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Being on pins and needles about The Hobbit

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Hello my lovelies,

I’ve been MIA for the past few days but I have a good excuse.

As some of you know, I’m partial to the odd craft project, but I think I’ve found one that has been consuming most of my free time (not to mention relaxing me into oblivion…).

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Yes, I seemed to have slipped into middle-age and am passionate about cross-stitching, so don’t you dare judge me!

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For those who don’t know what the heck that is, I suggest you check out this tutorial that generally talks you through this easy, not to mention inexpensive, hobby.

Seriously, it’s the most fun I’ve had in ages, with or with out my clothes off and I’d prefer you think I was joking because the alternative is a bit disturbing…

It all started so innocently when I decided to cross-stitch some images I could then glue into a ring of brooch.

Then I moved on to larger designs and now I’m consumed by it.

Imagine me with my thread and canvas, with an Armitage audiobook playing in the background.

Sheer bliss ūüôā

Anyway, you may wonder why I am boring you more than usual and this is the reason:

The Hobbit cross-stitch patterns!

It’s An Unexpected Hobby, the Desolation of Free Time, going There and Back agin with your needle and thread!

Check out this amazing pattern:

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I’ve been honing my skills in the past few days in order to try my hand and this snazzy design.

XStitchMyHeart is selling this amazing pattern of Etsy and I want it my precious!

If that’s not your tumbler of mead, how about this Hobbit design:

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Adorable, no?

Both cost around 3GBP and I don’t know which one I want, so I’m afraid I shall end up trying both… oh, just noticed the seller has a sale on- 3 designs for 6GBP ūüėČ

If you don’t want to spend a penny on patterns, the internet is a wonderful resource for cross-switchers and¬† this Hobbit house stitch pattern is no exception:

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It doesn’t come with a colour legend, but then I think that’s what makes this project fun, although the amount of shades is specifies.

And for something a bit more challenging, how about a 28 different DMC color pattern:

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I’m not ready to slay this particular dragon, I’ll let it sleep deep in my hobby layer…

As I relax with my thread and Richard’s soothing voice, I hope you have a wonderful day too!

Feeling Crafty: Armitage Army Steampunk Card

Armitage Army card 2

I was feeling crafty today.

OK, not enough to actually finish the projects I had abandoned, but I needed something quick, easy and fun.

A while back I had come across this post at Epbot which involved metal tape (aluminum foil tape to be precise), black acrylic paint and plenty of beating and bashing.

Steampunk-licious? Sign me up!

Every so often I send out a card to my fellow Armitage Admirer as way of thanks for something tasty I received from them, but I always struggle to come up with a funky design, or I’m out of cardboard to print it on and so on, so I needed a fun card that was quick to make and purdy ūüėČ

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The biggest challenge was to find that aluminum foil tape.

After checking out some hardware shops (I know, it was scary…) it turned out that it’s used for fireplace isolation stuff, so you should find it in that section.

I also bought “drywall seam tape” which is a fancy name for adhesive mesh thingy and some foam letter stickers so I could lovingly create the “Armitage Army” sign.

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Once I stuck the letters on, I started adding the seam tape and then covered the whole area with the aluminum tape.

The process was OK, word of advice though:

I felt the letters I had used were a bit too small, therefore when I started to push the tape down to make them more visible the tape punctured in a few places.

Maybe had they been a bit bigger, it would have been easier to really get into all the nooks and crannies and they would have been clearer (“m” was particularly challenging…).

I also think you should avoid having tape seams on the letters.

 Armitage Army card

Having said that, the black acrylic paint luckily covered any rips and I did make my card plenty grimy!

I should add that I wasn’t using any professional tools, I was free-styling with the rivet holes and such, so maybe if I had a clay tool, it would have been easier.

Anyway, now I’m thinking about what else I could do:

cards? notebook covers? an image to stick in a frame and hang on the wall?

Have a wonderful day ūüôā

When in doubt, Craft It Out!

There actually wasn’t going to be a post today as nothing has really inspired me in the past few days¬†and the only idea I had was resisting me today, but I will try to tackle it tomorrow.

I figured I might as well share what I’ve been doing and (unfortunately for some) ¬†I’m still feeling crafty.

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As some of you may know, I’ve been trying out making cabochon and resin jewellery for some time, with mixed results.

I’ve been¬†ordering elements from Beads.pl (a Polish¬†online shop) and they’ve been accumulating¬†at an alarming rate in my DIY basket (yup, that’s a thing!), so it was high time I rolled up my sleeves and got to it.

I decided to make a brooch that will be pinned into my new warn autumn coat, and who better to accompany me on my daily¬†duties than Mr Thornton (I’m officially addicted to that image!).

I also opted for a ring with a Tamara Lempicka Art Deco image, a pair of Fairy Pin Up and Roy Lichtenstein earrings and other bits and bobs.

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I had a cabochon for the brooch, but the other pieces are covered with Diamond Glaze which is one tricky mother, let me tell you!

I’ve learned a lot from the last time I made jewellery for RA Vegas Week, so let me share some observations.

The process is quite simple so how can things go so wrong?:

I find the images I like, scale them and print them out on thicker paper.

