Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The results of having a free morning

I decided to visit Canterbury today of Cathedral and Chaucer and Thomas Becket death fame.

I had a few free hours during the morning. It was only half an hour drive to get there from Medway, faster than I thought.

I spent only about 3 hours in the city. I walked around, took photos and ate a huge chocolate-covered doughnut I got at the market.

The city is quite shocking, you get ancient buildings mixed up with large department stores and high street brands. It's a charming place though, and I'll be definitely coming back. I was quite surprised that the entrance fee to the Cathedral was 7.50, I thought it should be on donation or a bit less. You couldn't even get to the gardens without paying! And no decent views from the outside either.

So, some photos. None of the Cathedral though :(

Former king and queen of around the 12th century (can't remember the names now). You can see the city wall, and the top of the Cathedral at the back. That thing can be seem from pretty much everywhere around town.

Really creepy cemetery, right next to the Norman Castle. Most tombstones were quite old, but some were as new as 2005. Some really important historic figures are buried here. I was quite surprised that there were almost no signs to visit the place, I found it only by change when I got lost trying to get to the Castle.

This one is my favourite photo. It's from a window on the 1st floor of the Norman Castle, and it overlooks the insides of the castle itself. It was smaller but in much better condition than I expected.

And if buildings ain't your thing: the Great Stour river, that crosses Canterbury. Not the deepest or widest river around, but with quite a strong current.

All in all, a nice few hours out. I'll have to go back and actually pay to visit the Cathedral.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

A writer??

Not so much. I've been writing some articles (lenses?) at Squidoo, and have left aside my crafting for a while. I started a new knitting project, though.

I just have been reading a lot about teaching and language learning. And writing about it. My latest lens is on learning a language on 14 days, the basics at least!

I'm still trying to understand how the whole Squidoo thing works. In theory all my lenses should be listed in their search engine, but the latest one isn't. No clue why. Also, I've been having some issues with my tags. And one of my lenses didn't get listed, deleted it, and redid it exactly the same as it was before, and that time it got listed.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Sunday Etsy love - Dickens

Conmemorating this weekend's Dickens Festival in Rochester, Kent. An array of Charles Dickens goodies from Etsy.


And don't forget to visit the Orange Vaquita Store by yours truly while on Etsy.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

All work and no play...

...make Cristina a girl with money!

I've been really busy with work this past week. It was supposed to be a semi-holiday for me, but for some reason I ended up working more than usual. I can't complain though, being a tutor the more the merrier (the more students, the merrier I am, that is).

And looks like things will be busy for a while. All the better. Downside being, I won't have as much free time.

So... this week was a bit lacking on the crafting arena. I only managed to finish one scrunchie that will probably give you a pink overdose.

And four small cards/tags for Father's day with origami envelopes, that I learnt how to make only a few days ago. They are all on my Zibbet store now. Go grab them before June 21st.

And I started writing for Squidoo. I decided to write a series of articles on Language Learning, language teaching being what pays the bills. Only have one up so far, but I'm working on the second one. And many more should come quite soon, as I am focusing most of my free time on that right now. If anyone fancies learning a language just tell me what you'll like to see covered, and I'll try to make it happen.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Of tiny things: ATCs, ACEOs, Moos, twinchies, inchies and other small creations

One of my favourite things to do is look at other's people artwork, especially mixed media. I find it fascinating how with things most of us would consider trash these artists can create beautiful pieces.

And my predilection is no doubt tiny art. I don't know how it started but for some years now there has been a fad among online artists (mixed-media, fibre, drawers, painters, you name it!) to create in an ever decreasing size.

Two of the first were ATCs and ACEOs, Artist Trading Cards and Art Card Edition and Original respectively. They are both the size of a normal trading card (2.5" x 3.5"), only difference being that ATCs are made to be traded and ACEOs are to be sold.

I tried my hand at ATC a while back (about 3 years ago), but I was just too busy with university to actually make an effort. But I've always tried to check blogs and forums to see what artists were creating.

Not that long ago I heard of inchies, small 1"x1" artworks. The truth is I didn't really pay attention to them, until this week, that is. I was searching old forum and blog posts looking for tips and techniques in card making and came across inchies once again. Being bored (and not wanting to prepare my lessons for the following day), I started reading and looking at inchies, and just feel in love.

So, I immediately had to try my hand at it. I've only made four so far, not a lot, but I have about 100 cut and all ready to be made. I got a bit carried away and started a series.
The only thing I don't enjoy about inchies is photographing them. Not even my macro setting (which is amazing) will photograph them nicely.

On my quest to find more information about these inchies and eye-candy I came across twinchies, same concept as inches only 2" x 2". They give quite a lot larger area to work (four times an inchie), but are still small enough to be finished in a blink.

I haven't tried them yet, but are definitely on my 'to do' list.

