Thursday, 20 October 2016

Hayfield Flower Blanket - a work in progress

I started this blanket way back in July when I needed a smallish project for a trip away.

I was really enjoying making it, the pattern, once learnt, is quite easy...but, I came home, put it away and forgot about it.

I don't often buy patterns, usually I make them up as I go along, but I had stared too much at this one in a shop and thought that I would probably end up reproducing it from my head, so why not buy the pattern and give the designer the credit she/he deserves.

So, what should I do, keep it for the next trip?  Or dig it out and get it finished?

The pattern is number 7257 and you can find it on Amazon HERE if you like it.  It has the flower blanket, like I am doing in the photo, and a motif style pattern too.

I am using Stylecraft DK Yarn in a mottled green, sunshine yellow and a pinky purple shade.

Now.... where did I put it?

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Button Tree art canvas

Adults like to play you know..... it's true, crafting is theraputic and allows you to relax and chill.  (As long as the craft you choose isn't too taxing on the mind of course!)

The Button Tree Canvas class I did in the summer achieved just that, a relaxing, mindful, calming couple of hours, with a nice wall art to take home at the end of it.

We started by drawing a simple brown tree, I find that being really mean with acrylic paint on the brush, and dragging it over the canvas thinly, you can create a bark like effect without any effort at all.

I also take a hair-dryer to these classes to dry of the paint before we start sticking the buttons in place.

Some people had colour schemes, look at the grey and yellow, doesn't it look great?

And some people just took the buttons that grabbed their eye and used those.

Little flowers were added at the bottom of some.

And butterflies on others...

And all the ladies had a lovely work of art to take home.  

You don't have to be an artist to make these button trees - just a little time and space to let yourself chill and create.

Try it yourself...  (ooo, did that sound a little like Neil Buchanan off Art Attack?  Whatever happened to him?)

If you fancy doing a class with me, I will be running this workshop in Brampton Community Centre on Friday 11th November 2016.  Shout out for more details.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

I get by with a little help from my friends (and family!)

Often, when I am devising a new class or workshop, I need help.  Sometimes I just need something made for a photograph, other times I need samples, and most importantly, I need to test the craft out to see if it is something that non-crafters can do.

I do get people who come to my classes who want to start crafting, and we don't want to put them off by giving them something achievable do we?

So I use my friends, family, anyone who makes the mistake of visiting, as unpaid testers.

This is Hubster, doing Needlefelting for the first time.  This was a "Young Folks" class, so I thought if he can do it, they can do it.  

He managed not to stab himself too!!

(Now, if you have never stabbed yourself with a needle felting needle, don't be in a hurry to try it.  The tool is barbed, it hurts so much more on the way out than on the way in, and you usually just jab so it is out and in before you realise, and boy, does it sting..... for ages after too)

So, thankfully in this case, no blood on the felting wool.

Using a cookie cutter to protect those fingers, and to give the shape of the piece, he got to work making a duck.

Didn't he do well for a first attempt, I was rather impressed.

A couple of days later my son, Iain, came for tea  (I'm Northern, the evening meal is Tea, not Dinner as my Southern Hubster keeps insisting it is called)

And guess what?  He got a crafting job.  "Make me a dinosaur", I asked.  "No" he said.  "Then I won't have time to make your Tea", I said... so he did.

I'm thinking that this 25yr old, father-of-one is a little too pleased with his dinosaur, don't you?

He made me a fish too - Hubster made the butterfly, and I cooked Tea.  It seemed like a fair deal.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Ruby takes a swim... and hates it!

So, our big brave bullbreed Ruby (Staffy, Boxer with perhaps some Mastiff thrown in for good measure) does not live up to the bullbreed reputation at all!  In fact, I have yet to meet one that does, but Ruby is fearful of everything new... EVERYTHING.

Especially water.  She likes to drink from muddy puddles, but go paddling, swimming, no way jose!

So, when we met with friends a few weeks ago and took both of our dogs down to the local river for a walk, we were more than surprised to see Ruby venture into the water with her new friend Riley.  Knee deep she went, although only knee deep.

We wondered if it was time to show her that water is really nothing to be scared of.

I booked a half hour session at a local doggy swimming pool, called Paws to Splash and off we went, full of expectations that we would have a fully swimming dog by the end of it.

