Weller-Inspired Wall Art

The other week, whilst scrolling through Instagram I came across this post by Megan Weller.

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PSA – My @twitter account got hacked (same username, @wellermegs), PLEASE don’t click any links coming from that account, I’m not selling Ray Bans or whatever they’re trying to push 😂 Twitter doesn’t seem to be helping me get the account back anytime soon, but I’ll let you guys know if I get it back. On a lighter note, I finally made one of these embroidered canvases! Swipe for the TikTok ➡️💜• • • • • • • • • • #embroidery #embroidered #embroideredcanvas #tiktok #tiktokart #dollartreecrafts #artezaacrylicpaint #sewing #quarantinecrafts #twitter #canvasart #canvaspainting #wallart #gallerywall #diyroomdecor #bedroommakeover #purpleaesthetic #aestheticart #daisy #painting #paintingideas #explorepage #drawingideas #sketchbookideas #artideas #diyhomedecor

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Megan is one of my favourite YouTubers.  She posts lots of videos of art and craft content.  This one looked really fun and easy to do, and I happened to have everything I’d need.

Step 1 – grab a canvas

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Step 2 – add a stripe of painters tape

Step 3 – get out your purple mayonnaise

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(Spoiler: it’s not mayonnaise.  It’s poster paint – also called tempura paint I believe.  The bottle it came in broke during delivery.)

Step 4 – paint.

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Step 5 – paint a squillion layers cos it’s the wrong type of paint to be using.  Get out the heat gun to help dry between layers because you’re impatient.

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Step 6 – don’t forget to make a mess and go slightly too far.

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Step 7 – peel back tape and realise that the paint seeped through.

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Step 8 – pick out some paint pens and swatch to decide what to use.

Step 9 – apply washi tape creating a thick-ish band between the purple and the white.

 

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Step 10 – use paint pen to fill in the thick-ish band

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Step 11 – remove washi tape, and realise you still don’t have a nice crisp line.

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Step 12 – attempt it by hand, and fail.

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Step 13 – give in and get out a ruler.

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Step 14 – totally freehand the edges because you’re getting frustrated.

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Step 15 – print out a template the right size, and spend a minute or two lining it up.

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Step 16 –  realise that it’s too big and that thanks to the thick frame you need to have a smaller image.

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Step 17 – print a smaller version and tape into place.

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Step 18 – use a pointy tool to punch holes at intervals around the image.

Step 19 – rummage through tub of embroidery floss and dig out the colours you need.

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Step 20 – start to sew.

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Step 21 – stop to pet interrupting cat.

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Step 22 – complete the sewing and admire your wall art.

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I really enjoyed doing this.  It was simple, relatively quick.  A nice distraction.  And it creates a really effective result.  I might do another one at some point soon though.  There are a few things I wasn’t happy with.

The poster paint was the wrong paint to use.  It cracked everytime I pushed the needle through.  Next time I might just use paint pens – the dark purple stripe was fine.

I’ll probably use something thinner to punch the holes too, so I can use thinner thread.

Maybe I’ll use a canvas with more space to sew, get more detail in.

But that’s a future project.

300 Aliens

Many, many moons ago, I asked my best friend Cayden to find and gradually feed me a mystery crochet pattern.  That resulted in my very first mini alien plushie, in July 2010.

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Since then I have made more of them.

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In varying sizes.

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And colours.

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For lots of reasons.

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For friends and family.  Nearly everyone I know has at least one.

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To sell at school fairs.  The kids love them.

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I absolutely love it when a child drags their friend up to my table saying “this is the lady who made my little alien”.

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After a while, I realised that I was going to be making a lot of these little guys, and I started keeping count.

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At the time, I was tracking every project I did on Ravelry, so I could go back and get an accurate count of how many I had made up to that point.

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And I kept keeping track.

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In 2019, I made my 300th mini alien.

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THREE HUNDRED of the fluffy little beasties.

Naturally, I gifted that alien to Cayden.  Since then I’ve made at least two dozen more, and I will continue to make them.  I know the pattern so well by now that I don’t even really need to think about it.  It’s the perfect craft for watching movies with.

My home is filled with boxes and boxes of them.  I’m stocking up for a future plan that may involve hundreds of them, with any luck.  But I do sell them still.

You can get your own mini alien at my Etsy storeEtsy store, for just £3.50.  You can have a little one or a large one, in any colour/s you like, with as many eyes as you like.

You might also be able to get one if you follow me on Twitter, or on Facebook, or on Instagram.  I do giveaways regularly.  In fact, this little guy has just been sent out to a giveaway winner.

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Note: if you’ve counted, there are not actually 300 mini aliens in the pictures on this blog.  It would use up a LOT of space to include pictures of them all.  But here are a few more, because they’re adorable.

Weaving On a Loom

A few weeks ago I had my first foray into the world of weaving.  Despite it ending with a mess…

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…I wanted to try more.  I ended my last post by saying that I got a cheap loom from eBay and did a bunch of research.  Well the loom arrived, and I was ready to get started.

