Sunday, 15 May 2016

Around the World In 80 Days, sock knitting subscription.

Monthly Sock Club

5th Monthly Sock yarn club " Jules Verne around the world in 80 days " 
For the last 4 months I have been participating in a monthly sock club. Now my sock knitting history is quite poor. I like the idea of knitting socks and I know how to do it, but once I have completed 1 sock I totally lose interest in knitting the second one. So I have a box full of incompleted sock projects. Despite this bad habit of mine I decided to embark on the the journey with Jules Verne.
Month 1 London
The sock club is created by Rosemary Davis, who is a spinner, knitter and yarn dyer. She has an online Etsy shop which is where I found Around the World In 80 Days sock club.
Each month you receive a skein of hand dyed yarn that ties in with Phileas Fogg's journey. There will be a pattern from a Ravelry designer. A mini skein that will be used to create a pair of totem pole socks, some stitch markers that match the counrty Philieas is visiting and 1 or 2 small gifts for example, a notebook, a bag, something edible or some tea.
Everything comes beautifully wrapped with little sachets of lavender to keep the moths away.
Month 2 Suez Canal
So far I have yet to complete my first pair BUT, I am working on the second sock, so that is a huge achievement for me.
!st sock completed!
Month 3 Desert
 This months box arrived on Saturday so I don't want to post any pictures yet as it would spoil the surprise for overseas customers.
The boxes are always put together well and I think are great value for money as hand dyed yarn is expensive. Hopefully in the next year I will have a post all about the completed socks!

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Scrawlrbox.

ScrawlrBox-complete

Scrawlrbox is another monthly subscription box I have been trying out. 
The website states that it's a " mystery box of premium art supplies every month. Inspiring artists of all levels and abilities, with a monthly selection of creative tools and inspiration."
 Each month you receive between 8 and 11 art materials and an art challenge to inspire you. You also receive a piece of art work from a chosen artist usually postcard sized or slightly larger.
This months box was Manga themed. I was extremely impressed with the quality and contents of this box. The picture below shows how the package arrived.
 Inside there was a card giving details of contents, from top of box down:-
  • Art work by Mina Petrovic
  • 4 Graphmaster Duel Tip Marker pen. Alcohol based twin tipped markers with a fine and broad tip. Quick drying  and water permanent. 3 shades of cool grey and a black. 
  • Graphmaster Duel Tip Marker Pen colourless blender to mix tones and blend the shades together.
  • Sakura Pigma Blush Pen. The pen had a fine brush nib that can draw very fine lines or broad strokes.A non bleeding ink that is waterproof, fade resistant and quick drying.
  • Sakura Gelly Roll (white) Archival quality, will not fade or smudge, perfect for adding highlights to work.
  • KohI-I-Noor 10H Graphite pencil.
  • Graphmaster Permanent Liner (set of 3) Alcohol based water resistant black permanent liners. 0.4 0.6 1.0 tips.
  • 3 sheets of white paper.
I have been impressed with each box I have received but this one has been the best so far. All the materials work so well together and are of a high quality. The only item I find hard to get to grips with is the 10H pencil as I prefer softer pencils.
The challenge was Manga Yourself and the leaflet provides links to tutorials on drawing Manga. I've never tried it before so had a little go. Certainly more practice required but enjoyed my first attempt.
Manga challenge
( Disclaimer - I bought this box with my own money and the views expressed are my own. The description of the products is taken from the leaflet . )

Sunday, 1 May 2016

New Planner

So this week I'm going to show you my new A5 planner that arrived in the post.
Last year I bought my planner from personal-planner after a recommendation from a friend. You get to choose your own layout, design, colours, covers and extras. It arrived very quickly and I have never been without it since. So this year I ordered the same style but with new front and back covers. I kept the vertical layout as it works for me and added a timetable to the back along with extra lined paper.
You chose a ruler and a pen plus the colour of your planner band. 
The planner comes with clear plastic covers that I have found very hard wearing and an inside plastic pocket that I use for planner stickers or memo notes. The pages are a lovely thick quality and there is plenty of space for adding stickers and planner accessories.
Here is an example of how I decorate my planner. The stickers are from EllieBethDesignsUK on Etsy, one of the best planner sticker makers in the UK.
So here is the new planner. The picture on the front is one I took last summer. I love that you can customise with your own pictures. It starts on 1st August, you get to choose your start date, and I wanted mine to run from the Summer holidays right through to the end of the school year. I can't wait to start decorating and using it. I'll show you some weekly planner spreads in another post.
(disclaimer - I bought this planner with my own money and the views and opinions expressed are my own. I do not receive any monetary gain from this review.)  

