Saturday, 29 November 2014

Elephants :: Necklace charms

This month's elephant inspiration are ... elephant necklace charms. I spotted a few of these coming up in my Pinterest feed so got exploring and found quite a number of lovely little designs, here is my selection.

1. The cut out ear of this design makes it that little bit different from the others
2. A round design with an antique feel
3. This one is a bit chunky and the chain goes through its ear
4. Mum and baby elephant together are very cute in this charm
5. The simple wire design of this necklace is really effective
6. Another antique style design but this time combined with a teardrop bead
7. This gold elephant just looks so happy
8. A little flower charm adds something to this necklace
9. Sea glass elephant - love the colour of the sea glass but also the simple lines that define the legs and ears in this design

For more images of elephant in art & crafts visit my Elephants board on Pinterest.

All links above are to Pinterest as a number of the items pictured are no longer available at their original link.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Inspiration :: 24 Days of Christmas Makes

If you use Pinterest you surely can't have avoided all the Christmas fare on show perhaps because of this I seem to have the Christmassy vibe much earlier this year than in previous years.

After really enjoying making the felt gingerbread men kit that came with Prima Makes Christmas edition, I thought I'd have a go at making some other Christmas decorations in the run up to the big day.

So I've set myself a rather ambitious challenge - kind of an Advent makes challenge - one Christmas make each day in December.

I'll make a range of Christmassy items using different crafts using a combination of tutorials, kits and makes from Pinterest. I anticipate each make to take about an hour.

If you love just creating and crafting then it would be great if you joined in too (if you don't have anything better to do with your December evenings). If nothing else you can use what you make as little stocking filler gifts.

I'll be posting about them here, on Instagram and Pinterest and it would be great to see your Christmas makes too.

PS here is my Christmassy makes inspiration to date - which might give you some hints about what could come up...

1. Wooden beaded stars
2. Felt Robins
3. Paper Christmas Trees
4. Crochet Christmas Wreaths
5. Pompom pud
6. Colourful bead star
7. Paper bauble
8. Embellished felt snowflake
9. Cross stitch gift tags

For more Christmas makes have a look through my boards on Pinterest.

All links above are to Pinterest as a number of the items pictured are no longer available at their original link.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Out and about :: Renegade Craft Fair

Yesterday I trotted of to The Old Truman Brewery off Brick Lane - a nice little tootle on the overground from Peckham. A lot of Designer/Makers I've bought things from in the past/follow on social media were there for the Renegade Craft Fair.

It was much bigger than the Crafty Fox Markets but I soon found it very frustrating to browse. Why?Well despite the huge space they'd crammed people in to one room meaning there were lots of corners. Corners that you couldn't get into if there was more than one other person browsing. Like the type of corners where Tate Modern insist on placing small works of art in their blockbuster shows and the stick an audio guide symbol next to them meaning you don't have a hope of seeing that piece. 

Anyway, I digress, at the Renegade Craft Fair the corner issue was easily rectified by doing two laps. Although there were definitely still stalls I didn't get a good look at even on two laps because I just couldn't get near them.

The other problem I had (and this was totally my own fault) is that I didn't have anything I needed to buy anyone for Christmas. Except maybe my brother but he's not a handmade kinda guy. So I didn't have a Mission. While it is nice sometimes to shop freely, but with so many stalls I felt a bit aimless.

Didn't stop me buying though ...

Map Notebook from House Of Ismay

Biscuit mug from Martha Mitchell Design

Cat in a Christmas Hat from Woah There Pickle

The above are all for my other half who frankly doesn't deserve any more pressies after I got him a new laptop this week but I suppose he needs something to open on Christmas morning...

Christmas Card from Birds in Hats

Birthday Card from Oh Squirrel

Alphabet book for my niece from Eightbear

Copper necklace from Pikku Potin

So some purchases from old favourites plus some new purchases from new sellers.

Not many sellers seemed to have their business cards on their stall. There were a couple that I liked the look of but they didn't have their cards available, and generally they were busy serving customers so I couldn't just ask. I'll try and track them down ... 

There was one stall who I nabbed a card from - Clara Francis - amazing beaded jewellery - very inspiring. 

The other inspiring thing from my visit was that given the number of stalls there wasn't anything similiar to the kind of things I make. So when I get myself a bit more sorted with making things to sell, I might be doing something different to the crowd.

