What’s another Eurovision year?

courtsey of eurovison.tv

courtesy of eurovison.tv

I had made the decision to not write on this years Eurovision competition and use this blog to focus more on craft and stop going off track. But well I can’t do that can I? It’s annoying me. It’s later than I would have liked to have published it, but you can blame a shirt and 3 days in London for that. I know ..uncommitted

This was a particularly good year and at a record 27 acts performing in the final this made it a particularly long year.  It was also the first year Australia was allowed to perform as a 60th  anniversary treat. The songs were of a better quality although very ballad top-heavy (blame Conchita for that) and gone sadly was the novelty and fun of yester year and it was all about taking care of business.

Where to start? I’ll start with my beloved Australia. I had predicted it for 3rd and 5th was a brilliant result. It was a great song and for our first (but will it be our last?) entry this was an impressive way to start off and perhaps a good example of how to enter and score high without being embroiled in block / neighbor voting. It is as simple as getting a great song with well-known relevant artist /talented song writer and really trying. Take note UK this is the way to enter.

Speaking of the UK. I think were now beyond blaming block voting or “because the rest of Europe hate them” and just sadly admit that the selection panel really don’t care about what they enter, and then complain about it later. This year’s entry was a cute little ditty, but it wasn’t Eurovisionary. It’s the kind of song that had all the eccentricities of the UK but very little of that would have appealed/translated to the general European/Australian (or even UK) audience. The feeling in the UK was a very shrug of the shoulders, already defeated before they began.

Other countries make the same mistake year in year out. Belgium comes to mind normally entering odd rap or jazz cafe style songs.  What was with her dress? She looked so uncomfortable in it, probably petrified she was going to electrocute herself!

The UK  have such  strong musical heritage which continues today with lots of amazing new artists. It’s sad that this is irrelevant  in the selection process. I can understand that it may be  hard to find a willing artist, but for too long the UK has treated it as a joke ( aside from the Webber/ Jade Ewen year) it needs to pull their socks up and send someone with relevance and quality song writing, it’s as simple as that. It’s about changing attitudes If they ever want to win.

At least we had Nigella Lawson presenting the UK points, that was a treat, she looked a bit regal, a regal treat!

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Belgium! Where did he come from?! I thought he would do ok but I didn’t think he would beat Australia, very impressive very Lorde and not too dissimilar to Sweden’s entry or even the Latvian entry (she scared me a little ,maybe it was the dress fake tattoo combo).

Italy were just amazing and probably in my top 2 for the contest. I do wonder if they had not been placed last would the result been better for them? I think it was a good song to end the evening with and it woke everyone up a bit after being exposed to an incredibly boring second half of ballad after boring dull as dishwater ballad. This is how it’s done magnificently.

I’m not sure why Austria scored nil points. I love their song the one thing that I did find puzzling was not the piano being set on fire (impressive, were all just neanderthals who love to cheer on pyrotechnics) but when he stopped playing piano but continued sing,  the song sounded the same. So was he pretending to play the piano? The song sounded like it contained more than just drums and bass so where was the rest of the music coming from? I’m confused.

Also loved Armenia’s entry. I thought it would do a little better but maybe the complex vocals were just too much for some.

I still can’t believe that the Moldova cheese fest that was “I want your love” didn’t make it into the final. Yes it was stuck in the 90’s and yes  Eduard Romanyuta is probably Kid Rock’s love child; but the song was your classic euro pop song. It was a shame it didn’t make it, alas the curse of going in first in a semi final.

Shall we discuss Russia? (sigh) Interestingly this year some of the traditional block voting countries appeared to break away from the traditional Russia 12 points  and rebel only giving Russia half of that. It’s a good thing to see, block voting is a fact of life in Eurovision but if this trend continues we could see a more even and fair competition in the future..Imagine voting for a song you actually liked?

