Remakes Are Not Always Better

Disclaimer: This post is a repost from my old blog, which was more personal and less crafty.  I don’t use that blog anymore, but thought I’d share some of the craft-related posts from there.  This one was from April 2017.


 

There was a thing going around the craft forums online last year, to pick a project you made years ago and remake it. To pick something you made when first starting your craft, and see how far you’ve come.

I decided to remake this little turtle…

That little guy was first made way back in November 2009 – literally a month or two after I first started crocheting.

I had another attempt 8 months later, that came out looking a little… off.

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And then my recent remake..

I’ve always known that the plushies I make are slightly weird looking. I guess I hoped that 8 years would’ve improved my crochet skills a little better than that, but there you go.

To be honest, I haven’t crocheted many plushies in years. I knit a lot of mini aliens, but I mostly crochet blankets. Blankets I can do.

Draw This In My Style

Months and months ago there was an art challenge making the rounds on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.  Artists would post a piece of art, and challenge people to #drawthisinyourstyle.

Since I’ve been doing pretty much nothing but drawing for almost a year now, I decided to have a go.  I picked one of my favourite YouTube artists, Kasey Golden, and her gorgeous cactus lady image.

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I did my sketch in July, actually.  I just got distracted with my many many projects.  Apparently I suffer from startitis (a crafter’s affliction in which one starts projects before finishing others) with art as much as I do with everything else.

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And then last week I finally got around to finishing her off.  I’m quite pleased.

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I enjoyed doing this.  I’m going to be on the hunt for more pieces to try, but since it’s a months old challenge, it might be a bit hard.  Let me know if you know of a piece I could have a go at.

Making Washiween a Thing

October means Inktober to a lot of people.  It also means many other challenges, as do all the months of the year.  You’d be surprised how many different monthly challenges there are out there: FairieFeb, March of Robots, MerMay, Junicorn.  It goes on and on.  I have a list in my bullet journal and I intend to attempt as many of them as possible.

There’s at least one on my list that I’m not entirely sure is “officially” a thing.  Arty Advent.  One of my favourite YouTubers, Baylee Jae, did Arty Advent last year in which she posted a new video every day of December until Christmas.  I don’t think it’s an official thing, but it’s something I’d like to do.  I did do a 25 Crafts of Christmas in 2016.

Another monthly challenge put out by a Youtuber is Washiween by SamBeAwesome

I have lots of washi tape, and “colouring” a piece in with tape is something I’ve wanted to try for a while.  So after seeing Sam’s video last week I got out my tape, and I had a go.

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I had lots of fun.  And I learned that I don’t actually have enough washi tape.  For instance, I only have thin flesh coloured tape and it doesn’t look quite right.  After I did that piece, I had another go…

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Even though I enjoyed this piece too – especially figuring out that if you hole punch tape you can get neat little tiny circles – there is a lot about it that I’m not too happy with.  My cutting skills are horrible, for example.  And drawing with the sharpie over the top is difficult with all the edges.  But, as with anything, I know that I’ll improve with practice.

And so today, while testing some supplies from Wish for an upcoming blog, I decided to make another #Washiween piece.

Wanting to use all 10 colours of the washi tape I bought from Wish, I added a background to it too.  This is where I discovered that cutting the edge can leave a bit of a mess, whereas wrapping the excess to the back is a lot neater.

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I’ve also learned that cutting eyes sucks… I need to get more sizes of hole punch.

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I’ve learned that I press too hard with the knife to do this on sketchbook paper.  The first piece was on mixed media paper, and the second was on 250gsm card.

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It’s difficult – nearly impossible – to see the lines you want to cut round.  I do think it might be easier using my lightbox, but I don’t want to use that until I trust my knife skills better.

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Here’s where I realised that putting the inner ears and nose in first was probably silly.

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And here’s where I realised that this tape in particular really does not like being stuck to itself, which is why he ended up with no spots.

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Lots to learn still, and lots of improvement to make.  But here’s my finished piece.

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I might not do 31 days of Washiween this year, but it’s going on my list of monthly challenges to attempt.

