17 January 2017


I've really got into colouring recently! I was given a colouring book as a present a few months ago, I realised I hadn't done much with those I'd got last Christmas, and the librarian at work gave me some Christmas colouring bookmarks!
I realised that while colouring is quite a simple thing to do, it doesn't have to be mindless and un-creative - there are lots of ways that you can experiment and make your colouring pages unique by adding shading and colour gradients.
I'd coloured in one of the Japanese colouring postcards last year with Tombow brush pens, but was disappointed with how flat the colour was and how streaky the finish was. After reading a bit about colouring techniques, I discovered that I could use pencil on top of the pen and I was delighted with how it turned out - I've used this technique on a few other pictures since.

I've discovered that I particularly like colouring postcards and bookmarks, because they lie flat and are handy to keep beside you for those idle moments. I've actually considered cutting up some of the colouring books for this reason!
I've also bought some Stabilo Triplus fineliners which were in the sale at Cass Art, and they are great for getting into fiddly areas. I already had a handful of these so I knew that I liked them for writing and drawing with anyway, so it's great to have a bigger selection of colours.

14 January 2017

Blackboard writing

I really love beautiful chalkboard writing, but my own efforts so far had been really disappointing! I did a bit of reading online, and decided to try some chalk/pastel pencils.

Here you can see the difference between using an ordinary chalk and using pencils!
I bought a couple of different pencils from Cass Art (and would have bought another from Paperchase if the person serving me hadn't dropped it on the floor - and she didn't even understand why I thought this was a problem!). The white pencil is a Cretacolor chalk pencil, and the blue one is a Stabilo CarbOthello.
The chalk pencil was a huge improvement on chalk sticks, but I discovered that the CarbOthello pencil goes on much more smoothly than the chalk pencil and doesn't wear down as quickly. It also seems to erase quite well. Now that I know the sort of pencil I like, I am making a list of all the colours I want to buy!

12 January 2017

Recently thrifted

This was what I picked up on a recent trip to my charity shop to drop off some donations. I really liked the geometric pattern on the fabric of the bedding, and I love that it has different colours as I can use it for different craft projects. I immediately found a use for some of the grey fabric as I'd splattered a little curtain in my craft room with blackboard paint the previous day!
The woven mat will be great for using to line a tray, and for photographing things on, and I'd been looking for a little candlestick for thin candles.

11 January 2017

Felt bag

During the Christmas holidays I always like doing a few easy craft projects that I can do in front of the TV, and craft kits are a great way of doing this because everything you need is in the kit. This was one I picked up in Tiger. The bag shape was pre-cut, with holes already there for the stitching.

I realised I had kind of messed up the cross stitch by adding diagonals around the edge, but it was too late to go back and unpick it so I just continued it all the way around. The bag was really quick to make.
It will be a handy little bag to carry small craft projects around the house in.

09 January 2017

Crocheted dreamcatcher

During the Christmas holidays I always like doing a few easy craft projects that I can do in front of the TV, and craft kits are a great way of doing this because everything you need is in the kit. I save all the kits from Mollie Makes magazine in a basket, and try to remember to save the instructions and templates to go with them! Then when I need a little project I have a look through the basket to see what I have there.
This dreamcatcher was fairly easy to crochet, although I had to remind myself how to do double crochet as most of the crocheting I do is treble crochet! The yarn was more like embroidery thread, so I had to be careful to draw all the strands through when doing a stitch.

31 December 2016

This year on emuse

There’s been a lot going on this year on emuse!

In January I started the year by showing the photos I’d taken in Italy a few months previously, and I kept some festive spirit going in February by having a Moomin post-advent calendarFebruary was a month devoted to crystals, gems, geometric shapes, space, and the sky.
InMarch I created some brightly coloured items for my bedroom and made some jewellery. This was also the month that one of my all-time favourite shops, the Artstore in Glasgow, closed down - quite by chance I was there on closing day, so it was a bittersweet experience.

 In April I dyed my hair black (it's still dark now, but more of a dark brown), and went to quite a few exhibitions.

Ma May was a big month because I released my e-zine, Emma’s First Taste of Japan! I haven’t sold a lot of copies, but I really did enjoy creating it and those who bought it seemed to like it! My obsession with The Clangers continued when I made some Clangers birthday cards

I also went on a foraging walk, and foraging has now become a new obsession of mine – I’ve got loads of books on the subject now!
 June was a fairly quiet month, but July was all about jewellery workshops – I made a carved ring, a titanium ring and pendant, and two acrylic necklaces – a pair of birds, and a lightning bolt.

In August it was all about appreciating your town, by creating a Japanese-style souvenir stamp, and some illustrated maps, and generally exploring your environment.

 In September I again went to a lot of exhibitions, and in October showed some crafts based on teeth – because I’d recently got my braces off.

November was a very busy month, full of Blythe dolls and the big 50th anniversary events at the school where I work, which I helped to plan and arrange.

This is, in fact, a big year for anniversaries with my primary school turning 40 and my university also celebrating its 50th. 

And I did a little Cinque Terre inspired shed makeover, to remind me of last year’s Italy trip.

I also won a prize in a competition run by the National Galleries of Scotland, to create a self-portrait using objects.
The year was a sad one, with many celebrity deaths, of which the one that touched me most was Leonard Cohen, and a mad one in terms of politics. Sadly a former colleague and teacher of mine died in June, and another former colleague in December.

When December arrived I decided it was time for a bit of comfort and contentment, so I embraced the Danish concept of hygge with lots of cosy blankets and socks, candles, and endless cups of hot chocolate.

29 December 2016

This month I have been mostly...

I hadn’t watched the first series of The Missing, because the idea of a young child going missing sounded too upsetting, but the storyline of the second series intrigued me, so I recorded it and I found it totally gripping and am now tempted to go back to watch the first series. I watched it all in about 4 days. I found the different timelines a bit confusing at first, but then they started to make sense. I'm also watching Swedish series Modus which I'm enjoying too.

The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey was a strange read. I'd been meaning to read her books since going to a talk about her recently, and buying her autobiography (which I'll read after reading more of her books). The story was interesting and had lots of twists and turns, and the characters were compelling, but the ending seemed to come out of nowhere and I was left with lots of questions about some loose ends. And it was very off-putting that the word Dago was used so often - I can understand why some editions have edited this out. I'm now onto reading Hercule Poirot's Christmas, which I'd started a few years ago but not got very far with, so I hope to finish it this time!
I went to the pantomime this month for the first time since childhood - oh yes I did! Also went for a few Christmas meals out with friends and colleagues. And I've basically just been having a hygge time and drinking lots of hot chocolate and soup! And eating a lot of sweet clementines to try to ward off any colds after I caught it about 3 times in a row!
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