My main problem with Russia was the song. To me, and this is only my opinion and I’m not condoning the boo’s, but it seemed all a bit ironic. Russia was booed whenever they received 12 points. (So much for Austria installing anti booing devices. (not sure how that works, probably drowned the sound out)) . The audience was then scolded by the host’s reminding them that this was a singing contest and not a political one. But can the two ever be truly separated? Polina Gagarina was selected by Russia to represent  them in the contest.

The entry was titled “A Million Voices”. Her performance was strong, she has a wonderful voice, during the voting she kept crying (irritating). But the song was about peace and included the  lyrics “We are the worlds people, Different yet we’re the same,Praying for peace and healing, I hope we can start again, We believe, We believe in a dream”. Nice sentiment and one I wished to believe in, but Is this not ironic?

It is a singing contest, but one between representing countries, not individuals. If she had not sung about world peace I wouldn’t have minded so much and I’m sure she does represent a large portion of Russians who feel the same( your never going to unite all the people all the time) . But in the current political climate it just didn’t sit well with me. It must have turned a lot of voters off including the block voting countries.  It still did  well and came second.

Enough about that.

Sweden did deserve the gong this year it’s a well crafted song that wouldn’t sound out-of-place on the radio. Although the staging quite similar to Loreens “Euphoria” didn’t you think?

Finally I love Conchita but this presenting lark was just a bit odd.

So the final results looked like this

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Anyway if you’re a bit of a static nerd then you may find the data on the Eurovision website giving all the individual jury votes and all the public votes for each country interesting . Fascinating stuff!http://www.eurovision.tv/page/results?event=2063&voter=GB

It’s a bit like Christmas, there’s all the build up and then afterwards you don’t want to have to think about it again until the next year.

That was very long..sorry about that…

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The horrors of the fray.

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I am currently working on the Colette Walden shirt ,which I am really impressed with the pattern and instructions. But as all things go in the Crafty Mastermind universe things do not go smoothly.

In all of my excitement I measured Mr CM, made a copy of the pattern and eagerly cut out the fabric, all good. I began to add the pockets to the shirt front and then suddenly realised that I hadn’t washed the fabric. Crap.

I was in a dilemma, do I just make the whole shirt and just hope for the best when I stick in the wash or, do I wash all of the pieces now and see if it does shrink? As this was my first time working with linen I thought it’s best to wash it , I had no idea how it would react.

Important lesson.. ALWAYS wash dressmaking fabric!!!! The linen shrunk, weirdly in some places more so than others.

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The other annoying thing was probably the centimeter I lost in fraying. Just look at it! It looks like some trucker shirt from the 80’s. I suppose if I used pinking shears on my fabric before I wash it, it may stop fraying.

Even the quilting weight fabric didn’t escape the wrath of the fray.

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I’ve only got half a meter left of the linen so I have washed it and I’m going to try to add bits and re cut some cuff to try to get it back to the right measurements without it looking rubbish. Wish me luck!!!

on Eurovision…

It’s the Eurovision final  tomorrow night and after two nights of semi finals , with some predictable and shocking choices made by Europe (and Australia) of who should get into the Grand final . I’m now looking forward and crossing my fingers for Australia to win…although I think we will come 3rd if I’m honest.

Superhero’s ready!

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Rockette announced two weeks ago that it was going to be superhero day at school and that required a costume. I offered to make it …strangely excitedly. Again never done it before but I’m enjoying challenges lately.

So this was the brief, which I drew out.

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Her name is Poppy (random name, no clue to where that came from) and she shoots love hears from her wrists (a-la Spiderman) and Ice comes out of her feet, painful with a Frozen theme I’m guessing.

It was to be pink and purple or wait it’s going  to be blue. The colour scheme for this changed a few times. So I drew up this plan asked her what she thought and with a fleeting glance in between Spongebob episodes I got a half-hearted “Yeah that’s wonderful mummy”

I started to scour the internet for tutorials, now being a quilter (predominantly although you wouldn’t know it at the moment) I wasn’t happy with the “fold  fabric in half and trace round a plate for the neck”. What kind of plate? Not technical enough. But I did finally find one here

http://www.nancysnotions.com/text/pdf/SuperHeroCape.pdf   I only half heartedly followed the instructions. I did use the brilliant template. But the rest  was my own doing .