Haha.  Dream on.

It took a lot of persuasion just to get her through the door, what was she scared of?  The smell?  No idea, but she held her own and refused to budge.  Eventually, we managed to get her through a different door - she must have thought she had won that battle and trotted half way through the second door before anchoring down, but we were ready and one swift push of her bum with my knee and she was in the room.

Didn't like it, ears were down, tail was under, even the rubber duck (which she likes to decapitate usually) didn't even tempt her.

The very nice lady, who she liked very much, managed to get her onto the shelf, so only her feet were wet.  She stood there for a while, shivered and shook and was generally very unhappy with the whole experience.

A lap of the pool followed - seriously, I have never seen such an splashy, noisy, water-jumping-out-of-the-pool, swim in all my days as a dog owner.  So unladylike and very inelegant.  Paws were out to the side, little head bobbing over the waterline with eyes that switched between "I hate you" and "Please help me".

After two laps of the pool, with a rest on the shelf in-between, it was decided that she hated it so much - her heart was thumping and she was getting distressed.   We agreed it wasn't a great idea after all and after 8 minutes, we called time on the experience.

Now before you feel sorry for her, there was a lovely walk in the woods just beyond the swimming pool - she enjoyed that lots.

Monday, 10 October 2016

But Mummy, I want a Bear too....

Way back last year sometime, not sure if it was a birthday, Christmas or a Mother's Day, I bought my Mum a gift of a book - 'Knit-a-Bear'.
I also bought her bear coloured yarn, patterned yarn, stuffing, buttons so she could make herself a bear - nothing like a birthday gift that you have to make yourself is there ?  ;)

Anyway, she made herself a bear, beautiful it was, then she made my sister a bear.  Then she made my Granddaughter Hope (her Great-Granddaughter of course) a bear.  Then followed Granddaughter Ellie (still in the womb at this point) she got a bear too.
Shona had a bear, in fact the only person that didn't have a bear was me!!

I WANT A BEAR, I shouted rather loudly.

The making of said bear might have been a secret if it was not for the fact that she had not surreptitiously asked me for "bear coloured yarn" from my stash.  To be fair though, the glittery purple dress was a secret.

A little while later I was presented with my new bear, and how cute it was, with her lacy purple frock and matching hair (ear) bow.  She was just a bit too cute.

Someone else loves it too, but she's not having it - it's MY BEAR!!

(Seriously, could anyone love a bear as much as this?)

By the way, this bear book is a fab book if you are a knitter, so many very cute bears to choose from.  My sisters had dungarees on!!

You can find it over on Amazon by clicking HERE.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

My YouTube Channel

I have had my YouTube channel for ages now and all I have had on it is a tutorial of how to make a paper snowflake, and a few videos of Ruby when she was a puppy.

So, time to start using it properly I think.

I have uploaded a few tutorials, just so I could get the hang of editing the photos to make a video etc.... I found a great little app called Splice by GoPro, it's really easy to use and upload - which is useful for me!

The tutorials I have just put up are step-by-step photograph ones, with some instructions along the way. I fully plan to do moving videos too, but one step at a time   :)

There are a couple of Christmas themed crafts on there, and some Kid's crafts too, would love your feedback on what you think if you have time.

Click HERE to view my channel, if you like  :)

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

It's been a while....

I totally feel as though I have abandoned my dear old blog...  life has just gotten so busy with Grand-babies and lots of classes, things to work on, people to see - I am sure you know how it is.

I have keep reminding myself to pop back in and write up some stuff, but then I get distracted by other things and never get it done.

To be fair, nothing much has happened to report, except the usual classes and workshops,  and I am sure you are sick of seeing those time after time - just how many times can you admire a pin-cushion?  (probably a few, but you know what I mean)

So, what have I been doing?    Well, working on lots of new ideas for classes.  I am seeing similar faces to my classes now, so need to offer something new as they are surely not going to want to repeat stuff they have already done.  This takes considerable time as I have to think something up, make it up, write it up, then plan a class around it.  It's at least a full day's work for a new 2 hour class.  But I am totally enjoying thinking of new things to teach, it keeps my brain alive!

I have also just had a hugely busy weekend working in London's Hampton Court Palace at Kirsty Allsopp's The Handmade Fair.  I thoroughly enjoyed that, but was shattered once I got home - it has taken me a few days to grab some energy back.  I will blog more about that later, as I have some photos on my phone somewhere.

