If anyone were to ask; “Do you consider yourself a writer?” I’d say no. Not that it’s a question which happens all that much.
I’m a blogger, reviewer and sometimes prone to hitting full critique mode but I don’t set out to write stories, be they fiction or non-fiction. However, I do enjoy reading many kinds of writing and about the process of writing itself. Which is by way of introducing a WordPress blog that I want to give a shout out to; Writer’s Wibble by the most excellent sloopjonb. From an ongoing series of essays on historical events and personages, a look at the process of writing (particularly about fantasy writing), reviews, some poetry and even a rather excellent recipe for a chilli. Do drop by!
(Full disclosure: Jon is a personal friend and I enjoy his writing very much indeed. I rather hope lots of other people will too)
The summer is seemingly rushing past, so it seemed a good time to post up a review of a new (to me) moisturiser with high SPF that I’ve been trying out: Lush’s Million Dollar Moisturiser.
As many people with rosacea know; the summer is usually the hardest time of the year to avoid experiencing flare-ups as exposure to UV light increases. Having some form of sun protection, whether under make-up or not, is very necessary. Depending on skin type this can also be a really tricky balance as sun protection formulas can contain chemicals that react badly on sensitive skin. The other main issue is the level of greasiness that creams and lotions leave behind.
As quite a few of my posts have become sewing-related recently; I’ve started a new Tumblr blog called Imagination is sewing.
I’m not abandoning WordPress! Some of the pieces I work on don’t require full long-form posts but I’d like a place to share my work, so that’s what the new Tumblr blog is for. It also has some really great, vibrant sewing, embroidery and textile arts blogs to view too.
There’s only a couple of pics up but I will be adding more with time. If you’re already on there, please do drop by!
The idea of working from pre-made kits can sometimes be a bit of divisive thing in sewing; some people enjoy them for learning new techniques or for a way to try out different designs without creating the whole thing from scratch. Others find them restrictive or have tried kits that weren’t really what they hoped they would be in terms of supplies or the completed design.
I fall firmly into the first category; I’ve written previously about how I first tried out some of Carolyn Gayton’s goldwork kits last year and, as a beginner, I’ve found that the ones I have tried have increased my confidence and knowledge of the techniques. They can also prove to be a relaxing project to do after having worked on more intensive designs.
I was fortunate to come across these Millefiore and Rose Brooches available to buy online. Created as kits by Jenny Adin-Christie, a specialist professional embroiderer, I decided to try these as I loved the look of these wearable jewellery pieces.
Having sewn the Millefiore ones first I can say that these make delightful kits for a beginner to working with metal threads and chipwork (the cutting of wires into small 2-3mm pieces which are then stitched down). The equally colourful Rose brooch is probably better for those who have had some experience before, as the central design made from rough purl could be a little fiddly for a first-timer, but for those with previous experience this would be somewhat easier. The instructions and supplies were both well laid out, clearly labelled and presented with quite sufficient materials to complete the designs.
As I really enjoyed making these, I thought I would share the finished brooches. If you’re interested in goldwork or metallic thread hand sewing these are a good place to start and I recommend these as they make lovely gifts too, if you can bear to part with them!
I’ve always had rather weak nails that are ridged and prone to splitting and breakage. Aside from a monthly massage of cuticle oil for a home manicure; their condition is not something that I’ve given any specific treatment to before. After last December’s intensive bout of nail polish application and removal my nails were suffering more than usual and that wasn’t much helped by the winter months either.
I’d been avoiding using polishes but that wasn’t quite enough as my nails were getting more splits than ever. I decided to try out one of the many available nail treatments with Talika’s Nail Regenerator Serum. I’ve been using this since early May, as noted in My nail and hand care basics post.
The serum is composed of three plant oils and the instruction leaflet say that it ‘hydrates, softens cuticles and stimulates growth for brittle, split and uneven nails’.
We all rely on doctors, nurses and many other medical staff who work in human-based medicine to help care and assist in what are often the most difficult of times. In the same way; we rely on the professional skills of veterinarians for the care of our non-human family. We hope that their expertise is combined with an understanding of the animal they are seeing, compassion towards them and clarity in explaining a diagnosis and treatment.
Unfortunately just like the terrible, shocking stories we read or hear relating to medical care of people that goes tragically wrong, this can also apply to animal medicine.
It doesn’t need to be a case of gross negligence or incompetence or a deliberate malicious act. A certain mindset or attitude that to a distressed, bewildered human trying to make a decision about an ill and highly stressed animal can do the greatest damage of all: the irrevocable decision to euthanise.
This story is about our cat, Bod, a British shorthair who, until a sudden, seemingly trivial urinary infection seemed healthy and happy.
Completed Abiogenesis sewn design
I’ve been much delayed in doing the follow up to Part One of the goldwork project but here it is. This post looks at the next sewing test and final version of Gary Spencer Millidge’s Abiogenesis Press logo I made with some new equipment: a 30cm x 30cm Elbesee hand rotating (roller) frame and an Elbesee Posilock stand.
I’ve been learning about goldwork embroidery for just over a year now by working from a few kits and trying a couple of projects from books.
I thought I’d share how I came to do this project as it’s the first time I’ve completed a design which is not from a pre-made kit or beginner-specific tutorial. Over two posts I’ll explain some of the processes, equipment and materials I’ve used.
I do want to say that I’m not an expert in goldworking, embroidery or any other textile art and these posts are not meant as a tutorial.
It’s been another break in blogging for a month. How did that happen? Mostly I’ve been working on sewing projects (which I do hope to post about). One other thing I have been doing is upgrading my nail and hand care routine with some new products.
After the Christmas splurge on trying out the Ciaté range of mini-polishes, I found that my nails had a hard time with the rounds of applications and removal. Being prone to thin, ridged, nails which split easily; regular cooking, central heating during winter months and then the rigours of sewing so often, my hands and nails definitely needed some help.
Kirsty Mordaunt – Manga Studio portrait
In November 2013 I featured a favourite web comic ‘164 Days’, created by the talented Kirsty Mordaunt. I’m delighted to post an interview with Kirsty, which she kindly agreed to do via email, answering some questions regarding her work as a comic writer and artist and details behind the origins of the charming, intriguing, story featuring the Andersen family and Ysendra the Weatherwitch.
164 Days has been running online since August 2011. Have you found that the way you approach the story has changed over time? Do you keep an outline or written notes on the story line and character development for the future?
I can’t believe I’ve been doing it for that long! I’ve found over time I learned to be a lot more ruthless with what I cut out of the original plans – it was written as a prose story rather than in script form. I love to write dialogue but I had to learn to remove pieces that were unneeded and did not push the plot forward.