8-bit Pixel Art Quilt

I was chatting with Emzolv (https://emzolv.wordpress.com/) about blogging and such like and it reminded me that I used to post blog updates on my crafting exploits.  I had not realised that two years had passed since my last post on making Game of Thrones costumes.  On reading back through my blogs I saw that I had promised a blog on my 8-bit Pixel Art quilt (this turned into an epic project and what with moving house I forgot about actually writing the blog).  I did finish the quilt in April last year so I should probably share some photos of it and my experiences making it.

This project started as a way of combining cross stitch and quilting into one project with all the quilt squares being based on cross stitch patterns (or pearler patterns) which were found online.  Phil and his twitch community inspired me to create the quilt and encouraged me to keep going by asking for updates on the patches.  Some people asked for updates more often than others (I am looking at Dave here), but this did help me through and inspired me to finish the quilt.

The patches started off with game characters from my youth such as Sonic and Tails, ToeJam and Earl and Super Mario, and ended with more up to date characters such as Fez, Super Meat Boy and Isaac (showing how twitch has influenced my gaming knowledge).

The quilt was so huge (king sized) that it was hard to get into one photo.  The characters from left to right, top to bottom are; ToeJam, Earl, Sonic, Tails, Bandage Girl, Super Meat Boy, Princess Zelda, Link, Luigi, Mario, Yoshi, Toad, PacMan, PacMan Ghost, Isaac and Fez.  I think the Yoshi patch was my favourite as he looks so happy.

All the squares linking the patches together were from my stash in an attempt to use up my fabric from previous projects (it did not even make a dent!) and I backed it with an old duvet cover (upcycling in action).  As the quilt was so huge I decided that it was easiest to buy a cheap low tog duvet to fill the quilt (as it would have taken a lot of wadding and I did not fancy machine finishing and binding such a huge quilt).  Buttons were hand sewn (probably not a good idea, there was a lot of swearing due to needles being accidentally inserted in fingers) to hold it all in place.  This quilt proved very useful when we moved to our new house in November last year as the heating was hit and miss, and it was nice and warm to snuggle under when watching TV.  It is currently on our guest bed so greets everyone who comes to stay with us.  This was a labour of love and I am so glad that I saw it through to completion (it took just over a year in total from making the first patch to sewing the last button).

Hopefully I will remember to post blogs more frequently again now (especially as I have a craft room in the new house, which includes a desk for typing as well as sewing).  I am sure Emz will also remind me when I have not blogged in while (a friendship which would not have come about if I had not been introduced to her via Twitch by Phil, maybe one day the Yoshi’s Island cross stitch will be finished too).

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Game of Thrones Costumes part 2 – Jaime Lannister

As promised here is the second and final part of my Game of Thrones costume blog.   Phil also attended the party with me and following a long and busy winter of work he had allowed his hair and beard to grow.  We decided to use that to our advantage and prisoner Jaime Lannister was the ideal costume choice.  We based the costume on the following image

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Jaime Lannister Costume

The key components for the costume were a scruffy cloak, a manacle, a severed hand, bandages, sling and boots.  I left Phil to sort out buying the hand and finding some boots whilst I hit the charity shops and got the sewing machine out again.

I started off with the cloak.  After searching a lot of charity shops in Sale and Stretford I eventually found some black curtains for £8 which were ideal for making the cape.

I found the following pattern online (http://www.servantsofthelight.org/knowledge/making-a-robe/) for a basic tailored robe which I adapted into a cape by removing the sleeves and rounding the shoulders to fit Phil. As it had to look tatty I was not too bothered about the finish so I decided not to bother with lots of seams and left all the fabric edges raw, and only partly sewed the back and sides, leaving about the bottom third unsewn (to make it looked ripped and tatty). I also made a clasp with some off-cuts of the curtain fabric and some Velcro to secure it in place.

