Monday, 19 December 2011

It's been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time.

Yes, it has! I am not in the habit of quoting The Zep but as I started to type this blog, 'Rock and Roll' came on the radio and it felt more than just a coincidence.

Just wanted to check in really to remind myself that I had a craft blog and shop that needs some attention...but I have good excuses! I have been crafting up a Christmas-storm of late- not for sale in the Folksy/Etsy shops- but for my nearest and dearest. As there are still 6 DAYS to go until the magical unwrapping day I can't share my makes just yet but here are some pieces I recently made which inspired the Christmas gifts.

I started working on this piece of appliqué on my first visit to the stitch n bitch club at work (think I might have set the bar a bit high now) and I used some of the techniques I learnt on the Make Lounge course. The background fabric is a piece of 60s kimono fabric and I used a dark blue felt for the bird. Once completed I turned it into a Happy New House card for our new Brighton Neighbours.They're still in Brighton so I guess they liked it!

Sticking to the kimono theme, I used another piece to make a coaster for my new lunch buddy. Cat is more than a little obsessed with purple so this fabric was just too perfect not to make her something from.

Last year I  managed to design and sell Christmas cards to raise money for Huntingdon's Disease. I was hoping to do the same this year but somehow I just ran out of time. Better make sure I am a bit more organised next year! Just to share with you here are the 5 designs I sold last year:

I hope you have managed to have some fun with the run up to Christmas- it just seems so easy to get caught up in the mayhem and forget that it's supposed to be fun! I look forward to sharing my Christmas makes with you next year. Till then a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! x

Monday, 24 October 2011

Have beautifully handmade journal, will travel

In a slightly hungover state last Sunday I pretended that my staring into space from the sofa was in fact me planning a crafty project for my dear friend Hazel's 30th/ going off travelling gift. It wasn't by the way. 

I knew I wanted to make her a travel journal to take on her year long adventure but as I am not a book binder was wasn't sure how to go about it. Would I staple or glue or sew? How many pages? Do I buy a notebook and decorate it? Do I just buy a nice notebook?

So with four evenings left to come up with a solution I stumbled on this sketch book tutorial by Susie Ghahremani of boygirlparty just in the nick of time. That night was spray-mount-tastic.

Fabric-covered Handmade Journal Tutorial

I am afraid I don't have step-by-step photo instructions as I was covered in spray mount. Susie does an excellent job though and I will describe in good old fashioned words the changes I made to my project.

Step 1:
Inspired by my library bear notebook from previous posts I decided to use different types of paper in the journal. It is roughly A6 in size and I used approx 9 bits of A5 paper, folded in half. The paper I used ranged from an old envelope with a pretty blue security pattern to green notepaper given to me by Hazel about 12 years ago.

I then tried to put it through the sewing machine. Not such a good idea.

Step 2:
A bit stumped I moved onto the front cover. I decided to use fabric covered cardboard for my cover so that it would survive a rucksack a bit better. I love this West African fabric. I am going to make a skirt from it soon but I couldn't resist making a little project from it any longer. 

From an old cereal box I cut a piece slightly bigger than A5 and folded it in half. I then cut my fabric with about an inch border all the way round and made sure I lined the pattern up with the crease (the back is a different colour as you will see...)

Step 3:
Next spray mount one side of the cardboard and tightly stick the fabric to it. Then spray mount the other side- round the edges and neatly fold over the rest of the fabric as tight as possible but allowing for the fold in the middle. This is a bit messy.  

Make sure you don't touch the two sides together...just saying.

Step 4:
BRAINWAVE. I finally worked out how I was going to put the thing together. I cut another piece of paper- this time from a map of London cos that's where she lives for now- just a bit smaller than the inside of the front cover. The plan (B or maybe D) was to sew the pages to this and then stick the map to the inside cover.

I lined the pages up with the map and using just a good old needle and thread, sewed down the fold and securely tied it off at the back. You might want to use a thimble. I do have a dent in my thumb now.

Step 5:
All you have to do now is spray mount inside the front cover and firmly place your sewn together pages to it. Simples.

Step 6:
I wanted to make a band to go round it so you could attach a pen or something. This is just from a bit of elastic I had in the sewing box, but the glorious button is from my grandmother's button box.

Inside cover
I like the way the torn-out notebook edges stick out a bit
Close up of button detail
So there you have it. One fabric-covered handmade journal.