Budding Artist

In October last year my best friend gave me a set of watercolour pencils for my birthday, and since then I’ve been drawing.  Drawing and drawing and drawing.  I’ve spoken about it before briefly, here and here.  It’s become my favourite hobby.  I do more drawing than anything else at the moment, and I’m really pleased with my improvement. 9 out of 10 pieces that I produce make me really, really happy.  And the best bit of all is that I’ve moved on from copying things I find on Pinterest to creating my own original content.

I am doing Inktober, and I’ll be sharing my pieces later in the month, or maybe in November.  If you want to see them as I do them, please pop along to my Twitter feed.  For now I just wanted to share some of my recent pieces that I’m proud of.

I’ve developed a penchant for adorable monsters.  They’re what I draw most of right now.

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But I’m also trying to draw “proper” people too.

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You might not be able to tell, but he’s actually a piece of fan art.  I humanised a Pokemon.  Spinarak…

I’ve even jumped on the Bowsette bandwagon.

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I have a lot of art I’m really proud of, and I hope I continue to improve 🙂

Bear With Me

I have a lot of ideas.  Hundreds of ideas.  Ideas for products, and for blog posts, and for the future of my little store.  What I don’t have is much ability to follow through on them.  It’s partly a lack of resources, and partly a lack of oomph/energy caused by my depression.

I have a long list in my notebook with plans for blog posts – and I’m always getting ideas for more from the many art/craft YouTubers that I follow.  I WILL get round to them all, I promise.  It drives me bananas that I let so long go between posts.

Every so often I’ll have a burst of energy and write a few posts, and schedule them.  But inevitably my oomph will run out before I have time to schedule any more.

Currently I have some oomph.  Currently I have energy and enthusiasm and I’m sat here at my desk with my notebook, and several hundred photos on my computer waiting to be converted into blogs.  So in theory there are some good posts coming up in the next few weeks.

Bear with me, people….

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Trying String Pulling

The other day my friend Del wrote a guest post for me about string pulling.  Now, I’ve had this image…

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…from Pinterest sitting in my “things to try” folder for absolutely ages.  Then one day on Facebook I see that Del has tried that very thing!  And made such a beautiful job of it too.

So I finally decided to have a go.  My first attempt wasn’t so great – the red one.

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A little bit too much paint. It was about this time that I decided I would message Del and ask her to write a tutorial.  But when I’d grabbed the equipment and taken it to my temporary art studio (in bed because I have the flu)…

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…I grabbed two types of string.  The red one was done with proper string, like twine.  The purple one was done with a thinner knotting cord, and I scraped the excess paint off too.  That seemed to work a lot better.

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Which is when I decided to get fancy.  I went with several bits of string, and a rainbow!

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It came out really pretty, but I wasn’t quite quick enough and the red paint started to dry before I did the pulling.

If you’d like to learn how to do it, definitely go and read that guest post from Del.  It’s very good, and includes sensible instructions like using a long piece of string instead of the piddly little pieces I used in the rainbow piece.  And there’s a mesmerizing video of some string actually being pulled.

She also advocates trying different mediums and different strings, and even not putting paper on the top before you pull.  I definitely intend to experiment more.  Once I’ve gotten over the flu.

 

Guest Post: String Pulling

I have a second guest post for you!  The lovely Del from Del’s Doodles posted some beautiful art last week and I just had to ask her to write a post about it.  It doesn’t have many in-progress pictures but you’ll get some in the next post when I have a go of my own.  Over to Del!



 

A friend recently shared a video to my timeline where a series of people are demonstrating the pulled-string-painting technique.  (Note from Colette: I did some snooping and found the video.)

This technique is a crazy simple method of creating striking, abstract artworks; it’s low-budget, low-maintenance, and low-mess!  It’s pretty much what it sounds like – you dip a piece of string in your painting medium (paint or ink), and then pull it either between two pieces of paper, or along one pre-painted piece of paper, to get a swirly, organic abstract shape.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

A piece of string – I tried sewing thread with ink, and thin crochet acrylic yarn with paint. The string made very fine, delicate lines, where the yarn held more paint and left thicker, bolder imprints.  You’ll need pieces of string around 2x the length of the paper you’re working on.

