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Apple Day

I ‘m a bit out of step with the blogging of events- what with the festive season etc, so here are a couple I prepared and didn’t finish (last autumn- oops). I’ll do the next one later on!

I love autumn, and this yearly, countrywide, celebration epitomises all the beauty and bounty of the season as far as I am concerned. Plus I love it that Apple Day events actually spread out over several days – so, depending where you are, you can get to at least one.

We had a smashing event on the reserve, lots of traditional games, trails, orchard talks, stories, tasting, planting and cooking tips and, of course, arty stuff.

apple day

There was Apple Printing (very popular with toddlers, bam bam bam!) with extra printed ‘appley’ poems and words for older children to embellish their work with.

apple print pictures

We made an apple game –a simple blockade game called horseshoe- a bit like noughts and crosses. The visitors (even grandpas) liked it even more once they worked out the winning move. There were several “Ta Da” moments when the penny dropped!

apple games

We used disks of apple wood to make coasters and pendants with (sawn from branches cut from last years poor old dead tree- but much better than burning them).

I apologise for this poor photo; it was the only one, a shame because some were lovely. The green cylinders are laundry “softener” bottle tops with thin foam shapes stuck on as print blocks.
apple circles

Then there were hanging apple decorations; super easy and endlessly variable. I will post a tutorial on this idea (later on!) as it would adapt to Christmassy shapes too.

paper apples

Lastly, local orchards supplied masses of traditional English apple varieties for tasting and local supermarkets donated apple juice for sampling. (Very popular!)

apple tasting

Sadly no cider LOL, probably not a good idea anyway in combination with all the children, paint and water.

In true British fashion it was wet and windy but we were all very cosy inside the barn.

I am not sure the story teller in his yurt felt too cosy, poor man; we had to thaw him out with hot tea…

A good day.

apple day view outside

Happy New Year

Well I can’t believe another year has passed zip zap!

So many things not finished… sigh

hey, a new year.. so many things to start LOL

but for now Happy New Year and do look back at my last (first!) blog year if you like.

I’m not making resolutions but I am going to try to blog more frequently- or at least more regularly; the long gaps mean things get passed by as something else happens!

FOR EXAMPLE “here is one I prepared earlier” THAT NEVER GOT FINISHED AND POSTED UP. I would like to use it as it is a good way for me to remember a start of a project. ( so, sorry, but I’m going to inflict it on you too)!

This is the first publisher template I made for the matchbox accordion booklets. I’ve adapted it a few times now but at the time I felt very pleased with myself! It has made new ones much quicker.

It also shows me how much I can prevaricate and get sidetracked! ( cue; sidetrack)

My favourite author Terry Pratchett has a bit in one of his books where he describes ideas as sleeting through the universe- sometimes the best idea “hits” the wrong brain and is wasted; other times there is a lightbulb moment for some bright spark!

This idea so resonates with me; I often feel like I am standing ( or to be honest, more probably sitting) under a veritable rainstorm of ideas- sorting them out and getting a proper solid hit to work with has always been a problem. I like the metaphor of all the randomly crashing, sleeting, rain better than butterflies fluttering. It feels much more like what happens to me at times. It stops me actually finishing so many things- I prove concept and then get distracted by the next thing.

Of course sometimes I just can’t be inspired, or bothered, (impatient and lazy?) Know thyself! 🙂

Anyhow here is a sequence taken which to me shows how I work things out ; or how i should not to do it if i ever want to finish it!
!Idea! This well known rhyme “Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home, your house is on fire your children are flown”.

Firstly a 3D paper house using my bag/box/house fold. I wanted it all as one piece but the flames are added separately on these rather scruffy tryouts. [idea 1]

wonkygiraffe origami house

Then messing about with a little paper doll [idea2]

WonkyGiraffe paper dolls

Then I think it would go well in a matchbox (at this point I had done only the doll and beetles in them) so made a rough working out of layout of the text…

WonkyGiraffe paperdoll

…and decided to try out Publisher.

Much gnashing of teeth ( Publisher was, is a learning curve all by myself!)
but started messing about with seductive clip art [ ideas3 and 4] Oooo, great fun.

