Uniball pens – Posca and PIN | Review

I got sent some Uniball pens a few weeks ago and have been absolutely dying to have a chance to sit down and use them. With all the weddings and moving out of the way (just about), I’ve managed it! It does also help that with half term, all of my after work activities were cancelled!

The pens I was sent by Uniball.
The pens I was sent by Uniball.

I was sent these pens for free, but I would never give a fake review. All views are my own!

Uniball Craft Pens

If you head on over to the Uniball website, the pens I was sent sit rather fittingly in the Craft range. I didn’t choose them – the options were a little overwhelming when I was given the choice, so this was what I said:

Perhaps you could send me a small selection of pens that write on ceramic, paper and fabric?

He made a (great) judgement, and sent me a set of eight Posca pens and three from the PIN range. You can check out ALL the Uniball products here. (Don’t blame me for any purchases that occur as a result of this link…)

Posca

The Posca markers come in loads of different colours. I was sent red, blue, yellow, green, white, black, gold and silver. They write on basically everything! Officially, this is: ceramic, glass, metal, mineral (i.e. gemstones), paper, plastic, textile and wood. When you first open them, the nib is completely white and you have to get the ink running. I was so excited about this, I filmed it.

The pens are really cool to write with when the ink is flowing really well. The first thing I did was label some kitchen stuff. It worked really well, although the drying time is quite long and YOU MUST WAIT FOR IT TO DRY. John and I were walking around with white smudges on us for a little while! It’s stood the test of time – a month later the writing is as good as new, and I now never get served builders tea. Win!

This has revolutionised my life.
This has revolutionised my life.

Plastic

Having received the pens, I decided to refresh the decoration on my sewing machine. I had drawn on it in Sharpie years ago, and although that lasted well, I had been debating a change for a while. Nail polish remover got rid of the old decorations, and I went to town with new ones. (There are videos of this on my YouTube channel if you’re interested.)

My sewing machine with its old Sharpie decorations.
My sewing machine with its old Sharpie decorations.

The drying problem came up here again – me, the table and half my belongings got covered in ink when I was careless. However, I loved the result, and any bad result here was my poor drawing skills and not the pens. I’ve not yet used the sewing machine, but I left the actual working parts clear. You know, just in case.

To get the ink to stay to the plastic, I had to clean it all with rubbing alcohol first. Before then, it just seemed a bit like it didn’t want to stick. (If I say the word hydrophobic/like oil and water, does that make sense?) After the rubbing alcohol it was much easier.

The top of the sewing machine with its new design.
The top of the sewing machine with its new design.
The sewing machine from the front.
The sewing machine from the front.
Close up of my favourite bit on the sewing machine.
Close up of my favourite bit on the sewing machine.

Other mediums

I drew on fabric just to get an idea of how they go, but it’s not a good sample. I hate the writing, and I’m not sure how permanent the pens would be on anything exposed to water. The website shows an example of use with fabric using Converse – I MUST TRY THIS. (If you don’t know how much I love decorating Converse, I refer you to this post.) Watch this space.

Testing out the pens on fabric. Not convinced.
Testing out the pens on fabric. Not convinced.

On paper, the pen works well, but it tends to strip it. I don’t really know how to describe it – you know when you get paper a little wet and it sort of shreds? You can see a bit of the top layer in the below photo. I’m not sure how much I would draw on paper with them, to be honest. They do blend nicely though, and when you draw on top with the PIN fineliners the result is lovely. I withhold judgement for now.

The paper, for the sake of completeness, is from a Winsor & Newton sketchbook, and super thick.

In the green/yellow blended section you can see how the page got shredded slightly.
In the green/yellow blended section you can see how the page got shredded slightly.
A full 'doodle' page.
A full ‘doodle’ page.
Messing around with some blending and different speeds of writing to check ink flow.
Messing around with some blending and different speeds of writing to check ink flow.
This smudging was deliberate. I hate it.
This smudging was deliberate. I hate it.

All in all, I loved the Posca pens for slightly strange uses like in the kitchen and will be cracking them out a lot more in the future! I may not be keeping the sewing machine decorations on the top though – they’re a bit much, even for me.

PIN

The Uniball PIN pens (try saying that ten times fast) are old friends of mine. I’ve used them for years in whatever doodling I’ve done, although I’ve never had my own new set as I’ve always nicked my mum’s. (Sorry Mum!) They are just generally awesome pens for fine art work. I did a lot of doodling using the 0.1, 0.3 and 0.5mm nibs, which is what Uniball sent me, and the only complaint I have is that if you move the pen too fast on thick paper, the ink can be a bit patchy.