Paper – you can use any paper, and I’d recommend the cheapest paper you can get for practicing on, but the technique can get quite wet so for your ‘proper’ attempts, thicker paper like card or watercolour paper is better.

Paint/Ink – I started with acrylic artist inks because I didn’t feel like mixing down my paint into a more watery consistency.  Inks are good because they require less effort to get started, and you can even bypass the palette if you dip your string straight into the ink bottle.  Some inks of mine were better than others, with the cheaper inks drying a bit quick and the more expensive inks, like Lukas and Windsor & Newton, making nice pulls. For paint, you want something similar in consistency to ink, but not too watered that the colour isn’t vibrant.  If your paint is too thick it’ll ‘clump’ along the string, so you don’t want that either.

Some kind of poking device – I used a wooden chopstick and a plastic palette knife with a thin tip. This is for helping get the paint on (and off) the string.

A heavy-ish object, like a hardback book or a block of wood.

METHOD

Dip your string into your painting medium.  If you’re working with paint in a palette or saucer, use your chopstick (or equivalent) to poke the string into the medium and make sure it’s well coated.  Hold on to the tail end, and don’t paint the last few cm.

As you pull your string out, pin it against the edge of the palette with your stick and press it down lightly, dragging the string out between the stick and the palette – this will squeeze any excess liquid from the string so that it’s not too paint-laden.

For pulling between two pieces of paper:

Place the tip of your string near the top of your paper, and then drape it in loops and swirls down to the bottom, leaving the paint-free tail end sticking over the edge of the paper.

Place your second piece of paper squarely over the first so that it’s lined up, and then place your heavy object down on top.  The purpose of this object is to distribute even pressure rather than to press down; if it’s too heavy and you’re having trouble pulling the string out, find something lighter; if your string is stuttering as you pull it out, it’ll leave stutters in the paint lines.

Hold the unpainted edge of your string and pull it as smoothly as you can out from between the two pieces of paper.  Try to do this in one smooth action – don’t yank it out, but don’t take too much time either; you want to do it while the paint is still wet enough to smear all the way down the paper.

Lift your book up, carefully lift the top piece of paper, and you should see two lovely mirrored paint shapes! 🙂

For pulling along one painted surface:

Paint the surface you’ll be pulling along with paint that will stay wet for a minute or two, like thick acrylics. While it’s still wet, dip your string as above, and then drape it along the surface just like you would for pulling between two sheets. Make sure the string is touching the surface along its entire length; press it down with your stick if you have to. Then, take the tail end, and slowly pull the string downwards and off the surface. You should see it dragging through the wet paint and leaving lovely patterns 🙂

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That’s it! Experiment with different painting mediums and different strings to get an effect you like that you’re comfortable working with – and most of all, have fun! 😀


 

You can find Del on Facebook at Del’s Doodles, where she does all sorts of beautiful art pieces – including mandalas.  I intend to follow some of her tutorials soon.  She sells some of her pieces too, and they’re stunning!

Random Craft Quiz – Part 5

I’m getting better at this.  It’s only a month since the last part this time.

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41) Have you ever bought craft supplies in bulk?

Quite often.  If you know you’re going to use them, it’s cheaper in the long run.

42) Have you ever participated in a crochet/knit along?

A couple.  I started making Sophie’s Universe a few years ago but couldn’t decide what yarn I wanted to use and decided to make three.  I got distracted and ended up with two small Sophies and a stalled one.  I have since turned the two small ones into cushions…

…and I fully intend to finish the other one at some point.

43) Have you ever completed a year-long project?  (Mood blanket, temperature blanket, etc)

Many projects that have taken more than a year, but no specific year-long project.

44) Knitting, crocheting or both?

Both.  And cross stitch.  And embroidery, and badge making, and beading, and hama beads, and sewing.  I like to say that if I don’t already do a craft it’s probably on my list of crafts to try.  I do a lot of them.