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The outside of the cape was some cheap polyester stuff for £2.99 and the inside was some crappy poplin I bought when I first started sewing and made a few buying faux pas.

Where I differ from Nancy’s instruction was with the hem. Once I got to the bottom I just folded the two hems in, pressed, clipped and then top stitched. I did think later I should have just sewn all around.  I also just top stitched the logo onto the back.

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You may notice that the cape is in pink and purple. Not intentional, lets just say tightarse strikes again. I was in a rush when I bought it and I said “half a meter yeah that’s enough. Even holding it up the wrong way against Rockette . Erm, no that didn’t work.  Hence why I used the back up fabric.

But it worked out for the best as it’s A PAIN to press that crap polyester so  I was grateful to have the cotton to press on instead.

 

wpid-20150515_073336.jpgFor the logo’s I used normal Kona colours and  I iron on interfacing to give it a bit of body. The snowflake’s are made out of felt to ensure it dose’nt go out of shape too much. Again just top stitched it on to a H&M top which worked out easy enough.

accessorize,accessorize,accessorize

A girl needs add on’s! Everything was made out of felt except the belt. I had trouble looking for the right stiffness for the mask , the world of felt alludes me. I luckily found some excellent felt I got free off a magazine.

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The wrist cuffs were soft felt with velcro attached to either end. This could have done with being of sturdier stuff as it suffered a bit during its day out at school. I was instructed to design one on the cuffs with a type of screen phone so she could be alerted to where the bad guys were. I had to top stitch everything. I bought some “permanent glue” at the craft fair which hardly worked and couldn’t be trusted to keep the two pieces of felt together.

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Yes they are bombs. If she was really specific about anything from the word go, it was that there had to be bombs . To throw at the bad guys! So they were made with felt and stuffed with a bit of wadding (that big thick horrible kind). The belt was fabric Kona which again I used a medium iron on stabilizer to give it body, I couldn’t be bothered to cover the back of it.

I then sewed the pockets on. They needed to have enough room to fit two bombs each so I sewed two small pleats into the bottom of each pocket.

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To complete the outfit I added a shop bought tutu and leggings . All done! It came back all in one piece, but somewhere in town we may have lost one of the little bombs. Not bad really.  And it was a joy to make. Win win.

It’s eurovision week this week and I have the fever! But I’ll see if I can allocate any time to the Colette Men’s shirt pattern I’ve cut out. More on that later…..

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Ric Rac is evil

I’m full of cold today so I’m hoping this will all make sense and I can remember how to use English properly.(If not that’s what spellchecker is for I suppose)

I’ve been busy this week with all sorts of various things. one I’ll start with now.

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This week I finally got around to making something out of the book Little Quilts by Sarah Fielke & Amy Lobsiger. I tried to find what I thought would be the one I could knock up in the quickest time. Luckily the gift was for a gardener and the mini quilt “Cuttings” was perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

The cutting for this was cool, this was a brilliant way of getting rid of a lot if my stash. In fact so much so I didn’t need to buy anything additional for this.

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It was until I found out that Ric Rac melts under an iron..

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That was flipping upsetting I’ll tell you right now. It was going so well up until that exact point. After that it looked like there as bits of wax everywhere. irritating…..

But I replaced it. If you are going to make  this, one bit of advice, when you get to quilting the flower bit -sew the flower from the inside circle out. I didn’t do that and it bunched a bit, again irritating.

So many school boy errors on this! I just got a bit complacent because it was (a not so) mini (it was bigger than I expected, I didn’t pay attention to the finished measurements). So I quilted from the top and not the middle. Dick I had to unpick the top three rows because of bunching.

