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2019 Goals… Cause F*ck Resolutions

Ok, I admit that I said it a bit more eloquently in my end of year post of 2017, but yeah, in short, resolutions are ridiculous. Goals are achievable.

Speaking of my 2017 goals… where have I succeeded and where have I fallen short?

(Warning: This is going to be a long winded post) Read more…

3 Way Creative Advent Swap

2 way creative swaps are relatively straight forward and lots of fun, but 3 way swaps aren’t always the easiest things to get your head around.

First you have to come up with a swap that all 3 people are eager to get on board with and all 3 people have to trust each other to complete the swap in such a way that equal amounts of effort and planning are applied, so it’s something that is best to get into with established swap partners rather than strangers.

My friends and I have been talking about coming up with a 3 way swap for over a year. Then in September(ish) when I had all but forgotten that it was something we had thought about, Anna suggested that with Christmas coming up, we do a grown up creative Advent swap!

The way it would work is that each of us would come up with 24 small advent gifts, 12 for each of the other people and each of us would be assigned even and odd numbers for the other two.

Example: 

Participants: Sarah, Anna, Bel

Sarah sends to Anna (even numbers) and Bel (odd numbers)

Anna sends to Bel (even numbers) and Sarah (odd numbers)

Bel sends to Sarah (even numbers) and Anna (odd numbers) Read more…

Ham Sandwiches And Fear

Gallstones are no joke, but I’ve got to laugh, because if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry.

I feel discomfort from my broken gallbladder every day, no matter how well I eat. It is just physically and mentally exhausting, and some days it brings me to tears.

My focus since March has been to manage my symptoms, eat enough fat to keep the stones from getting bigger but not enough fat to trigger more discomfort,  and to lose enough weight to get keyhole surgery.

The good news is that the fear of incapacitating pain has been really good at keeping me on track losing weight. I’ve now lost 70lbs in total and still have 30 to go to escape obesity and wander back into the mystical land of “overweight” which I haven’t visited since I was roughly 20 years old. Read more…

Tampon Ghosts

This afternoon I had a fantastic time making tampon ghosts with my craftiest of friends.

I am in Scotland, and they are both in England, nowhere near each other, but when I randomly sent them a photo of a tampon ghost in our group chat, we somehow all produced the materials to make them almost instantly.

The three of us take our crafting pretty seriously, and this isn’t exactly a serious craft, but it was too fun not to share.

We’re just 3 grown women (and one little girl) celebrating Halloween, and womanhood by up-cycling some old tampons that had been in our cupboards for years.

Hope the photos make you smile!

Anna Instagram

Bel Instagram 

Sarah Instagram 

Sarah/Anna Instagram

Read more…

Recipe Card Creative Mail Swap

It is no secret that I am a happymail enthusiast. I thoroughly enjoy allowing my imagination to go wild creating and exchanging thoughtful handmade paraphernalia with my closest mail art friends.  My favorite part, now that I have found people who I connect with very well is the way that we feed off of each other’s creativity.

A couple of months ago I had an idea for a swap centred around recipe cards, and my friend, who I’ve been doing mail art exchanges with for a couple of years now was excited to give it a try.

The only rule I laid out for this challenge was that we each did a set of three recipe cards 1 main course, one side dish or starter and 1 dessert.

I absolutely love what we both created (hers more than mine) and below I’ve shared a few photos of both our sets of cards as well as some background and details in the hope that more people might be inspired try this out in the future as it was a lot of fun and there are truly endless creative possibilities.  Read more…

Super Simple, Practical And Basic Crochet Fingerless Gloves Pattern

Fingerless gloves are very nice to have in the chilly weather, however I like my clothing on the practical side and couldn’t find a crochet pattern that really spoke to me. Something not pointlessly ornate, too bulky, or too lacy.

So I worked out a pattern for myself and I’m really happy with how they turned out. They are soft, and warm, and like anything handmade, extra, super, wonderfully cosy. I’ve already made about 5 pairs and suspect that I’ll be making even more with Christmas coming up fast.

Below I’ve written out the instructions for anyone else who would like to make a pair!

