Thursday, December 18, 2014

Starry sky in Århus

Århus julelys på Strøget
When we were in Denmark last month I was happy that we just manged to go and check out the traditional 'starry sky' Christmas decoration in the main shopping (and pedestrian) street. It's about half a mile of street covered with these lights. Some of them twinkle and it's quite lovely on a dark winter afternoon and evening. It gets dark early in Denmark!

Århus julelys på Strøget

Århus julelys på Strøget

Århus julelys på Strøget
One of the department stores is always decorated with these big hearts. In a way, I don't really like them, but they are very festive and it would be strange if they weren't there.

Århus julelys på Strøget
Not actually Christmas lights, but I like the glow of the neon sign on this sewing machine shop. It has been there for decades. In a pretty prime location, so I guess sewing machine sales are fairly steady. ;-)

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What happens in Alphabet Motif Club...

Alphabet Motif Club - bunting project
You know what, that VATMESS things has really zapped a lot of energy lately. I feel like I've not really made anything creative and can someone please tell me where my Christmas cheer is? Humbug.

But I *have* made something creative. Although, I guess the reason I don't categorise it as such is because it's 'for work'. The last project for the Alphabet Motif Club. Wow, the past three months have just whooshed by! There is only one week left of the club - no prizes for guessing which two letters will be sent out next Monday. ;-)

So to celebrate that I actually have made something creative, you can save 10% off the Alphabet Motif Club until December 21 as well if you want to just make into the club. Use the same code: VATMESS.

I'm really happy with that bunting. I wanted to make it a little bit different and I think it works well to 'frame' the letters with pretty fabrics. Pretty fabrics make everything better, right? :-)

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Light & Colour - Photo Editing Class Using Gimp

Light And Colour Class
Earlier this year I taught a class called Light & Colour and now it is open to sign ups again. This time the material is available straight away so you can get stuck in as soon as you sign up. And the material will be available indefinitely (or atleast for the foreseeable future) so you can take it at your own pace and go back to it whenever you want.

Online classes/courses are also affected by the VAT mess I mentioned the other day, so if you'd like to sign up for this class, now is the time to do it. I am still not sure how the whole thing is going to affect my business and the things I will be able to offer. As with the Blackwork classes and the 2015 pattern clubs, you can save 10% until December 21 with this code: VATMESS.

Here is feedback from Nicole from Cloud Craft who took the class earlier this year:
I had never got on with Photo Shop and fancied trying something new. I was hoping to be able to improve the shots I took for my shop and definitely learnt lots of great tips and tricks to help when the original shot wasn't quite as planned or when light conditions aren't the best.

I loved learning about the filters to add Instagram like effects. I had no idea that GIMP was so powerful. The tips on taking better photos were also a great bonus and ones I use now all the time,

The structure of the class was great, good pace and the notes had the perfect level of detail and were easy to digest. The lessons were very easy to follow and it was great knowing that Carina was available to answer any questions.

It's a great course and amazing value for anyone who wants to learn to make their photos really shine!
Light & Colour is an introduction to editing photos - without too much techie talk. I've not had professional training in photo editing, so if I can do it, you can too. What I do have, is more than a decade's experience using photo editing software, both Photoshop and the Gimp. My photos have been used both in my own book, books by other people and in various magazines.

The class is available to take at your own pace and you can start as soon as I send you the link and invite to the private class blog. You should receive this within 24 hours of signing up.

I use the Gimp when editing my own photos and that is what we'll use in the class as well, but a lot of the skills would be transferable to Photoshop.

Maybe you're asking, what is the Gimp? What's with the funny name? Gimp is short for: GNU Image Manipulation Program. It can do a lot of the same things as Photoshop, but doesn't come with the hefty price tag. In fact, the Gimp is absolutely free!

If you have no experience with photo editing, other than perhaps the likes of PicMonkey (which are perfectly fine for some things, absolutely), we're going to start with the basics of using the Gimp and build up some editing muscle! Beginners are very welcome.

I will show you detailed examples of all the techniques and there will be exercises for you to try your new knowledge. It is highly recommended to actually do the exercises and play with the program in general.

The class will have 3 modules:
• Gimp basics: I'll show you to download and install the Gimp. And we'll go through the main areas of the program, including the workspace, tools, saving and exporting your images.

• Techniques & tips: This is the main part of the class and I'll show you lots of ways to improve the photos you have taken. There will also be some fun tricks that you can use with your photos.

• Improving your photographs: I will share tips for improving the photos you take, so you have a better raw material to work in editing.

