January 6, 2013

A New Year!

Filed under: General,My Books — sarah @ 11:26 am

It is a new year and I am assessing my blogs and what not and I see I haven’t been posting about my art and craft properly for a while – so some back blogging and stuff needs to happen 🙂

Apart from that I have quiet a full year planned – I am hoping to be booked for more festivals and am going to be running a Science Art Exhibition at Centre Arts in Cheltenham.

I’ve signed up with Etsy and plan to put items I’ve made plus tutorials on their 🙂

And then there are the books I want to make. I’ve been mucking around with various Print On Demand things and have three books I want to create were Art and Craft are concerned.

1) Junk Art and Upcycling

2) Salaric’s 100 Things to Make and Do

3) Fantasmagrams and Illustrations

The third one sort of already exists on my PhotoBox but is very expensive so I am hoping to get ones printed that are going to be more financially viable 🙂

Craft wise I have decided to give up on Craft Fayres I am just loosing money everytime or braking even for lots of effort. I will stick to running workshops and try out etsy 🙂

Drawing/art wise I am trying to do more illustration this year – last year I managed to finish off The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry etc… but I want to work on my comic book for my writing. Drawing projects are:

1) It’s Raining (a picture book I have half drawn)

2) What Can I See Under The Sea (most of the pictures to this are almost finished and it should have been finished years ago!)

3) Percival’s Christmas Wish which I am doing to raise money for Shelter

4) Revalation – a comic or graphic novel based on the novels I am writing, I scripted it for Scriptfrenzy a couple of years ago 🙂

5) I want to re-draw and draw more of my Inspira pictures and maybe do something with them 🙂

Knitting and yarn craft wise I am refining my up cycled ‘knitting machine’ and still knitting away – the first part of the year is going to focus on knitting molecules and then poetry for various events 🙂

Feeling very happy about all of this and I’m sure there will be random papier machie and stuff thrown in 🙂

July 22, 2012

Two Weeks of Art, Craft and Writing!

The next two weeks from Tuesday will see me running Centre Arts in Cheltenham. Apart from the wonderful art work which deserves a visit in it’s own right! There is information about the excellent courses they run during term time and drop in craft workshops run by me 🙂

Tuesdays I will be doing paper craft and beading

Wednesdays I will be doing Fun with Fabrics

Thursdays is Story Time for the little ones at 1 and creative writing for adults 3-5 kids are welcome as I have lots of stuff to keep them occupied

Fridays is yarn craft and the knitting doctor

Saturdays is Upcycling and Junk Art

There will also be cake and drinks 🙂

June 13, 2010

GlosWhatsOn – Thankyou

Filed under: Events,General,Kids Projects,Science and Art — sarah @ 9:42 am

Via twitter we found a great local site to us called GlosWhatsOn – they are basically a directory for stuff that is going on in our county and they have been so useful to us with Arts and Crafts (and keeping small children entertained during the holidays!).  They cover many other things too, like sports and business and if you are in the Gloucestershire area (UK) or the Cotswolds I would suggest you give it a look.

I’ve found so many new craft activities, especially childrens’, since discovering the site.  But more than that I found out about the Wychwood Festival and from there managed to get on the team for festival crafts!  This has opened a whole new area of possibilities to me – I hadn’t really considered the craft workshop angle before (other than running kids crafts at the village feast, school and of course Scout camps etc…).

I’m just really happy I’ve found them and that not only can I find out about events on there but I can get my events on there so people can see them and come along.  It is also free which is always good 🙂

Anyway I just basically wanted to say thankyou to them 🙂

p.s. They are also on twitter.

March 8, 2009

Tech Adventure – The Crossover of Craft and Technology

I went to Tech Adventure at the Trinity Arts Centre last weekend. This event brings together computer programmers, inventors, roboticists and people who generally like to make things.

