Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Whiffle Tree Trading Post

I've been a bit quiet on here lately as I have been crafting flat out to get ready for the Whiffle Tree Trading Post, which was a local craft fair yesterday. I had a really good afternoon and sold lots, had lots of compliments on my work and lots of nice chats with fellow crafty people. As someone who normally sits at my desk to craft it so nice to get out and hear positive feedback on what I enjoy making.

My best sellers were my cards, which I placed in some nice little baskets from Ikea.

My crochet roses also sold really well. I have about 5 left.

I made a few of these bags. These didn't sell at all but I think they are gorgeous! They are based on a pattern from Amy Butler's book "Style Stitches", (with a few little tweaks). I don't mind that they didn't sell, as it means I have stock for a craft fair I've signed up for in January! I made a large embroidered bag, which you can see in the picture at the top. I did sell one of these bags and took commissions for two more for bags with different birds on. It was a good lesson to learn what people like, and my embroidered birds are a bit more individual than a patterned fabric bag.

Here's a closer look at some of my Christmas cards, including my favourite one made with a stamp by Crafty Individuals, which I coloured in and embellished with sequins - sometimes less is definitely more!

And a few more Christmas cards...

I'll be back soon with more photos of my other cards.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Millefiori - inspiration and beads

While we were at the "Power of Making" exhibition at the V&A, my friend and I had a little look at the glass gallery. I was very pleased to find traditional glass millefiori as I have spent a lot of the past month teaching people how to make Fimo canes. I am always amazed at how the glass makers can produce the canes as I am used to making my canes in a malleable clay, not boiling hot melted glass!

I love the stripy edges of these canes.

This plate is made using large stripy canes.

And here's my version! I took the Fimo canes I had made at classes and demonstrations recently and made them into beads. It's my new favourite necklace and when people ask about it, I get to do my Fimo sales pitch. The assistant on the coach to London my be coming to one of my classes after our chat about my necklace!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Power of Making

This Saturday was an unusual day for me as a friend and I got on a coach early in the morning and headed off to London. I had been reading articles about an exhibition currently at the V&A museum called "The Power of Making" and after mentioning that I'd love to see it, my husband suggested taking the day to go and have a look.

It's a fantastic exhibition. I found it inspiring to see so many things that have been crafted in lots of different ways, using creativity and imagination. There is a great range of made items, from traditional crafts, using wood and leather to a range of 3D printers - which still seem like something from Star Trek to me!

I was particularly impressed by the computer-y items that were designed to be hacked and improved and shared. I loved the openness and appreciation of other peoples talents.

I'm afraid I haven't got photos I can show you as cameras aren't allowed - as the kind assistant told me! However the image above comes from the V&A website and it's of the astounding pencil tip sculptures of Dalton Ghetti. It took him two years to make this series using a razor blade and a sewing needle. The preciseness of the letters are mind blowing.

I came away from the exhibition feeling affirmed as a maker. My friend pointed out the following quote...

For many people, making is critical for survival. For others, it is a chosen vocation: a way of thinking, inventing and innovating. And for some it is simply a delight to be able to shape a material and say ‘I made that’. The power of making is that it fulfills each of these human needs and desires.

The exhibition runs until the 2nd January 2012.

Friday, 11 November 2011

A Maisy Mouse Quilt

I've been a bit quiet on here lately and it's not because I haven't had crafty things to write about, it because I've been crafting so much that I haven't sat down much. A friend is organising a craft fair in a couple of weeks and I have a table. At the moment all the things I want to sell are still ideas in my head - don't panic! I've spent this week working on a Scrap365 project - I'm so please with it but you'll have to wait a couple of months to see it!

I've also managed to squeeze in a bit of sewing to make a little quilt for my friends' new baby girl.
I found some fantastic Maisy Mouse fabric which works so well and is really bright and colourful. It's also the perfect match for her older brother's Hungry Caterpillar quilt I made a couple of years ago.

Here's the flower in the centre made in a Dresden Plate style.

I used some lovely multicoloured thread to free machine quilt some flowers...

I parcelled up the quilt with a little Maisy Mouse book and this card, which I made using the Cosmo Cricket papers "Odds and Ends"

Saturday, 5 November 2011

A Fimo Owl and a feather cane

I've started teaching Fimo workshops again recently (after a long gap) at a fabulous local craft shop called Spinning Weal. The shop is known for fabric, wool, felting and spinning with great workshops and a while ago they added a stand of Fimo. I had an idea to make one of my owls to sit in the shop and apparently he has prompted lots of great comments. A lot of people have thought he's fabric and get a surprise when the owl feels hard to touch. I felt that a knitting owl sitting on a quilt would feel very at home in the shop!

Here's a closer look at how I make an owl.

I start with a big ball of scrunched up kitchen foil and then wrap a layer of multicoloured leftover Fimo around the foil to smooth it out. When I make millefiori canes with Fimo I always have a distorted image at the ends, but none of it is wasted as you can see here.

The next step is to construct a feather cane for the owl's tummy. For this can I used transparent white to make a sausage shape (cane) with white Fimo wrapped around the edge - this is known as a bullseye cane. I squashed the cane into an oval shape and cut it into short lengths to build up the feather pattern, including some tiny canes of black with white wrapped around it. As I used transparent white, the appearance of the feathers will change once they have been baked.

I cut lots of slices from the cane and covered the front of the owl.

Here's a closer look at the other feathers. There are three different canes on the back as I kept running out of feathers!

Then it's two white circles for the eyes and black eyes, beak and legs.

Can you see how the transparent Fimo has changed now it's been baked and the pattern becomes more obvious?

The millefiori cane for the wings is made up from a selection of bullseye canes.

The quilt is made up from millefiori canes that I made when I was doing a Fimo demonstration at Spinning Weal in September.

Scrap365 - the wait is nearly over!

It's not long now until Scrap365 is in the shops. It's so exciting! This morning I was reading posts on UKScrappers and it appears that some subscription copies have arrived this morning. The comments have been fantastic... " it's full of gorgeous creativity", "Full of inspiring, creative and interesting projects and techniques", "it looks great".

If you haven't got your copy yet, you can see the front cover on the blog here. The cover star this month is the ultra talented Mahlin Wiggur. I worked with Mahlin on the Bubbly Scrumptious design team and her work is fabulous - I'm a huge fan!

There has a been a small disappointment in that the first issue won't be in WHSmiths but Traplet have sorted out a deal so customers can buy the first issue with free P+P from them. The details are all on the Scrap365 facebook page .