I absolutely love the effect of the PIN on top of the Posca. A massive win!
I absolutely love the effect of the PIN on top of the Posca. A massive win!
Trying out the effect of shading with different size nibs.
Trying out the effect of shading with different size nibs.

For normal A4 paper and general fine liner/art use, these pens are fantastic. I can’t say enough good things about them. My interest in art has also been rekindled by the package, and I’m sure you’ll be seeing more posts about art soon.

So there we go! My thoughts on the Uniball Posca and PIN pens. As I say there are a few action vids on YouTube – all that’s left for me to do now is go back to my craft room and start doodling…

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Needlebook for Nadine | Sewing

Time for a break into some sewing, and a needlebook with a bit of freehand embroidery. With a big birthday coming up, my friend Nadine came over for a cuppa one evening and made a throwaway comment that got my grey matter going. “Could I borrow a sewing kit?” I dug out a pair of jeans I had cut into 4”x4” squares for a different project that never happened, and got researching.

Needlebook for Nadine

When I knitted the Tetris Scarf for John a couple of years ago, I had a problem with it curling. I bought a piece of blue fleece and backed it to stop the curling (which worked really well as an FYI). Of course, cutting a slim rectangle out of a large piece of fleece means I have literally tons of this fabric left, and I’m trying my best to use it up. This was the perfect excuse.

I changed the squares of denim into octagons. The octagons were meant to be hexagons, but I suffered some sort of brain fart and when I counted the edges, realised something had gone fundamentally wrong. Provided the shapes weren’t squares, I was happy, so I cracked on. The freehand embroidery bit was done using black thread on a piece of spare calico I had lying around.

Freehand Embroidery

I’m going to take a minute to talk about freehand embroidery, and how awful I am at it. I have literally broken a sewing machine trying to do it in the past. I’m normally pretty good at judging tension, which is fine as long as the feed dogs are working. To do freehand embroidery, you cover the feed dogs (which in case you don’t know, are the jagged teeth like things that pull your fabric under the needle during normal operation of a sewing machine). This means there’s nothing moving the fabric apart from your own hands, and you have to time it with the needle to make sure you’re not tugging the material while the needle is in it, hence snapping a needle.

The front of the book, with my disastrous freehand embroidery!
The front of the book, with my disastrous freehand embroidery!

I did a lot of practice runs on Nadine’s name, all of which I discarded. Eventually I put it in an embroidery hoop to hold it taut, and used the edges of the hoop to manipulate the fabric. I think it came out quite well (you can ignore the ‘e’, which went on a mad bid for freedom…in the wrong direction). Writing this one name with my machine took, with no exaggeration, an entire evening. At one point John came into the craft room, saw me sitting with my head in my hands, and reappeared slightly later with a chamomile and honey tea. What a man!

Finishing the needlebook

The rest was relatively easy. I attached my scrap of calico with the name on it to one of the pieces of denim. Then I cut out four fleece octagons, and sewed two of them onto the denim leaving a hole on one side of each. I turned these inside out, ironed them and did some top-stitching around the top of the octagons to seal them. Voila!

The inside of the book with a selection of needles for Nadine to use.
The inside of the book with a selection of needles for Nadine to use.
The back inside cover, with a "handwash only" label loosely sewn in, in case she wants to take it out.
The back inside cover, with a “handwash only” label loosely sewn in, in case she wants to take it out.

I’ve since made more of these – you’ll find out more soon. I loved doing something on the sewing machine that was super quick and super rewarding. It makes a great birthday present, and I’m going to make this a staple in future!

Back of the needlebook.
Back of the needlebook.

I’ve filmed a step-by-step video of this process so you can make your own needlebook. I think this post is long enough for now so I’ll share that with you another time!

Lots of love,

Corrie xx

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Completed Kitty Ring | Silversmithing

The last time you saw the kitty ring, it had just had its ears soldered on and was ready to be cleaned up and turned into an actual ring! I finished it a while ago and have been wearing it with pride since. It even came to Italy for a wedding when it wasn’t quite ready for wearing out and about. I was just too proud!

I’m doing a silversmithing course with Alice Goldsack in Bristol. More information here!

