Thursday, 29 September 2011

Photography Challenge Week #10

Once again it's time for the 20-week photography challenge over at A Step In The Journey. I can't believe it's week 10 already!

For various reasons I've not been that much into photography this week, but here's what I came up with for week 10's theme, hands.

I couldn't decide which of them to post! My middle sister had her boyfriend over, so I accosted both of them (along with my youngest sister) to become hand models! 
Since hands are always in use, I wanted to make the shots as natural as possible and not look posed. 

Next week's theme is 'something orange' house and surrounding area are probably the least orange places in existence, so finding orange will be a challenge! Hee hee.

Friday, 23 September 2011

For My Next Trick...

...I shall transform a tree into a piece of coral!

Over the course of clearing out our attic (a task still unfinished!) we had several ‘junk’ bags--filled with bits and pieces from play sets and toys long gone, broken toys, etc.
Being a total scavenger I rummaged through it all and hooked a whole bunch of items that had some potential!

One of those items was this:

As far as I know, it’s a Playmobil tree, from a set that belonged to my sister. The rest of the Playmobil was sent to a charity shop a long time ago; this was a leftover piece.

‘If this was white,’ I thought, ‘it would look like one of those awesome bits of faux coral I keep seeing all over the internet.’

Off I went to Wilkinson to pick up some spray paint, brought it home and over the course of the day, gave the tree several layers of paint:

Whilst I would have preferred a matte finish, the white seemed too stark a colour, so I ended up buying cream spray paint instead.

The whole point of this exercise was to make a necklace, so the next step was to add a bail. The tree had a hole in the bottom that turned out to be the perfect size for a greek spring with a hook on the end.

I put some glue on the greek spring and pushed it into the hole. After that I wound some fine-gauge wire around the bottom of the tree (which would become to top of the necklace) and added a jump ring to the hook on the greek spring.

After sliding the pendant onto a piece of suede cord, I cut it to length...

...and added some cord ends and a clasp to finish off!

Et voila!

Linking up to all the fab link parties in the sidebar =D


Thursday, 22 September 2011

Photography Challenge Week #9

It's week 9 of the photography challenge over at A Step in the Journey!

This week the theme was a mess.

I struggled with this one a little bit since I've been busy tidying recently!

But I hit on an idea on a trip to the hairdresser and came up with this:


Following on from last week's black and white challenge, I found that this image looked better in black and white than in colour! 

I had a whole heap of hair cut off on Tuesday; I chose a shorter cut than I've ever had before. There was so much hair on the floor it was hard to believe it had all come off my head!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Longfellow's Facelift

A while ago I bought a rather abused copy of Longfellow’s Complete Poetical Works.
Despite the damage to the cover, the pages are all intact and beautifully printed. The book itself bears an inscription dated 1900!
But reading this book without getting covered in debris from the cracked spine is impossible, and the cover is slowly getting more and more destroyed...

Terrible, huh?

The back cover is half ripped off--the previous owner obviously didn’t think much of Longfellow’s poetry!

I wanted to protect this poor neglected book and decided the best method of doing this would be to make a book cover!

Pin It

Then I remembered the fabric samples I have, which I posted about a while ago:

First off, I measured the book and added ten centimetres to the width, for the fold-over.
Selecting the most usable pieces of fabric, I laid them out (upside down) how I wanted the cover to look and pinned them together to make a piece larger than the measurements of the book:

Then I wrapped the pinned fabric around the book to check it was a good fit.

There wasn’t enough of an overlap inside the front and back cover, so I added strips of off-cut fabric left over when I sewed the pieces together:

I used some cotton left over from a past project to make a lining. The fabric wasn’t very wide, so I sewed together two strips of it!
Once I sewed the outer and lining together, I turned the cover the right way and closed the open end. After that I wrapped the cover around the book again to check for fit, pinned the fold-over in place, and (after removing from the book!) I sewed everything into place:

Now my once-sad book is wrapped all snug in its book cover!
I messed up a little on the back; it seems velvety fabrics aren’t the best choice for this kind of project!

For a first attempt, I think this turned out fairly well!