WonkyGiraffe Accoridion zigzag books

Covered a matchbox with fortuitous tiny scrap from friend quilting leftovers and thought about maybe using my nice vintage ladybird or house buttons. [idea5]
WonkyGiraffe vintage ladybird buttons

Which led to the idea to use even- more- tiny scraps as individual ladybird children (as can’t bear to waste such an apt bounty) glued onto card with threads so they can dangle..! [no.6]

WonkyGiraffe ladybird fabric

Then had idea to make mini fabric ladybird ( like Agatha beetles ).[idea7]
Tried it but at about an inch long a bit frustratingly fiddly- so not really happy with it and left that.
WonkyGiraffe miniature ladybirds

I also made up some individual booklets for my cousins’ children, with their names in the text and the – second verse ( more clip art fun and games)[no 8]

Abandoned whole boxful to do other rhymes.!!!

I did actually finish baa baa black sheep ( but there is a similar abandoned boxful of other ideas for that too!).

Hmm.

But today I feel like doing the ladybird one again- can’t find the energy to start anything completely new- even if it is New Years day!

Watch this space- I may actually finish one.

Little Owl and others

At last I have finished (one of at least) the little owl matchbox zigzag accordions.

Little Owl Matchbox

The idea was to have a little character that can be moved from page to page as you read the story ( or poem ).

Zig Zag Accordion

Little Owl bookmark

This one is my own, but I have ideas for some other texts too. I have previously spent ages ( in small doses ) typing in Publisher to get the text formatted. It’s not Shakespeare – nor even a haiku, but I wanted 8 sentences so it neatly fits two booklets on an A4 sized sheet.

Sixteen pages are about the limit to fit inside the matchbox in lightweight card. I like to use this as it gives a crisp action to the accordion- but sometimes I have to use paper to fit more in ( as in the dark dark book , blogged here ).

WonkyGiraffe Accordiaon Book in a Matchbox

Sometimes there is an object in the bottom ( a mini owl stuffie is planned for the next one ) but this time I made a fold out nest to pop little owl in.

Little Owl in Matchbox

I still have lots of ideas; so there is a production line of sorts making a mess as it expands from the storage box, but it is under some sort control now. Here are some pictures of it all as a work in progress today.

I found a remnant of brocade woven as a colour test piece; perfect, as there are several strips just wide enough for a matchbox in just the right “bark looking” colours. I have forced myself to cover a handful so they will be ready when I do the next accordions (see- production economies of scale!)

Matchboxes

With this one I have gone for embellishing “print variation A”- (there are lots!) which has some line drawings done directly in Publisher, with pencil and wax crayon. I used some old ‘texture plates’ (children’s’ plastic ones) to get some interesting surface finishes along with the lovely soft Lyra pencils.

Colouring ZigZag Little Owl Matchbox story

The owl is one printed from one of several stamps I made out of some recycled scrap foam stuff. It is actually a little bigger, as it was originally made for the illusion rollers (for a movie workshop, and the owl funpack). I printed some with ink in the normal way, then I scanned them to resize and print them onto the zig zag.

Little Owl Story

The little owl was made in the same way, then cut out and backed with some teeny scraps of a vintage “it-looks-like-an-owl” fabric left over from the owl sew a softie kits! You can just see it in the photo with the pencils.

Phew! After typing and reading through all that I can’t believe I bothered! Completely time wasting, but it was actually fun to do. The next ones will be quicker!
Ha!
At least this one can go in the shop now.

Little Owl Matchbox FINISHED

Looks a bit worried about that doesn’t he?

Giving Birth

I wrote this a few weeks ago; and didn’t publish it, because I needed to look for the photos. I just found it scribbled on some scrap paper, and thought I really should just post it up anyway, because today is my last little baby’s birthday.

It was pretty traumatic at the time as I had eclampsia and she was 6 weeks early. Delivered by a real, full on emergency, “emergency caesarean” in the nick of time to save both our lives. A real little 3pound 6oz miracle. I didn’t get to see her for a day , so I didn’t feel like I had a baby at all until I did; anyway I guess it explains some of the feelings I have about creating. Hmm interesting…

It was some Spanish friends who gave her her first nickname “Muñequita”( Little dolly)!

