Cathy's favourite film is The Wizard of Oz, and she does seem a long way from her English home now she has a new one in Alberta, Canada - but there's still no-one like her.
* SONG OF THE DAY: Elvis Costello - Red Shoes *
Email: busstopgirl (at) googlemail (dot) com
Cathy's favourite film is The Wizard of Oz, and she does seem a long way from her English home now she has a new one in Alberta, Canada - but there's still no-one like her.
* SONG OF THE DAY: Elvis Costello - Red Shoes *
Today I stopped off at the hospice shop's cafe for a brew. Sat by myself, I was gazing round the room when I suddenly noticed my own reflection in my steel teapot! I don't usually like taking my own picture but here I am almost unrecognisable... and I love that my teacup is in the shot. I *am* a pretty dedicated tea drinker :)
* SONG OF THE DAY: Elbow - Mirrorball *
This is a gift for Sean and Aileen on their first anniversary. Aileen loves sheep.
When she was getting married, Aileen sent me a swatch of the fabric of her dress, so I could match it with some satin flowers I was making for her (to be fashioned into a beautiful hairslide - see below - by our friend Cathy). I still had this little piece of material a year later, so I used it to back a heart cut-out on the reverse of this loveheart (but I seem to have forgotten to take a pic of this view before I put it in the post!).
* SONG OF THE DAY: The Housemartins - Sheep *
Sarah and Tim love travelling round Switzerland, so for Sarah's 30th birthday I thought I'd try and recreate a Swiss landscape for her in a diorama, with some Swiss-style road signs for her name and age. She loves it - hooray! (Or yodelay-hee-hoo!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Kate Bush - King of the Mountain *
* SONG OF THE DAY: The Divine Comedy - The Booklovers *
Cathy and Tim moved to their new home in Canada last October while Cathy was pregnant, and they now have a baby boy, Harry. I made this for him. Harry and his mum are travelling to England this weekend so I hope to meet him soon!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Deniece Williams - Let's Hear It For The Boy *
I had to make something special for Rachel's 40th birthday, and once I'd remembered that her favourite film is Cabaret, and put a mood board together on Pinterest, I had the idea for this diorama, which puts Rae on stage at the Kit Kat club, complete with bowler hat.
It's cut from thin card and stitched with sequins, and folds flat for storage.
Design and images (c) Kristen Bailey 2012
* SONG OF THE DAY: Liza Minelli - Mein Herr (from 'Cabaret') *
* SONG OF THE DAY: The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army *
I've posted before about the beautiful Cinderella doll my auntie Sue made me when I was a kid, and said I wanted to do the same for my friends' kids (honorary nieces). Well, I've done it! The pattern I used is from Jean Greenhowe's Christmas Special.
They took quite a while - not so much the knitting as the making-up - but at last they're finished and have gone off to live in Lewes with Roxanne (6) and Isabel (8). The girls loved their lookalike dolls, and made them a palace from dining chairs, then put them to bed under the wrapping paper they came in. Roxie even sidled up to me later with a winning smile and said, "You know, you could knit me a prince!" When her sister pointed out that my knitting bag didn't contain any 'hair' coloured yarn, she added, "It's OK, he can be bald!"
Images (c) Kristen Bailey 2011
* SONG OF THE DAY: Langhorne Slim - Cinderella *
* SONG OF THE DAY: Belle & Sebastian - Wrapped Up In Books *
This diorama was based on three of my sister's favourite pop songs. 'Walk On' is by U2 - she has these words tattooed on her ankle! 'Learn To Fly' is by Foo Fighters and she loves the video especially (any excuse for Dave Grohl and chums to dress up!). And that little bird sitting on the fence is a reference to 'Blackbird', her favourite Beatles song.
* SONG OF THE DAY: Juliana Hatfield - My Sister *
Look what I made - it's a foldable pop-up diorama! I went to a workshop (in December - yes, am crap at getting posts finished!) at Hove Museum run by lovely local artist Lizzie Thomas, who is part of the Unravelled group of craft-based artists (also lovely - the ones I've met anyway!).