I think the fabrics really fit the feel of the book and Longfellow’s poetry!

To round this post off, I’ll share one of my favourite of Longfellow’s poems (not that I’ve read them all yet--am only part of the way through the book!)

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Take them, O Death! And bear away,
Whatever thou canst call thine own!
Thine image, stamped upon this clay,
Doth give thee that, but that alone!

Take them, O Grave! And let them lie
Folded upon thy narrow shelves,
As garments by the soul laid by,
And precious only to ourselves!

Take them, O great Eternity!
Our little life is but a gust
That bends the branches of thy tree
And trails its blossoms in the dust!

Linking up at the fabulous link parties in my sidebar!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Photography Challenge Week #8

This week's theme for the photography challenge over at A Step in the Journey was Black & White.

Here's my shot for the week:

Eyes in the Woods

I spent most of my A-Level photography course shooting in black and white since my year group just missed out on photography courses embracing modern technology (i.e. digital cameras!). Conversely, my younger sister was able to shoot nearly all her photography coursework using a compact digital camera and was allowed to do as much photoshopping as she liked!
I felt a little ripped off at the time!
Now, I'm glad I had the opportunity to learn to develop film and print photographs manually! It's true that I've forgotten important things such as the amount of stop, developer, and fix needed, but at the time it was a handy skill to have (and saved me a fortune in film processing costs!)

Monday, 12 September 2011

Travel: Spain

I previously blogged photographs from a trip to Egypt. This time I’d like to share some photographs from a few trips to Spain.

I’ve been to a few places in Spain--Barcelona, Elche, La Coruña, Cadiz and Palma! This is certainly a country with a lot of beautiful architecture, which is pretty much the theme of the photographs I wish to share today.

This is at Montserrat in Catalonia. We took a tour up to the Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery there, where the Virgin of Montserrat is housed.
I seem to remember there was some significance in the plants growing outside, but don’t recall what this was!
I bought a beautiful red-beaded rosary in the gift shop here; at six euros it was surprisingly cheap!
The line to see the Virgin of Montserrat was a long one that wound through the areas of the monastery that were open to the public. It's a lovely building and the wait was filled with curiosity and excitement to see the famous artefact.

This is Elche; close to the beautiful Municipal Gardens. On this trip we went to a shoe factory (yay, shoes!) so I didn’t take many pictures. However, this scene struck me as particularly exotic with its palm trees, banana trees, the pale stone and the gushing water. It was pretty warm that day and I was sorely tempted to run through that!

As for the rest of these photographs, I’m not entirely sure (my holiday photos were jumbled up long ago!) but I think they are all of Palma.



As you might have guessed, I have a thing about religious architecture. It’s so beautifully done!
I’ve got lots of photographs somewhere of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, but if I ever post them it will be in a separate post. So much detail has been placed into the construction and design of that building!

Finally, whilst it isn’t a church, cathedral or similar, this dental practice in Palma caught my eye!


Friday, 9 September 2011

Tutorial: Religion Bracelet

Due to both impulsive buying and people wise to my crafty ways, I have a lot of beads, charms and other jewellery-related bits and bobs floating around my room.

So when I saw a gorgeous bracelet on Forever 21’s website, I found something I just had to make my own version of!
Here’s mine:

And here’s theirs:

Religious Charm Bracelet, was £9.99 now £7.49, 21 Men @ Forever 21

Forever 21’s version is so gorgeous, but chances are with it being a men’s bracelet, it would slip over my hand.

Naturally - realising I had everything I needed to make my own version - I got cracking and made the bracelet at the top of this post!

I took pictures along the way too, so I could show you guys how to make a religious charm bracelet of your own! 

Time needed: 10-15 minutes (approx)

You’ll need:
2 x religious charms
5 x split rings
2 x crimps
Bead stringing wire
Round-nosed pliers
Flat-nosed pliers

1. Add a jump ring to each of your charms (if they didn’t come with them pre-attached).

2. Cut a length of bead stringing wire about 3/4 of your wrist measurement. Use a crimp to make a loop on one end, closing the crimp with the flat-nosed pliers, and then attach the clasp to the loop using a jump ring.