Read more…

Pizza Strips – Delicious Nostalgia

Pizza strips are strips of pizza dough that have been topped with a rich, flavorful tomato sauce and nothing else. They are meant to be eaten at room temperature or chilled rather than hot, and make a great low fat/low calorie, super portable meal or snack anytime.

When most people think of pizza it is nearly impossible for them to imagine it without cheese and a pile of toppings, but have faith, these things are frigging wonderful, especially when they’re made with a homemade sauce that you have 100% control over.

I don’t know how wide spread these are in the US as I never did much food shopping outside of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, but they were one of my favorite things to pick up from the deli when I was a kid, and only recently did it occur to me that I could make them myself. They have been such a welcome alternative to ham sandwiches since my gallbladder issues started!

Below I’ve included the recipe for my homemade sauce and the method I use to combine it with a (lazy) store bought ready to roll pizza crust.

Read more…

Exploring The Exquisite Corpse

Over the past two years I have tried a lot of different sorts of mail art exchanges, and a few weeks ago while racking my brain for something new to try I remembered exquisite corpses.

An exquisite corpse is a drawing collaboration between two or more artists who don’t know what the other person’s contribution looks like until the full picture is revealed upon completion. I’ve wanted to try doing one with someone since I was about 18 years old but the opportunity never really came up.

As it happens I have a friend whose weird matches my weird and she can draw! Thankfully she was also up for giving it a try with me, and we’ve been sort of shamelessly addicted to creating exquisite corpses together ever since.

I started an instagram where I’ve been uploading our completed EC’s ( https://www.instagram.com/lettheweirdnessflow check it out for more examples) and I assume we’re just going to casually keep at it until we get bored or distracted!

Below I’ve included a few examples of our recent collaborations.

Read more…

Geocaching – 5 Handmade Swag Ideas

Over the last two months we have been spending a lot of time exploring our local area through geocaching.

The exchange of swag is definitely one of my favorite parts of the process, and in my limited experience I have also found that it seems to be a fairly neglected aspect by many geocachers.

In addition to topping up the kiddie swag in caches, I like to leave some handmade items as well, and that’s where my crafty skills come into play.

Besides it just being really nice to find something out of the ordinary, my hope is that as more people find these things they will maybe be inspired to think more about whatever it is they are leaving behind as well.

Below I’ve outlined the first 5 little projects that I put together recently to pop into the caches we find on our travels.

Read more…

Raising Painted Lady Caterpillars

For our third year of butterfly rearing I decided to go with our first round of mail order bugs in the form of Painted Lady caterpillars.

I purchased a caterpillar voucher for our daughter’s 6th birthday from Insect Lore. They arrived via post in sealed jar containing everything they required up to the point of pupation, which I am still left with mixed feelings about as it felt sort of cruel. However we saw the process through to the end anyway, even if I don’t feel 100% great about it.

Below I’ve detailed our experience and observations. (with lots of photos) Read more…

I Made A Kracken Shawl

Just a quick post/review on a pattern that I bought recently called the Kracken Shawl.

I started following Two Hearts Crochet a while back when a crochet friend of mine started making the c2c princess squares.

When I first saw the Kracken Shawl I was instantly inspired to make one because cephalopods are amazing, clever wee beasties. Also it reminds me of Cthulhu and Lovecraftian horror which is always a big bonus. So I purchased the pattern in April. Two weeks later, it was completed!

The instructions and graph were easy to follow. It shouldn’t have taken me two weeks, but unfortunately I had to rip out my stitches enough times to literally make a whole other shawl! (my own fault) If even one stitch is missed it throws everything off, so wanting to make it perfect, I did a lot of pulling back my work. The pattern was also a really good introduction to this sort of crochet technique using boxes to create a picture and it’s absolutely simple enough for a beginner to complete, so not intimidating at all.

I am looking forward to eventually applying the same techniques to a design of my own creation someday.

Read more…

Will Seed Bombs (Balls) Made With Air Dry Clay Germinate?