Lizzie showed us several samples she'd made using the same basic principles, and although they looked scarily complex, she explained everything so clearly we all came away after two hours with complete and fairly fancypants versions of our own! All just from some pieces of card and careful scalpel work.
Mine is a secret garden. (I must re-read 'The Secret Garden'...)
A great tip from Lizzie was to cut all or part of the back of the diorama away and cover the aperture with artists' tracing paper. Then you get a lovely effect with diffused light shining through. You even place in in front of a candle if you were VERY careful. Maybe one of those fake LED candles would be better!
Since I did this I've made a few more, mainly as birthday cards, so I'll post some photos of them shortly. This is a fascinating craft, I really want to explore it further!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Dawn Penn - The First Cut Is The Deepest *
I knitted this Jean Greenhowe 'Humpty Dumpty' for my dear friend Camel when we were 18 - in 1993! I knitted it to look like Camel, complete with Doc Marten boots and Leeds United colours. It was probably one of the first toys I ever knitted.
Humpty has lived with Camel ever since, but years of hot loving have taken their toll and recently she came back to me for a while to be given the '10 Years Younger' treatment. In this case, this meant removing all her stuffing...
...and giving her a nice hot bath in the washing machine. Then I shaved off any bobbles with a razor, restuffed her with loads and loads of new stuffing, and... put Humpty together again! Let's go to the reveal:
My very dear friend Joe, who is like the big brother I never had, has reached 40! He is not very impressed by this. I wanted to make a special card for him, and it took a long time to come up with the idea, but I'm pleased with how it came out.
I've finally done it. I've learnt to crochet!!! I'd tried learning from a book and ended up with a right mess, so I figured I'd be better off learning from a real person and booked up for a 2-hour 'Learn To Crochet'' workshop at Hove Museum. And here is My First Granny Square!
Our tutor was Jan Eaton, who has written loads of books about crochet. She was great, and explained the mysteries of foundation rings and turning chains, making them much less scary. I made another square when I got home, but I went wrong - didn't put enough stitches in the corners - see?
But the good thing was that using the pattern and diagrams Jan had given us, I could identify the mistake and correct it! It was so great to have learned a new skill - obviously I'm doing the crochet equivalent of playing 'Chopsticks' on the piano, but it's still exciting seeing a granny square take shape!
I'm hoping to crochet myself a granny square blanket to put over my sofa (if only if came out like Lucy at Attic 24's!). And I've got Debbie Stoller's book Stitch and Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker to move me on to (slightly) more complex projects - it's got a lovely light-hearted feel to it which helps to make learning the various stitches seem far less daunting. Look Mum, I'm a hooker!!!
Finally got round to finishing my Christmas postbox! So it will spend a few weeks on top of my wardrobe with my other Christmas decs and then reappear in December. I love postboxes, couldn't resist this pattern. If you want to make your own, it's 'Clarence the Christmas Postbox' from Jean Greenhowe's Celebration Clowns booklet, which is out of print but easy to find on eBay.
Wedding loveheart (c) Kristen Bailey 2009
Today is a very special day! My best friend from school is marrying the lovely Eddie, and I'm being a bridesmaid (my first time!). Sharry at I met on the first day at secondary school, when we were 12. I'm so blessed that our friendship has lasted this long.
Sharry will be a beautiful bride. The other two bridesmaids and I will be by her side in floor-length midnight blue satin, grinning, crying and trying not to trip over, I expect. I know how much planning has gone into making the day special for everyone and it will be fantastic to see it all come together. Congratulations you two!
Wedding garter (c) Kristen Bailey 2009
Mum's really interested in Queen Victoria, so for her birthday I knitted her this doll of old Victoria in her mourning clothes. Once again I based the doll on Jean Greenhowe's Little Gift Dolls pattern, using the skirt from the Christmas Tree Fairy and the cuffs from Miss Valentine. The widow's cap I made using the veil pattern from the Summer Mouse in the Knitted Animals booklet.
