Posts

Learning to Sew - Pillow Talk

 Life for me is about staying alive, keeping active and learning new things. Latest thing to catch my attention is sewing.  Never really a sewer (or should it be “sewist”?) in my younger days, I find recently a strange draw to the sewing machine and fabrics.  Well, to be perfectly honest the fabric came first, became a bit of an obsession even, so once I had a fair stash I really needed to use it.  Enter the self learning of how to sew. I’m starting with simple things first, a pillowcase.  What can be more simple? Straight stitching.  Not a problem… I thought! My dolls are all laying around waiting for a new wardrobe of clothes, grumbling about their lot, but tackling a pattern is not yet on my agenda.  I’ve had to talk them into being patient. ;). First things first, straight things… simple makes that will be completed fast to keep my interest alive! Choosing the fabric for my new pillowcase is my first task.  Out comes the stash. Several hours later I find the perfect piece.   Also a

Getting Fit after Retirement

Image
 After I finished working and retired I was under the impression I would be so busy with all my hobbies that I would never miss working. Well, yes I’m busy with my hobbies but I really miss my job!   BUT not for the reason you may think.  It’s the exercise I miss. Rushing about, being on my feet all day, walking, lifting, stretching, bending… all these things kept me fit.  Since retirement I’ve become a bit of a couch potato!  Most of my hobbies are sedentary which really doesn’t help my fitness.  Yes, I enjoy yoga but recently have become very lazy in my practise. As my waistline increased and my weighing scales screeched, I decided to do something about it. My new fitness regime includes Fast Walking daily, running up and downstairs plus a yoga routine.  The wonderful thing about yoga is anyone can do it, any age, you don’t need a huge amount of space nor any machines. It can be done on the yoga mat, in a chair or on the bed. As an ex-yoga teacher, I know quite a few moves but I’m ve
Image
I have been experimenting with the use of fabric hardener and have found it somewhat addictive. First I tried making a bowl.  Basically, you use an upturned plastic bowl as a former.   Cover the bowl with clingfilm to ensure nothing sticks to the bowl itself.   Use a plastic tray and pour a small amount of fabric hardener into it. Take your fabric and immerse in the fabric hardener. Gently rub the hardener into the fabric ensuring it is completely covered without being dripping wet. Place over the upturned bowl.  Make sure the bottom of the bowl is as smooth as possible to give stability and so that it won’t wobble when it’s done. The sides at this stage need to be as smooth as possible just so that the inside of the bowl will be fairly smooth.  Don’t worry over it too much. Take another square of fabric and coat it thoroughly in fabric hardener as before. Cover the first piece but this time allow the fabric to fall into natural folds (but remember to keep the base smooth). You can add

Embracing the Wonky - Sketching houses

Image
Sketching houses Marker pens in sketchbook Some of my previous sketches of houses:- Pen and wash Watercolour and ink Watercolour and ink I think keeping a sketchbook is about learning … new styles, techniques, subjects… it’s a place to play and it’s what I really love to do. Recently, I have discovered I particularly enjoy sketching houses.  But not just any houses.  These have to be quirky, colourful and fun!  I am embracing my need for wonkiness in my life.  I hate straight lines that give a lifeless feel to a sketch. I love quirkiness and wonkiness as it gives character and life to a sketch.  Don’t you agree? Best wishes Shari 💕

Advent Calendar

Image
Hello everyone,  Exciting times!  Christmas is but a few weeks away and things are getting really special.  😊 My little elves (in the form of my grandchildren) arrived as usual to decorate my tree and what a wonderful job they did!  I’m very pleased. This year I decided to make my own advent calendar.  Well, I say make, but I mean decorate and fill a pre-made one and I found this tree shaped wooden advent calendar which really appealed to me. These are sold at various places and in a multitude of different designs and shapes.  I chose this one that is sold at both The Range and Hobbycraft here in the UK. If you didn’t want to paint or decorate your own and just want to fill it yourself, you can also purchase ready decorated calendars and just fill them yourself. Here is an example: There are lots of others available too. I decided to spray paint the outer part with gold paint and then paint each drawer in green acrylic paint.  I then attached red felt sticky numbers. Then I added fest

Doll restoration

Image
 So I was given this poor little lady to restore as she had fallen apart, literally!  She is a Denys Fisher Jennie doll, a tiny little lady at 7 1/2 inches. After cleaning off the sticky stuff (seems she was glued at some point), I then set about restringing her. Removing the old elastic which had perished proved to be easier than I expected.  There was a tiny holed plastic pieces inside a tiny cup which the elastic was threaded through.  Could have used a finer gauge elastic cord to replace the original, but I went with what I had at hand and it seemed to work pretty well. Very pleased with the outcome!  Dressed in her original brownies uniform, Jennie is looking a lot more put together!  I’m busy now sewing some new clothes for this dear little doll. Feel free to comment or contact me if you need advice on restringing dolls.  I really enjoyed this little challenge. Until next time! Love Shari 💕

Challenged!

Image
 Hello everyone! When I’m stuck or in need of motivation I always look for a challenge.  It gets me off my butt and making.  It’s great fun too. So with this in mind I signed up to take part in the Find Your Joy challenge this year. So far I’ve only done assignment 1, but my goodness, it’s such fun! Take a large piece of paper.  Using masking tape divide it up into either 4 or 6 sections.  Then using just 3 colours plus black and white, play, make marks, mix colours, have fun.  Paint over the tape disregarding it.  The only limit is to keep within 30 minutes. When finished, peel off the masking tape and magic happens! I enjoyed it so much it became almost addictive and I now have lots of little paintings to use in my journal or as collage or book covers, whatever. I decided to use yellow ochre, ultramarine blue and magenta as my 3 colours plus mars black and titanium white. First try:- Old masking tape gripped paper so hard and ripped it when removed! Second try:-  I used same colours

Back to Landscapes

Image
 I’m revisiting painting landscapes in acrylics and here is the start of my process. 1. Rough sketch 2. Block-in  3. Refine 4. Detail. 5. One thing!  (What’s the one thing I can do to improve this painting?) My set up with acrylic paints - limited palette Rough sketch Sorry forgot to photograph the block in stage! Refine the painting Still got the detail to do, but I’m pleased with how it’s going. Have a great day! Best wishes Shari 💕

Dolls, dolls, dolls!

Image
 Hello all,  So sorry I’ve been away so long!  Many things happening around here so little time for my hobbies, but I’m now getting back into things. My interest in doll collecting has exploded into a kind of mania 😂 but I’m trying to slow things down a little. I moved from porcelain to baby dolls and then to American Girl and Our Generation before returning to my first love of Barbie! When I was young I didn’t have many dolls, but I did have Barbie and some Barbie clones.  I never really took to Sindy, I don’t know why.  Then recently I discovered Sindy and wow! Have I been missing out!  First I bought a few vintage Sindy and I love them.  Somehow I find their faces so expressive and they move and pose so well.  I always did like the Sindy furniture.  It was always much better made than Barbies trashy stuff.  But now I must admit I’m rather taken with Sindy herself. As a child I hated Ken and Paul, they always seemed so drippy.  Action man was my Barbies favourite man.  So of course