Flower Pot Cover

For slightly mad reasons I decided to make a cover for the flower pot of out (boyfriend’s) Yucca tree. Boyfriend is planning to fill the living room with greenery apparently, he has not though.  I didn’t like the horrible brown plastic flower pot the Yucca is in, so decided to make a simple cover for it.  It is essentially, a rectangle of fabric (isn’t everything?) with elastic in the top.

I measured the flower pot, 29cm high and 79cm diameter. So I cut my fabric approximately 31cm x 84cm to allow for the hems.  I was using some left over fabric so I couldn’t quote get a bit enough piece, and had to add in a little bit on the corner.  I cut the jagged edge off to give a nice straight edge, then cut a triangle out of some off cuts.  The tricky part was getting the pattern to line up.  I’m pretty pleased with the result.

Once I had my beautiful rectangle, I folded over the top about 1cm to create a tube for the elastic.  Given that my elastic was so skinny, and it’s always a ball ache to pull elastic through I decided to put the elastic in first and then sew.  At full stretch my elastic was about 81cm.  I pinned one end of the elastic to the end of the fabric to keep it in place.  It meant when I got about half way along I ran out of elastic, so I stretched the elastic to its limit and pinned that end to the other end of the fabric.

I kept the elastic pinned into place for the time being.  Then I hemmed the bottom edge of the fabric (much easier to sew a straight line, then trying to hem a skirt).  Then I folded it in half right sides together, and sewed the two pieces together.  And it was done!

 

Best Film Photos of 2017 So Far

I’ve been trying to do more film photography but it can be a bit of a pain.  It’s defo not as easy as whipping out your phone, and the results are quite hit or miss.  But these are some of my favourites from 2017 so far.

Below- Superlambanana near Albert Dock, Liverpool.  Taken with Canon Ixus and APS film.

Below- Part of the Washington Memorial, Washington DC.  Taken with Diana F+ and black and white film.

Below- Photographer dogs in New York City.  Taken with Diana F+.

Below- Archway entrance to China Town, Liverpool. Taken with Canon Ixus with APS film.

Below- Cherry Blossom in Washington DC.  Taken with Diana F+.

Below- Townhouses in Washington DC.  Taken with Canon Ixus and APS film.

Below- Coney Island, Brooklyn.  Taken with Canon Ixus and APS film.

Inkodye- Experimenting with Sun Printing

I bought some Inkodye about four years ago, and had a go then.  It’s a dye that reacts to sunlight or UV, and I was living in a shared house without a garden.  It meant doing this project in my bedroom next to the window and it didn’t really work.

It’s fairly easy to play with.  You do need to plan it a bit first though.  The most obvious idea is shadow printing.  You paint the dye onto the fabric in a thin even coat.  Then quickly place items with clear silhouettes on top.  Leave in bright sunlight for about 20mins.  It was really windy when I was out, so I had to weigh my fabric down with coins!  You don’t have long before the dye starts to react, so I arranged my items in advance to make sure I could put them on quickly after painting my dye.  You can see in the pictures above how the dye started to change colour in just a few minutes.  You can also see how I splatted the Inkodye over the table I was using!  I also got it on some of the plants in the garden.  Be careful not to get it on your clothes, I think you would struggle to wash it out.   

I used pieces of card cut into hearts, a key, safety pins, horse shaped paper clips, scissors, buttons, and film negatives.  The best results came from the heavier items that lay flatter on the fabric like the key and scissors.  The card hearts would have worked better but I used a spray bottle for the dye on that piece instead of painting it and that made it all splodgy!  The negatives did nothing!  They were too dark and entirely blocked the light.  What you can do it print an inverted image of a photograph onto a piece of acetate or the ‘Transparency Sheets’ that Inkodye sell.

Afterwards I carefully transferred the pieces of fabric onto a tray to bring them inside.  The dye is still light sensitive, so once you remove the items onto the white bits underneath with start to react and change colour.  I put them all into the washing machine as quickly as possible, with the special Inkodye Detergent.  My washing machine refused to obey my command immediately, and they were waiting inside for a few minutes before I set it going.  In that time I lost the definition of the safety pins and horse shaped paper clips.  It was fun to play around but I don’t think I am quite ready to attack another piece of real clothing.

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6 Top Books of 2017 So Far

My incredible reading has slowed a little this year.  I was doing quite well but I’m currently having a lull. Perhaps reviewing the best books I’ve read this year so far will help

1.The Science One

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

2. The Sad One

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively

3. The Feminist Ones

Men Explain Things To Me/Nasty Women

4. The Classic American One

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

5. The David Mitchell One

Black Swan Green by David Mitchell

6. The Teen Lit One

My Heart And Other Black Holes

 

Analogue Photos with the Le Clic camera

I had an old film in my Le Clic camera for a while, and I finished it off a few weeks ago.  I found some old photos from a walk I went on with the family back in October!  Above is mt dad, sister, and niece.  The film is out of date which gives it an annoying pink blurriness which annoys me.