First…a kitty face

After soldering the ears on, I filed the ends of my piece of silver so they were both flat. I had planned to leave it at that, but the week between lessons gave me some ideas, and I decided to use a ball hammer to put a texture into the ‘non cat’ parts of the ring. Eyes and a nose went in using some unidentified tools I found on the side. I was really, really pleased with how it came out. The perfection of this was totally accidental – I had no idea the nose would sort of stick out like it does (hopefully you can see well from the photo). The kitty had a face! 

Getting ready to put a hammer to my work. Nerve racking moment!
Getting ready to put a hammer to my work. Nerve racking moment!
Finished texturing and giving it a personality.
Finished texturing and giving it a personality.

Then I used a piece of equipment called a mandrel to hammer the flat rectangle into a ring. You do this using a leather or plastic headed mallet to prevent marking the silver. With all the effort I’d gone to hammering my texture in, it would have been really annoying to then hammer those out when bending the ring. This part of the process was really, really hard!

I eventually got it into the ring shape, and used some pliers to make sure the ends met properly. This was something I needed help with, and the value of having the teacher there was immediately realised as I would never have known to do what she recommended unless I’d asked. It was time to do some soldering!

I forgot to take a photo of it before soldering, which is why it's this colour. Anyway, this is the ring on the mandrel.
I forgot to take a photo of it before soldering, which is why it’s this colour. Anyway, this is the ring on the mandrel.

Joining it up

Soldering is a process that fascinates me. It’s basically magic! Once the solder pieces melt you have to drop it into an acid solution (I’m not entirely sure why) and the metal gets discoloured. The yellow bits you can see in the picture are the solder, which I hadn’t filed down properly. 

Those tiny bits of metal on the front of the block are my pieces of solder.
Those tiny bits of metal on the front of the block are my pieces of solder.
This is the position the ring was in when I did the actual soldering.
This is the position the ring was in when I did the actual soldering.

After joining everything I had a kitty ring! It was time to neaten it up, sandpaper it and give it a polish. The polishing is done using a big wheel, which I vaguely remember from design tech lessons as a teenager. Something you never really think about is how conductive silver is. The ring got incredibly hot, incredible quickly and I had to keep taking breaks to avoid burning myself.

The finished product is something that I’m ridiculously proud of. It’s actually really hard to wear – the ears catch on everything, so I’ve learned a lesson there. However, for a first piece of jewellery, I couldn’t have asked for more of myself. 

After filing the eyes were a bit nondescript. I slipped when redoing the right hand one....it's just added character right?
After filing the eyes were a bit shallow. I slipped when redoing the right hand one….it’s just added character right?
Clutching an ancient oak tree at the top of a tower in Italy. (The other hand is John's).
Clutching an ancient oak tree at the top of a tower in Italy. (The other hand is John’s).
On a fancy box for fancy photography (and to show you how the solder join looks after polishing!)
On a fancy box for fancy photography (and to show you how the solder join looks after polishing!)

I’ve already finished my second piece, so you’ll see that in my next blog post (or go to this YouTube video for a sneak preview). I’m really enjoying these lessons! Watch this space…

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Craftisan – John’s favourite ever craft shop

When we moved to Bristol I posted a long post about moving, and promised I would tell you all about Craftisan, our local craft shop. It’s taken me so long to do so that I’ve been able to go back and take MORE photos – which is also kind of neat because now I can show you how they change up their decorations regularly. We haven’t visited for a while, but every time we do, it’s a great experience.

The front of Craftisan in June.
The front of Craftisan in June.
The other side of the shop front.
The other side of the shop front.

Craftisan, Totterdown’s craft cafe

The first thing to say about Craftisan is that it’s a craft shop and a cafe. This is partly what makes it John’s favourite ever craft shop. He can come in with his laptop, buy a cappuccino and cake, and chill while I inspect everything in minute detail. The coffee is great and the cake is always delicious. I also enjoy the availability of a number of local presses – particularly the elderflower presse. Om nom nom.


The shop is also sort of a gallery, with local art on the walls, much of it for sale. The artists change regularly, and you can also buy the art in the form of cards and postcards in the shop. This is now my place of choice for birthday cards. There was a gorgeous painting of a bumblebee when we first visited in June, which I didn’t buy. I can’t stop kicking myself now that this painting is sold and no longer available!