My other babies arrived in a more normal fashion – also miracles of course, but just in a more normal way. LOL

So here it is:

When you make a creature – and you get to the last bit where you turn it right-side out, complete, that always feels (to me) like it’s being born then!
I know, nothing like as full on as really giving birth LOL.

However when I see the raggy object pop out of its bundle into something resembling a creature of some kind… well it feels like it has arrived – been born if you like. Of course it needs filling; or button eyes or something; but that moment when I see what I have made for the first time, right side out and all the bits attached, is when the thing becomes a creature, for me. I’m pretty sure I am not the only one who thinks like this. 🙂

Yesterday I “birthed” 4 pegbag creatures, the day before three “Owls”. Phew.

At least no actual pain involved with these babies!

Anyway; Happy Birthday Little Dolly.

Birthday Books

Just another thought; birthday books… in a box of course!
Instead of a card.

I enjoy making these little accordion books fitted into matchboxes. I have beaten “publisher” into submission (on this at least- it still smirks from its lair) so I have a template the right size to work on. It makes it easy now, when I have a new idea to get it done straight away. It is actually quite good to be restricted by the page size when planning out the placement of words or stanzas (that focus thing again). I’ve been working on making nursery rhymes and stories and a little owl ; but recently did some “special birthday” ones and I thought they may be good for the shop, as custom options…

Here are some I prepared earlier… 21years…of shoes

matchbox book 21 years

21year birthday book

birthday book

shoes - birthday matchbox book

and lots of ducks!

ducks matchbox birthday book

yellow ducks concertina accordian

yellow ducks green matchbox birthday book

yellow ducklings

yellow duck feather trim

(it was a long story!)
Any thoughts welcome…

Well – Tinkerbell did go to the ball, or Never Never Land…

Fairy Dress

The dress was a success, and has therefore moved off the ***(insert expletive of choice) *** sewing list, to the “I made it, yeah!” list.

sewing machine

green net

Just a tip, if using a (stretchy) leotard as a base for a (gathered and stiff) tutu, looks like a good idea; make sure the model is on hand to fit it on at all times! Otherwise you need a willing pair of hands to hold it into stretched mode whilst you fight with the gathers to pin them on. Not to mention while you herringbone petal points all round.
Such fun! Not really. More a labour of love.
The shoes were a labour of love too, but much more fun and we all agree looked fabulous. If only you could wear shoes like this everyday… then we would all feel like Tinkerbell.

TinkerBell Shoes

pompom shoes

I hand crocheted the pompoms with eyelash yarn. They were made as little spheres and then I stuffed them; I think they worked better then normal pompoms but eyelash yarn is weird to work with, in the end I was going on blind faith because I could hardly see the stitches for fronds…

And then…

There were some lovely left overs – lots of bits of bright green sparkly net (tulle) and beads. Some of the bits of net (those not trodden ALL around the house) were put to good use in the last event – “Trees”.

We had tree sprites, leaf bowls and lollypop trees.

The latter two were made with leaf rubbings from real leaves collected onsite. All pleasantly eco minded – the leaves were placed under old envelopes and rubbed with crayons to get the imprint of their veins; the beautiful patterns looked great against the blue print inside the envelopes.

green leaf rubbing

envelope rubbed leaves

The “bowls” were lots of bits of packing card from Ikea, helpfully cut into cross shaped disks!
They use them to protect stacked china bowls, so it was quite nice to give them a new life as bowls themselves.

card leaf trimmed box

leafy bowl

We also made miniature trees with the imprints and wooden twigs and sticks;

wooden tree

but my favourite was the tree sprites. I have always loved making little dolls from found natural “found objects” and also from wooden clothes pegs. This time they were both combined and the children made some gorgeous little creatures.

tree sprite

green peg sprite

clothespin sprite

Met a nice lady on Folksy – we swapped lantern ideas, her illustrated calico ones are one of those “simple-but-oh-so-effective-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that-before” ideas.

http://folksy.com/items/519253-tealight-jar-cover

It made me think of making my paper lace lantern with stiffened fabric – hmmm watch this space.
And
I’ve sold another fabric beetle.

Alexander Beetle Pin Cushion

And a Beetle Matchbox too.