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Finished cape

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Velcro clasp finish

The next thing that I needed to make was the manacle. For this I used two cuffs from one of Phil’s old shirts which I had already upcycled into a sleeveless tunic top.  I joined the cuffs together using the buttons of one and the button holes of the other.  The cuffs were then covered using the same curtain fabric as the cape and Velcro was sewn to the open ends to secure it around the neck.  The manacle also needed a ring so that our Jamie could be secured as a prisoner.  For this I attached an old pastry cutter to the neck piece using more curtain fabric. Both the manacle and the cape was pressed into soil before the party to make them look dirty and distressed.

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Manacle

Phil purchase a single hand off eBay for £2 which he then made look bloodied and severed by wrapping the end with some of the curtain backing fabric and dying it with red food colouring. He also dyed some of the backing fabric to wrap around his hand to create the illusion of a stump. The sling was also cut from some of the black curtain fabric to look like it had been torn from his cape. He purchased some black welly boots from eBay for £12 to complete the costume.

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Severed hand and bandage

The rest of the look was created from brown eye shadow and red/brown lip stick to create a battered and bruised look.

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The assembled costume

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Jaime and Daenerys at the party

I hope you have enjoyed my mini series on costume making. This experience has inspired me to make more costumes in the future and we are now waiting for the next costume party invite so that we can do it all again.

Game of Thrones Costumes part 1 – Daenerys Targaryen

We recently attended a Game of Thrones fancy dress party for my brother-in-law’s 30th birthday. I took this as an opportunity to get the sewing machine out and be creative.  The first decision was who to go as? I wanted to go for a dramatic transformation so I decided on Daenerys Targaryen as this gave me an excuse to buy a wig and make a cape.  I could also dust of my electronic Norbert the dragon to take with me. After some searching for a costume which could be easily recreated I settled on this one

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Daeneys Targaryen

The items I purchased first were the wig and the cat-o-nine tails from eBay for about £5 in total.  The wig was then plaited to style it. I already owned some suitable boots and I bought some grey leggings from Primark.

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Plaited wig

After the easy purchases the fun could begin.  This cape was made using a pattern for a woollen cape by NewLook, but I opted to use cotton fabric so it was not too heavy.  I purchased the fabric from my local fabric shop in their new year sale for £15 in total (for the blue fabric and the lining).  This was my first time following a pattern to make clothing so it was both exciting and terrifying at the same time.  The cape probably took about 8 hours to make with much tea, cursing and sleep in between.

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Fabric and cape pattern

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Laying the pattern pieces out ready to cut

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The finished cape

The dress was created from a dull and shapeless dress which was picked up for under £5 in a charity shop. I removed the sleeves, took in the sides and cut the front and back to shape.

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Charity shop dress

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Sleeves removed and sides taken in

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Sides cut to shape

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Cutting and seamed front and back to shape

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Transformed dress

The day of the party soon arrived and I was so excited to wear my costume and be the mother of dragons for the night. I even tried to copy the original pose that the costume was based on.

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Me in my costume

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Me and Phil (Jamie Lannister, the subject of my next blog)

I hope you found this helpful and useful if you have a costume party coming up and want to create a costume on a budget. My next post will be dedicated to creating a beaten up looking Jaime Lannister costume (as pictured above).

A quilting Christmas

Happy 2015 everyone, didn’t realise how long it had been since I last posted about my creative exploits. It wasn’t due to a lack of crafting just a lack of time to write and the fact that I was busy making gifts and I didn’t want to ruin any surprises.

This post is about my quilting experiences. After finally finishing a quilt which I started cutting the squares for back in 2013, when my masters degree took over my time, I decided that it would be a good idea to make quilts for my grandparents for Christmas.  The first quilt was small and basic so I thought I could achieve anything. Although I did learn that hand finishing would not be an option for a larger quilt after I stuck the needle in my finger multiple times!

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My first quilt

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I decided to still keep the quilt design fairly simple for the quilts as I wanted to be able to make them fairly quickly as it was June and I knew it will soon be Christmas! I consulted my quilting book (Learn to Quilt by Sharon-Chambers) and picked the ‘economy 16 patch’ quilt. I decided to do one quilt in autumnal colours and the other in spring colours to tie in with the respective colours of my grandparent’s bedrooms.