There is a table in the back of the shop with a load of different materials available – paper, card, paint, feathers, glitter, glue, paintbrushes – and you can go and create something while you enjoy your beverage or snack. While the craft table is aimed largely at kids, it would also be awesome if you just wanted to go and experiment. Did I mention the glitter?? A family with three kids spent an hour painting the last time we visited. It was so lovely to see and reflect on how, in a few months, we could be doing the same with John’s niece and/or nephew!

The craft table ready to be used on a creative whim.
The craft table ready to be used on a creative whim.
John enjoying the delights of Craftisan after we viewed our house in June.
John enjoying the delights of Craftisan after we viewed our house in June.

OK, on to the actual shopping bit.

Craftisan the shop

I have to remember how small the shop is whenever I go in. The available range is almost unbelievable! With everything from decopatch, to wool, to fabric,  I can spend hours perusing the shelves. For my fibre interests there is 100% Australian wool yarn, beautiful wool roving and a selection of accessories. In terms of material, Craftisan stocks a small amount of fabric, rotary cutters, all the sewing accessories, and a ton of buttons.

The shop also caters for papercraft with card stock, stamps, inks and stickers in abundance. Kits for crafty beginners range from sock monsters to candle-making, with more in between. The most beautiful cards, notebooks and pocket colouring books are for those who love writing and colouring. For collectors of books, there are trunks of vintage patterns and books ranging from sewing to painting. For non-crafters, a variety of items from local crafters include teapots, lampshades and exquisitely decorated boxes.

Wool! This has changed drastically since June, with Melbourne wool now on offer.
Wool! This has changed drastically since June, with Melbourne wool now on offer.
Decopatch animals ready to be covered.
Decopatch animals ready to be covered.
Beautiful greetings cards.
Beautiful greetings cards.

It’s difficult to give any more information than this. Everything changes regularly, and it’s a bit like Aladdin’s cave; every time you visit you see something new. I’ve never managed to visit without buying something…we walked away with this amazing file organiser for John’s office this weekend. His exact words were “I don’t know if I’ll use it but LOOK AT IT.”

I get teased by friends who think it’s hilarious that we took our house because of a craft shop. I can’t pretend it wasn’t a factor! Craftisan also runs classes ranging from after school clubs to skirt making and beyond. I’m sure at some point I will get myself on a course, and if I do I will let you know how it goes.

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Crazy cat lady silversmithing update

Before I went on my silversmithing course last week, I spent ages browsing Pinterest looking at jewellery. As a dedicated cat lady, there was really only one choice – a cat ring! You can check out the jewellery board here. I will be updating it a lot more over coming weeks – especially because I’ll be getting a new phone that will make Pinteresting a bit easier!

Anyway, on to how I’m a dedicated cat lady. No, wait, silversmithing..! The finished project can be seen in this post.

Intro to Silversmithing – the first class

I went to my first class last Thursday (read more about that here). The studio is in Central Bristol, in an absolute maze of a building! It looks totally nondescript from the outside. Walking in reveals a transformation from standard residential building to incredible silver studio, complete with faux taxidermy silver stag head! Alice Goldsack has decked out her studio with rows of benches for people to work at, beautiful photography on the walls, and display cabinets of examples of silver work by established smiths.

I didn’t take any photos of the studio as we were busy learning the ropes. I will try do this next lesson. There was so much to learn – hammering, annealing, soldering, polishing, work hardening… I also don’t want to take any photos of my fellow students as that gets complicated, so please bear with me.

Sneak preview! Sketching some ideas in the studio.
Sneak preview! Sketching some ideas in the studio.

What was quite strange was suddenly encountering techniques that I have studied the science of through my Materials Science degree, in a practical application. Even stranger, my brother gave me a jewellery textbook for Christmas a few years ago, which is one of those in the studio. Although it was a new environment for me, I felt like I was right at home.

After a chat about health and safety and some equipment demonstrations, it was time to start.

Cat Ring

Having had a look at the equipment, I went and voiced my thoughts to Mim, the tutor for the lesson. I’d initially thought I would do a wire ring bent in the shape of cat ears, but that would have had fewer techniques in it. I want to learn as much as possible, so it had to be more complex. I ended up getting a flattened piece of silver and cutting it to size to fit my right index finger, then cutting little ear pieces.

A length of silver for my ring, with two little ears.
A length of silver for my ring, with two little ears ready to attach.

After filing rough edges down I soldered the ears on. The pieces were tiny, and very difficult to manipulate, and because I hadn’t done it before it was very tricky. I also suddenly realised I had an audience of everyone else in the class, as I was the first person to solder. Terrifying. It went quite well, and I definitely felt very accomplished!