Seed bombs/balls are spheres of soil and clay with seeds inside. When dry, the sphere of clay and soil protects the seeds within. When they get wet, the seeds are stimulated to grow and they will break the sphere apart as they push out, giving the seedlings a perfect start.

They are ideal for throwing into places where people can’t really get in to plant, and can contain any sort of seeds, however wildflower seeds are the best for helping the bees and butterflies in your local area.

I received my first introduction to seed bombs via a recent random conversation with a friend, and I thought it would be an excellent idea to make some of my own with wildflower seeds to spread on our adventures walking through the countryside.

So of course, I consulted the Google with my query and found many pages with recipes for how to make seed bombs/balls, but they mostly seemed to involve clay powder, which I was having trouble sourcing. Then I remembered that I have a brick of non toxic air dry clay in my craft hoards, so I started looking for recipes using air dry clay.

I found a few which basically walked me through how they made the balls, but none of them seemed quite right to me, and it made me feel fairly sceptical when I couldn’t find one actually confirming with photos that the balls germinated. I mean… anyone can chuck a few seeds in some clay and take photos, but the important thing about a seed bomb is that it actually facilitates the growth of the seeds inside.

Below I’ve outlined what I did to create my own seed bombs (which are all sprouting nicely) using easily sourced materials in the UK.  Read more…

Developing Our Garden Space

We have been in our current house since October 2010. Upon moving in, like most of the back gardens in our area, ours was just grass. Tidy, but totally lacking any sort of love or character.

Initially, I had no plan, so I started experimenting with different things on a very small scale. I grew up around people who were very passionate about flower and vegetable gardening… surely some of that must have rubbed off on me, right?

Well, yes and no… Yes, I did discover that I actually enjoy growing things very much, however, I’m not a natural. In fact my gardening style is probably best described as a clusterfuck of dumb luck. In all seriousness, the plants choose to live in our space more than we choose them to live in our space. I’ve gotten to the point of sprinkling some seeds around and basically just waiting to see what takes. And it works for the most part.

Over the years I have been primarily focused on bringing plants into the garden which have strong personal significance to me. Plants like lilacs, forsythia, violets, dahlias, and gladiolas. Slowly character has been building as the boring patch of grass becomes bordered by an ever increasing variety of texture and color.

More than the plants though, I love to study the wildlife that has made a home in our garden. I nearly had an outright joygasm one day when I found three different species of snail.  I tend to get inordinately excited about critters, especially invertebrates. People who know me very well, know that if you give me critters to observe, I’m in my element… and then I’ll rattle off random facts about the critters (that no one probably wants to hear) until I turn blue. I really can’t help myself. This is an enthusiasm I must have been born with as I can’t remember a time without it.

Now that our oldest daughter is starting to become very interested in nature and science I can pass on my dorky outdoorsey knowledge, and I think it’s time think outside (or rather inside) the garden borders to add some character to the rest of the space because what we have right now, is still more or less a patch of tidy grass.  I’m finding that the more I think about how to do this, the more focused I become on how to make our patch of earth do more for us as a family from both a recreational and an educational perspective.

So this post is all about the plan I’ve been mulling over in my head to bring about these changes. Some will happen this year, some next, a few, when money allows.

Read more…

Geocaching As An Absolute Beginner

Geocaching is basically a treasure hunting game that you play in the real world using GPS to locate “caches”, which are usually containers that have been hidden by other players filled with small items or toys in addition to a log book for players who find the cache to sign.  Caches can also be very small (micro or nano) with only room for a logbook. The appeal in the smaller caches is that they’re even more of a challenge to locate.

I’ve known that Geocaching was a thing for about 16 years, and I’ve had an account on www.geocaching.com for a while, but it never really occurred to me to give it a go until a couple of weeks ago.

The pieces all sort of came together when my husband reminded me that he owns a hand held GPS device (my phone is garbage), and I realized that our girls are finally at an age where going out and exploring more is a lot easier than it used to be with a baby in tow. Read more…

Pork and Prawn Wontons for Soup

I’ve always been very fond of wonton soup, however I’ve only recently been brave enough to attempt my own dumplings.

My Auntie started me experimenting with wonton wrappers when I was about 13 years old frying them and baking them, but for some reason I never felt confident in my ability to tackle wonton soup.