Thanks again to Susie for your excellent tutorial and to spray mount for making this project possible.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

All that glitters

Those who were at my birthday BBQ when unicorn burgers were on the menu will know how exciting I find glitter. So when I found these great glitter textures for Photoshop it was a splendid day indeed. Thank you regular jane!

This card was made for my Cousin. The incredible 'Pugcocks' are made my Emily Valentine Bullock. I thoroughly recommend checking her work out. It is amazing.

Mazz's birthday card also featured glitter quite heavily as you can see. The Russian skull dolls embroidery was also made for her (I can let you into that secret now) and I framed it as part of her pressie.

I have also been putting my new found coaster making skills into practice. I made this for my friend Val's birthday. I do not in any way consider my obsession with the camping curtains unhealthy.  

And now that I have been invited to join a stitch'n'bitch club at work I plan to start some more appliqué and embroidery projects soon. Coasters could be in everyone's stockings this year... xx

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Applique of my Eye

Way back in May my good friend in Aus-land sent me a voucher for The Make Lounge. I ummed and ahhed for ages over which of their fabulous courses to take and eventually picked Machine Embroidery & Applique. I'm so glad I did.

Here are my 3 final pieces that I took home after the evening course. And I have to say I am pretty pleased with how they turned out. The course was set out perfectly- small class size, lots of sewing machines and ironing boards, well paced activities with room for taking your own angle on the tasks and, most importantly, the most glorious selection of fabrics to play with. 

I am so chuffed with my tea cup and I can't believe how perfectly it fits the embroidery hoop I've had stashed away. This has gone straight up on the craft room wall. The cut out technique used here is definitely one I will use again. Here's a close up:

As soon as we sat down I spotted this city scape fabric so I knew I had to use it in some way. 

On the course they suggest that the applique samples could be made into coasters so I have used this fabric to make one for my new office. Just need to finish stitching up the sides and it will be ready to show off at work!

I am not 100% sure what I am going to do with the final piece but I think I might frame it. I really like the way it looks like russian dolls and I even managed to give the middle one a little machine embroidered crown.

What an amazing birthday gift- thank you so much Helen B! I am now so glad I have kept hold of all those little scraps of fabric- I think the heat n bond will be coming out this weekend...

Speaking of Helens and applique- I was able to give my cousin her birthday cushion when she came to visit last weekend and I am pleased to say she liked it.

The background fabric is a lovely, soft herringbone patterned flannel I got on etsy and the flower applique has been cut from Slim's families old camping curtains. Upcycling, recycling and reusing does make me happy.

Front detail
Close up detail on back
I don't know if you can see it on the pictures but the flowers have been outlined in gold thread. It was certainly a labour of love and it's a good thing there were so many episodes of The Sopranos left to watch but I'm really glad I persevered because the detail really makes it special (so says me..) 

That about wraps up my craftiness this week but I have been planning my next set of cushions which have been commissioned by my mum. She has picked some of my favourite fabrics and so I know I will enjoy coming up with some ideas for them. 

Hope you are all enjoying the beautiful sunshine in the UK x

Friday, 23 September 2011

Drawing Challenge- The Great Reveal

That's it. My days of commuting from Brighton to London are over and my 19 day drawing challenge is complete. I am going to miss the drawing challenge a lot. I really felt I improved towards the end and became a lot less dependent on using words as part of the illustration. But my word it was hard. The rules I set myself were that I was allowed to think about the drawing during the day and even look for inspiration but then I just had my evening commute to complete the drawing and I couldn't go back to work on it. 

And so without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the fruits of my drawing challenge labours...drum roll...

(Please click the images to enlarge them if you would like a closer look)

Here are the tools of my trade which I carried with me for the drawing challenge. Oh Sharpie pens how I love you...

The Challenge

Day 1: Myself

Day 2: Favourite Animal

Day 3: Favourite Food

Day 4: Favourite Place
Day 5: My Best Friend
Day 6: Favourite Word

Day 7: Favourite Plant
Day 8: A Couple

Day 9: Just a Doodle
Day 10: Something Orange
Day 11: Something I Want
Day 12: Something I Miss
Day 13: Something I Need
Day 14: My Most Recent Accomplishment
Day 15: Scenery
Day 16: Something I Don't Like
Day 17: Something I Love
Day 18: A Place I'd Like To Go
Day 19: A Congratulatory Banner For Finishing!

So there you go. I would love to see if anyone else has completed this or the 30 Day Drawing Challenge so please comment with your link so I can check it out! x