Thing a day



Coming Back to Life [Day 21]

chris 005

I have had a lot going on recently so it is lovely to be able to take myself off and have a bit of much needed rest and recuperation.

It might not be for some but to me there is nothing more effective to take me away from stress than a session of life drawing.  I only go once a month but it helps me clear my mind and focus on something all absorbing which allows no space for thoughts of what is going on in the real world.  In the four hours I was there we did five longish half to three quarter hour poses and then finished the day with a series of quicker sketches of five to ten minutes each.

This is my page of quick sketches…not such accurate observations but expressive and characterful.  A fun way to end the day and I feel like I am…

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Now You Are 4 [Day 20]

grace's birthday

Every picture tells a story…and although Grace was gushing with superlatives about her ‘beautiful cake’ – this photo is all I need!  She was so happy she couldn’t keep her hands off it and kept hugging her UmiCar! …It wasn’t too long, however, before UmiCar only had one eye and Grace had an even happier expression!

Hard work – long hours and a fair bit of stress…but always worth it!

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Taking Shape [Day 19]

In my haste to get things done today I totally forgot that I hadn’t taken a photograph of the process of cutting the sponge cake I made earlier in the month into a car shape – so you will have to make do with a ‘word picture’.

The two slabs of cake were sliced through the centre to make 4 layers.  These were then layered with buttercream and raspberry jam before the stack was carved with a bread knife to make the shape of the UmiCar that I was making for my granddaughter.  This was all then ‘crumb coated’, which is spreading a thin layer of buttercream all over the shape to prevent any loose cake crumbs from getting caught up in the top layer of decorative sugarpaste icing.

I then kneaded colour pastes into a big block of white sugarpaste to get the colour I wanted to use and…

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On the Road to Nowhere [Day 17]

forging 004

Very little time to do anything today but after breakfast I tried to weave a new chainmaille design…  It has to be just about the easiest weave (in theory) as it only has 3 rings repeated to make up the pattern…  I mean – how hard can that be??

I tried and I tried and I tried again, but I kept getting so far then finding I had made a mistake.  Then when I did get going I kept finding that I had managed to put a kink in the pattern somehow so had to keep removing the bit I had just done to get back to where I was before the fault!  One step forward – two steps back…

 Well on the road to nowhere!!

I still have not managed a bracelet length despite going back to it again this evening!  I will get there eventually [sigh]…

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Forging On [Day 16]

forging 1

Very little time to do a ‘Thing’ today as I have been finishing a load of chainmaille bracelets with hammered toggles and rings.  I took a little bit of time off just to do a forging experiment similar to Day 6 (With a Bit of Luck)  but this time seeing how far I could manipulate the shape of the metal using this technique of hammering on the edges of the metal to make it curve.

 I took a copper ring and cut a small wedge shape out of it and then began hammering on the outside edge on one half of the ring.  This encouraged one of the cut ends to begin to curl inwards to make a tighter circle.  I then hammered on the inside edge on the other half of the ring which encouraged the other end to open out of the circle a bit.

By moving from…

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All Dressed Up but Nowhere to Go [Day 15]


All my little Umizoomis are finished and fully dressed!  They still need a few days to really harden up and be fully self supportive but that’s OK since the cake is not needed until next Friday. (The strange pink and white blob under Milli’s right arm is there to support it a little as it keeps drooping!)

I will not be starting on the UmiCar cake for a few days so until then they             will just have to sit around and wait for their transport to arrive…               All dressed up but nowhere to go!!

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Mastering the Machines [Day 14]

bot 001My washing machine blew up last week and I spent ages pawing over machine specifications trying to decide which one to buy.  Well my new purchase arrived yesterday but I had to wait for my son to be available to help me connect it up and manoeuvre it into its new home.

 I did the first load this morning and it seems to be working very well.  My old machine had lasted for 8 years so, in comparison, this one is packed with new technology and a display screen – which I found a bit concerning bearing in mind my track record with computers!!

Well, I have slowly worked my way through the mountain of washing that has been building up and have done a total of 7 loads!  I have 21 t-shirts and 5 formal shirts waiting to be ironed and countless items of underwear, as well as trousers, shorts…

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Pretty in Pink [Day 13]

milli 009

With a week to go until my granddaughter’s birthday, the countdown has begun to getting her cake decorated.  My life is so hectic these days that I have to build in a bit of a time buffer as I can’t predict what sort or interruptions I might have to my plans and obviously, this is a deadline that I can’t extend.

The hardest part of the decoration are the little characters that fit into the UmiCar…not that they are hard to make but they are fiddly, need lots of different colour sugarpaste to be prepared, and can only be put together in stages because the sugarpaste, which has some edible ‘hardener’ mixed into it, needs time to firm up before it can become weight bearing without collapsing or distorting.

The hardest of the three figures is that of the little girl because she wears a floral outfit (in a very fetching…

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Simple Moves [Day 12]

weave bracelet 006         Wanting to try something different to chainmaille – which I do practically every morning and evening – I decided to try one of the easiest looking techniques for making a braided wire bracelet.

Using 5 lengths of silver plated copper wire taped together at one end and dividing into a group of 2 and a group of 3 it is simply a case of taking the outside of the 3 wires and bending it over and across the other two wires of the group into the centre, and thereby becoming the central wire and the third wire in what was the group of 2.

 Now take the outside wire of the new group of three and bend it over and across the other two in the group thus making it the central wire and the third wire in the new group of three.  This process is…

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