My cat has ears! You can see the lumps from the solder.
My cat has ears! You can see the lumps from the solder.

I had to file down the excess solder, then file the ends to join the metal into a ring. By this point it was time to leave, so next week I will be doing a bit more filing. Then I will be bending it into a ring and soldering. Hopefully I’ll finish it next lesson and be able to wear it with pride!

My cat, soldered, filed and ready to turn into a ring!
My cat, soldered, filed and ready to turn into a ring!

I can’t wait till Thursday’s lesson – I’ll keep you updated.

Much love,

Corrie xx

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My Kryptonite – also known as picking up stitches

Kryptonite is a weird way to be talking about this project. The naming happened organically and now I can’t help it! I’ve been talking about my mum’s birthday present for months, without ever having actually shown it to you. The time has come to talk about it (which meant I had to take it out to take photographs, and this will mean it’s far more likely to get finished as I’ve actually snuggled it in my hands again…)

Kryptonite, in the form of…

At the beginning of the year, my lovely mum and I were walking around the local town and we happened across a new yarn shop. Oh joy! We had to go in. I had a look around and spotted some of the new Sirdar Touch yarn that was so popular at the beginning of the year. As I was showing it to mum, the owner of the shop (True Design) picked up a lovely cardigan/tunic garment that was hanging near the till and showed it to us. It was absolutely beautiful – a nice length and so very comfortable. Mum expressed a desire to own one like it. Before I knew it, I had bought enough balls of Sirdar Touch to knit her the tunic.

The fluffiest, most comfortable kryptonite in existence.
The fluffiest, most comfortable kryptonite in existence.

Fast forward to May – on mum’s birthday I held up the half knitted article for inspection. I had got to a specific length and stopped, because I wanted to know her preference. The length was a little short for her taste, so I was glad I did – I knitted a bit further and bound off. I sewed it together and….stopped. It only needs a collar – with 12mm needles it would probably only take half an hour to knit! Here comes the Kryptonite part of the story.

This yarn, while absolutely gorgeous, soft, comfortable and so very, very warm is a nightmare for picking up stitches. It would already be hard to pick up the edge stitches to knit the collar because it’s black. And then we jump straight to the fact that it’s eyelash yarn. I’m not super comfortable picking up stitches anyway, despite having taken a finishing course at Spin a Yarn a few years ago. Combine that with the fun of the black eyelash yarn, and the fact that it was coming up to summer, and you understand why it’s taking me literally months to finish this off.

Its difficult to give an idea of scale, but its not small!
Its difficult to give an idea of scale, but its not small!
The garment as it is at the moment, awaiting a collar.
The garment as it is at the moment, awaiting a collar.

I know that I’ll probably pick the garment up and half an hour later wonder what the months of fuss was about…and I know that mum will love it, so I need to get it to her in time for winter (let’s not forget her birthday was four months ago). Picking up stitches has been my kryptonite for so long. Even when Melanie was staying in 2015 she picked up stitches for me on any projects I left lying around!

Hopefully this is only the first of two posts about this project – the second being the FO! I’ll let you know how I get on. I’d love to know if I’m the only person with this problem, and how to overcome it? (Apart from doing a load of knitting that requires practice, practice, practice…) What is your kryptonite?

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Silversmithing with Alice Goldsack in Bristol

Silversmithing?! That’s nothing to do with knitting! I know, I wasn’t sure how to make it fit either – and then I decided that rather than start a new blog for this new craft, I could just talk about all my crafting. I didn’t want to set up a whole new blog with web domains, new designs and a new name, and this is, as they say my party. So, silversmithing with Alice Goldsack.

Rewind to July’s birthday…

Back in July, I celebrated my birthday with over an elderflower gin and tonic. John had packed me off to work that morning with a Sesame Snap and a sweet note, which in all honesty was enough for me. Birthdays are something that I love celebrating for other people, but am not so hot on celebrating for myself. Too much attention!

Celebrating my birthday with friends in Bristol!
Celebrating my birthday with friends in Bristol.

Imagine my surprise when over that gin and tonic, John told me that my friends had clubbed together and contributed to a silversmithing course! The one he had looked at was at Halsway Manor, which I’ve talked about before in this post. This would be a residential weekend in November, which I could either go to alone, or take a friend. I was tickled absolutely pink, and the following morning at work waxed lyrical about it. One of my colleagues overheard me and told me another of my colleagues did silversmithing in Bristol. I went and chatted to her about it, and before long decided that I’d rather do the course with Alice Goldsack.

