Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Birthday Bunting

I really like making bunting. I've made loads in my time, this string were for my friend's birthday last year. Previously, I've made pink bunting, and for some reason, when I make it, I appear to go over the top and make miles of the stuff. The pink string are about 10 metres long. This one is about 8m, or more?!

My friend recently commissioned me to make some for her pub, so I set about making sexually neutral (yes, there is such a thing) bunting. It's made from my scraps box, which cleared out a huge amount of material, and in typical fashion I made two lengths of 13 metres. Opps! What can I say, I really enjoy making bunting. Or should I say, I really like my sewing machine and the relationship I have with it.

If anyone would like to commission some bunting; if you've a scraps box you'd like me to use, or just a colour palette. Please email me here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Growing Shit Pt.2

I've had some issues of late with my darling herbs.

Firstly, the Mint got mouldy, it was gross, white moss and black speaks grew all over the leaves, it was horrid. I tried to treat it with Baking Powder, alas, it failed, so had to cut it right back to the roots. Sad, sad times. It seems to be recovering well, small growth, but growth. Can't wait for it to get back to full health, I keep on coming across recipes with Mint, sigh and then substitute, and funnily enough Chives don't replace Mint well.

The Coriander has recovered, finally. Took repotting in a larger pot and lots of fresh air and water. It's even started to flower, which is a little too exciting for me, after seeing it suffer for so long. But it has now spread it's sap everywhere, but I guess it's all part of the growing.

The two tea cups have started to sprout now. Still no idea which is which, but?! They are looking healthy, although the Coriander has dropped sap on one of them (so it looks horrid), but it'll cope, poor little thing. My mum visited, our flat, the other day and started trying to rub the teeny tiny leaves to identify which was which, isn't she adorable.

The success story is the Basil, it's kicking arse (well since the Mint fiasco happened), absolutely incredible. The leaves are huge and tasty. We made some amazing Basil Oil with them, which we'll be doing for Christmas presents too. Might have to start freezing it though, so it doesn't waste away.
I'm still enjoying it so much! If only my window sill was bigger.

Update (1st Sept): The Coriander contracted greenfly, very upsetting after the new spurt of growth, etc. Decided to throw out and start from scratch. Poor thing.
Plus, due to sun rotation, the two small cups died also, bad weather, etc all resulted in total failure. Stupid work and not being at home to make everything perfectly well watered and sunned. Here's to the rest of them! Fingers crossed!

Tissue Paper Peonies

I found a link to these Tissue Paper Flowers and did exactly what she suggested and am now surrounded by beautiful tissue paper flowers, much to my partners annoyance (the flat should be 50/50, not effeminate), but you can't deny that they are extremely charming.

I had a play with mixing different coloured papers, cutting to be different lengths and different shapes at the end. I think the pointy ones look best, a little like Dahlias, although the wavy ended ones look charming too.
The red one to the right, had different length petals, so it's flatter, than the other ones. It has a very nice shape from the side, which is more traditional to your average opened rose.

Why not try yourself? One pack of tissue paper should make eight rather large flowers, and you don't have to have eight sheets per flower, it's all about the final look, so play about.

Plus, I'm making 30 odd for my friend's wedding reception, to match the wedding bunting I'm making.

Creative Outlet

Just a little FYI.

I've been blogging for years and years, and stupidly I've never set up a separate creative blog, until now. From now on, when ever I want to share things I've made or created, I'll be posting them on Pipsy Designs, and possibly, posting the links to my etsy store, where things can be bought.

Plus, I've transferred the items I've made and posted on here, to there. Just to keep it organised.

Street Art / Graffitti Pt.2

Reading on through Street Art, I discovered the name of the "suicidal bankers" artist. They are strewn around East London and kind of charming. Here's the article about Issac Cordal.
On Ezra St, there are two. One opposite Beyond Fabrics Sewing Shop and the other above the cafe.

Ezra St, E2

Street Art / Graffitti Pt.1

Calvin St, E1
Quaker St, E1

Here on Brick Lane, we are surrounded by tons of street art.

There are many kinds. We are located extremely close to famous ones, by Banksy and Space Invader, to name a few. But, my personal favourite is a guy* who pasted photocopies on the wall, then paints the shadow underneath on the path. I've no idea who he is, or what his name is, but I appreciate his efforts. May he continue his  good work!
Brick Lane, E1
Cheshire St, E1

Corbet Pl, E1
I just find them so so charming, not obtuse or in your face, just simply placed and hidden. I think they are great and I love discovering them, there are also two others up towards Columbia Rd, which I've yet to photograph, they'll arrive soon, I promise. I'm not sure why I like them so much, maybe because they are only 6" high and discreetly placed.

