Wednesday, 24 March 2010

A New Bag

Hi Blogspot

I'm a bit hacked off today ... some Chinese games company has stolen £50 from my Paypal account. I sent them a truly rude e-mail demanding immediate repayment or else the UK Police and Interpol will be informed but I don't suppose it will do any good. I just have to hope that Paypal will refund the money. :o(

Anyway ... I'm on to a new bag now ... a 'Man Bag'. :o)

I was going to do the rock pooling bag next but I was chatting to one of the girls I go to knitting club with and we were reminiscing about how our older brothers always used to break our dolls ... my brother didn't just break my doll ... he sawed her up with a hack saw, painted the raw edges red and proceeded to blow her up in his fort! I am still internally scarred by this memory, even today!

So, in honour of this sad, sad memory I am creating a 'Man Bag'. It will be a cross-the-body style, in dark brown fake leather and very plain on the outside. It will have a lift up flap on the outside which will allow access to the zip closure inside. On the under side of the flap and on the inside of the bag I am thinking of putting cartoon style war noises - ka-boom, bang, whoosh - that kind of thing in the usual cartoon style explosion stars or clouds of smoke. I'm thinking of putting in a row of bullet holes too ... not real ones ... cartoon ones!!!!

I can't use too much fabric or embroidery because it will take away the 'manliness' of the bag ... but just using paper is too simple with no skill involved. I spent today matching up the noises with the right explosion stars or clouds etc on paper and testing out colours to make sure they add to the cartoonishness. Tomorrow I'm going to try cutting out felt pieces and satin stitching them onto a fabric similar to the lining of the bag to see what they look like. If they're not too feminine, I will purchase some lovely, exciting stuff called "Plasti-dip" which comes in various colours but the one I want is clear. Basically, you can just about dip (or paint) anything with this stuff and it gives it a plastic coating. Ohhhh ... the things you could coat in plastic ... the list is never ending!

What I'll do with the bag once sewn together is buy up lots of old, broken dolls from Charity Shops and break them further (possibly sawing them if I can bring myself to do it) and painting bits red and leaving other bits just broken ... just like my brother did in his fort ... and placing all these doll bits inside the bag. Of course, I'm going to have to write the story up properly into the little story book that goes with each bag ... I need to try and express the sense of horror at finding my brother in the garage - saw in hand ... and the sense of loss at seeing her repeatedly blown up in his fort afterwards. And amazingly, he says he can't remember doing it!!!

Anyway, that's my plan. Unfortunately the buying of the dolls is going to have to wait as the theives that stole the money off my Paypal card today have only left us with £3 until next Tuesday. How nice of them! It's a good job I'm not in charge of the SAS or anything because if I was, I'd be sending them in there right now to get my money back - by any means ... the more painful the better! Damn these bad people. :o(

Thankfully, God only made me an artist so all I can do it take it out in my work ...

See ya!

Friday, 12 March 2010

Why Do I Always Get Ideas Early In The Morning?

Morning Blogspot.

My brain is bursting with ideas right now about the next bag. For ages I've not been able to even start thinking about the next bag, but suddenly this morning ... ding! ... ideas are tumbling over themselves to get out.

So ... next bag ... rock pooling (yes, again) but on a bigger scale. Type of bag ... across the body - the kind you would take to the beach. It will have a 'flap over' style at the front ... ie, you lift the flap to gain access to the inside of the bag. The flap will be made to look like rock (somehow!). The 'across the body' strap will be made from some fake brown leather stuff I found in a charity shop the other day. With that, I'm thinking that I could cut out the shape of various types of seaweed but rather than having individual pieces stitched together to form the strap (which will create areas of weakness along the strap), I'll just piece the pattern shapes together and cut out their sillouette in one long piece of this fake leather stuff - 2 pieces actually top stitched together to add strength. To add additional strength to this strap I was thinking that I could insert a piece of ribbon (it has to be something that is flexible yet flat - so wire, plastic boning strip or string are no good) through the two layers of strap and pull tightly at each end. This will help prevent weaker areas of the strap (ie, where two pieces of seaweed join together) ripping apart when the handbag is filled with everyday 'useful' crap!

Back to the flap ... under this rock looking flap I was thinking you could have the seaweed around the 3 outside edges (1 edge being against your body when you walk, therefore needing to be plain) hanging outside and dangling and bobbing around when you move. Under this overhang of seaweed I could attach applique shells, fish etc to make it look like a rock pool. Other things, perhaps a prawn or a starfish etc I could make as broaches and attach those onto the bag so they look as if they're part of the bag but they can be removed if the wearer wanted to use them as an accessory.

I hope this spiel makes sense ... my brain seems to be projectile vomiting ideas out!!