I made Victoria necklaces of pearls and crystals, and pearl earrings, and a mourning brooch with Albert's cameo on it. The crown was knitted in silver crochet thread, using Jean Greenhowe's 'picot hem' pattern, and I sewed on crystal beads. Does her face look amused?
All images in this post (c) Kristen Bailey 2009
* SONG OF THE DAY: The Divine Comedy - Victoria Falls *
This (rather bald) hedgehog pincushion was made by me at primary school as a Mother's Day pressie. I can vivdly remember making it. My teacher had a large shallow box full of brightly-coloured embroidery silks, which I found so exciting that I got told off for sorting them into colour ranges when I should have been sewing! We stuffed our hedgehogs with chopped-up old tights.
Some of our dinner ladies had stayed on after lunch to help supervise the sewing. Take a look at the blanket stitch - can you guess which bit was done by a dinner lady and which was done by a five-year old?
Housing and homelessness charity Shelter is running a campaign called House of Cards, to highlight the plight of thousands of people whose homes have been repossessed, and the lack of sufficient social housing.
A TV ad (below) has been produced to promote the campaign and Shelter has asked 52 artists and designers to created artwork for each card of a deck of playing cards. Their designs will be exhibited at the Haunch of Venison art gallery, and auctioned in aid of Shelter.
Shelter has run a competition to design the deck's Eight of Clubs, and this (above) is my entry. I've made the eights 'clubs' into trees, around a figure-of-eight pond, with ducks and a duck house, as a nod to the recent 'MP's expenses' furore. It's paper collage on a handknitted background. All entries are being put to a public vote online from 21 to 29 August - so if you like my design, I'd really appreciate it if you'd vote 'Love It'! :)
* SONG OF THE DAY: Orbital - I Wish I Had Duck Feet *
Back in September 2001, Plums and I went to see Bjork at the ENO. It was a fantastic night - even better than we'd imagined. For part of the gig Bjork was wearing a bright red Alexander McQueen dress with a sequinned bodice and feathered skirt. It must have had bells sewed into it, because you could hear them every time Bjork jumped and landed - she was her own percussion!
A few weeks later, wondering what to do for Plums' birthday, I was in Primark and spotted a little doll with long black hair, wearing a red pinafore, for £1. So I bought her, sewed sequins on her top and feather trimming round her skirt (and bells under it!), cut her hair and sewed a tattoo on her arms. And she went off to live with Plums.
She came back to me recently for a little TLC - the passing years have not been kind to the feathers! So I've tarted her up and got a shadow box from IKEA which I've lined with silver holographic paper and painted black -a little home to live in where her delicate costume will be protected.
It's made in white fleece - first a plain cushion, firmly stuffed, then an outer layer with a plain back and an appliqued front, which I blanket-stitched together over the base. Comfy kawaii.
* SONG OF THE DAY: Tom Jones - What's New, Pussycat? *
Had been awake all night and the dawn was so lovely Ihought I'd go for a walk with my camera. From 7am to 8am on Friday 29th May 2009.
A lovely songbird from my church happened to mention on Facebook the other day that she wanted 'multicoloured wings'... so I've made her some - mainly in the hope that she will get me a free ticket when she makes her debut appearance on 'Later...' ;)
Listen to Anna Joy Deuk's Sweet Sounds on MySpace.
* SONG OF THE DAY: Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch - I'll Fly Away *
This yarn-based homage to US's 44th president was a special request for my friend's sister, who is a big fan (most of us are!) and will be giving him a good home in Cardiff (ooh, maybe he'll bump into Jack Harkness!).
He's based on Jean Greenhowe's Little Gift Doll pattern. Caffaknitted's fab Obama doll is a better likeness, but I've not yet tried knitting in the round and didn't want my first attempt to be on someone's birthday pressie!