The instructions were tattered, not in English, with fuzzy pictures.

But I didn’t mind too much.  When I say it was cheap, I mean it.  It cost me £3.35.  And it was fairly easy to figure out how to put it together.  Thanks to my research, I knew how to wind the warp threads too.

Getting started was easy enough, and I found that the shuttle worked well for tamping the weft down.

I got into a nice rhythm, and finished the blue yarn quick enough.

Time to add the next colour.  I was just using the yarn that came with the loom while I practiced.

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The original article I’d used for weaving on card had used a ruler fed between alternate warp threads to help separate them.  My research had shown me that this is called a shed stick, and that if you stand it upright it fully separates them and makes it easy to pass your weft thread through.  I assumed that the big block of wood with two sets of slits was the shed stick.  I figured that the second set of slots picked up the other warp threads, but I couldn’t figure out how to get it to work.

So I was feeding the shuttle through the gap left by the shed stick, and then on the way back I was weaving the shuttle up and down between the warp threads.  The shed stick was kinda chunky though and the warp threads were pulled taut.

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So when I was weaving, the warp threads were being stretched and loosened.  By the time I finished the yellow, everything was a bit mishapen and I was getting frustrated.

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I posted on r/weaving to see if someone could tell me how to get the shed stick to pick up the alternate set of warp threads.  Which is where I found out that it’s not a shed stick at all.  It’s a heddle.  I guess a shed stick is just a flat piece that you can turn vertically to open the warp threads one way, then lay flat again so you can weave the other way.

Right, okay.  Re-warp the loom, insert the heddle accurately.  This time I used crochet cotton, since I’d read that it was easier to use for warp threads.  Not so splitty.

It left a small gap, but enough to slide the shuttle through.

And, wonder of wonders, when I rotated the heddle, the gap changed to feed the shuttle back the other way.

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It isn’t exactly a smooth rotation.  Maybe if I pick up weaving properly I’ll invest in a nice round one.

The warp threads didn’t always fall nicely into the right slots.  Sometimes two fell into the same slot.  And gradually the warp threads loosened again.

But I’m getting there.  My weaving looks lovely and smooth.

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There are other ways to set up warp threads, and ways to keep them secure.  So my next step is to investigate those.

Stay tuned 🙂

 

 

Bracelet Binge

I’ve been in the mood to make elasticated bracelets recently.  Especially since I figured out how to make the elastic actually knot.

I use this stuff…

…which is kind of slippery.  Knots don’t stay knotted.  A quick Google search led me to lots of useful tips: pre-stretch the elastic before you start, tie the knot while slightly stretched, and use a surgeon’s knot.

I’m currently finding it a little difficult to get the knot done, but I know that’ll get easier with practice.  The extra loop makes the knot stick.  And so far the bracelets I’ve made have not fallen apart, so that has to be good.

My first batch was two custom bracelets for an order on my Etsy store.

And then of course I had to make myself a rainbow version.

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I wanted to go back to one of my favourite styles of bracelet.  I’ve made a few wrap bracelets this way.  Like these:

I worked out the ratio needed for the size of bead and the size of jump ring.  So I made a test with these bigger beads.

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Then I moved on to a rainbow version.  (Are you surprised?)

It’s a very simple pattern.  You have two strands of wire/cord/thread.  You put a bead on one, a jump ring on both, a bead on the other, a jump ring on both.

It is very easy to get confused and mess up.  It’s also very easy to get caught up in the rhythm and not realise you’ve messed up til a bit later down the line.

I did this twice with the rainbow version.  But I went back each time and fixed it.  By the time I was getting to the closure, I was very frustrated.  And then the wire broke.

It got put away in the box of shame for a few days, then eventually I went back and did it with elastic.  Now it is pretty and safe.

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Yes, they are different beads.  The glass-looking ones have very thin holes which I couldn’t push the elastic through unaided.  I had one beading needle at the time…

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… and taking it off one strand of elastic and putting it on the other many times over seemed a wee bit excessive.

So I bought some more beading needles.

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Then I made the same bracelet with the glass-looking beads.

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And while it is beautiful, the elasticated jump ring bracelets don’t look quite right.  It’s probably the elastic.  So I decided to try a different medium.  I started with Kumihimo thread.  I set some up with a button for a toggle, picked out the beads… and the thread was too thick.

At the time I couldn’t be bothered to go root through the rest of my beads supply for something that would fit, so I made some more elastic bracelets with the glass-looking beads.

I did a couple of rainbow ones…

…then I decided to branch out.  I tried to do a black and white version but I didn’t quite have enough.

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So I added a colour to the pattern.

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Eventually I collected all my boxes of beads from the other room.  Well, some of them.  There’s a lot of them.  The shiny beads, and the glass beads, were both too small for the kumihimo thread.  The kumihimo thread was obviously the wrong material.  I can’t remember what I used before, but going through my supplies I settled on a couple of options.  First up, this stuff.