Obviously I didn’t understand a lot of the technical detail of the projects that people bought along to display but I could see potential there for the arts and craft community. For a start there was a thing called a Reprap which is a 3D printer. This has huge potential and is designed so that you can basically build your own and then then get it to build ones for your friends. It built the shapes up out of plastic thread that was being fed into it. The shapes it can do are currently limited but even they are quite impressive and would have use in craft projects. Then I found out that it’s the same plastic that milk bottles are made out of so it could have huge implications for home recycling.

3d printer - reprap the gubbins

The man who had brought it was discussing various things such as how to build up shapes with overhangs on them and mentioned the words ‘sugar paste’. Apparently they have a nozzle that does sugar paste to build up support structures to get more intracate shapes and then they wash the sugar paste off. I then got very excited and asked if you could build things like the glass they had there out of the sugar paste – completely – he said yes!

Here are some of the things it made:

wine glass and thing with thing inside shoes

This would be fantastic for cake decorating I feel. He said the only issue with that would be that after an hour the sugar paste turns to syrup and the nozzles stop working which is something I think could definitly be worked around, though the shape you are making is perfectly fine!

A little more probing on our part found that though they had not done high melting point things like glass they thought it would be useful for ceramics which is cool 🙂 Also one of the things that really bugs me about the lost wax process in metal casting is that you spend ages making the wax object and you can only get one casting out of it. This machine alters that as you could have the object saved as a computer file and it would build as many as you wanted out of the wax!

There were so many other things there too and the crossover of people who do techy stuff and those who make/draw is phonomenally high. This I believe is because to make craft objects you need to be a sort of engineer even if you don’t realise it and to draw good pictures you need something similar. To come up with your own projects you need to be creative and in order for the technical people to do what they do they have to be creative – creativity is a layer above science and art or technology and craft, or poetry and programming.

The dichotomy between the sciences and arts does not really exist, it is an artifact of our society – good artists tend to be grounded in some sort of science, tech, or maths whether they realise it or not!

I went to a fantastic talk on this at last year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival.

I even read out some of my poetry at this and one more Wiggly Pet also got a good home. It went to the first person to tell me how many programming languages I had in the poem! I actually gave two away though as there was a little boy in a tigger suit who wanted one so desperately.

Another thing that came out of this is that there is a Maker Faire this month – 14-15 March at the Newcastle Science Fair. I can’t go but it looks interesting.

Also it is because of this that I am now considering making special funky cases for computers though as I am obsessed with paper mâché at the moment, I am having to resist the urge to do every project in that medium!

January 25, 2009

Tony Hart

Filed under: General — sarah @ 12:05 pm

Tony Hart who used to have a children’s programme showing you art techniques and the like has died. I used to watch this programme religiously and feel that I should pay tribute as I’m still using some of the techniques he showed us.

The Wiggly Pets also owe their existance to the presance of two things in my childhood – Tony Hart’s character Morph and his friend, and The Trap Door animation series. I loved the concept of plasticine animation and used to sit and make things out of it for ages as a child – whole roast dinners, characters to eat the dinner, china tea sets, furniture, you name it!

When I was a teenager my dad found fimo which is the consistancy of plasticine and then I found it in different colours and I was away (as anyone who’s read the blog for a while will know!). But the route to even realising I could make things, especially characterisations came from those two programmes.

With that in mind I thought I should honour his memory with this post.

August 5, 2007

Sawdust Grass Hair Head

Filed under: General,Kids Projects,Science and Art — sarah @ 12:05 pm

saw dust head

I made this when I was about fourteen at Guides.

We were given stockings or the legs chopped off old laddered tights and we put a handful of grass seed into where the toes would go. Then we poured in sawdust on top of the seeds.

When we thought we had enough to make a decent head we pulled out a piece of the stocking, making sure it contained some sawdust, and pinched it so it became a little bud, we then twisted it so that the ‘neck’ of stocking material was closed, and tied it with cotton so it would keep its shape – this was the nose!

We then made sure there was enough sawdust in the head and that the nose would end up in the right sort of position. We tied a knot in the leg of the stocking, trying to make sure there was no excess space or the head would be all floppy!

We then sat them in mugs with the knot at the bottom and drew faces on them with felt tip pens!