* SONG OF THE WEEK: Extreme - When I'm President *
Mum loves anything with sheep on, so for Mother's Day I bought Rob Ives' book Paper Automata: Four Working Models to Cut Out and Glue Together and made her this Hopping Sheep model, which is now living on her dressing table.
It took several hours to make, and you have to pay close attention to the instructions when cutting, scoring and gluing (I used double-sided tape and a glue stick rather than runny glue), but it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be and I'll definitely being making more.
Rob's new book Paper Engineering and Pop-ups for Dummies is just out and looks fab. Once I've made up a few more kits it'd be great to learn to design my own automata!
His Flying Pig website offers some kits as free downloads, and has loads more for sale, as well as a whole section explaining the basics of mechanisms and movement and tools and techniques. Rob also has a blog where he shares his workshop notes.
I know - not very seasonal! But I put some Christmas garlands together today, as I was going through a whole crateful of old bead necklaces I've had for years. They're the cheapy kind where the beads are glued to the string. I collected dozens of them from charity shops a few years ago so I could make a bead curtain for my back door, by fastening them end-to-end in long strands.
Having moved house several times since and never having used it again, I decided to get them all out and sort them. I sifted out all the red, green, gold and white ones, fastened them together and put them in my Christmas decs box.
Then I pulled out all the ones in my favourite colours, which I might wear myself (below). There are some which are the same colour as others, but a different shape or length - I'll decide which work for me by trial and error! The rest - still a carrier bag full - will go back to the charity shops... unless I think of some other creative use (or mischief...) for them.
I've just finished knitting my first Teddies for Tragedies bear. He'll be given to a child who needs comfort or something to love. Each bear is knitted to the same basic pattern so that no bear is 'better' than any other - as the website says:
"Don't deviate from the pattern, all teddies are different but none should be superior (no skirts or hats, stripes are OK in moderation, especially if you're using up duller colours). Think of it this way - we all want our teddy to be the best but do we want the child who doesn't get our teddy to be disappointed?"
The legs, body and head are knitted in one long piece (see below) and the arms are knitted onto this main piece. This is fairly quick to knit up - just follow the instructions carefully so the bears are well-made, safe and durable - you can send a sample bear to be checked for suitability if you're unsure. You'll also need to run up a simple drawing bag for the bear to live in - again, follow the instructions.
I've made a Teddies for Tragedies group on Flickr to collect photos of finished bears, and hopefully of the bears with their new owners!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Roachford - Cuddly Toy *
Going through an old scrapbook Mum had made of our drawings, I found this piece of early fashion journalism, from about 1982:
"mummy and daddy went to the Summer Ball. They were wearing nice clothes. mummy had a blue and silver dress. And daddy had a Jacket. And it was blue. And yellow. Heather came to look after us. daddy had some trousers. They were blue."
I distinctly remember going into Trowbridge with Mum to buy that dress - she ended up choosing the blue over a chocolate brown one. And here she is in it on the night, with Dad in his RAF sergeant's dress uniform.
I can't remember the last time we had proper snow in Brighton - it must be years ago. Usually we get a dusting which is gone by midday, but today we have real proper snow! So I decided to build a snowman.
I live on the second floor, so the only place I could build was on one of my snow-covered windowsills. He's only small (7 inches high) but perfectly turned out, in a mini hat and scarf set I had made to go on an unfinished Christmas toy.
I gave him button eyes, beads for his mouth, more buttons down his front, and used some rotten bits of windowframe wood for his arms. Cute huh?
* SONG OF THE DAY: Low - Just Like Christmas *
Finally I have something in
my Etsy shop my Folksy shop! It takes such a long time to make just a few things, then take good pics of them and get the listings done, it does feel like an achievement!
Here are some large, sparkly Valentine brooches. I'm single and I always send Valentines to my single friends, and these brooches were made with them in mind. Hope you like them!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Feargal Sharkey - A Good Heart *
By day. this little piggy is a shy retiring chap, but by night, he is...
(work with me)
....SUPERPIG!!!!! This porcine superhero is off to live with my friend's son Ben. And use his powers for good. (And support West Ham?)