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It’s Tiger Tail; a kind of wire, kind of plastic.  I’ve had a set in all colours for as long as I can remember.  They have no label.  I doubt they were branded.  But bending them around a bit doesn’t seem to break the wire, so it’s worth a go.

I got quite a way through this one before I needed to take a break – I’m doing a proper wrap bracelet so it’s much longer.

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While I took a break from that one I decided that I have too many random sets of beads that don’t really go with anything else.  Like these.

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Which might explain why I have about seventeen of these boxes on my shelf.

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So I started using them all up making elasticated bracelets.  Until I ran out of elastic.

I had made the decision to use up all my random beads.  So I bought more elastic.  And I kept going.

I even dug out the beading board I’ve had for years but barely used, to help me lay out my name.  You know, in case I forget.

Whilst making all these I found out a way to make tying that surgeon’s knot easier.  It helps to have the bracelet taut.  If it’s slightly loose, you can get beads caught up in the knot.  Unfortunately I can’t use my own wrist, or I’d struggle to tie the knot at all.  And with a lack of other people here for me to use, I searched my desk for suitable things.

Mug = too thick – the elastic was too stretched out.  Small box = same thing.  Pencil case = not thick enough.

Eventually I found something that was just the right size.

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It is, or will one day be, an amigurumi unicorn head.  It worked so well that I’m making plans to crochet a beast or something specifically to help me tie elastic bracelets.

Eventually I only had a handful of random beads left.  Not enough of one or the other to make a bracelet really.  So I moved on to earrings, using that handy beading board again.

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Smudge helped.

I rearranged all my beads, to use up the now-empty spaces and created some empty boxes.  Then I took them back into my craft storage space (my bedroom), where I remembered that I’d only bought half of my bead boxes into the work space (my lounge) in the first place.  So at some point there will probably be another bracelet binge, to use up all the other random beads.

If you like the look of any of these bracelets, you can buy them on my Etsy store.  The listing is here.  Some of the earrings are also listed.  I have themed listing for those.  Spring/Easter is up, and Christmas is still up.  I have some Halloween pairs to list, and a General listing to make too.

1000 Hands

As I’ve been improving my art skills, both digitally and traditionally, I’ve been drawing more and more actual humanoid figures as well as my little monsters.

 

And as I do more of them, I start to notice the things I struggle with most.  Eyes are okay, mostly, and I’m not too bothered with the noses.  But I really struggle with mouths, and hands.  Hands!

Like this… look at these monstrosities!

 

So a few weeks ago I decided that it would be a really good idea to draw 1000 hands.  I’m not sure why I decided this – I’m a bit of a looney.  But surely repetition of something would help.  Surely looking at the different ways other people draw hands would help.

I collected a few (hundred) reference images from Pinterest at varying levels of complexity, like these…

 

…and started drawing.

I’ve been drawing in batches mostly, occasionally following some tutorials. And so far I have 74 hands.

 

 

Just 926 to go!

 

Personality Color Palette

You might have noticed that I enjoy any excuse to do some art.  I like to collect prompts, and I like when palettes are presented to me.

So when I saw this tweet…

 

…I had to follow the link and get my Personality (according to Buzzfeed) Color Palette.

I ended up with the Summer Forest palette.  Which is a little ironic, considering I detest the summer.

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The description is fairly accurate though.  And the palette is lovely.

I ended up combining it with an @StudioTeaBreak challenge.

 

I did a watercolour piece of a happy narwhal playing with octopus and starfish friends.

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I like how it turned out.  It’s very cute.

Now, I must resist the urge to go collect seventy thousand more palettes from Buzzfeed.

Dreamcatcher Disaster

One of the things in my cupboard of projects to do/finish was this kit, purchased from The Works years ago.

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Inside was feathers, two types of cord, beads, a needle, a metal hoop, and a set of instructions.

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Well.  I say “instructions”.  I know it’s only a £1 kit, but they could have expanded the instructions a bit more.  For instance, how do I secure the wrapped suede-like cord around the metal hoop?  I went with some knots.  It would have been one, but the suede was in multiple too-short pieces.

The knots look clunky and messy, but I figured I’d camouflage those with some beads later.

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Next the webbing.  Again, the instructions weren’t clear.  Doing the knot that it looked like they were telling me to do was too loose.  The knot I ended up using wouldn’t sit in the right place.  How far apart should I space things?  Should I be pulling the thread taut, or leaving it loose?

I tried my best, but I got this far in and was very unhappy.

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If I’m not enjoying the actual crafting, I’m not gonna keep forcing myself to do it.  Especially for a £1 kit.  So I put it away.

I do still want to make a dreamcatcher, and I might use parts of this kit.  Maybe the feathers.  Definitely the loop.  I have pretty much everything that’s needed in my vast collection of craft supplies.  I’ll just need to find a proper tutorial.  But that’s for another day.