Card, sweet card

It’s very rare that I make a card that doesn’t involve any cross stitch whatsoever, mostly because I feel like my plain old hand made cards just aren’t as good. I’m not all that talented at card making, so I tend to let an awesome cross-stitched picture do most of the talking. But occasionally I will be struck by inspiration, or I’ll want to make someone a hand-made card but just won’t have the time to stitch something to go on it.

In this case, it was a bit of both. Loads of Post Pals and siblings have their birthdays this month, and there just isn’t going to be time to stitch a card for all of them (especially since I should really have stitched at least a few designs for Christmas cards by now!). With the sixteenth birthday of one of the pals coming up, I knew I wanted to do something with sweet sixteen. Then I remembered some buttons I had that looked just like the tops of lollipops. And so this sweet card was born…

pink sixteenth birthday card

Usually when I make cards they don’t turn out the way I imagined them, but this time I’m actually quite proud of what I came up with!

In case you’re wondering, no I’m not that good at writing… the “Sweet” was made using a stencil and “Sixteen” involved a printer, tracing paper and more luck than skill 😉

If you want more card-making inspiration, check out this one Kezzie made by recycling one element of a different card. Very clever (and good for the environment too!).

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In which I attempt to do something different with my cross stitch

Some time around November last year it suddenly occurred to me that I could branch out from card making and use little cross stitch designs to make brooches. So I bought some brooch backs from the Internet and promptly became so busy with Christmas cards that the idea of making anything else went completely out of my head. At the weekend, I rediscovered the brooch backs and decided to give it a go…

From a distance it looks alright (particularly if the photo is nice and blurry… sorry about that). I pinned it on a cushion for the second photo to get an idea of what it would look like in use.

How about a close up?

daisy-brooch3

Hmm. The sharp-eyed among you may notice my not really even stitching and the badly cut edges of the Aida (the fabric the pattern is cross stitched on).

Turn over…

  1. The brooch back thing was supposed to be in the middle. Why isn’t it in the middle?
  2. The stitching on the little strip of felt that’s covering the brooch back is awful! Note to self: stitch that little strip on before sewing the two bits of felt together.
  3. The sharp-eyed among you may notice that the strip of felt isn’t even covering all of the stitching that’s holding the brooch back on, thus completely defeating its purpose.

Apart from all that, it’s not bad for a first attempt 😉

Now I just have eleventy million brooch backs to somehow use up. (Well, 99 anyway…)

Welcome to Night Vale: The Librarian

The entire point of our trip to Paris was to see a live show of the podcast Welcome to Night Vale. The title of the show they’re currently performing in Europe is The Librarian. I went with Jan and my friend K, who is the one that first got us into it. Amazingly I was the one who told her about the European shows though! All the performances in Germany were either too far away (Hamburg!) or in the middle of the week, but Paris is only 3 hours from us and the show was on a Friday, meaning only one day off was needed. Perfect!

For those of you who don’t know the podcast, a brief summary. Night Vale is a desert community somewhere in America (presumably the south-west – that’s where all the seserts are, right?). The premise of the podcast is that it’s community radio, so each podcast contains things like the community calendar, traffic, local news and announcements  about things that are happening in town, all read out by narrator Cecil (voiced by Cecil Baldwin). But all is not as it seems in Night Vale. For instance, there are angels… or at least beings claiming to be angels and a dog park that neither dogs nor humans are allowed to enter. Also, beware of helicoptors, librarians and hooded figures. Basically listen to it! It’s free to download, so at least go and get the pilot. If you don’t like it, you haven’t wasted any money.

As I’ve said, the show we went to see was entitled The Librarian. I won’t tell you too much about what happens because a recording will be released at some point in the future, and also the tour isn’t even over yet! I will, however, say this much: it all starts when the town council decides to renovate the public library and one of the librarians gets loose. Also, creator Joseph Fink shows up as new intern Joseph… and we all know what happens to interns! Seeing Night Vale live was an amazing experience. The shows are always good, but Cecil’s facial expressions and gesticulations added a whole extra dimension. In fact, everyone did a great job (other performers included former mayor Pamela Winchell, who called a press conference (what else?) right in the studio and Deb as one of Night Vale’s sponsors, played by Meg Bashwiner better known as the voice of the credits). Here are some photos of the show:

The weather was performed by Mary Epworth, a British singer-songwriter who I liked a lot.

There were quite a few people with the Night Vale moon drawn on them or extra eyes, but there were also some really good costumes. One of my favourites was an excellent girl scout! Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of her, although Jan did get one of a different girl scout. K went as the glow cloud, and was quite rightly hailed/worshipped all night. I think every single audience member wanted a photo either of or with her! I went as Tamika Flynn (as I’ve already mentioned) and was very disappointed by how few people actually knew what I was supposed to be! Especially considering Tamika is one of the few characters who is actually described even vaguely. And you would have thought the librarian head would have given it away! Most people only understood after I showed them my sticker chart, which had “my” name on it. One group of hooded figures actually thought I was supposed to be a librarian, which was a bit weird! Here are a few photos anyway (some taken by me, some by Jan). I have included one of K which I hope gives a good enough impression of her costume without revealing her identity too much (yes, I know it seems hypocritical to care about that considering I’m using photos of a bunch of strangers, but being strangers it’s less likely that people will figure out who they are via me!)