* SONG OF THE DAY: Pigbag - Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag *
Happy New Year! I saw it in with a mug of hot chocolate in front of Jools' Hootenanny. It was bluddy great this year - Annie Lennox, Adele, The Ting Tings, Dizzee Rascal, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas and a band I'd never heard of but loved (five years ago I knew about indie music, now I haven't a clue!) - The Hold Steady. I could have done without Duffy's three songs though - really don't see what all the fuss is there.
Today I went into town to see if any Christmas bling was in the sale at Paperchase, one of my favourite shops. It was my first Christmas living on my own, and I only had a tiny tree and a few decs, so I bought a three-foot glittery green tree and a box of mirrorball baubles. It's against my upbringing to pay full price for decorations before Christmas, and it troubles my crafty conscience to buy what I could make, so these two purchases are 'allowed'!
And these machine-knitted lovelies were going for a song in Homebase, so cheap it wouldn't be worth making them myself.
I'm going to sew a few more baubles on the trees and recreate the reindeer in felt so next year I can have a team of them pulling my Christmas cards across the wall!
I was busy with Christmas presents all the way through Advent, so it's only since then that I've been making myself a few bits. First off I wanted to use some vintage turquoise nylon and silver lurex yarn I found in a charity shop in the summer. That's being knitted into baubles. I knew I wanted a beaded felt star to put at the top of my tree - I'd had a drawing in my sketchbook for ages - and finally I've finished it (see top of post)! Ain't it pretty?
Let me introduce to Sergeant Bailey of the Royal Air Force - aka Dad. I knitted him for Dad's Christmas present using Jean Greenhowe's Little Gift Doll pattern as a starting point, then poring at old photos and Googling for info about RAF badges.
Dad went into the RAF as a teenager, and served for 22 years. He left when I was eight years' old, and I still remember him going off for his shift in his scratchy blue jumper with his sergeant's stripes buttoned onto the shoulders.
I've knitted him in his dress uniform, which he got married in and wore for posh 'mess' dinners. I embroidered him a set of chevrons (indicating rank) for his sleeves, and sewed on a tiny printed and laminated cap badge, and another showing his 'trade' badge for Signals, a fist grasping bolts of lightning.
Dad loved it. He was speechless at first - usually a good sign! Then he took his Mini-Me off to church for the show-and-tell at the Christmas service!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Aeroplane *
I made this little fella for The Blonde's Christmas present. As I have noted before, she's a little penguin crazy. She's also into Hello Kitty, and had spotted that HK sequin in a mixed bag I bought from CrinolineStash on Etsy. She'd been trying to get me to give to her ever since!
(S)he's another take on Jean Greenhowe's Christmas Penguin, with earmuffs knitted from the snowman in Little Gift Dolls. I could do with earmuffs meself, it's been perishing in this flat for days now. Have taken to wearing a beret indoors. If only I could wear my electric blanket all day...
These cuties are off to Save The Children, with their message to the Prime Minister. Next up is knitting a square or two for Oxfam's knitted petition. I've been meaning to learn how to knit with two colours (intarsia) and knit vertical stripes, so I'll teach myself as I go along.
* SONG OF THE DAY: Goldfrapp – Lovely Head *
This is a birthday present for my friend Tree (Katrina). I wanted to make a tree brooch, and I found some green felt leftovers from the bag I made Rachel from her ruined jumper, which was perfect for foliage!
I'm quite pleased with it - might try and make another to sell. Had a quick look on Etsy under 'felt tree brooch' and there are some gorgeous examples, but there isn't one quite like mine already. I love it when an idea and a fabric come together!
Captain Jack Sparrow knitted doll (c) Kristen Bailey, 2008
It was The Blonde's 30th birthday, so I thought I'd better whip up (that's 'whip' with the emphasis on the 'h', Family Guy fans) something special. So here he is - a Captain Jack Sparrow doll, based on Jean Greenhowe's 'Pirate' doll pattern, from her Storybook Dolls booklet.