So naturally a trip to Abakhan’s in Manchester was needed (if ever I need an excuse to buy fabric) and I was ready to start quilting.  Once I got into a system of cutting and sewing the patches together the top of the first quilt was soon finished (although slightly wonky in places but we call that handmade).

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Since I had managed to over buy on fabric I decided to make the back using the four fabrics which made up the green and purple squares.  I kept it simple and simply sewed four large squares together and the back was done.

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Then came the quilting……I decided the sew the layers together on the machine using a long straight stitch and creating diamonds in the 16 patches.  This seemed to work well considering that I have not got a walking foot for my machine.  There were only a few areas where the fabric bunched on the back (and only slightly).  The scariest bit was probably the binding, but this was made less scary by following the instructions in this blog, http://www.cluckclucksew.com/2013/01/machine-binding-tutorial.html. I also used the pale fabric from the patches to make the binding. Some of my stitching went a bit wonky but I was happy with the result.

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The second quilt was a lot easier and I managed to complete it a lot quicker (although it wasn’t ready for Christmas but I wasn’t seeing my nan until January so it gave me an excuse to deliver it in person) I was even a bit braver with the back.

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Back of the quilt

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Top of the quilt

The quilts were both well received and it was nice to give homemade presents. I am now working on a quilt of my own design based on 8-bit game art. I am really excited about it and will post about it later this year.

Cushion craft

Hello again, it has been a while since my last post so I thought I would do a quick post related to cross stitch and sewing.  I have always enjoyed cross stitch but there are only so many framed cross stitch projects that one can display at home (and at work in my case).

In an attempt to be more creative I have dusted off my sewing machine and converted some of my projects into cushion covers, by adapting a simple IKEA pattern for an envelope cushion cover which can be found online.  The cross stitch patterns are by Weelittlestitch (see my previous post)

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I am really impressed with the harry potter one as I spent extra time matching the pattern on the fabric across the front and back (guess I have learnt something from the Great British Sewing Bee.

Guess the next question Phil will ask is how many decorative cushions can you have in your house?

Stitching and sewing

Following on from my last post on cross stitching, I would like to share some projects involving patterns purchased from an online company called Wee little stitches (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/weelittlestitches). I was introduced to them through a friend and have been hooked on their modern and geeky designs.

I started off with a design for Phil, The Fellowship of the Ring, which I framed for him to put on display in his office.

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I have also used some of the patterns to make coasters as gifts.

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Another good feature Wee little stitches offer is a custom design, all you have to do is email a photograph.  The turn around time was also quick.  I incorporated the design into a wedding anniversary card, and my friends and I were impressed with the result.

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I would definitely recommend Wee little stitches for people who want to get into cross stitching as the designs are clear and can be completed quite quickly. Their modern designs also make cross stitching more appealing, especially if you have a geeky side like me.  I have some more gifts in the stitching and can’t wait to complete them and see the reactions.  I am also making cushion covers, so plenty to keep me busy in between baking.

Cross Stitching

I have been blogging a lot about my exploits in the kitchen but I am also interested in cross stitching. I started off buying pre-prepared packs but soon found that these were quite restrictive and Phil was bored of me stitching bears (I have done a few tatty Ted patterns and Winnie the pooh pictures).

So in his mission to broaden my stitching he bought me some software to design my own (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jane-Greenoffs-Cross-Stitch-Designer/dp/B00006NSTK) and told me to stitch something big to go on the wall. I thought about this and decide to select a photograph from my trip to Chicago when Phil was living out there. My Marina Towers picture was three years in the making but was worth it. I only bought a frame recently and it still isn’t on the wall, but it made Phil realised how long these things can take.

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I have also dabbled in designing my own cross stitches for coasters,  including some of characters from Shrek for a friends 30th birthday and some of the Justice League for home.

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I have also converted cross stitch patterns into cards, such as the two below for a friends baby and my sisters engagement.

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I have recently discovered an online company that produce patterns which have embraced my inner geek but that is for another blog.