27 May 2017

How to Draw Almost Everything book


I came across this at the same time as I was shopping for my mum's birthday present, and decided to treat myself to it. It’s by Chika Miyata, and is of a similar style to the books I have by Sachiko Umoto.

I thought this book would be a good encouragement to use the Copic marker pens I bought myself after Christmas. And it is helping me to become more confident about using them, and to know which colours to use for different things.
I’ve always struggled to draw some types of animals, so it was perfect that the book starts off with this. I also particularly liked the food drawings. I’ve already worked my way through the animal section, and look forward to working my way through the whole book. It’s easy to pick up and do a few drawings, and very relaxing.

25 May 2017

Deep Thought card


I’ve had this card in mind for my brother ever since I turned 42 myself four years ago! For those who aren’t in the know, the number 42 is the “answer to life, the universe and everything” from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. My family watched the TV version when I was nine and my brother was five, and it’s become such an ingrained part of our family’s culture that we quote from it all the time.




For this card, I wanted to show the scene where the massive supercomputer Deep Thought announces the great answer after millions of years of calculation. And it’s not quite the answer anyone was expecting or hoping for! It’s one of my favourite scenes anyway, and very appropriate for my brother’s 42nd birthday.

I made the whole card out of green card, and simplified the shape of Deep Thought so that it formed the shape of the card. I also gave the computer a face. Then I added two figures, and speech bubbles. Each of the four sides of the card forms a panel in the story. I had fun positioning the heads of the figures to make it look like they were eager and then puzzled/shocked!



23 May 2017

My pin collection


It took me a while to get into collecting enamel pins. I bought some last autumn, but earlier this year I started buying lots more! I had a few I’d picked up over the years, but there are so many great pin designers now that I couldn’t resist collecting more and more!

Japan

I started my collection off with a mainly Japanese theme. I loved hunting Etsy for pins to go with this theme, but I did get a little frustrated that some of them were in other countries with high postage, so I mainly stuck to those from the UK. One of my favourites is the Mount Fuji pin by Marceline of Asking for Trouble - the reason it's not in the photo of my banner is because I was wearing it!

I did, however, buy a couple from Japan. They are not actually pins, but have a screw back on them, so they are best for using in a buttonhole. I think they are supposed to be some sort of hiking badges? I just loved the designs on them so much. I also bought the beautiful moon pin by OHNORachio, because it reminded me of a scene in one of my favourite films, the Japanese film Afterlife. 

Japan, mountains, and space

But it was the “I know where my towel is” pin by Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes that got me addicted to collecting pins on other themes. My family are all great fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, so, when this pin was released a few months before my brother’s 42nd birthday, I just had to get one for him and another for me!
Since then, my collection has expanded into various themes other than Japan and space / sci-fi (I added another Hitchhiker’s themed pair by Jade Boylan). Some of the other themes are tea, mountains, cats, feelings (especially those that are a bit amusingly introverty), and plants. I also like to group pins by colour, shape or size. I particularly like pins that are circular, and I like black or pastel colours. 

I think that’s one of my favourite things about my pin collection – finding new combinations to wear together! Things like speech bubbles or thought bubbles are really good for this, because you can combine them with other pins in fun ways.


Tea, feelings, and other random things

It would take me way too long to mention all the sellers of all the different pins, but if you have a browse around on Etsy you’ll find the majority of them there!
Cute foodstuffs and plants

 Mountains, space, and cats


 Tea

21 May 2017

Storing and displaying pins


I’ve had to find some ways of storing and displaying my growing pin collection, because they were starting to take over, and it was hard to find what I was looking for! I started off by storing them beside some of my badges in a small box, but they were getting a bit muddled in there. So here are some of my storage and display ideas.

I made a pin banner



And a pin frame

I often use this soap dish, especially for pins that I’ve just bought, and all the other little dishes around it


A small cup is great for holding a small selection of pins



Use a jacket or waistcoat


I even had the idea that I could put some on the curtains in my bedroom, but I haven't tried that yet!

20 May 2017

Pin frame

Because I was running out of space on my pin banner, I whipped up this frame in five minutes to display and store some more pins!
1. Remove the glass and backing from the frame

2. Cut a piece of plastic canvas to fit behind the frame

3. Glue the canvas in place with hot glue.

4. Decorate with pins!

If you want to match it to your colour scheme, you can spray-paint the frame or the plastic canvas or both!


19 May 2017

Pin banner


Once my pin collection started growing uncontrollably, I needed to find new ways of displaying and storing them. So I made this pin banner, in a matter of minutes!

1. Cut a rectangle of fabric, about 60x20 cm or whatever size you like.

2. Fold in half, and cut the open corners off to form a peak

3. Turn inside out, and sew around, leaving about an inch at one side at the top, and a few inches at the other.

4. Clip the corners, then turn the right side out through the larger hole.

5. Top stitch around, leaving about an inch at each side so the dowel will fit in.

6. Check that the dowel will fit in, and pin next to it then remove it.

7. Sew along this line.

8. Insert the dowel.

9. Take a piece of string and tie the ends of this to the ends of the dowel.

Unfortunately my banner has filled up so quickly that I’ll soon have to make another! To save on storage space you can hang the banners one behind the other.

17 May 2017

Shopping for pins


Enamel pins are my new obsession! They’re small, so I don’t need a lot of space to store them, they’re fairly inexpensive, so I can afford to treat myself to quite a few, and they go with almost any outfit!
So how do you find pins and what are the best places to shop for them?

I started off my pin collection by browsing Etsy. You can just search for “enamel pin” and browse all the results, or you can narrow it down by adding another keyword (cat, for example). Postage on pins from outside your own country can sometimes be expensive, so you can either narrow your search to items only from your country, or check the postage price before adding a pin to your wishlist.

Some of the sellers that I love on Etsy are:

Instagram is another great place to discover pin designers. If you search for tags like #pingame, #pingamestrong, #enamelpin, #pincollection, you will find some great photos of pins and usually the designers are tagged. And once you start following some of these pin collectors and designers that will lead to more and more!

And, of course, if you have some lovely independent shops locally you can find pins there. I like Hannah Zakari and The Red Door Gallery in Edinburgh.

Most designers who are not on Etsy accept PayPal, so it’s always quick and easy to buy pins, and it’s a great way of cheering yourself up! And, unlike my other frequent small treats to myself of nail varnish and chocolate, there's no risk of damaging my nails or putting on weight!


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