I ran out of time to knit a bandana, waistcoat and sash, so they're made of remnants from my fabric stash. His hair was done by French knitting (on a Clover Wonder Knitter), and then beads were sewn in. Yarrrr!!!!!!!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Mary Chapin Carpenter - The End Of My Pirate Days *
It is my great honour to introduce to you Princess Isabel and Princess Roxanne of Lewes. They are going to go and live with two very special young friends of mine who just happen to be obsessed with princesses!
These dolls were knitted from the wonderful Jean Greenhowe's Christmas Tree Fairy pattern, taken from her Little Gift Dolls booklet. I then added felt and beaded flowers to the skirts, and felt crowns with sew-on jewels.
I'm such a big fan of Jean Greenhowe's toy patterns. They're colourful, simple and fun to knit - perfect for the amateur knitter who has a short attention span and is easily confused! If you've knitted one of her designs, why not join my Jean Greenhowe knitted toys group on Flickr?
I added a bandana in 'skull and crossbones' fabric, a gold hoop earring and a cutlass and eyepatch stitched from felt. Click on the pic for a closer look. Yaaaarrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!
Knitted Elizabeth I doll in progress, next to the 'Pelican Portrait' of Elizabeth I, c1574
When my M.E. forced me to jack my job in, my beloved colleagues at 24 Hour Museum threw me a party and presented me with my very own spoof homepage, which included personalised links to (made-up, sadly) sites such as BuildABaptistBoyfriend.com and KnitYourOwnTudor.com. It's the latter which has spurred me into action!
Using Jean Greenhowe's Pedlar Doll as a base, along with the wig from her Cinderella doll, I have started to create a likeness of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I - in knitting. (It's already been done but I wanted to have a go myself.)
I'm concentrating on two portraits in particular, both from the 1570s and both depicting the Queen wearing deep red - Nicholas Hilliard's 'Pelican Portrait' of Elizabeth I, c1574, which is in the collection of the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, and the 'Plimpton Sieve Portrait' of 1579, by George Gower.
I'm also looking at portraits of Elizabeth I in the National Portrait Gallery's collection, concentrating on those from the 1570s, and researching fashion in hairstyles and clothing in the 1570s.
As you can see she's taking shape. Now for the fun part - beading, braiding and embroidery-a-go-go!
ElizabethI.org.uk: Elizabeth I - Appearance
Elizabethan Geek: Elizabethan Costume Review
Extreme Costuming: Two Elizabethan Hairstyles
Elizabethan-Era.org.uk: Elizabethan Hairstyles
themakeupgallery: Queen Elizabeth I
Semptress: Elizabethan Costuming
ElizabethanCostume.net: Elizabethan Hairnets, Cauls & Muffin Caps
Here, finally, is the special card/bookform I made my cousin for her 30th birthday. Yes, finished way behind schedule - she turned 30 in June - but leave me alone, I'm not well!
Lisa's my cousin, but she's also been a close friend. We were penpals from the ages of 12 and 10 - you know, back when folk used to write on paper, with a pen - and worked through a lot of teenage (and twenties!) angst together. Our correspondance went on for almost fifteen years, and is now meticulously archived in a series of shoeboxes kept on the tops of wardrobes in Galway City and Brighton.
Over the years she's acquired a husband, a house and a daughter, which I still can't quite get my head around... they grow up so fast, don't they? She's also a very busy wedding photographer, which I'm dead proud of.
These days we don't write letters to each other, just the occasional email or text. Sometimes one of us rings the other to note how crap we are at keeping in touch. But mainly we keep up with each other's news via my mum and her dad!
Dearest Lill, we are crap at keeping in touch...
Well, they've gone off in the post - only managed to contribute fifty hats towards the target of 400,000, but it was fun playing just a small part in it.
Look out for Innocent Smoothie bottles wearing hats in branches of Sainsburys from 7th November - and buy one, it's in aid of Age Concern!