Sunday, December 31, 2006

The end of the 2006...

Hope you all had a good Christmas. Here is my festive picture I was supposed to post on Christmas Eve, to wish everyone a merry Christmas. Well, I've finally found a few moments to myself to update the Blog!! It is our family advent calender made for us by my talented Mum, she is a quilter, amongst other things and nurtured my love of crafts from a very early age. I know she is now itching to start teaching my daughter to knit. She's just a bit to young at the moment, things still need to be instantaneous, guess she takes after me.

I have had a bit of an enforced break from crafting over the festive period, so I don't have anything recent to show you. However, this is another present I managed to get finished in time for Christmas. It's a needle felted fairy. She has a wire armature, allowing her to be posed. My daughter would like one exactly the same so I had too take a few photographs before I wrapped her up. I'm quite new to needle felting, and I haven't made my mind up whether it's something I'll stick with yet. It's very time consuming and I usually draw blood at least once, but it's a great craft to do on your knee whilst watching telly.

My husband bought me The Crafter's Companion for Christmas, so although I have been unable to get stuck into any new projects, I have been busy reading and gaining inspiration. It's a great book, I love to read about what inspires other artists. I also liked reading about different people's studio space, although I did get a bit jealous. I'm still operating off the dining room table, having abandoned the garage as a bad idea. 2007 is the year I get my own dedicated studio space!!! ( I hope....I have plans ).

Have a good new year everyone!!!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Still making Christmas presents!!

Sorry it's been so long, I don't seem to have any spare time at the moment, and my little lad will no longer leave me in peace when I'm on the computer. He's either pressing buttons or demanding the cbeebies website!! Just thought I'd show some more presents I've been working on.

I made a couple of felt crowns for some little girls I know, who love to dress up. This is one of them.

The felt hat is for my daughter, I was going to save it for a Christmas present, but I needed to check the size as I was felting, so she already has it. She looks very cute in it, I did try and take some photo's of her wearing it but she felt the need to dance at the same time, so they're all a bit blurred. I might enter it into the felting forum competition. This is only the second hat I've done, the first was on Vivienne Morpeth's workshop. I think if I ever do another I will felt it inside out, as I do with bags, because there is a bit of a ridge on the join, which really bugs me.

The monkey is a present for my 2 year old son. This is the second monkey I've made as the first was a bit of a disaster, very ugly!! I showed the first to my little boy to gauge his reaction. He gave it a hug, but when I asked if he wanted it he replied "nope" and gave it right back to me, he hasn't been anywhere near it since. Hope he's more enthusiastic about this one on Christmas morning. The little coat is felted. I'm quite pleased with how monkey no. 2 turned out, but I want to have a go at a third, as he needs a few adjustments. However, that will have to wait until after Christmas, I have at least 4 more presents to make!!!!

Here is a Christmas angel my Mum made for my daughter to hang in her bedroom, it is hung at the end of her bed so the angel watches over her as she sleeps. Isn't she pretty, I think she was inspired by seeing my daughter as an angel in the school nativity. Thank you Mum.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I had just finished a fairly lengthy blog and then the computer got stuck and now it's all gone and I have to start again. Don't you just hate it when that happens. I shall now 'save as draft' after every paragraph.

This week my thoughts have been with the Kim family. I have been following the news via various blogs which I regularly visit. Each morning I have logged on to Google reader, hoping for news of their safety. Today it was good news, Kati and her 2 girls had been found safe. I hope tomorrow I will log on to discover that James has also been found safe and well.

I have not posted recently as I have been a busy bee, preparing for my craft fair which was on Sunday. I did OK, but I had a rubbish pitch. I think because I'd booked it late, they had squeezed me in, so my stall was at a 90 degree angle to the rest of the stalls!! Completely threw me when I came to set out the table top.

Here are some bits and pieces that I was madly making last week. I forgot to take photographs before the fair, so these are the ones that came back home with me. The little recycled purses sold well, as did the felted brooches and necklaces.

Whilst at the fair I bought another Christmas present, this lovely Snow Queen crown for my 4 year old daughter. Now I just have to felt a snow queen dress to go with it! I'm thinking white merino wool onto white chiffon, with a surface decoration of tussah silk top. Might save that project for after Christmas. There's just not enough hours in the day.

After a long period of no felting I have finally got back into the swing of it. It took a move indoors to get the ball rolling, as it was just too bloomin' cold in the garage to nurture any creativity. I am now felting on the dining room table which requires tidying up after myself, I'm really not very good at that, but I'm trying.