3. Thread some beads onto the wire, adding one of your charms around 2/3 of the way through. Stop when you have a length of beads just under half the size of your desired bracelet.

4. Finish off the string of beads by making another loop with the second crimp, as in step 2.

5. Cut a piece of chain the whole desired length of the bracelet. Add a jump ring to the centre link.

6. Join together the two ends of the chain with another jump ring. Using the same jump ring, connect on the second charm and the end of the length of beads.

7. You’re done. Hooray!

Here’s a second bracelet I made using the same method, with just a few changes:

I thought they’d look good worn together!

Hope everyone enjoyed this tutorial! I fully recommend heading over to Forever 21’s website and checking out all their lovely products!

Will be linking up at all the parties in my side bar!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Photography Challenge Week #7

It's that time of the week again!
This week, the theme of the photography challenge over at A Step in the Journey was what you wore today.

I was going to try and create something arty-farty and different, but decided to go for a bit of a self-potrait shot instead, since I totally cheated when 'self potrait' was the theme!

Love My Boots!

This shot was actually a big pain in the bum to get; I had to move a dozen things and set up a tripod, run back and forth between the camera and the box...10 seconds sounds like a lot of time for a self-timer, but not when you're spending those ten seconds running to your position, adjusting your clothes and trying not to look insane... 

 There were a lot of rejected shots this time around!
Run-down of outfit (for anyone that's interested):
White x black polkadot shirt: charity shop
Skin-colour vest top (under shirt): Primark
Gold top: charity shop
Jeans: Marks & Spencer
Boots: New Look

The bracelets are hand made; they're not really visible in the picture but I'll be posting a tutorial soon! 

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Tutorial: Everything Necklace

Got a box or drawer filled with ‘miscellanous’ items? You know the one—filled with keys that no longer have a partner lock, beads and charms left over from old projects, little bits of chain and buttons that fell off clothes so long ago you don’t even have those clothes anymore. 

This is a project great for using up those surplus items to create a statement necklace!
Although time-consuming, this project turns out a really eye-catching accessory; I never fail to gain compliments when I wear mine!

I’m calling it an ‘Everything Necklace’, because it pretty much used everything I could think of that was suitable for necklace-making!

Want one of your own? Go get your box or drawer, turn it out, and check out this how-to.

Time needed: 3-4 hours

You’ll need:
Lots of split rings, assorted sizes (I really mean lots)
Several metres of chain, different styles
Three clasps
Head pins and/or eye pins
Whatever beads, charms, etc you have--I used everything from old charms from childhood necklaces to beads to safety pins and paper clips!

1. Decide on your colour scheme and get together chain, beads, etc to match. I opted for black and silver since I have a lot of bits and pieces in those colours!

2. Cut three 4.5 inch lengths of chain and attach jump rings and clasps thus:
A. Clasp on each end
B. Jump ring on each end
C. Clasp on one end, jump ring on the opposite end

(If you want your necklace to be longer than the one in the picture, cut longer pieces of chain for lengths B and C)

3. Connect the chains together with the clasps to make a triangle, length A at the bottom.

4. Add a 2 inch piece of chain to either side of the necklace. Connect another length of chain between these pieces, beneath length A.

5. Fill up the space between the two 2 inch chains. I added one length of chain for each link in the 2 inch lengths.

6. Use split rings at random places to join the neighbouring lengths together, creating a chain net. I used around 1 split ring for each inch of chain.

7. Add on your bits and pieces until the chain net is completely covered!

In some cases, I attached charms directly to the chain net (using jump rings), in other cases I cut random lengths of chain and added things to them before connecting the chain to the necklace. I also threaded beads onto safety pins and created chains of pins and paper clips. Sometimes I used safety pins to join things onto the necklace, too.

Here’s a list of what I used to decorate my necklace:
Small metal pendants
Tiny old coin
Small keys
Paper clips
Safety pins
Large flat-backed gems/rhinestones
Embellishment from a Christmas cracker
Pleather cord
Broken ring base
Pieces of broken necklace

9. Wear your necklace out and soak in the compliments :)

Will be linking up at the awesome link parties in the sidebar!

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