At the end of the show, we hung around for a bit waiting for the performers to come out. I bought a CD by Mary Epworth, which she signed for me, then eventually Cecil Baldwin and Joseph Fink showed up. I got them to sign my ticket (Cecil also signed my sticker chart) and got a photo with each of them. They were both lovely 🙂

After the show, we decided to go for a drink with two other girls we had met there. One we met in the queue (she came over to meet the glow cloud) and she ended up sitting with us and the other we met after the show when she wanted a photo with K. Appropriately enough, she was wearing a glow cloud T-shirt. All in all, it was an excellent night and I’m glad we went. It being on Halloween was just an added touch of brilliance. If there is ever another tour of Europe, I would definitely think about going!

You can download all the episodes of Welcome to Night Vale here or also on iTunes.

Preoccupied

It’s been days since I last blogged! So much for my resolution to update more often… But there’s something else that’s been keeping me busy. Something I can’t walk past without feeling compelled to sit down for just a minute (and it’s sitting in the living room, which is between our bedroom and the room the computer’s in, so I walk past it a lot). A minute is never long enough though, I get absorbed and am overtaken by the determination to actually achieve something. The next thing I know, hours have passed!
What am I talking about?

It’s a jigsaw puzzle! Not the most productive use of my time (especially when I should be cleaning the kitchen…), but at least it keeps me busy while Jan is away, yet again! Normal blogging service shall resume as soon as I’ve fitted the last piece 😉

All crafted out

Today was Reunification Day (Tag der deutschen Einheit), Germany’s national holiday, which meant my office was closed. ABout time a holiday fell on a useful day! A long weekend is never to be sneezed at. I decided to seize my extra day off and take the opportunity to get some crafting done ready for my auction – which I promise to actually explain to you all one of these days. I now have a grand total of eleven cards. For those of you who couldn’t believe I was starting on Christmas cards in September, now you know why. I am slow! I really must get on with things though, if I want to make all the Christmas cards to send to my family as well. Have I taken on too much, I wonder? I’m actually quite proud of a few of my cards. I’m definitely getting better at this creativity lark – surprising really, seeing as I had absolutely no talent for art at school. I’ve grown up knowing that my sister was the artistic one. The intelligent one as well, come to think of it. I wonder which one that makes me?
I’m planning on making some more cards after work one evening this week. For now though, I’m all crafted out. I shall dream of glitter tonight, I’m sure! At least that will be better than dreaming about being pregnant, which I have twice recently. And no, I am not before anyone gets any ideas!!

Here’s one I made earlier…

I was asked to upload some of my handmade cards to this blog (only by one person, as I recall, but I was still asked!) and now that Jan has sorted it out so the compter will recognise my camera again when I plug it in – which it had randomly decided to stop doing – I can actually deliver on my promise and show me what’s been keeping me away from the blogosphere for most of the past two months. Hope you like them!

Teddy bear greeting card with hand-stitched balloon
Wedding card

Make a Wish card

I also branched out and decided to make some keyrings, which  actually worked out better than I expected.

Some of this stuff is already for sale in my friend’s online shop, other’s will be coming soon. And there’s some amazing stuff in there made by other people. You really should check it out! It’s all for a good cause (Tiny Lives) and in memory of a very special little girl. And it would make me ridiculously happy if someone other than my mother were to actually buy something I’d made! Check out http://www.artfire.com/users/MyStarEllie today!

Busy, but happy

If you’d told me a couple of years ago that one day I’d be rushing home each night excited to try out my latest idea for a handmade greeting card I would probably have laughed at you. I was never the artistic one in my family – that role being reserved for my sister, who was well on her way to an excellent grade for A-Level art until she decided to drop out of sixth form. I, on the other hand, dropped art as soon as I was allowed – much to the relief of my long-suffering teacher. Stick men are the extent of my drawing skills! So it’s somewhat surprising to me that not only do I enjoying making my own greeting cards but, actually, I’m not all that bad it. At least I’ve had no complete disasters so far, and I’ve even managed one or two that I’m actually proud of.  Who could ever have imagined that this crafting business might actually be fun? I’ve even started branching out into jewellery! Not that I’ve done much with that yet.  So far I’ve only managed to make a couple of pairs of earrings and I’m currently waiting for more equipment to arrive, but once it does I shall get down to the jewellery making in earnest! I could seriously imagine dedicating a large part of my life to this making stuff for charity lark! The only problem is, I am now physically incapable of passing the stationary shops without popping in to look at the pretty paper. And of course I can never resist taking a couple of sheets with me. Then there’s the shop that sells the beads. And, of course, DaWanda, which is pretty much the German version of Etsy. Lots of materials there for both card making and jewellery making. And I can pay via PayPal, which is quite frankly dangerous! I really must start restraining myself, otherwise I’ll be finding myself completely broke before even one bill has been paid from my wages each month. Ooops!

We’re off to England for a long weekend tomorrow (my cousin is getting married), so my creativity shall have to be put on hold for a couple of days, but once I return I’ll be getting straight back into it. In between arranging my FSID tea party of course. So much to do! But when it’s all stuff I enjoy I really don’t mind not having a spare moment (my poor flat might disagree though, if it could talk! If my grandma could see my kitchen floor she’d have a fit!)