Monday, 31 October 2011

Wishing you a happy scary Halloween!


Meet another one of our Halloween pumpkins - this is Scary 'Two-Face' Jack.

CraftyAdy, Dinoboy and Missy Moo (and Scary Jack too) would like to wish you a happy scary Halloween. Have fun and be safe.

Sunday, 30 October 2011


Here are my second and third attempts at 3D pumpkin carving.

Meet Franklin Fangs ...

And his brother, Fred Fangs.

I am really enjoying carving up pumpkins. Before the kids were born, I spent a year and a half studying the art of woodcarving under the tutelage of a master woodcarver. I mostly carved small decoy ducks, leaves in relief, one or two Welsh lovespoons and an owl. Then Dinoboy was born and I packed my chisels away (small children, no dedicated workspace and sharp chisels do not mix well together). Pumpkin carving is a little like woodcarving - yes it is a lot softer material than wood but it also has some similarities in that it is subtractive in nature (once you've cut it off, there's no going back!) and like wood, pumpkin has grain too which makes 3D carving a little challenging.

The kids very much enjoyed watching the pumpkins come to life and are quite accepting of the temporary nature of these carvings - they start decaying shortly after they're done being carved. Franklin's got mold growing on him as I type this (he is now 10 days old) and will shortly be sent to rot away in peace in the compost bin.

Fred's probably gone the same way too - we sent him into holiday club with the kids last week.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

A whole new take on pumpkin carving

For some months now I have been thinking about trying out pumpkin carving ... and not just the regular sort of pumpkin carving. I've been spending a lot of time thinking about 3D pumpkin carving. I have been very inspired by two guys in particular. I'd like to introduce them to you.

The first chap is a friendly and incredibly talented guy named Ray Villafane. Here is the link to Ray's website, Villafane Studios.

Here's one of Ray's amazing pumpkins ...

And this one is one of my favourite pumpkins carved by Ray.

The second chap is an equally talented and amazing carver named Scott Cummins whose website can be found here. Scott also has a great carving tutorial on his website.

Here's one of Scott's pumpkins ...

And here is another. Cool, huh?

Pumpkins started appearing in our local supermarkets some 2+ weeks before Halloween. I had found a ribbon tool as part of a clay modelling kit in a local craft shop. Armed with the ribbon tool, a vegetable peeler and a small paring knife, I decided to have a go myself after studying Scott's tutorial and watching a whole bunch of 3D pumpkin carving videos on youtube. Here is Dinoboy with my very first 3D attempt - Sir Percival Pumpkin.

Missy Moo liked Percival a lot too.

Percy taught me the value of a good plan (mine was not a good plan as I broke through into the middle whilst doing one eye so decided to cut both eyes out as a consequence) and I learnt what I could or could not do with the tools I had. I tried scraping the skin off with the ribbon tool like Ray and Scott do but that did not work for me - I struggled a lot so decided to use a vegetable peeler instead which worked a lot better for me. I also got quite excited once I had one 3D pumpkin carving under my belt. So off I went to the supermarket to hunt for more pumpkins to mutilate. I'll show you my other efforts in my next post.

Hope you are having a good weekend, friends.

Friday, 28 October 2011

9 down, 1 more to go

I am very close to achieving the target of 10 woolly hats which Missy Moo set for me when I first embarked on this year's hats for the Operation Christmas Child project. Here is hat number 9 on Dinoboy.

Of course Missy Moo had to inspect it too for quality assurance purposes.

This one has a little rolled brim instead of the usual doubled-up one. It's kinda cute.

The past week and a bit has been pretty busy as I've been trying my hand at pumpkin carving. I'll show you my efforts in my next post.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Magnetic words for Missy Moo

Missy Moo started school this fall and is enjoying it very much. She is in Reception year which is the first year of primary school here in the UK. Pupils in Reception are usually aged between four and five. Missy Moo is 4 and a half. Reception year students follow what is known as the foundation stage in the National Curriculum. One of the areas of learning at this stage is Communication, language and literacy and students like Missy Moo learn to expand their vocabulary and learn to read.