During RA Vegas¬†Week I used a cream cardboard with tiny ridges, thinking it’d look vintage,¬†¬†but I think that was a bad idea, smooth is best.

Many sites recommend you seal the image with MicroGlaze before you tamper with it, however, it’s actually quite pricey and I question the necessity for it.

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Firstly, by applying it (I use my finger), you are already smudging the print a tad.

Secondly, fluff and dust cling to it, so you end up clearing it off with your finger.

Lastly, I don’t know how long it’s supposed to dry because after an hour (I am very impatient) it was still wet.

After the first batch I abandoned priming the image and there’s no difference, so I’d ditch this step.

Anyway, once the image is printed and primed, you can move on to the next step.

If you’re using a cabochon, glue it to your image, hold it down till it sticks and let it dry.

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If you will be covering¬†your picture¬†with resin, or in my case Diamond Glaze, it’s time for the ultimate mind f*ck, meaning cutting out the image to size.

I usually prepare a template beforehand and then draw out the rough size using a pencil.

It’s important to only trim little bits at a time, you can always shave off more if it doesn’t fit.

What’s important at this stage is to have a needle handy: once the size is almost perfect and¬†just needs a tiny trim, it’s beyond annoying to pull the picture out again.

Once it’s perfect (or in my case, almost perfect) glue the image onto your jewellery.

I use Diamond Glaze, which is also quite expensive, but I heard that any glue that dries transparent will do.

If you’re making a ring, brooch, or anything else that doesn’t lay flat, make sure you think of a way to prop it up.

Seems like a logical idea, and yet last time I ended up applying the resin and THEN thinking how to keep it level (a lemon was the answer).

Now I usually make a tiny tube using cardboard and that holds things in place.

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Once your cabochon dries, it’s time to cut it out, although luckily¬†the glass¬†will cover up any rough edges.

Again, take your time carefully shaving off the edges.

Once that’s done, glue it to the jewellery and Voil√†!! It’s done.

With the other jewellery the mind f*ck¬†fun isn’t over.

Carefully pour the resin / Diamond Glaze onto your image, starting from the centre outwards in a circular motion.

You need to take it slow, but if some bubbles appear, pop them with a needle or, if they are stubborn, push them to the edge (and hope for the best).

Word of warning, bubbles may appear while the Diamond Glaze is drying.

I’d recommend not fiddling with it though, it’s easy to mess up the smooth surface¬†at this stage and bubbles will be the least of your problems.

Once that is done, cover your pieces with a plastic cup so they protected from dust and fluff and wait 12 to 24 hours for them to dry and harden.

It really can be a fickle thing, but I guess that’s what makes it fun, but only if it works.

If it doesn’t it’s frustrating enough to make you tear your hair out!

My favourite from the bunch was the ring with a Tamara Lempicka image:

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On the whole, I think cabochon jewellery is a bit easier and the risk of messing up big time is much lower, having said that all my Thornton silhouette jewellery never comes out quite right.

There’s also something to be said about¬†the glossy¬†simplicity of Diamond Glaze, so it’s tough to call.

The earrings I made are adorable and came out quite well.

¬†I asked an old friend to model them for you ūüėČ

I used a Roy Lichtenstein painting and cropped the image.

Remember that if you are sticking a cabochon onto a picture of a face, make sure it’s centred.

The cabochon edges are rounded and will distort even the prettiest features (I learned that on a picture of poor Thorin).

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I also have some other more RA/Thorin stuff done, but I’ll keep it a secret until closer to The Hobbit DOS premi√®re.

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BTW, while I was putting together this post, I actually got one more thing done from my crafty list.

I’ve always been frustrated at the quality of pictures I take to show stuff like jewellery on the blog, so I decided to make my very own DIY Photo light box.

I’ve been defending¬†a cardboard box for over a month from getting binned, tried to get my hands on white tissue paper (for some unknown reason they seem to¬†only sell it packed¬†with all of the other colours of the bloody rainbow…), pulled out my craft knife (me and sharp objects don’t mesh).

Everything would be fine if it wasn’t a bloody gloomy day and there’s no natural light to speak of, so the images are either too bright (when I use the flash) or too dark.

Anyway, here are some other things I made:

The not quite right but good enough Thornton brooch:

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We’ve been reading¬†more paper books recently, so a bookmark is very much needed:

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See, that’s why I always say¬†that whenever¬†I go DIYing, things turn out OK, but never perfect¬†ūüėČ

There may be not one decent picture for today, but one of these days, camera and photos, I’m going to have the upper hand!

On John Thornton moving into my bedroom…

Friday was a very busy day for me as I was feeling crafty.

I was planting¬†herbs in lovely and ridiculously expensive French rustic pots and¬†preparing for a new Thorin project that I won’t utter a peep about just yet.

I’m also¬†on a high¬†of adding artwork to my walls, I’ve always favoured a minimalistic approach to d√©cor, but I figured it’s time for a wee change.

I’m not going to bore you with all the stuff I’ve made, but I wanted to share one I’ve been meaning to do for some time.

There just aren’t enough sexy British men in cravats in my bedroom, so I decided to remedy that.