So, you haven't missed an awful lot... just a bit of this, a bit of that and a bit of the other.  But I hope to be back up to speed soon, bear with me   :)

Saturday, 25 June 2016

A "drop-in" purse making event

I tried a new type of workshop last weekend, a drop-in class where you could just roll up, make something and go on your way again.

This was a little coin purse workshop and cost only £5.00 to make your very own lined, zipped purse.

I only had three people attend, which in a way was good as I wasn't overwhelmed, and of course those people might return to other classes  :)  It was very quiet as it was the Cumberland Show that day too, so maybe everyone was away visiting that.

Anyway, they all got to work with their sewing machines - this young lady has never used a machine before so she did marvellously.

They got to choose their own fabrics of course, then match them with a zip.  These are the results.

A pink number with fabric from the same Fat Quarter pack so they team up perfectly.

Some Kirsty Allsop Charm Pack pieces which worked nicely together and that bright blue zip just finishes it off beautifully.

And last, but not least, teaming a teal and white design with a dusky pink lining worked really well.

Thanks to you ladies that came, I will pop this class back on sometime and try it again  :)

Friday, 24 June 2016

Snakes & Ladder Board

The summer is approaching and I needed to come up with some ideas for the Kid's Club I run throughout the holidays at Hobbycraft.   I can't keep re-doing the same crafts as the young folk that come along are going to get bored, so I have to shake my brain to come up with some new ideas.

What about something they can continue to have fun with at home?   A board game.... or rather a game board.

I got Daddy L to cut me some 12" square bits of card (he used to be a framer so has all the mount cutters etc.... I make good use of him sometimes  :) )  and I grabbed some pens and got to work.

First of all I sectioned it off into 100 squares and numbered them.

Then the fun part, drawing the snakes and the ladders.  I guess you could draw as many snakes and ladders as you like, but I just did three of each.

I ordered some counter and dice packs of the internet and voila!  We have a board game that can provide hours of fun.

If you think your little ones might like this workshop then it will be on Monday 8th August, 10.30am-12.00pm at Hobbycraft in Carlisle.  And the best bit... it only costs £2.00!!

£2.00 for an hour or so of crafting then numerous hours of playing once home again - bargain  :)

Thursday, 23 June 2016

A Tangle Workshop

I love Tangling - or Zen Tangling, or Doodling, whatever you want to call it.  And I love sharing the format with other people so they can enjoy the art too.

I like to use a metallic pen on black card as it creates the most wonderful effect - really dramatic.

These lovely ladies sat down and started to create.

Some chose a silver pen, some chose a gold - both worked equally well I thought.

And don't they look chuffed with themselves?  

The piece was never going to be totally finished as it takes a while to fill in an A4 sheet with tiny doodles, but good progress was made and I believe some have already been finished off at home.

From the left.... Lauretta, Winnie, Jenny and Vera.

Tangling is such a great past time, have you tried it yet?

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Giant Floor Cushion - Free Tutorial

I made a giant floor cushion for display in Carlisle Hobbycraft recently.

I love this fabric the colours just work so well.   I teamed it with a purple and a dusky pink for the back of the cushion and just used the print for the front.

If you would like to make one they are VERY easy, just straight sewing required - no zips or buttonholes  :)  The instructions are below.

How to make:
The Liner: 
·         First of all we will make the liner, from the lining fabric cut two squares each measuring  62cm x 62cm. 
·         Place the fabric squares together and leaving a 15cm gap for stuffing on one side, sew all the way around the square using a 10mm seam allowance.
·         Clip the corners neatly, turn the right way, stuff as required and hand-sew the gap closed.
The Cover: 
·         Using Fabric A, cut a square measuring 62cm.
·         Using Fabric B, cut a rectangle measuring 62cm x 42cm.
·         Using Fabric C, cut a rectangle measuring 62cm x 42cm.
·         Take Fabric B and fold over one of the 62cm sides by 10mm and press flat, fold it over again and press flat again. Sew down this seam neatly.
·         Repeat the last step with Fabric C.
·         Place Fabric A right side facing up on your table, and place B on top, right side facing down, with the raw 62cm edge matching the sides and the sewn seam towards the centre.
·         Place Fabric C on top of this with the raw edge matching the opposite side and the sewn seam towards the centre, overlapping Fabric B.
·         Pin into place.
·         Sew all the way around using a 10mm seam allowance - no gaps for turning.
Clip the corners and turn the right way in through the envelope gap created.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Pom Poms for Eden Valley Hospice

Our local hospice - Eden Valley Hospice - is having a crack at breaking the world record attempt at most pom-poms made (strung together in a continuous line, I believe).