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Little Box Of Crochet

I have been trying out a number of subscription boxes over the last year and here is a review of the most recent one I received.

Amanda Bloom's Little Box Of Crochet.

I came across this box via a friend on a social media site.
Each month you receive a cute little box filled with all you need to complete a crochet project.
Amanda started the subscription box after her daughter became ill and she needed to find work that would enable her to care for her daughter, but also be rewarding and fulfil her need for creativity. You can read her story here:Amanda's story. A truly wonderful way to work.
So what's in the box?
The first thing that struck me was how beautifully wrapped it all was. The yellow box is so cheerful and very sturdy and the contents were tightly nestled in pink tissue paper.
Inside I found a booklet with the written pattern and information about the designer, the yarn and the stitch marker maker. The pattern itself is well written with clear photographs to accompany each step. This months designer is Alia Bland from The Little Bee. Check out her site.
 There were 5 balls of Rico Cotton Essentials DK yarn weighed for the project. I have used this yarn before, it is a strong cotton for detailed crochet as it holds it shape well. The colours are also very vibrant. I do find that it splits very easily though which can be frustrating in crochet especially when working on small items.
Also included was a 3.5mm crochet hook, a darning needle, a project bag, a herbal tea bag and a really cute stitch marker by Beth Chapman of Korutumi
It's a beautiful project box and this morning I made a start on the project Bellberry Garland. It is quite intricate but using easy stitches like dc and tr it's easy to follow. Even a beginner able to do these stitches could follow, as the photos are so clear.
Here is my first little bellberry. Looking forward to completing them all.
For details of subscriptions look here:-subscriptions

(I bought this subscription box with my own money and the views and opinions expressed are my own.)

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Sketch Book Club

  So another little creative activity that has crept into my life this last year is drawing and painting. I took art at high school, both O' level and A'level and wanted to go on and study art at Uni but was put off by the many comments from parents, teachers etc who told me it was a waste of time and should be kept for a hobby only.  So I listened and toed the line like the good girl I was. Drawing/ painting took a back seat and eventually I stopped altogether.
That is until last summer when I stumbled across Jennie Maizels Sketch Book Club. Wow! Not only is Jennie and amazing illustrator but she also teaches art from her own studios. Now I live too far from her home to attend any classes but to my delight she has started running an online course. Just what I needed as I feel very rusty. So I signed up and last summer holidays my daughters and I spent one afternoon a week doing art.
Every afternoon was so relaxing and a truely lovely way to spend quality time with my girls. 
The work we produced may not have been gallery worthy but we had fun creating it and that's really all that matters. The modules included were, houses, fish, washing line and bugs. Each module uses a different technique and/or medium and Jennie guides you through the new methods introduced.

Each module has a video of Jennie showing you how to create the picture for the week. There is a list of resources needed (all of which you can buy from Jennies website), a selection of reference pictures that you can download and use as prompts for your drawings and full printed instructions. There is also a InstaGram group for you to share your finished art. It is very well written and put together.
 The way I used it was to set up all the resources needed. Then we sat and watched Jennie demonstrate, before finally getting busy ourselves. Jennie has a lovely gentle voice and is easy yo listen to. She also makes it look so easy! She does offer hints and tips on how to make things simpler, like tracing the pictures or drawing around shapes. She says it's not cheating, it just ensures you get a pleasing finish which is important if you want to take pride in your work.
 So we completed the first course and then the books got put away. 
Fortunately Jennie released a second sketchbook club - Course 2 . So the sketch books have come back out. This time the modules are :- Nature table, Jewels, Tea time and owls.  I have completed the first 2 and feel pleased with the results.