So after a visit to the local Chinese supermarket a few weeks ago, I decided to do what I do. I looked up a recipe, adjusted it to suit my taste, then tried it and adjusted it again… and here it is :D  Read more…

Gallbladders Are Highly Overrated

This is a bit of a rant, so I apologise in advance.

In an effort to try to lose weight and be generally healthier this year I started counting calories. I counted them religiously, being very careful to avoid crash dieting by eating enough every day to lose a steady 1-2lbs a week. I figured, over the course of the year, if I was very careful, I could lose the weight I wanted to. And it worked… in fact it’s still working very well, however I’ve hit a snag.

At the beginning of February I had a gallbladder attack in the middle of the night. It was excruciating, but I’d had one about 10 years ago and I recognised the pain immediately, so it wasn’t as scary as it could have been. If giving birth is a 10 on a 1-10 pain scale, I’d give a gallbladder attack an 8 or 9 easily. Read more…

Playing Elder Sign With My 5 Year Old

Elder Sign is one of my favorite games to play. Not only do I like it because it is oozing with Lovecraftian goodness, but also because I can play it by myself.

It is a game that is part luck (dice) and part strategy and it is marketed toward people aged 14+.

Before very recently I would have never considered playing it with a young child. It is not an easy game to win, The subject matter and artwork can be a bit scary and the gameplay requires fairly focused attention as there is a constant fluctuation of variables to keep track of. There is also a lot of reading which is above my daughter’s head at the moment, though it won’t be long before she’s able to read the cards on her own.

HOWEVER, I could not face another round of Candy Land … I just couldn’t. Don’t get me wrong, Candy Land is a great game for kids, and it is actually a lot better since they introduced the spinner in lieu of the cards (which basically predetermined the entire game, blarg)… but yeah… too much Candy Land isn’t good for anyone.

So with her little sister sound asleep I saw an opportunity, and knowing full well that I would probably regret it, I asked my eager 5 year old if she would like to play “Mommy’s special monster game.” Read more…

3D Print Painting Part 7

Here is another batch of 3D prints that I’ve painted and embellished.

I’ve separated this post from the last one as this post features 3 different designers, whereas most of my other 3D printing posts feature designs exclusively by Kijai. :)

I’m only featuring three different models here, however one model I’ve painted three different ways, so I’m covering a total of five models. I’ve also provided the links to the free STL’s for all of the prints.

All previous 3D print painting posts have been filed into their own neat and tidy category in the “3D printed models” menu above.
Read more…

3D Print Painting Part 6

Scraping in at the end of the month, I’ve just barely finished and photographed another batch of 3D printed models… and this is only half of them!

In the post below I am featuring four models, and they were all designed by my friend, the very talented Jukka Seppänen (Kijai).

As part of a tiny restructure of my blog, previous 3D print painting posts have been organized into their very own category now, which you can hopefully spot on the menu bar at the top of this page. :)

I’ve also made a little video, discussing the materials I use to bring my 3D prints to life, which I am hoping will be of some use to people who want to start painting and embellishing their prints.
Read more…

New YouTube Channel For 3D Print Painting

stuwha 3d print banner

It’s taken some convincing, but I’ve started a YouTube channel where I talk about the 3D printed models that I’ve painted. I’m also working on some tutorial type videos as well, all revolving around 3D print painting.

As much as I prefer writing to speaking, I have to somewhat embrace the fact that a lot of people would prefer to watch a video than read a blog. And if I get enough practice in with this stuff, maybe I can create more different types of videos in the future as well.

The videos that I’ve released so far are connected with the first 3D print painting post that I wrote back in September and it’s my plan to continue creating the videos in chronological order. I do have quite a backlog of models to get through and almost no time when I have the quiet opportunity to record, so It might be a slow-ish process, but I thought that launching the channel with four model videos and one materials video was a good starting point.

I am looking forward to improving my knowledge in both filming and editing through experience and hope that the videos will at least serve the purpose they’re intended for,  encouraging people to start taking their 3D printed models to the next level. :)

 

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