I have mentioned it before as I have hosted a couple of events to help add to the collection.

The first one I did was way back in October 2015, where we made a start and created some wonderful looking woolly balls.  You can see that post HERE if you would like to recap.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was asked to host a pom-pom making session at The Lanes shopping centre in Carlisle.   I was donating my time, and Hobbycraft in Carlisle donated as much yarn as we could use (again, as they donated for my previous sessions too)

We were situated in the old Miss Selfridge shop right in the middle of The Lanes, and we got to work making pom-poms.

Then the most random thing happened, these two turned up to help!
 Rapunzel (I know this as I recognise the hair), and Peter Pan.

Only, it's not Peter Pan of course, it's Flynn Rider.  Shows how much I know about Disney characters  ;)  I got a stern look I can tell you.

I really should take some time to watch the films, I guess that will happen naturally when the Granddaughters grow up a bit.

Anyway, they did a good job, don't you think?  A big thank you to them for taking part.

And I believe the record number or pom-poms required has been smashed..... now just to string them all together and find somewhere to hang them!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Battenberg Beanbag - free tutorial

I recently had a request from Hobbycraft to create an easy to make beanbag.

Sometimes when I get these requests it takes me a while to think up something to fit the brief, but other times the ideas just "POP" into my head.  This was a popping idea.

Why on earth I had Battenberg in my head I do not know, although I do like a slice now and again.

So, I made a beanbag to look like a slice of Batternberg, completed with 'apricot jam' piping.

Are you hungry now?

If you want to make one for yourself, then pop over to the Hobbycraft blog where you will find all the step-by-step instructions.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Applique Initial Purse

I have been making little purses of late, you know those things that you just get caught up in making, for no particular reason other than that they are fun to create?  That.

Anyway, it was my daughter-in-law's birthday and my son was taking her away for the day to the seaside. I was going to give her some pennies to spend during the day - I don't usually give money, but in this case money would be most useful.  I decided to make a little purse to pop the pennies in.

I used a royal blue fabric, as blue is her favourite colour, and I appliqued an "H" to the front - as her name begins with H - did you work that out ?  ;)

I lined it with the same red fabric and added the zip.

Then I filled it with 2p pieces as when you go to the seaside you have to go on the penny push machines, don't you?

Of course, I popped a note or two in as well.... for an ice-cream or a windmill   :)

She seemed to like it very much, which was good  :)

Thursday, 16 June 2016

May Half Term Kid's Club

Gosh, these school holidays really come around quickly don't they?   All of a sudden I was having to plan for my half-term Kid's Club & Young Folks sessions.

It was only a week this time, so couldn't squeeze a lot in due to other commitments, but I did manage to put on these workshops.

Plate Weaving.   This is a lot of fun actually. Once the plate is threaded up, the young peeps then choose their own yarns and weave them in and out of the threads.  They end up with unique wall hanging which looks quite spectacular.

Just look how happy this wee chap is with his creation.

And these ladies too  - they were with Grandma and she wasn't sure about giving permission to put their faces out on social media, which of course is absolutely fine, so we took this arty shot instead as they really wanted to show their work off.

A "Young Folk" workshop followed, these are a little more structured as the attention span of the young people are higher at this age.   

They made bunting with Air-Dry clay, which they textured, patterned then glazed before taking them home to leave to dry out for a few days.

Can you see what this says?  I keep seeing "chocolate"!!

The last session was to make a cress pot, then sew some cress seeds to grow at home.

We wrapped the cups in yarn, round and round to cover each bit.  Then put some beads in the weight, followed by damp kitchen roll & cotton wool.  Finally we sewed the seeds.

My cress is growing really nicely on my window sill, must be ready for harvest soon.  Better boil some eggs   :)

If you are interested in Kid's Club and Young Folks sessions, keep an eye on my Facebook events where I pop them up.