It turned out to actually be cheaper than the weekend John had looked at for me. With a twelve week course based in my home city, I felt it would also be better value for money. The added bonus would be meeting creative people who live in Bristol too. Additionally, if after my twelve week course had finished, I decided it was something I wanted to keep doing, it would be totally possible for that to happen. I suspect it will.

The Actual Course with Alice Goldsack

Alice Goldsack is my new silversmithing teacher.
Alice Goldsack is my new silversmithing teacher.

My first class is today, and I’m nervously excited. I’ve never done something totally new like this – I’ve dabbled in jewellery making before, but silversmithing goes one step more basic/complex, and involves shaping the raw material as well as assembling it. Instead of just using jump rings, I’ll be making them! The nervousness comes from the anxiety of being in a group of people, something I’m currently struggling with.

My teacher will either be Alice Goldsack or one of her tutors. She has kindly given me permission to take photos during class, so you can expect lots of pictures! I’ll let you know how it goes, without giving away the secret sauce.

Much love,

Corrie xx

PS If you’re one of the friends who contributed to this and I haven’t thanked you yet, it’s because I don’t necessarily know who you are! I’m on the hunt for more information from the elusive JS.

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A night in with Tonks – time for poetry!

The other night I was sewing in my craft room and Tonks came in to make sure I didn’t feel alone. Anybody with a cat will know how this went. I had been watching a documentary about arts and literature, and in my rage got writing. This was the result!

The night I wrote the poem. She promptly sat on it.
The night I wrote the poem. She promptly sat on it.

A night with Tonks

It’s Tuesday night and I’m here in my room
Trying to sew a small gift
And here she comes in (with a sly little grin)
“Aha! You can’t sew! I must sit!”

I change what I’m doing and pick up a pen
(As she sits on the small square of fabric)
“Oh no, I must eat it, you can’t write there!”
And she snacks on the ink like a maverick.

‘Right, no problem’, think I, as I move to the floor
Where I lay out the entire design
I put down my pieces and nearly complete it
It’s going well! It’s going to be fine!

But now she’s drinking water out of my glass
She really can’t be that thirsty?!
With a sigh I get up and chase her away
To the floor! My work’s getting dirty!

My scissors are abandoned, I can’t take a chance
Of her putting a paw into those.
I wanted to have a productive night crafting,
This isn’t the evening I chose.

With a cat in the room things are never the same
But shut her out and I’ll feel all the guilt
It’ll take twice as long, and need a good wash
But it’ll be ours, this small little quilt.

Tonks with all of her toys.
Tonks with all of her toys.
A contented cat lying on the floor.
A contented cat lying on the floor.

(Sewing a Quilt?!)

The quilt that I’m sewing has a subject that Tonks wouldn’t like anyway – you’ll understand when I show it to you! Even as I’m writing this she’s messing around with the fabric. My sewing time at night is definitely massively reduced by the cat. Gotta love her..?!

Anybody else’s cat do this?

Much love,

Corrie xx

Will I ever be able to brush my hair in peace again??
Will I ever be able to brush my hair in peace again??
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September 2016 Resolutions

It’s your favourite time of the month – September 2016 Resolutions! Even though I waxed lyrical yesterday about how much progress I’m making in my WIPs, my monthly crafting resolutions are still suffering. I’m struggling to keep up with the Ravelry group (although the members have been super patient with me, which I appreciate so much) and my blogging has been less frequent now than ever in the history of Plutonium Muffins.

I maintain that I need a pin board or something above my lovely desk to help me out with it! I’m feeling much better about things now that everything in my life isn’t totally new. Watch this space!

August 2016 Resolutions recap

In August I resolved to:

  1. Finish knitting mum’s birthday present. No, I haven’t done this yet – I’m going to talk about that in detail in a blog post later, but basically it’s knitted in eyelash yarn. You’ll see why this is causing delay soon!
  2. Complete another row of the leopard cross stitch. Completed…but I also put it to one side as once I realised it wasn’t going to be ready in time for the specified birthday, I needed to make a birthday present for that person! I will pick it up again later. This’ll probably be in 2017 as I need a break from it for a bit. Let’s not forget I also have to finish the Dr Who scarf before our next anniversary. (Boyfriend sweater, eat your heart out…)
  3. Pick out a fabric for curtains in the lounge. We went to the local fabric shop but they didn’t have any that fitted the colour scheme. I think I’ll need to go to a home furnishings shop, and the budget I have doesn’t stretch to that quality of fabric. I’m going to park this for a while and put up with my disgusting, disgusting curtains for a while.
The leopard cross stitch - parked for September 2016 now.
The leopard cross stitch – parked for September 2016 now.