The best bit of my day out was coming across a food hall and having an amazing 'mix plate' of Turkish food. Yum yum.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Review :: Felt gingerbread men free kit

In a change to the other free gifts I've reviewed recently, I loved this one. It included all the key materials, the instructions made sense and the end product was great.

The gingerbread men shapes were pre-cut in the felt, which took some of the magic (or hassle) out of making it yourself. The white detail was sticky backed felt which I'd not used before, and seems like a great idea, although the stickiness wasn't sticky enough so I also stitched these in place.

The hardest bit was stuffing the arms and legs, I ended up using the bobbly end of a knitting needle to push the stuffing into the appendages.

Here's my finished fellow ...

And this is how it should look ...

A pretty good outcome, in my opinion and they've got me in the Christmassy making mood.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Tutorial :: Embroidery hoop art

Yesterday I posted about my Pinspiration for my niece's Christening present. As you read this I'll be sitting in a Church in a small town in Staffordshire. Here's what I'll be handing over to my brother & his wife as a gift ...

How did I make it?

I started by sketching a few ideas from the Pins I'd seen, of these I liked the bunting and name idea the best.

After deciding on my final design I cut out some paper templates to work from.

I rummaged around my fabric stash and found some offcuts from making a couple of tops in the summer. After ironing them I stretched them across the hoop ready to start.

I chose a selection of Liberty print fabrics with hints of pinks and purples for the bunting and drew around my little template before cutting them out. The lettering was made from white felt stitched with a range of shades of pink. The embroidery floss was mostly from a pack I picked up from Poundland a couple of months ago.

First up was the stitch the bunting 'string'. I used a chain stitch to give the 'string' a bit of body and picked a creamy colour. To make sure I stitched in the right place I used a pen that disappears at the merest hint of water. I found that using the pen as a guide rather than stitching directly on top of it meant it was easier to remove the pen line with water afterwards.

Once I'd stitched the 'string' it was time to add the bunting. I stitched along the top and also added a tiny stitch at the point of the triangle to stop the little scrap of fabric curling up.

Next up was the lettering. I lined up and spaced the lettering as I wanted it I then pinned it in place. I worked from the outside inwards so that I was sure I wouldn't run out of space at either side.

Using different shades of pink and a simple backstitch gave a bit of interest to the lettering.

After stitching all the letters it was time to finish off the back. I had a look on Pinterest for how to finish the back of an embroidery hoop - a lot of the tutorials used glue, but I wanted a stitched back so kind of followed this tutorial.

First up was to gather the fabric. I used pinking shears to trim away the excess fabric leaving about a 2-3cm boarder. I then stitched a long running stitch all the way round and pulled on the thread to gather in fabric.

Using another hoop the same size I drew a circle onto white felt and cut it out. I stretched and pinned the felt before stitching it in place.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Inspiration :: Christening present

It's niece number 2s Christening tomorrow.

For once I was organised enough to buy train tickets in advance, but I didn't have a dress, present or card. Even worse I thought I had yesterday off work but I din't so had to brave Oxford Street after work yesterday ... While there is lots of lovely stuff in the shops it was really difficult finding a non-Christmas party dress. Anyway I found on in the end in BHS of all places.

But there was one thing I'm didn't end up needing to shop for - the Christening present.

For niece number one I knitted a cardigan, I've got enough knitting in progress at the moment without adding to my list so that was out. So I turned to Pinterest and rather than just randomly browsing I looked through my boards - how often do you actually look through your own boards?

Anyway this is my Pinspiration for the present ...

8. Bunting, lace and embroidered lettering combined in this design

This is just a selection of the great designs I found. For more images embroidery hoop art visit me on Pinterest.
All links above are to Pinterest as a number of the items pictured are no longer available at their original link.

To see the finished hoop I made, pop back tomorrow ...

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Work in progress :: Knitting for nieces

It being autumn means that I've started knitting some pressies for my nieces for Christmas. Although I love crochet more than knitting I tend to knit for my nieces just simply because there is a wider range of patterns available.

I'm making a simple stocking stitch top but by using this lovely yarn I picked up from Tiger stores jazzes it up a little alongside a basic acrylic DK yarn I found in the same shade.

Trying to find a pattern I haven't already made for Emily is tricky but I liked this one, although the lace pattern was a bit tricky at first - I had to re-knit the whole of the back panel after figuring out the right way to knit it.