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The recipient was very happy with it. But it’s funny as when I hand over any gift I can only see all the imperfections so I’m almost embarrassed to give it away, even though I’m assured that no one else can see them.Just paranoid.

Sorry about the crap photo’s my phone updated itself and now it just refuses to work most of the time. Need to call the evil phone company..

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You can pick up the book for a steal at he moment from The Book People

http://www.thebookpeople.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/qs_product_tbp?productId=515782&storeId=10001&catalogId=10051&langId=100&searchTerm=little+quilts

In and out of the dog house.

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I have been with Mr CM for quite a few years now, and almost every year bar probably 2 I have forgotten our anniversary. Each year he remembers, buys a very thoughtful gift makes me breakfast and he always gets the same reaction (blank expression) “Oh that’s nice of you what’s the occasion?…(pause)…oh shit not again?!”

This year I felt extra bad, not because it was a big one or anything, but other years I’ve been distracted and had an excuse, this year I really didn’t have one. Lets just all come to the conclusion that I am shit.

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I’m sorry rubbish UK weather means all my photos turned out a bit dark. I’ll put up a new one as soon as the sun comes out. (So August then).

 So I needed something big, the bag of fiery ginger beer bon bons and the little Lego Simpsons Moleman wasn’t going to cut it. I needed a grand gesture….

Then this idea popped into my head mid apology. I think it was so I could hang it up to ensure I’ll never forget again (Whats wrong with putting it in my phone as a reminder?)

When I first started looking online for ideas for flags there wasn’t many. I had a particular flag in mind and I couldn’t remember where I saw it from. At first I thought it had come off one of Nelson’s ships but that Google search proved unsuccessful.

So I had to work from the image in my head, watch out.

wpid-20150508_115834.jpgI wanted to turn in applique the words, but there are so many of them it was going to take another week so instead I sewn around the raw edges which made them look worn and “rustic” trying to give the impression that it had been sailing from the top on the mast over choppy sea’s for years.

The border sashes were easily cut strips of Kona solids that I’ve had lying around for years (one day I will have the whole bundle of solids in my stash, the day I stop being a tightarse). The whole thing was quilted with easy lines.

On the back, just before I sewed in the bias binding I made the loops out of some other binding scraps, wide enough for the flag quilt to hang off a dowling rod.

On the subject of bias binding and my bad track record, this time it turned out perfect. How is a mystery, especially considering it had the two triangles at the end.

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 The whole thing reminds me a bit of Tracey Emin’s quilts. Maybe it had planted a seed in my subconscious years ago and came out a bit now. Without the swearing of course.

Hate and Power Can be a Terrible Thing 2004 Tracey Emin born 1963 Purchased 2004

Hate and Power Can be a Terrible Thing 2004 Tracey Emin born 1963 Purchased 2004

I’m feeling a bit rubbish cold like, possible shock of general UK election result today so I shan’t write anymore. Have a wonderful weekend!

Tasteful modelling

Afternoon!

I’m back off the sewing trail again, this time on the baking wagon.

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I was asked to make a cake for my friend’s teenage newphew.The request went like this “some paw prints, some crap , some piss, and sponge flavour”.

The rest was up to me. I’ve never done any sort of fondant modelling before so I had allocated more time than I thought I would need for it.

I used the Wilton colouring paste to colour the fondant, the black was watery so it turned out more grey than black. For the dog prints I used the tips of my icing set, genius (tbf it wasn’t my idea it was the internets…oh that internet)

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I am particularly proud of the wee on the post box, yes I know the post box is not to scale but you get the drift, it’s a small letter box.

 

 

 

The only thing that I wished I had done again was the top of the lead. It became all cracked because it was too thin, but it was similar to making bias binding, so in familiar territory there.Same results, a bit shit.

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The sponge flour was chocolate, using the same old trusty Hummingbird Bakery recipe.

Ah but it worked out alright.  It was really calming and relaxing which was needed after the worst most horrible shift of my working life.  Not keen about the cleaning aftermath.

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Sort and sweet today.