After finishing writing this, I googled LondonStreetArt and found this freshly updated entry about Pablo Delgado. Who is apparently, the man who' art I've been admiring. Well. I. Never!

*I'm being presumptuous, who isn't to say he's a lady.

Baby Mats

Baby Rhydian & his mat
Now that I've reached this certain age, lots of my friends are getting married, or having babies, or both. I like to make presents for them all, as it's more personal and charming. A year or so ago, I made a really awesome present for some friends who were expecting, it was an effective, and lovely present, that my friends loved and have been using ever since. A baby mat. I now make them for everyone, as they are just so pretty and practical.

It's simply a brightly coloured, padded mat for the baby to lie on. I use modern brightly coloured fabrics (100% cotton). The first two I made, I backed with this fabric, as I had an abundance of it (stupidly am running out now, I must restock). Recently, I've been using anything brightly coloured and fun. I love making them, so much. They are so pretty and give instant impact, visually and on a practical level.

My friends had twin girls, so I made this mat for them, it's dimensions are: 38.5" x 23". It's back with the yellow floral fabric used for two of the squares.

I'm hoping to get some up on my etsy account soon, in the mean time, if anyone would like one, I'll happily take on the commission. On average, they are 23" long and about 20" wide, but if you'd like them in a different size, colour, patterned or plain, etc. Please email me here.

Updated: April 2013

Two recent mats -

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Stupid Stupid Taxing System in Britain

Tom and I moved to London, we've found it quite hard to get work, which sucks! We thought it would be a lot easier, stupid us.
I've been employed and paying tax since I was eligible, ten odd years. I've also worked numerous second jobs that I was paying emergency tax on, even though I was only earning £15,000* a year in my main job. Now that we need a little help, we're not eligible?! Even though we've been paying tax all our lives, we're not even considered as "in need".

Tom might not be allowed to receive Jobseekers, as I have a part time job which equals 16 hours a week, I earn so little, that for the first time in ten years, I'm not eligible to pay tax = £400 a month (not even enough to pay my rent). But due to this job, Tom might not be in a position to get a helping hand, while he continues to search for a job, and he's actually looking, not sat on the sofa smoking 20 fags a day watching day time TV. He's gone to every effort to get help and alas, he's not worthy?! Due to my pathetic part time job income and the fact he's been paying tax since he left university!

When he went for his interview, they gave him a huge lecture about how he'd need to be looking for jobs in a 50 mile radius, etc. And yet, I know people who have been on jobseekers for years and years and have no intention to get a job. It's a fucking joke!
Most of the time, I'm extremely considerate and level minded about "the system" but this has pissed me right off.
I was told about 'Working Tax Credits', tried to see if I was eligible, but due to being judged on my previous tax year (when I was working full time), I probably won't be. Even though I wasn't earning that much. Oh and the stupid HMRC website, as always crashed when working out if I was eligible, like last time. Bloody typical.
I'm really really irritated. It's complete bollocks!

*I've always felt that there should be a minimal amount of money you should be able to earn, across one, two, three, etc. jobs, where you can use your tax code for all of them. Say, that across these numerous jobs you are earning £15,000 or less, you're allowed a flexible tax code, which can be used across all of your jobs. This would help parents and young people and would encourage people to work harder. I'm stuffed, if I get a second job now, I'll be emergency taxed regardless of my earning £4,800 in my first job. So, I get screwed and loose out. Where as someone earning £20,000 a year in one job is better off. It's bull, total bull!

I'm completely compassionate to why people don't declare certain jobs, it's completely understandable! Good for them!
It's the typical situation, we middle people get fucked over and the people above and below us, get helping hands to survive in life.

It appears Tom is entitled to a 3rd of the traditional weekly allowance. Which is interesting?!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Crossed the finishing line...

Upholstery Project Part Two

After being so active and so productive, I lost my decorating wind. Only for a week or two but it was enough for me to feel like a sluggish beast. Today, I finally completed our dining set. I fell in love with this material when I started at the shop, it was in the sale, which was a huge bonus. After ripping off the torn upholstery and additional padding, I hammered in the rusty nails till smooth (they were so rusty and small, there was no point in my trying to pull them out, I did try and caused a mess). Cut some quilting and the material to the right sizes, pulled taut, nail gunned them in place as a guide line and got the pins at the ready, with some nice trimming. Et Voila, my completed, reconditioned modern seats for the perfect dining experience!

We just need some shelves for my extensive dvd collection and we're done, done, done!

Apologies for the bleached, out of focus photo!