Missy Moo was sent home last week with a couple of sheets of some of the high frequency words the kids in her class are currently learning. I think the idea was to cut the words out, play matching pairs games with them and use the words to form sentences.

I decided to use the sheets to make magnetic words. We have a small home laminating machine and I used that to laminate the cut-out bits of paper first. I then stuck them onto a sticky-backed magnetic sheet. It couldn't be easier.

We've used them a lot over the past few days and she enjoys making up different sentences from the words we have got. Here is Missy Moo lining the words up randomly on our fridge so she can start picking individual words out to make her sentences.

She thinks she is playing and I know she is learning. So it's a win-win situation for all. We have a little magnetic wipe-dry white board too and she prefers to play with her magnetic words on the little white board on the floor of the playroom.

She can't wait for her next set of words from school so we can make more magnetic words and she can make more sentences.

Friday, 21 October 2011

A slightly late My Creative Space

Apologies for this late My Creative Space post. I've been a day behind all this week despite having a clock in our house which tells you the time and the day+date. I spent the whole of yesterday thinking it was Wednesday. I happened to glance at the clock this morning and noticed the day+date bit and realised it's now Friday! Part of me is going "Woohoo!! Friday!!" The other part of me's thinking "Oh no!! I've got a ton of stuff to do before the weekend!"

I finished hat number 8 - here it is modelled by Missy Moo who insists on being my Quality Assurance inspector.

I started hat number 9 which is currently in progress. Here it is on my KK loom.

I'm still working on using up as much leftover wool as I can. The brim of this is made from the leftovers of a ball of Rowan Big Wool (I totally love the Big Wool yarn. So soft and so chunky!) The body of the hat is being made using two strands of two different grades of yarn. One is supposed to be a chunky but is not really very chunky at all (not for looming anyway) and the other is a thin black and grey 4ply I think.

There are so many beautiful projects on the go in creative spaces all over the world. Check out some of them here at the home of creative spaces.

Have a great Friday and wishing you all a wonderful weekend ahead, friends.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Hats for Christmas

Last year I made about a dozen woolly hats on my round loom and they went into wrapped shoeboxes that some colleagues at work were putting together for the Operation Christmas Child project. I enjoyed making them very much and thought that I'd do the same again this year.

Missy Moo has set me a target of 10 hats to make. I've made 7 so far (8th is very nearly done) and here they are. I haven't had to buy any yarn this year - just trying to use up the yarn I got last year or yarn friends have given to me towards the project.

DinoBoy and MissyMoo tried them on for size and said they were very soft and warm. MissyMoo expressed her gladness at knowing that these hats were going to be part of some christmas presents for children in another part of the world.

I had to throw this next photo in for a giggle - this is what you get when you tell your subjects to say "Fromage" instead of "Cheese".

I am glad it's the weekend. The weather people on telly said that the weather might be quite good this weekend. I hope so. Wishing you a wonderful weekend wherever you are, friends.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

My creative space

I have been missing from blogosphere for many many weeks due to that thing called "work". I'm sorry. The past 2 and a bit months have been crazy but I have not been idle. I have found some quiet moments in the middle of the madness to do some little bits of crafting - which has kept me sane. I thought today was a good day to come back to blogging. It is My Creative Space day. This is occupying my creative space right now ...

Over the past two weeks, I have been making warm woolly hats on my green Knifty Knitter loom for the Operation Christmas Child charity boxes. I was supposed to finish this hat last night but got sidetracked by some ironing. I have finished 7 hats to date and this one is my 8th. Missy Moo has set me a target of 10 hats to make. I'll show you those in another post.

In the meantime, I am heading off to visit other creative spaces at the home of creative spaces.

Have a creative day, friends.
(It's good to be back!)