34.17

Ideas vs Reality

I have a lot of ideas.  Tons.  I have a double page spread in my bullet journal of ideas for blog posts.  Not to mention the dozens of folders on my computer of photos and notes for posts.  But for some reason I just haven’t gotten around to them yet.  I’m trying, I promise.

And then today I’m catching up with my YouTube subscriptions and something pops up that I’ve been planning a post for.  I’ve been working on it for almost a year.  I did the research, did the shopping, waited for the deliveries, did the thing, took the photos, wrote the notes.  And then it’s all sat in my Blog To Write folder and festered for about three months.

So I’m hereby pledging to get that damn post up!  I’m working on it.  Like right now.  I’m gonna publish this, then open a new post and start writing it.

I promise.  Possibly.