The idea is that you stand them in water, which soaks up through the sawdust, and the grass grows into hair. I felt that the felt pen would run if I did this so never got around to growing the hair – but I will probably give that a go when my daughter’s a bit older.

This was a fun project and I am thinking it would be a nice one to try with my Scouts in the winter.

July 15, 2007

Jewelled Heart Picture frame

Filed under: General,Kids Projects — sarah @ 10:34 am

Picture frame

On Centenary Camp one of my Scouts decorated this lovely picture frame. Basically the frames came ready to decorate though they are made out what appears to be thick brown card and brown matt parcel tape with a course brown twine as the hanger.

The man who was running this stall turned up with lots of gems including flowers and butterflies with sticky backs which the kids could just stick straight on to their chosen frames! He also had foam shapes and little fluffy pom-poms. My Scout also used a fine liner pen to draw on the butterflies’ trail as the picture within the frame!

The frames themselves came in a variety of shapes such as circles, squares and hearts!

Again this was an easy but effective activity and the children flocked to it!

July 1, 2007

Shrink keyrings

Filed under: General,Kids Projects — sarah @ 10:15 am

Shrink keyring

One of my scouts made this shrink keyring. I’ve seen these in the Hindles catalogue but had never seen them in action before – I was quite impressed and the kids loved it!



*Split ring keyrings

*Hole punch

*Goggly eyes

*Saftey Scissors

*Colouring Pencils

*Special shrinking plastic

For the younger children we just used pre-made designs which the children coloured in, such as butterflies, snails, bees and other creepy crawlies! For the older children we just had blank sheets which they could draw their own designs on.

It is important that only colouring pencils are used and not felt-tip pens as it is put in the oven for a while.

Once the design is coloured in you cut it out and hole punch it, then you put it in the oven for a minute – I don’t know at what temperature but hopefully that is on the packet!

The plastic shrinks down and thickens, retaining and concentrating the colours. You then attach the keyrings and if you want, glue on the goggly eyes 🙂

This was fun and even I had a go, though I forgot to hole punch mine so it couldn’t be made into a keyring sadly. 🙁

June 17, 2007

Tile Engraving

Filed under: General,Kids Projects,My Drawings/Paintings — sarah @ 9:37 am

Polyp tile


*White ceramic tiles

*Candle and matches



*Masking tape

As it is the Scouting Centenary this year there have been lots of commemorative events, one of which was the Centenary Camp at our District’s camp. I found myself in the craft tent there and I was to do tile engraving, though it was stretching the term engraving slightly I felt!

I had never done this before and had a bag full of equipment and some vague instructions so I arrived two hours before the kids were due, in order to have a go and work out the best way of doing it!

My first issue was that I had tea lights and normal tall candles without any candlesticks, so I ended up using the tea lights as candlesticks for the larger candles after a brief aborted attempt at smoking the tiles on tea lights!

The idea of this craft activity was that you black out the tile over the candle and then use a toothpick to draw a picture or pattern, then you spray it with a sealant – in this case hair lacquer.

I was obviously a little concerned about burnt fingers, which was my main reason for experimenting, but other pitfalls soon became apparent.

You have to get the tile touching the flame so that soot actually gets deposited onto the tile, making it black, but if you go too close, wax is precipitated onto the tile, making drawing hard and giving affected areas a shiny, almost brown, look. I used a cloth to wipe affected areas and put them back over the candle.

I found holding the tile at a 40 degree angle over the candle flame was effective in getting a lot of soot deposited onto the tiles. Also angling the thing towards you so that you can see how things are going helped a lot, but it did mean lowering your line of sight slightly for most people.

My first attempt was very blotchy with lots of wax on it and smeary fingerprints all round the edge but I drew on it anyway to see how well that worked and whether the hairspray would actually seal the picture.

The main issue the children and I had with this was trying not to rest your hand on the tile whilst drawing on it – we all had to re-smoke the resulting white patch were we had wiped the soot off!

Also I found that you had to be ‘light’ handed with the toothpick otherwise it would jump and skid on the tile, ruining the picture or writing you were attempting!