Here are some Christmas trees I wet felted. I felted around a cone shaped resist with merino wool, and a bit of silk noil (for snow). My daughter is keen to make mini decorations for them. The inspiration for these came from Stephanie's blog, Little Birds Handmade. She makes these delightful little trees from various fabrics. I thought I'd have a go at making some, but add my own twist.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Another Christmas Present Finished

Whilst looking for woolly jumpers in Knaresborough's charity shops I came across a wonderful book, ' Making and Dressing a Rag Doll' by Suzy Ives. It has a basic doll pattern and then a varied range of clothes including: Smock and Lucy Locket apron; Regency Dress; Pantaloons; Victorian dress and so much more. One of my favourites was the ballet dress, Taglioni Style c 1825, which I decided to make for my daughter. I should really have been making some purses for the craft fair, but I have really enjoyed this project, and couldn't wait to see her completed. Her dress is silk dupion and chiffon, with tiny beads sewn on to add a bit of sparkle (my daughter loves a bit of sparkle). I had to give her a choker as her neck looked a bit funny and was in danger of flopping. Anyway here she is, my first rag doll.

I'm very pleased with her and am already planning the next one. I fancy making a pirate, so I will have to design a new doll.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Another Fair

Knaresborough Viaduct on a wet and windy day.

After saying I wouldn't be doing anymore craft fairs, I've booked myself to do another on Sunday the 3rd of December. It's only £10 for a stall, and I've got stock left over from the last one so I figured I may as well. Besides it's in a fantastic location, Henshaws Arts and Crafts Centre in Knaresborough. I used to work there before I became a Mum, teaching textiles to adults with visual impairments. It's a brilliant place, there are different studio's such as textiles, jewellery, paper making, pottery and woodwork. During the week these are open to the public so you can see the artists at work. There is also a huge sensory garden which the children love and a gallery with touchy-feely art and crafts. I'm hoping to get some little purses made for this one, thought they'd make good stocking fillas .

Here's my latest charity shop bargain, I got all of these for £1.50. I love wooden tree ornaments, they are so colourful. My daughter had a good look through them when she got home from school. Her favourite is the little white angel with gold wings at the bottom.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Whiplash Competition

Here's my entry for the design section of this month's whiplash competition. Hope I'm not too late. When I saw it was alternative crafts I got quite excited. I recently got a copy of alterknits and fancied knitting something, (I have neglected my knitting for a while). I brainstormed what alternative yarn I could knit with and decided on lace. Some month's ago I acquired a lot of lace and keep thinking of ways to introduce it into my work. So here is my finished piece, a shabby chic purse to keep treasured bits and pieces in. The lace is knitted in garter stitch, then I used some odd buttons from the button jar for decoration and threaded bits of ribbon through the knitting on the top flap. Hope you like it.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Blog Makeover...

I've had a day of tweaking, hope you like the new look. I definitely think white is better than black. I have also been busy today listing more eco craft products and funky bags on Etsy. I love the new site. The shops look great with the larger thumbnails. The items I've listed are left over from the craft show. I have more to list over the next few days. Here's one of the bags that's now being displayed in the shop.

If there are any felt makers out there, I have sponsored the felting competition on the felting and needle felting forum this month. If you win you get to choose £20's worth of goodies from my ebay shop. Last time I looked there wasn't any entries so the odds look good. The theme is "holiday".

Talking of holiday, I'm making very little headway with my mission to make as many Christmas presents as possible this year. I have started some little booties though, they are so cute, just trying to work out how to get them to stay on those tiny little feet!

I've also finally got round to listing some silk paper making kits (silk fusion) in the ebay shop. I put them together for the craft fair, and sold quite a few. I demonstrated the technique (helps pass the time away in those slow periods). If you are unfamiliar with silk paper making, there are instructions on my website. It's very easy to do and looks fantastic. My 4 year old daughter was helping me demo, she loves it. Here's a tree a did a while ago.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Hello, it's been a while since my last post. I've had a mad week of making things for the 2 day craft fair at the weekend. Our dining room has had a permanent mountain of felted jumpers in the corner, (fluff everywhere)!! And was it worth it? Well no, not really, I sold things and have had interest in my workshops, but I wasn't exactly rushed off my feet. So that's it, no more craft fairs for me (deja vu moment). The good thing is I have a lot of lovely bags and brooches now so I'm going to host a shopping party at my house, no extortionate fees to pay, just wine and nibble to buy.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I was thinking the other day that I set out to create a felt makers blog, hence the name, and there hasn't been a lot of felting recently. I apologise, the reason for this is the weather. In spring I set up my studio in the garage, which was great, I could leave projects out, and not worry about messing the carpet. Unfortunately, now autumn has well and truely arrived, my studio is very, very cold, and I don't do cold!! I have plans for a shed / log cabin in the garden which I can insulate and heat without too much expense, but for now I have moved inside and am spending my evenings playing with felted jumpers. Here's my latest creations....