When I thought my discoveries for the week were done, I noticed people making Moos. A lot of people have heard from Moo, a popular online printing service, especially famous for their half-sized business cards. Now, apparently artists have borrowed the idea and are making Moos, small pieces of art in a 28mm x 70mm format.

I love Moos as small bookmarks, they are pretty much the perfect size for pocket edition books, diaries, and planners. Again I haven't tried those yet, but I most probably will.

Another extremely common thing to see in a small size are tags. They are popping up all over the place, most are used as embellishments for cards or scrapbooking or as gift cards, but I think they deserve to be considered and admired by themselves.

And let's not forget small or mini cards. Usually considered small when they are of about an A7 or smaller size.

I've recently finished a few A8 cards for father's day, that will go on Zibbet as soon as their technical problems are solved, and found that these are extremely fun to make. They do take a bit of a shorter time than larger cards, but not that much. I think the main thing about making cards is its design, and that will take as long as it decides to take, no matter the size.

I'm really loving this downsize in art, I think it brings art to normal non-artist types (much like me), and if you were to buy them, you can actually own an original for what a cheap lunch would cost.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Experiments with paper: how origami is not as easy as I though

I finally found time to try some Origami. I found most simple/beginner diagrams to be extremely horrible, so, I decided to be brave and go for more complicated things. NOT a good idea.

In the end, my almost 5 hours of work did end up with a tangible result (in construction paper, I'm not prepared to ruin pretty expensive paper yet).

Most of my afternoon yesterday was spent folding, unfolding, staring at a diagram, folding again, checking the diagram, noticing my result was nothing like it was supposed to be, unfolding, looking at the diagram again, and folding again. This usually happened two or three time before I finally got it right.

I have to say that I succeeded in all diagrams I tried, except for one. It was supposed to be a rat, and was marked as 'advanced'. The worst part is that I actually got 3/4 of the way, but one of the steps I just can not get at all. I will try it again in a while, when I'm more experienced.

First I tried some classic Origami diagrams:

Then I moved on to Origami with rectangular paper:

In case you are wondering that is a heart bookmark. I haven't tried it yet, but it doesn't look all that useful as a bookmark.

And, the final part of my experimets involved strip folding. The tiny star which almost everyone knows how to do (but I didn't), and another a bit more complex star, which I have to say I'm really proud of.

I'll call myself satisfied with my results for the time being. Next challenge: Modular Origami.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Red Asian chicness

The only thing even remotely Asian about the bag is the fabric. Which I found at my local HobbyCraft, and was surprised to see at an extremely cheap price. Look at that, it's just beautiful.

So, to try my newly acquired (mini) sewing machine, I decided to make myself a bag.

And one in red for that. Because I realized a few days ago, that I didn't have any in that colour.

Lining, from a skirt I bought at a charity shop for £1.

Pleats at the front and back, just to add a bit of detail and interest to the bag.

It's a medium sized bag. Here it is comfortably leaning on my laptop, just for size comparison purposes.

I have to say, the sewing machine behaved itself perfectly. It might be small and incredibly cute, but that thing can sew. It's supposed to be only used with light and medium weight fabrics, but at some points it had to go through 10 layers of fabric, and did it with blinking.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Finished objects. Finally!

I've been quite productive these two last days. Mainly crochet.

First one, I kind of summery hat. I love the yarn, I've had it in my stash for a while. I'd done some baby booties with it. The stitch is not extremely fancy, but I love the look of it, I've used a lot of times before in hats and tops.

I finished the really bright pink scarflette. This is one to sell, but I'm going to be making another one for myself. This one is knitted on my amazing Denise needles.

A pair of crochet scrunchies. Lovely yarn, but horrible to crochet with, I kept sneezing.

And last but not least, three animal brooches. All felt and handsewn. They're kind of fun to do, but take forever to finish.

Everything's for Etsy, hope they sell, but if they don't I can always keep them myself!!

Sunday Etsy love - tea

I've decided to start featuring some Etsy items every Sunday, focusing on items that have been listed a long time. So get them while you can!

Today the focus is tea. No reason, except that I love it. Enjoy!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Walking around

Today it was just BEAUTIFUL! We've had some pretty horrible days lately, but it's got nice for the bank holiday weekend.

So... I decided to out for a walk. I live about 3 minutes from the river, so that's where I headed. Not much in the excitement area, but loads of beautiful scenery.

My favourite, hands down, is the Cathedral. This is a view from the Riverwalk. You can actually see the Castle as well, on the right.

Basically it was all nature, nature, nature. I'm a city girl, but some green every now and then is nice.

Those are all wild flowers! Just amazing. And if you look really close on the last one, you can actually see a bumblebee.

But the highlight of the day was:

a real life Orange Vaquita. How cool is that??

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The wonder of the creative process

I'm by no means a creative person AT ALL. But I think we all go through the creative process.
This is how mine usually goes.