As for making of the overhanging seaweed, I don't want to make it out of acrylic paint again. It does give a good representation but (a) it's too fragile and (b) when it gets cold it gets really hard and crispy which is not good for scraping hands against it nor does it help with the fragility issue! Anyway, we had a textile artist come and talk to us yesterday - Nicola Donovan - very interesting and entertaining lady. She suggested I try something called plasti-dip/plasti-coat. Apparently there's a website which I can go to direct. All you do is take your acrylic piece of seaweed and dip it into this stuff which gives it a smooth and supple plastic coating that retains its 'bendability' whatever the weather. Another idea I was thinking of was to make clay molds of my seaweed pieces and then fill those molds with latex. The problem with this one is I need to know how I can colour the latex ... for instance, if I paint it with anything afterwards, will the paint peel off over time ... or if I add die to the latex will that work (mainly because latex seems to come in strange colours in its raw state)? Mind you, saying that, there is some latex solution up at Hobbycraft which might be ok - and that stuff looks white ... hmmm ...

I haven't read this through yet, so I hope you're all keeping up with my brain! My body isn't!!

The outside of the bag ... (it's time for a cigarette and more coffee)

... right, the outside of the bag. We did an experiment in a paint workshop at uni using palette knives. I've never used them before (I'm not a painter remember) so thoroughly enjoyed using them, slapping down great thick sweeps of acrylic paint and then blending colours together. I was thinking ahead slightly at that time (unusually!) and used a variety of blues and greens - wondering if this technique would be any good for my rock pooling bag. I'll attach photos of the finished experiment:

To me, it does look quite sea like. I was initially thinking of knitting the outside, like I did with the original purse - but this is a bag so will be much bigger and I've already shown my knitting skills with the razor bag, so I want to do something different and something a little unusual for this bag. The problem I have with this experiment at the moment is that it is very fragile. I had to paint the acrylic on to cling film as I didn't have any baking paper at college. I think baking paper would allow me to use thicker layers. The other problem I have with this experiment is that it is quite rough to the touch in places - where there are peaks of paint. This is no good for cold hands that will scratch easily or for delicate fabrics (if I were to wear any) with the bag brushing against them repeatedly while I was walking. So, I need to think a little more about this and experiment some more. But I like this idea ... and, it's rain proof. I could probably use this technique as well for the 'rock' looking flap. Hmmm ...

If I do go with this acrylic outside, it will of course be lined to give strength and I'll use expensive, top quality acrylics which will be harder wearing hopefully. I wonder if that plasti-dip stuff will work? Hmmm ....
Anyway, that seems to be it for now ... the ideas are out there and my brain feels empty now.
The razor bag, by the way, is coming along nicely. Hopefully it will be finished by next week.
Byeeeeeee ...

Friday, 5 March 2010


Ding ... eyes open!

Time: 4.15am.

Reason: Elivs (one of our cats) wanted cuddles.

Brain then goes into overdrive because some of my handbag supplies came through the post yesterday - the handbag clip clasp and some base strengthening plastic. Very exciting ... but slightly disappointing too because it wasn't the £36 worth of beads I've ordered!

Still, it means I can now get on and finish my razor bag ... whoohooo!!

Let me just take some photos so you can see what I'm talking about ... (grabs coffee cup and camera)

... back again.

Here's some pictures of the bits I've received and what I've done with them so far.

The first image is the plastic strengthener. You're supposed to just use it for the base of handbags. It helps them to keep their shape at the bottom and it doesn't matter if it gets wet in the rain - unlike cardboard which will just go soggy. The second picture is the clip clasp - a 7" one. The third picture shows how I've cut out the strengthener which I'll use to support the sides as well as the base of my bag. Because it's going to be knitted and have blades and beads attached, if I don't strengthen it, the whole thing will sag under the weight of the blades and beads.

I've done some small knitted samples and found that the best knit comes from using size 2 1/4 needles - it's tighter and therefore firmer. Fortunately, by some miracle, knitting on this size needle means that each stitch on the needle matches exactly to one of the squares on the strengthener. Therefore, my strengthener is 45 holes across the front - so I'll need 45 stitches on my needle - plus probably 2 each side for a seam allowance. This is going to make the whole knitting thing a lot easier - I can count the rows on the strengthener to see how many rows I need to knit ... rather than just leaving it to guestimates. Phew!

All I need to do now is thread all the beads and blades on in the right order. I want to have a bead, then a blade, then a bead ... but when threading them onto the wool I've got to take into account the turn around at the end of each row. I figured the best way of doing this is to lay all the beads and blades out on a table in the shape of the bag and then thread them on that way.

I've also got to knit the front and back separately, the base and the two sides separately. I'll therefore have 5 pieces which I can then sew together. It would be impossible to just knit the front, base and back in one piece because of the way the razors will hang down. To explain: if I were to cast on at the top and knit a couple of rows, then knit in some blades and beads, for the next few rows I will be fighting the blades and beads out of the way all the time as I knit downwards. Therefore, I have to knit from the base up so that the blades and beads don't get in the way.

And I was wondering ... when I come to knit the base, whether I should knit in some blades across the base which will add protection to the knitting. I'll think about that one some more while I'm making up the rest of the bag.

Anyway, good times ahead - a weekend of knitting ... and I can start tonight at Knitting Club! (A group of us get together every Friday night and spend the evening knitting, chatting and drinking tea! Perfect for a tea-totaller!)

I'm off to sort out beads and blades!

See ya!