September 2016 Resolutions

This September I can set resolutions for a few things. I’m also starting a new course which is totally relevant to Plutonium Muffins – you’ll find out about that too!

  1. Sew a quilt for a birthday present. I expect this to take up the majority of my time. I won’t talk about it in too much detail right now because the plan for it may change depending on time. This is an heirloom present-worth birthday though, so I hope to have something really cool to show you at the end of the month!
  2. Fix my spinning wheel. Tonks was catching flies in the lounge one evening and slipped off the windowsill. She fell onto the spinning wheel, which fell over and cracked along the glue line that holds the hub together. I’m going to have to take the whole thing apart and re-glue it together. At the same time, I might take the opportunity to do some sanding and re-varnishing. I’m on the fence about it as I’m desperate to get it back together so I can get back into my daily spinning. It would be nice to make it look a bit more cared for than it currently is, though!
Tonks looks all innocent, but don't trust that devious little face!
Tonks looks all innocent, but don’t trust that devious little face!

I’m feeling so much more organised with my desk set up, and I’m positive that things going forward are going to be much more efficient! In other good news, I passed my probation at work today. Things are looking up!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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The mother of all WIPs – craft room time!

The mother of all WIPs is life in Bristol, which as you can imagine, has been busy! With this post I am kick-starting Plutonium Muffins into action ready for Christmas crafting and beyond. I’ve now been at my job for three months, and lived in the new house for the same amount of time, and am starting to feel more settled and ready to start the process of living my crafting life again.

The biggest of the WIPs

I thought I’d just take some time to update you on what has been going on before I launch into my crafting. Although I’ve been quieter than usual, I haven’t been idle from a making point of view…however, until now my computer hasn’t really had a place to go and I don’t really do blogging on my lap in front of the TV as my RSI is made far worse by lap typing. So there’s the excuse and/or explanation for the lack of blogging! Right, what have I actually been doing?

Our house has been biggest of many WIPs. We took on a three bedroom house in south Bristol, with space for John’s office, guests and crafting. The guest room doubles as my craft room – which, as we haven’t yet bought a spare bed, is actually only my craft room! It has been a nightmare sorting it all out, and I haven’t even got all my craft stuff here yet. It was unfurnished, and we have only ever lived in flats in London where everything was provided. The first night in the house was a bit of a shock – we had literally nothing. We are slowly populating the rooms, but it has meant that stuff is still all in boxes, with nowhere to go. 

My brother also moved at the same time, and I bought some of his old furniture off him. As well as some essentials (a bed!), this meant that I also had a spare bookcase for the craft room, which now holds some of my stuff. Don’t let the photo deceive you – it looks like a lot of stuff (which it is) but is only a small fraction of my equipment, books and tools. This is my craft stall table – basically a glorified trestle table. It works well as a sewing table, and will keep that purpose because when we get a bed in here I will be able to fold it up when we have guests. This is also where I am now able to do some blogging!

My lovely desk! It needs a big pinboard above it.
My lovely desk! It needs a big pinboard above it.
Bookshelf crammed with a small fraction of my equipment.
Bookshelf crammed with a small fraction of my equipment.

I’m going to have to do a massive de-stash at some point. I would love to keep doing craft fairs, but I can’t keep some of my personal stash. I have literally trunks of the stuff – stash WAY beyond life expectancy, and I’m still young! I’ve been trying to do things that use yarn up faster than knitting (machine knitting, I’m looking at you) – but at this point I’m not good enough at machine knitting to risk putting some of my most loved yarns through it. Weaving has also been keeping getting rid of some of it, but I’m finding that almost slower than knitting as I’m not good at that either!

It’s still a mess (there’s a reason you haven’t seen the whole room), but it’s better than it was.

So that’s all for now! I’ll be back soon with some big projects to show you. Here’s a sneak preview of Tonks ‘helping’ with a sewing/designing project!

Tonks is inspecting my WIPs in minute detail.
Tonks is inspecting my WIPs in minute detail.

Much love,

Corrie xx

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