The bag above is one I have made for myself, it's a wristlet, but I have discovered the handle is just the right length to fit over one of the buggy handles. The bag then nestles in the buggy hood, allowing easy access for me, whilst keeping it secure.
I'm really pleased with this bag, I bought the frame on ebay. It took me along time to work out how to get the fabric to stay in the frame. Very frustrating but I cracked it in the end. I used some sort of adjustable wrench with bits of jumper secured to the ends with elastic bands (to stop scratching) to squeeze the frame, trapping the fabric. I have since carried out my bag test (hanging the bag up overnight with my very heavy purse and mobile phone in it), and it passed!!!!
This is another brooch, I have made a couple of these for my Etsy shop. The cotton fabric is from a shirt bought from the big jumble sale!

I'm planning to do a 2 day craft fair in 2 weeks time. I have only just decided to do this, I must be mad, I really need to get busy creating. I am going to sell my craft kits as well, so they will fill the stall up a bit. I will proberbly demonstrate silk paper making. From past experience I've found it's a great crowd puller.

I took my Son to the library the other day, and couldn't resist popping into a few charity shops. Here's some of my haul.... the blue curtains are Sanderson fabric.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

It's just about the end of my daughters first half term holiday, she only started school in September. My DH took the week off as well, so we've been quite busy, not much crafting done. I did well at the jumble sale last Saturday though....
  • Seven jumpers, six of which fulled (felted) beautifully
  • A few shirts with shell buttons and nice fabric for bag linings
  • A linen dress with floral embroidery - destined to be a bag
  • Three horrible bags with very nice wooden and bamboo bag handles
  • A nice top which I intend to wear
  • and some books for the children
I think that's it. I meant to take some photographs but I've already started cutting things up. I was surprised at how excited I was before I went and then I got quite a buzz hunting out bargains from the huge pile of clothes. I think I may have stumbled on a new hobby.

We went to stay with my parents this weekend and while we were there we drove up to Flamborough Head. My daughter has been learning about lighthouses at school so we braved the windy East Coast. She was a bit disappointed that you couldn't go inside but loved the beach. We went rock pooling and Papa found a few crabs and a very small shrimp! No hermit crabs this time. I got carried away taking photographs of the rocks. There were some beautiful patterns where the limpets had been. I fancy printing some of the photos onto fabric.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Eco Craft

I came across the term 'eco crafts' today on the internet and I guess that's what I do. I source a lot of my materials from charity shops and jumble sales. I like to combine these materials with wet felting and more recently needle felting. An example of this is the owl I've been working on. Last night I made him into a bag using fulled woolly jumpers.
This afternoon I made this brooch, again from materials bought in charity shops. I have just listed this on Etsy.
I love the design process involved in making things from recycled material. It's impossible to go out and buy materials for a project. So I browse around charity shops, buying woolly jumpers that are suitable for fulling and garments with interesting fabric or buttons. Then when washed and prepared I lay them out on the table, choose which materials would go well together, then start creating. I don't like to draw my designs out first, I let the materials guide me and just go with the flow.

There is a huge jumble sale at my daughters school on Saturday, can't wait to go rummaging. My Mum's coming over to join in. We're on a mission to find 'hand wash only' jumpers and interesting buttons. I volunteered to collect jumble in our street, and spent this morning sorting it. Unfortunately nothing exciting was unearthed.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My Whiplash Entry ...... Hand Felted Cuffs

This is my entry for October's Whiplash competition, the theme is accessories. These are hand felted vintage style cuff's (wrist warmers). Great for keeping the autumn chill out. The lace has been hand felted into the wool, so it becomes part of the fabric. I have used merino wool, which is very soft and cosy, and hand dyed tussah silk (the pink fibres on the surface). The cuffs have been finished off with some pretty fabric and delicate roses.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Autumn's here...

The summer seems to have gone on for ages, not that I'm complaining, but I never know what clothes to put my children in on a morning. We seem to start off all bundled up, then gradually lose layers through out the day, but, the evenings are getting darker and I have had call to use the log burning stove a few nights. I love this time of year, it's so cosy!! Last week was my daughters first Harvest Festival, our whole house has been singing "The Big Red Combine Harvester" for quite a while now.

I added a bit more to my owl, not sure if he looks a bit scary now. I fancy making him into a bag.

Inspired by a walk in the woods near our house, I made my daughter an autumn fairy. She's really into fairies at the moment. She loved it, it's been to school already and slept with her a few nights so it looks a bit squished. Here she is gathering brambles and flowers at the bottom of the garden. Oh, and by the way, her name is Rosie

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

All inspired...