Here’s the result:

(picture removed, will post a different one)

(BTW, not my bedroom,¬†Thornton’s temporarily housed in Magzy’s living room till I can get my dad over with a nail and hammer)

I took the beautiful image that can be found here, but stuck it on a background.

I chose a page from Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, but wanted to have it hand-written.

Luckily, I stumbled upon a Jane Austin font that can be downloaded for free (me likey!).

 

Originally, I had intended on going a bit artsy with the image, I considered making the silhouette float above the writing background (as in sticking it on foam), maybe age the image so it looks like old parchment etc, but in the end the simplicity really worked.

I mentioned “men in cravats” and ultimately I would like to add a similar image of Mr Darcy.

My two favourite boys stuck on one wall aiding me in getting a good night’s sleep full of delicious dream.

(picture removed, will post a different one)

The problem is I can’t find a good Darcy silhouette that would rival the beautiful Thornton one.

Have you come across any good ones?

If so, let me know in comments and my bedroom wall will be eternally grateful, not to mention seeing my boys first thing in the morning will surely add a spring to my step.

Happy Armitage Day! Make Your Own Armitage Goodie!

I’d like to start by saying a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who’s taken part in Operation Armitage!

Congrats to the winner from yeasterday’s competition!

Just a few words before I move on, though.

¬†First and foremost, Seba, from Gisborne’s Boy, my partner-in-crime!

You did a fab job, and it was such a fun process!

Thanks for sharing your talent with us, you’re a little creative¬†ray of light ūüôā

Thanks to my sister Magzy for her constant support, and for not looking at me funny when I get these ideas!

Thank You to the readers and people who commented!

Without you I’d just be an Armitage weirdo posting things online!

It’s the people who visit¬†that breathe life into a blog!

Congrats to the winners!

I hope you enjoy your prize.

If you were not among the lucky ones, remember, you’re always a winner in my eyes!

Before I move on to the main topic of this post, I’d like to present an award.

This gift goes to my most loyal reader, as well as the person who’s left the most comments.

My special ” Friend to IWantTobeAPinUp” award goes to:

She’s long become¬†a fixed¬†feature over here, to the point where I really can’t imagine her not¬†dropping by daily!

 This is my way of saying Thank You!

I have a confession to make.

Luciana was one of the winners during the week, however I knew I wanted to single her out individually at the end¬†ūüôā

Luciana, you get to choose an image out of the 8 featured during Operation Armitage, and a shopping bag with that picture will be sent to you.

Thank You to all my readers, I’m only sorry I don’t have the means to give each and every one of you a goodie.

So, I’ve settled for second best!

Seba created this stunning image, and I’ve decided to give everyone a chance to create their very own RA goodie!

I’ll be talking you through the process, based on pictures I took when I was creating the competition prizes!

Here is a step-by-step guide!

To transfer this image onto a T-shirt or bag, you will need:

A mirror reflection of the image you want.

This was a bit of a head-scratcher for Seba and me, until Magzy put us out of our misery.

In PSE, just go to Image, Rotate, Flip Horizontal!

A flat fabric surface, like a T-shirt

It’s important that it isn’t grainy or creased.

Iron-on paper for your printer

I got mine online, and an A4 sheet cost under Euro 0.50

I’ve tried different brands, and they are all the same.

What is important is to choose the paper based on the colour of fabric you are applying the image to.

There are 2 kinds I’ve encountered: for white / light and for black backgrounds.

Do yourself a favour and buy a few more than you need, just in case.

An iron, with the steam function switched off

Here’s the mirror reflection of Seba’s Hobbit Picnic:

First, print out your image on the iron-on paper.

Please set to the highest resolution on your printer.

It’s best to follow instructions, however let me give you some advice.

The paper has a blank side, and one that is patterned.

It’s important that you put the paper in the right way.

When you feed the paper in your printer, please check which side is printed on.

Do that by taking a regular blank page, putting a cross on the corner, and printing something tiny.

This will save you the bother of using up your cartridge on printing on the wrong side.

I’m not saying I’ve made that mistake before, but then I’m not saying I haven’t ūüėČ

Let the printout dry.

In the meantime, iron the surface you will be applying the image on.

Let it cool.

Then place the printout in its designated place, and start ironing!

Start from the top and work your way down.

This will prevent any bubbling.

Depending on how large your image is, this can take a few seconds, or up to a few minutes.

Remember to iron the edges and corners well too!

With some brands¬†the patterned¬†side changes colour when the process is complete (check instructions), but ours didn’t, so we just played it by ear.

Let it cool down, and then remove the outer layer with one smooth motion, but be careful not to tear the edges.

There you have it!

It’s as easy as I LUV RA!

If you image is shiny, but you want a more matt finish, simply put a blank sheet of regular paper, and iron that on top of the image for a few seconds.

Remember that the image will fade in the wash, always wash inside out, in maximum 40 degrees, without spinning.

Do not iron the image.

Strong chemicals like bleach will also damage it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Operation Armitage as much as I have!

It’s been a blast!

DIY Pin-Up

¬†“If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” ~ Margaret Thatcher

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