A few days ago I bought a pack of 10 sheets of felt, and a couple days after that I got I bag of 40 brooch bars. Both just sat there staring at me, until I thought about making felt brooches. Not the most creative of ideas.


So I went and did some, you may call it, market research. So I ended up deciding to make some animal felt brooches.

Idea development

On to the drawing board it was. I grabbed a white sheet of paper, and drew about 7 or 8 different outlines. I chose my favourite, and copied it with carbon paper.

I had 9 outlines. A fast Google image search gave me the idea of going for a jungle theme. So, about 20 minutes later I had a plan.


Lots of felt cutting and sewing, and I had a first version of my original idea.

Prototype modifications

I kinda love the way the prototypes look, so I'm keeping them for good. At least for the time being.

And just for comparison, the design and the final product.

Monday, 18 May 2009


I used to have a great origami book when I was a kid. Really easy explanation and graphics for everything. No idea where it might be now.

I've been meaning to re-learn my origami for a time now. And seeing as I have loads of construction paper, I thought I'd give it a go. At least I won't ruin expensive paper.

A list of links I've found around the net, and are useful if you're learning origami:
- Origami:Diagrams Just amazing. Loads or diagrams.
- Origami Club Really cute. Nice for kids. They have diagrams and animations.
- Origami USA Loads of resources, including a dictionary and a FAQ, and diagrams.
- The Origami Page Some unusual diagrams. Well worth a visit.
- Origami Resource Center Your one stop for anything origami. Loads of interesting information.
- OrigamiTube Videos (where you expecting something different with that name?)

Enough link to keep anyone busy for a while. I'll see how it goes and post some results.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

some WIPs

I thought I'd post what I'm working on right now, at least in the yarn department.

Swallowtail shawl WIPMy two main WIPs right now are an orange version of the Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark. That lady surely knows her lace.

Never ever in life have I used a shawl before, but I think they're lovely, so I thought I'd give them a go. Found on Ravelry a fast shawl, used some worsted weight cotton instead of lace weight, and went with it. Well... I just loved it. It's now one of my favourite items of clothing I own. Just hoping the weather around Kent gets nicer so I can start using it.

Orange yarn Exactly the same day I finished that one, I started another one, with the most beautiful orange yarn I've ever see. It's and acrylic sport weight in a bright orange. It screams summer.

I'm getting close to finishing the first part of the lace, and starting the nupps section. I might use white pearls instead of doing the nupps, just to break a bit all the orange.

And I'm also working on a scarflette for my Etsy store. But I'm loving it so much that I might just keep it. I'll probably have enough yarn to make myself a second one.
Bright pink scarflette

The only thing I've managed to finish is a bunch on scrunchie, again for my Etsy store. I love making these, they are so much fun. And the great thing is you can go really crazy when mixing yarns and colours.

And so it begun....

I've always done some type of craft or another. And I've had a gazillion blogs, but for some reason it just never struck me to have a crafting blog. I do follow quite a few, though.

So, here it is. I'll see how it goes. Hopefully, it will last!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

About me

Who I am

My name is Cristina, and I now live in Rochester, Kent (UK), but I was born in Argentina and I lived in Spain for about 8 years.

I'm 23 years old, and I am trained as a school teacher, specialized in foreign language acquisition. Which probably tells you that I love languages, and always try to learn them.

Apart from that, I'm just a normal person who liked travelling a lot, and who moves a lot, because I usually get bored with things easily. I read a lot as well, particularly classics and teen fiction (yeah, I do know I'm not a teen anymore, but they are fun).

What I do

(inspired in the list at Arts and crafts in Wikipedia)
  • ATC: one more thing I've tried. Didn't really get into it as I was quite busy at the time. I might go back to it.
  • Calligraphy: tried it, not an expert.
  • Card making: still new, but I find it lots of fun.
  • Crochet: my STAR craft, learnt when I was 9 and never stopped. I absolutely love it!
  • Cross-stitch: learnt when I was about 11, stopped for years, and took it up again a few months ago.
  • Embroidery: I do it every now and then.
  • Jewelry making: I've tried it, I can sort of get by, but I'd much rather buy it from someone else!
  • Knitting: only learnt about 3 years ago, but it feels as if I've been doing it forever.
  • Macrame: I can do it, but find it a bit tiresome.
  • Origami: did it as a child (only basic things), now I'm trying to really learn it.
  • Parchment: I learnt when I was about 10 or 11. I stopped for a while because it was impossible to get supplies where I lived, now I started again.
  • Sewing: love it, still learning. I did take a pattern drafting and sewing course when I was about 14, but could never finish it (I moved to another country).
  • Spirelli (is this craft, seriously?): my favourite childhood past time, I inherited a set from my mum.

Where I am

Feel free to get in touch with me in any of these venues.