I have always loved A. A. Milne’s poem “Forgiven” about a little boy who has a pet beetle which his nursemaid accidentally liberates from its matchbox. I did a workshop with this poem and bug in a box idea and I enjoyed it so much I went on to make my own version (slightly more refined LOL). This is what the children made:-

Beetle Orange Box

Orange Beetle Box

And this is what I made:-

Beetles

WonkyGiraffe Alexander Beetle Box

I was pleased with the nice quiver on the beetle when the box is opened.

Beetle Box

Making the Beetle Matchbox was a bit of a side trip from the matchbox accordion I am working on now, a Dark-Dark-Story.

DarkDark story matchbox

DarkDark matchbox WonkyGiraffe

Yes I know Mary-Mary etc still unfinished but I was inspired by Halloween…

Yes I know that has past… but I was on a roll, and it is nearly finished. Anyhow it is a story book “not just for Halloween but for life”.

My Nan told it to me; and everyone goes “oh – yes…” when I mention it. So I think it’s fairly well known. I will try to get it listed today Here it is. . Then maybe I will have time to get on and finish the other two.

I love prints of all kinds; and the print making process.

I think it is the all- the- same- but- all -different bit that gets me…

Looking at various artists work I enjoy seeing how different colourways of the same set of lines and shapes affect the look of the finished image. I like monochrome and colours- simple and detailed, all sorts of print and processes. From a more philosophical point of view I think I’m drawn to the suddenness of it, the irrevocable mark. No matter how long it takes to conceive of the block- and the time it takes to create it- once the ink or paint is on, there is that “bam” moment (ok , sometimes more than one, I know).

But the thing is it is done.
No alteration.
You can do another one if you don’t like it
You can do another one if you do like it
You can do another one to try another effect
Bam Bam Bam!
Love it!

Children love it too; and I love the “Oh look! Another one – another one -and-another one….” Realisation that they can make the mark they have created over and over again. Magic!
While drawing is sometimes hard to feel happy with- printing is such a simple joy.

bam bam bam. Look what I can do!

After an unfortunate incident with linocutting during ‘A level’ art, I went off printmaking for years. So most of my printing has been on this simple level; with children as the excuse to do it.
Lots of “this is a sample “efforts that I secretly want to keep- even if it they are in poster paint.
Like these “I made earlier” ! (a classic Blue Peter children’s’ TV quote for those of you not grown up in the UK)

printed birds

I made them when we had no photocopier at the environment centre- people were always asking for colouring pages. So I printed these with paint, for them to colour in.

printed bird

printed bird

They are made with cut out sticky-backed foam, on cardboard. The foam was (I think) a kind of gasket; an unusable / left over industrial product from a scrapstore. I just cut out the shape directly into it with scissors as it is quite thin. ( Good job it too, because I was later challenged to produce a helicopter and a footballer! ) It is very useful!
Then I made these when the actual printing was so appealing they wanted to have a go!

printed painted bird

printed painted bird

We did birds, trees, birds in trees… great fun.
Later on, on “Apple Day” we printed apple pictures with real apples ( only the ones we could not eat because they were unripe etc. ). More about this when I have some pictures from Apple Day at the reserve, later this month.

Which brings me to a handy tip for those of you who are uncertain about the paint/ children/ home furnishings combo, and clearing up.
You put the very slightly thinned paint ( ordinary poster/school paint ) onto a *plate and cover it with a thin sheet of sponge foam ( mine is from motherboard packing boxes) . You hold down the sponge with a grid of sellotape or elastic bands across the edges; so it stays put. This can then be used as a giant printing pad or with brushes instead of a paint pot. I will get some pictures of this – it sounds more trouble then it looks.

I’ve had a table set out with these for a whole weekend “drop in” event- and hardly ANY cleaning up!

*You can use ceramic plates or even paper disposable ones if it is for a one off event ( but you need to make sure these don’t get too soggy ). If you cover them with cling film between sessions they will last for a few days too!

So no excuses now! LOL

and no excuses for me to do some printing, thanks for the encouragement Chantal.

Cozy Frenzy

Very busy with a lot going on – more real blog later – but just for now because I have the photos ready, some earbud cosy pictures for my new listings
http://wonkygiraffe.folksy.com

They are fun to do !
Ideas just keep popping up, there will probably be wheels tomorrow – Singapore Grand Prix !