This class is for you:
- if you want to improve the photos you use in your online shop
- if you want to improve the photos for your blog
- you want to add decorative elements to your photos
- want to learn how to add textures to images
- you've opened a photo editing program once but closed it straight away because it seemed totally confusing

The photo above is an example of what I'll show you, taking a fairly dark photo and lighten it but without it losing any of its brilliance or contrast. I'm not going to promise you that you can do that with all photos, but most photos can be improved a lot!

Lessons are a combination of blog posts with lots of pictures as well as video screen casts showing the techniques etc on live examples. There are also photos to download and try the various techniques on. Plus I will stop by regularly to help with any questions.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

2015 Pattern Clubs: Stitchy Souvenirs

Stitchy Souvenirs embroidery clubs
You can now sign up for the pattern club(s) for next year. Next year's club will be a bit different. In previous years, I have made the patterns following my current inspiration/fancies/obsessions. But in 2015 they are (sort of) planned in advance. There is a theme to the 2015 clubs, and that theme is travel. Or maybe you could call it souvenirs. Stitchy Souvenirs.

By signing up for a club, you will save up to 25% compared to buying the patterns individually. AND until December 21 you can save 10% on top of that by using this code: VATMESS. This code is also valid for the Giant Blackwork Classes I mentioned yesterday.

There will be two clubs. One will be monthly, the other will be bi-monthly. For each month I will make a pattern with various 'souvenirs' from a particular country. Imagine me going to Italy, for example, and making little drawings in my sketchbook of things I see, places I go, things I eat (pasta, ti amo!) That is the idea behind the 2015 clubs.

The patterns will have a bit more of a hand drawn feel to them - I'm going to try and not mess with the drawings too much on the computer. My natural instinct is to polish them to look *perfect*, but sometimes that kinda ruins a perfectly nice sketch/drawing.

The drawing above is an example of the style and what could be included each month. Famous landmarks (buildings, natural places), food, art, animals, distinctive architecture, famous people, flowers or other plants. Etc etc.

Now, because making a pattern every month is a time commitment, the clubs will only go ahead if 10 people sign up for them. If this target has not been reached by January 10th, the clubs may not go ahead.

Sign up for the 12 months club here.
These are the countries we will visit in the 12 months Stitchy Souvenirs Club:
South Africa

Sign up for the 6 months club here.
These are the countries we will visit in the 6 months Stitchy Souvenirs Club:
South Africa

For both clubs: the countries are in alphabetical order here, not the order you will receive them. But for both clubs you will receive Italy as the first country. I already sort of made the drawing for it, so I'm kinda itchin' to get stitchin'.

I am really excited about this in general because it's an idea that's been brewing in my head for the last three-ish years. I have only been to a handful of those countries so I'll have to do a lot of research for inspiration. I am really looking forward to that. I love learning new stuff. Read, read, read.

I hope you will join me on these stitchy travels! xo

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

New Classes: Oversize Blackwork

Blackwork cushion
First up in the new classes are two blackwork classes. You know I'm kinda obsessed with blackwork so I guess it was inevitable that I'd try and make others fall in love with it too. Especially *my* kind of blackwork. Which doesn't use black at all (unless you want to) and which is oversized because I am totally in love with that.

In both classes I will give you an introduction to blackwork. Although we will mainly focus on pushing the boundaries of blackwork and not do the traditional kind.

Giant Blackwork Cushion Class
This class starts on Monday February 2 and and runs for 4 weeks. I will show you how to make a cushion like the one in the photo above. There will be tips and tricks for stitching the blackwork and also tutorials for making the cushion front and putting the whole thing together to make a lovely cushion with a zip on the back.

Giant Blackwork Mini Quilt Class
This class starts on Monday March 2 and and runs for 4 weeks as well. I am working on the sample quilt for the class at the moment, so unfortunately there isn't one to show you. But imagine the effect of the cushion on a mini quilt. It's going to be pretty sweet. ;-)

As well as doing the blackwork, I will show you how to put together the quilt top and the quilt itself. Of course, there is nothing stopping you from making a larger size quilt (the mini quilt will be approx. 18"x18" (45x45cm). I will have some layout ideas for how you can use it in a larger quilt too.

Both classes will have their own dedicated blogs where I will post the lessons - and you can ask questions etc. You will be able to access the class material indefinitely afterwards.

Until December 21 you can save 10% on the classes by using this code: VATMESS.

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Please write comments in English - or any of the languages below. For other languages than these I won't be able to tell if the comment is nasty or spam, so I'll have to delete it. I don't want to delete legitimate comments! Thank you for understanding! xo, Carina

Languages I can read: Danish, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch.
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