Welcome to the blog formerly known as The Life Of Writing

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Creatively Speaking: And Now For Something Slightly Different

Of course this week the given is that writing wise it was more of The Kick Ass Writer and the Snowflake Method although snowflake wise I did divert from the ten step program when I began to think a little bit more about the world my story is set in.

There are vampires so I thought I'd better think about how these vampires come to be.

And when it comes to other creative outlets I've done some cross stitch this week but then I've done other things as well.

I've done a little more work on my goggles... although true to form I don't have a photograph of them, but they are starting to look a little more goggle like now.

I've also started making my dress that I've mentioned in the last couple of posts. I'd forgotten the "fun" that is easing a sleeve in to an armhole. (I've also come across another character I'd like to cosplay as... even though I don't have enough events to go to as all the characters I want to dress up like)

And the something slightly different that is mentioned in the title of this post is my solution to storing my sunglasses. Now I have a fair number of pairs of sunglasses (10 in fact - my mum was astonished). And I always just kept them in an old gift bag bu that resulted in my just grabbing the top pair and forgetting what the other ones looked like.

So I did a bit of searching online for both storage I could buy and storage I could build myself.

And although I didn't actually see a picture of what I came up with my searching did inspire my solution.



I know it doesn't look like much but that's because really it isn't much. It is 2 hooks on the wall with a loop of ribbon hanging between them.

But when I put the sunglasses on my storage solution...






...it all suddenly makes more sense.

So now I can see all of my sunglasses and pick which ones to wear accordingly (as you can see I'm quite fond of the "wayfarer" style of sunglasses).

So that was my creative week - how was yours?



Sunday, 19 April 2015

Creatively Speaking: Note Taking

This week has been yet more cross stitch, then I did a quick doodle one day and yesterday I cut out the pieces of my dress. Now I've just got to sew it together and the embellishing can begin!

Writing wise it has been more of The Kick Ass Writer but when it comes to the Snowflake Method I did things a little differently.

I've been reading the Kick Ass Writer whilst I've been on my lunch break at work and been trying to think of a way to continue the Snowflake Method whilst at work, without having my laptop there.

So I got myself a cheap exercise book (pretending the stack of notebooks doesn't exist) and have written out the ten steps of the snowflake method.

So although I won't be able to look at what I've previously written in the snowflake I'll still be able to work on it. It's only rough what I'll be putting in it - I can alter it when I type it up and add it to the rest of the snowflake.

And today I did something a little different writing wise. You may not know this but the first session of Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 is currently in session (I'm not taking part due to me taking part in the A To Z Challenge on my other blog this month).

Well I subscribe to the NaNoWriMo YouTube channel and this month they have been releasing short videos as part of the Camp NaNoWriMo search party to help you find your protagonist or find things out about them.

Videos like...


So anyway I watched these videos today (they've been on my watch later playlist for about a week) and I have listed these questions as they may help me when I'm character creating. Although I'm not at that step just yet one of the steps of the snowflake method is creating character bible for your main characters. And although there is a list of things you can put in said bible it does suggest that you look up lists of things to go in character profiles so you can get as much information about your characters as possible.

And I think these random NaNo questions might just help me find out some things I didn't know (or didn't know I needed to know) about my characters.

Til next week...

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Creatively Speaking: Laziness

At this point I think maybe it should a given that writing wise it has been yet more The Kick Ass Writer and Snowflake Method.

I am quite liking using the snowflake method for planning out my novel. So much so that I'm thinking of going back and doing the same for previous first drafts for other things I've written... sort of reverse planning given that I've already written a draft. I think it might help me to see the novel more clearly as I think otherwise I get a little lost trying to keep track of all the ins and outs.

And creative wise I did quite a lot of cross stitch. I'm getting more in to cross stitch at the moment, I think it's because the picture is starting to take shape and actually look like something. There's still a long way to go on it as it is a picture of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and it is the Lancaster Bomber that is taking shape but I haven't even started on the Spitfire or the Hurricane.

I also made a birthday card for my cousin who is about to hit the big 13 (although she has already been acting like a teenager for the last couple of years).