These images are more recent, still the same role though.  This is a walk boyfriend and I did in May.  It’s not great at capturing detail, as a result I think the above photo looks like a water colour.

Tie-Dye Summer Dress

I did some tie-dye last year and wanted to do some again.  Instead of just another t-shirt I went for a summery, embroidered dress. It’s white, and somewhat see-through.  So I would want to dye it a darker colour anyway.

It’s from H and M but actually cost about £40 which seemed kinda expensive for something I had a good chance of ruining but it was 30 degrees and sunny, so I went wild.  Obviously the temperature has since dropped to about 15 Celsius since then but that’s British summer for you.

Possibly at some point the weather will actually get warm enough again for me to wear it?

Tie Dye Top Tips

  • Only use natural fibres, like cotton.  I think you can get special dye for synthetics but they don’t take the dye as well .
  • Wash the clothes before you dye them.  They put a water resistant coating on clothes, called sizing for some reason, which keeps them looking nice and prevents mold.  But it also stops the dye penetrating.
  • After you’ve done, use scissors to remove the elastic bands.  This is much easier than trying to pull them off and there’s less chance of the dye running.

What I did

I used Dye-Lon dye, and followed the instructions on the back.  That being to mix the dye in 500ml of warm water, and dissolve the salt in 6 litres of warm water.  Then mix together.   I used a light pink in one bucket, and a dark pink in the other.  As well as tie-dying, I wanted to an ombre effect.

I then got a bunch of elastic bands and attack the dress.  I somewhat randomly grabbed little sections and elasticated them.  I did do a boob check, to make sure I wasn’t going to end up with targets on my breasts, and I tried to get a mixture of large and small sections.  Once you’ve done about half the dress it becomes pretty hard to visualise what the finished product will look like.

I held the dress under the warm tap for a few moments to dampen it again.  Then I dunked the top half of the dress in the light pink.  I left it in there for over an hour, swishing it around every so often to make sure it would dye evenly.  Then I pulled it out, turned it upside down and dunked the bottom half into the hot pink.  Again I kept that in for about an hour.  I didn’t want a hard line between the two colours so I wiggle it around in the darker pink a bit to get a blurrier line.

After taking it out, I poured the bucket of dye in the drain outside.  Then I ran the dress under water and gently squeezed the water out.  I kept the light pink section at the top at all times, so the darker pink wouldn’t drip down onto it.  After rinsing a few times, I used some scissors to carefully cut the elastic bands off.  Then I threw it into the washing machine, by itself to wash off the remaining dye.

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Osmanthus Flowering Tea

I picked this flowering Osmanthus tea up in Leaf, a hipsterish restaurant in Liverpool that I want to live in.  I’ve never tried flowering tea before, and it was only a few quid so I thought I’d give it a go.

Anyway, they are sewed up green tea ‘bulbs’ which unfurl when plonked in hot water.  Once they have fully opened you can drink.

It was quite fun, but it wasn’t the best tasting tea I’ve had.  It wasn’t a strong taste, but a bit like stewed green tea.  I’ve also seen prettier flowers on the interwebs.  So I don’t know if this was a dud one, or whether it had been siting on the shelf too long (the other tea I bought there is fine), or whether flower tea is just a bit rubbish. But I think I’ll try some more just to see.

 

Anyone know anything about flowering teas? Have you had good ones?

 

 

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Analogue Photos of Liverpool

I went to Liverpool on the bank holiday weekend and took my Canon Ixus camera with me.  I’ve posted photos using that camera before, most recently from when I went to America.  It’s an electric, analogue camera.  So basically, it has film and a battery- both of which are expensive.   It uses APS film which is super easy to use but gives a small field of vision.  Meaning that less stuff fits in the photo than your used to, so you can easily crop things out accidentally.

Like most film cameras the Canon Ixus struggles in lower light levels.  You can see in the top two images the difference it makes when the sun goes in!  The top images is much crisper while the bottom one seems fuzzier.  That’s a Superlambanana by the way.  They crop up around Liverpool.  Half banana, half sheep…or something.

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Turning a Long Sleeve Top Into A Short Sleeve Top

I bought this long sleeve top about 3 years ago in San Fransisco. I liked the fact that it was long sleeve, and also looked like pajamas!  It was one of the few things I bought that actually also made sense in the UK weather, unlike the very tempting summery items they were selling in California.

Buuuuut…the sleeve ripped on the right side around the elbow.  And everytime I put it on I put my arm straight the hole making it much worse.  So finally I decided to do something about it.  Inititally, I wanted to keep the cuff that was at the bottom of the sleeve but move it upwards.  But that proved too complicated for me.  Obvs the sleeve was a narrower at the bottom than the top so moving the cuff up would have been fiddly, not very neat, and I wouldn’t have been able to fasten it afterward.

So instead, I just cut the sleeves short to T-shirt length, and hemmed them.  Pretty easy in the end.