I need to amend the pattern for them as well… to include the little leaf widget.

cosies

Wonky Giraffe dennis menace cosy nests

wonkygiraffe earbud cosy nest

firework cosy

A gorgeous scrap worked really well.

firework wool

This one is very stretchy; a kind of boucle with a retro colour scheme.

pebble cosy

And of course some seasonal fare:-
pumpkin cozies

halloween cosy in ivy

Peepo…

smiley orange cosy

And because these are yummy
Liquorice Allsorts

liquorice  allsort cosy

pink liquorice cozy

Butterfly Days

I’ve been working on lots of things – at the same time as usual. It’s a wonder I ever finish anything. I was reading on another blog about limiting the creative theme to focus the creativity; but when I have a theme my brain immediately zips about with lots of different variations or uses for it. I can’t help it; and it makes finishing things so hard. As fast as I start something and prove concept, I have another idea; and then it is tedious to work on one thing when I’m itching to see what I can do with something else. Especially as, like most of us, I usually have to put it down in mid flow, to “do life”. This is why I am so often in a paper, wool and fabric chaos zone- one I have a definite love- hate relationship with. Sometimes I long for a nice normal uncluttered home- but a soon as I approach this holy grail… in starts to creep another muddle as I try to “just finish off this”.

For example yesterday- an “at home day”; having excavated my table the day before.
Started in the morning- over breakfast.
Decided to get on with the nursery rhyme boxes which I’ve been dying to do since I sold the Baa Baa Black Sheep one.

Got out “Mary had a little lamb”.
Remembered where I had got to.

Mary had a Little Lamb

Remembered the look I wanted for Mary – got out old needlecraft book to refresh my memory of the crinoline look.

crinoline

Cut out Mary, roughly.

Mary

Realize she is totally out of scale with the lamb.
Remember him? He had a little side trip when I did the lamb jars.

lamb

So; also realized the crinoline Mary was for a “Mary Mary Quite Contrary” box!

The other style matchbox doll (here in my shop) had been my original thought – but I think her vintage pantaloon undies short circuited my memory to ‘crinoline effect’ and mixed it all up.

doll

Bother.
So redid lamb smaller anyway, as quite liking the crinoline Mary and getting on well – end in sight.
Took some photos as I am trying to get on top of this blogging-as-you-go thing. ( Sorry, they’re a bit dim; dull day. )
Decided to photo the crochet from night before while I was at it – pumpkin cosies.

cosy collection

See how this distraction thing happens…?
Peep Po!

pumpkin

nests

smiley face

orange

Waylaid by Mr. WG’s arrival and second breakfast cuppa!

Then, necessary housework. 😦

During tidying decided to prep evening ‘easy to do TV project’ while I was as it and the light was good enough in the “wool mine” (AKA spare room).

So sorted out some tiny balls of weird and wonderful marl boucle etc. that are lovely but only big enough crocheting for tiny objects (i.e. cosy, finally something to use them for!).

Daughter arrived for Tinkerbelle outfit and party planning.

Green dye session to dye purchased leotard from white to Tinkerbelle green ( win some; loose some. No need to cut out fitted underbody / need to have dye bath in kitchen sink for couple of hours).

Meanwhile… made some Peter Pan silhouettes to hang from party ceiling!

Fitted Tinkerbelle overdress dress toile in old net curtain ( handy in the hall in a designated “really do not need; to leave the premises” pile ) but it did come in useful after all.

– Fits. Yeah! Relief.

*worked out pompom for shoes- persuaded her old satin shoes better than new ditto for partying in. Or messing up with pompoms.

Dinner.

TV and bit of mindless crochet ( preparation paid off – yeah ) – some more cosies from bag of nice wool.

Made two!

Fell into bed!

This morning … Oh dear!

Tink stuff still in hall by big mirror (fitting remember)!

Mary the lamb, 3 pumpkin cosies and the two marley ones, all sitting on my table reproachfully!
One pumpkin at a jaunty angle on Shelly doll’s head – courtesy: tinkerbell!

Shelly

Hmm; she looks a bit like I felt by the end of yesterday…

So I’ve typed this over breakfast. Badly.

Wonder when I’ll post it… 🙂

Anyone else have this sort of day?

It is fun though! Wonder what I’ll do today…

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