Month: February 2014

4 Weeks of Crafty Stuff

For the past four weeks, I have been attending taster sessions at a local community centre. They have all been creative classes, which I have enjoyed thoroughly. The aim of the classes, were not only to teach new skills but to encourage interaction with people. As the community centre serves as a nursery and playgroup for local children, it was mainly Mums that attended. I already knew a few of them, but it was a chance to get to know them better -outside the world of babies.

Here is my little evaluation of each class…

Flower arranging
Our first class was flower arranging. This was the class I was least looking forward to, mainly because I’d always imagined flower arranging to be boring. However, I really enjoyed learning about the many kinds of flowers and shrubbery we used. Lots of the flowers we used were varieties that I walk past every day, without noticing.
Our tutor was a lovely lady, who was definitely up for having a laugh (there isn’t much choice when you’re working with a group of ladies who are having some free time without children -hehe) There were about 7 girls in our class and we were all looking forward to our first creative session together.
My favourite part was inserting the flowers in the oasis…
I chose a green pot and began to carve my foam. We then soaked it in water and placed it in our small buckets with some plastic film to prevent any leaking water.
The tutor then showed us how we should place a central piece in first and slowly work from the outside inwards, remembering to turn our pot as we go. This way, there’s less chance of creating ‘a front’ and ‘a back’ (unless you require this type of design)
Firstly, I chose my colours. My plan was to go for the yellow shrubbery, with a variety of coloured Tulips. It took more time than I expected to get the look I wanted, and even still, I found it quite difficult to get it right. That said, I felt so dreamy whilst arranging the the leaves. It would have been nice to do this along with some ambient music in the room. Maybe some ‘Boards of Canada’.
Flower arranging has never really taken my fancy, but I found it very therapeutic and I was pleased with my end result. 
This was my design.

Cake Decorating
This was a fun class, although it was very tempting to eat the buttercream frosting throughout the lesson (HA!) The tutor was lovely, and it was nice how she took the time to speak to everybody individually and compliment their cakes. She had brought in a variety of chocolate buns and it was our job to make the icing and try different patterns using our icing pipes and different food colouring. We also had an option of stencils and edible decorations.
The most difficult part of this lesson, was having to come up with different cake designs in such a short space of time. I like to plan and research before starting most creative works, as I’m not so much of an on-the-spot thinker. In all honesty, I wasn’t that happy with my final designs, but it was nice “squirting” the icing out of the tubes. (I believe they call it ‘piping’?)
The one that appears to resemble a sunflower was supposed to be a lion, but it was impossible to do a face with such thick icing tubes. The bun with stars was supposed to represent my love for Bowie.
Ah well, they tasted good.
Needless to say, this was the class I was most looking forward to. It was hilarious from the start, simply because all the girls were giddy and excited, as we’d been told in advance that we’d be having a ‘male’ tutor. I’m sure you all know by now what kind of man I was hoping to have –Haha!

It’s also funny to mention that this was the quietest of all the classes so far, with the exception of our regular class-joker who made every attempt to flirt with our tutor – which made us all laugh. 
In this session, the artist we focused on was ‘Vincent van Gogh‘.

First, we were each given our own picture of Van Gogh’s work and the tutor briefly explained what we would be aiming to do. We were asked to do our own impression of Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ painting. He gave us some basic, background knowledge of the artist, before we all gathered around his table whilst he described the best way we could sketch the flowers in pencil, using certain techniques. I enjoyed this part, partcularly because I like watching people draw. It’s just a nice feeling.

After we’d all sketched our flowers, it was time to start using the watercolours he had shared out. We once again gathered around the tutor’s table and he showed us how we could create different shades of the same colour using different quantities of water with the paint.
He was lovely as he came around the class and helped us all in areas in which we were unsure. 
The picture below shows my impression (although it isn’t quite finished). Two hours isn’t much time to finish anything you want to look great.

Garment Making
Yet another class I was particularly looking forward to. Although I don’t do much sewing, I do like to make small items every now and then. Seeing as it would almost be impossible to make something along the lines of a dress within the two hours we had, it was already decided that we would make a pin cushion. I thought it was a super idea, especially because it’s probably one of the few sewing items I don’t own.

Firstly, the tutor showed us the basics of how to take body measurements accurately, how to use a sewing machine and how to hand-sew. It was all very interesting. We then took it in turns to use the sewing machine for practise before we started our cushions. It turned out that the majority of girls at the class (including me) already own a sewing machine, but rarely use it. Eventhough most of us ended up hand-stitching our cushions, they turned out brilliant. First, we stitched around the the two pieces of cloth which were placed on top of eachother (the top was cotton and the bottom was felt) and left a gap for the stuffing. After this, we stuffed cotton wool inside and continued to stitch up the cushion. Next, we trimmed the edges using serrated scissors and sewn a ribbon and button to the corner… VOILA!!

I’ve really enjoyed the last four weeks of these sessions and it would be nice to do something like this again. More than anything, it was great to have a laugh and get to know more about the other Mum’s that also have children who go to the nursery. I’ve certainly met a few new friends for life, which makes a HAPPY ZARA KATE!

Happy February!

It’s February already -YIKES! January has been fun, but time passes far too quickly.

I quote Pink Floyd (Time) …”Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time…”

If you already follow me on Facebook then you’ll probably know about my doodles. If not, one shall reveal…

I have decided to do a doodle-a-day for 365 days. It will keep my fingers warm and will also serve as -a kind of- visual journal for 2014. They are, in no way, meant to be masterpieces, but small jottings of how I’m feeling.

Please enjoy my January doodles and forgive my two failures -sometimes better things happen, you know 😉