I was only allowed to do this craft with the older children, ie Scouts and Explorer Scouts. Even so, I was concerned about the burnt fingers and after trying to black out a second tile found that though I was no longer making it blotchy or getting wax on it, I just could not make the edges neat, as you have to hold the tile!

I then hit upon the idea of making a border of some sort and because I have been painting lots recently I wondered on the idea of using masking tape around the edge of the tile – this would hopefully create a nice neat border and prevent the children from burning their fingers.

I stole some masking tape from the Junk Art stall and proceed to experiment – my main concern had been that the tape would catch fire or it just wouldn’t work as a neat border. However it worked better than I had expected, though obviously I then had to stress that you needed to move the tile about, otherwise the masking tape would catch fire, which did happen a couple of times resulting in a brown sticky patch on the tile – this took some wiping off!

Blacking out the tile over the candle. Blacking out the candle

Smoked out tile ready to engrave! smoked out tile

the beginning Oh dear

One of the Explorer’s tiles – he decided to have a go without a border.

Tile again

Masking tape as a border. Will it work!

Here are some of the kids’ finished tiles!

Demon with border Flower tile Druming tile Demon with border

Tiles More tiles

My first attempt Oh dear Second attempt Polyp tile

The only thing I found abit iffy about this project is that you had to spray the tiles several times with the hairspray and still it is only just touch safe. Anything touching it will scrape the picture off it! I’m wondering if better quality spray would be a better idea or perhaps actually using proper sealant.

June 3, 2007

A Garden Dragon for Fathers’ Day

Filed under: Art and Drawings,Fathers Day,General — sarah @ 10:53 pm


My fathers’ day present to my dad was a garden dragon ornament, depicting a dragon emerging from an egg, and it’s made out of a cement/concrete type material, created to look like stone. My dad appeared to be chuffed with this dragon and proceeded to paint it in fantastic detail, bringing it to life!

He loves painting toy solders and little scale models and when my brother and I were young, made us a whole fantastic range of toys! I asked him if he would write up what he did to the dragon – here is his account. 🙂

MY FATHERS’ DAY PRESENT It was a dragon, as mentioned above, given to me by my daughter. As the finish was a rather dull grey I decided to paint it to resemble a real dragon. Of course as I have never seen a real one I was forced to guess at the colouring. I was very happy to find that the eyes are made of glass and look really authentic.

THE METHOD I used an artist’s brush, with bristles that come to a point, for the fine details. I believe it is called a rigger, and I used a larger one of the same type for the bigger areas. However, I think that an artist’s flat brush might have been better for covering these parts. The paint was Humbrol enamel, which I purchased in a model shop. It is also available in hobby shops. As it is a garden ornament, I finished the whole thing in yacht varnish to protect the paint from the elements.

The egg is the largest part of the ornament that I wanted as a single colour, so I painted it first – grey. Well, yes it is only a shade lighter than the cement but it is somehow better if the whole thing is covered in paint. As there are some pieces of shell that are inside out, I highlighted them with grey paint mixed with yellow.

The next part is, of course, the dragon. I chose a dark green with which I painted the whole dragon, then I mixed a little yellow and/or white into the green to create a lighter green for highlighting the creature’s throat and chest. I also highlighted around the eyes.

The dragon’s claws were painted yellow and the ridge behind the claws a dark grey. I added some black to the light grey.

The nostrils are black and the cracks in the shell are a very dark grey; I added a lot of black this time.

The base the egg stands on is either a representation of earth or rock, so I used light, medium and dark brown paint. I used actual dark brown paint for the dark brown areas and simply added yellow in medium and large amounts for the other two shades.

Finally, the dragon’s mouth. This is pink and the tongue is red. I just added white to the red to obtain the pink.

I should have already mentioned that it is a really good idea to make sure that the paint is dry before adding another colour. With model enamel I usually leave two hours drying time between coats. If it is going to stand in the garden I would leave it overnight to dry completely, before adding a coat of yacht varnish to protect the paint from weather damage.

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