And today I shortened a pair of jeans. When I bought these jeans they were described as "ankle grazers" and being short of stature I expected they'd be more like regular jean length on me.

Oh, no these were more like "toe grazers" on me. And what I sometimes do with jeans that are too long on me, rather than adjust them, is fold them under. However with these jeans the bottom of them were so narrow I struggled to get them over my feet, let along fold them under (who knows how people with longer legs than me manages to get them on.

So today I shortened them but rather than use this method that I've used before I adjusted these the lazy way. I basically chopped the ends of to the length that I wanted the legs to be and then rather than hem them properly I just quickly back-stitched round the bottoms. So they will end up fraying slightly but only  about half a centimetre or so before the fraying will hit the stitching.

So that is the lazy way (in my opinion) of shortening jeans.

Til next week...

Saturday, 11 April 2015

The Trials & Tribulations Of Making A Top Hat: Part 2

For part 1 click here.

So this is where we left off with my top hat:

So I had the actual hat it was now just a case of covering it.

I dug around and found the black felt I had... and the sticky back black felt I also had.

First I decided to cover the top of the top hat. For this I decided to use the stick back felt as I felt it would be easier.

I used the template from my prototype (that I used to cut out the cardboard for the top of the top hat) and cut the felt a little bit bigger than the area I was covering so that I could.fold it over the edge like this:

That's probably the easiest bit of covering this hat... and not just because I used sticky back felt.

Next I decided to cover the underside of the brim, again using the template I used to cut out the cardboard.

This time I cut the brim slightly bigger both inside and out so again I could fold over the edges.

And I think I used the sticky back felt for this bit as well... but I can't quite remember.


But anyway, like so...

I discovered whilst covering this hat that you are better off cutting the pieces slightly bigger than you think you are going to need - there were a couple of places where there was very little to fold over on the outside of the brim.






So anyway on to the top of the brim. This is done in the same way as the lower brim apart from you won't be folding the outer edge under. Cut it slightly bigger by all means but you will need to trim it down as close as you can once it's glued on. The felt on top of the brim will cover the bit you folded over from underneath brim. However you won't have anything to hide the upper brim if you fold that under... if that makes any kind of sense...

I used my glue gun for this... I thought it would be easier to use non sticky felt so it wouldn't catch on the hat as I put it on. So you can cut the felt so it goes up on to the trunk (?) of the hat and then I slowly went round and used my glue gun to stick the fabric down a bit at a time. Don't rush - if you do it might go spectacularly wrong.

And naturally I forgot to photograph this particular step in making the hat.

So once that is done this is the point that you trim the edge and glue any unruly bits in place.

When it came to cutting the felt for the trunk (there's that word again!) of the hat I put the template round the cardboard hat to check the size. It's a good thing I did as I discovered that due to the cardboard the template was no longer fit. So to compensate for that I temporarily stuck the template to the hat and then used tape to fill in the gap.
Yes this photo is sideways

Then cut the template off again and it will now be the required size.




Again to stick this piece of fabric on I used a glue gun and went slowly, a line of glue at a time.

So it goes like this - line of glue, stick down, line of glue stick down.

This way your glue won't dry before you stick your fabric on and you can move the fabric slightly to fit better. (Be careful as you push the fabric down around the edges... if the glue seeps out it will be quite hot still... trust me I know)

Then I used a bit of sticky back felt to line half of the inside.

This is where I noticed that the hat was a bit tight... but I think it is to do with the hat being more solid that the prototype rather than because there was a layer of felt inside.
Lining - blogger preferred this photo sideways





So as I mentioned in part 1 if I made it again I would increase the circumference slightly.

So once the hat is complete you can decorate in anyway you want.

I opted to add a ribbon... which is where more problems occurred.

I'm led to believe that when you add ribbon/trim to a real top hat you can use hot water or steam to shape the ribbon on to the hat. However given that my hat is made of cardboard and the ribbon I had chosen had a wire edge I decided against that (and I've removed wire from wire edge ribbon before... it's not particularly fun).

