Wednesday, February 1, 2023

New Things


Slowly, I found myself disappearing from my blog. Hardly anyone reads my blog nowadays so there was no motivation or urgency to write any new posts. But I guess habits are hard to break so here I am tapping out a new post. 

End of last year I did 1 thing that the normal me would never do. I felt myself suffocating and needed a huge distraction so desperately that I signed up for a leather bag making class.

I've never had any interest in leather, not that I'm anti-leather. Plus I have sensitive skin so working with glue and leather is probably not the best thing for me. But I wanted something totally different from what I'm usually attracted to. Before the 6 day Tote bag class, I was a bit afraid I may not be able to tolerate the smell of leather or be unable to complete the bag. Too much overthinking. Working with leather turned out to be so freaking fun. There is so much to learn. The process of making the bag totally by hand was so enjoyable. We used saddle stitch, done using 2 needles and it sounds easy but you need to pull the thread in the correct direction to achieve the slanted thread look. Most importantly, all the hammering was extremely therapeutic. Bang, bang, bang, bang. I wish I had discovered leather earlier. Now with my commitment to so many hobbies, I don't think I can spare the time or money to explore it further. I'll probably attend workshops in future when I want to make anymore leather stuff. That way I need not invest in the leather making tools which, I kid you not, aren't cheap. What's best about the class is everything is provided so there's no need to pay for supplies. Plus the cost of the class was funded by grants and my education fund, so I didn't even pay a single cent. 

This is the leather bag I made. Originally I wanted to add a lining but I was quite slow and the tiny amount of time available to sew the lining at home was squandered so my bag is unlined. But I did burnish the edges so despite the lack of lining, it turned out alright. I use the bag all the time now. 

Since last year I've been trying out watercolour at home. I only painted in primary and secondary school using poster colours in art classes taught by teachers who knew nothing about art so as a result, I literally know nothing about painting. During my late teens to early 20's, I was obsessed with drawing but I used caran d'ache colour pencils. So no painting since secondary school if you don't count the "painting" I did on fabric. Hardcore painting with actual techniques has never been on my radar. Just mention blending and my eyes would go all glassy. 

But... I felt I needed a new hobby, one that I have no talent for so I'll be so occupied with figuring it out that I won't have any space left in my head for stress. (this is how my brain works) Anyhoos, I didn't choose watercolour. Watercolour chose me. Initially when I was looking for an in-person painting class, I searched for poster colour painting. But the classes were for kids. So embarrassing to join a kid's class so I widened my search. (I once attended a very basic bookbinding class and I was the only adult!) My next choice was acrylic but the location was not ideal. Eventually I signed up for watercolour because the cost, timing and place was perfect. It was once a week on a Saturday over 2 months. Thanks to a huge subsidy because I'm an old person, I only paid $56. I could have used my education fund to pay the $56 but I've wiped out my fund. All supplies are provided - a set of watercolour paint, one brush and a few sheets of watercolour paper. So, $56 is not a bad deal.

Watercolour sounds easy but believe it or not, mastering watercolour is extremely difficult as I have come to discover. You have to be the master of water to be able to control your result. And watercolour can be unpredictable when you are unable to Be Like Water. Me? I suck at watercolour. The students in my class are amazing. I heard some of them attend painting classes everyday so that might explain why their work is way better. Despite my lack of talent in watercolour painting, I discovered I really enjoy painting. And most importantly, when I sit at my table painting away, my mind is free of stress. 

I felt the teacher isn't very good. He's a bit impatient and doesn't try very hard. If he tries to explain something and he sees blank faces, he'll say, never mind if you don't understand. His attempt to explain temperature of colour(which I thought was important) was feeble. I wonder if anyone understood. The best part was he declared he will no longer paint in watercolour. So much for being an inspiration. To be honest, I was thinking of continuing with intermediate watercolour class to see if I'll improve. Now there aren't any follow-up classes so I guess I'll just do it on my own. 

These are the exercises I did in class. I dislike still life and realism style. I can't for the life of me do it well.

I've been practicing painting a lot and in the end, I realise I kinda like the ink and wash technique the most because it requires less skill and precision. The pic above - first I put some washes of colours for the cats, plants and birds. Then I use micron pen to draw the details. My teacher taught us to draw in ink first and colour later but I prefer to do the reverse. Doesn't the painting look like it was done by a kindergarten student? 

Last year I set myself a goal of 24 scrap fabric project. I ended up with only 10 because my interest fizzled and there was no inspiration.

These 2 were the last projects I completed last year. I've worn the fabric cuff many times and I love it so much I want to make a few more in other colourways. The duck quilt is something I tried using a different technique from my norm. I used fusible web to glue all the fabric down followed by sewing decorative stitches all over the seamlines.

This year, I'm going to continue using my scrap fabric, putting them in little fabric collages. I mean if I don't use my scraps, I'll have to throw them away, right? I think realistically, I can manage 10 so that's my target.

I sewed a blouse for myself using leftover fabric. Hubs says it's sexy so I'm going to make another one but I'll make it a dress with pockets.

Remember last year I had to go for a bone density scan? I waited 6 nervous months for the scan. Guess what? The results show I do NOT have osteoporosis! Wow, I was expecting bad news and when the doctor told me the result, I almost cried. I feel the Universe has given me a second chance so I'm making sure I take calcium supplement every day. And exercise too. No more messing around. 
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