45) Patterns or improvised?

Depends on the craft.  Generally with knitting and crochet I’ll follow patterns.

46) Stick to one project or keep multiple going at once?

Hahahahahahahahahaha!  At last count my list of WIPs was more than 40.

47) Wind new yarn or leave it as it is?

I usually leave it as it is, until it it’s mostly used and collapses into a tangle.  I don’t mind tangles though.  I find untangling them to be quite therapeutic.

48) Buy supplies online or in person?

Online is nearly always cheaper.  We don’t have any Friendly Local Yarn Stores in my area, so there aren’t really any independents to support.

49) Make gauge swatches or hope for the best?

I like to live dangerously.  Rarely make a gauge swatch… although I rarely make projects that really need them.

50) Favourite hook/needle size?

I do 90% of my crochet and knitting with double knit yarn, so usually a 4mm-4.5mm hook/needle.

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That’s it!  More than 18 months after I started, I’ve finally finished this random craft quiz.

Many Mini Aliens

Every year since 2009 I’ve assigned myself a yearly challenge, or six.  This year I forgot all about it until about a month ago, when I decided to do a Half-Yearly challenge starting in June instead. Since the challenge I ended up choosing is crafty, I’m writing about it here as well as on my personal blog.

I came up with a few options, then couldn’t narrow it down further.  So I posted on Facebook, Twitter, Ravelry and Reddit asking my friends to pick a number between 1 and 4.  They didn’t know what they were choosing for (something I do quite often), but the options I had written down were:

1) Write a blog post every day.
2) Turn a cloud into a drawing every day.
3) Knit a mini alien a day.
4) Make an origami something a day.

As the votes came in, I realised that making 1 mini alien a day for half a year would result in more than 180 mini aliens.  That’s a LOT.  They sell really well when I do school fairs, but that is still practically an invasion of mini aliens.  So I decided that if that option should win, then I’d make 2 a week instead.

When the voting ended, option 4 had 3 votes, options 1 and 2 both had 5 votes, and option 3 won with a massive 11 votes. So, with the plan to make 2 mini aliens a week, I drew up a page in my bullet journal to keep track of them.  Which is when I realised that the start of June is not the start of the 2nd half of the year.  Bit of a brain blip there.  So I’m doing a Slightly-More-Than-Half-Yearly Challenge instead, and will be making 62 of these adorable little guys…

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#MerMay

One of the current Twitter trends I’ve noticed is #MerMay.  It popped up on some feeds I follow, and was shared by some others. From what I saw, it was a challenge where artists draw a mermaid a day.

I’ve done some quick research and apparently MerMay was created by artist Tom Bancroft, who has worked on some of my very favourite movies, including The Lion King.  And it also turns out that there’s more to MerMay than just drawing one a day.  There are also prompts.

Maybe next year I’ll partake in the challenge properly, but this year I’ve just drawn a few mermaids.

The first one I did was this one…

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A lot of my learning to draw so far has been copying images I like, and I usually find them on Pinterest, which makes it very hard to trace the original artist.  I did a reverse image search but all I find is links to the image on Pinterest.  If you know who drew this, please let me know.

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My next attempt was baby Ariel…

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Again, I couldn’t find the original artist.  I promise I will start paying more attention to this.

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I need to work on positioning my pieces on the page, as evidenced by this lovely mermaid’s midriff being over the perforations on my sketchbook.

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Original image from Pinterest again – maybe I should find a new source.  Any suggestions?

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At this point I moved on to original characters.  I’m trying to do more of that.

I like kind of everything about this one apart from her face.  Face was much fail.  Also, positioning fail again.

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Next up wasn’t original, but inspired by a pin that was gifted on r/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon.

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I decided I hadn’t drawn enough rainbows so…

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My final (so far) MerMay is an original piece, taking an original character…

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…and giving him a tail.

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That’s it so far, but there’s still a whole bunch of May left so there may be more mermaids coming.

Follow me on Twitter @By_Colette to see more MerMays and other crafty madness.