So what I did was twist the ribbon over (on both sides of the hat) to make it fit the curve.

I used my glue gun again for this but only in strategic spots.

I wasn't sure if the glue would show through if I put it all over the ribbon. I lined the seam of my ribbon up with the seam of my felt... that's probably an obvious thing but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

Here is a close up of how I twisted the ribbon on the sides of the hat.

It is at this point that you can moan as you sit and pick all the long strands of hot glue off your hat that have been left behind from using your glue gun :)

I hope this was useful to all you budding hat makers... or anybody who wants to cover cardboard with felt :)

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Creatively Speaking: Same Old, Same Old

So this week has been more of the same... or a few random things that are barely worth reporting.

So writing wise it's been yet more The Kick Ass Writer and Snowflake Method although I'm now on step 5 of the snowflake method - character synopsis - which may result in me going back to adjust step 3 - character summary.

I've done some cross stitch.

I've done a little more work on my goggles... but there still isn't enough progress really to show you photo.

I've fixed a hole in the seam of a onesie I got in a sale... took me all of 5 minutes so nothing exciting there.

The main creative thing I've done this week (other than cross stitch) is to do with the dress I'm making - I've traced and cut out all of my pattern pieces.

And bought, what seems like, half the embellishments on the entire internet for when I've actually made the dress.

On top of that I've been taking part in the A To Z Challenge over on my other blog, so I've been pretty busy blogging wise.

But I am still doing something creative and something writing related every day.

P.S. the first part of how I made my top hat went up yesterday :)

Til next week...

Saturday, 4 April 2015

The Trials & Tribulations Of Making A Top Hat: Part 1

So here is the post I promised you regarding the making of my top hat. I've decided to split the post in to two parts as otherwise it will end up as a very long post. So there will be this post that will be the making of the hat and then another post about the adding of the felt etc.

So first and foremost here are the locations of my inspiration when it came to making this hat - a video by Pins and Things and a post from Lost Wax.

So I didn't follow these tutorials exactly. And now that I have finished the hat there are things that I would do slightly differently if I ever made another one (because who doesn't want multiple top hats?).

So first I followed the video however I made the hat out of paper first to make sure it fit. That way I could also check how tall the hat was going to be and if it looked alright on me. The main measurement you need is the circumference of your head. I think I made the hat 7 inches tall and then cut it down. I also used inspiration from the Lost Wax post to shape the bottom of the main part of the hat.

This is the part to work out your main problems - make sure the brim is going to fit the bottom of the hat given that the hat isn't just a flat oval (oh yeah I forgot to mention I made the hat oval shaped not round... but we are still in the prototype stages of this post). Now here is what I would have done marginally different if I made another one - although the prototype fits fine the finished product is a little bit tight on my head. So I reckon I'd increase the circumference by about an inch or so.

So once you have got the paper hat correct and how you want it you then have to take it apart again. This will give you your template pieces.

I started off by forgetting about the brim for a while. I made the main body of the hat and stuck the top on. I mainly used tape with a bit of white glue (although when I go to the felt stage I did zip round the inside with my glue gun just to be sure).

This is where the template comes in useful as I don't think I could have down the curve free hand and got it even on both sides.

So then we move on to the brim. I cut my brim so that the corrugated cardboard would roll with the hat (for want of a better description). So you want to cut it so the corrugations (is that what they're called) went across the hat. Because even cutting the cardboard in that direction the brim will fight you whilst you try to attach it to the hat - so I can only imagine what it's like trying to get it on if the corrugations (there's that word again) run the other way. Of course if you don't put the curve in I don't think it really matters which way you cut the brim. I then bent the sides of the brim up slightly to give it some more shape.

It was at this point that I decided the brim was too wide, so I trimmed about half an inch off it. In my opinion this made the sides, where I bent them look a little better.


So that is the actual hat finished. At this point you could just paint it or cover it in something. I chose to cover mine in felt, which we will cover in part 2 - click here for that.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

NaNoWriMo Countdown



Happy April Fool's Day! However this is not an April Fool...

There are now only

213 Days

to go until the start of NaNoWriMo 2015!