I went to the Fashion and Embroidery Show on Saturday. It's just down the road from me at Harrogate Yorkshire Showground. It was really good value for money, only £3.50 to get in, and there is so much to see and inspire. Here are all my purchases....
The scarf is from Bombay Stores ( just my colour) . The wooden buttons were a bargain, 3 for £1. They were from button-it. I want to use them on my bags, I am trying to make a range to go in my new etsy shop. The red, wooden thing is for holding 4 felting needles at once. My best buy was the flower stamp for printing wax onto fabric. I bought a wax pot a few years ago, and have been wanting a stamp for a while. Now I'll have to get my wax pot out of the loft and give it a bit of a dust!!

I spent Sunday afternoon in the garage felting. I have a range of un-dyed fleeces that I had carded, ready to use in a wall hanging. However, I just couldn't resist using some colour, so I made these two wall hangings using a combination of dyed merino wool and un-dyed fleece. I think the tree needs to be smaller in comparison to the sky, so I am going to felt another. The owl isn't finished yet, I am going to needle felt and add some embroidery so he stands out a bit more.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Felting Workshops

I am now starting to do felt making workshops. These will be held in Harrogate, N. Yorkshire. The first one is Saturday the 4th of November 10 to 3. This is for beginners, it will cover all the basics of wet felting, and students will make a small wall hanging and a simple purse. The second is Saturday the 2nd of December 10 to 3. This will cover resist felting and students will make a seamless bag. Both workshops are £25.00 each. This includes all materials, instruction sheets and drinks. Please contact me for more information at

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Here's the hat...
Here is the hat that I made at Vivienne Morpeth's workshop. There was some photographs of me modelling it, but I wasn't brave enough to post them. The workshop was great, really inspiring, and I'm hoping to make a hat for my daughter some time soon. Since taking this photograph I have chopped off the spikey bits, they looked great, but I'm not the sort of person who likes to attract attention and I would just feel to self conscious wearing it. I should really have taken that into consideration when I designed it!! I am going to tweak it a bit then I'll post the finished results.
I wanted to post this series of photographs as an example of how a disaster in felting will often lead you in a new, exciting direction. Never think of those mistakes as a waste of time and effort. The small felted bowls above were meant to be purses. I felted around a small ball, then slit them open to take the ball out and felted them some more. They were just the right size for loose change but I was too impatient for them to dry, so I stuck them in the dryer for a bit. Unfortunately I forgot about them and when they came out they were very, very small. Not wanting to waste all the time and effort I put into making them I gave them a trim and displayed them on my mantle piece as miniature (and a little impractical) bowls. I loved the shape and as I sat trying to watch telly I was drawn to them and couldn't resist getting the scissors out again. This time I cut one of the bowls into a flower shape, and ended up making the necklace shown below.

It's a bit rough looking, the bowl was really a bit too thick but, I really like the shape, so I'm hoping to make some more. In the mean time I've been making some flower necklaces with re-cycled jumpers, as shown below. I'm going to be listing them in my new etsy shop which has just opened. At the moment I only have the pink flower bag listed, but I am working on a bit of a collection, vintage style bags, cuffs and accessories.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Felting Crazy....

I find that my enthusiasm for felting is never constant. Once I get into it I love and will felt for days on end, turning out new things and trying new techniques, but then eventually my enthusiasm ebbs away and I find myself re-discovering knitting or some other fibre based craft. When I got my drum carded I was banned from felting in the house, due to bits of wool top ending up everywhere, so I set up a studio in the garage, and felted like I have never felted before. It was great to have a space that I didn't need to clear at the end of the night so the family can eat breakfast at the table in the morning. Unfortunately the garage started to fill up with stuff, as garages do and the felting dried up. Well, last Friday I went on a workshop to learn how to make felt hats. I will write a post about the workshop soon, when I can get a photograph of me wearing my hat that I actually like. At the workshop there was some examples of felted garments which got me all inspired, so I have cleared a space in the garage and begun felting once again. Here are some of the results...

The waistcoat is made of alpaca felted onto cotton muslin, with sections of tussah silk on top and a lace trim felted on the bottom. The alpaca was placed randomly on the cotton giving gaps in some areas (not intentional, but I like the finished result). I originally felted this as a tube, but it ended up far too small, so I cut it open then felted a strip of white merino wool on to some lace which I sewed on to create the front panel. I then cut the arm holes. Once I was happy with the waistcoat I dyed it with some acid dye. The wool dyed beautifully, but of course the cotton and lace stayed white so I dyed these orange with some procion dye. I finished the waistcoat off with a large wooden button. I am quite pleased with the result, considering I wasn't really sure what I was doing when I embarked upon the project. I'm just not sure when I will get to wear it. The best thing is it's got me thinking and my head is full of ideas to try out.

These cuffs where developed as a result of the waistcoat, I'm selling them on ebay at the moment- vintage cuffs . I have been busy today playing around with ideas for more cuffs and vintage style scarves. Don't you just love it when you have more ideas than time!!!